Oreimo – 10

What should be have this week but a new character, 10 episodes into a 12-episode run. And she’s a live wire, this Kanakana-chan – possibly a bigger brat than Kirino with enough attitude for 10 animes.

The premise of the episode – Ayase wants to buy a hobby-related gift for Kirino’s birthday and goes to Kyousuke for help – is pleasing enough but illustrates the essential stagnation mode the series is in. Everything is still all about Kirino, despite the fact that she still treats just about everyone like crap and does nothing to deserve their attention. It’a nice that psycho Ayase wants to make a tolerant gesture, but I really don’t see why Kyou would go to all the trouble to help – especially given that Ayase generally treats him like crap too.

Once the premise gets rolling and takes on a sort of caper film quality, it’s undeniably a lot of fun. Kuroneko spots the poster for a Merururu cosplay contest with a limited edition figure as the grand prize, and correctly deduces that Kirino would be thrilled. Kyou’s idea is to get Ayase to participate and win, but Ayase has a better one – her classmate Kanakana-chan. She’s a foul-mouthed, cynical loli who just happens to look exactly like Merururu and, due to her idol audition experience, has the ability to memorize a song at one hearing. She does a perfect Merururu number and sweeps the prize, so effectively in character that Kirinio (in the audience) doesn’t recognize her.

I hope to get to see more of Kanakana – she’s a little spitfire. Shamelessly manipulative, she nevertheless admits that she loves performing and having people call her “moe”. Time’s running short though – only two broadcast eps left, though it’s apparently official that there will be four DVD-only episodes as well. it looks as if 11 will deal with the meido party that Saori-ojousama was planning in 09, and there’s not much time left to deal with the looming character issues out there. I admit this show hasn’t gone as far as I would have hoped – there’s been very little real change in either Kirino’s character or her relationship with Kyou since about episode four. The episodic nature of the series has been very entertaining and occasionally brilliant, but I would have loved to have seen a true arc to the story as we saw in B Gata H Kei, for example. There’s still two broadcast eps and the DVD extra ones to pay that debt off – I’m hopeful if not expectant of a really meaningful conclusion to the story.

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