The long awaited “True End” route of Ore no Imouto begins at long last, after having been mercilessly teased by the animated commentaries in the first three volumes. And, while not ranking with the best episodes of the series, it nevertheless represents a pretty successful continuation of the TV arc.
For starters, the first half of the episode is identical to the first half of episode 12, the “Good End” finale of the TV series, as far as I can remember – right up to the point Kyousuke buys the eroge in Akiba. Things begin to change when he misses the last train, and finds himself stranded outside a locked JR station with no way to get home. He cajoles a fellow “Onii-chan’s Pantsu” purchaser into loaning him his bike, and arrives homes a sweaty mess, jumping straight into the shower.
So, Kyou and Kirino again find themselves in her room playing the eroge, and things remain pretty much as we remember them (apart from Kyou’s wardrobe change) until Kirino offers to show him her even deeper, darker secret. After a pretty shocking gag about a certain very “niche” porno that falls out of her stash, we get to the crux of the moment – Kyou refuses to look at her photo album, and instead Kirino pulls out a box of reports cards and sports meet medals, telling her brother how she always looks at them whenever she’s feeling beaten down. They have a nice moment, he promises to keep her secret, and goes off to bed.
So in this version, Kyousuke is totally blindsided when he asks after Kirino at breakfast, only to be told she’s left for America. Her room is an empty shell and he’s left to ponder life without the annoying Imouto who made his life a constant misadventure. She left him on a good note – their last moment was a rare smile from her and a polite “Good night, Aniki”, but she still left without a word to him. Fast forward to the first day of school and a pleasant moment between Kyousuke and a surprisingly impish Manami, when he spots a familiar face. Kyou dashes after it and finds Kuroneko (how can a smile look so innocent and so evil at the same time?), in the uniform of his high school. That “something else” she was going to call him? I guess it was “Senpai” – at least for now…
I’m not sure which version of the Kyousuke-Kirino parting I prefer at this point – I’m not in love with either, but in some ways the confrontational one in the “Good End” felt a little more true to character. Either way, the gist is the same – Kirino is an America at track camp, but now it’s explicitly spelled out that we have the prospect of Kyou and Kuroneko attending school together to look forward to. That could potentially be a wildly entertaining three episodes, though it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship plays out in Kirino’s absence. It’ll also be interesting to see how the mild-mannered Manami reacts to having Kuroneko there – while Kyou may or may not have feelings for her, I think it’s very apparent that Kuroneko has set her sights on him. And it will certainly be fun to see Kuroneko in an environment so different from where we typically see her. In many ways it feels like we’re going to be watching a different show, but that’s the nature of the beast – change one detail and the whole route is different. In that sense the direction change felt pretty natural and true to the game format, and besides, I’m pretty sure Kirino will be back in the picture before too much time has passed.