Oreimo – Animated Commentary 03-04

These little commentaries continue to be one of the more interesting DVD extras I’ve seen for a while. They act as both a kind of teaser trailer for the source material (and possible future episodes of the anime) and a psychotherapy session for the characters.

Just about everyone got in the act this week, starting with Kyousuke getting a rude surprise when he Dad shows up for the commentary instead of Ayase. Saori and Manami take the B part of the episode 3 commentary, giving way to Ayase and Ayase (heh) and finally Koyousuke and Kuroneko, back in the saddle. Each segment was interesting, but the most so for me was watching the two Ayases square off against each other. That was a very clever riff on the slightly psychotic behavior she showed in the series itself. The whole possibility of mutual affection between she and Kyou is played up much more here than it was in the source material, but really, Kyou has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal – he can do much better.

New tidbits – Saori has an older sister. She also confesses to Kyou in her commentary, much to Manami’s dismay. Kuroneko plays a rather kittenish hard-to-get, but reveals her true feelings for Kyou in the special scene she chooses. I like all three of these girls an awful lot – it was cute how Saori revealed a novel-only scene that was “cut” from the anime where Kyousuke is amazed that she’s in middle school. But forced to choose a partner for Kyou, it would have to be Kuroneko – she’s just a perfect combination of innocence and cynicism and she couldn’t be any damn cuter. She gives Kyou a hard time but unlike with his sister, it feels playful and not mean-spirited. But if he were to end up with Saori or even Manami, I’d have no complaints. Just to long as it isn’t Kirino or Ayase…

Looking forward to a few more of these as we count down towards the “true end” – the whole notion of the “actors” commenting on the events on-screen is ridiculously clever and entertaining.



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    This actually isn't the first time that a studio has had characters provide commentary about what happened in a series: Bakemonogatari and the Nanoha movie both included audio commentary tracks done "in character", but neither of those have been translated. I suppose the Ore no Imouto approach can be considered the next stage in that it frees the script writer from having to stick strictly to what's going on in the episode.

    I have mixed feelings on the two Ayases. I liked the gag, but on the flip side, it's a symbol of how I think the author really squandered her character. This isn't mentioned in the anime, but in the source material she's the daughter of a crusading politician and a parent-teacher association chair. She could have been played as a nice girl who also happens to be really, if you'll excuse the expression, "anal". Instead she got played up as a yandere.

    I actually backed a Kyousuke/Ayase end for quite a while, but dropped it in favour of Kyousuke/Kuroneko because while Ayase only got less appealing as the series went on, Kuroneko went in the opposite direction. She initially come across as haughty and pretentious. But the scenes of her with her sister in episode 9 really changed my impression of her – the bit with her flirting with Kyousuke during the "maids" scene was just icing on the cake. Now I love her mannerisms.

    It's interesting to note how there seems to be a minor but notable trend towards what I'd describe as "mistress" type characters in anime. Kuroneko is a relatively subtle example, but there's also the likes of Bakemonogatari's Hitagi and at the deep end there's the third girl in Oniichan no Koto and her "pet play" stuff.

    Also, I've probably mentioned this on AS, but I can't help but feel like Madoka Magica is like the synthesis of Kirino and Kuroneko's taste in anime.

  2. That's a fascinating point about Madoka Magica. I think you're basically right – which may explain why it's proving to be so sensationally popular both here and in Japan. If you can appeal to both halves of that divide, you're in pretty great shape.

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