Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 2 – 02

Oreimo - 2 -5 Oreimo - 2 -12 Oreimo - 2 -17

Hoo boy – only two weeks into the new season, and we already get an Ayase episode?

I suppose there’s a rose-colored glasses effect, but I think I’ve tended to remember the things I loved about the first season of Oreimo more than the things I hated about it.  Unfortunately the first two eps served as an ample reminder of the latter, although the first one at least wasn’t dominated by them.  The weird thing is that even in a highly irritating episode like this one, there are also reminders of what I really liked.

If I’m disappointed in anything in these first two eps collectively, it’s that so little has seemingly changed in the character dynamic.  Effectively both the “Good End” and “True End” might as well have never happened, because apart from a check-in with the club last week there’s no way you’d have been able to tell they head.  I’m hoping for character growth, yes, but we’re seeing the sort of premise that could have come in the first half of the first season.

I’ll say right up front that Ayase is probably my least favorite character in Oreimo (though it’s a close race with Kanako) so I’m biased against this episode from the beginning.  I find Kirino’s social circle (her exclusive one, not the one she shares with Kyousuke) to be pretty annoying on the whole, and Ayase especially is a chore to watch.  I’ve never found her sort of abusive yandere antics especially funny, and her interactions with Kyousuke are unfailingly tedious because she brings out the worst in him as a character, too.  A whole episode built around her jealousy of a virtual girlfriend?  You could hardly craft a worse premise for me, but there must be large chunks of the fanbase who feel differently or these sorts of eps wouldn’t exist.

There is some funny stuff attached to the “Love Touch” gag, no doubt about it.  First of all, is it really possible to have VN characters text you on with a smartphone app?  The possibilities for RL mayhem abound, if so.  As usual, one of the best things about Oreimo is the way it so perfectly captures the mindset of the enthusiast, poking fun at it without being cruel about it.  Yes, what we want is to have someone to talk about the latest cool thing we’re hooked on – that’s where the real fun is, sharing the passion.  And Manami doing her impersonation of Ayaka was highly amusing.  Creepy, indeed – there’s a reason virtual girlfriends act differently than RL girlfriends.

I suppose it’s to Oreimo’s credit that it isn’t trying to cash in on the popularity of Kuroneko by featuring her more often, but I think there’s a reason why she’s so well-loved by the fans.  It drives me a bit nuts to see she, Saori, the club members and Manami be largely absent from the first two episodes when they’re frankly both funnier and more interesting than what we’ve been given.  It’s the paradox of this series – it’s a show of highs and lows, capable of soaring brilliance and grating mediocrity, often in the same episode.  I can’t shake my belief that this was a better show when Kirino wasn’t in it, and the shadow of that hangs over everything that’s happening now.  But even if we’re never going back to those carefree days, there are certainly ways that Oreimo can be Kirino-centric that serve the story better than what we got this week.  Hopefully it won’t be long before we see some of them.

Oreimo - 2 -7 Oreimo - 2 -8 Oreimo - 2 -9
Oreimo - 2 -10 Oreimo - 2 -11 Oreimo - 2 -13
Oreimo - 2 -14 Oreimo - 2 -15 Oreimo - 2 -16
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9 comments

  1. i

    I guess I'm in the fanbase that enjoyed this episode. While I hate Kanako most of all, I don't particularly dislike Ayase. I think she was funny here but then I don't dislike the stereotype of anime girls beating down on guys for no reason as much as I think you do.

    For me Kirino in and Kirino out makes little difference as long as it's not like that random novel arc. Best part of Oreimo is indeed the incorporation of what people who enjoy the whole range of anime, game, manga fandom like and could like.

    Interestingly I don't like Kuroneko particularly more than any other female intrests. She has her moments but I don't think of her as much more than Kirino, save more forward and witty. She does break her stereotype better than Kirino does though.

  2. C

    The ending was hilarious.

    "She went the yandere route!!"

  3. B

    Actually, the IDOLM@STER arcade has a feature where you could receive texts from the girls. Though I heard they shut it down.

  4. M

    I don't like Ayase alot either, but that doesn't mean I didn't find her hilarious.

  5. h

    I'm rather turned off by abusive, arrogant characters who don't seem to have (or reveal) any redeeming character qualities. Sure, there are some aspects I can appreciate in such characters, but the overwhelming ratio of grating, hypocritical abuse to earnestness and humility eclipses whatever merits they (infrequently!) display. This is why I'd probably rank Kanako first on my list of apathetic or disagreeable characters, followed closely by Ayase, and then trailed at some distance by Kirino herself.

    For me, this general formula holds true for most character or series I watch. But it's equally true there are many fans who enjoy just such a stacked abuse-to-heart ratio as these characters represent. I know there is even a subtype of the fanbase which revels in masochistic enjoyment of the physical and emotional abuse oozing in thick from certain bitchy female characters, a circle among whom I imagine Ayase thoroughly well enjoyed. I know this subtype of fans have actually been the subject of case studies and some theories have emerged explaining why they are…the way there are.

    In any case, taken together, I suppose these considerations wouldn't necessarily make this episode mediocre on balance, but the focus on such characters can (and does) reduce my level of enjoyable investment to the same level I'd expect from other forms of mediocrity. Then again, ascribing to some "objective" definition of mediocrity born from anything but market forces is foolhardy, I'll admit, so I'd best defer to the critics, the most respectable of whom in my opinion, being unaligned with this breed of masochism, have apparently declared it as such. Just allow me to continue herping the proverbial derp and mincing words to avoid admitting it myself. Because, honestly, I really don't want to after seeing that delightful first episode, and you can't make me. (Well you can, but…)

    In any event, I'm genuinely confused who our nii-chan will choose as his love interest. Isn't that the purpose of shows with themes of romantic comedy?! Actually, no, this dynamic is quite new to Oreimo and has emerged only in light of the Kuroneko arc last post-season. Kirino or Kuroneko? If you've seen the original, uhh, source work, do not feel coaxed into responding. Seriously, don't. 😉

  6. h

    Wait, I take everything back. I like Ayase. I suggest you do the same. Do it. There, now my internal conflicts are resolved and I am happy as a closet otaku in Akiba.

    Only there's this nagging bitterness in my chest…never mind that. I was also going to type Kyousuke X Ayase, but then there's that roiling bitterness again. Must be indigestion.

  7. Yeah, not happening, sorry!

  8. f

    Are you still going to watch until the end of the season, Guardian Enzo? I think the next episode should be interesting for you so can't wait to read your impression on it.

  9. I don't see why I wouldn't – S1 pissed me off plenty but the good stuff kept me coming back. Next ep seems to be a Saori episode, so that should be much better.

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