Hard to know just what to make of this episode of Oreimo, really. On the one hand, we’re at least back on-point as far as the story is concerned, and the more likeable members of the cast actually had a role to play. But on the other, it was full of more than its share of headdesk moments and seemed to confirm that the series is on an inexorable path towards, if not an outright incest route, than outright acknowledging the possibility rather than only inferring it.
Let me just make it clear that even if I didn’t find Kirino insufferable, I would still disapprove of such a relationship getting serious consideration in a show that at least purports to be a realistic character comedy. I’m not so liberal in my thinking that I don’t consider biological siblings getting it on to be a really, really bad idea – but given that I do find Kirino one of the most irritating characters in anime it almost doesn’t matter in this case. But I suppose if there’s any hope for Oreimo to have any real progress this issue has to be dealt with, because their mutual love-hate infatuation has been obvious elephant in the room from the first episode.
Mind you this is by no means Kirino’s fault alone – Kyousuke becomes pretty insufferable himself when he’s with her. His simpering, spineless behavior as she abuses him is at least as irritating as anything she does, and we saw it on full display with their “fake” date in the first half of the episode. That whole premise was pretty silly – going to such lengths simply to avoid having to say no to a modeling agent is (even in Japan, where avoiding saying no is almost a religion) quite absurd. Then there were the endless string of coincidences – naturally, both Manami and Ruri have chance meetings with the sibling lovers. And the notion that Kirino is so perfect that she has yet another industry on its hands and knees, begging her to grace it with her presence. Jeebus…
Ack. In any event, as stated, maybe all this was necessary to finally move things forward – and in the context of Oreimo that certainly seems to mean bringing the feelings between Kuroneko and Kyousuke into the open. Their pairing isn’t exactly perfect either but at least she isn’t his sister – and he’s much more likeable paired off with Kuroneko than Kirino. Not surprisingly the second half of the ep was much better than the first, as it focused on the three of them and Saori going to Comiket to try move copies of a doujinshi they’ve collaborated on. For a show as adept at portraying the otakuverse as Oreimo is, a trip to Comiket was a natural – and if anything, it undersold just what a madhouse it is. I attended the Winter version (C83) where the lines are less ridiculous and the heat not a factor, and it was still an endurance test of the highest order.
The key question, as usual, is where Oreimo goes from here. Kirino suggests that she has a boyfriend – the mere thought turns Kyousuke into a disgusting blancmange – and then goes all morose and moody when she sees he and Ruri getting along so well. Ruri “confesses” she’d actually be happy if Kirino had a boyfriend (for obvious reasons). So Kuroneko gets points for honesty – she’s made things plenty clear to Kyousuke – but he’s effectively “come out” in the last two eps and acknowledged that his siscon is more than just a joke or a phase. I suppose this has to drag on for the rest of the series, and while it doesn’t necessarily need to end with a Kuro-Kyou pairing for me to be satisfied (Saori was actually my original choice, and Ruri can do better than Kyou anyway) I do hope we at least get a resolution that sets aside the incest nonsense definitively. If nothing else, that’s necessary if Kyousuke and Kirino are to have anything remotely resembling a healthy sibling relationship.