Here’s the thing – Oreimo is way, way better when it’s about Kuroneko. I mean really, it’s not even the same show. OK, here’s the other thing – Kirino is his sister. His sister. Even if she weren’t annoying as hell, self-involved to the point of religion and not a terribly nice person 95% of the time, that would be reason enough to say “No, no, for all the tea in China, NO!” Why is it that the series itself seems oblivious to this fact?
I’m not expecting to like the ending, but that’s not a big deal as I never really was – I knew Kuroneko/Kyousuke was a doomed prospect for all the obvious reasons. She confessed first, and that’s a no-no. The confession happened way too soon. And frankly, it just makes too damn much sense. So I’ve let that ship pretty much sail already, and that’s fine, but I’ll give you my two big qualifiers as of right now: first, you better give me a better explanation for what Ruri did at the end of the episode than “I want those two to be happy.” And second, you better not go with an incest ending. I’ll happily settle for anything else you throw at me – forever alone, Kyousuke/Manami (heh – yeah, right), Nice Boat – whatever you got. Just not that.
OK, or Ayase. Not that either.
I came into this episode pretty skeptical of Kyousuke and Kamineko as a couple, actually – I’ve never really shipped those two hard apart from the fact that it seemed to make the most sense. I expected zero chemistry, but while there was a lot of awkwardness there was a surprisingly charming quality to it. The stuff with Ruri’s imoutos was standard-issue pap (KanaHana playing her own sister was a bit much, though I did like “Bitch Onii-san”), but apart from that the scenes between Kyou and Ruri were quite winning – he really is much easier to take when he’s with her. And the flat truth is, she’s delightful, plain and simple. This is the role KanaHana was born to play and she nails it every time. It’s a great character design to start with – Ruri is both beautiful and adorable – but her personality is so winning and nuanced that it’s like she’s a character in a different series sometimes. I especially loved the way she dealt with Kirino being her usual bitchy self when she barged into Kyousuke’s bedroom – she tried to put their friendship first and to put Kirino at ease, but she was barking up the wrong tree there. Ruri is fantastic, has been from the moment she was introduced, and she really should be the MC of her own series (maybe that spinoff manga gets adapted someday).
Nothing that happened at the end of the ep surprised me, and I’m guessing most of you either. if it wasn’t obvious going in the clues were everywhere, not least of which the picture Ruri drew of Kirino and Kyousuke together, saying it was “my dream” (once again – a better explanation, please). The fireworks scene at the matsuri had the feel of coda to it, and when she finally ditched the “Sempai” and called Kyousuke by his name I knew it was over. When she pulled out that notebook I knew exactly what it was going to say, but not exactly why it was going to say it. I think Ruri is way too smart a girl to believe that Kyousuke and Kirino being a couple is a good idea, so there has to be another angle here – there has to be.
So here we are, with 5 more eps to go – plus the Blu-ray route – and despite the fact that the last two eps have easily been the best of the season, I’m struggling to stay motivated to care about what happens next. Not only that, the next episode is already titled “Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai”, which is an interesting move. It’s not that Kyousuke and Kuroneko won’t be a couple that’s the problem, but simply that Kuroneko won’t be the focus character – that’s what makes all the difference. Apart from the rare outlier ep, when Kuroneko isn’t center-stage, that means all Kirino all the time – and that’s always a hard thing to like, not least because it usually means Kyousuke in spineless, repulsive siscon loser mode. I don’t especially like that series, but I do like this one – and the one we saw for most of the “True Route” last season. I guess I need to keep my expectations modest – hopefully we’ll at least avoid the incest route end, if nothing else.