Ore Monogatari!! – 10

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I hope you checked your cynicism at the door, because there’s no space to carry it on with this trip.

Well, that was pretty much a whipsaw turnaround from the last two-part episode.  Pretty much no Suna, and from the most serious story of the series to probably the silliest.  But considering its best character was sidelined it’s remarkable how successfully Ore Monogatari pulled this off – indeed, something of a wonder that it can continue to dance through this minefield without blowing up.  But so far, definitely so good.

It’s hard to overstate how charming this episode was, and once again, a good chunk of that comes from cutting through the sweetness with a bit of acidity.  It’s clear that while Yamato and Takeo are meant to be taken at face value, their relationship is not remotely taken too seriously.  Takeo’s superhero act is effectively a running gag at this point, and even if the events transpiring weren’t silly, the way they’re being portrayed is unquestionably so.  Thank goodness.

The premise this time around is a picnic for Rinko and Takeo – a make-up game for their deferred birthday date.  Except Takeo didn’t consult with Suna this time, and what he ends up taking Rinko on is much more a hike than a picnic.  She bears up well on their mountain climb, though she’s packed so much food and supplies that Takeo eventually has to commandeer her cute pink backpack.  But a run-in with a jewel-obsessed crow leads to one of the most preposterous of Takeo’s superhuman feats – running down a sheer mountain face, than overpowering gravity itself.

In the face of something like that happening, it’s impossible to take anything that follows seriously.  And that’s good, because we’re free to see the remainder of the episode as the borderline parody of teen romance (and shoujo romance manga) that it is.  Lots of laughs are provided by Rinko’s reactions, with her inner “squee” manifesting themselves hilariously in the form of ghost-bubbles.  The fun thing here is that Rinko is the one in this relationship that’s not totally innocent – she’s fully aware of the implications of being forced to spend a night with Takeo in the woods, even if he isn’t.  And don’t kid yourself, she likes it – a lot.  She may restrict herself to a stolen peck on the cheek as Takeo sleeps, but this girl wants more.

Also great are the reactions of the happy couple’s friends and family.  Rinko’s pals are a preposterously giddy gaggle of girls, jealous that she’s actually got a boyfriend – though they’ve actually warmed to Takeo to the point where they acknowledge him as “manly”.  When Rinko’s mom calls wondering if she’s with them, they naturally leap to the wrong conclusion and cover for her – then soar away on flights of schoolgirl fantasy.  Meanwhile Takeo’s buddies are thrilled at merely being the recipient of a call from them, even if it’s just one wondering where Takeo is.  Suna is blissfuly lost in books, and Takeo’s parents totally unconcerned about his whereabouts .  Yes, we finally meet Takeo’s Dad, Yutaka (Genda Tessyo) – and it’s almost a letdown that he looks and acts exactly what you’d expect Takeo’s Dad to look and act like.

As for the bride and groom, they spend a blissfully silly night together in the woods, Rinko practically peeing herself at every moment in her exuberance and embarrassment.  Takeo stands over her to protect her from mosquitoes (one gets through), climbs a tree to find an escape route, and wrestles a boar to the ground – all in a night’s work.  He’s the real innocent in this relationship, no doubt about it, and he sleeps the sleep of the innocent unaware of Rinko’s frantic mental grinding next to him – and when he wakes up, he’s covered by the adoring creatures of the forest.  Like she says – who wouldn’t feel safer that way?

The cherry on top of the sundae comes when Rinko arrives back at her friend Nanako‘s house the next morning (as the girl with the most screentime and dialogue, I’m wondering if she’s being set up as a possible pair for Suna), and they and she are on completely different wavelengths about what happened the night before.  When she threw in “And then a boar showed up!”, I just about lost it.  I’ve rarely seen shoujo romance handled with this irreverent a touch before, and it really works – though I still find Suna more interesting, there’s no denying that watching this hapless pair blunder through their first romantic dance has charms all its own.

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  1. C

    I dunno, I feel the opposite — like I can't watch this show anymore, but I'm already almost done with it, and that's why I keep watching, hoping that it gets better. It's just so over the top with unrealistic romance (with the constantly repeating "I love you Yamato" and "squeeee" followed by sudden heroic rescue) — but the thing is, I get the vibe that it takes itself (relatively) seriously for its genre, whereas you think a lot of it is parody. One episode created so much drama in that Yamato felt bad that she was not innocent… because she wanted to do more things like holding hands. It was charming at the very beginning, but then it just got annoying. The best part of the show is Suna, and he can't do it all alone.

  2. S

    Personally the one thing that's starting to grind on me a bit is Takeo's denseness. I feel like this series dodged the traditional will they/won't they blueballing of romance anime with its episode 3 confession… just to fall back into a different kind later as these guys despite being nominally a couple have never done anything beyond what a brother-sister couple would do (well, outside of one of "those" shows, that is). It's especially frustrating as Rinko is shown as clearly wanting more, which is an interesting twist… but Takeo's dumb as they come. I suppose it's part of the tongue-in-cheek thing this show is doing, but maybe they're not carrying the joke far enough to sell me on the idea they TRULY are mocking him. I'd like to see a bit more humour with a bite, is what I mean (the final innuendo scene was a good step in that direction).

  3. g

    Do you read many shoujo romances? Because for me it seems you don't know much about the genre in this demographic. Trust me, I know author's other manga and she prefers shoujo romances in a comedy style. Of course she plays some tropes straight but she always twists and jerks some other ones and plays with expectations. Actually, all her other works are much more straight shoujo romances and Ore Monogatarii is the silliest one to the day.
    And of course Takeo isn't mocked, he's made fun of in good natured way. It will never be an American stand up routine.
    It seems to me you have to stop watching or change expectations because any other way you'll meet with a huge disappointment.

  4. S

    Hey, I don't say I hate it, don't get me wrong. I don't want the humour to be vicious, but even within the confines of genre the artist has a lot of room to express her views and that's what I'm talking about.

  5. C

    While I don't watch much manga at all, I've watched quite a few shoujo romances and I actually tend to like them. The one thing that tends to annoy me, as Simone pointed out, is the usual will they/won't they crap that lasts throughout the whole series. That's one of the reasons I stuck with Ore Monogatari, because it broke that trope pretty early. However. it pretty quickly went into the other direction. Takeo and Yamato are so 2D after the relationship, it's like they hardly changed from the first few episodes (it doesn't help that Takeo literally says the same thing over and over again). It's hard to take this show for a parody when it already breaks molds like that. The other annoying thing about shoujo romances is the "sudden adversity" — usually uncooperative friends-then-rival girl-then-rival boy thing. It can be argued, which Enzo does, that this show does parody that. I feel like that's the one thing that can always be kept to a minimum, because that's just bad storytelling. Relying on those more and more is even worse, and it's not something that can really be parodied… Anyways, if there's a shoujo manga I really like, it's Itazura na Kiss because like Ore Monogatari, that also turned into a relationship pretty fast, but actually went through all the way (although a little too quickly) in a rather realistic and developing fashion.

  6. C

    *read much manga

  7. I don't have a problem with it. These are two kids blissfully in the early stages of first love. If there's anyone for whom 2D is realistic they'd be the ones. And this is obviously a fantasy in any case.

  8. G

    I actually faceplamed when they fell off the cliff and survived that fall with barely a scratch.

  9. S

    Couch Tomato having a completely photonegative reaction to things is fine, but Simone, I feel you're interpreting this in completely the wrong way. Takeo isn't dumb like that, and it's not mean spirited in any way. In fact, if Takeo would just say what he is thinking , he comes across as rather insightful. Instead, he chooses to parse his thoughts into some language he thinks is accepted/expected of him – a language he's terrible at. That's the comedy aspect, and it's been a running theme since the first text message and the first misunderstanding between Yamato& Takeo.

  10. S

    It's not a matter of interpretation. I get that. It's just that at times it feels more frustrating than funny to me.

  11. e

    Squee ghost and friends' reactions aside (AND TAKEO'S oh-so-hnnnnnng-HOT DAD) I loved the little Heidi of the Alps shoutout featuring with the tituar heroine, Peter, the goat and her grandpa skipping among the lush alpine landscape bg as Takeo and Rinko went their separate ways in front of the station :,D.

    'Popular with bugs', hm? Seems that Rinko has found a swarm of winged bloodsuckers ladies competing against her for Takeo's precious juices at last :p.
    Talking of his naivete and the (other) adoring creatures of the forest + a bit of tropes-playing… ladies and gentlemen behold this specimen of manly gentle caveman with the heart of a Disney princess and plump lips worthy four of them. His girlfriend indeed wants moar and went easy on his sweet unsuspecting soul at night ohoh.
    On a slighlty more serious note, my favourite humorous shoujo romance take to this day is Lovely Complex, especially in manga form. The anime left out volumes and characters made of merry wack in the second half of the series . And those crazy manga freetalks… and the moe serpentine turds
    And then there are a few choice titles among Yoshihara Yuki's works that are THE shoujo/josei romance parody in my book but they're technically josei and smut and well that would be a long digression. Still, Darling Wa Namamono Ni Tsuki is a gem of hers not to be missed if one can stand the ecchi. Mwahahaha.

    P.S.: which books were Suna reading I wonder. And that preview. I fear for the cucurbitaceous goody…

  12. S

    "which books were Suna reading I wonder"

    He's taking advantage of the peaceful, Takeo-less day to marathon the Game of Thrones series.

  13. e

    Must be the plastic wrap kiss trauma at work >>;; . But more power to him as long as they don't pull a Red Wedding on the poor watermelon. Talking of the latter… right on time. Enjoy the watermelon season everyone! *patting her own watermelon with giant blade at the ready* Yay summer. Bon appetit.

  14. Everyone's opinion is of course every bit as valid as mine. But I can't help feel in reading these comments that some folks are taking this too seriously. For me, the Suna arc showed Ore can do serious damn well, but this ep proves that first and foremost, it's a comedy. It's a biting but affectionate poke at teen romance generally and shoujo romance specifically.

    I mean, look at this ep – you had everyone covered in equal opportunity fashion. The stuff with the two groups of friends was spot-on and hilarious.

  15. S

    I guess it mostly boils down to the fact I imagine that seeing Takeo trying to kiss Rinko would make for a sight ten times as hilarious as anything we've gotten until now. I mean, this is the man who managed to screw up holding hands. And who kissed his best friend through plastic wrap. Has Suna's sacrifice been for nothing?
    Also part of it is just sympathy for Rinko and her rightful expectations :D.

  16. e

    I wonder if Yamato has considered everything properly every time she wants 'it'. Because you know, their body size is totally incompatible. Lol.

  17. e

    They'll be fine…
    I'd be more worried-not at him having his virtue taken. She is the one nursing the cavewoman fantasy scenario after all ;D

  18. S

    First thing I noticed is how she imagined herself with children all around her. HINT HINT.

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