Let me preface this by saying that my affection for Ore Monogatari!! isn’t waning at all – I’m still enjoying the series very much. But as it’s becoming clear that this is mostly an affectionately semi-satirical “day in the life of a teenage romance”, it’s becoming equally clear that it’s hard to find new things to say about it every week. The same things that appeal to me one week appeal to me the next, and indeed the real story is the fact that they aren’t losing their appeal despite the relative lack of variety.
Take Rinko, for example. There are only so many ways I can say that her “Squee!” ghosts are hilarious, and that Megumi Han’s one woman special-effects track is endlessly charming. But they are, and it is. Han-san’s performance is starting to remind me of Miyu Irino’s in Tsuritama – one which goes completely over the top and takes a ton of risks, but ends up totally working. Han’s performance may fit the visual design of the character, but there’s a contrast with the personality that works wonderfully.
If Ore Monogatari is indeed systematically poking fun at the various elements of the teenage romance (as depicted in shoujo manga/anime especially) many of the big laughs this week came with the focus on the parents – Takeo’s specifically. There’s other good stuff here too, though – like Suna’s reaction when Takeo presents himself in his room asking for a favor (clearly, Suna remembers the kissing incident all too well). The favor (thankfully) in in fact to help Takeo study, as he and Rinko have reached the quintessentially shoujo romantic conclusion that they should attend the same college. Which is a problem, given that Rinko is a substantially better student than Takeo.
All this is really building up to Rinko coming over to study at the Gouda house, which leads to some pretty hilarious stuff from Mom and Dad. They both seem desperately pleased to see that their son actually has a girlfriend, which sends his mother out to buy better tea (and maybe better china) to serve their guest (along with pineapple). As for Pops, he decides to try and bond with Rinko over golf (“Ishikawa-kun is in this issue!”). As for Rinko, she’s appropriately nervous around the two of them and desperate to make a good impression, not realizing that merely existing is more than good impression enough.
Other good stuff here: Rinko trying to get to first base while Takeo sleeps, and Suna catching them. Pineapple. Suna allowing Takeo to prepare for a mock exam to get into a school he knows is an all women’s college – but even better is Rinko’s explanation for why she never mentioned it (“I just thought if you wanted to go, maybe you could go.”). Takeo screwing up his scantron on the benchmark exam by having all the answers of by one, just like Rinko did.
As is often the case, Suna’s involvement here is really the only element of mystery in the story. Again, he seems quite content to be included as the third wheel in Takeo and Runko’s fairy tale bicycle ride. He helps them both study, and even seems amenable to being drafted into going to the same college (despite the fact that he’s a better student than either). It’s nice that the both of them want to include him in their plans, but odd that a boy as smart and well-liked as Suna seems completely lacking in personal ambition, to the point of betraying no goals of his own at all. If there’s anything in Ore Monogatari that keeps me what I would call genuinely curious, it’s that disconnect, and I do hope we get some exploration of it before the series runs its course.