Friday, November 19, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 3

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 2 | To Oreimo, Ep. 4-->

OreimoEp. 3 - "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute"

Though she could have gone out with her fellow model friend Sunday, Kirino, instead, is out at Akihabara with Kuroneko and Saori. Meanwhile, Kyousuke and Manami are spending some time at the park. He lets her know that everything with Kirino went well with her advice, and Manami expects a hug out of it in return, but is left hanging. Oblivious at first, Kyousuke decides to make it up to her by treating her later. Back at the maid cafe, Kirino and Kuroneko are trying to get the other to like their show. The former begins to huggle her freshly-bought eroge and is reprimanded by the latter for trying to bring the wrong kind of attention. This prompts Kirino to ask if her family is aware of her hobby, which Kuroneko replies affirmatively, noting that she did not care what others thought of her life. Saori agrees, which dispels some of Kirino's own personal concerns. In the evening, Kyousuke arrives home, only to find Kirino sitting in front of their father in a room, with one of her eroge laying in front of them.

Outside, their mother informs him that apparently, they bumped into each other earlier and the disc came out of her bag. Kyousuke admits to her that he already knew about her hobby when Kirino suddenly bursts out of the room and out of the house. He follows suit and loses sight of her until he hears her taking out her frustration on an outdoor arcade game. At an eatery, Kirino recounts their father giving her the third-degree for having such otaku material, which he recalls the news claiming is a "harmful influence to children". While he doesn't always believe the news, because society looks down on otaku, nothing good can come of collecting such things, and so, one becomes "hopeless" for being involved in something "worthless". In the present, Kirino questions if she's "weird" and if what she's doing is wrong, which Kyousuke says yes, according to their dad (or any parent, for that matter) and society. Giving them up would remedy the matter and Kirino has many other areas in her life going for her, but she still cannot bring herself to give up something that she truly loves. Just as much as she puts effort into school and modeling, she does with her passion for anime and games--those are all a part of who she is, and giving up either one would mean not being herself anymore. Even if she were forced to discard all of her possessions, it wouldn't wipe away who she has been till now. Liking her answer, her brother tells her to leave it to him.

Back home, the mother gives Kyousuke a bag of items he requested before he talks with the father while Kirino is gone for a half-hour. In the room, he attempts to get their dad, still stewing, to accept her hobby, and is determined not to let him throw out all of her things. He allows him to state his case, where Kyousuke reasons that while she knew that her hobby was abnormal, Kirino had also managed to work hard and find friends with similar likes. Having seen what he has first-hand and how important her hobby was to her, he calls his father out on how "worthless" it could all be without knowing anything himself. He also defends her friends as "good people", in spite of their quirks, and notes how much they enjoyed their hobbies and got worked up over them. The father, however, is more concerned about the content of the hobbies themselves than friends, and with that, Kyousuke dumped the bag he brought in onto the table. Testaments of Kirino's accomplishments as a student and model were sprawled across, but the father states that it is because of her success that he had agreed to her wearing "promiscuous" clothing and modelling, against his reservations.

As much as Kyousuke vies for him to overlook it amidst her good will, it's a matter of "discipline" to him, leading his son to pick up an album from the pile belonging to him containing her model work. He shows this alongside a picture sent to him by Saori of her and the girls, asking how he could find any "concern" there if he couldn't find any in the modelling (which he was supposedly against). Upset, Kyousuke grabs his father by the collar and threatens to hit him for Kirino if he can't accept things with the evidence in front of him. Unflinching, he removes his son's hands off of him and reconsiders calling her hobby "worthless", even his stance on it after his impassioned defense, but he cannot overlook the R-18 rating on the disc and the indecent content inside. Kyousuke expected that and is unable to deny him being in the right there, but before the father exits the room to commence with the removal of Kirino's still age-inappropriate anime and games, he resorts to one final act in desperation.

Kyousuke declares that the eroge is his, not Kirino's, and he has been using the computer in her room to play, as she is the only one in the house who has one. The father points out the irony of the whole situation, but Kyousuke brushes it off, by saying that there is nothing wrong with a high-schooler playing those types of games, or reading skin mags for that matter, and he'll never stop, because he loves anime and games! His antics only makes his father seethe, and is promptly decked in the end. The next day, Kyousuke and his bandaged face arrive home from school and walks past Kirino, who is on the couch talking anime on the phone, and sees that his job is done. Right before leaving, Kirino stops him and says "Thanks, Aniki (Bro)." Shell-shocked to hear such words come out of her mouth, he thinks to himself, "My little sister can't be this cute!"

After two solid episodes to start with, I had some mixed feelings about its third outing. On the one hand, part of it was still solid, like in the way the show continues to depict its characters and their situations with a sense of realism and purpose, as well as being altogether enjoyable. On the other hand, this episode felt a little off-target and preachy. With the latter--message-wise--the script was fine, but with the tone of the actors' readings, it felt more like an after-school special or defensive essay of the otaku way and acceptance. Combating discrimination is good, but the way it was done here seemed too deliberate, like it was done from a bullet-point list. Additionally, I didn't get why they had Kyousuke so over-the-top during his scene with the father, with his yelling and getting physical with him. I can understand if he was purposely acting-out to get his point across (not to be confused with what happened towards the end) or if he really felt dearly about Kirino's plight, but even so, it bordered on excess at times and stole attention from the good he was doing. Overall, I'd say that the disjointed aspects of the episode's overshadowed its better parts, including the little things, like Kyousuke's inner-thoughts and -praise on Kirino's progress and even the warm, humorous ending of which the episode's title is owed to (the line may seem creepy in writing, but its delivery was done in a comical way, minus any connotation). The moment underscored a great deal of growth in their relationship with one another in an episode that was very good, but also uneven.

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