Thursday, December 16, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 6

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 5 | To Oreimo, Ep. 7-->

OreimoEp. 6 - "My Childhood Friend Can't Be This Cute"

At school, Kyousuke is confronted by a friend about whether he and Manami are going out. Although he says that he doesn't view her in that light (comparing her, instead, to a grandmother turned 50 years younger), he is staunchly against the idea of any other guy trying to get with her. Later in the day, Kyousuke and Manami stop by her house as her family prepares do some Halloween-related events at their shop. They find her grandfather passed out on the table and cold, fearing the worse, but the grandmother tells them that it was just the result of a failed prank of his involving their store's freezer. A threat from her to pull out his hair is enough to get him going again and scurrying with fear.

While the girls go in the back to bring in some sweets, Gramps asks if he's "done it" yet, which Kyousuke quickly denies. Manami's younger brother/aspiring rocker, Iwao, arrives home, and surprises Kyousuke with his new "skinhead" look (not what you think…), which is all the rage in rock (though Gramps' ribbing dashes his confidence away). Back with the sweets, Kyousuke samples one of the fancily-decorated Halloween confections that Manami made and is immediately bowled over by it. His liking of it makes her blush and her gratefulness in return makes him turn away and blush--and Gramps, hiding under the table, wishes they would just hurry up and get married already. Grandma concurs, which makes Manami take Kyousuke to her room to escape all of the well-wishing. Inside, he remarks that it hasn't changed as him rests on the floor, all the while Manami sits nervously. Despite being tired from everything he's done recently, he volunteers to help her and her family set up things, and in return, Manami asks if he wants to stay for dinner.

After all of the hard work, and with it getting late, Kyousuke decides to stay overnight, coaxed a little by an anxious Manami, who is delighted. Though older, Kyousuke has no reservations about staying at a girl's house, since he had slept at Manami's often when they were younger and actually prefers it to his own. After dinner, Manami offers Kyousuke the courtesy of going ahead of her for a bath, but he insists on going after her. After going back-and-forth, a mischievous thought pops into Manami's head. She gets up-close behind Kyousuke and gently suggests that they go in together. This takes him by complete surprise to her great amusement. Not to be outdone by her, he calls her bluff and takes on her offer! Iwao, nearby, is in awe of Kyousuke's display of "manliness" as he loudly promises to show her his "hyper weapon", which only makes Manami shirk away more in embarrassment. The tables turn again when she assumes he's serious and nervously asks her grandmother aloud about his proposal, which gets an endorsement from her and Gramps.

Following his bath--alone--Kyousuke and Manami head to their respective beds, only to find both of their futons "mysteriously" next to each other in the guest room. Flustered, Kyousuke tries find reason in it and attempts to take credit when Gramps stumbles around and pushes them into the room, claiming his chest trauma from the war won't subside until Kyousuke sleeps there with Manami (who doesn't exactly mind), and closes the door on them. As they go to sleep (but not as close to each other), they reminisce about doing this very thing when they were younger. Later on, Manami wonders if the two of them will go to same college together, while Kyousuke wonders how everything would turn out.

On a different topic, he asks her about how she would react to someone telling her that they loved her (which, naturally, takes her off guard). She doesn't know the answer herself and turns the question back on him. He replies that he would turn his admirer down, as he would like for his easy-going, peaceful life to stay as it is. Disappointed, but perhaps not terribly surprised, she replies that they have a long road ahead of them, which causes the two to accuse the other of sounding like a grandparent. Unable to ask to personally ask, herself, Kyousuke asks if she would like to stay over at his place, which she happily obliges to as they settled back to sleep. Back at home, Kirino is snuggling with her new dakimakura, upset, as she has been all day, at Kyousuke staying over at Manami's, calling him a "jerk" under her breath.

After six episodes of Oreimo, this one was perhaps my favorite of the series, thus far (and it has nothing to do with the poor previous episode, either). It was a light, breezy affair with good amount of humorous moments, as well as some well-needed background on the relationship between Kyousuke and Manami. Perhaps more importantly, the episode helped flesh her out beyond just being the "childhood friend" type. She's still the nice girl with a crush, but we also got to see a playful side to her when she tried to rattle Kyousuke with her bathing suggestion, which provided one of funniest moments in the whole show, especially when it all backfired.

Prior to this episode, I never would have thought that she capable of something like this, so it was quite nice to see another dimension to her, which was handled well so not as to seem totally out-of-character. Manami has been a kind-hearted character, but also a bit one-note. Following this episode, however, there is much more to her to like. We also got a look at her off-kilter family, whose old-fashionedness is clearly reflected in her looks and personality (not too surprising, given her grandparents live with her), but whose old-time attitude towards romance propels a lot of the "Get together, already!" comedy bits in the episode. They are a funny, warm bunch that proves to be quite likable, which may explain, in part, why Kyousuke prefers their house over his more frosty abode.

Not everything was fun and games in the episode, which was bittersweet in respect to Manami's unspoken love of Kyousuke, his inability to properly decipher how he himself really feels about her, and their discussion late at night. Both clearly have affection for one another, but whether anything will ever come of it or how far it goes for him are uncertain, and yet, this quiet introspective was nearly as much a highlight as the comedy was.  One person certainly not having a fun time was Kirino, whose displeasure at the development is interspersed throughout the episode: kicking his room's door as she walks by, even his chair at the table during dinner, and mumbling "jerk" at every turn. Once again, I really hope that this isn't a sign of some incest subplot, though I ultimately think it is more of an "attention" thing, based on some of her past quotes. There is also the annoying matter of Kyousuke saying something really stupid and nonsensical to get out of a jam. It's still too hard to take his thought pattern in a believable manner, much less humorously.  Why he does something like this is unknown, but hopefully there is either a good explanation to it, or it just dissipates altogether (good luck on either front…).

Overall, the romantic comedy was a nice change of pace from the usual otaku-aimed fare. I did not think they would ever spend an entire episode with Manami at the focal point, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable one.

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