Episode 7: The latest episode of Oreimo is quite the turnaround. As expected, Kyousuke turned Kuroneko's confession from the previous episode down. This is because he wasn't sure how Kirino or Manami would feel about it if he accepted. He finds Kuroneko attractive, but then he feels the same way about Ayase, so it didn't seem like he was particularly thrilled to be with her. What we see here is the difference between boys and girls -- Girls settle on one particular guy and will reject anyone else who confesses to them. They aren't grateful when a boy confesses to them because they accept it as natural and obvious that every boy secretly wants them -- there's nothing special about a boy's attraction to a girl. Boys, on the other hand, will accept any girl's confession so long as she meets certain minimum standards, and will love any girl simply on account of the girl loving them, out of gratitude, due to how exceptionally rare a girl falling in love with a boy is. Statistics as old as time back up this sexual imbalance, but a basic example of this imbalance in the modern world is that 70% of divorces/breakups are instigated by women. Men desperately cling to the first woman who treats them well, but women could care less and discard any trash they've used up along the road, fully expecting that more prey will come along shortly. Because women are so much more attractive to men than men are to women, this tragedy will repeat itself until genetic engineering does away with the very concept of humanity itself.
As such, Kyousuke wasn't originally in love with Kuroneko, but upon hearing the extent of her feelings and being offered a girlfriend, he quickly readjusted his feelings and fell for her after all. This is a weakness of character that's shared by just about every boy on Earth, so I don't begrudge it of him. What's nice is that he still turned her down because he wanted to consult with the other girls in his life first, and receive their blessing. This is a very decent thing of his to do, since he's been leading on a variety of girls by now with his wishy-washy ways. So after leaving Kuroneko behind with a 'let me think about it,' he goes to talk to Kirino next.
Kirino, it turns out, halfway expected such a confession to happen. Either Kuroneko told Kirino about it, or she could just see it easily enough from Kuroneko's behavior. Therefore, without even waiting for Kyousuke to ask her about it, she jumps into a conversation, trying to get at the heart of Kyousuke's motives. When she asks him if he had been serious last episode about loving her more than any potential boyfriend could, he said he was. When she asked him what he'd do if said boyfriend and she had insisted on staying together regardless of his objections, he said he would have cried in remorse, but would have accepted the decision because there was nothing else he could do. Kirino, seeing that Kyousuke really would let her be with another boy if there were true love between her and hypothetical person x, decides it would be fine to treat him in the same way. She knows Kuroneko truly loves her brother, so she tells him to treat Kuroneko well and think about her confession seriously. Having gotten Kirino's blessing, ie, "I'll be jealous but I'll forgive you if it's true love, just like you'd be jealous but forgive me," he next goes to see Manami.
Again, he doesn't want to bring up Kuroneko's feelings, because he feels it's inappropriate, but again Manami guesses what's on his mind and says that she's fine with Kyousuke dating Kuroneko. She doesn't seem to care at all what happens in Kyousuke's romantic life and just thinks his romance with another girl is cute. Either she is fully confident they'll break up sooner or later anyway, or she is a girl without any greed or ambition in life. In any case, the last hurdle is cleared.
Having made the rounds, he sees Kuroneko again and this time accepts her confession, becoming her boyfriend. However, it immediately falls flat as a romance because Kyousuke's feelings just aren't genuine enough. He doesn't hug her, kiss her, or do anything to seal the deal. After Kuroneko's speech about how she loved him more than anyone, more than she would ever love another, and that even if she died her spirit would go on loving him in the afterlife, he doesn't say one word as to how he feels about her. The truth is he doesn't feel much of anything for her, except, "hey, that's a cute girl, much like Ayase is cute, maybe it would work out. . ." The halfhearted romance begins with them resuming their roles just like before as ordinary classmates and friends. While Kyousuke is fine having perverted delusions about what he can now do with Kuroneko, this is about as basic a low-level drive to be a boyfriend as humanly possible. Meanwhile Kuroneko has written up an entire guidebook for how they can move from lovers to married with children and is so happy at home she can't contain herself. It's a painfully wide gap between their hearts.
The rest of the episode is pretty humorous. He goes with Kirino's fake boyfriend to the otaku club (since Kirino's fake boyfriend is an otaku and would like more otaku friends), while asking him advice on how soon he can touch a girlfriend's boobs. The boy says he doesn't really have the experience to answer that question correctly. Then at the clubroom, people tease him about having a girlfriend, which surprises him because he hasn't announced being with Kuroneko yet. He then admits that he's dating Kuroneko, but only since yesterday. This surprises Kirino's ex, who with amazement says, "You mean you weren't dating your sister?"
Kyousuke angrily denies wanting to do perverted things to his sister, which is true enough. He's never had perverted fantasies concerning Kirino, while having had plenty concerning the other girls. But the question still lingers. How could he make such an emphatic declaration of love to Kirino, while not saying one word of affection towards Kuroneko, and expect people to believe his girlfriend is Kuroneko? By any rights he should be dating Kirino, that's what the ex-boyfriend would naturally think based on his actions up until this point, so it's strange that he's now with someone else, just days after having made a love speech towards another girl. At the end of the episode, Kuroneko isn't very psyched at the idea of him touching her breasts, so Kyousuke's one wish concerning her is nixed. He offers to instead do the things that she wants to do with him, since he doesn't know how to be a boyfriend or make her happy. She's very pleased with this reply and quickly takes up his offer to ask for a date together. But again, it just shows how little he's thought of her up until now. Does he really not know how to make her happy? Or is he just not even trying? After all the time they've spent together, he should know her likes and dislikes, and what she wants in him. Making her plan out all their time together is just blowing her off and saying he doesn't really care what they do or don't do together.
It's clear to me that this romance is headed for ruin. Kyousuke doesn't have the right attitude towards dating or the right feelings in his heart to be dating Kuroneko right now. At this rate, he'll only continuously disappoint her until she feels the need to break up with him again. A case like this comes to mind very fervidly. If a guy does nothing but hurt a girl who loves him, she'll say to him that she's always in pain around him, and it makes her hate herself that she so helplessly suffers and doesn't have the strength of will to object to these circumstances, that she eventually ends up hating him, the very boy she loves, for making her so miserable and humiliated. Before she ends up full of hate for what she originally loved, her only hope is to jettison the relationship and return things to where they were before, when they at least worked as good friends. In a couple episodes, I predict Kuroneko will be making this speech to Kyousuke and they will go their separate ways. Another way this could go down is Kirino realizing that Kyousuke doesn't have any true feelings for Kuroneko, so the 'if it's true love I'll forgive you' blessing doesn't really apply, in which case she'll demand he dumps Kuroneko since there's no point suffering for him to have a tepid, chemical-only-based relationship with another girl in the first place. But whether it's Kirino or Kuroneko who dumps him, or he dumps Kuroneko for realizing these things himself, the breakup is a 100% certainty.
What's interesting is that, if he learns from this mistake, he may just end up dating Kuroneko again in the future, but hopefully with noble intentions instead of base intentions the next time around. Since the story hasn't ended yet, there's no telling who he'll end up with romantically at the end. It could very well be Kuroneko all over again. After all, she's done nothing wrong romantically. It's only Kyousuke who's acting like an idiot.
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As for the rest of the spring season, Valvrave has redeemed itself, so I'm no longer looking to cut it anymore. The Saki character from Valvrave is much more interesting and fun than the main character is, and seems likely to dominate the screen time from here on. Suisei no Gargantia has been disappointing. It keeps going on and on about how everyone needs to get a job and work all day. This despite the fact that his machine is more productive than he or anyone else on the floating city could ever be, so he's already doing more than enough to earn a living. This also despite the fact that by singlehandedly defeating an entire enemy pirate fleet and by saving the Gargantians, he deserves enough of a reward to support him for life. After all, he saved all of the people's lives, as well as the women from being raped. You would think after doing all that, they wouldn't whine about him not 'being productive enough' afterwards. This worship of work instead of productivity is insane. Are people only admirable for how much of every day they do something they specifically don't want to do? (The definition of work is doing something you wouldn't ordinarily do in order to get pay, ie, work = pain.) In that case our culture worships pain as the highest good, when it should be obvious to anyone that the exact opposite, happiness, should be our most revered goal. The main character of Suisei finally has an advanced enough AI robot to do all his work for him -- so he goes and finds more work to do so that he can be admired for suffering alongside everyone else. It's disgusting. It's like watching devolution in action.
Suisei no Gargantia had a great first episode, but then so did Kotoura-san. If it doesn't improve in the second half of the series, I'm going to have to find a replacement for it in my rankings. I consider everything after the second episode to have been a giant waste of time, more irritating than entertaining. The other shows which have joined my rankings are doing much better -- every week Hataraku Maou and Leviathan just go from strength to strength.
As for other spring anime, Shingeki no Kyojin had an awesome episode last week. The back story of Erin and Mikasa is just epic. Railgun is in its best arc ever (the arc that spawned the entire series in the first place and which was the highlight of the first season of Index as well). Hunter x Hunter is fighting Chimera ants for the first time ever as an anime. Hayate's girls are cute as advertised. Miyakawa-ke and Namiuchigiwa are funny as always. Chihayafuru may have had the best episode of its entire series this week. Precure and One Piece are obviously solid every week. My only complaint right now is Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. It's getting a little tiresome watching the same classmates insult each other and pick fights like scorpions in a too-tight jar. I don't care who's in the right and who's wrong, people who fight should just stay away from each other at all times, for everyone's sake. The teacher who forced these bad elements together in a summer camp is way too tyrannical and arbitrary. Also, the main character is another one of these 'reluctant heroes' that first objects to doing anything but then goes along with everyone and does it anyway. He doesn't have any strength to his convictions and just ends up being annoying. What's the point of whining if you're going to give in anyway? Just say 'yes' or 'no,' there's no point to any other words coming out of a protagonist's mouth. At this point, Yahari is at the bottom of my list in quality.