Episode 8: The most recent episode of Oreimo is all about the sweet young romance of Kyousuke and Kuroneko. A lot of this episode doesn't make sense, when taken in isolation. Hopefully later episodes resolve the mysteries that sprang up during the episode. For instance, how did Kyousuke end up with all those injuries on his face? He wouldn't tell Kirino, but he could have at least told the audience. What did he mean that he wanted him and Kirino to be more -- ? More what? The line of dialogue is interrupted, so we don't know why he's slathering heart stickers of him and Kirino all over and showing it off to everyone. When he asked Kirino if she had meant Kuroneko when she had asked him to take the next confession he hears seriously, she replies with a 'who knows?' and walks off. I had thought it applied to Kuroneko, but now I'm not sure. Kirino always holds her feelings close to her vest so now I'm not sure who she was referring to anymore. Later we see Kuroneko with a picture of Kirino and Kyousuke getting along over a dinner table smiling, with her saying this is her 'ideal ending.' But what does that mean? The audience isn't told so they can only guess. Is Kuroneko such a selfless lover that even though she wants to be with Kyousuke, she wants to get him together with Kirino for his own sake? It's hard to say if the picture even was meant to be romantic or just as siblings who got along. With so little data, there's just no way to draw a conclusion. Lastly, it's a mystery why Kuroneko had planned to break up with Kyousuke from the beginning and has resolutely continued this approach throughout.
Perhaps Kuroneko also realized that Kyousuke didn't love her? But does that mean he would never grow to love her? I'm not so sure of that. They seemed to be getting along, so maybe over time their relationship would have evolved. It's obvious that even while they are dating, Kuroneko's love is entirely one-sided, and that does seem to be an extremely painful situation for her. Kyousuke's completely condescending pretend affection just doesn't cut it. You can tell his heart isn't in their dates throughout the episode. I predicted this before, but eventually Kuroneko would get tired of his fake feelings and dump him, I'm just surprised it happened so fast, and that she had planned for this to happen from the beginning. There seems to be more going on in Kuroneko's head than just love for her upperclassman.
Could she be training Kyousuke to be a better dater for Kirino's sake? I just don't know. As for Kirino rushing into her brother's room when she heard dubious sounds from across the wall, that's totally justified. Just because they're going out doesn't give them the license to make love right in front of her and rub her face in it like that -- not that they were doing so, but if they had been she would have had the right to stop it. The fact that she didn't want to watch Kyousuke and Kuroneko dating is also completely valid. No one wants to watch the person they love playing around with someone else. It makes you feel nothing but humiliation and self-loathing, alongside hatred for both of the perpetrators acting out their lovey-dovey scenes in front of you like you aren't even there. Just because your mind can accept a pair going out that doesn't mean your heart can handle it happening right in front of you.
But really, this episode was a failure because it never made any sense. I don't understand the thoughts going on in anyone's heads right now, and they're all keeping secrets from both each other and the audience. It's like watching lunatics it's so hard to understand their thinking. Kuroneko went so far as to hand make her own dress to wear for Kyousuke, but she still wants to dump him? Kyousuke sees how far Kuroneko is going for him but doesn't care at all, and is still just thinking mundane erotic thoughts? Kirino didn't mean Kuroneko when she asked Kyousuke to take the next confession he hears seriously? Then who did she mean? Why was Kyousuke's face all beat up, who did it? What a mess. Hopefully future episodes will resolve all these mysteries, but they really should have been resolved in this episode. They never should have been mysteries in the first place.
Though we already knew this (I have Kuroneko featured in my prettiest anime girls 2.0 list), the episode at least was great at pointing out how beautiful Kuroneko is. For that alone it was a worthwhile ep, but I would have preferred a sensible plot to go along with it.
* * *
In other anime news, Leviathan and Hataraku Maou-sama showed off why they were so great as always. Railgun and Chihayafuru spent half of their episodes wasting time and the other half being great, so ended up mediocre. Suisei is getting dumber and dumber. Valvrave is turning into a comedy of all things. Yahari has some great speeches (I'm reminded of the first episode, where I was amazed at the number of long monologues being given), but it doesn't actually have a good plot. Namiuchigiwa is getting old. Shingeki no Kyojin is cool, but our hero turning into a Titan after being devoured and losing half his limbs is a little zany and deus ex machina-y. It just feels like an event that was pulled out of someone's a** in order to give humans a fighting chance when the author had wrote himself into a corner. I'm not satisfied with this development at all. Saki Achiga's ending was brilliant and perfect. Miyakawa-ke is funny albeit short. Hayate, Precure, One Piece and Hunter x Hunter are good as expected. There's an interesting project being done for One Piece, called 'One Pace', that tries to double or triple the speed at which you can watch the episodes in One Piece by carefully cutting the boring scenes out of every episode that are there in the original production. Depending on the quality of the editing, this could really revolutionize the series, because the pace has been terribly slow ever since the ending of Water 7. Turning three episodes into one could really freshen up the series and make it easier to watch or rewatch. But to be safe it's probably best to watch the original releases, and then only watch 'One Pace' if you want to rewatch the series so you don't miss any important details that might be left on the cutting room floor.