Episode 11: So much happened this episode! Where to start? A lot of trends came to fruition all at once and created quite the explosion, and yet even this is just the beginning of an even larger series of explosive events occurring in the future.
Apparently, Kirino and Kyousuke's parents don't approve of how well their children are getting along. They come right out and ask if the two are in a sexual relationship together. When that is denied by both siblings, the parents still think it prudent to separate the two before such a relationship does come to fruition. Why the sudden fear from these normally doting and proud parents? Well, Kirino has recently been treating Kyousuke kindly, while Kyousuke has been slathering heart shaped stickers of him and Kirino photos all over the house. It really doesn't come as much surprise that a pair of parents might get suspicious of something.
This is one of the major problems with incestuous relationships. It's almost impossible to keep it secret from the people who A) disapprove of it and B) have total power over your lives. In addition, these parents who have treated them both so well would feel betrayed if you became a couple behind their backs when they meant for the two siblings to live together as siblings, the only reason they gave such unlimited access to Kirino by Kyousuke in the first place. It would be like if they invited a stranger to live in their house under the promise that he wouldn't romantically pursue their daughter, which he then betrayed the first chance he got. Betraying people who trusted you, using someone's good will and good intentions to steal from them and shatter their lives, isn't exactly admirable. On the other hand, if the parents weren't so unreasonably opposed to incest in the first place, there would be no need to betray them on the issue, but even with proper excuses all lined up a bad taste still lingers.
It's sad though. Kyousuke and Kirino haven't done anything wrong, all they did was genuinely love each other. This makes it seem like love itself is a crime, is somehow perverted and wrong. Basically, because they were happy living together, they should be separated as a punishment for their crime/sin/whatever. I don't understand the logic of this principle, which apparently says that unless siblings treat each other like strangers they've failed the expectations of their parents and should be disowned. Wasn't the purpose of creating a family with multiple children in the first place so that the siblings would love each other and live together in a happy, harmonious, blessed home? Simply because they got along, simply because they achieved the dream that every family should be aiming for, they must be separated again. And what's really sad is they haven't done anything wrong yet, they're being punished for excessive 'platonic' love, as though love could ever be excessive. But even imagining that they had gone a step further, does the situation really change? Whether they're making out or not, they're in love and happy together. What exactly needs to be prevented here? If the answer is "Kirino's youthful indiscretion," that's an insult to the power of their bond. Yes, I can understand why parents might not understand how strong the relationship of their children might be, but precisely because they aren't in a position to understand, they're in no position to judge. For every child whose love is fleeting and fooling, there's a child whose love is true and eternal. Breaking up one relationship may be of use to your child, but breaking up the other is as bad as murder. To make matters worse, even if you do prevent a child from making any mistakes while a child by never going out with anyone they 'think' they love but don't really, this doesn't stop them from repeating the same mistakes over and over again the moment they do leave the home. What difference does it make? Sluts will be sluts. Idiots will be idiots. There's no way to permanently change the character of your children just by having them avoid mistakes as children. People don't change. They have inborn personality traits, and they do not respond well to force. Like rubber they'll bend under pressure so long as it's sustained, but the moment the pressure ends they snap back into their original shape like as though it has never been there in the first place. Parents preventing 'bad relationships' are only treating a symptom, they aren't preventing the cause of the disease which is a disordered and dishonored soul living inside their children and compelling them to make all these bad decisions.
This creates a simple utilitarian risk/reward equation. If Kirino and Kyousuke really were in a bad relationship which would cause lasting harm to their emotional and mental health in the future, and the parents really did prevent it by separating the two, then all this does is kick the can down the road until Kirino and Kyousuke meet their next bad partner, get into their next bad relationship, and cause their next lasting emotional and mental health problems, because you did nothing to change the values or persona that originally chose this 'unhealthy' relationship in the first place. If people want to destroy themselves there's nothing anyone else can do to stop them, they'll definitely date the wrong guy or girl in the future and be screwed over by it anyway. It was their destiny. Meanwhile, alternative B is that Kirino and Kyousuke were just really happy and really loving together, and you artificially tore that relationship apart, making both your children miserable for no reason, robbing them of what could have been the best days of their lives. And alternative C is that Kirino and Kyousuke really were about to become a couple, but the couple would have succeeded without your forceful, outside intervention, and they would have lived happily ever after, but now will be miserable for life because they couldn't be with their one true love. In this case, not only did you steal a few precious years of happiness from your children, you stole all of them. And for what? To prevent their hypothetical suffering for a couple years which they'll eventually plunge into anyway once they're out of your parental grip.
Even if a relationship looks doomed to fail or a bad idea from the outside, only the couple themselves know what their hearts truly feel about each other, they are the only ones who can possibly judge whether they'll be happy together or not. It's absurd to take that decision away from them and give it to someone else. Why should the parties most affected by the decision have no say in the decision that will determine their lives?
Nevertheless, the parents meant the best for their children and think that just by separating them for a while the two can 'cool down their heads and return to rationality.' Supposedly, after this long separation breaks them up (because we all know no romance can ever survive a long distance relationship or a long separation, because humans are pathetically frail and their emotions are worthlessly transient and fickle), they'll be allowed to live together again, as proper, not-getting-along siblings. So the parents aren't really trying to make them miserable, just 'correct' them and return things to how they used to be. And probably 99% of parents across the world would have acted just like them and approve of them, so it's hard to hate them over it. They're just victims of a culture that disapproves of sibling love just like everyone else, it didn't start with them, and it won't end with them either.
It's impressive how quickly the vultures come swooping in the moment Kyousuke is free of adult and sister supervision however. A guy living alone obviously has a lot more romantic prospects than a guy living under his parents' roof. Kanako of all people visits him first, but it seems more to find out juicy gossip than out of interest in Kyousuke. Then comes Ayase, hilariously holding a knife as a 'housewarming gift' but looking more and more like the character from School Days. Ayase is clearly there to flirt with Kyousuke, but she's nervous enough about it that she never does anything directly and quickly decides to leave again. But just as she's come to this decision, Kuroneko also appears to flirt with Kyousuke. Since Ayase doesn't wish to leave the two alone together, they end up all three hanging out, where the two have a continuous verbal duel. The best part of this scene, which pretty plainly shows that both think Kyousuke is A) up for grabs and B) the other girl is a clear threat, is when Kuroneko says that she would accept the Kirino and Kyousuke that even became a sexual couple together, she'd even become his mistress on the side if that's what Kyousuke wanted. Kuroneko says that her love is eternal and she'll never give up Kyousuke or Kirino no matter what. This is such an amazing declaration. Kuroneko has a huge chuunibyou syndrome, so everything she says can be taken with a grain of salt. She tends to exaggerate her abilities, feelings, and words to an enormous extent above and beyond where they can actually sustain themselves. Not because she's deliberately lying, but just because she's hopelessly overconfident and optimistic about things. Whether Kuroneko could really be happy as Kyousuke's mistress, or whether she'd really accept the two becoming an incestuous couple, is something we can only really find out when those things really happen. When intentions are put to the test one's true feelings are revealed. But I still love Ruri anyway just for wanting to feel that way about the two, just for trying to be that loving and saintly, it's clear she has her heart in the right place.
Also, it's rather funny how two separate 'groups' of people who have so far in this series remained completely silent about the issue, have both separately voiced their suspicions that Kirino and Kyousuke want to commit incest on the same episode. Both their friends and parents have crossed some threshold where it went from imagined but not believable to 'this is very, very credible as theories go,' and felt the need to act upon it. What changed? Maybe that wedding dress clad bicycle ride was just too charming, too heartwarming, and too beautiful for people to not imagine incest going on anymore. Or perhaps it was just that everything had been cleared up in episode 9 and both had agreed not to date anyone else anymore. In any case, these last episodes have been blaring with trumpets to the assorted observers 'incest! incest! incest!' and so everyone simultaneously started seriously engaging the theory and reacting to it. It's hilarious how a series can go thirty episodes or so without anyone seriously accusing them of this crime and then in one episode everyone simultaneously accuses them of it, but that's just how great sunlit bicycle rides can be.
Kyousuke looked pretty stunned when Kuroneko said she would accept Kirino and Kyousuke having sex as though this possiblity could occur, so he asks her if Kirino actually wants to have sex with him, (like, perhaps, Kirino had told Kuroneko this as a friend or something), Kuroneko blushes and says it was just a wild hypothetical, not anything Kirino talked about, so Kyousuke decides it's just everyone having fever dreams with no basis in reality. It's hard to know how Kirino feels since the story is told from Kyousuke's perspective, but I doubt she wants to have sex with her onii-san. She felt extremely lonely and morose that he's been forced to move out, but that's just because she wanted to spend more quality time with him like they've recently been doing. Kuroneko's probably just projecting her own feelings of lust onto Kirino, since she regularly equates the love between the two of them for Kyousuke. Also, we know for a fact that Kyousuke isn't lusting after Kirino in his imagination or spare time, as he prefers to fantasize about Kuroneko and Ayase. I don't think anyone's suspicions are fair, but I can see how from an outsider's viewpoint you might get suspicious. It was a wedding dress bicycle ride, after all.
One of the things missing from this review of events is just how hilarious this episode has been. This story is both a romance and a comedy, and the comedy portion really shone forth today. A lot of these scenes are ridiculous just because it's more funny when they are that way, and shouldn't be taken seriously as though people really act like this, normally speaking. If you take the story from a comedy aspect, you can forgive all the strange aspects of people's characters, because it's that very eccentricity that provides for so much humor when they interact. This is no different from the formula used in Working, who also has a bunch of characters that realistically speaking don't exist, who don't behave like anyone in the real world actually behaves. But it's funny when they behave like that, so it's easy to forgive. The same forgiveness should be extended to Oreimo for the same reasons -- it's more fun this way.
In any case, it seems like a lot is happening this episode and the episodes to come, but it's impossible for too much to happen, because we still have five episodes to go. He can't just suddenly choose a girl next episode and end it all. Some more twists and turns must be headed our way, but God knows what they might be at this point. I can only look forward to the next episode with equal anticipation as all the previous bouts.
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In other news, there's less need for an Umineko second season, because the visual novel with PS3 graphics and voice acting is now available translated in English due to fan translators. This high quality visual novel is only a step away from an anime in production quality, so reading the visual novel should be good enough. Now everyone can get the answers to the mysteries that unfolded during the anime but were left totally unsolved.