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「俺の妹がこれで最終回なわけがない」 (Ore no Imouto ga Kore de Saishuukai na Wake ga Nai)
“There’s No Way This is The Last Time for My Sister”
After two full episodes Kirino-free, the stage was more or less set for our bratty heroine to make a return in the finale. I imagine no one in their right mind was expecting this true route to be completely devoid of Kirino’s presence, regardless of how refreshing it’s been with Sena substituting in as another younger sister with a rampant fetish. Between homo-erotica and younger sister obsessions, it’s probably been a “lose and lose some more” predicament for Kuroneko, so much that even I was looking forward to seeing Kirino again just to mix things up. Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy hearing Sena rage over how poorly received their game was, especially when she’s voiced by Ise Mariya. What would probably be downright annoying if it were a geeky male character blowing a gasket is remarkably enjoyable when we have a female one instead. Rotten girls are somehow cool whereas rotten guys are just… rotten. Thank you anime for all the double standards. What would I ever do without you.
I almost want to say that Kyousuke receiving an e-mail from Kirino out of the blue — telling him to throw away her collection — was a cheap way to bring her back into the picture, but short of her returning to Japan all of a sudden, there weren’t many alternatives to generate some tension befitting of a finale. The immediate impact Kirino’s e-mail left was undeniable however, both for Kyousuke and myself, as it gave clear indication that something was up (i.e. she was all emo again). In any case, that sudden development led to some screen time for Ayase that I’m always for (no, not in a masochistic sense), and my favorite comedic moment of the entire episode — Kyousuke finally learning that Ayase had blocked his number (for over half a year now). His reaction? Priceless.
Cue in the always dependable yet somewhat plain childhood friend Manami to save the day, whose caring nature for Kyousuke and Kuroneko deserves more praise than it will ever get. Throughout the series, she’s been a constant reminder to never overlook the nice girls who don’t stand-out in the looks department, so it was nice to see her continue to do so here. I still can’t help but feel bad for her, given how hard she tries break free of Kyousuke’s “friend zone”, only for that blockhead to fail to notice her feelings because he constantly has Kirino on his mind. With Kuroneko taking the initiative as well, Manami really has her work cut out for her.
In retrospect, Kirino’s e-mail more or less stole Kuroneko’s thunder when the latter called Kyousuke out to thank him for looking out for her, but that thought didn’t really occur to me at the time with Kyousuke in his dismal state. I probably would’ve been more concerned about Kuroneko’s feeling if she wasn’t so good at being the better person, encouraging Kyousuke to go see Kirino without giving any sign that she’s depressed about doing so. Her composure’s pretty immaculate, which generally makes her true intentions hard to read, but thank you kisses on the cheek sure make it a lot easier. This is anime after all, where a big fuss is made over indirect kisses, so a surprise kiss on the cheek from behind may as well be considered third base in the land of the rising sun. First base would be um… getting her number. Second base: holding hands.
Due to the fairly lighthearted mood during the onset of the sibling reunion — largely from Kirino’s frustration over not being able to play eroge because she has a roommate — I was at a loss for words more than anything else at the sight of Kirino’s tears. There wasn’t much time to get caught up in the emotions once she revealed that she cut off ties with everyone in an attempt to cast aside her naivety and focus on her struggles in track and field, so what really left an emotional impact was Kyousuke’s earnest confession that he misses Kirino just prior. It pretty much warranted the “siscon” remark he received, yet didn’t come off that way the least bit. Quite the opposite in fact, as it really sweet in a very innocent sort of way.
The true siscon moment would’ve been when he laid it all out and said he’s going to take her back to Japan because he’s “deathly” lonely without her. After their back and forth bickering over how Kirino should just come home if she’s unhappy in America, I didn’t rule out the possibility that Kyousuke poured his heart out for Kirino’s sake, under the guise that it’s really for himself. Even if that were the case, it’s probably fair to say there’s more than a little truth behind his words though. It’s pretty hard to shake the notion that his concern for his little sister far exceeds “normal” levels, considering that those who have always gotten along with their siblings don’t even go to these lengths. For that reason, that scene played out somewhat awkwardly, to the point that I was hoping Kyousuke was simply sacrificing his self-image for Kirino’s sake yet again. I just like the idea that he’s a good brother and not a desperately dependent brother, which is unsettling for obvious reasons.
It’s only natural to expect some arguably “sappier” moments in a finale; however, busting out the opening theme for Kirino’s return to Japan did provide an uplifting feeling that I really liked. With Kuroneko running to greet her and refraining from dishing out any insults (until later on), followed by another live Meruru event that Saori joins them for, there was a sense that things were back to their normal, happier ways.
Compared to the good ending shown at the end of the television broadcast, this true ending didn’t conclude too differently for the most part. Kyousuke was definitely more “forceful” about how he feels about Kirino, which he came to realize after spending a fair bit of time away from her, but he still hasn’t given clear indication of exactly how deep his sister complex runs. As far as the anime goes, I’m quite content that they left it at that, even though the light novels probably tread pretty close to that incestuous grey area. These extra episodes gave more screen time to Kuroneko and added Sena into the mix, which ultimately made the whole true route a treat.
P.S. If you’re looking for final impressions, please refer to my post on episode twelve of the good ending.
P.P.S. I highly recommend watching the animated character commentary episodes included on the Blu-ray releases if you haven’t already. They’re completely scripted and done in character, and serve as additional, comedic, side story that doesn’t directly affect the main story.
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