「おさな…なじみ…」 (Osana… Najimi…)
Finally… A whole episode devoted to Ranko! For all the Ranko fans, I can see why you love her so much now. This episode had absolutely no Rea in it and for a show that’s named after her, I’m actually glad that they ventured off to show the background behind other characters. Up until now we’ve had little exposure to Ranko’s character and why she is the way she is. I know she probably has a large fan base due to her *coughfigure*cough, but there’s a lot more to her than that. Considering that she was a kid half the episode and didn’t even dress that provocatively, it made the episode a really pleasant watch.
Ranko’s childhood encounter with Chihiro is definitely an unusual one (as Ranko states in the episode). On one hand, Ranko has never really changed. Her personality is pretty consistent throughout her childhood and aside from finding her “one true love”, her attitude towards life in general seems to be fairly… normal. I don’t understand the reason for her outburst in the cemetery, but I guess she had a fight with her family or lost her way home. The fact that Chihiro just “happened” to appear, seems like a damsel-in-distress situation. As unrealistic as it seems, I always fall in love with the hero who comes to save the girl. I know they’re just kids and holding hands doesn’t mean a lot for them, but you don’t hold hands with just anyone (I think I mentioned hand-holding in my Accel World post somewhere). I’m glad they put an emphasis on how much this means to Ranko.
On the other hand, I really don’t see why Ranko was so appalled by Chihiro later on. Especially at such a young age, do girls/guys even have cooties then? I remember playing with guys until I was 9 or 10 – so I don’t see why Chihiro’s experiencing bullying at the age of 4. Wow, kids are so vicious these days. If I was Ranko, I don’t think this would necessarily shatter my image of Chihiro. So what? The guy likes zombies and has no friends… you’re so young, does it really matter? He’s your cousin too! I guess horror movies aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but if I like the guy – I would sit through and watch any movie (or anime) with him. I don’t think I’m thinking like a child anymore though… I guess children can be pretty narrow-minded. While Chihiro was overly obsessed with zombies, Ranko was crushing really hard on her cousin. I wanted to smack Chihiro once or twice for being oblivious since I can really empathize towards Ranko. Watching zombie movies because Chihiro likes it? What happened to her favorite hobbies or her interests? Oh… the trouble that girls go through just to get a guy to notice them.
Given Ranko’s character, I’m sort of surprised she didn’t kiss him at the end. It was close, but I guess it would have been too quick if she just laid one on him. I think she makes for a great under-dog and “third wheel” for the main couple, even though I already know what’s in store for her future. I always pity characters like Ranko who have a lot of drive (and loved the protagonist for so long) but can never truly measure up to the main girl “just because“. In real life, I don’t see this happening a lot if you make it well known that you like the dude. Anyway, it adds an extra dimension to Chihiro’s life and finally, we get back to the main story next week. I want to see more Mero (she barely got a mention this episode)!