「信じて送り出したお兄さんが携帯美少女ゲームにドハマリしてセクハラしてくるようになるわけがない」 (Shinjite Okuridashita Onii-san ga Keitai Bishoujo Geemu ni Dohamari shite Sekuhara shite Kuru you ni Naru Wake ga Nai)
“The Onii-san I Trusted and Sent Off Can’t Get This Addicted to a Mobile Dating Sim and Commit Sexual Harrassment”
Ayase fans rejoice, for the yandere has awoken within…kind of. As apparent from the polls, Ayase commands a fairly large fanbase, who of course do not get ignored with the advent of this episode. Inside, you will find Ayase’s exploding reactions, violent kicks and slaps, as well as her adorable attempts to understand otaku culture. Last episode, Kirino may have pointed out a godly game last episode, but it’s the hilarity that the game causes that is the godly piece of today’s episode.
It might not be the most intellectual or deep of meta-shows, but Oreimo provides an outlet for us to laugh at the stereotypes that pervade otaku culture, as well as the typical reactions to said culture from the out-group of anime. While Kyousuke represents the blooming otaku who is slowly influenced by their peers, Ayase represents the conflicted friend of the otaku–while she despises the thought of associating with otaku culture, her inherent desire to stay friends with Kirino (to the point of possible yuri) makes for an interesting, or at least energetic plot. Though I doubt middle school models have to deal with this sort of situation often, the core premise probably rings true for some portion of the audience. Of course, such a plot would probably run a bit dry in itself, if not for the hilarious interactions between the newly converted Kyousuke and the dumbfounded, disgusted, and darn violent Ayase.
Behind all the kicks and pervy jokes, an interesting commentary on virtual girlfriends plays out. The topic godly game in questions is clearly a reference to the notorious Nintendo DS game LovePlus, where both provide virtual girlfriends that you can take out on dates and build a relationship with. The game has gained a reputation for bringing out interesting public displays in otaku, ranging from otaku marrying their LovePlus girlfriend, to otaku being forced by their girlfriend to destroy the game, all the way to the rage induced when LovePlus’ “cold shoulder” anti-piracy measures were found. All of those behaviors ring all too true here this episode, with Kyousuke and Kirino (being the similar siblings they are) falling for their savefiles and vehemently defending them against those who would question their love. I’m surprised that Ayase actually had enough patience to see Kyousuke molest and sweet-talk her virtual self, Ayane–of course that threshold was reached eventually, but the fact that Ayase was even able to sit through even 5 minutes is admirable. Beforehand, it was unimaginable to see Ayase tolerate this “creepy” game, but it’s good to see her character develop some openness to otaku culture.
Kyousuke himself has also begun to show more of his hidden colors as a result. If so many of us find Ayase to have an appealing character design and personality, it should be no exception that Kyousuke fall into such embarrassment. After all, he is the characterization of the average high school boy at heart, whose heart and groin swoon with hormones when a pretty face rolls around. He may have his eyes set on clearing things with Kuroneko, but that does not make him invulnerable to the womanly charms of the other girls around him. It’s good that the show keeps his attraction to a comedic effect though, as I doubt many of us want to see a repetition of School Days play out. Kyousuke’s brotherly charm unknowingly attracts numerous girls to his side, but it is only his thoughts that harass the other characters and nothing else.
Ah, so my favorite part of the episode has arrived. Ayase…poor Ayase. Do not tread the waters of otaku-ship by yourself, for you might just end up coming off as well…a creep. At first I thought that Manami and Ayase were trying to get back at Kirino and Kyousuke for their lewd attitudes, but then it hit me. They’re actually trying to garner attention by acting like a virtual girlfriend! This, for various reasons, backfires on the two, with Ayase REALLY getting shafted by choosing the wrong -dere type to emulate. On a side note, those who have played the PSP visual novel of Oreimo will find this especially hilarious, as Ayase’s route in the game includes yandere elements, which in turn created infamy for the visual novel. However, outside of a game or a visual novel, the anime make it meta-clear one thing: 2D and 3D are two separate things–you can’t go about mixing them! Though many will find delight in the yandere, tsundere, kuudere, and other various affectionate types, more often than not, experiencing the stereotype in real life can be quite uncanny. It’s alright for a game to get away with standard cheesy lines such as, “I wanted to see you as fast as I can,” but once that starts leaking into real life, more often than not someone’s going to get creeped out. Let this be a reminder the next time you wish that your favorite character type existed in real life–you may not get exactly what you ordered.
Next week, the focus shifts from Ayase to the fairly mysterious Saori, whose face we have barely seen thanks to the True Route. Will we finally see behind those glasses? Tune in next week Saori fans!