「俺が後輩とひと夏の思い出を作るわけがない」 (Ore ga Kouhai to Hito Natsu no Omoide o Tsukuru Wake ga Nai)
“I Can’t Create a Summer Memory with My Underclassman”
Apologies for being so late with the post–I was gone at a convention (Fanime for those of you interested), so this post is especially late! On the bright side, I hope most of you have cooled your heads over what happened in the last few seconds of this week’s episode, enough so that we can have an intelligent discussion…maybe.
Aside from any maturity issues, this episode is majorly important to both Kuroneko and Kirino fans alike. Contrary to her usual attitudes, Kirino is fairly tame, even in the face of a shocking revelation, while Kamineko continues to show increasingly affectionate and innocent sides to her character…though one side probably does not garner as much popularity as the others. Toss in a few more imoutos here, another shocking twist here, and you have a hot episode that probably still burns for some. Sorry for being late, but hopefully better late than a double post! Let’s dive in, shall we?
Right from the get-go do we see Kirino in a much tamer mood, so much so that it’s off-putting. What happened to her signature bitchy attitude? Why the sudden character development? If this occurred earlier in the series, it would be easier to attribute the change to a natural character development. It would be much easier to JUST attribute it to the feeling of a third wheel–that is something we should all be able to relate to. However, as her detractors have often noted, Kirino simply isn’t one to change much in the face of major events, or at least not enough to some. This change to a much more subdued and friendly character triggers a flag within us, indicating that something is indeed wrong with Kirino.
We can safely guess that it’s about Kyousuke entering a relationship with Kuroneko, but why does this event elicit a much more subdued and much less malicious reaction than any other event? It could be that she cares about both people involved and that she has learned from her lessons, but perhaps we need one more scene with Kirino to make a better guess.
For now, let’s focus on Kuroneko and her plan of action this episode. To be quite fair, it’s all quite an interesting setup, where she even synchronizes her fantasy life with her personal life to…interest effect. I may not be as big a fan of Kamineko as I should (I prefer plain Shironeko), but I must applaud her for all the work she’s done on that costume! I suppose this is her way of showing off and being considerate for Kyousuke, but in the end I feel like it works out. Both of them pour in a lot of effort and consideration into their date–Kamineko dresses up and makes good food while Kyousuke holds out his hand and is willing to fork out eighteen thousand yen for the first date gift. It’s truly adorable, but at the same time is a tad bit naive. There isn’t anything wrong with naivety in this scene though–for a first couple, their interactions should seem a bit clumsy and over-the-top, fitting for a fresh couple in a similar situation as this. The way they worry about everything, the way their nervousness and excitement oscillate, all of it I think was a good portrayal of a fresh young high school couple in love. It makes me jealous at times, but that just goes to show how well the show portrayed their summer.
Alas, the happiness couldn’t continue for TOO long; people were already begging that the happiness not end last episode! It seems that Kuroneko, despite the lack of emotion she shows at crucial times, does look outside the bubble that is her and Kyousuke. Kirino still is a good friend to her, so much so that she took careful notice and consideration to how Kirino would react to her dating Kyousuke. It’s pariah-like for Kuroneko to wish for Kirino and Kyousuke’s happiness like this. The foreshadowing of the picture above nailed the reality of her relationship’s mortality, all for the sake of the people she cares and loves for. It’s a fact that Kuroneko has genuine feelings for Kyousuke, and it saddens me that those feelings are being put on the line for Kirino, but it is also admirable at the same time, as well as understandable. For some of us, friendship and the greater good mean so much more than a personal relationship. Though at times it is detrimental to forming deep intimate bonds, it is also beneficial in resolving problems within larger groups. Kuroneko recognizes the roadblock that Kirino is stuck at, and perhaps pities and sympathizes with her friend enough to take action herself. What that action is exactly will reveal itself soon…
…but first let’s have some Tamaki and Hinata discussion/fangirl/d’aw. Though Tamaki is a budding artist and possible future manga-ka in disguise, Hinata takes the cake in being one of the best imoutos portrayed in this show. Smart, keen, and a loud mouth to proclaim her deductions, she is a character that spices up the interactions between the characters. No shit or excuses will pass her eyes, and I wish that the show had introduced her earlier. I can only imagine if Hinata had met “bitch” in person, and how she’d be able to call out Kirino’s tsundere nature right away. The show would probably resolve itself quicker without all the tiptoeing if that were the case, but man it would be a gust of fresh air. It is funny to see HanaKana talking to herself though as she voices both the middle and the older sister of the Gokou family. In this case though, it is the middle sister that holds the most maturity and wisdom, as Kuroneko seems a bit naive and unprepared–what sisters would actually just stay outside in the blazing heat?
Back to Kirino though. The advent of the scene above gives us an important insight into Kirino’s recent behavior–it’s simply a matter of distance. For Kirino, one can tell how close she is to certain people based on how she interacts with them. While Ayase may be an exception, a good rule of thumb is that the most sharp her tongue is towards someone, the more comfortable and close she is to them. Whereas her nice attitude will be seen by most people, it is her “bitch” nature that is only seen by people she can trust or can bond with.
Thus, it is poignant when Kuroneko mentions Kirino’s hesitance–instead of being a sign of respect, it is instead a sign of distance and disconnect, far from just the realm of awkwardness. With Kuroneko and Kyosuke forming their own relationship, Kirino perhaps feels that she isn’t needed anymore, or perhaps that she is unable to relate with the bond that they currently share. No longer does she share this exclusiveness with Kuroneko or Kyousuke–now she feels that she’s competing for the two, and obviously loses out when it comes to their bond (at least to her), and as such feels out of place in their presence. No longer is her brother just hers or Kuroneko her best friend–it’s something more, and she holds back because she can’t find the closeness to express her trigger-happy anger. For them, they have become distant and untouchable for Kirino, and as such for Kirino, it would feel out of place to act her usual loud self around them.
Kuroneko realizes this distance that Kirino is facing, and as such she’s “putting everything on the line” to achieve the perfect world she envisions for Kyousuke and Kirino. I am not sure myself how this is supposed to help the Kousaka siblings come together, or how is fits with her master plan, but alas, that is what the next episode will seek to answer. This cliffhanger is killing me right now and I can’t wait for next week, but I have a good guess at the general direction the show is going now. With 5 episodes left to finish the final volume, we should expect this to be the beginning of the final closures between Kirino and Kyousuke. This is unfortunately where Kuroneko’s major episodes end, but then again, seeing into Kirino’s more vulnerable side may be just as fruitful. We still don’t know much about Kyousuke and Kirino’s past and why they initially had a cold relationship before–it is my hope that the concluding episodes tie up all those loose historical strings.
Okay, proceed to lament/cheer/express emotion in the comments! Again, apologies for posting so late, I blame anime conventions!