「俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない！」 (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!)
“My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!”
My my, so many developments are now out in the open, bringing a pleasant end to this arc. It’s definitely a shame that Kuroneko and Kyousuke aren’t going to stay together, but I believe in Kuroneko’s “Best End” route. The idea that Ruri would put her happiness on the line for the sake of pursuing a world where all her friends get together…that is an admirable ideal that is coming close to fruition, believe it or not. Let’s look at how our characters grew this episodes, and how our main trio grew together despite the physical distances imposed.
As someone who’s been rooting for Kirino’s growth, I was very pleased with this episode. So much so. It was not the excessive amounts of blushing or the gentler character that hooked me, nor was it the fact that Kirino finally held up her end of the siblingship. All of the above was adorable and a pleasant break from Kirino’s normal behavior, yet none of that could beat Kirino’s honesty.
This episode marks the closest we’ve seen Kirino express how she actually feels about her brother–a deep sense of sibling love that can’t be exactly compared to romantic love. In past episodes, we’ve seen Kirino have her affectionate moments, but it only grazed the surface of her deepest feelings. We’d see thanks, we’d see blushing, but most of the affections said were unspoken and left to free interpretation. It is thanks to Kuroneko’s wild plan (which is pretty convoluted I’ll grant) that Kirino was able to finally express her feelings in a way that Kyousuke has taught her–by being reliable in a time of need. She’s still embarrassed at how Kyousuke will see her like this (hence why she makes her face away), but she’s coming closer to finally opening herself up.
She did admit some pretty hypocritical things that theoretically don’t make sense, but in reality are fairly clear to understand. Our impressions of people are often not clean cut–there are aspects we dislike about even the people we most cherish, and there are redeeming qualities in people we wish to distance ourselves from. We may not like to admit it out of politeness or some other reason, but it’s there–all the world’s people are just different shades of grey. It makes sense that Kirino can both hate Kyousuke for his wimpy attitude (as some commenters have expressed), but also love his brotherly tendencies, no matter how crazy they can get. It makes sense that Kirino treasures Kuroneko as a friend despite being heartbroken at her decisions, because she treasures her brother and friend, along with their happiness. It may seem strange to think of Kirino as a sacrificial type, but that’s what she’s shown this entire episode. Whereas Kyousuke found it easier to break off Kirino and Kouki due to their perceived hollow and false relationship, Kirino just couldn’t bear to break an actual relationship, where the honest feelings between the two was clearly visible.
This conflict may seem like forced drama, and if you feel that way, you’re in no way wrong. However, the conflicting wishy-washy decisions and hypocritical emotions are easy to denounce in a detached manner–being in the moment is a hard decision to make. I mean sure, we can simplify the situation and claim that Kuroneko and Kyousuke can chase their happiness together without concern for Kirino, and that’d be legitimate route. People have to deal with the flow of change all the time, and I’m sure many people’s impression of Kirino would incline a “suck it up” mentality, in hopes of humbling her character.
But Kuroneko doesn’t wish to chase that route. She knows she very well could, but in her mind, she has an optimistic dream that seeks to break away from any perceived awkwardness. She wants a perfect world where all three of them can be happy, to be content with the relationships they all share together. While she does indeed love Kyousuke for his caring nature and imagines him to make a great husband, it is impossible for her to continue such a relationship if it hurts Kirino in the process. What friend is a dick to do that? We can claim that Kirino has to be understanding, but given the context of the society, Japanese society, that we’re talking about here, many would disagree otherwise. The happiness of the group trumps individual happiness, and Kuroneko, in her chuunibyou-like thinking, devises a master plan having considered all of this in advance. It’s silly, but in reality it takes into consideration how her friends would react–after all, how can a group of friends avoid awkwardness if everything isn’t out in the open? Her plan forced that on Kirino, such that the process of finding a proper compromise to happiness can begin.
I truly admire Kuroneko’s character for being so sacrificial and cunning, and she’s climbed up my own chart of favorite characters in general. Though there are some hiccups in her plan, it was done for the sake of others. As one can see from the fainting, it must have taken a serious toll on her to forcefully break up with Kyousuke, but given how she’s explained to herself how she’s destined to be with him, I’m sure she’ll be fine. The compromise that Kirino and Kyousuke found must be the direction that Kuroneko was going for–both siblings acknowledge the sadness they feel when their sibling is taken away, but if it’s done together, it’s not so bad when no one has to be alone. From an outside perspective I’m sure it must feel weird to some, but such a promise between siblings shows just how much they care about each other and the people around them. I must wonder though, if Kyousuke happens to garner the affections of other girls, how will Ruri handle such a situation? Draw more people into her picture Sakurasou style? Challenge them to a duel? I hope she has enough energy to take on someone like Ayase though…
However, where do we go from here? Now that Kirino and Kyousuke have finally moved that giant step forward to being a symbiotic sibling-ship, where do we go from here? For starters, let’s hope that some light is shed on the history of Kirino and Kyousuke. I’m dying to see what’s in that album, most likely filled with all the pictures of them in their youth, but I want some serious back story here! Why is Manami so despised by Kirino? Why did Kyousuke go from cool brother to plain old generic and back again? Will any of the side-characters be making another appearance? With so many episodes left after this one (which felt like a season finale), I wonder how they’ll be able to pack the emotional closure that this one seemed to bring.