「俺はニブイ」 (Ore wa Nibui)
“I’m Dull”

Yeah, I’m thinking there might be some fire with that smoke.

A couple of my suspicions about Ore Monogatari! got some fuel this week. As far as the whole disaster/rescue thing goes, with three in four weeks now in the books (and it’s four in five if you count the groper) I’m about ready to go with “running gag”. I hope so, because if there’s no way to take a string of coincidences like this seriously. And the classroom scene at the beginning of the episode seems to strongly bolster the sense of misogyny in the way female and male perceptions of Takeo are depicted here – with this being the view of girls that Suna sees, it’s easy to see why he chooses not to mingle. I can definitely see guys having a less judgmental take on Takeo (no pun intended) based on his fearsome appearance, but the series seems to be going out of its way to magnify the difference between the boys’ glowing admiration and the girls’ grotesque derision.

It’s an odd thing, because there’s so much happening everywhere in this week’s episode – boys falling in rivers, trains screeching to stops, new characters, exaggerated reactions – but what I found most interesting was the guy saying or doing almost nothing. I kept looking at Suna with “I wonder what he’s thinking right now?” running through my mind. He continues to be an oddly compelling character, I think because most of the rest of the cast is pretty much in heart-on-sleeve territory – Suna is really the only mystery here (with apologies to Rinko’s secret, which I doubt is anything too shocking).

Adding an intriguing element to this mix is the arrival of Suna’s older sister Ai, not least because she’s played by the living legend Inoue Kikuko. Predictably she’s quite the opposite of Makoto in terms of personalty – brash, outgoing and guileless. Less predictably it turns out she’s got a crush on Takeo, which given their history and age difference (and his present appearance) I can’t quite decide whether is creepy or kind of cute. Her reaction to the news that Takeo has a girlfriend is pretty over the top, but certainly she’s the first female apart from Rinko (Takeo’s ex-wrestler Mom doesn’t count – she’s just being a mom) from whom we’ve seen anything other than a one-dimensional and superficial view about Takeo, and that alone would make her a welcome addition to the cast.

This week’s deus ex Takeo is a little boy falling into the river, which gives our hero a chance not just to dive in and save him (as always, losing credit to Suna), but to prove his GAR by refusing to be late for his meeting with Rinko by going home to change into dry clothes. Silly? Yeah, but there’s some hilarious stuff here, like Takeo and Rinko’s “You’re a genius!” reaction when Suna suggests he could have just called or texted (especially Rinko, who also thought of it but still somehow concludes this makes Suna brilliant). And Takeo blithely disrobing to change into Suna’s normal high-schooler sized – and thus tiny – gym clothes right in front of Rinko.

The MacGuffin of the moment is the secret Rinko is hiding from Takeo, one which she comes close to telling him a few times in the ep but never does. While Ai is on the prowl for some dark shadow underlying Rinko’s feelings and thus seizes on this straw to clutch at, Rinko is such a feckless lump of sugar and purity that I can’t imagine this is anything really off-putting (“I’m actually a boy!”). What’s interesting here is that while Ai is obviously fond of Takeo, even she finds it hard to justify why a cute girl like Rinko would like him. She does seem somewhat mollified by Rinko’s inability to articulate why she loves him apart from “There’s just something about him”, because that clearly resonates with her, but it seems to me that it shouldn’t be that hard – especially for Rinko – to come up with an answer. Because he’s humble, and honest, consistently performs superhuman acts on her behalf and always puts her feelings above his – is that so preposterous a cause?

If there’s a definition of true love, I think eating cookies made with salt instead of sugar and saying with seemingly complete sincerity that it doesn’t matter is probably it. Ai isn’t going to be a real obstacle to this relationship, because like the others in the main cast I just don’t think there’s anything truly malicious in her – just eccentricity. Rather I suspect she’s going to be a facilitator, and indeed she volunteers – after witnessing the creepy spectacle of Takeo reading a teen beat magazine to try and understand girls – to talk to Rinko and find out what’s really going on. I am curious, but I still kind of find myself more interested in what role Suna is going to play in all this going forward. Will he continue to be a Greek chorus, or will the layers of secrecy around him be peeled back in the weeks ahead?

22 Comments

  1. I’m okay with everything this show does. It’s funny; it’s cute.
    This is a gentile, heartwarming series that shouldn’t be over-thought.

    I’m thinking that her “secret” is that she probably admired
    him from a distance and is too embarrassed to tell him that.

    Anyway, you need a cliff-hanger to add some drama, right?

    mac65
  2. https://randomc.net/image/Ore%20Monogatari/Ore%20Monogatari%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2007.jpg
    The position of the camera view icon on Takeo’s eyeball almost made me think it was his pupil when I was scrolling through the screenshots.
    https://randomc.net/image/Ore%20Monogatari/Ore%20Monogatari%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2023.jpg
    Who would have thought Suna’s older sister had feelings for Takeo!?
    https://randomc.net/image/Ore%20Monogatari/Ore%20Monogatari%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2040.jpg
    I got to say Takeo does look like a suspicious person here.
    https://randomc.net/image/Ore%20Monogatari/Ore%20Monogatari%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    I look forward to finding out what Rinko’s secret is (hopefully next week).

    ichigo
  3. Alright I kinda got a theory here, anyone else notice that these disasters only happen around Suna? In the train, Suna is there, in the restaurant,only one of the trio present. When Takeo is a alone or with Rinko NOTHING happens!

    … Is that why Suna likes Takeo so much? He is the only guy tough enough to deal with his curse? *Gasp* And the only guy nice enough to never be mad at him for it!!

    *Gasp*X2 and thats why Ai is so interested in him cause he can withstand the family curse!!!

    New plotline discovered!
    Well Played Ore Monogatari, You tricky son of a gun.

    Also, are the superficial girls really that jarring of a problem? I mean, it is what it is, pretending that High School level romance isnt 90% superficial is kinda… you know… wrong… is that the right word? What evs.

    Takeo strutting his stuff again got to love it.

    DumpLumps
  4. I suspect her secret must be something trivial like holding hands or a kiss which a normal couple would do. She couldn’t tell Takeo because Takeo said he won’t touch a single hair and that she being pure.

  5. I think her fear is simple: She was afraid that she is actually is not as “pure” as what Takeo believes. She is rather afraid that Takeo simply loves an idealized “Pure Mary” version of her, not her actual personality with her own “faults”.

    “Pure” here refers to she actually want to do other things that couple want such as holding hand, some other casual physical contacts, or probably kiss. Just see her response when she heard that Takeo won’t let anyone touch even her hair. Of course, that is actually normal and this is simply teens being awkward with relationship.

    Still, kudos to Takeo. He’s dense, but he knows that he’s dense, evaluates himself and trying to get rid of it. Another great execution here.

    zeroyuki92
  6. What’s the big secret? She finds him physically attractive, and since he’s pedestalizing her like only Japanese teenagers can pedestalize, she’s feeling the gap between being a normal hormonal teenager and being idealized as Pure with a capital P.

  7. You all mean she wants to take her relationship to the next Level in holding hands and kissing? and she is afraid Takeo can find her dirty? Hmm.. yes, that could be a intern conflict for her. Not the “guts” to tell Takeo her wishes, and takeo nod really knowing Woman’s “needs”

    You dont need to make already dirty thoughts, there are not there

    WorldwideDepp

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