Carrying the story of Kirino and Kyousuke on from Kirino's return to Japan, the members of our cast finally bare their souls to one another.
This has been one of the most difficult seasons of ANY show for me to review, because this season of Oreimo is full of personal revelations, and some of them aren't pretty, though I had already suspected much of this. It will also be necessary to spoil things a little- the viewers really need to know what they're getting into here.
The good here is Saori's story. We finally learn, in a flashback episode, how and why she adopted her otaku persona, and can see how she is beginning to grow past that, occasionally doffing her thick spectacles and dressing more conventionally. As we suspected, she's actually very pretty, though it seems that a more confident Saori might also be a more scary Saori- in a show already filled with scary women.
The scariest of course remains Kirino. The THEM review of Season One gave the show only two stars because the reviewer was so turned off by Kirino's general hatefulness. I was inclined to give that season three stars, by overlooking Kirino a bit in favor of the first season's rather interesting take on otaku culture- it was both an homage and a lampoon, and in Kuroneko's infamous slideshow presentation, we saw a biting sendup of the show's own principal characters. Season One could poke fun at its own characters and their lifestyle, and I always appreciate a show that can do that.
On the other hand, Season Two seems to have lost most of its sense of humor. Of the 13 episodes I saw, only #11 had some good gags- I'll come back to that one later. Three of the episodes seemed mere filler, being neither particularly funny nor really advancing the main story of Season 2, which is about two people who REALLY ought to be seeing other people, but instead have grown obsessed with, and possessive toward, each other. That's "obsessed with", not necessarily "in love with", which might at least be a minor bit of mercy, since we're talking about the siblings.
Let's start with Kyousuke. The first unwelcome development is that he's more lecherous here than in the first season. I think this one also confirms Kuroneko's observation from Season One that Kyousuke really IS a masochist. He's forever baiting Kirino's friend Ayase, fully knowing that Ayase's response to this "sexual harassment" is usually a roundhouse kick that, while it won't send you sailing into the air as far as a Naru Narusegawa punch, WILL make you spin like crazy. Ayase is much more prominently featured in Season 2, rather readily slipping into her "dark" personality, which is sort of a combination of a dominatrix and the Kathy Bates character from Misery; she often invites him over to her place to talk about Kirino, but is always careful to put him in handcuffs.
But Kyousuke's strongest feelings are about Kirino. I thought Kyousuke's unhealthy attitude toward his sister first became obvious toward the end of Season One; his plea to her to return to Japan sounded more like that of a lover than that of a concerned big brother. And here, in about the middle of this 2nd Season, he declares he doesn't want her dating other guys.
Kirino, for her part, reciprocates with a similar confession a few episodes later, during the aftermath of another girl's breakup with her brother. Season 2 gives, in a quick flashback scene in the first episode and much more extended flashbacks in the 13th, quite a bit of the story behind the original schism between the siblings, and so I finally felt I understood much of Kirino's attitude- her rage toward her brother even as she clings to him; even her obsession with "little sister" eroge (erotic games), which came from just the place I suspected. (Remember her words from Season One when she presented Kyousuke with that game featuring a character who acted just like her?) And yet Kyousuke's objective offense was simply growing up- well, that AND being a bit tactless and insensitive, though that's hardly uncommon among young boys. Kyousuke's current obsession with Kirino is a bit harder to fathom, but a least they both do finally realize that their feelings are inappropriate. But can they help themselves?
SO, after railing against incest in anime elsewhere, here I am, reviewing something we might call Koi Kaze Lite. Season Two is, for the most part, neither lighthearted enough for comedy nor serious enough to tackle what it's adopted as its central theme, so it's all a rather uncomfortable experience.
It does have its moments, though. As I said, I did love parts of Episode 11, where the writers seem to have rediscovered that they're doing a comedy. In that one, Kyousuke is encouraged to move out, at least temporarily, by his parents, partly because his mom has begun to suspect something's going on between the siblings (yes, it's become that obvious). In his new apartment, he receives visits from various members of the cast, including Kanako- remember her, the pint-sized, otaku-hating egomaniac? She finds a "little sister" eroge that Kirino left for Kyousuke. Kyousuke is trying hard to deny that it's hentai, so Kanako skeptically asks him what a character depicted on the back cover is doing. His reply was a genuine ROFLMAO moment for me. I wish Oreimo 2 had more of them.
Recommended Audience: Due to the nature of the Kirino/Kyousuke storyline (and the S&M aspects of the Kyousuke/Ayase relationship too, come to think of it), older teens and adults only, though there's really no nudity and scant fanservice here.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream from Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Oreimo 2 © 2013 Aniplex, A-1 Pictures
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