Sunday, March 23, 2014

Retro Review: Oniisama E ( Dear Brother ) episode 2- also, Yuri Panel coming up!

This episode has nothing meaty in the way of yuri- just the student body continuing to fangirl over Rei and Kaoru
and Nanako angsting when Rei doesn't seem to recognize her
but it's a meaty episode in terms of plot progression. This episode clarifies exactly what Nanako's relationship to Takehiko is from her perspective- his perspective hasn't fully unfurled for us yet- and shows us the Sorority's selection of its candidates and the beginning of the fallout from it.

I kind of pointlessly wonder if Nanako would still be writing Takehiko about her daily life in the form of letters- or even email- if this series were rebooted today. Her desire to write about her mundane life in a way that guarantees that someone will read it- without even needing a response, just knowing that it's being read by someone who understands without necessarily being involved in her life- is pretty much pre-internet blogging. I was like, "Man, Nanako, he doesn't care what outfits you wore each day this past week," but then I remembered that I've written posts in the personal blog this blog grew out of being like, "After I bought a sombrero, I got a blueberry muffin!" Basically, if Oniisama E were rebooted, I think Nanako would be like, "Please be my brother! I want you to read my Tumblr. You don't ever need to comment or reblog it, just please read it," to Takehiko.

Being an only child, I can understand Nanako being idealistic at points about what it's like to have a sibling. I like the contrast between her perspective of sibling relationships and that of Tomoko, who has an actual sibling.

We see that Rei and Kaoru are close enough to rib each other in a way they can't do with any of the other students, who either idealize them or (in Rei's case with Fukiko) intimidate them.

I don't ship them like their classmates, but I quite like their relationship.

As expected, the Sorority candidate selection is a disaster. The Sorority limits itself to choosing ten new members. Kaoru refuses Fukiko's invitation. Nanako and Mariko are two of the candidates also, causing Aya, a character who bragged so much about how she was going to be chosen
that you knew she wouldn't be chosen, to attack Mariko for her family background and Nanako for not being exceptional enough.
Mariko retaliates by slapping her. Fukiko is the closest thing this series has to an antagonist after Aya, but she has a sense of honor and is kind of a badass when she tells Aya off for being a sore loser, making it clear that doing so cost her the chance to take Kaoru's place.

Clingy and manipulative though Mariko can be at this point in the series- like making the girl sitting next to Nanako move and trying to replace Tomoko's friendship with Nanako- I feel bad for her being trash talked because of her dad. I also admittedly loled at how brazenly she tried to replace Tomoko in this episode.
Speaking seriously, Mariko seems like a good portrayal of someone who's had a weird home life for so long that she isn't completely sure what's normal- normal in a good way- and has to figure it out to be able to have functional relationships with other people. I also sympathize with Mariko as someone whose parents went through a messy divorce, albeit for different reasons than hers.

Anyway, Nanako is shellshocked by the assholery caused by her selection, but is buoyed by Tomoko's cheering. 
As we see when she writes again to Takehiko, Nanako isn't blindly optimistic about being a Sorority candidate. She doesn't expect the clusterfuckery coming in the next episode, but who would?

Anyway, shameless plug time!

Seattle's Sakura-con approved the yuri panel I applied for! Its title is "Lesbian-themed Anime, Manga, and Visual Novels." I roped my girlfriend Amy, who is also a yuri nerd, into co-hosting it, and it will be on Saturday April 19 from 9:00 to 10:15 PM. Its room is Panels 7 (3AB). If you're in the area during Sakura-Con, I hope you can make it!

Other highlights of Sakura-con for me that I know of are: Kinoshita Tetsuya, Attack on Titan's star producer, Ishikawa Yui, the seiyuu who voices AoT's Mikasa, Asano Kyoji, a key animator who worked on Attack on Titan and Psycho-Pass, and Nakatake Tetsuya, AoT's animation producer, hosting a panel; a panel featuring Sato Shigehiko, who since joining Fuji Creative Corp in 1999 has "been involved in licensing and launching many anime series in the US and other territories outside of Japan. For example, he led the US launch of the classic fan favorite 'Yu Yu Hakusho' and also worked as the co-producer for 'Fushigi Yugi Eikoden' and 'Galaxy Railways.' Recently, he's been focusing on further branding Fuji-TV's noitaminA in the USA"; a panel by maki, one of Angelic Pretty's designers, and RinRin Doll, Angelic Pretty's official model; and a panel by MINT, a fashion designer who has done some work for the brand h.NAOTO and now has his own line called MINTNeKO.

The appeal of the Attack on Titan panel is obvious for anyone who knows I'm a big fan of AoT, Sato's panel sounds like an interesting look at a portion of the anime industry, and the two fashion panels sound like they'd provide some insight into subculture fashion in Japan. The full panel schedule isn't on the website yet, so I don't know which non-special guest panels I want to try to make.


Liz said...

Yay! more Dear Brother! Are you going to do all the episodes because that would be amazing. I stumbled across this series after Erica mentioned it on Yuricon and I fell in love with it. I can't wait for the DVD set.

Katherine Hanson said...

@Liz- Sorry about the late response! I am going to, yes! I actually first heard about it on Okazu also- when Erica first reviewed the anime, though. And I'm really looking forward to having that DVD set too!