Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Retro Review: Oniisama E (Dear Brother) episode 9

While episode 8 was the first episode to delve more in-depth into Mariko's life, this time it's Kaoru's turn.

We get a brief recap of the previous episode before seeing Nanako sitting by the ocean, where Tomoko comes up and is like "So, how did the birthday party go?" Nanako tells Tomoko that it was just her, Mariko, and Mariko's mom, but not about what happened at Mariko's house.

Then they see Kaoru running, being her usual princely self. They exchange pleasantries before Kaoru continues along. Tomoko's admiringly like
and Nanako's like "Yes, she's always shining." as we see Kaoru literally sparkle. (Which is my top-of-the-post watercolor this time.) We well know Kaoru is in worse condition than she tries to seem in front of her schoolmates, so there's a little bittersweet dramatic irony by now to all the "Prince Kaoru! Her life seems so shiny and fabulous" admiration from them.

Nanako dreads seeing Mariko at school the next day, and things will indeed be awkward.

But first a look at Mariko. She scares the hell out of her mom by lying motionless face down in her bathtub, only getting air when she hears her mom panicking.
I'm not sure how far she wants to take her self-harm in this scene, and I'm not sure she is either. Which works because that's often true for people in real life.

In class the next day, she reaches for Nanako's hand and says she's sorry, but Nanako understandably doesn't respond. They're both miserable and being seatmates doesn't help.
We get a cute moment in which Nanako and Tomoko are dorks together at lunch.
...With Mariko watching with a lunch she wanted to share with Nanako, but still.

And Rei rehearsing for a school play, quoting lines that seem to parallel her early relationship with Nanako- but also Fukiko to some extent.
And I'm afraid I'm not sure what the literary allusion for this scene is. =(

Elsewhere, Kaoru collapses holding her chest when Nanako is nearby, and she asks Nanako to get her some painkillers.
What happened to Seiran's nurse's station? Did Rei the walking pharmacy put them out of business?
Also known as not-the-nurse's-station.

For one of the most-fangirled-over students at Seiran, Rei is hard to pin down, but Nanako eventually learns she and her admirers are in the theater getting their Takarazuka on.
Nanako tries to get to Rei, but some girl gripes about her getting into the Sorority again and someone else pushes her off the stage, causing everyone to be like "Shit, that went too far." Rei herself, much as I like her, is dickish in this scene, just quoting lines and giggling as Nanako is like "HEY, YOUR FRIEND'S SICK AND NEEDS YOUR PAINKILLERS." (Granted, I'm not sure it's Rei herself so much as her being hopped up on pills.) Thankfully, Nanako gets shit done.
We also see The Doll inside Rei's head, with its accompanying music box tune and French. Viewers of this entire series will be well acquainted with The Doll.
Rei semi-regains her senses, and notes after Nanako leaves that it must be really bad if Kaoru is asking for painkillers.

Nanako watches Kaoru for as long as she will allow it, and their conversation turns to how Kaoru's poor health made her idolize sports. (Which reminds me of one of the Hotaru-focused episodes of Sailor Moon.)
It makes Kaoru and Rei even more obvious foils, what with Kaoru fighting for her life and Rei constantly risking it with her pill addiction, and adds an extra sad layer to why Kaoru gets so pissed at Rei when she sees her pill-popping.

Nanako rushes to check Kaoru again after school as promised, but she's gone. Mariko chooses that as the worst possible time to try to apologize again and gets rushed by, and Nanako fails to reach Kaoru via something called a landline.

We last see Nanako wandering along the beach again, pondering what Kaoru told her awhile ago about not being able to help worrying for people when you can't really understand their pain or do anything for them. Speaking of which, a more lucid-seeming Rei redeems herself for her earlier behavior by going to the hospital to check on Kaoru. She missed Kaoru, but still gets confirmation that she's fine now.
But while Kaoru said she'd return to school for evening basketball practice, we see that she's just using an empty classroom to cry and vent in private.
And say one of the most heartbreaking things someone can say, since you know she talking about herself.

Nanako concludes her ruminations on a bleak note, and we see that Mariko is still doing badly at home. That will segue into the next episode, which focuses on her again.

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