Sunday, June 1, 2014

Retro Review: Onisama E (Dear Brother) episode 8

With this, we have the first episode focusing on Mariko. We (and Nanako) already knew she was made fun of for her dad's profession as a porn writer, but not how dysfunctional she and her family actually are.

This episode opens with Mariko visiting Nanako to drop off the fabric she bought for their home ec project, and looking shocked after Nanako's parents say she's seeing a movie with Tomoko. Meanwhile, Nanako and Tomoko are like
I quite like the point of this scene- that a lot of the things that seem like a big deal in high school aren't really.

It's clear in this episode, though, that even though Tomoko doesn't hold her and Nanako's fight against Nanako, she knows Mariko intentionally caused it and understandably doesn't like her as a result. Nanako herself admits that Mariko scares her a little. If you didn't understand why before, you probably do from seeing Mariko tear up the cloth she got for their projects because she isn't Nanako's one and only friend like Nanako is hers.
After seeing Nanako and Tomoko be bffs arriving to school, Mariko confronts Tomoko and gets a verbal smack down.
Mariko makes it clear how much she considers Nanako "her" friend as a result and grabs Tomoko's wrists over it, but it's Kaoru with her frequently convenient timing to the rescue again.
Mariko invites Nanako to meet her after school next to the set of Ace wo Nerae,
and invites her to her birthday party, manipulating her sympathy while she's at it.
I'm not sure how intentional it is because of how much her pride is wounded when she picks up on Nanako pitying her later, though.

We also see that Fukiko makes good on her promise and actually gives Aya a very firm "Bitch, stop messing with Nanako or the entire Sorority will want your head" speech, which is cool.

As you can tell, Fukiko is my least favorite of the Magnificent Three, so I guess I forgot about this speech because it was drowned out by all the things that made me dislike her in my previous viewing. I knew someone in college who adored Fukiko and wish I had asked why exactly Fukiko is her favorite. Maybe now that I'm farther from Fukiko's age than the first time I "met" her, I'll be more forgiving of some of the things I disliked about her, I dunno. (Although her treatment of Rei is still shitty.)

Anyway, Nanako waits after school for Tomoko. Mariko surprises her by covering her eyes from behind. I still find her nipping Nanako on the ear because of her assuming it's Tomoko creepy.
Nanako's still going to Mariko's party, so she bakes cookies for a present with Tomoko's help.
I like that when Tomoko points out she's being too nice by still going to the party, Nanako points out that Tomoko's still helping her make the cookies.

So Nanako is escorted by a concierge at the Hotel Royale to the Rose Room for Mariko's fancy-dance birthday party, and finds
that the entire large room, including a band, has been booked only for her, Mariko, and Mariko's mom. (Holy hell, how much do porn writers make?)
Even though I feel bad for Mariko about her family life being crappy (which she directly mentions for the first time here) and being put down at school because of her dad's profession, I can't help wondering by now how much her lack of friends has been caused by her dad's job and how much by her creepy/clingy tendencies.

Nanako is really glad she came after all, and everything seems peachy right now, which means the other shoe will drop soon again.

After the party, Mariko, Mariko's mom, and their driver take Nanako home, but en route, Mariko asks Nanako to spend some time at her house before they get her home. A visit at home turns into, "Let's take a bath together!"
Again, I like that this show can have a thing that would normally be servicey in an utterly unservicey way. It's just about body image as a teenager. Even though staring in a mirror for hours is excessive, I admittedly like Mariko's "I look awesome, I can't wait to be an adult, when I'll be even hotter!" confidence. That so wasn't me at her age, although I relate to the being-hopeful-about-being-a-hot-adult thing.

The bath turns into Mariko wanting Nanako to sleep over, 
and Nanako is uncomfortable with Mariko pushing for more and more, so she refuses to sleep over that night. That does not go well, as you can see here.
And here.
And uh, here.
Culminating in the screencap at the top of this post, as Nanako keeps running home. Poor Nanako and Mariko's mom. And Mariko, in a way.

The next episode promises a lot of Nanako interacting with Kaoru and Rei, yay!

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