Saturday, July 26, 2014

Retro Review: Oniisama E (Dear Brother) episode 14

At the beginning of this episode, we are back in the clock tower, with Nanako discovering the awkwardness of being embraced by the girl she has feelings for, while said girl hallucinates that Nanako is the girl she loves who she once made a suicide pact with. We've all been there, Nanako.

From Rei's perspective, we see that she and Fukiko are in a flurry of pink shoujo petals
with Fukiko acting to fulfill the pact by cutting her wrist
so Rei tries to "fulfill" it on her side, but after she stabs the wall trying to do so, she comes to her senses, sees Nanako crying, and appropriately feels like shit. (My girlfriend Amy after I mentioned this scene to her: "That [a tortured backstory] is the kind of thing I would have found romantic in high school, but now I'd be like, 'I don't have time for this bullshit.'" I was like "This storyline works better in execution than when you just hear about it, but I'm not entirely sure why." When Amy asked if I would actually date someone like Rei, I was like "lol no" though, although I too probably would have in high school or early college. I do think she works as a character I can like- and ultimately like with Nanako, regardless of whether they would have worked in the long-term instead of being each other's first girlfriends- through some alchemy of writing, though.)
On her way home, Nanako processes what Rei said to her while thinking she was Fukiko and what it says about Rei and Fukiko's relationship and history.

The next morning, Nanako sees that Rei isn't in her homeroom and Fukiko is like "Whatchu doing?" Fukiko points out that she hasn't been attending the Sorority study sessions for the midterms, and is very subtle about her real reason for being vexed at Nanako.
The funny thing is that she has a point. I think this episode knows that Nanako should be focusing more on her midterms, even though it also knows that Fukiko's motives towards Nanako are dubious.

After school, Nanako stops by Rei's place and finds the front door not only unlocked, but ajar. She finds Rei lying motionless less to a mound of partially empty pill packets and is relieved when Rei wakes up. She warns Rei about someone dangerous entering with the door left open, but Rei is like "Eh, they can kill me for all I care."

The next morning on the way to school, Nanako impresses Tomoko with the mnemonic devices she learned from the Sorority for the exam. Tomoko picks up on Nanako having another secret thing, so she's like "lol Here we go again" and Nanako doesn't quite get how much Tomoko knows about how her school life rolls now.
Nanako falls into the all-too-common mistake of being too distracted by her crush to concentrate in class, so Mariko nudges her into jotting down what she needs for the exam. (Amy when she read my draft of this recap at this point: "Why does Nanako have a crush on Rei?" Me: "Because she is us in high school." Amy: "Well I was stupid in high school, and so were you." And then we laughed for no real reason.)

After class, Mariko tries to find Nanako to ask her something about French, but finds Kaoru in their classroom instead. Kaoru makes her day by offering to help her out instead.
This scene is too easy to make a double entendre about.

Back at Rei's place, Nanako enjoys watching Rei eat decent food and goes into the kitchen, where she sees yet more pills and tries to throw them away, before Rei is like "MY BABIES."
Rei is like "Leave me alone, I never asked for your help!" so Nanako runs away and heads to the beach to be sad.
This message brought to you by Oniisama E. Don't pop pills and leave expiring shit in your fridge, kids.

We also learn from Nanako's humming that she knows her own theme song.

Somehow Rei knows that Nanako is at this beach, so she shows up and says something about looking at the sea, and they have tea at her apartment, and even Rei is like "Thank you for seeing me home, but shouldn't you be focusing on your test right now?" Rei says that, at least for today, she won't take any more pills, and Nanako asks her about the doll. Rei hesitates, so Nanako decides to leave.

On her way to the elevator, Nanako runs into that guy who is Takehiko's friend and they briefly re-introduce themselves. We already know he knows about the Sorority and Nanako and Takehiko being pen pals, and he says he's here to meet "a friend" before saying bye to Nanako, before we see Rei be like
The significance of him referring to her that way is awfully sad knowing what their relationship is. I won't spoil it, although someone who has only seen this far can probably sort of guess if they eliminate romance based on Rei being gay.

Inside Rei's apartment, she and Takehiko's friend have a rather awkward conversation.

Takehiko's friend asks how she's doing, and she responds like someone who is inured to people pretending to care but not following through on actually showing it. I feel like she tests the patience of people who care about her because of that- sort of pre-empting the abandonment she expects by being flighty and distant herself.

Nanako and Tomoko are silly on the way to school, and Rei gives her the memorization cards she accidentally left at her apartment at school.

Kaoru shows up for their usual banter
and Rei responds in turn
and all is right with the world. Or something.

And it's time for midterms, which will determine whether Nanako stays in the Sorority. I wonder how much Nanako's lack of concern for the Sorority's exam requirement has to do with how little good the Sorority actually seems to be doing her.

The next episode involves Fukiko telling Nanako ~secrets~ on a Sorority party aboard her private ship.

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