Friday, December 5, 2014

Retro Review: Dear Brother (Oniisama E) episode 18

This is the episode in which Nanako gets high, partly explaining the episode title "Into the Dream", and confesses her feelings to Rei. I guess that's one way to resolve a character hesitating to confess.

Nanako almost forgets she doesn't need to wait for Tomoko for a morning commute, because she has her head in the clouds over Rei. She helpfully recaps how amazing and hot and gorgeous Rei was playing basketball and how Mariko has a crush on Kaoru, before the bus lurches like it did when she first met Rei and she spies Rei reading in the back. Because the bus driver is a dick, the bus pulls away before she can get off even though she's lurching against the door right when it closes.

Rei is pretty chill about missing her stop, though, and invites Nanako to play hooky with her.

We get our obligatory shot of Mariko worrying about Nanako's absence in class, before we see Nanako and Rei put their school things in a locker.

Another shot of Mariko looking like she thinks Nanako died or something

even though for all she knows, Nanako could be sick since this is before the days when people could send texts. If this show took place today, Mariko's texting would probably have made Nanako's patience with her run out well before the birthday party.

Rei and Nanako walk through a park, Nanako being jittery about the possibility of people knowing they're cutting class, yet still elated to be doing it with her crush. Rei leaves to buy lunch, a truancy officer comes up to Nanako being suspicious, and Rei gets them out of the situation through a lie in which she feels compelled to explain that Nanako is from a village where you can see mountain boars. (I guess "We're college students" is too common of an excuse.) She's obviously a pro at this, to the point that she cooly lights a cigarette in front of the officer. Moments like this are the bread and butter of Rei's fandom.

And the show sort of lampshades that the non-freshman teenagers in this show look like the animated version of older actresses playing teenagers. "It's shocking that Katherine prefers this approach to character designs over the current baby-face trend" said no one ever.

Rei lols about that as well as the officer obliviously assuming she's a dude instead of a super-butchy chick.

She drops her cigarette and apologizes when she sees that Nanako was a lot more shaken by the encounter with the officer than she was, though.

Back at school, Kaoru raises Mariko's spirits by inviting her to her basketball practice, so that settles that.

Rei and Nanako have some banter in which Nanako learns Rei skips a lot and chides her for her ridiculous lie before panicking on seeing Takehiko and his friend in that same park. Surprisingly, Nanako doesn't try to hide in any way, just coolly walks by Takehiko and exchanges glances with him, before he's like "Oh, hey!" He invites her to attend his college's festival and asks if she's on holiday, causing his friend to be like "REI, SHE'S OBVIOUSLY SKIPPING BECAUSE OF YOU." You know Rei is agitated because she's chewing a twig.

Shit is on.

Rei sarcastically bows and reveals that he's her brother. Rei is Oniisama E's version of Rumplestiltskin from (the shittiness that is) Once Upon A Time- everyone's related to her.

Taking advantage of the awkward pause of the moment, Rei takes Nanako's hand and runs away from her brother and Takehiko.

Nanako stops her and get some exposition from her, and guesses why her surname isn't Ichinomiya like her two siblings. All will be confirmed in good time, Nanako. In a "subtle" bit of symbolism, we see three ducklings trailing their shared mother, all in one unified family.

Nanako takes a bite of her sandwich and notices that it's old and gross, but Rei didn't notice because she's used to eating the godawful expired food she peckishly eats from her fridge. Rei compares the significance of human life to an ant's life, and it's obvious she's talking more about herself than people in general.

Ah, nope, Mariko's still very worried, and consults with Tomoko, who figures Nanako just might be sick like most people would. Mariko has the comfort of lunch planned with Kaoru along with the basketball practice.

Kaoru (whose dub name according to autocorrect is Karol) finds out from Rei's fans that she's skipping

because Rei can apparently do nothing without their noting it and praising her as a free spirit.

Nanako enjoys her alone time spent in a lovely park with her choice for loveliest lady,

and they rest beneath a tree, where Rei lights another cigarette.

Being a true queerio, Nanako processes the implications of Rei saying "Ma chérie la poupée" and where to go from there,

but doesn't forget to enjoy the moment.

The opening theme's Cinderella imagery seems especially created with scenes like this in mind.

Rei mentions that one of her fans wants her cigarette butts so she can smoke them later, so Nanako (mentally noting that she tried to use one of Rei's butts for that) asks if she can try the cigarette she's smoking. Rei expects it to be too much for her, but she insists, so Rei suddenly acts like a Disney villain, being like "Ohoho, you want to smoke a cigarette, eh? *mustache swirl* We'll see if you can handle it."

And, uh, this happens from Nanako's perspective.

This is supposed to be Nanako spinning. Use your imagination, because I'm too lazy to make a .gif, although it would be a pretty great .gif.
Then the doll spinning, less entertainingly.
Cue symbol for another portion of Nanako's innocence being gone.

Back in reality, Nanako wakes up from her dream, and ponders what it's like to be attracted to her school's Heathcliff.

Rei says her point was to show Nanako that she's too good to regularly get high like her, and to some extent Nanako knows that having a thing for someone like Rei (personality-wise, not gender-wise) is a bad idea, but she still has them feelings... and then confesses while crying. (She uses "suki", but the context makes it obvious it's romantic "suki", not platonic.)

On that not at all awkward note, the episode ends as a bird flaps away. Godspeed, Nanako.

The next episode involves Nanako trying to read Rei's reaction and consulting Kaoru about it. This recap turned out pretty decently considering I wrote it with two straight liquor shots and a sad tolerance for alcohol. I've been meaning to try a couple nips (Jim Beam Honey bourbon and Dewar's Highlander Honey whiskey), and they're pretty decent if you want something concentrated but like sweet drinks. Sadly, they came with no hallucinations of my girlfriend playing a spinning piano while wearing a kabuki mask.


Anonymous said...

I love your reviews of this show. Can't wait til the next one! Oh Nanako you adorable queer baby!

Katherine Hanson said...

@Anon- Sorry I missed your comment before! I'm glad you enjoy the reviews! The next one will be coming soon.