Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Retro Review: Oniisama E (Dear Brother) episode 20

This episode begins with Nanako coming home to a letter from Takehiko. In it, Takehiko invites her to his university's festival using formal language. He also notes that she hasn't been sending as many letters lately, but he's glad because they're usually filled with horrible things, so presumably no news is good news.

Tomoko gets excited when Nanako shows her the festival program at lunch at school- which seems to have an Ace wo Nerae! reference-
but Mariko almost does a spit-take at the idea of Nanako being at a location where men will be, especially one with a flirty event like the masquerade. Mariko runs away with the program, and she and Tomoko get into an argument over it. Tomoko is tactical, though, and uses reverse psychology to get Mariko to come with her and Nanako, if only to protect them from all the men.

Takashi drives Takehiko to his mansion, where Takehiko sees Fukiko watering the roses. He greets her and makes some small talk, but she responds with clipped answers before walking away. I would normally be sympathetic to someone having trouble talking to their crush and I know she's seventeen or so, but considering how much energy Fukiko expends on keeping Takehiko's pen pal from maybe someday having a relationship with him and how pissy she gets at their having any communication at all, it's hard not to be like "Really?" when she doesn't make the effort to just talk to him when she has the chance.
Pretty sure that impression there wasn't because of Nanako.

Being Fukiko's brother, Takashi makes the least surprising declaration ever and says he doesn't get her.

Fukiko returns to the rose garden, and unfortunately for Nanako, hears Takehiko and Takashi seated inside, discussing meeting up with Nanako and her friends at the festival. As Takehiko leaves, she not-at-all-portentously beheads a large number of roses.
No matter, the Ichinomiyas can buy all-new roses.

All this rose symbolism is very subtle. We also saw Takehiko pricked by a rose when Fukiko was brusque to him earlier, and the camera lingered on a rose in a vase when Takehiko remarked to Takashi that she's pretty.

Cue the next morning at school. This part is adorable- Mariko gets Nanako to ask Kaoru to go out with her to the festival in exchange for asking Rei out for Nanako.
This shot is appropriately rainbow-tinged.

Rei knows that Kaoru won't go for reasons she won't tell Mariko that are obviously Takehiko-related, so she says she won't go either. Kaoru does indeed beg off, with the excuse that she has to do sports training that day. Sadface for Nanako and Mariko.

That night, Nanako plans her outfit for the festival and asks her mom for some sophisticated grown-up jewelry to wear. Little does she know of how college and grad school students actually dress.
Her parents also confirm that yup, they sure aren't telling her about Takehiko being her stepbrother yet.

Fukiko calls. More subtle rose symbolism as we see her break the innocently white rose- contrasted with all the red ones earlier- while beginning her conversation with Nanako.
Fukiko also gets the shadow face of doom again.
After confirming Nanako is free Sunday morning/the morning of the festival, she tells Nanako she invites a Sorority member to have tea at her home every Sunday, and could she come this week, oh, and don't tell anyone about it since she hasn't invited a first-year before. That kind of request should be a red flag, but their classmates are so petty and political that it's plausible. Then as if it's an afterthought, Fukiko calls again being like "Oh my glob, I almost forgot! Please go into the Sorority basement and get the extra-fancy tea set for this." As a teacup collector, I appreciated the slow, lingering tea-set porn that came when Fukiko name-dropped Meissen.

More subtle rose symbolism.

Come Sunday, Nanako makes her way to the basement storageroom, and while looking for the tea set, is locked in by Fukiko, surprising no one watching this show. She can't tell it's Fukiko, though.
Fukiko takes the festival program and leaves, ripping it up outside.

Tomoko meets up with Mariko, and they're like "Huh, guess she's running late."

Kaoru does running cardio on the school ground while Rei smokes a cigarette on a bench nearby, and they rib each other for constantly exercising and smoking, respectively.
Now that Kaoru's past with Takehiko is coming to light, we're getting more moments that switch from the usual Kaoru-being-sensible-while-Rei-avoids-really-confronting-her-issues dynamic.

Here my girlfriend is like, "Have you noticed that Kaoru looks like an anime Tig Notaro?" and digs for compelling photographic evidence.
(Source: People)

Kaoru sees the torn-up program and hears Nanako playing waltz music in a sad effort to entertain herself.
Praise be.

More shadow face- albeit less all-covering- as Fukiko listens to Nanako apologize on a payphone from not-in-the-basement.

After the call ends, Fukiko throws the key she used against the floor, and we get our last destroyed rose imagery for this episode.

Next time, Nanako finally gets to enjoy the festival.

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