Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Retro Review: Oniisama E (Dear Brother) episode 21

We're finally at the festival, where this week's pop culture reference is RoboCop.

Tomoko comments that Mariko seems tense, and Mariko acknowledges that with great power comes great responsibility.

Nanako, Mariko, and Tomoko meet up with Takehiko and Takashi and make introductions. Mariko lays all her cards on the table right away.

I assume that if you like this show enough to be reading an episode 21 recap of it, you know better than to think that a woman with Mariko's views, even if you disagree with them (which I do), is equivalent of a man who hates women, societal context and all. Even though Mariko's constant snarking about them is understandably awkward for them, Takehiko and Takashi do the mature thing as hosts and show the girls a magic show and a historical art exhibit.

Mariko finally makes things the awkwardest for everyone by insisting the girls go through the festival's haunted house in a separate group from the guys, screaming and running away from a "grim reaper" before running into Takashi and screaming when she realizes what she ran into. When they all sit down at a table outside, Tomoko tells Mariko to knock it off, and Mariko and Takashi get into an argument about her views. Even though I don't agree with Mariko and would respond like Tomoko by then, I think Takashi should read about the #notallmen hashtag. I'm also reminded that I like Takehiko's laid-backedness when he just laughs at seeing Takashi fail to win the argument while Nanako and Tomoko gape.

Mariko and Takashi have a conversation that is filled with more subtle symbolism.

Nanako, Tomoko, and Takehiko find themselves separated from Mariko and Takashi, but Tomoko is okay with it because she's kind of sick of Mariko's behavior.

Back where Mariko and Takashi are, Mariko is trying to find the PA room so they can make an announcement to find her friends, but Takeshi points out they won't do that for the festival day. He insists on following her because he feels responsible, which I don't mind, but the bit where he says she needs him to be her bodyguard, or maybe her practice date if she'd prefer, while tongue-in-cheek, is something I would be annoyed at too if I were her. Thankfully he doesn't push it.

Nanako and Co. enjoy an indoor concert while Mariko and Takashi walk through the grounds outside.   A bunch of women working the booths greet Takashi since they know him from classes and clubs, so Mariko thinks he's a player and that strikes a nerve because of her dad's infidelity. He explains that he likes to have a lot of friends but only wants one significant other. Noticing her defensive, pensive reactions during this scene, he seems to be starting to understand where she's coming from.

Nanako's group is seated for tea outside, still enjoying their day. Tomoko asks Takehiko if he likes anyone, and it strikes Nanako that for all she's told Takehiko about her life, she hasn't found out much about his. Tomoko keeps questioning him, and Nanako feels guilty and realizes that it's kind of weird she chose someone she didn't really know to be her confidante. In a way it makes sense, though, since it can be easier to tell things that are weighing on your chest to people you sense are good people but don't have too much involvement in your life. I did some similar secret-dumping in high school, albeit not in a regularly-writing-letters way.
Takehiko notices she's preoccupied and asks about it, and she lets him know she worries her making him her brother is a nuisance to him, especially since he's busy with school.
He reassures her that he's never thought of her as a nuisance, and likes her letters because they remind him of how he was in high school, complete with worrying about things that aren't a big deal when you're an adult. It's a nice moment of understanding.

Mariko and Takashi wind up at a later concert performance by the same band and aren't super-optimistic about finding their group again. They then walk through the fortune-telling area, and Mariko gets her palm read by someone who unnerves her by saying she has family issues. She runs away distraught, but Takashi is held up from following her by needing to pay the fortune-teller. lol
When Mariko stops, a couple sleazy pick-up artists try to do their thing, even following her after she rebuffs them. When one of them grabs her wrist, she pulls away, and if you too have dealt with creeps, you will probably find seeing Mariko tear into them as satisfying as I did... until she starts crying, which is distressing to watch. Creepy stranger harassment is a not-uncommon thing, and while I haven't cried from it, I've felt like it. Takashi finds her like that and apologizes for not having been there to do something to help. He stays next to her until she collects herself and announces she's leaving like it wasn't a big deal for her. He seems to like her not seeming to give a shit about what the onlookers gawking think of her.

They catch up with Nanako's group at the main gate a little later. Mariko nixes the idea that they all go out for tea since the sun's setting,
but Takashi isn't bothered by her reason anymore, presumably because of the incident earlier.

On the train, Tomoko and Nanako discuss how much fun they had and the elephant in the room that is Mariko's fear of men and the role her family plays in it.

Back at home, Nanako tells her mom about the good time she had at the festival, and the episode has a rare totally happy ending in which Nanako is glad she had such a nice day. Twenty-one episodes in, she deserves a breather.

Next time, Nanako and Mariko visit Fukiko's summer villa to help Fukiko prepare for her birthday party, and Nanako starts learning about more of the skeletons in Fukiko's closet.

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