Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai 13: Darker than Black
Ore no Kōhai ga Konna ni Kusatteru Wake ga Nai
“There’s No Way My Junior Can Be This Rotten”
“A Kuroneko episode? SUCH WIN! I don’t have to see Kirino’s stupid face again! Much praise for expected epic Kuroneko meido cosplay!”
… is what I would be saying, if I were a mindless Kuroneko fan.
Let it be known that this was the turning point at which I began to dislike Kuroneko.
Love her or hate her, Kirino was/is the central character to this story. She may have been bratty, dishonest, and stubborn. I don’t deny that. But it was Kirino who set most, if not all, of the events of the story in motion.
If Kirino hadn’t approached Kyousuke for her Jinsei Soudan, they’d still be hating each others’ guts.
Kirino would still be keeping her anime/manga/doujin/eroge to herself and would never have met Ruri or Saori. If Kirino didn’t decide to write a light novel, we wouldn’t have known Ruri was writing too and we would never have seen Kyousuke move heaven and earth for his imouto.
If Kirino hadn’t gone to America, we wouldn’t have been having these ONAs in which Ruri gets her opportunity to shine.
And in my opinion, Ruri wastes it.
I understate. She has almost one full episode of screen time to show how moe/awesome/hawt/perfect she can be without Kirino around.
To use a Madoka Magica metaphor, the complex Ruri-Opportunity relationship may be likened to the complex Homura-Kyubey relationship: Ruri shreds her opportunities with .44 Magnum the first chance she gets.
Except that Kyubey comes back even after riddled with bullet holes.
Previously, I liked Ruri. More so than Kirino, especially after episode 9, in which Kirino plays eroge all day and Ruri is taking care of her imouto – cooking, sewing, letting her watch Meruru. That was the game changer.
Ruri soundly demonstrated that she was poorer, yet more caring, responsible and emotionally mature than Kirino was.
That Ruri seems to have disappeared. I was… deceived by the ending of the previous episode, in which Ruri greets Kyousuke with a radiant smile.
This episode’s Ruri crushes the illusion pretty fast. As Kyousuke responds awkwardly to Ruri being his kouhai, she walks off muttering, “What an idiot,” while not even acknowledging Manami. Somewhat justified, since Ruri’s talked to Kirino and thinks of Manami as a lecherous seductress.
After school, Ruri and Saori go over to Kyousuke’s to ‘cheer him up’. Saori builds a model Justeen mecha, probably as a gift to Kyousuke. Ruri, on the other hand, lies on Kyousuke’s bed and reads manga. Maybe she’s offering her body as eye candy.
The next day, Ruri ignores a message from Kyousuke saying that he wants to meet at her homeroom after classes. He manages to find her before she leaves, and wants to introduce Manami to her. Ruri is polite, but barely so. When her own classmates ask her out for karaoke, Ruri doesn’t even allow them to finish the sentence and tersely turns them down.
Later on, or possibly the next day, at the club exhibition fair, she thrashes the Game Research Club’s independently-developed shoot-em-up. A club member, shocked, praises her high score. Ruri responds with a “It was a thoroughly terrible game from beginning to end. Please tell the creator to go die.” and leaves.
The rest of the episode delves into making Ruri’s school life easier, what with her classmates shunning her during gymnastics class and abandoning her to clean the hallways by herself. Saori theorizes that Ruri is shunned because she would rather be with Kyousuke and Saori than her classmates.
I say it’s pretty obvious why Ruri is shunned, and it’s got little to do with Kyousuke and Saori.
See, the thing about Kirino is that she overshadows everyone with her exaggerated tsun-tsun act. I can’t say that Ruri is worse than Kirino, but without Kirino around to take the heat, Ruri comes off as an arrogant snob. Understatement.
Going into high school, it was a fresh start for Ruri. None of her classmates knew about her being an otaku, and Kyousuke isn’t going to be telling anyone. Perhaps I’m underestimating her social awkwardness, but her classmates were trying to reach out to her. It’s her own fault that she ended up being snubbed.
Which, by the way, doesn’t explain why she’s still a jerk to Kyousuke. We know that Ruri likes Kyousuke. We know that Ruri saw Kirino as a rival, if not in love, than at least for Kyousuke’s attention. We know that Kirino is out of the picture. What does Ruri do? Impress Kyousuke with how much more considerate, caring and cute she can be?
No, she decides to play the victim card and accuses him of using her as a replacement imouto for his saviour/siscon complex. Nice going there Ruri.
Fortunately, there’s a break from the melodrama in the form of Akagi Sena.
Her facade of a model student crumbles pretty quickly after repeated baiting by Kyousuke and Ruri.
But once her passions are exposed, does she immediately angst about how she’ll never be seen the same way again? No! Au contraire, she boldly goes forth to describe in lurid, delicious details, the extent of her depravity.
Only then does she sink into angst. Ah, Sena. You make me miss Kirino, but you’d never replace her. By the way, it should be obvious to you now that the ‘junior’ in the title refers to Sena and not Ruri. Unless of course you’re with me on what a terrible person Ruri is/can be, then it that case it is rather appropriate, in a trollish sort of way.
The only scene of Ruri I actually enjoyed was the final scene in which Ruri and Kyousuke walk home together. Because for once in this whole episode, Ruri isn’t channeling LeLouch and is wearing an expression other than Arrogant-Bicchi.
Anyway, since the next episode’s title is “There’s No Way My Junior Can Be This Cute”, there’s hope yet.
Take a hint, Ruri. You’re not coming off too well in these scenes. There’s only so far Hanazawa Kana can get you. Who am I kidding – Kana-san and Ayane-san could swap character roles and suddenly Kirino’d be the popular one.