Home > Episode Review, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga nai > Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai 14: There are dark horses and there are supporting characters

Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai 14: There are dark horses and there are supporting characters

...it's her turn to shine... isn't it?

Sadly, Ruri is one of the latter, no matter how much she tries.

This moment from the OP sums it up best.

It was from this OP, and by extension this particular episode, that I felt that Ruri seemed more like a replacement for Kirino, not an alternative.

They’re not exactly the same thing. More on this later.

A glimpse of the Ruri we used to know and love.

Now, I’d argue that the most important part of a character is his/her ability to engage the audience on an emotional level. They must move the audience and allow the audience to move with them.

Mami and Kyouko of Puella Magi Madoka Magica spring to mind. I imagine that few were left uninfluenced by their story arcs.

And I'd imagine every anime would benefit from more skinship moments.

Secondary, but no less important, is their connection and interaction with other characters.

Because our perception of a character is influenced by how other characters view him/her – I doubt there’s an anime in which the protagonist is entirely alone.

Absent, but definitely not forgotten.

Kirino happens to have both characteristics in spades.

While she certainly isn’t the most divisive character in anime history, there’s no denying that audience reactions towards her hover near the ends of the spectrum.

She’s both intensely loved and hated. In either case, she becomes memorable.

A Kirino/Ayase skinship moment. Simply delightful.

And she interacts with the other characters easily and with chemistry.

Even in the moments where she mistreats/abuses Kyousuke, Kirino retains a connection to him.

Her detractors may say that no younger sister would/should/could do that to an older brother, but by saying so they unintentionally acknowledge that the connection has been made – they can see Kirino and Kyousuke as siblings.

It's as if AIC refuses to let me put a good stitch together.

There is of course a third characteristic of a character: fanservice.

It certainly is appreciated, but it isn’t going to make a character particularly memorable when any Eroge/Hentai side-character can pull the same thing.

Unless of course the anime is deliberately aiming for it, and does it well. Azusa Nakano’s moeness is definitely unforgettable. But I digress.

Ruri is at her best when she isn't hiding behind a facade.

Ruri does have a solid fanbase to rival that of Kirino’s, which shows that she has successfully connected with the audience, at least as much as Kirino has.

VAIOs, or 'AVIO's, must be really cheap in Japan. Everyone seems to have one.

And she can connect with other characters in ways Kirino cannot.

Ultimately, everyone remembers Episode 09, where Kirino spent her day on Eroge while Ruri took care of her younger sister.

I had to steal this screencap off another anime blog. No prizes for guessing which.

This was the high point – the point at which people started taking notice of her. At that moment, people began to think of her as an alternative to Kirino; Kyousuke did give her a call and things might have progressed it weren’t for certain loud interruptions.

Unfortunately, from that point on Ruri began to suffer from what has been termed as “FF7 Syndrome”.

Eager to capitalize on newfound popularity, more emphasis in the form of more screentime (and a manga spin-off) was placed on her. Shoddy, rushed, emphasis.

This lacked the unresolved sexual tension that I was expecting.

This scene, long the source material and inspiration for an entire wave of doujinshi, felt incredibly stale and forced.

Their interactions don’t cause me to go “they look so cute together” or anything of the sort, unlike the main couple of a certain Yaoi anime.

It isn’t exactly a comfort that unlike Sekai-Ichi, Ruri and Kyousuke don’t force themselves into a relationship with so little chemistry. It’s realistic, yes, but only because the lack of chemistry was due to poor direction and scripting.

It was a missed emotional moment in which their relationship could have grown rather beautifully.

I don't think I've ever sat on my bed and contemplated calling my sister.

Which brings us at last to why I feel that Ruri is now more of a replacement than an alternative.

It’s obvious that Kyousuke misses Kirino. There is a part missing from his life, something that Kirino filled. It does not necessarily have to be that of romantic fulfillment; it could be a need for simple emotional involvement.

Now that Kirino is gone, Ruri has the opportunity to fill that gap. But instead of being the defrosting ice queen that we expected and wanted, Ruri turned out to be a poor imitation of Kirino.

Close but no cigar.

From her impassioned defence of her visual novel, to her outburst when confronting Sena; from her feigned disdain towards Kyousuke to her attempts at getting Kyousuke to acknowledge her calling him ‘Nii-san’, Ruri appears to be trying to set herself up as another imouto.

Possibly ‘Kirino-lite’, as it were; in an attempt to appeal to what she sees as Kyousuke’s siscon tendencies.

It certainly doesn't help that Ruri keeps speaking of Kirino as her new role model.

But this wasn’t what I wanted.

Admittedly, I’m a Kirino fan. So my perception of Ruri may not be entirely objective. But I do know that back when I saw Episode 09, I was rooting for Ruri too.

Because now that Ruri has time alone with Kyousuke, I expected her to show the side she’d been hiding all along. The side of her that sews plushies for her sister, the side that blushes when she’s surprised by a phone call.

The side that accompanies her cosplaying, otaku persona so well. The side in which she is her own person, where she is a whole different personality from Kirino. Where she isn’t a mere replacement for the missing imouto, but an alternative to her.

I don't think Kirino can pull off the Victorique look.

Of course, all the events that transpired were according to the light novels, so they can’t be changed much. But I felt that the Ruri of the extra episodes isn’t the same Ruri of the original series.

Maybe it’s just me, and no offense to Hanazawa Kana, but it felt as if she wasn’t voicing her with the same depth. Perhaps she just couldn’t slip back into the role again.

I'm including this screencap because I really miss Ruri's Kuroneko outfit.

Ruri was always written to be a supporting character. Right from the start she was a foil to Kirino, to draw out Kirino’s character and personality.

For this reason, she cannot be a dark horse and outshine Kirino, and can only remain as a supporting character.

Her fans may not realise this, but even when they praise Ruri, they often measure her in terms of Kirino: “Kuroneko is more <insert adjective here> than Kirino!”, they say. Ruri is always going to be tied to Kirino, because that was how her character was originally written.

Dengeki Bunko's announcement. I'm not going to translate it.

I’m not sure how Ruri will fare in her spin-off manga series.

Kirino has always been the driving force of the plot. Even her absence itself sets events in motion.

But I’m hoping they’ll manage to revitalize and establish Ruri as a standalone character. She certainly deserves it.

But until then, you're going to have to eat your lunches alone for a while longer, my dear Ruri.

  1. enixfire
    May 20, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Frankly I can see kinda why Ruri would act as she does rather than showing her more personal side. From my own experience, it’s hard as hell to open up to people until you pretty much unafraid of what people will think of you. From my experiences being ostracized isn’t a fun thing to go through, so as a way to combat being ostracized again I tend to only show a bit of myself to the public, namely what they’re going to expect from me and not specifically my best part. When Ruri was with Kirino she didn’t have to make that wall so she was open to the fullest.
    I do admit that when Ruri’s with Kyousuke she’s pretty poor, but I can forgive that since I’m pretty sure she’s not been in such a situation to really know how to act or is kinda just failing at doing it right since it’s probably her first. Overall though, I’m just seeing a steady rise in her behavior, maybe after a some more interactions with her new friends she’ll open up even more. Though honestly I don’t think we’ll get her back to where she was when with Kirino just cause there isn’t anyone that she can be that open with now. Not even with Kyousuke just cause although similar in interests they aren’t quite on the same wavelength as she was with Kirino.

    On a side note, I’m also liking Akagi more and more, she’s just so cute! I just had the biggest smile on my face when she was asking for confirmation about being allowed by Kyousuke to fantasize about him with her brother (Atta girl! You express your super hardcore yaoi fangirlism to your senpai!), and when she made her full-on homo rpg (have kuroneko draw waaaayyyy better illustrations and story and lower the yaoi to a more romance thing without the weird fetishes and it would’ve sold like hotcakes!) and presented it to the club. Definitely not as classy as Kirino, but damn~ I enjoy her presence except when she’s being a crybaby. God, Akagi’s whole concept is just great, and the fact it’s flushed out so little is sad! Kyousuke master problem solver should have an arc where he helps Akagi, I would love to see her develop her own little circle of otaku buddies.

    I still hope in the future that game companies develop a yaoi route to a rpg, esspecially if it’s one of those where you make choices that impact the story! I alway have it where you can only pick girls if the main hero is a guy and you can’t pick a female hero, or for that matter it also works vice versa where if you make a female hero you can only go for guys. Game companies really outta exploit the bi hero concept it’s soooooo bearly use it’s sad! If you have it where you can choose first whether you play a female or male and then also increase the amount of possible love routes it could only make the game more popular to different audiences! Gah! why haven’t then done this yet!? |||OTL

    • JohnnyYandere
      May 20, 2011 at 7:56 am

      I just feel that Ruri would be so much better off if she just scaled it back a bit. She knows that Kyousuke’s okay with her and would back her up anytime, but she still treats him rather terribly. I suppose she’s rather conflicted about her feelings for him and doesn’t quite know how to act on it.

      I actually took a heck load of screencaps of Sena, but I never got around to using them because of the focus of my review. Whoops. Maybe if there’s a second season I’ll return her the favour. She really did add so much spark to this episode.

      The problem with trying to appeal to multiple audiences is that the protagonist’s characterization is most likely going to suffer. The protagonist can’t be GAR, or Seme, Uke, Kuudere, all at the same time or he/she’ll look like an extreme case of bipolar disorder. But I get what you mean.

      So sorry I can’t reply more, my work awaits. But with regards to what wong said, and since we (the writers) were toying idly with the idea before, would you be interested in becoming a guest writer for the blog?

  2. wong
    May 20, 2011 at 6:11 am

    thats one huge block of text for a reply.

    • JohnnyYandere
      May 20, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Heh, that’s enixfire for you. I don’t think I’d have the same motivation to post as I do now if she hadn’t popped up on one of my earlier reviews back in the day.

      • enixfire
        May 20, 2011 at 10:23 am

        Wow, I honestly don’t know what to say x////x. I just come here and spill my guts, soul, and heart out into stupidly long comments pertaining to whatever I feel like saying at the time. Never did I think I could have such a compliment or offer from any of the HIMYO writers. Wow just wow, I’m panicking and excited all at the same time (and for that matter hyperventilating and having trouble squeezing out coherent thoughts). I’ve never written a review before so I don’t have even the slightest idea if I’d be good at it or completely suck. That’s not even including the fact I don’t how to be funny or entertaining if I tried. Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin <_<;. I wish I had my computer so that Kit could yell motivation banter at me, and help me get my breathing to work properly again.

      • May 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm

        If your comments are any indication, you’re capable of writing more content than me haha. And yes, spilling your heart out is just what we need, so I think you’re doing just fine.

        But *shock and horror*, this’ll mean that our pro-yaoi population in HIMYO will effectively DOUBLE. Nonetheless, I’m not against the idea of having guest writers. 😀

      • JohnnyYandere
        May 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm

        Well, you do have until the start of the fall season to think about it. And if nothing else, reviewing anime would be good writing practice.

        But if you’ve got your guts, soul and heart in it, I think you’d do fine (:

  3. Son Gohan
    May 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Would you rather date a nice girl or an ungrateful b*tch that insults you, beats you up and makes you do embarassing chores?
    For me, watching Kirino interact with Kyousuke is like watching a bully that repeatedly kicks down a puppy. And what’s worse is that the show condones her behaviour!
    Sigh, I will never understand Kirino fans…

    • JohnnyYandere
      May 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Ah, but while Kirino is indeed an ungrateful bitch who may insult me, beat me up and make me do embarrassing chores, she’s also incredibly passionate and determined about the things she cares about.

      What I do like about Kirino is that she is uncompromising. Once she has her mind set on an objective, she will go all out to accomplish it, even if it isn’t entirely logical. I’m of course referring to her dumping a bucket of water over herself.

      However, this is an issue that is limited to the anime audience. Kirino is hardly this physically abusive or violent in the light novels or the manga. But in an anime, certain behaviours must be exaggerated for effect.

      Just as every fictional gunman is capable of shooting targets with pinpoint precision and never suffers from gun jamming, Kirino’s passive-aggressive nature is ramped up to actual physical violence.

      Not that I approve of her behaviour. Subconscious attraction towards her brother and an awareness of society’s attitude towards incest may be causing emotional turmoil within her, but it doesn’t justify behaving that way. But again, the physical violence is an anime-specific issue.

      It’s not that I don’t find Ruri appealing. I do. It’s just that for all her faults, or perhaps because of them, I find that Kirino is the far more interesting character.

  1. May 20, 2011 at 9:31 am
  2. September 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm

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