The Fan and the Non-fan in Oreimo

I guess the show finally found a good use for Ayase. And no, it’s not “resident yandere”.

Ayase, along with Manami, is one of the few characters in Oreimo who isn’t an otaku. While Manami treats the subject of otaku hobbies with a polite air of “they’re weird, but I guess it’s just not for me”, Ayase is outright disgusted at them. She’s the contrarian, the unbeliever in this show.

So who better than to model a 2D girl after?

Response to the second episode of Oreimo season 2 on Twitter was more than a little negative. People said that the show degenerated into Ayase fanservice, etc etc. I wonder if we’re watching the same show, or if no one else bothers to try and pick Oreimo apart by its layers. (HA HA HOW DARE YOU READ DEEPER INTO A SKEEVY INCEST CARTOON)

Consider the scene: Kyousuke invites Ayase into his room (!), in order to show him the game Kirino’s addicted to. He reveals that Kirino is fawning over a fictional girl (Ayaka) who resembles Ayase, and suggests that Ayase pretend to be Ayaka to win Kirino’s affection back. Then he orders Ayase to practice some affectionate lines (!!) on him.

It ends exactly as one might expect. But what’s happening here? Ayase still calls Kyousuke “onii-chan”. To her, he’s still that brother of her best friend. She can’t really get rid of him, not as long as Kirino’s her friend, and so she doesn’t storm out on the first sign of creepiness from him. (On an interesting tangent, Ayase calls Manami “onee-chan”. The implications are delicious.) But here they are, conspiring on Kirino, separated from the very person herself by a mere wall. Ayase blushing profusely as she recites Ayaka’s lines. Kyousuke touching Ayaka’s breasts and eliciting an embarrassed reaction. Subtext, what subtext?

What I appreciate here is the dialogue between the fan and the non-fan. Kyousuke, the fan, cannot talk objectively about Love Touch, having drunk its Kool-Aid. His attempts to describe the game to Ayase only serve to heighten her disgust towards him. They’re unable to find common ground. In real life, it’s an exasperating experience if you’re the fan, and this conversation is an eye-opener in portraying how the rabid fan sounds extremely silly to the non-fan.

Something to think about, when you’re discussing your niche tastes to others.

PS: I’ve always thought of Kyousuke and Ayase to be a weak pairing. Putting the two together in the same place tends to end in violence, and Kyousuke never seems to get a word in. But there are some points in  their favor: it’s clear that Ayase is the girl whom Kyousuke is most attracted to, and she’s probably the most date-able out of all the girls. They’d probably get along better if Kyousuke didn’t leave such a bad impression, though. Maybe it could work, dysfunctional as it sounds.

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5 Responses to The Fan and the Non-fan in Oreimo

  1. Myssa says:

    The irony here is that, if the Oreimo game is to be believed, Ayase is probably THE girl that you literally had to watch your words with, or else you’d end up stabbed in a back alley (one of the very real endings with her) or, apparently, with her keeping Kirino as a sex slave. I wish I were kidding.

  2. Shance says:

    I don’t think there’s any meaning to Ayase calling Kyousuke “onii-san”. When you call someone simply by the common noun based on how you perceive them (“onii-san” for a brother figure, “onee-san” for a sister figure), you are currently setting the intimacy level for that person as a mere acquaintance whose name does not need to be remembered. Compare that to Kirino, whom Ayase addresses by her first name without any suffix. Ayase is simply keeping ample, apathetic distance to anyone AND everyone save Kirino, since the latter is being the target of the former’s “affections”.

    Another thing to point out is that Ayase is stubborn enough not to drink the kool-aid well enough to savor how the contents are to be appreciated. We’re starting to forget that Kyousuke’s a bonafide normal whose brotherly instincts are at their peak. Of course he’s willing to drink the cool-aid. Ayase? I dunno. She’s not even as close to Genshiken’s Kasukabe as far as a normal is concerned. But I digress. Otakus in Japan ARE being looked at with disgust by most people, and being a normal whose sympathies are with them aren’t an exception to the rule.

  3. omo says:

    I like how there’s a non-otaku read to this episode that all of you are partaking in.

    I mean, how can you not read this episode as a giant Hayamin tribute?

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