Recap: Ayase is so concerned about Kirino’s latest gaming obsession that she seeks Kyousuke’s advice. He tries to confront Kirino, but ends up hooked on the game himself. This doesn’t go over well with Manami, who teams up with Ayase to set things straight.
Jel’s Thoughts: This episode was a classic example of Oreimo’s inability to decide whether it wants to cater to its demographic or make fun of it. On one hand, there’s really no other reason to cart out Ayase for an entire episode other than she’s about due for one. She served her purpose as the “voice of reason” early on in the series and hasn’t been necessary since. It’s pretty obvious the writers just wanted to get her all embarrassed and into yandere mode for her fans out there, not unlike Kyousuke poking at her virtual version in-episode. Meta!
Then on the other hand, Ayase isn’t really like that of course. She’s a normal girl concerned for her friend and just copying her murderous tendencies from the game! It’s that little wink and nudge that shows the staff is trying to convince us (and probably themselves) that they’re making something clever. I’m not going to totally throw them under the bus as adding in Manami as the actual voice of reason helped this episode quite a bit. The scene where she also ends up copying the game was pretty amusing. But other than that I felt like this was a pretty pointless episode, re-treading thematic ground we’ve already covered just to get Ayase more screen time.
Next week’s episode title is something about taking off glasses, so it seems like either Manami or Saori will be up to bat for their scheduled episode. I really hope it’s Saori as a Manami episode would pretty much present the same issues I had with this one. Saori is probably the most underdeveloped of the main cast, not to mention one of the most likable, so I wouldn’t mind if we go in that direction next… well, just so long as we don’t leave Kuroneko’s confession dangling for too long.