Good old-fashioned befriending.
We all know by now that OniAi isn’t shy with using “overused” tropes, but they’ve really outdone themselves this time. This week we travel back in time a bit to revisit Akito and Gin’s first interactions. As it turns out, they didn’t exactly get along very well at first. Gin didn’t really want to have anything to do with anyone, thinking that most “friendships” are just shallow relationships and that she’s better off all alone. Akito, having just moved to Tokyo was looking to make friends at his new school, so the clash between them seemed all but inevitable. The initial dynamic between them was interesting enough, but I’ll admit after a while (not very long, in fact) things started to appear a little incredulous. Normally if someone turns down your attempts to be a friend repeatedly, you just move on. The fact that Akito wanted to befriend Gin so doggedly because of some “gut feeling” started to get a little contrived after the umpteenth attempt. But I guess when you’re a kid you don’t really think about these things in too much detail, so I’m willing to overlook this.
Anyway, Silver Link pulled out all the stops and pushed a veritable harem of troparific girls (complete with a tsundere highly reminiscent of those voiced by a certain VA) onto Akito thanks to Gin’s attempts to distance him from herself. I don’t think I’ve laughed this much over simple parody in a long time. It almost makes you wonder if all the other “generic” developments and characterizations that we’ve seen are in fact also purposefully mocking. Most likely they aren’t, but I guess at least this means that OniAi is aware of its generic aspects and doesn’t hesitate to make the best of things by poking fun of them. As a side note, it’s also interesting that the opening very blatantly “imitates” The Idolm@ster style. I guess the staff over at Silver Link really enjoy their parodies.
Back to the episode itself, Akito recovers and picks the unlikely Arashi as the nursing MVP. It wasn’t too hard to see that she was just putting up a facade to claim some reward having to do with him (we’ve seen this development multiple times already), but how she used her opportunity with him was unexpected. As the other girls feared, I also expected her to “devour” poor Akito whole. But to put on a formal tea ceremony and then a flower arrangement? I guess there were hints that Arashi might have some “traditional Japanese” upbringing (like her clothing), but this is really unprecedented behavior on her part. I’m not buying her whole “gap moe” spiel either. Surely there is some ulterior reason for doing this given the number of episodes left (with the preview for the next one hinting at a focus on Ana), we may never find out. We also see that Arashi doesn’t truly have heterochromia, clearing up the potential continuity slip-up from a few episodes ago, but we’re still left in the dark as to why she wears an eye patch. Again, I don’t buy her explanation, but perhaps the whole development was just another parody? The fact that she colors her eye gold with a contact lens and wears an eye patch over it (along with the Chuunibyou explanation) is obviously a poke at Chuu2koi’s Rikka.
Whatever the case, I’m certainly looking forward to more Ana next time.
As much praise as I sing for what OniAi is doing, the “stigma” of ecchi, harem, and incest will always stick, allowing “elitists” to look upon the show (and its viewers) with scorn and disdain. There’s no doubt some are here just for the fan service and I wouldn’t even remotely suggest that OniAi is the show of the year, but I feel it would be a disservice to brush it aside as “just another semi-erotic, incestuous show” (which it is, but there’s more). At least it keeps me looking forward to more (and I don’t just mean the boobs), which is something that Little Busters! couldn’t even make a claim to do a few episodes ago.