Kuragehime 2 – Bribery Is the Best Policy

I’m 100 percent convinced that this part of the OP is indeed a reference to the 1973 movie Emperor of the North. Even watched the movie myself to confirm it! (By the way, it’s not a bad flick at all — can’t really go wrong with Ernest Borgnine as a crazed railroad conductor who bludgeons hobos to death with a hammer, and Lee Marvin as a competitive hobo who will ride on one of Borgnine’s trains at any cost.) Once again, good on Taka for catching that reference and inadvertently giving me another good movie to see!

Anyway, jeez, noitaminA is sure taking quite a few breaks these days, isn’t it? But you can’t rush quality, so I won’t complain much. This episode pushes the awkwardness between the “hipsters” and the “nerds” to a higher level (I like E-Minor’s comparison of Kuragehime‘s characterization to one of those teen comedies where most characters fit into a certain group and then their traits are exaggerated to fit the group). Kuranosuke is completely outgoing, curious about other people and totally ignores all those social barriers people like to put up, whereas all the nerds are utterly insular around anyone but each other and consumed by their particular interests.

. . . OK, maybe that second bit isn’t that exaggerated!

I kid, I kid. But putting these two extreme personalities together is a bit of a problem on both sides, though I think as this episode plays out, it’s a bit more of a problem on the side of the geeks, although Kuranosuke is of course not without fault in the scenario. Kuranosuke barging in uninvited (although he did say to Tsukimi that he would drop by again) and proceeding to snack on everything is fairly rude, so I can’t blame the gals for being a bit frosty to him there. You plan something with your best friends, and you want to enjoy a good evening without any interruptions. I’d probably be annoyed, too.

At the same time, though, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Freezing out Kuranosuke and storming out for petty reasons isn’t really the best response to the situation. But I guess I can’t come down too hard on ‘em since I assume they’ve been pushed into the outcast role their whole lives. (Although Tsukimi not even talking to a boy since grade school is a bit outlandish, haha. I guess she could have gone to some all-girls schools, though.) I don’t think the show is pretending that it isn’t a problem with them, too, however. It’s a common human hypocrisy — we don’t like being judged by other people, and yet we do it to others all the time. (Including on here! I don’t exclude myself from this. :p) Several people have pointed out the “don’t judge a book by its cover” aspect of Kuragehime‘s first episode, and that is definitely continued here.

It’s not totally mean-spirited on the girls’ part, though. Once Tsukimi is able to distract everyone by bringing up some good memories, it seems as if everyone loosens up a bit and starts having some fun. It’s when Kuranosuke brings up the forbidden word (otaku!) that everyone really starts to react badly. They seem to incorrectly assume that Kuranosuke is going to mock them like most other “hipsters” do (or else why would he bring up their geekiness?), so they react to try and prevent that from happening. It’s another defense mechanism; unfortunately, it most works against them here.

But although Kuranosuke bringing the girls some good meat is basically an act of bribery, as Tsukimi points out, it’s still a fairly classy move on his part. No hard feelings, sorry for suddenly barging in and wrecking the evening and all that. I come in peace! Take me to your leader! Even the professional fujoshi approves.

Buuuuuuuuut, it appears as though everything will get a bit more complicated with Kuranosuke’s pops being a bigwig in the Diet. Can’t have a “don’t judge a book by its cover” story without potentially disapproving parents, after all.

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13 Responses to “Kuragehime 2 – Bribery Is the Best Policy”

  1. I’m very interested in how this show will handle Kuranosuke’s backstory. He initially seemed like a confident, self-assured guy even with a wierd hobby, but after seeing his family circumstances we can speculate his crossdressing behavior might be an act of rebellion against his conservative family. That his father doesn’t see him enough to even know about his habits, Kuranosuke might even be an outcast himself, which could explain his interest in Tsukimi and co.

    • And now we know who that guy is in The Graduate bit. The more we get to know these characters, the better they seem to fit all the roles in the OP.

    • I don’t want to assume anything about the dad yet, but what we’ve seen so far does seem to indicate that the dad is somewhat distant from Kuranosuke. Also, politicians + children outside of “the norm” is not usually a kosher combo in fiction, of course.

  2. The brother was pretty interesting, because he simultaneously seemed to have taken a negative view of the cross-dressing, while still being fairly brotherly to Kuronosuke (willing to talk to him, at the very least).

  3. Love your interpretation of this episode. I think it gives exactly the right amount of credit to both sides of the hot pot debacle. Common human hypocrisy indeed. I also get the feeling that Kuranosuke belongs there more than the ladies suspect. I hope they aren’t going to try and keep the whole “he’s a dude” thing secret for long. It always seems painful to watch, then again that is dramatic irony for you. The girls need a little bit of life injected into their domicile and like you said need to roll with the punches. I feel like they are rather static at the moment.

    • lol, yeah, if the show keeps the “He’s really a dude in disguise!” thing going on too long, it’ll become ridiculous and sitcomy in a hurry. (Well, more than it already is, anyway.)

  4. This show is slowly drawing me in. I agree with your observation that things were screwed up by both parties. I didn’t see it that way in the beginning, seeing as how our little crossdressing friend seems to have one of those extremely adventurous, outgoing personalities that we see so much in anime. Its only natural that as he happily explores these unfamiliar boundaries he inadvertantly tramples them as well.

    I also immediately knew what the problem was with Kuronosuke’s presence. I don’t doubt those girls have had those reactions pounded into their bodies through plenty of rough experiences. To be honest, they are freaks. Passionate, harmless freaks, but freaks nonetheless. It really makes you take the term otaku quite a bit more seriously when you see how extremely nerdy and socially inept they are.

    I suspect Kuranosuke’s (it’s gonna take me awhile to get used to typing that name) hobby is also a way of escapism from his prominent family. It seems all to easy to draw that conclusion after this episode. For him it seems it may be more than about him enjoying being pretty.

    • “For him it seems it may be more than about him enjoying being pretty.”

      Yes, that seems to be a fair conclusion to make right now. I guess what remains to be seen is how aware he is of this. His short interaction with his brother seems to indicate that he is knowingly doing this to tweak his folks.

  5. I look forward to the involvement of the potentially disapproving family too. But I wana know more about Tsukimi’s backstory! Yes, I know I should be more patient, but I hated the way her comment about her mum was interupted… Anyway, a great second epi that confirms the awesomeness of this series. More please!!!

    • There’s probably not too much to tell about Tsukimi; she’s the classic, “Oh, I’m so boring, I’m not interesting at all . . .” character.

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