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.