Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Review: Oniisama E, episodes 29-32

I RECENTLY received episodes 29-32 of Oniisama E from fansub distro Ken Hardwick. The TechnoGirls completed subbing these some time ago, but they only released them to their own fanclub. >P They were just released to the usual fansub distros in early July.

I'll avoid plot spoilers for these episodes, but I will assume that you've seen episodes though 28. In the 'coming next episode' teaser at the end of episode 28, we see Kaoru no Kimi standing before the school assembly, urging that the Seiran sorority be closed. These four episodes begin with that event, and repercussions it causes. Nanako, Tomoko, and Mariko become swept up in the  fight, and a battle of wills breaks out among the girls of Seiran Academy, dividing them into two camps. Slowly, painfully, with much heartbreak and tears (and backstabbing, and politicking), one camp begins to win the battle...

These four episodes stand together as a unit. They all deal with Orihara's attack on the sorority, its consequences, and its outcome. The previous eight episodes or so dealt with Miya-sama, Rei, their history and tragedy. It was deeply purple and gothic stuff, all about forbidden love, desire, jealousy, exploitation, and madness. Episodes 29-32 are basically politics. The amours of the group have faded into the background, at least for the moment. The other sorority members, whom we have barely met before, girls with names like Vampanera, Gorgon, and Borgia, start to get a piece of the action, each with her own little story-within-a-story, and we see how each reacts to the crisis. Fukiko, who looked to hovering on the edge of madness at the end of the previous episodes, is rehabilitated a little, and we end these episodes—or at least I did—with more respect for her than I had had at the end of episode 28, and more than I would have expected to have. Fukiko is shaping up almost like a shoujo Char Aznable, the morally complex villain that you like and admire, grudgingly perhaps, in spite of yourself. Or perhaps Macbeth would be a better comparison. Or perhaps both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth rolled into one. Or perhaps there's no other character she can be fairly compared to. Maybe she is unique.

No, I don't want to date her. ^^;; I wouldn't get within half a mile of her blast radius if you paid me. But as a fictional character, she's fascinating and compelling.

I'm developing more and more appreciation for the visual style of Oniisama E. There is more use of visual vignetting than I have seen in any other anime. Many scenes looks as if they take place in tiny pools of light, picked out by the animator's camera from a surrounding world of infinite  darkness.

This tape was apparently the TechnoGirls' first attempt at making a fansub by digital video capture and editing. They're proud of this, and they're right, the tape does look very good. The colors in particular seem more saturated than previous volumes of Oniisama E, and there is less chroma smearing (although still a little). There is one visible flaw, a stuck blue pixel in the lower part of the screen that persists through most of, IIRC, episode 31. I don't know whether it's a problem with the original laser disk, somewhere in the video capture and subbing process, or Ken Hardwick's copying.

In summation: I liked these episodes a lot, and if you are an Oniisama E fan, you must get it for yourself.

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