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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Sister And The Moonlit Dance: NakaImo 2

After the mysterious phone call the person claiming to be his sister, Shogo school life gets more hectic with the arrival of a new transfer student. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler alert: Spoilers for the second episode of Kono Naka ni Hikari Imouto ga Iru! aka Who Is Imouto; don't watch without watching the episode first!
With the second episode of this season's incest roulette show, I can now say that it's official: I love Naka Imouto like I love ONTD blogs, Real Housewives, and certain yaoi manga-ka. It is ridiculous, the plot twists are contrived, and there are boobs flashing all over the place. Yet I cannot help but be entranced by the mystery of the secret imouto, so much that I spend half the episode wondering frantically if this could be the girl - or is it her? - so much that I feel like Shougo himself.
And then Mister X arrived, and I was truly in love. Because there is only one way to take a melodramatic fanservice incest roulette anime to the next level: a smooth-talking knife-wielding tenacious bodyguard trap. Traps make everything better! I'm pretty sure it's a scientific fact.

This week on Imouto, we have several of our requisite markers for any decent school harem program: a transfer student, a school dance, and grabbing some poor girl's boobs during a well-timed slip on the dance floor. There's also quite a lot to talk about with this episode, so let's get started with the 'big reveal' that closed up the cliffhanger in the premiere episode. Say hello to Mei Sagara, a girl who cosplays as a witch and is - not the imouto.
Phew. Called that one! But she does run a cosplay cafe which specializes in making everyone who comes in feel like a big brother or big sister. It's pretty impressive for a high school girl to also run her own business, so I'm certainly impressed so far by Sagara-san. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Mei and her cafe in the future. And her witch cosplay is incredibly adorable!
And then the investigating of his sister takes an odd turn, as Mikadono Group sends Mister X to help find out who the imouto is. Meet Mizutani Ikusu, resident trap and badass of the NakaImo gang. She's not afraid to dress up as a bishonen, hit on all the ladies, and hold up the heir to the Mikadono business at knifepoint in order to get her work done and be the best person at her job ever.
I don't always fall head over heels in love for traps, but when I do they're usually awesome folks like Mizu. Did I mention she wants to be a ninja? Double awesome. And look at her in the male school uniform, making girls swoon and performing spectacular acts of Ho Yay with Shougo. She could put the entire Ouran Host Club to shame with that display. It's fantastic. More Mizu, please? How about Mizu doing crossplay at Mei's cafe and charming all the girls and even some of the guys because she's that magnificent in a suit? These are things I need, show!
The other major event in this episode is the school council dance, complete with competitive ballroom dancing, boob grabbing, and the student council president working it on the dance floor like someone put the spirit of Nicki Minaj into her body. 
But the biggest thing about the school dance is who Shougo dances with and where. And this is where the strength of this episode comes in: it's how he interacts with each of his dance partners and how each dance ends that define the future relationships that will inevitably clash against each other as the girls realize their feelings for Shougo.
Look at the way Shougo dances with each of the three girls. With Konoe, it's a dance of grace and mutual affection developing into something beautiful at the very end. With vice president Rinka, it's a duel of skills and breeding with both of them dancing like their reputations depend on it. Outside with Miyabi, it's an honest and open dance without pretentions or social trappings that ends in Shougo making a fool of himself and Miyabi being her usual tsundere self, albiet with her boobs all up in Shougo's chest space.
In these three dances, NakaImo has not only set up the main three relationships of the series but showcased each girl's personality. Out of all the dances, I found Shougo and Rinka's to be the most fascinating and layered. They are both students who have been carefully groomed to be heirs of their family's companies; outward appearance and social status are both important factors to them, although Rinka seems to take them more seriously than Shougo does. 
When they dance, they realize instintively that it's no normal ballroom romp but a clash of similarly raised minds and so they turn the dance floor into a field to show what their lives have meant so far – who can best whom in such a typically upper-class activity as this one?
Some would say that Shougo easily won since Rinka's ankle gave out due to her going too fast and losing control, but I would say it is a draw. They both brought out each other's competitive streak and made the other realize that their dancing partner is a force to be reckoned with. If Shougo ended up with Rinka in the end, I would not be terribly devastated.
Of course, there was a ton of fanservice – even on my beloved Mizutani's end – and the mystery imouto made her usual breathless phone call at the end, revealing that she was at the dance and 'close' to Shougo. Which isn't saying much, since a) that room was packed and pretty much everyone sooner or later would have been in close proximity to him and b) if you hadn't guessed by now that one of the girl characters is the imouto, you probably skipped the first episode . . . and the first half of this episode as well.
But then we are thrown for another loop at the very end as Miyabi (after deciding her small breasts are good enough for Shougo – girl, believe me, there are guys who prefer flat chests out there!) trails off with a typical “after all, he's my---”, ending the episode. He's your what? HE'S YOUR WHAT, WOMAN? And then we see her soap pump, which looks a lot like something out of the sentai show Shougo was a fan of. Cue the Dark Shadows-esque theremin incidental music, it's a plot twist! Could tsundere girl be imouto? Who was phone? Will there be more soapy bosoms in episode three?
Okay, let's be for real, of course there's going to be soapy bosoms in episode three. I think it's gonna be either Rinka or her ditzy girlfriend/president. It's not an episode of NakaImo if we don't see at least one girl rubbing her boobs after a particularly suds-filled bath.
Oh, I just wrote over a thousand words about an episode of incest roulette madness. What has my life become? WAS I IMOUTO THE WHOLE TIME-?
And I'm ending this post with this screen capture, because it is awesome and makes my heart go doki~doki~  and stuff.

P.S. Okay, you're gonna love this post note: Crunchyroll has licensed Imouto for streaming with subs! You can watch the first two episodes RIGHT NOW on their website! So go and do it, for great justice in the name of Mizutani-san. Or else!