This OVA completely slipped under my radar. Thankfully 53RG10′s post was a timely reminder. It was terrific that this episode was Tama-nee-centric though, sadly, the production values seem to have slipped in comparison to the first episode of the previous OVA series. Which was Not Good because ToHeart2 is not particularly impressive in terms of story or characterization. But Shizuka Itou’s great voice work really conveyed that oneechan-type titillation (Tama-nee was the role that made me take note of her as a seiyuu); more importantly, the OVA episode made me reconsider my previous position that Konomi is a better match for Takaaki than Tama-nee.
Actually one of the Minus factors that prevents Tama-nee from topping my Favourite Oneechans List (which I haven’t actually written) is that I can’t understand why she likes Takaaki. Probably the back story is covered in the game itself. If it was covered in the TV series, it certainly wasn’t very memorable. As far as I can tell, it’s because they were childhood friends. Thankfully, there wasn’t some kind of ‘promise’ IIRC. A bishoujo goes down in my estimation when I don’t understand her attraction to the harem lead but at least Takaaki isn’t a jerk and they go a long way back.
My other concern about Tama-nee x Takaaki is that their relationship would be heavily unbalanced. Tama-nee would simply overwhelm him. Amnesiac Takaaki himself acknowledges how she seems to be out of his league. Thus I had felt that a relationship with Konomi would be more balanced.
But this episode was both enjoyable and interesting because it brought out Tama-nee’s vulnerable side without undoing her coolness – a delicate balance whenever this is done for a strong chara because, if overdone, it can ruin a character, the fall from cool to pathetic can be swift and ruthless – in this vein, I think the whole ‘refusal to use magic‘ thing probably knocked Asa Shigure down several notches for Stripey and allowed his goth-loli-siscon to triumph. That didn’t affect me as much because I felt that it was better handled in the anime than in the Asa route of the Navel game.
I like to make the comparison with Asa because they are both a year older than the harem lead, have an ‘oneechan’ type relationship with him at the beginning and come from eroge conversions. Also because my knowledge of eroge harem anime is, well, rather limited.
For me, this OVA showed how long standing Tama-nee’s feelings for Takaaki are. From what little that I do know from the backstory, she was his childhood friend but separated from him for a long time to attend an all-girl’s boarding school, returning when he entered high school. The above scene was also important in raising Takaaki’s stature in my mind. He stopped her from tearing up the love letter (even though he didn’t know exactly what it was) showed that he understood her and that kind of deep understanding, in accordance with Stripeysian doctrine, is an important cornerstone for any kind of meaningful friendship or romantic relationship. It seems that if they do get together, there are strong foundations and that the relationship won’t be as unequal and imbalanced as I initially speculated. In short, I’m willing to give them the benefit of doubt.
If Rie Kugimiya is noted for the Princess of Loli-Tsundere roles, then I would say that Shizuka Itou is the Queen of Onee-Tsundere. The back and forth tsun and dere in Tama-nee are glorious. I’m sure that she was cast for the role of our great pink-haired goddess Hinagiku Katsura for that purpose too.
So Tama-nee’s deadly grip has a name: Iron claw. So appropriate! Ordinarily this would have also been a minus point because I’m extremely leery of characters who use disproportionate violence against their significant others/objects of interest like Akane Tendou, Chidori Kaname (in FMP! only, thankfully it’s toned in TSR) and Louise from ZnT. This is ameliorated by Tama-nee’s regret and horror, in the immediate aftermath, at what’s she’s done. But also because this was the exception that proves the rule – Takaaki asks why he was the only one whom she never ever attacked with the Iron Claw.
Absolutely over the moon at how Tama-nee pwns all the other girls. I do actively dislike the twins and the blue-haired tsundere – I can’t even be bothered to remember what their names are! Manaka is sweet if a little plain and the school council president also seems nice but she’s probably a better match with her pink-haired loli friend.
IMHO Tama-nee’s strongest and most serious competitor is Konomi. Given that, prior to this OVA, I felt Konomi was a better match for Takaaki. She has an innocence that is endearing though the final arc (Eps 10-12) of the TV series also show that she has a sense of entitlement towards Takaaki’s feelings that mirrors Tama-nee’s. If there’s going to be a ‘I chose you!’ resolution to the whole ToHeart2 harem situation in favour of either childhood friend, it would be appropriate – nay, necessary – for Tama-nee and Konomi to have an epic confrontation and catharsis like Asa versus Kaede, one of my favourite doramaz scenes from SHUFFLE!
It’s clearly a two girl race! May the best Oneesama win! :3