Ayase v. Kuroneko: Two Ways to Love
Oreimo is best when the focus shifts away from Kirino and the creepy main storyline and toward the supporting characters. Thus, it’s unsurprising that this past week’s episode was among the best, I think, of the entire series run. It was also a piece of fanservice for me, getting to see two of my favorite characters in the show really interact for the first time – and in a pretty extended sequence, to boot.
Ayase arrives at Kyousuke’s apartment to give him a knife (a nice yandere twist) as a housewarming gift (and because she likes him – otherwise, why not wait until the party?). Sparks (and jealousies) fly when Kuroneko also shows up. The follow-through is gold, as each girl vies for Kyousuke’s attention in their own particular way, while the duo’s exaggerated personalities clash (there’s no way the two could get along even without Kyousuke in the picture).
At one point in their argument, Ayase and Kuroneko temporarily forget Kyousuke and instead focus on their friendships with Kirino. Each claim her as their best friend, with Kuroneko bringing up her reasoning for, apparently, why she loves Kirino more. For you see, she’ll support any choice Kirino makes, with no regard to morality. Ayase represents an opposite point of view – she’s shown that she wants Kirino to retain the perfect image she shows at school, going to desperate means, sometimes, to meet her goal.
I’m reminded of two similarly disparate viewpoints in modern society. There are some individuals who find the highest fulfillment of love in acceptance. Be who you are, no matter what that means. Of course, most people have reasonable limitations, but some do not. Websites that exist to give how-to instructions on self-harm, for instance, would be at the very edge of this kind of thinking.
On the other hand, Ayase reminds me much of conservative Christian culture. Sometimes it’s pharisaical (correction: A LOT OF TIMES), as the picture of morality must be maintained, even if it means achieving actions through underhanded and hateful means. The outside becomes more important than the inside, running contrary to Jesus’ message:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
– Matthew 23: 25-26
Morality is important, but not because it’s a way to maintain a front. Moral law is established by God and we as believers try to follow because, as such, it is right. We also follow out of love and devotion to God.
Acceptance is important, too. Christians who avoid people who are different from them – and most of us do this to some extent – are picking and choosing who to love. And that’s terribly wrong.
But there’s an important blending of these types of love. Accepting others as they are doesn’t mean we should accept what they’re doing. Here, Kuroneko is wrong. For instance, we wouldn’t say self-harm is fine and dandy for someone close to us, so why would we do the same for sin? Or to use Kuroneko’s example – her discussion of incest is funny because it’s outrageous and crosses an obvious line.
In life, many ideas are blurred when it comes to right and wrong, but others are clearer. And it’s important to note that crossing these lines leads to sin – not so that we can condemn and puff our own egos up, but so that people know what love is – that which is in Christ, who came to rescue us from our own misdeeds, accepting us in spite of who we are.