This series is sometimes really rather awkward to watch, almost painfully so.
I don't think it's wrong to say that Oreshura is a fairly conventional and straightforward harem series, but sometimes when I'm watching it, I feel that that's a bit of a simplistic description. I don't necessarily think that there's something different or special about it either, but it's nevertheless a slightly unnerving experience for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the blatant bitchiness of characters like Masuzu or Mana; while such characters aren't new to this genre, their cruelty is quite stark in Oreshura, and perhaps that's because they're not overtly evil or dramatized to seem that way. They're just mean people, and not necessarily one dimensional ones (though they're not too fleshed out either). I think Eita hit the mark with what he says about chuunibyou as well; people need fantasy and escapism to deal with the real world, to deal with our families and insecurities and lack of connect with others. That's why we watch things like anime, play games or sports, read, etc. These things inflate our egos a little bit, let us feel special in our otherwise boring or unfulfilled lives, and there's nothing wrong with that. The winners of this world are the ones who've had the most fun, and maybe that's what the story beneath the harem is really about. It's fine if you're a total bitch like Masuzu, or shy and lonely like Hime, or even just too afraid to deal with your feelings like Chiwa is; if you're enjoying yourself, none of that means a thing.
Of course, that doesn't make watching Masuzu humiliate Eita with his notebook less cringe-worthy, or Mana's cruel comments on Hime's poem less twisted, but it does offer a nice message on escapism, though, in my opinion, less poignant than that same message in Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! After all, this series is first and foremost a harem/romcom, and there's plenty of conventions holding it back. This episode was, more than anything, Himeko's real introduction to the group, and she's not nearly as interesting as Masuzu or as ridiculous as Chiwa. She's just a shy girl who really wants to believe in her chuunibyou delusions because the world is a gray and lonely place for her otherwise. While that's not too interesting to watch, she's actually quite easy to sympathize with. Her interest in Eita is born from her fascination with his ability to profess his chuunibyou in public, but her motivation comes from the fact that she doesn't feel like she belongs. In Masuzu's club she finally finds a place where she enjoys herself and has people who take notice of her, and it gives her the courage to defend against Mana's attacks.
As for Masuzu, she's affected by Hime's courage and retaliates against her sister, and in doing so we learn that Masuzu's estrangement from her family is self-imposed; she's run away because her mother was somehow expelled from the family and she's determined to meet her again. Perhaps her mother was cast aside by divorce or adultery, or perhaps Masuzu's father couldn't be bothered to attend to her, but it's clear that this issue has had its effect on both sisters, and that each has learned to deal with it differently. However, I felt that Masuzu's change of mind wasn't very well developed. While Hime is supposedly the source of inspiration for her decision to stay, the fact that Mana was such a powerful oppressor, enough to bring the usually cruel Masuzu to her knees, should have been much stronger a factor in her decision than it was. In short, the whole thing was somewhat abrupt and not entirely believable, and I hope this kind of development doesn't become too common in the rest of the series. As it is, our final character is about to enter the fray, and whether or not she becomes another side character like Hime or a real contender remains to be seen.