[Anime Review]: Oreimo (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai)

Oreimo

Director: Hiroyuki Kanbe

Writer (of original novel): Tsukasa Fushimi

Animation Studios: AIC Build

Version Watched: Subbed

I remember when the internet exploded over Oreimo’s ending. There were a few possibilities for what could have happened that would have at least satisfied a portion of the show’s audience; unfortunately none of those options were chosen and as a result many viewers felt betrayed. However, Oreimo was still a very enjoyable show and it would be a shame if you chose to avoid it because of the reactions of others. While it’s predominantly composed of the usual slice-of-life type content, there are enough differences that make it a tad more unique than its counterparts in the same genre.

Kyosuke hasn’t really spoken to his sister, Kirino, in years. Nearing the end of his time at high school, he barely considers the two of them to be related. She’s rude, she’s arrogant and she outshines him in every way. While she may be a model and high school idol by day, Kyosuke doesn’t know that at night her thoughts are consumed by hobbies that no one would ever dream of her having. Anime, video games and visual novels fill her with joy and fulfilment, as she lives in her own little world late into the night. There are sides to Kirino that her older brother has never seen before, and when he stumbles upon one the others might just follow.

 Oreimo3

Alright, let’s get this out of the way straight off the bat: A dislike for the idea of incest is not a valid reason to avoid watching Oreimo. I’m not going to elaborate on that; you’ll just have to trust me (or send me a message somewhere and ask me about it). In any case, it’s one of the factors that makes the show unique. Yes, a decent amount of Japanese productions feature a younger sister character but very few of them decide to tackle sibling relationships as a major issue. Being a comedy rather than a drama, Oreimo doesn’t do a terribly comprehensive job of exploring the topic but it’s there and it’s different and that’s good. The other immediately novel feature is the focus on Otaku culture. Again, the plot points raised by it are more shallow than deep, though drawing parallels between my own hobbies and their effect on my life, and what was going on in the show, was incredibly entertaining at times.

 As far as its more normal components go Oreimo winds up somewhere on the border of good and average overall. Though the comedy was enjoyable it wasn’t special compared to other series and the plot doesn’t really advance in a meaningful way until the second season.  As I mentioned earlier there were two main directions the series could have taken at its conclusion. Both would have been inflammatory in their own way, though I believe that would have been preferable to what was really a cop-out  ending that failed to appeal to its viewers. It didn’t quite ruin the series as I had been led to believe it would but it certainly wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been. However, as I also said earlier, I don’t think that means you should avoid the series altogether.

oreimo2 Oreimo has a very strong cast of characters. There’s a lot of variety to them and they have a complexity that brings them beyond the normal stereotypes you might expect (except for the protagonist; he’s more or less your usual main character material in that he’ll take pretty much any abuse from the main heroine and still be willing to lick their boots). Unfortunately, given how the story pans out, the quality of the characters doesn’t add as much to the experience as it might in another anime. Apart from one or two “origin” episodes, most of the non-main characters seem to be more of an afterthought than anything else. Oreimo tries to bring them all back into the spotlight in its last few episodes but even that seems half-hearted due to its brevity. Whether this also happens in the source material or whether it’s an artefact of the adaptation, I’m not entirely sure. One other thing I have to mention is that the protagonist seems rather inconsistent at times. Kind, caring and considerate for much of the show, he suddenly becomes the “pervert” that many anime males are accused of being for flashes of time, and during those periods I was acutely aware of how out of character it seemed for him.

 Most series have one or two opening and ending sequences throughout their 12 or 24 episode runs. Oreimo gets major props here for have new EDs after every episode and OPs that change as the story progresses. The visuals are of a notably high quality, with good character designs and outfits. Considering its name of “My Little Sister Couldn’t Possibly Be This Cute” I was pleasantly surprised by how little fan service showed up. I’m not a hater of fan service but I do think that anime with less of it tend to be better overall. I have no concerns regarding either the voice acting or the soundtrack (heck, the OPs are ridiculously catchy).

 Summary: Oreimo is a normal slice of life series with a few extra features to differentiate itself from other similar shows. It’s not an amazing experience but the production quality is high and I would be surprised if you didn’t laugh out loud at some point while watching it and become attached to one or more of the characters. Despite the issues it has in the way it handles its cast, its ending and how shallow it is overall, I enjoyed it and think it’s worth the time it takes to watch.

 Score: 8/10 – Good

 Since I think it’s an interesting issue, I’ve decided to include a comment I made a while ago on the subject of incest in anime:

“While i’m an only child and therefore don’t have any real experience to go with, I can imagine loving a little sister and wanting to protect her. Moving into romantic feelings, however, would be unthinkable for me personally. Though I know this is a cliché, love is not something that can be controlled and it is therefore entirely possible for a legitimate relationship to develop between siblings. It’s not societally acceptable for various reasons, but a genuine, loving, consensual relationship between two such people very much has the potential to occur. It’s unlikely, yes, but for that reason I feel that it isn’t right to discriminate against possible couples, because who are we to dictate that no such relationship could be worthwhile?”

A comment on an article on Fantastic Memes (Froggy-kun’s blog).

Oreimo1

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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13 Responses to [Anime Review]: Oreimo (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai)

  1. Overlord-G says:

    First season’s pretty good. The “True Route” OVAs were completely unnecessary as the second season showed but I still respect the writer for having the balls to do what he did.
    Fav character’s Kuroneko (The alter ego and not Ruri Gokou) and I also enjoy Kyosuke’s ranting. Reminds me of Kyon’s ranting.
    Like that most of the characters are figureheads of the otaku culture and whatnot. Basically Kirino’s whining aside the 1st season was good.

    • Silvachief says:

      I don’t think I actually watched the OVAs, would you recommend picking them up even though i’ve finished the main series?
      I’ll agree with you there, Kuroneko was easily my favorite character, and i’ll agree again on Kirino’s whining. I liked both seasons though, as well as the Otaku themes. Did you feel that there were any characters who weren’t given enough screen time?

      • Kai says:

        A bit late reply here, but I think the OVAs focused on the character Ruri Gokou instead of her alter ego Kuroneko. I ended up forcing myself to watch it since I remembered there was some inconsistencies with the plot when I was watching the first episode of S2. If you like Kuroneko and wants to know more of the character beneathe the alter ego, then they are great. I know I personally like it, dere dere Ruri is the ❤ I have no idea how Kyousuke could break up with such "hngness".

        • Kai says:

          Ack, why is there a hearts icon, lol.

          • Silvachief says:

            I just had that problem replying to another one of your comments. I think it’s new >.>

            Yeah…i’m pretty confused about what would make Kyousuke break up with her. Kirino is…well, not my kind of person XD I may have to check out the OVAs then. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. fire says:

    Haven’t been here lately – just started university!

    I’ve heard that Oreimo is surprisingly mature in how it handles its central issue – it’s not the usual moefest.

    How did you enjoy Grisaia and Steins;Gate?

    • Silvachief says:

      You’ve been missed =P How’s it going so far?

      Compared to other shows i’ve seen i’d be willing to agree with that opinion to a point. There are a lot of usual harem-type scenes that you might see elsewhere but the whole brother-sister relationship thing is handled less shallowly than the usual “forbidden fruit and therefore attractive” method where the issue is more or less ignored. I wouldn’t call it a particularly moe show though, that’s for sure XD

      Reviews on both of them coming up but my umbrella opinion is that they were both okay. Grisaia’s storylines were a letdown considering its overall production quality while Steins;Gate had great ideas that weren’t taken far enough and suffered from pacing problems.

      • fire says:

        Uni has been good! Readings/essays/tutorials have been interesting, and not terribly difficult – though I imagine that’ll change. My fear that I wouldn’t have enough time to spend on studying Japanese was massively unfounded – there’s plenty of free time, with good time management.

        Grisaia’s storyline definitely didn’t match up to its production values. They even had an OP that gave details like the heroines’ three measurements…

        Did you find the quality of the routes in Grisaia to vary tremendously? Pretty sure I’m not the only one to have been disappointed by Yumiko’s route. Amane’s, on the other hand…

        • Silvachief says:

          It very much depends on your course, though things get harder as time passes regardless. My flatmate regularly had one or two hour days while I was at uni from nine till five…do you mind me asking what you’re studying?

          I’m pretty sure my thoughts are way out of whack with the the general opinion. As far as route quality goes I say Michiru > Yumiko > Sachi = Amane > Makina, and I didn’t even like Michiru till I got to her route. You’ll have to wait for the review to get any specifics out of me though =P

        • Silvachief says:

          By the way, are you on Steam or anything?

          • fire says:

            I’m studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics over at Oxford! Sounds terribly complex, but it isn’t. Most work is really up to the student, and whether they’re interesting in learning and putting the effort necessary for a 1st. Much unlike Law or Medicine, where it’s sleeping in the library for the former, and all day in labs for the latter.

            Michiru? Oh god. How did you find Yumiko’s route, then? I liked her as a character, and found her backstory moderately moving; but surely it doesn’t compare to a route like Amane’s? Or even Makina? I’ve not read the latter, but the consensus seems to be the storytelling and plot in those two, written by the main scenario writer, is much stronger – and I say this despite liking Yumiko more than Amane.

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