OreImo: and that’s why I hate tsunderes

“My little sister can’t be this cute” – sounds like a title that I normally wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Especially considering the controversial hobby of the titular little sister: “eroge” (i.e. erotic games) involving brothers and their little sisters…

So please allow me to get my weird, otaku-ish reason out of the way: Yuukyan is ♥!!

Alright, putting that fixation as far to the side as possible, how does this (otaku-pandering) title hold up? Not too badly, to be honest, especially to those who are almost 100% certain that a second season WILL be announced sometime soon (i.e. readers of the novel series upon which this anime was based). However, a couple of aspects of OreImo certain got on my nerves.

For example, I agree that this would be irresistable…

“Ore no Imouto ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai”, or OreImo for short, is the story of a brother and sister reconnecting with each other after a Cold War that has lasted for longer than either really remembers. With a twist, of course: the trigger for this journey happens to be Kyousuke finding out that his sister, Kirino, LOVES anime and playing eroge. Eroge where the protagonist typically ends up in a relationship with his little sister, to be precise. For those viewers who manage to suspend their disbelief at the possibility of such a junior-high school girl existing, the potential difficulty (or, perhaps, the irresistable draw) of the situation is obvious.

…but it really felt like "too little, too late"…I mean: what the hell?

To this viewer, however, this series really doesn’t appear to be going down the incest route. What we do find is Kyousuke and Kirino becoming more like brother and sister…well, in the sense that Kyousuke finds himself doing just about anything for Kirino. From defending her hobby to their father and fighting for her relationship with her best friend to begging an animation production committee to adapt her cell-phone novel more faithfully…the list seems endless. Unfortunately, the cell-phone novel plot in the anime actually represented a step backwards – as many anime-only followers pointed out, it might have been more fulfilling to have Kirino face the harshness of reality rather than have her brother bailing her out yet again.

Most novel readers actually dismiss that episode entirely, for the novel actually involved plagiarism of Kirino’s novel rather than an anime adapation. This was used to reveal some of Kirino’s good traits and develop Kyousuke and Kuroneko, the first two of which were completely lost by the changes made in the anime. Even worse, the overexcitement that marked Kirino’s proposals ensured that she came across as bossy and arrogant. Rather than showing how dedicated she was to creating something that her fans would enjoy, it only reinforced the negative impression given by her unreasonable behaviour towards Kyousuke.

And it didn't let up for most of the series…

That unreasonable behaviour, which ranges from slapping and kicking Kyousuke to trying to ruin his relationship with his childhood friend, Manami, is the biggest problem I personally have with OreImo. “100% tsun and 0% dere” is a phrase that the show itself throws up (episode 9 – and do watch the special animated commentary for this episode ^^), and that is precisely what Kirino is like for most of the series. As I noted previously with regards to Otome Youkai Zakuro, how do you expect someone to understand how you feel if you constantly treat him like trash? I know that OreImo isn’t finished, but I have my doubts about whether Kirino will ever realise that simple fact.

But that matters not…because Kuroneko has already stolen most of our hearts…

Thankfully, there is one huge redeeming aspect of OreImo: Kuroneko. She may seem pretentious, what with the front she often puts on when interacting with her friends, but her actions show just how sincere and observant she really is. From wordlessly winning the game that Kirino desperately wanted to pushing Kyousuke to travel to America to find Kirino, coupled with the development of her own social skills – all up, the character of Kuroneko was quite a revelation.

Just to wrap things up whilst we wait for the second half of OreImo to be animated: the author of the novel series, Fushimi Tsukasa, once commented that the time he himself comes to like Kirino may be when that the novel ends. At this point, I quite share the sentiment. That said, Kuroneko and Yuukyan will have me watching the second season when it arrives, so bring it on!

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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