I put off watching Ore no Imouto while it aired. The surrounding hype and endless references or comments such as “my cosplay can’t be this cute”, “my rollerskating dog can’t be this funny” or “my home made dung bomb can’t stink this bad” were beginning to grate. So despite my interest in the series – and the protests of my relatively picky best friend claiming that it was awesome – I deferred. While maybe not as awesomely brilliant as its reputation may suggest, OreImo isn’t as generic as I’d anticipated, and I’m glad that the hype didn’t put me off.
What strikes me most about the anime is how much it feels like an amalgamation of several different existing series, without being derivative. Instead the show grabs the best bits from each and makes them its own. Utilising the same basic premise as Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu – a perfect schoolgirl hiding her otaku hobby with the help of one guy who happened to discover her secret – OreImo questions the negative stigma attached to extreme geeks and the girl’s battle between personal shame and what she loves. However, it scrapes away the dull and frankly excruciating “romance” section of Nogizaka, replacing it with Genshiken’s joy of exploring different aspects of the otaku culture. Topping it off with a spritz of hardcore nerd-dom akin to that of Konata from Lucky Star, a sprinkle of tsundere, and the kind of occasionally perverted comedy seen in countless other series, OreImo manages to entertain for all twelve episodes.
The series plays heavily on its eroge aspect – even so far as to create different endings with the ‘True Route’ included as DVD extras. As such, the storyline often mirrors whatever game the siblings are playing at the time. This subtle symmetry between virtual dating-sims and Kirino’s life not only seamlessly weaves one of the key components throughout the narrative, but also generates plenty of comedy. One of the show’s funniest moments depicts Kirino’s immense frustration as she encounters a character in one of her games that bears a worrying resemblance to her.
Despite offering up countless laughs, Ore Imo still has its share of pitfalls. While the first half of the series ambles along in an episodic manner, parts seven and eight veer off and introduce a more distinct plotline. Sadly, this only lasts for two episodes before being dropped in favour of the plodding format and same old jokes of earlier instalments. The anime also plummets into the same trap that plagues many light-hearted shows and pulls an emotional finale out of nowhere. Though this allows for more of the luscious eroge symmetry, the series’ “ending” feels tacked on and disconnected from the previous content.
What most defines OreImo’s animation is the care that applied to the virtual worlds within the series. AIC pours so much detail into the fake series, Meruru and Maschera, that each clip feels as if it could actually be a currently airing anime. This not only alludes to the studio’s varied abilities, but also makes the parody of their genres and the cast’s comments on them all the more humorous. Meanwhile, Kirino’s plethora of little sister themed eroge are so stuffed full of beautifully drawn young girls that you can almost hear the “fap fap fap” of some lonely guy “appreciating” the concentrated, scantily-clad moe of it all.
The series’ opening theme, Irony by Claris, falls into the realms of standard electronic J-Pop. Light and bouncy enough to make for easy listening, it serves as a decent opening to this type of anime but won’t blow you away.
OreImo’s voice cast delivers an impressive performance. While Kuroneko’s calm, refined inflections and Saori’s bizarre archaic speech pattern infuse them with character, the real stars of the show are Ayana Taketatsu and Yuuichi Nakamura’s depictions of Kirino and Kyousuke. Taketatsu seamlessly flits between stony, demanding tsundere, composed and popular model, and giggly moe fanatic, to ensure that Kirino’s multifaceted personality shines through in the vocal performance. Likewise, Nakamura’s frustrated and harassed, yet deadpan, reading of Kyousuke plays perfectly alongside Kirino providing a relatively calming influence in contrast to the secret otaku’s inner crazy.
There are several archetypes I dislike and my two most hated are tsundere and kuudere, both of which feature heavily in this show. I can’t help but admit that I dislike both Kuroneko’s indifferent and “cold as a penguin’s nether-regions” attitude and Kirino’s crotch-kicking, cheek-slapping tsun-tsun nature (I desperately want to slam Kirino into a wall half the time for being such a bitch). Independently, they are unremarkable stereotypes. However, together they make for one of the most entertaining on-screen partnerships I’ve seen this past year. Their heated arguments where each party vehemently insists that they know which anime is best and the other has no taste make the scenes come alive. On top of proving highly entertaining, their relationship is also incredibly relatable. Kuroneko’s insistence that Meruru is a waste of airtime reminds me of countless arguments I’ve had with a friend over the merits of Naruto. That the duo’s antics not only compensate for, but far outshine, their individual traits proves that even archetypal characters can be refreshing.
The most notable aspect of Ore Imo’s narrative is the development of Kyousuke and Kirino’s relationship. Starting out as two siblings that detest the sight of each other, the pair gradually grows closer thanks to Kyousuke’s kind-hearted, enthusiastic, and at times downright masochistic efforts to help his younger sister. Again, this mirrors the eroge format, as each flag – in this case their latest otaku-related misadventure – prompts a slight development in their kinship. Seeing them finding common ground to bond over and the subtle differences in their reactions towards each other is the highlight of the anime’s characterisation.
The secondary and tertiary characters generally do as they are supposed to: support the primary players without overshadowing them. Certain one-shot individuals shine, such as Manami’s grandfather whose mischievous antics provide a hefty dose of comedy during the episode in which he appears. However, others feel incomplete due to the constraints of a twelve-episode series. While Saori and Kuroneko work well in their own rights, we only ever see their “Internet persona”. This would be all well and good if OreImo didn’t hint that there’s more to their “real life” than we’re seeing and then fail to follow it up. In a sense it’s like the series is an alpha release of a dating sim; they’ve set up an additional two routes, but after triggering the first flag you hit an error screen unable to proceed further with the girl of your choice.
I’m pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this anime is. It may not be spectacular (other series, such as Genshiken, represent otaku culture much better), but if you fancy light entertainment with pretty visuals and comedy, OreImo is a solid choice.
"My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute," or "OreImo," is a show custom-designed to appeal exclusively to anime otakus. It centers on a middle-school girl's obsession with anime and little sister eroge (erotic video games), while her brother helps her try to maintain a balanced life and avoid destroying herself within her obsession.
Some of the humor is very funny, indeed, and meant to give you the feeling of "I've been there." If you are a large anime/manga/whatever fan who is surrounded by people who don't "get it," that can be reason enough to watch this show. It offers some chuckles and good-natured ribbing at the expense of the otaku community. But that is all it offers.
Kyousuke, the older brother, functions as the straight-man to the craziness of his sister, Kirino, and her odd friends. He does his best to help her out, but as someone who is supposedly on the outside looking in to their weird world of anime, some of his decisions are quite strange. For instance, early on the parents discover one of his sister's 18+ games, which Kyousuke is also apparently bothered by, yet his decision is to lie to them and claim that it doesn't belong to her, so that she can continue playing them. How does this make any sense, when the parents clearly said they were fine with everything but the adult material for their middle-school daughter? (Because it's the foundation of the show's jokes; can't get rid of that.) And what kind of message is this anime sending? "Do what you want. Lie all you can. What do parents know about the world?" I'm sorry, but I don't agree. And if the show is trying to demonstrate that this material is perfectly healthy, it utterly fails to do so, because Kirino is completely unlikable.
To quote the show, Kirino is "100% 'tsun' (cold/hostile) and 0% 'dere' (cute)." Although it is quite fun watching her spaz out over various otaku fascinations, such as a cosplay contest or obtaining collectables, a completely different character could be inserted in her place and it would be just as fun to watch, if not more so. She is the ultimate self-obsessed poser. When the show starts, she is hiding her hobbies so that she can be friends with the popular kids, who, like Kirino, are all models--of course. When she confides in her brother, she treats him like dirt for his efforts at helping her out. When her friends decide that maybe her hobbies aren't so bad, she treats them like dirt, as well. Everyone around her is doing their best to be supportive, and all she can do is throw tantrums. If I were her brother and friends, I would leave her to her own sorry state and get on with my life. Is Kyosuke's sister "This Cute?" No. Not at all.
There is also an interesting side-cast, consisting of both otakus and normals, any one of which would make a better main focus than Kirino--and, in fact, they do make a better main focus in the DVD specials. However, they are mostly relegated to the background while Kirino throws her tantrums and yells at her brother for no reason. The most enjoyable part of the anime, by far, was the moment when an unimportant background character performs an anime theme at a cosplay contest. That should tell you a lot.
The animation is all standard slice-of-life type stuff. It's functional, but never catches your attention as being especially well made. Similarly, a day after finishing the series, I can't recall much of anything from the music. They pull the interesting trick of having a different ending credit theme in each episode, along with a different ending animation. As you might expect, however, this leads to endings that are barely animated--mostly using motion tweens to add movement to still images--and rather hum-drum songs. The VAs all portray their characters well, adding definite personality to the show--personality which is never allowed to develop, thanks to Kirino's camera hogging.
Make no mistake, "OreImo" will hold your attention. It will provide a couple laughs. It will be forgotten quickly. This is an easy watch, at 12 reletively painless episodes, but I wouldn't watch it again. There's just not a lot going on, here.
“This world is full of things that defy all common sense” ~Kyousuke Kosuka
Some anime like to take us to faraway lands, deep into the reaches of fantasy where magic is real, man has traveled into space, and/or pirates still sail the seven seas. Other anime like to remain down to earth and draw their entertainment value from a minimally exaggerated portrayal of real life. This anime doesn’t fall into either category. The story of this anime is a “what if” scenario. What if one had a cute little sister who was blessed with ridiculous amounts of talent, always got her way, and was in love with her older brother but won’t admit it? It’s from this premise that we get Ore No Imouto go Konna ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai, or My Little Sister Can’t be This Cute.
The story begins comically enough. The little sister is shown to have amazing talent in school, in academics, and in all her other endeavors, as opposed to her older brother who is the epitome of normalcy. But the little sister has a dark secret; she’s obsessed with stories about little sisters and collects all anime, manga, figures, doujinshi, and anything else related to the genre. Her older brother discovers this secret, which forces him…to do whatever the little sister tells him to do? That’s strange. Usually when such a secret is revealed, it’s the character that’s desperate to preserve her identity that serves the one who is sworn to secrecy. But in an unusual inversion, the older brother spends the entire series either helping his little sister keep her hobby secret (often at the cost of his own dignity) or helping her with friends with the same hobby, those engrained in the otaku culture like many of the viewers of this anime.
“Otaku pandering” is a term thrown around on many a message board, but this anime truly takes the cake with it. Very few aspects of the story are realistic even though it’s supposed to be a slice of life comedy. The filler episodes get just plain ridiculous with how the little sister always gets her way, and the comedy, while present, often falls flat. This marks a downward spiral as the series goes along, when the same jokes told over and over get really old, really fast. Apparently the ending was filler and the true ending will be shown next summer, but this series has successfully killed all of my interest in the story, so I don’t think I’ll watch the “true end.”
Really, what’s there to say about the animation? It isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible. I did find some of the character designs to be redundant, as Kirino and Ayase looked almost exactly alike besides the fact that they had different hair styles. The issue was that there was nothing really challenging attempted in this anime besides the occasional rain sequence, which in this day and age should be done correctly by any animation company with self-respect. Overall, the scenes seemed very bright, except in the view moments in the series where the drama ran high and therefore everything needed to suddenly get darker.
The music was fairly good, although it also seemed repetitive at times. If you listen closely, it seems that the music reflects the overall awkwardness of the series, with a very jerky, off-beat style. The OP was fairly catchy, and I didn’t bother to watch all the various endings as I was more curious as to whether the title of the next episode would indicate an overall improvement.
Where this anime really shined was its voice casting. Ayana Taketatsu and Yuuichi Nakamura did a perfect job with their roles. Kirino was the sharp, often angry tsundere whose spouts of “baka” and “hentai” came at regular intervals. Kyousuke sounded like the rational older brother who wanted no more than to make sense out of his situation. The supporting cast read their roles well too, despite the fact that they were largely stereotypical voices for stereotypical roles. But as I mentioned in my Hayate the Combat Butler review, often perfect stereotypical voices are hard to come by.
The characters of this series are “love-em-or-hate-em” types of characters. Personally, I loved some of them, but hated others. The main problem with the cast was how Kirino was written. As I mentioned before, she always gets her way, and therefore has an attitude of entitlement that is not funny but very annoying. She’s ungrateful for most of the series, which makes the times that she is seem very incredulous. Overall, she just isn’t very likable and seemed to pander to otaku tsundere lovers. But even those people would be disappointed as she’s almost all tsun and no dere.
On the other hand, I liked the character of Kyousuke. He’s just a normal guy who’s trying to live his own life despite the spotlight that’s on his younger sister. Many people hate on him for his actions, his lack of a spine and always helping Kirino despite how poorly she treats him. However, as an older brother in real life, I can relate to this dilemma. No matter how badly your younger sister treats you, whenever she comes to you for help, there is no way that you can turn her down. It’s just a natural part of the brother sister bond, and I’m glad the series tried very hard to portray that.
As for the rest of the characters, most of them were either unmemorable or just “okay.” Kuroneko was perhaps my favorite character of the series as she was everything Kirino wasn’t, calm, intellectual, and logical. But as for the rest of the supporting cast, they were either weakly written stereotypes, or just didn’t get enough screen time for development.
I hate when I reach the end of a series and I think “boy did I just waste six hours of my life.” There are many, many better series than this if you want a good portrayal of otaku culture. As far as awkward incest anime go, this one was about average, falling to many of the same traps that the others have, poorly developed characters and a ridiculous story. The most disappointing part was that this series had lots of potential, but filler and just plain bad writing destroyed any chance of that.
WARNING! THIS IS NOT A REVIEW BUT A RANT ABOUT HOW MUCH KIRINO SUCKS! DONT TAKE THIS REVIEW TOO SERIOUSLY! THIS ALSO CONTAINS LOTS OF CENSORED BAD LANGUAGE! IF YOU LIKE KIRINO THEN PLEASE LOOK AWAY FROM THIS REVIEW NOW! AND IF YOUR OFFENDED EASILY THEN DO THE SAME THING, SEXY BEAST WRITING OUT!
If there was a single anime character that I hated more than the beach, more than tomatoes, MORE THAN ANYONE IN THE WORLD! It would be THAT ORANGE HAIRED F**K right over there! Yep, right in front of the guy, that plastic thats kinda leaning but kinda posing AND GETTING IN THE WAY OF THE F**KING STORY!!!
Nothing can describe my hatred to this one thing, it LEECHES, it ABUSES, it MANIPULATES, it LIES, it is UNGRATEFUL and it HOGS the whole story! This one guy, who honestly I believe is pretty legit and cool and deserves to be replaced by Justin Bieber just to get out of the horror that is his home, try's so very hard not to be sent to hospital! Only because his F**KING pretty princess of a sister will beat the crap out of him if he does not do one thing that she asks! THATS F**KING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE YOU ILLEGAL BEETLE TWEETER!!! It wasn't that bad at first, until one episode where she drops underwear on the floor. Then her brother being the nice guy thinks "Oh I dunno, maybe I should help her by PICKING UP THE F**KING PANTSU!" And then when he does that. (This is where it get's good!... :D) He offers her it and then, she punches him in the face AND THEN she tells him to go die!... :D...
WHAT THE F**KING F**K WAS THAT ABOUT YOU KNOB NOBLER!!! DO YOU HAVE ANY REASONABLE SIMPAFY IN THAT PLASTIC F**KING SKULL OF YOURS!!! SERIOUSLY!!! WHAT GOES UP IN THERE M8! The Black Eye Peas were wondering where the love was at... WELL IT CERTAINLY WASN'T IN HER F**KING HEAD WAS IT!!!
Story: 3/10 NEEDS LESS KIRINO!
Animation: Was certainly wasted on her DUMB FACE WASN'T IT?!
Sound: Taiga invented the book of baka, Shana inhanced the book of baka, KIRINO DECIDED TO DRAW D**KS ON IT AND GAVE IT TO MICHEAL BAY SO HE COULD USE IT AS A PROP IN TRANSFORMERS NUMBER 69 REVENGE OF UR *SS FROM LAST NIGHTS BURITO!!!!!
Characters: You see that 2/10 right there? Yeah, one goes to your BROTHER and the other goes to that KAWAII AS F**K NEKO!!!
Overall: They should of removed Kirino like they removed Herobrine from minecraft! SO THEN NO ONE WOULD BE SCARED OF SEEING HER FACE!!!
Im sorry if I hurt anyone in this review, this was just for laughs so plz dont hurt me! :3
OreImo follows the life of Kyousuke Kousaka; an average highschooler who has average grades, an average life, and lives in his sisters shadow. His sister, Kirino Kousaka, is living every otaku's dream; she's extremelly successful in everything she does, which allows her to be able to collect as many anime related items without having to worry about money. She's grown up hiding her love for anime and's been playing the "perfect highschooler" so people wouldn't suspect her.
One of the issues with this anime is it's poor choice of character development. Granted, you can't expect them to completely analyze each character in a (pretty much) 12 episode series. I'll be reviewing the characters since this was the main issue I had with the anime.
After discovering his sister's love of eroge by finding one of her games which she had dropped; he's subject to obey her commands and help her out when she needs it.(...what?) Kirino calls these "life lessons" but they never did much about teaching her anything. He pretty much solves the problems she made at the expense of his dignity. The choices he makes however could have been avoided and ended with a possibly better outcome. There were moments when I was thinking "okay, he's going to say this" or "if he does this then they might understand". Instead of choosing a logical option, he chooses some off the wall scenario of how much he loves his sister or how he loves erotic games as to shift the problem on himself.
His more redeeming moments was when he was with the side characters instead of Kirino. Although, it was usually because of a Kirino related reason but at least it's something. I also enjoyed his reaction to the handheld realistic dating sim becuase it was refreshing to watch something with a bit of personallity change.
The girl I'll always remember who ruined the word "Tsundere" for me. She was probably the best example of being "all tsun and no dere". I tried to like her, I really did, but I just couldn't stand to watch her attitude toward everybody around her. She treated her brother like some slave and practically beat him if she didn't like what he was saying (which is 95% of the time). She prioritized "friends" who couldn't accept her for who she was over friends who could which is not how it should be. In reality it's "accept me for who I am or don't associate yourself with me". Her character did get some development but it never veered far from the tsuntsun type.
I started the anime not liking him because of his refusal against anything anime. It wasn't until after he discovered Kirino's obsession and said he was fine with it except for the eroge that I began to like him. He wasn't completely unreasonable like he was first shown and did actually care about his kids. He was also pretty funny with his "true tsundere" moments and I wish he got more screen time than he did. Although, being a father figure, he already got much more than usual so I'm happy with that.
......Not much to write about since she wasn't shown all that much except for when they were eating together.
Ayase (Aka Kirino 2)
Pretty much looks identical to Kirino except for the hair color and the side her bangs part. I didn't completely hate her character later on since it didn't get all that much development. She was mostly just annoying and kind of popped in every once in a while.
One of the better characters in the anime. There weren't really any moments where I was like "ugghhh!!! I want to strangle her!" which is a really big accomplishment for this anime. Her character didn't get all that much develpment until the end of the series and season 2.
Better than most of the characters since she wasn't annoying and was actually enjoyable to watch. Although she did get a spotlight episode, it wasn't all that great fpr some reason which is what I can't figure out. Maybe because it felt like filler or something? I don't really know. Saori's quirky personality was fun to watch but she was forgotten about somewhere towards the end of the series.
I liked the interactions between Kousaka and Manami because of the childhood friendship they had which allowed them to talk and act more freely. Although being a supporting side character, she got her own episode and was actually one of the most enjoyable episodes in S1 imo. It was fun to watch the interactions between her and her (weird) family and left me wishing the anime focused on her instead of the Kirino.
An anime like this could have been much better if they had focused more on realistic reactions to a situation. Often times, the characters overreacted to something that wasn't that big of a deal which also didn't effect them in the first place. The bond between brother and sister was more like a bond between troubled lovers which the creator had intended (I'd hate to be his sister... *get's a shiver up spine*) but it took away from the show because it ended up not being relatable the further you got into it.