I liked the first season of this show. I intensely disliked the second.
Story: I felt this season lacked a strong central theme/story thread. Last season, the central theme was "finding acceptance for Kirino's weird hobby." And it worked well. This season's theme seemed to be fanservice. The stories were lame, disjointed/unrelated to each other, cobbled together, and lacked coherency.
Characters: Annoying/10. Didn't really develop any further, except Saori, but she turned out to be boring. Too many tsundere chars, and way too much arguing over Kousaka. Lamesauce all around.
Overall: Too fluffy, lacked substance.
(This review is also written with knowledge of episodes 14-16)
As a casual otaku, there are plot holes and things that I tend to miss so bear with me.
OreImo's first season was one that took me by surprise. It had the looks of a simple romance/comedy, but was deeper than that. The second season, however, took a turn in a direction I wasn't expecting. To be honest they never portrayed the show as harem-like, but in this season all the female sub-characters came to the forfront with their love for Kyousuke. And due to my love of harem shows, this was appealing to my eye. On the other hand I knew this wouldn't be as light-hearted of a harem as most.
The second did a good all around job of developing characters with the time alotted, with the exception of Manami and Kanako. He had the dates with Ruri, the bickering and life-advice with Kirino, the handcuffed house visits with Ayase and Saori's sister issue backstory. Saori became a well developed character, especially considering how she was the only one out the main 6 who didn't go after Kyousuke.
To me, the anime was well delivered in almost all aspects. The sound track was great and very fitting to the emotions contained therein. The animation fit perfectly into the style that I like. Character development was well done for the most part. And the story, with exception to the very last minutes of the final episode was intriguing and well told.
In regards to episode 16... where to begin? (SPOILERS) The previous two episodes had taken the route I was most anticipating, the sister route. I honestly didn't think the director had the balls to go down the incestuous sister route. But they did and the confession was well done. If they wanted they could've ended the story after ep. 14 but that wouldn't satisfy many people. With episodes 15 and 16 they took the heart-warming tale of forbidden love and brought it back to reality. Those episodes include hesitant blessings from friends, the fight with Manami and keeping it away from their parents. Manami's fight with Kirino was sudden due to lack of character development for Manami, but their hostility towards one another was always hinted at, though we never knew why. 16 had all the pre-requisites to making a great ending to a great anime, but it was ruined. For some unforseen reason, they decided to have them just stop being lovers all together and return to their normal brother/sister relationship. I find it hard to believe that a guy like Kyousuke, who turned down 4 other cute girls way out of his reach just to be with his sister, would be okay with returning to normal and dropping his feelings. It simply doesn't make sense to me. I was loving how they were pushing boundaries and such by going down the sister route with a serious tone, but then they crawled back inside the conformity shell within the last 5 minutes of the last episode. Needless to say, that pissed me off.
Overall, the anime gets a 9/10. I would still watch it again. Well done throughout. Minor slip ups in character development and a shoddy ending to say the least, but perfect otherwise.
The first season of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai had a lovely premise because of the complexity of relationship between characters. The second season just drops all the ambiguity and complexity in favor of giving us some brother/sister loving. Where in the first season it may have been some attraction that both sides didn't acknowledge or let interfere with their lives, here it is the driving force behind everything.
It is a shame that Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai ended up as a harem with a felling of impending incest all the way through as the main theme. The first season was about a brother helping his sister work her way through some issues of growing up, from budding sexuality to balancing hobbies outside the norm with her friends, and the people they met on the journey through it all. The second season has all that finished except for the unresolved sexual tension between people. That in itself is not the problem, as a different direction could have helped the show grow... but instead, it feels more self-congratulatory than anything else.
As much as incest creeps me out, I can't say that the undertones didn't work in the first season. And I'm not saying that the second season is terrible. Actually, from a plot perspective it is somewhat better than the first. The characters get more depth to them as well. And yet, the new characters are more or less meaningless, there are no new issues, and therefore Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai loses a lot of its strength in favor of giving us a retread of the familiar from a different angle.
Like any Harem, there are other girls and boys that get in the way. It is the source of all drama. But sadly, this heavy handed approach goes against the light hearted nature of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, and the vision that made the first season so memorable cannot exist in these circumstances. Perhaps the real tragedy is that the first season struck such a clever balance. The second season trying to mix things up was a brave choice... which unfortunately backfired.
Writing (Story and Characters):
Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai in its second season takes a very different approach to the writing than the first. Gone is the light hearted innuendo and replaced with outright interpersonal romantic drama. The surprisingly fun character interactions don't hold up as the center of the plot anymore as they take the back seat for the central theme of little sister loving. Not that the theme didn't exist in the first season (after all, the little sister is addicted to h-games centered around relationships with little sisters), but it is shoved down the throat of the viewer.
Plotwise, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai has a stronger second season than the first. This is not because it does anything well, but rather because it does things badly. While in many ways, it is terrible, heavy handed, obvious, unsubtle and so on... it is structured like the games which the sister creates and the gothic loli writes. It's actually quite brilliant that way, that the series eventually becomes the trigger for everything that happens in it. Of course, that is more of a meta thing, rather than an actual story, and doesn't make up for it being subpar.
Characters in the second season get a lot more development. It just isn't interesting and loses the a lot of the unique charm of the interactions of the first season. The gothic loli steps out of kuundere shell and becomes more well rounded, and becomes yet another quirky middle-school girl in a show where the majority of the cast are quirky middle-school girls. Seriously, I get that humanizing characters is important, but it loses that basic outrageousness that made the cast so unique.
Well, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai ends in what is the ultimate conclussion of the first episode of the first season. Unfortunately, the second season forces that. The writing ends up forcing the point rather than an organic continuation of the feel that made the first season so special. Trying too hard to get a conclusion when the show was at its best without one proved to be too detrimental. The story is better, the characters more fleshed out and human, but the writing just less special.
Art (Animation and Sound):
Just see the notes on the first season. Nothing has changed, except for more of a relliance on musical sequences to help skip through a plot faster.
I can't help but think that the second season ruins a lot of the good things from the first. Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai ends up on a sour note after a strong first season. Unfortunately the conclusion ends up a sour note for a series that had all the makings of something truly special. My recommendation is that you just watch the first season and leave it at that.
Oreimo is the Schrodinger’s cat experiment of reviews.
See, you can’t rate or even really talk about Oreimo without examining it through the lens of the big…I guess we’ll call it a spoiler that is dropped (or “dropped”) on you by the end of the show. Which is weird to say, because it is less a big reveal than it is (kind of) the entire thrust of the story. The whole narrative hinges on it (again, sort of), and any real discussion of the story’s strengths and weaknesses will need (inevitably, logically) to begin with acknowledging that the reveal happened.
But, if you’re here and haven’t seen Oreimo yet, knowing the spoiler fundamentally changes the…ambiguity (or “ambiguity”) of the show, which, intentionally or otherwise, is intrinsic to the show’s aesthetic, to how it functions as a show.
But knowing is also the thing that could make or break your decision to watch the show, making it a necessary point to mention.
But knowing will also, frankly, ruin the fun.
Because, first and foremost, this is a really fun show. Oreimo is about an estranged brother and sister rekindling their relationship by—through hilarious happenstance—deliberately turning the sister’s secret obsession with otaku culture into a semi-secret shared obsession with otaku culture. That is, anime and eroge and cosplay as both a means of making friends and an excuse to heal the siblings’ wounded kinship.
All of this is wonderfully believable and appropriately subtle, with the characters’ emotions and desires and interactions not only rising organically from their personalities and situations, but also genuinely being what drives the story. Every character is distinct and enjoyable, from the protagonists down to the tertiary sidekicks. The jokes hit, the tenderness warms the heart. It’s everything you’d hope for in a show like this.
In other words: it’s pretty darn good, and you should watch it.
Except…then we get to that little, unavoidable spoiler that simultaneously defines the show and throws all of its goodness into question:
This show is about incest.
Kind of. Well, no, it’s definitely about incest. It’s just also…not. Sort of.
See, fundamentally, Oreimo is about siblings trying to figure out how to love each other—because, for a decade or so, they haven’t. They used to, as kids, until something unfortunate happened, and then their relationship just…stopped. And it remains stopped, frozen in the past, until the inciting incident of the show all but forces them together again. After which they both realize, slowly, how much they regret the collapse of their relationship and how much they want that love back.
All of which is very good—until the incest.
And, no, the incest itself isn’t the problem. Or, well, not exactly. Because, you see, despite the fact that there seems to be a little bit more than sibling-ish affection in the portrayal of their growing relationship throughout the show, there is never anything concrete to indicate specifically that rebuilding the relationship is deliberately romantic, on their parts. Rather, it would seem that, because of how long they’ve ignored each other, their attempts to show brotherly/sisterly love are simply…awkward, because they’re both out of practice, at a loss for how to properly express their long-dormant emotions.
And so, when they try to reconnect, they are confronted with a choice: start anew, or rush to make up for lost time. By choosing the latter, they pull their childhood affections into their teenaged present, assuming it will work just as well as if it had been given the chance to mature naturally from then until now. Unsurprisingly, it does not, and this forcibly matured child’s affection seems very much to be the source of the relationship’s romantic overtones. Because these are, in an emotional sense, children desperate for intimacy. And it is not surprising that this might spin out into feelings of actual romance—especially surrounded by the growing romantic tensions within their circle of friends.
Emotions are weird and hard to process. Intense emotions are even weirder. So, yeah, of course there’s some level of infatuation. Of course they get jealous of other people taking the sibling’s attention away from them. And, yes, of course they’d get that same rush you get from a blossoming romance when they’re with each other. Heck, they might even really fall in love.
But here’s where it becomes a problem—narratively. Because, as I mentioned earlier, there aren’t ever any definite signs that they’ve always wanted to be lovers. In fact, there aren’t even signs that they are simply mistaking rusty affection for romantic love. Yes, there's always the tinge of their affection being…suspiciously intense, but never with any real specificity. If the end result was meant to be incest—which is, at the very least, a complex issue—then that character decision deserves a deliberate and complex exploration. Unfortunately, that isn’t what we get. The jump to incest simply…is. The decision is made and made final. Absolute. Which is disappointing—and a disastrous turn for a show built on ambiguity. (To say nothing of the in-world cost of the decision. Which is just…I mean, wow. What the what, yo.)
And yet…it’s still pretty darn good. Because wit and charm and organic character moments will always outweigh even the most contrived incest.
I came into the second season of Ore no Imouto without expecting there to even be a second season. The first season of the series was great, but there was still a deep mystery between Kyousuke and Kirino. I believe season 2 did more than enough to relieve us of that mystery while giving us more miscellaneous. story that I felt wasn't filler, but was great development for character relationships and the story.
Warning: this review is tended for those who watched season 1 or Ore no Imouto already. Contains spoilers that come across most peoples minds and will help people understand the story coming into season 2 better and explain its importance.
Story: This season of Ore no Imouto had no central theme, but revolved around Kirino and Kyousuke's relationship growing more angsty while growing closer afterward. The story very much revolved around Kyousuke's relationship with other
Animation: As slick as you would expect from the show. There are many sony advertisements here and there out in the open, but they do what they need to to make extra profit. I didn't mind. It was a little annoying though. The animation and direction never felt bland. The shots were always conveyed well to give you perticular sense of tone and mood of the situation.
Sound: This season includes new tracks while using some from season 1. I never really did enjoy most the openings and ending themes in the show, but that wasn't much of a bother for me. The opening and endings are actually very subtle references to themes in the story or Ore no Imouto that are deep while seamlessly passing off as poppy and catchy. I still like them a lot. The subtle soundtracks played during the show to express grief, joy, and spontaneousness were all great. I really love the tunes and they did well to enumerate the already playing situation.
Main Characters: In season 2 Kirino is growing even more angsty and loving towards her brother Kyousuke. Though this season focuses much on other characters, when Kirino is given the spotlight, she really shines and leaves you wanting more to know and see. There is much jealousy and pain endured by Kirino, and we really come to appreciate Kirino more because she really isn't just a selfish sister. She truly cares about her brother Kyousuke, even if it appears to subtle, it is really strong and it is really touching. Kyousuke is growing less plain. He is much more spiratic and is growing to be jealous and wanting to be around his sister more aswell, and they have great chemistry with one another. Whenever they do favors for eachother, they say "It's because we're siblings." At first, I thought that was a really lame comment, but that's just an interpretation of the phrase. To them, being siblings must be very strong. They care very much about eachother and they love eachother very much as siblings and friends. In the to-be flashbacks, you really get to see Kirino's ambition growing, Kyousuke's ambition dying, and their relationship go from a close family to a near-broken one.
Sub Characters: Season 1 very much focused on Kirino, and that was lovely and was what we needed. Season 1 did introduce characters that did not recieve much of a spotlight though, and season 2 gets a thorough look into these characters. At times, it was uninteresting, but there always was reason to explain these characters. Kuroneko or Gouki is very mysterious, and seems like that slapped on generic mystery girl you would expect. In season 2 you get to see her on a very human side. She really is just a girl who loves what she loves, and is who she is. She is shown to be a really great friend and appreciates Kirino and Kyousuke with good reasons and good intention. Saori's story was uninteresting to most because it was so arupt, but I felt that it did explain some things. It really helps you relate Saori to Kyousuke as them just being average people now establishing relationships with people. They really are alike in their characters being 'bland' and 'plain' at face-value but you get to see them in a different light this way. Ayase is only appears shortly here and there. She is Kirino's best-friend and in this season it doesn't seem that way because you see so little of her and Kirino. With her being gone for so long, she has a grand reveal and it is probably the most gut-wrenching part of the season along with Kuroneko. Although Ayase was not given much screen-time, you really love and feel for her in her short moments. She is a great friend and appears as absolute perfection at first, she definitely has a weird psychotic side that is there as a defense that comes out in comedic value. Manami is very underplayed in this season, and by the time she arrives as an important character, you are really awe-strucken and pissed off. Not pissed off because it ended up being so bad, but because you really didn't want it to happen this way. But, it was necessary for this to derail as Kirino and Kyousuke being at fault. Kirino and Kyousuke could have perfect chemistry if not because of Manami's intentions and although I felt it was rushed, I thought it was a better solution than to leave Kirino or Kyousuke to blame for their distanced relationship. It is later revealed that Manami is also the cause of the derailing of the story to sub-plots with other character love-interests in Kyousuke. Manami does not want Kirino and Kyousuke to become close, so she will try to get anyone else to fall in love with Kyousuke and it is very very subtle but it shows. Everyone who has problems or an interest in Kyousuke or Kirino come to Manami, and they all end up with an interest in Kyousuke.
Character reviews: As in good development for each character. Kirino~8/10 Kyousuke~10/10 Kuroneko~9/10 Ayase~7/10 Saori~6/10 Manami~4/10
Overall: I believe this show was really a breakthrough of expectations. Seeing the title, and the appearance of characters, you might just come in thinking it was another harem with all-around perfect characters and just cute dialogue. The show has great comedic value and a great appeal to emotions. This season really left people just wanting more, because there needs to be more. Very deep character details were introduced and then just left-off. It left me wanting more, and I expect to recieve more that will really tie everything up well. I am just hopeful and I enjoyed this series through and through as one of my absolute favorites.