OreImo Review (The sorrows of the best brother ever)
The title of this slice of life anime is extremely suggestive. When I saw it, I thought it was some anime about incest. I mean, its called “There Is No Way My Little Sister Can Be This Cute”! But even if Slacker watched this kind of stuff, he wouldn’t suggest it to me so I decided to trust him. Like I trusted Cyborg before I watched Sono Hanabira *shudder*.
But luckily, that’s as far as the incest theme goes. The series is about Kyosuke Kosaka, a regular high school student, and his attempts to help his tsundere younger sister, Kirino, with various problems. Kirino is a top student, star track athlete and model. Basically she’s perfect.
So why does she need Kyosuke’s help?
Because behind her seemingly flawless personality, she is an otaku. Apparently in society, otakus are actually looked down upon. People that have obsessive interests in anime, manga or video games are the equivalent of geeks. Go figure. Kirino’s interests are a childish anime and eroge games about little sister incest (she only likes it as a game!). She’s able to keep up the image of a wonder girl by hiding all evidence of her otaku nature.
The story starts when Kyosuke chances upon a video game hidden in his house and finds out that it belongs to Kirino. Kirino realizes that Kyosuke is trustworthy and reveals her anime, video game and manga collection to him in order to have someone to talk to about her interests.
From then on, Kirino asks Kyosuke about advice related to her interests in sessions called “life counseling”. Following his suggestions, Kirino makes 2 otaku friends through joining an online network: a dark and melodramatic goth girl named Kuroneko and a strange but mature girl named Saori.
I say that Kyosuke is the best older brother ever because he’s willing to beg on his knees and make himself look like a perverted creep for the sake of covering for Kirino’s otakuism. While this is mostly hilarious, you feel kinda bad for him because the only thing he gets from Kirino is a whole lot of disrespect. At one point she even sends him out of the house for helping to cover for her in front of her friends. Just to put it in perspective, he’s 17 and she’s 14.
That said, though easy to hate, Kirino isn’t really intentionally mean, she just has a huge ego and doesn’t want to show any weakness. Especially in front of Kuroneko, who is her rival in that she has the exact opposite tastes as Kirino. Basically Kuroneko hates all that interests Kirino and vice versa. Also, both of them have the same habit of self gratification and will constantly try to put down the other while making themselves look like the heroine. Kuroneko even tries to compete with Kirino for brotherly attention from Kyosuke by calling him “Nii-san”.
What I like about this show is that I can relate to it very easily, which is the key to a slice of life’s success. I’m an older brother so I feel Kyosuke’s pain in helping out Kirino with no reward. I really look up to him for risking his reputation with his parents and public image for the sake of a sister who gives him no credit for it. The characters have deep personalities and their dialogue feels very real. It probably helped that some voice actresses even I recognized were in the show; Ayana Taketatsu from K-on for Kirino and HanaKana from Angel Beats as Kuroneko.
The pacing is pretty good for a slice of life show, though there’s no concrete change; it feels eventful yet not chaotic. Before this, I assumed all slice of life shows progressed very little to show the building of character relations and display as much interaction as possible. The only change that seemed way too fast was Kirino’s gratitude towards Kyosuke in the last few episodes since she’d been treating him like he had anthrax up till then.
The humor in the show is the type that makes you chuckle at the awkwardness of the situation like Kirino scattering Kyosuke’s porn all around his room when his friend visits. In a way, its good because a slice of life show is all about relating the situations to real life and since everybody’s had “that awkward moment”, its easy to feel sorry for the characters.
Overall, the show is quirky and has a very good soundtrack that augments its charm. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it has a catchy opening theme that’s related to the story. For the most part, I liked Kirino because I knew eventually she’d play nice but some people might find her an annoying brat who bullies Kyosuke.
This is one of those animes you either like or really hate, depending on your opinion of Kirino because everything is about her. Its a pity Kuroneko and Saori’s stories never got told, the show only revealed short clips of their home environments, instead they gave Kirino all the attention.
It wasn’t fantastically entertaining or deep but its not bad either. To put it in context, I’d recommend it to a friend who probably wouldn’t hate Kirino, but it doesn’t compel you to re-watch it.