No matter which name you use, may it be Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない, My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute, or the official shorthand, OreImo, the phrase is going to infer something dirty. Who needs OreImo-Gate when the show is this controversial already? Thankfully, dirty and controversial is how I like it! I went in to OreImo head-first knowing very little, besides its possibly incestuous premise and how the story does revolve around a brother-sister relationship as it's not just as a hook.
To apologize for not getting this First Impression piece until four weeks into the season, I'll wrap up the first four episodes. By now we all have a good idea how the show will turn out, so you can make an educated decision to get involved with this already somewhat-infamous TV anime in your weekly anime diet. Click on for a crash course on cute little sisters!
In the center of the story we have Kirino, the adorable but bratty youngest daught of the Kousaka household. Kirino's older brother, Kyousuke, is by all means an average dude. Well, he's average in the sense that he has his strong points, his weaknesses, that he desires harmony in his house and he feels obliged to help his sister when she's in trouble. A recipe for a decent, if normal human being, right?
However that sense of normalcy breaks apart when, like an average man, Kyousuke sometimes gets involved in things totally beyond him. Like playing a R-18 visual novel involving the game's protagonist having sex with the protagonist's sisters. That's not a big deal until we find out that said PC game belongs to Kirino, and Kirino forced him to play it because she wants "an objective point of view" so she can write about it on the internet, or something! (I have just recalled my "What The Hell" face that I wore when exploring episode one, it was fairly out there.)
From then on, each episode explores a facet of Kirino's hobby, to put it lightly. In essence, OreImo is about how a young girl (Kirino is 14) cope with her identity as an upstanding citizen in Japan's rigid society, a daughter and a sister, an A-student, a star athlete, and a kimoi-otaku. Can you pick the odd one out? Of course, throughout this entire thing, Kyousuke is there to help her.
That sounds well and good, until we dig deeper and discover that Kirino's little personal niche among all things otaku are little sister games. If you want to get an idea what that is like, you might consider borrowing or renting a copy of Sister Princess, which is the seminal example of the genre. Rent, because it is kind of hellish for the average person. What's interesting is how Kirino's attraction to these games are basically asexual; she doesn't quite think about that aspect of these adult-only games.
Average-man Kyousuke, however, immediately picks up this very weird situation that he is in past neck deep. He, the only one from Kirino's family who understands her hobby, still mans up and helps Kirino in the ways he could. Playing porn games with your little sister is already awkward enough, let alone when the subject matter is about screwing your little sister? That is the irony, I suppose, the story is trying to tell beyond the simple identity issues Kirino is experiencing.
Thankfully, Kyousuke does not help Kirino all by himself. By episode 2 OreImo has already introduced to us two additional otaku-in-arms, two women who enjoy the sort of genre niche Kirino does. Kuroneko, in particular, generates some excellent banter with Kirino that resembles heated internet debates among otaku, except now sharper than ever thanks to my man Hideyuki Kurata's skilled pen.
Not unlike the recent romantic comedy Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, Kirino has a coming-out-of-the-closet moment with her dad. It's probably the most controversial episode yet, in that Kyousuke plays a fairly believable peacemaker between the emotional little sister and disciplinarian dad. Despite that, the episode takes a turn for the incredible when Kyousuke makes his dad believe that all those porn games Kirino owns are actually Kyousuke's, and all Kirino is doing is storing them for him. While Dad accepts Kirino for being into moe anime and eroge adaptations, how OreImo pushes aside the illegality of Kirino's behavior through this stunt can rub some people the wrong way. If your parents didn't catch you with your porn, I'm not sure who would and get you into trouble! Plus, what kind of brother would ruin his reputation this way?
And in some sense, OreImo is probably the most divisive anime this season second to Panty & Stockings. The story hasn't even touched anything actually incestuous, and it has probably grossed out a lot of people who were initially lured in for its realistic play on otaku identity problems. The entire series is drenched in some form of irony, in that it expects the viewer to be somewhat familiar, even dislike, the stereotypical moe little sister character concept that anime from the past 10-12 years has doused upon the world. It feels as if the show was trying to dare us into watching it, knowing that those elements lurks beneath that veneer of normalcy that OreImo operates within.
It's not a surprise, then, when such well-played trope surfaces, that some are disappointed or disgusted. In episode 4, we're treated to a "triping and falling on top of a girl while groping her and mounting her" accident between Kirino and Kyousuke, in order to embarrass Kirino in front of her hipster friends. It's a fairly outrageous conceit when the show has played it. Maybe Kyousuke's sister is really this cute? You decide.
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