Anime Review | Oreimo Series 1 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 17.05.2016 1

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Oreimo Series 1 (UK Rating: 18)

Ore Imo or "My Little Sister" or, to give it it's full title, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can't be This Cute), started out as many anime megahits do: as a light novel. The series by Tsukasa Fushimi ran over the course of twelve novels and got its anime adaptation in 2010 in Japan. The anime was a huge success in Japan, massively popular and spawning ungodly amounts of merchandise, including some PlayStation games. The series has now reached the UK thanks to MVM, and this release contains all 15 episodes, and is available to buy now.

Kyousuke Kousaka lives in the typical Japanese nuclear family - a stern, overbearing and old-fashioned father, a kind mother… and his little sister, Kirino, is the most one of the most popular girls in school. He's a model student, has got great looks, is highly athletic, has tons of friends, and is the object of adoration from all the students in the school, not to mention a part-time model outside of school. The relationship between the two is strained. They barely speak, until Kyousuke accidentally discovers her secret. She's a closet otaku. After stumbling on her latest anime DVD, she comes clean to him late one night about the truth of her personality, showing off her considerable collection of an anime, collectables and, most surprisingly, eroge games. Adult dating sims, all aimed at the male market, mostly in regards to illicit relationships between brother and sister...

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There's something worth getting out of the way and that's a part of Japanese culture called "Sister Complex." It's a common trope used in anime and manga and has different levels - it basically means a brother who loves his sister. Often just overly attached and overly protective, but occasionally romantically… We're not talking Lannisters here, but it's something that can be very off and objectionable to Western audiences. Kirino, thankfully, is into the stuff from the male point of view and tells Kyousuke she has no interest in him… but there are undertones throughout that some may find off-putting.

Now that's out of the way, back to the show! Kyousuke is roped into his sister's world. She forces him to watch anime and play her eroge, too. She says it's to get him to understand her and why she loves them so much. It's obvious that what she's really looking for, however, are friends. Friends who can accept her for who she really is, friends who will share her passions, who she can talk to about the things she really loves. With her public persona and popularity, though, she can't just go out and befriend fellow otaku and out herself.

The series deals with the brother-sister pair getting to know each other, again along with Kirino meeting other like-minded people and gathering a small circle of friends. There are plenty of small side plots, too, such as Kyousuke's childhood friend who is clearly in love with him, and Kyousuke's relationship with Kirino's friends, but basically it's all about Kirino here, and that can be trying. Kirino is the quintessential tsundere, but they seem to have forgotten about the dere part… (tsundere means irritable and cold, yet lovey-dovey and cute). She just seems like a horrible person with few redeeming qualities. Kyousuke and her new friends repeatedly go out of their way to help her and do things for her, while she is repeatedly rude and condescending to them, never really learning or growing from her experiences. Kyousuke himself admits he actually hates her at one point and it's easy to see why since she's a pain in the behind, constantly ignoring Kyousuke, speaking down to him, beating the hell out of him or treating him like dirt.

While Kirino is highly unlikeable, the rest of the cast is great. Kirino's new friend, Kuroneko, is fantastic, for instance. She's a chuunibyou who is similar to Kirino in many ways and develops a close relationship with both Kirino and Kyousuke. Kyousuke's love interest and childhood friend is the ideal "girl next door" who is completely down to Earth and the budding "romance" between the two has some great comedy moments towards the tail end of the series. All the supporting cast really is well developed and helps to elevate the series.

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Oreimo gained such popularity in part due to its quality. The animation, art, and performances of the cast are all top-tier, not to mention the superb pacing and storytelling across the season, which makes the series vanish in a flash. One of the best aspects of the show is how faithful it is to the Japanese otaku experience - the stores in Akihabara, the Comiket days, the maid cafes and arcades. Anyone who has lived or stayed in Japan will find a nostalgic smile constantly on their face as the series not only captures the experience but also does it justice.

There are a few low points to the series, though, and not just Kirino… The localisation and translations are a bit off, with some missing words and mistakes in the subtitles, plus the extras are very lacklustre for this release… Errors in subtitles are bad enough but, strangely, there are a few extra features completely lacking subtitles!

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
It's easy to see why Oreimo was so popular in Japan. The character building, story, and development are all top tier. It's the type of anime where time just flies by while you're watching it. That being said, though, it's hard to root for Kirino considering her lack of charm, but at least the show gets far better when she's not around. The second series review will be coming soon, so stay tuned for that…

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MVM published it with the same title as the manga translation. It has no capitalisation on the i. Oreimo. Smilie

I quite like the series but it's got quite the number of awkward moments.

( Edited 17.05.2016 07:43 by Sandy Wilson )

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