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Oreimo
Oreimo manga
Oreimo
Manga Review
 
Growing up and developing hobbies is expected in this modern society as a way to pass time and provide fodder for socialization. Kyousuke is the typical Japanese student, trying to get good grades and living a relatively normal life with his family. One day though he discovers that his younger sister, Kirino had a secret that ultimately changes his opinions abut her.
 
Kyousuke's sister appears to be the perfect student with top grades, strong athletic abilities and a successful part time model job. In reality though, Kirino is literally an in the closet gamer otaku with an hypocritical obsession toward the idea of little sisters and games that detail illicit romances with their older brothers. Very 18+ and in real world this is known as incest! This grosses Kyousuke out, and though he gets abused heaped upon him by Kirino, he ends up with trying to support his sibling in this secretive hobby.
 
Oreimo mangaOreimo is an adaptation from a light novel series known as Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai which can be translated as My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute. This is written by Tsukasa Fushimi with art by Sakura Ikeda. This is the first title of both creators that has been translated into English. The demographic for this series is targeted for guys, since the protagonist is a dude. He happens to be best friends to a girl with a not so obvious crush on him. Oreimo is also a slice of life title with an unusual situation where the younger sister happens to be an otaku.
 
Being an otaku in Japanese society is not seen as fabulous as it may be for many American viewers, especially when there is a negative anti-society stigma associated with it. But it is an industry that draws a lot of attention and revenue for a country as small as Japan. Kyousuke observes that it is a very lonely hobby without anyone there to talk with or find commonality with.
 
This series is ultimately not meant for people without knowledge of fandom experiences or anime fan service tropes, as references are made to maid cafes as well as the Caramelldansen or the Uma uma dance.
 
For readers of this title, other books that might be a great pairing or read alike is Genshiken and Welcome to N.H.K. These are two titles that are slice of life perspectives otaku and hobbyist fan culture. Oreimo also happens to have an animated adaption with 16 episodes and streams on Crunchy Roll.
 
Reviewed by Linda Yau, June 2013

Oreimo
Oreimo
Anime Review

Opposite sex sibling relationships can be weird. There's that shared intimacy from childhood, like the fact that you both took baths together when you were toddlers. Then, one day the little sister who used to try to eat crayons can suddenly fill out a bikini, and everything gets weird. Brothers and sisters are unique in that they can have a close, often very physical relationship (sometimes of the 'give me my cookie back or I will beat you' variety, but still), yet not have that relationship be remotely romantic in nature. There's nothing else quite like that dynamic.

Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (called Oreimo for short, and for our sanity) both explores this brother/sister dynamic in more depth than we usually see, and playfully makes fun of otaku culture at the same time. It's a strange mix at times, but it's a smart and frequently quite funny series.

OreimoThe little sister in question is Kirino, a beautiful middle-school student who seems to live a charmed life. She's a fashion model, a star athlete, and maintains perfect grades in school. Her older brother Kyosuke, long since used to being in his sister's shadow, is barely acknowledged. That all changes the day Kyosuke finds an erotic game in Kirino's possession, and soon learns that his sister is no casual fan, but a hardcore otaku. Even stranger, despite Kirino's apparent lack of interest in her own brother, the main thing she collects are little sister games: games that focus on incestuous relationships between brothers and sisters.

The big tease of Oreimo is that K and K will enter a romantic, incestuous relationship together, but don't be fooled: at its core, the story is about a fairly normal sibling relationship. It soon becomes apparent that despite all her success, Kirino still wants her big brother's attention and approval, and despite the fact that Kyosuke can't help but resent Kirino for always being the center of attention, he still wants to protect his little sis. The incestuous hints seem to be there more for the fun of being outrageous than because there's any real threat of the two siblings hooking up.

OreimoWhile the skewering of the more extreme fringes of otaku culture via Kirino's obsession with games and anime is often spot-on, the biggest problem with the show is Kirino herself. Selfish, spoiled, and apparently clueless about how lucky she is, some viewers find her so unlikable that it ruins the show for them. We found her to ultimately be sympathetic, if extremely immature, due to her obvious insecurity.
However, be forewarned: if you have a low tolerance for spoiled brats, this is probably not the show for you. We did find ourselves wondering, even as we excused Kirino her worst excesses, why her friends keep putting up with her.

Even if you hate Kirino (and if so, you're in good company), the strong supporting cast helps a lot. All of Kirino's gal-pals are vastly more likable that she is, and one, a sly girl who calls herself Kuroneko and always dresses in the style of her favorite gothic anime, has become a breakout character. While the acid-tongued Lolita has become a popular character type, unlike other examples of the trope, the writers give Kuroneko's dialogue some real bite to it. It's a guilty pleasure to watch her rip into someone who totally deserves it.

You'll notice we haven't said much about Kyosuke, and that's because, similar to Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, he mainly serves as a straight man and doesn't have many noteworthy characteristics compared to his sister and her friends. However, watching Kyosuke compromise his reputation, and sometimes his sanity, to help Kirino is really quite touching. No middle school girl should have to navigate the dangerous waters of being an extreme otaku alone, and Kyosuke is a good guy to have your back.

After a widely viewed, if controversial, first-season, Oreimo is slated to come back for another go around in the spring of 2013. We certainly hope Kirino has grown up a little bit in the interim, but barring that, we'll settle for watching Kuroneko put fools in their places while Kyosuke struggles to understand just what, exactly, his monster of a little sister could possibly want from him now. The first-season of Oreimo, including several extra episodes that aired on the web after the season concluded, is available on English-subtitled DVD from Aniplex USA.

Reviewed by Karen Gellender, December 2012

Below: Scenes from Oreimo.

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo

a screen capture from Oreimo



Oreimo

Oreimo Website Links:


Oreimo Official website (Japanese)

Oreimo (anime) official website (Japanese)

Oreimo (Visual novel) official website (Japanese)

Oreimo (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Oreimo entry at Wikipedia


Below: Panels from the Oreimo manga.

Oreimo manga

Oreimo manga

Below: Promotional illustrations for Oreimo.

Oreimo

Oreimo

Oreimo

Oreimo

Oreimo

Oreimo



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