Review of Oreimo (Season One)

oreimo1

My little sister can’t be this cute. No, I am not creepily announcing to the world how much I admire my sis – that really is the name of the anime I am reviewing today. Known in its native land as Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (or Oreimo for short) this MVM Entertainment release partially adapts Tsukasa Fushimi’s light novel series. Given the eyebrow raising title and the eighteen-age rating on the box I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show. The first thing that came to mind is a tale of incest – a genre that is worryingly popular over in Japan. With everyone having crushes on their siblings is it a wonder why the nation’s fertility rate is dwindling? Thankfully the contents of this Season One collection aren’t all that sordid… perhaps the uncomfortably steamy scenes are being reserved for the next cour?

OVERVIEW

Kirino Kosaka is so much of a Mary Sue that she wouldn’t look out of place within the pages of a Twilight novel. The fourteen-year student is blessed with good looks, the smarts required to ace exams and a talent for sprinting that has made her the star of her school’s track team. She is literally a “model” daughter… no seriously she makes some part time scratch posing for fashion magazines. The only blemish to Kirino’s name is that she is a closet otaku who has a fondness for magical girl cartoons and adult visual novels (specifically romance stories featuring brothers and their little sisters.) Understandably Kirino keeps her pervy hobby a secret, but that all changes when brother Kyosuke Kosaka accidently stumbles upon a mature game belonging to his sibling.

Watching this anime really highlights what a terrible big bro I am. In my household I would leverage an embarrassing discovery of this nature to secure all manner of favours (hurrah for blackmail.) Kyosuke however is a much more compassionate chap. Rather than mock Kirino’s unorthodox pastime he ends up supporting his sister. Over the course of the series Kyosuke convinces his parents to accept Kirino’s choice of entertainment, he accompanies his sis on trips to doujin conventions and in one episode he even attends the midnight launch of a new eroge title. Kyosuke also plays a part in introducing Kirino to some new geeky friends – namely Saori Makishima (the bespectacled head of an anime web group) and an angsty chuunibyou cosplayer named Ruri Goko.

VERDICT

Despite the reservations I had over the show’s moniker I ended up enjoying this series a lot, so much so that I am awarding it four stars. I was correct in speculating that the anime revolves around a brother/sister relationship, but thankfully it wasn’t anything lecherous. What we get here is two siblings bonding over nerdy diversions and Kyosuke assuming the mantle of responsible big brother, after neglecting his sister for so many years. As a self confessed otaku I dug the show’s anime references and I found myself sympathising with Kirino’s plight. Although attitudes have changed in recent years, I think we can all recall a time when enjoying comics/games was something you would conceal to avoid ridicule.

Overall this DVD collection is a solid set that contains all of the premier season’s episodes along with a few OVAs. There is even an alternate version of the final episode, no doubt paying homage to how visual novels sometimes have multiple endings. The series gets a thumbs up from me thanks to is comical moments and above average visuals (especially when compared to less polished AIC productions such as Bamboo Blade.) The only reason why I didn’t give Oreimo full marks is because Kirino’s personality can be a little grating. Poor Kyosuke suffers a lot of aggravation when sticking up for his sister, but the only reward he gets from the unappreciative Kirino is a raspberry or a smack on the chops. I’ll forgive her though as bratty little sisters aren’t exactly uncommon… and the same applies for anime girls who resort to violence in place of expressing their true feelings.

9 thoughts on “Review of Oreimo (Season One)

  1. I agree with you… This first season is really good, and people who avoid it due to the title’s less than savory reputation are really missing out. It carries a strong theme of tolerance, and learning to understand people on their own terms.

    Having said that, don’t watch season 2. It starts out okay, but becomes worse and worse on a very steady slope until it’s own OVA ending, which is just all kinds of terrible. Stick to season 1, and you’ll be happy you did.

  2. As the narcissist above me made clear, Oreimo 1 is really good…the initial 12 episodes at least. As soon as the True Route OVAs came out however…ugh. Anyway on to the original 12 episode run, loved the commentary on the anime industry and Kuroneko’s greatness. Kyosuke’s inner monologues full of glorious cynicism were also enjoyable. Kirino and Ayase were “meh” to me. Minami was wonderful.

    I’ll reserve my thoughts on season 2 should you ever decide to enter the abyss.

  3. One of the more frustrating shows in that this first season was huge fun despite the tease of an unsavoury storyline but season 2 let it down badly.

    The UK release of Season 2 has been delayed until Feb 15th (annoying as it was due this week which is why my review is up already) but as everyone else has already pointed out, it is less humorous, more kinky and the OVAs are abominable.

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