Review of Oreimo (Season Two)

oreimo2

Two months after its UK release, I finally got round to watching the second season of Oreimo. Some readers warned me to avoid MVM Entertainment’s disappointing series two collection, but I couldn’t resist after thoroughly enjoying the previous instalment. Known in Japan as Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute) I was impressed by how the first DVD’s sixteen episodes panned out. The show’s title suggests an incestuous sleaze fest, but what we got instead was a heart-warming tale about two siblings who repair their fractured relationship through the joys of visual novels. Season one was excellent, but having watched the sequel I can certainly see why series two is much maligned. Not since the Usagi Drop manga have I seen a sweet story take such an unsavoury turn.

OVERVIEW

Oreimo season two begins with Kirino Kosaka reacclimatizing to life in Japan, after big brother Kyosuke convinced the fleet of foot teen to abandon her stateside track & field aspirations. Back home, Kirino once again finds herself struggling to juggle the dual-life of a popular model and a hardcore otaku. Thankfully for her Kyosuke is always close by, willing to lend a hand – whether it’s helping sis wean off an addictive mobile game or masquerading as a boyfriend (to deter talent agencies from relocating Miss Kosaka away from home.) Much like in the premier series, the stories on offer contain a nice mix of comedy and drama. Complementing the humorous episodes is a couple of tender flashbacks, which explain the motivations behind Kirino’s love of running and how her chum Saori Makishima overcame shyness. Just like Kirino, Saori can attribute her personal growth to a helpful older sibling.

In my opinion Oreimo season two starts well enough, with episodes matching the quality of its predecessor. Once the halfway mark is breached however things begin to turn sour. Many of the elements that made the show popular are replaced with a generic harem yarn revolving around Kyosuke. Gothic lolita Kuroneko, girl next-door Manami Tamura and tsundere pinup Ayase Aragaki begin to compete for the protagonist’s affections (the latter is unexpected given that Ayase spends most of the series pummelling Kyosuke’s face.) As far as surprises go Ayase’s change of heart is nothing compared to the identity of Kyosuke’s fourth suitor…. one Kirino Kosaka! The connoisseur of brother x sister eroge could possibly turn her fantasies into reality. If she really is into that sort of thing Kirino should have stayed in the US, as I hear that rednecks are agreeable to inter-family nuptials.

VERDICT

My rating for Oreimo season two is three stars. Had I watched the DVDs with no prior knowledge of what was about to transpire I might have detested the series, so thank goodness for the naysayers. All the negative reviews helped me extrapolate how the story would play out. With my expectations suitably lowered I was able to enjoy the good parts of season two and not dwell too much on its flaws. Given the choice however I would have preferred to play the Oreimo PSP games over watching this anime adaptation. A visual novel, where you can manipulate who Kyosuke hooks up with, would circumvent the disappointment one feels whenever your ship doesn’t win the romance harem war. I also understand that in the handheld game Kyosuke and Kirino are not blood related, which softness the discomfort some may feel about incestuous love stories.

Looking back at the thirteen episodes and final three OVAs I can certainly see why Oreimo’s conclusion received so much ire. On multiple occasions author Tsukasa Fushimi teases his audience with the romances they have all been baying for, only to then abort the storyline twenty minutes later. The ending is also rather unsatisfying. It felt like the writer jettisoned the idea he was building towards, at the eleventh hour, just to avoid controversy. The finale we get is however no more egregious than other examples I could cite. Cliffhangers and unresolved harem comedies (were the hero never commits to one girl) infuriate me far more. The biggest loser in Oreimo season two isn’t the viewer though, but Kyosuke. He sacrifices so much to appease his bratty sis and gets very little in return. In the grand scheme of things he would have led a much more peaceful life had his parents birthed a little brother instead.

8 thoughts on “Review of Oreimo (Season Two)

  1. I haven’t seen the 1st season of Oreimo. So after reading this, will be going in with slight caution when I get the chance to watch both seasons.

    • Oreimo is one of those shows that should have quit whilst it was ahead (I hear that Tokyo Ghoul and Psycho Pass are the same.) Don’t let the lukewarm reception of season two put you off from watching the first series though. It’s funny and sweet.

  2. You are much more forgiven than I am. I found this series to be a lot more spiteful than the first in terms of the divide between the characters and the less said about the ending the better. I agree the first series has a warmth and charm to it but this one, for me, only contains about 30% of that warmth an charm.

  3. It looked promising when you start but that ending is real shame. Your conclusion has got me in tears of laughter “in the grand scheme of things he would have led a much more peaceful life had his parents birthed a little brother instead.” 😆 😆

  4. I’ve only seen season one, and I’m glad you reviewed season 2 – now I know what happened without having to actually watch it haha! So thank you 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s