Every once in a while, an anime comes along and promises the audience great introspections. Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!) is one of them. Beneath all the blatant and successful attempts to charm us with adorable personalities lies a truly unique look at anime fandom. The series delves into the various interactions facing a closet otaku, who embraces her passion for anime, yet is keenly guarded against societal prejudices. It also presents glimpses of different aspects of anime ranging from the most personal to the industry. And, threading all these themes together is a cute genuine siblings drama.
Ore no Imouto follows the life of Kirino Kousaka, an unlikely otaku and a little sister. On the one hand, she is a track star, teen fashion model, and an A-student. On the other, she has a secret, somewhat distasteful fetish for eroges, particularly in the little sister incest genre. Aside from this bizarre dichotomy, Kirino is just like any other fourteen-year old: cute, innocent, naïve, self-centered, and a bit bratty. And, like any little sister, she has an awkward relationship with her brother, Kyousuke. When Kyousuke finds out about her guilty pleasure, the two take Kirino’s curious hobby out of her closet.
Built on this premise, Ore no Imouto presents wonderfully facets of anime: the expensive collections, eroge, maid cafés, anime, Comiket, cosplays, light novels, and even production companies. Indeed, the series is a fairly comprehensive view of everything anime. What makes this anime about anime effective is how sympathetic some of Kirino’s experiences are. Her reasons for owning multiple copies of the same shows, her desire to share her hobby, and her obsession with collecting figures are all common among anime fans.
Further, Ore no Imouto is not afraid to scale this tour of the anime world up from individual fandoms. When a production becomes interested in adapting Kirino’s light novel into an anime, the practical, negative sides of the industry is revealed. This series boldly illustrates how productions often distort the original works and author intentions for the sake of marketability. That Ore no Imouto itself is an anime adapted from a light novel makes this arc especially fascinating.
As we see the anime world through Kirino’s lenses, we also watch Kirino grow more comfortable as an anime fan. With the help of Kyousuke, Kirino finds friends with common interests, as well as convince her father and best friend that anime is not all that bad. How Kirino’s fandom engages with the cast is especially powerful because of the authenticity in these interactions. The audience can easily relate to the rivalry between Kirino and Kuroneko over their tastes in anime. Likewise, we feel Kirino’s pain when her best friend Ayase breaks up with her over anime. We know all too well how most people perceive anime.
This authenticity extends to the sibling relationship. The way Kirino and Kyousuke deal with each other feel extremely real. They bicker and they fight, but they also look out for each other. And, while Kirino can be very strangle-deserving and a huge pain at times, particularly when she treats Kyousuke unfairly, those moments only add to the love/ hate relationship that characterize most brother-sister dynamics.
To be fair, Ore no Imouto does play around in the sibling incest direction. There are scenes when the series hints at feelings that go beyond sisterly love. However, most of those do not feel serious; rather, they feel as though the anime is winking at the audience. These scenes are simply moments of admittedly-awkward lightness at the expense of the title.
Ore no Imouto is a highly entertaining anime that explores fascinating areas driven by compelling arcs and lovable genuine personalities. However, if there is one complaint, it would be the disjointed flow. While the pacing is great, the way the arcs and episodes are spliced together feel choppy. There is also a random episode about Kyousuke and her childhood friend inserted into an otherwise completely Kirino-centric series. Still, this minor flaw is forgivable given the range and depth of the plots, its themes, and the characters.
Furthermore, Ore no Imouto is just so beautifully animated. The production value is high, the details are there, and the animation is smooth. All the girls look absolutely adorable in super cute outfits. Backed by its strong story, this anime really is a delightful, fun, and thought-provoking watch.
- This review does not take into account of the extra episodes.
Further posts on Ore no Imouto:
- So I watched Ore no Imouto with my Onii-chan…
- On the Narrative Structures and Splicing of Various Themes in Ore no Imouto
- Ore no Imouto Fashion Sense – Kirino, Top Model
- Two Levels of Wish Fulfillment in Ore no Imouto: Little Sister and Otaku Shame
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