Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (a.k.a. Oreimo or My Little Sister Can’t be This Cute) was probably the most hyped up anime of the season. When you consider that the little sister referred to in the title is a 14-year-old fashion model with a rabid obsession over anime and erotic games, it’s not hard to see why it would get anime fans talking.
The main character of the series is a 17-year-old high schooler named Kyousuke who has to put up with Kirino, his obnoxious little sister, every day. One day however, due to certain circumstances, Kirino reveals her secret hobby to her brother and asks for his help. Of course, being a good older sibling, Kyousuke agrees to help Kirino keep her hobby a secret from family and friends while at the same time finding like-minded individuals that Kirino can spend time with. This doesn’t prove easy though, as Kyousuke must go to great lengths in order to keep his sister happy.
Oreimo has spurred many arguments between anime fans and one of the major points of contention is whether a brother and sister would actually have the relationship that Kyousuke and Kirino have. Most siblings usually fight or argue with each other constantly, and while there are some that get along well, Kyousuke and Kirino’s relationship seems to be slightly different than that of siblings that are friends. For the most part Kyousuke acts like Kirino’s lackey, sacrificing pride and honour all for her sake. On the other hand, Kirino acts like a typical anime tsundere in love, asking her brother to buy presents for her and getting jealous whenever he spends time with other girls. This implied incestuous relationship has turned away many viewers, but at the same time has drawn in many more for its controversial nature.
Looking past whether or not Kyousuke and Kirino are in a special relationship, there are some good points about Oreimo. Long-time viewers of anime will likely enjoy seeing all of the references in the series from magical girls to the “kira” pose. There are also plenty of background settings recognizable to anyone who has ventured the streets of Akiba. Some of the more notable places seen in the anime are the Gundam Café, the UDX building, Gamers, the main stores along Chuo-dori, and the green bridge for the train that runs across the street.
A long-standing argument within the series is between Kirino and her friend Kuroneko over whether cute anime or deep anime are better. This was clearly representative of the divide between anime fans over which of these two types of anime are better. Arguments between both sides are so common-place that I can guarantee that every day someone somewhere in the world argues about it either online or in real life. Oreimo also brings in the process of publishing a manga and creating an anime while at the same time introducing valid reasons for why publishers alter the work of writers, something many anime fans are familiar with. By discussing sensitive issues that are important to anyone that watches anime, Oreimo proves that it’s more than just a show about a cute girl with the same interests as the people watching it.
Despite the series bringing up several controversial points which are likely to get people interested, it is lacking in one major area: plot. Since the anime itself brings up the issue of plot vs character, I thought it would try to cater to both. Unfortunately, the series does not have much story going on. Most of the time is spent with Kyousuke trying to figure out how to fix Kirino’s problems, and events from previous episodes are usually of little importance to subsequent ones. This leads me to another issue that was brought up in Oreimo: anime series that are 12 or 13 episodes long usually have stuff cut out and/or are incomplete. Oreimo is based on a series of light novels which are still incomplete, which probably explains why there was no real story in the anime.
Oreimo is not an anime that everyone would enjoy. It is heavily targeted at an audience that is already familiar with all things anime-related from different genres and memes, to the wide range of merchandise, comiket, anime production, and even what the streets of Akiba look like. If you like anime for its characters and are fully versed in all things related to anime, then Oreimo would probably be a good series to watch. Conversely, anyone looking for an engaging plot or anyone who’s only a casual anime viewer would best avoid this series.