Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Oreimo

 It is a well known fact that two of the most popular otaku genres (discounting old classics like the giant robot) are Moe (pronounced mo-eh), and self-parody. Self-parody is popular for obvious reasons, namely the fact that we otaku love talking about ourselves. Moe (AKA cute young girls doing stuff that is cute) is a bit more complex, and I do not feel like delving into that can of worms at the moment. Nice examples of self-parody series include Genshiken and Welcome to the NHK. Examples of Moe that did not make me retch are Azumanga Daioh! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The anime I am about to tell you about today is an amalgamation of the two, a "Genshiken Daioh!", a "Welcome to the Melancholy of Haruhi". It is titled "Ore no Imooto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai", or in English, "My Little Sister can't be this Cute". Let's call it "Oreimo" for short.
  One day, average Japanese teenager Kyousuke Kousaka discovers an ero-game lying around the house. Later that day, his younger sister (do you hear that sound? It is fan boys drooling) Kirino kicks him out of bed, asking for advice. She lead him to her bedroom, and reveals to him her...rather large collection of ero-games (the joke is they're all little-sister games), expensive merchandise, and magical girl anime. Kyousuke never knew it, but Kirino is a major otaku! And so, despite his lack of interest in the otaku community, Kyousuke takes it upon himself to help his sister figure out how to live with her niche hobby.
 I found Oreimo to be very similar in mood to Haruhi, which, like Oreimo, is based on a light novel. The world is bright and cheery, laughter is infectious, the cute girls are cute, and Kyou-kun is the exact same character, not that there's any problem with that. At the same time, the show gives a true to life depiction of the otaku lifestyle (with the exception of some oddities) up there with Genshiken. Surprisingly, the two styles do not clash, nor do they neuter each other. The only place where it felt even slightly mismatched was in Kirino's obsession with gal-games,and that was taken seriously enough within the story (not to say it isn't played for laughs sometimes) to not affect my enjoyment of the series. Perhaps it even raises a good (if unintentional) point about otaku culture's often confused sense of sexuality. Why ARE little sisters so popular? Is there some deeper meaning to the perseverance of gender swap and harem shows? Who cares?
 Anyway, I found Oreimo to be a fun, smart, rollicking good time, though the people reading my blog (i.e. my family) may disagree. I'd make a closing statment, but I have a feeling it would change, just like the end credits did every episode. OK, done!
Oreimo is currently streaming HERE on Anime News Network

Update: I was right! My opinion about the show DID change. Not Genshiken. Not Hrauhi. This is nothing but crass entertainment. But you know what? I was entertained, so I'm okay. But you should avoid this. It is the Two and a Half Men of anime

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