Monday, September 2, 2013

俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない(Oreimo): How to abandon a harem, amongst other things

I suppose it's about time I said something about "Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga nai!" (Oreimo) now that the show is finally over, and while the memory of it is still fresh. After two seasons and 31 episodes, it's finally over, and I'm feeling somewhat... underwhelmed.

Season 1 ran in 2010-2011, and with the long gap in between seasons, I was afraid that I wouldn't remember much of the plot. In fact, all I remembered was that the titular sister, Kousaka Kirino is an, ahem, Alpha Bitch- but only in relation to her brother. For some reason, I thought she was voiced by the scandal-dogged Hirano Aya, and before watching the first episode of season 2, wondered if she had managed to keep her last remaining lead role- but it turned out that she's been voiced by Taketatsu Ayana since the very beginning. So much for my memory, then.

The first episode of S2 had me wondering if I'd just fabricated memories of a happy ending for the siblings in S1, with Kirino treating her brother Kyousuke like a slave once again. The original otaku gang seemed to have drifted apart too (this wasn't really the case, as became apparent later on). S1 apparently ended with the possibility of romance between two characters- another point I'd seen fit to not remember ('forget' is inaccurate here- semantics), for whatever reason. Perhaps I just didn't like the pairing.

I found myself feeling rather conflicted. I dimly recalled warming over to Kirino, but seeing her being mean after a long absence made me dislike her again. Time for a ridiculous analogy. Imagine taking a year to get used to eating vegemite with everything, moving somewhere far from it, and then back again, having to reacquire a taste for it once more. It's rather tiresome. To be frank, I've never cared for vegemite, and don't plan on giving it a chance at all. It's not food. Similarly, Kirino's not... wait, where was I. Oh humbug.

I'm not sure how the original light novel goes, but in the anime almost every girl other than those falling in the mom category falls for Kyousuke. Hey, it's entirely possible, no? I suppose we shouldn't discredit it immediately just because we're jealous... ah well. Oreimo shows just what trouble it can be being disordinately popular, as he inevitably ends up having to dish out rejections to each and every girl- quite painful to watch, really, but necessary for what it builds up to- I suppose this would count as a major spoiler, so do what's necessary.

With the stage all set, Kyousuke comes out and makes a public confession to his Kirino- something that's obviously most controversial. I've got a leg on both sides of the fence here- one one hand I have a sister and wouldn't even dream of such a thing, but on the other hand, having seen what drove them towards this situation, I can't help but empathize with the two (I suppose you could being too understanding a character flaw on my part). The anime ending is painfully bittersweet, but is being lambasted by fans- apparently the blame falls on the publisher of the light novel for forcing the author to come up with a 'safe' ending- which fans raged against as being unrealistic once you finish watching/reading and start to think.

With my non-opinion out of the way, it's time for the conclusion. If S1 was an introduction to each character, S2 was a long goodbye to each and everyone. Relationships were solidified, concluded, and broken (mostly broken). S1 was amusing and fresh, with the premise of a normal brother helping out his otaku sister. In S2, it suddenly became a harem anime of sorts, but you could feel which direction the show was almost inevitably going towards, and it felt like a rock hanging overhead. Tense and good for the drama, but not a place you'd like to find yourself in. Meanwhile, I'll just pretend that the "Ayase end" in the PSP game is the one true ending...

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