Review – Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai.

Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai.  (A-1 Pictures) – Genre: Comedy, Romance, School

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It’s very rare for an anime series to leave me with such mixed emotions and opinions. In that sense, I guess you can say that this second season of Oreimo has been successful with being both enjoyable and controversial, even more so than the first season. Since I want to devote some time in this review to actually talk about some of the events of the season, particularly the final three episodes, I’ll get the “review” part of this out of the way first so that people can avoid spoilers.

The main difference one will notice between the first and the second seasons is that the latter focuses much more on the side characters, which makes it feel a lot more like a regular harem series. Now, this is kind of both good and bad. It’s good because most of the side characters are actually really interesting, but bad because not a whole lot of development happens before they’re blown away again.

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The focus on Kirino’s dysfunctional relationship with Kyousuke, as well as her struggle with her otaku side, is what made the first season interesting for me. Even though Kirino comes off as an overbearing character in the first season, the absence of this dynamic makes the second season feel a little weaker in my opinion. Still, the colorful cast of characters is the main strength of any good romcom series, and the cast of Oreimo is as strong as they come. For those of you who wanted to see more of the side characters from the first season, then definitely give the second (and final) season a chance.

Now for some spoiler times.

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve watched the series finale, read the light novels, or just don’t care about spoilers. In that case, I’ll finally get to what I meant about my mixed feelings about the ending. So in the end, Kyousuke declares his love for Kirino and she reciprocates these feelings. Unfortunately, I had already been spoiled prior to watching the episodes, so I already knew that they had feelings for each other. However, I wasn’t really sure how it would lead up into it and where things would go from there. This is also where the mixed feelings sort of come in.

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First of all, the obvious thing to be concerned about, the incest. The part of me that grew up in a society that frowns upon such romantic developments feels a bit uncomfortable (but not to the extent that most people might). On the other side, this kind of forbidden love feels fresh and exciting, like a Classic play, with the immoral nature of the scenario giving a unique flavor to the series. I kind of wish that these ending episodes were longer to expand upon the newfound romantic elements between Kirino and Kyousuke.

Relationships in these types of series tend to be short-lived. We saw it with Kuroneko, and Kirino is almost no exception. Due to this shortness, we don’t really get to see much of their struggle, save for a rather intense showdown with Manami, the final boss of the series. At least it’s acknowledged that Kyousuke is dumb for turning down all of the girls for his sister because I’m sure that’s what we were all thinking.

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While the actual relationship isn’t as fleshed out as I had hoped, I did like the explanation for how Kirino’s feelings for Kyousuke developed, which is mostly told in the last episode before the three finale episodes. If anything, I don’t like how there’s very little explanation as to why Kyousuke loves Kirino. Though, I suppose you can argue that the entirety of the two seasons summarize how these feelings developed.

Creepy or not, the second season of Oreimo has shown me romance the likes of which I’ve never seen portrayed in anime before. Because of this, I wish the creators would have stuck with one outcome or the other and focused on it, rather than a hybrid of the two (clever as it may have been). I suppose from the writer’s point of view, this particularly ending was the safe route, considering the conservative nature of Japanese society. Despite popular belief, anime is actually one of the progressive (and daring by proxy) media forms in the world, and I think it should get a lot more credit for challenging societal norms.

B.W.

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