Anime of Tomorrow
Tag Archives: Gokou Ruri
Final impression – prone to hyperbole, but respectably expressive (8/10)
Autumn 2010 (12 episodes + 3 OVAs) (title literal translation – My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute)
Kyousuke Kousaka finds an anime DVD case lying around the house one day and is surprised to find an h-game disc inside. Nobody in his family matches the image of the sort of person who would own this item. Intent on discovering its owner, Kousaka brings up the topic of anime during dinner where his parents firmly rebuke the idea of anyone in their household watching anime. But this elicits a very different reaction from his little sister Kirino whose shocked expression is enough to set off alarm bells for his suspicions. Later that night, she confronts him and reveals her secret that she’s a closet otaku (and a pretty hardcore one at that). Surprised at this frank honesty, Kousaka doesn’t try to belittle his sister for her unusual tastes. Instead, he begins to encourage her to be more honest and to pursue a happiness she had been unable to attain by hiding her true self.
Ore no Imouto tries to be a social discourse about the acceptance of otaku in today’s culture, but ultimately does a poor job by representing otaku as their stereotypes rather than real people. Not all otaku play h-games. Not all otaku cosplay on a daily basis in full view of the general public. Not all otaku dress like creepy shut-ins who fear light and fresh air. It probably wouldn’t have made for a good story, but most people who watch anime are not as passionate as Kirino, Kuroneko or Saori. The fact that Oreimo depicts otaku coming from a variety of very unassuming backgrounds (including fashion models, ordinary high school students and upper-class) does do some good in legitimizing the culture and showing that it’s not limited to just one particular unsocial group. What’s most telling about this anime is not the kinds of people otaku might be, but how the self-loathing of some can lead to the idea that it’s impossible for friends and loved ones to accept them for who they really are. But none of this should be taken to mean that Oreimo is a failure—far from it. It may have a few issues, but it’s funny, ironic and deals with the problems that some otaku face when their hobby is discovered by people they didn’t want finding out.