The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Ore no imouto ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai: good end reflection

I’m now fully caught up with the first season’s “good end” in Oreimo, which means it’s time to consider what I’ve seen so far and give the series an informal reflection. I picked up the series back in Summer 2011 out of curiosity and only watched one episode before other commitments led me to forget much about the anime, and it was only recently where I was able to find time and watch the entire thing. The unique point about Oreimo that led me to marathon the series was more about the story that was progressing: simply put, I wanted to see what happened next. The unusual setup in this series gives it a definitive edge over other anime of this style; much of the comedy comes from Kyousuke’s determination to help Kirino, even if he does not particularly understand what the latter is asking of him, or if he finds himself in boiling water as a consequence of trying to cover Kirino’s tracks. As such, where an episode ends, I was itching to see the consequences stemming from Kyousuke’s actions, and that in itself is indicative of a series worth watching (i.e. has pulling power).

  • Kirino has a completionist mentality when it comes to visual novels and is seen here giving Kyousuke a stern talking to about his casual approach towards them. At the time of writing, I have completed merely one arc in the Go! Go! Nippon! visual novel and may or may not go back for the other route later.

  • Ruri is a 15-years-old otaku who often wears gothic lolita clothing based on a character from her favorite anime, even during hot weather, and will sometimes add cat ears and a tail. Due to both of their tsundere-type personalities, she constantly clashes with Kirino when it comes to anything. However, both girls genuinely care for each and value the time she spent together. Kuroneko is very prideful like Kirino but is willing to swallow her pride to achieve a goal. Kuroneko enjoys teen-centered fantasy anime. She often mentions “dark magic”, claiming that she has it, usually to Kirino or to Kyosuke.

  • Saori Makishima is the leader of the “Anime Girls Unite!” group on the Internet, whom Kirino meets in a meet-up. She wears very thick glasses (shown as swirls) and speaks with an exaggerated tone. Saori is drastically different from how she communicates through the Internet and through phone or speaking with her in person, to which she seemingly switches to a refined and sophisticated persona.

  • Fans of Oreimo will pick out even the most minute of details to talk about: in this case, I know that in season two, Saori is seen without her glasses. This caused quite a stir in the anime community for reasons well beyond my comprehension. At the time of writing, I’m trying to finish the “TRUE END” route of the anime and will probably arrive on season two within a week.

  • Ayase Aragaki (right) is Kirino’s classmate who works as a model alongside her and is also her best friend. Ayase is normally a friendly, nice, and refined lady, but becomes agitated and somewhat violent at the thought that she is being lied to, which she hates above all else.

  • Why do I like Oreimo? Simply because I am a gamer and it is always amusing to see the Japanese approach towards video games. It is of my own mind that I find Japanese games to possess complex, immersive storylines surrounding their characters, but are occasionally lacking in technological innovation, whereas Western games tend to focus on getting the best technological innovations out there and sometimes, do so at the expense of story.

  • I’ve now attended exactly one anime convention: here, Ruri totally pwns a fighting game to net Kirino a copy of a game that the latter desired. Earlier, Kirino offered to hold onto Ruri’s clothing after the latter began overheating from the minimal airflow. It may not look it, but Ruri and Kirino do care for one another.

  • Dakimakura are full body pillows with casings depicting anime characters.

  • Minami represents normality; lacking any of the eccentricities in the other girls, she is highly capable with household chores and cooks exceptionally well. Due to the time they spend together, the people around them assume they are dating; even Manami’s family members say that they should get married already, as if they already think of him as part of the family. In any sort of reality, she is the perfect match for Kyouske, and at the risk of incurring the flames of revenge from other fans, this is my preferred pairing. My superior micro tells me that this does not happen, but I am permitted my own opinions.

  • The short discussion below was inspired by this image.

I was compelled to watch the entire series out of curiosity for the second season, and I was not disappointed by any stretch. It is quite curious to see the two schools of thought amongst the fanbase personified in Oreimo, whether it be those in the character-driven (represented by Kirino) or story-driven (represented by Ruri) groups. By allowing the underlying arguments and beliefs of both groups to be played out as a one-on-one discussion, I derived utmost amusement in seeing Kirino and Ruriargue over and about their favourite anime series, providing justifications for why they enjoy it so much. Naturally, Kyousuke is forced to observe at the sidelines and finds it absurd that anyone could take anime so seriously, gently acting as a parody of the entire culture surrounding anime in general. Of course, given that I live on the other side of the world, anime fans are decidedly the minority and some are even more vocal about their preferences. In light of this, I am merely an anime fan and will watch whatever I feel like watching as a hobby.

  • I used to watch anime on a 19-inch Dell monitor, and occasionally watched shows on an iPod Touch. Shortly after university started, I began watching anime on a 42-inch screen and as such, increasingly sought to obtain HD copies of anime that I enjoy.

  • I probably won’t understand the shock of clicking the wrong path in a visual novel, but I do understand full well what it feels like to get shot in the head by a stray sniper round. I’ve just begun playing the multiplayer component of Bad Company 2 and are still getting used to the mechanics. As a result, I have a KD-ratio of 0.5 (i.e. I typically make one kill per every two deaths), whereas in Halo, I used to maintain a KD ratio of around 3.4. However, I’ve gotten more comfortable with iron sights now and play as a medic primarily so I can revive fallen teammates.

  • Despite her general appearance in public, Saori is actually an aristocrat from a wealthy family, and speaks with a highly formal voice outside of meeting with her friends. In season one, we do not get to see her without her glasses.

  • Ruri has two younger sisters, Hinata and Tamaki, whom she dearly cares for, though her sisters and mother both seem to worry about Ruri when she in her otaku mode. At school, Kuroneko wears normal clothes and at home, takes care of her younger sisters.

  • This scene was most likely the inspiration for Chinatsu’s resemblance to Mirakurun in Yuru Yuri. Kanako is Kirino and Ayase’s fellow friend, classmate and model; she was decieved into cosplaying and performing as Kirino’s favorite anime character, Meruru, for a contest and wins. Despite winning the contest, she is disgusted of what she had gone through, but likes the idea of being praised and the fact that participation in such an event helps her career.

  • Oreimo makes it clear that people may find it difficult to express gratitude towards those who help them, but this is not to say that they are not grateful. In Kirino’s case, as we see the anime progress, it becomes clear that her gratitude towards Kyousuke is very much real, much as how Kyousuke expresses genuine concern for Kirino and has even gone to extreme lengths to take the fall for anything that happens to Kirino. Just to mess around with the search engines, I’m going to draw the comparison between Oreimo and The Dark Knight, where Batman shoulders responsibility for Harvey Dent’s revenge-induced crimes.

  • In the past, Kyosuke had good grades and was the fastest runner in his elementary school. However, when he realized his inability to bring Akemi back to school after injuring her, and being unable to console a crying Kirino who was sad as coincidentally, their grandmother died, Kyosuke was convinced by Manami that he shouldn’t try so hard at everything. This drastically changed his personality into someone who only desired to be normal,  leading to a decline in his academic and atheletic performance. As such, Kirino dislikes her for having brought about this change.

  • Ruri later refers to Kyosuke as “Nii-san” due to her wishing to have an older brother and suggesting to annoy Kirino, while hinting some affection towards him. She eventually dates Kyousuke, but breakup shortly after.

  • These last two screenshots are from the good ending. Dost thou here with thine ears what I hear with mine? There is a true ending, and I need to watch that before beginning season two.

  • Do I recommend this series? Yes. My reasons are elaborated upon throughout this post, and in fact, this brings to mind a discussion somewhere where one uninformed fan claimed that he would accept negative reviews of an anime over a positive reviews any day of the week because they accentuated the detracting elements to a show, thereby forcing the reviewer to really consider their own opinions and standards. This individual is wrong, of course, because the whole reason in watching a show is because there are unique elements that appeal to a viewer. Thus, a positive review expresses all of the best aspects of a show, and should those align with the reader’s own interests, then said reader might pick up the show.

There is a colourful cast of characters in Oreimo; all of these individuals play a different role in Kyousuke’s life, but as females, it does lend itself to the traditional anime cliche, raising the question of whether or not any romance will be involved. At the end of season one, the answer remains a solid no, and that the series is about a guy (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura, of Tomoya Okazaki and Graham Aker fame) trying to form a proper brother-sister relationship after nearly a lifetime of distance and coldness. The fact that Kirino (Azunyan) has a near-unhealthy love of eroge adds spice to the dynamics, and viewers are left with a story that is equal parts drama and comedy. Of course, there are a few vulgar jokes throughout the series, and some of the terminology surrounding Otaku culture may not be accessible for everyone, but at the day’s end, this is a series I would strongly recommend. Presently, I am wondering why I did not watch this series earlier, and will look to wrap up the “true end” on very short order: given this is the segue into the second season, it is imperative that I finish this as soon as possible to catch up with the second season, which is airing at the time of writing.

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