OreImo and Society’s Views on Subculture

I just got back from watching Episode 3 of OreImo (thanks, Mazui!) and I have to say that this is certainly a masterpiece that everyone, not only the niche market can enjoy. Some people try to stay away from this series because of presumed incestuous themes that the anime may hold. To make it clear, there is no, nor there ever will be, incest in this series. This series clearly shouts CUTE LITTLE SISTER all over the place, Kirino being a model and all, but I think that this series will turn into something more on the life and hardships of otaku in general.

The little sister theme of OreImo is there, in my opinion, just so that it may provide a more accessible way of intervention for Kyousuke on the hobbies of Kirino. Being siblings can be quite useful in some ways. It provides a “connection” between Kyousuke and Kirino, who are just supposed to be strangers living under the same roof. It will be better to start a story with such a “connection” than working with nothing at all.

About the otaku themes in the story, though it’s true that people like me, would want to know an athletic, fashionable and beautiful tsundere who shares the same passions with me, but I think the reason why they made Kirino love anime and games is to provide a sort of “weakness” to Kirino, as the views on otaku culture in Japan are mostly negative. This, however does not limit the understandability of the anime for those people who do not know very much about the culture. Kirino being into anime and games can just be likened to another person being into Dungeons and Dragons who truly love what they are doing but are forced to hide because of the negative views of society towards such hobbies.

Society's prejudice towards things that seemingly corrupt good character

An underlying premise in OreImo is society’s cruelty and prejudice towards subcultures. As the most famous/infamous subculture in Japan, otaku culture becomes the subject of anime that highlights the “oppression” otaku get in Japan. Another example of such anime is Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. OreImo addresses this issue by presenting a very respectable member of society (Kirino) who gets addicted to what society looks down upon. A very good development indeed.

So, to sum it up, OreImo tries to break the barrier between the majority of society and the opressed subcultures. The story surely is applicable not only in Japan, but the whole world.

    • Yi
    • October 23rd, 2010

    The more I think about it, the more it makes sense for Kirino and Kyousuke to be siblings for the reasons you mentioned. For the story to work, Kirino has to find a social outlet for her hobbies but still have that societal tension. Thus, the outlet cannot be her friends. Kyousuke fits the role perfectly.

    • Nix
    • December 24th, 2010

    Ha, I wanted to get some other opinions on this (as I’ve seen the first couple of episodes), and it seems you had some similar ideas to me.

    I don’t know if I necessarily think that it’s a masterpiece, but I’m enjoying it and I’m not even remotely interested in moe.

    • The thing with moe, unfortunately, is that it gets overused and abused by so many shows. It’s not bad per se, but too much of it in a single series, or worse, in a single episode will sure tire out most viewers. This holds true for some anime that I will not name. The main reason for this is not only to appeal to “Type B” otaku, but also to aim for a bigger market. I think this is the reason why “some certain animation studio” animated one of the, if not the most, moe-filled anime of the decade. Not to mention another of their works with the super-powerful girl who has legions of real life followers in some parts of the world. I have nothing against those shows, and I actually enjoyed them, especially that movie which blu-ray disc was released recently, and I truly look forward to their next movie this year, too. It’s just that I’m sad to see people who don’t watch these amazing shows for what they are: entertainment and perhaps some valuable life lessons or an escape from harsh reality, not an alternate reality to throw your valuable life away to.

      That being said, ore no imouto is not fueled by moe, but rather a very imagnative approach to a subject considered a taboo in society, and that, I think is what this kind of entertainment is about. 🙂

      P.S. I don’t like the 2chan notion of grouping otaku into types.

  1. Basically Oreimo showed me two things:
    1: A look into the world of hardcore otakus and how society views them (Each person with a different view).
    2: Kirino and Kyosuke’s long and rocky relationship slowly being patched up. Two siblings who have been practically enemies for years are finally coming together and slowly learning more about each other and gaining a mutual understanding of each other (especially Kyosuke towards Kirino since we don’t actually see how Kirino slowly learns to accept, respect and appreciate the older brother she has). In any case, you get my point. This show was awesome and I feel sorry for the fools who misjudged it and took it for granted.

    Crunchyroll’s top 10 anime of 2010: Sora no Otoshimo 2 is on that list?! WHY?!

    • I’m glad that you liked OreImo as much as I did. About the people who dismiss it as just another incest anime, they should just try to watch it and they’ll see what they have been missing.

      Now, about Sora no Otsoshimono Forte, I didn’t watch it, but from what I hear from my friends, it was indeed good but I don’t know about it getting the second place in the CR charts. Maybe they got their statistics wrong…

  2. I don’t take mass media sites seriously at all so I wouldn’t know.
    Besides, I think there’s already a show taking place right now that will satisfy their dark, sadistic, disturbed hearts of coal:” Onii-chan sucks.” I call it that because…it sucks…so bad. Everything I never wanted Oreimo to become, this show takes all that and combines it and creates a steaming pile of pig vomit.

    • Onii-chan no Koto? While I do believe that the show is messed up in many ways, I think that was the reason why some people like it. I watched the first two episodes, and, well, it was funny, yes. I don’t really care much about taboos like incest, homosexuality, or just plain perversion now that I was exposed to liberating things in media. I don’t think anything can disturb me anymore… oh, wait… there’s futanari and guro… ugh…

      Edit: There’s BL, too… well, I’m not really disturbed by it, it’s just that I won’t be reading/watching anything in that genre anytime soon, or for my whole life. Why? Just because.

      • I’m still against male + female incest (Women incest I don’t mind though. Yup, I’m weird and proud to be weird). In any case, I don’t mind yaoi either as long as it’s funny and inoffensive.
        Besides, I’m not interested in yaoi in general.

      • I see. I just don’t want to see yaoi for personal reasons. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against BL and I’m not going to criticize people who like it.

  3. Neither will I. After all, not everyone knows or acknowledges the greatness of yuri for their own reasons as well. So yeah, no point judging yaoi fans. Yaoi just isn’t our thing, nuff said.

    Back to Oreimo, personally, I’m not looking forward to the alternate ending OVAs because I feel that the default ending was perfect. Oh I’ll still watch them, but expect me to be very skeptical about them. Oh well, more Saori Bajina and Kuroneko is a bliss from the anime heavens.

  4. Oh, and of course Mini-Neko. I want a Mini-Neko plushie. do they sell those?

    • I do hope so… she is just so cute… and as Ryuugu Rena puts it: “Hauuuu~~~ Omochikaeri!”

      • Over 9000 bonus points for referring to another anime legend’s infamous catchphrase. then again, Rena has 3 famous catchphrases. Can you name them all? you’ve already named one.

      • Hmmmm… I think another is when she adds: “kana” into her sentences ending with “…kana?”

        Another is “USO DA YO!!!!” which I really like for being one of the most scary lines in anime ever.

  5. You know your Rena Ryuugu trivia well sesketchuan. Well done dood. I’ll never forget the 1st USO DA YO!!!! with the crows. Personally, the very 1st arc will always be the scariest of the entire anime trilogy.

    Back to Oreimo again, your thoughts on the Kirino clone, Ayase?

    • Hmmmm… about her… I don’t dislike her. I understand her feelings toward otaku deviants, but that was just a news “overgeneralization” of the anime and game fandom. I think her purpose here is one of the general population who have their minds corrupted by mass media anti-otakus.

      And also, I have these visions of KirinoxAyase or KuronekoxKirino here and there, but I don’t think we’ll be getting that from the author. Too bad for us, then…

      • My thoughts exactly. Ayase and Kirino’s father, before he slowly began accepting her daughter’s “fetish” represent the general public who have a large spike stuck up their butts and they have a hard time pulling it out.

        KiriYase is the most likely one to receive fanfics since KiriNeko doesn’t match that well in my eyes. Sure it would be awesome, but I can’t sense it as strongly as I can sense KiriYase.

      • Hardcore otaku, both in the US and Japan, are quite hated and misjudged by many because they are different. I’ll admit, I used to be like that myself until recently.

        The CNN coverage of the Rapelay incident did not help the people understand that not all otaku like that kind of stuff…

  6. How easily people are influenced by the media. Such a shame I must say. Ah well, even though where I come from an animeniac is an endangered or rare species I’m not ashamed to call myself a long time anime fan. I’ll enjoy anime till my time comes or when anime is destroyed.


      Sorry about that. Just a reflex. When anime does change into something that is just for little kids, then, I may reconsider.
      In my country, otakus are just beginning to sprout, scattered at facebook. They are still just immature fanboys/fangirls at this time though. Not aware of all the cruelty and darkness of the world that they chose to enter.

      • Indeed. Why can’t those idiots understand that just because a few otakus are insane doesn’t mean that all are nutty as a fruitcake. Damn Ishihara and his racism.

      • Well, I really can’t put all the blame on him now that I see where Japan is heading. It’s also partially the fault of the deviants that the news show on TV. Maybe, if well manged, the bill may put the people in the right direction. If improperly handled, sadly the more probable approach, may cause the loss of one of the greatest eye-openers in history.

  7. Let us hope for the best and not be negative. There’s no media like anime. (Repeat this 100 times)

  8. Alrighty then,back to Oreimo. If you had one word you would use to describe Kirino, what would that word be?

    • Uhhhh…. let me think about that for a while.

      • Argh, I can’t think of anything. I can’t describe her in one word. I’m weak at those kinds of challenges.

  9. Probably should have said “describe her in one sentence” instead.
    In any case: A type-A Tsundere who grew out of being afraid of society’s view of otakus and just lives with it as a normal thing.

    Sorry, that’s all I’ve got.

    Bu enough about Kirino, let’s get to the true star of the show and I have a strong feeling you know who I’m referring to. no, it’s not Mini-Neko. Mini-Neko is the character that the anime’s title refers to. Mini Neko is the REAL “My Sister can’t be this cute”.
    Now then, your thoughts on the star of the show and her views.

    • About Kuroneko, I think Kyousuke would have been better off with her than anyone else. Kirino is too much… in many ways. Ayase is a bit… unstable, I think. Saori needs more development. But Kuroneko, I can’t find any flaws. She is too cute and she is voiced by the one who voiced Tenshi, Kana Hanazawa. Not to mention her super cute nekomimi dance. Can’t get enough of that.

      And about Kirino, I really can’t figure out her mind. I can just find a general pattern of love-hate towards Kyousuke and the way she wand someone to share her hobbies with. I somehow feel sorry for her and sometimes I feel sorry for Kyousuke because of her.

      • Oh, and we have Victorique/Victorica of Gosick now. She’s now 2011’s definition of cute.

  10. If I did give a darn about the “romantic” portion of the show, I’d say Kyosuke’s better off with normal kid, aka Manami. Simply put, she’s adorable and stable. Even though Kuroneko is the epitome of awesome, Manami is the one I’d choose to spend the rest of my life with, but that’s just me. The Nekomimi dance in all honesty, made no sense to me but I don’t question or disapprove its inclusion.

    I can understand why some otakus dislike Kirino but I don’t mind her that much because like you just described, there’s a purpose behind her behavior. In fact, every single character on the show has a purpose, be it large or small. That’s what I like about the show, noone is out of place or pointless. Every character has a reason for being there and I love it.

    • Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about her. Manami is adorable in her own light, too. Well, I guess she’s the one for Kyousuke after all.

  11. afkeroge :
    Oh, and we have Victorique/Victorica of Gosick now. She’s now 2011′s definition of cute.

    Although I enjoyed Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, I felt it was severe;y lacking in the mystery dept. GOSICK fills the void MH left with the introduction of the glorious super sleuth known as Victorique Holmes (Yes, her last name is Holmes as far as I’m concerned. She carries a tobacco-less pipe for pete’s sake.). I honestly have absolutely nothing to complain about her and her sidekick, Kujo. It’s the perfect Brains and Brawn team, even though Kujo isn’t dumb.

    • And to think some big site claimed him to be another useless pile of junk… I’m not trusting any of those sites anymore.

      • Let’s take a look at some of his current traits:
        He’s a funny recipient character (Meaning that he’s funny because he’s often the victim of Victorique’s insults/”compliments”), he’s got combat skills and he’s interesting. HOWEVER, the most important fact of all…HIS LAST NAME IS KUJO! Do you know where that comes from in terms of movie media my friend?

      • Please enlighten me.

  12. afkeroge :
    Please enlighten me.

    One trailer says it all.

    • Cujo, some scary dog, he is. And there I was thinking that Saint Bernard was the only breed of dog that I can get along with.

      • There you go. Kujo gets bonus points for having a similar name as Cujo. Also I forgot to mention that Kujo’s nickname is “Spingtime Reaper” so yeah. Point is, Kujo does not suck.

      • Kujo is so far from being a protagonist that sucks. He rocks.

  13. Indeed. Also, I don’t mind Kyosuke either. At the end of the day, he wasn’t a bad male lead at all. I actually had some respect for the guy and all he went through. Kudos to Kyosuke-shin.

    • Kyousuke is the epitome of an older brother who rocks the world. He may be the best of them all.

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