Sometimes I find it difficult to write about more obscure shows, the most common reason being that I don’t know where to start. That can sometimes also be a problem with very popular shows, if there’s too much to talk about. Fortunately, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo for short) doesn’t really have that problem. It’s definitely not obscure, but discussions around it tend to focus on a limited group of topics (mainly incest), so it shouldn’t be too difficult to talk about it.
Or, rather, it’s not difficult to find things to talk about regarding OreImo. But all OreImo-related roads eventually lead back to the incest. And, as most people probably know by now, Kyousuke and Kirino actually do get together at the end of the second season of the anime. Sure, they do break up almost immediately afterward, but the fact remains that it’s not just “will they, won’t they” kind of teasing, they do actually go the distance. And when those last few episodes aired, this generated a lot of discussion (on Reddit, for instance) about whether incest is “wrong or not”. And that’s a landmine that I don’t really want to step on again, so I’ll spare you my personal opinion, but I do think that OreImo was kind of insidious about its own stance on the issue. On one hand, Kyousuke and Kirino decide to break up because they think it’s for the best, but on the other hand they never say that they feel like it’s fundamentally wrong or anything like that. The character kept their feelings kind of ambiguous, which I’m guessing is why people started arguing about the morality of it in the first place. In addition, the character who consistently keeps saying that incest is wrong, Manami, is portrayed as borderline insane at times, which I feel only added fuel to the fire.
OreImo wasn’t only about incest, though. It was also about otaku culture and the particular prejudices associated with it. In my opinion, the portrayal of the otaku in the series (possibly with the exception of Saori) was kind of underdeveloped and one-sided, especially in comparison to shows like Genshiken. However, what I did like was the way that Kirino’s obsession with anime and eroge was shown to affect her world view and values. She’s particularly obsessed with Stardust Witch Meruru, which, if I recall correctly, is stated to be an anime aimed at the seinen demographic. Similarly, Kirino is definitely not the intended demographic of loli incest-themed eroge, but she plays them nonetheless. And in turn, she’s buying into and trying to find a world view from fantasies aimed at adult men. Which… brings us back to incest again. Anyway, I found these themes surrounding how we are affected by the media we consume very interesting, regardless of whether OreImo’s portrayal of it is realistic or not. If it was expanded upon a little more, I might even recommend the show to others, but as it stands OreImo tried to do many things, most of which were not very good in retrospect.
Examples of the less good aspects, at least in my opinion, include the Kirino-Kuroneko rivalry (the romantic rivalry, that is, because I did quite like some parts of their friendship) as well as the entire character of Ayase. The former has spawned some very annoying “best girl debates”, which I tend to dislike in general, but the latter is really irritating because I feel like Ayase was badly written from start to finish. I never understood why she was “yandere”, nor do I understand why any of the other characters paid her any attention. I never figured out why she was even included as a character in the first place. She wasn’t a unique problem, though. The “Kirino goes to America”, “Kirino writes a movie” and “Kirino and the gang make an eroge” story arcs felt the same way to me: Headless, tailless, and pointless. I do have to give credit to OreImo for being more interesting than most other LN adaptations I’ve tried to watch, but it was far from constantly interesting.