Home > Episode Reviews, Oreimo > Ore no Imouto, etc. Episode 9 – (2D) Girls Who Like Other (2D) Girls

Ore no Imouto, etc. Episode 9 – (2D) Girls Who Like Other (2D) Girls

On the surface, this episode seems like a tiny bit of filler in the middle of the season. That’s exactly what it is. The main plot is about Kirino playing a new dating game, and the B plot consists of watching Kuroneko go about a typical day, pretending to be an agent of darkness while helping her family out with chores.

In addition, though, it confirms some suspicions I’ve had about Kirino. She may be a female otaku, but she’s still an otaku. And one of the defining characteristics of otaku in modern anime is a sexual attraction to animated characters.

I must admit, I've been tempted to do this with some games I've bought

We’ve known ever since the first episode that Kirino is into little sisters. That she likes cute and sweet little sisters in games despite being a bratty and mean-spirited little sister herself is the show’s core irony. But she’s insisted so far that her interests are entirely platonic, even when buying pornographic games and pornographic materials based on those games.

Her favorite anime, as Kuroneko loves to point out, is a magical girl show targeted mainly at male otaku with a fetish for magical girls. (When Kirino calls a Meruru figure ‘art’ in a previous episode, Kuroneko quips that “art doesn’t have removable clothes”).

Kuroneko tries to escape her life as a working class middle schooler by secretly inhabiting a realm of dark fantasy. She does a good job of living up to the goth part of

As I said, sexual attraction to 2D characters is one of the primary characteristics of the modern otaku, and Kirino is unabashedly an otaku. And given her subject matter of choice—pornographic dating games that fetishize little sisters—it seems to follow that she’d be interested in the racier parts, too. If it walks like a duck and acts like a duck, it probably fantasizes about other ducks.

I haven’t dwelled on the issue thus far, mostly because when you have no solid evidence to go on, pondering the sexuality of a fictional character is the worst kind of navel-gazing. But this episode makes things pretty explicit, and the result is pretty gross.

The tsundere heroine of Kirino's game ('100% tsun, 0% dere' in her words) is clearly modeled after Kirino in every way, down to the necklace. I don't know if that makes the sex scene later better or worse

When I say this episode is about Kirino playing a dating game, I mean that most of the episode is devoted to watching her play the game. If you’ve ever played one of these games, I should point out that the episode is actually more entertaining than playing an actual dating game; because it thankfully cuts the 99% of any game that consists of clicking the mouse button to make the next line of text appear.

That means we see her gushing over the cuteness of the characters, but things get weird fast. Like when she keeps clicking her mouse to make one of the girls say, “I love you, big brother”, while blushing, giggling perversely, and wriggling around on her bed, heart-shaped pillow clutched to her chest.

It's hard to properly convey how creepy this episode is without Kirino's squealing to back it up

It gets worse when a sex scene happens later on in the episode. The scene focuses on Kyousuke, who can hear the whole thing through his wall, which causes him no end of discomfort. Key quote: “that stuff about not caring about sex scenes was a total lie!”

This plotline seems mostly put in as lighthearted humor, or another way of showing how put upon Kyousuke is by having to deal with his sister, but I think it underscores just how much of otaku culture is wrapped up in sexual interest in 2D characters. It’s something that invariably comes up in any show that deals with otaku—something that, as we’ve mentioned elsewhere, is happening more and more often.

So, does this mean that, since I insist on writing about fan-service-laden anime targeted heavily at male otaku who get off on rigorous adherence to anime character conventions that I secretly like them? Well, no. I mean, Mayoi Neko Overrun! was pure torture and Asobi ni Iku Yo! became unbearable as soon as it expelled its initial burst of energy.

But I do like Oreimo. It may not have much going for it, story-wise, but it’s well-produced and entertaining enough that I’ve started to enjoy it.

The whale slippers return! My favorite animated footwear of 2010

That may seem odd considering how much I’ve dwelled on Kirino’s sexuality, but the parts of this episode that didn’t touch on that were entertaining. That means mostly Kuroneko’s scenes and Kyousuke’s short interactions with her, Kirino and Manami, plus the brief shot of Saori in her normal life. They’re small, little moments, but ones that breathe life into the characters.

We see Kuroneko’s façade of precocious arrogance turn into childish fantasy when she’s around her family instead of her peers; Saori … acting nothing like how you would imagine her to based on her interactions with Kirino, and Kyousuke trying to find something to do to take his mind off of studying or his sister’s excited squealing in the next room over.

Here's Kuroneko scheming in some kind of telephone roleplaying game

We’ve seen plenty of Kyousuke being frustrated with his sister already, but for the other two, it’s a rare glimpse of who they are in private. Away from their fellow otaku, living with normal, ordinary people, they are different people.

Sure, they still have their same hobbies and inclinations: Kuroneko is roleplaying in a dark fantasy world, and Saori is buying maid costumes for a future episode, but they can’t express their feelings about them with the same excitement and fervor that they do around each other.

That they bother to think about and show these characters when they’re not allowed to be their otaku selves shows just how much care and effort went into this show and its characters. It’s a pity that it went into a show with such and otherwise empty narrative.

Just when you thought this show was going to be free of the rich otaku girl, we get this scene. They never show her face, because she's not wearing glasses, but it's clearly Saori

Part of me wants to hate Oreimo for being part of a new generation of anime that eschews narrative and plot for the sake of creating 2D girls for otaku to fall in love with. I hope at some point in the not too distant future, anime creators will realize that complex characters are at their most interesting when you put them in dramatically interesting situations.

Oreimo doesn’t reach the levels of inaction that define shows like K-ON!, which is really the only reason I’m still watching it. It typically does have a story to tell; it just isn’t very interesting. Like K-ON!, though, it’s clear that a lot of care and effort went into everything about this show except the story, including making the characters as believable as possible.

I have to admire the craft that went into it. Like it or hate it, Oreimo is nothing if not well-made.

You can watch the episode here.

  1. December 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Actually I find that the plot is quite simple and relaxing in comparison to other anime. We don’t always have to be fed some sort of dramatic waste that rarely occurs in real life to be able to enjoy an anime. I mean in essence what is anime? Is it not a wonderful mix of reality and fantasy? I would like to believe that Oreimo Is Fine just as it is. Simple, entertaining, well made. The characters are cute without a shout of a doubt, the Ost is fairly interesting and expresses the emotions of what the director wishes their audience to feel. Even the introduction theme leaves that inkling of joy/happiness in the hearts of its viewers that I would say, make this anime shine. PFFT, silly kuroneko lovers :P. The thought of someone who watches/ plays games that have certain things occur in their life similar to those games or perhaps takes active roles in imitating these media isn’t unorthodox. with that in mind, the simplistic plot that you hate, I find it to be rather fitting as we all can enjoy anime with dramatic tension or oddities that although I find most to suit my taste like Wolf’s Rain, and elfen lied, anime like oreimo and furi kuri is a breath of fresh air. Finally, there is no story without a plot. For it to exist in the way that it does, proves that its plot is stable regardless of how ‘interesting’ a Small Unit of people may deem it to be. This is my opinion on the matter, I do hope you’ll put these thoughts to consideration when you resume talking about the matter in such a manner. I dislike it when people Are almost 100% negative about certain topics after all. Its good to positively criticize and openly express yourself but be sure of what your saying first.

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