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Nakaimo ~ My Little Sister Is Among Them! Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

12 min read

Nakaimo Blu-rayIt’s hard to date the girls you know when one of them may secretly be your half sister.

What They Say:
Is insanity hereditary? Shougo Mikadono’s beginning to think so, because the terms of his late father’s will seem crazy and following them may drive Shougo bonkers as well. Oh, it sounds simple at first: before Shougo can claim his VERY large inheritance, he just has to start attending a certain new school and find a nice girl to marry.

It’s a little unromantic, but perfectly do-able, right? After all, all the girls seem quite friendly, so all Shougo has to do is find one he has something in common with. Except, and here’s the kicker, it turns out that Shougo has WAY too much in common with one of them, because she’s actually his long-lost sister! And he has no idea which one she is!

Will Shougo meet and court his Miss Right without committing something very morally wrong? Can he find his future bride without slipping into the wrong set of genes? And if his little sister does reveal herself, just how much will be revealed and under what circumstances?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is fairly standard material here as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as the new English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is a fairly straightforward romantic comedy type with a few outlandish moments that push up the sound effects a bit, but mostly it’s a lot of dialogue thrown across the forward soundstage well where it keeps things hopping. Placement is fairly important at times as characters in multiple locations talking at each other and it comes across clearly with a good feeling and no noticeable issues. The sound effects play well across the show and the music is one of the highlights, particularly with the fast paced opening sequence. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing 2012, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series and additional OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second which is a fairly standard approach these days. The series is definitely bright and colorful and the appeal is there with the designs and some of the details to it, which all comes across cleanly and without any noteworthy problems. There’s a lot of movement throughout the show and it plays well with certain details in some of the more “explicit” scenes since it wants to highlight them, but it’s still pretty much PG-13 material and it looks good. Colors are bright and solid and the animation is solid throughout, leaving a very pleasing impression overall.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds both of the discs against the interior walls. The front cover is very, very appealing as it uses the core group of main girls in illustration form rather than shots from the show or other animated key visual material where they’re all in wedding dresses. It’s soft in its own way but it’s very appealing and filled with great detail and fun. The background is straightforward as it’s mostly white with an almost wedding image to it with the ribbon and the green hearts above which ties nicely to the logo. The whole front cover is just hugely appealing in its design. The back cover uses the same overall background layout and has some good character artwork of a very sexy Kunitachi along the right. A few shots from the show are along the top of the girls with all sorts of smiles and fanservice as well. The premise for the show is covered well in the middle with a clear look and easy to read text. The extras are laid out clearly, though I wish they mentioned how many commentaries they are, and the production credits cover all the key details. The technical grid lists everything clearly and accurately as well. No show related inserts are included and sadly there’s no reversible cover with more artwork to enjoy.

Menu:
The menu design for this release works with the colors of the front cover in a good way as it has a light and airy approach but with plenty of detail and some very vibrant aspects to it. The left side has the traditional vertical rundown of episodes by number and title with greens, whites, reds and yellows tying it all together. The rest of the menu is given over to character artwork as each volume provides a different combination of the girls in threes. The uniforms all look great and they stand out well here with the colors for the skin, especially against the softer pink background that they have. Submenus load quickly and easily and the show defaults to English with sign/song subtitles.

Extras:
This release comes with some really good extras that definitely make it worthwhile, especially for the Japanese language fans. We get five commentary tracks that appeared on the Japanese releases with the team behind it talking about their experiences on the show. These are intensive translation extras to deal with and including them is definitely above and beyond and welcome. In addition to that, we get a selection of the original trailers for the show and the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series by Hajime Taguchi and drawn by CUTEG which began back in 2010 and completed with ten volumes in 2013, as well as the expected manga adaptation that began in 2011, this twelve episode series and OVA comes from Studio Gokumi. The series is one that I had started a bit when it was first simulcast, but it was late to the game and had the first two episodes come up at once, which had me feeling just a bit off. and I never went forward with it after those two episodes since it was picked up not much later. Some shows simply feel like they work better in this kind of form so I opted to wait for this set and I’m definitely glad I did. I can see how this might have frustrated me on a weekly basis, especially if you micro-analyze each episode, but look at it in full I found myself thoroughly enjoying it.

The show introduces us to highschool student Shogo, a young man whose father has just died. His father created a business that was massively successful inside of a single generation as we learn and that his passing has created quite a loss for the company. While he’s coming to grips with that (lightly, I might add), he’s being introduced to some significant changes in his life. The first is that his mother has set him up at a new residence in order to advance in his life, finding a proper spouse and so forth. While life had its difficulties and its easiness along the way, he now has to make a stronger push towards something more real since he’s in a new position because of what happened to his father.

His life does shift quickly when you get down to it as the new school life starts and he’s thrown into things where everyone finds him cute and he’s definitely the center of attention. What helps ease things for him is meeting Tsuruma, a young woman he met outside a cake shop before school got underway. She’s a student there as well and helps him to get familiar with the place and gets close to him easily since he is so comfortable to be with in general. The two don’t exactly have chemistry, but she’s nicely playful with him and shows him the ropes with ease and without much in the way of drama. Which is important since there’s other personalities in the school such as Kannagi that will come to life as it goes on that will overpower her simple but nice demeanor.

Where things are a little weird with the show at first is that Shogo at first hears a voice at the start of the episode that he has a little sister and later on he gets a call from the same child-like girls voice claiming to be the same and that she’s actually at the school he attends. It’s an amusing kind of stalking that’s going on and it’s paired with a scene afterwards of Tsuruma washing herself off and enjoying playing with her breasts while talking about Shogo and how his mere presence in her mind makes her do such awful, dirty things. It’s amusing in its own way and is pretty much the biggest part of fanservice in the first episode, something that did feel a bit weak overall in that episode.

Because of the way he’s getting teased by this supposed sister, he does start doing a little investigation into his father, but that just leads to the company’s security team pushing back against him to not pursue it any further. The introduction of an attractive woman in charge of things just adds to the fun of it all but she does at least treat things seriously. The crux of the problem that Shogo has to deal with is that due to the inheritance plan his father set out, he has to find a wife at the school in order to get everything. But he also has the danger of falling for a sister by another woman without knowing it, which could be catastrophic to both him and the company itself. And with so many girls interested in him and he being open to a lot of them so far, it makes him wary since he doesn’t know who is really who.

Like any show of this nature, you’re going to get a pretty decent array of women for him to end up involved with – and no men since he can’t seem to make male friends. The one he sort of does end up with is Ikusu, the security/bodyguard side of things for the group that helps him with his investigation, but as masculine as Ikusu dresses, he’s still really a she and spends a good bit of time flaunting it when around Shogo in private. There’s something amusing about it since she spends time in school dressed as a boy and nobody has a clue, which leads to some awkward male on male time in a few instances that drives the other girls batty. But outside of that, male characters of note are few and far between and have no real impact outside of what Shogo’s father has done. That puts the weight of the show firmly on Shogo and how he handles the various girls. Luckily, he’s pretty restrained overall and tends to act like a normal guy as he does a bit of leering but is largely trying to be respectful. He’s simply human.

The main girls in his life tends to revolve around Tsuruma and Miyabi. Both are early entries into the game of who may be the sister and each have their reasons they could be but also could be good girlfriends. They end up having a real interest in him and because they become friends, they actually come up with a pretty good non-compete kind of clause between themselves so that it doesn’t get out of hand. Tsuruma has a bit of the mild ditz about her and the stacked chest which of course means Miyabi is naturally flatter and not quite the mild ditz. But the two, through Shogo, manage to become pretty good friends here and it’s interesting to see how they come together like this. It’s pretty much expected that it’ll come down to the two of them, but the whole larger problem is obviously there as well since, as with just about everyone at one time or another, they all fit into the potential of being his younger sister.

Some of the other characters are less than interesting, and I did appreciate that some have no real connection at all, but they do go for the quirky sometimes. That one comes in with Sagara, a third year who lived in America for awhile and came back to open a little sister cafe. That’s unusual enough – a high school student running her own business – but she also ups the ante by wearing a cape and a witches hat while around school and everywhere else. While she has her moments and adds a little to the mix, the one that I really liked from the potential pool of girlfriends is Kunitachi. While she’s a first year, she’s student council vice president, confident, comes from a noble family and has some great assets to her that she doesn’t exactly use but doesn’t hide obsessively either. She’s a lot of fun since her role as a potential sister really is minimal, kept to just one episode, and I found myself liking her the best out of all the potential girlfriends. And she had some of the sexiest scenes in the show.

Thankfully, even though the original work went on longer than the show itself aired, we do get a fairly good conclusion here with the reveal of the sister, a nice little twist and some decent character material that works through the problems of the psychological aspects of what’s going on. Everyone has things to deal with when you get down to it and while it doesn’t go deep or huge for a lot of the characters, that it touches on it at all is welcome since there are so many different emotions. The show does set itself up for more of course since there are plenty of avenues to pursue, especially with a new little sister that’s very possessive of her brother, but the idea of getting some romantic entanglements really has me wanting to see more. But largely that’s because I want more Kunitachi material.

One of the things that worked well for me is the general design of the show with its animation and characters. While it doesn’t really stretch itself into a huge and atmospheric piece, there are some really nice character designs to it that are very appealing. They aren’t filled with lots of details – we don’t get any truly elaborate costumes or anything – but it’s all light and kind of airy which makes it very accessible. In addition to that, we also get the uncensored show here which means that the copious amounts of nudity is actually unobscured for the majority of it and it’s full of nipples. And they do have fun with it at times with some cute and awkward reveals that has Shogo doing his best to not embarrass anyone or to get him into any further trouble that he didn’t really cause himself.

In Summary:
Nakaimo is a series that I’ll admit that I didn’t connect with strongly when it first hit in simulcast form, enough so that I opted to just wait it out for this release. While I probably would have enjoyed the simulcast overall, I definitely enjoyed marathoning it here more and seeing the smaller threads come together for the larger storyline. Each of the girls get their time in the sun, some more than others over the course of the show, but in the end it’s a good little ensemble piece with likable characters and nobody you really dislike from the main cast. It’s easy to have favorites – and favorites always say a bit about you – and I found myself liking a couple of them here. But mostly, I found myself liking Shogo a lot because he wasn’t a completely weak character but he wasn’t hugely flawed either. He’s in a difficult place, coping well, and trying to do the right thing. It’s a fun experience to see and one that plays well in the genre but thankfully doesn’t adhere to its worst elements. Quite recommended.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Commentaries, Japanese Trailers, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 12th, 2013
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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