What They Say:
Living in the shadow of his prodigious younger sister, Kyousuke Kousaka had a normal lifestyle. Until one day, he accidentally finds out that his sister Kirino hides a dark and embarrassing secret. In addition to being smart, pretty, and popular, Kirino is also an obsessive consumer of anime and eroge (adult computer games). After being assured that Kyousuke will not mock her, and will conceal this secret from their parents, she starts to share a bit of her world with him. Kirino faces several problems as she tries to keep up appearances and balance her exemplary school life with her hobbies. Her brother then becomes a crucial ally while dealing with all the difficulties that lie ahead.
The audio presentation for this series is in its original Japanese language in stereo encoded done up in the uncompressed PCM format. This is a huge boost up in the math side of it as we go from 192kbps to the full Mbps approach at a consistent rate, but it’s not one that drastically changes the sound of the series. The show is one that does a whole lot of dialogue-driven material but it has some fun wacky moments that takes advantage of the forward soundstage with some fun directionality, but by and large, it’s a fairly straightforward mix that does the job right in creating a good slice of life feel. The music from the opening and closing sequences is often the biggest standout pieces, but some of the incidental music in the show works very well as does some of the bigger, more dramatic moments. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing at the end of 2010, the transfer for this 12 episode TV series and 4 episode OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The release spreads the TV series over three discs with six on each while the fourth disc has the OVA series and the extras for it, giving it plenty of room to work with. The show has a very good look to it with animation by AIC Build and the transfer captures it pretty well but makes it clear that this wasn’t a series with high-end animation. The look of the show is solid in terms of the encoding with how it’s handled but there’s a kind of simple approach to the character animation and a lot of the backgrounds. The otaku elements, such as stores, packaging, and other pieces, have a lot of detail to enhance the reality of it and that comes through cleanly here. Color design is kept solid and problem free in terms of breakup and noise while the details in the backgrounds are definitely coming through crisply.
Aniplex USA has put out a pretty solid package here for this release that will definitely please the fans. Changing from the artwork of the DVD edition, this is still a thin slipcase kind of approach when one really wants a heavy chipboard box. The front cover has some cuteness with our leads all dressed up in a cosplay kind of form and I really like the understated shiny elements mixed into it. The designs and detail look good and it’s certainly welcome to change the visual between editions. The back cover goes for green-scale outline artwork of characters with the shiny elements mixed in as well. The technical is spread across top and bottom with what the set contains and otherwise breaks down the staffing and cast for it. Within the box, we get the two clear Blu-ray cases to hold the four discs with two per case and no hinges or poor quality cases in general. The mix of character artwork is pretty nice as it goes for a simple approach with the back providing some text in the form of the breakdown of episodes by number and title. We do get artwork on the reverse side in a checkerboard pattern with a mix of colors and smaller character shots.
The main pack-in bonus item included here that’s really, really well done is a package of sixteen glossy and heavy card postcards. They’re all fanservice oriented shots for the most part, but they’re really appealing and use a lot of pieces from some of the ending sequences. They have a great thickness about them and feel like really good quality pieces that will make fans of the show very happy.
The menu design for Oreimo is fairly cute and nicely consistent across all three discs with only some mild changes. The main layout has a plaid background to it where each volume uses different soft colors to differentiate it while the foreground has a different grouping of characters and outfits as well. With some upbeat music to it, it has a good bit of energy and bounce as well as a touch of motion as the background scrolls by. The navigation strip along the bottom is simple with some lined spacing where you have the selections in tabs and it’s quick to load and very easy to navigate. Submenus load quickly and are problem free and due to it being a monolingual release, language presets are a non-issue.
This release has a very fun extra that definitely delights as we get the commentary track for all sixteen episodes but they’re done up as in-character pieces. Your mileage may vary with this but we sampled several episodes and it was definitely amusing, but may be best to not marathon it in that form. It’s a fun way to extend the enjoyment of the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Known in full as Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, Oreimo is a twelve episode series and four episode OVA series based on a light novel series of the same name by Tsukasa Fushimi. The novels kicked off in 2008 and finished up in 2013 with twelve total. When the show began its simulcast here in late 2010, it was one that at the time was fairly controversial for a few different reasons, but primarily because of its content. Or rather, what people believed the content was going to be based on the title which translates as “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute.” Obviously, it’s going to strike some angry and polarizing chords just from the name, but that was pretty much one of the last things that the show really does.
The series puts us in Chiba where we get to know the Kosaka family, which is made up of the two parents, seventeen-year-old Kyousuke and fourteen-year-old Kirino. The parents don’t figure into it too heavily, but we get a fairly traditional structure here that eludes us in other shows. The dad is somewhat old school, the type that’ sitting around reading the paper and has a conservative view of things but knows he has to bend to the times when it comes to his children. His wife is a pretty, pleasant and friendly woman who wants the best but generally is deferential to her husband. They provide a good foundation for the kids though and it explains a fair bit about how their relationship has developed over the years in that they’re not exactly close, as you get the impression it’s not a hugely close family even though they’re all warm and generally loving of each other.
What the show wants to focus on is the secret that Kirino has that Kyousuke gets drawn into. While he’s a rather straightforward and solid student, nice guy with a childhood friend that he’s oblivious about when it comes to her feelings, Kirino is one of those rare ultra kids. She’s got great grades in school, does really well in athletics as she’s one of the best in the school when it comes to track and she even does some approved modeling which her parents allow her to keep the money from. She does it all and does it with a smile and a sense of fun while still keeping up with everything. But it’s her secret that causes the problem as she’s really, really into little sister erogames. And being fourteen, playing games made for eighteen and up isn’t exactly good. Nor is the fact that she likes anime, which gets a bad rap here from how the news portrays things and so forth. Because of all this, she keeps all her games (and she has so many little sister games) hidden away with everything else.
So when Kyousuke ends up coming across one of her games by accident and covers for her, he gets drawn into it. She wants to share her passion with him – but just the passion of the games. She’s not exactly abusive towards her brother, but somewhat dismissive as she doesn’t see him in the way the games would have you think. She totally and completely gets into the games and the shows because of the feelings she gets from it. As much as an older male playing the games would view it as its intended, she doesn’t take it that way and just gets into the warm feelings of it. But she knows it’s not something she can share with others because of the way otaku are ostracized, and this group in particular, so when Kyosuke gets involved, he ends up helping her come out about it a bit and encourages her to make friends in real life. Kyousuke even gets very defensive about her and her passion with their parents, going so far as to get ready for a physical fight with his father.
What works with the show is that even though her passion is what many will classify as creepy at the least, it’s not something that really exists between the two. There is a sense of loss between the two later in the series, though a good deal of that can be attributed to natural reactions because of the situation itself. What we get with the show is something that actually avoids any real sexy fanservice as panty shots are nearly non-existent and Kirino is not ogled over by Kyousuke. The OVAs add just a touch more, but even that is so minimal compared to other shows that it’s almost shocking.
The OVA aspect of the show is something that works very well in fact, as it treats the TV series like a game itself. With the series ending in a way that I didn’t care for, the first OVA actually replays that episode with different choices made and sends Kirino off on another adventure, keeping her out of the picture. This lets Kyousuke cope with that a bit and then has him getting to know her friends that he had met earlier and to get closer to them in some very well done ways. I really came to like the cast overall as the series went on and the OVAs simply cemented that even more. It advances the story forward several months so that lets a few changes come into play as well as their situations change. And that’s the thing that’s noteworthy, both with the TV series and the OVA if you go down that “truth path” with it. There is some growth and change here in how everyone deals with each other and it’s not just a static series. And that definitely makes it a fun show to watch beyond all the general silliness and the gaming amusement of it all.
Before going into the show originally I had only generally heard awkward things at best about the series because of its name and the perception of what it was. What I found instead was a really charming series about a young woman who has an interest in things that aren’t mainstream and would definitely ostracize herself from her friends. I can’t tell you how many people like that there are in the world for a variety of reasons. Revisiting it a few years later hasn’t really changed my opinion of this show, particularly as other properties have played similar angles with far worse results. I really liked the way the relationship between Kyousuke and Kirino changed over the course of the series, though I preferred the path the OVAs took instead in the end, and just for the way it shifts to showing women being into just as otaku oriented things as the guys and dealing with what comes from that. Aniplex USA took a while to get a Blu-ray edition of it out here but it’s one that will please the fans that have long wanted a high-quality version of it in a nice package – and with all those in-character commentary tracks that definitely require some work to produce.
Japanese 2.0 PCM Language, English Subtitles, In character commentary animations (for all 16 episodes)
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Running Time: 400 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 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.