Well this is going downhill quickly. The only reason you still hold the ‘surprise of the season’ tag, Ore no Imouto, is that there’s nobody else out there to take it away from you. Unless the fact Panty and Stocking has managed to keep it’s jokes from going stale for 4 episodes running as a surprise. Maybe I should try watching Milky Holmes or Yosuga no Sora.
Right, let’s get this out of the way. Trip and grope. The oldest trick in the fanservice book. Still as facepalm worthy now as it ever was. The thing is, it isn’t ‘fanservice’. Just because a scene is sexually titillating in any way doesn’t automatically make it fanservice. For example, in Utena or Star Driver, the scenes are deliberately sexual characters are using sexual attraction to manipulate events. When a male character suddenly finds himself looking at the curves of a nearby female character, it’s often because he’s recognising a sexual appeal and often becoming slightly uncomfortable and nervous around her. In here, the trip and grope is to make Kirino’s friends think her brother is a lecherous, incestuous creep, just like his dad (as in, that his dad also thinks he’s an incestuous perv, not that his dad is also one himself. That would make this anime a whole lot weirder). It also heightens the awkwardness between the two.
Fanservice is Kirnio waving her bum around in the air. No effect on the plot. There’s a difference.
The whole scene is incredibly stupid, but there’s more to this show that’s getting on my nerves than just that scene. Take, for example, the idea that Kirino would be extremely freaked out by said groping. She’s straight back into her normal tsundere self. And Kyousuke is still taking it. He’s still sitting there and taking the constant coldness and bitching he has to take from Kirino. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in the earlier episodes because he was helping his sister with her otaku side. But she’s fine with that now, so he shouldn’t be putting up with this crap. Why are you still carrying your sister’s bags like a you’re her lapdog Kyousuke?
Trying to explain this without going down the totally obvious route is difficult. One possible explanation I came up with is that he’s lazy. He’s putting up with it because he hasn’t the willpower to go against her. This theory doesn’t work when to take into account that he went far enough to have a pretty heated argument with his dad and run after his sister when she leaves the house. He’s more than willing to be a Good Brother© when the time calls for it. So I think we can cross that explanation off the list. I can’t really think of any other explanations for this, beyond plain bad writing and the obvious choice.
That is, he fancies his sister.
Let’s ignore the ‘eww squicky incest’ angle for now, because everything clunks into place nicely if you take that angle. The reason he puts up with his sister is for the ‘dere payoff to all the tsun side. Basic rule is that if you persue the tsundere flag for long enough, you’ll get the reward of her softer dere side. Which he already got at the end of episode 3, when he cops on that his sister really is that cute. It also makes that scene of her bum waving about in the air take on actual meaning. He already notices the attractiveness of his sister. He’s just annoyed that he’s never seen a cute side to her. His little sister can’t be that cute. Oh, and the reason Kirino didn’t seem all too bothered about Kyousuke playing siscon ero games or that he just so happened to grope her is that she secretly fancies him too. It all clicks into place quite nicely.
Again, let’s ignore the squicky side of incest for now. It’s such an overused trope in anime it’s about as tedious as amnesia by now. My problem isn’t so much that. It’s that Ore no Imouto paints itself as a subversion of that genre. It makes fun of stupid incest plots in anime with it’s nonsense tentacle loli imouto games. But it’s becoming exactly the genre it’s claiming it’s subverting. You simply cannot do that. That’s like The World God Only Knows meaning to subvert dating sims by having the character picking up real girls, only for the real girls to be at a level of genericness dating sim heroines strive for. It doesn’t work and it makes both sides of the show ring hollow.
What compounds this problem is that, on the surface, Ore no Imouto is still well written. The dialogue is clever. The character interaction is fun to watch. The animation is still the best I’ve ever seen AIC produce (not that much of a ringing endorsement I must admit, but it still has mighty fine animation). Kuroneko is the personification of everything that’s still good about this series. There’s a clever wit to her that doesn’t requite overreactions to make her jokes funny, while remaining an interesting character to work out. But when the core of your anime is fatally flawed, that will start to spread out to the rest of the anime.