Episode 4 sure caused a lot of discussion across anime blogs. Since my post was one of the first out, I wasn’t able to respond to them in a post of my own, leaving it to the relevant comment sections. But it was really interesting to read all the various interpretations and thoughts towards the episode and Ore no Imouto as a whole. It was made all the more interesting thanks to the furor and insistence of the posts and comments. Obviously there was plenty I didn’t agree with and no argument made ultimately me change my mind hugely about the show. But it did help me to reassess my thoughts and evaluate what this show was trying to achieve.
There is one train of thought that I feel I have to address though. It’s nothing about the show itself, that is all ultimately just opinions. Neither am I talking about how people phrase their arguments, despite some of the comments bringing to my attention the prevalence of people using ‘haters gonna hate’ as a legitimate counter-argument for criticism (no it’s not, and stop using it you idiots). What I want to address is the idea that this discussion across blogs in such a manner is a negative thing. That responding to each others’ posts in a manner directly disagrees with what they wrote is a negative thing. It absolutely is not. It’s by far the best thing anime blogs can do as a community. You don’t want everyone agreeing with each other in one happy circle of joy. You need dissenting opinions that show each side to the anime or subject in question. Between bloggers’ reactions to Endless Eight, the arguments over fanart recognition and other such incidents, I wish the aniblogsphere had more of this. That’s what really promotes critical thinking and challenges people to properly construct their posts when they know there are those out there who will disagree with them.
Sorry for those of you who only read this blog, but it’s well worth your time checking out other anime blogs and not just listening to my narrow view of the world. The blogroll on the sidebar is a good place to start, as is Anime Nano. Anyway, enough of that. Onto the actual episode.
Episode 5 was a step straight into melodrama central, with varying degrees of success. It can be divided up into 3 segments.
Doujinshi in the Rain
Hugging the Heart Cushion
Kyousuke becomes The Cart Driver
In between these 3 massive pieces of melodrama, there were much more subtle pieces of character development. I guess this comes down to me being a massive fan of subtly and not a fan of melodrama, but the quieter pieces were far better executed.
Take Doujinshi in the Rain. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but I had a massive grin on my face the entire way through, even breaking into laughter when Ayase said “we can’t be friends” in a deadly serious tone. It was so corny and handled in such a heavy handed way that it was impossible to keep a straight face. Hugging the Heart Cushion was handled quite considerably better, probably because of the lack of ‘mood-setting’ BGM and oppressive atmosphere. But it did serve that extra annoyance of trying to depict a realistic bro/sis relationship while remaining an imouto-complex otaku-pandering anime. The two simply do not mix and it’s frustrating and jarring to watch them try to fit in the two together.
But then you take some of the smaller aspects of the show, such as Kuroneko’s reaction to Kirino rejecting them as weidos, or the dad’s oddly tsundere attitude, or even Ayase’s surprisingly level reasoning as to why she didn’t approve of Kirino’s hobby, suddenly you realise how clever and well-written this show can be. I keep wanting to say this is a well-written show at at heart that insists on pandering to the otaku, but the opposite is really the case. This is a true otaku-pandering show at heart. It’s just the layers over it are of real high quality, so much so that the core otaku-fodder isn’t readily apparent and can be dismissed as misinterpretation in the earlier episodes. But nope, pre-season predictions were correct. I was led on by those who said it really wasn’t otaku pandering and my own wishful thinking. I shouldn’t have expected anything else from AIC.
In a way, coming to terms with this is a huge relief. I no longer find myself quite as frustrated at the glaring flaws in presentations of two themes that simply cannot exist simultaneously. It’s still annoying that it tries to play up the bro/sis relationship while also depicting Kirino as the ultimate otaku wet dream and having Kyousuke being the character they project themselves into. Her spiel about how she’s the absolute perfect girl but also happens to be an otaku would have been painful to watch if I hadn’t come to terms with this.
In short, I’ve given up on this series having real substance. ‘My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute’ is a show about an older brother baffled by the imouto complex depicted in Japanese literature, mainly when it comes to eroge and otaku products. However my original thoughts was that this would lead to the show disproving that older brothers don’t want to bone their younger sisters by depicting a relationship between two in an environment where so many signs tell them that they should fancy each other. Instead what we got is the anime showing us that having a tsundere little sister can be just as awesome as having the clingy type of little sister normally depicted. I don’t think this will ever turn into an incest anime directly, as in they will never actually admit they love each other or anything like that (the synopsis of the latest book that is flying about is just a tease to get people to buy the book expecting the cocktease relationship to finally boil over). We’ll get an anime in which the little sister is just as desirable, if not more, than those depicted in the eroge they play so far. It’s kind of depressing to think that Ore no Imouto thinks that it’s subverting the genre by changing the character archetype of the imouto character.
Oh, and Kyousuke the Cart Driver? Nicking this from ExecutiveOtaku who threwup this idea on twitter. Currently what Kyousuke is doing is gathering up the hate of the world in order to protect Kirino. Sound familiar? If Ore no Imouto has a Cart Driver ending, I will drop everything negative I’ve said about this show.