The season itself ended a few weeks ago, but in the last few days we once again had a handful of OVAs to offer a ‘true end’, so I’ve been waiting to write this. This time, we didn’t get a superior alternative the series badly needed. This time they took the show to its logical conclusion, and I’m sure there can only be a small section of fandom, Eastern or Western, that liked it.
I was quite happy to have more OreImo after rather enjoying the first series, despite knowing consciously it was uninspired stuff and having big problems with the premise. Season two switches animation studios to Kuroshitsuji and Sword Art Online fan-pleasers A-1 Pictures, and despite some much-needed development of minor characters, it ends up being rather painful to watch, as it seems determined to make all of Kyousuke’s potential lovers and make them all deeply unappealing. As if his harem isn’t absurd enough, we then have to go through the process of elimination, and unlike nonsense like Da Capo or a Key VN, we can’t have the characters turn into foxes or turn out to be ghosts in an ostensibly more realistic story, so they all just get made to act really stupidly.
There are still things that are done very right here – Kuroneko’s silly pretenses, the little gags revolving around Akihabara and the outspoken fujoshi in the club. But, as the series goes so far as to make reference to, the same things are being done by other shows, and done better – the adolescent delusion thing in Chuunibyou, the otaku world with yaoi humour in Genshiken, and the harem angle…well, everywhere.
What really puts nails into coffins, though, is the way that almost the entirety of Kyousuke’s ridiculous harem gets dismantled personality-wise. Where before they were flawed but ultimately likeable characters with enjoyable quirks and foibles, here they become severely difficult to like. Apart from Saori, who finally gets the inevitable funny-looking-girl-is-actually-sublime-beauty-when-she-takes-off-her-glasses treatment and a remarkable trivial backstory, most of the character development goes entirely the wrong way. Cute Kuroneko made her fanboys cheer by finally taking the initiative and dating Kyousuke, but immediately began a programme of manipulation and callousness that destroyed what was enjoyable about her behaviour, especially as her ultimate goal seemed to be to establish some weird relationship between herself and the two siblings that put her in a bizarre servant-like position. Borderline Yandere Ayase, who was clearly introduced primarily to put forward the reminder that a lot of people consider otaku habits disgusting, ended up being one of the several million girls who fall for Kyousuke for no better reason than that he is a wish-fulfilment avatar, and having a very awkward attitude that showed her obvious attraction while also constantly calling Kyousuke disgusting. Then there was loli idol Kanako, who was also introduced to make a statement – cutesy idols are not necessarily cute on the inside – but then got shoehorned into being Kyousuke-Lover #7297327, finally getting a ridiculous confession scene that would kill her career and was so awkwardly shoved into the script that it was obvious she just needed to be dealt with and ignored – fading into the background much as Ayase did post-confession.
Then of course comes Kirino, who continued to drop from likeably divided character to selfish, whiny, irritating brat. Her finest moments after tearfully coming home with Big Brother from the States to share her life with him include getting a fake boyfriend to make him jealous, mood-swinging like a broody mother gorilla whose baby has been replaced by a bunch of bananas and seeming to think the most important part of a relationship is being able to dump your stuff in your lovers’ room. The only one who has her head screwed on right is ‘plain’ Manami, who ends up having a fist-fight with Kirino, humiliated by stupid and patronising speeches that amounted to ‘we don’t care what others think, nyeh nyeh’, and if she has any self-esteem at all, completely cutting ties with those cruel siblings.
As for any male characters who might have been introduced…well, one or two seconds of screentime at the end really fails to convince anyone they had a meaningful place here.
It’s even more of a slap in the face when you are told that the decision that was made to seem so life-changing, that they potentially threw away all their other friendships for, was something they agreed to do for only a few weeks. Really? They treated Manami like that for a stupid temporary trial run? Horrible, horrible people.
And so ends
no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai. The full series, not just this
second part, which is differentiated by the full stop after ‘Nai’. I can’t say
I’m sad to see the back of it, even though I most assuredly had fun with it at
the beginning and don’t regret the ride it took me on. Ore