This number is your one chance to save yourself from the disasterphe that is the Oreimo ending. Once you reach this point in the final episode of the OVAs, stop the playback and end it right there. So long as you do, it provides a perfectly solid conclusion to the series with no cop outs or asspulls, and the rest of the story can easily be left to your imagination. If you are a glutton for punishment however, proceed at your own risk. Know that what you see cannot be unseen though. Trust me on this one, take the blue pill and
stay in wonderland Neo. You don't want to know how far down the rabbit hole goes in this case. I'll take you out for a juicy and delicious steak instead.
I originally was planning on writing a review for the entire series, but upon completing this crime against humanity, that idea was quickly jettisoned out the airlock like a refrigerator aboard the Bebop. I consider myself fairly lenient when it comes to entertainment that pisses me off, as I can usually see at least some redeeming qualities about it to overlook its flaws and misgivings, but what Oreimo did was such a travesty, so anger, much shitty, wow... Erhmm, what I mean to say is, this is basically the worst ending to a series I've ever seen; beating out Berserk in maximum trollage of its fanbase. There is simply no justifiable explanation for what it did. It is the one cop out ending to rule them all. Thus, out of sheer anger and resentment, I feel compelled to write this very specifically targeted review in the off-chance that I might spare even one other poor soul from being sucked into the empty void that is the experience you will feel in the aftermath of Oreimo.
As this is a sequel to an anime entitled "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute", by now everyone who has made it this far should be well aware of the incest undertones that are pervasive throughout the series. For some this has been off-putting, but they've managed to stomach it because of the interesting relationships and situations that have developed, or perhaps because it is animated and therefore not real, they don't see it as a problem. In my case, I've never had any problem with it. In fact, I actually rather liked this aspect about the anime. Much like the series' focus on otaku culture, it allows viewers to see how a social taboo could be painted in a positive light, but instead of just preaching to the choir by only focusing on otakus, the author also gets us to consider other socially unacceptable conduct and whether we should be quick to judge others when suddenly confronted with another behavior that we might not understand. With all this in mind, much of what you will see in this sequel finale should really come as no surprise for the most part, as the series continues to deliver exactly what it bills itself as.
I wanted to preface myself with all this so as to not be misconstrued as hating on this anime because of moral objections or because I just didn't get my favorite waifu pairing. To be honest, regardless of who Kyosuke decided to pick in the end, I would have been mostly satisfied so long as the execution was handled well enough. While I do have my personal preferences, at this point I had grown attachments to all of Kyosuke's major love interests, so I could have easily seen the story going many different directions. But the problem is that it wasn't executed well enough. It was executed abysmally. Actually, I take that back. The narrative did a pretty good job with its execution I guess. By dropping a guillotine on itself in its final moments.
What's so baffling about this whole debacle is that the vast majority of the content in these OVAs was in fact handled masterfully. Unlike so many other nameless harems, the main character isn't a clueless dunce that is just going to string his love interests along indefinitely; he had actually chosen who he wanted to be with, and he was prepared to suffer the consequences and fallout that would inevitably come of it. Therefore, this finale largely consists of Kyosuke confronting each girl of his harem and turning them down until he is eventually left with the only one he truly wants. As a result, we are given a dramatic and satisfying display of emotions from all the characters that, even though it was often heart-wrenching to watch, it tugged at my insides in all the right ways, and it was building up proper closure to the series. For this, I was preparing myself to give the OVAs the highest rating of the entire franchise, as it was shaping up to be the most fulfilling arc of them all. Then, inexplicably, with a single whisper in the ear, the story completely derailed itself and threw away everything it was building up to. All of Kyosuke's efforts and sacrifices up until this point were rendered effectively pointless, and absolutely nothing was accomplished by the end of the series.
To explain precisely how everything I just described is possible would be to spoil the story, and I'd like to keep this segment of the review spoiler-free until I get to my final footnotes, but if you really must know why it is so broken, the best way I can describe it to you in vague terms is that this is the Mass Effect 3 ending of anime. Huge breaches in logic, no closure, no resolution, no nothing. In fact, the scale of the cop out was so great that with the way Oreimo ended, viewers could start watching a theoretical third season of it having no foreknowledge of any of the events that transpired in the OVAs, and they wouldn't even notice that they had missed anything of substance. Despite a series of what should have been life-altering decisions, drama-packed confessions, and heart-breaking rejections, none of it actually amounted to anything and the anime was practically right back to square one where it started in the first season. Everyone has varying tastes when it comes to storytelling, but I think it's fair to say that no one would want an ending that is virtually identical to its beginning.
I could talk about the voice actors, which were great at their roles. I could talk about the animation, which was fluid and lives up to the quality of the rest of the series, but all of this doesn't matter. The ending was just so broken and so forced that nothing else could save it. In spite of all this, my leniency still managed to squeeze 3 points out of 10 from me because there was so much else that the OVAs got right, but it's still bad. Really bad. This is the first time where such a small segment of the narrative has so greatly affected my score simply because it is that atrocious. When all is said and done, we are left with a conclusion that emotionally manipulates its viewers and then kicks them all violently to the curb. It's particularly more nefarious than most because other cop out endings are usually done due to their source material being incomplete, but Oreimo doesn't have this excuse. The light novels are finished, and this was the official ending that was chosen, which means there is likely no planned continuation that gives a proper resolution to the story, and there is nothing to look forward to in its source material to provide any solace. Still, for an anime to be capable of eliciting this much emotion out of me, there obviously has to be something special there. And there is. Oreimo is still overall a good series and it was a fun ride while it lasted, but the ending will break you, so I repeat: 21 minutes, 12 seconds. Save yourself and do not forget this number.
***** SPOILERIFIC FOOTNOTES *****
Now if by some chance you didn't listen to my advice and foolishly stumbled ahead anyway, I'd just like to say right now that I told you so. Anyways, it's time to take the safety gloves off and make some final points that I couldn't touch on in my spoiler-free section of the review. So as we all know (since you didn't listen to my advice), Kyosuke chose his sister Kirino, but we find out later that the secret words Kirino whispered in Kyosuke's ear were a suggestion for them to end their relationship after they graduate, and perplexingly Kyosuke agrees as if this is actually a great idea. She doesn't really give an explanation for this proposition, which is what makes it all the more confusing that Kyosuke would accept it right away, but presumably the implication is that because this is an incest relationship, they must have believed it could never work out in the end due to society rejecting them, so this was the only way they thought they could go forward. Well that's all fine and dandy, except then WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF ALL THAT SACRIFICE? So the writers expect us to believe that even though Kirino's selfishness would never allow this, and even though Kyosuke already told everyone his true feelings and turned down several confessions that could have easily resulted in life-long fulfilling relationships, they would both cast all this aside just so they could have an intimate relationship for a few weeks? There is absolutely no way this would realistically happen, and it is completely inconsistent with the characters' motivations. Granted, Oreimo has hardly been a realistic series, but even relative to its own rules that it establishes for itself, it just doesn't work.
Given this sudden and massive breach of common sense, it seems rather obvious that it was the writers' intent to cheaply avoid controversy while still trying to have their cake and eat it too. However, even putting aside the huge inconsistencies this creates with the characters just so they could have this contrived ending, how does this even truly evade the moral outrage that they sought to tap dance around? I don't know if anyone noticed, but Kirino and Kyosuke already confessed to each other! They already slept together! They already held a wedding and kissed each other! For anyone who strongly objects to incest at this point, the line has already been thoroughly crossed, but instead they think they can still just back up their car and no one will notice that the finish line was passed. And that's the most frustrating thing about this all. The anime had already reached the perfect place to finish, but it just kept on going. Going backwards that is, and yet if it had simply ended where it was supposed to, it was already set for greatness.
If you don't have the balls to fully commit to your incestuous ending, then at least have the decency to not completely screw your main character over and make him choose someone else. Otherwise this is just insulting and it doesn't satisfy anyone. It doesn't appease Kirino fans, it doesn't appease Kuroneko fans, it doesn't appease Manami fans, it doesn't even appease the moral prudes that object to the incestuous undertones which is the whole reason for the asspull ending in the first place, so again I ask, what was the point? Now because of the way the producers chose to chickenshit out at the last minute, not only does it leave the conclusion completely unfulfilling, but it also ruins one of the biggest messages that was emphasized throughout the series. Kirino was always struggling to reconcile her true feelings with the clashing values of the society that will judge her for holding them, and in the end she always decided that it was more important to be herself and not give up who she truly is, yet I guess in this case the message is, "Just kidding, go back to repressing your true feelings because now they're suddenly a bridge too far." What a fantastically hypocritical pile of bile. Screw you dickless, ball-less producers at ASCII Media Works that are likely responsible for this sleight of hand from the mangaka.
It's impressive how a series can manage to alienate every part of its fanbase in just over one hour.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS HEAVY SPOILERS.
Let me be clear: this is simply my opinion on the ending and not the series as a whole. Perhaps I will get around to that someday. I would be rating the series as a whole much differently. In any case, if you are reading this review I expect you have watched the first two seasons by now, so take that into account. Because it is just a trio of episodes/OVAs making up the ending, I won't bother making sections for each
While I generally don't like harems, I was able to sit through the first two seasons of OreImo without complaint. My main complaints about harems are their 1-dimensional girls and pathetically dense and oblivious MC. OreImo was able to deliver likable characters, and while they were by no means deep, they at least broke away from the stereotypes a tiny bit. The center of the harem, Kyousuke, was less dense and oblivious than the average MC, and while that isn't saying much, he was always relatively competent in his decision making skills. You should know all the girls by know, and their relationships with him. But which will he choose? With a title like "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute", it should only take one guess.
This trio begins with Kyousuke figuratively picking off of the members of his harem one by one like a hitman (with the exception of Ayase, who was dealt with previously, and Saori who was barely an option in the anime adaptation at all). He seemingly breaks up with Kuroneko/Ruri again (didn't this happen before?) which leads to a lot of crying and drama which heavily contrasted the first time. He gets a laughable confession from Kanako, whose character had essentially no screentime in the anime adaptation, which makes the scene even more absurd for those not aware of the other source material.
After a Christmas Eve date, he finally declares his love for Kirino, who eventually accepts his confession. They decide to become lovers, and Kirino whispers something in her brother's ear which the viewer cannot hear.
After they start out their "romantic life", the story climaxes when Manami, who had made it her mission to prevent this from happening for years, appears in the park. She confronts the pair and the viewer is treated to a cat fight between Manami and Kirino, ending with Manami giving up her love for Kyousuke and leaving the park after a last minute morality lecture.
Afterwards, they get married (figuratively, but with clothing and church to match). They share a kiss. And then the credits roll.
Kirino had whispered in Kyousuke's ear that they would only keep up their lover's life until they graduated. With that done, they agree to go back to being normal siblings.
In the end, Kyousuke burned his bridges with every girl in his harem to be with his sister for a matter of weeks. Some say the author was pressured into leaving an open ending like this, that a full-on Kirino end was the desired outcome, but that doesn't really excuse it. After two seasons of build up and "character development", the viewer is left with an ending where no one wins. I suppose Kirino got closest, since they shared a kiss after all, but their relationship burned out very quickly. Everything returns exactly to the way it was as the ED plays, in an almost Groundhog Day like ending. It was one of the most contrived, rushed, and idiotic ends to an anime I have seen, and it will leave a long lasting bitter taste in my mouth after two solid seasons.
Dear studios: please never do this again. Stories need some sort of resolution.
An important note: I view this series as a continuation of Ore no Imouto season 2, not as a separate series. With that out of the way...
Wow. The hate that these 3, just THREE episodes get. It's unbelievable. When I first watched these, I thoroughly enjoyed them. Why was this not the case for most people? One word: salt. So much damn salt on this page. NaCl. Sodium Chloride; it's an ionic compound, look it up. And there's tons of it here.
Just because people did not get the pairing they wanted, that automatically makes this series bad? How? Why? If Naruto Shippuden decides to officially
ship Sakura x Naruto, does that mean all the Hinata x Naruto fans will instantly give it a 1 rating thereafter? Regardless of the answer to that question, the very idea is ridiculous. The relationships, in both Naruto and Ore no Imouto, are just a very small portion of it; what about the rest of the show that you (probably) thoroughly enjoyed? The music; the art; the dialogue; Ore no Imouto does all of these with aplomb. And yet, so many people are willing to dismiss all of these the moment they see a pairing happen that is not to their liking.
On the flip side, if you gave these specials a (lower) rating than the main series because you truly did not enjoy it as much, then there's nothing I can do; we're all entitled to our own opinions. If, with disregard to Ore no Imouto's pairings, you found the specials' story/art/character dynamics to be lackluster, then and only then will I give your opinion any weight. However, the majority of the people who give these 3 specials a low rating are simply angry at the fact that this anime ended in a manner not to their liking. In fact, these specials are often collectively referred to as "one of the worst endings in Anime history". If all it takes for an anime ending to be considered "one of the worst" is for it to establish a pairing, then we should all just stop watching anime. Half of the time, fans are screaming for characters to officially get paired by the producers; has no one realized that, for every person who is thrilled with any given pairing, there is another person who despises it with equal reciprocation? And that's the situation here with these Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. Specials. Not everyone can be pleased, and there is no doubt that fans would be outraged had Kyousuke ended up with any other girl. This show gets undeserved hate, while all of its merits get brushed under the rug due to this ridiculous logic that many anime fans have.
As a set of three episodes that I thoroughly enjoyed for its display of character dynamics, artistic beauty, and musical excellence, I cannot give these Ore no Imouto specials anything less than what I give Ore no Imouto season 2, based on the same criteria. After all, they are essentially one and the same; anything that was done right previously was, most certainly, done right again.
Well, it's been a fun little ride. I mean, a ride with an otaku/tsundere/little-sister fetish obsessed sister and her average brother. From what we've seen over 3 years ago in 2010, Oreimo made a smash debut when it opened its doors to the 2D world for viewers. But hey, all things has to come to an end right? Well, the ride is finally over because these OVA episodes concludes the light novels. However, what I got from these OVA episodes were a combination of rage, mixed, and also some emotional feelings.
For one thing, these OVA episodes concludes the light novels. What this means is that
it adapts the final volume 12 and give viewers a conclusion; aka no cliffhanger situation. Now, the OVA episodes itself directly expands on the season 2 of Oreimo. This implies that you have finished watching the previous episodes to reach this ending. From what we have witnessed in the past of Oreimo, the concept of dating 2D boys/girls have been explored like never before. But what if that transits into the real world? What if it now involves 3D characters?
As for starters, most of the main characters (girls) makes their debut. In particular, Kyousuke has to make some difficult decisions to respond to these characters' thoughts and feelings. For one thing, Kyousuke has obviously made his mind and the majority of the girls get a direct response in a brutally honest way. However, there is one winner to this whole game – a 3D game. For Kyousuke, this feeling has already been developing possibly from the very beginning. It is from these feelings that Kyousuke breaks through his walls that held him back.
Judging straight forward, these OVA episodes shows that the girls who has made connections with Kyousuke all seems to want one thing – an answer. (some hoping to get what they want) Although it's a bit obvious, the girls gets their answers. For viewers though, this might be met with different responses and expectations. This is especially true especially if you wanted that one particular character to end up with Kyousuke. However, like I mentioned before, there could only be one and only one winner. Unlike the 2D game, everything is reality and Kyousuke is the main player. (not literally a 'player' though cause that would imply a different meaning)
The series' supporting cast also brings forth the drama as like viewers, some of their responses can be more dramatic or emotional. Ever heard of the thought of 'going out with a bang?' Well, that concept applies here because these OVA episodes are the girls' final chance to make their screen appearances. And really, two particular girls literally makes their exit entrances with some drama. At the same time, there's emotions coming forth. After all, not everything in life goes the way an individual wants. Sometimes, you can't get it together.
There are some parodies again as well that reflects on the otaku culture relating to the 2D world. As evidenced, the concept of cos-playing, BL (Boys Love) obsessions, and making fun of magical girl series still make their little cameos here. Jokes aside, the OVA episodes surprisingly has minimal fan service. As most OVA episodes seems to incorporates the usage of beach cliches or onsen trips, Oreimo actually avoids this at the last moment. However, do expect a little mishap from Kyousuke. He's the average dude of the show and he tends to make mistakes like the average Joe.
Artwork and soundtrack remains consistent throughout these OVA episodes. Kuroneko still has her cosplay get up on in her stylish fashion. More noticeably however is Kirino as she puts on quite a fabulous look in the finale. Aniplex is known for some of its high production values in its previous works such as Fate/Zero and Guilty Crown. In these OVA episodes, I can be grateful enough to see the artwork done right. Then, there's the background sound scores with its light tones. In particular climatic scenes, there's a sudden hit in the tone. The OP/ED songs also gives off a familiar tone with its girly style. However, if we talk about voice acting, I give praise to both Kana Hanazawa (Kuroneko) and Ayana Taketatsu (Kirino). For one thing, the both of them were able to carry out their roles of their characters despite the contrasting responses they've received.
Ultimately, this series was a twisted ride. It might not be the most fun ride, but it did had its ups and downs. For me though, it was a ride worthy of a score of '6'. I'd love to flip that number opposite down but the way it was executed makes me think otherwise. For faithful followers of the Oreimo franchise though, this should be a must-see because it definitely does conclude in a way that doesn't leave viewers hanging. What these OVA episodes might leave however are either joy, rage, or mixed reactions. I'm not here to make the judgement for you because that's ultimately a choice you have to decide on whether you enjoyed this or not. There are choices after all just like the 2D world.