One of the things that I liked from episode 2 of Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai was the brief conversation that Kirino and her brother Kyousuke had regarding the former’s lack of camaraderie with fellow otaku given her circumstances. What got me was Kirino’s initial refusal to the advice of making friend with fellow fans, saying “They’ll think I’m the same as them.” It was less the fact that she would be the same as them (which she is regardless), but that she’ll be seen as the same as them. Given her background as a middle school student who’s hip with the times and squarely in the “cool clique”, and that being an otaku (as she sees herself) is most totally not cool in Japan, Kirino’s definitely in a bind keeping the two identities together, but not letting them mix. That difference in being a stylish middle school girl who’s also an otaku and an otaku who’s also a stylish middle school girl feels staggering.
Oreimo feels like it will keep on eye on the general societal perspective on things regarding being a passionate fan along the otaku vein. And the nod to how appearance is everything in middle school, just from that conversation between the siblings, is an indication that the show will probably delve into matters that I’ve wanted to see really focused on in anime. Not related to being what others could call an otaku in middle school, mind you, but more on an otaku’s thought process regarding being a member of society. And more hopefully, the difference between how an otaku believes/expects society to act regarding them and what actually happens in their reality. Or what a “worst-case scenario” in Kirino’s case would be if her separate interests crash together. Granted, I wouldn’t be surprised to not see any of that stuff in the show, and I haven’t read the manga or novel so I don’t know where the story will go. But even if my train of thought here is wrong, I like where it’s taking me so far with some interesting ideas.
It’s the glimpses of Kirino’s self-introspection such as what’s shown in that conversation that makes me think this show might be more heavy than it lets on. This thought in my head comes especially since she still is coming into her own as being comfortable about her hobbies, what with the (unintentional) pressure from her parents and peers. As other posts on the show have noted, it is definitely an uncomfortable spot that Kirino is in, and it would be easy for her to start worrying about how to reconcile the “contradictory” groups she belongs to. It’s starting to look like Kirino will be able to do so with a little help from some friends, which is good.
In her case, it surely helps having Kyousuke as a lifeline separate of both groups that acknowledges her hobby without a fuss, and as someone who she can bounce her passions/worries off of. Lord knows that a lot of people who’ve gone through situations similar to Kirino’s have wanted a person like that as well. She’s also started to try to find fellow female otaku brethren, if not to agree with on specific shows and games to like, than at least in sharing the same passion for the various visual culture mediums present and more subtly reaffirming that she’s not alone in her fanaticism. And these friends related to her hobby could also be useful as a counterpoint to her friends at school, to help judge where her priorities should be focused. Whatever happens though, it will probably be pretty fun to watch.
Though according to society’s standards, someone at her age playing eroge is still bothersome. 😛