Oreimo and A Fan’s Identity

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.

Torn between the two?

A girl with a little internal turmoil?

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.

Coming from an interesting point of view.

Coming from an interesting point of view.

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.😛

14 Responses to “Oreimo and A Fan’s Identity”


  1. 1 Link October 17, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Why is Kirino playing eroge at her age an issue? 14 is a very sexually charged age. The average teenager at that age is looking at porn, reading smutty novels, looking at lingerie catalogs, whatever they can get their hands on. I don’t see the problem.

    • 2 TheBigN October 17, 2010 at 1:25 am

      I was joking when I said that (didn’t add the usual emoticon that I would in this case), but I edited the sentence to say how I wanted the statement to sort of be taken. We know that based on what is expected, someone who’s under 18 shouldn’t be playing R-18 games. And we also know that in this case, it’s a moot point for the most part.😛

      But if anything else, it helps emphasize how Kirino is passionate about little sisters (ratings be damned), as well as some of the criticism about otaku (eroge catered to their needs, and so on).

      • 3 Dez691 October 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm

        But you just have to wonder how she bought them.

        She probably didn’t buy them off a store, since she: a) is 14; b) would be embarrassed to do it.

        According to what the anime has shown, she has no one else to talk about otaku stuff, so a friend couldn’t have bought them or her.

        Ordering online is out of question, since her parents could have opened the package and found out, and I also doubt she has a credit card her parents don’t have access to.

        So what? They probably won’t answer this, but I just have to wonder.

    • 4 IcyStorm October 17, 2010 at 1:53 am

      It’s not an issue. IT’S HOT

  2. 5 Mike October 17, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I sometimes wonder just how many girls/young women otaku are into the specifically male-pandering sorts of properties in Japan (eroges, siscon, that sort of thing). I always thought it was awfully convenient that characters like Konata in Lucky Star or Nogizaka Haruka—or Kirino in this one—are into exactly the same sort of stuff that the Akiba-kei set are into. I’ve no doubt that (male) otaku wish fulfillment is in play here to some level. But like you, I’m increasingly intrigued by the way Oreimo is actually exploring the inner workings of otaku socializing, for lack of a better term. That scene where Kirino and the goth loli girl get into a fight was hilarious: it reminded me of aniblogger and forum fights in the days of yore. They sure got that part down.

  3. 6 TWWK October 17, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I have high hopes for the series, too. The thing is…it’s smart. The writing has been sharp in both dialogue and how situations are approached. The more I think about it, the more I compare it favorably to Genshiken. Here’s hoping that Oreimo continues to be terrific.

  4. 7 wah October 17, 2010 at 10:02 am

    i just wonder how she buys them

  5. 9 TheBigN October 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Mike: I enjoyed the argument between Kuroneko and Kirino as well, since the context is just like how it is in real life (or in things like the “Anime Club” series in Gunshow Comics). And thing that might be cool to see is how Kirino became passionate about little sisters. Sure it might be wish fulfillment, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen in real life either.

    TWWK: Indeed. It’s hard not to compare to a show like Genshiken or Nogizaka Haruka either (the latter is an example of another show that sorta touches the issue I write about, but then abandons it for generic rom com), but all we need to do is wait and see for the moment. And it’s doing a good job at that.🙂

  6. 10 kluxorious October 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I still don’t get her obsession with imouto, and eroge at that. Does she secretly wish Kousuke will treat her like that? She’s the one with brother-complex issue imo >>

  7. 11 TheBigN October 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Link: Yeah, episode 3.

    kluxorious: I think you’re thinking too hard about this. And if you’re thinking about if Kirino shares the same interest as the games she plays, than I think you’re right where the show wants you.😛

  8. 12 MrMayat October 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Speaking as someone who is more into “cool” culture than otaku culture, I can associate Kirino’s trouble to an extent.

    I have friends in both camps, but barely any of them have interest in both cultures.

    However, I partake in outdoor activities more with the cool crowd and my interactions with the otakus are mainly online.

    But clashing of interests may pose a problem for me. For instance, if a Yoko Kanno concert and a 65daysofstatic concert were to be held simultaneously I’d be hard pressed to choose which to attend…

  9. 13 Vendredi October 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Heavy? My head was already spinning at the implications of her saying “Don’t mix 2D with 3D!” even though for all intents and purposes, Kirino is a 2d character, drawn according to the dictates of 2-dimensional aesthetics. There are some rather deep philosophical abysses in this show if you dare tread them…

    In any case though, it certainly is the surprise of this season – it’s sharp and has a finger on the right themes and issues.

    • 14 dm00 October 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm

      Yes. Even though I dismissed it in my earlier post, all the chatter on this title has caused me to take a look at this series, and I’m mostly glad I did. While my favorite parts of the show are the middle-school-Genshiken scenes (I could watch Kirino and Kuroneko bickering for twelve episodes straight), I’ll agree that it’s a show that makes you think about its premise and its events.


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