(a script for my next video please ignore the abundance of typos)
Why are little sister anime so popular? Are we not burnt out on them yet? I mean there’s been an influx of these since 2010 and most of them have over 100,000 viewers out west according to MAL alone. Let’s do some quick maths.
Here’s a list of 9 little sister shows I found:
Yosuga no Sora 210,758 6.64
Koi Kaze 49,094 7.29
NAKAIMO – My Little Sister Is Among Them! 109,633 6.81
OniAi 138,738 6.74
ImoCho 88,390 6.43
Eromanga Sensei 189,685 7.00
OreImo 381,571 7.4
OreImo 2 234,835 7.34
Kiss x Sis 260,611 7.02
OniSuki 57,302 6.3
Total 1485782 mean ~ 165k
Even though this isn’t a true sample size I think it does still show that there is an audience for this type of show out west. And the fact that these shows are still being produced are evidence of their popularity in Japan. I’m not even counting the abundance of shows that have a little sister character in them. These are ones that have a sole focus.
So the question is why? What is keeping these shows coming? Is the audience not fatigued from over saturation? Are they just so good that they keep people coming back for more? DO people not care about the quality of a show if there is one important factor involved in it? ANd why do we keep getting little sister shows when the definitive one came out over a decade ago?
I’m gonna go over the 4 of these shows I have seen.
Let’s start with the big one, OreImo. It’s an interesting one because out of all these shows it has by far the most mainstream appeal, it’s first season having 100,000 more total listed members on MAL than Kiss x Sis, it’s nearest competitor.
I’m going to tell you the score I gave each show before I talk about it. For OreImo I gave it’s first season a 7 and it’s second season a 4. Now I did include the specials in these scores instead of scoring them sperately, this brought the first season up and the second season down.
Let’s first ask what the innate appeal of OreImo is. I think it’s the characters. Not just the character desings (which almost all of these shows excel at) but Watching them interact is genuinely entertaining, it’s what gives it it’s mainstream appeal. In fact this is why you will see the season 1 sepcials which notably lack Kirino for the most part are rated a fair bit higher then anything else in the series ( more on that later).
It’s comedy can also be surprisingly decent, the first time around I remember getting a fair few laughs out of it, that one girl who keeps making the guys uncomfortable by shipping them together was a personal favorite, but Kirnio’s reaction to her visual novels along with Kyousuke’s as well as the disdain with which some people treat him are also worth a few chuckles fam.
This is not to say the comedy doesn’t occasionally fall flat, I can remember quite a few tropy scenes that made me groan but they weren’t enough to really annoy me to the point that they outweighed the first seasons positives.
It was also nice that our main character didn’t start off on great terms with all of the female characters. The only girl who clearly likes him is Manami and he is clearly not that interested in her. Other than that Kirino doesn’t particularly like him to begin with, he doesn’t know Kuroneko or Saori, Ayase very quickly comes to despise what she thinks he’s doing to Kirino and the other minor girls are similar. In season 1 at least it didn’t seem very haremy rather more like a straight romance. Contrast this to Eromanga sensei in which every girl wants the main characters penis within about 0.1 seconds of meeting him, an endeavour which is ultimately pointless because it’s established from the get go that he only has eyes for his sister. The first scene sets this up very clearly.
I’m getting ahead of myself here but OreImo is not presented like that, it’s first scene is of a black haired Kirino waking Kyousuke out of bed. Now Kirino never has black hair other than in this scene. I take it to mean that he wants a girl like his sister, who isn’t his sister. To begin with this is why he finds Ayase so attractive, she shares the side of Kirino he knows most her public successful side and of course she has black hair. Then Kuroneko, who he actually ends up dating, shares Kirino’s otaku side. Both of them are like his sister but are not her.
And this means that the show is able to have actual tension, espescially after the season one specials. There’s no guarantee that Kyousuke ends up with any girl and in fact it seems like there are only two real options for a majority of it, Kuroneko and Kirino. I thought that the show was at it’s strongest when it focused on Kirino’s jealousy of Kuroneko.
That of course leads us to the shows biggest failing, it’s third act. After Kyousuke and Kuroneko split the show starts tumbling down a hill into awfulness picking up speed as it goes. So fast does it do this that it completly bypasses 88mph and is unable to go back in time to rectify it’s mistakes.
Suddenly every girl in the show wants Kyousuke’s dick and some of them from literally out of nowhere. It’s strikes me as if the writer wanted to have an ending where he goes full incest at the start but somewhere along the line he got off track and had to try and force the story back in the direction he wanted it to go. This wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if it turned out to be actually true. I mean why else would you put in these actually interesting dynamics? Why wouldn’t you just make it clear that you were going for the ending that was expected from the shows title? Like it served to actually make me question whether it would go down the route I orginally expected it to so I was even more pissed off when it did. I mean the writers next project basically is OreImo without any of the interesting stuff anyway.
This is by no means the shows only fault, though is it’s biggest one by a long shot. Whilst things like the seriousness with which Kirino professes her love for porn were downright cringe worthy they didn’t ultimately make me want to turn the show off, it always felt like it was going somewhere until suddenly it wasn’t.
What does it do differently to other little sister shows though and how did that resonate with the audience. Unfortunately even though season 2s specials are rated significantly lower than any of it’s other parts on MAL it was an ending that would’ve satisfied neither the people who wanted a non incest ending nor the ones who actually did and as such doesn’t give too clear cut an idea on anything.
I think however it separates itself from the competition by A: having a legitimately likable cast and B: trying to give the incestuous relationship some actual context. By this I mean that there is a reason given for why they would like each other and I think that makes it easier for people to get behind it. Other shows tend to just have the sister love the main guy from the get go, having that relationship have some actual substance and also be grown over the course of the show is different.
And let’s not kid ourselves, the fact that Kuroneko existed was a huge part of this shows mainstream appeal, I mean it had to be. Another viable option who isn’t blood related? Impossible!
I’m going to leave it there for this video. In the next one we’ll push forward and look at Kiss x Sis and Eromanga Sensei.
Let me know if you’d like me to go more in depth into OreImo cause I do have a whole bunch more to say about it, this is really only an overview for comparison purposes.
I recently rewatched the first four episodes with some mates and found a whole lot of things to criticize,nitpick and to like about the show so let me know.