Oreimo, Volume 1
Written by Tsukasa Fushimi
Art by Hiro Kanzaki
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 5, 2012
Cover Price: $10.99
For over a decade I have held Sakura Diaries as the single most disturbing anime/manga that I have ever seen. That series followed a high school graduate who, while trying to get into college, falls in love with his underage cousin. Well, I’ll take your Sakura Diaries and raise you an Oreimo. This is not, by the way, a good thing.
Kyosuke is a 17-year-old high school student. His 14-year-old sister, Kirino, is the most popular girl in the most popular clique at her middle school. She’s also a magazine model, an “A” student, and a star track athlete. She barely acknowledges Kyosuke’s existence. He thinks that she’s too arrogant to talk to him anymore, but personally, I think she’s just creeped out because he gawks at his little sister all the time.
One day, they bump into each other and she drops a DVD under some furniture. Kyosuke later finds the magical girl anime DVD. He opens up the case and finds something even more damning: a little sister eroge””a X-rated, little sister erotica, computer game. He immediately sets out to discover who would own such damning material. Kyosuke’s investigation unveils that it’s his little sister’s game and confronts her about it. Kirino reveals her deep, dark secret to him: she’s an otaku. She then shows Kyosuke her vast collection of anime, manga, and computer games, most of which are little sister themed. Uh, gross.
Kyosuke decides to be supportive and tells her that he doesn’t think it’s weird. She’s floored by his approval, adopts him as her so-called life coach, and then forces her creepy hobby on him. Although Kyosuke is resistant at first, the two begin to develop an awkward, secret bond over eroge.
It’s official: I can still be shocked. I truly didn’t think it was possible anymore, but congratulations, Tsukasa Fushimi, you did it. Incestuous themes are hardly new territory for Japanese anime and manga. If it was just the story, then I would think that Oreimo is uniquely disturbing, but also intriguing. Oreimo takes this concept beyond any level of acceptability by provocatively depicting a 14-year-old girl. Kyosuke also openly gawks at his little sister and the comic is littered with pervy fan service of an underage girl. And then there’s the incestuous imagery. One of the scenes shows Kirino suggestively mounting her older brother in the middle of the night. It’s also hinted that Kyosuke is attracted to his little sister. I admit it: I don’t get it and I don’t want to get it.
Oreimo is based on Tsukasa Fushimi’s light novel series. I actually like the story and wish that the manga didn’t feature pervy illustrations that will forever prevent me from seeing how this situation plays out. Kirino is a fascinating character. She’s the perfect girl with the perfect childhood. She just can’t shake her passion for little sister eroge and geekdom. Revealing it to the wrong people would spell doom for her social life and reputation. Kyosuke is rightfully terrified by his little sister’s obsession with little sister porn games, but he plays it cool and parlays the situation into building an actual relationship with her. Kyosuke also has his own reputation to uphold, so they both have to sneak around to protect their secret hobby.
Although I like the incredibly awkward story premise, I can’t in good conscience recommend a comic that illustrates middle school girls in sexually provocative poses. Maybe this kind of material is more acceptable in Japan, but this is not okay. Look, I love sick shit””hell, one of my favorite pastimes is showing people Two Girls, One Cup for the first time. Hilarious, right? I draw the line, however, at things like pedophilia, incest, little sister eroge, and whatever the fuck else future volumes of Oremio have in store. If Oreimo’s plot interests you, then you may want to check out the anime series (available subtitled on Hulu). From what I’ve seen, the anime keeps the storyline, but removes most of the creepy fan service and doesn’t dwell on the eroge. As for the manga: 1 out of 5. Just don’t.