22
Dec
10

[Komidol] In defense of a hard-working, loyal, imouto. [Orange Farm Archive]

Sure is Marvel vs. Capcom in here.

Alternate title: Why Kirino is not a bitch and haters should shut the fuck up.

So it’s no secret that Ore no Imouto has caused a lot of controversy this past anime season.  If it wasn’t with eroge/VN companies, other anime companies, politicians, or industry giants than it was definitely amongst fans.  To me, that shows an anime that really attacks some difficult points, and I have nothing respect for any art form that addresses humanity’s less-than-humble sides.  Though that is a long discussion for another day – today I want to talk about why my newly adopted Imouto, Kirino, is not a bitch – as she’s often misrepresented in the English-speaking-otaku sphere. Yeah, I’m willing to let some of you get away with only admitting to your own ignorance after reading this.

I’m glad the series is over so I can finally write this post because I must of had this argument with atleast 20 people throughout the course of series:

Let’s summarize all the main points haters have for disliking Kirino (which I will disprove respectively)

Note: Shamelessly stole some of the pictures used for this post from Divine over at Random Curiosity – lost access to a lot of computer data recently, sorry ’bout that:

#1) Key points in her character development and overall execution of the series leave her portrayed as a bitch.

…Aniki

Getting this out of the way first; the worst argument to fight about her characterization is it’s different in source material xyz.  Arguing “the anime leaves out so much” is the worst way to make a point that an anime or character is bad.  Maybe one can’t ignore a jaded point of view if they read the manga or saw the novel first, but that doesn’t mean the character was handled poorly or the anime was executed without skill.

Kirino had significant character development in the series that was shown in clever ways.  For example, rather than being told how long she works on making her novels, we can see the original parts of her stories she sent to Kuroneko which was riddled with smileys and bad grammar.  Before the book is published, Kirino prints out pages from her novel written incredibly well with correct formatting in proper novel form.  The fact of the matter is, Kyousuke is the main character of Ore no Imouto – but that doesn’t mean we need to become ignorant because of his point of view for character analysis.  There are many signs in the anime you shouldn’t ignore, right before you.  Naturally, we see things the way Kyousuke sees them – he acknowledges several times he doesn’t really understand his sister, which is a leading drive for him to continue helping her.  He does not see her as a bitch, and neither should you. 

#2) In comparison to characters like Kuroneko, Saori, or Manami, she’s not a considerate friend.

What all of my posts wind up looking like.

If we recall from the novel episode, we know that Kirino went through the trouble of reading all of Kuroneko’s extremely lengthy work, including some ridiculous 200 page encyclopedia about the backstory of the universe.  If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.  With Ayase and Kanakana, she doesn’t try to force her otaku interests on them and vice versa for model interests with Kuroneko or Saori (though she makes an effort to try and have them not judge her either way and understand both, which rarely works out).

Indeed, she had some trouble early on in the series with this (such as with the anime con), but we can’t really blame a young middle school girl for being confused as to what to do when two completely seperate groups of friends mix together.  During the series she manages to work this out (with Kyousuke’s help) so she doesn’t have to deny either at any time.  She makes efforts with all her friends to upkeep a strong relationship (even as we can see with KanaKana in the last episode) despite her personal interests, even if Kyousuke only sees the point of view of her friends trying to get a long well with her.  Towards the end she goes along with Saori’s cosplay interests, respects Kuroneko’s point of view, and still makes time to spend with her highschool friends.  She goes out of her way to understand them (especially with kuroneko and her novel), so it’s only natural she wants to share her interests as well.

#3) She is abusive towards Kyousuke physically.

You know, your family and friends disapproving of what you love can be pretty difficult.

An embellishment at best, haters really need to not take the comedy of the series extremely far and append it to the character.  If you really want to drag it out, though, it’s obvious why she can be aggressive.  Often in the series, Kirino, age 14, is often struck with a conflict of emotions and is aggressive in handling them.  Kyousuke is often around when this happens, because she trusts him so much to show him those emotions, and also because he fucking lives with her. After playing eroge for 2 hours, having your older brother whom you don’t know very well hand you your panties before you take a shower might be a little bit of a confusing situation for Kirino.  Overall, she just wants to escape the situation entirely and avoid embarrassment.  Yeah, she might rough house her brother a bit.  When she’s crying about her father not accepting her, and a male hand touches her shoulder unexpectedly, she probably would respond with an elbow to the face.  Towards the end of the series, she gets frustrated her brother is dense and isn’t listening to him despite everything she’s been telling him in more ways than one.  Does having an aggressive character make someone a bitch?  No.

#4) She is not grateful for the work Kyousuke or her friends do for her.

That Takeda emblem in the background…

The most cited argument and the most untrue by far.  Kirino told Kyousuke thank you from the start – this only has some truth in the Ayase arc.  It’s true Kirino never directly thanked Kyousuke for “repairing” her friendship with Ayase – but he did it in such a way that she has to sort of deal with another lie to keep her friend.  She might have been less inclined to explicitly thank him about Ayase because Kyousuke made up a story about their incestuous affection for each other.  For every other part of the series, she has shown him that she was thankful for what he did (if not directly in her own way).  She even went as far as wanting to spend her Christmas Eve with her brother, which if isn’t a sign of affection I don’t know what is.  She trusts him implicitly with all her life counseling.

We must also consider Kirino does not directly know about many events that happened in the anime and only heard them second hand (likely from Saori – as I find it unlikely Kuroneko or Kyousuke would brag about helping her and Saori, in her discussions with Kyousuke, Saori said she always helped and it was her goal to smooth over relationships between her friends (which is why she set up the online meeting in the first place).  And when she heard what her brother and friends had done for her about getting the anime released, she organized the party with the intention to thank them.  This isn’t the only time this happens in this short series, as I mentioned before she puts a lot of effort into understanding Kuroneko, spending time with Saori (despite how far away she lives), and keeping a good relationship with her friends and co-workers (going as far as to put in good recommendation for KanaKana).

#5) Kirino is extremely self-centered and everything has been handed to her on a “silver platter”.

Did we forget what Kirino does on a day to day basis?  To say she’s undeserving is a little messed up.  She works hard for everything she has.  She works hard at her job every week, keeps up her grades by studying every night, and runs track after school just about every day.  She does what’s expected of her, and balances a part time job, sport, all along with her personal interests (which strongly conflict).  Does this somehow make her undeserving of Kyousuke’s help?  No.  She improved a lot in writing her novel – does this mean she’s lucky?  Maybe a little, but a far more accurate explanation would be that Kirino is an opportunist.  Kirino does a lot, and is extremely hard-working.  And in the (anime) end, she chose to remain with Kyousuke and limit those advances so she could stay with her friends and continue to thank the family that gave her so much.

And this is somehow supposed to be a an anti-climatic, and boring conclusion the show?

Nigga, please.

And here’s a bonus hypothesis I’ll be disproving: that Kirino is Tsundere, which is clearly not true.  Why?  Lack of tsun and lack of dere.  Kirino is a dynamic character that shouldn’t be forced into an archetype reserved for Kugimiya Rie knockoffs.  In order for her to be tsundere, she would have to be dishonest about her feelings with her love interest.  If this is Kyousuke (which is completely debatable – by all means), than she’s been more honest with him than any other character, and she blatantly at the end of the series stays because she wants to spend more time with him.  Her “dere” moment at the party is greatly exaggerated since she’s been grateful to him from the start.  Seriously, Kirino’s dad is more tsundere than she is.

Don’t just assume because a girl is aggressive she is automatically “Tsun” or “a bitch”.  There’s way more to Kirino than haters are willing to look, so don’t get dragged on the bandwagon and hop off it if you’re willing to acknowledge all parts of the series before you.  It’s kind of annoying for those of you who think that way, you know?

My eroge~!

Kirino went through a lot in the series.  She had to deal with difficult societal norms (especially with her father), a part time job, an misunderstanding Ayase, obligations to school, obligations to sports, dealing with Kuroneko, a dense brother, and her own emotions in the middle of all of this.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Kyousuke being able to help through all of these difficult parts of her life, and most of all seeing her finally being able to enjoy herself to the fullest.  Throughout the story we get to see how much fun Kirino is now able to have, which she wasn’t able to before – which should be a form of accomplishment for Kyousuke as well.

Seeing that face warms my heart.  In the end, I came to the same resolution Kyousuke did – there’s no way my little sister could be this cute.

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11 Responses to “[Komidol] In defense of a hard-working, loyal, imouto. [Orange Farm Archive]”


  1. December 22, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    The best way to express my thoughts on this is by sharing one of WAH’s comics.

    http://mistakesofyouth.com/index2.php?id=moy_comics/209/index

  2. December 23, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    Komidol, stop making shit up and just accept that you only like Kirino because of the character design. We won’t judge you.

  3. 4 sadakups
    December 23, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    Wow. Another Kirino apologist.

  4. 5 JTFish
    December 23, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    I didn’t read your post but that’s

    just

    like

    your opinion

    maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang

  5. December 23, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Guh. I had a lot I wanted to say in response to your post but it all went out the window when I read the comments, so I’ll just cover the last part:

    I am interested in the interplay between moe archetypes and the genre as a whole. And I think it has implications for Kirino as a tsundere. Here’s the short version:

    Anime these days is painfully aware of the context in which it airs. Shows like Seitokaicho Yakudomo and Panty & Stocking indicate that the genre knows that characters and situations in each show reference and are in dialog with other shows that have aired recently or are airing at the same time. In this model, kirino’s behavior (while complex and nuanced as a regular younger sibling) still exhibits tendencies toward tsundere that the fanbase is EXPECTED to notice (her condescending date invitation during Xmas shopping, the tendency to physically abuse Kyousuke, the constant protesting). While she might not reach full-on denial and therefore fail as a tsundere character in the strictest sense, it’s clear that she’s in a tsundereque category.

    And I wonder if these characters are actually tsundere in dialog with other shows. Another example would be Azu-nyan, who is definitely NOT, but given the array of moe characters hanging around her, to claim that she is MEANT to be perceived as such. I feel this holds double-true for a show like OreImo where the otaku culture is front-and center. Since the whole thing has got eroge undertones (thanks to Kyosuke’s impressionable nature), I would argue that Kirino is intended to be seen (and played) as if she WERE tsundere. At least that’s how I feel Keima would approach her.

  6. 7 darkslime
    December 23, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Uhh, I know you said not to do this, but… well, it doesn’t really put much of a dent in your post, anyway… but the end of the series wasn’t actually how the novels went. And the only reason I say this is: Remember those extra episodes they were going to do? Those will actually wrap up the story(or at least, this part of it). Note the “good end” in the title of the last episode. That isn’t the point though.

    That aside, I’ve also had it up to here with people hating on Kirino because she’s a bitch. A main character – or in this case, a leading character – should always have *some* problem that they need to get through by the end of the story. If that problem is at first off-putting to the viewer, it only makes it all the better when they get through it; which I suppose faith in the original author is necessary for this.

    I don’t even necessarily think it’s a case where you need to sympathize with what she’s going through; people just need to think clearly about things and not jump on bandwagons. Anime is, at its heart, a work of fiction – something that has a beginning, climax, resolution, character development, etc. Just because a lot of shitty anime has been coming out lately that don’t require you to think about their storylines or characters at all beyond the point of automatically characterizing them as being “tsundere” or whatever doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be *thinking* about it, and I think that is what a lot of anime fans are lacking.

    Maybe I’m just getting old. I just wanted to throw in my two cents. While I’m still skeptical about Kirino having enough skill to get her book adapted, and a couple of other things, I’m still able to think the story through.

    I’ve had quite enough of people on the internet not backing up their opinions. That’s why I don’t use it very often except for personal stuff.

  7. 8 komidol
    December 23, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    @Patches: Good point about the comparisons with the other characters. Definitely, Azunyan would be seen as the “Tsundere” character even if she isn’t really tsundere at all. This is just because she’s closest to that archetype in he group, so it’s what’s “expected of her”. I think the expectations of the otaku fanbase take a couple archetypish characteristics and jump into appending a design, which is what I’m trying to say here. Like Azunyan, I don’t think Kirino is really tsundere much at all.

    But yeah, sometimes I do come on the blog and lose the gentlemen courtesy in my writing when I’m writing in response to others. I know you’ve been more than vocal in telling me that’s not a good thing, but now from some of the comments atleast you can physically see why I come off with that aggressive attitude in some posts. Just a result of constant argue with other bloggers.

    @Darkslime I’m aware that source took Kuroneko route. I’m just looking at the anime as a single unit. The anime ending is just one possibility. I’m actually pleasantly surprised we share the similar opinions on this.

  8. 9 darkslime
    December 23, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Yeah, I just wasn’t sure about taking the anime as a “single unit” when they already had more stuffs planned. :X

    Besides, I’m a Saori fan anyway.

  9. 10 komidol
    December 23, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Shance actually did some interesting review into what type of interest the characters represent in fans, which you can find here:

    http://rainbowsphere.oniichannoecchi.com/archives/3806

    I thought it was neat. I like charts. I don’t agree with all of it, though.


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