Ah Kousaka Kirino…if you’ve been following Hobby Hovel for a long time, then you might have seen some parts of my tumultuous relationship with this mischievous little scamp. When I first learned of the premise of Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, or Oreimo for short), I could not help but to roll my eyes: “A closet imouto otaku that also happens to be a fashion model, an honor student, a track athlete, and a feisty tsundere younger sister character at the same time? Really?” But when I saw the first promo photos of this figure of her by Kotobukiya months ago, I could not help but to put away at least some of my prejudice, because I’ can’t help but to love bright-coloured, energetic figures like this.
When the TV anime began to air, I quickly warmed up to Kirino as a character. As contrived as the story’s premise may feel, Kirino’s underlying struggle to seek out others who share her socially stigmatized hobby is something that really resonated with me. Collecting figures and watching anime make me happy, but they are the sort of hobbies that are easily misunderstood and dismissed. At the time Oreimo was airing, I had just begun to attend meetings of my campus anime club, and thus I understood Kirino’s difficulty in throwing the hidden side of her life in front of a bunch of complete strangers. And when she finally finds success, I found myself genuinely happy for her.
But as the series progressed onwards, Kirino quickly became a serious test to my patience and tolerance. Her bratty antics were borderline unbearable, especially considering the extent to which her brother Kyousuke goes to help her. The author and director seem completely conscious of Kirino’s uncanny ability to induce rage, and they seemed to be using it to manipulate the audience. As my mouth foamed with frustration and anger, the side characters (such as Kuroneko and Manami) began to seem better than they actually are. I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems that this rage-manipulation tactic worked in the end, because by the end of the last broadcast episode, I was earnestly happy to see the announcement for the second season.
Oh Kirino, can I truly say that I hate you? No matter how great the side character may be, you are still the festering heart of the series! Yet why do I look forward to the sequel, and why am I sitting here, writing a review of a plastic figure made in your image? Why couldn’t I cancel the pre-order months ago when your shrieking voice was banging against my tattered nerves like a battering ram? I may never truly understand the method behind my madness, but I do know that I don’t regret not cancelling this figure. The Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino is not perfect, and I am especially disappointed with one of its flaws, but in the end, she’s still a figure I’d recommend to most Oreimo fan out there. Read more »