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OreImo and Sincerity

OreImo - Kuroneko
雪猫の冬 by EdogawaKid

In responding to schneider’s first of three OreImo posts, I made the casual statement that there could have been more sincerity in the show. When I finished the series last May, I was lightly bitter in saying the story had, “a greater richness as a concept than what we received” [1] and that statement is not without consequence. Given, the series was convincing in part due to the tensions between Kirino and Kyou, Ayase, and Kuroneko. But what would it entail for this “little sister” anime to have been more sincere, and is it truly worth getting into?

Having recently watched The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) I think it questionable. Comparison is irrelevant in noting that The Piano is precisely sincere in every respect, allowing it to be conflicting, dark, and spiritually violent [2]. But in thinking about accessibility, or even likability, there were many ways which the film could have been presented that are deemed shallow or servicey, especially when touching on the subjects of borderline prostitution, extortion, and sexuality. Not to mention the main character is mute and often wearing frilly garments, thus increasing the overall potential for sexual fetish. Those who have seen the film understand that displays of fetishism already exist but are not dealt with lightly.

I have no doubt the same story could be told with coincidental uh-ohs and tail-shots. And it could have been entertaining, at least to the general audience looking for Americanized sexuality: boobs and shower scenes. Instead, Campion chose a legitimately human tone for the film, respectable in many ways, and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 may be the only other work with this tone among post-90s anime. But The Piano‘s tone is also the reason it lacks the entertaining pleasantries of OreImo.

Imagining The Piano constructed as a lighter tale is not difficult when we remove the film’s sense of responsibility. Likewise, imagining OreImo as a sincere work asks that it employ responsibility. This is not a responsibility to please the audience or increase sales, but to maintain a narrative which may be unpleasant and dismantling. And I believe OreImo was capable in concept but am less eager to claim the approach would produce a better or more valuable result.

My truth is personal and subjective in that both works can be valued in certain regards but would require Utilitarian arguments to determine the greater overall value of either; ironically senseless. I do not feel a sincere version of OreImo would increase it’s favoritism among viewers, nor do I feel it would somehow bring greater enjoyment to myself. To witness a darker tone in Kirino’s suffering for her affinities; I’d rather save those feelings for people in reality.

I’ll settle for what OreImo is and love it no less.


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Categories: Meditation, Out of Season.

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6 Responses

  1. It would have been interesting to see the dark side that comes with her hobby. If there were more emotional development between her and her friend and even her father, I would have probably watched it anyways. But then it’s demographic would have probably become josei.

    Prior to my anime knowledge today, I used to think “ah this is so wrong”, back when I first started blogging, but now that I have adapted to these genres, it’s not something unfamiliar anymore. I may have even liked this dark side best back in the day.

    • Interesting, yes. I think she’s in a fascinating position even though her perfect image is contrived, and I believe many people can relate, not just otaku. People are not always open about their hobbies and could take some circumstantial notes from this kind of story, but I’m less inclined to believe OreImo, as presented, had a very broad message.

  2. Oreimo is not end-all be-all text on the subject matters it covered; in fact it just one of many takes on the same chunibyou nonsense half of the anime aimed at otaku today. I’d think there is definitely room for what you have proposed via The Piano. Maybe some other work, some other time. It’s a tough topic to pick on, for various reasons. Not holding my breath here but I think we all will welcome such a treatment.

    • Exactly, OreImo is not that story. That’s all there is to it.

      same chunibyou nonsense half of the anime aimed at otaku today

      Basically, but that’s fine. Industry has to make money somehow.

  3. Insincere, interesting… I hadn’t thought of that, but it seems so fitting now.

    For me, OreImo touched on some interesting ideas regarding hobbies, social interactions, sibling relationships… etc., but yes, indeed, it does not quite go into any of it in sincere. It seeks to resonate with the fans–which to a certain extent, it does–but all the servicey stuff also takes some away. The average audience is in a weird place between identifying with Kirino but also wanting her, as she has the ideal little sister/girl for the average otaku.

    I still love it though. Enough to watch it multiple times with others.

    • Yea, I think it’s worth rewtaching certain episodes alone or every episode with others. It’s in a strange position as a service-oriented show and wanting to get some message across along with identification. I found her amusing to observe but couldn’t identify with her and didn’t find myself wanting her. Though I did wish to see her grow and resolve. Perhaps it was not fulfilling for me the way it was for many fans.