Review: Oreimo 1

 (Dengeki G’s Magazine/Dark Horse Comics 2012)

Story is completed (4 volumes, 26 Chapters)

 Story by Tsukasa Fushimi & Art by Sakura Ikeda

 Summary: Kyousuke is your normal, average, everyday teenager. Until one day his world enters the weird when he discovers that his little sister, Kirino is a closet otaku for anime, manga, and ero-games. Suddenly the sister who once despised him begins asking him for advice on how she can cope with this hobby of hers without destroying her reputation in a society that doesn’t understand it. The intertwined adventures of these two siblings then begin, and along the way friends and enemies are made alike.

[SPOILERS!!]

 Review: For a 12 volume light novel series, and a 2 season anime series, there is a lot of content to tackle when it comes to the tale of Oreimo – a lot of content that is sadly missing from this short-lived manga series, but for what we get it isn’t bad. Consisting of the story material from the first 2 light novels, the story’s arc begins with Kyousuke’s discovery of Kirino’s hobbies and ends with Kirino and Ayase’s infamous fight.

Now, I had tried to read this version before but didn’t get very far before dropping it, and interestingly enough it was because I just could not get past the art style. I am so used to Hiro Kanzaki’s original art style for the series from the anime and light novels, that anything less was just stifling. But giving it another shot, while I still dislike the art style towards the beginning, it actually grew on me a lot as I powered through.

It’s cute, and Ikeda has a whole lot of fun with the characters when it comes to their facial expressions and over-the-top reactions to things. Stuff that wasn’t appropriate for the other two forms of this story, fit perfectly here and it allowed me to relax and enjoy the story quite a bit more. I adored the times when Kirino would sink into a blob of gooey happiness when stuff she enjoyed was mentioned. It was… well, cute.

Speaking of Kirino, and the characters themselves, in the original material all of these characters are, for lack of a better term, quite infuriating at times. Well, I say that, specifically I mean Kirino and Ayase when compared to the other mains. Kirino is a tsundere to the max, who obviously loves her big bro but absolutely refuses to admit it – and Ayase is just a brat. However, both characters are treated far better here than they are anywhere else.

I found Kirino to actually be rather tolerable, and believable. Did she have her moments of over-reaction where she didn’t need to treat her brother the way she does? Absolutely, but those moments are far and few between in the manga, allowing the reader to breathe most of the time when she’s on the screen. It was an incredibly welcome change to the original material. Like the moments when she does show her brother kindness, you can actually believe her, as if we’re getting a moment of weakness and a peak into the true Kirino.

Ayase, like I stated, is also treated better in this series. We don’t see her that much, but her big arc comes at the end of story and, if any one else remembers their fight from the anime, it was mostly brought on by ill-conceived views of reality through what the news bring us – an outlet of information that most of have come to see as half-truths at best. It was infuriating to watch then, and while it is still infuriating here, Ayase’s reasons for why she despises Kirino’s hobby is given more weight with a lot more information given to us as to why Ayase feels this way, rather than writing it off as simply something the media said and that shaped her entire viewpoint.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better – and that’s the point here.

Sadly we don’t get to see the other characters of Kuroneko and Saori that much throughout the manga, and the way it ends leaves these two characters in a weird limbo spot. I’m familiar with their storylines by this point, but for someone JUST reading this manga there remains no resolution to their stories. We do however see a lot of Manami, Kyousuke’s childhood best friend who just wants the best for her friend. I always felt a bit bad for Manami, usually relegated to just outside the main story, very rarely getting involved in the goings on of what the main arc is. She’s Kyousuke’s moral support when he’s having issues, and that doesn’t change at all here either.

The manga version of this story isn’t perfect, suffering the most from lack of an actual ending – although it does try its damndest to make it seem like we get one, which I definitely appreciate. But it’s not a bad companion to the main story either. If anything it’s a good introduction to this world, showing us what could’ve been if Kirino wasn’t 100% a b-word.

I do suggest picking it up, as it was entertaining and it’s a pretty quick read at only 26 chapters. It also has tons of pop culture references and printed links to just about every one of them in case you feel the desire to use Google. Just know going in that this isn’t the complete story, and in manga form, it seems we’ll never get the complete story. But hey, they tried at least, right?

Final Score: 3.5 Tsundere Little Sisters out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

@KazekunForever

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