Oreimo Season 2 – Anime review

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At this point in time most people know of Oreimo. When the series’ first season aired back in late 2010 many anime fans fell in love with the settings and characters. I mean, hey, at that point in time the series was all about Kyosuke and Kirino bonding and the crazy stuff Kyosuke found himself involved in due to Kirino’s love for anime and little sister eroge. Fast-forward to April of 2013 and Oreimo returns to our screens for a second season, with full intentions of finishing the story off once and for all. The question is, does the second season hold the same amount of charm and brilliant comedy as the first?

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To put it bluntly, the second season of Oreimo is nowhere near as strong as the first for a number of different reasons. Even if we ignore the fact that Kyosuke is slowly falling in love with his little sister, feelings which his sister seems to also hold, this season just doesn’t feel as good as the first. The season throws us right back into the action, dropping us at the point where Kirino has just returned from the US after Kyosuke went after her, and thus the first few episodes are focused on Kirino’s return and the problems that came with her leaving in the first place. It isn’t a bad starting point by any means, I’d personally only watched the first season of Oreimo and the OVA episodes a week before beginning the second, so I was more than comfortable with the starting point. However it has to be said that at the beginning of the season none of the characters feel like their old selves. Kirino is still the Kirino we all know and love, as are the other characters, but they don’t feel the same. They feel like shadows of their former selves and aren’t quite as enjoyable to watch as they originally were. Thankfully, by the halfway point of the season the characters are starting to feel like their old selves and the show becomes much more enjoyable to watch. Well, mostly. Halfway through the season we see Kuroneko finally confess to Kyosuke that she has feelings for him and thus the two begin dating. It’s very clear as they date that Kyosuke’s heart is elsewhere however, and the two end up breaking up. It’s here that the show starts to move away from Kyosuke and Kirino having a strong bond as brother and sister and more into the fact that the two are beginning to hold romantic feelings for one another, something that before now the show had nicely avoided.

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In a way this can’t be blamed on the anime. The anime is being faithful to the light novels (which ended during the seasons airing), which it can’t really be blamed for, but regardless it doesn’t feel right. The first season of Oreimo never really hinted towards their being romantic feelings between Kyosuke and Kirino, but looking back at it the hints have been there since the second season kicked in. Most viewers wanted Kyosuke to continue dating Kuroneko, or one of the other female characters, which I honestly can’t blame them for. Personally I feel that Oreimo worked much better before the whole ‘I love my little sister’ element was introduced. Once you begin to realise where the story is going you can’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as you did before. All that said, the second season of Oreimo manages to get by without Kyosuke openly confessing to Kirino, this doesn’t take place until our three OVA episodes. The season actually ends with a flashback episode to when Kyosuke and Kirino were kids, which makes it clear Kirino had strong feelings for her brother even back then.

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The OVA episodes for the second season kick off with a festive theme. It’s close to Christmas, Kyosuke has once again told Kuroneko that he can’t date her because he loves someone else, and thus he has his sights set on taking Kirino on a Christmas date. The first episode ends with Kyosuke having confessed to Kirino (after almost confessing, her running off scared, and him chasing after her), and even more surprising Kyosuke even went as far as to ask Kirino to marry him! The second episode starts right where the first left off and we see Kirino struggling with Kyosuke’s confession and then how the two deal with it afterwards. The third episode very much follows the same path as the second, but it finishes off the show very well for what it is. We also get to see Manami take a stand and tell Kyosuke and Kirino just how wrong their relationship is, which is amusing to say the least. It’s also amusing that every girl thinkable confesses to Kyosuke that they love him during these three episodes and yet he turns every one down. Admittedly, it seems somewhat out of character for a couple of the girls to have confessed and the scenes do lose a lot of value they may have otherwise held.

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As far as the animation goes for the season, it all looks much smoother than the first season did. During the gap between the first and second seasons the series actually changed animation studios, but it kept all the original staff which means everything feels very much the same, while looking and feeling smoother around the edges. Finishing off season one and then jumping into the second I didn’t really see any noticeable difference aside from things just looking that much better. The soundtrack is also quite fitting for Oreimo. It doesn’t feel all that different to the original seasons, but it does seem to feature a bigger variety of tracks to the first season. Each track fit the mood of the episode perfectly, especially in the OVA episodes.

 

In Closing: Oreimo season two doesn’t come into its own until halfway through the season by which point it has started to introduce the romantic feelings between Kyosuke and Kirino. It’s a good season if you can overlook Kyosuke and Kirino falling for one another, but how much you enjoy it will depend greatly on how invested in the characters you are. As Kyosuke puts it; “It’s a long story, but please listen. Listen to the tale of an unbelievable secret between my sister and me. Listen to all the crazy messes I’ve been through. Listen to the tale of a bratty little sister, and her average brother. A slightly special tale of love between two average siblings that started with a request for advice.  If it makes you smile at least once, I’ll be happy.” The second season of Oreimo has, admittedly, lost the charm of the first. However, for what it’s worth it was still a fun show while it lasted.

 

Scores:

 

  • Overall: 7/10
  • Animation: 8
  • Story: 7
  • Soundtrack: 8
  • Characters: 5

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