Finding the Invisible God in…OreImo (Episode 3)

OreImoSeries: Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo)
Episode Title: “
My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute
Related Bible Verses:  Luke 6:27-31

Overview
Judging by early previews in the anime blogosphere, not too many people were expecting much out of OreImo.  But three episodes in, many of those same bloggers have proclaimed that it might be the best show of the year.  I don’t disagree.

Episode 3 was excellent as the others.  In brief, after a conversation with her fellow otaku, Kirino decides to tell her parents about her hobby; unfortunately, she isn’t able to on her own terms, and she is castigated by her father.  But not all is lost, as big brother Kyosuke not only stands up for her, but takes the blows (literally) that come along with claiming her eroge games are his own.

Kyosuke is the brother of all brothers in this episode, and though we as an audience know it’s coming, it’s still spine-tingling to see him risk life and limb to defend Kirino against their harsh father.  Although the confrontation scene is the climax of the episode, my favorite part came in the closing, as Kirino uttered a thank you to her brother, whom she called “aniki,” a term of endearment in referring to her older brother.  Kyosuke is shocked by this, since Kirino has treated him as little more than trash for as long as we know.  And I found Kirino’s reaction found even more startling.  She’s is blushing and clearly embarassed, but instead of saying something to negate what she said, which is what I expected, Kirino stays silent.  She wants Kyosuke to know that she appreciates what he did, and though it’s hard for her to admit it, she does.  The change that has begun in her relationship with her brother all started because of Kyosuke’s actions.  This reminds me directly of one of Jesus’ commands.

Spiritual Connection
Maybe the most difficult of Jesus’ commands, and the one possibly most discussed, is to love our neighbors.  Luke, the physicians, quotes Jesus (Luke 6:27-31):

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.Do to others as you would have them do to you.

As the series begins, Kyosuke and Kirino are in effect, enemies.  She shows no love for him; in fact, Kirino typically shows disdain for her older brother and usually ignores him.  Perhaps they’re not at each other’s throats, but beyond the physical bond that inextricably connects the two, there’s no love in their relationship.  And yet, Kyosuke is a good older brother.  He not only accepts Kirino’s plea for life counseling, but meets her with compassion.

It’s then that the hard part occurs.  He has to “turn the other cheek.”

Kyosuke suffers through the relationship.  On a physical level, he is hit hard (the episode maybe infers he gets knocked unconscious) by his father; he is also hit by an unapologetic Kirino in episode three.  Mentally, he accepts Kirino’s pleas to play a game that he doesn’t want to (though he eventually seems to enjoy it).  Timewise, he spends hours playing games, speaking with Kirino (sometimes in the middle of the night) and going with her to a get-together (episode 2).  He sacrifices to show her love, even though she has shown little in return.

Little, that is, until saying, “arigato, aniki” at the end of episode 3.

Though perhaps not Kyosuke’s intent, his actions have led Kirino to show love to her brother.  Grudgingly, Kirino says words that speak of their growing affection as brother and sister.  In Luke (verse 32-36), Jesus goes on to say:

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Kyosuke’s thoughts show us that he probably did not do any of this with thought of reward.  And yet, he receives one – his “reward is great.”  He is beginning to develop a relationship with his sister that he would never had thought possible.

Christians are instructed to do the same as Kyosuke, yet we often don’t.  It’s been said that the hardest part of the Christian life is to love our enemies.  In fact, this is part of what made Christianity so radical – why would we love those who hate us?  I definitely struggle with this, as it’s easier (and it sometimes even seemingly feels better) to be bitter and stay mad at those who harm us.  But perhaps Christianity gets a bad wrap because Jesus’ followers don’t follow his commands; they do not love others like they should.

In Michael H. Hart‘s quick read, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential People in History, he puts Jesus third.  Part of his reasoning was that Christians don’t actually follow his commands.  To paraphrase, Hart says that if Christians actually loved those who hated them, it would radically change the world and Jesus would be the most influential historical figure of all time.

For Christians, I believe we can learn from this episode.  Though only an anime (gasp! I shouldn’t say those words, as Kyosuke also found out), the show illustrates what Jesus taught us.  Love as he loved and we’ll be rewarded.  But don’t love for the reward.  Love because Jesus first loved us.

What do you think?  Would Christianity be more appealing if Jesus’ followers showed love, even to those who hate them?  And who else is loving OreImo?

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

14 thoughts on “Finding the Invisible God in…OreImo (Episode 3)

  1. “Would Christianity be more appealing if Jesus’ followers showed love, even to those who hate them?”
    The crusades, is what that line brings to mind.

    1. Absolutely. The crusades…yikes. That makes me remember something I read once. There was a festival held on a college campus, and a few people decided to hold confession, but they did it backwards. These Christians would confess the sins of the church to anyone who wanted to hear. People thought it was a joke at first, but it became a refreshing, graceful activity that people appreciated.

    1. It’s not about incest…yet. If it goes down that path, I’ll let it go without any reservation. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      1. Not only the titular female plays games that consist entirely of incest (the phenomena of these “erotic video games” was discussed at length in our community with our Pastor a few months ago, and we have been supportive of the bans our Christian western world has been promoting on Japan), I heard from a very reliable source that, in the book this show is based on (“light novel”, he said), the siblings not only start having feelings for each other, but also act in accordance to this, almost to the point of corporeally fulfilling this sinful aberration.

        These so called “light novels” are illustrated, and he showed me graphical proof about all of the above that I dare not show, because I won’t aid Satan in tempting you guys into commiting sin.

        I regret ever giving this show a chance, and I am right now praying to God so that an outrageous aberration like this one never crosses my holy path. I also consider bring this issue to light in my Chruch, seeing how anime has become so mainstream nowadays. Christ would never condone like stuff like this poisoning the minds of our youth.

        1. Your holy path, huh? Bwahahaha…very well-written trolling my friend, although I’d be quite surprised if a pastor discussed light novels, particularly OreImo. And even more so if someone as involved in the anime community discusses “light novels” as if they are foreign to him.

          But regardless, I’ll address your comments because I think there are some important points to discuss. First, I have heard rumblings about what direction this series goes, and if it does, I’ll choose to turn it off. I think we all have things we’d rather not see – we’ll all shut off the television to avoid consuming certain ideas and images. My self-censorship, as it were, is informed largely by my faith.

          As for what a Christian consumes in the culture – that’s all dependent on your point of view. Some are very conservative, others are very liberal, and most, like me, fall somewhere in between. I blogged about these different perspectives earlier. If interested, please refer to my page about the six different perspectives: http://beneaththetangles.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/pick-six-viewing-anime-through-a-christian-lens/

          Thanks for the comments!

          1. Heh. I hope that came out as humourous as I intended 😉

            It was all based on truth, though. Regular LN readers have pointed out that the series is indeed steering in that way (incest).

            I must admit, the way you handled “babby’s first christian troll” was pretty cool. I applaud you. Some people should be more understanding to what actually amounts to a light-hearted attempt at comedy. It’s good to know that you have a good sense of humour.

            (Also, I bet most casuals don’t know what a light novel is)

  2. “It’s been said that the hardest part of the Christian life is to love our enemies.”

    Well unfortunately GOD doesnt love his enemies, in fact he kills them. In the all of Bible GOD personally kills a few millions + everyone who drowned in the flood + ordered jews to genocide entire tribes. So is it any surprise that Christians follow their bloodied evil GOD’s example ?

  3. You bring up a more than valid point, and one that’s not easy to reconcile when talking about a loving God. There’s a big schism here – most Christians understand the goodness of God and have no problem reconciling the death of many either by His works or by His people’s, but non-Christians will only see hypocrisy.

    I think the biggest value to most of us today is “freedom.” We want to freedom to do whatever we feel is best. We have the freedom to reject or embrace God, or to believe in Him or not. God is much less visible in our world nowadays, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable for one to think God doesn’t exist.

    Not so in ancient times. If one accepts the Bible’s accounts to be true, the people living thousands of years ago, during those bloody times, plainly knew God existed. It was the time of patriarchs where God was making himself VISIBLY known to the world. The question wasn’t whether God existed or not – it was whether or not one would follow Him.

    The Bible is plain and clear – choose life or death. If we do what we were created to do, to praise God, we choose life. If not, we’ll eventually die. The flood hastened death, as Bible makes clear that everyone on earth chose to follow something else besides their creator.

    Throughout the Bible, God is patiently trying to reconcile people to Himself. He waits, in some cases, THOUSANDS of years and usually at least hundreds before making decisions. He wants everyone to know Him. But over and over, peole make the choice to not know Him. Spiritually speaking, those who died in the flood experienced an earlier death – but they were going to experience one regardless in the second death.

    And yet…God grieves. He doesn’t want this. He wants us to live the life we were made for. For instance, with Sodom and Gomorrah, He lets Abraham bargain for the cities and NEVER relents; it is Abraham that quits bargaining first. And in the guise of Jesus, God openly weeps when people die. He’s not an uncaring God – His emotions are our own.

    These are some just some thoughts about God. But I don’t think these things are easily understood if one doesn’t experience the goodness of God first. If one has experienced the grace He gives, then the entire story of God makes sense. I don’t think I’d be able to bring the schism of violent acts and God’s goodness together if I didn’t understand God’s love in my life first.

  4. I’m not Christian, but I can roughly relate to this.

    “Learn to forgive.” is one of the principle teaching of my religion.

    “Let bygones be bygones.” is one of the first few idioms I’ve ever learned.

    “Do love, not war.” as wrong as it sounds from certain angles, it’s actually pretty true!

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