OreImo Episode 07 and “The Line”

As I watched the 7th episode of OreImo (Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai) the other day, I felt a sort of uneasiness throughout.  The episode was just as good as others so far.  But…I just couldn’t get comfortable enough ti simply enjoy the show.  I tried not to think too much as I watched and it wasn’t until the end of the episode that the reason for my discomfort hit me on the head.

Episode seven was flirting with crossing the line.

You know, the line.  That invisible mark where one turns off their television or computer.  The place where one sighs and leaves a series behind.  The imaginary point where we move on to another series, like I did after the bloodbath episode of Code Geass.

Kirino OreImo
Source: Pixiv Member 14563677

The line is where we decide a show is no longer worthy of our attention.  And I’m not talking about the quality of a show.  I’m strictly discussing the point in which our morals, sensibilities, values, beliefs, conscience, religion – whatever it is – takes over and tells us that we won’t take anymore.

Truth be told, nothing in this episode was repugnant.  In fact, some of you right now are thinking, “Why the heck would this guy stop watching OreImo because of this episode?”  Well, first of all, I haven’t decided if the show has crossed that line for me yet – you see, lines are often blurry and not always straight-edged and bold.  And secondly, I might stop watching because this was the first episode for me where the point was clearly to establish the beginning of a romantic relationship between Kyousuke and Kirino.

Duh, you’re thinking.  We all knew this from the beginning.  When OreImo first started airing a couple of months ago, a throng of viewers declared it the best show of the season, including myself.  Others thought that the possibility of siscom was merely a diversion for a story about one’s otakuness.  In the end, that way of thinking may have been naive.  I didn’t necessarily think along those lines, and so I would declare myself hopeful, rather than naive.  I would also say I was ignorant, by choice, as I tried (and continue to try) to avoid spoilers from the novels.

Right now, I think I should add a caveat.  From the beginning, it’s clear that OreImo, at the very least, flirts with the idea of romance between Kyousuke and Kirino.  So shouldn’t I have stopped watching from episode one?  If I’m so against consuming that, than the answer is probably yes.  But I’m imperfect.  I’m a hypocrite.  And I’m more of a hedonist than I’d like to admit.

Moving on…

Episode seven clearly pushes the relationship along romantic lines.  If you knew nothing about Kyousuke and Kirino’s familial relationship, you would probably see this episode as very typical of one early in an anime establishing a future romance, complete with blushing, the other girl, and a date.  But even more telling were the characters’ reactions, taking into account that we know they are brother and sister.  Kirino, who has exhibited more signs of some sort of attraction to Kyousuke (if you negate his self-sacrificial devotion to her) furthers these, as she bumbles and blushes along.  Kyousuke, meanwhile, starts exhibiting some nervousness being around his sister.  The tracks are laid.  The stage is set.  This romance is in motion.

As such, I’m aware now that I won’t make it through the season, even though I’m liking the show a whole lot.  Why not just enjoy it, you might ask.  Well…as Paul says, everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.  I don’t want to watch and root for a sister and brother to get together.  I don’t want to enjoy their attraction to each other.  And I will – I know I will – if I continue to watch.  I like the characters too much not too.  I’m getting very near to my line, if it isn’t already right before me.  This line may be far more conservative than yours’, but it is what it is. 

OreImo and siscon is just an example.  Lines cover multiple topics (violence, sex and other content among them) and can apply to any anime.  Where is your line?  At what point will you stop watching a series?  Do you have an example?  Or do you have no line at all?


17 thoughts on “OreImo Episode 07 and “The Line”

  1. I’m really surprised to find myself first to comment in this post. Part of my avoidance of this show is that I am averse to an incest story. If I have such a “line” as you put it, it is that.

    However, I’m not so sure if the aversion is even mostly moral. It’s actually quite a strong physical reaction from me. It gets me squicked out, like imagining children in sexual situations… I really get squicked out.

    Perhaps the root of this reaction is moral, but consciously it doesn’t feel that way.

    I have no problems with pandering and fanservice; to me these are terms too quickly dispensed at things people want to dismiss… and are indicative more of the intention/tastes of the dismissive than the quality of the dismissed.

    What I do have are particular tastes… when something like Orelmo comes at me and completely misses what I enjoy, it can land on my equally arbitrary squick zone and just gross me out.

    1. That’s interesting…I dunno if I have anything that makes me physically react, except for probably very extreme depictions of violence.

      You mentioned children…so what do you think of lolicon? If you feel strongly negatively toward it, is this moral as well as physical? I certainly think having kids (and I’m guessing the same for you) has emphasized, in me, how disgusting some media involving children can be.

      1. Some of my opinion on _philias:


        Like I said above, the disgust for children in sexualized context isn’t consciously moral — that I’m filled with outrage for their existence.

        Perhaps this is due to my aversion to getting angry at people, or at having to judge them. But if I were to judge them for getting off on sexual depictions of children, I would consider them more than just being psychologically unhealthy (I’m not qualified to do that anyway). I would consider them immoral.

        On what grounds? The child (younger than 13 years old) is biologically unprepared for sexual activity, and this includes desire and consent — the child really would not know or understand the choices they are making. Therefore to prevail upon them with sex is immoral to me. (An older being 13+ is arguably still incapable of making such, but I can no longer make unilateral statements on this. I remember being 13 too).

        The “It’s not bad because it’s only 2D” argument is not something I subscribe to. I am quite suspicious of it, though I do not understand it full to outright dismiss it.

        1. Yeah, the 2D argument is a whole lot more tangled and messy, I think, than either “side” may admit to. I’m gonna go read that old post of yours right now…

          1. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, and realize that as much as I dislike moral considerations in the appreciation of literature, it’s a big deal for me too. This dislike, I think, is rooted in guilt.

            I just remember how the very concept of ‘guilty pleasure’ is central to my thinking of media appreciation. And no, I do not mean it in the sense of how people excuse themselves when they watch lowbrow shows (e.g. reality tv, or trashy anime).

            I mean it in terms of how I, diametrically opposite to you, loved “Bloodstained Euphy.” That episode endeared Code Geass to me and I consider it a reminder of how amazing anime can be. But not without guilt… as I explore here:

            Acknowledging Guilt in Our Choice of Heroes: Lelouch Lamperouge.

          2. On your comment below, I think that’s interesting to note that when we talk about “guilty pleasure,” it’s not just the medium that’s providing us both pleasure and guilt; I think we also gain pleasure from the guilt itself. Sometimes we feel bad, and that makes us feel good. Well, at least I sometimes feel that – an uncomfortable pleasure, and it’s then that I sometimes choose to think about my choices in viewing.

            Thanks again for directing me to another wonderful post full of good things to think about. But I’ll say, “BLAH” to Bloodstained Euphy. BLAH!

  2. I know spoilers are bad and all, but I’m going to do it anyway. As of the latest novel, Kyousuke is dating someone – it’s not Kirino. Maybe this little fact will put you at ease and allow you to continue watching.

    1. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

      I’m not sure if that changes things for me, as I still feel the idea is to play with the idea of romance between the two. The tone of the show, in fact, tells me that it’s unlikely that the two will ever get together, unless something really off-the-wall happens. It’s more of creating an atmosphere that makes me enjoy seeing things progress. Bleh.

      But thanks for the comment – it wasn’t TOO spoilerish and I think does cast a new light on things.

  3. It’s really nice to know that I’m not the only one who will drop a show because it “crossed the line.” Sometimes feels like everyone (including a few of Christians I know) doesn’t care about such things and will watch anything no matter what kind of objectionable content is in it.

    1. Yeah, and I think there’s often a schism between enjoyment and our values. But in the end, we each need to determine, I guess, how much is TOO much.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. This was a really good post, and you brought up a wonderful point about “the line”. I think everyone’s line is different, because some people can handle certain things and it just flies over their heads. But what you brought up, a possible incest relationship in this anime, would also be crossing my line. What I usually can’t tolerate in an anime is extremely graphic violence (gore mainly, alot of blood is fine, but there is a point to where it can make me vomit, I guess it’s how it is presented), sexual content (such as women with beach-ball sized breasts, bed scenes, incest, yaoi/yuri, etc.!), and any type of religious content that puts me on edge as a Christian.

    An example would be the show “Supernatural”. Now this is a live action show on the CW, however, it IS now being converted into an anime. I fell in love with this show, but there was so much in it that probably should of turned me off in the beginning, but I still watched, despite the fact that it was graphically violent at times, had language, sex scenes, and worst of all….dealt heavily in the occult, as in realistically heavy, with the symbols and other stuff. By season 4, I couldn’t take it anymore. It crossed my line when the angels showed up. It started to seem blasphemous to me! Especially when one of the characters engaged in sex with an angel, she was fallen, but none-the-less, AN ANGEL! And she somehow got her “essence” back and became an angel again (what?!). And the way that angel character talked about God, I didn’t like how they were presenting it, saying even angels have to have faith and have not seen God, so they are unsure, too.(WHAT NOW?!). And one day I was at one of those Christian meetings with my friend, and there was an “alter call” of sorts or whatever, just to come up and privately pray to God what you need help with, and that was the day I told Him “Lord, I’m addicted to this show, but I need to give it up, please help me, that from this day I’ll NEVER watch it again”. And I did. Then a long while later, someone at CAA, in the new anime announcement thread, posted a link to a YouTube ad for an anime version of “Supernatural” and boy did the animation look so sweet! I was tempted to go watch it again, because, it WAS in a different format, but then I’d still be breaking my promise to God never to watch it. So I decided, despite the fact it’s going to be anime, it crossed the line, and I’ll never watch it again no matter what format it appears.

    Anyway, I am glad you brought this up, and I support your decision. I don’t think I’d want to watch an anime with incest either. This is the same reason I’m hesitant to watch the unedited version of Cardcaptor Sakura, because, though Meiling is an anime-only charrie, she is Li’s cousin and clearly is in love with him (though in CCS movie 2, it is resolved and their “engagement” was broken). In the edited dub, they are just childhood friends. Anyway, sorry this comment was so long XD!!!! I hope to read more from you soon, your blog is amazing, and I’m glad you’re not afraid to state your opinion. God bless you on your mission ^.^

    Your sister in Christ,
    – Katie (“AnimeGirl” at CAA, and mangaka name “Kokoro Hane”)

  5. Katie, thanks for the encouraging words. In truth, despite my ranting, I haven’t fully decided whether to drop the show or not. It’s very enjoyable to me (similar to you and Supernatural) and it is BLURRING the line. There’s no outright incest in the show…the implications are in between the lines (and spoken of by others who’ve read the light novels or read about them). So we’ll see…

    And thanks for sharing about your own experiences. Too often, people are convicted and then return to the things they were convicted about. It’s awesome to see you stick by what you believe in, even when tempted. And boy, anime can be tempting.

    God bless!

  6. @TWWK

    Re: http://beneaththetangles.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/oreimo-episode-07-and-the-line/#comment-249

    Oh my yes, the pleasure in guilt. Guilt is one of the most inauthentic indulgences too. It’s one thing to feel it — as most emotions first manifest involuntarily. But to indulge it, after its emergence is the inauthenticity.

    It’s like anger, being nurtured to wrath (say, for Bloodstained Euphy ;p ).

    Guilt is a way out, to avoid looking bad. How so? I get to look apologetic, to actually assert that I have morals. That I can draw lines on the sand. And yet… I cross it willingly and “bear” the guilt willingly.

    Oh, the suffering!

    Kinda disgusting if you think about it no?

    1. Haha, yeah, it could be a little “disgusting” in that way. I think that many (or most), though, indulge in their guilt without really realizing – kind of putting our thoughts on autopilot and diving ahead. In this way, we may be shutting our minds (and values) off for the sake of enjoyment, which, ya know, we do for dumb shows as much as those that cross our own moral lines.

  7. For me if sexual themes are over used it just annoys me a lot. With the series Divergence Eve I enjoyed the show’s story, but the fan service/sexualization of the female characters was way overdone. Pushed through to know the outcome of the story.

    Unlike the series Berserk however I felt it portrayed sexual & violent in a respectable manner that made sense in the story.

    Like with the show Black Bullet had lolies, but the main character wasn’t falling for them and they were mostly portrayed in a respectable manner.

    For me the anime has to have a greater balance of telling a story and not be over shadowed by violence or sexual themes for me to watch the series.

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