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.
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.
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?