Oreimo Finale: I Can’t Believe My Series End Like This (Wait…Yes I Can)

Where do I begin?

Oreimo girls
Art by 俺妹 (Pixiv)

Actually, I’ll start with this.  I watched the first episode of the final Oreimo OVA and was, well, neither surprised nor satisfied.  However, I intended to finish, especially bolstered by the opinions of a couple of friends, both Christians, who insisted the end was actually pretty good.

Well, the end was a little clever, but it didn’t change my opinion of these episodes or of the series in general.  The thing that’s most bothered me about Oreimo, besides the up-and-down quality of the storyline and the INCEST, is how almost all the characters annoyed me at certain points.  And I realized that what annoyed me each time was this: the characters acted like they were adults, even though their morals, social development, and other aspects were that of adolescents (maybe even children).

For instance, I originally planned a post entitled, “I Can’t Believe My Sister’s Friends Are This Dense,” in which I would have chastised Kirino’s friends for actually helping her get together with her brother, as if INCEST IS A GOOD IDEA.  Great job, friends!  How adult of you to accept them for who they are, even if who they are was plain and simply wrong.

True, this feels like the thought process of adolescents, though I wonder if a group of teenager in real life would act similarly.  I think they most likely would only if they though that incest was morally okay (which some might) and/or if they lacked a moral compass instilled in them by school, culture, and most importantly, family.

And there’s the point – family Family is largely absent in Oreimo, or when it is shown, it’s dysfunctional.  Saori’s parents seem distant and she has had her troubles with her sister (quickly fixed in the finale…we saw a better wrap-up for the president of the anime club whose name I don’t even know); Kuroneko plays the role of mom and dad for her sisters; and Kyousuke and Kirino’s dad is psycho (and maybe too realistic, in a number of ways, to Asian parents I know of).

The actions these characters take throughout the series, and particularly in the OVA, show a lack of direction that should have been impressed upon them, with love and guidance, by their parents.  They all know incest is “wrong,” but perhaps they don’t know why.  They know they should support their friends, but do they know that “love” sometimes means being harsh?

And most of all, what affected me the most in the final episodes wasn’t Kirino and Kyousuke’s decision, which I knew was coming, but in how they treated those that were important to them.  Kyousuke triumphantly explains his love for Kirino as he hurts the girls who have fallen in love with him, seemingly taking it a badge of pride that he trounces on their feelings.  Kuroneko and Manami are the worst, as their feelings for and actions toward Kyousuke really seem to demonstrate love rather than some silly crush.

Kirino does nothing – and that’s her role in this awful parade.  She allows all of her closest friends to be hurt so she can pursue a selfish, “disgusting” (quoted by more than one character) love.

Perhaps if Kirino and Kyousuke had seen more love in their household, they wouldn’t treat their friends so poorly.  And perhaps they would have learned to put others above themselves.  Even as Kyousuke trounces hearts – which to me had the dramatic feeling of killing off characters, his focus is not on them.  It’s on his selfish claim that he’ll never get these many girls to be interested in him again, as he tries to show Kirino how much he loves her (“Look at all the hot girls I could’ve been with – and yet I chose you!”).

But, it was all worth it, right?  After all, the two could have a few months…years (?) of being lovers before calling it quits.  Yep.  All worth it.

And so, as Oreimo ends, it ends with a lesson that we should take to heart and a theme that the original novelist perhaps didn’t intend: “Be a parent that teaches your children to love others more than yourself” and “Selfishness destroys love.”

But I guess these couple of selfish kids made the series worth watching as a lesson in what might happen when you value your lust, dreams, and desires over what’s really most important: love.


29 thoughts on “Oreimo Finale: I Can’t Believe My Series End Like This (Wait…Yes I Can)

  1. While you present a number of valid points here, I still don’t find the series to be quite as troubling as you seem to (even considering my personal beliefs and morality). The “families” in the series do seem to be quite dysfunctional, but not more so than in any other comparable anime. Additionally, I believe the finale shows the maturity of Kyousuke and Kirino, not the opposite. While their pursuit epitomizes their IMmaturity, the fact that they have the ability to abandon it shows that the clearly understood the impossibility of it. Although Kyousuke turned down four perfectly legitimate “love” options, it is impossible for me to believe that any of them had the possibility for “real” love if Kyousuke had confused feelings (particularly for his sister). I think that any love that would last would have the ability to bloom after Kyousuke and Kirino’s escapade ended.

    Just a few disjointed thoughts from an amateur critic.

    1. The novel’s author wanted a clear Kirino ending, whereas the “escapade” ending is the middle ground between him and the editors/producers. While I find the whole business somewhat silly, your interpretation/arguments are why I find the ultimate consensus a valid idea.

    2. Yup, I definitely see your point. I think, though, that the “maturity” of their decision is something that could be argued either way. I see their decision as another selfish one (let’s have our cake and eat it too), though you see it otherwise (and certainly, I think, the intent is to show they made a good compromise).

      As for love…yuh, none of those relationships would probably work out because, well, Kyousuke. But what I should have clarified is that a couple of girls seemed to genuinely love Kyousuke, and he and Kirino ruthlessly crushed those girls’ comparatively selfless loves. Bleh.

  2. I can imagine it must be difficult to find positive elements in the ending if you start with the assumption that incest is evil, and all that leads to, supports or surrounds incest must be likewise evil. Still, I feel you are turning your eyes away from even that love displayed here which is acceptable and good by Christian standards.

    When Kyousuke trounces hearts, he does so in the awareness that only blunt honesty can set things straight between him and the other girls and prevent further pain. To quote you – love sometimes means being harsh. Of course, it is perfectly fine to disagree with his words or methods if you think you could handle the situation better. But I have little doubt that Kyousuke is motivated by love for his friends and aims to act kind toward them, to the best of his ability as a fallible human.

    Kyousuke’s friends respond with their own love and kindness. None of them have the black and white approach to incest a person of Christian upbringing might have, Some are strongly against it, like Manami, some have misgivings, like Sena, and yet others are more accepting. Whatever their feelings on the matter, they express those feelings openly to Kyousuke and Kirino. Once that is done, they choose to believe in the choices of their friends, and that is their love, expressed to the best of their ability.

    Even if they make mistakes, is it not our duty and privilege to believe in the good in people’s hearts? When we give up on them as selfish and lustful, are we not failing our test of love? Again and again, I find myself returning to the central theme of Umineko: “Without love it cannot be seen.”

    …that said, I’m largely “o_o?” regarding the ending. The incest doesn’t exactly feel natural. And while I can see Kyousuke and Kirino remaining friends with everyone else after the confessions/rejections, did they really discard many years of friendship with Manami for a “test run” of their relationship? Half of me says the whole “test run” business was a slick way of finishing the series while technically keeping everything open-ended (eating their cake and having it too), while half of me says it’s simply stupid xD.

    1. I love it. LOVE IT. This is an entirely opposite and equally valid post that would be perfectly at home on our site. Thanks for these insights – they are amazing, as they always are!

  3. …perhaps I should be grateful that I don’t know what the heck is going on with regards to this show. I dropped it after a few episodes, and it looks like I should be glad I did! All the reviews and comments I read have not been the most positive in the world.

  4. I must agree with you TWWK. I watched the OVA’s hoping for a redemptive ending, but the closer I got, the more depressing the situation turned. Unfortunately, I have witnessed incest destroy a good friend and a family I was close to. The effects were very clearly horrific. This anime would have had such a powerful effect if things had turned out differently, but they didn’t.
    I have found that I am not all that surprised with the ending and I believe you hit on a very key point, family. When I lived in Japan, our next door neighbors had a very healthy family. The dad was Japanese, the mom was Taiwanese and they had two very young children. The dad and mom both loved and spent lots of time with their children, but sadly they were not the norm. The normal family in Tokyo especially, is to not have a family. Many people in Tokyo who decide to have children hardly raise them. The attend child care, then preschool, then elementary school and so on till college or university. Children are in many ways being forced to raise themselves or are being raised apart from their parents under the guis of educational and financial betterment. I am not trying to say this is wrong, but at what point does sacrificing for a child’s betterment turn into sacrificing your child’s childhood.
    I did notice this trend was a bit different outside of the immediate Tokyo area, and even more different much of the christian families I hung out with in Tokyo. Many of their kids did some of the similar things as other kids, but the parents were decisive and direct in their involvement in their children’s lives.

  5. I kept hoping Oreimo wouldn’t end this way, but I kind of knew it would. Now that I have confirmation, I don’t have to watch the OVAs! I have a feeling that if I watch them anyway, I’ll dissolve into my own ranting post.

    1. I’m still of the opinion that the series ended quite well. The VERY ending of the last OVA keeps it from being, in my opinion, questionable. If you aren’t a fan of the series to begin with, then of course, there is no point in watching the OVAs (as with any anime), but if you have been enjoying the series (as I have been, to an extent less than its greater fanbase), then you really should give them a change.

      1. I found the series enjoyable enough most of the time, so I might give the OVAs a try as you suggest. Of course, part of the reason I enjoyed the series is that I was in denial about Kirino and Kyousuke. But there’s only three OVAs, so I suppose I could watch while I’m packing for school or something… I still may want to rant once I’m done. 🙂

  6. I stopped caring when they decided to exclude the majority of Ayase’s book. Bad author is bad so when he decides to write a “good ending” to most popular ship, this is what we get. One thing I’ll say is their dad is pretty much aware of Kirino’s hobby from the beginning but turns a blind eye to it all while keeping up the psycho front, so not as bad as you seem to think.

  7. I ended up writing a post about my own displeasure over the ending on my blog as well. Kind of a shame that the story had to go this route.

    That said, you mention how it’s important to have parents (or parental figures) who can provide moral guidance for children, and I do agree. However, I wonder how many parents can properly explain why incest is wrong. Incest is a pretty complicated topic in terms of morality, and the genetics argument only goes so far, especially in a world where birth control and homosexuality are significant realities, as well as the particularly murky gray area involving not-blood-related siblings. The fact that our society has largely adopted an “it doesn’t matter as long as there’s love!” attitude towards romance and marriage does not help things at all. (The Bible does help, but one would have to be prepared for the fact that Abraham and Sarah were half-siblings, as well as how Adam and Eve’s children very likely married each other, and have an explanation ready for those.)

    Anyways, I still really like the series as a whole. Even this season was still good, thanks to episode 9, which is in my opinion the high point of the entire series. I’ll just pretend that episodes 12, 14, 15, and 16 never happened. 😛

  8. Yeah, I didn’t like it either. I think the problem was if they wanted to do the ending they did, there was a far better framework in the story itself than the way they resolved it. It felt to me in the start that Kirino was always sublimating her natural love for her brother into other things, like the little sister eroge, or her performance in school and life. The idea that she was in love with her brother in a meaningful way always felt tacked on, and both of them really needed to learn not to replace the natural love of brother and sister with other things. Kyousuke with Manami as a surrogate sister (which he never seemed to get much fallout for) and Kirino with eroge.

    But they handled it so clumsily that it didn’t make sense. The Kuroneko thing felt like a big middle finger to fans of that pairing, and it made no sense she’d help them after, friends or not. There was just too much pain to see that happening. The middle episode wasn’t bad, and the Manami part was well done indeed. Even small symbolic details. When Kirino broke Manami’s glasses, she was the only one to break Manami’s armor, too, and Manami finally said what she felt and didn’t settle for Kyousuke waving it off.

    The ending though managed to annoy everyone. All that for nothing in the end.

      1. Really? Why do you think? I mean, virtually every romantic pairing was sunk, some with extreme prejudice, and Kyousuke himself came out looking bad. Why did you like it?

        1. Well, my first comment expresses the majority of my thoughts on the matter, but I overall feel that the “VN feel” of the series pretty much automatically throws out the idea of Kyousuke concretely and satisfyingly ending up with any character other than the character intended by the original author.

          Additionally, I don’t feel as though all the romantic pairings were permanently sunk. If any of them were to last at all, then I feel they would have the strength to persist past Kyousuke and Kirino’s escapade. Honestly, I felt the way they handled the relationship in the OVAs managed to capture their hidden desires in a way that didn’t cause long-term damage (thus I actually feel some of their actions to be mature in ways, unlike what most seem to think).

          Oreimo will never be one of my favorite series, but I don’t feel it got any better nor worse with the ending it presented.

          1. Yeah, but the ending felt like it was handled poorly despite this. It felt like they were punishing people even if they liked the Kirino route. Like after Kuroneko confessed and was rejected, they switch immediately to Kirino being her typical tsundere self, and for me it really came across badly. As well as Manami, Kirino taunting her and Kyousuke’s incest ftw! really reduced them in my eyes. Almost like a bad ending or missing a lot of flags.

            It felt like they wanted to punish people for liking the series. “Oh you liked Kuroneko?” Well, suffer. “Wincest?” no, not even that. The crunchyroll comments are hilarious in this; people aren’t even caring about spoilers and many WTF!s were given.

  9. Since when does logic and morality need to be present in anime. I thought we gone over that a milenia ago. Blowing planet, raping a girl, etc…. suddenly someone pointed out about morality in anime. And they say watched anime if you want to escape reality. Thank you sir.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Anon. And welcome. 🙂

      You’re quite obviously new to this site. We explore anime from a Christian perspective. That said, even among Christians, there’s a wide variety of ways to approach anime or any other media. Some, like you, may be willing to watch almost anything; others may be very conservative and only watch series that apply directly to their worldview (ex. for Christians they may only watch The Flying House or Superbook). Most, like myself, fall somewhere in between.

      That’s not to say that I don’t watch anime to “escape reality” somewhat. But certainly, I want more out of my entertainment. I’ll watch comedies, for instance, and not really expect to get much out of them, and in that case it’s okay. But perhaps it’s a credit to Oreimo that I expect more and that I’ve gotten so much more. I’ve written of wonderful things I’ve pulled out of the series in addition to things I dislike. I think that’s why the ending was so disappointing to me (if not unexpected), because I hoped for something more out of the show’s ultimate theme, when it had demonstrated so much else to like throughout it’s run.

  10. Now that you mention “harsh”…in the scene where Kyosuke defends Kirino from Manami, he criticizes her for being too harsh on his sister when the two first interacted in the past.

    Manami could’ve just let things slide and/or be more gentle with her wording when Kirino was like “I LOVE MY BROTHER!” when she was a child. After all, she would’ve grown out of it naturally, like all kids do. I don’t know, but Manami was just WAY TOO insecure over a little girl that is just harmless.

    1. You bring up a good point – Manami was definitely harsh on Kirino when they were younger. And in fact, a lot of what is happening in the current time in the anime could be chocked up to immaturity as their ages, as Manami was perhaps immature in being so mean to Kirino when they were both young.

  11. To TWWK…your an idiot! Like all sheeple you spout garbage you have heard from other sheeple and think its gosple. THE ONLY TRUE REASON INCEST IS WRONG IS BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF RETARDED CHILDREN. Incest has been prevalent in every culture in the world at some point in time and is still practiced in many cultures today. Like every other dumb ass out there you just spew rhetoric and the same regurgitated answers that everyone else does, because you are afraid to have your own opinion and thoughts in your worthless tiny head. Grow the fuck up and learn to think for yourself you fucking middle schooler. If you don’t like incest don’t watch anime and don’t post anything because no one gives a fuck what you think except other mindless losers!

    1. “Your an idiot,” eh? Hehe. 😛
      Anyway, John Smith, if you can calm down, we can certainly have a real conversation about this. I disagree with you, and with good reason. Take care. 🙂

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