Where do I begin?
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.