For many of us, Christmas is a day on which wishes can be granted. Perhaps even wishes we thought were impossible to grant. That surely must have been the case for Kawagoe Haruma, futsuu na koukousei and protagonist, whom Santa Claus herself (!) awakens on Christmas morning to deliver a package for him through his bedroom window.
The package turns out to contain one little sister, fresh off the production line and ready to become a part of Haruma’s life, and one small book. Where Haruma’s parents are (and they are of course nowhere to be seen) is left unexplored in episode 1, along with the even more troubling issue of a little girl whose parentage is the North Pole production line, as indicated by Santa
himself herself. But this being anime, we are more than willing to suspend disbelief concerning all this, and (six or seven panty shots later) watch what happens to Haruma and his new family member.
First things first: breakfast. Haruma’s new imouto knows nothing whatsoever except what she can read in her little book, which seems to be a manual written in invisible ink about How To Be The Most Awesome Little Sister You Can Be. When her attempts at cooking fail utterly, she and Haruma discuss over toast the most pressing issue: what her name is to be. Immediately Haruma thinks of 著小 choko, the “little book” that came included with her. She likes the name and adopts it right away. The pun on “chocolate” and the common -ko ending for girls’ names in Japanese could be called further advantages.
The next most pressing issue is, of course, clothes. After all, Haruma had insisted that Choco put on some of his own clothes over the few items she’d arrived sort-of-wearing. And on Christmas in Japan, the malls are open and the stores are eager for customers. Choco wastes no time in picking out not a few things to wear.
All the while, Choco goes on learning at a rapid rate about how life in the world works, from snow to Christmas decorations, from huge crowds to eating at a restaurant with her new older brother. We learn, too, about Haruma’s tragic loss of the stillborn little sister he would never share his life with, but had so fondly wished for. (The delivery was apparently difficult and left Haruma’s mother unable to bear more children, but we learn nothing else about her health and current whereabouts in this episode.)
Perhaps more than anything, this first episode (and I watched only the first episode) is about Haruma’s long-dormant desires to show love to the little sister he always wanted but never thought he’d have. For Haruma has the same wants and needs as any other teenage boy — wants and needs which now need to be viewed in the light of his new status as aniki. With perhaps the last of what little remaining money he has, Haruma purchases a brooch, for which he has big plans.
But while he is distracted with the purchase, Choco becomes distracted by a number of shiny things. And just like any child her age might do, she goes bounding through the mall after them. (In fact, my own mother tells me that I did something similar to her in a mall when I was very young. Of course I remember nothing of this incident.)
Fortunately, the mall security do their job, and not long after Haruma starts his frantic search, an announcement comes over the intercom for Choco no oniisama to come pick up his little sister. (It is easy to imagine Choco so inconsolable at not being able to find Haruma, that the only thing the adults can get out of her is her name.) And it is perhaps only after this touching reunion that Haruma realizes what’s now most important to him.
And so we leave the two siblings to their new life at the end of the episode, still with much to learn about each other and their roles, but definitely happy in this new life. It is a charming first episode and well produced. And this is coming from someone who has badmouthed imouto anime ever since he found out that it was a thing.
Does that mean I’ll continue to watch this show to the end? Well, that’s pushing it. It was a stretch already for me to watch this episode, and I doubt the show is for me. But I’d certainly take this show over other imouto anime (about which more in a separate later post? *insert weird suspenseful music*) But in a word, this episode was — how you young people say? — cute.
And coming from me, this is high praise.