Oreimo (season one) Review

Hi. Let me just say that all anime fans and people who disgrace anime alike should watch this series. Oreimo is much more than eroge and brotherly love, as it hits home in the idea of anime and its view to the public. What does it take to be an A+ student, skilled athlete, gorgeous model and all-around perfect?? Balance. And my friends, Kirino Kousaka tries so very hard to keep this balance, even though she is a complete otaku on the inside. Café goers, my mocha and whipped cream for you is the review of Oreimo – My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute! And trust me, this one’s on the house!

Set in your average Japanese household, the Kousakas appears to be the ideal family, that is, until you catch the weak link. Enter Kyousuke Kousaka, the plain 17 year-old teen boy and older brother *Aniki* of Kirino, his hot-headed 14 year-old sister. Kirino, as mentioned before, is an angel to her peers. She is ranked highest in her class, is great at track, has many friends and is even a part-time model for a popular girl’s magazine. Kyousuke on the other hand only has his childhood friend, the even plainer Manami Tamura, and the honor of being “Kirino’s brother.” Not gonna lie, Kyousuke’s life sucks, but it gets even worse as he grows apart from his sister throughout middle and high school. The two practically don’t even speak to each other until one faithful day when Kirino, on her way out as usual, drops a DVD of a well-known magical girl eroge, which Kyousuke happens to witness.

I don’t know about you, but if I was (am) an intelligent, fairly popular student, and I dropped a porno in front of my siblings, I would absolutely die of embarrassment, shock and anger! Even if you don’t decide to finish the series – for whatever reason – first episode itself is worth the watch. The anime is set up similar to a visual novel, showing the multiple endings with the different girls, yet keeping a real end in mind. The anime kicks off strong, introducing all major characters in the first couple episodes.

Speaking of characters, this is one cast to be remembered. When Kirino “needs Kyousuke’s advice,” he recommends that she finds friends to talk to about her hobby. Kirino, willing to do anything to chat with others about “Meruru,” quickly agrees and the two end up at a café meet-up, kinda like ours, actually! There she is introduced to goth-loli Kuroneko and kind, advising Saori, two committed otakus. Add in Ayase, Kirino’s best friend at school and drama begins to spread between the five girls. I love all of them – they are so unique, well designed, and entertaining.

Throughout the series, I started to get really mad at Ayase when she wouldn’t accept Kirino’s otaku ways. Like I was pissed. They have such a strong bond between each other that it shouldn’t matter if anime or eroge made the other happy – Ayase should have known that. True friendship is formed when individuals understand each other, respect each other, and do what it takes to keep things positive, honesty kept in mind.

A neat thing about Oreimo is that AIC’s animation really goes with the soundtrack, and vice versa. You’ll know when Kyousuke gets himself into an awkward situation, as his facial features change, loveably funky music plays, and the voice acting becomes heated and hilarious. Yuichi Nakamura, Ayana Taketatsu, and Saori Hayami, respectively as Kyousuke, Kirino, and Ayase, do amazing jobs with the dialogue! It’s like they were actually in those ridiculous situations, merely trying to talk their way out of trouble. Quality voice acting. Also, I love the opening “irony” by ClariS! So cute!:)

I love Oreimo, I truly do, but the characters I wanted to see, namely Kuroneko and Saori, did not receive enough screen time. They had so many quirks and awkwardness that I really wanted to invest myself in them. I know that there is a second season, so I will definitely check that out.

Is Oreimo worth the watch? Absolutely. Take a break from your hardcore action or intense drama series and laugh a little with this one. The series contains many important ethics regarding anime in society and additionally, it is downright funny! It’s one of those shows that you might not want to binge, however. Oreimo’s heartwarming environment is one that will be missed when it’s over.

Presently, though I did not purchase a subbed copy by Aniplex of America, you can watch Oreimo to its entirety for free on Crunchyroll! Have fun and thanks for reading! Did you watch Oreimo? Let me know in the comments! With that, as I kick your door on the way to my own bedroom, I’ll still smile, because – “I need your advice. . .”

– Takuto, your host

Negima! (season one) Review

After watching Negima!?, I just had to check out its first season, which I have to say I was a little disappointed, as prequels are usually better than sequels. This season was darker than its successor especially towards the end, which changes the entire picture of what Negima! is.

Season one of the Negima franchise starts off similar to its sequel. Negi Springfield, a 10 year-old wizard in training, is transferred to Mahora Academy in Japan, which is an all-girls school. Here, he fights with a vampire, makes pacts with middle school girls, teaches English and searches for his father. The major difference between this series and the next is that this one focuses on the girls more and the other magicians besides Negi. Minus the Star Crystal plot and the Black Rose Baron, you can check out my Negima!? review for a better synopsis of the plot. Personally, I prefer the second series.

The actual story doesn’t really progress until episode 20. Yes, you heard me. 20. Up until then, it’s all about the girls and a more in-depth look into their lives beyond the school. Specifically speaking, we get a look on why Ayaka Yukihiro, class representative, acts the way she does (I love that episode to its entirety!). When class 2-A travels to Kyoto, Japan, for a cultural trip, Negi and co. encounter Fate, an antagonist who is better described in the manga. Fate desires Konoka Konoe, who, unknowing to the class, possesses a rare magical background, which I will not spoil! Because Fate is thrown it the series to make up for the manga, he seems very unexplained and random, which I did not fancy.

During the climax of the series, Asuna gets dark. If you’ve seen this series, you know what I mean. Not gonna lie, I cried. A lot. It was a simple yet tragic story that I will never forget. To this day, I can’t watch the last couple episodes without getting all worked up. This plot device really shows that Negima! isn’t all fun and games; it does have a more depressing movement to it. It was such an unexpected twist that it literally changed my view on the Negima series.

In this first season, the characters are better defined. Unlike the sequel which only shows comedy, these characters reveal some sad memories. As I mentioned earlier, Ayaka gets a nice treatment in this series. To be revealed later, Ayaka’s brother actually died during birth. Negi reminds Ayaka of her to-be little brother and that is why she loves him. In the second series, she just comes off as a creepy shotacon, so it’s better to view her from this series than the other. Regardless of her attractions, I love Yukihiro as a character!

Not gonna lie, none of the tracks stick out. Besides I think “Magical Battle” and this one relaxing theme which I still have never found :/ , there is nothing else that I can recall. Season two has a more memorable soundtrack than this one. One moment that I can remember, however, is the following day of the grand plot twist. Holy crap! It starts with a sad cello soloing and more instruments are added until the weight is to heavy to bear. At that point, I break down in tears. Whoever wrote that song did very mature job! The opening, “Happy*Material,” is also a very motivating song to listen to. Its playful chords and different vocalists (who are, BTW, the Japanese cast for the girls) make it a magical and, get this, “happy” song to listen to!

For being animated in 2005, I thought it was decent. I haven’t seen many older anime so I can’t really judge this one. It’s not distracting to any degree, but there some awkward animation pauses where the “camera” just stops on a character after they are done talking. Because of this, dialogue doesn’t flow to well sometimes. On a side note, I did watch the English dub for this one; it’s fairly well done, but nothing superb. Unlike the second series, the view isn’t anything crazy like frames flying across the screen, so take it how you will. Some think that is distracting, but with the second series in particular, I thought it was a nice touch.

I feel like I keep comparing this season to its sequel, but one really can’t help it. The second season embellishes on what the first season failed while the first season dives into concepts that were not explored in the second. Both series balance each other nicely. As such, I was entertained a decent amount. The character stories are interesting enough but the small individual arcs do get kinda boring after a while

The Negima franchise keeps with a fun, magical atmosphere, yes, but the first series not so much. I know it was the first adaptation, but still. It’s good, but not great or stunning. Motsu is not in this one, so it gets old just watching the same characters attempt and fail at various tasks. Though it seemed thrown in, the ending did actually improve my score of this show. Negima! is a series that you can watch a few times and still not get too bored, which is a good thing for sure! All in all, if you are a fan of the sequel, go ahead and pick this up. Otherwise, it may not be worth your time.

Presently, FUNimation’s Complete Series of Negima! sits on my shelf performing its magical mayhem while awaiting its next viewing.

Thanks for reading!

– Takuto, your host