Oreimo Complete Series Limited Edition Anime DVD Review

Oreimo Complete Series Limited Edition Anime DVD Review When your interests fall outside the mainstream, sometimes your family can be your greatest support.

What They Say:
For the past seven years, Kyousuke Kousaka’s relationship with his younger sister Kirino has been nothing but cold. It’s gotten the the point where the only talking the siblings do is to exchange greetings with each other. But one day, Kyousuke finds a moe anime DVD lying in the entrance hall of his house. His interest piqued, Kyousuke looks for the owner – only to discover it belongs to his very own sister Kirino. Shocked as Kyousuke was, this is just the beginning of the surprises that lie ahead…

In addition to being smart, pretty, and popular, Kirino Kousaka is also an obsessive consumer of anime and eroge. After Kyousuke promies not to mock her and keep this concealed from their parents, she starts to share a bit of her world with him. Kirino faces several problems as she tries to keep up appearances and balance her exemplary school life with her hobbies. Her brother becomes a crucial ally while dealing with all the difficulties that lie ahead.

Contains episodes 1-12 and OVA episodes 1-4, plus a 24-page booklet of production and character designs, 16 postcards of the “Ending Cards” (one for each episode), and a poster.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is in its original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 192kbps. The show is one that does a whole lot of dialogue driven material but it has some fun wacky moments that takes advantage of the forward soundstage with some fun directionality, but by and large it’s a fairly straightforward mix that does the job right in creating a good slice of life feel. The music from the opening and closing sequences is often the biggest standout pieces, but some of the incidental music in the show works very well as does some of the bigger, more dramatic moments. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing at the end of 2010, the transfer for this 12 episode TV series and 4 episode OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The release spreads the TV series over two discs with six on each while the third disc has the OVA series and the extras for it. The show has a very good look to it with animation by AIC Build and the transfer captures it pretty well. The bitrate tends to be in the middle of the road for the TV series but shoots up more on the OVA release, though you won’t notice too much of a difference during normal playback. Colors are bright and vibrant, detail holds up well and background noise is minimal to generally non-existent for most of it. Certain backgrounds bring in a little more than some others but nothing that’s distracting.

Packaging:
Aniplex USA has put out a significant package here for this release that will definitely please the fans. Though the release has all three discs inside a single clear keepcase, it has a bigger thin box to hold it and all the bonus material. The thin cardboard box has a really good image of Kirino and Kyousuke on the front with a green theme to the text and other colors, though it primarily gives us a clean white background which I continue to like since the focus is on the character artwork rather than busying it all up. The back cover does a close-up of Kriino from the front cover under a green screentone which is cute while giving her a dialogue bubble that lists what’s included in the set in a very clean and easy to read layout. The rest of the text is given over to the staff and cast information and a clean technical grid that makes everything clear and easy to read. Not surprising for this release considering its limited retail availability, there’s no story summary or anything to really sell it to anyone who doesn’t know what it is.

The keepcase has a good look to it as well with the front cover featuring the main trio of girls that Kirino hangs out with together with Kirino and Kuroneko arguing as Saori watches on, all set against a white background. The back cover gives us a shot of some of the characters from the Meruru show within the show that’s definitely cute. The case has reversible cover artwork too that has the main cast together with Kirino getting all excited a Meruru figure. Next to the case we’ve got a lot of really neat little items included in this set. We get a great full color booklet on glossy paper that has a look at character designs, a gallery of artwork from various magazine covers and the original Japanese DVD and Blu-ray artwork. Oreimo also has a reversible foldout poster that gives us Kuroneko and Kirino together in kimino’s while the other puts Kirino and Kyousuke together in the winter.

The other bonus item included here that’s really, really well done is a package of sixteen glossy and heavy card postcards. They’re all fanservice oriented shots for the most part, but they’re really appealing and use a lot of pieces from some of the ending sequences. They have a great thickness about them and feel like really good quality pieces that will make fans of the show very happy.

Oreimo Complete Series Limited Edition Anime DVD Review

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Menu:
The menu design for Oreimo is fairly cute and nicely consistent across all three discs with only some mild changes. The main layout has a plaid background to it where each volume uses different soft colors to differentiate it while the foreground has a different groupoing of characters and outfits as well. With some upbeat music to it, it has a good bit of energy an dbounce as well as a touch of motion as the background scrolls by. The navigation strip along the bottom is simple with some lined spacing where you have the selections in tabs and it’s quick to load and very easy to navigate. Submenus load quickly and are problem free and due to it being a monolingual release, language presets are a non-issue.

Extras:
The only on-disc extras included with the release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Known in full as Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, Oreimo is a twelve episode series and four episode OVA series based on a light novel series of the same name by Tsukasa Fushimi. The novels kicked off in 2008 and are still ongoing with nine of them in publication as of this writing. When the show began its simulcast here in late 2010, it was one that at the time was fairly controversial for a few different reasons, but primarily because of its content. Or rather, what people believed the content was going to be based on the title which translates as “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute.” Obviously it’s going to strike some angry and polarizing chords just from the name, but that was pretty much one of the last things that the show really does.

The series puts us in Chiba where we get to know the Kosaka family, which is made up of the two parents, seventeen year old Kyousuke and fourteen year old Kirino. The parents don’t figure into it too heavily, but we get a fairly traditional structure here that eludes us in other shows. The dad is somewhat old school, the type that’ sitting around reading the paper and has a conservative view of things but knows he has to bend to the times when it comes to his children. His wife is a pretty, pleasant and friendly woman who wants the best but generally is deferential to her husband. They provide a good foundation for the kids though and it explains a fair bit about how their relationship has developed over the years in that they’re not exactly close, as you get the impression it’s not a hugely close family even though they’re all warm and generally loving of each other.

What the show wants to focus on is the secret that Kirino has that Kyousuke gets drawn into. While he’s a rather straightforward and solid student, nice guy with a childhood friend that he’s oblivious about when it comes to her feelings, Kirino is one of those rare ultra kids. She’s got great grades in school, does really well in athletics as she’s one of the best in the school when it comes to track and she even does some approved modeling which her parents allow her to keep the money from. She does it all and does it with a smile and a sense of fun while still keeping up with everything. But it’s her secret that causes the problem as she’s really, really into little sister erogames. And being fourteen, playing games made for eighteen and up isn’t exactly good. Nor is the fact that she likes anime, which gets a bad rap here from how the news portrays things and so forth. Because of all this, she keeps all her games (and she has so many little sister games) hidden away with everything else.

So when Kyousuke ends up coming across one of her games by accident and covers for her, he gets drawn into it. She wants to share her passion with him – but just the passion of the games. She’s not exactly abusive towards her brother, but somewhat dismissive as she doesn’t see him in the way the games would have you think. She totally and completely gets into the games and the shows because of the feelings she gets from it. As much as an older male playing the games would view it as its intended, she doesn’t take it that way and just gets into the warm feelings of it. But she knows it’s not something she can share with others because of the way otaku are ostracized, and this group in particular, so when Kyosuke gets involved, he ends up helping her come out about it a bit and encourages her to make friends in real life. Kyousuke even gets very defensive about her and her passion with their parents, going so far as to get ready for a physical fight with his father.

What works with the show is that even though her passion is what many will classify as creepy at the least, it’s not something that really exists between the two. There is a sense of loss between the two later in the series, though a good deal of that can be attributed to natural reactions because of the situation itself. What we get with the show is something that actually avoids any real sexy fanservice as panty shots are nearly non-existent and Kirino is not ogled over by Kyousuke. The OVAs add just a touch more, but even that is so minimal compared to other shows that it’s almost shocking.

The OVA aspect of the show is something that works very well in fact, as it treats the TV series like a game itself. With the series ending in a way that I didn’t care for, the first OVA actually replays that episode with different choices made and sends Kirino off on another adventure, keeping her out of the picture. This lets Kyousuke cope with that a bit and then has him getting to know her friends that he had met earlier and to get closer to them in some very well done ways. I really came to like the cast overall as the series went on and the OVAs simply cemented that even more. It advances the story forward several months so that lets a few changes come into play as well as their situations change. And that’s the thing that’s noteworthy, both with the TV series and the OVA if you go down that “truth path” with it. There is some growth and change here in how everyone deals with each other and it’s not just a static series. And that definitely makes it a fun show to watch beyond all the general silliness and the the gaming amusement of it all.

In Summary:
Before going into the show I had only generally heard awkward things at best about the series because of its name and the perception of what it was. What I found instead was a really charming series about a young woman who has an interest in things that aren’t mainstream and would definitely ostracize herself from her friends. I can’t tell you how many people like that there are in the world for a variety of reasons (heck, spend some time on Tumblr to see peoples varied interests that they can connect with others about when it comes to “deviant” activities). I really liked the way the relationship between Kyousuke and Kirino changed over the course of the series, though I preferred the path the OVAs took instead in the end. This release is definitely one geared for the fans with all the packaged items but the whole thing comes together well and left me pleased through and through.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closings

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: October 18th, 2011
MSRP: $74.99
Running Time: 400 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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