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Blog Carnival: The impact they had on us (Or: Why I still love OreImo)

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About two months ago, Foxy Lady Ayame and Neko-kun started a blog carnival to talk about anime which influenced their lives. I thought it was a great idea – you should definitely check out their post as well as the list of other bloggers who have participated in the event. But personally, I found it really hard to come up with something to say about this topic. I feel like I’ve already written quite enough already about the anime titles which have influenced me personally. (Examples: 1, 2, 3)

Then it hit me. It’s not just well-written anime that has an impact on you. In fact, there are plenty of (what I would consider) relatively poor anime that have a special place in my heart. In the end, it honestly doesn’t matter how clever you are or how refined your taste is – the most important thing is what you make of what you watch.

One particular anime has had such an enormous impact on my outlook as an anime fan that I still think about it almost constantly to this day, even when so many others have deemed it trash and moved on with their lives.

This anime is called My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!

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I’ve already talked about OreImo to great length before, but screw it. That’s a testament to how much of an influence this show has had over me.

OreImo was my gateway to hardcore otaku culture. It took me a while to warm up to it at first. When I first tried to watch it soon after it first came out, I was put off by the incest subtext and never got past episode 1. But in early 2012, I gave it another shot, and the rest, as they say, is history. (I am now an unabashed wincest fan.)

The first time I watched the show, I identified with Kyousuke as an outsider to otaku culture. Now I identify more with Kirino, especially since so few people know about my otaku hobby in real life. At the same time, I “consume” Kirino as an anime girl. I own a figurine of her, I have a poster of her on my bedroom wall, I own a freaking OPPAI MOUSEPAD of her for God’s sake.

So what does that make me? A disgusting kimoi otaku?

This is a question I have been struggling with for a long, long time now. It’s an inner conflict that rears its head every time I write about otaku culture. I’m not so blind in my love of anime that I cannot see the insidious subtext in shows like this one. Plus, I laughed with the rest of the anime fandom as OreImo’s ending crashed and burned on itself. I mean, OreImo is a really silly anime. Let’s not argue about that.

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But none of this lessened my love for this franchise, nor does it diminish the influence it has had over the way I choose to write about anime.

You see, back when I watched OreImo during my “pleb” days, I had no way of understanding what drives the people into moe otaku culture. While OreImo offers a sugarcoated view of otaku culture, it’s not so disconnected from reality that it never attempted to engage with the outsider’s perspective – at least in the beginning. And, well, I appreciated that. It made me realise that you can engage with other people on their level by making a sincere effort to understand their fandom.

This core belief, I think, has coloured my entire approach to anime blogging.

This is the reason why, in my tweets and posts, I speak the same language as the fans. I talk about shipping and waifus and husbandos and so on even as I criticise these very things. I think it is so, so important to understand emotionally what you are criticising, because criticism, at its heart, is an exercise in empathy. I criticise anime and I criticise fandom because I want to understand what makes these people tick.

I see art as a means of dialogue. People respond to art differently and you can talk about that, come to an understanding about it. This is why I reject arbitrary divisions between high art and low art. In its own way, something like OreImo can speak about the human experience as much as Revolutionary Girl Utena and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Even if OreImo may do a piss poor job handling characterisation in the context of its own narrative, it really does mean a lot to me in the context of my experiences in the anime fandom.

Plus, Kirino is cute. Yes, really!

Plus, Kirino is cute. Yes, really!

I also like hearing people criticise anime I like. Not that I disagree that OreImo is problematic – heck, you might even call it toxic because of the way it glorifies the worst parts of otaku culture. For others, the criticisms might be as simple and mundane as “the characters are annoying” or “it’s harem nonsense”. You can learn just as much about a person from the reasons why they dislike an anime or refuse to engage in fandom activities. This is one of the great things about divisive series and it’s probably one of the reasons I spend so much time writing about them.

In the end, I wouldn’t be the blogger I am today if it weren’t for the influence OreImo had over my thinking. That’s pretty amazing, right?

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To anyone reading this, I’d love to hear about an anime that has influenced you. If you’re a blogger, feel free to write a post about this and link it to this post or Foxy Lady Ayame’s. We’d love to hear from you!

And if you’re furiously typing something in the comment box right now to insult my taste in anime or in BEST GIRLS, I have one thing to say to you. You can just get on your knees and kiss my sweet ar-

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Posted on December 1, 2014, in Editorials and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Great post froggy :)

    Sadly, there hasn’t been an anime so far that really had big impact in my life. I only started to watch anime more seriously not so long ago. Before that i’ve been only watching shonen (still liked from to time)

    And don’t worry, i have shittier taste than you are. (Confession: I liked Date a Live for the plot. Go ahead, mock me)

  2. K-ON!. I detailed the reasons on my best blog post on my now-abandoned blog (Link here: http://midoninja.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/k-on-clone-and-serendipity/), but it involves a combination of doujinshi, college and the series coming together in just the right way.

  3. The Kenosha Kid

    Re: Oreimo: I think that shows about geekery/otakudom/etc. have this weird quality where they almost inevitably end up being about the people who watch them and their behaviors, personalities, beliefs, and so on. It can be a weird sort of mirror: “here is you watching this at this very second; here are the ways you come to understand what you are watching and the ways other people come to understand it; here is how this does and does not result in a certain sort of community; here is what you’ll be like as soon as the episode’s over.” Done right, the effect can be pretty dang uncanny. Inou Battle feels like it’s doing something similar right now. Something along these lines does a lot to account for the uberpopularity of Homestuck. In different media, I’ve been similarly affected by Forest and by Foucault’s Pendulum.

    But what shows have had an effect on me in particular, beyond the how-am-I-watching-this stuff?

    A few obvious choices (and they’re all coming-of-age stories, sad to say):
    1. Evangelion is actually (whatever its reputation) not necessarily a bad choice for watching when you’re depressed and miserable. It does that constructive empathy thing pretty well, methinks.
    2. I watched Utena as a teenager and got pretty heavily invested in it. That show can be pretty fucking empowering in that after it’s over I want to go revolutionize the world or some shit. I have yet to rewatch the series as a whole but going back to individual episodes still has a strong effect on me in that analyzing any particular character inevitably results in me analyzing myself. But the show displays a really great optimism of the will.
    3. I’m a perfectionist and constantly wrestle with questions of individualism and creativity. Is it any wonder that Hyouka gets to me? I can’t put my finger on exactly what it’s done in terms of changing my outlook, but my intuition says it has.

    Because I don’t want to be too boring, some less obvious (and more embarrassing) choices:
    1. Hidamari Sketch. Yeah. I tend to be incredibly bad at paying attention to the day-to-day details of my life, but some quirky little moeshit iyashikei anime came along and helped me to see how interesting all the little stuff could be. Fucking cliche, I know, but I do love that show.
    2. Bakemonogatari and its sequels (S2 in particular) have done a lot to help me flesh out my thoughts on (a) the importance of sincerity; and (b) all the stuff that my personal point of view helps to obscure. I tend to read it alongside that DFW essay “E Unibus Pluram” and the Film Crit Hulk post on South Park, if that explains what I’m getting at. I honestly have an easier time appreciating silly and cliche but sincere stories after watching it. Paul Feyerabend said that one of the reason he loved the Dadaists so much was that they could write so clearly when they weren’t doing Dada and fucking with the limits and abuses of rationality. I find something similar in this show’s irony. It’s unlikely that I’d have the appreciation I do for uncomplicated storytelling and music and art and so on were it not for this show (or something like it).

  4. I can’t say that any anime has outright changed my perspective in life.

    Maybe Clannad After Story to some extent. It made me realize the importance of family though I’m still rather distant from my own family. More importantly, this was the show that sucked me into the diverse (somewhat) world of anime as a medium that can deliver emotional stories and great plots. Prior to that I was quite the casual fan watching mostly shounen series.

    More recently, I’ve been watching Welcome to the NHK. I’m still gathering my thoughts on this one but it has definitely made me reconsider my views on social withdrawal and other social problems in our society.

  5. Even now I’ve probably read more doujin of OreImo than I’ve seen of the actual anime or novels. oxo

    Not that I’m purposely avoiding it. My anime-watching habits are no less prone to procrastination than actual work. I’ll probably marathon it during the winter holidays. Wincest is not a deterrent and probably a plus for me (though my impressions of the characters from various secondary sources would put me squarely in Team Kuroneko). I do hope to see more on the themes introduced in the first three episodes: otaku shame vs pride, otakudom as a community, interactions between otaku of different interests/philosophies/attitudes, and the pressure of societal and parental expectations on closet otaku. All these things are on my mind day to day.

    • What are you waiting for?!?!?! WATCH OREIMO

      I think you might be disappointed if you want OreImo to follow through on the themes it introduces in its early episodes, though. There’s a consistent running commentary track on otakudom as a community, but it does get superseded by the “will they or won’t they?” quasi-incest game. Not that the incest bothers me in the slightest anymore, but there were a lot more interesting things the show was focusing on. This is one of the main reasons why S1 > S2.

  6. arbitrary-greay

    Hrm. My anime watching has largely been pushed by fandom activities. I watched because my friends had a group watch. I saw good/funny fanworks and wondered about the source material. I wanted to read fanfiction my favorite authors were writing, so I watched the source material. I read several interesting blog posts discussing or recommending it.
    Therefore, I tend to go into shows already with a framework of how I would receive it, which lessens how much original impact it can have on me. It’s the fandom activities that have really shaped how I interact with anime, instead of the other way around. (Plus, anime has never been, and even now is not, my primary fandom, so it’s never been in a position to exert that kind of influence on me.)

    Some of it might be age, though. The media that most strongly shaped my interactions with fandom structures beyond just consuming media was idols, so by the time I came back to anime, it was more just apply my preexisting perceptions of fandom.

    In terms of just emotional investment, though, it seems like Rinne no Lagrange was my gateway back in, as perhaps the first anime in a while to not be completely over-shadowed by my preference towards live-action at the time.
    The series that really got me into the anime fandom proper, instead of just consuming anime in my own way, was Monogatari. While kind of searching for another series to watch, some of JesuOtaku’s videos, which I was following, had kind of discussed Shaft and Shinbo, so I decided to give Monogatari a try. While searching for subs to Nisemonogatari’s character commentary track, I read Bobduh’s post on it, and thus began seeking out anime fandom itself, not just anime as another category of media and geek interest.

  7. One relatively poor anime that holds a special place in my heart is Higurashi no naku koro ni. It looked terrible even when it was new (and the VN source had pretty low production values as well), it has pacing issues (such as holding back almost all the answers for an entire season), and some of its drama falls kind of flat. I think if I were introduced to it today, I wouldn’t give it a chance. But at the time… I don’t even remember how I was introduced to it. I didn’t even know horror-themed anime *existed*. I walked into it totally blind. And I was *riveted*.

    I think the things about Higurashi that really stuck with me were that:

    [1] It gets a lot of mileage out of dread and suspicion without actually showing you a lot of freaky stuff.
    [2] It at least tries to make all the characters multifaceted and sympathetic, instead of giving you the faceless expendable, the too-dumb-to-live bimbo, and the “I can’t wait till this guy dies” jerk.
    [3] It doesn’t revel in gore. All the deaths seem to me to be presented with an appropriate sense of horror, tragedy, and gravity.
    [4] It gives its characters hope, and then it makes them earn what that hope promises. You’re really rooting for those kids by the end. And then it actually delivers — no cliffhangers, no twists, no “and I only am escaped alone to tell thee” — a genuine happy ending.

    I haven’t re-watched Higurashi in years, and I don’t even know if I would want to. But I remember the experience of watching it for the first time, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I think I’ve watched, and forgotten, plenty of “better” shows. I’m not really a believer in the “so bad it’s good” phenomenon, so I think that, at least for me, Higurashi was good in spite of its badness.

  8. Hmm… I’ve been thinking about this two opposite idea: OeImo is quite banal because is consists of cliches; or, It’s because that it dares to show these tropes that it’s fresh. Wha do you think?

    And for the question… Along this post line, I’d say that it’s Infinite Stratos. It has became almost of an obsession to me – Heck, my life-long novel project is basically an original story born from an IS fanfic.

    Other than that, definitely Yoshiyuki Tomino’s works: Gundam, Ideon, Brain Powered.

    • I think the fact that Fushimi understands otaku culture intimately is the reason why OreImo’s tropes feel more memorable to me. I think it’s tempting to dismiss all of OreImo entirely if you don’t appreciate otaku culture in the first place. Even at its worst, I never really regarded OreImo as banal, I think.

      I’m curious what made you get into Infinite Stratos. Was it the sci-fi? The mechs? The fact that the show focuses only on the harem and the superficial aspects of its setting, which leaves plenty of room for fanfiction authors to fill the gaps?

      • Hmm… I want to write something about conflict in all of its forms – Karl Marx once defined it as the force that push us forward. IS might seem to be pretty bland at first, but look deeper and you could see tons of contradictions, both in the setting and the character. Even something as obvious as ‘Love’, or what is called as platonic feelings. Everything is broken, in short. It’s like Megaman X all over again.

        Anyway, well, OreImo is not a scientific work, so the author’s insight might also be looken upon. And it’s also not a touching story, so,…

  9. It’s gotta be Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, since I’m convinced that I’ve done things I wouldn’t have done had I not watched that show. That it was literally made by a bunch of drunk guys who decided they’d just do whatever they felt like, that they put as much effort into it as they did, and that I really loved the final result made me think that some things are probably worth doing without thinking about it too much. I also used to get pretty defensive about the stuff I liked, but this show made me think that that was just sucking all the fun out of it for me. I don’t know if I’ve completely overcome that tendency, but this show certainly helped.

  10. I’m surprised you find that oreimo glorifies the worst part of otaku culture when i see it as the opposite. Oreimo tells people that it’s okay and not even bad to like certain things that are looked down upon by a decent amount of people.
    Examples include that Kirino and Kyousuke play their dating game but even they know that they can’t go against the law so they end the pseudo-incestual relationship.
    I don’t see what’s wrong with people staying out at midnight to buy something for someone they love (romantically or not)

    There shouldn’t be a reason to label eroge, anime, or most forms of media problematic. In the end, it’s viewers that choose to consume what they want to consume and it’ll be their choice whether they want to take something from it or not.

    If Oreimo is problematic then Lolita would also be problematic but it’s not. Why can’t we just call it “It glorifies ideas that I personally don’t like” instead of trying to sound like a pseudo-objective person with “problematic”

    • Ahhh, while I understand what you’re trying to say, let me tell you why I do think OreImo’s portrayal of otaku culture is really questionable.

      Note that I am saying all of this as a fan of OreImo as well as someone who identifies as otaku.

      When OreImo tells you it’s okay to like anime, even when the rest of society looks down on it, that’s not a bad message. That is far from what I think is “the worst part of otaku culture”. But OreImo goes a whole step further. It feeds into the geek persecution complex and portrays the characters as actively choosing their otaku fantasies over reality.

      This is shown particularly through Kyousuke’s complete embracing of otaku culture. He starts off as a detached but concerned older brother and ends up so immersed in his otaku fantasies that he “sexually harasses” Ayase, tramples over Kuroneko’s feelings, and engages in an incestuous relationship with his sister. None of this is really portrayed as character flaws, especially the sexual harassment, which is just played as a self-deprecating joke.

      The show literally depicts its main character becoming negatively influenced by eroge, but fails to criticise it in any meaningful way. OreImo sticks to its theme of “accepting otaku culture” to the degree that it exemplifies the reason why otaku culture is stigmatised in the first place.

      Otaku culture isn’t just stigmatised because anime is “weird”. It is stigmatised because enough otaku are antisocial to the degree that it causes them serious problems intergrating with society. Otaku culture is also misogynistic. Common terms like “3DPD” and “riajuu” indicate the otaku’s widespread resentment of real women and other real-life people that are on the outside of otaku culture.

      Yes, society at large is partly at fault for not understanding otaku. But over the past few years, Japanese society has also come to accept anime as “cool”. The stigma over anime is lifting. Yet still otaku cling to their persecution complex, and OreImo is one anime among many that feeds into that complex.

      That brings me to your second point: “In the end, it’s viewers that choose to consume what they want to consume and it’ll be their choice whether they want to take something from it or not.”

      You’re not incorrect in saying this, but stories don’t exist in a cultural vacuum. I wouldn’t criticise OreImo so heavily if I couldn’t see the links in the show to the world outside of it. Yes, viewers choose how to consume things, but their interpretations will undoubtedly be influenced by a) the culture around them, and b) the messages present in the anime itself. If you’re heavily invested in otaku culture and you honestly believe otaku are “persecuted”, you are more likely going to interpret OreImo (and other shows like it) in a way that affirms your worldview. Since the series itself is written by an otaku and is aimed at otaku, it’s not so outlandish to claim that it perpetuates these unhealthy ideas.

      You linking OreImo with Lolita is also a bit ridiculous, because Lolita was written outside of that social context and with completely different literary intentions in mind. Lolita tries to make the reader uncomfortable. It doesn’t glorify the relationship it portrays but shows it for how alienating it is. Even when the protagonist attempts to “convince” the reader that he is a moral person through his flowery language, it comes across as creepy.

      Now that I’ve said all this, I want to impress on you that it is okay to like OreImo. I do not think it is a bad anime simply because it is “problematic”. As I laid out in my post, I choose to interpret the story in a healthy, constructive way. But I also feel that I should not overlook or apologise for the negative elements. Entire books have been written about these negative elements of otaku culture, so when I criticise OreImo, it’s really not just about my personal beef with otaku.

      tldr; I love OreImo, but it’s not above criticism, and there are parts of the story that are not worth defending.

  11. Abridged thoughts of both my review and “Life Lessons” post on Oreimo:

    Let’s see. I loved season 1 for the same reasons as you, how it explored and tackled the “otaku” culture and cleverly had its characters represent both the pro and anti sides of the spectrum. Kyosuke’s a neutral though he was initially anti I reckon.

    Season 2 focused on what I did not care about in the show, which girl would Kyosuke hook up with. I honestly thought the default season 1 finale was perfect. Then the “true route” OVAs happened and I threw in the towel. So I knew S2 would not be as good,
    Then I saw who won…while like you I was initially miffed by the incest subtext after seeing KiriSuke become a reality in the anime…I commended the author for having the balls to go through with that route. How he mapped it out though I cannot say whether it was well done or not. I’ve never actually seen such a pairing outside of the very few shows that covered such a pairing. Still I’m more experienced with “sisterly love” for obvious reasons.

    In short I liked the coverage of otaku culture but the romantic subplot did not interest me. The ending was surprising though and I respect the writer for going through with it. My “abridged” versions of posts are long. Jeez.

    My fav girl is Kuroneko…THE ALTER EGO! Ruri Gokou as herself was meh.

  12. I think the anime that has had the most impact on my life as a whole is – wait for it – Dragonball (original and Z).

    Wait. Don’t go away. Hear me out.

    I started watching Dragonball Z – in the rather bad Italian dub, no less – as I was in high school. That was pretty late in a sense since most kids had watched it in earlier years, but my mum always had a strong dislike for ‘violent’ stuff. As this, Dragonball represents already two things in my life: 1) a gateway anime, which considering how much of my subsequent life has been devoted to anime/manga, how many shows I’ve been watched and influenced by, how in fact I’m pretty sure they kinda built up some parts of my world view, how they sometimes gave me motivation and willpower when I needed it, how they shaped my aesthetic sense, well, it’s a pretty big thing by itself, and 2) a sort-of kind-of act of rebellion; perhaps my first act of “breaking” with the views my family passed on me and establishing a personal taste that belonged exclusively to me, as an individual, and was explicitly different from anything else my parents enjoyed. It sounds silly but for a nerdy 15 years old boy who doesn’t get to do rebellious things with his friends or girlfriend due to, well, lack of either, that’s something.

    It doesn’t stop there though.

    For many years I wanted to be a comic artist. Until high school, I sucked at drawing. At high school I started recording Dragonball on VCR to watch it after I came back home. And guess what? I started copying it. I started watching the VCR, pausing it, and sit in front of the TV drawing stills of it. My first near-to-competent drawings were copies of Majin-Bu, Vegeta, Piccolo (I never managed to get Goku quite right. DAMN THOSE HAIR). That was a tremendous step forward for my confidence – I could draw! I wasn’t extremely good, mind you, not even close, but I was above average, and that was something. I had something I was good at beyond the hopelessly nerdy stuff like maths or programming. It was a very basic thing but it felt good. I drew lots of fan comics back then – both DB fanzines (yep, I had my own story, involving a future warrior created by a scientist on a different planet by merging collected Saiyan cells to defend it from potential dangers) and originals. I still use the name of one of those stories’ protagonist – Gan – as a nickname on the internet.

    And then there’s fanfictions.

    Yup. I was a fanwriter. A huge one – during my university years, no less. And what got me started? Finding out Dragonball fanfictions, of course! That kinda opened me up a world. I wrote my first multi-chapter fanfic in a frenzied rush in a single night. It was as stupidly dark as it could get – one of those emo-ish things you’d write as a teenager (except I wasn’t one any more, at least in theory – emotionally, I basically was). And it was liked! A lot. I started having constant readers – hell, I started having FANS! Most of which were GIRLS! That was somewhat inebriating, really. It gave me a burst of confidence, prompted me to up my game writing-wise (in a few years my style improved significantly, and I wouldn’t be so much interested in storytelling and analysis now if it wasn’t also for those days), and most importantly, helped me talk with girls on the internet – a lot. And the important thing about that is that it really got me to empathize. See, the vast majority of the fanfic community I would write on was female. I had quite literally always been almost unable to interact with girls as a whole. But through the internet I started to chat and debate on forums and answer to comments and realize that well, I could be friends with girls. In fact, I often found it easier to talk to girls than to boys! It got to the point where in fact now my closest friends tend to be female. I also met a couple people from back then IRL – which kinda shaped me in other ways, but uh, well, we’re still friends on FB. Writing also unlocked me emotionally – I started pouring all this stuff on paper which I previously didn’t even know I could think and that influenced me all over. I had my first actual crushes! Which were, well, crushed, but hey, you grow up this way.

    So yeah. Today I’m a scientist and a programmer. But I still can draw and have a penchant for design (which helps me when I try to develop games), I still can write (though I haven’t been doing so for a while, damn my perfectionism which makes me unable to enjoy my own writing any more), and have a girlfriend that I probably wouldn’t have gotten together with hadn’t it been for all of this. And of course, I still enjoy anime – we watch it together in fact.

    And Dragonball’s the butterfly at the origin of this hurricane. So yeah, I don’t care if it’s silly, repetitive and they take ten episodes to throw a punch. It changed my life for the better and I love it for this.

    Also it’s friggin’ epic.

  13. A lot of anime has influenced me to some degree. Although lately I haven’t had the time to think about how more recent anime I’ve watched have influenced me. I’m at that horrible age where I’m trying to figure out who the hell I am ;^^ or something along those lines anyway (life is never so simple is it).

    But I can look back and say what anime has influenced me in the past more easily. Anime I’ve watched when I was 8-10 really impacted me. Especially the psychological and more serious ones. One of the biggest ones was probably Shigofumi. The impact this anime can make on a child isn’t hard to guess. It was when I saw Shigofumi that I started to become curious about psychology and what different people think. Shigofumi also taught me something very fundamental. Homosexuals are not different from us. What it means to kill. It showed me a lot of things that made me curious and a lot of things that changed my (insanely morbid) philosophies. It really shaped my philosophies in life and made me a more stable person. But most important of all was what it presented to me. It’s slightly hard to describe it very well.

    Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu made me an anime fan . It presented to me a bunch of stuff that can be found in anime and was a bundle of fun and entertainment. I re-watched that anime 6 times…Also the philosophies introduced (although basic and with a few holes) were sort of fun to think about as well.

    An anime that has really impacted me recently is Revolutionary Girl Utena. This ones a long and twisty road… so I’ll just say the biggest impact it had on me (I’m still analyzing this anime anyway). It’s somewhat similar to how you feel about Oreimo (the sibling complex). I strongly relate with Nanami. Actually Nanami Kiryuu is something of a idol to me. She represents (for me) what I wish I could do and the strength I wish I had in my relationship with my sister and her husband. Fortunately my sister isn’t a *insert derogatory statement suitable for* Touga.
    What Nanami Kiryuu had felt resonated with me very strongly. They were very similar to what I felt towards my sister. And no, Nanami does not think of Touga romantically (in my opinion anyway). The questions Nanami asked were questions that I began to ask myself. If my sister was not my sister would we still have such a similar relationship? Is our blood our strongest bond? I don’t want to find out the answer. I don’t like the direction it goes in.
    Nanami’s recovery against Touga was very admirable. Nanami’s strength to deal with people she disliked (who were in a relationship with her brother) was also something I wish I had. Her innocence also resonated with me. On a more fundamental (and perhaps comedic) level we also had similar personality’s. (Apparent?) Superiority complex ftw. Nanami Kiryuu is a wonderful character and is definitely a favorite of mine. Great, I ended up talking more about how a single character influenced me rather than talking about the anime.
    Sorry if it is a bit jumbled up. As you can tell, I really suck at putting what I think onto paper in a somewhat logical format.

  14. About OreImo, I indeed liked the show when I watched its first season. Despite my taste for the stories in anime, manga and so forth, I’ve never been much into otaku culture (and I certainly doubt I will be), but the thing seemed quite funny to me, what with Kirino’s ridiculous taste for VNs and Kyousuke’s annoyedness at her behaviour. I always saw the show as some twisted family-bonding story, and never thought about it as if it *seriously* was about incest. Had I thought of that, I probably would have never watched the show in the first place. “This dude’s in love with his own sister? What the heck, man? Is he retarded?”, would have been my thoughts. And they were, once I knew how it would end (yeah, I spoiled myself in order to avoid the sour taste in my mouth by actually watching it).

    Now, about shows that have had impact on me… I can think of three, actually. Though I can’t say they’ve pretty much influenced in my behaviour at all (except for one making me more sensitive towards crying stuff), one can romanticize one’s own experience and think “when I watched this, I realised how much I like tacos and mortadelas”. Or “fuck, had I seen this before, I would have acted differently that time”. But in reality, I think of life as a personal experience, so what you watch pretty much does nothing to change or affect you as much your actions and thoughts do. So it’s not the impact the show had in you, but the impact you made on yourself by thinking about the impact of the show, and how you act in response to it what makes you different. I can watch a seinen about the darkness of a man’s heart, but I’d never think of myself as dark unless I wanted to think about it, because the only dark man is the one in the show, unless proved otherwise.

    With this said, I think of animes like pictures in a wall. Sometimes you find one that resembles you, but you can’t get the details of your features unless you examine them, and other times you find that the picture is you but in a way that you wish you were, but to be that way you need to change in that direction, and other times, the picture isn’t you, but someone else. I’ve already said this, so let’s talk about the ones that made something about me, thanks to myself.

    1. Clannad and Clannad After Story.

    I think Clannad was the first fictional story to make me cry. Though one episode of the mexican show “El Chavo” was hugely emotional (and made me cry at some time of my life, can’t recall when), I think it was Clannad that broke the iron wall inside my heart and made me able to shed tears when watching fiction. Before, I didn’t think about the ability to make people cry as something that would prove a show’s quality, but as I watched scene after scene of things that ripped my heart, I came to the realisation that I was some sort of masochist when it came to drama, so I started looking for things with this characteristics whenever I wanted fiction for my entertainment. It also made me realize (even more) the importance of my family, but I would be bulshitting myself if I said that it changed at all my way to deal with family members. In short, it only made me cry.

    2. K-On!

    I think this might not be a surprise to anyone (or perhaps the opposite), but K-On! distorted the view of my life in a really negative way. I watched it in my last year of highschool, if I recall correctly, and it made me think about how much I had “missed” from my “youth”. I’ve always been the kind of guy who pushes everyone away, not because of some “lonely hero” syndrom, but because I can’t seem to get attached to people easily (and when I do, I can’t let them go), so I had very few friends I could actually care about, even if I tried to make more. And even with those, I would never propely open up about anything, because that shit was embarassing, and also because when people opened up to me I couldn’t care less either (even if I considered them my best friends). So when it came to “youth” experiences and all that crap they present in almost every anime with a highschool setting, I had none, or close to none of them. Or rather, I didn’t experience them in that “oh so cute and pink” way, and more in a seinen-ish disturbing manner. Like, you get depressed and stuff because you can’t even talk to someone you like because deep down you know she’s an idiot and so are you, so what’s the point in trying to engage in conversation? (I think I just made that up, but I hope you get the point). Being happy and popular, in a united group that strives for one target (even if they forget about it because being lazy and stupid is so lulz and fun), was something I never had. And even when growing up and actually forming some sort of band with some friends, my mind still couldn’t properly engage in the “friendship is so awesome” thing K-On! was portraying. Sure, I have friends. Sure, I’m happy I have them, but I can’t help but think K-On! is just bullshit (which it is, even though I still like it).

    Or perhaps I was just jealous of that kind of friendship.

    3. Yuruyuri.

    Now, don’t hit me. This didn’t actually strike me as “this is my life” show or anything like that, because it isn’t. I mean, I’m not even a girl so I can’t be yuri. But what it did surprise me was the fact that I realised I could connect more with female characters in anime than I could with male ones. I’m not sure if this is strange, but I felt that TOSHINO KYOKO!!! (because her name needs to be yelled) was like some weird female version of me. Her crazy antics, her silliness, and the fact that she could make a perfect score in a test by only studying the night before were things I could relate to, as ridiculous as it might sound. She was freaking perfect, and I could find myself in almost anything that she did. But later on, I realised I could relate to other female characters as well (though not that much), and couldn’t help but think why does this happen. I never knew, and I still wonder why. Even when writing I like to do it from the female perspective, though I can’t say I act girly in real life. The only male character I can say I’m sort of similar to is Okabe Rintarou, but that’s because he’s as crazy as Kyoko.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

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