Anime Review: My Little Sister Can’t be This Cute Episodes 4, 5, and 6

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 12/20/10)

Anime Review:
My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute Episodes 4, 5, and 6

Series Premise: Kyousuke and his younger sister Kirino have never been close; in fact, she rarely even acknowledges his existence. While Kyousuke is your average-in-every-way high school senior, Kirino is an honors student, popular with everyone in class and a clothing model on the side to boot. Then one day, when bumps into her and she drops an adult video game. Confronted, she confesses to Kyousuke that for years she has been hiding a shameful secret: she is a closet otaku who has a fetish for erotic younger sister games and magical girl anime. Kirino pleads with him to help her come to terms with her obsession, while also maintaining the secret from their unapproving parents and friends.

ep.4 tl;dr review: Kirino almost has her secret revealed to her friends; It’s a good thing they won’t be anywhere near Comiket, though…right?

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Episode 4 Summary: Kirino has a couple of her modelling friends over, and she instructs Kyousuke to stay away. But when a package of erotic manga arrive compliments of Saori in a plain box, Kirino grabs it away and takes it up to her room to open with friends. Sensing disaster, Kyousuke rushes up and steals away the package; a tug-of-war match ensues, ending in the two tumbling into an extremely awkward position. When they are leaving, Kyousuke has a little talk with one of the friends, Ayase, who realizes it was all a misunderstanding. Later, Kyousuke and Kirino make a trip to the massive Comiket convention with Saori and Kuroneko, and they are incredibly awed by the whole experience. Kuroneko ends up playing an erotic fighting game that Kirino loves, winning a precious gaming disc as a prize that she bashfully hands to Kirino. As they are leaving, Kirino is having the time of her life…until she is spotted outside by Ayase.

ep.5 tl;dr review: Ayase tosses Kirino aside as her morals kick into high gear; Kyousuke drops a bombshell to save their friendship.

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Episode 5 Summary: Kirino tries to bluff her way through meeting Ayase outside of Comiket, but Ayase senses that she is being lied to. In one stormy moment, Ayase learns about Kirino’s secret hobby, and immediately states that she can no longer be friends. Over the next few days, Kirino falls into a deep funk, and Kyousuke tries to help out by talking with Ayase. While Ayase is conflicted, wishing to be Kirino’s friends, she absolutely can never accept Kirino’s otaku habits, because she has heard very bad things about otakus and their propensity towards crime. Kyousuke pleads his case to Ayase in person on behalf of Kirino; she wants to save the friendship but continues to have doubts. Kirino then shows up, exclaiming her love for anime and manga, challenging Ayase to accept her as she is; Ayase is willing to concede, but still cannot accept the erotic aspect. Kyousuke jumps in to save the day by confessing his undying love for erotic manga, especially ones involving little sisters. A stunned Ayase then returns to Kirino’s side…to protect Kirino from her brother!

ep.6 tl;dr review: Kyousuke takes a break from Krazy Kirino; World’s most boring non-couple is boring.

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Episode 6 Summary: Manami invites Kyousuke over to their shop/home to try out some special Halloween treats they created. As longtime childhood friends, Kyousuke is happy to visit, although he hasn’t been over in quite some time. He spends the day helping out in preparations at the shop, and is invited by the family to stay over for the night, just like old times. Manami’s match-maker grandfather tricks them into sharing beds next to each other for the night, forcing them to talk to each other and reveal their private thoughts and feelings. Meanwhile, Kirino is increasingly frustrated that Kyousuke is away for the night.

My Thoughts: Oh, bother. This truly is a problematic series to like, considering that one of the primary undertones throughout the whole show involves incest. Kyousuke definitely is revolted at the idea, and Kirino gets angry at the mere suggestion (at least the real life version, anyway…virtual sisterly love is the very core of her being on the hobby level). But it’s there. And it will alway be there. The good news, however, is that the first six episodes have really put the whole idea on the back-burner at the very lowest setting, instead focusing on defining Kirino’s conflicting identity as she comes to terms with her own self. The only time ‘Kirino x Kyousuke’ really rears its ugly head is as a shocker-fake-confession as Kyousuke jumped on that grenade to salvage Kirino’s friendship with Ayase.

But putting aside that ever-present complication, I must admit that I’m enjoying this series, much to my own surprise. Kirino is all over the place with every emotion possible: innocent and vulnerable one moment, raging and irritable the next. She really does put the ‘tsun’ and ‘dere’ in tsundere, that’s for sure. But the rollercoaster ride of emotions is more a product of Kirino going through a rollercoaster herself, emerging from her safe cocoon of secrecy for the first time, doing things she never could imagine. New relationship with her brother, new friends, new outlets for her pent-up desires, “coming out” to her close friend, discovered by her parents — all in a matter of a few short weeks. And all still in middle school, too – so of *course* she doesn’t know how to react.

Kyousuke as an anchor, however, is a little more complicated. He has already “taken one for the team” by deflecting their parents’ anger towards him. Now he’s willing to confess to an attraction to his sister (even when one doesn’t exist) just so Ayase and Kirino can make up. Add to this his extended sessions at playing erotic video games whose very concept repulses him (his “yatta!” moments of joy come from winning the game are awkward, but more about the adrenalin of winning rather than the gameplay itself). You gotta wonder *why* he’s willing to put his neck out so far for someone who has totally ignored his very existence until a few short weeks ago.

That’s why I was somewhat relieved to see Kyousuke being a totally normal, boring teenager with his long-time friend, Manami. It was a totally uneventful sixth episode, a complete deviation from the stress-inducing, anxiety-building humor caused by Kirino. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s a reality check, bringing Kyousuke back down to Earth. As much weirdness he’s been put through by Kirino, in a snap instant he’s back to “normal” with Manami, almost like they have been an unspoken couple for ages and ages. The only tragic point being that Kyousuke doesn’t even realize it, rejecting the very idea of hooking up with Manami because he wants to maintain his “peaceful” life. Guess what, kiddo, you’ve got it all backwards. I know the “boring sixth episode” was not popular among the Kirino-manic fans out there, but putting on the brakes and inserting a moment of normalcy was the perfect salve to a series that had the danger of running out of control.

Also, the momentary shot of Kirino kicking Kyousuke’s doorway when he was away speaks volumes.

The Verdict:

Coming up next: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (4-6), Psychic Detective Yakumo (4-6), Shinryaku Ika Musume (4-6), Letter Bee Reverse (4-6), Bakuman (4-6), Kuragehime (4-6)

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