Title: Oreimo Vol 1
Authors: Tsukasa Fushimi, Sakura Ikeda
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
If you're a manga fan, odds are you've heard of this manga under the fan translation title of My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute. If you haven't (but are still a manga fan) then you really ought to check this out. It's quite possibly one of my personal "most anticipated" manga releases for fall 2012 aside from more Sailor Moon and volume 13 of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. (Incidentally, KCDS is also available from Dark Horse and is freaking awesome if you like mystery/thriller/horror manga.) It's one of my "must buy" releases for the fall.
High-school student Kyousuke doesn't get along with his cranky, dismissive, and secretive fourteen-year-old litter sister Kirino, but he suddenly finds himself forced to protect Kirino's secrets--she's not only a gorgeous fashion model, a track star, and an accomplished student, but she's also obsessed with naughty video games and little kids' fantasy anime! How can Kirino maintain her complicated lifestyle--and how can Kyousuke maintain his sanity? And might the tow of them, some how, just maybe, ever become friends?
This really has to be one of the cuter mangas out there and at only four volumes, it isn't going to break your bank account to collect them. Oreimo's primary charm is that it doesn't try to go too overboard with very much and lets the story unfold as it will. You just can't help but be charmed by the various characters here. I have to say that it's fairly easy for me to get interested with any manga that deals with otaku life, especially when it tries to take a look at the social stigma that being an otaku still has in Japan. (Especially if you're female.) Oreimo's primary goal is to entertain so there's still quite a bit of comedy in what it does, but there's also a good dollop of drama sprinkled within. There is a bit of fanservice here and there that's a little naughty, but overall it's rather innocent.
The only thing that might give some pause is the relationship between Kirino and Kyousuke. She has a bit of a fixation on incest manga, anime, and games, which brings up the question as to whether or not there will be anything going on between the two of them. If you're someone who likes to avoid this subject matter, rest easy. To my knowledge there's no incest and the relationship between the two of them is predominantly that of two siblings reconnecting with each other.
Overall I really enjoyed this and I also enjoyed the letters column in the back of the manga run by the fictional Saori. It's a nice touch and one that I'm sure others will enjoy. One change I noted with this volume is that Dark Horse included their translation notes in the actual manga pages (akin to how other companies do it). It threw me a little, as I'm used to them collecting them all in the back of the book, but not something that would disrupt my read. Again, this is something that is on my "to buy" list for my fall and if you're looking for something cute, it should be on your "to buy" and/or "to read" lists as well. I can only hope that if we're lucky, a company will put out the light novels that this series is based on as well.
Five out of five stars
(ARC provided by Netgalley)