I mentioned in a previous post that I liked Kirino, and did not hate her as others would. I’ve been studying and musing on fan theory, or why people like certain things. Why? I wish to recommend things better to my friends, and understand why fans like (or hate) different works of fiction. It’s all so that I could spread my love of anime more efficiently!
We do know that Kirino has been practicing her hobbies in secret from the start of the show. I daresay this secrecy has warped her already petulant personality further. From being the perfect girl with an arrogant streak, she’s become a real mean troll.
While she has such unbridled passion for little sister games and moe anime, she can’t even reveal that part to her closest friends. Having to conceal what you truly love to whom you truly love puts an unbearable burden on oneself. “Why can’t I be myself?” Kirino might ask herself. “Why can’t I let others know?” One could cope, but it would never be enough.
And that’s why Kyousuke was a godsend. In confronting him, Kirino was able to gain someone who at the very least, tolerates what she likes. An ally, if you will.
At this point, I’d like to point out how Kirino exhibits typical oppressed fan behavior, getting Kyousuke to play little sister games with her to understand what she likes. This is a gold mine for uncomfortable situations, and stimulates the tease that the title of the show sets up.
“You don’t have to care about what people think.” I think we can be a lot happier in our lives if we gave less fucks about what these “other people” think. Throughout the show, Kirino was able to gain a few friends who understood her and treated her as a human being. I really think this is a vital part of any hobby, as there’s no one better to keep you in touch with reality than friends, who are interested in you as a person, and not just another guy with the same hobbies.
Oh, Ayase. Your arc had some unnecessary drama, but it also poses a valid question to people: what happens when your best friend strongly disapproves of how you spend your free time? Kirino was able to retain both her friend and hobby, but it’s unreasonable to believe that others would be as fortunate. I myself think there’s no clear-cut solution to this problem–it depends on which one we’d rather spend time with, and our values. But I suppose getting the friend to listen first is the least one could do. After all, a compromise is always possible.
What I like about Oreimo is that Kirino was able to improve in the presence of her friends. It’s all too easy to feel that the world is against you, that everyone else thinks lowly of what you value, be they anime, eroge, toys or whatnot. It’s an environment that turns people into trolls. Arguing with a face keeps one from dehumanizing the other, which happens often when interacting through forums or social networks. You probably know how it is.
Indeed, without friends who respect and don’t deride your hobbies, it’s easy to put up defenses that keep you from enjoying the company of other people. Some moe otaku develop persecution complexes, or take perverse pleasure in labeling themselves as pedos. I find little value in these exploits, as they involve putting on airs for something that’s just meant to be enjoyed.
So, how does one find these friends?
That’s just a fancy Japanese word for meeting offline, or IRL. Kirino would never have gotten out of her shell, had she not meet her clubmates in person. Seeing the identity behind the screen name might be a jarring experience, but the significance of it cannot be denied. There’s a whole new level of camaraderie once you’ve met each other in person. In my experience, the online friends I have met IRL turned out to be more interesting than what I gleaned from their Internet footprint. You get to learn who they really are, and you more readily discover common interests.
Speaking for myself, having off-kai’d with people has allowed me to be a better person, online or offline. It keeps me down-to-earth, reminding me that there’s always a face behind every online handle. Sure, it’s often more about what they say online, but am I going to flame and harass them freely, knowing that there’s another person, tempered by life experiences that may be different from mine (which would account for their taste in things)? It’s better to not be an ass. Once you’ve started to relate with online denizens on a more personal level, you can’t go back. Trying to be mean-spirited online feels like you’re punching someone in the face, which isn’t exactly the best feeling.
As a lead-in to my next Oreimo post, one person that should be thanked for pulling Kirino out of that bunghole is Saori Bajeena, my favorite character of the show. While Saori had the advantage of age and seniority over Kirino (she’s leader of the online club Kirino joined, after all), it’s her openness and sincerity that’s made a positive impact on her, directly or indirectly.
Please look forward to it!
The Oreimo Post Series:
- My Oreimo Can’t Be This Thoughtful
- Kirino, the Misery of Lonely Fans, and the Importance of Making Friends
- Saori, Owner of a Lonely Heart (Still the Best Kind of Fan)