Source: Wikipedia Image
For our second installment of learning Japanese through anime titles I’d like to suggest that some Japanese animation does, in fact, revolve around an unnatural attraction to one’s younger sister.
Japanese: 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない (Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai)
English: “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”
俺 “ore” – pronoun for “I”. It’s masculine and casual. So we immediately assume the speaker is likely male.
の – “no” -equivalent to ” ‘s” in English.
妹 – “imouto” – my younger sister.
が – “ga” – grammar particle – marks the subject of a sentence.
こんな -“konna” – “like this”.
に – “ni” – grammar particle – turns the phrase above into an adverb.
可愛い – “kawaii” – word that encompasses “cute” and whole lot more in Japanese. (1) cute, adorable, charming, lovely, pretty, (2) dear, darling, pet, (3) little, tiny. Just to make things interesting this word is an i-adjective in Japanese and has the properties of a verb in English.
わけがない – “wakeganai” – we can break this phrase down into individual words and grammar, but it is much easier to think of it as set phrase “(there is) no reason”.
What I want to draw attention to is that Japanese makes distinctions between “in groups” and “out groups” and within the family based on birth order.
Here we have “imouto” all by itself so the inference would be that it is the speaker’s younger sentence. If someone says “imouto-san” we would assume he or she was speaking about someone else’s little sister. The “san” prefix works like “Mr, Ms, etc.” but can attach to first and last names as well as certain nouns.
However, not all family related words work like this. Let’s look the Japanese for “older sister”.
姉 (あね) – “ane”. This would refer to my older sister. However, that’s not what most siblings would call her. They most likely would use お姉さん (おねえさん) – “oneesan” when speaking directly to her. If he or she were speaking to a third party about his or her older sister, however, the speaker would use “ane”. For example, “ane is married” or “my older sister is married”.
An outsider will always use the “-san” form. “How is your imouto-san doing?” or “How is your onee-san doing?”.
Within the family names for the older sister things get interesting. Usually the older sister would refer to her younger sister by first name (without “san”) or by some nickname. However, in most families the younger sister will refer to her older sister with some variation of “oneesan” or possibly a nickname with some suffix showing respect such as “san”. For example, “oneesan, dinner is ready”.
Kyosuke Kosaka, a normal 17-year-old high school student living in Chiba, has not gotten along with his younger sister Kirino in years. For longer than he can remember, Kirino has ignored his comings and goings and looked at him with spurning eyes. It seemed as if the relationship between Kyosuke and his sister, now fourteen, would continue this way forever. One day however, Kyosuke finds a DVD case of a magical girl anime which had fallen in his house’s entrance way. To Kyosuke’s surprise, he finds a hidden eroge inside the case and he soon learns that both the DVD and the game belong to Kirino. That night, Kirino brings Kyosuke to her room and reveals herself to be an otaku with an extensive collection of moe anime and younger sister-themed eroge she has been collecting in secret. Kyosuke quickly becomes Kirino’s confidant for her secret hobby. The series then follows Kyosuke’s efforts to help his sister to reconcile her personal life with her secret hobbies, while restoring their broken relationship and coming to terms with their true feelings for each other.
There are two ways to view this anime. One is that it is a meta criticism of all the current anime tropes that are so popular right now. It has absolutely mediocre animation, but an “A-list” cast of Japanese voice talent. I don’t think you could have more stereotypes in one series. It actually has different endings, similar to Japanese gal games, where the protagonist ends up with different heroines. The other, and sadly quite possible, viewpoint is that they threw as much stuff as they possibly could into one work and cynically knew that it would be a hit whatever they did.
Not recommended for anyone but hardcore anime otaku.