Even though the Oreimo OVAs are now over, we've got a special treat for you! We had the opportunity to interview some of the creative minds behind the whole Oreimo series at Otakon, and you can read about what went into their creative procssess below.
Can everyone give a brief self-introduction?
Hiroyuki Kanbe: I'm the director Kanbe, and I worked on Oreimo season 1 and season 2.
Tsukasa Fushimi: I'm the original writer, Fushimi.
Kazuma Miki: I'm the editor of the original novel, Miki. You might not really know what I do, but nice to meet you.
How did Oreimo get started as a light novel, and then move into an anime?
Translator: It first started with Fushimi-san writing the origins of what would soon become the story. And it got published in a book from ASCII MEDIA where Miki-san works in 2008. When it started to gain popularity, Aniplex came and said they would like to make an anime from it, and that's where the script writer Hideyuki Kurata and Director Kanbe came in.
Are you guys surprised by how popular it's become, both in Japan and the US?
F: I originally wrote the story for Japanese otaku, and I'm surprised it's become this popular overseas, and I really think there are no boarders for things that people are interested in.
Why did Fushimi-san choose this name for the LN? It's not only extremely long, but after Oreimo, there seems to be a rise in the number of anime based off of light novels with extremely long names as well. (Oreshura, Oregairu) What are your thoughts on that?
T: Regarding the long title, it might be some sort of fad that's going on. There was originally a phone call going on between Fushimi-san and Miki-san, and they were thinking of a title that would most easily represent the story. But that really got decided in the very final stages, when the novel was almost at completion. When the basic storyline got decided, which is around episode 3 in the anime, the title was decided on something that would give the image of Kirino, hence, "Imouto". (Note: imouto means “little sister” in Japanese)
Speaking of “imouto”, why do you think there are so many light novels and anime in Japan lately that have "imouto" in it? I think a lot of people see Oreimo as the one that started it, but has it always been popular in Japan, or did Oreimo start this trend of “imouto” titles?
T: So the "imouto" genre was already around in Japan. There is another light novel called "Sister Princess" where there's 12 sisters, and when you hear the title, you kind of go “Ehh?” But there were definitely titles like that, and there were definitely fans that were into the imouto-type of works.
M: But it does seem like after Oreimo came out, there's been a lot of "Imouto" type works coming out one after another!
Fushimi-san, why did you make Kirino an otaku? Was it because you were writing for an otaku audience?
F: Now that I think about it, there might have been something like that going on, but originally I was only trying to make characters that I would find fun. And there is a part where I thought that by making Kirino an otaku, the viewers who are otaku could relate to her, "Oh, I'm like that, too."
Is this everyone's first time in America? If so, how are you enjoying this convention so far?
F: We've only just arrived last night.
Is there anything you're looking forward to trying or doing while you're here?
F: We don't have much time, but we would like to feel just how large the US is.
M: In my case, I've seen lots of people that I know from Japan here in the US that I don't see in Japan, and it's sort of become like a meeting spot. (Note: Because there are lots of industry guests at Otakon, everyone is meeting each other)
Have you seen any cosplayers?
T: Yes, there are lots in the hotels.
Between Japanese fans and American fans, do you feel there are any differences?
F: I haven't seen fans in the US yet, so I can't really say much about that. Earlier on, I had that compared to Japanese fans, they are much louder and much more passionate about things.
Who is everyone's favorite character, and why?
K: Well, then mine's is Kuroneko.
F: Well, as for a favorite character, since this is an interview I don't really want to get any of the fans angry at me, please just write that I love everyone.