Post Reply First Impressions 4: "Recently, My Sister is Unusual"
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Posted 2/15/15 , edited 2/15/15
Recently, My Sister is Unusual is the anime adaptation of Mari Matsuzawa's ongoing manga series of the same name. Directed by Hiroyuki Hata (who directed about 1/3 of Kamichu!), written by the very well-accomplished Hideyuki Kurata (The World God Only Knows, The Fruit of Grisaia, Oreimo, Hellsing Ultimate, the man's background is a treasure trove of successful screenplays and scripts), and produced by Project No. 9, this anime comes to Crunchyroll courtesy of Showgate. The fundamental premise of the story is that Mitsuki Kanzaki is haunted and occasionally possessed by a ghost who calls herself Hiyori Kotobuki, and that in order for Hiyori to move on Mitsuki must seek the affection of her new stepbrother Yuya on Hiyori's behalf. This being an ecchi title that entails a great deal more than Mitsuki and Yuya becoming closer to one another, instead meaning they must enter a romantic relationship. One convenient case of parents out of town-itis later we're set up for one of the most awkward anime titles I've ever seen.

Animation/Visual Effects, Illustration

This anime boasts a nice color palette with plenty of variation, though there is a tendency toward brighter shades. However, it never really manages to climb above being fairly average in its visual presentation. Hiyori's design makes her look more like an angel than a ghost given the little wings sprouting out of her back, the backgrounds are pretty generic and bland, and there's nothing especially impressive about the animation. One complaint I had was that the computer generated polygons (especially the vehicles) didn't always mesh neatly with everything else on the screen and tended to provide an awkward sense of motion. Recently, My Sister is Unusual is, visually speaking, on the low end of "meh".

Writing, Characters

It's actually kind of sad to see such a well-accomplished writer put out low quality work like this. I don't say that the work is of low quality because its subject matter is taboo, either. Taboo is fine, I'm open to exploration of socially awkward subjects in the name of expanding the boundaries of dialogue. Unfortunately this is an ecchi series, and the writing is therefore led by the nose toward scene after scene whose sole purpose is to somehow drive the characters' sexual tension skyward or to offer the audience another peek at Mitsuki's naughty bits. Our characters are, after a full quarter of the series' length has been spent, hardly making any developments.

Even though the plot progress tracking device that is Mitsuki's chastity belt (yes, she has a chastity belt with a love gauge on it) insists that we've come a long way all that has really happened are things that could've been accomplished in the first episode if six of its twenty-three minutes (two of which are closing credits and a preview) hadn't been centered upon Mitsuki trying not to wet her pants and talking to the exposition fairy through the bathroom door. As if that weren't enough, we're also treated to the ever-so-important scene where Hiyori shows that she can possess Mitsuki and begins fondling herself. The first episode is, frankly, a waste of time. You get every bit of useful information it provides in the series' synopsis. Skip it entirely and treat episode two as if it were episode one, though you'll still have to deal with yet another sequence of events which just builds up to Yuya seeing Mitsuki's nude lower half, Mitsuki wetting herself, and the most awkwardly unnatural feeling sibling bonding imaginable. "Oh, sis? You're showing signs that you have to pee? Let's get you to the nurse's office straight away, because we're siblings and siblings take care of each other. You go to the nurse's office when you have to pee, right? That's what people do?"

Knowing what I know about Mr. Kurata's other work I'm strongly inclined to believe that problems like this are the fault of the source material rather than weaknesses on his own part, so I'm willing to cut him some slack. Honestly, I'm a little mystified at this series' popularity. It's been given 4.5 out of 5 stars by its viewers on Crunchyroll, there's a light novel adaptation, and even a live action film version. I'm obviously missing something in the remaining episodes, and from what I understand the series picks up in the latter half. But we're talking about a recovery that must be nothing short of miraculous for this series to go from what I've seen to deserving an aggregate score of 90% and enjoying as much adaptation as it has gotten.

Music/Sound Effects

Passable, but nothing exciting. The opening theme is kind of catchy. I really don't have much else to say, it's okay but nothing special. The music contributes to the mood how it's supposed to, it knows when to come and go, it's fine.

Acting

Apart from some serious overacting from Yasuaki Takumi as Yuya's classmate and token bro character Shōtarō the acting is alright. Yui Ogura is entertaining as Hiyori and seems to just be going for it (though this isn't a role I'd brag about), and Chinami Hashimoto offers a reasonable sense of panic, shock, and disgust through Mitsuki, but I feel like Junji Majima might be playing Yuya a little more low key than he needs to in order to keep him a token everyman for the viewer to insert themselves into. Then again, maybe that's just Yuya.

Scores
Animation/Visual Effects 5/10
Illustration 5/10
Writing 4/10
Characters 4/10
Music/Sound Effects 6/10
Acting 7/10
Personal Enjoyment 4/10
Overall Score 5/10
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Posted 4/6/15 , edited 4/14/15
An underage girl who is stripped of freedom, violated, shamed by needing to piss, and her salvation seems to involve incest or something.

It came across as a fetishist kind of show trying to hit those themes as softly as possible to eliminate guilty feelings.

But I don't know much about this kind of show. I didn't make it to episode three. I could see it being considered decent for anyone who likes that stuff.
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Posted 4/11/15 , edited 4/11/15

Kavalion wrote:

An underage girl who is stripped of freedom, violated, shamed by needing to piss, and her salvation seems to involve incest or something.

It came across as a fetishist kind of show trying to hit those themes as softly as possible to eliminate guilty feelings.

But I don't much about this kind of show. I didn't make it to episode three. I could see it being considered decent for anyone who likes that stuff.


It is, in aggregate, a very uncomfortable story whose artistic merits lie primarily in its example of what not to do. I haven't really rated its premise or narrative all that highly, giving each a sub-average score. I'm not one to shy away from reviewing ecchi titles, nor am I one to avoid leaving my comfort zone, and that's why I chose this one. To reiterate, though, I didn't rate the premise poorly because it's taboo or uncomfortable; I did so because it was poorly executed. The narrative doesn't flow properly, and the premise isn't particularly logical.

I meant what I said about the animation and illustration being passable (if only barely), and the use of music is appropriate. I probably shouldn't have rated the acting as highly as I did given the summary of my thinking. Changing it to a 5 (which would probably better reflect my summary in retrospection) changes the overall score to 4.8/10.
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