Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! – 01
OP: 「Choose me♡ダーリン」 (Choose me♡Darling) by StylipS
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
「見知らぬ妹からの声」 (Mishiranu Imouto Kara no Koe)
“The Voice of the Sister I Don’t Know”
Suddenly, the prospect of falling in love doesn’t seem so appealing when the potential wife could also double as the younger sister now, does it? Nothing snuffs out those raging hormones like the thought of (potentially) getting hitched to your own sister. Unless you’re a siscon. Feel free to scroll to the bottom to skip all the tl;dr.
Mikadono Shougo (Sakurai Takahiro) transfers in to Miryuuin Academy after his father, Mikadono Kumagorou (Koyama Rikiya), passes away in order to fulfill his request: find a girl to marry in order to inherit the company his father left behind. Before he can get intimately acquainted with any of the girls he has met, however, he receives a mysterious phone call on his birthday claiming that his younger sister is amidst the Academy’s girls.
While the romantic hijinks and the dangers/thrills of falling in love with the younger sister probably drew most people to this show, I’d have to say the main draw for me was getting to hear Sakurai Takahiro in the lead role of a harem – the man is a bonafide thespian, but I hadn’t heard him in anything remotely ecchi before (Zero no Tsukaima and yaoi series not withstanding), so naturally, this show had my curiosity piqued. It’s difficult to tell what sort of a character Mikadono Shougo is shaping up to be – whether he’ll do his father proud and find a wife to populate the world with or whether the possibility of incest will give him cold feet is still up in the air. So far he seems more like Ichika of Infinite Stratos than Keitaro from Love Hina, which is completely fine with me. Ichika was a very likeable lead, with a denseness that wasn’t overwhelmingly frustrating and a brain that could seemingly register sexual attractions at the very least. If Shougo toes that fine line between “brain-dead” and “adorably dense” properly, I imagine he’ll be the type of harem hero that won’t induce high blood pressure from the viewers.
Only two of his potential brides have been formally introduced: Tsuruma Konoe (Ishihara Kaori), and Kannagi Miyabi (Sakura Ayane). Both of them seem quite… forward, to say the least, which is probably going to be important if they want to persuade Shougo to fall in love with them despite his reluctance. Konoe seems like the most obvious choice as the titular younger sister, and there are quite a lot of hints thrown out to convince the viewers that this is the case. While I want to place my bets on her too, I’m a little weary of going all-in since this is the premiere – and as the identity of the younger sister is the biggest mystery NakaImo has to offer, it’s more than likely they’ll keep it under wraps for longer before they really start bringing in clues that will mess with everyone’s minds. There was also a particular instance of (somewhat subtle) symbolism that really hinted at the ending the show was going for, that made me question the direction the show might take – in a good way, though!
As for production values, they seem solid enough, and I like the softer, almost dreamy and whimsical color schemes they used here, and it lends a really easy-going, feel-good atmosphere to the show that helps people ease into the show despite its premise. The coloring style feels reminiscent of the light novel illustrations, which boast a similar pastel palette accompanied by the same upbeat feeling. Don’t mistake NakaImo for some innocent lamb though – as the surprisingly lewd Konoe demonstrates, this lamb shows plenty of skin to keep the audience on their toes. This is also another strength of the animation style the production staff used, since the extra innocence and dreamy feel of the art ups the raciness of the fanservice when it comes. The bathroom scene has both full-frontal and subtle fanservice at play, giving the viewers a visually stimulating scene in the form of a cute naked girl and sneakily emphasizing her innocent/cute appeal by adding on all the extra blush and keeping the colors deceptively soft to drive home the subliminal messaging. And voila! A cute naked girl touching her own breasts has never looked so innocent. It’s smart marketing.
Of course, it’s difficult to draw any sort of definite conclusions based on the premiere alone, but I like what I see in NakaImo. Nothing’s groundbreaking, but there’s a fun, light-hearted atmosphere to the show, and the animation style Studio Gokumi used really help set it apart in terms of its competitors in the genre. There are so many shows in the racy LN-adapted-into-an-anime game that it’s difficult to differentiate each and every show that enters the ring. Thankfully, NakaImo is good enough to stand on its own, and I really have to commend the animation tactics for selling the premiere – the softer style might not please everybody, but it might be what brings new audiences onboard. Most series of NakaImo‘s ilk tend to use bold colors and sharp animation, which when combined with the fanservice-heavy scenes, might turn some people off. With the nice pastel style they have here though, it softens the heavy-handedness of some risqué scenes and is literally “easy on the eyes” – the boldness of the scenes may be lost, but the effect sure isn’t! The seiyuu deserve some nice mentions too, as Ishihara Kaori is really selling Konoe’s closet-lewd, ojou-sama persona. Her voice is just dynamic enough to keep the character from inducing a coma while maintaining that dignified, high-pitched tone characteristic of the archetype. Sakurai Takahiro is good at any role he plays, so I have no doubt in my mind he’ll be playing Shougo’s character to the hilt – the premiere already made me wonder why he hasn’t had these types of roles sooner.
In conclusion: watch, people!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, has been a female’s perspective on a fanservice-y rom-com show with incest undertones.
ED: 「Heavenly Lover」 by 石原夏織, 佐倉綾音, 竹達彩奈, 大亀あすか, 日高里菜 (Ishihara Kaori, Sakura Ayane, Taketatsu Ayana, Oogame Asuka, Hidaka Rina)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼