My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute Portable (Review)
Those unfamiliar with the anime or novel series, you most likely wouldn’t consider playing this. My thoughts on its sequel can be found here. But just in case you’re the minority, here’s a brief introduction:
Kosaka Kyosuke, your typical 17 year old teenager and the protagonist of this visual novel, and his sister of 14 years, Kosaka Kirino, have been ignorant of each other all this time. Kyosuke’s chance stumble across one of the magical girl anime DVD cases (whose content is less child-friendly than you’d assume) led him to uncover the owner, who is (unsurprisingly) Kirino. Surprise, his sister is an otaku. And so, with numerous “life-counselling” sessions, Kirino steadily grows closer with Kyosuke.
One year after the events of the anime series…
Like every visual novel, the story is divided into several routes that features different heroines with different endings, and that will be how I’ll be reviewing it – per route. I realized that I might make the plot sound more sensational than it really is in the VN. 😀 The combined score will be made after all the characters are covered at the very bottom.
Suffice to say there are plenty of spoilers ahead, so read on at your own discretion.
The title character of this visual novel, she gets hit with selective amnesia during Kyosuke’s trip to Kyoto, which wipes out all her otaku-related memories. Kyosuke returns to discover a Kirino that was what she was a year ago – the perfect student who has been scornful of Kyosuke. Kyosuke desperately tries to help her regain her memory – the methods used resulting in hilarity.
While not the continuation I’ve been expecting, it gives a refreshing reboot to the series, with Kyosuke’s determination being repeatedly tested by his sister, whose needed cooperation is nigh-impossible to secure. Even though the situation is facepalm material, it does bring a different angle to the usual “jinsei-soudan“, or counselling session requests from Kirino that the anime is so well known for.
Her true ending sees her regain her memories and she makes a public display of affection for Kyosuke by dedicating her comiket theme song to him on stage.
The novel’s most polished route is hers-truly. Ayase’s story is the only one reminiscent of typical visual novels, which is all that you’ve come to expect – a proper romantic development, conflicts, acceptance etc. Ayase continues to meet with Kyosuke for advice regarding Kirino, and in the process start to fall for him. She’s less a yandere than a jealous-wart, as she remains true to her personality even until the end.
Ironically, despite this being Ayase’s route, Kiriko also received the best character development here, as she is forced to deal with her extreme reluctance to see her brother date anyone else, and finally comes clean with her love for Kyosuke (though a little indirectly).
In Ayase’s normal end, the two break up, with Ayase pledging not to give up, noting that as siblings they can’t marry. In her bad end, there’s some stabbing…but let’s not go there. 😛
Her true end sees Kyosuke admitting that he loves Kirino as much as he does Ayase, and therefore refuse to break up with her. Kirino eventually concedes and accepts them, but not before asking him if it would have been the same had they not been siblings, to which he replied his answer would have been the same. Which indirectly tells you just how important he is to Kirino. 🙂
Goko Ruri (Handle: Kuroneko)
Seeing that Kuroneko is the novel’s main female lead, they must’ve figured that they needed to do something to get the players to buy the novel. Which is probably why Kuroneko’s route is almost as empty as a filler episode.
In short, she wants to complete a doujinshi in time for comiket, but wants to do it alone. With enough persuasion from Kyosuke, she finally relents and lets him become her assistant, but her growing feelings for him are starting to make her uncomfortable…
Her true ending sees her complete that doujinshi, and she reveals her relationship with Kyosuke as well as her ”position” as an elder sister to Kirino (since she’s a year older), much to Kirino’s shock and dismay.
While not heavy in content, Kuroneko’s route had plenty of comical exchanges between the characters with a slice of serious moments occasionally, and can be appreciated as a light-hearted side-story.
Saori Makishima (Handle: Saori Bageena)
Her route is also one of the more developed ones from this visual novel. Saori, who is actually a rich aristocrat, meets trouble in the form of an arranged marriage to some old guy who wants her to dump all her otaku hobbies. Faced with the dilemma, she decides to be the obedient daughter and obey her parents’ wishes. But Kyosuke’s not going to stay quiet about it…
She manages to persuade her parents to cancel the arranged marriage in her true ending, but she’s got yet another marriage partner. While he has a facepalm moment, Kyosuke hears her utter the name of that partner… “you“.
Her route feels a little rushed at times, but is one of the few that is given a proper conclusion (if a little hard to believe).
True to Kyosuke’s comments in the anime series, Manami is the queen of normal. And that holds in her route as well. There isn’t any particular big event or conflict that draws the two together, unlike the rest. Unknown to Kyosuke, she’s been in contact with Ayase, who gives her advice on how she ought to change to catch his attention. But whether that’ll be enough remains to be seen….
What is dealt with in Manami’s arc is really how two childhood friends who have known each other for so long struggle to make that jump from being “just friends” to being lovers. Even though they become a pair early on, Kyosuke finds the changes in Manami too abrupt, and being straightforward as he’s always been, Kyosuke reveals (on more than one occasion) that Manami has been “acting strangely”. Manami takes his comments negatively, leading to small problems forming that’ll draw them further from each other.
Well, not only will you need to follow a guide, but follow it EXTREMELY CLOSELY, or you’ll (like me) get stuck in an endless eight recursion with no sight of the true ending. Then you’ll simply see them attend a fireworks festival and it ends abruptly. 🙂
In her true ending, Kyosuke goes to Kirino for help, and she drags him to meet with Manami and forces the two to make their feelings clear to one another, which leads to them eventually getting married and living like normal married couples. XD.
While Kanako is not really recognized as a “true” heroine, as she branches out from Ayase’s route as an ”if” side story, it gives her enough depth to warrant her choice-free route as a separate story altogether.
In it, Kanako discovers that the manager-san she met during her 1st audition as Meruru is Kyosuke, and drags him along with her to different places as a price for keeping mum about it. Her constant outings with Kyosuke made her realize she does indeed love him, and confesses that unlike what she has been telling him, she took every outing seriously. Kyosuke admits that thanks to her, he’s become a lolicon.
Now that I’ve got the routes covered, let’s look at what else the game has to offer.
They’ve got (from left to right) a small breakout mini-game, a CG viewer, an OST player, the ‘route names’ you’d obtained, a diagram of all the routes you’ve achieved, and a list of the O.R.Es (or conversation topics) you’ve attained.
Gameplay-wise, it’s a balance between reading, making occasional choices with O.R.E topics that will bring the story in a different direction, or take part in “two-shot” quick-time events that will also determine the availability of several routes.
I’ll just come right out and say this: Use a guide. There’s the main one here, and a translated one here. Because self-experimentation doesn’t lead you anywhere (I’m speaking from many times of retrying – even with the guide). It’s one thing getting a bad end, but you might be permanently scarred if you stumble upon those pseudo-yaoi endings. 😀
An enjoyable extension to the anime series would be the best way to put it. Certain routes are a standout, and adds nicely to the experience of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai. I would recommend this to series fans only though, because without prior knowledge of the anime or novel you’d be completely lost. It’s easy enough to understand, seeing that most of the novel is voiced, apart from Kyousuke’s internal thoughts.
In terms of route ranking, it’ll be as such:
- All other endings
Overall score: 7.5/10