Final Review: Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! (henceforth known as NakaImo)  is based on a series of light novels that began serialization in 2010. Shougo Mikadono abides by his father’s will and transfers to Miryuuin Academy and to find a future wife. It turns out, however, that his younger sister also attends the same academy. Shougo, who was never aware that he had a sister, must now avoid marrying his own sister while abiding by his father’s will. NakaImo aired during the Summer 2012 anime season with CrunchyRoll simulcasting and licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

NakaImo is a show many people knew was going to be a generic harem but hoped to be an interesting one with the incest twist similar to that of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai or Kiss x Sis. Turns out the show delivered neither. The series literally became the run of the mill harem with minimal development. Or rather, I should say with very jump development. The show glosses over a bulk of the novel content and was something I greatly feared when Zappa Gou was announced to be the series composer for this title. Some may remember Koihime Musou or Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi or even Chokotto Sister. Unfortunately, Zappa Gou has never adapted source material well and NakaImo is no exception. The series is mostly an absolute mess and running in circles 90% of the time. The series lacks creativity and while the characters can be interesting, the series throws all those ideas out the window. Character development is still solid overall and probably the strongest aspect plot wise but it tries to cram so many things in that Mana Tendou is effectively a useless character in the end. What really makes want to facepalm in this series (if I haven’t already) is Shougo’s stupidity. First of all, you don’t just ask a girl (or anyone for that matter) if they can give you a DNA sample. Second, if he’s looking for his sister and his sister wants to remain anonymous, why does it take Shougo so long to ever carefully consider the possibility that someone could be lying? I know the “logic of anime” applies here but still you have to draw the stupidity line somewhere and I think this is being overly generous. Conclusion wise, for an ongoing source, the ending possibilities are limited and therefore expected.

Art is cheap for this show. Designs are blurry and I’m pretty sure it’s not because of how the show aired. The pastel-like character designs are nice but seemingly degraded by the ugly backgrounds. Animation is by Studio Gokumi, i.e. Gonzo II and the same studio behind Saki Achiga-hen. Honestly speaking, Saki Achiga-hen looks better than this. The animation is cheap and basic in this show with little to no complexity in motions. If you consider that they also worked on Oda Nobuna no Yabou, it clearly shows that Studio Gokumi is capable of more and that NakaImo received the very short end of the stick.

OP/ED are both solid themes. OP is by StylipS, which has been a rapidly rising seiyuu group. In my honest opinion though, I don’t like Choose me Darling as much as Miracle Rush or Study x Study, so to date it’s their worst song since their debut. Still a fair song nonetheless. The ED is by the five main seiyuus. Insert themes were noticeable if you pay attention to StylipS songs, including Brand New Style and Hatsukoi Evolution. Big plus from me but at the same time it seemed more like a StylipS campaign since Lantis sponsored this show apparently. Background music is average as are sound effects. Seiyuu is solid overall with a variety of amazing seiyuus lined up for this show. From the StylipS singers to Ayana Taketatsu, Rina Hidaka, etc… it at least made the characters bearable.

Enjoyment? Started off typical and okay for a harem but rapidly degraded as the plot began to run in circles with no end in sight. A few bold moves by Miyabi made me raise an eyebrow occasionally but given the nature of this show, the outcomes were pretty obvious. Long term, obviously the show has no value given how over done this genre is at this point. Maybe a reboot with more faithful and slower adaptation of the source will help but whether or not there will be an audience at that point remains to be seen.

Overall, if anything, I hope for a reboot of this series with a more faithful adaptation. Granted that I don’t expect the series as a whole to be a “top-tier” watch but at the very least I was hoping for a fun guilty pleasure. At the moment, however, I can’t even do that. NakaImo can’t be even considered a disappointment at this point. If you’re looking for an incest title, look at OreImo or Kiss x Sis or Aki Sora. If you’re looking for a harem title, then there’s plenty of fish in the sea for that.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Generic harem setup.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Characters could be more interesting than they currently are.
  • Character Development (2/2): Solid overall. Albeit simple, it’s there with “supporting evidence.”
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1.5/2): Small cast and easy to remember. Mana Tendou is useless despite showing as a “main girl” in the OP/ED videos.
  • Pacing: (0/1): Jumps all over the place and runs in circles.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2): Some stuff makes sense. The whole “give me your DNA sample” makes little sense and does Shougo ever consider by himself that someone could be lying?
  • Conclusion (0/1): Typical and expected ending
  • Total: 4.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (0/2): Blurry and lacking in detail.
  • Character Designs (1.5/2): Pastel like designs are cool looking. Don’t match with backgrounds.
  • Fluidity (0.5/2): Poor and rigid
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (0.5/2): Too many light colors make it hard on the eyes. Yuzurina’s “dark” contrast helped mix things up a little.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0/2): Gokumi is Gonzo 2.0 and they continue to have the low budget that Gonzo had if not lower.
  • Total: 2.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): Fair OP/ED theme. Excellent insert themes.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2):  Average
  • Seiyuu (3/3): Excellent seiyuu cast that made this show “watchable” (for me at least)
  • Total: 7.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0.5/2): Had potential that quickly evaporated.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): Lost me by episode 3 when things started moving too quickly.
  • Presentation (0/2): Runs in circles like Rinka in the preview. Maybe that was symbolism or foreshadowing the fate of the series?
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Zero.
  • Recommendation (0/2): Tons of generic harem available. For incest, OreImo, Kiss x Sis and Aki Sora are better watches.
  • Value (0/1): None
  • Total: 0.5/10

Preliminary Score: 6/10

Final Score: 4/10

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