Real Imouto ga Iru Ooizumi-kun no Baai is a 2010 comedy-romance-drama-incest eroge from ALcot Honey Comb. Released on May 28th, 2010 it’s by far the newest eroge I’ve reviewed so far.
The premise of Real Imouto is something straight out of a cheap love comedy. The protagonist, Ooizumi Ryou, is an imouto eroge otaku who is treated coldly by his real little sister. He becomes very attached to a particular fictional little sister, Mai, from an eroge. One day he is shocked to be woken up by Mai, who has come to the real world from the game world.
Certainly at first glance Real Imouto looks like one of those novelty games that relies completely on its premise and has no real substance or worth. That assumption is very wrong. Surprisingly, the game offers a great combination of comedy and drama, and even addresses some important themes. Let’s start with the comedy side of things, since that’s how the game begins as well. Simply put the comedy in this game is amazing. All of the jokes hit their marks and a good number of them made me laugh harder than I have in a very long time. Since the protagonist is an eroge otaku, as is his idiot friend, a lot of the humor has to do with eroge. The game pokes fun at general eroge tropes and also makes references to specific games. You’ll definitely get more out of the game if you’re familiar with the medium. However there are a lot of normal jokes too, which are just as good as the eroge ones.
Transitioning from comedy to drama is very challenging. For the most part Real Imouto does it well, though there are a couple rough spots, mostly when the drama is first being introduced. The focus of the drama is family and the main theme of the story is the importance of family. Contrary to what one would expect from an incest game, the story focuses more on the type of family love that isn’t a crime. The main source of conflict is the protagonist’s relationship with his sister (the real one) and the distance between them. The story did a great job of showing the importance of the bond between brother and sister. The portrayal of what it means to be an older brother is very beautiful. I’m a younger brother so I couldn’t directly relate, but the themes are very easily applicable to siblings of any kind and even family in general. The story was more moving than I expected, in a variety of ways. There are sad parts, heartwarming parts, and even hotblooded parts that get you fired up.
There’s only one problem I had with the story, and that’s that it isn’t quite developed enough. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s underdeveloped, though it is short, but I feel it could have made one last push and been even better. This problem is most apparent in Mai’s route, which felt somewhat insubstantial (though I must say that the end left me with a very nice feeling, like “eroge sure is great, isn’t it?”). A lot of stuff is left unexplained. While this is because it’s later addressed in Shiori’s route (which you can only complete after finishing Mai’s) I think it really would have been better to put a little more of that substance into Mai’s route itself. Shiori’s route also could have been expanded upon further. It’s still a great route, and the best in the game, but I couldn’t help but feel like it didn’t reach its full potential. The only route that I felt reached its full potential is Miki’s, probably because it had the least potential to begin with. Though this isn’t to say that her route was lacking compared to the others. I was actually surprised by how even the non-sister route managed to add its own take on the brother-sister theme of the game. Because of the shortage of development the routes also never feel like they hit a major climax (this criticism also applies to Miki’s route) instead going through a series of small climaxes before just kind of ending. So the flow of the routes is also somewhat odd.
Ooizumi Shiori: The real imouto of whom the title refers. She’s the blood-related tsundere younger sister of the protagonist. Her tsun was fairly hard, which I like, but unfortunately it was too obvious that she actually liked her brother and was just putting on an act. I prefer tsunderes who really do hate the protagonist and eventually come to love him, rather than the type who have feelings for him all along and gradually become honest about them. Of course sisters who truly do hate their brothers are very rare, which is one of the messages of the story, so that was probably an unrealistic expectation on my part. Shiori’s dere side was really nice. It wasn’t overblown like with most tsunderes, but rather was just deep, genuine love for her brother. So overall I really liked her character.
Ooizumi Mai: The 2D imouto from the game world. Being from a game she is meant to be an ideal younger sister. She succeeds in that, but as a result is a thoroughly boring character. As the protagonist says, little sisters are cute when they’re selfish. Mai isn’t selfish at all, instead being a doormat who will do anything for her brother and barely seems to have any desires of her own (other than serving onii-chan of course). It’s not that I don’t like subservient girls, but there’s a limit and Mai goes way past it. Although I didn’t like her as a heroine in her own route I thought she was pretty good as a supporting character in the other routes.
Senoh Miki: Shiori’s best friend, and the little sister of the protagonist’s best friend. I’m going to say something blasphemous here, but during the common route she was my favorite heroine. Yes, I know this is an imouto game and she isn’t the protagonist’s sister (blood related or otherwise) but her dere and genki were just overwhelming. Also those fucking striped thigh highs. Unfortunately during her route she became very dominant, which I thought felt out of character, but on the whole I really liked her. I have to applaud the writer for making the non-sister heroine in a sister game so appealing.
Senoh Akira: The protagonist’s idiot friend. Like the protagonist he’s a huge imouto eroge otaku. He’s actually the bigger otaku of the two. Claims to only care about 2D sisters and to hate his real little sister, but it’s clear through his actions that she really is important to him. He’s also very hotblooded. Akira is responsible for many of the game’s comedy scenes, and also some of the inspirational ones. Definitely a great best friend best character.
Ooizumi Ryou: The protagonist. An imouto eroge otaku. Like Akira, in the beginning of the game he claims to only care about 2D sisters and not like his own, but it soon becomes obvious that he really loves her. He doesn’t even try to deny that he cares a lot about her and does whatever he can for her, so I’m not sure what the deal with his line in the beginning was. In contrast to Akira’s hotbloodedness Ryou is cool and composed. He’s also smart, kind, good-looking, good at sports, wears glasses, etc. Basically he’s meant to be the perfect older brother, and perfect guy in general. There are moments where he acts really worthless, but these seemed out of character and in my opinion were probably just added by the author to keep the protagonist from being too perfect. So Ryou’s two traits are being an otaku and being perfect, and his personality is basically that he loves his sister. Because of that I didn’t think he was a particularly interesting protagonist. However there weren’t many instances where he annoyed me, and his love and kindness toward Shiori were really beautiful, so overall I think he was a decent one.
The BGM tracks are for the most part forgettable. They aren’t bad, but they don’t really stand out either. The soundtrack is largely piano-driven, which gives it a nice feel, but it just isn’t memorable. The only tracks that add anything to the scenes are the two tracks that play during hotblooded moments, both of which are really good, and the obligatory sad orgel song, which is rather average among its kind but that’s still enough to make it pretty good. There’s also one other good song, but it only plays once in the entire game. The OP is like the majority of the BGM: average. It does have a couple nice hooks though. On the other hand the ED is very good. The version with vocals only plays at the end of Shiori’s route, for a good reason. The lyrics are also quite nice and embody what I believe the game is trying to convey.
The voice acting is solid all around. Shiori’s voice actress does a good job of portraying both her tsun and dere sides. Miki’s conveys her energy. The one with the most range was Mai’s, who displayed considerable skill in voice acting, though her voice originally annoyed me as much as the character herself. One surprising point concerning the voice acting is that the two main voiced male characters actually had notably good performances.
The art style is generic, but the actual quality of the art is definitely good. The number of CGs is what you would expect from a game of this length. The CG art is definitely better than the sprite art (which is almost always true, but it’s particularly noticeable here) and the sprite poses look awkward at times. One thing I really liked was how the sprites were used. The sprites move a lot, shake, and change mid-line, which was cool. Additionally, things like question marks, ellipses, and sweat drops would pop up above the characters’ heads during their lines. I’ve never seen this done before, though I doubt this game is the first to do it, and I liked it a lot. Combined with the sprite movement it really helped bring the characters to life and add to the craziness that many of the scenes have. I also want to mention that the backgrounds are particularly nice and detailed, and the one of the path along the riverside is simply beautiful.
The ero is well above average for a story-based game. The art, writing, voice acting, and situations were all good. But I have two problems with it. The first is that many of the scenes had a masochistic element to them (this might be the reason why the writer had Miki’s character change so much) which I’m not really into. But that’s just a subjective preference of mine. I will admit that the Miki footjob scene was hot as fuck though. The second problem is that there is too much ero. Some people would say this is impossible, and I would generally tend to agree, but when I’m playing an eroge for the story it can reach a point where the ero gets in the way. This rarely happens, but it did in Real Imouto. Each route has two to three ero scenes. That doesn’t sound excessive, but it is when the routes are short and the ero scenes are long. And these ero scenes are long. The protagonist usually cums four times. Twice during the foreplay phase and twice during the actual sex. They should have cut that in half. Also there’s usually only one CG for each of these phases, so two per scene, so the length feels wasted. Anyways, especially considering how I thought the story could have been expanded in some ways, I felt like too much emphasis was placed on ero.
Pros: Beautiful depiction of the relationship between brothers and sisters; great humor and ero.
Cons: Story wasn’t as fully developed as it could have been; ero gets in the way of the story at times.
Don’t pass Real Imouto up because it looks like a shallow, pandering eroge at first glance. Because it’s not one. This is a must play for anyone who likes little sisters (it’s pretty much the quintessential imoutoge), and I also highly recommend it to people looking for something both funny and touching.