Uchi no Imouto no Baai is a 2003 eroge from EGO. The scenario is written by Orgel, who wrote Real Imouto as well as many other games such as Shinigami no Kiss and Mashiro Iro Symphony.
Uchi no Imouto no Baai’s story is strikingly similar to Real Imouto’s, enough that I felt some retroactive disappointment in Orgel for reusing so much material for Real Imouto. Our protagonist Tatsuya lives alone with his imouto Yuuka, who despite being all over her onii-chan when she was younger now treats him coldly and calls him aniki. One major difference is that the siblings aren’t blood-related, which the story makes extensive use of as a plot point rather than just an out to be able to publish an incest game back when blood-related siblings doing dirty stuff in eroge wasn’t okay.
Like the imouto route in Real Imouto, Yuuka’s route in Uchi no Imouto is about the protagonist reconciling his relationship with his sister and learning the importance of family and being an older brother. Uchi no Imouto’s take on this plot line and theme is noticeably more dramatic and depressing than Real Imouto’s. A heavy melancholy permeates the story and it throws dramatic scenes at you with frequency. Fortunately Uchi no Imouto’s drama is superb. It’s consistently good throughout the story, and consistently present from beginning to end. This also means that Uchi no Imouto tackles its themes early on (literally in the first lines) and works with them constantly. As a result they’re exceptionally well developed and Uchi no Imouto has great thematic depth.
Careful planning and thorough development aren’t only found in the game’s themes, but also the plot and character relationships. The past is a key player in the events of Uchi no Imouto and Orgel clearly put effort into fleshing out the histories of the characters and how their pasts inform their behavior in the present day. The game even has an onii-chan timeline that details Tatsuya’s past as the events are revealed in the story. That’s another thing Uchi no Imouto excels at: it reveals its detailed and complex past piece by piece during the course of the story and across the different routes and ends. The pacing involved in this process is near perfect. The revelations come at a rate that keeps you engaged, even setting aside the drama going on during present time, but also leaves enough unknown to keep you intrigued about the past.
After clearing Yuuka’s good end I felt thoroughly satisfied and wasn’t sure if I was going to play any of the other routes. After all, what’s the point of non-imouto routes in an imouto game? I had my doubts whether the other routes could live up to Yuuka’s in terms of drama and themes. Fortunately I gave them a chance and they did not disappoint. First of all, even the routes for the other heroines deal significantly with the relationship between Tatsuya and Yuuka, and there’s plenty of value in seeing the different ways in which that relationship could develop. Aside from that, each heroine also has their own drama, which while not as good as Yuuka’s is always quality with some great moments. Even the bad ends, “normal” end, and 3P end are all worth seeing. It’s amazing how thoroughly Uchi no Imouto destroyed my expectation that only the imouto route was going to be worthwhile. Surprisingly the least worthwhile end is the true end, which is more like an omake story that has lots of sex and introduces some new pointless plot elements that don’t really contribute anything to the big picture of the game.
Uchi no Imouto no Baai is notorious as an NTR game. The NTR was so destructive that they later reissued a Pure Love Edition without the NTR. People were also worried that Real Imouto ga Iru Ooizumi no Baai might have NTR due to the similar name and being from the same writer, and Orgel himself references Uchi no Imouto’s NTR multiple times in Real Imouto. Yet Uchi no Imouto’s NTR is only found in the bad ends so there’s not much of it and it’s perfectly avoidable. I think part of the reaction to the NTR was because it’s in a story-based romance-drama eroge that tries to get the reader to develop affection for the heroines, and succeeds quite well with Yuuka, and wouldn’t normally have NTR (and I don’t think any of the promotional material hinted at NTR). Even independent of those factors, Uchi no Imouto’s NTR is just extremely depressing in its execution. It’s the most heartbreaking, soul-crushing NTR I’ve ever read. By now I’ve probably scared off everyone from getting the bad ends in this game, but like I said they’re definitely worth seeing even if you’re not into NTR because even they incorporate the game’s excellent drama and themes.
So as not to end this section with a huge paragraph about NTR I’ll talk about a few other miscellaneous points. Although thoroughly a drama, Uchi no Imouto does have some humor. Or attempts at humor. Most of the jokes fall halfway between funny and unfunny. A few fall on one side or the other. As for the writing, Uchi no Imouto solidified my opinion of Orgel: the man can write. His writing style isn’t flashy or even all that distinctive, he just words things exactly how they should be written. His touch can turn even normally unremarkable scenes into something poignant and he can handle important scenes with equal deftness.
The main heroine Yuuka is very likeable if you’re into tsundere imoutos, which I am. Her brand of tsun is heavy and her dere nuanced, and like any devoted imouto she gets jealous whenever another girl gets close to her onii-chan. Yuuka is an above average imouto character and more than good enough to be the main heroine of an imouto game. The other two heroines, the childish female teacher Junko and the sheltered ojousan Nanako, are unfortunately not nearly as good. They fit squarely into their character types, although for whatever reason I liked Nanako somewhat more than I usually do characters of her type, which I generally do not care for.
I quite liked the protagonist, Tatsuya. His personality is admittedly rather bland but he has great dedication and determination. He’s the character that benefits the most from having a rich, detailed history. Because of his complicated situation he’s a conflicted character who grows over the course of the story, and in different ways between the different routes. There are a number of side characters but the only one worth mentioning is Nanako’s butler Sebastian. He’s the side character with the largest role in the story and he’s usually irritating, but after reading one of Nanako’s ends I developed great respect for him.
Uchi no Imouto has a relatively limited soundtrack, with just a dozen tracks. The handful of everyday tracks are mediocre. The handful of emotional tracks are great. The latter play no small part in constructing the melancholic atmosphere of the game. There is no OP and the ED is a cheerful, almost childish instrumental piece. The juxtaposition created by hearing it after seeing one of the depressing or bittersweet endings amplifies their emotional damage.
The voice acting is all around terrible. Not much else to say about that.
The art isn’t very great, although I’m willing to be more lenient given the game’s age. Many of the CGs don’t look too bad, although others are pretty terrible. I liked the composition in some of the CGs, most often the important ones, where it helps contribute to the impact the CG adds to the scene.
When I started Uchi no Imouto I thought it was going to be balanced between story and ero, but it actually has an average amount of ero for a story-based game (2-3 scenes per end). There are 60 scenes total but that doesn’t mean there are 20 endings. Some scenes have three variations depending on your affection level with the heroine, the NTR scenes have variations from different viewpoints, and there are some bonus scenes that are unlocked after getting certain ends.
As for the actual quality of the ero, it’s mostly average. The regular scenes are what you’d expect from a story-based romance game. They’re boring other than one or two interesting scenes. The NTR scenes are much better than the rest of the ero. Obviously I’m saying this partially as someone who is into NTR, but even separate from personal preferences I think the NTR scenes are better written and aren’t as boring as the plain sex scenes.
Pros: Great drama and themes; carefully constructed storyline
Cons: Dated production values; weak cast outside of the main couple; weak humor
This is another must-read imoutoge from Orgel. Yeah the imouto isn’t blood-related, and I usually hate that as much as the next guy, but the way it’s handled in Uchi no Imouto makes me glad Yuuka wasn’t blood-related. If she was the story would have been very different and perhaps not as great.
Like I said earlier, although this is an imouto game I recommend playing all of the routes and getting all of the ends. Even the bad ends and their NTR. If you can’t handle some depression this game isn’t for you to begin with, so if you’re going to play it you might as well go all the way and immerse yourself in the despair. That’s a large part of the game’s appeal. There’s the Pure Love Edition if you really can’t bear NTR, but it makes more changes than just removing the NTR so I can’t vouch for its quality.
Although I try to avoid making too many direct comparisons in my reviews Uchi no Imouto is so much like Real Imouto (or rather Real Imouto is like Uchi no Imouto) that I feel compelled to. I kept wanting to talk more about the similarities but that’s not the point of these posts. Overall I found the two games nearly equal in quality. Uchi no Imouto has much better drama but Real Imouto has much better comedy. Which I would recommend over the other depends on the person’s preferences, but both are great choices for people who love little sisters.