Choose me♡Darling by StylipS
(Yes, that’s the actual title of the song, no joke. You can even verify it yourself by going to the 1-minute mark in the video. The lyrics below are also an official translation, except with my corrected punctuation. =.=)
Didn’t I tell you not to run off?
Didn’t I tell you? I love you, I can’t hold it back
Let’s cancel our treaty right away
Love me, love me, more, but only me!
I feel an endless sense of destiny from this love
But why does the arrow go 1, 2, 3, 4… I don’t believe it (don’t believe it)
A girl (A-ha) cuter than me (U-yeah)
Don’t look (Don’t! Guard your eyes)
I’m sorry (A-ha) for setting off sparks
Choose me, my darling!
I knew from the beginning everyone wants to be the heroine
They want to be your best and only love
I don’t want you to just be nice, I want you to steal me away
Don’t worry about the circumstances and just honestly… love me
I don’t care if I get hurt, I chose you (Promise)
Friendship is important (but)
In an emergency, it can’t be helped
Who is my rival?
Ugh… The audacity one must possess to be able to pay an idol group to sing those lyrics.
I suppose it can only get better from there. This time, we’ll be covering NAKAIMO – My Little Sister is Among Them! (Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imōto ga Iru!), also known as Who is “IMOUTO”?, a light novel series by Hajime Taguchi. It received a manga adaptation titled, as well as an anime. The anime was picked up by Sentai Filmworks and was simulcasted on both Crunchyroll and The Anime Network (though Crunchyroll got the title wrong). The anime was a fairly accurate adaptation until a certain point, where they decided to change the identity of the titular sister, although the change was ultimately inconsequential (I’ll explain that near the end, clearly marked).
The series is a harem mystery series that follows Shōgo Mikadono, whose father just died. This means that he’ll be able to inherit the large company his father ran, but on one condition. That condition is that he must transfer into Miryuuin Academy and find a lover by the end of high school. His mother will run the company in the interim. So, of course, he spends the next month going through a crash course on how to run a megacorp and then transfers in for his second year.
But things can’t possibly be that simple, and they’re not. It seems his father had an illegitimate daughter, identity unknown, who’s attending the same school and wants to marry Shōgo, which would be illegal and result in a huge scandal. As such, he and his secret service helper Mister X (who’s a girl, for the record) must discover his sister’s identity so he can pick someone other than her.
Of course, seeing as he’s rich, it makes perfect sense for a harem to form around him, though they (shockingly) aren’t in it for the money, as all of the ones that receive significant focus are from fairly rich backgrounds of their own.
On the first day, while lost on the way to class, Shōgo runs into Konoe Tsuruma, who’s about to get run over by a truck. No need to worry, though, because Shōgo is the dragonborn and has therefore mastered the Unrelenting Force shout.
He later runs into the introverted (when not around Shōgo) swimmer Miyabi Kannagi, the eccentric entrepreneur Mei Sagara, the high-class student council vice president Rinka Kunitachi and the laid-back student council president Mana Tendou. The story then goes into several story arcs in which someone pretends to be his sister for some reason, be it to troll or to protect someone, and it’s a red herring each and every time. However, while that’s going on, the girls are all trying to make moves on him, especially Konoe, Miyabi and Rinka. The first two even turn out to be his childhood friends, whom he forgot about due to an accident that made him lose his memory.
The series does a good job at keeping you guessing, throwing red herrings, half-truths, misunderstandings and other tricks to make it so you have a good idea of who the sister is, but just can’t put your finger on it. That said, the anime ended up being a bit too obvious near the end.
In addition, the harem antics aren’t nearly as annoying as with most series. They only show up occasionally, with most scenarios involving the simple love triangle between Shōgo, Konoe and Miyabi. Konoe, however, seems to have great chemistry with Shōgo the entire time, making everyone else seem hopeless unless Konoe were to turn out to be his sister.
Going into much more detail would ruin the series for anyone who intends to watch, but it ended up being fairly solid, minor slip-ups aside, to the end, with Shōgo being much more attentive than he looks, allowing him to notice what he needs to notice.
Well, I promised that I’d explain the change to the little sister’s identity at least, right? Well, here’s the explanation:
The Sister’s Identity (Highlight to Read the Spoiler Bits)
Before I start the explanation, do note that, in Japan, it is legal to marry your cousin, or even your step-sister. The relevant laws simply state that two people may not marry if they are within three degrees of blood relation. This is important to understand how things ended up in the novels.
In the anime, Miyabi is Shōgo’s sister, simple as that. The final episode ended with no romantic resolution, but an OVA will accompany the final set of episodes for the disc releases in March to apparently tie that up (so it’ll likely show up in the official English release as well).
In the novels, Miyabi is Shōgo’s cousin and Shōgo picks Konoe to be his lover. However, Konoe turns out to be his father’s illegitimate daughter, and therefore Shōgo’s sister. But then Shōgo finds out that his father adopted him, so he and Konoe aren’t related by blood, allowing him to stick to his choice. Then Miyabi’s father and Shōgo’s mother get married, making Miyabi his step-sister.
As such, the end result to the question is, for all practical applications, exactly the same.
The series is available for legal online streaming from Crunchyroll (albeit under the title Nakaimo – My Sister is Among Them!) and The Anime Network. Sentai Filmworks has picked the series up for a physical release, which will probably include the aforementioned OVA.
You could probably deduce it from my tone during this review, but I rather enjoyed it. People who hate harems with a passion should stay away, but I have no major problems with this series. It knew what it was doing and did it, refusing to overstay its welcome.