Every country has their own peculiar culture. It is after all a big world out there. Even within countries but different states or prefectures, due to the distance between civilizations, there is bound to be also differences in local culture. That is why there are so many dialects in many countries around the world. For those who know about the Japanese, do you know well about their other dialects too? Well, I have this feeling that Boku No Imouto Wa Osaka Okan is an anime that will help me understand better about the quirky people of Osaka. Hah. Not that I am even interested in Osaka in the first place. Hmm… Maybe this anime is also some sort of poking fun at the stereotypes of the Osaka culture…

I suppose the motivation to watch this anime was because it was only 3 minutes long! Yes, the early 2013 season seems to bring in lots of short flash based animes and this is the first one to get my ball rolling on the list of such similar animes. Our main protagonist is Kyousuke Ishihara who lives in Tokyo. He has a sister named Namika who lived separately from him in Osaka for 10 years. Starting this spring, Namika starts living together with him and has returned even weirder than he could imagined. Yeah, it’s like she’s bringing back the Osaka culture back home.

Episode 1
Kyousuke shows her around town when she is attracted by some snack. He buys imagawayaki for her and from her reaction, apparently this bread doesn’t exist in Osaka. After tasting the goodness of it, she realizes it is just like kaitenyaki back home! Say what? In Osaka, imagawayaki = kaitenyaki. That’s how they call it. So we see Namika telling Kyousuke how things are named differently back in Osaka. Meat manjuu = pork manjuu? Iced coffee = reico? Milk = fresh? Parking lots = Motor pools? Though for the last one, Osakans still use parking lots in their normal conversation.

Episode 2
While watching TV, Namika seems to have something aloud to say in every scene. She thinks Kyousuke is too quiet watching TV. Maybe it’s just her being noisy? That’s how Osakans are when watching TV. Then when they talk about some local celebrity, Mieko Numakami, no how much Namika says about her, all Osakans supposedly love this lady. Namika makes okonomiyaki and mixes lots of ingredients in it. Apparently there are several styles for okonomiyaki and each household in Osaka has their own style.

Episode 3
It’s going to rain as Kyousuke notices Namika showing off her umbrella holder on her bicycle. A what? Apparently in Osaka, it is a must to stick your umbrella holders on the basket covers of a bicycle. In class, Namika’s friend, Kaede shows her cute memo book. Namika also shows off hers and makes her guess its prize. 2000 Yen? Only 550 Yen! Well, Osakans love asking people about price of stuffs and show off things they bought cheap. Kaede invites Namika to buy bread with her but she declines she is in the mood for tofu. Kaede feels it’s a shame these discount tickets will go to waste and instantly Namika is all for bread. Can’t resist a good deal, can’t they these Osaka people?

Episode 4
Namika starts giving the teaching staffs and friends candy. That’s because Osaka girls start to carry a candy bag when they enter high school. Later, Kaede and Kyousuke watch Namika being confessed by 3 different guys! Each of them are popular, have athletic ability or from a respected rich family. Each time, Namika replies she’ll think about it. Kyousuke confronts her and wants to know what gives because she is getting their hopes up. However she says she rejected them. Eh? I’ll think about it = I’m sorry (rejected). Namika reveals why she turns them all down. It’s because they are boring. Boring? Well, Osaka girls love their guys funny. That’s the important quality they look for.

Episode 5
Namika starts praising that somebody won and the tactics they used in the game. It seems if they start saying that first thing in the morning, it could mean that their Hanshin baseball team has won. Then she talks about some of the players in the team and comments about them. Despite what Osakans have to say about their team, they love them when they’re weak. Kyousuke’s muscles feel sore due to yesterday’s workout so Namika suggests some bizarre remedy. Basically if they make weird suggestions that don’t seem logical, they won’t even admit it or give up. Namika buys lots of cheap stuffs for Kyousuke even if he doesn’t need them. Is this how Osakans do it? Cheap people buy cheap stuff and love to give others? Don’t feel cheap, eh?

Episode 6
Kyousuke accompanies Namika to Shibuya to shop since she’s somewhat scared to be alone. First thing at the shop, she wants to buy an item that’s not for sale, asks for discount, gets another item not for sale to increase the discount. To top it all, she even asks for freebies! Who says she’s scared of being alone? She’s one scary customer. Yeah. Osakans love to haggle and ask for free stuffs. When Kyousuke suggests animal prints, Namika thinks he’s making fun of her. Then she chooses all sorts of odd designs and patterns… A reporter stops Namika to interview her about the trend in Shibuya. Like any other Osakans, she may say she is reluctant in front of the camera but continues to show off whatever she’s got in hand.

Episode 7
A typical Osakan Namika is, she tends to mispronounce and mix up English names of products and stores. Like when she says Autobucks, it is actually Starbucks. In addition to that, they do not admit their mistake and carry on unfazed. For the umpteenth time, it is Frappuccino and not Jalapeno! Namika buts a kebab to eat on the go and finds it hard to eat. As mentioned, adult Osakans love eating while standing or walking. Namika expresses how much fun she had in Shibuya to Kyousuke. Thing is, she’s rather loud talking about it in the train? Osakans aren’t ashamed of speaking out loudly without second thoughts.

Episode 8
Kaede talks to Namika about Mikami the school nurse’s failed marriage meeting and if she is still single by the time she is 35, she has to go back to her hometown. She is already 34 this year. Namika keeps asking weird questions and doesn’t seem to be listening because she’s also asking questions that Kaede have obviously said earlier. Yeah, she even thought Mikami should just marry Kyousuke then. Didn’t really think it through, did she? Kaede talks about another teacher Onodera who isn’t into relationships now but Mikami was eyeing on him. Namika wants to know if he is the good or bad guy because Osakans wants to know early if you’re friend or foe. Namika haggles for discount when she buys lunch for 3 people. Since she can’t get that, she persuades the canteen lady to give little extras. She’s really good at this, isn’t she? She can really be a good businesswoman.

Episode 9
Namika follows Kyousuke by train to school since her bicycle blew a tyre. She laments she needs to buy a ticket but remembers she has a pass card. Osakans call them Icoca or Surutto Kansai. When Kyousuke asks about the path she takes when she returns from school, she puts in lots of words to describe just about everything. Lots of them. What could be explained in a single sentence is expanded to possibly a paragraph. No kidding. Namika realizes she accidentally swapped her gym clothes with her brother’s. Since it will make a good joke, she’ll wear it. This means Kyousuke must be having hers, right? She can’t wait to imagine the hilariousness when he puts it on and even to the point of wearing her bra! But later she is sorely disappointed to learn that he borrowed his friend’s gym clothes. He’d be embarrassed if he wore hers but she says it defeats everything because what is supposed to be a joke is now a plain mistake. Apparently Osakans love to make jokes out of mistakes.

Episode 10
Namika is confused with the complicated train lines in Tokyo. But when an old lady asks her for directions, she confidently gives random directions to her! It seems Osakans will gladly give directions to others even if they don’t know it themselves. Also, when Namika casually talks to a foreigner, she continues to speak in her Osaka dialect. Kyousuke thinks the person sitting across is a celebrity. Instantly Namika goes up to her to praise her how much she loves her show (despite not even knowing the show she acted in) and will root for her. I suppose it’s their nature to shake hands as long as he or she is a celebrity regardless of whether they know them or not.

Episode 11
Namika brings Kaede to the restaurant where Kyousuke works part time. She wants Kyousuke to treat them more than just customers because they’re siblings. So they want service in addition to cheap food too? Well, cheap food is something given! Good restaurants for Osakans include good food, cheap price as well as courtesy. Namika finds her meal too salty and complains. Now she’s into that? Kaede is okay with it but Namika advises her to speak up because many customers who don’t complain end up never coming back to the restaurant again. Namika tells Kyousuke that he can’t serve this kind of dish to others and better tells his chef quick. To Osakans, complaining about a restaurant’s shortcomings is true kindness. And after all that complaining and getting a replacement, Osakans never forget to say thank you before they leave.

Episode 12
When eating lunch together, Kaede notices that Namika attaches –san to food names. However she mentions that not all food names will have the –san attached to it because it will sound weird. So how do they decide when to put the –san suffix? It all boils down to senses… Namika could tell that Kyousuke and Kaede are trying to talk in Osakan dialect. Whether they are being considerate or not, she doesn’t want them to try so hard because Osakans don’t really like it when their dialect is being spoken incorrectly or others sounding so fake trying so hard to speak it.

Culture Shock?
Weird, no? Of course anyone who isn’t familiar with the Osaka culture would deem all those notes and points by Kyousuke about the Osakan habit to be weird. But really, what makes them weird? Is it because it doesn’t conform to the norm of the majority? In short, every culture is unique and weird in their own ways. Thankfully I didn’t turn into an Osakan addict after watching this. Hah! You think I’d be brainwashed with just a dozen of episodes, eh? Well, some people spent their entire life in their home country and when they go abroad just for a couple of years and return home, they start acting like a foreigner! Yeah, they let the culture took over them.

I suppose all those references that Kyousuke made are real or at least true to a certain extent. No point in making them up, right? Like the naming of certain words, it is like a calling a rose by any other name. And the things they do may seem brash and crude but that is how they are. Think you are more refined? Define that anyway. Though each episode is short, I can’t help notice that there is a certain pattern at the start and end. Each episode starts off with Kyousuke narrating about his sister who lived in Osaka who suddenly returns to live with him and he finds her weird. Is it me or do I notice each time this narration of his starts getting faster and faster till he finally has that don’t-give-a-damn tone in his voice. And each time he narrates that while looking at Namika (who in turn looks back at him with that smirk and look), she will come back with a punch line that is very much perverted such as wondering if he masturbates to his sister (?!), having perverted thoughts or used up too many tissues. Otherwise she would be unashamed in her actions in asking him to shave her back, the type of panties she wearing, if her boobs had gotten bigger or wondering if she should pluck out her armpit hair. The ending is quite amusing because we see Namika in the bath (you little fanservice there) as she sings about today’s topic in her Osaka tune. It might be the same song, just that she changes the lyrics to that topic. Each time her song ends, Kyousuke will quip a rebuke it. The final episode has got to be the ‘best’ one because Namika just went “Lalala, lalalala, lalalala…”. Not even trying…

When they made an anime that has Osaka or Kansai-ben, my first thought is that they’re going to use Ryoko Shiraishi in it. True enough she is featured in this anime since my stereotypic views that she is the best person for this accent for she has played several characters speaking in this dialect. For example, Himeko from Sket Dance, Aoi from Zettai Karen Children and Zelnogrard from Busou Shinki. But to my surprise, it is Kana Asumi who helmed the role of Namika! Well, I’m not that familiar with the Osaka accent but I thought Kana was pretty good. Partly because I always viewed her voice as a ‘joker’! Haha! Forgive me, but yes. I do love it when Kana Asumi does voice such comical characters. So she isn’t your usual Hidamari Sketch’s Yuno or Amagami SS’s Miya. Ryoko Shiraishi is the voice of Kyousuke instead and she sounds very much like Hayate from Hayate No Gotoku and her other boyish roles. At first I thought Aki Toyosaki was the voice behind Kaede. It turned out to be Yuka Iguchi instead. She sounded a little goofy, a bit like Yui from K-ON! so I thought it was her. Surprise, surprise. I guess this shows if it isn’t that bratty voice like Index, then I wouldn’t have recognized her. Here’s another surprise. All other minor extra characters are also voiced by Yuka Iguchi! I knew it was the same seiyuu but I never thought it was her because since they’re trying to give a different tone and voice to almost every other character while using the same one. It’s a good try but you’ll know it (apart from the credits) when you realize one character is doing a falsetto voice and the other a lower voice but all have this feeling it’s by the same person.

I’m not sure about this but I think Kaede has a crush on Kyousuke. This is just judging from her reactions when she meets him in person. But I guess that isn’t the focus of this series. Looks like Kyousuke would have to put up more of his sister’s habits as long as she continues to live with him. For better or worse, she is still his sister. Looks like Namika’s Osaka habit is going to be staying for a long time. If not forever. Can you say she is a true Osakan? Well, at least she is not afraid to show where she comes from and not cowed into embarrassment or lose spirit if somebody ever mocks her about her Osakan ways. Like they dare. Namika would scorn you first thing and you will be the one running away with tails between your legs. So yeah, the lesson of this story is that you can never beat an Osakan! Don’t even try to argue with them. Because. That’s how it is!

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