Recently, My Sister Is Unusual (Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda ga or ImoCho for short) is a show that you could almost call psychological horror for how horribly life treats the main character Mitsuki in it.
Mitsuki was born to a family with an abusive alcoholic for a father, who ended up leaving her and her mother for a woman he was cheating on his wife with. This happened when Mitsuki was still a small child. Life didn?t go much better for the mother and daughter afterwards: Mitsuki?s mom had a string of bad relationships that all ended more or less poorly, and while Mitsuki always tried to be there for her mom, she felt like she couldn?t really do anything to help her. This has left her very wary of any new men her mom brings home and has made her gloomy about life in general.
Fast forward to the starting point of the series: Mitsuki is now 15, and her mother has gotten married once again. They?re moving in to the house of her new husband and his 16-year-old son, Yuuya. Luckily, both Yuuya and his father are decent people ? for probably the first time, life is actually looking up for Mitsuki, even if she herself doesn?t know it yet, being obviously on her toes around the new people she has to share a household with due to her past experiences.
From left to right: Yuuya?s father, Mitsuki, Yuuya, Mitsuki?s mother.
The new family life is immediately disturbed by the fact that Yuuya?s father has received a long-term work assignment in India ? he leads construction projects or something, it?s not really important ? and will be leaving later in the day, followed by her new wife the day after. Why she?s leaving with him is a bit of a mystery, but honestly, it doesn?t really matter either ? what does matter is fulfilling the anime trope of the parents never being home with the children. The series never really does much with this, though, so ultimately this only serves as an additional blow to Mitsuki?s battered life by separating her from her mother, the most important person in her life. The whole thing is handwaved away by saying Mitsuki?s aunt will check up on the kids every now and then.
The new stepbrother, Yuuya, has also had some turbulence in his life. His mother died when he was just a baby, leaving him to grow up mostly alone thanks to his father being a real workaholic. He?s never really had any female figures in his life, so suddenly having a little (step)sister is a new and stressing situation for him. Despite this, he decides that he?s going to do his best to be as good brother as possible to Mitsuki.
And then everything goes south as Hiyori enters the picture.
Does this look like the face of mercy?
Hiyori is the ghost of a girl who was madly in love with Yuuya. She met an unfortunate end getting hit by a truck. Because she died so young, her worldly desires left her unable to get to the gates of afterlife, and now she must fulfill her hopes and dreams of being with Yuuya back on Earth in order to build her personal stairway to heaven. The problem comes from the fact that she ends up possessing Mitsuki in order to do this. This means that Mitsuki must now romantically fall in love with her new stepbrother in order to help Hiyori achieve her goal, because if she doesn?t, Hiyori?s heavenly stairway will evaporate completely? which will lead to both of them falling into the abyss and dying thanks to the link they share through the possession. (Also, Hiyori?s original plan was to take over Mitsuki?s body completely with the possession, effectively killing her in the process, but Mitsuki was ?too strong-willed? to let that happen.)
Hiyori also likes to molest Mitsuki against her will on a regular basis.
At this point, things have already taken a major turn for the worse, but the series has one more curveball to throw at poor Mitsuki: a chastity belt.
This thing is called the T.S.T. (full name never given, but most likely comes from the Japanese word for chastity belt, ?teisoutai? ? thanks, arnastia), and it collects energy from the actualization of Hiyori?s desires. Mitsuki is now stuck with it 24/7, and it can only be opened for three minutes per hour so she can use the toilet. And there is absolutely no justification for this whatsoever. The various actions that cause the heart meter to fill seem to indicate that the meter could just as well be a necklace or something, but nope, chastity belt it is. And she?s not getting rid of it until Hiyori makes it to heaven.
And that is basically the premise of ImoCho. Throughout the series, we see Mitsuki fall in love with his brother pretty much against her will thanks to the influence that Hiyori?s feelings have on her. She is effectively never separated from Hiyori, the ghost that tried to kill her with her initial possession, who also molests her on a regular basis and is the reason she has to wear a chastity belt around the clock. Mitsuki also ends up suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, as despite Hiyori being a terrible person by pretty much all accounts and the source of massive grief, Mitsuki finds herself missing Hiyori when she disappears for a while toward the end of the series.
What makes Mitsuki?s suffering even worse for the viewer is that so much of it could have been avoided if Hiyori had instead possessed someone else ? like the childhood friend Yukina living next door ? who was already in love with Yuuya and wasn?t a family member. This way Mitsuki could?ve naturally grown closer to her new family that actually cares for her and heal her wounds over time, while Hiyori could have achieved her goals through an entirely normal romance between Yukina and Yuuya.
But good things can?t happen to Mitsuki, and she ends up terribly confusing her new brother. Among other things, he starts thinking that Mitsuki suffers from dissociative identity disorder (thanks to Hiyori temporarily taking over Mitsuki?s body from time to time and acting entirely different from Mitsuki?s own self). He also sees Hiyori from time to time for reasons unexplained, which leads him to believe Mitsuki is in a lesbian relationship with her and that they?re into some really kinky shit (because Mitsuki wears a chastity belt no matter the time and place, of course).
Which leads into this amusing Metal Gear Solid bit when he?s worried if Mitsuki has any normal underwear at all.
All of this is made worse by the fact that besides the absurdity of Mitsuki?s situation, every other character in the series is relatively normal and grounded. Yuuya tries his best to be a good brother despite her sister?s odd behavior, and the rest of the cast is relatively down to earth too, save for a few oddballs like Neko who is clearly in the know about Mitsuki?s situation, hinting at some bigger picture. Of course, this being an adaption of an at-the-time-of-airing ongoing manga series (surprisingly not a light novel despite what you might expect from the long title), pretty much none of said big picture gets elaborated on ? the only ?revelation? we get is at the end of the series when Yukina says she can see Hiyori, because she?s always been sensitive to spirits. Even this only really serves to put the whole (decent) character of Yukina into question seeing as she really should be more aware of what?s going on with Mitsuki and extend a helping hand or do? something. Anything. Mitsuki is not having it good, lady!
By the final episode, Mitsuki has fallen for her brother but has miraculously managed to avoid taking their relationship into uncomfortable romantic and sexual directions. Then, the T.S.T.?s heart meter fills up completely. Hiyori?s stairway to heaven is finally done. Mitsuki and Hiyori say their goodbyes and the T.S.T. disappears. Mitsuki is finally free from her torment and strives to have a normal relationship with her stepbrother at last. I was genuinely hoping the series would go for an anime original ending and leave it at that, but deep in my heart I knew exactly what was going to happen with the series being a partial adaption of the source material.
Hiyori comes back, because it turns out the gates of heaven weren?t the real gates at all ? they merely took her to the second floor of her journey. With a cold metallic clack, the T.S.T. locks around Mitsuki?s waist again, and the suffering begins anew.
IT NEVER ENDS.
ImoCho is one of the worst anime series I?ve ever watched to completion. After finishing it, all I can do is sit silently in disbelief that this thing actually got animated. It?s like a trainwreck in slow motion, and the only reason I stuck with it to the end was to see if things would ever get better for Mitsuki, but they never did. About the only positive things I can say about the series is that the character designs look nice and the production is competent, but that?s really it.
If you stumbled upon this series looking for some trashy and incest-y comedy, I recommend checking out OniAi instead. In that show all the characters tend to be in on the absurd, lighthearted and trashy fun, which is a far cry from the cruel and unusual punishment that is ImoCho.