A Sister’s All You Need. – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Every day is full of fun. But something is missing. “My life would be amazing if only I had a little sister. Why don’t I have a little sister…?” These are the musings of little sister-lover and novelist Itsuki Hashima, who only writes works featuring little sisters. Around him gather a number of unique people: genius author/pervert Nayuta, female college student Miyako, illustrator Puriketsu, and the brutish tax accountant Ashley. Each of them hold their own worries, but live their peaceful daily lives while writing novels, playing video games, drinking alcohol, and filing their tax returns. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: When A Sister’s All You Need first launched on Crunchyroll, there was no synopsis. There was no indication that the first two minutes were anything but the true tone and concept of the series. These first two minutes are jarring, outrageous, shock value comedy predicated on stunning the audience with sheer inappropriateness. Be warned as the anime opens with a typical anime hero assaulted by his naked and horny sister. From there, the siscon pandering goes up to the max, content to let you think this is the actual series. Its comedy is very much YMMV and, personally, I think something most Western audiences would prefer to be warned about rather than stumble into.
Linny: We cannot emphasize enough just how much of a shock the start of the episode will be. It takes siscon pandering to the extreme and even though it’s all supposed to be an over the top parody of the genre and just a visualization of a novel being written by the protagonist, it’s still content that you SHOULD NOT enter into unwarned and SHOULD NOT watch around people you don’t want judging you. Also, for more conservative audiences, please be warned that once we move on from the opening gag, the sexual humor doesn’t stop there. We’re introduced to a female character named Nayuta who is attracted to Itsuki and is blatantly and verbally explicit in her attempts to hook up with him. She propositions him sexually repeatedly and provides some fan service when shown in a state of undress before taking a shower (with anime style objects covering the more erotic parts of her body of course). These aforementioned things are what I think will be the most controversial and most likely to turn people off the show and thus, things that should be taken into consideration before you pick it up.
Tom: Once we move past the siscon opening, and get to the actual story, Sister’s All You Need exhibits real potential. Despite the opening gag that throws audiences in the deep end, there’s hints here that the series wants to dig deep into the siscon trope and reexamine how stupid and awful a component to the anime medium it is. Siscon, for those lucky enough not to know, refers to individuals or characters who tend to be sexually, or romantically, obsessed with their sisters. Anime often skirts the issue by providing such characters with not quite blood related sisters to fawn and romance. But the truth of the matter is that in reality no brother would want his sister in that way. The show pulls back from the siscon comedy as well, giving us a glimpse into Itsuki’s life and relationship with his friends, giving audiences a reprieve from our main character’s uncomfortable obsession with little sisters.
Linny: Also unlike other shows with siscon as a theme, Sister’s All You Need is a lot more frank and against the protagonist’s obsession with inserting his siscon obsession into his writing. In fact, his editor chews him out and even calls him names for his unusual obsession. However, the show then tones down his friends’ disapproval of his obsessions, with most of them treating it just like a weird and annoying quirk than an actually morally questionable stance. And one could argue that even his editor’s criticism seems to be more focused on the fact that Itsuki inserted the siscon related writing into a novel that has nothing to do with it and the extreme nature of the siscon content, rather than because of the author’s obsession itself.
Tom: Focusing on the characters for a moment, our lead is one Hashima Itsuki. He’s a successful light novel author who writes little sisters as his primary heroines. They feature in all his work, mostly because the man is absolutely obsessed with them, despite not actually having a sister of his own (although that likely explains the obsession.) Like Linny said, the editor is brutally against Itsuki’s siscon tendencies and rejects his manuscripts that take it far too far. His friends aren’t terribly supportive of it either, although condemning him with less vigor. That said, Itsuki displays a different, more likable side to him later on in the episode, that makes him a more sympathetic character as we learn that there’s more to him that just a siscon obsessive. His friends range from more down to Earth characters like Fuwa Haruto, another novelist, or Shirakawa Miyako, a college girl, and Hashima Chihiro, Itsuki’s younger step brother. The only other truly outrageous character is Kani Nayuta, who, like Itsuki, can delve into some pretty crazy and offensive territory, as Linny mentioned above. While Itsuki’s vice is the whole siscon thing, Nayuta has no problem spouting vulgar and shameless raunchy dialogue at Itsuki, all in an effort to ‘woo’ him into her arms. She’s another YMMV element and only truly likable for people who enjoy raunchy, shock value sexual comedy.
Linny: Most of the first episode is played for comedy, with the show going so far as to have this giant annoying red stamp, with what I assume is the show’s logo, appear on the screen every time a character delivers a punchline. It’s annoying because it makes the humour feel very forced, kind of like having canned audience laugh or a drum rimshot play after ever slight joke. However, it’s in the last few minutes that Sister’s All You Need gets serious and honest, showing us a more humble and sombre side to Itsuki, his dedication and ambitious nature as an author that has nothing to do with his siscon obsession. And best of all, the episode ends on that note, leaving the viewer with a thoughtful moment rather than ending on a surprise joke that ruins an otherwise sound moment. It’s a poignant move that has me hoping the show will evolve to be an over the top parody of the siscon genre and not end up becoming the very thing it’s mocking.
Tom: A Sister’s All You Need doesn’t shy away from some of anime’s more uncomfortable, sexual topics. Either utilizing them as comedy, or perhaps even seeking to challenge them, like the whole siscon issue. While A Sister’s All You Need could be compared to Eromanga-sensei of the Spring season, there’s hints that it would like to challenge the concept rather than truly wallow in it. Since the series is touching on one of the most controversial and divisive aspects of the anime medium, I did some digging to try and see whether the hints in this first episode pay off. It’s currently unclear however whether the series will truly do all it needs to make this feel like a lampooning of siscon’s or deconstruction. For all I was able to gather, it’s still very possible A Sister’s All You Need will ultimately end up becoming the very thing it seeks to deconstruct.
Linny: When we first started up A Sister’s All You Need, going into it blind, the first few outrageous minutes had me cussing at how shameless the show was. We’ve been subjected to so many series in the past that try to make siscon ‘acceptable’ by presenting it as a joke/source of comedy and I thought this show was taking that to the extreme. And in all honesty, even once the show moved past that, I doubt a more sensitive and sombre audience could get over the outrageous comedic. But, if you have a more forgiving palette and can stomach jokes that might make others extremely uncomfortable, the last few minutes of the premiere episode have me hopeful that this show could escape the trappings of its genre and even be one of the few acceptable shows with siscon as part of its theme. That is, if it keeps up the condemnation of the obsession and focuses instead on our author being serious about becoming a better writer.
Tom: Despite my reservations, I actually liked what we saw. Sure the comedy can be offensive, but that kind of outrageous nature is my thing. I think anyone comfortable with outrageous, sexual comedy shouldn’t have an issue, especially with more of a heart underneath that, it makes A Sister’s All You Need feel like a more rounded comedy romance than usual. Where it goes could be entirely uncomfortable or entirely disgusting as its opening five minutes. But the hints dropped that Itsuki will be forced to realize that having a sister is far different than he believes, gives me hope the series is what it truly claims to be. I’m really hoping its title means “A Sister’s All You Need to Get Over Your Stupid Sister complex” rather than “A Sister’s All You Need to Keep Wallowing in Your Unhealthy Obsession.”