Eromanga-sensei – Mid Season Anime Review
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Synopsis: Masamune Izumi is a high school student who writes light novels. Sagiri Izumi is a shut-in who never leaves her room. A year ago, she became Masamune’s little sister. But one day, Masamune discovers a shocking twist—The artist “Eromanga Sensei,” who has been drawing illustrations for his novels, is none other than his little sister Sagiri! His cute little shut-in of a sister, who has been living under his roof, is using an obscene pen name and draws lewd illustrations?! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis.)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Heads up, Eromanga will REPEATEDLY remind you that its hero and heroine are NOT actually related by blood, clearly trying to remove the stigma of a romance between the two. YET, Masamune keeps mentioning how he is Sagiri’s brother and thus absolutely does not and will not have lewd thoughts about her because that’s not what brothers do. YET in episode 2, he talks about how because he gets to wash his cute little sister’s panties everyday, all other women pale in comparison to her looks. (Doesn’t make much sense I know. It is extremely creepy, yes I agree.). It’s like the show doesn’t know what it wants to be, switching from one mindset to the other constantly. It also doesn’t help that we know for a fact that Sagiri and the other girls are all meant to be about 14 years old, but the camera keeps panning on and lingering on their crotches which makes for very uncomfortable viewing.
Tom: Eromanga-sensei tries to straddle that line between sibling relationship and flirting with the idea of wanting more, but continually falls right out of the comfort zone for most western viewers. As Linny said both siblings protest, but there’s plenty of hints and not so subtle nods to the idea that both would actually like to be in a romantic relationship with each other rather than a familial one, even if they’re not entirely honest with themselves. It’s this adherence to the teasing that pushes boundaries and acts as a test for how far down the pseudo-incest rabbit hole you’re willing to go. It’s going to be a make or break aspect to the series for most viewers and you should know before going in that Eromanga-sensei doesn’t seem to be letting up, but rather strengthening itself in regards to that particular quirk.
Linny: Though the show has Eromanga-sensei in its title and does feature her regularly, it also focuses heavily on Masamune and his quest to be a successful author who can provide for the two of them. Recently, the show seems to be focusing more and more on this quest of his, introducing not only more rivals for him but also featuring the workings of the light novel industry with a lot of creative license taken, so do not expect much realism here. On a side note, if you prefer your female characters to be aggressive and rambunctious yet also very chaste, this seems to be the definition for almost every girl in the show. Sure, Sagiri is shy at first but she has no problems screaming and getting mad at her brother.
Tom: Six episodes in and the cast has expanded a fair amount, introducing two rival authors for Masamune to contend with, as well as Megumin, a bubbly girl interested in befriending the home bound Eromanga-sensei. It’s these side characters that keep the show afloat when our leads start drifting further and further into questionable territory. Megumin, for example, is a ton of fun as she willingly says some of the most inappropriate things, providing solid shock humor. Elf, Masamune’s first rival author, is a rather classic tsundere with a strong superiority complex. But what keeps her fun and a highlight for the series is her voice actress who injects a ton of personality and life into an otherwise overused character archetype. It’s these girls interactions with Masamune that keep a lot of the humor flowing through the series, or even their interactions with Eromanga-sensei herself.
Linny: As almost all the girls in the show fall easily into stereotypes, Megumin seemed like she had the potential to be the most loved or hated character in the show with her completely carefree attitude to spouting lewd lines and mean truths. Sadly, as the season progressed, we seem to have discovered that this all might just be a facade and at the end of the day, she too is just a shy, chaste girl putting on a slutty act to be popular. And thank the heavens for Eromanga/Sagiri’s adorable character design and behaviour when absorbed in her illustration work because otherwise, she’d easily disappear as yet another shy tsundere trope.
Tom: The general progression of the show is fairly predictable. Much of the show’s attention is on Masamune’s efforts to get closer to his sister, Eromanga, and somehow get her to come out of her room. The show does at times distract from this, with additional plot lines that pull the focus away to other aspects of the series, like a mid series development focusing on Masamune’s efforts to publish a new novel series. As Linny noted, the series has never entirely been grounded in reality (just how many mid-teen light novel authors am I supposed to believe there are?), the series starts to stray further into ‘fantasy’ territory as Masamune finds himself entering a “Writer’s Tournament” in order to secure a publication spot, a development much unlikely to happen in real life. It’s around this point you’ll be tested as to how far you’re willing to go down this increasingly unrealistic portrayal of the light novel publishing industry.
Linny: Be warned that the humour in this show can get a bit risque with a young teen girl joking that she loves dicks and so do all the other girls her age. That said, the show does non filthy humour well too, though there is no denying that it does shocking/somewhat inappropriate kind of humour best. Or maybe it’s just that those moments leave the biggest impact. Sometimes, it even does a good job of using what would normally be considered a lewd gag and making it seem somewhat innocent and truly hilarious. For example, in one episode Sagiri has Megumin blindfolded and tied up, and yanks Megumin’s panties off because of her obsession with drawing and observing cute lingerie. It sounds scandalous, looks very much so, but comes off purely comedic in the moment.
Tom: Overall I’m very mixed on Eromanga-sensei and still actively trying to decide if we’ll stick with it to the end of the season. The side characters are wonderful with both Megumin and Elf enticing me to continue. But then there’s the tournament development, which seems perhaps too silly for my tastes, coupled with the pseudo-incest teasing and I’m left feeling conflicted. Eromanga-sensei has some really great comedic highs, but also a lot of content that really limits its audience.
Linny: If you’re even the slightest bit uncomfortable with sibling romance, Eromanga-sensei flirts with the idea too often to be an okay watch. That said, it still has some solid comedic moments and characters that help to entertain anyone unimpressed but not too bothered by our lead step sibling pair. I also wouldn’t recommend this show to anyone wanting a realistic exploration of the light novel industry. At the end of the day, Eromanga-sensei is worth a try if you have zero to very low issues with implied romantic feeling between step siblings, like a bit of outrageous comedy and cute female heavy casting but the show is not a must watch by any means.