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?!
And here we now approach what is possibly the most fanservice-laden anime in my queue this season. Which is a shame, because if this show just eased its foot of the moe pedal just a touch, this one could have real depth. It could be a story of two siblings trying to re-establish a connection with one another after the death of their parents and finding their passions in the creative world as an outlet and working together to produce light novels. But the “anime” aspect just keeps getting in the way, which is frustrating.
If this show was just a stage for cute girls doing cute things, I wouldn’t be so annoyed, but just as Izumi and Sagiri start to get close to one another, something deliberately gets in the way. Whether it’s a super-annoying support character, a classic misinterpretation of meaning or, one of my personal anime pet peeves, accidentally falling into each other resulting in one character pinning the other down. Cue awkward stares and blushes.
Sagiri is also a huge hyper tsundere/dandere combo. I mean, she’s so much at times that it’s almost painful. Whether she’s getting flustered in Izumi’s presence or screaming “BAKAAA!” as loud as she possibly can at him, she’s the opposite of Izumi’s rather dumb, clueless demeanour. Since Sagiri won’t leave her room, he cooks all her meals, does all the housework and is always on hand for her 24-hour snack runs.
As her Eromanga Sensei persona, Sagiri is famous for her lewd and erotic drawings that compliment Izumi’s pen-name, Masamune-sensei’s, writing. Though she chiefly draws ’em young and cute, Izumi is urging her to try and draw more developed, overtly sexual characters. Which results in Sagiri calling him a stringful of names and slamming her bedroom door in his face.
It’s no surprise that Eromanga Sensei‘s getting a lot of flack in the anime community. It is essentially the successor to Oreimo (written again by Tsukasa Fushimi) and doesn’t seem to have advanced any of the themes; and the main one is the pseudo-incest relationship here (pseudo because they’re step-siblings, so apparently this makes the whole thing okay). Around this, there’s slapstick situational comedy which is mildly amusing with supporting characters that are trope-y and two-dimensional. But at least Eromanga Sensei doesn’t claim to be anything more.
But that’s not to say that all imouto-centric anime is trash – it isn’t. I actually gave this one a watch because of how much I loved Himouto! Umaru-chan. As a result, there are some things about Eromanga Sensei I do enjoy. You can’t say that Sagiri isn’t cute, and her cuteness is entertaining if you ignore the weird tension that occurs sporadically between her and Izumi. It’s light-hearted and comical enough to carry itself and I enjoy seeing the light novel drawing aspect in the same way I loved them in Shirobako and New Game!. It is what it is and if anyone finds themselves bored or offended by the content, then just stop watching. I often found myself watching Eromanga Sensei to give myself a break when I’ve been watching a bit more intensive anime. To see the two of them working together and winning light novel competitions actually gives this anime some of the depth it was lacking in the earlier episodes, but it may have come too late in the story to have any real lasting impact.
Eromanga Sensei is clearly aimed at a certain type of audience, and it aims to meet it quickly. It’s clear that any plot development is second to Izumi and Sagiri’s burgeoning relationship and gratuitous shots of rosy knees and blushing cheeks, but it’s not the complete write-off that some reviewers would have you believe. If you’re looking for something upbeat with comedy and cute girls, you might be onto a winner here. If you can’t see past the more outrageous aspects and enjoy what else is here, I’d give this one a miss.