Masamune Izumi accidentally discovers that his hikikomori sister (by marriage, not blood, which is asserted to be important here), named Sagiri, is actually Eromanga Sensei, the artist who illustrates his stories. Soon he writes a "little sister" story (that is quite accurately described, by another character, as a love confession to Sagiri), and proposes that he and Sagiri collaborate on turning it into a story to be entered into a competition against a more successful author named Senju Muramasa. Other things may have happened too, while I was asleep...
Tastelessly lurid is bad enough, but tastelessly lurid AND YET BORING is a special kind of bad only rarely realized as completely as it is here. Eromanga Sensei takes the incest and harem themes that Oreimo made more explicit in its weak Second Season, and makes them...well, even MORE explicit than THAT; the echoes of Oreimo's Season Two include our sibling heroine's exclusion of any other romantic partner for her brother but herself. ("Big Brother, you can't go on dates with girls for the rest of your life!".) Here there's an attempt to make this palatable on the grounds that Masamune and Sagiri are not blood kin, a dodge we've seen before. (See Photo Kano.) But even aside from the shakiness of this argument, there's another deep moral problem here- Sagiri seems to be no more than 12 years old or so (and the Wikipedia article on the manga confirms this IS her age.)
And let's face it, Sagiri really isn't an appealing character. While Oreimo's Kirino at least had fire in her personality, Sagiri is MUCH more the passive-aggressive sort when she bothers to get angry at all ("I was sulking in bed"). The only time I really liked her at all was in the end title sequence, where she's dancing while doing laundry, which must represent a later stage of the story than we're shown, because it takes FOREVER just to get her out of her room. And there IS the issue of her drawing erotic illustrations (Remember that she's 12?), and is trying to get her Big Brother to flip the skirts up of the girls he meets so she can have a model for drawing older girls. She has one favorite expression- when someone mentions "Eromanga Sensei" in her presence, she always says, "I don't know anyone by that name!" So WHY am I supposed to like her, again?
Oreimo created two memorable characters in Saori and (especially) Kuroneko. This one also has two principal female characters besides Sagiri, but they're lackluster compared to the two in Fushimi's earlier effort. The better one is "Elf" Yamada. (I don't know if the nickname is BECAUSE of the ears, or whether the nickname came first and the ears were bobbed to match.) Elf, like Masamune, is a "light novelist", and she's apparently much more successful at it than he is. She goofs off most of the time, only doing actual writing when the mood strikes her. (Note here: Elf, Masamune, and Muramasa - who I mentioned in the synopsis- are all "light novel" authors, and, at least in the show itself, seem obsessed with writing about themselves, probably NOT a good idea if you're as boring as these guys are.) Elf is also a bit of an egomaniac- though in fairness, she DOES have a nice smile- and at the beginning of the show she moves in next door to Masamune. Of course she comes to love him- ALL the girls in this show love him. She at least does exhibit flashes of self-awareness, and even humor.
The other principal girl is that Senju Muramasa, a short-haired girl who usually wears a kimono and who ALSO is a more successful author than Masamune. She says she wants to "crush" Masamune, but it's only because she's so much IN LOVE with him, you see. You DON'T see? Well, it's a bit hard to understand how someone can feel both these contradictory things (within the SAME EPISODE, mind), but Senju has her own (incomprehensible) logic about all this. The fingers of her right hand are always bandaged; perhaps she's such a traditionalist that she composes all her stories by calligraphy instead of on a keyboard. She's uptight and more than a bit of a prig, but on the other hand knows what the male organ looks like and exactly where it's situated - Sagiri and Elf don't- but it's a knowledge she's gained in the most innocent way imaginable. While I thought Elf had a certain amount of charm (sometimes, when she wasn't being full of herself), I just could NOT like either Sagiri or Senju.
I also didn't like Shidou Kunimitsu, another aspiring author (and one of only 3 male characters in the show, the other one being Elf's brother Chris), whose function in the plot is one of experiencing continual "gay panic", which in context is utterly stupid, and here's WHY: Shidou and the other authors (Masamune, Elf, and Senju) are having a party in Masamune's home after a writing competition. "Eromanga Sensei" is joining the party via Skype (she wears a mask whenever she's seen on camera). Shidou hears enough in her conversation to tell him that there's something between Masamune and "Eromanga Sensei", and that sends him into gay panic mode, EVEN THOUGH THE VOICE OF "EROMANGA SENSEI" IS CLEARLY FEMALE! (And, for that matter, so is the mask she's wearing.) And as for our hero Masamune- let's face it, he's a pedophile, whether you regard him as an incestuous one as well or not. And for all that, as I said, the damned thing kept putting me to sleep, mainly because there's no real plot here AT ALL- the main characters posture a lot, and engage in meaningless competitions, and dwell on stuff that one would normally think would at least be good for exploitation purposes, but the show is as unable to connect ANYWHERE as a fighter would be who'd consumed a heavy dose of sedatives- perhaps SEVERAL heavy doses of sedatives- before going into the ring. This is the most sleep-inducing "dramatic" material that I've experienced since the Vangelis sequences in Chariots of Fire, but without even "arty" pretensions here.
At one point our cast here actually encounters the cast of Oreimo, and I found myself wishing I could leave the cast of THIS show and accompany the cast of THAT one instead. I guess this is supposed to be the story of the people who create those "little sister" manga/anime/games Kirino likes so much; who would have guessed their own stories were so implausible and yet so dull? — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Some nudity, though not completely explicit. Swimsuits and Twister together; Sagiri also has her obsession with the underwear of older girls (just for her art, she says).
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Eromanga Sensei © 2017 A-1 Pictures
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