Awww, c’mon. Everyone wants a little sister, don’t they?
I have an older sister. Ten years older. She was my defacto mother until she was able to leave home. Thereafter, not a lot of contact. I missed out on the joy of a little sister entirely. It occurs to me that a majority of boys never have the pleasure. Or stress.
In his autobiographical collection of short stories, The Nick Adams Stories, Hemingway describes Nick’s little sister affectionately. Nick is in trouble with the law for poaching and has to hide in the depths of Michigan’s northern woods. (I grew up with those woods as my backyard.) His mother sends his little sister with him, mainly to prevent Nick from murdering the boy who turned him in.
Not that the little a**hole didn’t deserve killing. He was a thoroughly despicable human being. Mom, in her infinite wisdom, realized that an arrest warrant for poaching was easily evaded by leaving the state. In those pre-computer – and pre-almost-everything-else days, it would be forgotten before long and he could return. Murder would be a different matter.
See how useful a sister can be?
Little sisters are always beautiful. They may sometimes irritate the hell out of big bro but on an instinctive level, he knows that she has 50% of his genes. As much as each parent and far more than the extended family. As many as any child he might have. Most older brothers, given a chance, will protect that little sister any way he can. Even younger brothers will want to protect big sis. That’s an anime trope that has some basis in reality.
Parents can do a lot to foster love between siblings even though they compete for attention and drive each other nuts. Or they can destroy the natural bond that forms between siblings by playing them against each other or corrupt it with favoritism. That’s a thing too.
Sometimes that filial love misses the mark and becomes incestuous. I’m not here to boo and hiss incest. I have read scientific stuff indicating that of all the kinds of incest, consensual sexual relations between similarly aged siblings is the least likely to have negative life consequences. And those are mostly external consequences from the reactions of others. It is one of the few remaining taboos of our day, one that anime loves to play with. (Yosuga no Sora, anyone?)
This particular anime takes a different tack on the sis-con trope. Our protagonist has a raging little sister complex but has no little sister. It is what drives him to write sis-con lite novels and manga. It is so overblown as to be a hyper-parody of the trope.
Itsuki Hashima is the protagonist of our story. At the age of 20, he has dropped out of college and writes lite novels for a living. One has even sold 100,000 copies. He is a total pervert in his fantasies of having a sexually desirable younger sister. But what would he do if he had one?
His latest fantasy has her naked and climbing on top of him in bed, then kissing him and leaving. He drinks her bathwater, dries his face with her old bra, then he goes downstairs for breakfast. She’s still nude. Breakfast is well… really sick. Next, out of an extradimensional portal, she pulls out a used pair of panties to wipe the ketchup off his mouth…. and then he eats them.
Ok, so this is kind of kinky…
We still don’t know how he’d really react. He’s just playing a game in his mind and spilled it out on paper as a story. My bet is the real thing would get kindness and filial love. Maybe worship…
Nayuta Kani is a young woman who loves him. She is 18, petite, platinum blonde and shapely. In high school, she was bullied and fell in love with Itsuki when she read his books. They told her that even though she didn’t fit into school, there was a place for her elsewhere. OTOH, he isn’t bright enough (or maybe confident enough?) to return the affection. She could easily fit into his life as the little sister he never had if she would role play it a bit.
She is also an author and likes to do all her writing in the nude – much to Miyako’s embarrassment one day. (That is a trait she shares with Victor Hugo, Earnest Hemingway, D.H.Lawrence and even occaisonally Agatha Christie.) In fact, she does everything she can in the nude and with such joie de vivre, the more constrained Miyako wishes she “could sparkle like that.” About as close to an actual nudist as anime gets.
Her debut novel stunned Itsuki with its quality. He said that she was on a whole ‘nother level from him. It was so good it caused him to weep. At first, he had been happy to hear her say she would like to go out with him. It may be the quality of her writing and his own insecurity about his own squelched it.
My feeling is that Itsuki is just using his fantasy as a way of not getting too close to real women. Nayuta seems to have the patience to wait for him.
Miyako Shirakawa went to college with Itsuki and became his friend, despite the fact he spoke in a horribly insulting manner to her, calling her a slut and disregarding her feelings completely. I’m not sure why she still hung around him but he has moderated his ways and now treats her as a friend. Her feelings, which she keeps down, are more romantic. They conflict with her deep friendship with Nayuta.
We are left wondering what she sees in him. Why does she persist?
As the only non-writer of the adults in Itsuki’s little group sometimes she feels a little left out. But she has a great deal of empathy for people with pain in their lives.
Chihiro Hashima is actually the younger sister Itsuki has been longing for. However… she dresses as a boy and pretends to be one. When Itsuki was younger, there was a schism between him and his father who remarried immediately after his mother died. Because he would never speak to his father and stepmother, Itsuki was never told his step-sibling, Chihiro, was female.
When Itsuki went on his own, only Chihiro would come to visit. Even though she was pretending to be a boy, she would do lots of traditionally feminine things for him, like cook, clean, and wash dishes. With the severity of Itsuki’s sister complex, I don’t blame her for not correcting his mistake.
Haruto Fuwa is the “straight man.” He is virtuous and a straight arrow but amused and tolerant of Itsuki’s kink. Of the authors, he was the first published and now has the first novel to go to anime and he is preoccupied with the process. (Itsuki is a bit jealous.) Because he is a good looker and successful but still virtuous, Nayuta needles him by saying he must be promiscuous and calls him “Prince Manwh*re”. Yup. The subtitles replaced the “o” with an asterisk.
But Haruto has his own fetishes as we eventually find out. Also, part of his “author’s schtick” is pretending to be Itsuki’s gay lover. He thinks it is getting the fujoshi crowd to buy his books.
Kenjiro Toki is his long-suffering editor. That fantasy I mentioned above was the opening to the latest chapter in a story Itsuki was trying to sell him on, “The Scarlet Jeager”. It does not go over well.
Itsuki also has a bad habit of not making his editorial deadlines. Mr. Toki has been known to go to extreme measures, abducting Itsuki and imprisoning him in a room until he finally completes the draft.
Oh… and Kenjiro loves and admires sex workers.
That pretty much describes the characters central to Itsuki’s life. But there’s a few more of some import.
Ashley Oono is a cute blonde tax accountant introduced later in the season. She is very good at saving her client’s money but has a sadistic streak. She loves to torture her clients with the secrets she discovers about them. She is a true demon about it.
Setsuna Ena is Itsuki’s novel illustrator. He has a habit of not being there when he is needed and going for long trips as deadline approaches. However, his work matches exactly the aesthetic that Itsuki is looking for. But once he reads Nayuta’s novel, Itsuki no longer considers his work to be good enough for Setsuna’s art.
Setsuna has an obsession with asses. He wants to see them for “research”. Old ladies, young girls, doesn’t matter. He goes full-blown assault by pantsing Chihiro because he immediately sees her as female and decides her ass is “Godly” and he must see it. I didn’t think it was either well done or particularly funny. For this, he immediately falls into bizarre creep and molester status. Relax. It is just anime. It is not a guidebook for how to behave IRL.
Kaiko Mikuniyama is a manga artist who beats Setsuna in a competition to see who gets to turn Itsuki’s novels into manga. Like him, she is a little sister fanatic.
However, she also has an obsession and it conflicts with Itsuki’s vision. He wants the girls in his manga drawn completely nude. He is really into the aesthetics of the nude female form. However, she is consumed by a fetish for underwear and insists on really sexy panties and bra. They have to work their artistic differences out.
Ayane Mitahora is a girl from Itsuki’s past. She was the daughter of the maid and came over to visit when Itsuki was feeling down after his mother died. Itsuki became very attached to her and confessed but she turned him down. He already had the idea of a little sister as being interesting. That additional bit of trauma at a unhappy time may be what turned him from ever getting too close to another woman. Instead, he created an impossible sis-con fantasy so he’d never be tempted to try. Nobody can live up to a fantasy.
This is ecchi. It is also a slice of life comedy. And it is a harem. Life is complete!
You won’t find a lot of plot in this. It is all about the various interactions.
There are arcs. One is the looming deadline for Itsuki’s manuscript and summary. Another is Haruto’s impending anime production. If you look closely, you will see character development. That development isn’t really fundamental to the storyline.
This is the official subtitling Crunchyroll is showing, right? Did they intend to say these things?
The word gay is always censored to *** in the subtitles. Odd, given their willingness to print “fuck” – and “dick” when used by Nayuta offering the protagonist fellatio. The words “m*****bates”, “manwh*re” and others being censored with strategic asterisks as well. The censorship is inconsistent.
This anime also has no problem using nudity for comedic effect.
Ah, he’s just pretending to be a little sister getting horny for her big brother… How else do you get the dialog right? Nayuta understands. (Wonder what she will do with all those snaps of his anatomy? Ah, yes. Just research for her novel.) Miyako doesn’t see her point – and didn’t want to see his.
It has no problem getting into a bit of yuri as well. I did say that Nayuta only writes when she is nude? Miyako is really quite the pushover with another woman.
Of course, she’s only doing research for her novels. Needs to know how these things work. She said that if only her own boobs were bigger, she could figure it out herself…
Don’t worry. That isn’t the end of the fan service. This show is drenched in it. And plenty of clear references to other famous anime.
I find it desperately difficult to write reviews about slice of life. The characters and how they interact are the plot. There is no grand arc, no defining character development. If you don’t like the interaction there really isn’t much there for you. At the end of the series, the people in it may have learned some life lessons but they are still pretty much the same coming out as when they came in.
It is funny. You can disagree if you like but I don’t watch much of an anime if I don’t enjoy it. Life is too short to waste precious time on mediocre entertainment. As this anime develops, I find myself feeling for the main characters. I see their flaws and their virtues and their failures and dreams. They are all creative people. They have deadlines. They have insecurities. There’s dinner at Itsuki’s. There’s drinking. There’s travel to fun locations for “research”. Every day has a new adventure. They became people I care about.
I’ve watched both Oreimo and Eromanga Sensei. Neither one struck me as being nearly as taboo as many reviews I’ve read indicate. But this is so over the top, so beyond the pale, I can’t imagine anyone taking it seriously enough to be offended. Certainly not anyone willing to stick with it after that naked Itsuki bathroom scene.
There are a lot of nude scenes. I have a different take on this than most but most of the fan service is pretty wholesome in reality. Who hasn’t wanted to frolic naked on the beach on a deserted island?
The art was good and the fan service was excellent. Didn’t feel forced. The voices were well done. All IMHO, of course.
If only… Nayuko would dress younger and call Itsuki, “Oni-chan”. It would only take one or two times and he’d be eating out of her hands. They have a great deal in common. The feelings are there, just hidden. If you would be someone’s lover, you should at least take out their fantasies for a spin. You may like what you find.
Chihiro cannot possibly keep the deception up much longer. Just from the art, you can tell puberty is in the works. Ashley, the accountant, sees right through her. Anyone not already assuming she was a boy would immediately see her as a very pretty young girl.
None of the nagging questions get answers. They hang over the heads of the protagonists but they are just the background for the action. That’s just how slice-of-life is. Really important things don’t change. They color how you view the anime but what might happen in the future isn’t what keeps you watching. It is what happens to the protagonists right now that you watch it for.
And the most important episode of all is the very last one. Although, I could use another season of this.