First Impression* – Eromanga-sensei

To not draw lewd pictures is to accept defeat

We start off having to imagine the pearl. The world advertises us pearls all the time, but when you’re a certain age, they don’t let you have an oyster knife, much less the permission to dive the depths. That’s the way it is with the young, boundless need and boundless imagination.                            *post covers Episodes 01 and 02

March Comes in Like a Loli

Dude, it’s April…

So now we have the imagined pearl. Now just add that to the nominally (and let’s face it – exaggerated, but that’s a point I’ll get to) prolific output of light novel writers and artists. Given no other choice but to imagine the pearl and all the parts that go with it, we cannot really fault these teens writers and artists for all the vivid and forceful imagination that their work ends up becoming. Well, yeah we can, but that’s not this story, at least not yet. This is a one that wears it’s Mary and Marty Stu affectations without so much of a hint of shame, and I don’t think it cares who it bothers doing that. In that, I’m finding that I like the stride. Both characters are very well drawn these two episodes, and I find I can accept them both for their values as I can their faults. Masamune is a likeable goober, and Sagari has a light in a bushel that needs to shine. This is a story that asks about the lines between fame, success, and happiness.

It’s like neither one wanted it to end

The first episode does a really good job setting both the situation and the two main characters up. Sagiri is the titular character. She serves as our artist and is ably voiced by relative newcomer Fujita Akane; she’s gotten a breakout run this season, it seems, and she’s playing three fairly different character types with fairly different pitches. Sagiri has to be a hard character to pitch right, she has to be quiet one moment, and excited the next. Insistent one moment, fainting away the next. Her brother (not in blood!) Masamune is played by stalwart Matsuoka Yoshitsugu; and let’s face it, no one gives him any reason to change his performance all that much, so he plays the confident every-dude, with just the touch of sarcasm beneath.

She can be assertive…

The artist and the writer unknowingly live under the same roof, and have recently gotten a cache of notice and success for the run on Masamune’s first professionally written series, the chuuni titled Reincarnation of Silverwolf (goodness, can’t you just hear the tropes banging and crashing into each other?). I like the fact that they broke the situation fairly early, and that they told the story from there. That keeps the “oh will they or won’t they find out the secret” from event starting to get overly silly, as keeping up that sort of pretense for much longer would have gotten tedious, fast. Of the two, I think that Sagari is going to be the most dynamic, as she has the further to come along. She’ll carry that cute heart, but she has a fierce intelligence that is also developing, and one that shouldn’t be ignored. She might be the smarter of the two. But don’t count the boy out, I think his assumptions are go to be surprised fully before the show is near over.

…the talented usually are when they hit their stride…

Both character’s look to be carrying heavy burdens as the family unit is fractured; naturally, where else would you get the drama they want? The art of life imitating the life of art, I guess? But despite that, the situation does feel fairly genuine without a lot of histrionics. They endure the best they can, and the lack of parents has made them push their creative endeavors beyond just amateurish attempts. This is not as exaggerated as a lot of stories would portray it, but it does rather shove against some level of verisimilitude. I think making them exceptionally talented might push that too far into the absurd direction, but it doesn’t take long for that thought bubble to burst, and they do that by the following episode. So far we have a good start, to people that want to push themselves harder for good reasons. They’ve come to an end of one road, one of partial ignorance of each other, and the new road is going to be ever more aware of each other, with pains from the past as a few road signs it seems…

Whatcha doin’ there Megu?

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Oh goodness, Megumi is just the sort of character I like at this point in the story; no not for that reason, no need to be dickish about this. Just when the mains get a sense of either settling into a new status quo or perhaps getting back to the old one, along comes someone to shake that up a bit; these two are just to reserved and they both hide and hide behind their hobby; time to add someone with less a sense of shame, and a straightforward manner to that. Within moments, she’s gotten her foot in the door, and is challenging things. Her character is pretty much made of “No, no, no. None of this is going to work! We need to change it!”. She teases, she plots, she ploys, and in the end, she get’s what she was after. I’m pretty sure she was sure she wouldn’t succeed in dragging Sagri out just by showing up. But they’ve painted Megumi as sly enough to know that she knows she can plant a seed, and she looks patient enough to tend it.

The bark is worse than the bite…

So if Sagari must be shaken out of her complacency, so too must Masamune. But where Sagri got the imp of clever, her brother got the imp of the not-as-clever-as-she-thinks. You know, I want to mention one thing to get it out of the way. The original story might be setting up good art vs. bad art in this confrontation between Masamune and Elf Yamada, but I honestly can’t tell with certainty. To me, most LN’s read as very quick, not overwritten, high on tropey content, and light on actual depth. There is nothing wrong with this at all in my mind. Sometimes you want a fun read that doesn’t drain the brain, and sometimes you want a read that feeds the brain. LNs are the former, and rarely the later. Elf seems to be on the backfoot of even that trend. Popular with a large crowd, but it looks like she’s pretty much a flash in the pan. She has to change too. Getting a better artist seems like it might keep that precious rating of hers, and her sights are set on the Eromanga-sensei. But that’s just the connective tissue. I’m guessing that the meat will be her wearing Sagiri down in ways the other two cannot. After saying that, I do wonder if that demanding attitude makes her a diligent writer that just needs the right spark to grow. Again, enter Sagiri? But this sudden adversarial position between Masamune and Elf, it may be the thing that pushes them our two mains forward.

More tropes for your LN needs

more than you can shake a stick at…

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Well, like I said during our Spring Picks post, the comparisons to Oreimo seem natural. For me, over-comparing at this point is a knee-jerk reaction at best, and lazy at worst. The tone is roughly the same but the characters seem like it on first glance but that falls away quick. The LN/artist/otaku angle is stolen straight from Tsukasa’s previous famous work. But I think it pretty much ends there, and while it may be mining the same tone, it’s doing so at a different enough angle, looking for a different type of ore. I can almost see this as an evolution of where Oreimo was, and I think it’s fine for a creator to revisit and revise under a new light, and I’m hoping that’s what we have in store here. A-1 Pictures and Takeshita Ryouhei have made a nice looking, and the crew is firing on all cylinders and not missing a step. I will always enjoy watching Odo Hiroyuki’s designs no matter what show they appear in, and the writing from Takahashi Tatsuya is just as good as his other work. In all honesty, the show has to carry the weight of it’s predecessor and that’s not entirely fair at this point. If it stinks, let it stink by earning that itself. But for now, this is a solid, fun, kooky little watch, and I really like it.

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All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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27 Responses to “First Impression* – Eromanga-sensei”

  1. zztop says:

    Some people are saying that Eromanga-sensei is Tsukasa Fushimi’s way of redoing the sibling incest route he envisioned for OreImo, but was denied by his editors.

    • skylion says:

      That’s not a bad idea really. If I had the capacity I think I’d revisit a work that got compromised.

      • zztop says:

        I think Watase Yuu’s also doing the same thing for her manga, Arata:The Legend.
        Back then, she was stuck with a crappy editor who forced his opinions on her and refused to approve her stuff for release unless she did as he told. Result was that her visions for some of her earlier chapters were compromised.

        Last I heard she’s redoing the old manga chapters to line up with her original vision. Of course it means the present manga’s on hiatus (and likely for longer since she wants to do a new prequel spinoff for Fushigi Yugi).

        • skylion says:

          As for me, I’d much rather have more of Fushigi Yugi, but Arata would be fine. But, let’s not kid, it’s been so long since I’ve perused either, my old brain has forgotten stuff.

  2. Author says:

    Elf Yamada in the anime has a big problem: her introduction is inauspicious and that saddles her with a baggage that’s difficult to undo in anime format. I made a post on the topic specifically, just to document how it went down with the uninitiated.

    • skylion says:

      The bigger they are, the more fun it is to break the character down? She’s projecting that’s for sure. But the real soup is why she’s doing that.

  3. ProtoSovereign says:

    I’m optimistic that Sagiri won’t be the as worthy of loathing as Kirino. As long as Sagiri doesnt’ become Kirino 2.0 we’re good 😀

    • Highway says:

      This was kind of the thought I had, like zztop’s above also: “I think everyone would accept the sibling love fine if we have it where Kirino isn’t a total pain in the ass.” We’ll also see if Sagiri becomes as much of a Mary Sue as Kirino did, which was the other thing that I think probably ticked viewers / readers off.

      I think the other main thing that if he wants to clear the way for that route is not making all of the other girls better than the intended one. Of course, that means that everything could end up on rails and everyone rebels against that.

      • skylion says:

        I hoping they work it out along the lines of “They’re better at this or that aspect than Sagari, and she’ll find out that that’s OK” And by “work it out” I mean, showing the math of the story, and building it up.

    • skylion says:

      I’m one of the few that found Kirino to be just fine; yes she was an annoying character, but that’s the fun with fiction, she isn’t actually real!

      But no, Sagari is cut from a different cloth.

      • Highway says:

        I thought Kirino was fine for what she was. But she was certainly just about everyone’s least favorite character from that show, even Kyousuke’s for most of the show. So I think the impression is that having him just siscon out at the end felt a little too on rails, and not authentic.

        If they can make the relationship here more authentic, then I think the audience response will be more positive.

        • skylion says:

          See, the viewpoint I had was that both Kyousuke and Kirino were OTP from the start, and the rest were just informing that one relationship. So, I didn’t see rails at all in that regard. I did see rails in so far as the overall story is. “This is what this whole incest fetish brings, people. And I showed some restraint in how much it devastated the other people in their lives” While we’ve shared other viewpoints on that sort of relationship, I don’t think they pitched it to that viewpoint. In fact, the end of S2 was a compromise if anything. Everyone is happy with the Incest Kinda-Ending….

          But in focusing on Eromanga, if it is an opportunity to course-correct then they’ll have to avoid getting the dude involved with anyone else, won’t they? Sagiri gave one little clue in that she claims that “it takes more than just living together to make a family”. That’s gonna have to be addressed first, but they aren’t there yet.

          • Highway says:

            The problem I had with that was even if they’re the OTP, they have to, to borrow your phrase, “earn their happy ending.” And that was really the issue that I had with the show: Kirino never earned anything, much less Kyousuke, in that whole show. Of course, it was a significant number of years ago, and maybe I’m misremembering details, or forgetting other things. But my impression continues to be that they end up together in spite of everything that they do together, not because of the things they do together, which leans a little too heavily on the initial conditions for my taste.

            • skylion says:

              So what will they have to fix here, to keep them from the foibles of OreImo? It’s a fine point you bring up, but if this show is a course correction, then what is the new course?

              (Did everyone notice how nuanced my approach was there. I skillfully tipped in a very light question about the show we’re covering now…instead of drawing on past one…)

            • Highway says:

              [I feel I must point out that nuance loses its… er… nuance if you call attention to it. :)]

              I think the main thing is show us why Masamune and Sagiri are attracted to each other. If they’re going to go to an extreme of “I want to be with this person more than any other person” then show us why. In OreImo (hah, to drag it back to comparison), it was almost like “I want to be with everyone else, but come to feel I have an obligation to my sister.” Maybe this time, that will be flipped, since Masamune starts out feeling an obligation to “help” his sister. Maybe from there, they can develop the relationship into something more believable than abuse and Stockholm Syndrome.

            • skylion says:

              [DUH! ><] You see it was that abuse that made such a cartoonish couple that much more compatible! But no, seriously, it's early days for these two, let's see how they play it out...

      • HannoX says:

        I’m another one who wasn’t really bothered by Kirino. But leaving aside the whole incest thing personality-wise she was the worse pick he could have made, apart from her knife-crazy friend (forget her name).

        • akagami says:

          Funny you say that, my preference was Ayase (crazy girl) > Kirino > Kanako (model #3) > Sena (the other little sister) > Saori > Ruri > Manami …

          omg Manami annoyed the hell out of me.

          • skylion says:

            By the time the second series came around I started to like Kanako better. She had a more relaxed attitude to dating, and didn’t really think a big deal needed to be made about it.

            But my fav will always be Kuroneko.

            For this show, it’s got to be Megumin! It’s always Megumin no matter the show.

            • akagami says:

              lol, thanks for that. It gave me a good laugh.

              Kind of reminded me of the Miya’s Can Can (Amagami).

  4. skylion says:

    While the OP is a vanilla as ClariS can get the ED is trysail at their best! YEAH!

  5. akagami says:

    That mask is scary though. When I see people cosplay in those costumes with the funny faces like that (forget the name), it’s just scary.

    • skylion says:

      Oh yeah, the one she was wearing during her live stream? I don’t see how folk wear them, it would distract me like all get out…

  6. Foshizzel says:

    Wow these two episodes were gold! Yeah the setup is totally dumb and so out of this world, but hey welcome to the world of ANIME! They always have some odd setup for the story and why things happen; however I know pen names are a thing irl especially for Light Novel writers so maybe something like this would happen? Probably best to not think about it.

    Megu! OMG BEST GIRL I died when she said “I love dicks” I thought it was a sub troll, but nope I know that’s real! Still though damn I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything cause it caught me by surprise so good job EroManga Sensei!

    Did you see the SAO novel cameo? I’m wondering if the writer for SAO will appear in the anime like the back of his head or walks past the MC later? Might as well!

    On a last note yes drawing ero content is fun! I’ve gotten more likes and views on tumblr and Pixiv this year than non ero drawings and damn I can totally see why people draw ecchi stuff LOL

    • skylion says:

      Odd set ups are good, odd set ups get attention, which is what you want in a story, “pay attention to ME!” But I guess sometimes things can be taken to far, but here the set up looks pretty good.

      When I actually think about it for a second, I think that Megu might be trying to talk “more mature”, and sexuality in any form is grown up and mature from a kid’s point of view. I guess she was tying to make herself look like she could handle things, and so could handle getting Sagiri to come to school. Off Putting, and drink spitting, yes, but a misunderstanding all the same.

      I did catch the SAO bit for a brief second. That’s ASCII Media Works for you. So instead of the LN writer for SAO, maybe Kirito can cameo, he and Masamune shate a VA, so that would be odd and fun.

      • Foshizzel says:

        Right I mean the whole setup of his sister drawing ero manga works in the series because she doesn’t leave her room and nobody ever visits so chances of him or anyone else finding out her secret are slim to none.

        Irl though if you got room mates or siblings that have access to your room or PC would find out in a heartbeat what you’re doing, but of course PCs do have options for passwords and what not so you could hide that sort of secret.

        Setup aside I’m enjoying this series so far as long as it doesn’t try to dip into HERP-A-DERP incest plot i’m good, but given the facts that they aren’t blood related sure I guess they can toy with the idea? I just hope they don’t cause it’s dumb.

        • skylion says:

          Well, I hope it doesn’t Herp-a-Derp into incestory either. But then, they aren’t related, so they’ll have to handle that in some way before a relationship is made. She did bring up that “it takes more than living together to make a family” so maybe she’s on the fence, but prolly not. They haven’t really even lived with each other seeing as how she shuts herself in and neither one knows each other that well.

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