|Well, it looks like I needed an extra day to unpack this one- I kinda wish the creators would have taken an extra day to sort all of this out…but I kid.|
I Can’t Believe my LN Writing Rival is This Cute
Who are you and why are you even here!?
I cannot help but think that there is a certain level of Author Appeal or Author Tract going on concering this episode of Eromanga-sensei. But since I have little, if any, working knowledge of how the light novel publishing business really works – outside of anecdotal and passive internet-level causal knowledge, which is to say, little, if any, working knowledge – I can’t really say how much of an appeal is being made, or which tract the author wants to promote.
The characters in this story may represent actual people that Fushimi-san has known, or a certain type or person, or the characters may be representative of certain facets he finds in himself that he also finds that he shares or can share in common with other writers. I can’t be certain about any of that, but I can make a few reasonable assumptions and test them, so that is the default state I’m going with in looking at how Muramasa works in this episode. She’s less a character and more of an idea or set of ideas in action.
Hey, I’m still here…
In terms of some of the ideas already brought up in the show, she’s the leader. She has the perception of being the superior in terms of mining the particular adventure genre both she and Masamune share. Then she brings out her sales figures, shutting both the boy and Elf down. At the outset Muramasa is belligerent, insistent, and largely intractable. This is her self-described and declared battle ground. She uses her clout to claim it, and woe be to any that choose to square off against her if they come in unprepared to seize their own rightful glory. This is personal to her as much as it is to Masamune, and perhaps Elf as well. The big question is why? Where did she come from, and why does she have this level of zeal to block our boy out of the competition?
He was sleep deprived…
With little other choice, but with renewed passion, both Masamune and Elf tackle the prospect of turning the long form story that he has on hand into a short – and perhaps more impactful, and even more important competition winning – story. I rather liked that they handled that as a montage, only hitting upon a few choice bits, including Elf finding evidence of her continuing heroine status. When you have to be succinct and make it look like there is work going on, then do it quick. It brings the story to the right place at the halfway mark, and brings his writing to the right place as well. But after the halfway mark is where we get the real breakdown.
I will become a copycat, and then replace the cat
Muramasa comes from a certain thought that, “if it doesn’t exist, then I have to create it”. There are many ideas about how and why to write, another perfectly valid one is that you want to do your version of a particular story; one with your trademark style and sensibilities, and for a writer that has an entertaining style, that’s a pretty good place to be. But for the most punch, creating what isn’t already there makes the largest impact. Numbers, either in sales or score, are just one way to present that, and I think that she takes her score of a million out of a hundred a touch to far. She let one person’s enthusiasm get to her; but it was in earnest, and for a young person, that’s embarrassingly fine. However, it does show her that she is on the track she wants to be. Where she really breaks the ranks in is exactly why she’s trying to tear our boy down. Romance stories are for lamers, and battle based novels are where it’s at. Now she didn’t realize that the money issue was very important, but she couldn’t turn back even when being made to realize that. If truth be told, that was probably the thing that actually made her fall in love with him in person, since it was made clear she already was in print. That was a neat, if hamfisted, reversal reveal.
Screw all, ya’ll! I’m first girl! This isn’t about writing,it’s’ about MEEEEE!
So yeah, rather than concentrate on how this light novel trope lead to that trope, and so on and so forth, I wanted to stay on course with character. I think Muramasa is a fine, if not rushed and delivered with and alarming amount of alacrity. To go from nearly yandere to deredere and back again – so to speak, that is – was almost whiplash worthy. But I do think that by taking her character points in the quickest fashion possible, the argument of “good story trumps genre” takes front seat. You contrast that with our male lead, who stayed his course. So even if she lost the competition – and I think she even threw it the only way she could, by going over the page limit – she comes to realize that she could only chase after him for so long, and if his new genre was going to beat her’s then it had better be interesting. In other words, she comes to a better understanding of herself and of him. So, all in all, a decent episode, and one that did further the characterizations, net one more member in the harem, and get Sagiri one more step out of her room.
Words to live and die by…