[Review] Eromanga Sensei – episode 1

Masamune Izumi is a light novel author in high school. His artist, known only as “Eromanga Sensei” is reliable but Masamune has never met him and assumes he’s just a perverted otaku. Masamune’s little sister is Sagiri, a shut-in girl who hasn’t left her room for an entire year. She even forces her brother to make and bring her meals when she stomps the floor. Masamune wants his sister to leave her room, because the two of them are each other’s only family.

One day Masamune discovers that Eromanga Sensei and Sagiri are one in the same. Further chaos erupts between the siblings when a beautiful, female, best-selling shōjo manga creator becomes their rival.

Source: Anime News Network

This is far from the most fanservice-laden premiere of the bunch in terms of pure T&A, but let me assure you it makes up for it with a metric ton of skeeze.

I wasn’t exactly coming in with high expectations, given this is the seasonal siscon show, which made parts of this episode a little bit heartbreaking. There’s the germ of a good story here, one about siblings trying to reconnect after the death of their parents, each seeking validation through the arts and rekindling their bond by working on light novels together. It could be a nice little family drama, and if you toned down the Anime™ elements of the two leads, they’d be likable enough.

Masamune kneels outside Sagiri's bedroom door, sighing with relief. Subtitle: "I guarded it. I guarded the nudity of my little sister."

Unfortunately, this show just will not let you forget how much this guy wants to fuck his sister (sorry, step-sister; all the fetish bait, none of the malformed offspring, Westermarck Effect be damned!). We’re treated to shot after shot of Sagiri’s rosy knees and glistening lips, and the camera pans up her frill-bedecked body as her totally-not-blood-related-so-it’s-cool brother stares at her. It’s that especially sexualized brand of moe that so often makes the rest of the genre look real bad.

There’s quite the virgin-whore complex going on, too. The title (and Sagiri’s penname) come from the fact that she draws erotic illustrations, and is apparently really good at it (her it’s-not-illegal-don’t-worry-about-it brother thinks they’re hot). But she’s not allowed to own the nature of her work in any way, saying instead that it’s “for her job” and vehemently denying it every time Masamune references her penname. It’s a grossly transparent effort to keep her “pure” while also adding a sexualized dimension to her character (putting aside the whole thorny ball of issues that this is a middle school student drawing professional porn), which is usually the subtext of this character type but rarely comes so close to the surface. Let’s call it the “you don’t know you’re beautiful” school of female character creation.

Masamune talks to Sagiri, looking eager. Subtitle: "[Did you say] 'Touch me there'?"

Masamune is also already placing himself as the weird, possessive vanguard of his sister’s body, at one point getting the chance to valiantly save her from accidentally undressing in front of a still-running livestream (while the camera obligingly shows the viewer exactly the image he’s supposedly stopped the internet from seeing). Then, less than five minutes later, he’s drooling over the idea that she wants him to touch her (all a comical misunderstanding, of course). I haven’t seen fetishizing of purity and virginity this gross and bald-faced since the purity ring craze.

Oh, and Sagiri is tsundere, because of course she is, and from all the blushing we’re given to understand she definitely wants her VC-Andrews-would-be-proud brother to smooch her on the mouth. Truly, this is the deep emotional thread of our story.

Also, Masamune has a manager (because he’s a wildly successful teenage author, you see), and she’s #relatable and has a cute design. The next episode preview teases the introduction of the rival author mentioned in the show description, but I have no plans to stick around and see what her character is like. One was enough, thanks.

Read the ANN Preview Guide review.

 

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Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; anime was indeed a mistake. You can read more essays and find out about their fiction at Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, listen to them podcasting on Soundcloud, support their work via Patreon or PayPal, or remind them of the existence of Tweets.

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  • AntonyShepherd

    So in the first episode I thought “Oh, right. They’ve got the ‘she’s not his REAL sister’ thing out of the way” in the first few minutes. I was at a loose end so I decided to give the second episode a go, and that also starts by reiterating they’re not really related. Which overall given the proclivities of the author suggests strongly where the show is headed, so I bailed while the new character was suggesting the main character wasn’t really a man if he didn’t want to shag his stepsister…

    Dammit anime! You’re capable of wonderful things, but you waste time on garbage like this which gives anime and its fans a bad name.

    • Ugh, I had been going to check out episode two to see if it would tone down the incest and focus on the character drama, but it sounds like it’s doubling down instead. Hard pass.

      Can you believe this is the same medium and broadcasting system that produced Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju?