Stories about light novel authors are ten a penny, but perhaps most notable to make it to the West is Eromanga Sensei. Eromanga Sensei is an on-going light novel series from Oreimo author Tsukasa Fushimi, which received an anime adaption in 2017. Despite the light novel being unlicensed, the manga adaption has been published in English since October of last year (by Dark Horse). Now the anime is finally getting a Blu-ray release! Today I’m here to take a look at the first part of the series and find out if it offers an entertaining watch!
The story follows 15-year-old Masamune Izumi, a light novel author living with his step-sister Sagiri Izumi. Since the death of their parents Sagiri has been living a shut-in lifestyle, never venturing out of her bedroom when her brother is present. Masamune works hard writing light novels to support the household, all the while wishing that he could see his sister again. However, in a strange twist of fate, everything is about to change for the two…
Masamune collaborates with an illustrator known as Eromanga Sensei, who works remotely and has never met Masamune or the editorial department. One day Masamune watches an art stream that Eromanga Sensei hosts, but at the end Eromanga Sensei forgets to turn off their video feed! As Masamune watches the illustrator begin to unwind from their stream, he spots a familiar tray of food in the background – food that Masamune made for Sagiri.
Masamune rushes upstairs, banging on Sagiri’s door. She eventually opens the door for him – for the first time in almost a year – asking why Masamune is creating such an uproar. The two begin to talk and Sagiri admits to being Eromanga Sensei, while Masamune confesses to being the author behind Silverwolf of Reincarnation (the series Eromanga Sensei has been illustrating). This discovery leads the two down a new path as they work together to create the ultimate light novel.
Eromanga Sensei is a romantic comedy in the same vein as Oreimo. It’s always busy, exciting, and most importantly, fun. Masamune meets a varied cast through his life as a light novel author, all of whom bring something interesting to the series. Most notable of these characters (at least in Part 1) is Elf Yamada. Elf is a popular author herself and moves in next door to the Izumi siblings. She wishes to claim Eromanga Sensei for herself and competes with Masamune to win over the illustrator to her cause. It’s the kind of rivalry that is not only entertaining but also a genuinely thoughtful and inspiring story all by itself.
The only downside to the series is that it hints at a romance between Masamune and Sagiri. Although Masamune boldly declares that he would never have romantic feelings for his little sister (even if she does draw erotic works), it’s clear that Sagiri feels differently in return. Being step-siblings does take away some of the issue for me (unlike in Oreimo), but it’s certainly going to be a problem for some viewers.
Having said that, in the 6 episodes of this release the romance isn’t at the forefront of the story at all. It’s mostly in the background as we follow the high jinks of our cast working in this industry. For me, everything else the series does more than makes up for the potential sibling romance.
Animation for the series has been handled by A-1 Pictures and is bright and colourful throughout. A-1 are very good at adapting slice-of-life comedies like this and do a great job in bringing the cast to life. Those of you who watched Season 2 of Oreimo will find their work on Eromanga Sensei very similar.
Where music is concerned, this has been handled by Tomoki Kikuya (Nisekoi, A Sister’s All You Need, Blend S) and the soundtrack provided emphasizes the fun factor of the series. I’m not sure if it makes for a memorable collection outside the context of the anime but it certainly works well otherwise. The opening is “Hitorigoto” by ClariS, while the ending is “Adrenaline!!” by TrySail, and both are incredibly catchy songs – so catchy that I’ve had them on repeat regularly since the show aired in 2017! They’re both upbeat, fun, pop songs and if you like that style of music, you’re sure to have them stuck in your head for years to come.
The voice actors also do a splendid job over the course of these episodes. Masamune is played by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito in Sword Art Online, Bell in DanMachi, Soma in Food Wars!), who brings a wide vocal range to the character. Matsuoka plays both serious and silly scenes well, with a great talent for jumping from a sombre tone one moment to revved-up and excited the next. Sagiri is handled by Akane Fujita (Kaiko Mikuniyama in A Sister’s All You Need, Ida Futaba in Magical Warfare) and gives Sagiri the perfect blend of quiet yet determined attitude she needs.
This release comes to the UK thanks to MVM entertainment and is available on Blu-ray only. Part 1 includes Episodes 1-6 and clean opening and ending videos, as well as some trailers. Part 2 of Eromanga Sensei is currently scheduled for release on the 14th of October.
Overall, Eromanga Sensei Part 1 offers an entertaining and lovable comedy about family and working in the light novel industry. While some viewers will be put off by a potential sibling romance, I hope they can still look past it to discover the genuinely great anime underneath. I for one can’t wait for Part 2.