Itsuki Hashima is a light novelist obsessed with little sisters, strictly focusing on them when he writes his stories. Despite his personality, he is surrounded by a tight circle of friends: Nayuta Kani, a genius yet perverted novelist who is in love with him; Haruto Fuwa, a fellow male author whose work has seen considerable success; Miyako Shirakawa, a good friend that he met in college; and Chihiro, his perfect younger step-brother who takes care of the housework and cooking.
Together, they play strange games, go on spontaneous journeys, crack silly jokes, and celebrate each other's successes. However, each individual must also deal with their own issues, whether it is struggling to meet a deadline or coming to terms with traumatic events buried in their past.
The award for the most misleading title goes to…!
Probably not A Sister’s All You Need (AKA: Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) but it’s a pretty damn misleading name.
It’s definitely caused a bit of confusion for people deciding whether to watch it or avoid it like the plague, so before I start the review I feel like it’s necessary to say what this show is and what it isn’t.
This show isn’t...
-A little sister romance.
-A rip off of Eromanga-sensei.
-Ecchi, but there are few over-the-top lengthy fanservice scenes.
-A kids' show, despite how the characters appear.
-The horrifying events that occur in the first 3 minutes. It gets better
after that, I swear.
This show is…
-About the ups and downs of being an artist.
-A character study. Yes, as ridiculous as that sounds this show is about the characters, not the story.
-A (perverted) gag comedy.
-Unfiltered. Characters do and say what they please. Be prepared to laugh and possibly to be offended.
No time is spared in establishing the perverted tone. Within the first three minutes of episode one, the main character’s horrifying sister fantasy is shown to the audience in grotesque detail. Later it’s shown that the main character’s editor is reading then spitefully denying his appalling work as he drops the script to the table (not unlike how I initially dropped the show after only that first scene). The start of the show may be a bit alienating to anyone who isn’t prepared for a sis-con, but it does a good job of preparing you for the show’s absurdity even if no other scene reaches the heights of the first few minutes. Don’t take this as praise though. The show knows where the line is between too much fanservice is, and it purposefully crosses it to get you to think about how disgusting the whole fantasy is. It’s self-deprecating for sure, but that’s part of the charm.
A sister obsessed light novel writer, his younger stepsister, a perverted novelist, his plain jane friend, and a few more writers and publishers make up the cast. The story is small in scale, but it gives the characters plenty of room to develop. The main character struggles to come up with new material and jokes ensue around him in his distraction. He gets some absurd story ideas turned down by his editor. He spends a lot of time in his apartment with his friends playing games, telling jokes, talking about anime, and this all brings about plenty of funny perverted gag humor. If you can’t gel with perverted humor then I don't think this is the show for you, but give it a chance beyond just judging a book by its cover.
Despite looking and acting like teenagers, the characters are used to adult life and often show their wisdom in conversations. They can be really perverted at times and seem like sickos but over time they grew on me. Through great moments of the character’s reflecting on themselves you’re able to get into their heads and understand why they are and what motivates them. For the characters to be so well developed it becomes easy to get invested in the ups and downs of their lives as they become adults. We learn about what formed them into the people they are through the many outgoing conversations they have with each other. They’re not perfect friends and their chemistry isn’t totally perfect, but the way they clash adds to their believability. I find myself justifying their actions no matter how deplorable by referring to the minor details that built their foundations as people.
All of their weird quirks just make them so believable, the weird insistence on sisters that Itsuki has, how Nayuta only writes naked, and Miyako’s jealousy of lives of her interesting friends. We know these characters for more than just their weird quirks. We seek how they interact with one another, not just the main character, we get a sense of what their lives are like outside of Itsuki's apartment. Even the supporting cast of publishers, freelance artists, writers, mangaka, and just normal people all have expressive enough personalities to carry the show for the brief time that they appear to offer some wisdom or humor.
I don’t gauge characters based on how realistic they may seem, I gauge them on believability. Could the characters in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii exist? Probably not, but after seeing what formed them into the people they are I’m more inclined to believe.
[Story: 7/10] Practically a slice of life. No ending.
[Character: 8/10] Well written, they offer a lot to think on. Believable.
[Art: 7/10] Lots of sitting, not a ton of animation. Some hilarious imagination scenes.
[Sound: 7/10] Simple op that gets minor changes from time to time, very chill ed.
[Enjoyment: 8/10] Unfiltered comedy, surprisingly emotional drama, drawn-out fanservice scenes.
[Final Score: 7.4/10]
Not every joke lands, but enough do to keep it enjoyable. What had me coming back to it week after week was the realistic drama mixed in randomly with the zany comedy that would surprise me when my guard was down. The characters evolved into people I actually liked, not just the stupid pandering archetypes I initially pegged them to be.
This season of anime was one to look forward to, with popular series like Umaru and Gintama gaining new additions to their story. However there were a couple of new additions that have stood out as well (namely Blend S and Mahoutsukai no Yome). That being said Imouto sae ireba is my pick of this season. The reason simply being because its good at its genre. Compared to Blend S forgetting about the settings of their MC (I can only assume it has something to do with wanting the audience to actually like her) and Mahoutsukai no yome merely touching upon dependence rather than love,
Imouto Sae Ireba is a story about a group of people finding their direction in life.
A lot of you who just watched the first episode are probably bloody confused, the first 5 minutes in nothing but ecchi, and cringey ecchi on top of that. But thats where the protagonist fits in, his love is cringey/unconditional due to the experiences he has had in life, however this series focuses as much on the MC as it does everyone else, meaning that towards the end there is only one character who really brings forth these scenes.
The story itself is episodic and whilst there are buildups that helps with the flow, that being said its not one of those exciting ones, just a warm and fuzzy story which is why I cannot give it a great score despite my liking it.
The art is a bit more different from the usual anime, that is not to say it isn't good, but its something to bear when watching the thing. There isn't much to say aside from that, but I do know some who were slightly put off by this art style.
Opening was great, thats one thing all the new anime have in common this season. But the actual bgm/ost in this doesn't really stand out. Once again simply because of the type of anime, but for the most part it compliments the story and doesn't feel out of place.
This is where the anime stands out for me, with an anime like this the characters are the focus and the story is merely a means to compliment them. You have the passionate MC who as I've mentioned before is slightly eccentric, the reason for this was explored slightly too late for my taste, a mistake a lot of anime make, but even without the reasoning it should be too hard to empathize with. On top of that you have a small assortment of females, each with their own reason for being there and supporting the MCs. That being said there is none of the typical cat fights that go on in so many anime, instead its more of a slow paced romance that eventually falls into place.
The relationship between characters is rather dynamic and there are many small changes in the story that put said relationships to the test, which is always good to see.
I personally put 9 in my score, but 8.5 is probably slightly more accurate. A good one to watch if you have the time and managed to muddle your way past the first episode but for those who are expecting an ecchi incest anime its probably better to give this one a miss.
Y'know, the realization of writing reviews on this site for four years comes with some vague existentialism of wondering if anyone actually reads the things that I write, or if I've actually improved cause these things are just sort of self-proofread without my outside opinion. Bah, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's just get into this thing.
First off, ignore the first five minutes. As a writer, Hashima Itsuki is peculiar. After getting an earful from his editor for the umpteenth time, he goes off on his usual schpeel about the greatness that is the 'imouto', before being promptly told to take
his work seriously and get his shit done on time, like any novelist with a deadline. And so, that's...basically where our story starts.
Based solely on its cast, Imouto Sae (that's my shorthand this time around) is a slice of life romp seen through the eyes of its literature-based cast as Itsuki and the rest of the main cast do what writers do. Each episode is focused on the character interactions between the cast, whether it be for research for someone's book or spending time with one another through games that act more as a creative exercise for their brains. The show's naturally lax nature exudes the slice of life genre, utilizing a brand of conversational humor with the main focus being what the oddities that are its characters and how they are as people as the brunt of its comedic prowess. On the outside, not much really happens since episode after episode, it's basically the same thing, but slowly, we watch as more minute and complex matter arise.
At times, the show ever so slightly shaves away its naturally fluffy and slice of life feel and touches upon the 'writer's struggle', or at least those relating to LN authors that adds more to the show. We sort of see the individual problems that each of the authors in the show face, touching upon different personal problems that add a nice subtlety to the overall story as the sunshine and rainbow of everything we see sheds away for that brief, sober moment amidst the characters' happily drunk nature being published authors.
Yet despite that, the one problem I see from the show is that nothing seems to change. Sure there're events that lead one thing to another, but because the slightly deeper moments of the show fade away once they're over and leave but a shadow of their impact, much of what we get is the status quo which, while amusing, poses a problem when the moments of deeper thought were only just a few minutes ago. The ending also leaves a lot of loose ends that I'm not particularly fond of. Kind of like a 'read the manga' ending, but not so assholeish that they stop in the middle of some plotline that you'll never get an answer to.
+ Provides a nice look into the 'writer's struggle'
+ Never melodramatic despite being a show featuring interpersonal relationships and such
- Tends to stick too much to the status quo
- A bit too many loose ends by the end
A connoisseur of the little sister, Hashima Itsuki is the writer of a magic academy series, or by its other name, 'trash'. (I jest, I jest.) Initially seen as nothing but a pervert too prideful in his own work, Itsuki has many moments where his inferiority shows through the cracks, and the cheerful facade that we see through most of the show slowly fades away as he reveals his own insecurities as a writer. As someone who's also been guilty of saying "I'm not good enough" to myself, I find Itsuki to exemplify much the internal battle inside someone who writes, with just enough of this hidden side of him to give us a proper character.
Despite that subtle complexity, the true star of the show (at least in my eyes) is Nayuta herself, the popular 18 year old novelist who from episode one has never stopped trying to get into Itsuki's pants without committing a crime in the process. A natural prodigy at writing, much of her story lies in the events that led her to becomes the girl that we see her as now. It's less of a writer's struggle, and more of a personal struggle, but all the same is done in a way that adds just enough to her character to give us the viewer some more information. Aside from that though, Nayuta acts much like a supplementary character to Itsuki, giving him the drive to be the writer he always wanted to be. Their relationship is cute, and I personally really like the direction they went to explain why things between the two are the way they are.
To round out the quartet, both Miyako and Haruto act as similar characters with their issues, boasting a personal and professional struggle respectively that again, adds enough to their characters to bolster and solidify their problems as looming parts of their lives, like how normal people are.
Aside from them, the cast is filled with a cast of colorful weirdos that spice up the gaps that the main cast leaves behind. Everything from an accountant who takes joy in the squirming in others to a mangaka who wears a ribbon of questionable material provides us with a weird yet amusing spectrum that makes the episodes that much more fun.
+ Rounded main cast
+ Amusing side cast
Produced by Silver Link, the show replicates the original artist Kantoku's style of the slightly muted color palette in conjunction of super shiny, almost reflective hair that's commonplace in the works he draws for. Art quality is very consistent throughout due to the show's severe lack of need for any taxing animation (since everyone basically just sits around), and stands as a nice relaxing sight without anything bad to note.
As far as fanservice goes, the show does have several choice moments that are certainly more risque than what the rest of the show is in comparison, but it's super tame, and if it ever gets out of hand, the show goes to use its various colorful slides with text on the front for 'censorship'. One of the most amusing ways to censor something if you ask me. (Though I will admit that Nayuta is the cause of most if not all of these so blame her.) Most of the perverted comedy is done through innuendos and spoken words, so visually, it's not severely apparent.
+ Consistent quality
+/- Some fanservice, but not much
Chouchou's "Ashita no Kimi sae Ireba Ii." stands as a song that when combined with the visuals, harkens to the whimsy that authors feel when writing their works, the wonder than a person feels when they put their imagination on paper. Personally, I feel like many of her other songs are more memorable, but this is no way a bad song and given the placement and usage of this song in the series, certainly has its impact.
On the flipside, Aria Yuuki's "Donna Hoshizora yori mo, Donna Omoide yori mo" is a more somber piece that ends the episode on a calming and closing note that compared to the slightly more energetic whimsy of its OP counterpart, gives us pleasing resolution to the episode rather than some seiyuu song or something that doesn't have much impact
+ Nice and whimsical tracks
I think my first reaction to watching this show's PV was 'Yes'. Not for really any particular reason, but it just seemed like the show I was really going to like. And surprise surprise, it was. It has the quality of touching on the personal problems and the insecurities and stress of making a good story and making a name for yourself in the publishing world without succumbing to melodrama or any kind of super contrived storyline which is refreshing in a landscape where anything drama-based resorts to melodrama. It's a show I watched because I was intrigued, but stayed because I genuinely resonated with the characters having had tinges of these problems myself when writing stuff in my own time. So for that, I appreciate this show and am really glad that this was something on my seasonal list.
Did I like this show?
If I haven't sung enough praises about my enjoyment of this show, then yes, I did like the show. In particular, I really like Nayuta. I'm always a fan of girls who know what they want and earnestly strive for that person they love because often times you get tsunderes or some other stupid trope of girls undeserving of the happy ending they get in the end without rhyme or reason. (Abuse is not love, girls) But more than that, the relationship both professional and personal between Itsuki and Nayuta stands as one of my absolute favorite things of the show because there is reason why Itsuki doesn't take the plunge and overall gives more depth to the protagonist.
What didn't I like about this show?
Nothing particularly irked me, but my only wish is that somehow they continue this. The loose ends were vaguely irritating and given the setup that we were given in the last few minutes, a sequel is all the more possible from that. (We do not talk about the first five minutes of the entire show. That shit is repressed.)
Would I recommend this show?
Personally, I say yes. Though the show is infamous for the first five minutes of the first episode, if you do get past that gate (and trust me, there is an explanation), you are in for a slice of life adventure that really is more than meets the eye. It's a lax show focused entirely on its characters and their interactions, taking time every now and then to expand upon its cast to smooth and polish them out a little more for depth. Plus it's got a nice helping of wackiness that makes things a helluva lot more entertaining than it should.
When this anime started airing, I had high expectations because it had lots of potential and seemingly good characters but sadly all that went downhill mid season and it felt like an annoying chore having to watch the episodes weekly and even if that wasn't enough, it even ended in the most abruptly and weird way possible.
At the beginning of the anime we had the MC who always tries his hardest at writing and yet somehow he doesn't make it big, we also knew that the MC had to deal with people who were much better and more creative than him so he always
felt inferior to them and that as a setting was very good and I thought we were gonna see some good drama from that but nope all that ended after episode 3 or something.
TL;DR : The anime was extremely random and didn't follow any route or try to create and continue anything that it started.
The anime then went after 2 routes:
the first route was the game reviews we see in 4 or 5 episodes out of 12 which ruined a lot of things, it was pretty much filler at this point, some of them were nice but when 1/3 of the anime is game reviews then it isn't really helping it's case, is it? I mean if I wanted to watch game reviews I would open Youtube.
the second route was the "Every Male character has to have a Female character to end up with at the end" route and it is self explanatory when you think about it, while I do hate those shitty cliches that wasn't the reason I hated this one, what I hated about this route is that it was extremely forced, one of the characters turned into a molester and yet the female character acted like nothing happened after that, The MC was suddenly in love with the heroine which is pretty illogical because at that time if he were to love someone it would be Miyako not the heroine, Haruto suddenly fell in love with a Miyako and that was pretty much the only thing that could be acceptable out of all the stuff that happened.
The problem is that even after all that the anime didn't go through with neither the important stuff we wanted to see nor those routes it started, some episodes were genuinely funny and enjoyable so I have to give them that but the premise the anime had at the start vanished and it felt like watching an episodic anime where each episode has nothing to do with the others and that definitely wasn't what the anime was supposed to be like at least not from the start, after all that the anime ended in a bad way,the backstory we should have known about at an earlier stage (IMO) was finally out in the finale and a game review with pretty much the characters ending in a way that shows absolutely 0 character progression and lots of stuff that was supposedly meant to be resolved was left out just like that, even the part with the molester was supposed to be an introduction to the relationship of the little sister with the guy and yet even that didn't happen.
The anime was a disappointment tbh and a complete waste of what could've been a great slice of life.
Overall I would give the anime a generous 5/10.
Wouldn't recommend it to anyone.