Eromanga Sensei anime is the Gamera of late night anime, in the Roger Ebert sense. Speaking as someone who saw Air Force One but not much in terms of giant city-wrecking turtle movies, I’m on shaky grounds to appraise either. Eromanga Sensei is in my wheelhouse, though. A little bit of spoilers ahead. Also some Oreimo spoilers ahead, too.
I think the real spirit behind the Oreimo formula isn’t really just incestious relationships, but a boldness to forge on, towards a concrete creative vision despite the icky things along the way. It’s shameless, but when your core concept is a shameless sort of thing to begin with, that criticism loses its weight. Or at least, it needs to be tempered.
It’s kind of like how Yamada started her day playing piano in the nude? That was pretty WTF.
When you’re building a layered harem, using the latest, in short, Database Technologies, as the iterative cycles for light novels are pretty short, you can see what the problem is. Exploiting that particular meta is actually the core story to me in Eromanga sensei. Sagiri’s character growth is kind of the carrot in front of the donkey, by design, but isn’t it kind of incestuous? I’m not interested in that as much as its comments on how to enjoy “trashy” material.
To play foil, I enjoyed Kirino much like how I enjoyed Yamada in Eromanga Sensei, both are rambunctious, well, runts, but they operate in the space of Japanese teenage girls living inside an anime, built to entertain. After all, the author who sells 2M copies bows down to the one that sells 14M copies! The fact that Kirino might marry her brother is just another thing silly people do for comedy in a comedy. It’s like why Elf gets naked.
I think people get tangled up with this aspect of OreImo, which is why it’s now unbundled in Eromanga Sensei. The key ingredients are still all the same, these eccentric and lively female characters doing their things. It’s as if you turned the relationship graph of OreImo by 45 degrees and you get Eromanga Sensei. Some links are severed, but new ones form to the next rotation of the multimedia, light-novel-driven cultural kaleidoscope.
Too bad I’m at the age where I can’t say if that’s better amusement than looking at something less prismatic. But at least I’m old enough to not let that kind of stuff bother me, much like how I just finished watching Hand Shakers this weekend and didn’t think it warrants nearly as much criticism as people sling at it, speaking of kaleidoscopes. At least nobody gets buck naked and play the piano in that show.
In short: I had a lot of fun, but I don’t enjoy anime the same way as a lot of other people, as you might imagine.