Eromanga Sensei – Entertainment?
I don’t think – in any sense – it’s a great show… it probably isn’t even a good one. And yet, it keeps pulling me back after each episode… for a reason that is slightly lost on me. Almost as if it shouldn’t exist at all. Because, in many respects, Eromanga is not okay.
Of course, in essence it is the spiritual successor to Oreimo – a show which no doubt has some controversial aspects. (I have talked about these here.) Yet, we are once again greeted by the relationship between brother and sister – only… this time, they are not blood-related.
What does this mean?
Well… I suspect it means exactly the things you think it means: an opening for new narrative… potential. Is this a result of the backlash against the far-from-concrete ending of Oreimo, and the limits the publishers/studio imposed on Tsukasa Fushimi? Maybe it is… Though, in doing so, Eromanga Sensei IS inherently less controversial… in some areas.
This will be welcomed by many people, and to others, well… maybe not so much. However – dare I say – if you’re watching a show for that kind of content in place of simple entertainment and enjoyment, then there are many other places that might satiate that… need. Of course, whether you should be satiating it in the first place is another issue, for… someone a hell of a lot more qualified than myself.
Anyway, yes! I liked Oreimo to a certain degree. And, I can just about say the same thing about Eromanga.
The first thing that comes to mind is the art, and the animation. Whilst it isn’t groundbreaking in any respect whatsoever. I love the colour palette used, and the movement is very fluid and visually appealing. One scene stands out particularly in this regard. In episode 5 (the latest to have been released when writing this) Sagiri is, yes, changing clothes, and the animation is has great motion in it. Anyhow, this isn’t a review, so let’s progress.
Eromanga Sensei is funny, regardless of the content in question. And being funny, or at least humorous is a big pull for myself, and no doubt many others. Sure, much of that humour rides on sexual innuendo as the catalyst. Nonetheless, it gets through to me as one of its most redeeming features. I think this will ring true with many people. From the ground up Eromanga is simply a very easy show to watch, a break between often heavier things. That is… on the surface. As with many similar things, it can pay dividends to restrain yourself from digging too deep.
Right, we have to talk about the… elephant in the room. The other, fairly large and inconspicuous allure of Eromanga Sensei – the questionable fan service.
I do think fan service has its place in anime. Maybe – in a general sense – it doesn’t need to be as widespread as it is, and it should never be used as a replacement for good content, or as an excuse for bad content. That being said, Eromanga has neither good nor bad content; it resides somewhere in the middle; with the sense that as we head further into the show, it might swing one way or the other.
Fan service in Eromanga isn’t overtly gratuitous. It’s somewhat subtler than in many other shows. (the likes of High School DxD) Then again Eromanga isn’t Ecchi. I get the feeling that it is the kind of show that requires some fan service, because there is an inherently large lack of plot. Not that… that in itself is a bad thing, because there are many shows that lack concrete narratives that are very good – the Slice of Life genre breathes on this idea. And, dare I say it’s my favourite genre. The likes of Welcome to the N.H.K and Toradora!! show how strong it is. Yet, it would be unwise to group Eromanga with such shows. It is no way comparable in quality.
The Allure of Taboo Itself
No doubt, taboo themes tend to be an… inquisitive curiosity. In my opinion, taboo should not be shunned, though neither should it necessarily be blindly accepted. One thing it should be is understood; because through understanding comes the breaking down of barriers, and often the help that is needed to overcome such issues.
Now, in an incestuous sense, Eromanga is not as taboo as Oreimo – that’s a fact. Yet, it is still within the realms of… uncertainty regarding what people might perceive as socially acceptable. Is there really any problem with a romantic/sexual relationship between ‘relatives’ who are in no way related by blood? Well, that’s something you have to decide for yourself. Unlike Oreimo, the one thing it certainly can’t be described as is incest.
That being said… another, far BIGGER matter that blows all previous issues out of the water is the age of the characters: 12 and 15 respectively. I was honestly a little shocked when I read… TWELVE! Yes, I made sure that was correct, a number of times. Now… I don’t want to burst anyone’s, perhaps inflated bubble, but having a physical relationship with any person who is twelve is… frankly, illegal. At least in sane cultures it is.
So, with this in mind, it would be correct to say THIS FACT is part of the attraction behind Eromanga?
Unfortunately, I think so.
I know… I know, this is anime, it’s not real and the world it exists within is a fantasy one that could never be real. However, it borrows from real society, and in turn – no matter how minor – it influences it. Now, as I’ve said before – anime is never the precursor for immoral acts in our society, just as video games don’t incite violence. Nevertheless, you have to wonder where entertainment ends, and worrying indulgence begins. I think this is something to keep in mind whilst watching Eromanga and similar shows.
In saying this. In liking eromanga
All those words… and yet, like is still among them? Yes…
I don’t think that’s a contrary thing… My feelings are clear on Eromanga – I somewhat enjoy it. It means nothing more to me than that. Yes, sometimes the interactions between Sagiri and Masamune create a little flutter in my heart. But, why shouldn’t they, is that not the shows purpose? To be entertaining in that sense – fanservice included?
And sure, I do feel slightly guilty for being drawn towards a show with such questionable content.
I suppose, I could talk for days on how I think the sexualisation of a twelve-year-old is a unecessary evil – despite it being only fiction (and maybe I will at some later date). But what purpose would that serve? The sane amongst us already understand this. It might only be a potential problem when one is unable to distinguish reality from fiction, but then there are far more pressing issues than Eromanga…
However, the question to ask is: Should Eromanga Sensei even exist?
I find myself believing the answer is no.
And that’s because of one glaring issue… Sagiri’s Age.
It’s not something I can overlook. I really do think Tsukasa Fushimi (the LN author) pushed things too far this time, and for what? The show contains nothing of substance. It makes no attempt to convey understanding and rationality through its narrative. it’s an empty container being pushed along by the commercial success of Oreimo. It’s alarming similar on too many ways.
All of this being said… I will continue to watch. As it finishes, expect something… opinionated regarding it as a whole.
What are your thoughts on Eromanga Sensei? Is it acceptable.
Thank you for reading, as always!
- Chris (Follow me on Twitter and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)