I don’t know what I’m going to call this piece. I have about 10 titles swirling around in my head right now and they all seem pretty good.
I just caught up with Eromanga Sensei, watching the first 2 episodes last night and then the most recent 3 this morning.
I’m not impressed.
This series comes from the same author as OreImo and the first light novel for it debuted the year after OreImo ended.
Maybe that’s why it seems like shitty OreImo fanfiction.
I don’t want to definitivly say that this is the case, because EroMS is only about 5 episodes in so far, but it seems (based on what’s been shown so far) that EroMS is author Tsukasa Fushimi’s attempt at an OreImo redux.
It is incredibly derivative of OreImo, all the characters are the same, Fushimi has just mixed and match their positions in the story and changed slight enough details that they might seem a little different. JUST SWITCHING KURONEKO AND KIRINO DOESN’T FIX OREIMO’S PROBLEMS!
Sorry this show just frustrates me. Why though? I don’t think incredibly highly of OreImo, so why does EroMS being derivative of it bother me?
Well because I saw potential in OreImo, I watched the first season directly after watching Koi Kaze (an anime about incest done right) and it was actually a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Some of the character dynamics were interesting, and by the time we reached season 2 the show could’ve gone somewhere very interesting. That is if it was handled by a competent writer, which I don’t think it was.
That’s why EroMS annoys me, Fushimi had a chance to fix the problems that OreImo had and instead he made them worse in almost every conceivable way.
This won’t be a full thoughts on OreImo from me, my feelings on the series is quite complex and requires a lot of thought on my end. Rather this will be a look at how EroMS managed to take nearly everything OreImo had going for it, and fuck it up. And even out of the new elements it has, only one strikes me as interesting in the slightest.
Let’s get into it.
Ok so what really changes between the two series besides aesthetics?
- The Main Character’s attitude
- The source of the drama
- The two love interests have switched places
- The two siblings are no longer blood related
- Everyone’s about 2 years younger
Let’s tackle these individually, as each one is detrimental to the series in my eyes.
So the biggest change between the two is the main character. This time he starts out as an Otaku as well, being a light novel author. What else changes? Well new guy is a bit more of a pushover. That’s it.
Seriously. Both of them will bend over backwards for their sister, neither of them have many friends outside of those gained through their sister. Both of them have a mild-mannered female classmate whom walks with them to school, has big ol’ titties and seems to be the only friend they have outside the aforementioned ones. And obviously they both have a younger sister who is just begging for some Oni-chan dick.
So new guy isn’t all that new, which might be fine (Kyousuke’s interesting aspects was always tied to his dynamics with other characters not his innate appeal or rather lack thereof) but all the character dynamics have changed. To make this series work in any capacity you needed a new main character. You don’t have one.
The Source Of The Drama
This one is a big problem. You see the source of OreImo’s drama was where almost all of the good stuff emanated from. You see it’s the way that Kyousuke and Kirino’s relationship got like it is at the beginning of the show. Short version: Kirino desired to be like her big brother, fast, strong etc. so she trains hard to be so. She eventually passes out her brother and becomes disillusioned with her fallen idol. Kyosuke in turn resents how great Kirino is at everything and how she acts like he’s beneath her.
Firstly this turmoil is internally imposed which works better for a series dealing with a matter such as incest but it also allows the dynamic between the two to flow. Reconnecting as teenagers inspires feelings that would not otherwise come to pass. OreImo does not execute on this themes well most of the time (I’ll talk about it in a full post) but the intrigue is there.
In EroMS the parents are dead. That’s it. There’s your conflict. Not only is it cliched but it is external. It feels artificial in a way OreImo didn’t (perhaps because we don’t find out about Kirino’s reasoning until late in the show) we already know the conflict and the solution so the events to resolve it just seem tedious. It doesn’t work as a drama because it’s premise feels incredibly contrived and is executed poorly (or at least has been thusfar)
When this conflict is externally imposed it does not allow for the dynamic of the two main characters to clash with other characters in a meaningful way. In OreImo, Kuroneko works well because she offers Kyosuke an alternative to Kirino’s harsh treatment not so much coming between them as being a legitimate other option. With that being said let’s talk about the female leads.
Your Characters Aren’t Lego People
The characters in EroMS are just remixes of the OreImo cast. They serve the same purposes with only minor changes. It’s like “let’s make Kuroneko the main girl” and that’s the premise. Kiri- I mean Yamada, literally parodies the fact that she is what Kuroneko was in OreImo, doing all the fake magic shit.
The main problem here is that because of the brand new character dynamic between our two main characters we don’t get to see what an alternate universe OreImo would be like because all of the other dynamics in the original show were linked to it.
OreImo’s most interesting bits were when Kyousuke and Kuroneko were together and watching how Kirino reacted because at this stage we knew about the history of her and her brother.
That will never happen in EroMS. I don’t care what conflict comes up, who gets in between Sagiri and her brother, without that dynamic it will feel empty and meaningless and so far it’s been pretty much telegraphed that Sagiri will win, she accepts by episode 4 that she wants to service her (step) brother.
Obviously without that Kirino-Kyousuke dynamic, to get an interesting story you need to change the supporting cast. This doesn’t happen. Let’s go character by character and see just how similar they are.
Kirino vs. Yamada
A young teenage girl with auburn hair and an affinity for otaku culture. She’s a natural at what she does, writes light novels that are considered to be pretty crap but are incredibly popular, enough so to get anime adaptations. She’s arrogant, confident in herself and believes herself to be better than the main character yet seems to have a huge soft spot for him.
Notice how I didn’t write two character descriptions? It’s because I didn’t have to. The only real difference is that Yamada won’t end up with Izumi because she’s not related to him. That’s pretty much it.
Sagiri vs. Kuroneko
A usually reserved, orphaned girl whom has an alter ego pertaining to her inner otaku where she’s very talkative and engaged. She’s a very talented illustrator and draws manga in her spare time.
The difference between these two is that Kuroneko also writes stories for what she draws. She’s also more interesting because she has to come around on the idea of loving Kyousuke and isn’t just all over him because she’s a female cast member. Again both are the shorter and smarter of the 2 main girls and have an abrasive friendship with their counterpart.
The Rest Of The Cast
The sisters friend who hates Otaku culture and is incredibly obsessed with being the sisters friend. That describes Ayase and Megumi.
The female childhood friend of the main character who walks to school with them and seems to basically be a walking pair of cracking tits. Manami and Tomoe.
As EroMS gets further into it’s run I’m sure this list of derivative characters will grow. This might not be a problem if it was literally an OreImo retcon but too much has been changed for that to work. Again it just feels like shitty fanfiction to me.
Blood Is Thicker Than Water But Sagiri Is Thicc Boi
In a vaccum this change might actually seem like a good thing. Wrong.
Fushimi, you’re not fooling anyone, it’s just a cop out so you can have the two get together at the end. That’s pretty obvious. You took one of the more interesting aspects of your show and fucked it very thoroughly off. This might be fine but all we’re left with is a very bland RomCom.
Actually, I wish that was what was left. It’s clear Fushimi fails to recognize what makes fucking your sister wrong. He has talked in the past about he wanted to go all out on the Kirino-Kyousuke ending, having them definitively get together. Again I’m not opposed to this on principle, it was the execution that bothered me.
The two are siblings in name only, they are distant and dismissive towards eah other. So when they begin to reconnect much later in life, romantic feelings aren’t exactly unreasonable. Acting on them is another thing (see Koi Kaze if you want to see this done right) but the feelings themselves aren’t that weird.
So despite our main dude Masamune and Sagiri not being blood related, it seems even weirder to me because they act much more like siblings. Masamune in particular seems to have spent quite a long time trying to be a good brother and harboring brotherly feelings towards Sagiri. So when at the same time he’s thinking about “lewd” scenarios involving her it seems weird.
That’s before we get into the worst change of all.
Let’s Talk About Japan’s Age Of Consent
Kirino is 14-15, possibly even 16 by the end of the show. I think this is fine but some people might disagree and I won’t fault you.
Sagiri is 12. 12.
First of all, it’s kind of disturbing to put your main sex appeal below the age of consent. In Japan it’s 13 in Tokyo and one other place, everywhere else it’s 18.
Can we agree that the difference between 12 and 14 is so much more than that between 22 and 24? People progress so much physically and mentally in their teens that a 2 year difference is huge. I shouldn’t have to explain why this change was appalling but I will.
The changes up until now have mainly affected the show as a drama or romance. But it could all be forgiven if the show was a good comedy. I’ll admit that I laughed a fair bit at OreImo, it’s humor was on point during the first season in my opinion. But a lot of the humor is sexual.
This works in OreImo. 14-15 year olds are exactly like that, a lot of sexual humor as a result of their burgeoning sexuality. 12 year olds not so much. While a lot of the boys are thinking about sex at that age and some of the girls, they aren’t really talking about it because they’re not sure about it and not comfortable doing so.
Especially with girls, I was in that age range not too long ago and am around a wide age range of teens in my acting hobby. 90% of girls at age 12 are not openly interested in guys, they usually still think that’s weird. And even if they are, they’re thinking about their first kiss not their first dick.
So when Megumi makes that dick joke in episode 2 it just makes me feel uncomfortable because I’m thinking about how wrong that seems, whereas if Kirino made it I could just enjoy the joke on it’s own, because out of context it might elicit a laugh.
This is all before we even talk about the problem that is of course sexualizing a 12 year old. She is neither physically nor mentally mature enough that doing so is A:OK by any standard definition or B: In any way tantalizing for the general audience.
This change was needless and makes everything so much worse.
Maybe the worst part for me is how watered down Sagiri is in comparison to Kuroneko. I liked Kuroneko’s character a lot, so much so that I actually drew her in the picture above spontaneously one evening. I don’t drawn very often, it’s a testament to how much I liked the character.
Why the hell am I complaining that an anime needs more incestual themes?! How do you fuck up so badly I’m pining for a show that I don’t particularly like in OreImo?
What was the logic in any of these changes? Was it to fit the target audience? Maybe if you just changed the main characters age but I don’t think 14 year old boys in general want to fuck 12 year olds. They want to fuck 14 year olds.
I think EroMS sales figures confirm that this was all misguided. To date EroMS Volume 1 (2013) has sold 133,000 copies. In contrast OreImo volume 9, despite the rule of diminishing returns, sold 156,000 copies. In just two weeks.
There’s a reason A1 pictures are producing EroMS and why they did the second season of OreImo. Because no other studio wants to go near those train-wrecks.
Sort your shit out Fushimi.
I hope you enjoyed this quick blasting of Eromanga Sensei. I can scarcely believe how wrong all of the decisions behind this show are. Who does this appeal to outside of the people who like any incest/pedophilia related thing? This show baffles me.
Thanks for reading,