A Sister’s All You Need (Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) is a story about the daily life of a young siscon novelist, Itsuki Hashima with his perfect little sister Chihiro, the genius illustrator Nayuta Kani, his best friend Miyako Shirakawa and some insane partners from his publishers.
Despite all the flak drawn from the anime community due to it’s imouto trope, especially not too long after a similar imouto-type Eromanga-sensei series, this anime still has much to offer. Disregarding the common complaints involving the overuse of the imouto trope, and the implications of having a little sister complex left underdeveloped, it is similar to Shirobako, Working!!, Sakurasou, and Re: Creators as it joins the recent trend in watching anime of people involved in the creation of the works we enjoy. Ain’t that quite meta.
Beyond all doubt, the initial few minutes of the episode throws us off with an enactment of our dear main character’s fantasies, the best of which would be best left undescribed. Nonetheless, it would be wise to give it a chance, as it is not too long before our cozy main cast is introduced and comedy elements get into full swing.
Down to the comedy, the characters play a huge role in making the show an enjoyable experience, with Nayuta’s lewd passes at Itsuki, Ashley’s teasing of Haruto’s maid fetish, Miyako’s crush on Itsuki, and Chihiro’s role as a young brother who is both cute and capable with household chores. The scenarios per episode never fails to introduce us into the world of novelists in Japan, occasionally giving us cleanly-designed cut-ins to drop us some interesting tidbits. For instance, introducing the uninitiated to table-top RPGs or providing an informational nugget on the bottle of chocolate-flavored wine for Valentines Day not containing chocolate at all!
Underlying the easy-going fun atmosphere of running from editors and enjoying the occasional sight-seeing, none of the slice-of-life segments ever feel dragged out – each episode ends off well with a slight change in the characters’ resolve or relationships with each other. Take episode 5 for example, in which our main character Itsuki falls behind on his light novel deadline. With a final burst of determination, warm bento and notes from his supportive friends and brother, he manages to meet his deadline. Unlike action anime in which long drawn-out flashbacks end up serving the opposite effect of nostalgia, ImoutoSae succeeded in drawing out empathy due to it’s down-to-earth quality of meeting deadlines. Similarly, in the following episodes, relatable themes of failure despite hard work and recovery from failure makes this anime really worth watching for those of us down in the dumps and in need of motivation.
This is truly an anime for the normals, not blessed by talent, yet working hard to make good of ourselves. It is definitely worth picking up for those with an interest in the process of writing novels and the anime-related industries in general. And best of all, it reminds us that even in times when we are down in the dumps, there will still be friends by our side to cheer us up. (See episode 8)
See, Slice Of Life anime can share the same themes of Friendship and Hard Work/Determination as Action anime, albeit more toned down and less exaggerated, and perhaps, more heartwarming. Since the goals the main character tries to achieve are concrete and less fictional than mastering ninjutsu, and hence more likely to resonate with the viewer.
All in all, although the series is currently ongoing, it has pretty much gotten off to a good start in the first few episodes without irrelevant fillers or the curse of slow pacing. I would expect the next couple of episodes to be great as well!