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.
Imouto Sae 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.
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.
A connoisseur of the little sister, Hashima Itsuki is the writer of a magic academy series, or by its other name, ‘trash’. 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.
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.
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, and stands as a nice relaxing sight without anything bad to note.
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. 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.