Wow. This is seriously one delightfully deranged comedy. Although you may tumble to the secret before it gets revealed, that does not detract from the romantic humor generated by “Eromanga Sensei”, although ‘romantic’ may be a bit of a stretch. PS, I am also going to reveal things in the third paragraph, so you may wish to avert your eyes.
It is best to begin at Chapter One. We look at the life of high school student Masamune Izumi (Mr. Cranky up there) who loves writing light novels. He has a caliber of flair for this, as it feels he is somewhat better than someone penning mere fan fiction. As good as he is with a keyboard, he is terrible with a paintbrush, so Masamune always gets his novels illustrated by an anonymous partner using the nom de arte of “Eromanga Sensei”, who is well known for drawing questionably perverted images despite being extremely reliable.
In addition to balancing his writing passion and school requirements, Masamune is also stuck with taking care of his only family member—his younger sister Sagiri Izumi. A genuine hikikomori, Sagiri shut herself in her room over a year earlier (owing to a deep traumatic experience) and constantly bosses Masamune around despite his attempts to get her to leave her room. However, when Masamune inadvertently discovers that his anonymous partner has been Sagiri all along, their sibling relationship quickly leaps to new levels of excitement, especially when a beautiful, female, best-selling shojo manga author (Elf Yamada) enters into the fray by moving next door to them.
The series details all the flaming hoops everyone has to jump through in order to be successful, as well as the external forces that seem to work against what you want to be and achieve. All these personal struggles and artistic decision and life choices one has to make and you hope you make the right call. This gets really tiring (Look, I’ve been an adult for a long time and these kinds of decisions are always a big workout).
Now, what is so funny about this franchise is that it started out as a series of light novels, moved to manga and ended up as anime, much like what is seen in the show itself. Masamune spends a huge amount of time trying to get Sagiri to come out of her shell and out of her room and begin to interact with people again. Yes, life is a mess, but hiding makes things worse, not better. And when the Final Challenge is issued, as another author, Muramasa, who is very successful, challenges the both of them to see who will have bigger sales, all the chips have been shoved in.
Even with the stresses and threats that bedevil Masamune, you never feel like all is lost or that it’s all been a waste of time. This is a free-spirited anime, not tethered to anything. For this show, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as all of these people are above and/or beyond us mere mortals in pursuit of both art and commerce (you still gotta sell them books, right?) It’s just that you want to see more out of them. The talent is there, but they are their own worst enemies and hurt themselves more than they can imagine.
Still, with perverts around, hijinks cannot be far behind. Oh, binging, yeah, that thing. Go for it. There is a small concern about repetition, but there is just enough weirdness going on that it keeps things off-balance and some degree of freshness especially with all of the challenges afoot that generate new challenges that go underfoot.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (All the ladies are painfully cute)
Plot 8 (Nice approach to events)
Pacing 7 (A bit spasmodic)
Effectiveness 7 (Sometimes feels forced to achieve goals)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Bingeability 7 (Works in the latter portions of the series)
Overall 8 (Good story, as we see real growth)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will be a success.