「敵か味方か新キャラか」 (Teki ka Mikata ka Shin Kyara ka)
“Friend, Foe, or a New Character”

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for since the 00 special is here! Megumi’s ponytail has arrived!

What, you were expecting a new girl? Well, there is one of those, but it’s not Tomoya’s cousin. Enter Hashima Izumi (Akasaki Chinatsu), the little-sister-type kouhai who, it seems, used to be a sporty tomboy until Tomoya converted her into one of his people. She’s fairly well-equipped to be a new source of competition in Saekano‘s harem wars, but her main role is as a foil. Being part of what can be considered a rival coterie, she plays opposite Eriri at the Comiket ego battles, and her pure passion for her craft also contrasts her with her brother Hashima Iori (Kakihara Tetsuya). Iori is, if we get all hipster about it, somewhat of a poseur (and also a poser), more concerned with being some sort of otaku rockstar (which sounds stupid already) rather than championing any particular nerd cause. This difference in motivation compared to Tomoya (though not much difference in methods) makes him the nominal antagonist for our story. I didn’t actually know the world of Japanese amateur production had so much politics and intrigue, and frankly the entire fallout between the two ex-friends still sounds a bit dumb. I guess that’s the point though; it’s a lot of drama over very trivial things, but that’s what being an otaku is all about. Internet flame wars have started over less.

It really should be Sawamura Eriri Spencer, shouldn’t it?

The more notable conflict, coming from Iori is that he wants to recruit Eriri for his circle, which also makes him a rival employer, I suppose. Judging by episode 00, she’s not going to defect anytime soon, if at all, and we haven’t really seen much reason why she would. It’s likely that we’ll see a lot more of Eriri’s circumstances, now that Utaha’s backstory is more or less done. The relative Eriri focus should be apparent by how we basically started with Eriri trying to rope Tomoya into very strange roleplaying (I know I say Utaha is raunchy, but one must remember that Eriri draws porn as a hobby) and retaining much of the camera’s attention the entire way through the episode. Utaha has faded into the background, which pushes everybody forward—even, surprisingly, Megumi. Eriri’s story, having more about the whole indie works thing, is evidently more closely tied to the main arc, which is, in turn, ramping up.

‘Actually, ponytails turn me on.’

Speaking of Megumi again, if it wasn’t for episode 00 (and if she didn’t say anything), I could easily mistaken her for a completely new character. Tomoya is sort of right about hairstyles, especially in anime. Hair is such a distinctive part of character design that changing it really does alter the perception of that character. For audience members tuning in only once a week, hairstyle and colour coding are important aids for remembering who is whom. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence Megumi’s new ponytail comes in an episode where she has relative prominence in the foreground, and the plot is shifting gears upwards. If it was a deliberate choice, then I must say: clever girl. Saekano is sure making a sneaky point.

Full-length images: 27.


  1. All according to plan. Kato really knows how to keep Tomoya’s attention now that she got it. Tomoya might never admit it but changing up hairstyles really does keep it exciting. And yes, ponytails increases cuteness by 36%! You can quote Kyon on that!

    1. Yea same, I’m afraid the show’s focus might shift away from the interactions between our main cast to this rivalry between Tomoya & Iori now. The current characters already have to take their turns in the spotlight, each having their arcs and/or individual eps.

      1. Iori comes out(no pan intended) to give Tomoya another reason to complete the project, not just enjoying everyday life as an otaku. It doesn’t change the show’s landscape. The focus is always on him and his girls but the author thought just showing slice of life was not enough.

        And the new girl is basically for season 2, if there is one.

  2. I didn’t really understand the conflict between Tomoya and Iori when I read the manga. The anime explanation is just as vague. Generally, I think I disagree with Tomoya’s stance.

    Iori seems to be networking and building a business of his interest with his connections. He is taking his childhood otaku interests and turning it into an adult occupation. I think that is actually pretty commendable. Starting a company may take some pandering to investors and customers, so I think that’s what Tomoya is against.

    Tomoya seems to be stuck in his chuunibyo phase of keeping his interests as a hobby. So, as Eriri points out, his galge project is very hypocritical of his dislike of Iori’s methods. Iori may act like a slime ball with his ikemen looks, but their two methods are pretty much after the same objective. Tomoya seems to just be secretly jealous of Iori using his looks to speed up his success.

    I think I dislike Tomoya more and more with each episode. I mean, HOW can you dislike Kato’s ponytail!?

    1. I understood it a bit differently. Tomoya’s opinion on Iori seems to be that he was never interested in anime/games/etc for themselves, but the networking he got out of it. It’s like he’s reading a book just so that he can get closer to the author. Heck, I think there was even some implication that he gains some sort of sense of superiority out of the whole thing.
      I might be wrong on that last one though, my Japanese is pretty rusty.

      Also, Iori hasn’t created anything, he joined an existing doujinshi circle that’s implied to be big and famous already.

      1. That does explain it a little better, but I still don’t think Iori’s way is wrong though. He may be into it for the business, but he must have some interest in otaku stuff to have chosen it as his business. He must be able to judge the merit and value of otaku works to be able to market it properly. Different people have different ways of enjoying their hobbies, and I don’t think there is a right or wrong way.

    2. Eh. My impression is that you’re both wrong and right. Iori is probably making a business out of his otaku interests… but not in the way of someone committed to growing and developing the relevant communities, and instead in the way that, say, a middleman edges in attempting to profit as an intermediary, and probably eventually the way a multinational with only a passing knowledge of an industry forcibly buys into promising players in said industry (and quite possibly ends up stagnating said players or worse).

      He’s basically a good-looking Haraguchi from Genshiken.

    3. The way I see it, Tomoya gained influence in the otaku-sphere as a result of, and for the purpose of, promoting the bits of geekery that he loved, while Iori amasses influence as an ends in itself. It is notable that it was Tomoya who introduced Iori’s sister to gaming, not Iori himself.

  3. For me, the pressure exerted by Iori’s circle making a game isn’t that they might poach Eriri away (as you mentioned, we haven’t seen any reason she would leave Tomoya behind if she hasn’t by now), but that Tomoya would have to deal with losing to someone whose methods he can’t stand. Sure, Eriri and Utaha keep pushing him to get his stuff together, but he seems like the kind of guy who would be better motivated by trying to prove his otaku ways/spirit are better than those of a perceived enemy.

    1. I felt incredibly hurt and betrayed that Tomoya complained about the ponytail. He should be begging all of them to wear their hair that way.

      Btw, couldn’t they speed up Michiru’s intro? Seven eps in and we get the genki kouhai but not the hot, fun, stacked cousin.

    1. I don’t think it’s that unusual for her to go with the Japanese surname in Japan. While it’s a lot more common for first/middle names, I know plenty of people who use their Western name in general, but in a Japanese/Chinese/Polish/etc. setting they switch to the other one. Plus, it seems like she has very little connection to England, so she probably identifies more as a Japanese person and thus prefers a Japanese name.

  4. A little late for this, but did anyone notice the White Album 2 reference? Or no one just bothered to mentioned it in the comments?


    Or maybe I just misinterpreted that stuff about the anime tropes. Haha. Not much of a commenter really, but thanks for the review Passerby. Now back to lurking…


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