OP: 「明日の君さえいればいい.」 (Ashita no Kimi Sae Ireba Ii.) by ChouCho
「料理上手の弟と全裸の美少女と気の合う友達さえいればいい.」 (Ryouri Jouzu no Otouto to Zenra no Bishoujo to Ki no Au Tomodachi Sae Ireba Ii.)
“I Only Need a Little Brother Who Can Cook, a Beautiful Naked Girl, and Friends I Can Relate To.”
Some anime have your standard issue introduction with the protagonist looking off into the distance, reflecting on life with an optimistic narration about dreams, fate, destiny, and love. Some have the protagonist rushing late to school, giving us some exposition about who they are based on their tardiness and a mouthful of buttered toast. Others have a paragraph of the world’s rules and mythos on-screen as a bird’s-eye view spans across a vast, fantasy world at peace or in ruin.
Imouto sae Ireba Ii. begins with a man devouring his little sister’s used panties.
The audacity of the first minute of the anime is enough for me to give kudos to how incredibly ballsy it is to begin the series with a man going about his morning routine making out with his permanently naked young sister, drown himself in her bathwater, and enjoying the breakfast she made with her own milk and eggs. However, the pay-off to this depravity is equally funny with all of this being a draft that the main character, light novel author Itsuki Hashima(Kobayashi Yuusuke), thought would be A-OK for his editor to read as his latest submission. From then on, the scenario becomes even more hilarious as the editor picks apart both the hardcore siscon kink that Itsuki is forcing into his story and the cliche narrative conventions he used like having a dead character revived out of nowhere at the breakfast table.
Although it establishes how shameless Itsuki is about his sister complex that he mentions frequently throughout the episode such as his favorite light novel sisters and how he’d prefer Kirino from OreImo to treat him, he is somewhat humanized through his circle of friends and colleagues who don’t mind joining him for a round of Kokutou Sweet Stout beer (stout is the greatest, so I was frantically trying to figure out where to get a case of this) and some homecooked food from Chihiro (Yamamoto Nozomi), his step-sister masquerading as his step-brother for some reason. As an aspiring writer, it is neat to see how they all gather together to discuss each other’s writing/publishing strategies, and play word games that test their creative capacity. It comes off as a cool way to tell us about the cast’s personalities and work ethic, and teaches us about how methodical authors like Haruto Fuwa (Hino Satoshi) can put enough thought and hustle into their writing process to secure an anime adaptation of his work.
One of the more polarizing characters might be Nayuta Kani (Kanemoto Hisako), a rookie author who spends a majority of the episode trying to court Itsuki for a tete-a-tete. I found a lot of her teasing and sense of humor amusing, but I can see viewers being put off with how forward she is and how she kept calling Haruto a “man-whore”. She does pique my curiosity though because her flashbacks depict her as an introverted girl who was inspired by Itsuki to write her own light novels, and upon meeting him, got so nervous she puked on him. Through her shyness, she asked him out, but I’m wondering how she worked through her anxiousness to try and be more flirtatious around him, or if this part of her was born from wanting to be with Itsuki so badly that she’d try to take on the role of his fantasy girl.
Within the ribald and lewd humor of Imouto sae Ireba Ii. is something heartfelt, and the erotic comedy doesn’t undercut what makes the cast deeper than how they’re perceived. The cozy dinner party helped the show settle down as it introduced Itsuki’s friends, but the last 5 minutes of the episode truly showed the series’ potential to developing Itsuki and Nayu into complex characters. Seeing Nayu as a shy rookie who got to meet and start a professional relationship with her idol offers her some leg room to grow beyond just providing some of the fanservice to the show. It also displayed the effort they want to put into giving Itsuki moments of reflection as his flashback as a flustered young novelist is brought to tears by Nayu’s writing debut. By having Itsuki look back on how emotional he got from Nayu’s novel, it gives him something beyond his penchant for siscon to work with, and offers up a lot of potential for him to mature as a person and a writer. Imouto sae Ireba Ii. might not be for everyone, but if you give it a chance, you’ll find it to be a hilarious comedy with some promise.