「小説さえ書けばいい.」 (Shousetsu sae Kakeba Ii.)
“All You Need Is to Write Novels. “
Damn, I wonder if they really do lock away light novel authors in solitary confinement if they don’t make their deadlines on time? Itsuki’s initial confinement in the editor’s office or the Hokkaido hotel room Setsuna was trapped in seemed like a dream compared to whatever prison cells they made under the company building for the unfortunate writers with a need to escape from their work. The bathroom box alone would probably violate several human rights laws right from the get-go. There must be a lot of leeway for them to be able to pull this off to the point where Haruto can pop on over and act like it’s the typical fate for procrastinators or victims of writer’s block, and the editor is willing enough to place trackers in Itsuki’s clothing and phone to catch him in the act of laziness.
The desperate situation, however, was extreme enough for Itsuki to pull through and channel the correct inspiration to complete the fifth volume of Mahou Academy. Rather than tapping into the experiences he has from visiting locales, it’s his resolve to leave the prison cell for his friends and loved ones that are cheering for him that pushed him to write a conclusion he can be proud of. The way the episode frames it was touching as it fused his desire to see his friends again with his LN protagonist’s desperation to see his friends and little sister again after a close fight with the antagonist’s minotaur army. They even pull the trend of blasting the OP music through the episode’s most climactic moment, though Episode 5 might be too soon to pull out the big guns like this. To be fair, the episode culminated in Itsuki finally making his deadline, so it’s understandable that they’d want to celebrate it with something epic. On top of that, the reveal that a manga adaptation is in the works for his series gave Itsuki a major bombshell that might be the jolt he needs to get his very own anime.
Speaking of this, his desires help flesh out more of Haruto’s character as a friendly rival he strives to overcome. Haruto gets a sense of pride from the success his series, The Spirit Knight of the Distant Sea, has as the soon-to-be-released anime adaptation gave him a bigger hike in sales than Itsuki’s latest release. What makes Haruto interesting though is the insecurity he has about his own talent, where he’s prideful of his work’s appeal, but still finds himself in a losing situation against Itsuki. He’s outselling him by a wide margin and has a much more lucrative series under his belt, but he nonetheless finds that he’s the one that keeps losing. Itsuki’s early series issue of writer’s block seems to be resolved for the time being, but it’d be neat to see where the show goes with exploring Haruto’s insecurities as he finds himself compromising his identity and image for mass appeal. Would he open up to anyone about feeling like a sell-out with nothing of worth on his resume, or will he keep bottling his feelings up about his failings in favor of keeping up appearances as a master writer?
This episode is one of the heavier ones yet with little to no fanservice, but there are some fun moments with Setsuna as he helps Itsuki play hooky at the hot springs. Not only do we learn that Setsuna is shockingly buff for his lanky appearance, but he also enjoys getting research on cute lady butts at the mixed-hot springs where he can flirt with significantly older women. I also laughed when Itsuki was escaping his office in a box like Snake. There was a little fanservice for those who wanted to see more of Itsuki’s cake. However, Episode 5 was quite the pleasant change-of-pace for the show as it’s most serious episode without fanservice-heavy moments that might’ve turned off viewers from its previous eps. In fact, it’s episodes like this that would have me suggest it as something more than a trashy erotic comedy given how thoughtfully it explores its cast, their motivations, and their insecurities.