「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.

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    1. They keep teasing us with how Haruto’s anime adaptation is coming soon, and this episode had him meeting up with someone regarding the upcoming anime before Itsuki hid in the box. Wonder if they’ll ever make episodes about whether his anime ends up being good or not.

  1. This is a good SOL, it’s somewhat funny, somewhat ecchi, somewhat heartfelt and sometimes slightly melancholic. It is also doing a good job of balancing so far.

    On a side note, Haruto’s LN reminds me of Blade Dance.

    1. It is a nice hodgepodge of different ideas, and they all mesh together rather well. They don’t make any of the elements feel too out-of-place or jarring, and creates a universe where every element can co-exist.

  2. Sees screenshot of Setsuna topless and is surprised that he’s a BOY.


    Then I realize I never previously knew of his gender a week or so ago, since his name can be used for both!

    1. I think the vacation episode mentioned Setsuna with male pronouns when the editor mentioned chasing after him to Hokkaido over the phone call to Itsuki. I can see where confusion can come in with Setsuna’s hair and fashion-sense, though it didn’t seem like the show was going to use Setsuna’s sex to throw a curveball like their intention with Chihiro. It was funny to see Itsuki’s jealousy over how ripped Setsuna ended up being.

  3. What makes Haruto interesting though is the insecurity he has about his own talent,

    Everything loops back to Episode 2 that establishes the dynamic between these three:
    – Itsuki and Haruto were the honourable mentions for best newcomer.
    – Haruto is amazingly successful because he can hit all the right market trends but – even if they think he’s still above average – his work comes off as derivative and soulless to the writer community.
    – Itsuki sells worse because his work is still rough around the edges and random – to the point where the same reviewer wondered if it should have been published at all. But, his writing feels more alive than Haruto’s and his tendency to veer off into insanity makes it less market focused and more original/interesting to his peers.

    Despite seemingly living up to expectations, Haruto wants to the respect Itsuki gets from the community. Itsuki wants Haruto’s market share/success/public adoration.

    Meanwhile, Nayu won the best newcomer prize outright; quite likely because Itsuki provided her inspiration to write but she can hit the quality Haruto brings to the table. So, both of them are jealous of her for their own reasons.

  4. Recent seasons have been laced with random shows I expected to be crap but turn out rather interesting. With nanowrimo going on I should find myself a cell to get locked in to write.

    1. Same. “Imouto sae” has been good for me in a sense of lighting a fire under my butt to get started, but I can’t help but relate to some of the ruts they place themselves in. I feel like I’ve been participating in NoNoWriYear forever, but I should commit to placing myself in the mindset of finally making more than an outline and some pages of novels I want to make.

  5. This episode just made me feel more upset with LN.. The shut-in scene kinda demonstrated that the authors just blurt out whatever as a story. It didn’t feel like he had a direction for the plot at all, and he just translated his own struggles into the chatracters, word by word. And the plot he finally came up with wasn’t even good. Just cliche and.. bad.
    I know expecting a plot inside a plot to be good is a bit of a stretch, but come on.. that was just shitty writing. I would never read that!
    If before I gave Itsuki the benefit of the doubt for his writing after what we saw at EP1, now I just think he’s a bad writer and that’s a shame, cus he’s a good character and I wanted to keep rooting for him.

    Wish they had come up with a more worthy LN plot.


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