「恋と友情さえあればいい.」 (Koi to Yuujou sae Areba Ii.)
“All You Need Is Love and Friendship.”

Being Haruto is already suffering enough as is; your anime adaptation is crap, no one respects you as a writer, and you are friends with authors who are significantly more talented than you are. But adding unrequited love to the table is outright cruelty. Instead of having the trip to Joypolis be the springboard to sail the Haruto/Miyako ship, it is what appears to be the ship’s final resting place as Haruto is able to read the disappointment on Miyako’s face when she sees Itsuki hitting it off with Nayu. The last five minutes hit like a truck as Haruto realizes that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance when it’s clear that Miyako has been emotionally invested in Itsuki this whole time. While Itsuki is oblivious to any of the hints Miyako drops, Haruto is unfortunately quick to the punch in seeing that trying to pursue a relationship with her any further will only be painful for both his heart and her emotional state.

And just so that there’s equal opportunity suffering, to be Miyako is also to suffer. The tug-of-war her heart has over Itsuki is made even more complicated after her birthday as she comes face-to-face with both her lack of experience in the world for her age and her unrequited feelings for Itsuki. Nayu’s appreciation for Miyako as a sister figure is a double-edged sword as she helps Miyako feel appreciated regardless of her inexperience, yet also continues to pull at her heartstrings about the slightest inkling of her getting with Itsuki. The birthday novel Nayu wrote for Miyako captivates her as she sees the full extent of Nayu’s talent while painting an erotic story between her and her unrequited.

Something like this would be on the flipside of why Haruto didn’t want Itsuki to be involved anymore with his pursuits; any efforts they make to help or cheer them up are only going to continue to hurt them as Itsuki and Nayu start making progress on their relationship. Haruto had the sense to tell Itsuki that he shouldn’t try to help him out, but I can see Miyako continue to be reminded of her inadequacy if Nayu keeps prodding her about how she feels about Itsuki. As they say, “Each fiber of pleasure you experience causes equivalent pain somewhere else”. Nayu’s victory rides on Miyako’s defeat, so it won’t be pretty if Miyako’s determination and emotional state evaporates further and further due to the false hope Nayu is giving her about a game she knows she’s losing.

In a kinder, albeit tragic twist of fate, the ship between Nayu and Itsuki is beginning to look like a reality. The Joypolis day-trip was just what Itsuki needed to develop feelings for her as they bond over their mutual appreciation of thrill rides. It was cute to see Itsuki start to catch feelings when he saw Nayu getting pumped up about going on a ride together by the end of the trip. Similarly, they shared some quality time prepping up for Miyako’s birthday celebration at their place with some funny moments like Itsuki trying to explain that his “rom-coms” are barely the right qualification to give romantic advice or whether actual feces is a proper gift for someone you love. Nonetheless, the episode’s biggest strength is how serious its tone is consistently throughout the 24 minutes of despair. Instead of feeling the need to pepper in something overly light-hearted, they keep a level-headed, mature approach to Haruto’s doomed effort to ask Miyako out, and Itsuki getting further away from Miyako’s reach.

End Card


  1. In a kinder, albeit tragic twist of fate, the ship between Nayu and Itsuki is beginning to look like a reality.

    Don’t be fooled. Itsuki is just hanging out/having fun with a friend. His feelings towards Nayu haven’t shifted at all. She’s still too good for him. Your comedy of errors table lays out as follows:

    Nayu: Likes Itsuki. Doesn’t understand why he won’t respond in kind. Likes Miyako: wishes they were sisters. Is either going to flip when she finds out how Myako feels or reveal that she knew it all along (hence, Itsuki in the story) and was just trying to force her to admit the truth.

    Haruto: Sees Itsuki as his rival, despite his lack of success, because they were both on the same ballot and Itsuki was called the better writer. Likes Miyako, but now knows Miyako likes his rival…

    Chihiro: Pretending to be her brother’s brother for *insert reasons here*.

    Miyako: Has had a crush on Itsuki since she met him in college, but wouldn’t admit it to herself – or anyone else. So, now she thinks she’s losing to her “little sister” who’s “in love” with the guy she likes. But, she can’t do anything about it because having lots of boyfriend experience is not the only thing she’s lied to Nayu about. Top that: Itsuki and Nayu get along well enough in general to make it look like they’re the better pair.

    Finally, we have Itsuki and his lack of people skills/relationship experience. Oblivious (or in denial), of the fact that his brother is his sister. Wouldn’t even consider that the girl who came up to him in college may have done so because she liked him because historically no one likes him. Completely unaware of just how badly he hurt her when he announced nothing at college was worthwhile. Blinded by (and jealous of) higher sales numbers to the reality that his best friend sees him as any competition at all. Much like his artist friend, Nayu’s quality of work means she’s too good for him. Thinks that because he told Nayu no once, the discussion’s over. Doesn’t understand why she keeps trying.

    When all that collapses in on itself, things will get messy.

    1. I do believe that Itsuki’s not immune to Nayu’s charms. That scene at the amusement park and that little bit where he saw “little sister” attribute in Nayu may be small cracks in the wall he’s built.

      On another note: UNIVERSE!!!!!
      It’s Haganai’s author, alright. That shout ou got me laughing far more than I should.

    2. We know he’s not immune because he admits as much to Miyako in Okinawa. But, his answer is still going to be no. It has nothing to do with the little sister thing though so that won’t flip him. It all goes back to the end of Episode 1 where she asks him out, he’s interested until he reads her book, and then he’s not anymore. He thinks she’s too good for him just like he thinks his artist friend is too good for him.

      Adding to our comedy of errors: Nayu clearly thinks it’s because he sees her as a little kid. Which is why she’s now wearing the persona of a hyper-slutty adult in much the same way Disney princesses pop off to do a T&A flick/turn into “wild childs” to shed their existing image and “grow up”. Just take a look at the before/after shift in her personality.

  2. I like chameleon dude more and more; he actually has something of a legit struggle and an arc.
    It would only be better if he channeled his sexual frustration into writing something of his own.

    1. He could’ve written a birthday story of his own where Miyako was a magical maid with a dominant streak. But it is nice that they gave Haruto large hurdles to climb over even as the seemingly most successful writer of the bunch.

    1. His situation is really not all that bad. You have to remember that animoo has to glamorize everything, so Miyako is not that good looking – otherwise you`d never see her in the same room with the sisterfucker. He`s also a chameleon, so coping and moving on is not something unfamiliar to him.

  3. If this were any other series I could see it switching gears and going full drama for the remaining episodes of the show. Thankfully this is Imouto Sae so, in true slice of life fashion, it actually realizes that life isn’t gungho enough for shit like that so we’re going back to silly shenanigans next week.

    This little dramatic arc and escapade into romance is just the natural progression for Haruto’s character.

    But with all that being said, this show is really god damn bittersweet. It knows perfectly when to pull the punches and when to go in for the kill and sometimes it knows how to pepper just the right amount of suffering alongside the fun. It’s that looming shadow of gut wrenching melancholy without being completely overbearing which makes it remind me of real life way too much.

    1. True, what makes the show so special is that it’s painful layer never overshadows the lighter moments, and the goofier antics don’t undercut the pain. So far, it doesn’t feel like it must take a darker turn or stick with saccharine sweetness.

      There is a bittersweetness to how Haruto is processing everything at the moment. He knows when to stop before it becomes painful for him and Miyako to try and start something, yet keeping his heart grounded means turning down a chance at love while going through a slump. It doesn’t feel like Haruto’s life is over, and that there’s nothing that could make him happy out of nowhere. It’s why the last episode was nice in that it showed that life is complex enough to not just be a neverending pit of despair nor is it going to always be smooth sailing.

  4. https://randomc.net/image/Imouto%20sae%20Ireba%20Ii./Imouto%20sae%20Ireba%20Ii.%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2030.jpg

    Strangely, right at the start I had the feeling that the 2 of them will crash and burn. And i was right.

    Though among the whole entire episode, these 10 seconds blew it out of the water. I’ve not seen powerful shots thus far this season. Would Imouto be a contender for Best show of the Season?

    Velvet Scarlantina
    1. It felt like it was doomed the moment that the first 2/3rds of the episode had Miyako say Itsuki was her favorite author, and the reaction she gave reading Nayu’s birthday book.

      Someone mentioned how impactful it was as an example of “show, don’t tell,” and I can see it. I was frozen when Haruto noticed how upset Miyako looked seeing Itsuki walk off with Nayu. Miyako’s wish for them to just get together already to rip the bandage off combined with Haruto’s eyes shifting from shock to sadness is devastating.

    1. There are probably other characters this season who have it worse, but I can’t think of anyone in a recent slice-of-life who has gotten as dramatically screwed over by life in the span of 8 episodes as Haruto has. If there’s any consolidation prize for Haruto though, he could always have Ashley…


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