「妹さえいればいい?」 (Imouto sae Ireba Ii?)
“A Sister’s All You Need?”

In an interesting twist, the finale placed more emphasis on transitioning into the end stage rather than send us off with comical fanservice. The first half helps explain why Itsuki is as obsessed with little sisters as he ended up being, considering that light novels served as an escape from his tumultuous home life, and a parallel between his and Nayu’s inspirations for diving into light novels. Additionally, it fleshes us an explanation for why he’s too invested in wanting to be a protagonist with the heartbreak he felt from his babysitter’s daughter, who rejected him after spending so much time hanging out with him. While Itsuki’s bout with unrequited love was years in the past, it was a solidifying factor in why he is adverse to wanting to be in the reverse role of being a little brother or getting the boot as barely even a background character. To Itsuki, being a meager footnote in someone else’s story is as painful as rejection.

In the present day, they played around with the motivations and events that happen within the writers’ lives with a tabletop game based on the novel industry. It was funny to see how much it hit close to home with the players reflecting back on how much of a pain the process of amassing fans, dealing with editors and unruly fans, and, unfortunately for Haruto, having an awful anime adaptation. Although the ending sequence leaves us at a comfortable note with the characters hinting at what their next steps will be, Miyako’s will be the most enthralling development as she transitions her way into the LN industry as an editor.

Final Impressions:

Imouto sae Ireba Ii. has been an imaginative thrill-ride into the inner workings of the light novelist profession. The first two minutes of the show set the tone for the level of bombast that the anime has in its crass, lewd sense of humor, but it does not define the tone of the story itself. On the contrary, it has shown far more love for its cast of imaginative writers than even the most straight-laced drama series. What Imouto sae accomplishes with flying colors is making the cast feel human, giving us full depth into their insecurities, sorrow, joy, and lust. It’s a rare example where the outrageous humor does a lot to flesh out the characters because it gives us a look into what makes them happy or excited. Itsuki’s imouto fascination is given enough insight not to feel like it was placed there to give us imoutos, and Nayu’s pervy demeanor isn’t just a blatant ploy for fanservice, and serves to give us a feel for who Nayu is in her pursuit of Itsuki and writing prestige by her own terms. Haruto’s fall from grace shows a much less forgiving side to the light novel business, yet gives him enough hope to encourage him to bounce back eventually once talk of his failed anime adaptation and the lingering feelings of rejection fade with time. Miyako was a particularly impressive character as she is one of the only people uninvolved with the industry that is made to feel like a fully developed character while she tosses back the insecurities of unrequited love and a hazy, uncertain future. The anime was also a man of culture as well with its obsession with beer and tabletop games that gave it a sense of personality and fun. It knew how to hit you right in the gut, and then follow up by helping you up and easing you into a goofy romp through an improvisional TRPG episode.

It wasn’t 100% perfect as there were some times where the show’s silliness worked against the story. The logistics behind a jail located in the basement of a publishing company’s HQ did push the suspension of disbelief, and the reasoning behind turning Setsuna into a molester did nothing to benefit his character or offer the audience the fanservice it thought it provided in that scene. There’s also the instance of Chihiro, who doesn’t get enough development or insight to have us see her as anyone other than the little sister that may or may not have something for Itsuki, and is grappling with whether to tell him or not. The side characters were fun to see, but were also put on the back-burner in favor of the major players in the plot. This is definitely a show that would benefit from another season to see how Itsuki’s anime adaptation ends up, where Miyako’s future as a potential editor goes, whether Nayu and Itsuki will be together, and whether Chihiro will finally let Itsuki know who she is. If you gave it a chance, you’d find that Imouto sae Ireba Ii. was nothing short of a fascinating gem that deserves any praise or accolade it gathers for being able to balance shameless fanservice with heartfelt dive into the world of the light novel industry.



  1. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: This show had multiple moments where I paused because I was laughing so hard; and I’m someone who rarely laughs out loud while watching anime. Combined with actual character development and focus on one of my favorite things (Tabletop games) this show went from an iffy synopsis to arguably my favorite of the season

    1. I loved how unique the show is, where it is truly a one-of-a-kind show. It sounds like a mess on paper, but ends up being meaningful and goofy at the same time. The episodes/segments dedicated to playing tabletop games were absolutely hilarious.

  2. I’m going to miss this show to bits.

    I feel absurd for saying this but now that the season is over I find ImoSae to be the most relatable and realistic show this season. And dare I say, my personal favorite. How insane that a wacky cast of (irredeemable degenerates made me feel this much nostalgia and longing for a time when I too was an irredeemable degenerate going through life with my fellow wackjobs back in my early 20s – borderline depression, romance, alcohol, board games, fetish debates, and so much more. Well maybe not romance. Fuck were we lonely virgins back then.

    Oh and before it’s over.
    The OP and ED are about Itsuki and Nayu respectively so go check the lyrics for those if you have the time. Because I think the way they used the OP and ED in this show was exemplary.

    1. As opposed to virgins with a company now, lel?

      And there is nothing absurd with the show being relatable and realistic, it is. Sure, the presentation is wacky and over the top, but the characters were spot-on, with chameleon dude and pedonerd taking the cake. Oh the pedonerd, that bit with a friendzone reaction was great and he actually did the right thing and got better for it. The moment bitch started telling him about that other dude I started fistpumping.

    2. It’s goofy, pervy side makes the show all the more relatable alongside the dramatic points as it gives us an honest look at creative types, allowing us to see them handle both serious moments and whatever devious thoughts came to mind. It does remind me of some of my late highschool/early college times where I was juggling undergrad work and job-hunting along with the school paper and the creativity I had with trashier anime blogging from when I was completely shameless. It makes characters like Itsuki and Nayu a lot more relatable than people would think.

      I forgot to mention how legendary the OP/ED placement and usage was for this show. The transitions they would make with the dialogue to the songs such as when Itsuki broke through his writers block via OP or in this one when he realizes his resolve to be the protagonist on cue with the OP were stunning. The tidbits they added too like the Itsuki/Nayu pairing in this OP or the one where the staff and VAs voted on whether nude or clothed bodies were more attractive were spot-on as well. The ED was also timed very well with the conclusions of the episodes as it would segue in after a character reflects on their decisions or decides on something meaningful. The songs were pleasant, but the way the show used its OP/ED sequences was beautiful.

  3. https://randomc.net/image/Imouto%20sae%20Ireba%20Ii./Imouto%20sae%20Ireba%20Ii.%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2004.jpg

    I really like how this show is aware of it’s LN origins and also will not hesitate to take a stab at it’s own essence as well as other anime references


    Among the whole entire episode, this was the most painful one. Her tears were as heart wrenching and soul ripping as Hikari Karibuchi’s crying

    Velvet Scarlantina
    1. The story did a good job at not holding back with the jabs it makes at some aspects of LNs and imouto stories, including its own story. For a series about LN authors, it was effective for them to be able to poke fun at trends in LNs that the writers and their colleagues openly embrace, and look at them in a relatively serious light as things about LNs from Itsuki’s love for imoutos and magical schools to Haruto’s interest in feel-good conventional fantasy stories that they genuinely enjoy.

      It was hard to see the sadness that the babysitter’s daughter had to contend with. She wanted to share the pain she had about being rejected by someone she liked to Itsuki only for her friendship with him to fracture too when Itsuki was distraught that she didn’t reciprocate his love. She lost both her chance with a boy she liked and her only friend that day, and it showed with how well the scene was framed and voiced. At the same time, Itsuki VA was equally heart-breaking in his delivery of the lines where he realized she never considered him, and that he ended up being insignificant to her story as nothing more than a background character.

    2. The whole otouto-zoning thing was painful to watch, even more so because I could empathise with both sides. That said, though, how many girls would cosplay for their younger brother? As an only child I don’t have a handle on how realistic that situation would be, but it feels kind of unlikely.

      1. Cosplay is literally exhibitionism, so as long as the bitch has requisite tendencies, and they all have them, it can happen. You have to remember this whole thing was about her from start to finish: she hoisted herself on the pedonerd and then attempted to friendzone him, which predictably exploded in her face. No pity.

  4. This show was surprisingly good, and ended up being on my weekly rotation. The comedy elements like Ashley, panty-fetish illustrator and that amazing ep1 opening sequence was pretty great. I hope they have a season 2 to flesh out more developments — this has been a fun ride!


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