「俺と妹がラノベ作家になった理由」 (Ore to Imouto ga Ranobe Sakka ni Natta Riyuu)
“How my Sister and I Became Light Novel Authors”

This is your mind. This is your mind on light novels.

Ore ga Suki na no wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto ja Nai, hereafter known as ImoImo because jeez, is the story of a light novel loving older brother who wants to become a light novel author in Nagami Yuu (Hatanaka Tasuku), and an older brother loving little sister who becomes a light novel author in Nagami Suzuka (Kondou Reina). That forms the crux of the “conflict,” and as far as premises go, it’s underwhelming.

Actually, that’s not fair. As a well of potential actual conflict, it’s ripe for exploitation. The older brother wants to be an author, but the little sister does it on the first try? The jealousy! The sabotage! The strife! If that’s the story the author were going for, it’d be a lovely setup. But it’s not. This is an imouto love comedy, so the inherent tension in this setup will be entirely ignored. Compare it to Imouto sae Ireba Ii., which has this same dynamic between Itsuki and Nayu, and it rolls with it. ImoImo is showing no signs of doing the same, so the premise provides for some cognitive dissonance. It would have been better if he’d been uninterested in light novels, like Souichirou Kuzuki from Fate/stay night without the violence.

Also, the writing! Ugh! You’d think I’d be the perfect person to review this since I myself am an author, and people think I’m the ecchi blogger (though I’m not! B-bakas), but its depiction of writing sucks. Take how Yuu buys all those light novels, intending to absorb them and use them in his work. He proves a point made long ago: import, don’t recycle. He just reads light novels, and parrots what he sees there. Don’t do that! Be more like HeroAca, which imports themes and ideas from American comics (in this case) in order to create something unique and lively, instead of the same damn thing over and over again.

Also x2, ImoImo seems to have enough awareness to point out the occasional cliche. Take:

“You’re a pretty common character type in light novels yourself, Esaka-san.”


“No. 1: It’s an easy enough read, but it’s littered with cliches.”
“No. 2: We can’t see anything appealing about your female characters.”

(Those are bold lines, coming from a show rife with cliches itself.)

The problem with pointing out the cliches is that, if you indulge in them over and over again anyway, it’s pointless to have pointed them out. You’re saying “I know this is cliched, wink wink nudge nudge,” but you’re not doing anything with that knowledge. You’re just winking and carrying on. Why? In an over-the-top comedy that can sometimes be enough, if used sparingly, but otherwise it needs to be a jumping off point for subversion, otherwise the question remains: Why didn’t you do better?

As for the characters themselves, the feedback from Yuu’s novel submission says it all: “[I] can’t see anything appealing about your female characters.” They’re not bad, they’re just not particularly interesting so far. That’s probably because the show decided to provide glimpses of several different characters, rather than delve into a few. It was all foreshadowing, little substance, and too much tell-instead-of-show. The only really interesting moment came at the end, when Suzuka openly talks about becoming his girlfriend. I don’t know if it’ll ever get there—I have a feeling that’d be too interesting a plot turn, and light novel series need to be dragged out—but I hope that’s the path they travel, because the bevy of other women are cute—and would be more so, if the animation and character design were doing them any favors—but if the heart of the thing ain’t there, all the diversions in the world won’t make it work. That’s something AAA game designers still haven’t learned, and apparently light novel authors are their comrades in this.

If you’re looking for an imouto love comedy, ImoImo is probably fine. On a minute-by-minute basis its most egregious sins are that it’s pacing is languid and its characters rote; other than that, it’s undemanding and may get you to where you want to go. It just had the bad fortune of being about writing as well, which means Stiltsy holds nothing back. You’re an author yourself, ImoImo author! Do better, dammit! *shakes fist angrily at the sky* *demands kids get off his lawn*

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the last two posts: An Author’s Review of: Freelance Heroics, & An Author’s Review of: Wage Slave Rebellion.


OP Sequence

OP: 「Secret Story」 by Purely Monster



  1. Just when you thought Eromanga Sensei is the bottom of the barrel light novel about little sister, this happens. My god, even the visual looks like an anime from early 2000s.

    One Pinch Man
    1. You know, for kids!
  2. Well, we really are getting to the dregs of the season now – a show that makes most other little sister anime look like high art in comparison. It even has no illusions about itself, what with the “buy the BDs” stickers everywhere. Not quite instadrop territory, but if I do watch it then it will be purely for the fanservice.

  3. I have so many questions after watching that episode and none got answered…

    Also Stilts, why not try become an LN author as well then if stuff like that is profitable enough to live off? From what i read of your works, it should be better then this so if they can get away with stuff like this and still life pretty decently, you might make enough to live pretty comfy.

    1. Because (1) I’m not Japanese, and light novels aren’t a phenomenon of any note anywhere else, and (2) because light novels are a shitty format that neuters the novel of most of its merits. I could write a better light novel than this; I won’t say I can write the best light novel ever, but I can definitely do better than this one. But why do that when I can try to write a really good novel instead? Yugh. Light novels as a format suck, even if some good stories come out of them occasionally.

      Thank you for the complement, btw!

      1. A) there have been lightnovels from people that are not japanese ( either work related passport for work there and then go back to their country of origin or immigrating to japan permanently from their country of origin ) and you can get LN in america and europe last i checked and B) The format itself doesn’t inherently suck, as there are pretty decent ones like the haruhi ones, spice and wolf, dxd, overlord (although that one is a bit weird ). A different example is those pockets that are small enough to fit in ones pants. A lot of them can be trashy novels while there are also a lot of good stuff in there.
        Granted, the LN world has a lot more of the trashy ones but i am not entirely sure if that is more thanks to the culture of “If people are willing to pay for it, then we will sell it” or because the restrictions are far less strict in comparison to other countries.

        Besides, i thought you as an author would know that the format is rarely, if ever the issue. The issue is the writer and how well they can write.

      2. You may be right that the format isn’t inherently weak. It could be the industry, in the same way that the business side of the anime industry perverts its output toward certain kinds of shows (notably, pervy ones). Yet, when such an overwhelming quantity of them are badly written, I remain skeptical.

        I ain’t gonna move to Japan to write one anyway, so no matter. I shall plug away with my novels, which I dearly love.

      3. Eh, it is like the old saying goes i guess.
        Sex sells and since most of the LN that gets sold these day are on the pervy side ( hence the sex sells thing, although it might be closer to teasing sex sells ) it is no suprise that companies in japan only see the amount of potential profit they can make if they turn it in an anime.
        Besides, if the majority of the novels that sell good (independently if they are written good or badly) are pervy it is only sensible to expect a majority of the anime coming from there to be pervy as well.

  4. This is Kadokawa, so I don’t expect it to “get there”… unless she turns out to not be blood-related, which is always possible.

    But yeah, I was “looking for an imouto love comedy” from the title and premise I knew in advance, and I give this a pass because Suzuka is really cute. Top-tier among imoutos I’ve seen in demeanor, although sadly probably not depth.

    I just hope they don’t waste too much time on other heroines; push the envelope by having Suzuka come up with schemes to flirt with her brother, etc. The redhead heroine and the one in your “other women” link screenshot are possibly okay (when they have a chance to speak more than 1 sentence?), but Ahegao Double Peace, the editor, and Esaka are more like gag characters than heroines. At the very least, the author should build up a friendship between other heroines and the imouto, so that the imouto gets more character development even while the other heroines get spotlight. Can’t go wrong when you take inspiration from Oreimo.

    I can see this anime being really frustrating if you’re a writer though. The sentences he read aloud that were supposedly from an “award winning” imouto LN were so cliched and awkward. I almost thought the author was trying to indirectly insult the imouto genre by calling that “award winning”. The author clearly just doesn’t care to some extent, as if an illustrator named Ahegao Double Peace could possibly illustrate mainstream LNs under that name, that’s way more lewd than “Ero Manga”.

    1. Sorry about that, I never watched the original Sister Princess, so didn’t realize they were the original seiyuu. Probably shoulda checked on that since I recognized a few of ’em as too big of names for a throw-away cameo, tho.

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