「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: 「Secret Story」 by Purely Monster