Aspiring light novel author Yuu Nagami regularly enters writing competitions but has yet to win a single one. Despite his recurring failures, he remains steadfast in his resolve to become a better writer. When he takes a look at the list of winning authors in the latest contest he joined, he notices that someone named Chikai Towano dominated the competition. He soon discovers that behind the pen name is his sister Suzuka—the last person he can imagine being an author. Suzuka cannot reveal to anyone that she is Chikai Towano and requests her brother to take her place. Yuu agrees with one condition: he will continue posing as Chikai Towano for his sister until he publishes his own book. Until that happens, Yuu uses his new identity as an opportunity to improve his writing skills and meet fellow authors and new acquaintances along the way. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
About 18 months ago when Eromanga-sensei finished, I was one of the few people that actually bothered to speak up in its defense. While the show was far from perfect, I found that a great deal of the criticisms it received stemmed more from public peer pressure, people simply disliking the genre to begin with and/or disagreement with the more morally questionable elements of the show, neither of which are particularly good arguments in my opinion as the issue primarily lies on the viewer’s own end in that case. I remember someone asking me back then what I thought a genuinely bad incest anime would look like then if not even Eromanga-sensei fit the bill. I don’t recall what I answered at the time, but I can at least say that if someone were to ask me the same thing today, then they need not look any further than this. What you have right here is a prime example of almost everything you can possibly do wrong with an imouto-centric anime.
Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai—or “The One I Love Is a Little Sister, but She’s Not My Little Sister” in English—is a stupidly long title which as far as I know doesn’t have a proper acronym so me and my friends have simply referred to it as “the imouto show” throughout the season, but for the purpose of this review I’ll just refer to it by its official English title to make things easier, namely My Sister, My Writer. In short the anime is about yet another high schooler (Yuu) who is a wannabe light novel author, except this time it’s his little sister (Suzuka) who ends up going pro first—by writing a novel about her love to her Onii-chan and publishing it online. Of course she’s too shy to actually tell him the book is based on her own genuine feelings, and since her school doesn’t allow students to have part-time jobs combined with her father probably not approving of it, Suzuka decides to tell the world that Yuu is the real author of her novel. And thus begins the story of a brocon imouto continuously putting her incestuous fantasies on paper and letting her brother deal with the public reception.
Now this all sounds quite cliché and not particularly original, but nevertheless a show like this doesn’t really need to be any more complicated than this to be successful. It’s been proven in the past after all; as long as the girls are cute and the show focuses on enhancing that element, that can be all it takes to be enjoyable. In theory that is. But in practice that is not the case here as My Sister, My Writer is unfortunately a never-ending train wreck in multiple aspects, and this is but the tip of the iceberg.
First and foremost, the girls in this show could have been cute, but the simple truth is they’re not. Mostly because they don’t make any damn sense. Girls throwing themselves at the protagonist without much motivation is nothing new for harems, but this anime really pushes the limits. At the very least I have never seen a completely random girl show up one day and ask if she could be the MC’s little sister and if she could call him Onii-chan before. That’s not just something you can swallow because it’s not just weird but it doesn’t even make any logical sense! Or how about the ero-doujin writer girl obsessed with drawing hardcore rape porn and going under the pen name Ahegao Double Peace-sensei. I mean really now. Like the girls in this show really don’t have much reason to associate with Yuu in the first place, let alone act like his family from day one. It’s just so unnatural to watch. And as far as Suzuka goes, well she definitely had the potential to be cute and likable, but it seems like her personality just flip-flops at complete random in order to suit whatever context the current scene in play seems to demand. I still have no idea how I’m supposed to describe her. Sometimes she’s a tsundere, sometimes a deredere, sometimes an airhead, sometimes a total pervert and sometimes just a normal, kindhearted and wholesome girl. Being two-faced is one thing but this is just too much. It only makes any attempts at comedy fall flat instead since everything feels so incredibly forced and unnatural.
But okay then, this is just a simple ecchi comedy in the end, so surely we don’t need to think so much about all of this stuff as long as the girls are hot and put it appropriately sexual situations, right? Well that is usually the last resort for an anime like this, the one thing they can always fall back on as a proper reason to watch and hopefully enjoy the show. However, that to me is the real nail in the coffin as to why My Sister, My Writer simply doesn’t work as an anime. Quite simply, it looks absolutely miserable.
About halfway through the show there was a subtle SOS sent out from one of the show’s animators in the ending credits, basically saying that they were in trouble and needed help. And it’s clear as day that this anime has suffered from major production issues. We’ve had some delays but above all the episodes themselves just don’t even look finished. There are numerous shots throughout the series with blatant animation errors, like a torso being cut off in mid-air and similar; the kind of stuff that would never go past a proper quality control, but evidentially they haven’t had the time for that here. As a result, the whole anime looks ridiculous. Character designs are all over the place, wearing derp faces more often than not and perhaps most importantly different ones all the time. Suzuka’s face might look disfigured in one frame, and then in the next one equally so but in a totally different way, as if you were looking at a different character altogether. It is incredibly distracting, disorienting and not pleasing to the eyes whatsoever. And keeping in mind that the main selling point of an ecchi anime is pretty much always the attractiveness of its female characters, having them look this hideous on top of their already non-sensical behavior means that there really isn’t much left to cheer for. And no, it’s not like the art in KonoSuba which is intentionally crude in order to enhance comedic effect. This is just plain sloppy and distracting like handing in a painting that’s only half-finished.
I try to stay open-minded when it comes to anime and normally it’s mostly a matter of personal preference regarding what I might recommend an anime for and to who, but in this case I’m really reaching at straws. An anime like Eromanga-sensei is easy to recommend people that just want to see a bunch of cute girls in light-hearted sexual situations, but the same certainly can’t be said for My Sister, My Writer. It fails at trying to have an interesting plot, it fails at trying to be funny, and above all it fails at even having cute, sexy or likable characters. So really, what is the point of this show? Why would anyone want to watch it? If it wasn’t for the production issues there might have been at least some merit to it, but in its current state there really isn’t. The only somewhat positive thing I could say is that at least it isn’t boring per se, but it’s so awkward and annoying that it doesn’t help much. As a result this is easily one of the worst incest anime I have ever seen in my life. They’re going to have to do some miracle work with the BDs to turn this sinking ship around, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high.