A Sister's All You Need
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Sister's All You Need ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Sister's All You Need ?
“Talk about an awful first impression,” Miyako says in the second episode of A Sister's All You Need, and she is not kidding. The opening scene of this series is already infamous, a rapid-fire assault of fetishistic pandering so outrageous that it's a relief when it's revealed as just a parody. Though it does say a lot about the state of anime today that it's even remotely possible to think this panty-munching intro is a serious opener, it also puts the rest of the show into stark relief. Does A Sister's All You Need only seem remotely watchable in contrast to this initial shocking display? Or do even its ironic predilections toward that content just drag it down more?
It's hard to say at this point, since the series has little going on so far. It drops tantalizing hints about the characters' backstories as well as ideas of some future direction, but for these first two episodes, we're mostly just hanging around with these characters getting to know them. That's bound to be a point of contention as well, since most of these characters are pretty crappy people. Alleged hero Itsuki is a pointedly gross weirdo, whose little-sister fixation is remarked on with revulsion by all the other characters. Fellow author Haruto isn't great either, after he's revealed to be a bitter, cynical workhorse who snidely revels in being more technically successful than his more talented colleagues. Poor Miyako seems like a decent person so far, not an author herself but just roped into hanging out with these gross "friends."
Finally, there's Nayu, who will probably be the most divisive character of the series. Her unrestrained sexual enthusiasm toward Itsuki and the sheer frankness of the language she drops do leave an impact, but whether that's funny or just irritating will largely depend on the viewer. Her dialogue and actions, as well as minor asides from the other characters, do shine a light on them being actual adults, thus freeing them up to talk openly about their sexuality, but this hasn't been used for anything but cheap profanity-laced punchlines thus far.
However, Nayu is also at the center of the show's first major hook, which is the shocking possibility of a strong emotional core. Just once so far in each episode, we've gotten brief nebulous flashbacks to Nayu's traumatic past and how Itsuki's writing may have ‘saved’ her, hence her attachment to him. These snippets are surprisingly well-framed, more technically effective than the simple crassness of the rest of the show would imply. Since the pervasive light-novel element and the characters' unhealthy relationship drama can be such a turn-off, it makes you question if this gross otaku comedy would actually work better as a drama.
And that's the confusing catch so far with A Sister's All You Need For all its jogging in place with these bad people thus far, it has an intangible something that leaves it just compelling enough to feel like it could be worth following. I think its self-awareness is a major contributing factor to this. The series seems to know its cast is unlikable, based on their reactions to each other. Itsuki's ‘bitch/slut’ filled rant against Miyako in a flashback is definitely painful, but it makes her subsequent slap to his face more satisfying and more earned than a simpler “You pervert!” moment. But even that makes you question if it's any better that the main character is a gross scumbag just because the story knows he's a gross scumbag.
Late in the second episode, we see Haruto comparing reviews of his work and Itsuki's, focusing on how his work is polished and trendy and designed for success in the otaku market, while Itsuki's is rough and weird but charming in a personal sort of way. I think that's also a good comparison between this series and something like Eromanga Sensei. That show was clear, stock, focus-tested success fuel, while A Sister's All You Need feels more free-form and at least unique in its grossness.
And then there's Chihiro, who has the power to make or break the show depending on what the show chooses to do with his character. It's apparent through their reactions to Itsuki's little-sister ranting that there may be more to his ‘little brother’ than meets the eye, and the very last scene of that episode completely gives the game away on that front. The circumstances behind this haven't been explained at all yet, nor is there any indication where this element is going or how it will actually factor into the story. Needless to say, there are some directions that could be interesting, but also plenty that could steer this one right into 'Nope!' territory.
First impressions matter, and A Sister's All You Need is all over the place. It's gross, mean-spirited, and so far hasn't actually gone anywhere. If it skeeves you out at the beginning, I think you're fully within your right to trash the show and never speak of it again. But if you're the type whose interest is easily piqued by strange details beneath the surface, this series can't be easily written off. It does have a surprisingly adept sense of conversational comic timing, and it's already making some interesting meta-commentary on light-novel authors and trends, as well as how they promote and sell their work. Add that to the genuinely interesting hooks it's laid out for whenever the plot actually gets going, and there's a chance that this show could be worth following. If you can stand to watch it.
A Sister's All You Need is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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