A Sister’s All You Need (Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) is not the best anime that came out this season. I wouldn’t even say it is the top 5 or even top 10. This series could easily be overlooked and missed and I wouldn’t blame you.
Despite all of that, I genuinely enjoyed these 12 episodes about a light novel writer and his friends just going through life together. In fact, to any of my friends who are writers and who also enjoy anime, I recommend it to them.
A Sister’s All You Need (Imouto Sae Ireba II) is about a young light novel writer named Itsuki Hashima who is surrounded by a genius writer who absolutely loves him, a college classmate who serves as a concerned big sister, a fellow male writer, a tax accountant with a sadistic side, and his editor. Oh! And you can’t forget his little brother, who takes care of his elder brother by cooking and cleaning while Itsuki writes.
The story revolves around the characters and their conflicts with their dreams and goals. While some characters find it incredibly easy to achieve their goals, others are struggling and there are still others who have nothing to really work towards at all. Each character is different, and while they can feel a bit too trope-y for another light novel series, they actually feel rather unique.
In fact, there’s something particularly special about the main character, Itsuki, that I can’t help but notice throughout the series. Early on it is established that Itsuki suffers from quite the inferiority complex. This is coupled with the fact that his closest friends are far more successful than him as writers. Itsuki has some typical main character aspects of wanting to be the best and doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal, but it isn’t fueled by a blind since of self-righteousness or a “he’s the protagonist so he has to be the best logic.”
Itsuki constantly fights against his inferiority. It hurts his writing ability, it forces him to act out in certain ways, and in many ways it even depresses him. It usually takes a great deal of effort for Itsuki to adjust just to get things done. I like that about him. Itsuki is flawed and he has issues, he focuses heavily on himself as a writer and he values himself based on his successes and failures as a writer.
Despite all of this, he has a strong support system and quite a few friends to help him out. He isn’t alone or shunned for his ambition (or his obsession with little sister’s), but he is actually admired for having something he sticks to and believes in so much. He doesn’t have many fans, but the fans he does have are devoted, which says a lot.
In the 12 episodes of the anime, you don’t just shed light on Itsuki, but on other character’s issues as well. Some characters have found success after personal struggles and others are dealing with the issues that come with finding fame. On occasion, I’d actually find myself drawn in by a character’s struggles. For example, Itsuki’s male friend and rival Haruto has already become a successful light novel writer and he has even gotten his own anime, but it doesn’t work as well as he’d hoped.
While I initially was interested in this series for its INCREDIBLY STRANGE OPENING, I was actually intrigued as the series continued on. By the end of the first episode, I was genuinely curious about how Itsuki would deal with his complex and how it impacted him as a character.
Not only that, I want to give major props to the animators for this series at Silver Link, (makers of such anime as Watamote!). Don’t get me wrong, the animation for A Sister’s All You Need is not particularly spectacular. In fact, there are more than a few scenes where the animation is pretty limited to say the least. Not only that, you see the same environments quite repeatedly, which is technically okay seeing as Itsuki spends most of his time at home, but it does get a tad repetitive.
Something that doesn’t get repetitive though is how often they put the opening of the series at random points in the episode. They don’t start the episode with the proper opening until it fits well into the narrative. There are times when the opening doesn’t appear until the episode is nearly over or halfway into it. It provides a sudden transition and a nice breather for some of the heavier moments of the series.
I can’t tell you that I highly recommend A Sister’s All You Need or that you will miss out on a lot by not seeing it, but I can tell you that I greatly enjoyed it. I have seen my fair share of light novel based-anime and you can do a whole heck of a lot worse than this.
At the very least, give the first episode a shot! There’s a good chance you will like it more than you think