I am sure folk have plenty of things to say about Eromanga Sensei. Some folk don’t like the fanservice, others don’t like the imouto romance and so on. This post is probably closer to the latter complaint. I don’t especially mind the imouto love story per say but the fact THAT THERE IS A MUCH BETTER RELATIONSHIP AND IT IS NOT THE MAIN FOCUS IS WHAT UPSETS ME.
I am of course talking about Elf Yamada.
There are a few simple reasons why Elf Yamada and her relationship with MC-kun (who’s name I can’t be bothered to remember) is the best part of of this show.
1. Elf Yamada is the tentative best girl
In light of the childhood friend being basically not present at all, I have to declare Elf Yamada best girl. It is a given. It just is. Sagiri is cute, but also an over-possessive rather blank imouto. I like how openly she admits to girls being cute, draws lewd things (it is a reasonable reversal of expectations I suppose), and tries to be good at what she does, but beyond that and her helpless obsession over her brother, she’s not much.
Beyond Sagiri trying to overcome her fear of the outside world and beating away her rivals, the anime has done little to show her as someone interesting. Megumi is kind of evil and fun to see bullied, but beyond that I don’t especially care one way or another. Muramasa is silly and just plain dull. She tried to sink the dreams of someone she liked because she wanted him to write stories she liked? And she did this purely out of love? pfft
Yamada on the other hand, while having far less screen time than Sagiri, has been far more developed. She’s got all kinds of interesting quirks like procrastinating then cramming really hard last second and her haughty but not actually arrogant attitude. I love it when she smiles too. Her smile is just a genuine smile full of confidence that none of the other characters have.
Finally her scenes are lovely because they aren’t about her trying to win over MC-kun nor are they about MC-kun trying to shamelessly throw his love at her. That is to say, their relationship isn’t so dull.
2. Yamada’s relationship with Izumi isn’t about him looking good
Izumi’s relationship with Sagiri mostly revolves around him helping her or being a good ‘older brother’. There are moments of joint inspiration like when both took each other’s work as an inspiration to work harder (those moments are the best) but for the most part it feels like one person endlessly doting on another. I am a fan of self-insert stuff usually but the imouto worship is a bit too self-inserty if that makes sense. Sagiri is just this infant thing there to be spoiled by MC-kun who is nothing more than a blank slate.
I won’t say Izumi feels like an especially well realized protagonist when he is with Yamada, but he feels so much more realized than when he is with Sagiri. One of my favorite scenes in the show thus far happens in episode 08 when Izumi admits Yamada’s importance and how she’s like an older sister to him. She really is to be honest. She gives him lots of advice, motivation to work and all around their relationship feels so much more solid than anything else in the show. I genuinely enjoy every moment Yamada is on screen (especially when the other girls aren’t around).
This post sounds a bit unduly harsh and to be honest, it is. I am still watching Eromanga Sensei and enjoying it, but as is so often the case, I feel the best girl is not the main girl and for a show so intimately familiar with the fiction it is portraying (this show is wild on a meta level), that’s a real shame.