A Sister’s All You Need: The Perverted Life of a Light Novelist | Review

A brief spoiler-free review of the 12-episode fall 2017 anime “A Sister’s All You Need.,” animated by Silver Link., directed by Shin Oonuma, and based on Yomi Hirasaka’s light novel series of the same name.

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A Hilarious Glimpse into Light Novel Culture

Arrogant, foolish, and always fighting his editor for procrastinating on deadlines, Itsuki Hashima is a light novelist in modern day Japan whose obsession with little sisters constantly finds its way into his stories. Despite his problematic personality and siscon fixation, the single 20-year-old author has garnered a tight circle of friends: Nayuta Kani, a young genius novelist yet grossly perverted girl who’s head-over-heels for Itsuki; Haruto Fuwa, a fellow male light novelist who frequently sees success with his series; Miyako Shirakawa, a friendly girl Itsuki met during his brief time in college; and Chihiro, his LITERALLY PERFECT younger step-brother who comes over on occasion and takes care of the housework and cooking.

Together, this oddball batch of young adults play strange (and fun) games, flee on spontaneous journeys across Japan, crack horny jokes, and celebrate each other’s successes with alcohol abound. Just as how work is full of ups and downs, however, each of these hesitant individuals must eventually deal with their own set of headaches, whether that’s battling the next deadline or deciding what one truly wants to do with their life.

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The overarching story of A Sister’s All You Need is simple: watching Itsuki and his friends find success with their work. Almost episodic in a sense, we follow these struggling authors through severe cases of writer’s block, the rare advent of dealing with another’s prosperity, and of course, deadlines. How each of them tackle these various problems speak volumes about their characters; Itsuki escapes to cultural hot spots around the country as sources of inspiration for his siscon trope story, while Nayuta gets her writer’s high from, well, “feeling up” another girl’s naked body, usually Miyako’s. (Yep, the wildly perverse girl, definitely a light novel staple.) Either way, they seek out their creative boosts by reminding themselves of their, errm, other passions, and that’s where the comedy (or enlightenment) ensues.

Full of meta humor for being a light novel adaptation about writing light novels, the series offers an fascinating social commentary on light novel culture, what it has become, and a parody of what its audacious authors must be like. (Cause all light novelists must’ve walked in on a girl who’s stepped out of the shower, baring it all, and got kicked in the nut sack for it, right?) It’s a series full of light novel tropes ironically about writing light novel tropes, and while it sounds dumb, the characters—when they want to be endearing—somehow make it work.

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A Group of Friends is All You Need

I’m going to start by writing that I love these characters. They’ve got such rare, humorous chemistry together, and only when Itsuki’s apartment was full was I thoroughly entertained. That said, Itsuki is an incredible narcissist and resident little shit while Nayu is practically a whore. Any chance he gets, he shamelessly plugs his pitiful writing in conversation (usually while in a drunken storm), and Nayu? Well, she strips down. With her, it’s always boobs, butts, and dicks [insert me still giggling like a middle school boy]. It’s repetitive, almost obnoxious, and STILL, I thought they were fun characters. I adored having the shy and typically out-of-the-loop Miyako play the straight man (woman?), and I got a kick out of Haruto’s “online gay facade to attract more female fans” charade. It was all so funny to me—THEY are all so funny to me—and although the comedic gags are dumb, I still enjoyed our time spent laughing in Itsuki’s little apartment immensely.

Beyond the pervy foreplay and dick jokes, this series’s characters are some of the best of its kind: Haruto is a hard worker battling on the same front as his talented friends; Nayu is a gifted writer seeking a more personal connection beyond words on a page; Miyako is starting to find herself by venturing out of her comfort zone; and Itsuki still yearns for . . . a little sister? No, hardly. All he needs is a good group of friends, and fortunately for him, he’s already got that.

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There’s NO WAY These Guys Are “Adults”

Is it just me, or do all of the characters in a Silver Link. work look like they’re ten years old?  Apologies, random point there, but the cute, underaged character designs continue in A Sister’s All You Need. Despite being a series about adults surviving on their own (except for Nayu, age 18, and Chihiro, age 16), all of the characters look like they could still be in high school. Itsuki, who is supposed to be 20, looks like a friggin’ middle school boy, and Haruto doesn’t look a day over 16 himself despite being Itsuki’s 22 year-old friend/rival. TWENTY-TWO YEARS OLD GUYS. And it’s even more conflicting when these full-blown “young adults” start going off on wildly inappropriate and lewd discussions about, well, whatever it is that gets light novelists going.

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Although the visuals might disappoint adult viewers anticipating a cast of accurate-looking adults, the art style is still nice and easy on the eyes, even if the balance between seriousness and comedy looks very inconsistent at times. (I swear, there is never “one” Itsuki, as he looks different in every frame.) On the subject of comedy, each of the tabletop games the cast play are visualized in unique styles to bring them to life. Also, all of the games they play ARE, in fact, REAL board and card games, which is awesome! I love how a group of authors play such creatively-stimulating games—it makes the life of a light novelist feel all the more real! As you can expect, I ended up buying and introducing the storytelling card game “Once Upon A Time” to my own friends, and while it requires a good amount of mental stamina, it is tons of fun.

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For the English voice cast, VA Stephen Fu overwhelmingly excels at bringing Itsuki’s narcissistic charm and asinine snarkiness to life. (Seriously, why don’t we hear from this guy more often??) While sounding a bit too old for Nayu’s character, I can’t think of anyone better than Jamie Marchi to make those insatiable lines just roll of the tongue. While I think Sara Ragsdale’s voice is not as full and confident as I’d like, I did find her extreme timidness here appropriate. And of course, it’s always nice to hear Eric Vale lay down some smack as Itsuki’s nagging editor, Kenjirou Toki.

Finding the Inspiration to Write Through Friendship

Underneath all its abundant layers of lewd nakedness, somehow, there’s something in A Sister’s All You Need. that makes me want to sit at the keyboard and write myself. I was able to find inspiration for writing in the most unlikely of places, and that to me elevates this seemingly ordinary, dime-a-dozen siscon anime based on a light novel to merit it worth the watch. For not particularly liking the little sister trope, I surprisingly enjoyed myself a great deal. You’ll also find yourself wanting to support fellow novelists after watching, or even become interested in light novel culture as a result!

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There’s also an interesting philosophical struggle tugging at our authors: whether to appeal to what’s popular—what people are currently into—and build yourself as a person to sell your books (Haruto), or to write exclusively about what you enjoy, even if that in itself might not appeal to a large audience (Itsuki). As a blogger, this is something I must always consider when publishing a post (though I’m usually the latter, as I can’t keep up with today’s standards haha).

At its worst, this stupid comedy series is downright weird and too far out-there to make any logical sense. But at its best, like when Itsuki [stops being a self-indulgent ass and] legitimately wants to try his hardest as to not fall behind Haruto or Nayuta’s immediate successes, it’s surprisingly a very compelling, almost inspiring, story. Victory and defeat come hand-in-hand, after all, and the publishing world is not exempt from that law. The biggest problem with the series right now is that, like most light novel adaptations, the story of Itsuki and his friends is far from over. This first season is but a hilarious, heartwarming glimpse into the perverted life of a light novelist, and I do hope author Yomi Hirasaka gets the green-light for a second season of his own work in the near future—and that he, too, will celebrate his success with good company, games, and a round of drinks!

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What you want, someone always has. And usually, it means nothing to the person who actually has it. It’s pretty much a miracle when you have what you want, and most comedies and tragedies happen due to the absence of that miracle. It may not be fair, but that’s just how the world works.Itsuki Hashima


Afterword

With all its light novelist insight, comedic overtones, homoerotic undertones, and dick jokes abundant, I confidently recommend this silly light novel adaptation as a “Cake” here at the cafe, as its characters lay down fascinating intentions and promising developments straight from the start, plus it’s hella funny. Just like Itsuki’s outrageous little sister stories, there’s a “mysterious appeal” to A Sister’s All You Need., and I consider it a miracle that I admittedly enjoyed it, let alone to the degree that I did. It’s simply a fun series, and if the premise of authors drinking and playing tabletop RPGs together intrigues you, all the more reason to watch it!

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Surprisingly, the anime baited me into buying the first volume of the light novel series recently published by Yen On, so that’ll be an exciting read which I’ll definitely write about if the new developments are fulfilling enough! But what did you think about this lascivious little series? Did you find it too dumb ‘n dirty or hilarious and oddly pleasant? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading, and until the next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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Hooked on Light Novels: The Amazon USED Blind-Buy Game! | Cafe Talk

Hey all,

I’m back with another “Cafe Talk” (woohoo it returns!), which is, for all my newcomers as of late, a free-flowing, comment-welcome segment that tends to lean towards anime “happenings,” or perhaps loose conversations related to my life and what’s new.

Today I wanted to discuss something that I’ve really been hammering down on in my updates (no, not my Danganronpa obsession). It’s reading, yup, I’ve gotten back into poppin’ open books and inhaling the words off of the pages. Specifically speaking, I’ve been getting into light novels more, partially to get to know them better (what they are, why they are so popular), but more so because I’ve been craving some light, short reads featuring our favorite anime characters. And what do you know? That’s exactly what a light novel is!

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I do not own this image.

Now, I have those couple series that I’ve been following on my own (Monogatari, Sword Art Online), but I was in search of something different at the time, a fresh tale featuring beautiful characters and all their cool adventures and mishaps. So I turned over to Twitter as a tool (and not just a place to retweet Yuri!!! On ICE artwork) to find out the kinds of light novels you guys are into right now. This way, I could also incorporate my Twitter with my blog more. Thank you to all who replied—it was very helpful, as I think I found some great contenders!

BEFORE I tell you the titles I plan to read, I want to let you know a bit about me: I’m a collector, a buyer of books, movies, and everything in between. This tends to put me at odds with libraries, as I find myself unable to simply rent/check out my entertainment—I NEED TO OWN IT, to hold it knowing that it’s MINE. Isn’t this terrible!? Gosh, I’m the worst, haha, but I might’ve found a remedy to my dilemma . . .

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Through Amazon’s USED books system (or eBay), if the volume I desire is available for, say, around $5 (shipping included), I’ll buy it, and hopefully review it, too! Doesn’t it kinda sound like fun? The idea just sorta came to me, and so long as I can get the books for cheap and have time to read them, well then, the more used literature, the better!

(I will ALSO be taking recommendations for single-volume/very short manga stories!)

AND SO, after weeding out the ones that didn’t intrigue me via synopsis, I present you with the following titles I picked up and the wonderful people who recommended them to me:

MelSeraph of the End—Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen

Simply GeeBook Girl and the Suicidal Mime

Lethargic RamblingsThe Empty Box and Zeroth Maria

MoonlitasteriaHarmony

MyselfA Certain Magical Index

As of right this moment, November 16, I’ve yet to actually purchase Guren Ichinose or The Empty Box, but I WILL, I promise!!

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So what do you guys think? Is this a great way to interact with the community, read the works that excite some of you, and give used books a nice home, or is it a terrible waste of money and a poor way to pick up new novels? You ought to let me know! If you see any improvements to this “game” that I can make, let me know those, too. And lastly, if you have a little spare cash, I encourage you to join in on the madness!

Should all of this go smoothly, look out for another spontaneous Twitter call, as I could end up reading one of YOUR favorites so long as it is daring enough to meet the requirements of the game! ‘Till next time, everyone!

– Takuto, your host

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I’ve Finally Been Recognized as Lovely! (One Lovely Blog Award)

Hey guys,

THE NOMMIES RETURN upupuPUPUPU! It’s been so long since I’ve been awarded one of these—it’s my first “Lovely Blog Award,” in fact! I also just happened to find a 20-min pocket of time, so why the heck not. This’ll be short, and you might learn a thing or two about me here in the next minute, so that’s cool. Special thanks to Mel (Mel In Anime Land) who happened to grace me with this nomination a couple weeks back. (I told you I’d get to it!) Check her out!

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Ok, ok, here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

And sorry, I won’t be nominating anyone because let’s face it: I can hardly keep up with everything as-is, plus this thing has likely made its rounds by now, haha. If you follow me or are just stopping by, go ahead and take this one on—I’m awarding anyone who feels willing to share more about themselves, for if you are reading this, you likely have good taste (and a lovely blog for sure, hehe :P).

Alright, let’s go!!

1. I was high school Homecoming Royalty

The king, in fact, hehehe! Why bring up high school now though (I mean, wasn’t it “the worst time of everyone’s life)? Well, my high school years weren’t half bad, my senior year being the saving grace. I also mention it now because, just a week ago, I got to hand off the crown to my sister, who is now the ruling queen—isn’t that kinda neat?! [insert “My Little Sister Can’t Be Royalty Just Like Me?!” light novel series here] Makes me wonder where she got it from, certainly not me, right? Ahaha, I kid, but seriously, it was tons of fun. To my class, who I know will never read this but regardless, thank you for all the laughs and the memories—it was an honor serving as your king over the past year~!

Would you have ever guessed it? Now you can can say you are friends with royalty 😀

2. I’m a night owl

Like Mel, I get most of my work done once the moon comes out. This can be a real inconvenience considering how, well, most people play by the sun, but somehow I make it through . . . by staying up late, waking up early, and feeling exhausted 24/7.

3. I LOVE granola bars

No, it’s like, really, really bad. Breakfast, lunch, snack, repeat. I am OBSESSED. I also like all kinds, simple chocolate chip or some kind of yogurt ones being my favorites. In fact, I hate nuts, but eating granola bars with nuts has given me a slight appreciation for them. Guess there are pros and cons to every addiction.

4. I LIVE for mystery stories and survival games

This is probably why anime like Gosick, Hyouka, Future Diary, Another, Higurashi, Fate/Zero, and, holy god, Danganronpa, my most recent obsession (besides the granola bars). I’ve traversed the entire franchise, watching the first anime many years ago, a Let’s Play of the second game last summer, and more Let’s Plays/video summaries of the other entries just these past couple weeks. I’m still searching for SOMETHING to fill the Danganronpa 3 void, so if you’ve got any recommendations, now’s the time to share . . .

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5. I’ve done music all my life and honestly, it’s meh

Sad but true. I’ve dedicated at least 4/5 of my life to something that . . . well, I’m not sure why I’m still involved with anymore. I play the cello (in a symphony, a quartet, and a small trio), and I can’t help but wish, everyday, that I was doing something else: painting, drawing, reading, writing—anything! The only reason I’ve stuck with it is because of the pushy music staff here. If they weren’t so clingy and even rude sometimes, I would have wanted to stick around. But crappy people are everywhere, so for once, I don’t even know what the moral of this story is supposed to be. Call it wasted potential or a future regret like all the others, but I don’t think that’ll stop me from retiring. When I’M ready, I’ll start up again on my own time. Like, “Can I please just move on with my life?”

6. I’m trying to get into light novels more

From the little research I’ve done, Japanese light novels are designed to be affordable, dispensable, and easily digestible written works, either as standalone novels or for a much larger series. They are relatively easy to publish, and that’s awesome for budding authors. What I don’t like is that many, especially now (like all media), rely heavily on the infamous “light novel tropes” to sell copies and hook readers, and while on paper it’s like “whatever,” many animation studios as of late have decided to spend all of their time and manpower on adapting these often times cliche, poorly written books. That said, I want to get into light novels more (which is why on Twitter I asked for suggestions). I want to understand them better, and maybe see if I can, sometime down the line, craft my own.

7. I am a collector, not a renter

That’s right, I don’t go to the library, nor do I occasionally stream shows. Instead, if I can score big sales and [blind] buy a ton of crap I know I won’t get to for 7 years, I’m gonna do it!! It’s actually gotten really bad, haha, so much so that I went on a no-buy (that didn’t last) and realized that “OMG, if I actually watch and read the stuff I actually have, it wouldn’t just have to sit there!” A novel idea, I know. If it’s any consolation, I do buy my stuff at THE BEST price one could ever find it at, so I do know a good deal when I see one. Unfortunately, if I avoided shopping during sales, then that would save money, too.

But enough of that smart thinking stuff. Time to go blow $80 on Sentai DVDs of shows that I wouldn’t buy otherwise unless they were $10 a piece. 😛


That wraps up this award. Did you learn anything interesting about me? Did you sympathize with my problems or just find me to be a big whiner? Either way, I’m curious! Again, if you want an excuse to talk about yourself, I nominate YOU to do so! Just let me know if you did so I can read it and share it. Again, big shout-out and thank-you to Mel for the nomination—it was fun! ‘Till next time guys!

– Takuto, your host

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