Image source: 俺妹&エロマンガ先生放送中 on Twitter

If you create content on the internet (or in real life) you likely use your real name. But perhaps you use a pseudonym. If you do use a pseudonym, what’s the reason behind that? Are you concerned your readers will find out your identity? Or maybe you’re not concerned with success or glory or anything of that sort?

In Eromanga Sensei, fifteen-year-old Masamune Izumi writes light novels as a profession. Providing illustrations for his books is the erotic artist nicknamed “Eromanga Sensei.” Despite success as a light novel author, he’s concerned with his classmates finding out his true identity.

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Eromanga Sensei.]

The first episode of Eromanga Sensei communicates this, within the first ten minutes of the series. Not long after we’re introduced to Masamune, who can be found sitting in class “egosurfing,” or Googling himself. As a light novel author for the past three years, he’s finally shown his face during a signing event commemorating the launch of one of his novels. Via his internal narration, he indicates that he’s concerned others have figured out his double life–despite the fact that he very blatantly signed his first name on each copy. He ends up finding people online commenting on his “messy” autograph and is destroyed for the moment.

But this is an understandable reaction, with the cutthroat nature of internet commenters and the way people behave when hidden behind an anonymous veil. It’s likely crushing for Masamune to go online and see something so seemingly insignificant as his signature being torn down–especially once its revealed that Eromanga Sensei is the author of the comment. It hurts to pour your heart into something only to have it torn down by cretins on the internet.

The same is true of his little sister, Sagiri, who Masamune figures out is actually Eromanga Sensei. It’s more than a little strange that a 12-year-old girl is drawing erotic artwork in the first place, but that’s a story for another day. Sagiri herself is a hikikomori, or what we might refer to as a shut-in. She’s essentially a hermit, shutting herself up in her room all day for hours and hours on end, only coming out when her brother is not around.

Image source: 俺妹&エロマンガ先生放送中 on Twitter

In Sagiri’s case, aside from the fact that being found out makes it awkward to work with her big brother since they know each other’s identities, it’s a bad time for everyone involved when her fans are likely of age and/or operating under the assumption that she’s an adult. When she forgets to turn off her camera after a live streaming art session and starts changing her clothes, Masamune makes a mad dash to ensure she doesn’t accidentally expose herself online–which would obviously be a very, VERY bad situation for all involved.

The fear of being found out is a very real one for some content creators, but it isn’t always for fear of ridicule or anything similar to Sagiri’s situation. In the real world it might have to do with the danger of being stalked, harassed, or one of several other unacceptable types of interaction that unfortunately creators in any medium have dealt with since the dawn of the internet.

So it’s intriguing to see that fear and that caution carry over to an anime series like Eromanga Sensei–especially when two young adults are involved whose profession is thought of as being for adults. 

I’m not sure how these roles both characters play will end up working out in the long run, especially since I’ve not read the manga, but I’m hoping both can retain some sort of anonymity and transcend the unfortunate realities that are the critical eye of society and the internet. Their lives will certainly be a lot better off for it. 

Eromanga Sensei can be viewed with English subtitles on Daisuki, Crunchyroll, and Amazon Anime Strike.

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