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

Rather, it’s a touching story of two teenage strangers dealing with the deaths of their parents.

Romance, like the vast majority of fiction, thrives on conflict. One of the most common ways to add drama and conflict to a romance is create a seemingly insurmountable societal roadblock or taboo that the couple must overcome in order to be together.

In Romeo and Juliet, it’s that the two young lovers are from enemy families. In My Best Friend’s Wedding, it’s that one of them is already engaged to another person. In more than a few anime, it’s that the prospective couple are siblings—or at least step-sibling/adopted siblings raised together from a young age.

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

On the surface, currently airing anime Eromanga Sensei appears to be another one of these—after all the two leads, Masamune and Sagiri, are legally brother and sister. However, what’s interesting about the two is that, while that may be how it appears on paper, in reality, they are actually complete strangers.

When it comes down to it, the conflict keeping the two apart has nothing to do with the social taboo of incest and everything to do with how the pair are dealing with the greatest tragedy two children can face: the death of their parents.

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

A year before the events of the anime, Masamune and Sagiri’s parents got married. Yet, soon after the day Sagiri and Masamune met for the first (and only) time, Sagiri’s mother and Masamune’s father were killed in an accident while on their honeymoon.

This left Masamune, a middle schooler, and Sagiri, and elementary schooler, alone in the world. Sagiri retreated into her room, not leaving nor speaking with anyone—even Masamune—in person for over a year.

During this time, Masamune was thus faced with not only the death of his parents, but also the fact that his one remaining “family member” was completely dependent on him—not to mention the fact that she was a person he had met only once. With such a situation laid bare, no one would have faulted a mere middle schooler for abandoning Sagiri to her blood relatives—likewise entrusting himself to his own relatives or the foster care system.

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

Yet Masamune used the situation as a way to get himself through his own tragedy by helping Sagiri get through hers. While it’s shown that Masamune was smitten with Sagiri on their first meeting, he stamped those feelings down and redefined himself as the ideal brother to Sagiri. In a world where she had been abandoned due to cruel fate, he would be family she deserved and, in turn, find meaning in his own life to come.

With this new goal, he gained the drive to not only soldier on, but to thrive as a writer. With the consent of his aunt, he was allowed to act as Sagiri’s caretaker as long as he was able to publish a novel a year—and despite his young age, he has thus far succeeded.

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

Sagiri, on the other hand, dealt with the pain of her loss in her own way. Locked away in her room, she did the one thing that connected her most to her deceased mother: drawing.

And when she wanted to once again connect with the outside world, she did—livestreaming her drawings on the internet while responding to comments. But the reason she was able to come out of her shell even this far is simple: She had Masamune’s unquestioning support. He would cook for her, wash her clothes, and earn the paycheck that would allow them to keep living together.

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

But what’s most important is that Sagiri is well aware of this fact. Over her year in isolation, she fell in love with the unseen man slaving away as both student and writer for no other reason than to give her the time she needed to heal. In Sagiri’s eyes, Masamune isn’t her brother; he’s a man who loves her more than anyone else in the world. And her feelings only grow stronger when she realizes that Masamune has actually been both her favorite author and artistic collaborator for years.

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

The romantic conflict in Eromanga Sensei is not Masamune and Sagiri are brother and sister. The conflict is that he has defined himself by his role as her brother as a defense mechanism for the trauma he suffered. She, on the other hand, has found who she views to be the perfect romantic partner—someone who will never abandon her no matter what happens and only wants to see her happy.

For the two to be together, Masamune would have to give up the very core of his being; the very identity that made him strong enough to survive the death of his parents and support not only himself but Sagiri as well. Nothing we have seen in the anime so far shows that he is either willing or able to make such a change in himself.

Image source: アニプレックス on YouTube

So if Masamune is unable to give up his identity as her brother, it falls to Sagiri to change. She must become a young woman who is not reliant on him. She must be able to leave her tiny, safe space and head out into the world like everyone else. It’s only when Masamune will be unable to view her as the broken little sister he needs to support and protect that he too will be forced to change and see the young woman that she truly is.

So whether she realizes it or not, with each step she takes outside of her room, she is one step closer to victory.

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

Eromanga Sensei can been seen with English subtitles on Daisuki, Crunchyroll, and Amazon Anime Strike.

Comments (3)
  1. I don’t know about this anime. It seems to me that misunderstanding, lack of communication and trauma are being used as a manner to justify this show’s desired harem trappings, that is, the “main couple” is kept from hooking up unreasonably so that the status quo of equal distance of all girls to the MC can be kept.
    Telling that story you mentioned without those trappings would be much more effective.

  2. Denial is the first stage of grief.
    The second is anger.
    The third is whipping it out.

  3. Yeah, no. The first season of Oreimo, despite its obvious incest trappings, gave me enough emotional rope to believe it could be a show about something more. It wasn’t, it was trash that betrayed every hint of possible goodness in the script with painful unfair unrealistic and destructive writing that led to a contrived, stupid finale. It was garbage and I ain’t trusting this author at all.

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