As a first-timer to the light novel business, I thought this was a pretty enlightening look at the ins and outs of the often-misunderstood industry. For a series that spans just ten episodes, My Sister, My Writer did well to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the light novel author’s ideal career path. It’s in-depth, but it knows its audience, so the creators took care to make sure the material was as relatable as possible. In fact, if there’s one complaint I have about this, it’s that its title is much too wordy, and maybe even misleading on several levels.
You see, this show is about more than just the light novel author’s little sister – it’s about the light novel author's life, his trials and tribulations, his pride and pitfalls. It doesn’t look like much at first and the animation can be off-putting, but trust me when I say My Sister, My Writer is a series that clearly knows to prioritize substance over style.
Honestly, I could go on and on about the things that make this show work, but you might be in a hurry, so here are my three major take-aways from the show instead. Who knows, maybe you’ll even use these tips to become a successful light novel author yourself. Good luck!
1. Talent? Never heard of her.
My favorite thing about this show was the discovery that I didn’t need to have any talent whatsoever to make it big in the light novel business. This was something I found out the minute the main character, Nagami Yuu, was introduced. Another appealing thing about him is his complete lack of a personality. Instead of cultivating some memorable characteristics, Yuu bucked the trend by being as blank a slate as possible, showing only the briefest signs of life to convey Flabbergasted Shock or Dazed Confusion. This is something that makes sense: after all, many of the world’s greatest authors indeed started out as sponges, which was a useful state of mind that allowed them to absorb techniques, styles, and prose from other greats.
In a world filled with noisy protagonists, unbelievably-strong main characters, or stoic leads, Yuu’s presence is a breath of badly-needed fresh air. Instead of aspiring to be an ideal, he represents the average anime viewer, which only proves how well this show understands its audience. In fact, even if he’s normal to the point of unremarkable, he’s still able to really embody the very essence of being a big brother. By the time you get used to this series, you’ll be calling him “onii-chan,” just like everybody else. That’s all he’ll be known for and that’s all he ever will be: just everyone’s onii-chan, and yeah okay, that doesn’t sound very glamorous, but this only proves this show's point that talent and personality are no big requirements for the aspiring light novel author.
2. Little Sisters are a Pretty Big Deal
This is apparently a deal-breaker for many people in the business – if this show is to be believed, then the consensus among the likes of editors, artists, studio directors, and the general readership is that if you don’t have a little sis, then you can’t have a biz. Emphasis on the “little.” Yes, it appears there is a strict age requirement for sisters here, which I guess is understandable, as younger sisters seem to have been born with an innate knack for household work. I honestly wouldn’t know, seeing as I have no little sister myself. But the show’s accounted for that too, thankfully, as it goes out of its way to break down its arguments for the inherent goodness of the imouto love story. What I've learned from this show is, as long as I at least have the burning desire to show my imaginary little sister how much I love her, then I’m all set.
By the way, the sort of love you’re required to show your little sister isn’t meant to be some flimsy, half-assed thing. As a light novel author, you’re expected to take your responsibilities seriously, which means showing your little sister the absolute full extent of your love. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking, and no – you can’t not do this if you intend to make it big in the business. But don’t worry! Based on this show, there’s a very strong chance your little sister will like you back in that way anyway, so you know, fuck the world, eh? (Just not in that way. Consent is important, kiddos.)
3. Release the Harem (But just some of them, you still need the connections.)
Finally, we get to the most defining, most important lesson this show has to impart. I say this, because this was the part the series chose to fixate on. While it’s important to build a network of reliable contacts within the industry, it appears one also has to be careful not to befriend so many women. There’s a huge gender gap in My Sister, My Writer, and I don’t think that’s purely accidental. Many of Yuu’s contacts are female for a reason, and while they all help him further his career, it’s clear they’re only there to act as distractions. If they’re not teasing the light novel author about his lack of progress (truly insulting to anyone trying to make their way in the art industry, let me tell you), then they might be stalking him or trying to force their way into his house at several points.
Ladies, please! The life of a light novel author is no joke, but alas, it appears joking around is all the harem is capable of doing, even if they have their occasional moments of seriousness. Harems are a huge problem and an absolute menace. They’re prone to prey on anyone and everyone, especially the ones you thought would have been the most boring people alive. What’s a light novel author got to do to achieve his dreams around here?
Of course, because lest the audience forget, the main goal of the light novel author is to pursue a healthy, loving relationship with his little sister. From here, he’ll be able to muster the words and emotions needed to create the next light novel masterpiece. If the harem isn’t helping, then they should at least stay out of the light novel author’s way, as he works to win the affections of his little sister. It’s all about balance, you see, and it’s like what they always tell you when you start any financial venture: make sure you don’t mix the business with the personal.
Unless, of course, that personal thing is your little sister. In which case, you’re all but encouraged to woo her to the best of your abilities and milk the whole premise for everyone’s next fap material. Sit back, love your little sister, profit. It really is that easy, believe it or not.
[This review was made for the Anime Lottery Game: Fall 2018 event. Yes, everything I said here was a joke. So is the rest of the show, unfortunately.]