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Eromanga Sensei Volume 2 Blu-ray Anime Review

7 min read

The bonding continues – as does the eromanga!

What They Say:
Masamune Izumi is a high school student who professionally writes light novels. Sagiri Izumi is a shut-in who never leaves her room. One year ago, they became siblings when their parents married one another.

However, one day, Masamune discovers a shocking twist—the artist “Eromanga Sensei,” who has been drawing illustrations for his novels, is none other than Sagiri. His cute little shut-in of a sister, who has been living under his roof, is using an obscene pen name and drawing lewd illustrations. But there’s no way his little sister could be this dirty?!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo in the PCM format that gives us an uncompressed take on the show. No English language dub was produced for this release unfortunately but what we do get is a pretty solid if standard stereo mix here. It’s a dialogue-driven work that doesn’t go for big or thrilling moments but it uses the forward soundstage well for when there’s movement and some good comedy moments across it while there’s also good placement when it comes to depth of scenes as well. The score is definitely something that makes out well here with the uncompressed format as it has some good warmth to it. But with the series being pretty much all about the dialogue it comes down to that and it’s problem free throughout, making it a clean and clear mix to enjoy.

Video:
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The six episodes of this set are spread across two discs with three episodes per disc. Animated by A-1 Pictures, the high bit rate here works to the shows favor because there’s a lot of good detail to be had throughout it and some great colors that really shine with vibrancy. The character animation and designs are very appealing with how they’re handled and the encoding brings it all to life in a really great way. The vibrancy really hits a sweet note here with what it does and the shading and layering just makes it look like a very rich show. The smoothness of the animation is also strong in a lot of scenes and the end result is a crisp and clean encoding that will delight fans with how great it looks.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a thin slipcover style design that has a cute image of Elf and Masamune together in cosplay form with a white background and the logo done up in green. It provides a good look at the designs of the show and some of its more unusual elements with the cosplay. The back cover gives us another look at Sagiri while laying out the premise clearly and doing up the sets features in a blue-green on white that’s easy to read but could be problematic for some. The cover also runs through the technical information cleanly so you know how it’s all set up. The clear Blu-ray case inside uses the artwork from the back of the slipcover in full against white that looks nice as it plays up the innocence. The back gives us a look at Sagiri and Izumi together in a nice moment that fits well for the show. The reverse side also gives us a nice looking two-panel spread look at Izumi’s main living room/kitchen space. The pack-in extras are a bit light for this one as we just get a full-color booklet that breaks down the characters with lots of shots and text details about them.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty straightforward as we get the previews for the episodes and the clean versions of the opening and closings that change up throughout the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the first season of Eromanga sensei didn’t blow me away I didn’t find it quite as problematic as it could have been. Anytime you deal with sexuality and characters like this, and the original creator behind Oreimo, you’re going to be a bit wary. But I was actually kind of amused by it with some of its honest. Hell, toward the end of the season in this set we get Sagiri going all in on drawing erotic with some explicit material but you have Izumi, initially blushing like hell because of it being shown to him in person, realizing just how little understanding of sexual anatomy that Sagiri has. It’s a reminder of just how problematic it is having writers and artists with no real experience in their lives doing any kind of work. There are some where you can squeak by but many others it just ends up reinforcing the growing childish nature of much of anime and manga.

With the back half of the series we avoid anything really life changing or dramatic here, so no stories of any of the cast suddenly moving away only for it to fall through by the end. Instead, we get some of the familiar cliches played out to good effect. The summertime aspect of these episodes plays well such as the fireworks episode with the party beforehand, the girls dressing up, and the various nudges and hints of all the fun that comes from such a situation. Everyone looks great and it provides the clearer examples of how the dynamic is unfolding with all of them. That, of course, gets thrown a fun curve with a beach episode as Elf’s family is wealthy-wealthy and have an island that they can use as a writing camp. While there are some good character moments here the majority of what we will be memorable is all the fun in bikinis and swimsuits as they frolic on the beach and in the ocean.

This half of the series also digs into the early days of both of the leads as we see young Izumi working feverishly on his writing with the web stories he was posting with glee, just the sheer joy of writing and then eventually getting responses. It’s run in parallel to see Sagiri struggling with things in her life and discovering his stories and just being absolutely shocked at how prolific he was and how he turned out new stuff the minute he finished writing a chapter. This got both of them to communicate a lot and we see a lot of amusing instances of this as they continue forward and make that pact to create something interesting. The impetus for her own push into artwork and learning from her mother is brief but nicely timed and knowing how the collaboration goes in the long run really does tickle a certain kind of fancy (though don’t show Sagiri any of the doujinshi about her characters!).

The way Eromanga sensei avoids anything significant might be frustrating on some levels but I’ll admit that I appreciated it here because it simply doesn’t need the drama. There’s plenty of low level drama baked into it and the greater inclusion of Elf and Masamune as this half progresses keeps some of that on tap, especially since Izumi is simply so oblivious. I like the little bits we get with both of them as they continue to insert themselves into Izumi’s life for their own reasons while also knowing that the reality is that Izumi is into Sagiri without realizing it. And, frankly, it’s all worth it for the twister sequence that we get and just the visual that Sagiri made before getting them to agree to it through her masterful powers of persuasion. The group dynamic doesn’t always work for me but it shakes it up naturally enough over the course of it to make it fun and to bring it to a close simply as the end of another day in their lives.

In Summary:
Eromanga sensei had a lot going against it from the announcement simply because of the original creator and his work with Oreimo, the look of the characters, the genre itself, and so forth. That said, while there are moments that will make you cringe to varying degrees, I found it to be pretty fun and largely harmless when you get down to it. It’s really well animated with some great production values and character designs that definitely click. While the actual pairing-intent isn’t what I think works best – a common thing for me, sadly – there’s enough of the group as a whole so that you get plenty to enjoy. Aniplex’s release looks great as expected and the quality on-screen is fantastic. With a good package and some decent extras and pack-in material, it’s definitely something that fans will enjoy being able to own even if it didn’t get the high-end packaging treatment. It won’t be for everyone but for those who it is they’ll enjoy owning it like this.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 PCM Language, English Subtitles, Web previews, textless opening (from Ep. 8-12), textless endings (from Ep. 9, 10, 12)

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: August 14th, 2018
MSRP: $64.98
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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