What They Say:
Itsuki Hashima is kind of a disaster. Between struggling to meet deadlines for his novels and being constantly bothered by his friends, he has one oddity that makes life even more difficult—he’s obsessed with little sisters! Luckily, he has his younger stepbrother, Chihiro, to look out for him. But there’s a secret that could completely change their relationship.
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English dub gets a 5.1 bump, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series has a number of moments where things go bigger in being acted out or dreamed about, but it’s mostly a pretty standard dialogue-driven work. It’s a bit more expansive with some creativity in some of the scenes and the game-playing that we get, especially toward the end, lets it change things up a bit. The score for it is pretty good with a nice bit of warmth to it while the opening and closing songs get to stand out a bit bigger and more engaging. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
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 twelve episodes for this series are spread across to discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Silver Link, the show has a very appealing look with richly detailed backgrounds, a great color palette, and character designs that work well in how it all blends together. We do get characters changing outfits fairly regularly but there’s a lot of continuity among them as well which frustrates a bit. The encoding captures the source material wonderfully here with a lot of vibrant material and a lot of detail as well. The backgrounds are where this really shines but that combined with some good blending between them and the character animation gives it a great life.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case as it only contains the Blu-ray itself. It comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork which is appealing even if it is largely empty. The detail and color design is strong here and it’s easy to just get caught up in looking at all the little details. The back cover is more traditional with some of the cast together along the right while the left has the large block for the summary of the premise as well as what extras the set contains. The white background for writing is a nice subtle touch while the bottom brings forth the strip of shots from the show and a good technical grid. While there are now show related inserts included here we do get a nice two-panel spread image showcasing the cast out on a hot spring retreat with all the silliness and drinking that you’d expect.
The menu design for this release keeps things simple with a static approach that borrows from the cover nicely. We get the character piece of the group walking across the street but just the character artwork itself, which when blown up to a larger screen is definitely. The logo along the top has the thin font that looks good with the colors and I like that again we get the piece from the computer for writing. The navigation is kept to a small pink block along the lower left which has the basics as there’s not much to the show on the first disc beyond the series itself while the second adds the extras. Submenus load quickly and easily and the pop-up menu is easy to use during regular playback.
The extras for this release are a bit simple but there’s some fun stuff included. We get the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences and those are always welcome. But we also get the eight bonus shorts that were produced which comes in at about sixteen minutes in total. These are simple little gag pieces in chibi form that are cute and a nice way to get a few extra laughs after the series ends.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the novel series Imōto Sae Ireba Ii. by Yomi Hirasaki, A Sister’s All You Need is a twelve episode anime series that aired during the fall 2017 season. The novels began in 2015 and are still ongoing with ten so far. It also spawned some manga adaptations and spinoff material as well that’s ongoing. With the anime, Shin Onuma directed it working from the scripts that the original creator was involved in and Silver Link produced the animation, which I found to be pretty appealing overall. There are a lot of shows about light novel authors out there, and most tend to not say too much about the craft itself, and this one plays to that to some degree but it does have a few things it digs into more as the show progresses.
The central premise is that it follows Itsuki Hashima, a light novel author that has had some solid success with the series he’s currently working on. The maiden academy action series is one that we see come to life from time to time and that adds some fun as he and his friends essentially live out aspects of it, which is sometimes used to represent his creative process. Itsuki is a somewhat more interesting character than most light novel authors in anime since he’s twenty-years-old and all of his friends are out of high school as well. The only one that’s younger is his stepbrother Chihiro, but even then it’s not by much overall. Itsuki’s success isn’t something that’s on the order of huge though he’s had several of his books in the top ten list after putting twenty out over the last five years. The problem is that he doesn’t have a great writing regemin and that leads to erratic results in what he writes combined with other pressures.
His friend group is about as you’d expect but it also has some welcome differences. The most familiar in a way is Nayuta, who is also a novelist who is thoroughly in love with Itsuki. She’s got the big mystery stuff going on as her name is just her pen name but nobody knows what her real name is plus her writing method is that she’s only able to really do her work when she’s naked. She’s a bit crude, which is fun, and her openness about nudity has its moments where it does add to things. The other woman in the gruop is Miyako, who went to college with Itsuki before he dropped out to focus on his writing. She’s kept up her friendship but isn’t involved in the work side of things, though she gets caught up in it from time to time as well when it comes to being used as an example/model or something. Miyako’s fun since she’s also the same ago, works for a living, and gets inspired toward the end about a job in the industry with editing that gives her a path.
The character I do like a lot is that of Haruto, a fellow novelist that came up around the same time as Itsuki and the two bonded well over it. Haruto’s journey is similar but just a bit more advanced in a way as his series is being optioned for an anime and we get to go through that path with him, which is hard since there were struggles with his project and a lot of animus toward it by the audience. It’s hard to watch a creator see his work come to life in a subpar way and then to deal with the criticism online afterward. The two men do bond well over what they experience since there’s shared pain there and you have Itsuki wanting to get his property brought to life as well. He struggles enough just when a manga is approved and the illustrator, Kaiko, tries to bring her own spin into things. That Itsuki’s gimmick in the novel is having the cast losing their clothes and running around naked, her skill lies in illustrating underwear and wanting to show him that it can make his stuff even more – and that she can handle doing the work. Kaiko’s cute but it was interesting watching how Itsuki deals with this.
The show plays to the basic kinds of interactions that you’d expect from a group like this with Itsuki as its center. He gets a lot of time as the lead but others get their moments away from him as well. Itsuki’s main antagonist in all of this is his editor and he does play a larger role earlier on before popping in from time to time as it progresses, focusing on deadlines and then concerns about sales numbers, the manga adaptation, and the books potential future. It’s a bit overdone in some ways, such as creator jail that Itsuki gets put into, but at the same time having someone older like this into the mix provides for some welcome authority from the outside. He does a lot to try and get Itsuki to do things right which is to both their benefit and while there are struggles you do see the impact that comes long term from how he works with him.
The gang has a few adventures along the way, such as a trip to Okinawa for ideas or having Itsuki deal with his accountant, but we also get a lot of time with the group playing games as well. This is shown in some fun ways with the cards and screen elements shown with just dialogue playing over it, but at the same time watching people play games has never been my thing and that’s thankfully not a huge part here. It does play into it enough but the dialogue playing over it is fun and it works better later in the series when you know the characters better and the dynamic works better. The other area of th eshow that’s interesting with the subplot is in giving Itsuki a younger brother instead of a younger sister. While he lusts after the idea of a younger sister, getting the opposite is a nice twist. I do like that there’s a fun twist within that twist as it progreses but it’s not well utilized here as it comes late in the season and is likely something from later in the novel series itself.
A Sister’s All You Need us a cute series and it has a lot of things going right for it in the exploration of being a creator with its challenges and its joys. It has its share of outlandish moments that are a lot of fun but it’s also weirdly restrained with its nudity. And I say that even while there’s a lot of nudity from the book that the lead writes – and we get an extended sequence seeing the in-book lead running around naked with a meter-long penis that’s presented as a giant green block of pixels. I liked A Sister’s All You Need overall but more for the characters and the small interactions than any of the larger things it wanted to tell. Just the honesty of seeing Haruto go through the terrible reception of the anime adaptation of his novels made it worthwhile as that played out with some intriguing ripple effects. This release is definitely a well-done one with its visuals and getting a dub and I’m glad that the Twitter shorts were included as well, making it a pretty solid release.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Original Twitter Anime Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: November 13th, 2018
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.