What is it with Tsukasa Fushimi and making every pairing in his stories so shippable except for the main one? After Eromanga Sensei volume 3, I’m rooting for the MC to bang anyone except his sister, but alas, not all things in life go the way you want them to.
Most of the volume is set on a southern island as the main characters participate in a “writing camp”. There, they “collect data” for their stories (read: do ecchi fanservice stuff) and deepen their relationships. Sagiri barely participates in this volume at all, and that’s probably for the best, since her Eromanga-sensei mode sucks like nothing else. Overall, it’s a quiet volume that mostly serves as a vehicle of cute moments for Elf Yamada and Muramasa.
The big highlight of this volume is Elf’s confession scene. Personally, I can’t wait for it to get adapted into the anime. It takes place in a fairytale-like forest called the “forest of fairies”, which is described in the novel as like a setting of an isekai fantasy novel. I’m really looking forward to seeing that get brought to life in the anime. China (ちな) from the Eromanga Sensei animation team did some of the key animation on the video game sequence in NEW GAME!, precisely replicating that classic JRPG style. I hope they get him on the “forest of the fairies” scene in Eromanga Sensei too.
The OP sequence for Fairies Story 3 featured in this week’s New Game is great, love that classic RPG feel. pic.twitter.com/YvkaBDVwk7
— Ryan (@Disgaeamad) September 12, 2016
What happens in the scene itself? Well, first off, Elf explains some of her fairly predictable backstory to Masamune. She’s a rich girl with an overbearing mother, and she left home because she wants to pick her husband for herself. She tells Masamune that he’s “in the running” as a marriage candidate, but instead of proposing to his face, she just insists that “one day, you’ll ask me to marry you”.
She also tells him to use her real name when he proposes.
As you can imagine just from my summary, it’s a very DOKI DOKI scene. Elf may not be quite as good as Kuroneko of Oreimo fame, but she definitely has her cute moments. Even though she doesn’t outright say “I love you”, she’s so utterly confident that Masamune will eventually pick her over his sister. She’s wrong, the poor dear, but it’s still a very enchanting scene.
One of the things I do like about Eromanga Sensei is that everyone’s pretty honest with themselves (except for Sagiri). Muramasa blatantly confessed her love to Masamune in volume 2, and she continues to be in full dere mode in volume 3. Meanwhile, Masamune confessed to Sagiri in volume 1 and remains true to his sister even when the other girls declare their feelings for him. It’s certainly a change from Oreimo where none of the characters could be honest with themselves until the very end, and I believe that Fushimi wanted to make this a point of contrast. As he said in an interview, Eromanga Sensei is a story about what people do after they realise their feelings.
Overall, however, Eromanga Sensei continues to be a rather middling affair. The new characters introduced in this volume are a mixed bag. Elf’s older brother Chris is a great character, a perpetually straight-faced man who is amusingly described as Legolas in a suit. The scene in the bath where he urges Masamune to marry Elf is definitely one of the highlights on the volume. The newbie author Shidou is a terribly dull character, though, and literally only exists to make “NO HOMO” jokes. I’m still not keen on Sagiri, especially when she enters her “Eromanga Sensei mode”; the constant sexist and homophobic gags really drag this story down.
As in volume 2, there’s some discussion about what it means to write “the most interesting novel in the world”. I can say with certainty that Eromanga Sensei is not that novel for me. Nevertheless, it did succeed in making me laugh out loud at times, and I also find Elf and Muramasa cute. It’s not a masterpiece but I enjoy it for what it is.
In the end, I think that’s all that Fushimi is really asking for from his readers. As Masamune says in volume 3: “If there’s just one person who enjoys your work, that’s valuable in itself.” As much as I deplore the themes in this work, I can’t help but respect an author who sticks so steadfastly to his guns.