The anime industry in the past year is finally churning out works that realistically fall into the category of informative series. Shirobako and Saenai take the approach of how the world of Japanese entertainment works without sidelining important details. While Shirobako [which I should write about eventually if I ever get time to] is about the hardships and the creative minds behind making an anime; Saenai uses a creative style of wit and female character models within the harem genre to deliver a spot-on narrative about students wanting to make a doujin game.
Both Tomoya and Eriri have a stubbornness about them that’s very refreshing when it has to be and results in how they had grown up. Eriri used to be Tomoya’s only view of inspiration as we see in the numerous flashback sequences throughout this episode– those crayon-esque backgrounds [is that the same background artist for Rolling Girls?] look amazing. The background designs for the rest of the series is done by animation studio Kusanagi– same team that did illustrations for [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Magi, Gunsmith Cats and the Read or Die OVA. They also have done a ton of artwork for various video games including the Final Fantasy series.
This entire episode is dedicated to Eriri and Tomoya’s relationship however it’s great to see that Utaha isn’t completely out of the picture with that funny scuffle between the girls. I enjoyed the Utaha arc much better than this one because of how subtle the jabs were between the two of them. Eriri’s is cookie-cutter: the childhood friend trope that separates the male lead from her because of bullies. She’s temperamental and yells at Tomoya at the slightest pen drop– that often at times throughout this series is too dramatic. Even now she still views herself as the girl in love with young Tomoya. Regardless of my issues with the overused tactic, I like how we get to see her father selling his daughter’s work at Comiket. She’s had supportive parents all her life that hits home Saenai‘s larger themes about artistic potential and the respect that comes along with it.
Both the Utaha and Eriri’s arcs are about unresolved love with Tomoya and how the girls view their own work from him– in other words finding approval. This is where the basis of a visual harem novel story intertwining from Blessing Software game to reality comes into play. And I might add this certainly shakes up Saenai‘s biggest theme of all that a creator’s relationship with their work is the fundamental key in establishing a successful bond between artist, scenario writer and in this series’ case main heroine together.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10