Friday, February 7, 2014

Rewind: Brothers Conflict

Brothers Conflict fits completely in the reverse harem category. I used to enjoy the genre. The Wallflower was one of my favorite anime. La Corda D'Oro, Ouran High School Host Club, and Hanasakeru Seishounen all got high ratings from me, too. But in the past year or two, reverse harems haven't hit the right note for me.

A screenshot from the OP, showing "Chii" and all the brothers. Yes,
the one in the red dress is a brother. 
I suspect that I've grown out of this type of anime, at least to some extent. Cheap tricks like a collection of fawning bishounen can't woo me anymore. But a good anime, reverse harem or not, shouldn't need to rely solely on cheap tricks. Plus, I'm not the only one who was dissatisfied with Brothers Conflict. The average rating on Anime-Planet is 2.62 out of 5 stars (I gave it 1.5). Considering the high ratings that Anime-Planet users gave other reverse harem anime, I think it's safe to say that my dislike of it isn't just due to changing tastes.

In Brothers Conflict, a teenage girl, Hinata Ema (I'll call her Chii, since that's the name I remember her by best), suddenly gets thirteen stepbrothers. Most of them fall madly in love with her. Thankfully, the youngest and a couple of the oldest keep their relationships brotherly, so the anime doesn't cross the age line too badly.

However, plenty of lines are still crossed. One of the boys, a year or so younger than Chii, is a narcissistic, abusive pop star named Futo. He sexually harasses Chii, and she doesn't do much to put him in his place. At one point, while she sleeps, he seriously considers assaulting her, even going so far as to undo the top button of her pajamas. He's a sleazy kid, and his actions are never properly condemned, let alone punished.

Futo's the worst, but he's not the only one to cross the line. A few of the brothers kiss Chii. It's inappropriate enough as step-siblings, but these brothers do it with absolutely no consideration for Chii's wishes or needs. She clearly does not return their lust (not love, lust, no matter what they claim). She loves them as a sister should love her new brothers, except she doesn't assert her rights and boundaries. It never seems to enter her mind that these boys have wronged her.

Chii is a typical doormat character: selfless, helpful, and a good cook. I like her physical design. Her style reminds me of high school girls I've known. And they made her a gamer, probably in an effort to make her more relatable to viewers who are geeks (or just plain have personalities). But I spent most of the show telling her to smack Futo, go to the police, and/or move into a friend's house until she graduates.

This is not, in my mind, a romance show. At best, it's a family drama. I watched it to the end, but only because I decided to be stubborn and finish what I started. The OP had a catchy, upbeat tune, at least.

Oh, and by the way, there's a talking squirrel in this show. Just thought you should know that before I end this post.


  1. Ah, yes, the show I figured I had to watch just because it was a reverse Sister Princess, even if it turned into a train wreck. And it sure did turn into a train wreck. You pretty much hit all the reasons why, too. Futo is easily one of the worst anime characters *ever*.

    If there was one part of this show that actually had potential (but ultimately got wasted), it was with that one brother who was Ema's classmate and was in love with her before she got adopted into his family. That's the sort of thing that could reasonably happen and could reasonably cause some romantic tension between step-siblings. Alas, it ultimately ended up not amounting to much.

    And apparently, the show is selling okay in Japan; it had huge first volume sales because it came with an event ticket (likely to meet the voice actors of the brothers; you can imagine how quickly fangirls might snap that up), and subsequent volumes have sold about 5,000 a volume. So, uh, we may see another season of this train wreck. Though I doubt you'd be interested. :P

    1. Yeah, if this gets a sequel, I don't plan to watch it. It's hard to believe it's popular anywhere. The plot and characters had about the level of depth appropriate for a children's show, but the content was obviously more "mature" than that.


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