iSugio

Brothers Conflict – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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Hinata Ema is the only daughter of a famous adventurer, Hinata Rintarou. One day, Ema learns that Rintarou is going to remarry with a successful apparel maker named Asahina Miwa. Since she doesn’t want to disturb them, Ema decides to move out and live with her 13 new brothers in a mansion called Sunrise Residence. As they live under the same roof, romance is starting to grow between Ema and the Asahina brothers.

Based on the novel series by Takeshi Mizuno, the anime adaptation of Brothers Conflict is definitely not a series that even remotely tries anything, well, different from the genre in which it derives from. In fact, Brothers Conflict plays it so safe in terms of its narrative, it almost becomes a parody in and of itself, relying on the sheer superficial emotional state of the series’ characters to garner any attention from us as an audience. While this approach will undoubtedly win over certain viewers, it is perhaps a series that, while pertaining to a specific demographic, kind of insults the intelligence of such a demographic by removing much of the emotional connections needed to make these series truly succeed.

As such, the incestuous behavior expressed within the series is certainly not innovative, remaining more as a catalyst to simply have Ema cozy up to some one – with that some one just having to be one of her step brothers. One can let ethical argument slide here considering it is a rather harmless tale of pure love, but given the large variety of step brothers that Ema interacts with – thirteen in all – it does present her as a rather questionable girl. She never truly shares that much of a substantial connection with any of the step brothers, often hanging out with one brother to the next. It would have actually been more interesting to see Ema simply interacting with her large family, but the series attaches upon an element of incest that moves the series into a whole different direction.

The idea of Ema having to deal with thirteen step brothers within the space of twelve episodes is also, quite simply, mind boggling to say the least. The obvious question of how such an approach would even succeed will definitely be lingering within the minds of viewers by the conclusion of the series. There is simply way too much going on within the series, offering a considerable lack of emotional depth and meaning surrounding practically all the relationships Ema forms with her step brothers. While each episode introduces a new relationship forming between Ema and a respective step brothers, the continuity of it all is misconstrued to the point where it seems Ema has simply forgotten what just occurred with another step brother in the previous episode. There really is no connection between each episode, with the episodic nature of the series hurting the series as a whole. This conveys the step brothers as simply hollow caricatures devoid of much emotion beyond simply “liking” Ema, which would not be the case of the series was a little bit longer.

The series does attempt to be different by having so many side characters for the main protagonist to fall for, but by trying to squeeze in so much, it simply falls flat. This unfortunate considering that the aspect of the “reversed harem” genre is one genre that does not seem all too exploitative as of yet, mostly focusing on a single female amidst a group of males, never really venturing into exploiting the male figures as much the conventional harem genre does with their abundant, often sexually infused female casts and singular male archetypes. In Brothers Conflict case, the innocent, pure love approach of the series would have actually worked if only it was allowed a more time in which to have us get to the know the characters and see their relationship with Ema grow. As for where it stands now, Brothers Conflict is a mediocre series that had a spark of originality that is hampered by its own execution.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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