This is review number two hundred and twenty nine. This anime is part of the Summer 2013 lineup. It’s Brother’s Conflict or BroCon or as I call it: my sister can’t possibly be the only potential female for me and my eleven brothers. It’s an otome anime and it’s a real doozy. It’s about a girl and her twelve step brothers trying to sex her up because she’s the only girl in the show. Sounds like a fun time, let’s read on.
Ema Hinata is excited for the day she will become a member of a real family. She has lived alone all her life while her father is busy with work and now she gets to be surrounded by a bunch of caring siblings. You see, her father recently remarried and he found a woman that has thirteen boys in her household. It’s a big change for Ema but her happiness consumes all the worries. Perhaps she should be worried though because her siblings seemed to have fallen for her and they want her all to themselves. It looks like Ema’s ideal family life isn’t what she expected it to be.
Taking the Pants Off
Here we have the Otome anime of the lineup. As TPAB, this is one of those genres I really do not like reviewing. I seem to be some sort of masochist though because, of all the bountiful anime of the Summer 13 lineup, I ended up watching one of things I really despise. I honestly had this anime on radar. Not because of it being an otome game adapted show but because it’s a novel that was turned into an otome game that got an anime adaptation. Anything adapted from a novel is bound to be strong in terms of the story and I guess I was curious how the anime will handle such a complex material. Is the influence of the novel truly strong or did the anime really just adapted the otome video game? I had to know and so I spent my entire week on this show. It was the latter. My god, it was the latter. Like any otome anime, this anime had hot guys and a really bad story. There’s nothing worth watching in this show. Don’t read my review because I’ll just be ranting here. If you’re a masochist like me that enjoys the dull progression of an otome anime then you might find something of value in this show.
Before I start though, let’s talk about the otome game first. In the game, you have a bunch of hot brothers to pick from and you must seriously stalk your potential incest partner in order to get a happy ending with him. It’s pretty straight forward, actually. There are a bunch of events involving the brothers and you advance the game by picking choices that’ll swoon your potential incest partner. Of course, with twelve potential partners, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Each brother has an individual route (story) that you focus on and your romantic adventure really intensifies as you keep pursuing your target. Like most otome game though, the learning curve is steep and the mastery is even harder. For a game that has a multiple choice as its only gameplay, predicting answers that’ll make your incest partner like you requires multiple gameplay. The interactive play might be limited but the story is definitely inviting and the moments are truly hot especially if your incest partner started kissing you. I’ve never played the game, by the way. There is a lot of game reviews scattered on the net. I’m just painting the overall picture on why the game is cool and why the anime is problematic. The game had twelve individual stories you can pursue and you have unlimited time to do so. Turn that into an anime and you are basically creating something disastrous.
The premise of the show is simple. Ema Hinata’s dad suddenly married into the Asahina family. For some reason my mind cannot grasp, he married a woman that gave birth to twelve hot male dudes and a younger kawaii little brother. Her favorite past time must’ve been sex because goddamn, how horny can one woman be? For more reasons my mind cannot process, all twelve hot dudes in this family have only one girl in their eye and it happened to be their step sister. Oh no, the idea of incest doesn’t matter to them. While they are all different in terms of age and personality, they all have one thing in common: they’ll get aggressive if they want something. Ema is now in this weird situation where her twelve brothers want to sex her up and she is conveniently too submissive to do anything about it. She’ll have to choose though before the brothers starts to tear each other apart. I honestly liked the premise of the show. How can you create a story where all twelve brothers are trying to make the girl fall in love with them while not making the show convoluted? The short answer is that you can’t. From the very start, the anime was overwhelmed by the large cast that it cannot establish a solid story.
The anime was painfully all over the place. It didn’t set anything up or explain anything to establish a story. The show simply decided to have a bunch of hot guys say sweet nothings to their sister and then let her stare blankly like the little dumb f*ck that she is. It never explained why they all liked the girl. They simply just did and now they want to aggressively romance her death. There was no method to the madness as well. Whoever is alone with the girl gets time to hug her or tease her like the little dumb f*ck that she is. I already said that. Eh, she’s a little dumb f*ck. The show was directionless and there was no buildup of any sorts. There was no cohesion and no steady progression to focus on. It’s just composed of certain events that are just a simple excuse for the guys to get close to the girl. I’m fine with a directionless otome game with nothing but the guys trying to make the girl fall for them. I see that all the time in my days watching otome anime. The problem is that you have twelve of them trying to get close to the girl and you might as well watch flies buzz around her because that’s all they’re really doing. I was honestly excited at first because the guys look pretty interesting and the show just needed some sort of story to make sense of it all.
There were certain subplots presented in the show though. I won’t call them plot points because the show had no story. Most of the show’s time is about the relationship of one guy to the girl. He’ll declare his love or do something creepy yet cute because he’s hot. He’ll stalk the girl or barge in her room or watch her sleep or even pin her down if necessary. The sister just wants them to be a family though so she’s trying her best to be a nice little dumb f*ck while she’s basically being harassed by her brothers. While the guys aren’t trying to make their sister fall for them, the show found time to create conflict between some of the hot brothers. Like I said though, it’s not a plot point because it wasn’t focused on by the show. It didn’t have any build up and the anime just randomly stuck these in to fill time or something. Just like the structure of the show, these sub plots progresses randomly with no cohesion or forewarning to the show. It’ll appear, disappear and then randomly brought up later on. I did think this was a nice piece of the game the anime tried to carry over but it just made things more complicated. If it was focused on a lot more then I would’ve been nicer in this review.
There are three subplots freely presented in the anime. The first one is about the twins. They are voice actors and they’ve got a fairly good reputation. When a game that made one of the twins famous suddenly got an anime adaptation, they decided to audition for some roles. Tsubaki Asahina auditioned for the lead role that got him famous in the game while Azusa Asahina auditioned for the rival of the main character. In some surprising turn of events, Azusa got the role Tsubaki wanted and things got a bit heated between the twins. They’re still brothers though and they still love each other so Tsubaki was fine letting Azusa get his part. When they both realized that they wanted to sex up their sister though, Tsubaki is determined to not let this one go to his twin brother. I personally loved the idea behind this subplot. It was the kind of teasing free for all that I wanted to see in the show when I first read about it. Rather than random events involving the sister and a brother, I was hoping to see some sort of rivalry between the brothers that’ll push the sister into choosing. It wasn’t part of the show and sadly, this little subplot had no place in the show. It comes and goes as it pleases.
The second subplot is about this basketball prodigy named Subaru Asahina. He is already making waves and he isn’t a pro yet. His big brother, Natsume Asahina, wanted him to focus on his potential career. Upon seeing Ema though, Subaru suddenly wants nothing more than to spend more time with her that it affects his performance in the court. Natsume wanted his brother to succeed and he’ll hound him till he achieves it. Natsume is also in love with Ema though and this little sibling squabble gets a bit more complicated. Big brother Natsume had been moaning and b*tching to Subaru all his life. If Subaru wants to fall in love with Ema, not even the pushy Natsume can stop him. Yes, even if he gives up basketball, Subaru would give it all up to have Ema all to himself. Natsume is pushy for a reason though and little bro isn’t enough to stop him get what he want. This was another good subplot in the anime that just randomly appears as the show progresses. I’m honestly a bit disappointed the anime doesn’t have an overall story because the subplots are all pretty good.
The last subplot is about the pop idol brother named Fuuto Asahina and his older brother named Yuusuke Asahina. Yusuke is Ema’s classmate and he still hadn’t adjusted to the fact that they’re related. It was hard but his feelings of love slowly overwhelmed him. Fuuto is a popular idol and Yusuke hates him. He’s popular and he can’t stand Fuuto bragging about it. Being a famous person, he can basically get anything he wants and what he wants now is Ema all to himself. He’ll do anything. He’ll even attend their school just to be with her. Seeing Yusuke and Ema close together gets Fuuto a bit jealous though so he decided to be more aggressive in his approach. For Yusuke, he is determined to make sure Ema is the one thing the spoiled pop idol can’t have.
While the show has some subplots, the convoluted hot mess isn’t complete without the rest of the brothers presenting their agendas as well. I think the biggest problem for the anime was trying to cram all twelve brothers into the show and it resulted in something convoluted. The subplots themselves have enough potential to carry the show but it wasn’t satisfied with just that. The anime wanted to make sure everyone gets a turn with the little sister even if it doesn’t serve a purpose in the overall presentation of the anime. So what if the subplots are slowly getting good? Let’s stop all that and focus on the family having vacation so the monk can get a turn with the sister and then the brother that loves gardening can get a turn and even her goddamn pet squirrel can have a go. I’m not kidding. Her pet squirrel got a turn at swooning the dumb f*ck. Simply mouthing off “I love you” really doesn’t make a show interesting. It got a bit tiresome hearing twelve different people say I love you in some many different ways. Even the idea of a hot guy being all romantic lost its appeal after the third episode. It just wasn’t fun anymore and nothing made the show worthwhile. It just kept circling over the premise and then suddenly progressing without warning. It’s bad storytelling. It’s just bad. I wanted to love this anime but there’s really nothing here to enjoy.
The characters are dreadfully bland and one dimensional. I think you know it by now. I hate the main character. Ema is the submissive kind of main character that doesn’t have a personality. She’ll let anyone hug her, kiss her and grope her with no resistance and she’ll even apologize afterwards for no reason. She doesn’t have a stable personality to look forward to and the best she has is a dumb stare whenever people talk to her. Seriously, she just stares like the little dumb…she’s awful. She’s the worst kind of character for an otome anime, to be honest, yet it’s the most suitable since the main character in the game is based on the choices the player makes. With no player, Ema is just a lost little sheep begging to be raped. Acting as her personality though is this annoying little squirrel named Juli that apparently only she can understand. Like the rest of the characters in the show, he’s pretty one dimensional but has the honor of being the annoying little loud mouth you don’t want to listen to. He acts as his “protector” and basically smells out incest trouble when a guy approaches but it stops there. He’ll just yell, rant and get angry with nothing being done. Ema would still be dominated by a guy no matter how much her pet yells at them.
The thirteen brothers (including the too-young-to-bang-her-big-sister little brother) are also sadly one dimensional. They all had some cool titles attached to them though that does make them interesting and, no doubt, make each route in the game different and fun to play. The oldest brother is a doctor. The second oldest is a lawyer and the homemaker of the group. The third son is a playboy monk. The fourth is a cross dressing tease (and in the game, he was a novelist. This wasn’t mentioned in the show. If it was, I might’ve slept when it was brought up.) The fifth son is Tsubaki, one of the twins. The sixth son is Azusa, the other twin and they’re both voice actors. They’re also a bit dangerously affectionate towards each other to the point of uncomfortable-ness that I admittedly enjoy watching. The seventh son is Natsume, the triplet of the twins. The twins are identical and he came afterwards. Natsume is a game designer and happens to be developing a game Ema adores. The eighth son is Louis and he is a hair dresser that happens to understand the squirrel talk as well. The ninth son is Subaru, the athletic basketball prodigy. The tenth son is Iori and he loves flowers. Iori might be the most underplayed brother next to the 13th son. His involvement also was a bit forced because he only started talking to Ema fairly late in the anime where you wanted the subplots to develop some more. The eleventh son is Yusuke and he is Ema’s classmate. The twelfth son is Fuuto and he is a popular idol. The thirteenth son is the short one and he loves to wear pink. The mother is naturally a slut who seems to have the pain of child birth as a personal fetish. Seriously, how can you lose control and give birth to thirteen children?
Their personality starts and ends with their titles. There is no variety among the characters and they basically do the same thing to Ema over and over. They’ll talk about how much they like her despite meeting her for only a few minutes, claim how nothing can stop their love for her, makes a move on her by hugging her or holding her hand, some of them gets as far as a kiss, some will do the typical “fall on her accidentally” gag, some will tease her about how much of a dumb f*ck she is, but in the end, they’ll claim that their love is serious and they’ll fight off the rest to get her to themselves. The anime tried to establish some relationship among the characters but it’s all just useless contexts since nothing useful results from it and the show just does more harm to itself. It’s honestly the large cast that made the anime fail. From the first episode, you can already tell that the show was doomed to fail. It was the show’s fault though for not sticking to a plan and try to at least develop the characters to a degree where the romance intensifies to a point where it’s worth watching. Instead, it just jumped around clueless and directionless with nothing accomplished in the end. The characters honestly had some potential to grow but sadly, they stuck to their bland personalities till the end and it was hard to watch that.
I once said that Brains Base is a consistent studio and that they don’t release bad anime. I take it back. For once, I am a bit sad that I was wrong. They basically signed their doom the minute they took on an otome anime. This anime was a far cry from the awesome Blood Lad anime they released in the same lineup, of all places. For some odd reason though, the Brother’s Conflict franchise is pretty big. The novel is pretty popular that it had a 4-koma spin off, a regular manga series, several manga spin off and an otome game. Brains Base sadly chose to ignore the original source and adapt the otome game. It’s a bit disheartening because anime adapted from a novel are usually really good. I was honestly excited to try this anime hoping the show drew content from the novel. They didn’t. Now I wasted a week of my anime time on something subpar when the Summer 2013 lineup have all this awesome non loli-ecchi anime to offer.
Sight and Sound
The character design is pretty decent. The show has beautiful faces and nicely put together bodies but it’s sadly a bit generic. In terms of hot guys, the ones in the show are pretty bland and generic. They do have all the good bits. The colorful hair compliments their manly faces that fit snuggly in their broad shoulders that completes their sexy features. They also wear some pretty cool outfits that make them all the more hotter. They were missing one important thing though: details. The lack of well-defined features on the character designs hurts the anime a lot because we have bland designs with bland personalities. The anime also didn’t capture the bright and colorful design of Udajo (the artist) that makes the characters stand out. It was his vibrant choice of colors that he sticks to the flashy outfits of the characters and the well-defined features of their faces with the messy hair and the teasing eyes that makes them awesome characters. The anime wasn’t able to capture that feel and it resulted on the characters being tremendously bland. I also don’t like the fact that they don’t change their clothes. Nothing screams poor effort than having the characters not f*cking change their clothes. Ema’s design is pretty weak as well. I like the way her hair is designed but the bland school uniform with her dumb fixed expression is slowly getting on my nerves every time I watch the show.
The animation is pretty poor. The characters rarely move and they don’t show emotion. It’s a trick in otome anime where you don’t ruin the hot facial features so the characters just keep the same expression on as much as possible. If they smile, it’s to a point where they must still look hot. The movements are pretty limited and it looks a bit lazy. The anime is pretty dialogue heavy though so there is no harm but with an anime this bland, simple visual presentation can at least make a big difference. It’s all pretty weak and it’s the lack of good animation that makes the anime a bit boring. Even all the hugging and kissing didn’t register much for me because it just looks awkward and a bit forced to me. The CG designs were also a bit wasted. Why put CG if the characters barely move or do anything that demands a CG presentation? I think they used it on some backgrounds and then left the characters 2D so when the camera pans, you can see the 2D-ness of the characters. It’s pretty bad to look at. The show was able to make the dance scene at the ED sequence pretty awesome though because it’s the most complex scene in the entire anime.
The anime’s OP is “BELOVED×SURVIVAL” by Gero. This is a really cool song. Nico nico resident Gero has a really lovely voice. The song is off the scale measure though and it’s not as good as Gero’s voice. The way he mixes the English and the Japanese sounds pretty smooth that you can feel his distinct style coming through nicely all wrapped up in that dreamy voice of his. The OP sequence is a simple scene where all the characters are introduced. It’s vibrant and playful. Every character holds a daisy of different colors while Ema runs around for some reason. It ends with the group together and Ema holding a bouquet of daisies in her hands with all the different colors.
The anime’s ED is “14 to 1” by ASAHINA Bros.+JULI. This was sung by the male characters of the show. I actually love this one. The song itself is pretty ordinary. It’s the typical kind of song you’d expect when a bunch of talented voice actors sing a song. The balance of all the characters having a line in the song is pretty cool though and the chorus is pretty catchy. The dance scene is my favorite part of the show though. The animation is flashy and the movements are smooth. The lip synch wasn’t added but that’s OK because I love seeing hot guys be hot guys. The show doesn’t have that. Only the ED sequence fully represents the positive aspect of this show and it’s the one thing I actually look forward to in the show.
2/10 “This show is a good example of an Otome anime at its worst.”
Do not watch this show. Let’s just stay away. The characters are bland, the story is nonexistent, the production values are pretty subpar and the overall experience is just boring. Otome anime are usually bad but it takes something as sinister as Brother’s Conflict to recognize just how much this particular genre needs massive improvement or hopefully a can of gas and a lighter to burn itself alive. I do not recommend this.