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Oniisama E (Brother Dear Brother) Thoughts Part 1
Monday, July 10, 2006
I first hear of Oniisama E a few years ago but never really paid the show much attention because (like Rose Of Versailles) I thought "pffft it's old it'll be crap" (my newbie anime fan mind at this point classed old as "pre EVA"). Obviously I have proved myself a total idiot by this point in time as I'm finding plenty of older shows at the moment far more fun than the crap that has limped out of the current anime season of drivel. Anyway, I recently sat down and made a start on this 39 episode series which fairly instantly leapt into my top 10 anime of all time with it's wrist slittingly high levels of angst and drama. This anime teaches all other anime I have seen before how drama is done. Sadly when I mention it to other fans the majority of them haven't even heard of it much less seen it. But anyway that's enough ranting these blog posts on the series will first detail the basic story of the show, and then some of my favourite (mostly yurified) bits in detail...

The Story
Just a brief summary of the story here for those who don't know it. Our lead Nanako (pictured above) and her best friend Tomoko start at a new school as the series begins. What they obviously forgot to tell them before they started school is it is home to some of the most messed up characters ever to grace a slice of life anime (and several other genres). At the high school there are three older girls who are idolized by the younger girls, (it's worth noting many of the girls at the school went to the junior high version of the school before, so have known each other for a long time) basketball star with a mysterious illness Kaoru "Kaoru No Kimi" Orihara, the tall masculine girl with a troubled past Rei "Hana No Saint Juste" Asaka and Fukiko "Miya-Sama" Ichinomiya, head of the school sorority. It's a lot easier to call them by their nicknames so I shall be doing that. Anyway Nanako starts life at her posh high school pretty much as a normal girl in a sea of misfits, writing letters to her penpal Oniisama (a former young teacher who she asked to be her Oniisama) and dealing with the bunch of very disturbed girls at her school. It's a lot more thrilling than it sounds.

Anyway, on to my favourite parts. Spoilers from here on.

Episode 8:- I Want You

Nanako has had a girl named Mariko attatch herself to her. Mariko has done the following things.
1) Been exceptionally clingy and pushy with Nanako.
2) Actually scare Nanako with the way she is like that with her.
3) Caused problems between Nanako and Tomoko her best friend (although Nanako doesn't realize the full extent of this).
4) Bite Nanako on the ear from behind HARD, before running off.
5) Invite Nanako to her birthday party at which it was only herself, Nanako and her own mother in a huge hotel.

Now, under these circumstances it is certainly advised that in your "top 10 things NOT to do" the following are included.

1) Go into Mariko's house.
2) Agree to share a bath with her.

Yeh Nanako agrees to do both. This results in Mariko (after she's been drooling over Nanako in the bath a while) to try and physically restrain her from leaving. The drama here is brilliant with Mariko suddenly snapping and proclaiming "If you try and leave I'll kill you" and grabbing at the horrified Nanako. It takes her mother actually restraining Mariko for Nanako to escape the building, Mariko shrieking horribly as she does so. While you expect something to happen when Nanako goes to Mariko's house this kinda surpasses what I expected to an extreme. Brilliant stuff.

Episode 12:- The Scar

Not yurified here, but in episode 12 the pill popping Saint Juste decides that (to put it mildly) doesn't want to Kaoru No Kimi to throws her bracelet out the window of the apartment. The bracelet holds a dark secret and covers the scar of what seems to be attempted suicide on her arm. The horrified Nanako looks on as Saint Juste indulges in a little knife throwing to get her bracelet back from Kaoru.

Just another example of the show taking things to an extreme. In most shows set in girls schools we'd have had a struggle, some shrieking, and... well that's about it really. But knives? Nope. Although by this point in watching the anime it's fairly obvious that nearly anything can happen with it's stream of over the top angst. I can't really think of any other anime shows set in all girls schools (or schools in general for that matter) with pill popping, wrist slitting, extreme obsessiveness... if anyone else can feel free to mention it in the comments section below.

Anyway, next Oniisama E post I have a lot more of my favourite moments coming up. Mariko switches her "affections" elsewhere, Saint Juste mistakes Nanako for someone else in a drug fuelled haze... and other totally not happy nor fluffy storylines!
posted by Mangaminx On Monday, July 10, 2006  
  • On Monday, 10 July, 2006, Blogger hashihime said…

    It's great to see you talking about this series. I discovered it last year and the same thing happened to me: it instantly became one of my favorite shows of all. If you're only up to ep12, I can tell you things have only just begun. It stays at least as good right to the end.

  • On Monday, 10 July, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    Oh I've seen further than 12, I just wrote till I had to be elsewhere ;) , it'll be continued in my part 2 post which I'll probably post later this week. Seen about 20 episodes so far.

  • On Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, Blogger Fencedude said…

    I love this show so much, but I've been stuck on episode 21 for ages.

    Maybe I'll keep going after I catch up on Keroro...

    Anyway, I've always felt that Tamao from StoPani is based on Mariko.

  • On Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, Anonymous andrael said…

    Ahh, Oniisama E. After watching this show, all other shoujo melodramas seem tame in comparison unless they average at 1.5 attempted murders/suicides per episode. :D Mariko is my second favorite character, with my #1 favorite being Miya-sama. I guess I like the really psycho ones?

  • On Thursday, 13 July, 2006, Blogger Anga said…

    Hmms, shoujo with lot of angst and drama. Why haven't I heard about this before... Sounds good to me, but I still have few issues with older anime so not yet that excited. But anyway, thanks for mentioning this.

  • On Saturday, 22 July, 2006, Anonymous @@ said…

    Miya-sama x Nanako all the way!! @@...

  • On Sunday, 12 November, 2006, Anonymous haruka said…

    I have seen the whole sordid tale unfold and let me tell you i have yet to see anything as beautifully done as brother dear brother...the plot is complex and depressing the only other anime that comes close is Utena the me the ending is not what you would expect

  • On Monday, 25 June, 2007, Blogger Ella said…

    Yep, I completely agree, although what first attached me to it was the art, i really think its really really well drawn and I can never even find stills...boooo.. but yeah top on my list too, but I started my anime hobby thingy with Utena so I still think shes got oniisama beat, but just by a little...

  • On Monday, 23 February, 2009, Anonymous Robyn said…

    Right up there w/ "Kaze to Ki no Uta" (The Song of The Wind & The Tress), "Oniisama e... is 1 of the most powerful animes of all time. Whether you accept, approve of, or even understand homosexuality or not, you WILL be drawn in by such wonder characters. Each, in our trio of The Three Magnificent Ones has inner & outer beauty, inner strength, and massive fragility. They grip & stay with you long after the series ends. There will be moments when you'll laugh, and cry. & When the tears do come, I just have 1 thing to say... get those tissues ready, STAT!

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