Review for Brothers Conflict Complete Series
Prejudice! You have fair warning that I’m prejudging this show, Brothers Conflict, and it ain’t gonna be pretty. After all, the very premise of this show pushes my ‘ick’ button. A girl’s father gets remarried, and she moves into the new family home with thirteen new brothers. Romantic entanglements ensue. I can hear the cries of ‘Yeah, but...” already. They’re step-siblings, it’s hardly Oreimo Season 2, but just... no... There are certain taboos that I really don’t want to see challenged in the entertainment that I watch, but as usual, I have no choice as these discs are calling out to be reviewed. I’m telling you straight off, that Brothers Conflict will have to be downright spectacular to break through this wall of prejudice! Incidentally, what was going to be a combo release got changed at the last minute to a Blu-ray only release. Sod’s law being what it is, I got the DVD check discs to review, but two thirds of the way through, a couple of Blu-rays showed up, so at least I get a flavour of what the HD version is like.
Ema’s father is getting remarried, which means that she’ll get a new mother, and new siblings. She may not be ready for just how many though, as it turns out that Miwa Asahina has 13 sons. That’s thirteen brothers that Ema will be living with now, and with that much testosterone around, it’s a good thing that her talking squirrel Juli will be there to protect her innocence. But being in the proximity to all those young men could lead to romance, and more. It’s not too easy for Yusuke Asahina, who’s in the same class as Ema at school, and who has been crushing on her since they first met. Now his first crush is going to be his sister?
There are 12 episodes plus extras here.
7. Breaking Point
12.5 Desperate Desire
OVA 1. Holy Night
OVA 2. Main Squeeze
Brothers Conflict gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p presentation, which is up to the usual Funimation standards. It not the most animated of anime. The stills slideshow gallery that takes the place of a basketball game is pretty laughable at its lack of motion. This is a show all about bishonen, pretty boys that appeal to the female demographic, and there is a whole lot of tall, slim, and elegant here, as well as one cute and perky, while Ema is pretty enough to engender feelings in her male harem, without being individual enough to threaten with an actual personality. I am not the target audience, which is why I found it funny that the brothers Asahina all shared the one face, but differed in clothes, hair, and height.
There is English and Japanese audio to be had, Dolby True HD 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo respectively, with the usual subtitle and signs tracks, which are locked on the Blu-ray. It all works well enough, with the dialogue clear, and the subtitles accurately timed and free of typos. I listened to the dub long enough to ensure that it exists, it does, but I have no judgement as to its quality. As for the Japanese audio, my reaction to the show coloured my appreciation of the voice actor performances.
The discs present their content with animated menus.
Disc 1 autoplays with a trailer for Free Season 2.
The audio commentary on episode 9 features ADR Director and voice of Ema, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Sonny Strait (Juli), and Jerry Jewell (Louis).
Disc 2 autoplays with a trailer for Fairy Tail Part 19.
The episode 12 commentary features Josh Grelle (Azusa), Ian Sinclair (Kaname), and Micah Solusod (Tsubaki).
You also get 2 textless openings, 2 textless closings, the US trailer for the show, and further trailers for Inari Kon Kon, Hetalia: The Beautiful World, Kamisama Kiss, Noragami, One Piece, Ouran High School Host Club, and Ping Pong The Animation.
We might have dodged an ‘ick’ bullet there, with a talking squirrel taking the Mary Whitehouse role of sparing us too many blushes. He’s in like a furry ninja to stop any impropriety from occurring. But Brothers Conflict lost me with its premise, and its triumvirate of implausibility made it impossible for me to engage with it on even an intellectual level. Consider this, you have thirteen brothers, elegant, handsome men all, and all of eligible age... okay twelve eligible brothers from 15 to 30-ish, and one annoying brat, and not one of them, not a single handsome, bishonen hunk is in a relationship. Ema’s father looks old enough to be her brother, and her new stepmother certainly doesn’t look as if she’s dropped thirteen sprogs. Fortunately we only see the parents for half an episode, but the brothers Asahina and their collective inability to attract a significant other are at the heart of this show, and if you can’t take that leap of faith, then Brothers Conflict is a non-starter.
For Ema shows up at their home, their new stepsister, and each of them to a man, falls head over heels for her. Sparing my sensibilities, nothing much happens, other than some awkward blushes, a couple of inappropriate kisses, some lingering gazes, plenty of heartfelt confessions, but yes, nothing really happens in this show. It’s pretty hard for any meaningful character development when the girl, Ema is an audience proxy, a bland cipher without a tangible personality, while the brothers are all single note characters, just one personality quirk so that the target audience can pick and root for their favourite, the pop idol, the jock, the lawyer, the doctor, the priest, the game designer, the cross-dresser, the school-friend, the flower-arranger, the hair-stylist, the voice actors (one pushy, one reticent), and the brat.
While I may have dodged a bullet when it comes to what I am willing and able to tolerate in entertainment, you do have to accept the fact that nothing much actually happens in this show. You have one girl living with thirteen men, character interactions will occur, back-stories unveiled, love confessions on a regular basis, but really the show ends pretty much where it starts. There is no grand, illicit romance to be had here, no emotional satisfaction to be had on the part of the viewer. It’s easy to dismiss Brothers Conflict as a nothing show. I might have said that if you want something more definite from this story, that there are probably doujin fan comics out there, but then I realised that Ema probably won’t play a part in those.
That’s two Funimation shows in a row that have left me feeling deflated. You might wonder why I’ve given this a higher mark than No-Rin. Well, No-Rin is a show aimed at my target demographic. I know what to expect from daft ribald comedies, and I could see No-Rin crash and burn over its runtime. But I freely admit that I am nowhere near the target demographic for Brothers Conflict, the reverse harem not particularly appealing to me at the best of times. You need to do something interesting with the premise, the story and the characters for me to pay attention, and Brothers Conflict fails in all three areas, but I freely admit that its target audience could very well feel differently. With an audience proxy character and a choice of thirteen males, there may be something to Brothers Conflict that I’m missing, although the traditional harem anime doesn’t work anything like that. But if you’re like me, and you want to try a reverse harem show with depth, character and story, pick Fruits Basket or Ouran High School Host Club instead.