It’s difficult to know how to start this review. Usually, I’d open with a paragraph about how much I like a series or my previous experiences with it, but in this case I’d never heard of this anime before or the visual novel it’s based on. I’d gone into it totally blind and perhaps, if I’d had prior knowledge, I never would have bothered.
Brothers Conflict is a reverse harem series that tells the story of Ema Asahina, who moves in with her thirteen step-brothers after her father remarries. Ema also has a talking pet squirrel called Juli, who disapproves of Ema putting herself in a situation surrounded by so many boys. Meanwhile, with the arrival of Ema, the brothers now struggle with having a lady in the building and adjusting how they go about their day to day lives.
Normally when I review anime, I dedicate more than a single paragraph to a show’s plot, but in this case I find it impossible. I’ve already mentioned that this is a reverse harem series and that comes into play by most, if not all, the brothers having feelings for Ema or teasing her as though they do. I’d normally be okay with this kind of thing, but overall I just find Brothers Conflict terrible.
Brothers Conflict is very generic in how it handles its characters and plot. For example, within the first episode Ema faints from a fever and then later on, when she goes for a bath she stumbles on one of her brothers who is wearing nothing but a towel. Things only get worse when she overhears two other brothers (twins), seemingly confessing their love to one another (it turns out they were just rehearsing a script). Despite all this and the fact various brothers make a move to kiss Ema, all our main character actually does is apologise and stutter in speaking. She doesn’t have a personality to speak of really, and even among the thirteen boys, their personalities are just very generic and in-line with what you’d expect of their jobs/designs/attitudes.
Among the boys we have the twins who are able to finish each other’s sentences. We have the jealous one who is resentful that Ema is now living in his home. We have the mature one, the bishi one who works as a hairdresser, the cute younger one, the distant one and somehow also the very plain one who probably has the most genuine feelings. Among this large cast, not a single one of them has an interesting personality and it’s difficult to care about them at all. This is again, not helped by Ema, whose interactions with them boil down to standing there blankly and being kissed or talked at. There is no chemistry at all and so it’s hard to care when, frankly, even the characters themselves don’t.
If there was a plot to speak of, then maybe I could have overlooked Ema and the boys as almost fatal flaws to the show, but actually this show is nothing more than a collection of the groups day to day lives and I can’t help but feel nothing interesting ever happens. There is absolutely nothing worth your time in this whole show and that’s not something I’d usually say. I am a firm believer that every anime has a reason for someone to like it, but Brothers Conflict is just bad.
The series has been adapted by Brain’s Base who you’ll probably know as the studio that worked on Baccano! and Durarara!!. While the animation for Brothers Conflict isn’t really bad, it’s just also not interesting in the slightest. The colours are fairly bland and backgrounds, while detailed, didn’t really grab my attention either. I guess sometimes bland animation can be just as hurtful as outright badly done animation. Unfortunately, the music (handled by Takeshi Nakatsuka) doesn’t stand out at all, so can’t redeem the series either. Brothers Conflict is both dubbed and subbed but neither track is that good. None of the voice actors really do anything wrong, but when they’re playing characters with personalities about as interesting as watching paint dry – well, it’s no surprise I’m not leaping out of my seat with praise.
This release has been brought to the UK thanks to Funimation and is only available on Blu-ray, after the DVD version was cancelled. The set includes all 12 episodes of the series (both subbed and dubbed), as well as the two OVA episodes and episode 12.5. The only other extras to speak of are commentaries for episodes 9 & 12 as well as textless opening and ending tracks.
Overall I find myself at a slight loss for words. I truly believe that Brothers Conflict is one of the most boring and generic series I have ever seen and one I never wish to revisit. I can’t think of a single way to recommend it to you, so instead I’ll close this review out by suggesting you go and handle some household chores, or read a book or basically anything that isn’t watching this show.
Title: Brothers Conflict
Production: Brains Base
Version Reviewed: DVD (Review materials received before format was cancelled)
Released: 6 March 2017