In the early part of March, anime publisher Funimation Entertainment released “Brothers Conflict” in limited and standard edition Blu-ray/DVD combo packs, and as we work our way through an ever growing backlog, we took the opportunity to check out this otome game inspired reverse harem anime series, with enough cute guys to start your own super boyband, and possibly conquer the world.
The story of “Brothers Conflict” follows Ema Hinata, a young woman raised by a single father, who often feels lonely, with her father always traveling, which left her to almost raise herself since childhood, with the help of Juli, her pet squirrel. Both Juli and Ema’s lives change forever, when Ema’s father decides to get married, and to give the newlyweds a little space, Ema makes the decision to move in with her new stepmom’s sons, thirteen of them.
Initially, the idea of having such a large family, after spending so much time alone, really makes Ema happy. But for someone not used to the chaos of a house full of late teen to early 30s young men, there is plenty for Ema to have to adjust to.
This includes dealing with the uncontrollable emotions of many of her siblings, who all seem to have fallen for her. From a famous pop star, to a doctor, a lawyer, two voice actors, a video game developer, an athlete, and even one of her classmates, there are always a lot of things for Ema to deal with, and when brothers fight over something that they all want, things can get complicated.
The idea behind “Brothers Conflict” is far from original, it is pretty much like every other harem anime you will see. The one thing that is different between this series and a one male/multiple female harem series though, is that this series isn’t heavy on the fan service, at least not in the same way as an anime trying to appeal to a male audience. The anime has its moments, but nothing overly sexual, and each one of the love interests is different, so there is a type for just about everyone to root for.
The series does skip around a bit, and seeing more to help develop the relationships between the characters, before someone suddenly blurts out a confession, would have been helpful. With so many love interests though, it is difficult to give each one enough time to really make an impact in just twelve episodes, but it does try, and a good portion of the guys do get an episode to leave their mark.
The idea of all of the love interests being step brothers was a bit odd though, and it took me a while to get past that, especially with how aggressively some of the guys pursue Ema early on. And despite what Ema insists throughout, she doesn’t do a very good job of making her feelings known to the others, which probably would have made her situation less complicated, and the series much shorter. She does gradually develop though, and by the end, she starts to speak her mind a little better, although things do go about as you might expect from a harem series.
Visually, “Brothers Conflict” is animated very well. The animation is smooth, and everything is clear and very colorful. Both the DVD and Blu-ray versions were included in the combo pack, and I would have to say that it didn’t feel like there was a big difference between the two, but if you have a Blu-ray player, I would go with that option. The anime has the look of a series drawn for its audience, the guys are all very attractive, more so than the female lead even (though she is cute as well), and no one is drawn with extremes in regard to their “assets,” they all have a more-subtle beauty to them.
The Japanese voice cast sounded very good, and I enjoyed watching the series with the original audio and subtitles. The English cast didn’t do a bad job either though, and it was entertaining to hear a few voices that are definitely familiar from other harem anime, on the other side of things. The subtitles read well, with good flow, and they were clear and easy to read, in both the DVD and Blu-ray versions.
The collection comes in a standard Blu-ray case, with individual holders for each disc to be held securely, and the box art, the same on both the Blu-ray case and slipcase, features a nice image of Ema, with all thirteen of the guys circling in the background. I actually thought that this was one of the prettier designs, out of the anime I’ve seen recently. Included as on-disc extras, were episode commentaries with some of the English voice cast, the textless opening and closing themes, a trailer for the series, and trailers for other Funimation titles.
Also included was the 12.5 episode, which added a little more to the story, and two OVA episodes, which offer a little fan service. The first OVA sees Ema and a few of her brothers, heading to a ski resort for Christmas, where she learns to snowboard, and has a hot tub encounter with one of the guys. The second OVA, takes place for Valentine’s Day, as the guys decide to break with tradition, and make chocolates for Ema. This second OVA also shared in my belief that, “obligatory chocolates suck.”
“Brothers Conflict” had a lot of entertaining moments, and it offered plenty of laughs, from awkward moments to some great one-liners, that help make it a fun series to watch. It was predictable though, and Ema took a little too long to develop into a strong female lead, than I would have liked. It also would have been nice if the series had been able to focus a little more on some of the other characters that were going to confess, since a few of them felt like they just didn’t get enough time to shine, before throwing themselves into the mix.
It isn’t a bad series though, and I did find myself enjoying it after the first couple of episodes. There were a few of the guys that I didn’t like very much, but I think that happens in all series, where you have multiple characters all competing for the affections of one.
If you enjoyed series like “Ouran High School Host Club” and “Kamigami no Asobi,” then “Brothers Conflict” may be worth looking into.
3.5 out of 5
Publisher: Funimation Entertainment
Runtime: 358 minutes
Number of Discs: 5 (3 DVD, 2 Blu-ray)
Number of Episodes: 12 (+ episode 12.5 and 2 OVAs)
Age Rating: TV-14
Release Date: Mar. 8, 2016
(This review is based on the standard edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of “Brothers Conflict.” It was provided by Funimation Entertainment)