What They Say:
Akiko moves into a school dormitory with her brother Akito, when he transfers to her school. Owing to her brother complex, Akiko has a crush on Akito. With both of them in student government, will Akiko be able to share him with the other council members?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series by Daisuke Suzuki, which has also spawned a manga series in the seinen magazine Monthly comic Alive, OniAi (aka Onii-chan dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne!) is a new twelve episode series from Silver Link. Shows about brotherly love do tend to come into play every now and then, but often the focus is a secondary piece, such as the lead male character having a younger sister that plays up that angle, but she’s hardly the main character. Here, the two leads are definitely brother and sister and the situations throw them into pretty regular contact, which makes things awkward – and uncomfortable depending on how you feel about this particular genre.
The series focuses on the brother and sister pair of Akito and Akiko, who now find themselves living together as she moves into a new dormitory with him when he ends up transferring into the same school system she’s already in. Her arrival at the start is pretty nicely done, showing her looking for the dorm that they’ll now share, and it goes against the usual grain by having Akito actually happy to see her there when she arrives. The brother complex is certainly obvious on her part, but he plays it well and is just being brotherly with her and helping her to settle in at the same time that he’s getting adjusted as well, especially since it’s about to start school.
And that doesn’t sit well with her, which is comical when you do get down to it. When she takes a bath, she waits forever for him to peep on her, but he never does. She calls him out on it in great fashion and he just can’t grasp it since they are, as he says, brother and sister before being boy and girl. Much to her dismay. She’s pretty cute and funny to watch when she’s mad since it’s so simple and childish, but Akito does a good job of trying push back gently against her to act normal, though she’s a bit more submissive than he might want without realizing why she’s being that way.
Watching her manipulate the situation is a good bit of fun as she’s almost conniving in her approach. But she’s not going to be the only one that wants her brothers attention as it’s obvious a mixed gender school, so there’s lots of other women. And some real characters at that, especially as both end up in the student government together. Bringing in characters like Anastasia, Ginbee and Arashi sets up the kind of vying for affections you expect, made worse when they all share the same dorm space together. Akiko’s realization of this is comical, especially when there’s a good discussion about who actually gets to sit next to him. And in the midst of all of this, as the series main gag, is Akito going on about how he loves Akiko, but just as a sister.
OniAi plays with familiar concepts here, but they’re ones that are usually either shunted to secondary position within a larger cast or are part of a much more serious and often darker work that looks at the deep emotions. What we get here is pretty much just a big comedy with (so far) four girls, one of which is a sister, that’s interested in the same guy. The trio of girls on the student council don’t get a lot of time and are basically stereotypes at this point, complete with one being a fiery redhead with an eyepatch, but the core of the show with Akiko and Akito looks like it could be a lot of awkward fun. It’s definitely well animated, has a good sense of pacing about it and hits the humor and incredulousness just right when it comes down to it. I’m curious to see more of Akito and why he’s as desired as he is, but more to see what kind of wacky thing Akiko might come up with to try and go the distance.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.