Living with your little sister in a dorm room may not be the best of ideas.
What They Say:
When adorable teenager Akiko is reunited with her big brother, Akito, she’s determined to take her sisterly affection to the next level! But her brocon fantasies are dealt a cruel blow by the arrival of three colorful rivals. There’s a blonde heiress with a fetish for plushies, a boyish beauty who yearns to serve, and a ravishing redhead who’ll stop at nothing to get her man!
Every coy ploy Akiko dreams up is deviously derailed by robes that just happen to fall open, the flashing of “come hither” eyes, or scandalous splashing in the community bath! While Akiko has her hands full staying a step ahead of the competition, poor conflicted Akito can’t help but think: my little sister can’t be this… crazy?!
Contains episodes 1-12.
The audio presentation for this release gives us just the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series didn’t merit a dub, which is unfortunate, but at least we get the show in high definition. The soundtrack here is one that’s decent but is essentially what you’d expect for a show of this nature where it’s primarily dialogue driven with some slapstick material along the way to bump it up a bit. The score for it is decent though it’s more incidental than anything else but the opening and closing tracks come across well during it. The dialogue has its moments of placement and depth along the way but they’re not huge or significant. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Spread across two discs, we get nine on the first and three on the second, which also has all of the extras. Animated by Silver Link, OniAi has a really nice look to it with some good color design and a fair bit of detail throughout that keeps your attention, especially since the detail is largely kept to the undergarments. Well, that’s not entirely true, but you can see a lot of attention paid there. The transfer captures the appealing look of the show very well, leagues above the simulcast to be sure as well as being uncensored, and it has a great look that definitely is appropriate for the lightness and fun of the series. Colors are strong and solid, detail is problem free and we didn’t see any issues with line noise or cross coloration during regular playback. I definitely wanted this show in high definition after the simulcast and it’s definitely a huge step up.
Though it’s a subtitled-only release, we still get a strong package here overall as we get a heavy chipboard box that holds two Blu-ray cases for the two formats that we get. The box goes with a light and mildly girly kind of feeling with its color design with the soft yellow stars in the background. The characters dominate the front with the four main girls but they’re all wearing their dark uniforms and are at a distance which keeps it from really feeling big and alive in a way. The back cover on the other hand uses the same image but strips the girls of everything but their undergarments and it definitely has a lighter and friendlier approach to it. Inside the box we get the two cases which are done with more of a purple filter and across both of them, each panel features one of the main girls in closer form that shows off the detail and personalities quite well. Similar to the box, we get the same poses of the characters on the reverse side but with them in their undergarments. It’s pretty detailed and obviously hitting the target market just right. No show related inserts are included with this release.
The menu design for this release is quite simple but with a couple of cute aspects that certainly makes it work. The bulk of it is obviously the clips that play throughout and it does show off some fun and cute ones along the way as it plays out, setting the mood decently for what’s to come. The navigation and logo are placed at opposite corners and done up inside some oversized hearts in pink, which adds to the cuteness nicely. The logo along the upper right has some nice soft color to it while the lower left has the navigation itself, which is simple since there’s not a lot here. Submenus load quickly and easily and accessing the extras definitely works nicely with a good sized bit of text that makes it easy to read. With it being a monolingual release, there’s no language submenu to work with.
The release does come with a few extras, though admittedly it feels weird to not have an English language commentary track of some sort here. The second disc brings us the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences as well as the six bonus shorts that were on the Japanese home video releases. These clock in at just about three minutes each and provide for some humors bits to be sure but also a lot of fanservice and nudity that adds little side gags to the show.
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 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.
Like any series of this nature, the more we get into it the more we see the connecting stories of the girls as they know Akito and in some cases Akiko before it all came together like this. Some are more interesting than others and having Akito as the dorm manager kind of works in a rather fun way. Not surprising, you do find yourself rooting for some characters over others, at least if you’re not into the whole bro-con aspect of it. I found myself interest in Anastasia from the start and the more we get to know her and the time she’s known Akito, you really do have to like her because she feels the most natural in a way with her passive-aggressive way of expressing interest in Akito. Arashi doesn’t seem to really be into him most of the time so when she does show an interest it just feels very off-putting. Ginbe is one that comes across as a more natural sister type than Akiko herself, though obviously she has an interest in Akito as well. But time after time, I found myself far more interested in the show when Ana was on the screen since the pairing to me just felt the most ideal.
Akito, for his part, doesn’t feel like most of the male leads in these kinds of series do. He’s happy to see Akiko but deflects every single one of her advances. And that of all the other girls as well, which is admittedly a bit weird at times. With Akiko really being strong in her pursuit of Akito, seeing him deflect her so easily is really nice to see and keeps him feeling above the fray so to speak. But there is a side to him that causes you to wonder the truth as he secretly writers brother/sister prose novels for a publishing house and is growing quite well at it. So much so that his editor, Jinno, spends her time after awhile wondering if he’s getting it on with his sister in an effort to gain better material and understanding. That leads to a few awkward encounters between the two, but having this side of Akito keeps you wondering if there’s more to it. But it really does just feel like a business side for him more than anything else and it reinforces how much I like him because he does his best to keep Akiko under control.
A series like OniAi obviously lives and dies by the wackiness of the relationship between the two leads and how over the top it gets but also by the way he interacts with the other girls. OniAi doesn’t disappoint as Akito is constantly thrust into some really awkward situations along the way that involves the girls being naked, changing or getting undressed and even a really comical bit in the final episode where Anastasia is without underwear for awhile and struggling with the feeling. Having watched the censored version of this in the simulcast, having the uncensored version here is fun because there’s so much attention paid to the undergarments and such and having such blunt sexual acts nearly happen makes for some really hilarious sequences along the way. The girls try way, way too hard to gain his favor and it shows. And it’s simply a lot of fun to watch.
A series like OniAi is obviously divisive among fans from the get go as the whole brother/sister aspect can upset a lot of people for any number of legitimate reasons. And we don’t dispute that. But sometimes in difficult situations like this you can get some really great comedy or stories in general as characters have to deal with such awkward material. OniAi doesn’t try to reach for the stars as it instead goes for the humor and fanservice and it does it very, very well. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this this the first time around, largely owing to the way Akito so deftly deflects Akiko on a regular basis as well as the other girls, and watching it in marathon form just reinforced my enjoyment. I can easily understand why people would avoid a brother/sister love show like this, but OniAi does it right and works through the material well, even if it doesn’t really get to the heart of why either Akiko or Akito are acting like they are. I’m definitely glad FUNimation took the chance on the show for simulcast and then to at least give us a subbed-only high definition release rather than it just lapsing into obscurity.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, english Subtitles, Bonus OVA Episodes, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 31st, 2013
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1,78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.