I would be remiss in saying that I’m not the biggest fan of shoujo harem series; that’s not to say that I dislike them but they are clearly not aimed towards me. That being said, I have seen a handful of series in this particular genre and while, again, they’re not aimed at me I have enjoyed them on some level. Brothers Conflict is the latest of this particular genre to find its way into my hands and comes via Funimation.
Please Note: This review was based on the previously announced but subsequently cancelled DVD discs for this release. While the contents should be an exact mirror of the now Blu-ray-only release please keep this in mind if considering a purchase based on this review.
Synopsis: Hinata Ema is the only daughter of a famous adventurer, Hinata Rintarou. One day, Ema learns that Rintarou is going to remarry with a successful apparel maker named Asahina Miwa. Since she doesn’t want to disturb them, Ema decides to move out and live with her 13 new brothers in a mansion called Sunrise Residence. As they live under the same roof, romance is starting to grow between Ema and the Asahina brothers.
I come from a very neutral viewpoint when it involves series’ of this ilk having neither high expectations nor a dislike of them. I do find that I tend to enjoy the vast majority and Brothers Conflict sits firmly in that camp. The story while very trope-ridden for this genre obviously follows a very popular theme. I can’t say I have experienced a series with quite as many romantic suitors as Brothers Conflict seems to have crammed in but I don’t feel that it negatively impacted the story. It may have given less development time to some of the characters in favour of others but when you only have 12 episodes to work with decisions need to be made.
Based on the Light Novel series of the same name that spanned across seven volumes, I can imagine a great deal of effort was put into focusing on a select group of brothers. Of course, this meant that a number of the brothers had very little scene time but while I haven’t read the source material I felt that the series itself did feature a good group dynamic. With the majority of the brothers introduced very early this allowed the rest of the series to explore specific relationships with certain individuals. As with the premise of the story, I can’t say I was a fan of some of the characters but this was actually to the benefit of the story when you come to find yourself rooting for any particular one character.
The premise of Brothers Conflict is something we have seen time and again in this genre. It’s not overly exciting and in this series’ case can seem a little weird. They aren’t blood-related so that’s something. The whole idea around every single guy falling for the one plain girl is always a little farfetched and some do it a lot better than others. Is Brothers Conflict one of those series? I’d have to say no but it’s still oddly enjoyable. The story itself never really goes anywhere meaningful and is just essentially a re-skinned monster of the week formula, of course; replace monster with a handsome guy and you get the idea.
I’ve always liked the shoujo art style and Brain’s Base have put together a really great looking series. Even though we may have only seen a few of the brothers receive any kind of character development, you could certainly tell them apart due to their unique character designs. Not to throw this out there in a negative way but the visuals are probably the selling point of the series.
Brothers Conflict features a really well-rounded English dub thanks to the likes of Bryce Papenbrook, Christopher R. Sabat, Colleen Clinkenbeard, J. Michael Tatum, Kyle Hebert, Vic Mignogna and many more. Given the sheer amount of characters the series has, I was worried that the English dub would suffer for it but luckily some of the best voice talents have been called upon to make sure that didn’t happen.
For a standard edition Funimation release, I was actually surprised by a number of extras on offer here. First up with have the usual Episode Commentaries for episodes 9 & 12 and Textless Opening and Ending sequences as standard. Lastly, is the inclusion of the bonus episode 12.5 “Desperate Desire” and OVAs 1 and 2 “Holy Night” & “Main Squeeze”. While it’s great to see a good selection of extras on any release I always feel a little put out when series I don’t have any particular love for contain them while others do not. Regardless, I’m certainly happy they have been included if only to give a more complete experience.
Brothers Conflict is definitely not a series I would have picked up as a blind buy and it’s clearly not a series aimed towards me. However, I did enjoy my time with the series aside from the lacklustre premise and set up. A lot of the characters were very likeable and the English voice acting really helped bring the characters to life. If shoujo harem series is your thing and you're well versed in the tropes and clichés this genre often brings to the table then you’ll have a fun time with Brothers Conflict.