This has got to be the strangest harem show potentially ever conceived (there are a lot of series out there I haven’t seen, so this will suffice for the nonce. Or Nonsense). “Brothers Conflict” (“Burazāzu Konfurikuto”, also known as “BroCon”) tells a rather complicated story, owing to the sheer amount of cast. Ema Hinata (the damsel in the center) is the daughter of the famous expat, Rintaro Hinata (well, how famous is that supposed to be? It’s just a plot point, anyway). One day, Ema finds out that her dad is going to remarry a successful clothing maker, Miwa Asahina. Rather than bothering them, she decides to move into the Sunrise Residence complex that is owned by Miwa. From there, she discovers that she has 13 stepbrothers. Yes, those are all guys up there and the Sunrise Complex isn’t much more than a dorm setting.
Since Ema is an only child and these guys have had zero contact with a girl, much less a sister, the series details this adjustment time to living in a new environment and atmosphere.
Now, lest you think this dissolves into some fan-service heavy salacious offering, you are wrong, although it is odd that NONE of them are married (well, a few can be excused, but still……) Should I run down the cast for you? It might be best, from left to right:
Futo Asahina. The twelfth son, aged 15. He is a first year high school student and a very popular idol.
Iori Asahina. The tenth son, aged 18. He is a high school senior and is known for showing prince-like behavior.
Yusuke Asahina. The eleventh son, aged 16. He is a second-year high school student and also Ema’s classmate.
Masaomi Asahina. The first son, aged 31. He is a doctor who is well versed in medicine.
Wataru Asahina. The thirteenth and youngest son, aged 10. He is in the 5th grade.
Subaru Asahina. The ninth son who turned 20 in episode 2. He is a college sophomore and is very athletic, playing on the basketball team.
Louis Asahina. The eighth son, aged 21. He works as a hairdresser. He is a beautiful but mysterious man,
Ema and Juli (on her head). Ema’s pet squirrel who has the ability to talk. However, he can only talk to Ema.
Natsume Asahina. The seventh son and one of the triplets, aged 24. Unlike Tsubaki and Azusa, he is a fraternal triplet. He is the CEO of a video game company.
Tsubaki Asahina. The fifth son and one of the triplets, aged 24. He is a voice actor alongside his identical triplet brother Azusa.
Azusa Asahina. The sixth son and one of the triplets, aged 24. Like his identical triplet brother Tsubaki, he is a voice actor.
Kaname Asahina. The third son, aged 27. He has the charms of a playboy, and a womanizing nature, but is actually a monk.
Hikaru Asahina. The fourth son, aged 26. He is a cross-dressing novelist who likes watching his brothers’ reactions around Ema.
Ukyo Asahina. The second son, aged 28. He is a successful lawyer and acts as the “mother figure” to the family.
OK, let’s take a drink and cookies break for now as we catch our breath. Mom was certainly busy for a solid 20 years. Does she even remember a moment when she wasn’t pregnant? Oh, my order. Tea. Earl Gray. Hot. Although Ema has interactions with them all, the main ones are with Louis, Subaru and Futo. Louis LOVES to do up her hair and does so on a few occasions, while informing her of things as to how the Asahina family functions. Subaru has feelings for her, but doesn’t understand them and gets confused. Futo cannot stand her and is nakedly hostile towards her, a complete departure from his on-stage persona (kind of like living with Justin Bieber).
I found myself trying to understand the dynamics of the housing situation rather than Ema’s attempts to be a good sister. They own two whole floors of this building? What about the other tenants? Oh, the story. At her age (16), she is a bit low in the pecking order and some of the brothers try to accommodate the fact that she is a lady, but that is where we derive both the comedy and the conflict, as it seems they ALL want to marry her. She is unlike any woman they have ever met and feel the double need to not only protect her from the vagaries of the world, but from the other brothers. Now, the manga has a series of more dramatic conflicts and I do not know if they are saving them for a second season, as there is no way that this show could go free after a mere 12 episodes, especially with such divergent personalities. And stepmom could easily pop out a few more kids with New Dad, so that prospect is equally available.
It’s not a bad show or a bad idea, but the sheer size of the cast makes it rather hard to give everyone a chance to shine. Wataru is not much more than cute comic relief and, at 10, isn’t allowed to bring much to the show. Nasume is a caliber of hit-and-run, using Ema as a beta tester for games his company produces and hardly that. Ukyo wants to be more helpful, but running this family AND being a lawyer has him at frayed ends. Oh, Mom and Dad are on their honeymoon, so we see precious little of them. Again, that might change for Season Two. Overall, at its current configuration, it is a slight show. I can only suggest it if you are waiting for something more potent or powerful to show up, but don’t want to invest a lot into it, should you decide to head to sunnier climes.
This show could have been more, but it is teetering on the edge of being a soap opera parody of itself. I sometimes got the feeling that things would have gone more off the track if Ema wasn’t there to be that nurturing hand of femininity that this testosterone-laden condo is lacking to have people do the right thing. That, and a talking squirrel.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (A bit too much reliance on anime stylings)
Plot 6 (Done before, just not with as many players)
Pacing 7 (Can run sluggish in spots)
Effectiveness 7 (Not fully brought to fruition)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Scattered far and wide)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I have thirteen step-brothers?