Posted by psgels on 24 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

Usually when I compare a series to melodrama, I mean this in a negative way. Onii-Sama e, however… is just one of those exceptions that struck me by utter surprise. It comes with such a style, grace and elegance that the huge amounts of teenaged angst and bitchfights fit completely into place.

It’s another one of the television series directed by Osamu Dezaki, and seriously, the more I watch of this guy the more respect I get of him. The direction in this series is just fantastic, especially considering how old it already is (1992!). It’s a series that may not have the highest budget, but it makes optimal use of the animation techniques that were available at the time.

Characters are drawn swiftly and elegantly. Even the still frames are packed with movement, while the animated scenes have surprisingly good frame-rates. Everything is dedicated to making the characters look as elegantly as possible, without going over the top and just making the characters look silly, like what’s happening to most modern shoujo series.

The melodrama is obviously there: the characters in this series really have issues, and vicious catfights, screaming, yelling and suicidal thoughts are no stranger in this series. But the thing is that while it’s over the top, it never gets cheesy. The drama doesn’t get silly in how hard it tries, and instead it continues to colour the different characters throughout the series.

Characters, who are another part of the series’ highlights. Ranging from the main characters to the side ones, they are varied, engaging and deep. It’s great to watch them grow throughout the series, and deal with their own issues that while over the top, are things that I can very easily see teenaged girls to relate with. The chemistry and bonds between the characters is also great to watch, not to mention the excellent script that hits the mark time and time again.

At the same time though, I do see how Osamu Dezaki’s involvement can be a bit of a double edged sword. Judging from the reception of the Air and Clannad movies and Ultraviolet, his style is something that you can hate just as easily. His series also often have character-designs that look like no other anime out there. In Onii-Sama e’s case, it pretty much depends on how you’ll be able to stomach the dramatic scenes. The scenes beyond that are very accessible though: I’m still amazed at how much life the creators managed to put into them.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Fantastic direction, excellent dialogue, really dramatic.
Characters: 9/10 – An excellent cast, well fleshed out and developed throughout the entire run of the series.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Love it or hate it style. I loved it. The soundtrack is beautiful as well.
Setting: 8/10 – A bit of a soap opera setting, but solid and does its job to make the rest of the series shine.

Ultraviolet: Code 044
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Chris says:

Funny that you put Utena as a recommendation since Utena was actually inspired by Oniisama e along with Rose of the Versailles. This show was also banned in a few European countries along with Mexico for the “scandalous” scene in the later half of the series. I love this show and despite it being incredibly depressing it is very entertaining and beautiful.

  • Chris says:

    correction, wasn’t banned entirely just removed/banned from television.

  • Firechick says:

    Oh, Osamu Dezaki directed this? I didn’t know that. Well, psgels, definitely check out Ie Naki Ko next. I swear, you’re gonna love it to death.

  • Meep says:

    I watched this quite a while ago, only because it was recommended for ROV (Rose of Versailles) fans. But this particular anime felt too awkward to enjoy..just something about it.. xD

  • Universal Bunny says:

    I wouldn’t normally do this, but would you please suggest a place to where to find this series? I’ve been on the lookout for well over a year without much luck.

  • Machi says:

    Oh GAWD ANOTHER nostalgia anime for me XD You didn’t have to call this anime old :_:

  • Saint-Just says:

    Great show, I’m glad you liked it. One of my favorite shojo anime, along with Utena and Rose of Versailles.

  • Brand says:

    I put this in my own personal top 20 anime titles. It is a really great series. I started watching and ended up marathoning the whole thing. I would say this is a must see for anyone who loves Utena. The parallels Utena has to it is rather impressive in a way where many of the aspects are incredible similar but manage not to feel like a straight rip-off.

    This (also much like Utena) is one of the few series I also feel the anime is way better then the manga. The manga isn’t bad, but at 3 volumes you don’t really get the depth that the anime series has.

  • windy says:

    One of the best shows for me as well, I was completely under the spell while I’ve been watching it. I think that all those who liked “Rose of Versailles” will definitely love it as well, I was enticed by both the style and the scrypt in both of those series and have read those both manga drawn by a mangaka I deeply admire: Riyoko Ikeda.

  • Universal Bunny says:

    Thank you psgel. I’ve made an account but there is a limitation on what one can see within 6 days of sign-up. I’ll try in 6 days.

  • trunkschan90 says:

    AnimeSols is currently streaming and crowdfunding the DVD release of Oniisama e :)

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    • Bam
      (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 06:20 PM)
      @Kaiser: English Berserk out on Evil-Genius. Enjoy.
    • Kaiser Eoghan
      (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:49 AM)
      I read the first volume of dimenion W, good art but so far this looks like it’ll be an action series you read if you’re only in need of a fix for one. I also read the first volume of that shounen comedy dagashi kashi, nothing really impressive but every so often it had a moment, most of it due to reaction faces/expressions.
    • Bam
      (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 07:40 AM)
      @Kaiser: yes unfortunately. It cost me a 6-pack of Corona to have my Mexican friend sit there and translate it cor me.
    • Kaiser Eoghan
      (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:38 AM)
      @Bam: That berserk chapter isn’t in English its in Spanish =<
    • Kaiser Eoghan
      (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:07 AM)
      Kaiser marathons a re-watch of star wars, makes list of pros and cons:
    • Bam
      (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 09:50 PM)
      @Aidan: well interestingly in the pilot “what doth life?” causes a file not found error, so it fitted perfectly.
    • AidanAK47
      (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 04:24 PM)
      @Bam, Nope. Never seen Xavier.
    • Bam
      (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
    • Bam
      (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
      @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
    • Bam
      (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
      Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.

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