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.

Suggestions:
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 :)

    http://animesols.com/video_sets/26

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    • Kaiser Eoghan
      (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
      Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
    • Bam
      (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
      It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
    • Bam
      (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
      That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
    • AidanAK47
      (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
      It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
      That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
    • AidanAK47
      (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
      It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
    • Bam
      (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
      And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
    • Bam
      (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
      I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
    • AidanAK47
      (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
      A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
    • Bam
      (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
      That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
    • Bam
      (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
      @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.

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