Posted 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.

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    • Aires
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 08:29 PM)
      I thought the madoka movie RUINED my hom-hom
    • Raggers
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 06:52 PM)
      No Game No Life 3: Awesome, hilarious, and the most unsubtle (and even funnier than last ep’s) JoJo reference I’ve seen.
    • Juno
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 06:09 PM)
      I’ll answer questions after work, but let’s still try to avoid direct spoilers. I’m not sure even psgel has seen the film yet.
    • Joe
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 05:53 PM)
      It’s also made more ambiguous by the state of Homura’s soul gem during the movie. She wasn’t exactly in the best condition for making decisions, and she might have acted differently than she otherwise would have.
    • Joe
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 05:51 PM)
      Definitely disagree that Homura didn’t have any character. Most of her characterization in the original series was ambiguous, though, so a lot of it was up to interpretation.
    • AidanAK47
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 03:42 PM)
      Not trying to piss off Juno, but this probably will anyway, but I noticed how polarized the debate over Homura’s choice at the end of rebelion. “It’s out of character!” “No it isn’t!” I find it funny considering the girl has well…barely any character at all.
      And when someone says that this choice ruined Homura’s complex character from the series..boy…how I laugh.
    • AidanAK47
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 03:36 PM)
      @Emma, Just a guess, but the koren webcomic fomat isn’t really print friendly. Those long tower rows of panels would be hard to fit on a book format.
    • Friend
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 03:10 PM)
      @Emma I guess its the same here as k web comics. They either dont care about it, or they just cant.
    • AidanAK47
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 01:22 PM)
      @Juno, So I might as well ask before you hinge your entire opinion on whatever the maker say. What do you believe happened and how it effected the law?
    • Juno
      (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 12:19 PM)
      It’s been a whole half year since the film came out and the BD has been released, so we’re finally getting a lot of substance-focused interviews and guides to the film now. The one thing I’m hoping they can do is finally clarify what happened at the end of the film, metaphysically, like they did for the TV series’ ending. I don’t really care about whether [spoiler] is evil. I just want to know how this affects the laws of cycles…

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