And now for a different siscon show
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment
What’s up Moar Powah readers, the Inverseman here. Tonight we’re reviewing Onii-chan dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne! (As Long as There’s Love, It Doesn’t Matter If He is My Brother, Right or OniAi for short). And yes from that huge title this was indeed a light novel; it was penned by Daisuke Suzuki and adapted into an anime. So without further ado, let’s begin.
If the title has not clued you in, this is indeed a harem show. After six long years of separation, Akito Himenokoji reunites with his little sister Akiko. While at first this looks like a dream come true for Akiko, who loves her big brother sexually, she has fierce competition from a kuudere half-Russian girl, Akito’s somewhat androgynous childhood friend, the cougar-riffic student council president, Akito’s twelve year old step-sister who happens to be the perfect wife, and even Akito’s awkward editor from his job.
Now I’d say most harems are not just a harem, they usually have a gimmick. Something other than fanservice and a punch to the gags. Sometimes like Highschool of the Dead it’s the zombie horror or in Queen’s Blade it’s the blatant over-the-top-ness. In other places it might be actual character development. Well, suffice it to say, OniAi has none of these. The gimmick that makes this show “stand out” is that the little sister actually wants to have intimate relations with her big brother, and that’s it. As proof, in the first episode right away Akiko begs and pleads Akito to peep on her in the bath. So if little sisters aren’t your thing, you can already take a pass on this show, but let’s not be so judgmental just yet. What if–hypothetically–you and I were unrepentant irredeemable siscons, wouldn’t this be the quintessential show for us?
You couldn’t be more wrong.
The characters are walking talking cliches. My above two to three word descriptions of each girl is everything there is. There is minimal or virtually no character development over the course of the series. The relationships between the girls, between the girls and Akito, or even between Akiko and Akito don’t evolve in any really meaningful way. There are no real hurdles to surmount, no big festivals to prepare for, or even a semblance of motivation for why each girl is the way she is (except maybe Ginbe and Ana, but that’s already the second to last episode). Each girl is the way she is. Akiko likes Akito because she waited six years and because she has a huge brother complex. The writers could have at least given some meaning or thought into why Akiko would be so fixated on her brother or at least have there be some kind of impact or consequence to her incestual obsessions. Maybe have her (unsuccessfully) rallying students for the right-to-marry between blood siblings?
Speaking of gags, the jokes don’t go much further than the expected harem tropes and each girl’s signature cliches. Ana will coolly make a snide comment, Arashi will try to capture her “prey”, Akiko will try to seduce her brother, and Akito will be the token voice-of-reason. I had no hopes for the premise and knew there would be no plot, but the cast is vapid and the humor is stale. Barring maybe two good jokes, my attention span was lost on several occasions to boredom.
With poor characters or gags, the actual animation by Silver Link doesn’t fare much better. The characters look cheaply animated, always looking like there’s something off about the eyes. Backgrounds are always the school or the dorm; we don’t even have a proper swimsuit episode at the beach, just the fanservice in the same old backgrounds with the same old OST, which sounds just as generic. Voice acting isn’t really all that impressive, sounding kind of wooden, but what can you do when your character’s motivation is that thin? Speaking of voice acting, as a quick note, there is no dub for this show. Yes, even though Funimation takes great pride in their dubs, they decided for the first time in years to not dub a show and only have the original performance, and I can see why they would choose not to. The DVDs come with a few extra five minute shorts with some extra gags of more of the same, all the girls trying to get Akito.
Even if we could get over all the caveats to this show and were the target audience for this show, I could not recommend OniAi to anyone. Episode one feels, sounds, and looks exactly like episode twelve and every episode in-between. With many lame gags, dull setups, and vapid characters, I give OniAi a failing grade of 1.5/5. You’re better-off getting your little sister fix elsewhere. Join me next time for laughing lessons.
– A couple gags were funny
– Bad characterization
– Jokes rely on numerous cliches
– Mediocre animation and acting
Studio: Silver Link
Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi
Character design: Gekka Uru (original), Kosuke Kawamura
Music: Takahiro Ando
Original creator: Daisuke Suzuki (light novel)
Original run: October 5, 2012 – December 21, 2012
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