|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Based on a 1970s shoujo manga series, Dear Brother focuses on our female lead Nanako getting caught up in the complicated and tragic lives faced by several members of the student body at the prestigious Seiran all-girl's private high school, starting from when she becomes a part of the school's elite and sophisticated club known as the Sorority. She narrates on the struggles and ordeals she faces at Seiran when composing letters for a tutor pen-pal she met while at a cram school and said ordeals involve a number of touchy issues that made the series a bit controversial during the time it was made such as suicide, bullying, divorce, drug addiction and lesbianism.|
Dear Brother's storytelling was a bit mixed in its quality for me, the negative aspects I'll cover a little later in my review. For the most part, the storytelling of the series was solid as it explored the problems faced by many of the major characters in the series and depicted just how flawed the Sorority's influence on the school can be, particularly in regards to how freshmen openly haze and bully one another to get into it and some among the club being opportunists who abuse their influence for their own personal gain. The series drops enough hints of certain key characters having more going on with them than what it seems on the surface, particularly the interest that Sorority chairman Fukiko has in Nanako and her abusive relationship with half-sister Rei, that gets slowly fleshed out throughout the show's run. The mentioned controversial issues explored are mostly depicted believably in how they negatively effect the major characters throughout the show such as Rei's drug addiction being a coping mechanism to deal with her abusive relationship with Fukiko and the messy family life of Mariko.
What will make or break your enjoyment of Dear Brother though will be the title's heavy offering of melodrama, and this is where my thoughts on the series get a bit mixed. The series loves to go overboard in depicting the dramatic problems facing the characters within the series and there are occasions where the exaggeration of emotions during these moments can get a bit too overboard as such where it can be hard to take them seriously. Because of the melodrama, it makes some of the major events that transpire throughout the series and the reasoning behind character motives getting rather ridiculous as it pushes believability to its breaking point with how characters respond to these situations. Particularly, the one storyline in the series to be the most absurd in its developments and rationale for me were the events that take place with Fukiko's interest in Nanako as some of the former's actions and the reason why Fukiko was entered into the Sorority by her in the first place are rather ridiculous, and even get life-threatening at a few points.
Visually, the series drawing styles resembles what you would see out of an 80s anime. The style gives character designs and settings a beautiful and lifelike feel in terms of facial features and details, though animation shortcuts are a regular sight in this series with still shots, speed lines and limited onscreen movements. The soundtrack of the series is a mixture of enka (Japanese ballads) and classical tracks that are fitting for the dramatic mood seen regularly throughout the series, though they usually can get just as exaggerated in the feel they give off as the melodramatic trappings that Dear Brother gets itself into regularly.
Overall, I suppose your mileage may vary with how well you enjoy Dear Brother. The series does a good job with fleshing out its characters and showing just how messy the lives of some of the major players are, though the show's penchant for melodrama can cause the drama of key events to feel ridiculous at points and I was not really a fan of the storyline involving Fukiko's interest in Nanako. Fans of older shoujo titles may be willing to give this series a shot, especially with how old its source material is.
Last updated Thursday, August 13 2015. Created Thursday, August 13 2015.