Remember last season where we had Ore no Imouto with all of its implications of sibling love through eroge and Yosuga no Sora with its explicit display of two siblings’ hots for one another? Combine those two, remove the pandering around the bush, add in a new art style, subtract the porn, and suddenly you have Onii-chan. Going against the theme of the two previous shows of trying to meticulously portray the forbidden love of two siblings, Onii-chan screws that all over and gives us two siblings obviously attracted to one another, describing their blunt antics through the series. Note that this series explicitly sets itself as a series not to be taken seriously, so if you’re looking for some deep plot of forbidden love, I doubt the first few episodes of panty shots every two minutes will be your tickling fancy
Say hello to お兄ちゃんのことなんかぜんぜん好きじゃないんだからねっ, directed by Keitaro Motonaga, known for directing School Days.
Straight from the start, we’re immediately floored by the show’s premise and the jokes stream nonstop from there. Our side-lead Shuusuke Takanashi (Toshiyuki Toyonaga) wakes up from a naughty dream about his sister Nao (Eri Kitamura), to find himself tempted by his sleeping sister a mere foot away. He resists the urge to kiss his sister right then and there, but little does he know that’s exactly what his dirty little sister wants :3. Of course he almost makes it, a mere two inches before his mother (Sayaka Ohara) decides to enter via a convenient door slam, disappointing both of them in the process.
Such events are what bulk most of Onii-chan’s humor. Have both siblings have the hots for one another, add in a daily common event, such as eating a Popsicle or eating bread, or chatting with your favorite eroge character Shizuru (Mako) and voila, you get joke wincest! Think of it as being between Ore no Imouto with its comedic approach to the siscon theme and Yosuga no Sora with it’s direct approach to said theme. However, don’t expect anything of a serious story as you’d expect from either. Think of it on term of say, KissxSis, where the main goal is to make you laugh, the secondary to flash panties at you. Although some serious moments were present in the episode to explain certain backgrounds, the whole tone realigns itself with humorously unexpected reactions.
Such absence of taking itself seriously is quite visible even in the first episode. The animal censors that ecchi shows often adopt are placed haphazardly, simply to mock the idea of censors itself. In one scene one will be disappointed at seeing the blockage come up, immediately thinking of when BD sales come out, but then become perplexed when an equally risky scene lacks a cute penguin to add some decency. Oh, did I mention: this show is filled with panties. Filled panties. There is no escaping it in this series, not even in some of the serious moments, and I can predict it’ll turn a blind eye to no situation in the future.
Another noticeable absence is the sense of social stigma that surrounds love between siblings, a theme heavy in last season’s incestual pursuits. However, enter oniichan world, and suddenly it’s just one huge gag. Sure, people still disapprove of brocon and siscon, but rather than have cold eyes and piercing silence make their point, the citizens of oniichan merely give out slapstick punches or simply gaze in awe as the antics continue.
But, the one thing everyone will pick up on seeing this series is the distinct art style. Think of it as being a relative to CLAMP’s designs, while adding just a hint of Shin-chan feel to it in the process. Slim, tall character designs, with a tendency to draw body parts in what comes off as a bit distasteful at times. It’s understandable that this sort of style will immediately turn people away. However, it is my opinion that it’s not THAT bad enough of an art style to completely turn off the jokes. In fact, some of the lax artistry enhances some of the gag’s energy. It may seem awkward from the preview images and the CM videos, but in reality, the animation itself is quite different once you’re engaged.
Oniichan will not be for everyone. Like it’s counterparts previously, it’s a series that you’re either going to love or get turned off by. Obviously the subject matter is a determining factor, but the way the show handles said subject matter may be a deciding factor for viewers. If you’re one to enjoy a show that doesn’t take itself seriously or doesn’t set high expectations, oniichan may be an enjoyable dark horse for you this season. The humor is actually quite nice and punchlined well, and the spin of both siblings out for each other straight from the start is a breath of fresh air for the premise. However, the art may break you if you’re a stickler for animation and the silliness of the plot and character interactions may annoy certain types of people, especially the selective censoring and “interesting” reactions to wincest.
Whatever your taste though, the anime seems to be already receiving favor for its humor. From those who have seen the manga, it seems that oniichan has preserved most of the gag life present in the paper print, while also toning down some of the art design as well, presumably for the better. If you don’t have much on your plate this season, I suggest oniichan for a light comedy to just sit back and relax on. For those contemplating on whether to continue with this series, I suggest waiting a few more episodes for the other characters to appear, such as the rival twintails…