For the anime fan in search of melodrama, Expensive Brother has all of it. The sequence, which aired from 1991 to 1992 and was primarily based on the 1975 manga of the identical title, follows Nanako Misonoo, a brand new pupil on the elite ladies’ college Seiran Academy. The anime’s title comes from the letters Nanako writes to her former trainer Takehiko Henmi, who she sees as an older brother determine. Nanako tells him of her experiences on the college as she turns into concerned with the favored ladies, particularly Rei Asaka, an inventive however troubled lady whom Nanako develops emotions for.
Expensive Brother will not be for everybody. The sequence offers with heavy matters corresponding to bullying, drug abuse, self-harm, most cancers and parental divorce — and that is only the start of the issues confronted by the ladies at Seiran Academy. The true meat of the drama, nonetheless, is discovered within the relationships between the scholars. The women expertise excessive jealousy, hatred, overdependence and love towards one another.
Nanako’s classmate Aya Misaki begins to bully her when Nanako is invited to affix the college’s unique Sorority and Aya just isn’t; Mariko Shinobu befriends Aya but additionally turns into extraordinarily possessive of her; and Rei is unable to return Nanako’s emotions due to her personal obsession with Fukiko Ichinomiya, who enjoys tormenting Rei. Even Nanako’s “brother” has historical past with a number of of her new classmates, which impacts their very own storylines and the way they view Nanako.
Many anime take care of sophisticated themes and relationships, however what units Expensive Brother aside is that the drama by no means stops. Each episode is full of unlucky incidents or stunning revelations. For instance, in episode 4, Nanako embarrasses herself at her Sorority interview, which she reveals up late to as a result of Aya tricked her into arriving on the improper time. Nonetheless, she is chosen to affix the Sorority anyway, so Aya reveals to the entire college that Nanako’s stepfather left his first spouse and youngster to marry Nanako’s mom.
The episode after this switches focus to the dysfunctional love triangle between Nanako, Rei and Fukiko, displaying Rei’s drug use and Fukiko’s bodily abuse of her, in addition to Fukiko’s anger when Nanako will get nearer to Rei. These two episodes alone have sufficient drama for a complete story arc, and so they’re nonetheless very early within the anime’s 39-episode run.
Expensive Brother‘s standing as an early instance of the yuri style offers it an additional angle of attraction, particularly because the relationships between the ladies are portrayed frankly and never handled as drastically completely different from heterosexual romance. For all of the psychological torment the characters undergo, “But we’re both girls!” is not a main motive for his or her angst. Nanako’s budding relationship with Rei has sufficient obstacles with out the ladies feeling responsible for his or her same-gender attraction.
It may be simple to really feel overwhelmed by Expensive Brother‘s fixed bleakness. The problems confronted by the characters are severe, and never everybody will get a contented ending. Nonetheless, the attraction of the anime is just like the addictiveness of a cleaning soap opera — each episode introduces some new twist that shifts the dynamics between the characters. It is arduous to not wish to hold watching to find what’s going to occur subsequent, whether or not it is to see how its storylines resolve or how loopy they’ll grow to be earlier than they accomplish that. Any viewer who likes their anime as drama-filled as potential ought to give Expensive Brother a attempt.