Brothers Conflict: Episode 8 – “Eighth Conflict: Nightmare”

Brothers Conflict is a series about a high school girl named Ema who moves in with her new stepbrothers; she has a total of 13 stepbrothers, and the majority of them live in the condo that Ema moves into. The series focuses on Ema adjusting to having these new stepbrothers and with the feelings that some of the brothers seem to be developing for Ema.

This episode begins with a slight recap from the end of episode seven, where Tsubaki and Azusa have an argument that ends with Azusa collapsing on the floor. Masaomi enters the room and sees Azusa on the ground; he has Ema call an ambulance while he calls his staff to see if they can fit Azusa in.

Ema accompanies Masaomi to the hospital, where she learns that Azusa will need to have tests done and be hospitalized but he is in stable condition. Ema calls Natsume to let him know, and then returns home and has a conversation with Tsubaki. The gist of the conversation is that Tsubaki feels guilty for what happened to Azusa; while he knows Azusa will forgive him, Tsubaki says he can’t forgive himself. Tsubaki’s conflicting thoughts manifest themselves in a dream sequence that involves several “dreams within a dream” before Tsubaki finally truly waking up and finds Natsume sitting in a chair next to his bed. The two of them have a heart-to-heart, which appears to help Tsubaki come to a decision on what he needs to do.

At the hospital, Ema and Azusa talk. Ema, along with the audience, learns that Azusa has meningitis, but that Azusa will be OK if he goes through treatment. During their conversation, Azusa suddenly asks Ema how she feels about Tsubaki; her answer is that she loves him like a big brother, but that she has never thought about loving him as a man. Azusa ends up admitting his feelings for Ema and grabs her into an embrace. When he sees how awkward she looks, he pulls back and apologizes.

Later, Azusa sends a message to Masaomi with a list of manga, light novels, and anime DVDs that he would like to have while he’s in the hospital. Since Masaomi doesn’t understand this material, he asks Ema to go buy the items for him. Yusuke, who is also there, volunteers to help Ema. When Ema goes to the hospital to deliver the books, she sees Tsubaki is visiting Azusa. The two brothers reconcile. It also comes out that Tsubaki will be replacing Azusa as the lead character for the anime.

When Ema returns later with the books, she and Azusa have another talk. During this conversation, he says he’s proud of Tsubaki for his acting, but that he has realized that he doesn’t want to lose to Tsubaki. Azusa embraces Ema and says that he’s not going to apologize anymore because he loves Ema more than anyone else; he tells her there’s no hurry, but that he’ll be waiting for an answer from her. My thought when I saw that was: “Oh, Azusa, you didn’t just do that…”

Ema also finds out that an official copy of the family register has been sent to Ukyo’s office, because she needs it in order to apply for a passport. After picking it up, Ema is curious about it, since she has never seen one before. The episode ends with her looking at the document in shock.

Overall, I have to say that episode eight is a much better than the past couple of episodes have been. While there is some focus on the brothers’ interest in Ema, it’s downplayed a lot more than it has been in more recent episodes. This episode puts more of a focus on Tsubaki and Azusa and the strain that their relationship ended up going through recently. This really was a refreshing change of pace.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Subaru seems to have all but vanished over the past couple of episodes. OK, so the storyline hasn’t focused on him as much, but I don’t recall seeing him during any of the scenes in this episode where the brothers gather together to talk about Azusa being in the hospital and how he’s doing. It almost feels like the writers forgot he even exists!

And after seeing Ema’s reaction to the family register at the end of the episode, I’m very curious to find out what it is that she saw on it that made her react the way she did.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on Brothers Conflict after getting a bit disturbed by episode seven. Episode eight includes the drama I’ve come to enjoy in this series without focusing too heavily on the various brothers’ feelings for Ema and how they choose to display those feelings. With only a handful of episodes left to go, it’ll be interesting to see how the series concludes.

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