30 Day Anime Challenge: Day 5 – Anime You’re Ashamed You Enjoyed

I really had to think hard on this question. The answer I came up with is a series I watched as a simulcast a few years back. While my thoughts did change on it while I was watching the simulcast, I have to admit that I did actually enjoy the first three or four episodes of it.

The series in question would be Brothers Conflict. I was looking back through the write-ups I did for each episode after I watched them, and in the conclusion for the first four episodes, I mentioned that I thought the show was interesting and that I was enjoying what I was seeing. But by the end of the fifth episode, though, my opinion started changing because of the actions of some of Ema’s stepbrothers. Some of these plot points started to make me feel a little uncomfortable.

But as I was going through these old write-ups, I really liked this comment I had in the write-up for Episode 6:

After I finished watching this episode, I nearly wanted to yell to Ema: “Run! Run for the hills and get away from this den of hormones! This isn’t what they mean by ‘brotherly love’!”

Additional 30 Day Anime Challenge posts:

Crunchyroll Announces More Anime Additions to Its Catalog

Crunchyroll has announced that it has added the following anime additions to its catalog:

  • And you thought there is never a girl online? – available to users in in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
  • Peacemaker – available to users in the United States and Canada.
  • Yatterman Night – available to users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
  • Danganronpa The Animation – available to users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa, and for Premium members in Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands.
  • BlazBlue Alter Memory – available to users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa, and for Premium members in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
  • Brothers Conflict – available to users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and for Premium members in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Source: ANN

English Cast for Brothers Conflict

FUNimation Entertainment has announced the English cast for Brothers Conflict:

  • Colleen Clinkenbeard is Ema Asahina
  • J. Michael Tatum is Masaomi Asahina
  • Christopher R. Sabat is Ukyo Asahina
  • Ian Sinclair is Kaname Asahina
  • Todd Haberkorn is Hikaru Asahina
  • Micah Solusod is Tsubaki Asahina
  • Josh Grelle is Azusa Asahina
  • Kyle Hebert is Natsume Asahina
  • Jerry Jewell is Louis Asahina
  • David Matranga is Subaru Asahina
  • Eric Vale is Iori Asahina
  • Matthew Mercer is Yusuke Asahina
  • Vic Mignogna is Futo Asahina
  • Bryce Papenbrook is Wataru Asahina
  • Sonny Strait is Juli
  • David Wald is Rintaro Hinata
  • Jamie Marchi is Miwa Asahina
  • Ricco Fajardo is Kazuma Sasakura
  • Lindsay Seidel is Mahoko Imai

Colleen Clinkenbeard is directing.

The Blu-ray Disc and DVD release will bundle the anime’s unaired episode and two original video anime and ship in North America on March 8, 2016.

Source: ANN

FUNimation Acquires Home Video Rights for Brothers Conflict

FUNimation Entertainment has announced that the company has acquired the home video rights for the Brothers Conflict television anime series. According to the announcement, the series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in Fall 2015. The company also plans to record an English dub.

FUNimation simulcast the series as it aired in Japan during the Summer 2013 season.

Source: ANN

Anime Spotlight: Brothers Conflict

Brothers Conflict is an anime based on a Japanese novel series created by Atsuko Kanase, written by Takeshi Mizuno, and illustrated by Udajo. The anime aired on Japanese television from July 2-September 17, 2013. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American streaming rights for the series.

The main character of the series is a high school girl named Ema Hinata; she is the daughter of a famous adventurer named Rintaro Hinata. He is about to marry a woman named Miwa Asahina, who is a successful apparel maker. In order to give the soon-to-be couple more room, Ema agrees to move into a condo with her future stepbrothers. It turns out Ema will have 13 stepbrothers, but only 12 of them live in the condo that she moves into. Ema has a pet squirrel named Juli; he’s a talking squirrel, but only she can understand what he’s saying. After Ema moves into the condo, most of the brothers develop some kind of romantic feelings toward her, and Juli takes it upon himself to protect Ema from them. Later in the series, Ema learns that she is adopted and that Rintaro is not her biological father.

Masaomi Asahina is the oldest of the stepbrothers, and he tends to serve as a father figure for the group. Masaomi is a doctor.

Ukyo Asahina is the second son, and he’s a successful lawyer. He does the cooking and cleaning around the condo, and he’s also the one who’s most likely to help the younger members of the family with their homework.

Kaname Asahina is the third son, and he’s a monk with a womanizing nature. He has no qualms about flirting with Ema.

Hikaru Asahina is the fourth son, and he’s a cross-dressing novelist. He‘s more of an observer than an actual participant most of the time, and he keeps a chart called “Brothers Conflict” to keep track of the odds of his various brothers getting together with Ema.

Tsubaki Asahina is one of a set of triplets, and he’s a voice actor with a cheeky attitude. He’s one of the brothers who develops feelings for Ema, which causes a strain with Azusa.

Azusa Asahina is another member of the set of triplets. He’s a voice actor like Tsubaki, although he’s calmer in demeanor than Tsubaki. Azusa also develops feelings for Ema, and he and Tsubaki end up getting into a bit of contest to see who can win her over first.

Natsume Asahina is the third of the triplets, and he’s the CEO of a game company that makes one of Ema’s favorite games. He is the only one of the brothers to not live in the condo. He also develops romantic feelings for Ema.

Louis Asahina is a hairdresser, and it turns out that he is also able to understand Juli the squirrel. After Ema learns that she is adopted, Louis talks to her and admits that he was adopted by Miwa Asahina.

Subaru Asahina is a college sophomore who is very athletic and is on his school’s basketball team. He is one of the brothers who develops romantic feelings for Ema.

Iori Asahina is a high school senior and has a vast knowledge of flowers and what they mean. It turns out that he has romantic feelings for Ema, but he shows his interest in subtle ways in comparison to the other brothers who are in love with her.

Yusuke Asahina is a classmate of Ema’s before she moves into the condo and he has had a crush on her for a while. He’s a nice guy, but also a bit of a delinquent.

Futo Asahina is a popular idol who has a devilish and cheeky personality. He develops feelings for Ema, and nearly rapes her on a couple of occasions during the series.

Wataru Asahina is the youngest of the brothers, and he’s still in elementary school. He’s a nice kid but is also kind of spoiled. It appears that he has a little bit of a crush on Ema, but it’s more in an immature vein than the other brothers.

The focus of the series is on most of these brothers developing feelings for Ema, and Ema not really picking up on this for a while. There are some stolen kisses, sudden embraces, and a couple of near rape scenes. Fortunately, Ema does get a clue near the end of the series, and in the last episode, decides that she only loves the Asahina brothers as family and nothing more. Unfortunately, while the brothers say they understand her feelings, we see at the end that they’re still fighting over her.

After watching this series, I found myself wondering why these brothers became so infatuated with Ema that they let it get in the way of their family relationship. Sure, Ema looks cute, but she really didn’t have anything in the way of a real personality to make her stand out; honestly, she might as well have been a cardboard cutout or something, because that’s how little of a personality she had. Perhaps it was the novelty of having a girl moving into the condo, but considering how much time is shown passing during the series, shouldn’t that novelty have worn off by the end of the series?

Also, these are all rather good-looking guys. How come none of them already has a girlfriend?

Another thing that was a little unsettling to me as a viewer was simply how much crap Ema was letting these brothers get away with when it came to her for most of the series. I’ve seen several comments about how she’s basically enduring sexual harassment, and for the most part, I would have to say that I would agree.

Here’s a breakdown of the antics Ema has to put up with from the various brothers:

*During episode three, Futo makes Ema go into her room and watch movies with him as a punishment for destroying his cover while he was out shopping; he tries to kiss her, but fortunately, they are interrupted by Yusuke.

*At the end of episode four, Tsubaki kisses Ema on the lips without her consent.

*In episode five, when Ukyo is teaching Ema how to cut a big piece of meat, he takes advantage of the situation to press himself up against her.

*At the end of episode five, Subaru grabs Ema into an unexpected embrace and asks Ema if she already has a boyfriend. After she says “no,” Subaru says he needs Ema to stay by his side forever.

*In episode six, Futo pushes Ema up against a tree and makes it appear he’s going to force her to kiss him; however, he blows on her face instead. Futo makes a comment that he wants her to look forward to something intimate and that he’s going to make high school life very exciting for her from here on out.

*At the end of episode six, Tsubaki tries to force himself on Ema. Fortunately, before he can progress beyond a kiss, he is interrupted by Azusa coming into the room.

*In episode seven, after Ema and Futo have gotten into their costumes for their respective classes’ entries for the school cultural fair, Futo forces Ema to go into a dark room with him. He manages to take a bit of Ema’s neck with the vampire fangs he has on, and through his dialogue the viewer can understand that he wants to go further. Surprisingly, Ema takes some initiative here and kicks him off her.

*In episode eight, Azusa admits his feelings to Ema, which in and of itself isn’t so bad. But later in the episode, he suddenly grabs her into an embrace and says he won’t apologize anymore because he loves Ema more than anyone else; he also tells her there’s no hurry, but that he’ll be waiting for an answer from her.

*In episode nine, while Ema is distraught over learning that Rintaro is not her real father, Natsume takes her into an embrace, kisses her, and admits his feelings for her.

*Also, in episode nine, in a “Is it a dream or isn’t it?” sequence, Juli the squirrel becomes a human man and admits that he also has romantic feelings for Ema.

*In episode 10, while Ema is asleep, Futo goes into her room. He begins to open the buttons on her nighshirt but doesn’t go any further than that. He complains about it being too hot and leaving.

*In episode 11, Ema is nervous about taking her college entrance exam, but some of the brothers tell her they don’t need an answer from her until after the exam. I thought this was rather insensitive, because the poor girl needed to not be distracted by them.

I was glad in the last episode to see that Ema wasn’t interested in any of the guys romantically. Unfortunately, these guys just showed how selfish they were by continuing to fight over her instead of respecting her feelings.

After seeing Brothers Conflict, I was glad to be able to see it through free streams and that I didn’t have to pay anything.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, there’s now a second novel series being released in Japan called Brothers Conflict: Second Season. If for some reason this series were to be adapted into a second season of the anime series, I can safely say at this point that I wouldn’t be in a rush to watch it. Honestly, I can’t see how they can progress this series any further without it feeling repetitive. I’m really not interested in seeing Futo nearly raping Ema again or seeing any of the brothers trying to force themselves on her again.

Additional Anime Spotlights:

Brothers Conflict: Episode 12 – “Twelfth Conflict: Romance”

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 have developed for Ema.

Episode 12 begins with a slight recap of the end of episode 11, where Subaru tells Ema to forget everything he’s told her until now. Ema then narrates that with those parting words, Subaru left the house. When the story actually begins, Ema learns from Masaomi that Kaname is going into training at the head temple, and that Iori is set to study abroad. This makes Ema feel kind of lonely, because it feels like to her as if the family is breaking apart. Masaomi has a heart-to-heart with Ema.

Ema and Yusuke learn whether or not they are accepted to the college of their choice, and we also see the two of them graduate from high school. There’s also a surprise graduation party held at the condo for them, and some important happenings take place with Yusuke, Futo, Natsume, and Hikaru.

Before the graduation, Azusa and Tsubaki invite Ema to spend time with them at the amusement park to celebrate her graduation. At the end of their time there, Ema tells them both that she loves them both like brothers. Their response is that they understand her feelings, but that they still love her. The important happening with Natsume at the party is that Ema also tells him that she loves him like a brother, but he is still in love with her.

The ending of this episode, which appears to also be the ending of the series, is kind of open-ended. While Ema has made it clear she only sees the Asahina brothers as her siblings and not as potential love interests, some of them still fight over her, anyway. This seriously made me want to throttle these horny brothers and tell them to get over it and move on with their lives. Come on, it’s not like Ema is the only woman in the world! But considering how the series evolved, this was probably the best way to end it.

After seeing all of this series, I really have to wonder why these brothers were so infatuated with Ema that they let this get in the way of their family relationship. Sure, Ema is a cute-looking girl, but she really had little in the way of a personality to make her stand out. Perhaps it was the novelty of having a female move into the condo, but considering how much time is shown passing in the series, shouldn’t that novelty have worn off by the end of the series?

All in all, I will say that Brothers Conflict is not a series that I would be in a rush to watch again. It’s definitely a title that, if FUNimation acquires the home video rights, that I would not want to add to my video collection. While it was tolerable as a free stream, it’s not a series I would want to pay money to see or add to my anime collection.

Additional posts about Brothers Conflict:

Brothers Conflict: Episode 11 – “Eleventh Conflict: Love-Hate”

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 have developed for Ema.

The main focus of episode 11 is on Ema and Yusuke taking the college entrance exam. It turns out that Ema didn’t do so well on the most recent mock exam, so she’s getting rather worried and nervous. She even makes a comment in the episode that her grade on the mock exam has gone down since moving into the condo. Unfortunately, it appears the drama with her various stepbrothers is distracting Ema from her academics.

Before the exam takes place, Ema has to deal with Azusa saying he doesn’t an answer from her until after the exam, Subaru telling Ema he’s accepting an offer to play professional basketball that was made to him in the previous episode and saying he doesn’t need an answer from her until after the exam, and Futo calling with an awkward-sounding phone call to encourage her before the exam.

Also during the section before the exam, the audience sees Iori finally admit that he’s interested in Ema and that he will risk it all to love her. I had suspected Iori had feelings for Ema, but that he was being more subtle about expressing his feelings through the flowers that he would leave her on occasion.

After the exam, Natsume takes Ema out to an arcade place to play games. When he asks if there are other games she’d like to try, Ema says there’s so many she can’t make up her mind. Natsume tells her they can come back another time if there’s some they don’t get to, and Ema suggests bringing everyone else along at another time. Natsume is taken aback; however, he is even more taken aback when Ema mentions Subaru playing professional basketball, because this is the first Natsume has heard about this.

When Natsume takes Ema home, he’s about to admit his feelings to Ema when Subaru arrives and interrupts. Subaru gets ticked and punches Natsume in the face. When Natsume recovers, he admits his feelings to Ema in front of Subaru, which only angers Subaru more. Later, Natsume has a talk with Ema, and he tells her about how much Subaru idolized him when he was younger, and how after Natsume quit track and field, he could no longer be the big brother that Subaru idolized. The rest of the episode shows what Subaru is thinking and what he decides to do.

From the way this episode was done, it was obvious that the show is wrapping up. There were two major developments in this episode: Iori has officially become another suitor and that Subaru seems to be bowing out of the potential suitor role. However, with only one episode left, how serious of a suitor can Iori become?

I can’t forget to mention that during the episode, Ema thinks to herself that after the exams are over, she’ll be open with her stepbrothers in a whole new way. After seeing that thought of hers, I’m hoping Ema will call a family meeting in the next episode, and declare that she loves all of these guys as brothers, but doesn’t see them as anything more than brothers. I admit that in some respects I kind of hope that Ema would end up with Yusuke, but at the time same time, the best resolution to this mess would be for Ema to not end up with any of them.

Well, at least Brothers Conflict is almost over. I’m very curious to see next week’s episode in order to find out how this series is going to conclude.

Additional posts about Brothers Conflict:

Brothers Conflict: Episode 10 – “Tenth Conflict: Enlightenment”

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 Kaname inviting the family to a midsummer night’s Buddhist service that his order is holding in Yatsugatake because the family trip had to be scrapped. Basically, this midsummer night’s Buddhist service is a summer festival. Since Brothers Conflict had the school cultural festival episode, I guess it also needed to have a summer festival episode. Masaomi thinks it’s a good idea, and they’ll go with whoever can come. Ema learns that the Asahina family has a vacation home in Yatsugatake.

On the day they get ready to head out to the festival, Subaru is delayed because of a phone call. When he’s finished, Subaru and Masaomi talk about the conversation discreetly, so the audience has no idea what’s going on. Also, Ema somehow forgets to take Juli with her, and doesn’t even realize it until Hikaru points it out after they’ve already left Tokyo.

At the actual festival, Ema ends up having to watch over Wataru, who eats three shaved ice. While at the festival, they discover Futo is performing. Ema and Wataru watch, and Futo notices them in the crowd. However, the three shaved ice cause Wataru some issues, so Ema has to take him to the restroom. As she waits, Ema is approached by Kaname and two of his fellow monks. After Kaname introduces Ema, the number one monk tells Kaname and the other one they need to return to the temple because some customers were accidentally double-booked.

After they leave, the number one monk talks to Ema and says he can sense that she’s troubled by love. His advice to her is that she has to confront her troubles by being herself. Ema realizes that everyone has been communicating their feelings by being themselves, and that the one who’s been afraid of confrontation and has been running away is her.

At the vacation house, Ema and the brothers talk. During the discussion, Ema mentions that would really like to become a part of their family even more than she already is. I really hope that this could be a catalyst for the brothers to start realizing they need to back off from her and not pursue her as a potential love interest so much.

That night, Ema and Kaname talk privately, and he asks for a favor. He grabs her in a hug and asks to stay that way for little while. He then adds that Ema’s feelings on family came across loud and clear, and gives her a kiss on the cheek.

After Ema goes to bed that night, Futo enters her room and says, “I’m not going to be family with you. You’re mine. I gave you your chance. This is your fault, Sis.” He works at unbuttoning the buttons on her nightshirt, but doesn’t go any further. He complains about it being too hot and leaves. The writers had me going on that one. With how he’s acted in recent episodes, I thought for sure Futo was going to take things further than he did. I’m glad he didn’t, though.

The next morning, Ema goes exploring around the vacation home and slips on a log. Fortunately, Subaru is there to catch her, so she doesn’t fall. Subaru and Ema have a very important conversation during this scene, and the audience learns what Subaru’s phone conversation at the beginning of the episode is all about.

It was kind of interesting to see Hikaru play a bigger role in this episode than he had previously. On the way up to the festival, Hikaru makes comments that almost make it seem like he knows about things that took place that he shouldn’t have known about. There’s also a bit at the end of the episode where he’s on the computer, and he’s working on a spreadsheet labeled as, “Brothers Conflict.” There are 13 rows with numbers in several columns going across; he explains to Wataru that those numbers are of the odds, but Wataru doesn’t understand what he means. If this piece is to be believed, it seems like Hikaru has been observing his brothers and keeping score. And isn’t he a writer? Perhaps he’s gathering data to use to write his next book? It’s also interesting to note that Hikaru is one of the few brothers to not hit on Ema in any way, shape, or form; he does seem to be playing a role of an observer.

At this point, there’s only two more episodes of Brothers Conflict remaining for the Summer 2013 season. I’m curious to watch over the next couple of weeks to see what the writers will end up doing for these remaining two episodes.

Additional posts about Brothers Conflict:

Brothers Conflict: Episode 9 – “Ninth Conflict: Visions”

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 picks up right where episode eight ends, when Ema looks at the official copy of her family register. Upon looking at it, she discovers that Rintaro Hinata is her adopted father. Depressed, Ema goes and sits on a park bench in the rain. Natsume finds her, but Ema says she doesn’t want to go home because she’s someone that no one needs. After some discussion, Natsume convinces Ema to stay at his apartment.

Natsume and Ema talk at the apartment, and at first Ema says she’s someone that no one needs because her presence has been getting everyone into conflicts. She eventually shows the family register to Natsume, and he learns that she’s adopted. This scene ends up seeing Natsume taking Ema into an embrace, kissing her, and admitting his feelings. As I saw that, I wanted to facepalm and yell, “Natsume, this is so not an appropriate time for this! The poor girl is already feeling mixed up, don’t make it worse!”

Ema ends up staying for the night, but Natsume sleeps on the floor. The next morning, as they sit down to eat a breakfast that Ema has prepared, Louis and Juli arrive. Natsume admits that he called home the previous night because he knew the other brothers would be worried. Louis has brought a dress for Ema to put on, and he offers to style her hair. As this happens, Natsume leaves for work.

Ema shares her news with Louis and Juli, and Louis says they need to go to the park and take a boat ride. While on the boat, Louis tells Ema that he was adopted into the Asahina family and relates his experiences. He also mentions that the five brothers born after he was adopted don’t know that Louis is adopted. At the end of the boat ride, Louis gives Ema a friendly kiss and says they need to go home to the condo because that’s where their family is.

They sit on a park bench, and Juli falls asleep on Ema. Louis also looks rather sleepy. Suddenly, Ema sees a man with long hair standing in front of her, saying that he’s really Juli. He says he wanted to see her face-to-face for just this one time. Juli explains what happened to Ema’s real parents and how Rintaro took her in and raised her as his own daughter. This scene ends with Juli admitting that he loves her, too. When I saw that, I was like, “No, no, no, no, no, just… no.”

After that, Ema wakes up and wonders if it was just a dream. Her phone rings, and there’s a message from Rintaro. He found out what happened and apologizes for putting her through this grief; he says he’ll be back in Japan soon and wants to sit down and talk with her. At the bottom of the message is a picture of baby Ema with her real parents, and it’s the exact same image that she saw with the human Juli. Ema returns home to the condo and apologizes; the most notable thing about this scene is the fact that Subaru actually appears briefly and gives Ema an awkward greeting. Wow, the writers actually remembered that Subaru existed in this episode!

Like with episode eight, while there a few moments where feelings for Ema were professed, this episode focused more on the drama surrounding Ema and the revelation that she was actually adopted by Rintaro. I will admit that when this revelation was first made, this meant that the Asahina brothers aren’t truly related to her, since she and Rintaro are not related by blood. And then I thought: “Uh, oh… it’s open season on Ema now for the Asahina brothers!” While this revelation does make it less taboo for any potential relationships to occur, I don’t think Ema will really be in any hurry to go out with any of them. However, I do think some of the brothers may become even more brazen toward her than they had previously. And yes, I’m thinking of Futo here as being one who could try to go even further than he had before.

The part I liked least was the bit with Juli being human and the whole, “Was it or wasn’t it a dream?” scenario. Personally, I thought it was rather weird, and I really didn’t like the confession of love with “human Juli.” I mean, come on, can’t any male in this series not have romantic feelings for Ema?

At this point in the series, if I had to choose which Asahina brother that Ema should end up with, I would say Yusuke. He knew her before she became part of the family, had feelings for her before she became part of the family, and he hasn’t forced himself on her like several of the other brothers have. Of the bunch, I believe that his feelings are the most genuine. Oh yes, I’d also like to see Yusuke kick Futo’s ass, because that punk deserves it for how he’s treated Ema.

I can safely say that overall, this is another episode of Brothers Conflict that I truly enjoyed. I’m hoping the remaining episodes in the series will be just as enjoyable.

Additional posts about Brothers Conflict:

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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