With winter’s end comes the traditional deluge of new shows, and with them, a gaggle of brothers and sisters. Get ready because the Sibling Spring has arrived. (And look for the second part of this list to be posted tomorrow.)
Alice or Alice: Siscon Niisan to Futago no Imouto (A Sister-holic Brother and His Twin Sisters)
This slice-of-life micro-series focuses on the everyday lives of twin sisters Airi and Rise, their unnamed older brother, and their friends.
Although the name of the show distinctly calls out the brother as being obsessed with his sisters, I have yet to see much evidence of this. Maybe I’ve watched too many siblings series and have become desensitized or maybe he shows it more later on, but from what I’ve watched so far, he’s just a nice, helpful person. Of course, it’s hard to glean much when each episode is only a few minutes long, but this sweet and simple series is a nice chaser after viewing more serious fare.
The sequel to the summer 2016 series continues the story of Futaba Ooki, the shy student who moved to an ocean-side town and started learning how to scuba dive. With her best friend Hikari and twin siblings Ai and Makoto, Futaba’s daily life has become much more relaxed and enjoyable.
I’ll be honest. Even though the twins are secondary characters in this series, I still find them much more interesting than the primary ones. I mean, the sister often enters a scene kicking the brother in the stomach, which never fails to elicit a laugh from me. It’s a running gag, but to me, their humorous interactions, though shallow, are more entertaining and more consistently so. I want to like the dynamic between Futaba and Hikari more than I currently do, but at this point, I’m rooting for a spin-off series starring the twins.
Side Note: Hikari’s exaggerated doll-face effect is still weird. Insane-killer weird. It’s just wrong.
Jikken-hin Kazoku: Creatures’ Family Days / Shiyan Pin Jiating
Tanis is a boy who just wants to live a normal life with his four older siblings. The only problem is that they were all genetically modified by their scientist parents in a secluded location and said parents have since been arrested. Now, Tanis and his peculiar brothers and sisters must learn how to rely on each other and survive in the real world on their own.
It’s one thing to try to hide something from your family members, but what do you do if your sister’s an actual mind reader? Also, is it okay to be afraid of spiders when one of your other sisters is a human/spider hybrid? At least there’s no need to get a pet when your brother can already turn into a dog.
Interesting Note: This series is actually a Japanese-Chinese collaboration (one of two on this list) so it’s a hybrid in and of itself, too.
Juushinki Pandora (Last Hope / Unit Pandora)
It was believed that all of mankind’s energy problems were going to be solved by the creation of a reactor that could harness quantum power. However, upon its activation, a wave was sent out across the entire planet that caused machines to fuse together with the natural world, creating biotechnological lifeforms that were able to evolve at an incredible and deadly rate. Fighting a losing battle, humanity has since been pushed to the brink, but one man refuses to let us become next in line for extinction. After all, he accidentally helped destroy the world in the first place.
The second of the two Japanese-Chinese collaborations on this list also deals with hybridization. However, instead of man and nature, it’s nature and technology, one being something we can never control and the other being something we can (for now). That said, what’s most interesting about this tale is that it takes place not long after the cataclysm happened. In only a few short years (if that), humans went from being the most populous creatures on the planet to being on the verge of complete annihilation. It’s both humbling and terrifying to think about.
Mahou Shoujo Ore
Saki Uno is a normal teenage girl in love with her best friend’s brother. He’s a popular singer, so she becomes an amateur singer with her best friend in order to someday get closer to him.
Pretty normal, right?
After returning from a zero-attendee performance one day, she finds a gangster standing in front her house and is understandably frightened. However, when her mother comes home, Saki learns that her mom knows him because she used to work as a magical girl who fought against demons, and he was her assistant.
Are you with me so far?
Demon activity is inexplicably on the rise again, but mom is getting a bit too old to fight them. However, when Saki’s love interest gets taken, Saki agrees to become a magical girl to get him back.
- When she transforms, she becomes a burly, muscle-bound guy in a pink, frilly outfit.
- She doesn’t have any magical powers, so she has to beat the demons to death with her bare fists and a stick.
- After she saves her best friend’s brother, he falls in love with her guy form.
Still with me?
Later on, when Saki’s in trouble, her best friend confesses her love to her and also becomes a magical guy/girl to save Saki from a demon. Moreover, because their singer group manager just happened to see the battle, he suggests that the girls continue their singing work using their magical guy forms instead. Naturally, Saki is too embarrassed, but when she realizes it’s a way to see more of her best friend’s brother, she agrees. And it only gets weirder from there.
You there? Hello? Anybody?
Needless to say, this is another series that pokes fun at the magical girl genre, but honestly, between these comedic takes and the darker offerings, it’ll be interesting to see where the genre will go from here.
Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai (Tada Never Falls in Love)
Mitsuyoshi Tada is a high school student who loves taking pictures and wants to eventually become a professional photographer. A hard-worker, he lives and works with his grandfather in the family-owned coffee shop. When he’s out taking pictures one day, he encounters and helps Teresa Wagner, an optimistic and enthusiastic foreign exchange student who came to Japan because of a show she loves. The two become friends and then classmates, but of course, spring is in the air…
You already know how this story is going to turn out. Even the few surprises it tries to hide are hinted at heavily, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.