Oct 13, 2021
[Contains partial spoilers, but nothing serious]
The well-known story:
Imouto loves onii-chan.
They're N. R. B. B.*
Longer, prose review:
Back in the long-ago days of the last millennium, in the late 1990s, things that we’re accustomed to now were exciting and new. “Doukyuusei 2,” based on the Elf dating simulator game of the same name, was cutting edge or close to it in the fields of ecchi and moe. Though not perfect by modern standards, it is certainly still enjoyable and engrossing. It is a serial harem story, with plenty of nudity, within an entirely different kind of romance comedy-drama. While it shows its age, it benefits from
having been produced before so much of anime became formulaic.
Which isn’t to say that the tropes common to later anime aren’t present here, in the way that the isekai “The Devil Is a Part-Timer” contains elements that got universally included when the flood of isekai shows came later.
We meet Kondou, a typical anime protagonist, being awakened by Yui, who invariably refers to him as “onii-san.” She’s awakening him, so they live in the same house. An adult woman lives there, too, and in the course of things we learn that she is Yui’s mother. It unfolds that Yui’s father and Kondou’s mother have both died, and that Kondou’s father is a Japanese Indiana Jones, off in Africa doing archaeology. The relationship between the two parents is not immediately clear.
Kondou and Yui live as brother and sister, which clears the way for Kondou to get involved in a succession of lovely young girls, all of his age. (The show is, of course, centered around a high school.) He is helpful and friendly, sometimes outright heroic, and helps each of these girls in one way or another. This ultimately always ends in sex. (It's not censored, though it is not hentai and no genitals are shown on screen. They are referred to, though, in some jokes that have survived well the years since 1998.) One thing we find in "Doukyuusei" that we also unfortunately find in anime since then is that while clothed girls are of different sizes and shape, they’re all the same when naked. So they all are endowed with biganimetiddies.
This seems to be the way things will go -- until about episode 8, when things we hoped come to pass. The overarching arc comes close to its end in episode 9. But then we’re given two flashback episodes, making one wonder if the show was suddenly extended from 10 episodes to 12. Those two episodes are fine if a little confusing, and the one-line attempt to explain them at the beginning of the final installment is kind of lame. But that final episode is satisfying.
Along the way we’re treated to a series of well-developed (in character as well as otherwise) female leads-of-the-week, and Kondou’s friends: Yoshiki, the fat cliched nerd-photographer who is almost the series narrator; Aritomo, “the snob"; meat-headed muscleman Akira, perhaps Kondou’s best friend; and easy-to-confound gym instructor Tendo. They’re given the development they need to become three-dimensional 2-D parts of the series.
The artwork is at least adequate and sometimes beautiful. Like much anime of the era, a single frame may be held through several lines of dialogue, or else lip flaps are all that’s added. But here it’s not as bothersome as it is in some other series. Good choices were made when full animation or close to it was needed. The sound is surprisingly good, as in the final episode when Yui as a tiny girl pads around the school barefoot, though the music is neither intrusive nor memorable.
The result is a series that holds up well, with characters the viewer comes to care about and an unambiguous conclusion. One wishes that modern anime were able consistently to do as well.
*Not Related By Blood. If you’re an anime fan, you already knew this.
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