When I saw Brothers Conflict (which has the rather appropriate shorthand title BroCon), the show about a girl who suddenly finds herself with twelve stepbrothers, among the list of Summer 2013 shows, I knew I had to watch it. Even if it turned out to be incredibly stupid (which it certainly did), I knew I’d still enjoy it in its own way. After all, the show was essentially a gender-flipped version of a show that, despite not being particularly well-received among the anime fandom, remains a personal favorite of mine. That anime, in which a hapless young man finds out he has no fewer than twelve younger sisters, is none other than Sister Princess.
|The series that started the imouto craze.|
(Note that for this post, I will be referring entirely to the first anime series, not the original light novel-esque serialization, any of the video games, or the second "RePure" anime series.
Sister Princess was one of the first anime I watched, around the time I really started to become an anime fan; it was also the first anime DVD I ever bought, mainly because the premise seemed so off-the-wall to me that I had to see just how it’d play out. After a rough start, I ended up enjoying it a lot; the show did flirt with the “forbidden line” but never did cross it, and overall it’s still very much a show about family, and is the show that is responsible for my love of shows about family. (It, along with some other shows, is also responsible for my love of slow-paced slice-of-life shows.)
One thing that is different between this show and BroCon is that in Sister Princess, we never do learn exactly what relation the sisters are to the male lead Wataru. They’re probably not all full sisters, but we don’t know which of them are (if any), which are half-sisters, and which are adopted or step-sisters.
Or, really, if they have any legal sibling relationship to him at all.
That last possibility was one that I had thought of when doing some “wild mass guessing” on this show, which does have a small mystery element to it. That is, what if none of these girls are actually his sisters in blood, adoption, or marriage by parents, but just unrelated girls that have put it on their hearts to view and treat this guy as a brother? (This is, for the record, excluding the thirteenth “sister”, who is established as having no relation to him, that ends up as part of the sisterhood as well.)
It’s a wild theory, but it’s a theory I have for a particular reason: it is most like what happens when one becomes a Christian. Becoming a Christian—which means being adopted as one of God’s children—means gaining approximately 2.1 billion brothers and sisters from all around the world (according to the CIA World Factbook), since all fellow Christians then become our brothers and sisters in Christ. That said, there’s a much smaller subset of these siblings with whom any given Christian will likely be more familiar with than others. Still, looking at it from this perspective, suddenly finding oneself with a baker’s dozen of brothers or sisters actually does sound just a bit familiar, and while these brothers and sisters likely won’t be as affectionate as the ones in anime are, they could be very friendly simply because you are their brother or sister in Christ.
Moreover, the official tagline from ADV Films, “Twelve sisters all at once... what would YOU do?” is no longer just a weird line of advertising; it becomes a reality.