Oh! My Brother 1 by Ken Saito: B-

ohmybrother1-125Masago Kamoguchi is a normal girl: normal looks, normal grades, and normal athletic ability. But normal isn’t good enough for Masago when she’s constantly being compared to her older brother, Shiro, who is smart, good-looking, popular, and someone who draws people to him wherever he goes. As the story begins, Shiro is leading the student council in preparations for the school’s Cultural Festival and Masago is keeping a relatively low profile. All of that changes when Shiro dies saving Masago’s life and his consciousness somehow ends up sharing his sister’s body. Assuming that the incomplete plans for the festival are the “unfinished business” keeping Shiro around, Masago (with some oratorical assistance from her brother) convinces the remaining members of the student council to put aside their grief and make the festival a success in his honor. The students do just that, and though Shiro doesn’t move on as a result, that’s okay with Masago, who has decided she likes having him around.

The name Ken Saito might be familiar to some as the creator of The Name of the Flower. I like that series a lot, so I’d been looking forward to Oh! My Brother ever since the license acquisition was announced. Unfortunately, I found it to be somewhat of a disappointment. There are quite a few characters introduced all at once, and their various reactions to Shiro’s death—stemming from unrequited love or unfulfilled soccer rivalry—lack poignancy when we’ve only just met them; the tone is inconsistent, with the comedic aspect of the body-sharing predicament vying with teary moments for dominance; and I literally groaned aloud when the first page revealed the series was entering well-trod school festival territory already. Also, the relationship between the siblings is kind of icky at times: seriously, who blushes furiously when their brother gives them a peck on the cheek?

That isn’t to say it’s without good moments or the potential for a compelling story. When the successful completion of the festival fails to free Shiro’s spirit from this earthly plane, Masago realizes that his unfinished business is actually her and that his wish is for his sister to live life more fully. Of course, one of the ways in which she might do this is by allowing her feelings for Shiro’s friend, Kurouma-sempai, to flourish (and most likely be reciprocated), a path that Shiro seems determined to thwart by taking control of her body any time he thinks they’re getting too close. This dichotomy in Shiro’s intentions is interesting; I hope it’ll be explored later in the series. Also, it’s always completely clear which sibling is in control of Masago’s body at any given time, either by mannerism, expression, or dialogue. That can’t have been easy to achieve.

Artistically, Oh! My Brother has a cute style, though it’s a little too sketchy sometimes, particularly where light-haired characters are concerned. There’s one panel in particular in which a wispy-looking Masago appears right next to a solid-looking, dark-haired Kurouma-sempai. Perhaps there’s actually some deep symbolism going on here—she’s not fully here while he’s got both feet firmly on the ground?—but I rather doubt it. Also, there are a few errors in CMX’s script, a “your” that should be a “you’re,” and a “thoese” that should be either a “those” or a “these,” but definitely not both at once.

Ultimately, while I am slightly disappointed in this first volume, I plan to continue reading. Maybe this one just needs a little time to grow.

Oh! My Brother is published by CMX. The series is complete in Japan with four volumes, though only one has been published in English so far.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. Danielle Leigh says

    I suspected this wouldn’t be as good as The Name of the Flower but thanks for confirming it. Darn it.

Speak Your Mind