Oh! My Brother
By Ken Saito
Published by CMX
Ordinary high school student Masago has always lived in the shadow of her charismatic older brother, Shiro. Things change suddenly, however, when Shiro dies saving Masago from being hit by an oncoming truck. Grief-stricken and unable to accept that Shiro died in her place, Masago is unable pull herself together even to attend his funeral service, but Shiro’s best friend Yasaka soon gets quite a shock when Masago turns up on his doorstep claiming to be possessed by her late brother’s spirit. Though they first speculate that Shiro’s unfinished business is the upcoming school festival he worked hard to put together, it eventually becomes clear that his true mission is to help his little sister live a full life (as long as that doesn’t include romance with Yasaka). Though Masago claims to be happy with the arrangement and in no hurry for her brother to leave, how long can she truly be content letting him live on her body?
Though Oh! My Brother‘s concept sounds like a lot of fun, its execution is uneven at best, mainly due to the lack of time taken with character development, especially of the story’s supporting characters. The relationship between Masago and Shiro is certainly intriguing enough to be a fine candidate for a body/gender-switch scenario (and I think I may be the only reviewer to date not creeped out by Shiro’s sister complex) and the artist does well giving them individual traits and mannerisms when one or the other of them is in control of the same body. What’s tragically underdeveloped at this point is other people’s relationships with Masago and Shiro and how those relationships are impacted by Shiro’s death, particularly in the case of Yasaka, who is the only person aware of Shiro’s remaining presence in his sister’s body. Everything after Shiro’s death moves so quickly, it’s difficult to believe most of it and though there are some strong moments (Shiro’s explanation of his circumstances to Yasaka, for example) they aren’t given enough weight to effectively drive the story.
With its playful concept and strong artwork, Oh! My Brother has potential, but it will have to come a long way in its second volume to see any of it through.
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