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Brother Complex


Cover ImageAuthor: Koujima Naduki
Publisher: Drap
Series Length: One-shot
First printing: January 2000

Five-second plot: 5 separate stories, only one Shouta. Aren't you proud of Koujima-sensei?


Summary: The title story follows Eiichi and Masaru. Eiichi has taken care of his neighbor Masaru since they were children, and is an influential upperclassman at the school where Masaru attends as a freshman. Masaru has recently started feeling differently when Eiichi hugs him (Eiichi's "parenting" style is rather startling) and wonders if his aniki feels the same way.


Makoto's Notes: I picked up this book (from a publisher I was completely unfamiliar with) when I realized I didn't have a single Koujima-sensei tankouban. Shame on me!

This story is a fun primer on Japanese versus American parenting styles. Vocab check! "Skinship" is a (usually familial) relationship with lots of hugs and kisses, very touchy-feely. Eiichi reasons that it's only right to raise Masaru that way since he's half Japanese, half American... Masaru lived in the US until he was 8, when his father died. He and his mother returned to Japan, but his mother was so busy with work she left him with Eiichi's family for long periods of time. Eiichi's friends find the "excessive physical contact" nearly scandalous, even after Eiichi patiently explains the situation. Doesn't he mind Masaru calling him aniki? Not if it makes Masaru happy. It's a sweet little story (and it's sequel, Kiss), and Masaru's extreme overreaction to everything is hilarious (and very American...).

The next story is Rinjin ("Neighbor"), an amusing anti-smoking petition. Takahashi's over-achiever neighbor Hiroshi drives him nuts, so Taka starts smoking to relieve stress. Hiroshi decides that since the smoking is his fault, it's his job to save Taka from himself. 15 pages, nothing heavy, but it's probably not a method to cure addiction that your doctor would support.

Kirai da nante, iwasenai is the aforementioned Shouta installment. Ryou is a junior high kid living on his own, refusing to leave his deceased father's home to move in with his uncle. So he works after school (forbidden by school rules) and tries to avoid his uncle, who works in the infirmary. Mikatte na Renai is a mistaken-identity comedy piece, with some fun familial confusion and typical Koujima-sensei blushing. Wagamama no Sprinter is a school sports senpai/kouhai story.

Drap has no furigana, or at least these stories don't. I'm honestly not even sure if Masaru is the correct character name, the kanji has many possible readings... that's an uncomfortable feeling. Brother, Rinjin, and Sprinter are easy to follow, Kirai and Renai are tougher since the plots are pretty complicated for single-installment pieces.


Warnings and Suggestions: If you know Koujima-sensei, nothing in this volume should surprise you. Lots of boy-kissing and a couple non-graphic love scenes in Brother. Renai is clean, the others each have more intense sex scenes. Kirai gets a Shouta warning, Ryou is even small for his age. If your objection level to incest is high, I'm sure the title already scared you off, but there are uncle/nephew relations in here.


ISBN 4-87734-329-6