Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Oniisama e ("Dear Brother") is a Girls Lovemanga series by Riyoko Ikeda, also the author of Rose of Versailles. Written in the 1970s and published in Shueisha's Margaret, it is one of the earliest examples of the genre, and seems to have had a considerable effect on the series that came after it. It was adapted into an anime series in the early '90s by influential director Osamu Dezaki.Told through a series of letters written by the protagonist to her Cram School teacher and older brother figure, Henmi Takehiko, it is the story of Misonoo Nanako, an average girl who manages to be accepted to Seiran Academy, a prestigious girls' school for the wealthy and talented. Despite lacking the background and qualifications of her fellow students, she is soon invited to be a member of the Sorority, an elite group of talented and popular girls. This makes her an easy target for the machinations of her ambitious peers — especially one Misaki Aya, who will do anything it takes to discredit her so she loses her place in the Sorority.As time passes and Nanako meets more people, she becomes embroiled in the drama and complex, often angsty relationships between them... And that's only the tip of the drama iceberg.The TV series is currently available to watch legally onAnime Sols, where you can also pledge money to keep the series afloat in the United States and Canada in exchange for physical goods such as stickers, posters and box sets. New episodes are added every Friday. It's also available on Hulu and Viki under the title "Dear Brother."
Ascended Extra: Tomoko gets much more facetime in the anime than in the manga, mainly thanks to a specific early incident being changed. ( Namely, in the manga Tomoko only rekindles her trashed-by-Mariko friendship with Nanako almost at the end of the story; in the anime, she does this after less than two episodes.)
Adaptation Expansion: The anime adds quite a bit more to the manga's storyline. To give some perspective, the manga is only three volumes, while the anime consists of 39 episodes.
Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening credits seem to be sort of thing suited to Shojo anime, but after Episode 11 and Rei's apartment are seen, they take on an eerie new significance. Even more so after episode 23, where we see Fukiko's Room Full OF Crazy....
Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: Kaoru aka Kaoru-no-Kimi (marries Takehiko in both manga and anime, with different results on each continuity), Mariko (implied to enter a relationship with Fukiko's brother Takeshi, though only in the manga), Fukiko (revealed to have loved Takehiko all along, then deciding to remain celibate after Rei's death and Takehiko hitching up again with Kaoru). Nanako subverts this: in the manga there are no hints of anything aside of her mourning for Rei, but at the end of the anime she mentions that she fancies a "university student" — but we don't know if said student is a boy or a girl, since in the original Japanese she uses gender-neutral pronouns when talking about them. (It gets Lost in Translation in fansubs, logically)
Bifauxnen and Lad-ette: Rei and Kaoru. Both are quite androgynous although Kaoru displays more athletic, tomboyish traits while Rei is more urbane with an interest (and huge talent) in art and music.
Bookends: Early on in the show, several of the school's Mean Girls circulate a petition to have Nanako expelled from the Sorority, for which she was chosen over Aya. Much later on in the show, Nanako herself organizes the petition to have the Sorority disbanded.
Episode 15 also shows the devastating social/emotional consequences of being kicked out of the Sorority due to failing midterms, like it happens to Mariko and Nanako's classmate Junko Nakaya — which also affects Nanako quite a bit.
Bury Your Gays: Rei, the only major character to not get handed the Bait-and-Switch Lesbians card. (Nanako's ambiguous case notwithstanding). The circumstances of her death differ between the two versions: suicide via drugs overdose in the manga, a train accident in the anime (though people think she killed herself at first).
Chekhov's Gunman: In the first scene of the anime, Nanako reminiscences about a pre-teen boy she once saw when she was a little girl, and who ran away from her when she tried to talk to him. That boy is young!Takehiko... her stepbrother.
Crash-Into Hello: How Rei and Nanako meet: Nanako had trouble trying to get off the bus in the first day of school, Rei pulls her out of there and, in the anime, cheerfully spins her around in front of Tomoko before letting her go.
Driven to Suicide: Rei, Fukiko, Mariko, and Aya all contemplate or attempt it at some point, and in the manga Rei actually completes it (in the anime, she dies in an accident). Rei's mother also died by drowning herself in the ocean.
Fan Disservice: At some point in the anime, we have Kaoru stripping twice (one of them also including Kimono Fanservice). She's very beautiful, but both times we see her naked, are in regards to how she had a mastectomy due to breast cancer and is showing her physical scars to others (first to her boyfriend Takehiko, to break up with him; later to her friend Nanako, while explaining her backstory). We don't get to see that, exactly, but the context will get your eyes blurry anwyway.
Also, in the anime we're fooled into believing that Nanako and Fukiko will have a Girl-on-Girl Is Hot-like "moonlight swim". But then Fukiko goes almost drowns Nanako to scare her off, via hooking her foot under a log and then leaving. Nanako only survives because Fukiko didn't mean to go for the kill and returns to her soon. The scene goes from prospect Les Yay to utterly chilling in few seconds flat.
Hope Spot: In the manga, Nanako is overjoyed when Rei finally confesses that she needs Nanako's support and comfort. The next day, she finds out that Rei has killed herself.
Played differently in the anime, where Nanako and Rei are about to have a meeting is all bout stated to be their first date... but Rei dies right in her way there. Nanako is left waiting for her and only learns about it when Tomoko takes her to the hospital where Rei's lifeless body is.
I Kiss Your Hand: Mariko does this to Fukiko during the Sorority initiation ceremony. Apparently, it's a part of the etiquette during said acts; when Nanako doesn't do anything similar due to being distracted after the Fingore incident involving Rei, Fukiko says nothing, but it's clear that she's pretty angry and surprised. At the end of the episode, Nanako has a nightmare in which she does kiss Fukiko's hand... and then is maimed by her with a pointy kenzan that's very similar to the one that she used to harm Rei.
Ill Girl: Kaoru, who actually repeated her freshman year due to this. She has cancer, actually, and even went through a mastectomy at the age of sixteen.
Japanese School Club: Some of the Seiran girls are in these clubs whether they go or not to the Sorority, and overlap is tolerated as long as they keep up with their grades and activities. Kaoru is the star of the baskeball team, Tomoko is a member of the cooking club, and Fukiko says she is not just the Student Council President but also a part of both the flower arrangement and the horse riding clubs. (And we do see her in activities related to both of them.) Rei isn't officially in any group but she's seen helping the girls from the Drama Club in the anime and used to be in the basketball team, and Nanako wanted to join the cooking club but being pulled in the Sorority ruined these plans,
Kick the Dog: Aya does this quite a bit, but an especially good example is when she mocks both Nanako's middle-class background and Mariko's dysfunctional relationship with her father. Doubled when, some time later, she publically annunces to her classmates that Mariko's parents are getting divorced in a very scandalous manner. And then, Mariko massively snaps on her.
Fukiko's abuse of Rei is like kicking a puppy repeteadly. Specially when she tells Rei to wait for her under a tree. During a rainy, cold day. Rei stays there for hours as Fukiko "classily" conducts study sessions, and she fully knows Rei's out there.. No wonder Kaoru hates her so much.
Ogiwara does this when she either tries to slap Junko's friends around for supporting the dissolution of the Sorority (anime), or when she throws a stack of papers at Rei and insults her for saying the Sorority should be disbanded. (manga).
Love Dodecahedron: Let's see: Mariko admires Kaoru but has a clingy obsession with Nanako and later is sorta tsundere for Takeshi; Nanako loves Rei, who pines for Fukiko, who acts possessive towards Nanako but actually loves Takehiko; and Kaoru also loves her ex-boyfriend Takehiko, who returns her feelings. Phew!
Onee-sama: Pretty much all of the eldest Sorority girls play the role, or are supposed to. Lampshaded by Nanako, who comments on how Ogiwara and Komabayashi were kind to her... until the Sorority is in risk of being disbanded.
Room Full of Crazy: Rei has two. One with stuff carved into the walls, one with mirrors everywhere.
Fukiko deserves an honorable mention for the room at her summer house full of creepy dolls and obsessively arranged items of memorabilia from the day she first met her obsessive crush Henmi, which she has since kept completely unchanged for six years and forbids anyone else (save for herself and one of the maids) to enter.
Schoolgirl Lesbians: Yep, again lots of them, even though the girls wind up either alone or with guys in the end.
Snow Means Death: Sort of. It was snowy when Rei nearly died in her would-have-been double suicide with Fukiko.
Stalker with a Crush: Miya-sama. Somewhat unusually for this trope, it's not Henmi, the object of her affections, that is the target of her stalker behavior... but Nanako, his pen pal who Miya-sama believes he is romantically involved with.
Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Both Nanako and Mariko are subjected to this by Aya and her Girl Posse. The former gets yelled at, slapped and even given a petition to throw her out of the Sorority, and the latter gets bullied due to her Dark and Troubled Past and when Aya reveals the whole situation to the class, she pushes over the edge and attacks her with a knife.
Stood Up: Rei's death causes a Type Five in the anime, since she dies in her way to her and Nanako's would-be first date.
Yandere: Mariko threatens to kill Nanako and herself when the latter tries to decline staying overnight, then holds the door closed so she can't get out. Luckily Mariko's mother Hisako provides enough distraction for Nanako to escape, but Mariko still protests. She slowly evolves into a Tsundere, though.
Fukiko has shades of this, in another way. Rather than turning her disappointment against the object of her affections, Takehiko, she turns it against others, like Nanako and specially Rei.
Also, Rei herself may count. It's less about possession and more about being VERY obsessed with her sister Fukiko, to the point of being a Love Martyr for her. Since she already has lots of issues, this does not bode well.