by Hari Tokeino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sakura is 14, and her grandmother has just passed-away. Her grandmother was her sole surviving relative and she’d been living with her for year after her parents died. She`s just getting ready to live on her own when she’s “accosted” by 4 rowdy boys.
It seems that her grandmother forgot to tell her that she had 4 half-brother’s who’ve all been living with different relatives up to this point. They begin living together.
We quickly learn that these half-brothers aren’t really “true” brothers. They were the sons of the father who married Sakura’s mother. But there is no blood relation. This opens up the possibility of having a romance between her & her oldest brother (11 years older than herself).
All the brother’s have a sister-complex. They will do anything for her — and most of the humour comes from the premise that they are protecting her from “unwanted” attention from other boys.
Hari Tokeino is one of my favourite draw-ers of babies. Some shoujo artists are good at it, and some aren’t. Hari-san is a pro! Her babies & toddlers are “squeeeeeeee”-worthy cute! Hari-san often draws the brother’s memories of their time living together before the parent’s died; back when Sakura was a baby. So so cute!
The relationship between Sakura and her novelist/cross-dressing brother Masashi is complicated and long-drawn out. She quickly discovers and declares her feelings for her oldest brother (around book 5), but he also has been showing signs of his complicated feelings for her at this point (it’s obvious that it’ll turn out). In a way he doesn’t take her feelings seriously, and continues to tease her — but there are a few good moments which turn both of them as red as lobsters.
I find the ending of the series — and the official beginning of their “romantic” relationship to be a bit contrived. It’s like they told Hari-san to “wrap it up” already because it was getting too long… and she just ends it after the whole “I’ve lost my memory” plot-device. It’s not a usual place to end the series. Losing your memory is supposed to come AFTER some great declaration or promise for some added tension, not BEFORE the promise. Oh well. I will admit that the series was getting a bit long. Most of her characters don’t make astounding changes or realizations from the first pages. Without major changes in plot or characters the story is bound to get stale by the end.
It’s still a cute series — I often reread it — but there are some parts that I often skip over. Including the short stories at the end of the book. Sometimes I’ll go back and read them, but I don’t feel like I miss anything when I don’t.
The brothers are easily the “same” characters, only less complicated as in Ouran High School Host Club. If you enjoy Ouran, you’ll probably like this one.