When people referred to the anime based on Riyoko Ikeda’s Dear Brother manga as Yuri, it was primarily this section of the series they were talking about. Disk 1 of the second Dear Brother set is pretty much the pinnacle of Yuri in the series – it’s also a brief moment of life and joy and happiness in what is otherwise an extraordinarily dark series.
In this disk we start to realize that the drama – all of the drama – is centered upon a single person. Ichinomiya Fukiko, known as Miya-sama, is not just a terrible person, she is a pathologically controlling and sadistic person. As Saint Just starts to recover herself, rediscovering a small joy in the physical activity of basketball, Miya-sama reels her back in repeatedly, like a fisherman tiring out his prey.
But even on the darkest days, the sunlight can sometimes shine through the clouds and Saint Just finds enough of herself left to enjoy – fully and totally – basketball again. Mariko, Nanako and Tomoko are friends and can laugh and joke together without the jealousy we saw in the first set. Through Nanoko’s eyes, we discover that Mariko has fallen in love with Kaoru no Kimi. Not content to be a fan or admirer, Mariko has taken a kind of small possession of Kaoru’s well-being and not been rebuffed. This triggers thoughts in Nanako’s mind that she’s never had before and she considers the idea that she is in love with Saint-Just. Saint-Just does her best to prove to Nanako that she is not lovable at all.
But it’s when Miya-sama “teases” Nanako with veiled threats and unfunny jokes that we realize there is something much, much larger than the obvious going on. In the end, it his Ichinomiya Takashi, Miya-sama’s older brother who gives us the first clue to what it might be. We are left wondering why, when she has Saint Just on such a short leash, Miya-sama cares so much about Nanako?
Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 5
Service – 1
Overall – 9
Enjoy the laughter and the respite from the dark…in Disk 2 the clouds will thicken again.