Oh! My Brother Volume 2 by Ken Saito
I was a little disappointed with the first volume of this series because it didn’t have the emotional complexity of Saito’s other series The Name of the Flower. Masago’s superstar older brother Shiro sacrificed himself to save her from being killed in a freak accident. He’s unable to move on to the next world and possesses her body. The mournful origins of the split-personality scenario weren’t really touched on a whole lot in the first volume, and I suppose I expected a bit more angst from Saito. The emotional ramifications of Masago’s spirit possession start to be developed a bit more in the second volume, so I can now see myself following this series to the end even if it doesn’t reach the heights that Saito seems to be capable of.
Masago was exhausted from arranging the school cultural festival in her brother’s memory, and Shiro took her exams for her. She got a perfect score and is now being singled out to run for student council. She has to deal with the usual complications including mean girl bullying and her feelings for Shiro’s best friend Kurouma and the watchful presence of Shiro’s rival Kuga. Where things start to get more interesting is the ways the brother and sister start reacting to their predicament. Masago gets angry as Shiro’s meddling and tells him to go away. Shiro initially warns Kurouma about dating his sister, but when he learns that Masago views Kurouma as an idol he relaxes because her view of his friend is that he’s entirely out of her reach. Shiro is upset that he can’t do more for his sister. Her reliance on him starts to look more and more co-dependent. While she is starting to assert herself more at school, she still doesn’t want her brother’s spirit to leave her.
Masago’s body language totally changes when her brother takes over, which is fun to see. While I think I can predict the ending of the manga after reading the second volume I’m more interested in seeing her journey as she hopefully moves towards greater independence. I’m probably judging Oh! My Brother a little too strictly because I like The Name of the Flower so much, but I think the series is starting to get much better. This is usually why I decide to sample the first couple volumes of a manga before deciding to keep buying or drop it.