Manga Review – Beware the Kamiki Brothers!

Beware the Kamiki Brothers! Volume 1

Beware the Kamiki Brothers!
神木兄弟おことわり (Kamiki Kyoudai Okotowari)
ONDA Yuji
Shoujo – Comedy, romance
6 Volumes (complete)
Kodansha Comics

Summary:

After failing a test badly, Iroha definitely didn’t want the most famous guy in school announcing it to the whole class! But while Iroha intended to keep her bad grade a secret, her mom has been keeping one of her own: her fiancé’s sons aren’t 6 and 4 — they’re 16 and 14! And the older is very familiar to Iroha…

Review:

Beware of Beware the Kamiki Brothers! for being a substandard manga.

So this story is another stepsibling romance story. But unlike most, Iroha has met the man her mom has been seeing. Even more surprisingly, she’s “met him too many times to count” — a dramatic reversal from many stepsibling stories where the protagonist doesn’t meet their new stepparent until after the paperwork is signed and/or moving plans are already in full swing. But Keiko (Iroha’s mom) kept the fact the sons of the man she’s dating are teenagers. This surprises her fiancé, Shirou, as he knew his oldest, Souichirou, attends the same school as Iroha.

So considering Shirou and Iroha have had plenty of chances to have a conversation, it seems unbelievable that Iroha would have never heard that Shirou’s sons are teenagers, not little kids. Not knowing his family name is maybe understandable. This is one time where I think the protagonist never meeting their new stepparent would have made more sense!

Anyway, Iroha collapses from the shock, as just that day, she scored 4 points on her science test (out of 100). Her best friend, Serina, mentions Iroha could use a blessing from the local good grades kami (god). But not a deity of a shrine or anything — a smart, hot guy in their grade named Kamiki. This same guy later loudly delivers the test she left behind in the science lab, likely partly because he overheard Iroha and Serina’s conversation and partly because he was irritated when he tries to find Iroha other girls squealed at him and ran away. Regardless, he mutters his dissatisfaction and leaves, and Iroha is stunned to learn that the Souichirou Shirou was calling for is the same “kami” at her school.

Beware the Kamiki Brothers! Sample 1

Shirou orders Souichirou to tutor Iroha, and while neither of them are thrilled with the arrangement, arguments ensue when Souichirou climbs in Iroha’s bed to take a nap and then when he later says he doesn’t want her starting to like him just because they touched. Shirou and Keiko decide to hold off on their marriage for a bit just to see if things work out, and Souichirou tells Iroha to keep the whole thing a secret. And then after Souichirou walks into the bathroom on a changing Iroha, Iroha humiliating herself due to their swapped lunches, and spilled wine that looked like a suicide attempt, Iroha realizes she loves Souichirou — and he’s also confused by the way he’s feeling.

And so was I. This isn’t a manga where I could easily tell you why Souichirou and Iroha were suddenly so drawn to each other. I mean, I understand in the general shoujo manga sense — Souichirou is truly just so kind, y’see, he wanted Iroha to understand the dangers of living with men, and Iroha is not as shallow as other girls! But in terms of Beware the Kamiki Brothers!? Nah, no clue. It wasn’t like either of them did anything really praiseworthy or noteworthy that was a turning point in their relationship. I mean, in most shoujo romance, it’s usually:

This guy is a jerk + this chick is annoying –> Maybe they’re not so bad –> I love them!

Here, it’s

This guy is a jerk + this chick like all the others is annoying –> Maybe they I love them!

I mean, Souichirou in the first chapter and again in the third says he doesn’t want to get stuck in that stepsibling romance trope. It’s unclear how long they’ve been living together at this point, but I’d say less than 2 weeks. Then Iroha stands there with her eyes closed waiting for a present and… Souichirou is entranced and leans in toward her?? What part of her tagging along with Toujirou to spy on him or throwing his not-thank-you back in his face was so special to him? Because that’s all that happened in those three chapters + the initial fights.

Plus, there’s the title. As you would expect, Toujirou also develops feelings for Iroha. A cheerful gamer, he quickly crushes on Iroha and tries several times to get her attention. But despite the fact she finds herself drawn to her (technically-not-yet) stepbrother, it never dawns on her that Toujirou’s “I like you!” could be anything but familial. Or that sitting together at a cafe and eating off each other’s fork makes them not look like siblings. Oh, and Souichirou knows but basically insists his younger brother is just a dumb middle schooler who doesn’t know anything.

Because I guess everything everything you need to know about love you learn in ninth grade, I guess. *rolls eyes*

I know part of sibling relationships is the older sibling tends to be act like a know-it-all, but geez, both Souichirou and Iroha treat Toujirou as if he’s 10 years behind them in age instead of 2. He didn’t deserve to have his feelings waved away by the other two despite him doing exactly what they’re doing: falling for their (soon-to-be) stepsibling! Despite the title, there is no reason for Iroha to beware of him, as it’s not like he’s trying to forcefully win Iroha over. Telling someone you love them then asking them to close their eyes while you lean in is anything but subtle. Toujirou unfortunately gets the message time and again that Iroha only has eyes for Souichirou.

Beware the Kamiki Brothers! Sample 2

Except to Iroha, of course. Toujirou is definitely the cute younger brother (and sweeter to boot), and if Souichirou or whoever worries about his maturity level, well, maybe they should worry more about Iroha’s brains. Serina tells Iroha to her face several times Iroha is as dumb as a bucket of rocks. When tired or whatever, well, Iroha tends to get into trouble. Including dozing off through an entire meeting (after spacing out enough to accidentally volunteer in the first place), wandering into the boy’s room at an inn, and cooing about “Kamiki-kun” (Souichirou) in the middle of class.

I mean, naive is one thing. For me, Iroha just falls into the annoyingly dumb category. She doesn’t seem to have any special talents or interests, and she’s not especially kind or helpful. So the author went in too hard on the “Iroha is average/below average and nobody would ever think the so-popular, handsome, and smart kami of the school would ever go out with her, but yes, even a dull girl can win over a handsome god!!” that the protagonist becomes too flat and/or annoying to relate too. Iroha can eat a lot of sweets — that’s about the extent of how I could describe her. Later in the manga, there’s a chapter where Iroha declares she’s not as weak as Souichirou thinks she is, and he explains why he’s attracted to her. But nothing made me go, “Wow, I’m sooo glad she got the man of her dreams!” here.

Well, except for the fact that meant the manga was finally over.

Souichirou too is one of those leads that doesn’t deserve all the fangirl attention he gets. The manga explains his popularity to the effect of girls like naughty guys, but I have no idea where rumors of Souichirou patting people on the head means your grades will go up. He never seems like the type that would do such a thing, as he seems pretty inexperienced around girls. He doesn’t seem to like girls because they tend to admire all his talents and don’t get to actually know him, which is a legitimate gripe. But I don’t understand after 16 years, how accusing a girl of not having a sense of danger was one of the catalysts for falling for her after just a few days.

Iroha and Souichirou got off on the wrong foot with me, and the way their relationship developed did little to change that first impression. It’s like for much of the manga, Beware the Kamiki Brothers! wants, to borrow a phrase even Iroha would understand, to have its cake and eat it too. The title, but it’s not a serious love triangle. Parents who at least want to listen to their kids’ concerns about being a family but still hide the boys’ ages. Souichirou not wanting to Iroha to get weird ideas about stepsibling romance but has no issue wanting to nap in her bed the first day they met. Just a lot of shaking my head moments.

So what is good about the series? Toujirou is a cutie, and if he had been the romantic lead (even better, the only one), the story would be different from most stepsibling romances. The dad is objectively good looking and involved in his kids’ lives. There’s no dramatic ex-girlfriend drama. Serina, Iroha’s best friend, I think was supposed to be funny with her bluntness and interest in the latest news, and I times I did find myself chuckling, but she walks a very thin line at times. I mean, one of her first lines is calling Iroha dumb, which is true, but without any comedic art to back it up, it reads as pretty harsh.

Beware the Kamiki Brothers! Sample 3

The art can be pretty, especially in the climax as Iroha and Souchirou synchronize as they search for each other. Honestly, I don’t get all the hubbub about Souichirou’s appearance (seriously, Shirou > Souichirou), but Onda does a good job of capturing the Toujirou’s youthful energy and appearance. There’s very little action or mature content — about the most extreme is Iroha hugging Souchirou while he’s sitting and he’s standing which causes a blush for obvious reasons. I imagine Beware the Kamiki Brothers! is an option for those who don’t want to worry about graphic content. This is a rare title where the first kiss happens late in the story, after feelings are confirmed. But the manga is soft and relaxing in tone and atmosphere. Panels tend to be large and layouts simple, which again is good for younger readers. A fine modern shoujo work.

Translation:

Honorifics are used. A few footnotes are included in the series, but they usually point to the more in-depth translation notes at the end of the volumes. Some, like the kami/Kamiki pun, are explained several times.

Final Comments:

How many of you ladies out there have been out of it enough to say yes to a little kid who asks to grab your chest? If that’s the type of ditzy, clueless heroine you root for, then Beware the Kamiki Brothers! should be A-OK with you. For everyone else, search for a different stepsibling romance manga. There’s a high probability it will be better than this one.

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15 Comments

  1. Leafさんの夢が。。。

    Lol this one wasn’t for me either. I heard Mint Chocolate is supposed to handle this trope better.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I didn’t care for Mint Chocolate (although to be fair, only read one volume). It just kind of threw all the usual tropes at the story. But Justin, who also reviewed it at TheOASG, liked it more than me. I’m enjoying We Must Never Fall in Love better myself. Either way, this one is toward the bottom of the pile!

      Reply
      1. Leafさんの夢が。。。

        Okay, I guess I’ll see how it is then xD Glad to hear you’re enjoying that one, I was curious about it.

        Reply
  2. dreager1

    Definitely a jerk move for Souichirou to just yell out her test scores like that. Of course we have to solidify him as the bad boy since it sounds like the other brother was the nicer one. Naturally the nice guy seems to always lose out in these things. Yeah this manga definitely didn’t sound very good. It’s an interesting concept that if she were to marry Souichirou before the parents did, then technically they wouldn’t be step siblings right since the parents were only engaged?

    Feels like a technicality though, either way I can see why this one was underwhelming

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      It’s so dumb people want to get married without introducing their kids to each other. It’s even dumber for a kid to meet the person their parent’s dating and yet somehow never hear my sons are about your age — and one goes to the same school! *facepalm* And that’s just how it is for the whole series… one facepalm after another. But the younger one was the nicer one and such a cutie.

      Reply
  3. alsmangablog

    Oh, wow! There’s ditzy and then there’s just plain dumb. I think I’ll be avoiding this title. Not that I’m generally very interested in the step-sibling forbidden romance setup, but this sounds especially painful.

    Reply
  4. renxkyoko

    Okay, slap me, but I actually loved this manga ! ! You know why? Coz there’s no girl rival, no exes, you know the drill. I’m just annoyed that the author made the main female dumb and an airhead. I don’t know if this is the one or another manga with stepsibling theme, but is this one where they actually got married right after their high school graduation? ( With parents’ consent, of course…. the reason being it’s more appropriate for them to get married than have an affair while living together in one house. )

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I’d rather have a good rival than this dumb of a lead. The poor younger brother maybe could have been one, but he was railroaded.
      But I think you’re thinking of another manga. But I’m glad you enjoyed this one much more than I did!

      Reply
      1. renxkyoko

        What’s the Japanese title of Beware……… ? And what’s the ending ? I’m like 50% sure this is the manga where they marrried early…… and the younger brother,, isn’t he just a middle schooler ? And I think there’s a girl rival, the ex of the ML ? It must be this manga cos the other one is not completed yet, I think…… and there’s a serious boy rival in this one, the guy who the FL confesses to, and gets cruelly rejected, and this FL is not dumb and an airhead

        Reply
        1. Krystallina (Post author)

          神木兄弟おことわり (Kamiki Kyoudai Okotowari)

          Yeah, the younger brother is two years younger, but they treat him like he’s ten years younger. There’s only one grade level in between them, and they act like there’s no way he could have a crush or be in love.

          I don’t have access through this title anymore (read through Kindle Unlimited), but I really don’t remember a wedding. I know there’s a spinoff of this, maybe they get married there?

          Reply
          1. renxkyoko

            No wedding was shown…. at the end of the story, the parents said the couple had to register and change the FL’s name to Kamiki….. at this point, their relationship has been officially acknowledged by the parents….. I’m speculating that the FL and ML should get married first before the parents truly get married…. otherwise, the couple will be reognized officially as siblings.

          2. renxkyoko

            I remember more clearly now. It’s implied that they are indeed married, but their marriage hasn’t become official yet .( Not family registered yet. ) Someone in the family ( I don’t know who… the person talking is not shown ) is saying THat Iroha will not change her last name even after the marriage has become official, and Iroha says she won’t , yet, because she’s still in school, and changing names will be troublesome. I’m speculating that this has nothing to do with the marriage of their parents because the stepdaughter is not required to change her original last name to conform to her mother’s new last name, unless the stepfather LEGALLY adopts her… plus, she cannot be legally adopted, otherwise, she will become legally Kamiki’s sister… and therefore cannot marry even if they’re not blood related. There’s another manga with the same plotline. The stepdaughter and biological son have to get married first before their parents can marry.

            LOL I just can’t let go of my doubts about this marriage thing . I have to read the ending of the manga again.

          3. Krystallina (Post author)

            Ah, that does sound more familiar! The parents weren’t actually married yet, like you said, so Iroha and Souichirou can get married without issues someday if her name is still the same.

          4. renxkyoko

            The parents are actually married already…. so much time has passed, the young brother is already in high school and has grown even taller than Souichirou. I assume the lovey dubs are about to graduate from high school, but Iroha feels that it will be troublesome to change her last name to Kamiki ( I guess due to paperwork. ) AS I said , even if their parents get married, she doesn’t need to change her last name to her stepfather’s, but if she’s married to Sou… , then she has to, but it will be troublesome to change it when she’s about to graduate anyway.

      2. renxkyoko

        By the way, most shoujos have FLs that are dumb and weak, while , I swear, almost 100% of MLs are at the top, rich, most handsome, in other words, the School Prince.

        Reply

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