It's hard to top incest when it comes to bad romance concepts in manga. I've covered a few examples so far, and they've all been awkward and disappointing. Today's selection is a bit different. It's one of the most literal riffs on the idea, and yet it's also one of most satirical and inspired takes.
I DON'T LIKE YOU AT ALL, BIG BROTHER! (Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne-!!), by Kouchi Kusano. First published in 2008 and first published in North America in 2012.
Nao is a 12-year-old girl who loves her big brother Shuusuke. She loves him so much that she's determined to make him her lover by any means necessary. She'll stage "accidential" flashings, throw out any porn of his that isn't imouto-themed, and tries her hardest to turn her bland brother into a sister-loving pervert. The only thing that threatens to get in her way is Shuusuke's old childhood friend Iroha. She took a childhood promise made during a game of Doctor far too seriously and now has her own equally aggressive plans for him. Now the two are locked in passive-aggressive battle for Shuusuke's affections, and only one can win.
Incest and imoutos are some of my biggest turn-offs in manga, so a series that is entirely predicated on these two subjects should be an automatic red light from me, right? If that's the case, then why was I so frequently and strangely amused by the whole thing?
I guess that if I can step back from my own distaste of incest far enough, I can see how this manga reverses some of the norms of imouto stories. Most of tend to take their inspiration from harem manga, complete with a mildly pervy yet completely hapless schmuck of a protagonist and a small group of non-related girls straight off the Otaku Fetish Checklist to serve as obstacles to their love. IDLYAABB turns that premise on its head by focusing not on the hapless schmuck, but instead two of those checklist girls as they chase after him and mold him into their preferred brand of pervert. It's their desires that drive the story, not his, and that helps to remove a few degrees from pure hetero male wish fulfillment.
It also doesn't let Nao's desire to bone her brother go by completely unjudged, either. She has a pair of best friends who are unaware of her incestuous desires but who end up serving as a snarky Greek chorus to her schemes by accident. It even manages to poke fun at some of the more specific story beats, such as the weirdly specific and convoluted way Nao manages to not really be related to Shuusuke. Self-aware moments like this go a long way towards making the story tolerable, if not downright amusing. If only it were in service to a premise that wasn't so damn gross.
It may be willing to have some fun with the idea, but in the end IDLYAABB is still about a pre-teen girl trying to have sex with her brother, and that notion is as repellent as ever. It's uncomfortable to watch her perv upon him and expose herself. It's also no guarantee that this series will stick with its satirical bent towards incest; after all, Oreimo sold itself as a series that played with the idea of sibling romance in a non-serious way and we know now how that turned out. Still, IDLYAABB seems to be having more fun with the notion of incest than it is fapping to it, and so long as it stick to this idea then it can in fact be a decent little sex comedy.
Alas, Kusano's artwork only helps to muddy the waters as to whether this series is meant to be satirical or not. The characters are skinny, awkward, and universally child-like regardless of their actual ages. Their faces are weak, primitive, as if someone was drawing a cruel caricature of moe art. The eyes in particular have a terrible tendency to drift across the characters' faces from one panel to the next. As you might expect, there's quite a bit of fanservice, but those child-like character designs only help to make every instance of naked Nao all the more awkward and NSFW. Even if you can get past that point, this is not a series to be read in public.
The subject matter may be objectionable and the art more than a bit iffy, but I Don't Like You At All Big Brother! does manage to turn what could be mere wank fodder into a surprisingly effective ecchi farce. It's the kind of manga that make you laugh just as much as it makes you cringe.
This series is published by Seven Seas. This series is complete in Japan with 12 volumes available. All 12 have been published in 2-in-1 omnibuses and are currently in print.