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Me & My Brothers: Volume 1    by Hari Tokeino order for
Me & My Brothers
by Hari Tokeino
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Me & My Brothers is Hari Tokeino's first full-length manga. Previously, she had only done short manga pieces, one of which, Parallel to the World, is included at the end here.

When Sakura was three, her parents died and she went to live with her grandmother. Now, at the age of fourteen, her grandmother has also passed on and four half-brothers, of whom she has no memory, show up to take care of her. Masashi, the eldest and a romance novelist, often takes on the role of mother; Takashi, the second oldest, is a teacher who takes a job at Sakura's junior high; Tsuyoshi, the second youngest, is the toughest of the group and holds many part-time jobs; and Takeshi, the youngest, is a shy high-school student. Her brothers are all different, but they all have a deep love for their baby sister and feel they must protect her in their own ways.

Having so many different personality types living together should create some wacky manga situations, but Me & My Brothers has more sad moments than funny ones. Because of this, the story gets bogged down at times, which it would not if it were truly the comedy it is labeled as. Instead, it is more of a touching tale of a girl and her long-lost older brothers, with some humor thrown in. Tokeino's illustrations do nothing to add to the humor either, and some of the thoughts and dialogue asides gets lost in the backgrounds, slowing the story down more.

Me & My Brothers has potential to be a good comedy, but it is not realized in the first volume. As this was Hari Tokeino's first attempt at a manga series, perhaps it picks up in subsequent volumes. Her short story at the end, Parallel to the World, while also not a comedy, is well-done.

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