There are two definitions that accompany the word “brotherhood”. One of them declares brotherhood as a community of people linked by a common interest, like a sports team. Such brotherhoods definitely have intense and powerful bonds that have the opportunity to set up beloved bromances. You can see such bromances bloom in sports animal like Kuroko no Basket, Free!, and Haikyuu!! However, there is a simpler definition. Brotherhood is the relationship between two brothers of the same family. What’s special about focusing on this relationship is that siblings don’t always get along. In fact, several anime have great narratives using the antagonisms of one brother towards another to drive a story forward. Thus, it’s the second definition that this list focuses on as it provides for some interesting comparisons. So let’s get ready for some brotherly and not so brotherly love!
10. Kanba and Shouma Takakura from Mawaru Penguindrum
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul. 2011 – Dec. 2011
Mawaru Penguindrum follows Kanba and Shouma as they try to follow fate and find the Penguin Drum in order to save their sister. Not only do we get to see them be awesome brothers to their ill-fated sister, but how many tests their relationship with one another can withstand.
Even though each brother desperately wants to save their sister Himari, it becomes clear that they don’t agree on the methods to do so. Kanba believes that the end justifies the means and at the end decides that he must burn Ringo’s diary. Shouma disagrees with such methods, which ultimately leads to a break within the family. Despite this monumental conflict between the two, as well as the fact that they are not (SPOILER) brothers by blood, the ties that they share from growing up as a family is shown to be strong enough to keep some semblance of family together. This is heavily represented with Kanba and Shouma walking together and discussing fate as kids, after sacrificing themselves for the ones they care about.
9. Inuyasha and Sesshomaru from InuYasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: Oct. 2000 – Sep. 2004
Even with Sesshomaru being one of the first antagonists in this anime series, the relationship between the two is one of the strongest subplots of InuYasha. From before the story begins, these brothers have a rather distant, if not volatile relationship, with Sesshomaru viewing InuYasha as a lesser being for only being a half-demon. The first time they meet on screen; insults are thrown, swords clash, and an arm is cut off. Not the kindest of reunions.
However, as the series continues, the relationship lightens and the two begin to take on their respective roles, somewhat planned out by their father. Through this slow transformation, Sesshomaru becomes to respect, at the very least, tolerate InuYasha as well as aids greatly in the final battle against Naraku.
8. Takumi and Isami Aldini from Shokugeki no Souma
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Even though Takumi and Isami are not part of the main cast in Shokugeki no Souma, they are two highly regarded characters within the series. Why is this so? Well, to begin Takumi is definitely one of the top rivals for Souma and thus a lot of time is spent detailing his specific skillset and how he has attained status as a culinary genius. Though there are moments when his rivalry with Souma shows different sides of him, it’s really his interactions with Isami that help his character become realized. This has a lot to do with the fact that Isami’s personality is extremely different from Takumi’s. Where Takumi is hotheaded, Isami is gentle and able to make friends. Due to this cool approach, Isami is able to enjoy friendly relationships with his rivals and is better able to gauge the extent to which Takumi’s rivalry is actually a type of friendship.
7. The Matsuno sextuplets from Osomatsu-san
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Mar. 2016
In many anime, twins alone are more than enough to cause havoc. Now what happens when there’s a total of six identical people. These brothers have essentially created a self-imposed commune of insanity. Nothing is normal in this family of proclaimed “idiots,” who each have a specific function of entertainment. We have the oldest, the leader, Osomatsu, who can fight just about anyone and then we have Todomatsu, the youngest, who will willingly stab his brothers in the back. Truly the range of interactions the show is able to capture with its large cast is its strongest point.
As viewer’s we get an up close and personal look at the ridiculous banality that goes along with family members, especially brothers. Nothing is off-limits when it comes to brothers and this group proves it as they defecate on tables and joke about enemas. Within their home asylum of sorts, anything goes, and the show follows them through just about everything and anything.
6. The Souma Brothers from Fruits Basket
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jul. 2001 – Dec. 2001
Fruits Basket sends viewers on an emotional ride as it follows high schooler Tooru Honda into the complex Souma house with Shigure, Yuki, and Kyou. Considering that the whole family shares a curse of transforming into one of the animals of the zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex, you would think the family is rather tight knit. Indeed they are to a certain degree close as the family has isolated itself from most of the society. However, when you have two brothers, one being a prodigy and the other being the outcast of the family, tensions are sure to rise. After all Yuki is the rat and Kyou is the cat, and the rat in myth tricked the cat. That’s why in almost episode you’ll see some type of fight. Generally, it’s with a pretty good-natured rivalry, but other times it borders on hate.
5. Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachin from Ouran High School Host Club
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2007
The most intimate of brothers to make their ways on the list, the twin duo of the host club offer some of the best moments in the show. Not only do their constant antics, which range from teasing Haruhi to inciting the jealousy (or paternal wrath) of Tamaki, provide immense relief throughout the series, but their personal relationship is one of the most touching.
As identical twins most people can rarely tell them apart. This circumstance has created quite a narcissistic and cynical attitude in each of the boys. Exploring this world that they have created where only they exist is definitely a plus of the series. They also, share some of the best taboo moments of brotherly love and like to play up the part for their adoring fans. Finally, any fan of the show must admit to swooning slightly when Hikaru shows genuine concern towards Kaoru after a vase almost fell directly on his head.
4. Mutta and Hibito Nanba from Uchuu Kyoudai
- Episodes: 99
- Aired: Apr. 2012 – Mar. 2014
You know your brother loves you when he’s willing to headbutt his boss for you. That’s practically how Uchuu Kyoudai begins with Mutta Nanba knocking his boss to the ground with a vicious headbutt, after his boss had less than kind words to say about his younger brother Hibito. Now Uchuu Kyoudai is extremely heart-warming tale of brotherly love and rivalry. It takes its time developing both Mutta and Hibito to show how linked they are by their common dream and just how well the two push each other to achieve it.
In order to demonstrate such a strong relationship, Uchuu Kyoudai balances well the arcs of both Mutta and Hibito, showing just how interconnected every single one of their actions are. Almost every action Mutta takes has some type of invisible line to his brother. Either out of a desire to best him, protect him, or be with him; Mutta always moves with his brother in mind and the same goes for Hibito.
3. Rin and Yukio Okumura from Ao no Exorcist
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2011 – Oct. 2011
Acting as FOILs of one another, the Okumura brothers are one of the best examples of brotherhood that the anime world has to offer. They are competitive, caring, and constantly putting everything on the line for one another despite some tremendous differences. Together the two take on some incredible odds in their efforts to protect Assiah.
As stated above, one of the most defining aspects of their relationship is how different the two of them are. Rin is extremely volatile and quick to get into a fight. He acts mainly off of instinct and impulses, which contrast heavily with the collected and thoughtful perspective of Yukio. They even have some heated moments when they turn their weapons on each other, albeit momentarily. Nonetheless, when a 7-year-old Yukio starts secretly training to become an exorcist in order to protect Rin, it’s impossible to deny their care for one another. These two brothers prove that nothing is thicker than blood.
2. Itachi and Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: Oct. 2002 – Feb. 2007
One of the most beautiful and at the same time heart breaking arcs of brotherhood is covered between these two. From the beginning, we are setup with an intense, rage-fueled relationship between them as Sasuke desires to take revenge on his brother for murdering their clan. In fact, it’s the main reason why he pushes away from Konoha in order to become stronger through Orochimaru.
However, Sasuke’s point of view on the whole disaster is a purposeful misrepresentation by one of the most thoughtful, caring, and powerful ninjas in the series. Yep, his older brother Itachi, who is a master of practically all jutsu, but especially genjutsu and can control Susanoo with the Yata Mirror and the Sword of Totsuka, sacrificed everything in order to protect Sasuke and Konoha.
Watching the final fight between these two, when so much is revealed during their last embrace, is one of the most memorable scenes in all anime. Albeit, it could have done without taking up to episode 137 of Naruto Shippuden to get to that point.
1. Edward and Alfonso Elric from FMA: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2010
Did you expect any other tale of brotherhood to truly top the Elric brothers? Few series have been able to capture the essence of brotherhood and keep it a main aspect of the narrative for so long. The premise of the show, Edward’s desire to retrieve his brother’s body back, is enough to bring heartache. After all, he literally paid an arm and a leg to bring his brother’s consciousness back into the world.
Separately, each brother is a dynamic character with their special quirks and behaviors. While Edward’s a bit more of a prodigy when it comes to alchemy; he is fiery, loud, and often a bit narrow-minded in terms of his pursuits. Alfonso, on the other hand, is a bit more accepting and polite despite being the better fighter of the two. They tend to play off each other well, with Alfonso being the voice of reason and trying to calm Edward down when someone calls him a pipsqueak.
From beginning to end, the Elric brothers grab you and bring you into the world of alchemy. Their relationship and bond is explored in full, detailing the trust and doubts that each of them carry.
Brotherhood makes for a great subject to wrap a narrative around. The type of relationships that form between two brothers is extremely special whether they are healthy or not. With that being said, were there any brothers that you wanted to see on this list.