Management: Yeah, this one’s kinda merciless. What can I say.
What are your feelings on the apparent increase of shows centered around brothers, sisters, and incest?
This… might get a little cynical. Fair warning.
I think it’s just reflective of many anime’s increasing focus on and prioritizing of their own demographics’ fetishes and obsessions. Shows like this or this are the same thing – anime studios (or I guess light novel publishing houses) have realized that many anime fans don’t just want harems or power fantasies, they want harems or power fantasies explicitly centered on overt versions of themselves. Not only do these fulfill the traditional feel-goodness of self-insert characters getting the girl or saving the kingdom or whatnot, but they also serve as affirmations of the viewer’s media and lifestyle choices. It’s “identify with this version of yourself succeeding” and “your media preferences are a legitimate identity” all at once.
If I were to go even deeper into this cynical hypothesis, the “brother/sister” thing specifically is another variant of the “childhood friend” thing, or even the Rei-esque quiet doll archetype. Outsiders are frightening – they challenge you, they don’t understand you, they might even scorn or abandon you. But a little sister? They’re an incredibly “safe” interaction – you can talk with them pretty much by default, and they’re kind of contractually obligated not to utterly leave you behind. In fact, the power dynamic might even swing in the other direction – they might need you to take care of them! Wouldn’t that be a great feeling? Just like a friend you’ve known forever, just like the quiet girl who needs your help with some ordinary task, a little sister is a person who will stay with you long enough to understand you, and anyone who understands you will understand that you’re a good person.
As far as incest itself goes, it’s certainly an interesting topic when actually treated respectfully, and though I don’t find it personally appealing at all (I take Sasahara’s stance – I doubt most incest fans actually have sisters), I also think people should be able to love who they want as long as everyone’s consenting and there aren’t unfair power dynamic issues involved (which I’d assume would often complicate incest situations). But respectful treatment is not really what modern anime tends to use it for.