Mini Review: Silly Sibling Rivalry Masks Deeper Family Issues In ‘Take My Brother Away’

Netflix’s binge-able Mainland Chinese drama Take My Brother Away (2018) tells the story of two squabbling siblings as they navigate school, friendship, and family through the oft-bewildering lens of adolescence.

Shi Fen (Joseph Zeng) and Shi Miao (Sun Qian) are brother and sister who live with their well-meaning and loving — but alcoholic — father. Although the siblings bicker constantly, they genuinely care about each other and look out for one another. The drama follows their everyday lives at home, at school, and everywhere in between.

One of the things that stands out about Take My Brother Away is how genuinely funny it is. No matter how many times I watch it — the rewatch value for this one is high — it never fails to make me laugh. This might partly be because the story is a manhua-turned-anime-turned-drama and incorporates some of the outrageous, unrealistic elements we might see in a comic or an anime into real-life scenarios (without coming across as obnoxious).

While the humor and timing are thoroughly enjoyable, the drama succeeds in balancing the fun and silliness with far heavier themes sprinkled throughout — mostly in the form of family issues Shi Fen and Shi Miao have to face as they deal with their dad’s drinking and irresponsibility as well as with the absence of their mother. These more serious moments are given an appropriate amount of poignancy while the drama as a whole remains an easy, light-hearted watch.

Random things that I love about the drama (but that don’t necessarily warrant an entire paragraph of their own) are the episodes’ opening sequence and the music used throughout. Each feature matches the rest of the drama — upbeat, catchy, and fun.

As always, thank you for reading and happy viewing!

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