Japanese Role-Playing Game Trend: Big Sister Characters

Have you noticed? Some of the biggest recent Japanese role-playing games feature older sister type characters instead of predominately kid sister ones popular in years past.

[Image via 2ch]

Big sister characters aren't necessarily related to the protagonists, but they are often surrogate older sisters, even if they are portrayed as fetching or become a romantic interest.

A big sister character doesn't have to be significantly older than the protagonist; their age difference can be only a year or two. But they're usually attractive and mature.

In Japanese, games with a big sister character are called "toshiue gee" (年上ゲー), which literally means "older game", or the longer "toshiue no onee-san gee" (年上のお姉さんゲー). The term onee-san can be used to refer to young women who are not related to the speaker in much the same way "miss" or "young lady" are used.

Via 2ch, here are some of the recent toshiue gee:

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

[Image via 2ch]

So, what gives? Why all the big sister types? Trends come and go, and don't expect JRPGs to kick little sisters to the curb, but many of the recent, well-received games feature onee-san types.

As one 2ch commenter pointed out, with all the regulations and restrictions around younger characters, this is a sign of the times. Another commenter added, "I also think this is a result of the rising ages of gamers."


Comments

    I think it's the combination of respecting someone you see as better than you but having an relationship that's positive and personal with them.

    Tae from Persona 5 is a pretty good example of the "ane-sama" or "respected big sister" archetype without any actual sisterly implications. She's older than the main character, graduated university to become a doctor while the main character is a highschool student, runs her own business while the main character does part-time work and has an in-charge but relaxed kind of attitude that makes her fairly easy to approach. In many ways she's ahead in life compared to the main character and she seems reliable and willing to help out as long as you don't seem to be doing anything too shady.

    I'd say the appeal is fairly obvious; it's nice to have a partner you can rely on, that has life figured out and can help show you the way or at least provide some guidance.

      kudos on being the first person to make me login to post a comment on kotaku in... five? years. (its not the communities fault I just dont visit very frequently!)

      that was a really great post deoff, nice work mate! ~ I liked the way you broke down the attraction of the older partner archetype. incidentally, I was really impressed with the way they handled the relationship with Kawakami your teacher. that was some mature stuff!

    Not sure about this being some great big new trend to be honest.

    Velvet is in this list twice and she's the game's protagonist herself, rather than an older sister for the protagonist.

    Pyra is not an older sister type so much as she's built to be the "perfect wife" type (super kind, polite, softly spoken, excellent cook and has enormous boobs).

    Cindy from FFXV seems a massive stretch to me as well. She's a cardboard cutout that pops up periodically to rub her chest against the windshield of your car.

    None of us in the west have played Dragon Quest XI yet so no idea there, but DQ generally does whatever it wants regardless of trends in the market so if it does line up, it might simply be coincidence, especially since having older sibling characters in JRPG casts isn't really anything new.

    I honestly haven't noticed a trend at all really. JRPGs have always tended to cover the older/little sister trope in equal measure. If you pick your examples it may seem one way or the other but across the board they generally try to cover as many "interest groups" as possible in the hare... I mean party.

      Everything is a fetish for someone :-)

      You're right in that there is usually and 'older sister type' and 'younger sister type' in JRPGs, at least the ones that I play. There's also the 'nerdy girl', the 'sporty girl', the 'demure girl' and the 'fashionable girl'. You've got the 'ditzy girl', the 'serious girl', the 'naive girl' (often a younger sister type) and also the 'tomboy girl'.

      You could pick out any trend you wanted amongst that lot. All you can say for sure is that there sure are a lot of fetishes in Japanese anime/manga/games.

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