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Japanese Role-Playing Game Trend: Big Sister Characters

[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]

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.

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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.

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In Japanese, games with 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]
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[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
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[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
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[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
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[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
[Image via 2ch]
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[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.

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As one 2ch 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.”


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am. 

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

kingkaijuice
KingKaijuice

I think the 2ch person, hits the nail on the head. I’d love to think it was some kind of positive shift in the culture in creating likable but also 3-dimensional women who are just as integral to the main characters growth as the villain.

But the constantly disappointed anime fan within me just thinks the fetish changed. Instead of getting off on the asymmetric power dynamic of the little sister trope, now they can get off on the power dynamic which grants them a waifu AND a caretaker.

It’s probably a bit of both though.