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In its most literal translation, Onee-sama (also parsed ''[[{{Keigo}} o-]][[UsefulNotes/JapaneseSiblingTerminology nee]][[UsefulNotes/JapaneseHonorifics -sama]]'' or ''oneesama'') refers to a highly respected older sister (which can be troublesome when dubs treat it literally and it ''isn't''). It's an extremely formal phrase, and probably is most commonly heard in period dramas.

In modern times, it has three main uses:

# An idol-follower relationship between young women, usually signifying extreme adoration on the part of the follower.
# A subset of the first type of relationship, signalling a lesbian relationship with the {{uke}} referring to the {{seme}} as "Onee-sama", i.e. the [[IncrediblyLamePun Onee-Seme]].
# Identification of a very formal and traditional relationship between sisters. Most likely to be used by ''very'' traditional families, ({{miko}}, {{samurai}}, YamatoNadeshiko, etc.). Tends to be a sign of awe rather than affection. (Awe can mean either adoration, or a type of fear).

The Onee-sama is always an older character, if only by a year. She's essentially a princess for the other characters with grace, beauty, and poise. The Onee-sama often overlaps with AloofDarkHairedGirl, but usually comes in two flavors.

One kind is reflexively affectionate and doting, finding frequent excuses for [[OneHeadTaller giving hugs]]; the kohai is treated like a puppy, although the Onee-sama might be a [[TeamMom Dorm Mother]].

The other is the 'serious' one, a girl who seems [[{{Kuudere}} cold but enticingly mysterious]]; almost always the [[TheOjou "alpha" schoolgirl]]. As sign that they view themselves as an idol to the rest of their coterie, the {{Ojou}} may demand to be referred to this way. When part of a [[SchoolgirlLesbians romance]] she is likely to act possessively towards her object of affection to disguise her romantic feelings.

Mainly appropriated by the [[GirlsLove yuri fandom]], it has become so closely identified with a particular brand of the SempaiKohai relationship that it is very difficult to use without carrying the connotations of attraction. Ironically, the increasingly overt behavior of Onee-sama can probably also be attributed to shounen's use of this phrase.

Sometimes the term is rejected by its target, because she doesn't want to be the object of adoration and perfection that the term implies. If the romance element is present, a rejection of the term signals that [[IncompatibleOrientation she's straight and so does not return the affections]] of the girl referring to her as "Onee-sama".

Not to be confused with ObaSan.

Interestingly, in contrast that in Japan, the honorific OneeSama is mostly used by a girl to call another girl; in Korea, which differentiates the honorific not only by the gender of the one being called but also the gender of the caller, the counterpart of OneeSama in Korea only present if the caller is male. (Nunim if the one being addressed to the honorific is an older female, addressed by a younger male, and Hyungnim if the one being addressed to the honorific is an older male, addressed by a younger male). Also there's a slight twist to Type 3, in which said person is used to address said male's in laws instead of actual older sibling.

Contrast with CoolBigSis, who is less lady-like and more flirty. Often [[GoodBadGirl unapologetically so]]. Due to ValuesDissonance, that is where non-Japanese media examples should go as well.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* All three versions show up in ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''.
** Kuroko calls Mikoto this, and [[PowerPerversionPotential teleport-gropes her]] [[SchoolgirlLesbians at every opportunity]]. Kuroko is probably the best known example of the "rejected" version.
** Many other girls at their school also call Mikoto this, (probably) without the lesbian overtones of Kuroko. Mikoto herself is uncomfortable with the term. She does her best to live up to it in public, but among close friends she isn't very lady-like at all, and can be rather childish at times.
** The [[ClonesArePeopleToo Sisters]] all call Mikoto this as well, but in their case they're actually referring to her as their big sister.
* [[LightNovel/BakaAndTestSummonTheBeasts Miharu]] could be a {{shoutout}} / {{expy}} of Kuroko as she does the same thing (minus the teleport) to Minami.
* The textbook example is ''LightNovel/MariaSamaGaMiteru'', where most of the important characters are referred to this way. Sachiko herself is the archetypical Onee-sama, although some fans complain through CharacterExaggeration she has become more aloof in the show than she was in the original novels and manga. Sachiko's aloofness appears to have been toned down considerably in the last season of the anime, making her much more sympathetic.
* ''LightNovel/StrawberryPanic'', essentially a [[{{Moe}} seinen]] {{Flanderization}} of SchoolgirlLesbians shows, has Shizuma. Ironically, however, it's Nagisa who is most often addressed as "oneesama". (Why? Because Shizuma has an even more respectful title unique to Astraea: "Etoile-sama".)
* Similarly, ''Anime/MaiOtome'' has Otomes refer to their senior Otomes as Onee-sama, with Shizuru being ''the'' example. Shizuru is known for being unfailingly polite, graceful, and finding reasons to hug the main character randomly. (Shizuru was also an Onee-sama type character in ''Anime/MaiHime'' -- on the surface.)
* ''Manga/KareKano'' took this a step down in its [[SomethingCompletelyDifferent tangental]] last episodes, with Yukino's sister the apparent victim of a stalker, culminating in a shy declaration a character wants to be her "oneesan".
* One of the few bishoujo shows that still use this phrase straight is ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'' (although the manga is almost two decades old); Skuld usually refers to her idolized sister Belldandy as just Onee-sama. She always [[{{Honorifics}} just calls]] Urd by her name. Belldandy herself, however, frequently refers to Urd as Neesan, and in a flashback with them as children, is shown calling her Oneesama. The formality fits with being goddesses. Likewise, ''Anime/TenchiMuyo''. Sasami addresses Aeka as "Oneesama," much like Aeka addresses Yosho as "Oniisama." This fits with their royal and formal nature.
* Reina in ''LightNovel/MyriadColorsPhantomWorld'' uses the third type to refer to Mai, which fits Reina's upperclass persona.
* Neviril from ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'' is an Onee-sama figure for both Chor Tempest and the rest of the Sibylla corps. Paraetta is also referred to as Onee-sama, but is more of a {{bifauxnen}} type.
* Mizuho from ''VisualNovel/OtomeWaBokuNiKoishiteru'', [[WholesomeCrossdresser surprisingly]], becomes the Onee-sama figure for the whole school shortly after transferring in.
* Motoko Aoyama's older sister in ''Manga/LoveHina'' is an example of actual sisters. They are swordswomen, very traditional, and Motoko definitely feels awe towards her older sister, however, instead of "o-nee-sama", Motoko uses a more samurai-style archaic form of addressing, "ane-ue".
* Minto of ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'' calls Zakuro "oneesama." Zakuro is older and very serious, and a romantic attraction is definitely implied.
* Pudding to Ichigo to a lesser extent as well
* Kazumi Amano from ''Anime/{{Gunbuster}}'' is a classic example of the 'serious' Onee-sama in her [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship relationship]] with series protagonist Noriko. Of course, the first half of the series is an AffectionateParody of classic {{Shoujo}} series like ''Manga/AimForTheAce'' that used this trope without irony or (intentional) subtext. In ''Anime/{{Diebuster}}\Gunbuster 2'', Nono adopts a reluctant Lal'c as her Onee-sama at first sight.
* Chizuru Naba in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' plays the affectionate (with a little {{Trickster}} thrown in) type, particularly with her classmate Natsumi (in a twist, Natsumi is actually the ''older'' one, if only by a few months), and combines this with CoolBigSis when she all but adopts Negi's [[HalfHumanHybrid Half-demon]] rival Kotaro. Another example would be Mei's relationship with her upper-classman Takane.
* Alicia and Akira from ''Manga/{{ARIA}}''. Athena would qualify, if only she weren't so [[GeniusDitz ditzy]] most of the time.
* Aiko from ''Manga/HimechanNoRibon'' is an actual sister example, having all the personality traits and Himeko calls her such.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'': Kaiba Mokuba usually refers to his brother Seto using the similar honorific ''Oniisama''.
* Nadeshiko from ''Manga/ShugoChara'' acts like Amu's older sister figure, despite being the same age. [[spoiler: She's a WholesomeCrossdresser and is actually male that goes by the real name Nagihiko.]]
* Nami occasionally calls Robin "Onee-sama" in ''Franchise/OnePiece'', particularly when she does something that makes her very happy.
* In ''Manga/SorcererHunters'', Tira Misu refers to her older sister Chocolat as "Oneesama".
* The androids' first appearance in ''Anime/ExcelSaga'' was that they fell in love with who they first saw. One saw Excel, and actually called her this.
* Haruka from ''Manga/MinamiKe'' is very much this, as well as a CoolBigSis. Due to her PromotionToParent, this goes double for her little sisters -- especially the younger, Chiaki, who ''invariably'' calls her "Haruka-neesama".
* In the second season of ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'', the three "butterfly monsters" who were tamed after the showdown with Youkai Academy's Public Safety Commission (in the first season) refer to Moka's vampire personality as Onee-sama. In their human bishoujo forms, of course. Similarly, Kokoa, Moka's actual sister, is deeply in love with her vampire personality--her original personality, actually, with whom Kokoa grew up--and always calls her Onee-sama. All her intrigues revolve around getting back her Onee-sama from Aono Tsukune who seems to prefer the coy, "illusory" Moka who appears as a result of the original Moka being bound by the eponymous rosario.
* Momiji calls Kureha this in ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden: Dragon Sword''.
* In the Hatamoto Family arc of ''Manga/DetectiveConan'', Natsue calls her older sister Akie "onee-sama," keeping with the formal modes of address in the family (for example, her aunt Mariko uses "onii-sama" when referring to her older brother- Akie and Natsue's father). Conan calls Ran by this, though it once (almost) backfires - when he [[spoiler: temporarily becomes 'normal' again]] and still calls her that, which given the circumstances then is decidedly... odd.
* In ''Anime/{{Vandread}}'', Misty calls Meia this constantly, despite having just met her. The [[BlindIdiotTranslation dub]] unfortunately has this directly translated as "dear sister", [[DubText confusing everyone into thinking the two are actually related when they just met each other]].
* In ''Manga/PrincessResurrection'', the relationship between Hime and her little sister Sherwood both exemplifies AND subverts the trope. Sherwood always calls Hime her "onee-sama," and Hime is exactly the type of character who would get that moniker; she is cool and mysterious and (literally) a princess. However, Sherwood's use of the phrase is initially quite ironic because at the start of the series she actually has no respect for Hime at all, and even makes an attempt to kill her.
* ''LightNovel/TheFamiliarOfZero'':
** Louise calls her oldest sister, Eleanor, this. Usually while she's absolutely terrified - Eleanor has a temper worse than Louise's own. In this instance it's both a signal that Eleanor demands more formal behavior from Louise, and that Louise fears and is submissive to her. She also calls her other older sister, Cattleya, this, though this time it's out of affection.
** Silpheed in human form calls Tabitha this.
* Euphemia uses this on Cornelia in ''Anime/CodeGeass'', although she is often required to address her by her title while in front of others. Nunnally to Lelouch. Even when [[spoiler: he gave her all the reasons to hate him.]]
* Hinagiku of ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' calls her older sister by this. As Yukiji is a greedy drunkard, the title is perhaps lost. Although Yukiji does show signs that the obsession with drinking is just a cover and does truly care about her younger sister. Yukiji seems to have been pretty cool when younger. Nagi also holds Sakuya in this regard.
* In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', Miyako Inoue greatly admires "Mimi-oneesama." This is particularly amusing because Miyako already has two older sisters, Momoe and Chizuru, and because of the blatant ''[[Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena Utena]]'' ShoutOut during the episode they first meet.
* Chizuru's sister Ichiko in ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'' is kinda like this, too.
* The leader of the Lobelia girls in ''Manga/OuranHighSchoolHostClub'' is this to the point of parody.
** In a case of LifeImitatesArt, Hunny's voice actress Creator/AyakaSaitou referred to Haruhi's V/A Creator/MaayaSakamoto as Onee-sama all throughout the anime's production.
* In ''Manga/BGataHKei'', Yamada tries to surprise Kosuda with a kiss in the dark, only to discover it's her friend Takeshita. She remarks afterward that "if it had gone any farther, I'd have to call you ''onee-sama''". (See intro for the term's {{yuri}} connection.)
* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh''. Chiyo-chan is implied to see Sakaki as this, especially in the "You took it, didn't you?" scene.
* ''Anime/HanaukyoMaidTai La Verite'' episode 10. When head Security maid Konoe Tsurugi learns of the intruders effortlessly passing through the mansion's defenses, she says "Nee-Sama". This is because she realizes that the intruders are being led by Shikouin, the woman who trained her.
* Chikage Maki from ''Manga/TheRowsOfCherryTrees'' is the first flavor of Onee-sama, affectionate and doting and pretty much a CoolBigSis. The girls of her school adore her to boot, including the protagonist Yukiko.
* In ''Manga/OniisamaE'' the eldest Sorority girls play the role, or are supposed to. Lampshaded by Nanako, who comments on how [[spoiler: "Lady Borgia" Ogiwara and "Lady Mona Lisa" Komabayashi]] were kind to her... [[spoiler: until the Sorority is in risk of being disbanded.]]
* In ''Manga/LuckyStar'' Minami Iwasaki is very attached to her neighbor Miyuki Takara and accidentally calls her "Onee-chan". Minami appears to have a simlar relationship with Yutaka (but with roles reversed), at least in the eyes of Hiyori who draws Dōjinshi of the two as a {{Yuri}} couple; Yutaka calling Minami "oneesama" even made it into the English dub, though the dub already includes honorifics most of the time.
* Rukia from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' adored her Lieutenant Kaien's YamatoNadeshiko wife, Miyako, who fits in here as a Type 1. Rukia openly refers to Miyako as "beautiful" and as "her role model".
* In the manga of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', [[spoiler:Mion]] addresses [[spoiler:Shion]] this way when grovelling to her after the latter goes {{yandere}}.
* Yuzuki calls her older sister Shizuki "Onee-sama" out of awe in ''Manga/HekikaiNoAion''. Shizuki is the cold and mysterious type but has a soft spot to her twin {{ditz}} sister so the awe is in sign of adoration.
* In ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' the Hawks refer to Casca as their "sister" or "sis", though their word for it in Japanese is "anego" rather than "onee-sama".
* Mami Tomoe in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is a Type-1 example; an elegant, reserved and graceful older sister figure who rookie magical girls look up to. However, as confirmed by WordOfGod, [[spoiler:this is only a mask used as encouragement to prolong her MagicalGirl role. It breaks in an alternate timeline depicted in episode 10, when upon learning the AwfulTruth about [[BigBad Kyubey]]'s [[CosmicHorrorStory magical girl system]], she [[FreakOut loses it]] and starts destroying the other magical girls' [[SoulJar Soul Gem]]s, believing she's saving them from a FateWorseThanDeath. Fortunately, Madoka destroys Mami's own Soul Gem before there was more than one casualty; unfortunately and ''very'' understandably, poor Madoka has a sobbing meltdown afterwards and Homura has to comfort her]].
** On top of that in The Different story manga [[spoiler:Kyouko]] openly admits to considering Mami her Onee-sama... as to which meaning she had on her mind by that is left ambiguous, but given the series' tendency for [[LesYay yuri undertones]] it's only natural to consider it possible type 2...
* Koko Hekmatyar from ''Manga/{{Jormungand}}''. Grace, check. Beauty, check. Poise, check. {{One Head Taller}} hugs? Definitely.
* Liang Qi from ''Anime/{{Canaan}}'' sees her boss Alphard this way, and is very, very {{Yandere}} about it.
* In ''Manga/FruitsBasket'', Kisa calls Tohru Onee-chan. Tohru is like a big sister to her and helped to draw her out of her shell, [[TheVoiceless getting her to start speaking again.]]
* In ''Manga/LoveSoLife'', Shiharu is this to the other children at the orphanage.
* In ''Anime/ShonenSarutobiSasuke'', Oyu is one to Sasuke in the literal sense (and a YamatoNadeshiko in general).
* Used in two different meanings in a scene of ''Manga/AnoKiss'': when Yurine's little sister Sumire falls in love with Ayaka, she suddenly asks if she can call her "Ayaka-oneesama". The latter irritatingly replies that Sumire "already has that" (a big sister − who's incindentally Ayaka's love interest).
* ''Manga/FairyTail'': Kagura considers Erza this after the Grand Magic Games arc.
* ''Manhwa/WitchHunter'' : Tania is addressed as Nunim by her younger brother Tarras. Not only because they are from a noble family, but also because [[BigSisterBully Tania did things that better be unspoken]] to her poor ButtMonkey brother, causing him not only greatly respects her but also fears her.
* Yurika, from ''Yurika's Campus Life'', is usually called this way by other women in her university. This implies that either the student's lack of contact with males or Yurika's [[ThePornomancer inexplicable sway over girls]] has somehow created an atmosphere of almost-pure [[YuriGenre yuri]] in the campus, akin to a lewder version of ''LightNovel/MariaSamaGaMiteru''.
* Type 3 in ''LightNovel/ReZero'': Rem always calls her older twin Ram as "nee-sama".
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'', Amida Arca, Naze Turbine's "principal wife", is called "onee-sama" by the other members of the [[AmazonBrigade Turbines]].
* Kale from ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' refers to Caulifla as her "onee-sama". The two are particularly close with Kale looking up to Caulifla and Caulifla being very protective of Kale.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Mako Shiraishi from ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' is pretty much the CoolBigSis to the boys, but to Kotoha Hanaori, she's this. Kotoha adores her so much that she's one of the only people who could withstand [[LethalChef Mako's cooking]] and think it's delicious.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'': They're not siblings, but [[MsFanservice Excellen Browning]] managed to get [[RobotGirl Lamia Loveless]] to call her 'Exie-neesama'. Latooni and Seolla refer to Ouka as Onee-sama since she was older and always watched out for them at The School.
* Loretta calls her older twin sister [[BigSisterInstinct Stella]] "onee-sama" in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''. What's odd is that the English dub keeps this -- when you swap between them in Sisters Mode, Stella calls out "Loretta!" and Loretta calls out "Sister!" (To hear Loretta's original "Onee-sama!", hold L when you pick Start Game; this switches you to Japanese voices till next reset.)
* In [[UpdatedRerelease "The Answer"]] of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}: FES'', [[spoiler:[[RobotGirl Aigis]]]] is regarded as this by [[spoiler:[[RobotGirl Metis]]]]. And in ''Persona 3 Portable'', Mitsuru's social link is recasted as her being this for the Female Progatonist (still some leftover [[LesYay romantic undertones]], though).
** A more overtly romantic example: Noriko Katayama of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' refers to her ex-senpai Anna Yoshizaka as this. The former is either strongly implied to be or is outright in love with the latter. The localization interpreted the term literally, giving the impression that they are related when they are not.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'', Reisen Udongein Inaba often acts as the first type of Onee-sama towards Tewi Inaba, a doting and caring sister. Except that Tewi is quite an ungrateful girl and tends to pull pranks on Reisen instead. Tewi is also the elder of the two being over 1,300 years old. It stuck to her so much that in the semi-canonical ''Inaba of the Moon and Earth'', when Reisen dreamed about Tewi acting like a doted little sister, she considers it weird. When she gets up and see Tewi acting like her usual devil-may-care prankster self, [[WeWantOurJerkBack she hugs her in relief]].
* Raspberyl from ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3|AbsenceOfJustice}}'' is often called onee-sama (translated as "my lady") by her "delinquent" subordinates Asuka and Kyoko. Considering the nature of "delinquency" in the Netherworld, it's hard to tell just what type of onee-sama she's supposed to be.
* Fuka of ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4| A Promise Unforgotten}}'' is always called onee-sama by Desco. [[spoiler:A somewhat more literal example than the previous, as Desco was created by Fuka's father to be a younger sister for her.]]
* An interesting example occurs in ''VisualNovel/KaraNoShoujo'' where the dynamic is clearly in place, but since it takes place in mid 50s Japan the concept hasn't been fully realized yet. Characters clearly fall into the relationship in regards to Orihime Tsukishima, and a sort of prototype is in place regarding Mizuhara and Toko[[note]]Yukari says the relationship would be described as S for Sisters[[/note]], but the term hasn't been invented yet.
* Aqua from ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' falls somewhere between this and CoolBigSis, since she can be affectionate and informal or ladylike and serious based on the situation. Either way, though, she acts as a protective sister figure not only for Ven (and arguably Terra), but also for Kairi and {{Disney/Cinderella}} in particular, and to a lesser degree [[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs the]] [[Disney/SleepingBeauty other]] [[Disney/AliceInWonderland Princesses]] [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast of]] [[{{Disney/Aladdin}} Heart]] she encounters. This is reinforced by Aqua taking up the role of TheHero and rescuing every one of them from danger at least once while only needing to be rescued herself [[spoiler: when Vanitas wises up to how strong she is and [[CombatPragmatist ambushes her while she's protecting Ven.]]]]
* A Type 3 happens in ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel Moonlit Lover'', Forte route. After solving the problem of Chitose's extremely inflexible line of thinking as per her NewMeat status, [[CoolBigSis Forte]] gets this treatment from Chitose. Quite amusingly, Forte outright flips from embarrassment and ''begs'' Chitose not to call her that.
* Cloche for Sasha in ''VideoGame/ArTonelicoIIMelodyOfMetafalica''. She's an elegant, reserved and affectionate big sister figure. Sasha's adoration can be seen in every one of their conversations.
* Lilly Satou from ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'' is this to everyone around her and specially to Hanako. Even Hisao, the male lead, sees her as such.
* Being a walking [[YuriGenre yuri]] cliché, Dallas Wyatt from ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' will call some of her female teammates by this moniker in some interactions (usually when calling the medic for them) if the voices are set to japanese. Alicia seems to hold a special place in her heart ([[GameplayAndStoryIntegration as indicated by her status buff while near her]]), and consistently refers to her as onee-sama even though she doesn't really fit the part. If Dallas is knocked out, she even lets out a weak "Onee-sama..." unless the english voices are on, in which case she only calls for Alicia after [[RagdollPhysics comically ragdolling]].
* Vira from ''VideoGame/GranblueFantasy'' is incredibly infatuated with her fellow Albion Academy graduate, Katalina, and always refers to her as 'onee-sama', it even being the name of one of her passive skills that gives her skills a shorter turn cooldown if Katalina is in the same party. Katalina on her part doesn't seem to notice or care why Vira calls her that.