Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Sister Princess

Go To

"Onii-chan, I love you!"

When 15-year-old orphan Wataru Minakami fails to get into the high school on which he has set his heart, and to which his best friend has gained admittance, he finds himself launched unwillingly onto a journey of discovery and self-discovery. Forced by circumstances and the enigmatic adults around him to a strange island community off the coast of Japan, Wataru finds a place has been held for him at a local school, and quarters at someplace called "Welcome House".

When he arrives at Welcome House, though, he receives the biggest surprise yet — waiting there for him are a baker's dozen sisters he'd never known he had. And all of them, from 8-year-old Hinako to 16-year-old Sakuya, are eager and willing to lavish him with sisterly adoration.

Wataru soon finds himself overwhelmed by the unconditional love he is given by his sisters, leading him into a spiral of doubt over his ability to return it in proportion, and over his worthiness at all to receive it. Strange hints of memory add to the mix, confusing him as to whether or not he does remember ever having sisters. And one of the sisters isn't a sister at all, but the agent of a mysterious person who wants to see the happy family reunion demolished as quickly as possible.

Sister Princess is a series of light novels written by Sakurako Kimino (the writer of Strawberry Panic!) and illustrated by Naoto Tenhiro, which were serialized in Dengeki G's magazine from 1999 to 2003 and compiled into 12 volumes. It was adapted into a manga that was serialized in Dengeki Daioh from 2001 to 2002, followed by a Dating Sim adaptation and two anime series. The first TV series aired in 2001, and was followed in 2002 by a second season called Sister Princess: RePure.

The North American release of the first season was originally licensed and dubbed by ADV Films. Discotek Media acquired the licensing rights to both seasons in April 2018.

Sister Princess provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The bear email thing, and most of the shots of the giant statue on the island, stand out in the animation.
  • Alpha Bitch: The Sister Princess games being what they are, when this trope is used at all it's downplayed. In the games, the head of Kaho's cheerleading squad is a girl with long brown hair who, when she is seen at all, is usually seen giving Kaho a lecture about Kaho's latest clumsy goof. However, since Kaho really is screwing up because Kaho can be rather clumsy, the girl's only real fault is that she's being too harsh about it and causing Kaho to cry, not that she's giving Kaho a lecture in the first place. In fact, this same girl can be seen encouraging Kaho on the occasions (mostly later in Kaho's route) where Kaho gets it right.
  • Beach Episode: The cast is stranded on a beach for a few episodes. Naturally, this leads to beach attire and the associated activities.
  • Big Brother Attraction:
    • When it's not being Big Brother Worship, it's this. All the girls are affectionate with Wataru, but none more so than Sakuya, the "adult" one; Karen has a more "pure" romantic love for him, while Chikage's is mysterious as usual. This is what happens when the Big Brother Relationship is the only one there is and has to fill up the role of all other relationships single-handed; all other relationships.
    • This is taken up to eleven in the anime when each girl takes a turn 'marrying' him in a series of mock weddings. In Repure, Chikage wants to force feed him an apple while he's sleeping and Sakuya weeps when she realizes she probably won't marry him for real.
  • Big Brother Worship: This particular example of this trope is justified in the PSX games: the girls all have the same father, who slept with 12 different women and had children by them note . Luckily for the sisters, their mothers all work in high-class careers so they have no shortage of "material comforts," but because of those high-class careers, their mothers are often too busy to serve as pillars of support, so their "Big Brother" has to be the one to not only give them love and attention, but also parental guidance when stuff happens like Kaho messes up in cheer-leading practice, or Hinako gets lost, etc. That and he's also instrumental in helping them achieve their goals, like jogging practice with Mamoru or lending money to Rinrin for her machines. The sisters worship him because he is responsible for most of their happiness and success in their lives.
  • Big Fancy House: The "Welcome House". How else could it house all twelve sisters and their brother?
  • Bowdlerise: Each adaptation has been subjected to this to some extent, for obvious reasons. In particular, the anime tries in every possible way to hide the incestuous nature of the character's relationship to the carpet, while the games immediately declare unrelated the sister the player has chosen for a romantic relationship.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: In the PSX Sister Princess games, it is technically possible for the player character to get into a relationship with one of his sisters...but in scenarios where that happens, there's a sudden plot point that reveals the relationship is not blood-related, removing the (biological) incest factor. In fact, the girls in the games have a "blood-related" ending and a "non-blood related" ending. It's not for all the girls, either: the really young girls, such as Hinako or Aria, had only "sister endings" in the first PSX game, and in Sister Princess 2, the romantic routes they were given were relatively tame. For much older girls such as Sakuya the romantic endings strongly imply the possibility of marriage in the future.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Aria (French), Yotsuba (British), Haruka (German).
  • Butterfly of Doom: Associated with Chikage the mystic.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sometimes Mami, sometimes Yamada, sometimes both in the same scene; they're frequently the target of slapstick humor and are usually completely disconnected from what main plot exists as well as any emotional or dramatic scenes. This is especially notable for Mami, as the series constantly foreshadows some ulterior motive but doesn't do anything with it until the last few episodes.
  • Canon Foreigner: Mami, Yamada, Akio, Minai, Jeeves and the rest of the Promise Island residents only appeared in the anime.
  • Catchphrase: Wataru's anime-only "This can't be happening to me!"/"It can't be true!", Yotsuba's "Check!", and Jeeves' "I'm just a (fill-in-the-blank), as you can see.", Mamoru's game-only "Yaho, anii!" as a greeting, Aria's "kusun" when about to cry, and Chikage's game-only "Ya, Anii-kun" as a greeting.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Sakuya likes grabbing Wataru's arm, and interestingly enough, the attitude isn't against her sisters. It's against Wataru's male friend Akio. See the Ho Yay entry.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Aria frequently seems to be in her own little world, only vaguely aware of what's going on around her, and speaks in an extra-slow and childish manner that's exaggerated even for someone as young as she is.
  • Continuity Cameo: In Sister Princess Repure, both Mami and Yamada have a one-time appearance in Episode 9. Yamada doesn't speak in his scene but in Mami's scene, she offers Yotsuba and Rinrin curry bread.
  • Crystal-Ball Scheduling: Yamada watches episodes of the Super Robot show that comment exactly on what's happening in the current episode.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Kaho is clumsy. It's part of her charm.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: Every girl gets at least one episode that focuses on them.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mami, Yamada and Jeeves had recurring roles in the first anime but come RePure, Mami and Yamada only appeared in a small cameo and Jeeves is only presented as a portrait.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Shirayuki occasionally hums melodies from the background music.
  • Dramatic High Perching: Chikage stands on a lamp post in her first appearance.
  • Evil Plan: For a given value of evil, Akio's plan to separate Wataru from his sisters and Promise Island is the only thing resembling an overarching plot in the series and forms the climax.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening changes around halfway through the series.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: What happens with too much spice...
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: In this case, it is a sister or idol decision. Near the end of the first anime, Wataru has to choose between the prestigious Japanese student life he'd previously dreamed of when Akio offers him the opportunity again, or choose to stay with his 12 sisters. Wataru almost chooses a life of glory, but in the end decides to stay with his sisters (with a little persuasion from Mami).
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Rin-rin, the inventor and ambitious genius, can produce high-tech items (like home-built laptop PCs with a custom operating system) overnight for literal pocket change.
  • Genki Girl: Mamoru, Kaho (and Kaho's even a cheerleader in the games!), and Yotsuba all have a lot of energy. In Mamoru's case, he has to get over the culture shock before he gets excited.
  • Half Identical Twin: Implied with Karen, since she supposedly is his only full sister and at the same time is his coeval with an almost completely similar appearance.
  • Harmless Villain: Mami is sent to make Wataru leave the island, but never actually does anything but observe him... and she's the one who chases after him and begs him to return when he leaves.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Mami ends up defying her real brother to bring Wataru back to the island.
    • Akio as well; after Wataru decides to stay on the island with his sisters, Akio transfers to the school on the island with Mami.
  • Hermetic Magic: Chikage's style, complete with tarot cards and crystal ball.
  • Humongous Mecha: Mecha-Rin-Rin, who is a separate entity from Mecha-Rin-Rin-chan.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Wataru has 12 sisters + Mami.
  • Incest Subtext: The series spends 90% of its time implying romantic rather than fraternal feelings between the girls and Wataru.
  • Innocent Innuendo: After Haruka assists an injured Wataru in the bath, she asks him to come to her room later. Cut to commercial. In the next shot, we see visuals of the outside of Haruka's room, and hear lines like "No, Beloved Brother, don't move so suddenly!" and "Is it okay now, Haruka?" There's also a bit of moaning and mood music playing as well. It's a moxibustion treatment.
  • The Jeeves: Jeeves, and his various disguises, are obviously cribbing the British butler archetype.
  • Joshikousei: All of the sisters wear school uniforms.
  • Kudzu Plot: Just how did Wataru wind up with 12 sisters he'd never met, some of whom hail from the other side of the world? Inquiring minds want to know. In the original G's Magazine stories it's shown the siblings have different mothers but the same father, who is supposedly a renowned diplomat. Of course, the saga told in G's Magazine (and the dating games) take place in a totally different reality from the first season anime series...
  • Lady and Knight: Wataru and Chikage may or may not have been a White Knight and Bright Lady in a past life depending on what you think of her Day In The Lime Light.
  • Large Ham: Taro Yamada. If his grandiose, No Indoor Voice proclaimations and frequent Sentai-style posing doesn't make it obvious, there's also his tendency to imagine dramatic, implausible scenarios with himself as the star, like believing that the girls are hopelessly in love with him instead of Wataru.
  • Lethal Chef: Shirayuki initially, although her cooking tends to be more weird than deadly. Later she becomes quite adept... as long as she's happy.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The characters have only a handful of outfits each, except for fashion-focused Sakuya.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: A slow, somber, piano version of the opening theme plays during the sadder moments, oftentimes when one or more of the sisters are dealing with loneliness due to physical or psychological separation from their brother.
  • Magic Realism: Around Chikage and Aria in episode 15, when a tree spirit helps her look for her ribbon, and does a lot magic around her.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Twelve and it's Justified since the girls all have the same father but different mothers; a single woman didn't give birth to all of them.
  • Meaningful Name: Shirayuki literally means "snow white". The fairy tale Snow White is known as "Shirayuki-hime" ("Princess Snow White") in Japan; tellingly, Shirayuki refers to herself as "Hime".
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Jeeves mysteriously appears wherever Wataru is, and his job title changes based on where Wataru is and what he needs at the moment.
  • No Full Name Given. None of the sisters have family names and nor does their brother. This makes it impossible to know for sure whether they're half-siblings or full siblings to each other.
    • In the PSX games, where the sisters all live in different houses because they all have different mothers but the same father, decided on "half-sisters" instead of full. No individualized last names are given there, however, because the player is mostly concerned with spending the time with his sisters that their high-class, career-minded mothers cannot (which is also why they idolize him to such extremes).
  • No Name Given: Until the anime, which named him Wataru, the protagonist was only ever referred to by a form of "brother".
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Jeeves pulls this off in Episode 2 in his disguise as a fisherman. Wataru doesn't appear to notice.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Wataru was just trying to get into high school and suddenly he's now living with twelve affectionate sisters.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise
    • Wataru sees right through Clover's disguise (Yotsuba), but plays along anyway. He even helps helps her get up during a chase sequence when she trips, then they "resume" the chase.
    • Jeeves, with the multiple identities he assumes, is more successful in fooling Wataru, though just barely.
  • Parental Abandonment: We never see anyone's parents for a significant chunk of the school year. The only adult around is Jeeves. Wataru asks Hinako where her mother and her father (assuming that she is lost) are when he first meets her to which she only replies with a shake of her head.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Rin-rin is always asking Wataru for research grants/donations.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: When Wataru preapres to leave Promise Island at the end of the Wham Episode, Sakuya, and to a lesser extent, Karen and the other girls freak out.
  • Recap Episode: Wataru reflects on his past experiences with his sisters in episode 13.
  • Reincarnation: Apparently, Chikage and Wataru knew each other in a previous life but only Chikage remembers their time together.
  • Reincarnation Romance: This is the reason Chikage's feelings towards her big brother are more than that of a sibling's: in a "past life", Chikage and Wataru were lovers, not brother and sister (although this is more "implied" than "directly stated," and more details are given in the PSX games). Unfortunately the reincarnation cycle screwed Chikage over in this life by reincarnating her into Wataru's little sister instead, presenting an obstacle to any possible rekindling of the romance. In the anime, Chikage takes this in stride and will patiently wait until her "next life" to try again, but in the PSX games, if the player pursues Chikage's "non-blood-related" route, it's possible for Chikage and her big brother to marry, since a "plot twist" reveals Chikage and her big brother aren't actually related after all. note 
  • The Mole: Mami starts off as a true mole, but is seduced to the brother side of the force.
  • Robot Girl: Mecha-Rin-rin-chan, who is a separate entity from Mecha-Rin-Rin.
  • Sand Bridge at Low Tide: After all the trouble Wataru goes through to get off of Promised Island, he discovers that he could have walked away on the one night a month when the dry land path connecting it to the Japanese shore appears.
  • Show Within a Show: The Super Robot anime that Yamada watches and builds models for.
  • Slice of Life: It's slow paced compared to some other shows, but interesting things happen to Wataru and his sisters while on the island.
  • Stock Footage: Chikage's tarot readings are re-used in every scene they appear in.
  • Suggestive Collision: On occasion, between Wataru and a couple of his sisters, which ends up in very embarrassing moments for him.
  • Supreme Chef: In the PSX games (and the sequel anime Sister Princess Repure) Shirayuki is this trope instead of Lethal Chef; in fact, in the PSX games, Shirayuki frequently shows up at school during lunch to give her brother homemade meals.
  • The Unwanted Harem: Wataru's sisters, though A) In time he comes to love them and B) It's not quite clear (in the anime, anyway) if he considers them a harem rather then a family. There is very little in the way of fighting; they have a brother-sharing schedule!
  • Third-Person Person: Hinako, Kaho, Aria, Shirayuki (who also calls herself "Princess"), and Sakuya in the wedding episode.
  • Verbal Tic: Shirayuki ends her sentences with "desu-no"; Aria is a bit of a crybaby, and whenever she utters the onomatopoeia "kusu" it means she's about to lose it. Haruka utters the onomatopoeia for "blush" when the situation calls for it.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Yotsuba does it with the Union Jack.
  • Weddings in Japan: In episode 7, the sisters discuss their wedding plans. Also, wedding dresses!
  • Western Zodiac: Each girl is born under a different signs of the Zodiac.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 24, when Akio convinces Wataru to visit Tokyo to see the high school he should've been at.
    • In the Re Pure series it happens during Sakuya's episode. She's the first sister to realize their brother will never love them as more than sisters. The foolish dreams of marrying him and becoming his wife are just that: wistful fantasies that will only lead to heartache.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Haruka, though she's part German she fills the rest: kimono, tea ceremony, devotion to family, practices with a naginata, etc.
  • Zip Me Up: Sakuya asks this of Wataru in their first meeting. While she was behind a dressing room curtain, no less!