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Useful Notes / Japanese Sibling Terminology

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Where English makes no distinction between elder and younger siblings, Japanese has words that classify both gender and age (relative to the speaker) for a sibling. There are four basic terms:

  • otōto 弟: younger brother
  • imōto 妹: younger sister
  • ani 兄: elder brother
  • ane 姉: elder sister

These four terms are normally used when the speaker is describing siblings. If the speaker is talking about his older and younger brothers, for example, he will say "[watashi no] ani"note  and "watashi no otōto", respectively. If he is describing someone else (say, Hanako)'s younger brother, he will say "Hanako no otōtosan", using the common honorific -san indicating respect. Logically, describing Hanako's older brother would be "Hanako no anisan", but this is grammatically incorrect; rather, he will use "Hanako no oniisan".

Additionally, ani and ane can take the honorific prefix o- in place of the initial a (and simultaneously double the i / e sound), which indicates further respect. These are normally found in conjunction with an honorific — -san and -chan being among the most common for all four, although -sama is sometimes used for respected older siblings, while "baby-talk" equivalents such as -tan, -tama and -chama are limited for very young children. These are used when the speaker is describing someone else's sibling (see above) as well as when he is addressing his own older sibling. So the speaker may call his older brother (say, Kenta) "oniisan", "oniichan", "Kenta-niisan", etc. depending on how he regards Kenta, with the most common way being a simple "oniisan". This is Serious Business, by the way; while calling older siblings by "brother" or "sister" is considered old-timey in English, it's part of modern etiquette in Japanese. Conversely, whereas calling your older siblings by their name is normal in English, it's a serious breach of manners in Japanese when not attached with a familial term, on par with Calling Parents by Their Name, and definitely marks a distance between the two siblings if used at all. On the other hand, younger siblings are pretty much universally addressed by their given name.

It is also not uncommon for sibling terminology to be used for non-relatives. "Oniisan" and "oneesan" and their variants are often used by children for older non-relatives that are not too far apart in age from the speaker — expect the kid Victim of the Week to address the hero this way throughout the episode, for example. If the addressee is a generation older, "ojisan" or "obasan" (meaning "uncle" and "aunt", respectively) may be used instead and if they are two or more generations older, "ojiisan" or "obaasan" (meaning "grandfather" and "grandmother", respectively) may be used as well. This one's hard for translators — you want to stay true to the original, but can't exactly have the kid call the hero "big brother" despite the fact that they've clearly never met before.

In addition to the four basic words, there are numerous variations due to regional differences in pronunciation and from slang usages. Just as an example, here are some of the alternative versions that one may encounter in fiction:

  • ani
  • anigimi 兄君/anegimi 姉君 (very formal)
  • aniki 兄貴/aneki 姉貴 (informal, a rougher/slang variation along the lines of "bro"/"sis"; also used to refer to higher-ranking members of a gang)
  • anego 姉御 (informal, "sis"; may also be used from a younger person towards an older female that they respect, in fiction usually the leader of a female delinquent group or yakuza member)
  • anigo is the male equivalent of anego. There are also otōtogo and imōtogo, but these are only used to refer to someone else's sibling in the third person, not as terms of address.
  • aniue 兄上 (a formal and archaic, form of "brother"; only for older brothers)
  • aneue 姉上 ("sister", like aniue above, only for older sisters)
  • niiya にーや (regional variation)
  • oni おに (A homophone for the Japanese word for "ogre", but not often employed for a punning double meaning.)

According to Japanologist Basil Hall Chamberlain, the four-word system might have settled due to Chinese influence. Ancient Japan had a more complicated system. To paraphrase Chamberlain who cited feudal scholar Motoori Norinaga on this system:

  • If you were male, your older brother was your se or ani, your younger brother was your oto; your older sister was your imo or ane, and your younger sister was your imo.
  • If you were female, your brother was your se; your older sister was your ane, and your younger sister was your oto.

According to the Kojiki, the goddess Amaterasu referred to her younger brother Susanoo as a ga nase no mikoto, which Chamberlain translated (for technical reasons, as literally as possible) as "His Augustness my elder brother" while adding a footnote that says she was still the elder sister. Izanagi addressed his recently dead sister and wife, appropriately, as utsukushiki a ga nanimo no mikoto, or "Thine Augustness my lovely younger sister" in Chamberlain's translation; while Izanami, in Yomi, addressed her brother and husband, as utsukushiki a ga nase no mikoto, or "Thine Augustness my lovely elder brother".

This ancient system collapsed into the four-word system we know today, where there's no restriction on terms used by brothers among themselves as opposed to about their sisters, and vice versa. (A similar system with such restriction is still used by the Koreans.) Oto and imo compounded with hito (人 "person") to form otōto (originally, "younger sibling") and imōto (originally, "sister"). Historically there was also shōto (or seuto), used by females for their brothers.

It should be noted that incest was practiced in ancient Japan. Therefore, words for "brother" and "husband", as well as words for "sister" and wife", were interchangeable oftentimes. The word se could be spelt as 兄 ("elder brother") or 夫 ("husband"), or for some odd reason, 背 ("back"). Imose (妹背 or 妹兄) means either "wife and husband" or "sister and brother".

See also Onee-sama. For similar usage in a nearby country, see Chinese Sibling Terminology.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • After War Gundam X: One of the hints of Olba Frost's deep devotion to his older brother Shagia is that, for a very cocky and arrogant guy who can be Ax-Crazy in battle, he actually addresses Shagia with the respectful "Nii-san" instead of the more familiar "Aniki". In fact, he did it so often that Olba's seiyuu Nozomu Sasaki has said that he came to dislike the word itself.
  • Ah! My Goddess:
    • Skuld calls Belldandy oneesama, but not Urd. It's translated to "big sis" in the dub.
    • Belldandy refers to Urd as "Neesan".
  • In Amagami, Miya with her famous "nii-nii" for her brother Junichi.
  • In Baccano!, the Ax-Crazy mechanic Graham Specter refers to his hero, the equally Ax-Crazy Ladd Russo, as "Ladd-aniki". Luck and Berga Gandor call their older brother Keith "Kii-nii," and Maiza's younger brother calls him "nii-san."
  • In Be Careful, Onee-san, Mai, an elementary school girl who looks like a young adult, calls Tae, a twenty-something office worker who looks like a child, "Onee-san" after saving her from the pool.
  • Black Lagoon: Dark Action Girl Revy calls mafia boss Balalaika "Ane-ue" as a mark of respect (despite not being related to her), which is translated as "sis" in the English dub.
  • Bleach:
    • Karin calls her older brother Ichigo "Ichi-nii" a homophone for "One-two", while Yuzu calls him "Onii-chan" (the same as what Orihime calls her brother). Interestingly enough, unlike some twins, the Kurosaki sisters don't care about which one was born first- Karin calls Yuzu by name, while Yuzu calls Karin "Karin-chan."
    • Rukia usually refers to Byakuya as "Nii-sama" but, very occasionally (usually in the earlier days of the manga), she has used other forms.
    • Kon likes to call Rukia "Nee-san", but this is due to the use of the term as meaning "hey lady!".
    • Kiyone (third seat of the 13th division) calls her older sister Isane (lieutenant of the 4th division) "Nee-san".
    • Ganju (youngest of the Shiba siblings) refers to Kaien, the eldest, as "Aniki" and older sister Kukaku as "Onee-chan", while middle child Kukaku uses "Onii-san".
  • In Bloom Into You, Touko uses "Onee-chan" on her late older sister Mio.
  • Blue Exorcist:
    • Yukio calls Rin "Nii-san"Fun fact, but refers to him as "Ani" when talking about him to others.
    • Amaimon noticeably calls Mephisto the respectful "Aniue".
    • Mephisto calls his older brother Lucifer "Aniue" himself. Considering their relationship, it's most definitely done in a sarcastic, mocking way.
  • Chuuya Nakahara calls Kouyou Ozaki ane-san in Bungo Stray Dogs. This is not only because he has a closer relationship to her than the other executives (he was under tutelage of her for a part of his teen years), Kouyou is also the only female executive of the mafia.
  • Yukino and Kanade from Candy☆Boy call each other "Yuki-nee" and "Kana-nee", often saying it twice when they want to get each other's attention. Their younger sister Shizuku calls them both "neechan", although for Kanade she also tends to use the variety "baka-neechan".
  • In Captain Tsubasa, Sanae Nakazawa is nicknamed "Anego" since she bosses the Nankatsu kids around like an older sister. Tsubasa did it until around the second half of the original TV series; since then, he stopped calling her "Anego" and refers to her as "Sanae-chan" instead.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura calls her older brother the default "onii-chan." However, her Alternate Universe counterpart in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, Princess Sakura, calls her brother King Touya by the more respectful "nii-sama."
  • In Cells at Work!, the Platelet leader refers to both AE3803 (Red Blood Cell) and U-1146 (White Blood Cell) as "Oneechan" and "Oniisan", respectively. While in Japan these words are often used to refer to slightly older people who you know but aren't related to you, a doctor who watched and reviewed the series explains that this is entirely correct, as platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells are all created in the bone marrow, and they all stem from the same base cells that can grow into anything, making this a case of Accidentally-Correct Writing.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun:
    • Kuroko Shirai calls Mikoto Misaka "onee-sama", a show of the great respect she has for her - as well as her blatant attraction for her.
    • Touma calls Misaka 10032 - the Misaka Sister he saves from Accelerator - "Misaka Imouto".
    • The student gang in episode 14 calls their tomboy leader "aneko".
  • Citrus:
    • Yuzu and Mei always call each other by name, even though Yuzu is considered the elder sister. It becomes a minor plot point early on, when Yuzu, reading a manga with two sisters in an incestuous relationship, notices that the younger one is calling the older one "Onee-chan," and wonders whether that's why Mei doesn't call her by name.
    • Himeko once calls Yuzu "Onee-sama," after briefly claimingnote  that she went "a step further" with Mei than Yuzu did and that Mei only sees Yuzu as a sister, thereby implying that Yuzu will eventually be Himeko's sister-in-law.
  • In CLANNAD, the members of the street gangs refer to Yukine as Yuki-nee.
  • Code Geass:
    • Nunnally often referred to her older brother Lelouch with the ultra-respectful Onii-Sama . His fake younger brother, who he eventually accepts before his death Rolo refers to him as Nii-San. (The dub uses "Big Brother" for both.) Lelouch uses the respectful aniue when he talks with his older half-brother Schneizel and the similarly respectful aneue with Cornelia.
    • Cornelia also uses aniue when speaking to Schneizel.
    • Euphie uses "Onee-sama" on Cornelia, but Cornelia insists on being referred to by her title of Viceroy on certain occasions.
  • In Death Note, Sayu always calls Light oniichan; he just calls her Sayu, as you'd expect — though in the manga, there's a point where an Alternate Character Reading is employed, with the kanji for "Sayu" being read as imōto.
    Light (to Ryuk): "My sister would have a heart attack just from seeing your face."
  • In The Devil is a Part-Timer!, Alas Ramus sees Chiho as a big sister, and calls her "Chi-nee-chan."
  • Digimon Data Squad:
    • Agumon calls Marcus aniki, dubbed to "boss." His actual younger sister calls him Masaru-niichan. Touma's younger sister, Relena, calls him oniisama.
    • Touma and Relena are an odd case — they're half-siblings, Touma is half-Japanese and Relena is fully Austrian. Whether Relena actually calls Touma "oniisama" as an endearment signifying respect for his mother's native culture or if it's just the Translation Convention in effect to help the original Japanese audience with the nuances of their relationship is never addressed. In the dub, Touma is usually called "Thomas," while Relena calls him "Tommy."
    • The reason Agumon calls Marcus/Masaru aniki in the original but "boss" instead in the dub is because, in this case, "aniki" means "brother" literally but also means "boss" according to the Yakuza, therefore having the same connotations. The same reason is why Agumon considers himself Marcus' follower/employee.
  • Sakura in Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor is called anego by her two henchmen/friends.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Elfman refers to his older sister Mirajane as "nee-chan".
    • Their little sister Lisanna calls them "Elf-nii-chan" and "Mira-nee".
    • Sho, Erza's childhood friend, calls her "nee-chan".
  • The Familiar of Zero's Louise has two elder sisters, neither one of which is referred to by name, they are called Onee-sama and Chi-nee-sama (basically meaning second elder sister) respectively.
  • In Father and Son, Youichi is addressed as "nii-san" by his brother-in-law.
  • Fly Me to the Moon:
    • Kaname calls her older sister Aya "Aya-nee."
    • Chitose calls her adopted older sister Tsukasa "Nee-sama," since she comes from a rather wealthy family.
    • Nasa's cousin Ginga uses "aniki" on him, one of many things that makes him come off as a Yakuza even though he's not.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Yuki calls his older brother Ayame "nii-san".
    • In the not-actually-siblings department, Kisa calls Tohru "onee-chan", Haru calls Hatori "nii-san", and Rin calls Shigure "Gure-nii".
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Alphonse refers to his brother solely as "Nii-san". He uses it so much, it's practically his Catchphrase, and it even carries over into English translations and dubs as "brother".
    • Alex refers to his older sister Olivier as "aneue".
  • Suboshi in Fushigi Yuugi calls his brother "aniki".
  • In Genshiken, when the rest of the club follows Sasahara to the train station to pick up his High School-age sister, Madarame wonders aloud what she calls him- "I guess big brother (oniichama) is out, probably bro (aniki)". She calls him monkey. Despite the (necessarily) clumsy translation of the Japanese honorifics, that last part translates well.
  • Himiko in Get Backers addresses her older brother Yamato as "aniki." He's a casual Big Brother Mentor-type, so it fits. Juubei addresses his older sister as "aneja," which is written with the kanji for "older sister" and "person." Yukihiko Mirouku tends to use [Name]-niisan or -neesan for his siblings, while Yohan, after revealing that he's Kazuki's younger brother, addresses him with the archaic "aniue." He calls his adopted older brother by name, while his adopted younger sister calls him by name.
  • In Gintama, Shinpachi addresses his sister Otae as "aneue"; Kagura, despite not being related to either of them, calls her "anego, because she look up to her in a street-gang kind of way.."
  • In Girls und Panzer, Miho calls Maho "Onee-chan," and in the prequel manga, Little Army, Emi refers to her older sister as "Nee-san".
  • In The Guy She Was Interested in Wasn't a Guy At All, Aya Oosawa refers to the record store clerk she has a crush on, "Onii-san," since she believes he's a somewhat older young man but doesn't know his name. She's wrong about "his" age and gender, as "he" turns out to be her female classmate Mitsuki Koga.
  • Haganai uses this a lot, even though there are only two cases of actual sibling relations. Kobato refers to her older brother, Kodaka, as "an-chan" whenever she lapses into her native Kyushu accent. Kodaka is also addressed as "aniki" by Yukimura (deliberately as a gang leader reference, because Yukimura believes Kodaka to be a paragon of masculinity) and "onii-chan" by Maria and Kate. Averted with Kate and Maria, though — Kate wants Maria to call her "onee-sama", but Maria won't have anything of it unless forced to.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon's little sister is always referred to exclusively as "Imōto-chan", including in the credits and the title of her Image Song album. Kyon's friends have even called her "Imōto-san" on-screen; apparently, No Name Given is some kind of tradition in that family. Kyon himself wishes his little sister would call him "onii-san" instead of only using his nickname.
  • Killua from Hunter × Hunter calls both, Illumi and Milluki, aniki. That confuses Gon a little bit, since he only knows Illumi and Kalluto, but he never met his other brothers, yet. Killua is called nii-san and onii-chan by Kalluto and Alluka, respectively.
  • Mayotama from I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying calls his big brother Hajime (who he has a massive crush on) "anija". During a flashback to before he developed his crush, he called him "nii-san".
  • In Initial D, Keisuke almost invariably refers to his older brother Ryosuke as "aniki."
  • Sota in Inuyasha calls Kagome "nee-chan," while in the feudal era, Kohaku calls Sango by the more archaic "aneue" (when he remembers who she is, anyway). Manten, the younger of the youkai Thunder Brothers, calls his older brother Hiten "anchan," and most of the Band of Seven call their leader Bankotsu "aniki" or "o-aniki." Kaede refers to Kikyo as "onee-sama". (Inuyasha himself, being your standard Jerk with a Heart of Gold shounen protagonist, calls his Aloof Big Brother Sesshomaru by his first name only, and both he and Sesshomaru himself seem horrified when Kagome calls Sesshomaru "oniisan".)
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Shirogane's little sister Kei simply refers to him as "Onii" without any additional honorifics, showing that she acknowledges him as her brother but doesn't show him any additional respect beyond that.
  • In Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, Hazumu has been gender-swapped, and the ship's AI has based its hologram avatar on his new female form. Because of this, she call him/her "nii-nee-san."
  • In Kill la Kill after it is revealed that Ryuuko and Satsuki are sisters by blood and actually on the same side in the story's conflict, Ryuuko attempts to stammer out "Nee-san" when addressing Satsuki, who responds that she doesn't expect Ryuuko to treat her as a sister. They settle for calling each other by first name alone, until the very end, where Ryuuko finally calls Satsuki "Nee-san".
  • In Knight Hunters, Aya Fujimiya calls her older brother "Ran-oniichan" or just "oniichan."
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, Wolfram refers to his older (half) brother Gwendal not as 'Onii-san', but as the ultra-respectful 'Ani-ue'. He doesn't refer to their Half-Human Hybrid middle brother Conrad by either, or acknowledge their relationship in any way, at least at first, due to Fantastic Racism, though he eventually gets over this.
  • In Love Hina, Motoko Aoyama refers to her older sister Tsuruko as "aneue". Except in the Tokyopop manga translation, in which she uses "oneesan."
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Subaru Nakajima refers to her older sister Ginga as "Gin-nee," despite formerly using "onee-chan" on her. Meanwhile, Cinque, one of the new siblings they gained after the post-StikerS Time Skip, refers to Ginga using the very formal "aneue".
    • In StrikerS, Fate, who has been adopted by the Harlaown family, refers to Chrono as "Onii-chan" in situations where she doesn't need to address him as a superior officer, prompting him to suggest that she should stop doing that now that she's an adult. In the third sound sage of the second season, she considers calling him "Nii-san" or "Aniue".
    • Nanoha's older sister Miyuki refers to her older brother Kyouya as "Kyou-chan", rather than "Onii-chan", like Nanoha does. This carries over from Triangle Heart 3, when he was her cousin and not her biological brother. Based on this, Nanoha, who calls her older brother "Onii-chan" and her older sister "Onee-chan," suggests that Fate doesn't have to call Chrono "Onii-chan."
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, Alicia, who is Fate's actual older sister in this continuity (even if she doesn't look older), complains about Fate sometimes not calling her "Onee-chan", and retaliates by reading aloud an assignment she wrote about how much she loves her sister in front of Fate's new friends.
    • Following her adoption into the Yagami family, Agito refers to Vita as "Anego".
  • In Maria†Holic, the priest Kanae thinks Kanako's issues stem from losing her beloved brother. (To Tchaikovsky syndrome in B minor. Yes, Mariya's behind this.) The term he uses for this nonexistent brother is ani-ue.
  • Haruka Minami from Minami-ke is always "Haruka-oneesama" to her little sister Chiaki. This is partly because of her Promotion to Parent and partly because, well, she's an Onee-sama.
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Domon referred to his brother Kyouji as "Oniisan", and reverted to calling him by name due to hating him after his Face–Heel Turn. After learning the truth of his involvement from Kyoji's clone Schwarz Bruder, he refers to Kyouji again as "Niisan". And when he has to Mercy Kill both Kyouji and his clone Schwarz, he breaks down crying and screams "NIIIISAAAAAAAAAN!".
  • Moriarty the Patriot:
    • Louis (the youngest Moriarty sibling) refers to older brother William as "Nii-san" and the eldest brother Albert as "Nii-sama"—that is, until until their relationship changes enough for him to call Albert "Nii-san" as well and distinguishes the two by first name if necessary.
    • William also calls Albert "Nii-san."
    • Sherlock, as informal as he is, still calls Mycroft "Aniki" instead of by name.
  • My-HiME:
    • Mikoto uses the archaic formal term for "brother" aniue for her long-lost brother (she doesn't know his name).
    • In a Lotus-Eater Machine sequence inflicted on Mai, Mai tells Mikoto, who is apparently her little sister in this version of reality and whom she views as like a little sister, to not call her older sister by name.
  • Naruto:
    • Konohamaru refers to the title character as "Naruto-niichan", giving an example of using older-sibling terminology towards an unrelated older kid one respects and admires. He also calls Naruto "boss".
    • Also Inari does the same thing.
    • Hinata calls her cousin Neji "Neji-nii-san", leading some onlookers to believe he is her older brother. Since their fathers are identical twins, they actually are half-siblings genetically.
    • In flashbacks, Sasuke always called Itachi "Nii-san", which got translated to "brother" in the dub. Once the truth about Itachi is revealed Sasuke pretty quickly goes back to calling him Nii-san.
    • Naruto always adds nee-chan to Shizune and Ayame despite not being related to either.
    • Tobirama constantly refers to his brother, Hashirama as "anija" which is an older form of 'aniki'.
    • In the sequel series, Boruto refers to Konohamaru as Konohamaru-niichan, which is fitting for a family friend who is older but still young himself.
  • Negima!:
    • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
      • Chamo addresses Negi as "aniki"; given the ermine's personality and habits, it's almost certainly intended as the gang slang as much as the literal meaning.
      • Chamo also uses a different version of "nee" depending on which girl he is addressing.
      • Negi also refers to his older cousin as "oneechan".
    • Honoka and Isana from UQ Holder! both call Touta nii-sama, presumably because they have the same last name (there hasn't been anything to suggest that they're actually related to him). Confusingly, Isana calls Honoka "Ojou-sama" (as a reference to Konoka and Setsuna), despite the fact that they're twin sisters.
  • One Piece:
  • In the TV series One Stormy Night: Secret Friends, Boro always refers to Gabu as "Gabu-nii".
  • In Outlaw Star, Jim refers to Gene as aniki, but just "Gene" in the English dub.
  • In Queen's Blade Elina calls her elder sister Leina "onee-chan," while both call their eldest half-sister Claudette "onee-sama."
  • Evolves over the course of Ranma ½: While Ranma normally addresses his fiancee's older sister Kasumi using "Kasumi-san", he occasionally uses "Kasumi-onee-san" as a sign of his esteem in the later seasons. In the episode where Ranma thinks he's a girl he addresses her as "Kasumi-onee-chan" and the dub actually translates this as "Big sister Kasumi" for an equivalent cutesy effect.
  • In the TV series of Read or Die, Anita calls her (adopted) sisters Maggie and Michelle "Ma-nee" and "Mi-nee." She ends up calling Nenene "Nene-nee" after rejecting "Nenene-neesama."
  • In Saki most of the older sisters in the series- Teru, Hiroe, Yuu, Nozomi and Kana are referred to as "Onee-chan" by their younger sisters- Saki, Kinue, Kuro, Ako and the three younger Ikeda sisters, respectively. Ako, a friend of Kuro's who knows Yuu, calls her "Yuu-nee", and Yuu sometimes refers to herself as "Onee-chan" when talking to or about Kuro.
  • Megumi Sakura from School-Live! is the teacher of the main characters. She insists on being called "Sakura-sensei", but she's rarely called this because the girls see her as too big of a Cool Big Sis and prefer to refer to her as "Megu-nee".
  • In Scrapped Princess, the main character Pacifica refers to her siblings as "Shannon-nii" and "Raquel-nee"
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Keisaku and Eita always use the respectful ane-san for Margery Daw. You'll find that funny if you get to know her.
  • Sister Princess — thirteen sisters, thirteen different ways to say "big brother". The English dub goes through outrageous contortions to come up with equally individualized equivalents for the Japanese terms and mostly succeeds, even if it does have to dip into a couple other languages to do it.
  • In Sorcerer Hunters, Marron refers to his brother as "niisan" more often than he does his name, while Tira calls Chocolat "onee-sama". Eclair in the OAVs refers to her big brother Gateau as "aniki".
  • Ryuuki in The Story of Saiunkoku persists in calling Seiran "aniue" when they are alone together, in spite of Seiran's protests, once he finds out that Seiran is actually his exiled older brother Seien.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Suguha "Leafa" Kirigaya calls her cousin/adopted brother Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya "Onii-chan."
    • Yuuki once calls Asuna "Nee-chan," which Asuna initially assumes is a term of endearment. It turns out to be a Freudian Slip by Yuuki, who thought Asuna was so similar to Yuuki's deceased older twin sister Ran that Yuuki ended up calling her what she called Ran.
  • The fact that you can use titles for your brother while talking to him caused a translation error in the second Tenchi Muyo! movie, when Aeka said "my brother's tree" while talking to Katsuhito. Literally translating this into English led fans to conclude that he is not her brother (and therefore that the movie couldn't take place in OAV continuity).
    • The dub also had to really wrack its brains when Tenchi's long-lost sister reveals herself and at one point goes on about all the various sibling terms she'll finally get to be called. The dub mostly keeps up when coming up with variations, and makes some of the dialogue refer to finally getting to have a brother-sister relationship with him. Maybe "sissy-poo" is a bit of a stretch when it comes to alternate terms, but... they did a pretty good job translating the most.
  • Being buddies rather than biological brothers, Simon naturally uses "aniki" to refer to Kamina on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, though with the same amount of respect you'd expect from "onii-sama". Kamina, in return, calls Simon "ototo", and when Simon replies he doesn't need to do that since they're not really siblings Kamina tells him that the two are soul-brothers. The dub simply uses "bro", both ways, except for Kamina's "hands-off-my-adorable-little-brother-PUNCH!".
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Hinami refers to Kaneki as ''onii-chan'' and Touka as ''onee-chan''.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew:
    • Mint uses the extremely formal "Onii-sama" on her older brother Seiji. She also uses "Onee-sama" on her Celeb Crush and older teammate Zakuro.
    • Bu-Ling, the youngest member of the Mew team, calls all of her teammates "Onee-chan". Similarly, she uses "Onii-chan" for her bosses Ryou and Keiichiro.
    • Bu-Ling's younger siblings call her "Onee-chan".
  • Oboro in Utawarerumono puzzles Hakuoro when he begins calling him "aniki", but he just shrugs it off. Really, this is about as respectful as you can expect him to get.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne:
    • Van Fanel when refering to his Mother or Brother will use; Hahaue and Aniue respectively.
    • Millerna Ashton will use the somewhat, more traditional Onee-sama and Otou-sama for her Sister and Father. This is likely to show how far out in the sticks Fanelia was as opposed to Asturia since both are royalty.
  • The World God Only Knows:
    • Elsie, a low-ranking devil who concludes a contract with Keima, considers him a god and pretends to be his younger sister. So, she calls him "Kami-nii-sama", thus mixing together "god" and "older brother" (This gets translated to "divine brother" in the English dub).
    • Kusonoki calls her older sister Hinoki "ane-ue".
    • Meanwhile, after meeting Keima (and being snogged on multiple occasions) in the First Memory Fragment of the Heart of Jupiter arc, Dokurou addresses him with the affectionate onii-chan.
  • Manga/X1999: Sorata calls Arashi "Neechan" in the more playful sense. The subs traduce her as "missy".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • When they were both children, Seto Kaiba in took on the task of raising his younger brother, Mokuba. Mokuba has nothing but the utmost respect for his brother, and as a result uses nii-sama exclusively for him.
    • Normal Marik calls Ishizu "Nee-san", and Yami Marik calls her the extremely respectful "Aneue-sama" in a manner dripping with irony (especially considering that he's threatening to kill her in the same instance).
    • Shizuka uses "Onii-chan" on her older brother Katsuya Jounouchi.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Kuwabara usually calls his big sister Shizuru "aneki," switching to "Neechan" when he's sucking up to or teasing her.
  • Zatch Bell!: The Brainwashed and Crazy Kolulu calls her bookkeeper, Shiori, "neesan", which is an important plot point. She goes on to call Gash's bookkeeper Kiyomaro "niisan" when he burns her book at her behest.

    Audio Play 
  • The protagonists from Yandere Heaven is called "nee-chan" and "nee-sama" by her younger brothers. Other characters, such as Ran and Nahiro, are addressed as "nii-san"/"nii-chan" by their younger siblings (Wakasa for Ran and the protagonist for Nahiro respectfully).
  • The protagonists in Yandere no Onna no Ko are usually called "onii-chan" by girls who either are his sisters or think of him like a brother. Elise from the third volume addresses her older twin as "onee-sama".

  • At the end of The Wolverine, Yukio refers to Mariko as "Onee-chan."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Engine Sentai Go-onger has Miu constantly referring to her brother (and fellow Sixth Ranger) Hiroto as ani.
  • Makito from Mahou Sentai Magiranger is often called Aniki by his siblings (or even himself). Being an all-sibling team, every term on this list appears multiple times.
  • Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger's Kotaro Sakuma, the youngest of the rangers at thirteen, refers to orange ranger Stinger as aniki after the latter saved him and his little brother Jiro from being killed for resisting the occupation. Stinger returns the favor by treating Kotaro much more warmly in comparison to the other rangers.
  • Both B-Fighter Kabuto and Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger have the younger brother of a duo refer to the elder as “Anija”.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue:
    • Jin Kisaragi's infamous "NII-SAAAN!!" towards his brother Ragna. All while being obsessed to kill him in a rather... suggestive way.
    • Similarly, Carl Clover calls her big sister "nee-san".
    • Tsubaki, meanwhile, refers to her Childhood Friend Jin as "Jin-niisama", and she appropriately respects him. A lot. In the audio drama Wheel of Fortune, Tsubaki gets a vision of Jin's past with his (nowadays missing) sister who also called him "nii-sama"; Tsubaki gets angry at it, saying that the only one who can call Jin that is her.
    • The Imperator is apparently Ragna's sister who always calls him "nii-sama". Ragna gets rather irritated by it because she's a villain who wants him on her side. After she got absorbed into Noel (her clone) and the latter gains the former's memories, Noel also calls Ragna with "nii-sama".
    • Celica calls her sister Nine with "onee-chan".
  • In Corpse Party, a game that is fully voiced in Japanese, Yuka is frequently heard calling "onii-chan" after being separated from her older brother, Satoshi. Especially in the sixth episode of Book of Shadows, "Mire". While Kizami is torturing her, she almost exclusively calls out "onii-chan" when she's not whimpering or crying. Kizami also insists that she calls him "onii-chan" and gets violently angry when she refuses due to the fact that he is not her older brother at all.
  • In Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, Komaru Naegi, the younger sister of Makoto Naegi, generally calls her older brother "Onii-chan." In the localized version, she simply calls him by name.
  • Ensemble Stars!:
    • Both Yuuta and Ritsu call their older brothers "aniki" (at least, when Ritsu deigns to acknowledge Rei as his brother at all).
    • Several of the first-years refer to Anzu as like an older sister: formal Tsukasa uses "oneesama", childish Mitsuru uses "neechan", and boyish Tetora uses "anego".
    • Hajime usually just uses "sempai" for his seniors, but in a couple of stories he expresses a 'selfish' desire to call Anzu "oneesan" and be treated as her younger brother, and in the Wonderland story, Eichi and Ritsu both encourage Hajime to call them "oniisan".
    • Souma is the eldest sibling in his family, but in the Cinderella story, in which he was playing a stepsister but speaking in his usual manner out of difficulty with normal language, he refers to the other stepsister Keito as "anegimi".
  • Final Fantasy X has a character named "Aniki", who happens to be Rikku's brother. This was translated as "Brother", and throughout the game and its sequel everyone calls him "Brother" despite not being everyone's brother.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In the manga for Fire Emblem 4, Azel and Ethlyn refer to Arvis and Sigurd (respectively) as "niisan" and "niisama". Which is odd considering Ethlyn is comfortable teasing Sigurd while Azel fears Arvis, yet she's the one using "sama"...
    • In FE1 and 3, Rikard calls Julian 'aniki'. In the localization, this became "chief". Also, Tiki, despite being unrelated to him, refers to Marth as "Oniichan", something she keeps up even when she's older, thousands of years later. In the English localization of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, she calls him "Mar-Mar", which was carried on in future localizations.
    • In the ending of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Sanaki addresses her long-lost older sister Micaiah as "aneue."
    • Say'ri in Fire Emblem: Awakening used 'aniue' to refer to her brother, which emphasises both her Big Brother Worship and her archaic style of speech. Since there's no real equivalent in English, most of these instances were changed to calling him by name (or occasionally "Brother") in the localisation, and her archaic speech was conveyed by having her use words like 'nay' and 'fie' in other contexts.
    • Since there are so many siblings running around in Fire Emblem Fates, there are also a whole bunch of different honorifics used in Japanese. The youngest sister of the Nohrian royals, Elise, calls her five older siblings "onii-chan/onee-chan" respectively, emphasizing her childishness. The youngest Hoshidan royal, Sakura, meanwhile goes for the very respectful and formal "nii-sama/nee-sama", because she admires them so much. Both royal elder sisters use "nii-sama" for their elder brothers, which fits with the overly affectionate Camilla, but feels a little odd for Hinoka. The younger brothers of both families, Leo and Takumi use the more standard "nii-san/nee-san", which in this case emphasizes how they are the odd ones out in their families.
      • The avatar is a special case. Depending on which voice set is chosen, they will use different honorifics to address their elder siblings, which fit their general disposition (e.g. more 'cute' voices use "onii-chan/onee-chan").
    • Fire Emblem Heroes:
      • During the Happy New Year paralogue, Camilla suggests that Azura, the daughter of Arete (Camilla's father Garon's second wife), call Camilla (the daughter of one of Garon's concubines), "oneesan" or "oneechan." Azura ends up once calling Camilla the former.
      • From the Original Generation royal families, Sharena uses "onii-sama" to refer to her brother Alfonse, which she extends to Líf upon realizing he's an older version of Alfonse. In the English dub, she occasionally uses "brother", but more often calls Alfonse by name, omitting the notable amount of respect she gives to him, since the only other Heroes characters to use that level of formality are Veronica, Laevatein (who uses aneue), and Freyja, all much more composed and serious than Sharena is.
      • The Nifl sisters all use "nii-sama" or "nee-sama", which is largely omitted in English.
      • Peony wonders why hearing "onee-chan" makes her feel like crying, due to her addressing Triandra as such when they were human children. When Sharena briefly mistakes Peony's life for her own, she corroborates this. However, even after the reveal, Peony continues to address Triandra by name instead.
      • Reginn uses "onii-chan" for both Ótr and Fáfnir, while Ótr uses "nii-san". The English dub omits Reginn's address in favour of their names, but Ótr ends up referring to Fáfnir with the vocative "brother" more often than not.
    • 'Fire Emblem: Three Houses''
      • Flayn, an extremely polite young girl, uses "Onii-sama" on Seteth, although it turns out that he's her father, not her brother.
      • In the original Japanese, Constance calls Mercedes, a Childhood Friend whom Constance considers like an older sister, "Onee-sama." Mercedes' long-lost younger half-brother Emile calls Merecedes "Aneue."
    • In Fire Emblem Engage, Veyle uses "Onii-chan" or "Onee-chan" on Alear, who is Veyle's long-lost older sibling, fitting with Veyle's use of "Papa" and "Mama". While most characters refer to their older siblings by name in the localization, Veyle usually calls Alear "Brother" or "Sister." The royals use sibling terminology of varying levels of formality- Celine uses "Onii-sama" on Alfred, Alcryst uses "Aniue" on Diamant, Hortensia uses "Onee-sama" on Ivy, and Fogado uses "Nee-san" on Timerra.
  • The thing from Elevator: Source that runs at the elevator with an anime girl's face repeatedly says "Onii-chan" as the doors close in its face.
  • Rose Bernstein in The King of Fighters calls her brother Adel onii-sama in his opening pose.
  • At the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II, Selphie, who is one year younger than Kairi, calls her "neechan". In the English dub, she just calls her by name.
  • In The Last Blade 2, Kojiroh invokes "aniue" in one of her violent deaths.
  • Lots of characters in the Like a Dragon series call Kazuma Kiryu "aniki" (Shinji in Yakuza, Rikiya in Yakuza 3, and Nagumo in Yakuza 6).
  • In Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, which uses Japanese voices alongside English text in the English version, Momiji refers to Kureha as "onee-sama" while visiting her grave in the ending.
  • Persona 5:
    • Makoto uses "Onee-chan" on her older sister Sae, which the localization translates as "Sis." The dub of the anime has her alternate between using "Sis" and referring to Sae by name.
    • Averted with sisters Kasumi and Sumire Yoshizawa, who refer to each other by name.
  • Tonio in Rodea the Sky Soldier calls his older sister Sonia 'onee-san', while refering to Ion as Ion-neechan, and Rodea as Rodea-oniichan. Even though he was terrified of Rodea for being a robot earlier.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Berseria:
      • Velvet Crowe addresses her brother-in-law Arthur as "nii-san", up until he murders her younger brother in front of her, at which point she starts calling him "Arthur", and later "Artorius", which is his real name.
      • Laphicet Crowe addresses Velvet as "onee-chan", which becomes Terms of Endangerment when he incarnates into Innominat.
    • In Tales of Xillia 2, the very first dialogue choice of the game decides whether or not the protagonist, Ludger, addresses his older brother as "nii-san" or "Julius", with whichever choice sticking through the rest of the game. The English dub translates "nii-san" to "brother", but the choice doesn't change any of Ludger's dialogue and aside from that one scene, Ludger will simply call him by name.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Shirou is quite surprised to hear that Issei views Kuzuki, who is apparently the only other teacher at their school, as an older brother and refers to him with "aniki". Rather informal for the rather stuffy Issei. It turns out that they both live at the same Buddhist temple.
    • Shirou himself refers to Taiga Fujimura as "Fuji-nee", since he's known her since childhood and views her like an older sister.
    • Sakura uses "Nii-san" on her adoptive brother Shinji and, after a certain point in Heaven's Feel, "Nee-san" on her actual sister, Rin.
    • Illyasviel von Einzbern refers to Shirou as "onii-chan", much like how a young child would refer to a stranger. Ironically, she's actually his older sister, legally.
  • In Kindred Spirits on the Roof, while none of the characters' siblings are shown, Yuna's Childhood Friend Hina, who's a year younger than her, calls her "Yuna-nee," and continues doing so after they enter a romantic relationship.
  • Little Busters!:
    • Rin shows her lack of respect for (and, in turn, her closeness to) her older brother by always referring to him simply with his first name, just as for all of the other childhood friends, though she does sometimes call him "idiot aniki". At one point Kyousuke tries to persuade her to call him by a title, and while she rejects his suggestions of "onii-sama" or "onii-chan", she's fine with 'anija' though it doesn't stick.
    • Also, the term "Anego"—a more informal version of "onee-san" with Cool Big Sis overtones—is strongly associated with Kurugaya, who often refers to herself by the term and insists that Haruka calls her that way.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice when Princess Rayfa discovers that Nahyuta is her older brother at the end of the game, she tries to call him "onii-san". But being too proud to say it, she stops at "oni" and it ultimately sounds like she's calling him an ogre, which he gets upset about. For the localization, she tries to call him Big Brother, but ultimately names him Braid Head.
  • Tsukihime:
    • Hisui always refers to her older (twin) sister Kohaku as "nee-san." Always. If she ever uses another term (for example, "my sister," per the Mirror Moon translation), it's a giant clue that it's not actually Hisui...
    • Akiha calls Shiki "Nii-san". Like the above example, if she uses another term, she's referring to SHIKI, her actual brother.
    • Supplementary materials have Arcueid referring to Akiha as 'Imouto', due to her firm belief that once she and Shiki get hitched Akiha will be her sister-in-law anyway, so she might as well get started now.
  • When They Cry:
    • Higurashi: When They Cry:
      • Satoko calls her brother Satoshi, and later, Keiichi, "nii-nii." Similarly, she refers to Shion as "nee-nee".
      • Shion makes the unusual choice of simply calling her older twin sister Mion "onee", with no honorific after it.
    • Umineko: When They Cry: George, the eldest of the four Ushiromiya cousins, is called by an older brother term by each of his younger cousins. Battler calls him "Aniki", Jessica calls him "George-nii-san" and Maria calls him "George-onii-chan".


    Web Video 
  • The late Billy Herrington, a gay porn actor who became a meme among gachimuchi enthusiasts on Nico Nico Douga, was often referred to as "aniki" by his fans.