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Visual Novel / Kana: Little Sister

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"Today, I saw the ocean. I'm not afraid anymore."

Kana: Little Sister (Kana ~Imouto~) is a Visual Novel depicting the story of 15-year-old Kana, a girl who suffers from a chronic life-threatening disease and her older brother, Takamichi (Taka), who supports her and cares for her. The game deals with the relationship between both siblings, which gets more and more intense as time progresses. There is a clear incestuous element later, but which goes far beyond mere physical attraction.

The game has a fairly long history, with its first release by D.O. in 1999. It caused quite a splash in the industry by combining a typical Dating Sim outline with very dramatic plot elements. This went so far that the actual sex scenes are few and far between, and are used more for narrative purposes than for titillation. This resulted in the trend of drama in dating sims becoming increasingly more important than the pornographic scenes, with often full-blown melodrama. Games of this type are often named "Utsu-ge" in Japanese, meaning "depressing game", which fits the contents nicely.

An English version of the game was released by G-Collections in 2002, with the erotic content uncensored.

It is through Taka's eyes that we see the story unfold, starting in the past, when he and his sister were children. The game covers a time period of about 10 years, in which the characters grow and have to make (sometimes tough) decisions.

In 2015, JAST USA released an English version of the Updated Re-release Kana Okaeri (meaning Kana, Welcome Home!), which contains full voice acting and animated sex scenes. The original is also available for half the price. There's also an "all-ages" version released for the PSP (It's exclusive to Japan, unfortunately.)


  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Of a sort. Kana in the remade Kana: Okaeri! version has black hair, though she was a brunette in the original.
    • Even more sort-of: The artwork from the original had her as a brunette, but this conflicts with the actual game text, which describes her hair as being black.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Yumi admits to it. Taka watches Kana do it, on some paths.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unknown if Yumi showed Taka's confession letter to their classmates or they actually found it before she did (as she claims). Regardless, she doesn't handle the situation as delicately as she could have, causing Taka to hold an almost ten year grudge against her.
  • Big Brother Attraction: Kana is in love with her older brother and caregiver Taka.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Taka is very caring and protective of his little sister Kana.
  • Bittersweet Ending: When it's not a downright Downer Ending.
    • Particularly the only ending where Kana survives, since her moving out is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • During the hike up the mountain, Taka states that he was playing "Pork-mon".
    • He later shows Kana how to play "Buyo Buyo", the popular puzzle game, at an arcade.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Taka and his little sister Kana. Though not related by blood.
  • Chekhov's Gift: The recording pendant that Taka gives Kana in the very first scene of the game plays a big role in Ending 2.
  • Downer Ending: Most of the game's endings.
    • Seeing as how Cana's survival hinges upon getting an organ from Kana, all of them are downer endings.
      • And, at the same time, they're all bittersweet. To clarify, there is a Golden Ending, in which Kana survives but leaves Taka in order to get some real-world experience and independence (it's left ambiguous whether she plans to return to him), three Intellectual Routes, in which Kana understands and accepts her death and parts "in good terms" with her brother; a Normal ending, in which Kana doesn't accept her death but Taka manages to get over it and stay sane, implying a possible relationship with Yumi, and a bad ending of sorts, with Kana not accepting her death and dying sad and angry, and Taka becoming literally mad with sorrow, but eventually recovering and managing to rekindle a relationship with Yumi.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: No matter what you do, Kana won't stay with you.
  • Fan Sequel: A number of popular fics and even flash adaptations came out over the years that follow where the endings leave off.
  • Golden Ending: Ending 1, where Kana lives.
  • Guide Dang It!: Most H-Games feature roughly one path for each character. This game has six paths for two characters, making it much harder to tell which path you're on. The game makes more use of counter type variables than flags.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Are they ever in this game. A big reason for both of the protagonists' angst is due to childhood bullying.
  • Minimalist Cast: While there are side characters, 95% of the story focuses on Taka and Kana, with a little bit of Yumi thrown in (depending on the route).
  • Multiple Endings: There are six.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Kana and the main character, although they still acknowledge their relationship as incestuous.
  • Porn with Plot: A classic example. Many players started playing it for the former, but wound up sticking with it for the latter.
  • Primal Scene: Depending on path, either Kana catches Taka and Yumi, which is awkward, or Yumi catches Taka and Kana — awkward doesn't even begin to cover it.
  • Seinen: This is still very much aimed at adolescent males, although the tissues will likely be used more for wiping tears.
  • Snow Means Death: Kana even promises to make it happen.
  • Spit Take: At one point, Yumi meets up with Taka and whispers in his ear, "I'm wet.", prompting a spit-take complete with sound effect. Also in the game, Taka visits Kana in the hospital, and sees a book on her shelf. He asks her what it's about.
    Kana: It's about a forbidden love between a brother and his little sister.
    I cough up my tea.
  • The Caretaker: Taka the older brother looks after his little sister Kana.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Deconstructed, as the main character knows very well that Kana is mostly so good because she hasn't seen much of the world. This gets even more emphasis in the best ending, where Kana decides to leave her brother in order to experience the world for herself.
  • Trope Maker: Already being an example of this for a story about terminally ill girl, Kana at one time had a huge impact on Brother–Sister Incest plots, popularizing many tropes, including a imouto as the central romantic interest, scene of masturbation, catch the protagonist during his incest with his own sister and of course, the discovery of the fact that the main character and his sister non blood related caused by desire to smooth out the overall of provocative tone of story.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Yumi, although she manages to turn the tide through sheer perseverance and a little alcohol.
  • Utsuge: Kana is ill. With some endings requiring her to have an organ donated to her or she'll die.
  • Visible Silence: The conversation gets very awkward if you give your sister an erotic lamp as a birthday gift.
    Taka: Well...
    Kana: ......
    Taka: ......
    Kana: ......
    Taka: ......
    Kana: ......
    Taka: ......
    Kana: ......
    Taka: ......
    Kana: ......
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Taka comes extremely close to this with three girls pushing Kana around at school.
    • Literally, to an extent, when Kana becomes hysterical upon learning about her true prognosis; there is an option to slap her back into sanity.