The List
7 Brother-Sister Romances That Went Too Far

by Lynzee Loveridge,

This week, we're talking about the elephant in the anime viewing room. It's a particular type of "forbidden relationship" that crops up on a pretty regular basis, where dudes have a chance at sleeping with their sisters. I'm not going to pretend to know why this trope is common beyond a lot of theorizing and supposition, but the number of different sister types in anime is boundless. There's idolized little sisters, protective older sisters, cousins raised as sisters, step-sisters, and adopted sisters. The last few are supposed to be forbidden but viable love interests that don't cross the "biological line", while the blood-related examples' affections are usually played for titillation against a protagonist who can't seem to do much about the inappropriate advances.

Then there's the handful of times where the joke becomes more than a joke, when the protagonist actually chooses his blood-related sister. Where NAKAIMO - My Little Sister Is Among Them!, Please Twins, and Recently, my sister is unusual. restrain themselves to dancing around that line, these other series decided to run full bore to the edge of the cliff.

Oreimo My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute is a sticking point for everyone who thought Kyosuke and Kirino would never be a real item. He had a potential relationship with Ruri lined up, not to mention the numerous other harem options. Ignoring the fact that she's his sister, Kirino's tsundere personality type can be divisive on its own. All of that combined led to an audience revolt, something the series' wedding scene practically sealed with its "we did but we didn't" conclusion in the three-episode OVA.

Kagihime Monogatari - Eikyuu Alice Rondo While the manga was brought over here legally, I can't vouch if it concludes the same way as the unlicensed anime series. Aruto is a guy who's totally obsessed with stories centering around Alice in Wonderland. Supposedly there's a lost third book that takes place after Through the Looking Glass, and bunny warrior girls are battling one another to collect the pages hidden within themselves to have their wish granted. Aruto's sister Kiraha gets wrapped up in this after they meet another bunny girl suspiciously named Arisu Arisugawa, and most of the show's runtime pushes Aruto ending up with Arisu instead of his needy sister. The ending decides to "nope" right out of that scenario, as Aruto finally admits that he reciprocates Kiraha's romantic feelings, and Arisu was just conjured up from his imagination to divert them. What?

Angel Sanctuary Setsuna is a super moody teen who's in love with his perfect younger sister Sara. Their parents are divorced, so they live apart, but they slowly start to acknowledge their mutual feelings for one another and even decide to elope after their parents catch wind of their romance. That would be the end if not for the fact that Setsuna is also the reincarnation of a rebellious female angel and the target of heavenly campaigns against God, demons, you name it. When the two are separated, thus begins a Dante-esque quest for Setsuna to reunite with his sister.

The Eden of Grisaia Yūji Kazami's backstory is so over-the-top convoluted and tragic, it's hard to take any of it seriously. Everything about his family life is awful, even moreso in the game which is impressive considering how far the anime adaptation went to stay close to the source material. His nuclear family is a train wreck, and he gets adopted by a pedophile that runs a terrorist camp. He's soon taken in by a counter-terrorist, but that relationship turns sexual as well, and then he goes to a high school for unstable girls. Yūji has literally never had a normal guardian-child relationship, and it all starts with his protective genius sister Kazuki. Although the relationships explored in The Eden of Grisaia are abusive, I'm not entirely sure the creators thought so because they're obviously played up as some kind of wish-fulfillment instead.

Koi Kaze Koshirō Saeki is almost 30, just got dumped by his girlfriend, and is still living at home when he meets 15-year-old Nanoka. Both comfort one another after being recently heartbroken, then intend to go their separate ways. Unfortunately, they soon find out that they're siblings and both have to reconcile the feelings they have for one another. Unlike the other entries on the list, Koshiro and Nanoka weren't raised together and had no idea they were related until after meeting one another years later. Koi Kaze is often regarded in fan circles as the series that treats this taboo topic with the most respect to create a compelling drama.

Aki Sora This list wouldn't be complete without the 'boundary pushing' Aki Sora OAVs. The original manga is so notorious that it's one of the few affected by Tokyo's Youth Healthy Development Ordinance, since the publisher decided to pre-emptively stop printing the series after the law was passed. What's all the hubbub about? Aki Sora didn't run in an H magazine, but the manga does contain graphic depictions of younger brother Sora shacking up with his perfect older sister Aki. His twin sister is also attracted to her best friend, who she tries to coerce into a relationship with Sora since she doesn't know about what's going on in the house.

Yosuga no Sora - In solitude where we are least alone Sora and Haruka are recently orphaned twins who move back to their childhood town to live with their grandfather. Sora isn't handling her parents' death well, and Haruka has his hands full fixing problems for all the other troubled girls around him. However, the only thing that will "fix" Sora's problems is having her love toward her brother reciprocated, society be damned. This becomes troublesome for Haruka, who has kinda already slept with all the other girls in the series up until this point, giving him a loaded decision to make.

The new poll: Which anime/manga teacher do you admire most?

The old poll: Which anime suffers the most from 'same face syndrome?'

  1. K-ON!
  2. Sword Art Online
  3. Clannad
  4. Mobile Suit Gundam Seed
  5. Love Live!
  6. Anything from A-1 Pictures
  7. Mr. Osomatsu
  8. One Piece (Female Characters)
  9. Dragon Ball Z
  10. Attack on Titan
  11. Joker Game
  12. Anything by Leiji Matsumoto
  13. Junjou Romantica
  14. Sailor Moon
  15. Bleach
  16. Ranma 1/2
  17. Knights of Sidonia
  18. Touch


When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

discuss this in the forum (135 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

The List homepage / archives