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I present to you: Cafe Bar NAGOMI! Yes, this is an actual “imouto” cafe in Japan.
Ever had or wished you had a little sister that made you go D’AWWWW every time she tried to make you smile? Do you get giddy (or wish to gleefully experience the moments) when your little sister acts pretty mean towards you and later apologizes for her behavior with a sad, puppy face? If so, you might be having a case of “imouto love”.
A subject that continues to fascinate me is the otaku’s love for “imoutos” (Japanese for “little sisters”). Imouto characters are prevalent in Japanese pop culture and it makes you wonder why male otaku are quite drawn to them in droves. Do most of them wish they had a little sister that relied on them?
If you’re curious about how much “imouto love” there is out there, here are some examples. Besides the most prominent series that features an imouto lead, Ore no Imouto Konna ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai (“My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”, also known as Oreimo), other titles include Imouto wa Shishunki (“Younger Sister Is In Puberty”), Koi Kaze, and Boku wa Imouto ni Koiwosuru (“I Love My Little Sister”). Imouto love is also implied in certain anime/manga series. There is currently a wide variety of adult-oriented material (a majority in the form of PC games) focusing on little sisters loving their precious oni-chan (“big brother” in Japanese) and/or vice versa. Japan sure has quite the sister complex, doesn’t it?
An article on Senile_Seinen talked about "imouto love" in a review for Oreimo and the author stated that the subject is becoming popular because of Japan’s low birth rate. He goes on to say that few Japanese people below the age of 30 have a sibling. They don’t know what it’s like to have one, so seeing media featuring siblings in wacky moments together fascinates them.
I’m curious about the mindset of creators behind imouto material: is there anything super-special about having a little sister rather than a little brother and/or older sibling? Well, besides the fact that the little sister has tendencies to look up to the older brother and can be extremely adorable as hell. There have been studies floating around about how having a sister can be beneficial in one’s life. Having a sister (younger or older) can make you a kinder person. Sibling conflict provides great education as well. Fights between siblings usually teach them how to control their emotions in heated moments. Siblings will also stick by you even after when parents pass away. Some important factors to note are that girls like to listen and they are often more talkative than boys. This gives female siblings an edge, compared to male siblings, as you can confide in them emotionally. Older sisters can be bossy and start ranting about life though, which seems like something the otaku don’t like.
Regardless, if you have a female sibling, you’re in luck and have a good chance to turn out to be a emotionally healthy individual. I do believe that Japanese otaku (who may not have had experienced the joys of having a younger sibling) honestly want a real young, cute girl who looks up to them in all aspects of life and/or is willing to listen to them (like an imouto would). It seems that otaku want a sense of control over someone to give themselves a shot of confidence. Does anyone really give otaku a sense of hope at all? Perhaps the structure of Japanese society should be blamed for how their parents turned out, since their behavior does have huge effects on the children they raise.
A couple of final questions I would like to pose to everyone: how would you believe the otaku will react if they actually had a real little sister that matched their expectations? Will they believe that reality (in their eyes) isn’t as deceiving as they think it is? Let’s just hope that otaku don’t want too many little sisters. Then again, Japanese men haven’t had the greatest reputation as of late.
Now, if you excuse me, I must rescue my precious Nanako-chan from the evil Shadows.
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Hey, girls like battles as much as boys do.
According to the “wonderful” site that is Sankaku Complex, more and more girls in Japan are interested in reading shonen manga than shoujo manga. This relates to what I discussed in an interview by Fanboy.com.
I spoke about how there are series like Katekyo Hitman Reborn! & Kuroshitsuji filled with very attractive-looking male characters. There’s also the fact that shonen manga seems to have a fair share of teenage characters that appeal to a wide audience. Another supposed reason for girls reading shonen manga are that they are less concerned about being feminine when compared to boys trying to be manly.
Though it could just come down to this: shonen plots are just plain better than shoujo plots. Most shoujo manga these days typically seems to be all the same: high school girls trying to date a guy they like & the emotional drama that ensues. Shonen plots can be pretty diverse compared to shoujo plots. At times, there may be TOO MUCH fighting in shonen manga, but they’re usually more exciting to most fans. Look at a series like BLEACH, which has a huge number of both male & female fans. Shoujo JUMP, here we come!
To female shonen readers, why do you read shonen manga?
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