Sister Princess (シスター・プリンセス Shisutā Purinsesu?) is a popular Japanese bishōjo series authored by Sakurako Kimino and illustrated by Naoto Tenhiro. It began as a serialized light novel series in 1999. In 2001, a manga series and a bishōjo game for the Sony PlayStation were released. Sequels to the game were released for the PlayStation and Game Boy Advance. Sister Princess was also adapted into a Japanese anime television series.
The history of Sister Princess can be traced back to March 1999, when it first appeared in the monthly Dengeki G's Magazine. Originally, there were only nine sisters, not twelve. Readers were able to vote for their favorite sister and following the tremendous response from the fans, the magazine decided to serialize Sister Princess.
In March 2000, a decision was made to renew the series, this time by featuring the short letters that the girls wrote to their beloved brother. Three more sisters were added to the mix: Haruka, who came from Germany; Yotsuba, who came from England; and Aria, who came from France.
A year later, on March 8, 2001, the game version of Sister Princess — about the older brother spending a month with all twelve sisters, and featuring original artwork by Naoto Tenhiro—was released on the Sony PlayStation. Priced at 6800yen (9800yen for the limited edition), the game was the third best-selling title in Japan in its first week of release.
In July of the same year, a new series of stories began in Dengeki G's, right up till April 2002. While the magazine was preparing for yet another renewal of the Sister Princess stories for its May 2002 issue, a premium edition of the game (the original plus two other Christmas and Valentine side stories) was released for the Sega Dreamcast on Mar 28, 2002.
Sequels include Sister Princess 2 and Sister Princess RePure.
In September 2003, the series was retired as G's Magazine premier flagship title (replaced by another popular series, Futakoi). Despite the urging of fans, no official story elements has been produced since then.
The portrayal of events in the first Sister Princess anime is not considered canon by MediaWorks or hardcore fans. It's more commonly accepted as an alternate universe setting. The Sister Princess RePure anime is more faithful to the original magazine stories than its predecessor, and was created to answer disappointed fans. In fact, the stories told in the "second half" of each episode are actually modified versions of the magazine stories or mini-novels. There is nothing in Sister Princess RePure that contradicts the games, magazine stories or mini-novels: thus it can be considered canon, despite not actually being so.
The premise behind Sister Princess is that an ordinary young man (the player) is made to live with twelve lovable little sisters, each with their own distinct quirks and personalities. Both the "little sister" characters and the plot of "being forced to live with beautiful girls" are very common and popular in bishōjo products.
Sister Princess is remarkable for its intensely cute and saccharine atmosphere, taking to an extreme a tendency in Japanese culture. With its focus of young girls, the series can be classified as moe but not technically lolicon since it does not contain pornographic elements.
The game itself plays out like a dating sim. Players have about a month to spend with the sisters with each day broken up into three segments: first is the free time period before noon, followed by the period after lunch and ending with another period of time before bed. During day time, the player can choose which of the girls he wishes to escort to school, if any. The period after lunch is similar to the one in the morning, with additional choices which allow the player to go to various places in town besides walking home with one of the girls. Every night before bed, the player will be allowed to check his e-mail and send replies. As the player continues to interact with the sisters, their reactions to their big brother will change accordingly until the ending.
According to one source, there are two different endings for each sister: the normal ending and the "non-blood relation" ending. As the name would suggest, the special ending reveals that the brother-character and sister aren't actually related by blood. In the case of some of the older sisters, this can lead to the protagonist and "sister" marrying one another.
For Sister Princess 2, the story begins on the final day of school before summer vacation. Then the player chooses a sister who he wants to start with for a close relationship. Therefore, Sister Princess 2 is about spending the player's time with either one sister or all sisters at the same time as they spend their summer together.
In Sister Princess 1, the player can see two different endings for each sister, but Sister Princess 2 has four endings for each sister. The first two were the non-sibling relation and siblings-together ending and, if the player chooses one sister in the beginning but ends up with another sister, either of the other two endings for the first sister who the player does not choose appear ("non-blood relation" ending and "still brother and sister forever" ending also) but with a different story.
Especially in Sister Princess 2, the player can spend the summer with all the sisters, not just one, in a special ending where the sisters invite their brother to a summer party where the brother and the sisters would swear to be together forever.
Sister Princess is one of the few popular dating game series that does not feature hentai elements. Despite (or perhaps because of) this, a rival company known as GIGA decided to create the hentai knockoff Colorful Kiss. While this game features a different cast of characters (to avoid lawsuits), their setup and personalities are comparable. Colorful Kiss was popular enough to warrant the sequel Colorful Heart. It is important to note that these GIGA titles are ultimately incestuous.
The Twelve Sisters
Part of the series' charm is that each sister has a unique method of addressing her older brother. Each method is derived from either onii-san or ani, both of which mean "older brother."
It is important to note that there is never any sibling rivalry among the sisters. Though they all are competing for their brother's attention, it appears that their unconditional love for him strengthens their bonds with one another. The sisters not only regularly hang out with one another (often to exchange tales of how wonderful a brother he is), but they also arrange to "share" him when he inadvertently neglects to or cannot regularly visit any of them.
It should also be noted that the seiyū for the sisters are the same in the game and the anime.
- Aria (亞里亞?)
- Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (Japanese), Mariela Ortiz (English)
- Hailing from France, Aria is a rather soft-spoken character who has a tendency to cry whenever there is trouble, uttering the phrase "kusu" (an onomatopoeia for sniffling) when doing so. She enjoys sweets, especially parfait, and can usually be found wearing very frilly dresses with plenty of lace and bows. She refers to herself in the third-person, which is considered childish in Japanese culture, and speaks slowly.
- In the first anime, Wataru comments that time seems to pass more slowly around Aria, especially to someone who is used to the high-paced life of the city. In the second anime, Aria comments that being in the brother's company relieves her of her 'sleepy feelings', energizing her.
- She addresses the brother as Nii-ya (兄や?) the most childish name for one's brother. In English, she calls him "Mon Frère". Her birthday is November 2, is a Scorpio, and stands 139 cm (about 4' 7") tall.
- Chikage (千影?, "Thousand shadows")
- Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese), Shelley Calene-Black (English)
- Mysterious, aloof, and occasionally gothic, Chikage is very much into spellcraft, the occult, and religion. She is an accomplished practitioner of dark magic, but prefers to utilize her sorcery in subtle methods, rather than brute power. Common images associated with her are the Christian cross and butterflies.
- In the anime, Chikage claims that she and the brother have been together in previous lives, possibly as brother and sister, perhaps as lovers. She expresses a desire to have him for herself somehow, but admits that he has refused the offer or simply slipped from her grasp several times throughout their incarnations. Out of all the sisters, she is the only one who entertains thoughts of somehow taking the brother away from the others, and almost executes plans to do so.
- She calls the brother as Ani-kun (兄くん?), the suffix -kun being an address to a boy who has a close relation or is about the same age as the addresser, giving the impression that her age is close to him. In English, she calls him "Brother Darling". Her birthday is March 6, is a Pisces, and stands 157 cm (about 5' 2") tall.
- Haruka (春歌?, "Spring song")
- Voiced by: Yumi Kakazu (Japanese), Tiffany Grant (English)
- Hailing from Germany, Haruka aspires to become a perfect Japanese lady (Yamato Nadeshiko). She is frequently seen wearing a kimono and can be found learning Japanese tea ceremony (sado) along with other cultural things. Haruka is an expert at handling the daikyu and naginata. Interestingly, training in these weapons is akin to the training given to the brides of samurai; Haruka's training in these weapons may or may not have been inspired due to her desire to be a perfect Japanese bride for a person of high standing—like her brother.
- Haruka addresses the brother as Anigimi-sama (兄君さま?), the honorific suffix -kimisama (a combinations of the honofirics kimi or kun and -sama) used to address a venerable person in the same bloodline. In English, she calls him "Beloved Brother". Her birthday is May 16, is a Taurus, and stands 156 cm (about 5' 1") tall.
- Hinako (雛子?, "Little child")
- Voiced by: Chiemi Chiba (Japanese), Serena Varghese (English)
- The youngest of the sisters, Hinako is very much a child and shows her affection accordingly. In the anime, Hinako frequently insists on her brother reading to her from picture books.
- Hinako refers to herself in the third-person as "Hina", dropping the "-ko". She addresses her brother as Onii-tama (おにいたま?), a more childish version of Kaho's onii-chama. In English, she calls him "Bro-bro". Her birthday is August 15, is a Leo, and she is the shortest among the sisters at 132 cm (about 4' 4").
- Kaho (花穂?, "Flower petal")
- Voiced by: Hisayo Mochizuki (Japanese), Cynthia Martinez (English)
- Despite being a bit clumsy, Kaho is on her school's cheerleading team and loves to cheer her brother on. She is an accomplished gardener, and frequently grows flowers for and with her brother. She refers to herself in the third-person and addresses her brother as Onii-chama (お兄ちゃま?), a childish version of onii-sama. In English, she calls him "Brother". Her birthday is January 7, is a Capricorn and has a height of 143 cm (about 4' 8").
- Karen (可憐?, "Lovely one")
- Voiced by: Natsuko Kuwatani (Japanese), Hilary Haag (English)
- Sweet and gentle, Karen's personality sometimes seems more suitable for an older (rather than younger) sister. She is a very skilled pianist. In the magazine stories and mini-novels, Karen owns a kitten named Vanilla (who, incidentally, has a thing for vanilla flavored sweets). Like several of the sisters, she refers to herself in the third-person and addresses her brother as Onii-chan (お兄ちゃん?), a way to call a brother by a younger sibling, usually a child. In English, she calls him "Big Brother". Her birthday is September 23, is a Virgo and stands 148 cm (about 4' 10") tall.
- Mamoru (衛?, "Guardian")
- Voiced by: Yumiko Kobayashi (Japanese), Kira Vincent-Davis (English)
- The athlete of the group, Mamoru is always trying to get her brother to play sports with her. She is sometimes mistaken for Rinrin due to their similar hairstyles and their penchant for donning their eyewear on their head. As she is a tomboy, Mamoru uses phrases and mannerisms that only boys are expected to. As proof of this, she addresses her brother as Anii (あにぃ?), a shorter address used by a male teenager. In English, she calls him "Big Bro". Her birthday is October 18, is a Libra and stands 150 cm (about 4' 11") in height.
- Marie (鞠絵?, "Nurtured picture")
- Voiced by: Ryouka Yuzuki (Japanese), Sasha Paysinger (English)
- Possessing a weak constitution, the bespectacled Marie has spent a lot of time in the hospital due to her illness. Her pet Michael, a Golden Retriever, acts as her guardian and friend when her brother isn't around. She addresses her brother as Aniue-sama (兄上様?), the honorific -uesama (a combination of ue and -sama) being used within the royal family or as a sign of politeness. In English, she calls him "Brother Mine". Her birthday is April 4, is an Aries and stands 148 cm (about 4' 10") tall.
- Rinrin (鈴凛?, "Courageous bell")
- Voiced by: Chiro Kanzaki (Japanese), Nancy Novotny (English)
- Gifted in the fields of science and technology, Rinrin spends a lot of her time building things but constantly asks her brother for monetary donations to keep her projects going. Lately, she's been constructing a robot duplicate of herself, Mecha-Rinrin (メカ鈴凛?). She speaks with a strong Chinese accent and addresses her brother as Aniki (アニキ?), another way for a boy to address his brother. In English, she calls him "Bro". Her birthday is July 9, is a Cancer and measures 152 cm (about 5') in height.
- Sakuya (咲耶?, "Curious blossom")
- Voiced by: Yui Horie (Japanese), Monica Rial (English)
- Sakuya behaves very much like a modern teenager and is fashion conscious. She would love for her brother to see her as woman and not just a sister.
- In both anime, Sakuya claims that she and the brother are connected by the "red string of fate" and expresses the desire that she might somehow marry her brother. She is quick to agree it would be impossible when in his presence. In the anime, Sakuya is arguably the most emotionally vulnerable of all the sisters where the brother is concerned, since she goes through extreme emotional reactions when they are separated—or when she anticipates separation. In the first anime, Sakuya frequently uses double entendres and innuendo when speaking to her brother, dismissing her words as jokes when he becomes really flustered.
- Sakuya addresses her brother as Onii-sama (お兄様?) as her sign of admiration. In English, she calls him "Dear Brother". Her birthday is December 20, is a Sagittarian, and is the tallest of the sisters at 159 cm (about 5' 3").
- Shirayuki (白雪?, "White snow")
- Voiced by: Kumiko Yokote (Japanese), Jessica Boone (English)
- Shirayuki loves to cook, especially for her brother, and is always trying out new recipes for him. She refers to herself in the third-person as "Hime" (姫?), which translates to "princess". This might be because of her name's Western variant: Snow White. She also frequently ends her sentences with the phrase "desu-no." She addresses her brother as Nii-sama (にいさま?), which is shorter than Sakuya's, but polite. In English, she calls him "Elder Brother". Her birthday is February 11, is an Aquarian, and stands 140 cm (about 4' 7") in height.
- Yotsuba (四葉?, "Four-leaf clover")
- Voiced by: Tomoe Hanba (Japanese), Luci Christian (English)
- Hailing from England (as evidenced by her occasional penchant for anything with a Union Flag), Yotsuba fancies herself a detective à la Sherlock Holmes. She can often be found with either a digital camera or a magnifying glass in hand, trying to spy on her brother. In the magazine stories and mini-novels, Yotsuba owns an unnamed talking toucan (not surprisingly, it can only say "checki" and "Ani-chama"). She refers to herself in the third-person and is fond of using the catchphrase, "Checky!" (チェキ! Cheki?). In the first Sister Princess anime, Yotsuba does not have a pet, but owns a toy bird aptly named "Watson", who she keeps in a cage like a real bird.
- She addresses her brother as Ani-chama (兄チャマ?), which is a childish address similar to Kaho's, but laced with a British accent. In English, she calls him "Brother Dearest". She celebrates her birthday on June 21, is a Gemini, and is 149 cm (about 4' 11") tall.
- Wataru Minakami (海神 航 Minakami Wataru?, lit. "Sea God Wandering")
- Voiced by: Kenji Nojima (Japanese), Braden Hunt (English)
- The brother whom all of the sisters adore. In their eyes, he can do no wrong. Until the final set of illustrated stories, the brother's face was always hidden or turned away from the reader to keep his appearance hidden. This follows a tradition of most eroge protagonists, so as to allow the character to be a 'blank slate' so that the player can place themselves in his metaphorically empty shoes. As the series came to its end, a slightly modified version of the character design from the anime was used.
- As the father of the siblings is never present, and the mothers of the sisters are regularly preoccupied by their upper-class careers, Wataru serves as much a parent figure as he does a brother. He devotes extraordinary time to teaching or guiding them through various life crises, no matter how trivial or difficult they may be. For this reason, the sisters attribute many of their personal accomplishments to him. Despite their unwavering testimonies, Wataru is not perfect, even in the magazine stories and mini-novels. He is unquestionably selfless however, and will do everything in his power to aid his siblings whenever humanly possible. Wataru also seems to possess an uncanny ability to show up exactly when a sister needs him most. Wataru has a habit of saying "It can't be true" in almost every episode.
- Understandably, the greatest fear the sisters share is someone or something taking Wataru away from them. For this reason, some of them entertain and dream of somehow becoming his wife or life partner. The inclination is far more innocent and less disturbing than it initially may sound: there are no incestuous intentions. As pure as Wataru’s sisters are, they show signs of jealousy and concern when a non-family member "takes" their brother away from them, fearing he may forget or leave them.
- (The name Wataru Minakami was given to the brother character only for the first Sister Princess television series. In Sister Princess Re-Pure, he is simply referred to as 兄, Ani, or "Brother.")
- Jiiya (じいや?, "Court Physician")
- Voiced by: Kahoru Sasajima
- Aria's lady's maid, although it is strongly evident she holds the position of nanny as well. She's actually a young woman in her early or mid twenties, but Aria calls her 'Jiiya', a Japanese nickname for a butler, like the English 'Jeeves'. The exact reason for this is uncertain, but most agree its Aria's way of being playful. In the second anime series, it is possibly implied that Aria is simply used to calling the person taking care of her 'Jii-ya', as she points at a picture of an old man in butler's clothing, then at her maid and calls them both 'Jii-ya'. Of all the non-sister characters in Sister Princess, only Jiiya has a personal affectionate name for the sister's brother. Combined with Jiiya’s coy nature around him, and her willingness to admit personal moments from her childhood, some fans of the maid wonder if she has personal feelings for him. If so, she keeps them well hidden from the others. She addresses the brother as Nii-ya-sama (兄や様?), a more polite version of Aria's address.
- Note: Jiiya is also the name of the Wataru's butler in the anime.
- Kakinomoto (柿ノ本?)
- Voiced by: Sakura Nogawa
- Featured only in Sister Princess 2, Kakinomoto is one of the handful of non-related girls allowed to be near the sisters' brother without causing any issues. She has been known to disagree with him, and played something of a devil's advocate role. A very close friend of Haruka. Has a preference to be called Pride, rather than her given name.
- Marie's Nurse (看護婦 kangofu?, "Nurse")
- The unnamed nurse who attends to Marie. Due to the nature of her duties and Marie's regular medical needs, she has constant contact with the sisters' brother (although not as frequent as Jiiya), and is one of the few non-sisters able to approach him without causing concern.
- Mecha Rinrin (メカ鈴凛 meka Rinrin?)
- Voiced by: Chiro Kanzaki
- Mecha Rinrin is a gynoid designed to be an identical copy of its creator as an experiment in robotics. In the anime, her purpose is also to lend full support to the brother in the absence of any of his sisters. Mecha Rinrin differs from her creator in her eye color and the unexplained requirement of a ball-shaped sensor on her head. Mecha Rinrin always overheats and inadvertently deactivates when the sisters' brother praises her; presumably from overwhelming joy. It appears Rinrin programmed her doppelgänger too well, as it shares an overwhelming love for him, although her delicate circuitry cannot handle the overload.
- In the first anime, Rinrin explains that she created her doppelgänger because she eventually intends to study in the United States. When that happens, she wants Mecha Rinrin to be there to do all the things for her brother that she herself won't be available for. Rinrin herself feels sad at the thought that she might actually have made herself redundant until she is reassured by Wataru. Also in the anime, her dopplegänger's immediate precursor is a much larger robot with a more robotic appearance, known as ProtoRobo or Pooh. While this robot looks less sophisticated, it is much more stable and capable of feats of strength and quite delicate manipulations. It also seems to care for its creator's well-being.
- Mecha Rinrin addresses the brother as Aniki (アニキ?), just like her creator.
- Michael (ミカエル Mikaeru?)
- Marie's loyal and highly intelligent Golden Retriever. Despite the name, Michael (named after the archangel) is a female, and eventually gives birth to a litter of puppies. Michael was a gift from her brother, to keep company and guard over her at the times when he could not. The pet also serves to give Marie inner strength, as having Michael depend on her proves she is stronger than others think.
- Nun (尼僧 nisō?)
- Featured only in Sister Princess 2. The local temple nun who the brother visits to addresses many of Chikage's spiritual concerns. Due to the storywriter's lack of understanding of certain elements of Western culture, the nun strangely works in a Japanese temple, yet resolves matters with a Christian-like demeanor. Since Sister Princess utilizes Catholicism whenever it deals with the religious faith the sisters follow, it's arguable to say she is a Catholic nun trying to "fit" in a Japanese environment.
- Sister Princess (PlayStation, 2001)
- Sister Princess -Pure Stories- (PlayStation, 2001)
- Sister Princess Premium Edition (Dreamcast, 2002)
- Sister Princess 2 (PlayStation, 2002)
- Bundled set of "Sister Princess" & "Sister Princess -Pure Stories-" (Dreamcast, 2003)
- Sister Princess -Re Pure- (Game Boy Advance, 2003)
- Sister Princess 2 Premium Fan Disc (PlayStation, 2003)
See list of Sister Princess episodes for the Sister Princess anime and its sequel, "Sister Princess Repure."
U.S. DVD releases
- Sister Princess -Oh, Brother!- (DVD, 2004)
- Sister Princess -Sibling Revelry- (DVD, 2004)
- Sister Princess -Sisters and Sunshine- (DVD, 2005)
- Sister Princess -Brotherly Love- (DVD, 2005)
- Sister Princess -Gifts from the Heart- (DVD, 2005)
- Sister Princess -One Big Happy Family- (DVD, 2005)
- Sister Princess -Brother, Where Art Thou?- (DVD, 2005)
Japanese UMD releases (anime series)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure I (UMD, November 23, 2005)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure II (UMD, December 21, 2005)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure III (UMD, January 25, 2006)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure IV (UMD, February 22, 2006)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure V (UMD, March 26, 2006)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure VI (UMD, April 26, 2006)
- Sister Princess & Sister Princess Repure VII (UMD, May 26, 2006)