What does Oniichan mean? [Definition, Meaning]

Himouto! Umaru-chan wallpaper

Himouto Umaru-chan

There is a time in our lives when, we have someone to look up to whenever we feel times of hardship. Those people come in the form of friends, coworkers, and family. For those fortunate enough to have an older sibling, then perhaps our article will remind you of that special someone. The term oniichan pops up on more than one occasion in anime, and has become a very popular word to refer to the older brother.

In Japan, this word is used frequently outside of anime. The term oniichan uses what’s called Teineigo ( 丁寧語) to make the “o” on “Nii-Chan” more polite. The older brother doesn't necessarily have to relate to family, but it could also refer to close friendships. This sort of relationship if not related by blood, usually winds up in a situation where the character has been in a friendly relationship with someone for years and years. It is important to note that this relationship usually starts from a childhood friendship. An Oniichan is someone who you can look up to, for guidance and encouragement regardless of your own gender. They are the root from which we grow, because they educate on matters that we may experience throughout our lives. As you'll see later in our article, Sora from No Game No Life is a prime example of being a true oniichan. In today's article, we will travel deeper into the meaning to give you a better idea of what a big brother is capable of, and why they make such an impact on our lives.

A role model

Throughout our journeys, there are moments when we aspire to be just like someone else. Not entirely like them in the physical sense, but rather, their approach to life and their ability to overcome adversity. Oniichan are the motivator for the younger ones around them, and so it becomes his responsibility to be the right teacher to advise what's right from wrong. Many of us have at some point, sought after role models who play the sports we love, or the movies we dream of acting in. There is no greater role model however than the older brother.

The older brother has experienced a large share of his life, and so his advice becomes more valuable over time, much like wine becomes more delicious over its maturity. There might be a time when you're having relationship problems, and your older brother is there to guide you through it. Perhaps you aren't receiving much allowance from your parents, so your brother slips in an extra few dollars for you to enjoy yourself. There are a handful of examples which we could use to emphasize the importance of a role model, but having an older brother to help you discover the treasures of life is invaluable.

Full Metal Alchemist

Fullmetal-Alchemist-Brotherhood-dvd
  • Episodes: 51
  • Aired: October 4, 2003 – October 2, 2004

If there is anyone who fits the big brother role well in every way, it most certainly has to be Edward Elric. Full Metal Alchemist stars Edward and his younger brother Alphonse, as they embark on a journey to obtain the philosopher's stone. Prior to the journey, Edward and his brother tried to resurrect their deceased mother through via alchemy. Things become disastrous when the experiment fails, which led to him losing his brother and two of his limbs. Fortunately, Edward was able to use his skillful alchemy to bind Alphonse's soul to a large suit of armor.

From the beginning of the show, Edward already displayed how much of a big brother he truly is to Alphonse. He made sure to look after his brother, and that he wouldn't suffer the same fate twice. Whenever Alphonse would run into trouble, Edward would always be there to reinforce the fact that things would be fine. A great example of this is when the two enroll in the military, and Alphonse lacked the ability to stand up to Roy Mustang and the other strict officers. Edward stepped in to encourage Alphonse, that no matter what happens he would always be by his side to cover for him. Edward became a mentor for Alphonse, who became much stronger throughout the series due to his older brother's motivation to overcome adversity. Alphonse is seen as the more reserved of the two, and a bit clumsy at times. Edward on the other hand, is the more mature and level headed, who approaches everything with a strategic purpose. This contrast in character, is what really helped created a beautiful chemistry between the two, which is a beauty to watch.

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Full Metal Alchemist English Trailer


Histsugi no Chaika [Chaika – The Coffin Princess]

Hitsugi no Chaika Avenging Battle DVD
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 10, 2014 -June 26, 2014

Another great example of the oniichan is none other than Tooru from Hitsugi no Chaika. This a great example from the female point of view, because Tooru becomes a mentor for Chaika throughout her journey for meaning in life. Tooru is 20 while Chaika is 14, and the two develop a very strong relationship well into the series. While the two aren't related in any way, you can certainly see a chemistry between them that would make you think otherwise. Chaika is a troubled soul who often finds herself in harms way, because she is adamant on finding the clues to who her father is. Her curiosity is what gets the trio into trouble, because she often wanders off leaving Akari and Tooru to fend for themselves. Chaika walks with a coffin that comes equipped with a high powered magic sniper, that when used, can obliterate even the strongest of foes. However, she doesn't fend well for herself at times, and so this is where Tooru comes in to help bring her ponderous mind back to reality.

Whenever Chaika ever feels like the world around her is crumbling, Tooru is always there to remind her that he is always there to protect her. This sense of protection gave Chaika more confidence throughout the show, and really helped to bring the two together. Chaika learned a lot from Tooru's confidence in battle, which eventually led her to overcoming her own shyness and clumsiness when under pressure, especially when collecting items to solve the mystery of her origin.

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Hitsugi no Chaika Trailer


Someone to comfort you in times of need

The oniichan is someone who you can always look up to and depend on when life just isn't feeling right. In times of distress, we often lash out and create internal wars with ourselves. It's at that very moment that our older mentor steps in to ensure that everything will be fine. While no one is truly perfect by any means, oniichan depicts that of a courageous specimen who will do whatever it takes to protect those around them.

Oniichan show no fear in their hearts to reach out when it really matters. No matter the issue at hand, be it about a breakup, or jumping in to save the day, oniichan are ones you should always have around no matter the circumstance. They become an influence over each and every one of us due to their confidence, and innate ability to read our feelings. In our next anime example of oniichan, we will take a look at an individual who truly defines that of an older brother protecting the ones they love.

No Game No Life

dvd No Game No Life
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 9, 2014 – June 25, 2014

If there is one person who truly embodies the oniichan status, it most surely is Sora and his sister Shiro. The story is about the two NEET siblings who find themselves plunged into a video game realm, who then come face to face with Tet, the god of games. Prior to this encounter, the two had become a legendary tag team and used the name “Kuuhaku” to defeat their opponents online. It was at that moment they received an email from an unknown source, challenging them to a chess match. From there, their lives changed forever. Tet welcomes the two to Disboard, a world where disputes are not solved by wars and trivial quarrels, but rather high stake games. Their new goal now is to unite all of the gamers in Disboard, defeat Tet, and become the new reigning champions of the gaming world.

This is such a great example of oniichan love because right from the beginning of the show, you can see how close the two siblings are. Sora almost never leaves his younger sister behind, no matter where they go. Even when they play games together in their bedroom, Shiro sits directly in his lap as if the two were connected. When they arrive at Disboard, Shiro starts to show signs of stress and anxiety, and so Sora steps in to remind her that as long as he is around, they will never lose. In every battle they encounter Shiro makes a mistake, but Sora makes up for it by coming to her rescue, especially in the final battle with Tet. This wonderful display of sibling affection is why we decided to choose Sora as the best oniichan.

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No Game No Life Trailer


Conclusion

Whether you have an older sibling or not, we all can relate to the oniichan in some way or another. Be it a friend at school, or a colleague in your workplace, there will always be someone to teach you the ways of life. Oniichan are an inspiration to many, and so we should always look up to them whenever we feel we lack direction in our lives. If you have more oniichan suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

As always, for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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