What Does Imouto Mean? [Definition, Meaning]

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Kousaka Kirino Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai oreimo wallpaper


There is a Vietnamese proverb that says “brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet”. While every person’s take on the quote may differ, it is quite evident that though brothers and sisters may differ from each other, they both share a bond that cannot be broken. Often times, we see this close bond in anime between two siblings, usually the main character and their imouto.

What does “imouto” mean, though? Imouto is the Japanese word meaning “little sister”. While the terms for older siblings can vary, little sisters are usually referred to as “imouto”. Depending on the closeness of the relationship, siblings can attach an honorific to “imouto” such as “-san” or “-chan,” although usually, “-chan” is the honorific used.

When it comes down to sibling relationships, imouto is great for showing the close bonds between an older sibling and their little sister. Why? An imouto, no matter how strong they may appear, will usually bring out the protective side of the main character. They may appear to have everything in control, but they’ll always need their older sibling, so you can feel the closeness of the sibling bond between the two. Regardless if your imouto is a tsundere, kuudere, deredere or dandere, you can’t help but want to protect them! Also, as the young sibling with a cute demeanor, imouto can be used to invoke sympathy in many viewers. How often have you seen an imouto get hurt, bullied, or killed?

There are various types of imouto shown in anime, much like in real life, not every single character type is the same. Some take care of everything in the household from cooking to cleaning, are completely helpless, relying heavily on those around them. Some imouto can bully the main character relentlessly and there are imouto characters who are protective of their older sibling. You’ll even get the imouto with the brother complex (brocon) and likewise, the onii-san (big brother) may even have a sister complex (siscon). Any anime imouto come to mind yet?

Well, let us take a look at a few anime imouto that should not be missed.

Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo)

Ore no Imouto Ga Konnani Wake Ga Nai dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2010 – December 2010

Kousaka Kyousuke hasn’t gotten along with Kirino, his imouto, in many years. Kirino seems to look at him with resentment most of the time. Kyousuke can’t remember a time when it was different and he believes that’s just how it’ll always be. Then one day, he stumbles upon a DVD case, in his home, for a magical girl anime Hoshikuzu Witch Meruru with a copy of a little sister eroge hidden inside. To find the owner, he mentions the subject about magical girl anime at dinner with his family only to receive negative remarks from his parents who are prejudice against otaku. Later that night, Kirino reveals to Kyousuke her collection of lolicon games and moe anime. Now begins Kyousuke’s adventures into the otaku world with his imouto, Kirino.

Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai is an anime all about the imouto! Well, Kyousuke’s imouto, anyway. Kirino is Kyousuke’s imouto with an obsession with imouto, herself. Kirino’s love of imouto stems from their cuteness and loving personalities, although Kirino clearly lacks one of those traits. In this anime, we get to witness two characters with imouto complexes: Kirino and Kyousuke. While Kirino’s obsession is focused more on imouto characters, Kyousuke’s complex stems from his love for his imouto, which develops as the story goes along. Sure, they don’t seem to get along. Ever. However, Kyousuke goes through a lot to make sure that his imouto is happy.

OreImo shows us the two opposite sides of an imouto complex. Which side do you think you’re on?

oreimo wallpaper

OREIMO Trailer


Charlotte dvd
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: July 2015 – September 2015

Otosaka Yuu has charm and intelligence, yet what people don’t seem to know about him is that he is capable of slipping into someone’s mind and controlling their body for a short period. Using this skill, Yuu was able to get the top grades in the school and enter a prestigious high school. However, Yuu is caught my Tomori Nao who forces him to transfer to Hoshinoumi Academy, which is a school dedicated to students with unusual powers. Yuu is then forced to join the student council to help put a stop to youths who abuse their powers.

Be fair warned, Charlotte is an original anime created by Key, the same company that created Angel Beats! and brought visual novels such as Clannad, Kanon, and Little Busters! to your game console. In Charlotte, we get to witness the affects siblings have on one another. While Yuu is the central character, we see that his imouto, Ayumi is quite essential to the entirety of the anime. There’s a lot more to her character than the sweet omurice that she is always preparing for Yuu. Ayumi is the light that shines through the darkness in Yuu’s life.

While Yuu clearly does not have that siscon that is so common in anime, it is evident to viewers that Ayumi is an important part of Yuu’s life. Charlotte does an amazing job of manipulating the viewer’s emotions using this invincible bond, doing what Key does best: pull at the heartstrings of every viewer. Ayumi may be one character, but her job as the imouto is the catalyst for much of Charlotte’s conflict.

Charlotte wallpaper

New July Anime “Charlotte” Trailer

Himouto! Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2015 – September 2015

Umaru is known for her beauty, grace, intelligence, and overall demeanor. She is the epitome of perfection with many admirers. However, her older brother Taihei knows better. When Umaru goes home, she becomes a lazy chibi who only knows how to play games, watch anime, eat junk food, and drink cola leaving the chores to Taihei. No one knows Umaru’s true self except Taihei who is battling a mental war between getting Umaru to behave like a proper lady or let her be the adorable imouto that she is!

Himouto! Umaru-chan is an anime in which the imouto is the main focus throughout the entirety of the anime. In this anime, Umaru is the imouto who is capable of doing everything but chooses to do nothing. She is that imouto who is too lazy to care so Taihei, the onii-chan, is forced to take care of her every need. While Taihei attempts to make Umaru into a proper lady or expose her to the world, ultimately, Taihei’s entire life revolves around taking care of his imouto. Taihei is one of those sister complex characters who cannot help but dote on his imouto!

Of course, Himouto! Umaru-chan does not pervert this sister complex in anyway. We merely get to witness how siblings interact with each other, much like we would in our day-to-day life. Umaru is mischievous, lazy, and cunning, but in the end, we can tell that Umaru also has a soft spot for Taihei, no matter how bratty she can be. Who knows someone with a sibling like that? Himouto! Umaru-chan is just a slice of life anime that revolves around an imouto. You will find that it may be more enjoyable than you first thought.

Himouto! Umaru-chan wallpaper

New July Anime “Himouto! Umaru-chan” Trailer


Imouto characters are all different in their own way, but in essence, they are all very similar. On the surface, the viewer may be led to believe that the imouto may be a troublesome character or another odd addition into a harem, but there is so much more to them than that. Imouto are more important to the characters than meets the eye, just like in real life. These imouto show us just how important our siblings are to us.

Whether she is from a harem, slice of life, or parody anime, do you have an anime imouto that has struck a chord with you? What do you think about imouto in anime? Are they just the lolita characters, incestuous additions, or do they actually mean more than what meets the eye? Let us know in the comments below!



Author: Jenangelx3

California based workaholic. Current mottos are “I don’t care” and “I’ll try almost anything once”. Interests include traveling, eating, video games, and weightlifting. Currently living life to the fullest, pursuing my happiness, and conquering my fears. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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