Sorry, but we are going to start off with a little ranty rant. Don’t worry, it won’t last long and it’s just for a little clarity of where this post started.
When I was doing research for this post, I noticed a startling trend with the listicles I found on the internet. What was often titled “Best Big Brothers” was a list of anime characters that abandoned, traumatized, or all out tried to kill their younger siblings . . . I think the internet has a very strange view of what is a good Oni-san. Yes, the characters featured are older siblings, and yes they are very powerful characters, but that doesn’t make them a good Oni-san! Let me put this in Shonen language, if you swapped these characters defense stat with their brotherly skills/power level, these characters would be one hit kills if someone breathed on them too hard!
For example, one of the most common entries on the lists I found was Sesshomaru from Inuyasha . . . (sigh!) Yes, Sesshomaru is one of the most powerful demons in the Inuyasha world, and yes he is Inuyasha’s half older brother. But for the majority of the series, Sesshomaru hated Inuyasha and tried to kill him or make Inuyasha’s life miserable. So how does that make Sesshomaru a “best” big brother? Or a great one? Or a good one? Or a fair condition with minor defects one?
What we need is a clear definition of what a Good big brother is, and then we can look at some that are epic examples of that. First let’s cover what a good Oni-san is not:
1. A good Oni-san doesn’t try to kill their younger siblings!
Yeah, I think this first one is probably the most important. If an anime character intentionally tries to kill their younger sibling, then they are probably not a good Oni-san!
2. They don’t abandon their younger siblings
3. They don’t intentionally try to make their younger siblings life more difficult
What are traits of a good Oni-san?:
1. They try to protect their younger siblings
See, good Oni-san don’t try to kill their younger siblings!
2. They try to spend time with their younger siblings
3. They are nurturing and supportive to their younger siblings
And now for some great examples of Oni-san that are truly epic! Not just because they are strong anime characters, but because they have mastered the skills of a great Oni-san!
Gurren Lagann – Kamina
The anime Gurren Lagann is about a boy named Simon and his Oni-san Kamina. They have lived their whole lives in an underground village and have spent most of their lives digging new tunnels. One day while digging Simon finds a special drill bit and a short stumpy mecha. At first Simon doesn’t really think anything about it, but Kamina tells Simon stories about his aspirations in the world above ground. After their village gets attacked by another mecha that broke through the ceiling of the huge cave where the main village was located, Simon powers up the mecha that he found, defeats the attacking robotic suit (and inspired by Kamina) the two take their mecha and escape the underground village and seek adventure above ground!
In my mind there is very little debate about Kamina from Gurren Lagann being an epic Oni-san. In fact, he was the character that inspired this whole post! Kamina not only mastered the skills of the big bro, he has honed them to epic levels! Very few Oni-san have been as protective, present, supportive, and inspiring as Oni-san as Kamina was to Simon.
Card Captor Sakura – Toya
There are very few anime Oni-san that loved messing with their little sibling quite like Toya loved messing with Sakura. Toya’s playful teasing included everything from referring to his diminutive little sister as a rampaging Kaigu monster to using her head for a cup holder! Though in Sakura’s point of view, Toya was a bit of a bully, to everyone else it was clear that Toya adored his cute little sister like no one else! Though he tried to hide it, Toya’s Oni-san heart was most obvious when he would leap into action whenever Sakura was in danger. Whether it was leaping over a fence to defend Sakura when Shoaran Lee was getting too rough with her, or leaping off a cliff to catch Sakura before a big fall, Toya was always there to keep her safe! Likewise, though Toya didn’t know the full extent of Sakura’s trouble with the Clow Cards, he did try his best to support her magical adventures using his ability to see ghosts and magic to secretly help Sakura with her quest. It was through this ability to sense magic that Toya first learned a little about the trouble that Sakura had managed to get herself into, and throughout the series Toya worried about Sakura and was surprisingly present for Sakura when she needed him, even though he had spirits to deal with, amorous high school students chasing after him, and soccer practice!
Kenka Bancho Otome – Konparu
Kenka Bancho Otome is an anime about a girl named Hinako who has lived a tough life at an orphanage and had to fight to survive until she started high school. She was very excited to go to an all girls school and get in touch with her girly side, but on her way to the entrance ceremony she accidentally bumped into a boy student and found out that he was her twin brother that had been raised in the lap of luxury. The twin claimed that his arm was broken and she needed to go to his entrance ceremony for him. He just happen to have an extra boy’s uniform with him and a car standing by. When she gets to the twin’s school she finds that it is derelict and covered with gang graffiti. The entrance ceremony isn’t a boring welcome party but a battle royal between gang members to see who will be king of the freshman. This isn’t the kind of school Hinako ever wanted to go to, but at least she is good at fighting. So she goes on to not only becomes the king of the freshmen but the king of the whole school!
There’s no denying the protective affection Konparu has for his flock of little Konparus siblings. When Konparu hears that one of his little siblings was beaten and another kidnapped, he stops at nothing to get them back and make the kidnapper pay! Unfortunately, in his panic to save his little sibling, he grabs the wrong person and tries to beat up poor Hinako! Thankfully, the fast fisted Hinako knows how to defend herself, and one of the siblings that was a witness to the crime managed to clear up the confusion. Of course, considering the situation, Hinako forgives Konparu and even joins forces with him to get back his little sibling. Those kidnappers really crossed the wrong high schoolers, because Konparu and Hinako did not go easy on them!