Brotherly Love: Shotas and Onii-sans | Pisces Love Interests in Otome Games | Zodiac Reviews #10
Brotherly Love: Shotas and Onii-sans… Okay, maybe not literally – but these familiar (and familial) archetypes are common among Pisces love interests in otome games.
From ‘cutie-pie’ Yoosung in Mystic Messenger, to hyper-masculine ‘onii-san’ Jin Grandet in Ikemen Prince – the main unifying feature I could see for this zodiac sign was a ‘brotherly’ dynamic with MC, in one way or another…
In our Zodiac Reviews series, we look at otome love interests who share the same star sign, and investigate the potential existence of astrology-based character archetypes.
In the tenth instalment of this series, we’ll be exploring the traits and tropes shared by characters with birthdays between 18th February to 20th March; in other words, Pisces – the sign of the fish…
Pisces Love Interests
Okazaki Kei | Collar X Malice
The ‘onii-san’ archetype doesn’t require MC to actually call the love interest, ‘onii-san’ – although this does happen in some cases – the LI just needs to have some personality traits that are often associated with ‘older-brother’ types in fiction.
In Okazaki’s case – he’s strong, protective, and always looking out for MC. Even if he has a bad habit of falling asleep wherever and whenever he wants, he’s still a fairly reliable character, and MC knows she can always count on him when she’s in trouble. This dependable, protective nature is what gives Okazaki his ‘onii-san’ dynamic with MC, even if she never explicitly refers to him that way.
Loki Genetta | Ikemen Revolution
On the other end of the Pisces spectrum, we have the mischievous ‘shota’ cat-boy, Loki Genetta, from Ikemen Revolution. Rather than being a more mature, dependable love interest, Loki (and ‘shota’ characters in general) tends to rely on MC to take care of him.
He generally has a more youthful nature – being playful and cheeky – and I say this affectionately, but he isn’t particularly responsible in any way. He uses his cutesy charm to manipulate others into doing what he wants, and he can be a bit clingy when he’s feeling vulnerable or lonely.
Maeda Keiji | Ikemen Sengoku
I haven’t played Keiji’s route in Ikemen Sengoku yet, but from the screenshots and previews I’ve seen, he seems like a more reliable, ‘cool guy’ type, even if there’s more to him hiding beneath the surface.
He looks like he can get a little spicy and flirtatious, which adds a more mature air to any otome love interest, and the ‘cool’ vibe is something that’s often present in older-brother types, as they swoop in to protect you when you need them most.
Jin Grandet | Ikemen Prince
Speaking of mature, flirtatious types – Jin Grandet from Ikemen Prince oozes those sexy, older-guy charms. He’s got those classic ‘dependably-large’ hands – so let him use those big hands and broad shoulders to take care of you, whether it’s with your problems, or in bed…
Ahem, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but you get the idea. He’ll use those big ol’ hands to pat you on the head (a staple of the ‘onii-san’ archetype) and relieve you of your worries. He also has a deep voice and mature sense of style, that all give him an older feel, contributing to the older-brother/little-sister dynamic he has with MC.
Beelzebub | Obey Me!
Despite technically being one of the younger demon brothers, Beelzebub is often asked by Lucifer to help keep his brothers in line (mostly due to his muscle mass, but he’s also pretty good at it), and he loves to dote on his favourite people.
He may get a bit excited when food is involved (including eating all of yours), but he is a genuinely caring person, and once he warms up to you, he’ll look out for you like you’re his family.
Yoosung Kim | Mystic Messenger
Joining Loki in ‘Team Shota’, cutie-pie Yoosung is the youngest member of the Mystic Messenger cast, and this shows in his immature personality. I don’t say that as an insult, by the way – the growth he experiences throughout his route is pretty dramatic, and it’s satisfying to watch him overcome his issues and become a more mature character by the end of his story.
This is a pretty classic example of a ‘shota’ love interest – he starts off relying on MC, but as he develops feelings for her, he decides to become more reliable, proving that ‘he’s a man, too’, and often demonstrating a more mature side that MC hadn’t seen before. Yoosung is pretty typical of this character arc, although he’s more of a cute, sweet, determined love interest than the tricky Loki.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi | Ikemen Sengoku
Whenever I think of the ‘onii-san’ archetype, my mind immediately turns to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, from Ikemen Sengoku. He’s one of those cases where MC literally calls him her older brother, even if it’s only temporary (and, I should clarify, they’re not actually related, in case that’s something that you find uncomfortable).
Hideyoshi ticks all the archetype’s boxes: he’s reliable, protective, doting, and – most importantly – he gives the best head pats. The other characters often joke about him being like a fussing mother, but this is just an extension of his caring, nurturing nature that fits him neatly into the ‘onii-san’ category.
Brotherly love – the ‘onii-san’ (older brother) and ‘shota’ (younger brother) archetypes tend to be a bit hit or miss in the otome community. Some people love them, some people hate them. I personally think it often depends on the individual’s experience with what they consider to be an ‘older brother’ or ‘younger brother’ character, as most would only categorise a love interest that way if they’re actually related, or if the main character explicitly says they feel like a brother to her.
However, there are plenty of love interests who fit into a similar dynamic, even if they’re not specifically referred to as a brother. Older love interests – who fuss over MC, pat her head, and protect her – can still be described as acting like an older brother, and therefore fit into the ‘onii-san’ archetype.
On the other hand, younger love interests who rely on MC, use her lap as a pillow, and are generally more ‘cute’ than ‘cool’, can be considered ‘shota’ characters who treat MC like an older sister. Some may call her ‘onee-san’, but even if they don’t, they can still have a similar ‘younger brother/older sister’ dynamic with the protagonist.
As with all character archetypes, there’s a lot of variety within the love interests that apply these tropes, and saying MC has a ‘sibling’ dynamic with the LI doesn’t mean they actually see each other as family. It’s more about who depends on who… or, in other words, who gives the head pats, and who receives them.
If you’re in the mood for an ‘onii-san’ Pisces, I’d recommend Toyotomi Hideyoshi from Ikemen Sengoku. I know that not every otome fan likes a route where the protagonist and love interest explicitly refer to each other as their brother/sister, but this element of their relationship doesn’t occur throughout the whole story.
Plus, I thought the way the writers incorporated the whole ‘sibling’ thing into MC and Hideyoshi’s journey as they explored their feelings for each other to be pretty clever and thoughtful. I did get the sense that it was probably there to tick a fan service box, but it also worked for his personality, character growth, and the story as a whole.
In my opinion, Hideyoshi is pretty much the epitome of the archetype (with some mothering thrown in for good measure), so he also works well as an introduction to the tropes you can expect from an ‘onii-san’ love interest, if you’re looking for somewhere to start.
If you’re more interested in a ‘shota’ Pisces, I have to recommend my Ikemen Revolution best boy, Loki Genetta. He rarely ranks well in the game’s voting events, but I absolutely adore him, so I will always recommend this underrated character.
He doesn’t refer to MC as ‘onee-san’, but there is a definite younger-brother/older-sister dynamic that slowly shifts as the story progresses. My favourite ‘shota’ characters are the ones that can be a bit tricky, using their cutesy-charm to manipulate people – but, then again, I also love yandere characters, so it makes sense that I’d love a possessive shota, too.
I just think that his character is an interesting adaptation of the Cheshire Cat, and his story is both fascinating and tragic. I loved his route, not just because it stands well on its own, but also because it’s distinct within the broader game – providing a unique experience, even for people who have played several routes of Ikemen Revolution before.
You’ll like Pisces love interests if you like: giving and/or receiving head pats; being doted on and protected by a cool, reliable ‘onii-san’; letting a cute ‘shota’ use your lap as a pillow; familial love that turns into romantic love; and taboo/forbidden romances with a sibling-style dynamic (if not with an actual sibling, by marriage or blood)…
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