It’s not something I see people talk about a whole lot, but I get the impression the fantasy of having a sibling you don’t already have — particularly an older sister — is quite a popular one among certain portions of the population.
I’m not even talking about a sexual fantasy here; I’m simply referring to the idea that some people seem to find the idea of having an older sister quite pleasant. And yes, I’m one of those people.
We’re certainly well-catered to when it comes to Japanese popular media, at least, with a whole host of charming onee-chans out there just waiting to take care of us. The most recent I’ve encountered? Amayo Sato from Gun Gun Pixies.
The Japan depicted in Gun Gun Pixies is one where young people are obliged, seemingly by law, to move out of their parents’ home when they reach a certain age. This is referred to as the “age-enforced independence policy”, and is the reason why a large number of dormitories have sprung up across the country. Managed dormitories provide the opportunity for said young people to experience a more gradual transition between being supported by their family and enjoying complete independence, and different people cope with this to varying degrees.
At the outset of Gun Gun Pixies, we’re introduced to Amayo, who is the oldest of the inhabitants of “Lilypad”. Already out of high school and into her university studies, she has a noticeably more mature bearing than her dormmates Kira and Misa, and is clearly the one each of them turns to when they need advice, reassurance or simply a voice of reason to mediate in a conflict.
While Kira and Misa are already sisters — with Kira being the older by a small degree — it’s clear that both of them look up to Amayo as the onee-chan they never had. In turn, Amayo is quite happy to play the role of “family head”, taking on an almost motherly aspect at times — listening to everyone’s concerns, then dispensing calm, rational advice as best she is able.
She’s not perfect, though. No-one is infallible; no-one is immune to the pressures of modern life. In the very first mission of Gun Gun Pixies, we learn that Amayo, despite being a healthy, attractive young woman with thighs to die for, is deeply concerned about her weight — to an unhealthy degree. She becomes so obsessed with the avoidance of putting on weight that she develops an eating disorder, refusing to eat anything but “diet gum” in an attempt to trick her stomach into feeling satiated despite not actually containing anything.
Like many people who develop such issues, Amayo feels irrational shame, and hides it from her dormmates. They notice something is up, however; the amount of gum Amayo is consuming and the amount of rubbish it is generating causes the entire dorm to be filled with an unidentifiable sickly sweet smell. It’s not until the intervention of Bee-tan and Kame-pon that the truth comes out, however; had our diminutive heroines not come along, one can only wonder what state Amayo would have gotten herself into in the long term.
Despite being the eldest of the group, Amayo also lacks a certain amount of common sense and common knowledge, too. While both Kira and Misa are clearly fully immersed in popular culture, entertainment and societal trends in general, it’s obvious that Amayo has always kept something of a distance from such things. She obviously knows how to use a computer — in several missions, Bee-tan and Kame-pon discover that she’s been fastidiously writing about everything she and her peers have been up to in the dorm — but her desktop is messy, she doesn’t know what a “joystick” is and she seems fundamentally confused by the idea of video games.
Instead, Amayo is a rather more “traditional” girl, for want of a better expression. Her room remains relatively free of the myriad distractions found in Kira, Misa and Minami’s respective habitats, though she has expressed herself somewhat through a few anime posters and some drawings of cute animals that seem to be important to her — perhaps she drew them herself. We often find her reading traditional media such as books and magazines, and the TV in her room doesn’t seem to get a lot of use, unlike those of her dormmates — she’s not against it or anything; it seems she simply prefers watching TV as a social rather than solitary activity, and she’s seen several times throughout the game’s story watching the news in the dorm’s communal area.
Amayo is just an overwhelmingly nice person to be around, and exudes a pleasant aura of comfiness. When she’s bumming around the dormitory, she’s perpetually dressed in a warm-looking Aran-style sweater and cute socks, while the game helpfully informs us that she chose her “outdoor” outfit — consisting of a tight T-shirt, equally tight hotpants and a coat with a furry hood — because “she thought it made her look like a model”. An opinion she no doubt formed while reading one of her many magazines, we can assume.
More than anything, though, Amayo is depicted as a kind, loving and eternally supportive member of Lilypad’s population. She plays an integral role in the game’s final chapter, where everyone is struggling with some of the revelations they’ve had suddenly thrust upon them, and one gets the impression that even once Bee-tan and Kame-pon have gone on their way, she will continue to protect her “family” for as long as she is able to live alongside them.
Doesn’t that sound like the sort of person it would be lovely to have in your life? Please spoil me, Ama-nee!
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