Big brothers are supposed to be warm, kind, protective people who love their younger siblings more than anything in the world - right? Well, not exactly - in both the real world and the world of anime, older brothers come with a wide variety of personalities and relationships with their younger siblings. One common form of this is the aloof or distant older brother.
Some aloof big brothers in anime actually go so far as to become their younger siblings' enemy. One famous example is Itachi Uchiha of Naruto, who massacred the entire Uchiha clan and then joined a villainous organization, leaving his little brother Sasuke with a singular goal - revenge. There are also distant older brothers who just don't care about their younger siblings as much as they're expected to. Until he became an adult, Ayame Sohma had little to no interest in his younger brother Yuki. Now that he wants to repair the relationship, Yuki would rather be left alone.
Whether these strained sibling relationships are an important part of an action plot or a means of character development in a drama, they're a great source of conflict and drama. Which aloof older brothers are your favorites?
Zeref Dragneel - 'Fairy Tail'Photo: A-1 Pictures
Zeref Dragneel is Natsu's older brother but it doesn't mean they have a warm relationship. In fact, Zeref is actually the enemy that Natsu must takedown - he's considered the strongest, most evil mage of all time.
But Zeref's dedication to the dark arts began because of Natsu. After their parents and Natsu were brutally destroyed by Dragons, Zeref wanted to use his considerable talent to try and bring them back. His attempts proved disastrous and led to his developing the "Curse of Contradictions" which will wreck everyone the user encounters unless he forgets the value of human life. As a result, he's developed a cold and severe personality and is unable to relate to Natsu in any way that could be called brotherly.64290Like this character?
- Photo: TMS Entertainment
In the early stages of his relationship with his younger brother Yuki, Ayame Sohma was about as aloof as you can get. Yuki was ten years younger than him, which is enough to throw a wrench into a lot of sibling relationships. As a teenager, Ayame had other things on his mind besides caring for his little brother.
Besides, the amount of care that Yuki needed was more than Ayame could handle. Not only was Yuki a sickly child, he was also favored by the violent and controlling family head. What's more, their mother pretty much didn't care about either of them. In order to keep himself safe in a hostile environment, Ayame focused on himself rather than his brother.
As an adult, Ayame is trying to repair his relationship with the now-teenaged Yuki, but because of their estranged past, and because of their clashing personalities, it isn't exactly going well.51258Like this character?
- Photo: Sunrise
At the start of Code Geass, Lelouch Lamperouge is actually a doting older brother who prioritizes his sister Nunnally above everything. While his actual feelings don't change, his behavior does. Once he formulates his ultimate plan for world peace, he starts acting like a complete jerk to everyone who cares about him, including his sister - largely by ignoring her since he has trouble with direct cruelty when it comes to the people he loves. It's only when Lelouch is about to pass away that Nunnally finds out the meaning behind his bizarre and distant behavior.
Meanwhile, Lelouch has his own aloof older brother, Prince Schneizel. This family just can't win.50470Like this character?
Illumi Zoldyck - 'Hunter X Hunter'Photo: Madhouse
Illumi Zoldyck presents an interesting inversion of the aloof older brother trope. While he appears to be largely expressionless and uncaring when it comes to his little brother Killua, he actually cares way, way too much. Rather than allow Killua to make his own choices, Illumi inserts a needle into his brain that can control his behavior - specifically, it forces him to run away from fights he might lose.
Why does he go so far to insure Killua's survival? Because Killua is supposed to inherit the Zoldyck family. So, while Illumi might be excessively controlling of Killua, it's not exactly out of brotherly love, and in fact his heart is still pretty closed off from him.42291Like this character?