Oh hey, I didn’t even realise this post got reblogged.
Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions but mine won’t change. I consume a lot of Japanese media and I’ve also stayed there for a bit, so I know what the cultural archetypes are (and so would the followers of my blog, for whom this post was written). I’ve played most of the Voltage titles, and IYAT and KoR are my favourite because they’re more mature, but although IYAT clearly has the best MC of all the Voltage games, that’s still not saying much. It’s like saying “this Supernatural episode is the BEST WRITTEN Supernatural episode” which doesn’t amount to anything at all since Supernatural isn’t particularly good writing.
The otome game genre really needs some freshness injected to it. The idealisation of what constitutes a heroine is just overused and cliched at this point, and you know EXACTLY what I mean when you look at the physical portrayal of all the Voltage MCs as well as the pattern of their monologue. You’ve got hundreds upon thousands of examples in anime and manga spanning at least 30 years of female protagonists who are compelling, aggressive characters, but who have vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and yet the variation between otome game MCs barely diverge. I actually think the biggest weakness of most otome games is that they try too hard to be self-insertions - in the case of Voltage, all their MCs have different personalities and monologue; what they should do is make their MCs fully rounded characters instead. That enables even more character development and affinity because they aren’t incomplete.
Kudos to everyone who deeply admire and care for IYAT MC, but even though I do consider her the best Voltage MC, I find more to criticise about the way she was written than I do to admire it. I know exactly where the writers were coming from when they made her, but despite that I can’t be in her shoes because I find some of her actions frankly unbelievable. However, one of the reasons why she is the most interesting MC is because of the amount of “not dudes” she is concerned with - the amount of time they spend on her work and friends is really commendable and makes her seem more realistic. Obviously she is intended to be a career go-getter but that’s actually not as well realised as it could be, although it appears better in the Ebihara and Aiba sequels.
Also, as a disclaimer, even though I am incredibly critical of the game, I did enjoy playing it, and it’s not an understatement that it is probably the best Voltage game so far (played KoR immediately after I finished IYAT, mixed feelings that eventually rolled downhill). I don’t like passively consuming media - of course it’s good to some degree, that’s why I liked it and it doesn’t have to be defended to me; however, taking something wholesale as good will lead to nowhere, which is probably why the otome game genre is taking so long to evolve because the formula works.
(And as a restatement, there’s nothing wrong with the formulaic MC - but I wanted to see an otome game go out of the box, and IYAT was close to it but didn’t do anything. Although some of the Sub-stories TOTALLY did what I hoped (AIBA), which I only discovered later but doesn’t fit into the canon.)
Okay so the biggest problem I have with the entirety of your first post and response is that you are judging the entire genre on your limited exposure to it. This is demonstrated by the fact that you seem to generalize the type of personalities that MCs come in, but there is great variation especially if you’re not limited to English mobage which is basically all you talked about in this post.
I will say that although I am a big fan of Voltage games, they don’t have a great range when it comes to their MCs. They do tend to have a lot in common with each other. The biggest deviations from this are the more mature games, Kiss of Revenge and In Your Arms Tonight.
I take issue both with the way you phrased your original post, and your response.
Something I would DIE to see is a female protag who isn’t so fucking submissive and ‘traditionally’ womanly. I s2g. The MC is really bad at confronting her husband about his affair and attempts to stay by him because “they were only married 3 months” and “perhaps she might eventually capture his heart”.
The way you phrase it implies there is something wrong with being submissive or feminine—and there is not anything wrong with either of these. Maybe you’re just saying you want variety, in which case, it exists. And it exists even within the IYAT MC—she’s not just submissive, she can be assertive, too. Like in Koichi’s sequel, where she takes a stand leaves the house entirely, refusing to go back until things are cleared up and explained to her. (Please note this is just the most recent example I can call to mind, but there are many—she does kick the crap out of Kiyoto for his every attempt to advance on her, after all.)
As for being feminine, yes she is sometimes, and other times she isn’t. Sometimes she says she’s not wearing make-up, and if you’ve seen her sprite from the JP spin-off of Kippei’s PoV, her clothes are actually pretty baggy and not all that flattering to her figure.
RomPix actually wrote a great post here about culture awareness and otome game heroines that addresses these same kind of complaints.
due to MC’s values and her desire not to cheat on her husband which, while noble, is DULL. I mean, go all the way, Voltage!
There are westernized forms of these games that would probably cater more to your interest considering what you have said in your post. I know your thinking it dull is entirely your opinion, but I find it’s an incredible strength within her that allowed her to try to pick up the pieces of her shattered marriage and try to put them back together. That is some serious emotional strength.
In the West we seem to think it’s “stronger” to leave a person and “weaker” to stay with them. But I would content that neither is weak because they both take a considerable amount of effort and emotional strength.
There’s nothing wrong with having an adorkably clumsy cute untalented protag, but there is also only so many I can play before I want to puke all over their infantile “protect me!” vibes. Yes, it’s wish fulfillment, but “unfeminine” girls want to play otome games too.
I’m not really sure where this last bit stems from, either. Who are you talking about? IYAT MC is not clumsy, and she’s incredibly talented—she gets some pretty awesome high profile jobs in many of the routes and does an admirable job of accomplishing them. She has some really unique and creative ideas that she proposes in Kippei’s route which was the first one out.
Maybe you’re generalizing, but even then, most of the notable otome games I can think of—this doesn’t apply to them. And if it does, only in a limited sense.
Chizuru dresses like a boy pretty much throughout the game—and is ergo thought of as one by most of the Shinsengumi save for our main cast who knows her identity—on top of which she’s at least had enough lessons with the sword to be carrying one and to be able to protect herself. Saki is tomboy in her own right and the whole brains behind the group that keeps them alive and solving all the puzzles (though this does take the cooperation of everyone, she’s a huge part). She’s also incredibly confident in herself and her capabilities.
So Hakuouki and Sweet Fuse are two huge exceptions to the generalizations you’ve just pulled and they are out in English. There’s even more if you look into the JP games.
There is nothing wrong with objectively evaluating the media you consume, but there’s a difference between being critical and being judgmental. Your original post seriously verges on the latter rather than the former when you don’t acknowledge all the strengths that IYAT has to offer, and you don’t take into account the cultural background and the target audience it was aimed at.