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GOTY 2014 - A Deconstruction of the Otome Genre

Warning: This review is spoilerific.

Yamijean's Quest Twilight Prince Prophecy Chronicles is what seems to be a childish troll game which turns out to be a magnificent deconstruction of the Otome Genre. For someone who used Ren'Py for the first time, he created a memorable and fun game splashed with creative writing and a plot twister so shocking, it caused the earth to rumble and split apart.

There is nothing else to talk about this game aside from its plot and characters. The graphics are supposed to throw the player off-guard and lull their defenses for an epic fairytale. The music fits and hilariously so. Moving on.

The story focuses on Donna, the prophesized Messiah of Love, and her journey to save the kingdom of Phantasia. She is escorted by the Twilight Gentlemen, Herald, Benjamin, Abel, Ebert and Mario. They must band together and gather the Seven Crystals in order to save Phantasia from the hands of the willian, Kruella.

The plot started as a shout-out to every otome visual novel ever - the protagonist is late for school and gets reprimanded by a family member; in this case, her mother; before finally moving on to school.

Donna's character is intriguing as she doesn't let society's expectations and responsibilities change her attitude towards life. She wanted to appreciate what's going on around her and observes them with such wit, it made me wonder what kind of terrible past she had. It's possible that she got bullied because of her manly voice or the fact that she looks like a 12 years old. She also describes herself in a masculine way which questions if she even realizes she's a girl. Gender is definitely an issue for Donna and it reflects with her relationship with the boys. Nevertheless, she was an intriguing character and I'll get more into it later.

Mario is the class president, who scolds Donna for her laidback, carefree attitude. He seemingly appears as your responsible senior, as he worries about Donna's outlook on life and lack of taking responsibility - to the point that he even has a hard time choosing what kind of paper to write down some valuable life advice for Donna. But all of it is just a facade to hide his superiority complex -- with his brother taking the brunt of the force. He is repeatedly shown as unable to take the fact that no matter how booksmart or streetsmart he is, his little brother will always beat him. Donna's relationship with him in his route allowed him to get over his inferiority towards his brother and gave him the wings to fly - to be who he wanted to be when Donna is at his side.

Due to Mario's constant abuse of his brother, Ebert is unable to communicate his thoughts and feelings to people. His speech is garbled with a mix of English, Chinese and Japanese. Unfortunately this makes his fellow classmates mistakenly believe him to be mentally impaired. With his brother being physically stronger, Ebert hopes that he will find someone that is as smart as he is to communicate with. Admittedly, his route was the sweetest as Donna went through tremendous amount of effort to communicate with him and let her feelings reach him. Donna helped Ebert to protect himself and use his brains to prove to his brother that he has to learn to love himself in order to be able to love Donna. From an emotionless kid, he developed into a fine gentleman.

When Donna first meets Herald initially believes him to be a stalker but upon getting to know him better, we realise that he is a broken man - one that you want to hug and give a cup of hot choco and a blanket. Herald is such a complex character that a review summary doesn't do him justice. Herald is the one that explains why Donna's the Messiah of Love -- Her ability to understand the concept of Despair. As the game puts it subtly, her concept of self is null and void. She is able to take in and understand the despair of people which allows her to think logically on how approach her relationships and the denizens of Kruella. Only she is able to understand the true feelings behind the masks people are forced to wear. Herald on the other hand is like a Joker. He wears too many masks (or lies so to speak) in order to give himself a validation, some sort of reason to exist. Upon meeting Donna, he is finally able to find his true self under his schizophorenic tendecies and cause a tear jerker. Truly, this character is worth the True Ending route.

Abel is also an interesting character. In case you are wondering, he is the one that is pretty much Edward from Twilight. But Abel was written in a way, that you are supposed to hate him. Plot twist, he's a cyborg. Abel is a complex AI that was given the face of a popular character from a book aimed for girls. He laments on this constantly in very hilarious ways. Aside from this, Abel questions his existence as living under one's shadow, unable to take a grasp of what makes him, him or the fact that he will always be hated by certain people just because he has the mannerisms similar to Edward from the book Twilight. This gave him a layer of humanity that I was surprised the writers were able to pull off.

Benjamin on the other hand, first looked like the game's staple comic relief. He is actually Herald's brother that is constantly shoved on the side despite his potential. He was unable to understand his brother's complex personality, and even if he wants to be with his brother and have a family again, it proved to be impossible. In his maddened state, he started to call himself as Benjamonn and proceeded to murder everyone in order to validate himself as useful to Donna, to be the only one that she can rely on and needs to win against the forces of evil. To be the only man to win her heart. Needless to say, the symbolic sword scene was so well executed that it is forever scorched within my mind.

And finally, Kruella. Her character is interesting in a sense that she is the opposite of Donna. She needs the constant love and attention from people in order to sustain herself of being. This proved to be a vital piece for the true main villain to use against her and convince her that she is not someone that will be loved unless she uses FEAR to make the people of Phantasia love her. The game takes the term normal girl so negatively that Kruella (Katherine) despises herself and those who are around her. She is filled with 'empty' love and it's interesting how it acted like a battery that can't hold its charge. Her breakdown and dramatic reveal was tearjerking and heartwrenching - so much so, that it is hard to hate this woman.

Overall, the writing of this game is meant to deconstruct different forms of narrative and flood its players with extreme symbolism and clever wordplay. I can't stress how amazing this game is. It is definitely worth the 5/5.


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a plot twister so shocking, it caused the earth to rumble and split apart.


*shakes and laughs* as the VA of Benjamin and Ebert, I am so happy that you enjoyed Yamijean's amazing masterpiece.
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