Ahh yes, my favourite topic of discussion… Boy, do I have a theory for you all.
Jun/ko is a victim of sexual abuse, they have been plagued by the trauma all their life without even identifying it as shame. Perhaps Jun/ko blames themselves in some way- for experiencing involuntary physical pleasure, for not reaching out and letting their father continue, for being submissive. This can explain why they have an obsession with power and being in control, as they once were not in control of their own body.
Moreover, their abuser was their own father, to a child that is a high position of trust. It can be interpreted that he established emotional coercion tactics and physical force to degrade their own child, leaving Jun/ko’s still developing mind psychologically warped for life.
Jun/ko’s childhood trauma has contributing factors to their traits of aggression and hostility. The trauma may have influenced their impulse control, emotional regulation, and general awareness.
Which leads to my theory: the robbing of Jun/ko’s innocence altered their mentality in such a way that has decreased their ability to cope with later stressors. Thus, their liability to be consumed by the Jigoku Ittō-ryū and the reason why Gensai chose the MC over Jun as the heir.
Jun/ko is not suitable as the heir of the Jigoku Ittō-ryūbecause they lack the mental stability to control the demonic power.
That ending. I am shook. I just wanted everyone to be happy . It seems this book will be the turning point to a more darker story line. I just hope there will still be some form of levity and jokes to balance out the despair.
Regarding some of the controversial stuff discussed on earlier posts, I wanted to give my two cents:
Momoko’s role in the story
I defended Momoko during book 2, saying she is a flawed but good character, and I will do it again for book 3.
She is more than that. Momoko’s arc when she fell in love with the MC played an important role in the story regarding the MC, something that only she could do, which was challenging one of the MC’s core belief: that the MC are not worthy of being loved. Even when it is not reciprocated, this is the first time for the MC in receiving a different kind of love than the one they know all their life from Jun/ko.
When the MC were thinking of approaching Toshio with their feelings, the MC noted how difficult it was by declaring how brave Momoko was for confessing her feelings. The MC used Momoko as an example of how to start a proper relationship, which was new to the MC. So, Momoko played an important role in the MC’s emotional development.
If she flaunted her assets at the MC a large number of times on book 2, then it is completely in accordance to the context, as she was in love with the MC, and so was actively trying to seduce them. Nothing wrong with that.
The fact that she had a backstory (which you stated before), character arc and progression into her motivation meant she is a full, fledged character.
The world of Hyuga is not an idealistic one. Just because one has good intentions does not mean they will be rewarded the result they want. Just because one in actively trying to redeem themselves, doesn’t mean they will reach redemption.
Regarding her lack of focus in book 3, it is an unfortunate result of being away from the MC, since the story follows them closely. I agree that a little snippet of her progress in her objective will definitely help make her more relevant.
As for the mutilation , Momoko and the MC share the role of tragic characters. That scene is, for Momoko, the equivalent of Ige’s death for the MC. Both Momoko and the MC will either overcome this adversity and become stronger for it, or it will be the end of the line for them.
This scene was significant for 3 characters:
At this point in the story, Kohaku still believed that Samurais are just and can do no wrong. To dispel this notion, Kohaku had to catch samurais committing a crime red-handed. A drastic crime is needed for Kohaku to have a drastic change in perspective, which is why that scene was used. Not only was the scene drastic, it was a crime that takes a relatively long time to commit, which allowed Kohaku to witness the scene in-progress which was very important. If, for example, Kuniko was simply murdered instead and Kohaku found the body, he may just conclude that bandits did it via mental gymnastics, and not samurai.
Kohaku, after witnessing that scene, was faced with the truth that cannot be denied, that destroyed his core belief and starts his character development.
B. Kuniko and Hatch
The aftermath of the scene showed more of Kuniko’s strength of character, which has only been slightly implied, as well as increasing Hatch’s motivation to improve his skills, and gives him perspective to the troubles of the land, which foreshadows him taking Shatao’s place
Hence, I believe the scene was definitely an effective scene for its purpose. Also, it comes as a surprise to me when people did not expect rape to be mentioned, considering the MC is a child born from rape meant the author does not shy away from this topic, and this is in book 1.
Another thing that is curious to me is that while Momoko’s mutilation and the rape scene seems very controversial here, not many have mentioned the decapitation of Ige, who is barely an man/adult? which should be treated with the same gravitas than the two scenes, but doesn’t appear to cause as much controversy?
“Why did you choose me as a successor?” doesn’t really scream WARNING, we know that’s optional scene after the fact and to be honest choice between your former lover was victim of paedophile and you commited act of cannibalism as a child isn’t really great to begin with
And just to clarify I don’t have a problem with these scenes, just wanted to point out that I think that the reader should be better informed that there are such scenes before playing, either by rating game as pegi 16 or by putting warning about mature themes in first page in first paragraph
not that im disagreeing with you or anything and i may have not read the second option properly but which part did it say that the ronin did an act of cannibalism? i may have missed it or not read it properly? just wanted a clarification
The Jigoku Ittō-ryū, the source of its power—what is it?
We are answered with following:
Sensei:Your power comes from those orphaned children you see in your sleep. You will never forget the taste.
MC: …we were all starving at the orphanage, and some of the younger ones didn’t move around so good. They had their eyes closed when it was feeding time, and I tried to wake them up, but they didn’t move and they weren’t gonna. And when the older kids took everything and there wasn’t even a single scrap for me…I was so hungry, and it was all their fault
oh holy f*** i did not pay attention to that closely… thanks for clarifying… i honestly thought what they meant by starving was the fact that the jigoku itto ryu wanted to kill as many as they can hence the starving thing i didnt think theyd resort to that… damn either option is horrifying
I’m only talking for myself, but I think most people (me include) sees Mashashi as a potential romance. I want to romance him, but now? Not at all. Now he is around what, 14? What I am hopping to happen is that at some point in the books, the story would have advance several years, till Mashashi is an adult, and then I want to romance him.
He has a massive crush on the ronin, and I would like to see that grow into actual love when he becomes a man and has a full understanding of the consequences.
The scene was heartbreaking for me, just as Momoko’s, Kuniko’s and the one about Junko. The saddest thing is that his death was in the most part for MC development benefit. Experience such as these was one of the few that could help MC reunite with their technique after all.
As for Masashi/Masami… I’m not really able to see how this “romance” could work, the MC in book summarized it reather nicely:
But I didn’t mind, because my opinion hadn’t changed. It couldn’t, because if Masami was a woman, we wouldn’t be able to sit like this and bicker back and forth without a care
The essence of what everyone loves abot their relationship comes from MC treating Masami/Masashi as a child (whether they are or not since their age never been officially clarified). Maybe when Masami/Masashi will be officialy stated to be an adult and the relationship will stop being focused around them being a child for MC then I will change my mind
Thanks to everyone who has offered their insight. I appreciate all the thoughts and emotions that have gone into them. I especially understand that when I make terrible things happen to good people, even if they’re fake characters, it has a real effect on my readers.
Terrible crimes are never justified. As in Kuniko’s case, there is no amount of character development that could justify rape.
But it is certainly fair to debate whether the scene was justified to be added into the story. Hatch and Kohaku’s growth and motivation are two reasons. Another one: it is an extremely tangible way to display how badly samurai treat the farmers, and why change is needed. This raises the stakes in a way that ‘the farmers are hungry’ cannot.
Regarding Junko/Jun, there aren’t and will never be any scenes featuring paedophelia. I have a personal hatred for pedos that I can’t explain on these forums, but to me they are the ultimate evil. In Book 3, there is a suggestion that something terrible happened in Junko/Jun’s past.
In Book 4, if these events are explored with Junko/Jun in any length, there will be appropriate warnings. It will be more in the tone of comfort and seeking resolution. There will be no ‘flashback’ to any such horrific event.
I did notice that the App Store’s content rating was low. I will make sure to contact Hosted Games and have it increased.
Thanks once more for playing, and for letting me play with your emotions!
There were some moments I really appreciated, mainly being able to slap Kohaku for seemingly no reason after he gets a little awkward but an especially good moment is Jun’s confusion w/ an MC specifically a female MC who has romanced Momoko bc yes u little shit the MC is bi also I really hold no love for Jun at this point since he really seems intent on hurting the people the MC loves
Thanks for the answers everyone was needing! It was great that the author himself came and talked the issue down!
And finally we can be on the same ground, cause i too thought that Jun/ko tragedy had to do with sensei while she was a kid. So it cleared my picture, since i just couldnt believe that he would assasult a kid. It just didnt fit the picture i had made from brief things we learn about the man. I mean even as cruel as him, must have some dignity and morals.
And now, the question i was dreading to ask, IS JUN/KO, ROMANCIBLE God, please tell me… or even a slight hint!!
See this is my problem. In order to be a fully fledged character, she has to stand on her own. As we agreed on, she does have a backstory, aspirations, etc that are in fact independent of the MC. But we don’t get to see that as much precisely because she’s relegated to love interest. Toshi is an LI and yet a good part of their character happens separately from the MC (which is a good thing)
Like given all the qualities presented to us, the one that gets cashed on is her status as an RO? Like out of all the possible storylines you can possibly write in the second book, this is the one that gets published?
She can inspire or cause others to change but it should not come at the cost of her own development. You can argue that her desire for the MC is part of her asserting her own agency as a character, but was that properly shown? Imo, no. Skip ahead to the next section as to why I feel that way
In other words, she can be a love interest but should not be just the love interest. It’s incredibly disheartening to say the least when you have characters who have all the ingredients to be awesome and yet never get that opportunity because they’re now the LI
(See Mai from ATLA as an example --> badass af but then S3 happens and suddenly we’re seeing less of her being the kickass lady she is and now being treated to seeing her as only Zuko’s girlfriend, because now her most defining characteristic is that Zuko’s girlfriend. We could’ve had more storylines talking about her relationship with her family, her friendship with Azula, how she views the avatar situation, etc., but we don’t)
Okay I had to go back to the second book for this, but the MC essentially was fixated on her assets. As someone who had 0 interest in romancing her, this is jarring to say the least. Add the fact that one of Momoko’s biggest insecurities is due to being someone who wasn’t taken seriously because she was beautiful and then have the MC hyper fixate on that feels awful on so many levels
If the point was to write MC being attracted to her, there are other ways to do so than to have that attraction be pointed out by her boobs a good 90% of the time is generally yikes worthy. It felt like an overtly long anime-esque gag that I’m not going to go into
And as a note, the only actual seduction of hers, the one that she made an effort on, was the love hotel and date. She dropped hints but primarily speaking, action taken on her end was that. Everything else was the MC looking at her like she was a piece of meat and that wasn’t fair to her as a character either (see above why)
See. This is what I was talking about earlier. It’s interesting to note that as you’ve mentioned, the most visible person it affected was not even Kuniko. It was Kohaku. And also as you mentioned, this scene in particular provides Hatch with a greater motive, and as you mentioned is an act of foreshadowing for a future role for him
All points that have nothing to do with the victim in question and again arguably serves as a means to further their arcs. Which brings back to my earlier point about this being a plot device when topics like this should not.
If you’re going to write a rape scene you better make sure that there’s a point to it for the character involved and for the story as a whole. If the point was to illustrate Kuniko’s strength or resolve, this goes back to my first question: is it necessary to show it this way? If yes, why? If no, why?
If I’m going to quote the author
While I disagree with the inclusion of it primarily because the aftermath doesn’t focus on Kuniko enough. And as of now, I doubt she’ll be making a significant enough appearance in future titles given that the MC is going on a journey separate from the group, and that in all likelihood, if/when the MC returns, the mentions of her might be in relation to her relationship with Hatch – I do appreciate the gravitas it has towards the internal world build/logic
My main gripe is that whenever you have heavy topics like this, the victim in question is often left out and proverbially silent and/or absent. You can’t skip out on the victim. Part of writing trauma in fiction is also writing how they deal with it and their process of healing
[Again, while I understand why it was done this way regarding the characters involved – pacing, constraints, what not – this should have also been a factor in the decision to include it or not]
We’re not exactly treated to that. The most we get out of it is people saying not to assume Kuniko is weak or that she’s sorta/kinda okay by the time she gives the MC their haori
In any case, this is all I’ll be saying any further on the subject
ok tosh i love you and all but telling me you have feelings for me from the first time we met? dont think i forget how you oppose satsuma, which is your best friend and not to mention, THE EMPEROR, when he about to hire me? dont think i’ll believe that.
my attunement in this book was so off. it’s annoying, but i think reflect my mc’s state
i stayed up till 3am on weekday for this noregrets
The fact that Kuniko was raped doesn’t mean the author must focus on her. That’s part of how life is. People gets abused and life keeps going. Bad things happen in reality for no reason at all, so why if it’s a book there must exist a reason involving the character development?
What I want to say is, when something this bad happens in real life, is brutal, merciless and unfair. And at the end, there is no reason for it, is just one of the many kicks life can throw at you because that is the way life works. There is no superior motive behind our life experiences, and I think is good when this is showed in a book, since, in my opinion, it helps to get you more invested in the story that is being told.
Is harsh, really really harsh, just the way it would be in real life.
First of all, great work Devon. Character driven stories are my kind of jam and SOH ticks all the right boxes for me.
That being said, I do feel like what happened to our girls is mostly to further the man pain (as someone who has watched all of Supernatural’s seasons I can smell when something has been added for the man pain from a mile away, even if it wasn’t on purpose). I happen to believe, too, that if an author wants to write something into a story, then it’s their right to do it. But more explicit warnings would’ve been a nice touch. As a side note, rape and pedophilia don’t trigger me, so my playthrough didn’t suffer for it. It was just that single “Ah, the old and reliable rape as a plot device” moment.
About the romances feeling rushed… We’re talking about Toshio/Toshie and the handjob, right? Because in my game, I can totally see that happening. I mean, you were a starving orphan, the first act of charity someone had with you was taking you in as cannon fodder, your first love was someone utterly broken that screwed you senseless and developed a toxic bond with you, you killed lots of people, fucked some more. When someone finally tries to befriend you, your first thought is going to be “Yes, fuckable”. Then character development happens and a lot of those pervert lines start to look more like a mask to hide the fact that the ronin is realizing for the first time you can develop other kind of relationships with people, besides things I kill, things I screw. So when you finally have the chance to get intimate with the person that says they believe in you and they know you are good people, you’re going to jump on that wagon like someone jumping on a wagon. Let love and all that come (ha!) later. At least that’s how I see it. This MC comes with quite the personality and a lot of baggage.