Wall of text ahead (again)
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