Personally, am not against the inclusion of dark and heavy topics like the ones in the story but I do have issue with how they were handled
Like on one hand, these scenes were definitely not there to be tiltilating and generally there for your horror and discomfort. Which for me is a good thing! Lord knows there’s a lot of works which treats something like this as something like either “sexy but distressed” fanservice or as something (usually cis-male) can be rewarded with (“you saved the damsel congrats now you get to ravish her!”)
The gravitas these scenes are treated with imo are a good thing and I really wish other writers, should they have to have this, would also look at these events as they are: traumatic and brutal
But on the other hand, what do they do for the story? What is the purpose of including this scene? For discussion purposes I’ll use Momoko as she has more going down character wise
WALL OF TEXT AHEAD
For Momoko, my bone to pick is that as of 3 books, we have yet to see her as someone separate from the MC. The act of removing her tongue seems as something that’s set up for the MC to angst about. It literally has 0 to do with Momoko as a character or has anything to do with her character arc. I mean this in: 1) was this set up because of her own hubris, 2) does this give us any form of character growth given that she undergoes something horrible
On a meta level:
If the decision to include her maiming was a result of a character flaw or decision, it seems poorly exexuted on a narrative or thematic level. This isn’t a one time thing as consistently she gets the short end on the stick whenever she decides to do something out of her own volition
Like we have a doctor saddled with a lot of self doubt, guilt, and what not, from her stint with the Yakuza and when she decides to enact some form of agency – the decision to leave to atone for her sins – she gets punished for it?
Granted, it was noted that there is a war or some form of tension that says DANGER HERE but instead of furthering her arc, which is to say to answer to her misdeeds as the opium instigator, the answer to that train of thought is to…have her mutilated?
The idea of owning up to own’s actions is to have that? Even if karmic action is at work her, does it equate to her crime and her desire to make it right?
This in itself is an author decision, one that I disagree with, since the themes of redemption or furthering one’s own darkness makes this an odd exception. MC is actively answering to their past. If Momoko is answering to hers, I don’t see why she is robbed of the opportunity to do so consistently. She gets stuck as boob jiggler in the second book and the moment she decides to do something (again) to address this past, she gets brutalized and is largely absent and almost silent through it. We do not get to see the fall out of how she feels, what she does, etc etc after this. Which imo is crucial whenever you have this kind of drama or plot point
And while I understand that this speaks of Jun(ko)'s brutality, this scene imo also does her the diservice of being relegated into a Mcguffin character – you could literally replace her with any other character to show how far Jun(ko) has fallen.
If the reason for Momoko’s suffering is because the players are supposedly invested in her by this point feels now like that’s just it. She’s the cosmic chew toy, with no other purpose than to provide MC angst and reason for players to care for/rally against Jun(ko). It feels particularly big as a let down after having such a beautiful entry to her character.
(This is exacerbated even more considering her jiggle boobs arc for the MC in the second book)
In other words, Momoko is not her own character at this point (despite supposedly being 50% into the story – 3/6 books) and the fact that her aspirations is used to punish her is treading on a very fine line
No. We’re asking the author to treat his existing ones better given the premise and set up