Today’s diary entry is special: i just finally finished reading the plot line for the last main route left in DMMD: Mink’s route. Now time to wrap up what i think about each of the routes.
Disclaimer 1: might contain spoilers if you have not watched the anime or played the game. Although, i’d recommend it.
Disclaimer 2: i don’t hate any of the main characters.
Some background info: i watched the anime first, and then came to watch some of the walkthrough videos (i skipped the main route videos and only watched one route in its entirety, i will tell you which one it is soon).
This is a ranking of my not-so-favourite to Most loved main good end routes (meaning including only Noiz, Clear, Koujaku, Mink, Ren. i don’t care enough to watch Mizuki’s or Vitri, sorry not sorry). I also don’t feel like ranking the bad ends because to me they are equally bad.
Okay, i surprised even myself here. From the anime, Noiz’ route episode was the first one to leave a strong impact on me. He became one of my favourite in the anime.
Don’t get me wrong, i do think his character and backgrounds are good. And i am aware that Noiz is probably the most popular DMMD character.
What happened was i read his plot line in the game and the more i read the more i feel like his route takes away some of the impressions he left on me earlier.
Noiz is talented, and your favourite cold-mannered cool young hacker that we all love. He is perfect save for the fact that he doesn’t feel pain, which understandably leaves him unable to empathise with others. His route gives a meaningful message that pain is both a curse and a privilege – someone who does not feel pain usually will be portrayed as strong and that would be an advantage. But through Noiz, we know that it is a necessary evil and honestly that is a meaningful thing to take away with.
But here is what the slippery slope of Noiz’ route starts. His strength lies too much in his backstory, intelligence, cool demeanour and handsome face. Which all have been taken away by the end of his route. He got cured by Scrap and starts to feel pain; he reconciled with his family and becomes an assistant which i think is such a waste of his talent, he removed his piercings that were such a trademark to him and which i think signifies his deviance and i love deviant characters oh come on.
And then there is his romance with Aoba – seriously i do not like stories in which guys suck each other off even before they confess and then realise they have feelings for each other afterwards. i was hoping Noiz’ love story is something not constrained by that trope to be honest. i did not get impressed by how he became a prince and treats Aoba like a princess either, i mean it is all sweet and all but am i too old for this or is this too much of a fairy tale that is too mild a climax after all those two have learnt along the way?
So yes, a let down of an ending to such a good buildup of a character. i wish Noiz was given more independence at the end and their love story was more mature.
All in all, Noiz’s history was very well written. And that is the extent to which i like his route.
Koujaku is damn sweet, seriously. i actually like his flower motifs a lot and i think his design is very pretty.
i don’t have much to complain about his route since it is your safe and healthy best friends romance which is really cute.
The only letdown part: Koujaku is too tied down by his past to the point he becomes too passive about it, and then Aoba just flicks a finger and bam! Everything is solved.
First of all, Koujaku’s design is contradictory to me: he says he is haunted by his past but then he does not hide all of his tattoos, so uhm i don’t know which is which. Even though Koujaku is drowned in self pity after such a long time, Aoba can just conveniently save him like that which is anti-climatic in my opinion.
But, having that said, i love when Koujaku cuts Aoba’s hair. It is a symbolic scene that signifies the two of them both moving forward from their past. This is my favourite part of his route.
Overall, it is your fluffy sweet and toxic-free friendship-to-love story and i think having such a route in an eros game is really refreshing. i actually couldn’t decide whether i like Koujaku’s or Noiz’ route more, but oh wells this order is fine too.
This is where i surprised myself a second time. In the anime, Mink’s relationship with Aoba is even less explored that his relationship with Toue, but i saw comments scattered here and there about his game route and i start to hesitate reading his.
i delayed it for so long because after looking at the comments on videos about his route, i was so sure i was going to feel disturbed.
I particularly dislike the tropes along the lines of a relationship that involves one party raping another, or “i love you but i want you to hate me because i love you so i will hurt you”, or “i hurt you but then the more i hurt you the more you love me”, basically the romanticisation of abuse. i. hate. that. a lot. really, a lot.
And Mink’s route just happens to have ALL of it, yes ALL of the above messages that so fill the current romance literature media. Yes. Be forceful, and the partner likes it. They know they like it. They WILL like it. Especially if you are totally sexy , nobody can refuse you even if you force yourself on them.
That is why i did not want to start reading his story. But i did eventually just to complete the picture. Or maybe because i trusted Nitro:Chiral.
To my surprise, i wanted to hate Mink, but i can’t. i don’t really know if i even like his character or not (one thing for sure i don’t react sexually strongly to his attractiveness), but i just can’t hate him, because i just understand what he thinks.
The reason is simple but compelling enough to stop me from completely hating him: Mink’s route has an upper hand above all the disturbing tropes that i listed above, and that is because he did have one logical reason to hurt Aoba: he wanted to drag out the other personality so that he can make use of it, and he is smart enough to realise that violence is the way to do it. Which none of the other main characters were in a position to realise.
But all because of this logical thinking, i am pulled back one step away from dismissing anything good Mink does and regarding him as a douchebag and a heartless twisted rapist and the whole relationship with Aoba a bag of rough sex and abuse. But no, because i understand why Mink did what he did, i can’t hate him. D.A.M.N.
My reservation about Mink’s route is only this: this is a fictional story, so we can have a character who can go back to being his real self so seamlessly after a period of pure hunger for revenge and forgetting how to live. However, in real life, i believe it is not so easy. Someone capable of such violence in the first place makes me doubt if he will really turn violent-free in such a short time, and that is why i still have some mixed feelings about Mink’s route. Plus, Aoba’s turning submissive and turned on because of the abuse did not amuse me. As much as Mink is loved and as much as he loves Aoba, i still am slightly disturbed by the romanticisation of violent sex in this particular scene. i don’t think Aoba’s turned twisted, but he is a bit too meek around Mink even after the end of the game and in Re:Connect. He is a bit like how Clear is to him at the beginning – very considerate, sometimes even overly considerate – which makes quite a lot of sense because Mink and Clear are usually regarded as polar opposites.
The other part that gives me mixed feelings about their romance is that it is based on sexual tension – this is the pair with the most sexual tension among all the love interests. But i kinda got cool with it after a while because that is a type of romance too. i basically had to remind myself that i am only feeling that unconvinced because i am asexual and i need to think in terms of the general population’s love tendencies.
i won’t comment on Mink’s sex appeal because you can find it everywhere. Even though, had Mink continued to be violent after Re:Connect, my impression of him would be just bad. bad, bad forever no matter how hot he is or how golden his eye colour is or how sweet his cinnamon smell is. But because he becomes totally gentle afterwards (well it is a fiction after all), i just can’t bring myself to hate him.
Mink and Aoba’s connection is slightly different from the rest of the love interests: while the rest are romance-oriented, you could say Mink and Aoba have some form of spiritual connection. Mink is religious and his reckless acts lead him to be totally shaken by the other personality inside Aoba, something he did not expect. So their relationship is not as straightforward. Rather, it is a mix of fear, admiration, sexual attraction and infatuation all in one. Wow, it is so hard to put one label to their relationship, although to me it is mostly attraction + infatuation, it is still a valid form of romance so yeah there you have it, your sexy daddy who can make you feel frustrated one second and totally captivated the next.
Overall, i can’t put my head around what i feel about Mink’s route, but i think the story writers did a fantastic job because i can’t define what i feel about a character and that is totally a different level altogether. So yeah, even if i am still frustrated, i am impressed with how much attention they give to his story and therefore it ranks quite high for me.
Ren is frigging cute like come on have you seen him trotting in the game opening? And the very moment he came up in the anime i squealed like an idiot that i was because that pink tongue is just too much. And then he spoke. And then we see him in his Allmate form. And then his human form without the cape. Basically one heart throb after another.
i personally love Ren. i would wish i had such a friend in my real life and if i were to adopt a dog i most likely want to get one like him. He is such a badass sweet friend that is always Aoba’s emotional support and as we know at the end of the story, he was Aoba’s true mental checker all along. i really really like mature characters and Ren hits the spot. He is composed, cool, strong, mentally mature, and loyal. He is everything my ideal type of friend is.
i did not have to re-read his plot that much because i got the gist of it in the anime and i am content with that much. Ren is so simple as a character but his insecure side rings a familiar note in me and i can’t help but think of it as sweet, especially when he kept it all inside of himself and even when i felt jealous of other Allmates, Ren never acts up and keeps on protecting Aoba.
i don’t comment on what kind of *cest that makes his sexual relationship with Aoba – call it incest/self-cest or beast sex or whatever, i don’t care about that. He is an individual with a human body by the end of his good end, and that is all that matters to me. Whether he used to be a part of Aoba does not change the fact that he is an individual now.
i think Ren is really beautiful. i kinda want to draw his face with a gentle smile, because i think he smiles very rarely in both the anime and the original game, most likely because he appears as a dog much more frequently than as a human.
Ren’s route is very creative and emotional because it deals with a part that we all share as humans: we are scared of being left behind, no matter how much we are close to the one we care about. And i think that it is simply well put out by the studio.
O Clear, Clear, Clear. Clear is my favourite, over and over. i just don’t know why he gave me such a lasting impression because i am generally more inclined towards mature ones (like Ren) but i do love Clear’s pure intentions even though he might come off as childish. i was amused by him in the anime and enjoyed him as a cutie much like Free!’s Nagisa, but oh boy he is not just a child. He asks questions you have never thought of. After all, who the hell would have thought of what jellyfish dream of when they swim? Or that the stars might fall down any moment. Or that people might die in their sleep and that is scary. Or whether robots can become human. Oh, he can fight too, and will do when necessary. In this aspect again he is an opposite of Mink: Clear does not like unnecessary violence.
Another way Clear is the opposite of Mink is: while Mink has lost everything, he is someone who did not have anything to begin with. The only person he knew in his life prior to finding Aoba is his grandpa who left him behind. But because this boy has so little in the first place, the sense of gain and loss have not been ingrained that badly in him, and he only just started to know what love is.
Even though i did say that i am generally drawn to more mature characters than childish ones, there is another type of character that captivates me: ones that always do their best. Clear is the epitome of doing whatever he can, even if it means betraying fate.
Oh God this scene is awesome.
i love how Clear thinks about everything differently. How he does his own thing in his own time regardless of what people think of him. Like putting up an umbrella when it is neither rain nor shine. Or like wearing a mask even if people call him weird and then eat and drink with the mask like nothing is weird about it. i just love all of those little things that make him so individualistic and open minded. That is when i realise “Ah, so even when i am human, i am not less isolated from the rest of the people than a robot is.”
O and that confession and the shy kiss, i can never say enough how nice it is to have a route with such a proper sequence to things when it comes to romance… it is really refreshing… like i am always wondering why can’t we have a good healthy and properly paced romance that is not boring, and then Clear happened.
If there is anything that saddens me in his route, then it will be this: Aoba can cure Noiz’s condition, break Koujaku’s entangling with his past, help Mink get over his thirst for revenge and wish for death, but Aoba can never ever turn Clear into blood and flesh. And that will never change. Pain can heal with time, but the fact that Clear is man made is there for eternity as long as his body still moves.
Not even the privilege of experience pain, Clear does not have the privilege of experiencing eternal death. He could be started up by someone else some time, he could have his memory modified. Such a creature that Clear is does not happen in this real time (yet), but it does pose a question regarding what is it that divides life from death, and what does it mean to be living. Clear is the one love interest that Aoba will not be able to connect with Scrap, because it is designed to change a human’s brain. i think that is why there is no good end in the choices that Aoba can make with Scrap.
But oh even so, if Aoba cannot do it with supernatural means, he will do it with his own two hands. Like holding Clear just as a human. Like willing to make Clear’s face wrinkled when his does so they will look like grandpas together. This is the Aoba that i love the most among all the routes. Clear’s route does not just bring out the best of Clear, it also brings out the best of Aoba.
Clear’s symbols are so nicely tied to his character and the theme that he represents. Attraction to pure things, things that glitter and are transparent. i have been used to seeing “innocent” characters turning out to be naive people put in for the sake of a drastic character development, but Clear shoved all of that boring stereotypes away. Instead of a “character development”, Clear shows how a character can have both sides of the coin at the same time: pure intentions, cluelessness about social standards, while yet being really reflective of what has happened in his life, determination and bravery and great sense of responsibility. Clear is naive only to the social standards (which is fine), not to the complications of the real world as seen commonly among characters portrayed as naive. And the moment those characters get more reflective and “seasoned”, they lose the cheery pure characteristics. But Clear stays as Clear. And that i think is wonderful.
So now you have it – Clear’s is the only one whose route i watched in its entirety.
Simple yet gently poking into what we all take for granted about living and the everyday’s little things, this concludes my last thought on DMMD and the baby boy i hold dear – Clear.