This is a discussion I have wanted to make for a while all after something a friend said, and I shall try to make it coherent, but I feel that things like this are best when I just write what I think, how I think it, without filters. So, my friend said that they view bad endings in visual novels as showing canon character traits (we were talking about otome games specifically at the time). Before, I tended to just dismiss bad endings more as a plot device or a game mechanic since otome games, especially games from big companies (IF, Rejet, etc.), all seem to have bad endings in every game they release. I specify since I have played indie/Western otome games without bad endings.
Anyway, my first thought were endings where the guy becomes yandere. Sometimes the guy shows signs of this before the bad ending, and others not. My friend made the point that they worry that that sudden yandere-ness (that’s now a term lol) was a hidden trait, meaning that even in the “best ending” that if the MC made the guy mad or he was triggered right, he could go into yandere mode even though there were no signs of it outside of the bad ending. As someone who loves happy endings, this thought alarmed me. It alarmed me a lot more than it probably should have to be honest.
Most of the examples I’m using are people randomly becoming yandere because those are ones I can think up off the top of my head, but note that this discussion applies to any drastic change in a character in a bad ending, so suddenly murderous, suddenly suicidal, etc.
No, I’m not going to list specific names because I don’t want to spoil people to a random assortment of games, but I will vaguely describe situations from games to supplement the discussion.
Case One: Sweet Guy Becomes a Paranoid Yandere
In one game, the MC and her man run away together, but they are being followed. So he, who was normally super bubbly, nice, and always the most cheerful person, became incredibly paranoid. This paranoia led him to lock the MC up in a house with him, and led him to kill others who came to just casually talk to them because he was worried everyone was going to try to split them apart.
Case Two: I’m Okay With Your Yandere-ness Now for Some Reason
In one game, the MC is drugged by a guy and then he and his roommate agree to treat her like a doll. The guy who drugged her had yandere tendencies the whole game, but the roommate did not.
Case Three: I’ll Murder Everyone
In one game, the guy and girl are in an alternate dimension? along with others, so the guy decides to kill everyone so they can be together. Before, he was depressed and sad over the death of his friends, so now killing others is okay, I guess.
This trend of seemingly random character changes doesn’t end with otome guys. The MCs do this too, though not nearly as often. I can only really think of one game where this happened that I’ve played.
Case Four: We’ll be Together Forever
In one game, the MC kills everyone and her man is her faithful servant/lover, but before, she was a naive MC who didn’t even know how to use her own powers.
Case Five: We’ll be Together Forever Part Two
In that same game, another ending the MC leads to everyone’s death except her man and then they live in an alternate dimension? where the only other people are fake versions of who they used to be that the MC created.
Canon or Game Mechanic?
In all of the cases listed above, the characters who had a dramatic personality shift didn’t show any signs of this shift before the bad ending. My happy-ending-loving self still wants to think that these are all just game mechanics or plot devices where the creators needed to think of a bad ending. Making someone have a personality shift is a great way to do that since that means you could basically have them do anything without any limitations. It opens up all possibilities.
However, I see my friend’s point. If the girl and the guy are together, and some bad situation comes up where either one thinks that their partner is at risk, who is to say that they might not burst into yandere-ness eventually? Again, this discussion accidentally turned into “sudden bursts of yandere-ness”, but this applies to any drastic character shift.
I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this is. Do you think that bad endings aren’t canon? Do you think they are? If you think bad endings aren’t canon, could the personality traits shown in them still potentially apply to “better” endings? Any other thoughts? Is this how one makes a discussion post? Help?