Part 116: Supplementary Lesson #1: The Teacher Archetype
The teacher archetype is difficult to define. In the case of male-oriented dating sims, teachers tend to fall into two categories: the strict, no-nonsense woman with a hidden sensitive side, or the carefree, easy-going (and often ditzy) motherly figure. Both work in creating a mature character, either setting them up to be the strong independent lover or the doting caretaker.
In otome games, however, outside of their position and their age, the teachers are often written as any student in the game would be. There are no easily definable traits between teachers in the otome genre, as they run the full spectrum of true character archetypes. The main appeal of teacher characters are that they are labeled as mature characters, playing on the idea of age and experience being attractive character traits. Really, the biggest connection these characters have as a whole is that they are all bad at their jobs for allowing themselves to get involved romantically with a student.
Teachers are a smaller archetype in the otome genre (and really in the dating sim genre as a whole), with only a handful of high school dating sims including them as characters. Theres a series of otome games where you play as a teacher and date students, but again this is a very small sample. Apparently, theres also an otome game coming out next year which has an all-teacher cast, so perhaps the archetype will continue to grow. For now, weve got some teachers from already-released games to ogle.
Starry Sky ~ In Autumn is the third game in the Starry Sky otome series, which focuses on a girl, Tsukiko Yahisa, who enrolls as the first female student at a previously all-boys school. Each game focuses on three months of the school year, or a full season. The games each have three main male characters, and each of those characters is based on one of the 12 zodiac signs. In Autumn is a game where the only dateable options are teachers (well, ones a nurse but he still fits here), and the routes are generally darker in tone than those found in the other games in the series.
Interesting to note is that throughout the Starry Sky series, Tsukiko has no eyes in any of the character graphics. In the PSP re-releases, the options menu gives you the ability to add eyes onto the CGs, but the default is still for Tsukiko to not have eyes. This is supposed to make it easier for the player to project themselves onto her, by removing defining features from the main character.
See if you can catch all of the character traits based on their zodiac!
Naoshi Haruki is Tsukikos homeroom teacher and is a Leo. He is 24, which is eight years older than Tsukiko. He a high energy and hot-headed teacher who seems to end up playing with his students more than he teaches them. He even has a running pranking competition with his homeroom class. He believes strongly in the concept of enjoying ones youth, since he spent most of his high school career studying.
During his senior year, one of Naoshis friends forced him out of his shell and showed him how to enjoy life and how to balance work and play. Unfortunately, Naoshis friend fell into a coma after being hit by a car while saving the girl he liked. Since then, Naoshi has feared romance and relationships. After spending time with Tsukiko and going together with her to see his comatose friend, Naoshi learns to love again. A rumor spreads throughout the school that the two are dating, and they both deny it and they put their relationship on hold. Then after Tsukiko graduates they start dating again.
Naoshi is probably the most similar to the other Starry Sky characters, as he is still a generally positive character and his conflict is a relatively small part of his character.
Kotarou Hoshizuki is the school nurse and a Libra. He is 26 years old, a whole 10 years older than Tsukiko. He has a few similarities to Kazuaki, in that hes prone to sleeping through his work day and is unorganized, often having Tsukiko clean up his place for him.
Kotarou was inspired to become a doctor because one of his best friends had an unspecified sickness. Unfortunately, she died before Kotarou could finish his studies, and so he blamed himself for her death. After that, he lost all motivation to become a doctor, and settled for becoming a school nurse. He has no attachment to his job, however, and often leaves the infirmary unstaffed so that he can sleep.
Eventually, as Tsukiko forces him to hang out with her, she teaches him that running away doesnt solve anything and that pain is part of being human. Kotarou begins to fall in love with Tsukiko and learns to come to terms with his friends death, after which the two move in together. Then he returns to medical school to finish his doctorate.
Iku Mizushima is a student teacher at Tsukikos school and is a Gemini. As a university student, he is only four years older than Tsukiko and is at her school as part of a teaching internship. He is a playboy who does not value love or intimacy and believes them both to be a waste. He also tries to assert his dominance on Tsukiko and threatens to assault her on at least one occasion.
Reminder: This is a character you are supposed to like and want to date.
Under his playboy attitude hides a fear of trust. Before, Iku had been a singer in a band that Tsukiko liked. Ikus sister was a sickly girl, but was the one thing that kept him going through life. After his sister died, he overworked himself in grief and ended up destroying his voice. His bandmates, who he considered friends, had only kept him around for his voice and immediately fired him. His other friends, who were only interested in him because of his status, left him as well. Since then, Iku has had trust issues and hides it all behind an indifferent attitude and his sexual escapades. After tricking Tsukiko into almost being assaulted by another student, he realizes that hes been hurting himself as he hurts others, and realizes that he needs to trust in others and change his outlook on life in order to find happiness again. Also he starts dating Tsukiko because he actually loves her behind his playboy façade.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side is a series of otome games and a spin-off of the male-oriented Tokimeki Memorial series. It plays like a life simulation, where you decide how to spend your free time through a calendar mechanic and have all three years of high school to date characters and study and work. After graduating, if you have gotten enough affection points with a character, they will confess to you and you live happily ever after. There is a large pool of dateable characters in each game, and at least one teacher is included in all three games. All of the teachers are treated very differently, however.
The teachers in this series have high stat requirements in order for them to confess to you at your graduation, and often require for you to wait for them to set up a date on their own schedule, rather than being able to date whenever like with the students. It has a better sense of realism to the student-teacher relationship than most dating sim games in general, which is nice. There are honestly a lot of neat mechanics to the TokiMemo GS games, but thats not what Im here to talk about.
Also, compared to Starry Sky, there is no drama involved in any of the characters, just romance.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side: 1st Love
Reiichi Himuro is the homeroom teacher and math teacher. He also runs the band at school. He is 27 at the start of the game, making him 12 years than the main character. He is very stern and serious, trying to always look as professional as possible. Most of the MCs interactions with him early on are supplementary lessons, though eventually he will also offer to drive you home (in his cool Maserati [the game plays up that Reiichi has a cool Maserati]). On his birthday you can give him presents, but he doesnt like frivolities so youre supposed to just turn in your homework with a nice Happy birthday, because he is a very serious person yknow. As he starts to open up to you more (and learns how to relax), he will call and offer to take you out on dates, but he says that its a social study and not a date, because he likes to at least keep up the air of being professional, despite the fact that hes dating a student.
Ikkaku Aminohashi is the principal and chairman of the board at the school. He is a staggering 35 years old at the start of the game, making him an even 20 years older than the main character. He is gross and you should feel gross for dating him. He has the highest stat requirements of any character in the game, but once you hit them, Ikkaku will smother the MC in affection. He has no qualms with his behavior and is pretty open about his attraction towards you. Cool. Hes a hopeless romantic whos all about the theatrics. He likes roses a lot and often uses them as gifts. At one point, in order to encourage you during your finals, he gets the MC a gigantic pile of roses and pops out of it to hand her a single rose for luck. He also really likes offering to drive the MC home. He likes classical music and takes the MC to concerts, though he falls asleep on the MC on one of those dates. He doesnt like it when you call him Gramps, but when you hit max relationship status with him you call him Uncle so I dont even know what his standards are.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side: 2nd Kiss
Takafumi Wakaouji is the homeroom teacher. After TokiMemo GS 1, the teacher characters dont seem to be given canonical ages, but its safe to assume that Takafumi here is 10+ years older than the students. Hes got a bit of Kazuaki to him; he is a very relaxed and friendly teacher, though hes scatterbrained, which can lead to some clumsy mistakes. He has a bunch of fangirls, so the MC has some competition when it comes to wooing her teacher. The game says that Takafumi has an IQ of 200, making him a genius, but hes also athletic and is in charge of the track-and-field club. Much like Reiichi from the first game, all of Takafumis starting dates are study sessions, but eventually he will start to call you so that you can go on real dates, like nature hikes. Overall, he comes off very down to earth, though he hints that his clumsiness might be a ruse to attract girls to him. Jurys still out on whether thats true, since his clumsiness can lead to sprained backs, but it can also lead to accidentally kissing the MC.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side: 3rd Story
Chikara Oosako is the homeroom teacher. He looks younger than literally every other character in the game, but hes your teacher, and hes about eight years older than the MC. Chikara makes up for his stature by being very enthusiastic and having a loud booming voice. He also probably has the most tact out of any of the other teachers on this list. He has no options for dates, he makes no romantic advances, and says that his only love is education. By seeing all of his events, though, and by not choosing to date any other boy, the MC comes to realize that she is in love with the teacher and ends up confessing to Chikara, which is a role reversal of literally every other confession in the series. Its actually pretty neat as a set-up.
Himehibi: Princess Days is an otome game that follows a similar setup to Starry Sky, where a single girl, Aizaki Koi, is enrolled into an all-boys school to try and turn the school into a co-ed school in following years. Aizaki gets a ton of attention from the boys at the school, and then has to decide which of her admirers she wants to pursue.
Kashiwagi Rinto is Aizakis homeroom teacher. No age is given for Kashiwagi, but he points out in one scene that Aizaki is at least 10 years older than him. While hes only employed as a homeroom teacher, he also subs for most of the other positions at school at some point or another. That said, he spends a lot of time sleeping on the job, so whether or not he takes these extra jobs as part of a sense of duty is questionable. He likes to make flirty comments towards Aizaki and tease her, but says not to worry because theres no way hed be interested in a student. Then, in typical fashion, he gets interested in her. Kashiwagi admits to Aizaki that he sleeps a lot because he doesnt ever feel rested, and that hes been having nightmares about his sisters death for five years, after which he kisses her. Thats how you set a romantic mood the right way. The next day he says he didnt have any nightmares when he slept and they both confess to each other. Then, in a surprising twist, the couple is found out and Kashiwagi is fired, and he takes it surprisingly well, realizing that he has crossed a boundary. Aizaki cant stand being away from her ~true love~, however, and Kashiwagi proposes that they get married so that they can be together legally. And then they do.
Really, teachers tend to run the full gambit as far as true character archetypes, but the inherent maturity of the characters and the concept of forbidden love make them enticing characters. If theres one thing that otome games do right with the concept, however, is that they write the routes such that the teachers have a conflict of interests. They recognize that the student-teacher romance is a breach of their contract, and each of the teachers has a different way of dealing with it. Sure, they still date students, but its an effort that isnt often seen in dating sims. I cannot think of a single male-oriented dating sim that tries to do anything like this, and its kinda nice.
Next Analysis: Childhood Friends