Part 120: Supplementary Lesson #5: The Playboy Archetype
Previous Analysis: Chuunibyou
Playboys are narcissistic characters who revel in the attention they are given by women. Theyre attractive, and the worst part is that they know just how attractive they are. They know exactly how to charm women and what to say to make the girls melt in their hands. Playboys are generally selfish and vain, and outside of their place as the big man on campus they can sometimes be rude and demanding. So what is it that makes this a popular or attractive archetype?
As stated before, playboys are attractive and popular. Theyre flirtatious and they always know what to say to please a girl. The fact that you could draw their attention is enough to make your heart beat like crazy, and to even go as far as to interact with them outside of school on a one-on-one basis, well, thats just like heaven. Sure, they have their rough spots, but you can help to iron those out. Plus, the way he treats you when youre alone gives you such an incredible feeling that you cant help but love him.
The playboy archetype is basically an otome game exclusive, since theres no perfect parallel archetype in male-oriented dating sims. The closest equivalent is the popular girl, but this kind of character is friendly with everyone, male and female alike. While her admirers may find her sexually attractive, the popular girl has no desire to appease them or take advantage of them and often tries to distance herself from those kinds of people.
Honestly, playboys in otome games are often kind of terrible in terms of characters, because theyre likely to objectify the main character and act as if the main character is just a plaything to be used for their own amusement. Some of them end up having a change of heart as their route progresses, but thats not always guaranteed.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side is a series of otome games and a spin-off of the male-oriented Tokimeki Memorial series. Now that were back to more popular archetypes, we can come back to the spin-off of the series that started the dating sim genre and see how it treats its archetypes.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side: 1st Love
Madoka Kijyou is a sophomore and a bit of a delinquent. His hair is long and messy, hes big into motorcycles, and he consistently fails his exams. He works at a gas station, and hopes to one day own his own car shop. Hes out-going and flirty, and all the girls think of him as a major heartthrob. He also comes from Kansai, which gives him the equivalent of a Southern accent, so thats probably dreamy too. Imagine him as a sort of anime John Travolta in Grease. Madoka may be a bit of a pervert, but hes a good person at heart. He not only attracts ladies to his presence, but also small children. One scene shows him at a park playing with a group of kids, buying them candy and protecting them from bullies that come along. Due to a less-than-pleasant family atmosphere, he finds it necessary to assert his masculinity at every chance, even avoiding using his first name, since Madoka is commonly used as a female name. But ultimately, hes a good representation of the trope, being flirty without being demeaning to women.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side: 2nd Kiss
Taro Majima is a sophomore and exclusive to the DS rerelease of the game. He acts courteous and kind to girls, but behind the scenes his acts incredibly flirtatious. He treats love like a game, so he plays a girl for as long as he can until he gets bored, when he gets rid of them and finds a new girl to woo. Hes all take and no give, especially when it comes to his interactions with the main character; the MC is constantly jumping through hoops to date Taro and giving him presents for holidays, and getting nothing in return besides the time spent with him. After he graduates, the MC discovers that Taro has numerous girlfriends, and that she is just becoming another one of his conquests. As it turns out, a previous girlfriend of his played him the same way, and so he was brokenhearted, afraid to open up to another woman in fear of being betrayed again. And so then he turns around and does the same thing. Cool. At the end, the MC somehow shows Taro the error of his ways, as he finally falls in love and decides to go steady with her. This the sort of standard that the playboy archetype has come to embody.
Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side: 3rd Story
Ruka Sakurai has previously been covered in the Childhood Friends lesson, and is the closest that 3rd Story has to a playboy character. While he does act flirty, it comes off usually in a more teasing or disconnected way. Hes playing along with the fact that girls are attracted to him, rather than trying to take advantage of the situation.
Princess Debut is an otome/rhythm game made by CAVE, also makers of the shmup series DoDonPachi (thank you to KataraniSword for the clarification). Its a very silly series, with more cutesy representations of archetypes that are willing to poke fun at themselves more often than not.
Also, I dont know why the EU box art includes a real girl when the game is all anime.
Cesar Dubois is a prince from the Sea Republic. He is a counterpart for Carlos, a sophomore at Sabrinas school and a notorious flirt. Before the events of the game, Cesar hit on the real princess, only to be rejected. This has not deterred him, however, as he is hellbent on making Sabrina his dancing partner. Hes definitely one of the flashier dancers in the game, as he knows how to make every move count. While he is flirtatious, he is a faithful boyfriend. His pickup lines are more cheesy than anything else, and he has a deep respect for women, given his more general interactions with Sabrina and how he acts on dates. Hes a hopeless romantic who will do whatever it takes to make his love happy. He talks about his sister in high regard, as she was the one who taught Cesar how to dance, and he calls her the prettiest girl in the world. Unfortunately, she appears to have died before the events of the game. Honestly one of the best portrayals of a playboy, given how childish and simple the games writing is.
Interestingly enough, Cesar is really good at rolling with the punches. You can drop sick burns on him all you want as you thwart his advances, and hell just take a dramatic pose and say that hell have to try again. He only gets mad if you insult his looks, since he spends so much time getting ready every day.
Amnesia is an otome game by Idea Factory. The stories are still super long and artsy, though the (sort of) deconstruction of the playboy archetype is (sort of) satisfying and interesting.
Ikki belongs to The World of Spade. In his first appearance, these is a group of women literally following him and clinging to him, and he smooth talks all of them. Hes incredibly flirty and affectionately, especially physically. He is polite and attentive to all of his fangirls and Heroine, and makes sure to treat them all with kindness. He is said to be skilled at any activity that involves his hands.
When he was a child, he was very lonely and wanted to fall in love, but no one paid attention to him. And so, after seeing a shooting star, he wished that he was popular with girls. His wish was fulfilled, and he was granted a special gaze that would make any woman fall for him. While he got what he wished for, any woman who caught his gaze would immediately fall in love with him, causing his group of fangirls to increase. He eventually lost the ability to connect emotionally or grow close to anyone, since all of his fangirls became hopelessly devoted to him, with little personality otherwise. However, Heroine was different, and was the only girl to not fall for his gaze. Because of this, Ikki became interested in her, and they eventually started dating, much to the dismay of his fangirls. They decide to try and break Ikki and Heroine up, so that there will be nothing between them and their ~true love~. They plan to attack Heroine and spread nasty rumors about Ikkis romantic attitude in order to dissuade Heroine from continuing the relationship. Ikki, becoming aware of the plan, decides to confront his fangirls about his feelings for Heroine and says that should any harm come to Heroine, he would never forgive them, after which he punches a hole in a nearby wall, scaring all of his fangirls away. Then Ikki and Heroine live happily ever after.
This path contains a line about how characters like Ikki only exist in shoujo manga or otome games. I bet Idea Factory thought they were real clever from writing that line.
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side is an otome game written by Keiji Inafune, creator of the Mega Man series and producer of the Dead Rising series. You play as the fictional 18 year old niece of Keiji Inafune, Saki Inafune, who goes to see the grand opening of her uncles new video game-based theme park. Things quickly turn dark, however, as a pig-man named Count Hogstein takes the entire staff hostage and forces you and six men to take part in a dangerous game. Each of the attractions at the theme park is rigged with deadly traps, and if the group is able to survive the seven traps for seven days, then everyone can be saved. If they die or try to escape however, everyone dies.
Its a little bit 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and a little bit Dangan Ronpa, but with a decidedly sillier tone overall, both in terms of cast and setting. You need to play through every route in order to get the full story and understand completely whats happening in the story. The puzzles and plot are simpler, but its still a lot of fun.
Sometimes you get to vent and yell at people too. Thats also fun.
Ryusei Mitarashi is 24 years old and the best escort at a club called Ulysses. The dating kind of escort, not the sex kind. He is popular among his clients for being aggressive yet professional. Hes quick to act and has a short fuse, which often leads him headfirst into dangerous situations and makes him prone to fighting. Hes a smooth talker, even off the job. Hes all about being manly and tough and constantly comes to the protection of Saki, taking an arrow to the shoulder, shielding her from an explosion, those kinds of things. Turns out Ryuseis a baby when it comes to drinking coffee, though, and Saki teases him about it, since he talks up how shes such a kid and how hes an adult. As a teenager, he dropped out of school and became the leader of a biker gang, trying to help the kids who had nowhere else to go and nothing to live for. Ultimately, Ryusei has a big heart and just wants everyone to be happy. He was told to always do what he could to make people happy by his grandmother who raised him, and so he took it to heart, starting with his time as a gang leader and culminating in his job as an escort.
Gekka Ryouran ROMANCE is an otome game by Rejet for the PSP. You play as Kaneda Nazuna, who is the at the top of her class. After her parents decide to take a trip overseas, she is sent to a new school, Hakuou Gakuen, which her brother attends. It has a reputation for being full of rich and handsome boys, so Nazuna is excited. Once she gets there though, she bumps into the Forbidden Date Club, which uses its wealth in order to trap girls into being their plaything. They coerce Nazuna into paying them for the pleasure of being hit on, otherwise theyll use their money to make her life a living hell. Because she cant pay the sum they ask for, shes forced into a game: she must date one of the people in the club; if she falls in love with him by the end of the semester, she still has to pay her debt. Can she avoid the temptation and get her debt? Or will she find love in her oppressors?
One neat thing about this game is that it includes a legitimate lesbian route, not played up for laughs. Some not-so-neat things include the sibling route and the general theme of abuse throughout the entire game.
Kano Aoi is the ladies man of the Forbidden Date Club, and a huge pervert. He has a tendency to climb into Nazunas bed to tease her, and on a couple of occasions was able to trick her into believing they had sex and that she had forgotten about it. He is overly physical with his affection and tries his best to take advantage of Nazuna at every turn, though he is rarely successful. While pursuing Aoi, Nazuna is given various vague warnings about leaving him be and how hes the living dead and his existence doesnt matter. This all culminates in a suicide attempt by Aoi, after which Nazuna learns that he is a genetically engineered human who was made to be an organ donor for his older brother. Coming from a rich family, his brother was a sickly individual, and in order to increase his survivability, his parents paid some doctors to produce a new person who would be an organ donor for their son. Once Aoi was born, they neglected his existence and treated him poorly. Even through this treatment, Aoi was ready to be an organ donor for his brother, who genuinely cared for him. Eventually, Aoi is called up to pass on his organs, and he prepares to sacrifice himself for his brother. Nazuna chases him down and stops him, because shes in love with him an wants to prove that his life matters on its own. Then they have sex in the hospital. In both of his good endings, Aois brother dies because at this point his body is on the verge of death and nothing can save him. Aoi is disowned from the family, and he and Nazuna run away together to live happily ever after.
Uta no☆Prince-Sama♪ is an otome game series by Broccoli for the PSP. The heroine, Nanaki Haruka, goes to Saotome Gakuen, an elite school for aspiring idols and performance artists, in order to live out her dream as a composer. She has to find a voice for her music though if she ever hopes to be signed with a production company, and so her search for a male idol begins! And who knows, you many even find romance along the way! But watch out, theres a strict no romance rule at school, so dont get caught!
Jinguji Ren is a male idol-in-training and plays the tenor saxophone. He has a large group of fangirls that follow him around, and tells Haruka that he doesnt care about being an idol and only goes to Saotome because his parents forced him to. It turns out that his two older brothers are taking over the undisclosed family business, and so his family is left with litter for Ren to do, so they sent him off to idol school in order to not deal with him. His mother also died giving birth to him, which made him the black sheep of the family and no one took care of him as he grew up. He dropped out of high school and was considered a delinquent, and so he was sent to Saotome in order to give him something to do, and also because he had a natural talent for singing. Haruka catches Ren skipping practice to make out with his fangirls on multiple occasions, and Ren constantly pushes her away and ignores her. He never shows up for practice and calls Harukas songwriting stupid and childish on multiple occasions. Finally, when she is given the chance to go to America to hone her skills in a more accepting environment, Ren admits that hes in love with her and wants to try and succeed because hes secretly been in love with her since the beginning of the term but couldnt say anything because of Saotomes no dating rule. Why this didnt stop him from getting physical with his fangirls isnt explained. So finally Ren starts coming to practice and working hard and Haruka writes him a song that wins them their audition.
Playboys are generally reviled as characters because of their often objectifying attitudes and general lack of faithfulness to the main character. They act high and mighty and are incredibly vain, absorbed in their popularity and the power that it gives them. However, the idea of being able to draw the attention of someone so attractive and popular, coupled with the desire to fix bad boys and make them good, helps to keep them as a fairly standard archetype for otome games. They also act as a high difficulty capture, since theyre constantly surrounded by eager fangirls and are dismissive of true romance, making your own advances less effective. However, there are a few good ones scattered around, a couple of which I have detailed up there, it just happens that the majority of them are pretty terrible.
Next Analysis: Athletes