Note: “Let’s talk” is a new category that I thought about adding. I will treat subjects pertinent to otome games/reverse harem/fujoshi stuff that I feel are worthy to take note of or talk about or that I just consider educational. So on with the first topic!
As you all know Amnesia: Memories is in a current frenzy in the Western otome game topics for some days ago. (It also seems to be the only thing I post about lately too lol, I’m sorry! ; w;). It has recieved a Very Positive rating on Steam and the good reviews keep popping out and this kind of make me reflect on the whole Amnesia promotion and I reached to the question: “Why is Shin the promotional face of Amnesia?”. He is on most promotional poster adds, on the game covers of Amnesia, Amnesia Later and Amnesia Crowd and if he’s not the only one in there, like on the Amnesia World and Amnesia anime DVD covers, he’s almost always at the center or more “obviously in eye range” position (with some exceptions, of course). Why not Ukyo? Why not Toma, Kent or Ikki? Why not all of them? After deep thought these are the reasons that I managed to come up with:
Lately, the word “commercial” got the negative cannotation of being equal to “mainstream”, which once again tends to have a negative meaning through the game/anime/manga community (example: Naruto is mainstream thus is a bad story.). I do not share this belief and I strongly discourage the use of the term negatively. Being “mainstream” can be a consequence of a “bad story” in the long run, but doesn’t necesarily mean it will always turn out that way.
In our case, I do not mean that Shin has been chosen as the image of the franchise because he’s bland looking, but on the contrary, he is commercial because he “catches the eye”, thing that commercials and PVs always have as main goal in order to get you to buy their product. One can argue that if they wanted to catch the eye with something, then visually Ikki is more handsome and more fitting to be an “image”, so why didn’t they go for Ikki? While it’s true that Ikki might be visually more attractive for the most people, he tends to “blend” too much into the colors he represents (shades of blue), thus seeming more “passive”-looking. And this brings us to the second reason:
2. Psychology of Colors
The first impression is always the strongest. Believe it or not, when doing commercials or promo posters or anything “add” or “presentation” related, the people in charge of these sectors have to have a wide knowledge of what colors manage to attract the eye of the viewer and/or try to appeal at the viewer’s subconscious, among other things, and for this there’s a certain degree of psychology they need to be aware of: the importance of colors in our lives. Every color has a different meaning and a different feeling that can convey and in base of the context it manage to get itself across, if done well, to the viewer.
In Amnesia– case, red is a strongly active color. I doubt that anybody can deny that when they got this paragraph they automatically managed to notice the word “active”, without paying particular focus on it. You can argue that you noticed it because there’s a bunch of black text on white background…but wait: look at the Amnesia Shin promos. What do you notice? The main colors are always white, black, grey, blue (generally dull or cold colors) and finally the bright burning red of Shin’s clothes. Even in some of the group posters Shin always or most of the time manages to stand out because of his red which is even brighter than Toma’s yellow. Imagine Ikki standing next to Shin now, they will both emerge because they contrast yet which will you look at first? the Burning red? or the calm blue? It’s a work of a very defined contrast. Psychologically, the color “red” is energizing. It excites the emotions and motivates us to take action. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. It is also strong-willed and can give confidence to those who are shy or lacking in will power. It also represents sexual energy and lust as well as the negative canotation of agressiviness. (Source: empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com) In other words Shin is the perfect way to tell you “JUST BUY ME ALREADY”.
3. The Main Guy
Some otome games tend to have that one guy that seems more canon than the others: Hijitaka in Hakuouki, Apollon in Kamigami no Asobi, Libertà in Arcana Famiglia etc. In Amnesia it seems to be Shin at first look…or that’s what the game wants to let you believe till you actually go and play it. The reason why Shin is on the cover instead of the actual “main guy” is to avoid the spoiler. Now, those that already finished all routes, might realize who I am speaking about here, though I guess it’s also at everybody’s interpretation and you could come and mail me “But Neko, there is no actual main guy in Amnesia! Everybody’s love routes happen in a specific world unrelated to one another!”. In my opinion though, there is.
[spoiler] WordPress.com does not have a Spoiler tag so I can’t hide this! 8D Run away if you do not want spoilers!
The “main guy” in Amnesia ties all routes together and while the game wants us to take him as an extra, the heroine would have been dead without him. His world is the heroine’s “original world”, a world that does not accept both of them alive in the same timeline. No story would have happened if not for Ukyo. No Orion, no parallel world, no Amnesia.[/spoiler]
Shin is the “Ace” of the Heart World. It’s pretty clear that it is the Hearts suit from the French playing cards (also the most used type of cards deck in the world). The four suits in playing cards, clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades, collectively represent the four elements (wind, fire, water, and earth), the seasons, and cardinal directions. They represent the struggle of opposing forces for victory in life. The thirteen cards in each suit represent the thirteen lunar months. Playing cards originated in Central Asia, and they were introduced into European culture in the 14th century. As for the Hearts suit, it represents the warmth of spring and summer seasons and the power of light, the center of life; the world.
5. The Game’s Message
From Shin’s route we can assume that he’s very yearning to learn, yearning of truth, not afraid of the unknown and a very much “rational” presence in Amnesia when it doesn’t come to his feelings for the heroine. His drive to get to know the truth is something that I felt like the game seeked from me throughout the whole story. It’s almost as saying to not stop to the superficial; every character yearns for some sort of understanding from the heroine and they keep waving at the player that they’re not shallow otoge stereotypes. Every one of them has some sort of mental “issue”, one less or more serious than the other, mixed in with a sense of “intense love” which can lead to even more love or it can lead to sickness and unhealthy obsession. This last point however is completely my opinion. Your opinion might very much differ and of that I’m aware. XD
So, as conclusion I hope this was useful for you! I hope you will come to enjoy this new category and that the topics I choose will cause some sort of discussions, debates or enlightments in the future! XD