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Video Game: Kinder
After visiting his grandparents, Shunsuke returns to find his hometown has become barren and ruined. Fortunately, some of his friends have taken shelter in their secret base... along with a few other kids. However, this is only the start of their troubles, and Shunsuke soon finds himself forced to play a Deadly Game.

Kinder is a 2003 horror RPG made by Parun for RPG Maker 2003. He made a remake called Re:Kinder for RPG Maker VX, and there is an English translation available here.

Kinder contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Playground: Nippoyo Heartful Park.
  • Abandoned Hospital: There is a clinic in Kowada Town, and of course it's abandoned. But you never actually go in.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Really goes to extremes with Re:Kinder; the bosses who were originally Eldritch Abominations with "names" that are quite long, weird and hard to translate are now princesses, for some reason.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In Re:Kinder, there are points where the player switches to Yuuichi and Hiroto, respectively.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: For most of the game, only three kids go out at a time.
  • Asshole Victim: Deconstructed: Yuuichi saw his father as one, but towards the endgame, acknowledges he was just lashing out. Shunsuke also gets a chance to read a message written by said Jerkass where he admits his issues and asks for help on a message board. The response he got was less than helpful.
  • Badass Normal: Hiroto, assuming you keep him alive, ends up helping to take down all three mistresses, including taking one down solo.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Several times in Re:Kinder. For instance, at one point Shunsuke gives directions as "We should just keep going to the player's left."
  • Brick Joke: The time bomb alarm clock wakes Shunsuke from two different dreams. Just about every strange element in the game is brought up at least twice, as well. Yuuichi and his dog, for example.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Only comes up during Re:Kinder.
  • Catch Phrase: In Re:Kinder, Yuuichi says "Vamos cantar!" (Portuguese for "Let's sing")
  • Cellphones Are Useless: Shunsuke first meets Rei while she is trying to call for help on her cell phone. Of course, she can't get a signal.
    • Subverted when Yuuichi sends Rei a text saying that Aya wandered off while she and Shunsuke were searching the lot with the pipes and that they have to find her.
  • Character Select Forcing: Didn't bring either Hiroto or Aya to the final battle? Than through brute force alone, you can't win.note 
  • Clipped Wing Angel: In Re:Kinder, the only attack of the final phase of the Final Boss Yuuichi is to paralyze your entire party, not doing any damage. Shunsuke is immune to this effect because of the White Rose Ring, and simply uses the Red Rose Book to defeat him.
    • Zero-Effort Boss: Although the difficulty of the boss's second phase makes up for this... as long as you didn't use the Eternal Force Blizzard to easily kill that too.
  • Color Failure: In Re:Kinder, when characters are shocked, scared or upset, they lose all the color in their irises.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Shunsuke wonders if he's starting to become this after discovering the remains of Yuuichi's father.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Inverted with the Eternal Force Blizzard from Re:Kinder which One Hit Kills the Final Boss only.
  • Cool Big Sis: Mami's been one to Shunsuke.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Before Shunsuke left on the bus at the beginning, the world seemed nice and happy. But gradually it's revealed just how messed up it was all along.
  • Creepy Child: Yuuichi, all the way.
  • Creepy Children Singing: Yuuichi turns on a normal TV program of children singing to lure Shunsuke into his father's room.
  • Creepy Doll: Tries to kill Sayaka near the beginning of the game. And succeeds, if you keep trying the busted door even when it starts repeating the same message. Players probably won't realize that Sayaka actually can die during this part for the first few runs, so it can be that Last Lousy Point for those actually going for the "everyone dies" ending.
  • Deadly Game: Yuuichi's 'Friends Game'.
  • Denser and Wackier: Re:Kinder changed the "everyone dies" ending from a Downer Ending into a gag.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Dialogue constantly changes to reflect the presence of your friends or not. In addition, every boss fight can be won regardless of who is alive and who isn't, albeit with accommodations at times. Shunsuke even gains an ability to compensate for the death of a party member during one sequence.
    • Yuuichi is also tough enough that the game simply locks you out of fighting him if any of the kids have died and gives you an ending before the final boss.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Yuuichi is disturbingly chirpy and cheerful, given the horrors he's inflicted.
  • Doomed Hometown: Kowada Town, of course.
  • Double Meaning Title: Kinder refers to the protagonists being children as well as wanting to become kinder/live in a kinder world. This is Woolseyism, of course.
  • Dream World: The storybook world is Yuuichi's. The events of the game as a whole may or may not be a dream world in and of themselves.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The Sea of Memories shows that Yuuichi's mother jumped off a building in front of him. Or so it seems...
    • Potentially the fate of poor Aya.
    • Yuuichi himself also contemplates this.
    • In the original game, if all of his friends died, Shunsuke would kill himself. Re:Kinder replaces this with a Mood Whiplash moment.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Aya has these.
  • Dwindling Party: If you don't take the proper steps to save your friends then this will happen. The game even tells you this while Addressing the Player at the beginning of the game, even before things start going to shit.
  • Enfant Terrible: Yuuichi Mizuoka, who is responsible for massacring the town and turning it into a wasteland.
  • Evil Elevator: Kills Rei if you don't solve its puzzle.
  • Expy: Yuuichi is a red-haired delusional and optimistic boy who is naive and unstable, indirectly provoked his mother's suicide and the plot starts after he horribly kills a person he blamed upon everything that wronged him?. Sounds like Francie Brady from The Butcher Boy to me!
  • False Reassurance: On the rooftop, this happens if Shunsuke leaves Aya alone at her request. He makes her promise not to jump, and she agrees. After all, she's got a gun...
  • Foreshadowing: The entire television and story book motif is one regarding the potential reality of the situation, and how Yuuichi came to find himself within it.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: If Hiroto dies, but Rei is still alive, she will insist that it is all her fault, disregarding everything Shunsuke tells her. Soon enough, Shunsuke slaps her and asks her if she is okay.
  • Gratuitous English: This is used on the ending screen of the original Kinder's "False End". (It's not present in the equivalent "Killer End" in Re:Kinder.)
    Thank you for a play.
    But an end is a lie.
    There is other truth.]
  • Guide Dang It: The elevator password and the third Princess when Hiroto is alone. The second example is especially obnoxious, as picking up one of two items (one of which crumbles and is rendered useless after picking it up) renders the battle unwinnable, as does picking up two other items without first gaining everything you need to win. And then you have the item that, without warning or explanation, gives the boss an Insta-Kill attack.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Mami's sprite has green hair, but her character portrait shows it to have a reddish-brown tone.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A note in Re:Kinder refers to this.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Hiroto dies if he can't figure out the trick to beating the third boss.
  • Improvised Weapon: During the battle with Crimson Naked-Eye Black Seal-Ink Man (whose design was replaced by Princess Utsuroi Momogi in Re:Kinder), you have to temporarily blind the enemy and quickly search the room for anything you can use against them.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: In Re:Kinder, the game's one sidequest rewards you with the Eternal Force Blizzard, an item that can be used to One-Hit Kill the enemy... but it only works on the Final Boss.
  • Interface Spoiler: When Takumi and Yuuichi are in your party in Re:Kinder, they are labeled "Noble Sacrifice" and "2nd Grade Culprit" respectively. Granted, you might not take them seriously when playing for the first time, and their significance is revealed only a minute afterward anyway.
    • This is an interesting example, as the interface spoiler with Yuuichi is clearly intentional - his two abilities are a window into his mindset far earlier than the more blatant examples seen later in the game.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Tyltylmytyl, who attacks you in Random Encounters on your way to save Aya in Re:Kinder. It's notable for being the only random encounter in the entire game, and thus the only enemy that you actually can run from.
    • It is the counterpart of the original game's Obake Asphalt. The original game did not have a "run" command at all, so it could be beaten, but it would "suddenly disappear" instead of die and you could run into it again. Because you had to actually beat it the time limit is much longer than it is in the remake.
  • Joke Item: "Smile", which is a picture of (now dead) real-life actress Toki Shiozawa smiling, that can be bought from the vending machine for free. It can be used an infinite number of times outside of battle to bring up a message, and other than that serves literally no purpose.
    Back in kindergarten, you thought Toki Shiozawa was the devil.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The original Kinder is no longer available for download. And it was never translated either. However, there is one surviving Let's Play of it on Nico Nico Douga.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: The Mizuokas have a cat in Re:Kinder who basically exists to show that for all their issues, they weren't ALL bad.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Lampshaded at the apartments, where they discuss the stupidity of splitting up before doing it anyway.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Yuuichi was one to his mother, until that wasn't required anymore...
    • Referenced before the final confrontation with Yuuichi; Hiroto advises Shunsuke that trying to help Yuuichi is a full time commitment.
  • Money for Nothing: Inverted in Re:Kinder; you start with ¥520 and there is no way to get any more for the entire game. The only thing money is good for in this game is buying items from the vending machine, but you don't really need the items.
    • The original played this straight to its Logical Extreme by starting you off with ¥600 but giving you nothing to use it on; see The Artifact below.
  • Mood Whiplash: The game is nice and happy up until Shunsuke comes back home to a Doomed Hometown.
    • Re:Kinder does much more of this in the process of adding humor.
  • Mordor: Re:Kinder changes the aesthetic of Kowada Town from just a Ghost Town, into this.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • False End: Yuuichi abruptly returns all of the survivors of the 'Friends Game' to the 'real world'. However, everyone who was killed got Ret Goned. Shunsuke has terrible nightmares about their deaths.
      • In Re:Kinder this ending is renamed as Killer End as a scene was added where Shunsuke sees Yuuichi outside his door later and murders him.
    • Everybody's Dead, Shunsuke: If everyone but Shunsuke gets killed by the 'Friends Game', Shunsuke kills himself.
      • In Re:Kinder, this is replaced by the Ni-chome Mama ending when the Archangel Takumiel intervening before Shunsuke can go through with it and helping him escape. We then see that years later, Shunsuke apparently became a cross-dresser or transsexual (since he is called Shunsuke Mama) working in a bar.
    • True End: Despite all his efforts, Shunsuke can't save Yuuichi, who kills himself in front of them. The children are rescued, but separated from each other and sent to different places. Shunsuke resolves to do his best to be a kinder adult. In the original, it shows the characters reminiscing.
      • In Re:Kinder, The Stinger shows Yuuichi with his parents on Dandelion Hill, wondering about a strange daydream...
  • No Time to Explain: When Ryou is about to get dragged in the dome, Shunsuke can either hang on to him or go to Hiroto for help. If he does the latter, he has the option to explain what is going on. This leads to Hiroto getting confused and Shunsuke trying to explain, and Ryou gets dragged into the dome.
  • Non Sequitur: Universal Radio Town. (Exclusive to Re:Kinder of course.)
    • Countless ones pop up elsewhere in the remake as well from Yuuichi, quite intentionally.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Two characters from a television show Yuuichi enjoyed watching appear with different sprite and character portrait styles than the rest of the cast.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Jumping from the bed in the secret base causes Shunsuke to fall through the floor, after which you immediately are taken back to the title screen. Trying to leave the town causes Yuuichi to blow it up.
  • Off with His Head!: Poor Aya can get killed this way, though her head doesn't actually fall off right away.
  • One-Winged Angel: In the original Kinder, the final boss's graphic changes during the second (final) phase, and, yes, grows wings. In Re:Kinder there is a third phase to the battle and the first two are condensed into one battle with no graphic change. The new final phase does use a different graphic.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: An excerpt from Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers is used during a few boss battles.
  • Puzzle Boss: Almost every boss is one of these.
  • Press X to Die: Jumping off the bed in the secret base.
    • Trying to escape from the town results in an explosion who kills them all and resulting into a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • Later, the Suicide Bed in the Storybook World does the same thing, but hilariously enough, the translator accidentally switched the Yes and No on its dialogue prompt.
  • The Quiet One: Aya, to the point that she's able to slip away without anyone noticing.
  • Reality Warper: Yuuichi.
  • Red Shirt: Takumi wears one in Re:Kinder.
  • Reset Button: Only in the False/Killer ending. Though see Ret Gone regarding the "Friends Game" victims.
  • Ret Gone: In the False/Killer End, those who died in Yuuichi's world have been erased from existence, with only Shunsuke remembering them.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Re:Kinder's plot itself is as dark as ever but it's now filled with humor and silly music.
  • Running Gag: Shunsuke's desire to jump on beds.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Mami and Takumi
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: Suggested by The Stinger of the True End in Re:Kinder, which may also provide an explanation for all the Mood Whiplash.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Yuuichi. With both parents.
  • Shout-Out: Tyltylmytyl in Re:Kinder.
  • Sneaky Departure: Aya does this twice, because of the desire to disappear, and can get killed both times.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Added by Re:Kinder for comedic effect. Yuuichi's Leitmotif is a sassy Latin theme, and the music for the second phase of the final boss is G.G. Allin's Dick's Monocycle from Hell.
  • Space Compression: Bizarrely, this is in play in Re:Kinder but not in the original. In the original the insides of the buildings are much more realistic, but in Re:Kinder they are shrunk and streamlined, in addition to gaining a Mordor aesthetic.
  • Start of Darkness: Growing up, Yuuichi watched his mother struggle with mood swings and suicidal depression, not helped by her abusive, adulterous husband or doctors insisting nothing was wrong with her. Eventually, during one of the times she contemplated jumping off a building, he paralyzed and pushed her off.
  • Stepford Smiler: Yuuichi's mother was one.
  • The Artifact: Like many RPG Maker games, this game has its fair share of these.
    • In the original, you had money but it served no purpose. You can buy some things in the remake but considering that it doesn't help you all that much it's obviously not a key feature.
    • There are Character Levels but no Experience Points.
    • Yuuichi is the only party member that has more than zero Willpower. But you don't even get to fight anything with him in your party. All character abilities also display a Willpower cost of zero.
  • There Are No Therapists: Enforced by Deconstructing the concept of a world without therapy. If there were any therapists in this world then none of the game would have happened in the first place.
  • Timed Mission: At one point, Yuuichi initiates a deadly game of hide and seek where Shunsuke has to find one of his friends in a minute and a half. In Re:Kinder, he's only given forty seconds.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: As if Yuuichi's behavior wasn't bad enough, all of the kids have this to some degree.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If you earn the False/Killer End with Ryou, Sayaka, and/or Aya still alive (and in the secret base) they won't be there when you return, only Yuuichi. They didn't die (considering Shunsuke only subsequently has nightmares about the characters who actually did) but they aren't even mentioned for the rest of the ending.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Rei has the special ability Hysteria, and Shunsuke the ability Pacify. Both are only ever useful (which is to say, functional at all) in one fight, which is incidentally the same fight.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Yuuichi's father was cheating on his mother with Shunsuke's mother. In the True End, it's also revealed that Shunsuke's father has an entirely different family, and his frequent 'business trips' are actually him going off and living with them.
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