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Deconstructing the Cliche Dating Sim Scenario:

A bit of explanation beforehand. My main character has gone into a minor antagonist's mind, ala Inception or Psychonauts. The antagonist is a major Otaku that plays Visual Novels, Eroge, and Dating Sims constantly. Therefore, the antagonist's Mental World is a cliched Eroge. The main character's objective is to rip this guy's mind to shreds by deconstructing this Mental World, and I'd like some help seeing how it could be done in a creative manner.

The scenario is as such: The main character gets put straight into a situation from a bad Romantic Comedy Harem anime, in the role of one of Those Two Guys.

The end result of this mind breakage should be that the antagonist is stripped of the fantasies that surround him, and becomes the same in his Mental World as in real life: A loser, alone and unloved except in his games.

The girls of the game: the "Dere" trio (Tsundere, Kuudere, and Yandere), the Unlucky Childhood Friend, and the Ojou.

A bit more information that'll help: The Tsundere is the antagonist's big sister. She is special in that she was real when the antagonist was a child, and was killed in a car accident.

I'd like to refrain from Kill 'em All, or at least the main character doing the killing. It seems too easy, and not Magnificent Bastard enough for the main character; he isn't nearly psychotic enough to kill everyone himself. Someone else though...

Thanks in advance.

edited 27th Feb '11 9:29:27 PM by Kazegen

This is not so much deconstruction as Hate Fic. Unless the antagonist is unlikeable enough (As in, Chris-chan unlikeable), you'd end up with a Villain Protagonist who in his course of adventure crosses the line by the dozens of time.

Of course, since most of my stories can be considered Moe Hate Fic, take everything I said above with a grain of salt.
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 3 Furiko Maru, Mon, 28th Feb '11 12:44:54 AM from The Arrogant Wasteland Relationship Status: He makes me feel like I have a heart
Reverse the Curse
The tsundere isn't a tsundere at all; she genuinely hates the son of a bitch - she's a manifestation of his self-loathing/survivor's guilt, and he ran from her to the point that he's just too deluded to listen at all anymore. He's become so twisted he can't possibly conceive of her not liking him unless it's because she's shy. Of course, because it's his head she has to do as he says, so there's that to further confuse the issue.

The yandere is not a yandere; she's his shield from reality, his mental Dragon if you will. The outside world is a nasty place full of bad people who want to hurt sempai! That's right... it's better if you stay where it's safe, sempai. ^///^ <- Like so.

The kuudere is not a kuudere; she's your lead's contact, his lady in Havana. She infiltrated the asshole's mind years ago and has been gathering information on him ever since. Sadly, over time, she has become the mask to some extent; she doesn't quite remember how to be herself.

Unlucky Childhood Friend-chan wa osananajimi dewa arimasen. She's a hollow woman; no heart, no personality. She's just his alarm clock/maid/chef/eyecandy and nothing else. A genki little robot.

And the Ojou can be the Collective Unconscious, neutral but wise and willing to give everyone cryptic advice.

Naturally I'm not suggesting you spell all this out - at least not right away.

Oh, and maybe if the hero fails in his task he and not-kuudere get locked away in the dick's mind forever, their personalities completely eroded to fall in line with the script. Always good for there to be something at stake; you just have to make sure there was no other way to bring the bad guy down than to enter his mind and do a hatchet job.

Incidentally, is this just part of a larger story, or is this the plot by itself? I'm curious.

edited 28th Feb '11 2:18:50 PM by FurikoMaru

[up][up] At this point in the story, the protagonist is kind of a Jerkass, who hates these kind of people and judges them without a single thought. It's his main personality flaw at this point in the story; he thinks that every single person is a walking cliche, and is antisocial because people don't "entertain" him enough. Good news is, this is early in the story, and he gets a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for this behavior. This causes a good thing. So, the whole Deconstruction attitude of this comes from the main character being a dick.

[up] You are awesome and have helped me so much. [awesome] To be sure, this is only one part of the story, a significant but small part. This would be the part that the protagonist looks back at and says, "Boy, was I a jerk." The tsundere bit is good and I'm going to use it, but that will be the antagonist's survivor guilt, and certainly not how she feels about it. She's alive, in a... strange way. Unfortunately, I can't use the kuudere bit, as this whole conflict only began about a week ago. That, and only one person can be in another person's mind at a time without everyone involved becoming a vegetable. The yandere bit is good, and perhaps she can realize what's going on before the antagonist does (him being the cliche harem protagonist, at least in his own mind) and she can try to kill the hero, with the bad end you mentioned occuring if she does.

Actually, I'm going to go make a page for this story, at least to organize my own thoughts. I'll edit this out and replace it with the link when I'm done.

edited 28th Feb '11 2:12:50 PM by Kazegen

 5 chihuahua 0, Mon, 28th Feb '11 3:50:14 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Have the protagonist convince every one of them to gang up on the antagonist, who slept with every one of them.
 6 Riotous Rascal, Wed, 2nd Mar '11 4:42:30 AM from AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA
Well played, old chap!
This is actually pretty interesting. There's probably some fun stuff you can do with Jungian archetypes (look 'em up, they're great for this sort of story). In particular the concept of 'anima', which represents the unconscious feminine aspect of the male mind. Paraphrased from the wikipedia entry:

Jung believed anima development has four distinct levels, which he named Eve, Helen, Mary, and Sophia. In broad terms, the entire process of anima development in a male is about the male subject opening up to emotionality, and in that way a broader spirituality, by creating a new conscious paradigm that includes intuitive processes, creativity and imagination, and psychic sensitivity towards himself and others where it might not have existed previously.

  • Eve
Basically, woman as an object of male desire.

  • Helen
In this phase, women are viewed as capable of worldly success and of being self-reliant, intelligent and insightful, even if not altogether virtuous. This second phase is meant to show a strong schism in external talents (cultivated business and conventional skills) with lacking internal qualities (inability for virtue, lacking faith or imagination).

  • Mary
The third phase is Mary, named after the Christian theological understanding of the Virgin Mary (Jesus' mother). At this level, females can now seem to possess virtue by the perceiving male (even if in an esoteric and dogmatic way), in so much as certain activities deemed consciously unvirtuous cannot be applied to her.

  • Sophia
The fourth and final phase of anima development is Sophia, named after the Greek word for wisdom. Complete integration has now occurred, which allows females to be seen and related to as particular individuals who possess both positive and negative qualities. The most important aspect of this final level is that, as the personification "Wisdom" suggests, the anima is now developed enough that no single object can fully and permanently contain the images to which it is related.

That may or may not make sense to you (haven't the time to summarise) but it's something to consider. The Anima develops according to what the mind identifies as feminine, which starts with the mother figure and adds more as the person comes into contact with other female presences in his life.

I couldn't possibly speculate how the Anima would develop if the mind's contact with presences identified as female occurred mainly through eroge, but the results would be...interesting. Visual novels are deterministic (one might say mechanistic) systems where a particular input will always produce the desired output. That's how the concept of 'routes' work, where a specific series of inputs will ALWAYS result in the same output. Perhaps he might identify the feminine influence with 'systems', treating women as 'locks' which require the correct 'key' to 'open'. I realise that may not be the best way to describe it, though.

If you were trying to deconstruct his worldview, I guess a good way to go about it would be to show him the limitations of a mechanistic view of the feminine presence. Ideally the best way to accomplish that would be to introduce him to a real woman and then stand back and watch his own 'Shadow' archetype tear into him as the woman fails to behave 'deterministically'. (That may not be the best option for you in a narrative sense, but it has a chance of working. The alternative is that he rejects that influence altogether and retreats further into his own worldview, necessitating more radical action.)

In any event, the best way to deconstruct someone's psyche is to let them do it themselves. The Shadow archetype (come on, Persona players, back me up on this) represents repressed parts of the personality. I highly doubt even the most sheltered otaku truly believes that this worldview is 'ideal'.

OOH! IDEA!

You want to deconstruct the mind of someone who plays games? Simple. Play a game with them. Take your protagonist and have him take on the role of the antagonist's Shadow archetype. Then have him win the girls' (or just one girl, whatever you think best) hearts by treating them as humans instead of mechanistic 'systems'. You introduce reality to his fantasy, and then let him watch as reality wins.

Man, that could have been explained better. In effect you want your protagonist to beat the antagonist at his own game, and take things to a point where his worldview fails.

Food for thought, eh?

edited 2nd Mar '11 4:59:11 AM by RiotousRascal

Did I ever tell you...the definition of insanity?
[up] Well goddamn. That is a gigantic wall of text but I read it several times. This would fit well, as the storyline uses Jungian symbolism quite a lot. Why the hell didn't I think to use the Anima archetype before?

You're right about the mechanistic systems in "routes", and the mentality of "locks" you introduced was interesting. This is good for the antagonist's mindset, and the protagonist as well. That sounds strange, but as stated; at this point in the story, he does seem like an antagonist before Character Development. That was a good metaphor with systems, I think I'll use that.

A bit more information about the storyline: There are two different ways to approach a person's mind in this world. The quick way and the slow way.

The quick way: Deconstruct the hell out of them. Shove their weaknesses and insecurities in their face until they show you another weakness or break. This is essentially Mind Rape on the victim's side. The importance lies in the details: According to Freud's theories, the Ego is the mediator of the Id and Superego, the negotiator between Desire and Order. What this method does to the person's mind is to destroy the Ego, causing the Id and Superego to attack each other, resulting in a Freak Out!.

The slow way: Reconstruct their mind. Take what's there, and make it healthy. For plot reasons, all involved in the conflict are a bit screwed up, so there's nobody that's immune to this treatment. The simplest way to explain this with Freud is that the existing Ego isn't healthy, and is using defense mechanisms to compensate for the fact that it isn't compatible with reality. Therefore, this method transforms the ego into something more reasonable, rather than destroying it completely.

In this case, the Ego would be the Unwanted Harem protagonist, and the quick method of destruction would be luring away the women and leaving him all alone, highlighting the critical flaw of these kinds of characters: They have no personality without women to bounce off of. The last girl to stay with the protag would be the Tsundere, and you don't even have to seduce her: she gets hit by a truck, mimicking how the otaku's big sister died in real life. Finally, all alone, he breaks.

Due to a certain reason, the real protagonist gets to do this all again. As part of his Character Development, he feels sympathy for the otaku, and the next time he goes into his mind, he decides to make it right. Using your explanation of the Anima, the main character forces the otaku to realize that women aren't systems, but people instead. His perception of them goes from the "Eve" level to the "Sophia" level. While a few days is a very quick time for the levels to go up that quickly (This whole process is supposed to take a lifetime), the protag IS screwing directly with the otaku's mind. This realization on the otaku's part helps to heal the Ego and help him readjust to society.

So, with your help, I've come up with this conclusion of how the story should go. Sound good?

Also, a gold star for you for your help. [awesome]

 8 Riotous Rascal, Fri, 4th Mar '11 6:13:26 AM from AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA
Well played, old chap!
Always happy to help. smile

I'm interested to see how the protagonist turns out, because anyone who holds that kind of opinion of other people would have to be somewhat (read: very) messed up themselves. I mean, the guy effectively decides to Mind Rape another person for no reason other than thinking him to be 'cliched'. I don't care what your opinion of otaku is, but no-one deserves that. At best it's indicative a low-level god complex and at worst he's a full-blown sociopath. I'd really like to know what the formative influence is behind this worldview of his, because it's certainly pretty far removed from what you'd call normal.

Here's an idea: Perhaps in his efforts to deconstruct the otaku's worldview he ends up unintentionally deconstructing his own worldview, and consequently Character Development ensues. For instance, in his survey of the otaku's mind, he ends up discovering Hidden Depths. Maybe the guy wasn't such a shallow, 'cliched' character after all. Maybe the protagonist encounters something which challenges his own worldview (extremely negative internalization of other people). Maybe the protagonist finds something in the otaku's mind which draws an uncanny parallel with his own past. Maybe he realizes that he and the otaku are Not So Different after all, and perhaps he should start treating other people as humans instead of shallow, cliched entities.

Because really, the protagonist and antagonist are quite similiar (as all good protagonists and antagonists should be wink). They both have difficulty in perceiving others as fully human in the same way they perceive themselves. In the otaku's case it's a mechanistic system-based internalization of femininity, and in the protagonist's case it's him externalizing his own fear of being 'cliched' onto other people. (At least, that's my theory on why he thinks the way he does. Feel free to Joss that if you will.)

My analysis is that the protagonist is a very independent, self-reliant character who is more intelligent than average, but with a largely negative worldview. He looks at society and sees nothing but problems and the selfish people, stupid people and misled people who cause them. He identifies 'cliches' with these same selfish, stupid and misled people. (For instance, being more intelligent than average, he might be bullied or mocked for his intelligence (It happens. Believe me.) and identify the cliche of 'intelligent person as weak' (Brain versus Brawn tropes in general) as the reason for the bullying or mocking) He doesn't want to be part of that society, which in turn generates a fear of being caught up in the same 'cliches' as the rest of society. He considers himself too smart for them. He wants to escape from these stupid, selfish, misled people. What he's repressing (shadow archetype, anyone?) is the knowledge that no matter what he does he can't escape cliches, because they're a universal thing. He doesn't like this one bit, so he externalizes this fear onto other people, giving him a worldview where he is unable to relate to the vast majority of people because he sees them as shallow, cliche-laden 'zombies' (in the philosophical sense).

The good news here is that all of this actually stems from a desire for a better world, one where people aren't selfish, stupid or misled. Despite his negative worldview, your protagonist is fundamentally a good person at heart, and a lot of his character development could be about him rediscovering this.

Of course, I could have just said a bunch of stuff which makes little to no sense. (It's worth mentioning at this point that I have no formal training in psychology whatsoever.) But hey, that's just my theory. I'd like to see the real reason your protagonist is like this. (I guarantee you it'll probably be better thought out than mine.)

edited 4th Mar '11 6:16:09 AM by RiotousRascal

Did I ever tell you...the definition of insanity?
 9 Riotous Rascal, Fri, 4th Mar '11 6:34:25 AM from AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA
Well played, old chap!
Actually, you can probably just ignore the above post. I found the page you made for the project LITERALLY about three seconds after posting the above. Looks like you've got it all figured out. Nice name, by the way. Heart of the Shadow.

From what I've read so far, it sounds like a combination of Persona 3 with aspects of Fate/Stay Night and Psychonauts. Which would be, among other things, TOTALLY FUCKING SWEET. If I could, I'd love to help in any way possible to get this VN off the ground, because I really, really want to play it. grin Even if it's only script editing or quality control, I'm up for it.

Did I ever tell you...the definition of insanity?
Kage No Kokoro

Well, since you've found the page, it seems that there's no need to hide it anymore. There's a couple tropes on there, but be sure that I'll add more as I think of them. I've been working on bits of it at a time, mostly writing.

The only things that are really holding me back so far are the art and music. While I'm slowly improving my art, I don't think it's at the level at which I could be proud of it, and I can't make music at all. Well, that and endless procrastination. tongue

So, anything you'd like to add or question based on what you've seen of the page? If it's a plot question, I can clarify. Thanks for your help so far, and [up][up] was a nice view of what the protagonist's reasoning could be. Um, I don't have enough of a script to edit yet, but once I do I'll tell you.

Edit: Also, nice G-Senjou no Maou reference in the sig there, just noticed it. Good times, man.

edited 8th Mar '11 5:44:03 PM by Kazegen

 11 Riotous Rascal, Wed, 9th Mar '11 3:11:23 AM from AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA
Well played, old chap!
Just some questions about the Shadows.

Saigi's Shadow - The Hypodermic needles don't really make any sense if it's supposed to be the Lernaean Hydra. Where does the 'regenerating heads' thing come in?

Shadow Number One - Being able to infect humans is a bit much. Unless you're postulating some kind of Snow Crash-style 'deep structures' thing which uses Sumerian neurolinguistics to hack your brain. Which would be awesome.

Shadow Number 2 - What combat use does a succubus have? Being able to draw 'OHMYGODHOTNESSIWANNABANGYOU' reactions from every straight male in a fifteen-mile radius is all very well and good, but it doesn't really translate all that well into terms of being able to kill enemies.

Shadow Numero Tres - Now this is a cool idea. This'd make her something like the patron saint of bioweapons. The Black Death was, after all, the first WMD.

Shadow 2^2 - How does being able to alter fate through the butterfly effect manifest as Beehive Barriers? I'm having trouble understanding how that works.

Shadow 101 - Fair enough. No complaints here.

Shadow VI - What weapon does he use? If it's a phoenix we're talking about, I'd recommend something fire-based, like a flamethrower or (my personal favourite) an RPG launcher equipped with thermobaric warheads. Look them up. They may be slightly overpowered.

Glad you noticed the G Senjou no Maou reference grin. Usami gets all the best lines.
Did I ever tell you...the definition of insanity?
I have all of this stuff explained, but it wasn't on the page; so here we go:

Saigi's Shadow: No, hypodermic needles don't really go with the Lernaean Hydra. However, the real powers of the mythical creature come out in the Kaiju mode, which comes after the whole Journey to the Center of the Mind bit. In "human" mode it reflects the repressed bits of the owner's personality. Saigi's shadow has needles because of Saigi's desire to "consume" fiction and people. Plus, Rule of Cool. It doesn't justify something that doesn't make sense, but it's ok here.

Shadow 2: This bit wasn't on the page so I don't blame you for not knowing. Take a gander at this. According to that page, (and The Other Wiki), you get your life force sucked out with sex. Since that would be a difficult power to use, I extended it a bit. If any part of her skin touches any part of your skin, whatever body part she touches goes numb and dead. (Yes, this does mean that if she touches your chest you have a heart attack and die. But hey, if you aren't Saigi, you respawn at the end!) It is useless until the Hour ends. Is this overpowered? No, considering all the other powers. To refer to the Succubus bit, if you hit her chest, which had clothes on it, the power wouldn't activate. If she didn't have a shirt on, the powers would activate. Therefore, it would make more sense to fight with no clothes on, hm?

Shadow 1: Once again, bad explanation on my part. It doesn't "infect you" so much as make you more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion through weakening of the mind's defenses. The reason this is useful is because A) in this universe having a weak mind is BAD and B) it combos well with the owner's power which is Mind Control.

Shadow 4: This is the bit where I ran into trouble. I was trying to find mythical monsters with the ability to create barriers, but couldn't find many. Plus, the Valkyrie fits her character like a glove. However, the best my Googling gave me was that Valkyries screwed with fate to either save or kill people on the battlefield. Perhaps just cutting out the Butterfly Effect bit and just saying that the barriers saved people on the battlefield would be better? Help would be appreciated.

Shadow 6: Oh god now all I can think of is the soldier from Team Fortress 2 shouting "FIRE FIRE" and everyone dying. (But actually, that's not a bad idea. In a universe where one person can drop you with a touch, and another can kill you without even looking at you, an RPG isn't that bad.)

Any other concerns or questions about the series? I'm trying to work on the script again, but life keeps getting in the way.

edited 10th Mar '11 6:44:34 PM by Kazegen

 13 Riotous Rascal, Fri, 11th Mar '11 2:13:09 AM from AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA
Well played, old chap!
Just one more question about these Beehive Barriers I hear such good things about. Actually, four questions.

  • How thick are they?

  • Precisely how strong are they in terms of deflective power? What's the upper limit on what they can block?

  • How much control does the Valkyrie have over the size, shape and position of the barriers?

  • What countermeasures against these barriers exist?

I ask these because, while it isn't readily apparent, depending on how much control you have over them being able to make Beehive Barriers is the most crazy-overpowered ability EVER. A really thin, very tough barrier is a shield from one angle, and from another angle, it's a blade. If the Valkyrie can make shapes other than spherical bubbles, she basically has the ability to summon up a practically unlimited amount of unparryable, armour-piercing, extremely sharp, swords. Even if she can only make bubbles, she can always trap an enemy inside one and slooooowwly shrink it or, for extra sadism, create one inside a person and sloooooowly expand it. Or she could just hit them with the barrier. Valkyries don't have to be nice, after all.
Did I ever tell you...the definition of insanity?
Sorry about the long response delay, LIFE HAPPENED AGAIN. Anyway,

The barriers are paper thin. They are however extremely dense, yet weigh very little. An appropriate comparison would be diamond: Extremely strong, but extremely brittle. The barriers can stand up to almost anything, as long as it doesn't hit the barrier for long. Continued contact with say, a chain-axe, would destroy it because of the continued force. The reason that the barrier is so brittle is that it takes a lot of energy to maintain, so short bursts of barrier is the best strategy to use with it.

The best way to look at the strength of the barrier comes in the form of a car. If you just throw the car at her from the side she can block it with a barrier no problem, but if you DRIVE the car into the barrier she can only block it long enough to get out of the way before the barrier shatters. This may seem a bit underwhelming but when you consider that she can create another barrier almost instantly, it becomes reasonable.

Her control over the size, shape and position of the barrier is very good, but very restricted. She can only create a barrier within 15 feet of her, and the barrier cannot intersect another object when created. If she saw a person, she couldn't just create a barrier inside them and slice them in two. All she can do with the barrier is move it back and forth. She can control the size of the barrier as well, but only within a certain size, from 5 inches to a 15 feet long diameter.

She can indeed create a blade with her barrier by making it sideways and slicing with it like a sword, but it's kind of unwieldy, though effective. This comes because the barrier must be made in a hexagonal shape, scaled up or down to fit the size. It's hard to swing around a hexagon normally, but she can freely control the barrier with her mind, so she can use it to full effect.

The barrier is neon orange in hue, and creates a loud hum when used. Therefore, you can almost always tell when it is being used by hearing the hum, unless you're deaf and blind. She also can only create barriers that are closer to her than the one previously, nor can she move any barrier past the original creation point. To explain better, if she creates a barrier 10 feet away, she can only then create barriers 9 feet or closer to her unless she destroys them all and creates another one. However she can push a barrier into another one, increasing the force using a sort of Doppler effect where each barrier pushed into another increases the force of the final barrier. However, the more barriers she uses in this technique the louder the hum gets, increasing to a shriek instead of a hum. The main weakness of the barriers is that not only can she not create barriers farther away than the first without deconstructing them all, they cannot stand up to continual pressure, so a machinegun would work better than a shotgun on them.

God, that's a giant wall of text. I'm going to go add some stuff to the page, so if there's anything else go ahead and ask away!

 15 Riotous Rascal, Sun, 20th Mar '11 2:32:11 AM from AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA
Well played, old chap!
The original title of this thread has strayed somewhat, so let's move all further discussion onto the Kage no Kokoro discussion page.
Did I ever tell you...the definition of insanity?
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 15
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