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Dysfunction Junction / Visual Novels

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  • The most normal person in A Profile is the girl that alternates between cold and aloof and a shrinking violet at the drop of a hat. Things just get worse from there, though on the surface everyone at least looks normal.
  • This is a given for CROSS†CHANNEL, which takes place at a school for the emotionally disturbed. (Interestingly, a lot of the characters are twisted variants of recognizable archetypes — a Tsundere, an Emotionless Girl, etc.)
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  • The premise of Family Project. All the main characters are there precisely because they have messed up lives, families and are all generally on the edge of homelessness. The various issues vary drastically in seriousness and some also make things worse for everyone else. Such as Chunhua's escape inciting a war between mafia groups and the house being burned down as a result in every route.
  • Katawa Shoujo has many characters with disabilities, yet in most cases, their greatest issues are either unrelated or not directly related to their disabilities.
    • Hisao suffered his first heart attack just as a girl he loved confessed her feelings, was later hospitalized for months with nobody visiting him besides his parents, and upon getting out, he left completely embittered and cynical.
    • Emi not only lost her legs in a car accident, but also lost her father and as such, does not let people close to her.
    • Hanako was severely scarred and lost her parents in a house fire, her mother shielding her from the fire. She was abandoned and cruelly treated by her friends for her scars, resulting in her becoming withdrawn, as she saw most people who didn't show her contempt to be pitying her.
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    • Lilly was left behind in Japan by her parents for six years, and according to Akira (who drops her carefree facade when talking about this), Lilly's blindness was a major reason for this. She developed the facade of a "perfect", collected mother figure (mostly toward Hanako), which gives her difficulties in expressing her own desires.
    • Rin struggles to be understood by others as an artist, and worries about whether she will have to choose between success and being herself.
    • Shizune wanted to make friends by helping people, but her deafness and competitive personality resulted in her driving most of the rest of the Student Council away.
    • Even Misha qualifies. She made a Love Confession to Shizune, but while Shizune rejected her, she kept her around as a friend, causing Misha pain, and in Shizune's route, she has to watch as Hisao gets closer to the girl she loves. It's also implied that she was bullied for being gay in the past and that she has some suicidal ideations.
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    • Some minor characters also qualify: Yuuko shows signs of depression, has troubles managing her extremely busy life and blames herself for everything, while Mutou is a Reasonable Authority Figure, but is quite socially awkward and struggles at getting the attention of anyone who isn't Hisao. The less said about Kenji, the better.
    • Fanfictions trying to emulate routes for other girls also tend to apply the same treatment to them, making their personal flaws the basis of the conflict, along with Hisao's own shortcomings.
  • Name a main or supporting character in the Nasuverse (besides Taiga) that does not have a major personality disorder. Some examples from Tsukihime:
    • Filling the "normal" niche in the main cast is Hisui, who completely represses her emotions and has a pathological fear of being touched by men (although she did it in her sister's place).
    • Arihiko, support character and comic relief, got a very tragic and traumatic Backstory in Kagetsu Tohya.
    • Satsuki has no tragic backstory that we know of. The in-game story makes up for it.
    • Isn't it nice when one of the most well balanced characters in the series is an 800-year-old vampire with less life experience than a teenager, no friends or family and who lives only to kill vampires? Arcueid does have the worst backstory, she just doesn't let it get her down.
    • Averted in a way in Fate/hollow ataraxia. While all the horrible stuff that happened in Fate/stay night is still canon, people have dealt with all of it.
  • In Sharin no Kuni, Kenichi is a stepford smiler atoner, Sachi's day has been cut in half and she has a gambling addiction, Touka's family is horribly broken, Natsumi is severely emotionally scarred and Ririko has vanished from the storyline until you find she has the Maximum Penalty, a fate worse than death. Kyouko, Isono and several others have similar nasty backstories. Which means everyone but Houzuki, which is probably actually especially Houzuki.
  • Almost every in Suika either has a traumatic past or is secretly crazy or ends up so by the end of the chapter they star in. The final chapter is Lighter and Softer, but elements are still present.
  • Key/Visual Arts games naturally involve this, being Utsuge. For example, in Little Busters! we have:
    • Komari, who is troubled by recurring dreams of a brother she doesn't remember. Eventually it turns out that said brother did exist, but he died when she was young, an event which traumatised her so much that she repressed the memory. Anytime she sees death or blood, they're triggered over again and she undergoes a Heroic BSoD.
    • Haruka, who is regularly bullied to tears by the School Disciplinary Committee, and is part of a Big, Screwed-Up Family of epic proportions.
    • Kud, who is one-quarter Japanese and has lived all over the world, and so struggles with finding a place for herself and being treated like just a Funny Foreigner by her fellow students, not to mention the idea of living in the shadow of her successful mother.
    • Kurugaya, who is a competent, intelligent Action Girl and all-around Ace...except for the fact that she's quite lonely, and has lived her life drifting from one event to another without ever feeling real emotion.
    • Mio, who is totally isolated from basically every other human being, almost to the point where it seems like her existence itself is fragile. Which results from a huge guilt complex she holds over forgetting an imaginary friend turned real (or did she?) when she was a kid, resulting in her wishing that Midori had lived instead of her.
    • Rin, who underwent some vague scary experience when she was very young, causing her to become very nervous and distrustful of strangers right up until high school.
    • Riki himself, who has to deal with his parents dying when he was young, his narcolepsy (which the game does go to some lengths to point out really isn't just a cute flaw but a seriously limiting disease), and having to deal with helping out everyone else with their problems in their routes.
    • And everyone has to deal with the bus they were taking for their school field trip driving off a cliff and leaving them all bar Riki and Rin with fatal injuries. Only after a lot of pain and hard work are they able to change the situation enough that Riki and Rin are able to save them, albeit still with heavy injuries.
  • The When They Cry franchise has plenty of this:
  • Just about every character you can name in Nameless - The One Thing You Must Recall - is deeply traumatized and, in bad ends, nearly every guy can become violently and dangerously disturbed.
  • Rarely does a student in Danganronpa not have either a bullying problem, serious family issues or a certain level of insanity (probably why Toko Fukawa is thought to represent the series so well since she qualifies for all three). Makoto Naegi, the protagonist of the first game, sticks out by how utterly normal his existence is, making him by-far the most approachable of the 15, and even he's long-suffered under a case of teetertottering luck. Hajime Hinata of the second game meanwhile has a different sort of problem: he's so incredibly average (in his own eyes) that it's taken a toll on his self-esteem.
  • The overall tone of Ace Attorney may belie it, but several of the main characters are packing some seriously sad backstories, often tied to the Always Murder nature of the series and how many of its characters are related to That One Case.
    • Manfred von Karma is an Amoral Attorney obsessed with his perfect win record, to the point that Gregory Edgeworth causing him to lose for the first time results in von Karma murdering him, framing the wrong guy for fifteen years, and traumatizing his young son forever (the DL-6 incident). Von Karma adopts young Miles, and passes on much of his own philosophies onto him and his daughter Franziska, resulting in them being proud perfection-obsessed prosecutors. In fact, accepting that he was a bad man and moving past his teachings is a great part of both of their character developments. Speaking of DL-6, Maya and Mia lost their mother in the aftermath of it, which also disgraced the family.
    • The Feys are a dysfunctional clan. Because of the long history of enforced Single Line of Descent causing the "weaker" sibling to be forced into a branch family, an Evil Aunt jealous of the main family's prestige and scheming to get rid of them is not uncommon. In fact, Maya's aunt Morgan aims to do this through her prodigious daughter Pearl. It's also mentioned that the matriarchal culture of the family results in many unhappy marriages, such as Morgan's two mentioned ones.
    • Athena's mother Metis was emotionally distant, and little Athena grew up lonely. Come the UR-1 incident, and she witnesses and is suspected of her mother's murder at the age of eleven, causing Simon Blackquill to take the heat for her and be jailed for seven years, being exonerated a day before his scheduled execution. She's repressed most of her direct involvement in the incident in the present day, and the cast has to talk it out of her to progress in the trial.
  • Grisaia no Kajitsu: No matter how much the principal insists on Mihama Academy being a normal school, an institution like that can only be as normal as it's inhabitants, of there is only 6, and they are most certainly an odd bunch. In fact a prerequisite of getting into Mihama is having "comlicated cirumstances", which usually means dark pasts and the great amount of psychological issues caused by them.
  • Every character in Doki Doki Literature Club! has some serious underlying issue, from Natsuki's tsundere tendencies which are probably thanks to her abuse and neglect at the hands of her father, to Yuri's awkwardness and inability to socialize as well as her habit of cutting herself, and even the chipper and carefree Genki Girl Sayori is simply using that as a mask to hide her crippling depression that eventually drives her to suicide. Not even Not Love Interest Monika is safe, only her dilemma is a lot stranger: namely that she's been driven to madness and despair due to a combination of possessing Medium Awareness and knowing that she's a fictional character in a dating sim, and the fact that she loves the player but doesn't even get a route of her own. The Protagonist has the worst role in the entire game: being the MC. Not only is he stuck with saying the same lines over and over again through digitial lobotomy, but he had to watch as the members he meets slowly start to get corrupted and die off one by one, not to mention the fact that he gradually loses his voice and personality. After Yuri's death he is left as nothing but a shell for the true main character, AKA the player, to speak to Monika and Act 4 Sayori.

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