Beware of Spoilers!
It might have started out as a cute dress up game, but Love Nikki has gotten progressively darker as the story grinds on. Below are some notable examples of tear-inducing content the main story, special events, and other examples:
- Chapter 15
- Namely; the death of Lunar, and the reactions of Nikki, Bobo, and Momo.
- The events of chapter 15 that constitute the catalyst of a major Break the Cutie for poor Nikki:
From the beginning, Nikki is shown to be a much stronger person than one would think. Miraland appears at first like a fun dress-up world — a fantasy escape from the droll reality of everyday life. But taken out of context the hardships Nikki faces would be terrifying for a normal young lady. These hardships include being taken from her happy family and Trapped in Another World (Prologue), attempted muggings and intellectual property theft by the Iron Rose Stylist legion (Chapters 1 & 5), the threat of kidnap and imprisonment by agents of Bai Jinjin's father (Chapter 7), surviving a failed coup in Lilith (Chapters 11 & 12), and seeing the desolation of the Cloud Empire by it's own soldiers trying to resist the North Kingdom invasion (Chapter 15). Throughout all this, Nikki has maintained an optimistic disposition, always thinking of the needs of others before her own. She even ventures into an active war zone (Chapter 15) because she believes she can use her styling talents to protect Lunar. These styling talents are perhaps the reason she's kept up her morale — in the real world her styling is a fun hobby, but in Miraland her abilities are considered exceptional; her work is constantly praised, and her talents allow her to fight back against those who would oppress or harm her friends.
But just as she and her traveling companions reach the epicenter of the fighting in Cloud City and spot Lunar at the Southern Gate, Nikki is forced to watch helplessly as Nidhogg fatally wounds Lunar in a duel, cementing his victory over Cloud City and disparaging Lunar as she bleeds out in Nikki's arms. It's in that moment that Nikki finally realizes that Miraland isn't all fun and dress-up games, and she breaks down in tears for the first time since her adventure started. Not only has she been ripped away from her home and her family, but now the foundations of Miraland as a violence-free fantasy realm where all disputes are solved by dressing up in pretty clothes (and where Nikki has the ability to protect her friends from harm by coordinating her accessories) are crumbling around her as one of her first friends in this new world dies a painful, bloody death that Nikki was utterly powerless to stop. It only gets worse when players realize that all the denizens of Miraland at the scene is also in mourning, but less for Lunar's death than for what her death heralds: the end of 600 years of peace between the nations of Miraland, and the return to open warfare.
- The stories associated with both suits from the "Fairy Tale Bottle" event of September 2018:
- The first tells the story of a "Pixy" who lives with a human boy — though she loves the human boy with all her heart, he is ignorant of her existence. When the human boy falls in love with a haughty noblewoman, he is made distraught by the series of tasks the noblewoman has set out for him in order to prove his worth. The little Pixy sacrifices her wings, her heart, and eventually her life in order to help the human boy gain his love's favor, but her efforts are all for naught — the noblewoman can never be made happy with the boy's gifts, and in the end she spurns his advances.
- The second tells the tale of a little witch who held the power to make anyone fall in love. When she herself falls in love with a prince, she uses her magic to win his heart. Even after testing his devotion, she is tormented by the thought that he doesn't truly love her. She eventually breaks the spell that had bound the prince to her, and her heart is broken in turn when she discovers that the prince has deserted her.
- The "Cloud Realm" (Four Dreams) event of June 2019 is nothing but tears:
- Nikki finds herself trapped in a time-loop dream where she can experience a happy, carefree day with Momo and her friends: Bobo, Kimi, and Ace are all there. Even Lunar (whose tragic, horrible death still haunts Nikki) appears alive and well. But then Nikki finds herself drowning in her dream, and "wakes up" in her room remembering that she's trapped in a time-loop. She's unable to escape, and her friends either don't notice or don't care when she brings up her concerns. That's because they aren't actually her friends: they're dream constructs made out of her memories, programmed by an external force that's trying to keep Nikki trapped in the dream loop. Only the dream-Bobo acknowledges that anything is weird, but she refuses to help Nikki end the dream loop.
- When Nikki finally escapes from her time-loop dream, she awakens to discover people all over Miraland are also experiencing drowning dreams of the deep ocean. She goes to seek out her friends Kimi and Ace, but discovers that they are also trapped in their own dreams, and Nikki must enter their dreamworlds to rescue them:
- Kimi is trapped in memories of her happy childhood with her parents, before her mother died and her father was kidnapped. Kimi is tired of pretending to be strong and acting as if everything is alright, of trying to keep her father from despairing over her mother's death, and of the incredible pressure of helping to run the Apple Federal Design Group. She wants to stay in her dreams where she doesn't have to pretend anymore, where it doesn't matter if she cries or isn't perfect. Kimi hides away in her dreams, but Nikki breaks the cycle by telling Kimi that she has friends who will support her. Nikki tells Kimi that she can always be weak around Nikki, and that Nikki will protect her. Kimi sobs into Nikki's arms, and finally awakens in the real world.
- Ace is trapped in memories of her childhood with her sister Princess Elle - memories of before their parents died, and before Elle participated in the 9-Day War, before Elle had to take up the crown of Pigeon Kingdom, and before Ace had to betray her sister to save Nikki. Ace deeply regrets growing apart from her sister, and is stuck replaying those memories, wondering if there isn't something she could have done differently. Nikki finds Ace despondent and almost unreachable at the center of her own dream-world, but she manages to break through to Ace. Nikki breaks the cycle by telling Ace she can't live in the past, and that regret isn't something to live in, but something to drive her forwards. Ace takes Nikki's hand and awakens in the real world.
- After rescuing Kimi and Ace, Nikki & Co. must find Lunar. They travel to all the locations of Miraland where they had happy memories with Lunar, but eventually Nikki decides they must go to Cloud City, where Lunar was killed by Nidhogg. Upon traveling to the spot where Lunar was killed, Nikki enters another dream realm and encounters a benevolent dream construct of Lunar, who tells Nikki that as long as she treasures the memory of time they spent together, Lunar will never truly leave her. Dream constructs of Kimi and Ace also appear to help Nikki fight against a storm that appears on the horizon - the origin of the intrusive dreams.
- The storm engulfs Nikki, Momo, and the dream constructs, revealing the source of the intrusive dreams — an evil split personality that lives inside of Bobo: Dark Bobo, who has the power to control dreams. Dark Bobo claims that mankind is going to destroy itself, and that only she can save them by forcing everyone to sleep forever and ruling over an eternal dreamscape of peace. Nikki demands that Dark Bobo stop her plans and release mankind from the grips of her dream-spell, telling her that it isn't to late to change fate and that mankind can be redeemed. Bobo manages to break free from the control of Dark Bobo for a moment and she begs Nikki to leave Miraland — she tells Nikki that Miraland is fated to be destroyed, but that Nikki can return to her original world and save herself. Nikki tells Bobo that she won't do that, and that she'll fight by Bobo's side to divert fate and save Miraland. The embrace tearfully, but Bobo disappears from Nikki's dream realm, unable to stay.
- The "Nine-Night Tales" event of March 2020 continues the trend of special events filled with both lore dumps and angst. (It doesn't help that the event was released out of order with chapter releases for Volume 2 of the main plot, with key backstory on several characters totally absent.)
- The event opens with Xiao Xong (an immortal man from the Cloud Empire) apparently sending Nikki and Momo back in time to Miraland's Nine-Day War in order to obtain King Sayet's relics: the Rose Chests that were awarded to winners of the war's styling contests. Not knowing what else to do, Nikki is forced to compete.
- Nikki discovers that she has the ability to step inside the memories of her opponents. Unfortunately for Nikki, every single one of her opponents is a young girl with a ridiculously tragic backstory, and Nikki is immediately pulled into the worst memories of these girls' lives:
- Ya was bedridden during an illness in her childhood, with led to a violent confrontation with her caregiver. When Nikki saw Ya's memories, the fight between Ya and her caregiver caused the memory to collapse around her. Nikki is shaken by the experience.???: It's just several days! You won't die!Girl: Several days? I believed in you. But now it's been a whole month! It's not your life or my brother's life, so you don't care at all!???: Aren't you alright now? Why all the drama? Ya, your little brother will need much more than you. Cannot you be more considerate? You are the elder sister!Ya: Considerate? Who would consider my life?!
- Mulberry is homeless, and her only friend in the world was a little dog named Yoyo. When Nikki steps into Mulberry's memories she's able to interact with the scenery. Nikki helps Mulberry search for a missing Yoyo, reassuring her that everything will be alright — until they find Yoyo's body lying in the gutter. Nikki surfaces from the memory in tears, thinking of the time she nearly lost Momo.Nikki: Because I saw Mulberry's memory... Her beloved dog went lost. We searched everywhere in the town to find it...Momo: Nikki, you can actually join in their memory?! What happened later?Nikki: We found her dog. It's named Yoyo, a lovely yellow dog...Momo: That's great!Nikki: But... at that time, Yoyo was already... When Mulberry took Yoyo up from the sewer, she caressed its head and said, 'Yoyo, let's go home.' But she froze after taking several steps and said, 'I'm homeless now.'Momo: How could this happen... Mulberry lost her home and Yoyo at the same time?Nikki: No, they were wandering in the town when she was little. They are each other's 'home'...Momo: ...Poor little Mulberry! It's not fair!
- Qi Yaozan's father and brothers all serve in Cloud Empire's military. She had already lost one brother to violence at the border when her other brother, who had been serving in the military for a decade, falls out of contact the family. As Nikki enters Yaozan's memory and helps her search for her brother, she injures her leg falling off a horse. After stopping to visit a doctor, they arrive at the Cloud Empire front a day too late to meet Yaozan's brother. Although Nikki couldn't possibly have altered the past, Nikki surfaces from exploring Yaozan's memories believing that she was at fault for delaying the meeting between Yaozan and her brother.Military Surgeon: Dear, Mr. Qi... just left us last night.Nikki: Last night....Military Surgeon: He swore to guard the city with his life. He kept his word and took the city back. He's a real man, a real hero! I'm sorry for your loss...Qi Yaozan: Brother, it's been ten years, and I cannot be there for you even for a second... I don't want you to be a hero. I just want you to be safe...
- Beka was given up for adoption by her parents, causing her to wonder if there was something wrong with her to caused her parents to abandon her. When Nikki steps into Beka's memories, she encourages Beka to give her new foster family a chance to prove that they love her — only to skip forwards to another memory that reveals Beka's new peers are bullying her and that her foster family treats her cruelly.Beka: ...You saw it. My parents don't want me anymore.Nikki: Maybe they encountered... some kind of problem?Beka: No! They just don't want me! Why should I be with others? I'm not their family!Nikki: Maybe you should try to accept them. They could be very nice people.Beka: How can I know if they will not dump me again? Am I... that annoying?
- Fatumah was born deaf. Her Republic of Wastelands tribe expected her to carry out the duties of a "Saint" in service to the tribe's god, regardless of her disability. She was sent to compete for the relics, despite the dangers she would face, because her tribe's priest thought she was useless. (She was also abandoned by a boy who promised to take her away from her lonely life in the tribe.)Archpriest: A saint doesn't need family, friends, lover. Saints should convey the ideas of God. Saint is destined to be lonely.Archpriest: Fatumah cannot hear any sound! So how can she deliver God's messages?!Archrpriest: Perhaps... God made a mistake this time.Archrpriest: Send her to fight for King Sayet's relics! This is the only way to save our tribe!Chief: But it's warring everywhere. It's too dangerous for her to go alone...Archpriest: She is a saint! If she dies saving our tribe, it would be the idea of God.
- Larisa is from the bellicose North Kingdom. Her memory is of nearly bleeding to death in the wilderness, cursing her fate and wishing she'd never been born. Nikki tries to comfort Larisa, but all she can do is encourage Larisa to forget the painful memories.Larisa: Why! Why do I have to go through all this! I've always tried to be a nice person! Why must all of my hopes be crushed? Why am I living...
- Ya was bedridden during an illness in her childhood, with led to a violent confrontation with her caregiver. When Nikki saw Ya's memories, the fight between Ya and her caregiver caused the memory to collapse around her. Nikki is shaken by the experience.
- The theme of memories runs throughout the event — Nikki mentions that contestants of the Nine-Day War lost some of their memories after competing. Throughout the days of styling, Nikki tries to hold onto her conviction that even painful memories can be important — but after experiencing the worst memories her opponents have, and finding herself powerless to ease their pain, she nearly gives up. She wonders if she can really save Miraland if she can't even bring peace to the girls suffering through the Nine-Day War.
- Nikki: I'm wrong...Momo: Nikki?Nikki: I'm wrong... Though we can try to feel for others, everyone has a unique life, you can never know how they feel... All the painful memories have a reason. Temporary help can never solve the problem... It's not wrong for them to choose to forget, and nobody should blame them for being weak... I wanted to be the light for others who are in the darkness. It's too hard. I thought too highly of myself...
- During the styling contests, the event venue in Rolterdan is attacked by unknown assailants, trapping contestants and spectators inside while the attackers are dealt with. Fatumah's memories reveal that the conflicts are widespread, with fighting making travel between the nations life-threateningly dangerous. The citizens of Miraland are willing to fight and kill for the power contained in King Sayet's Relics, even with the effects of the Blood Curse hanging over their heads.
- The descriptions for the items that form the North Kingdom-themed Song of Blaze set, which feature the inner thoughts of a North Kingdom's Action Girl as she grows up in the closest to a Crapsack World that Miraland has... and can be easily seen as what she thinks when she's about to die in an all-out open war.