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Video Game / Dandelion

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"...the game has begun. What will be your wish?"

Heejung is not a happy girl. Overwhelmed by her overbearing mother demanding success, she has become stuck in a life she does not enjoy, constantly working and preparing for a future others have set out for her. In an attempt to rebel against these constraints, she joined a university in a different city...only to once again find herself reverting back to previous habits, studying a major she has no interest in and finding almost no joy in her life apart from in the brief moments when she draws. She knows something is wrong with her life, but fear of her mother's reprisal combined with lack of any kind of concrete idea about what she wants from her life keep her where she is.

Then one morning she wakes up to find something strange - a basket of two cats and three rabbits together. Although she doesn't believe she has the time to look after them, she decides to take them in as her own. Over the weeks, Heejung starts to get used to taking care of these pets, as they make her laugh and allow her to feel relaxed in a way she hasn't for years.

And then, one day, all five of them magically transform into attractive men with cat or rabbit ears wearing otherworldly, European-based fantasy-style clothing.

From what she can gather, there is some sort of game going on. The 'rules' prohibit them from explaining, but they are indeed from another world - two fantasy-style kingdoms, that of the cats and the rabbits - and their transformation happened due to Haeejung's 'choice' of one above the rest. Although the boys are now even noisier and more difficult to take care of than ever, Heejung reluctantly lets her stay in her house until they have to leave. And so her life with Boisterous Big Eater Jisoo (the black cat), stuck-up Tsundere Jiwoo (the brown spotted rabbit), cool but gentlemanly Jihae (the silver, long-haired rabbit), cutesy and energetic Jiyeon (the orange striped cat), and young, emotionless Jieun (the white baby rabbit) will begin...

Dandelion - Wishes Brought to You - is a stat-based Otome Game made by the company Cheritz. It was released out of nowhere in late 2012, but its high production values and surprisingly deep storyline were received very well among the community, and another game by the same company, Nameless - The One Thing You Must Recall -, revolving around dolls turning to life instead of pets, came out in late 2013. Dandelion was originally made in Korean, but has an official English translation with surprisingly few errors.

This game contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Heejung's mother, of the emotional abuse sort. It's left her with a massive inferiority complex and an inability to genuinely enjoy the things that make her happy.
    • A couple of the guys appear to have had at least one bad parent too, specifically Jiwoo and Jihae.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Jihae was the product of an aristocrat and a commoner, which would have been bad enough, except white hair there is a sign of the nobility, meaning that Jihae's darker silver hair was seen as a terrible sign and he was shunned accordingly.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Heejung has been pushed into being all work at the beginning of the game, but she manages to ease off as she becomes closer to the animals. Jiyeon, by contrast, is definitely all play.
  • Animal Motifs: The cats tend to be wilder and more free-spirited, while the rabbits are more controlled and strict.
  • Batman Gambit: Jieun, of all people, is the only one of the love interests who out-gambits the creator of the "game." Having the resources of a prince at his disposal, the power of precognition, and living in a world with wizards of its own, helps. A little planning ahead and re-assurance on Jieun's part ensures Heejung doesn't call on the wizard when she and Jieun are separated. Instead they're reunited without anyone losing their memory because of Jieun's efforts.
    • Not to mention the entire game is the Wizard's Batman Gambit. Only people with a desperate wish can see him, but Heejung is so damaged by her mother's parenting that she won't develop a desperate wish of her own. His plan? Bring five guys to her world, have her fall in love with one, then take him away so she has something she'll wish for. As noted above, Jieun is the only one to thwart this gambit.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Both Jieun and Jihae felt isolated and excluded from the others around them, but because each was kind to the other and accepted them for who they were, they became friends.
  • Bishōnen: All of the boys, but long, silver-haired Jihae probably fits the best. Even as a rabbit, he's recruited to be a model!
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Wizard's ending, anyone?
    • Honestly, all of the endings (besides Jieun's) can be seen as bittersweet. Every ending has Heejung and her love interest separated, and one or both of them losing their memories of the year they spent together.
  • Blue Blood: Jihae is in the equivalent of the grass-kingdom aristocracy. Jieun is even higher than that.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: It's an Otome Game. What do you expect?
  • Cat Boy: Jisoo and Jiyeon.
  • Coming of Age Story: Both Heejung and Jieun are older than usual for this trope, but both of their storylines mainly revolve around them finding their own place in the world and figuring out how to stop relying on others like children.
  • Dating Sim
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: For Heejung. A large part of all of the routes.
  • Disappeared Dad: Heejung's parents are divorced, and her dad is only mentioned in flashbacks.
  • Discussed Trope: Heejung often comments and even snarks on Jiwoo's cheesy romance novels and soap operas...even though the game itself is a cheesy romance. Jiwoo also knows his tropes well.
    Jiwoo: A Tsundere's charm never fades. You know...they say that lunatic handsome guys are popular nowadays. But, the trend is all just temporary.
  • Distant Epilogue: The routes all end with Heejung and the boy being separated, only to finally be reunited years later.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jihae's lover, in response to the awful treatment she received as a result of the kingdom hating him.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jieun at a couple of times in his route.
  • Drunk on Milk: Jieun gets drunk on apples.
  • Education Mama: One of MC's predominant struggles.
  • Fantastic Racism: More like Fantastic Classism, but the rabbits seem to form a structured kingdom and look down on the disorganized cats, while within rabbits a plain coat is a sign of good breeding, meaning that Jiwoo is very sensitive about his spots. Among rabbits, white is the most special, meaning that they are royal, with Jihae's silver coat being a bad thing.
  • Fast-Forward to Reunion: The end of most of the routes.
  • Finger-Suck Healing: Jieun does this to Heejung in his route. The others are convinced this is a sign that the two are actually a lovey-dovey couple. Jieun doesn't even seem to notice.
  • Fuzz Therapy: Heejung learns quickly that although she feels cut off from all the other humans she knows, her pets will always be there for her to cuddle up to her and make her laugh.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: The styles are hardly historically accurate (and, of course, aren't intended to be) but by God they are pretty. Jieun's over the top royal coat stands out among the rest.
  • Gratuitous English: The main song Yet I Can't Stay.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Jiwoo has some traces of this due to awful treatment at the hands of his mother.
  • Hollywood Beauty Standards: Discussed.
    Jiwoo: If she was ugly, it would have ended after 5 minutes of being aired.
    Heejung: ...true. Usually the main female character isn't ugly. The film might describe the woman as being plain-looking, but they actually use a really pretty actress.
  • I Have No Daughter: In most routes, this is the conclusion to Heejung's and her mother's relationship.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Again, Jieun probably wins this one.
  • In the Hood: Jiyeon's casual outfit.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: A few of the boys. Jiyeon is into fashion, Jiwoo has a great interest in romance novels and dramas, and when he opens up more Jieun confesses to being interested in make-up.
  • Interspecies Romance: Any relationship Heejung forms with the five guys would be considered this since the guys aren't exactly human.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Jisoo complains about how 'gross' it is that Jihae and Jieun are so close and claims that he doesn't like guys, Jiyeon asks how that gels with that thing they did together one time when Jisoo got drunk. Jisoo doesn't just yell at him to be quiet but physically restrains him from saying anything further.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded.
    Heejung: I've been wearing this cardigan for several years already... I'm getting attached to it.
  • Little Bit Beastly: All of the guys still retain their animals ears after turning human, and can still transform back into animals.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Jieun is extremely dependent on Jihae at the beginning of the game. In his backstory, it's revealed that he even knowingly allowed a woman to kill herself because Jihae had fallen in love with her and he was scared that she would take him away. He gets better over time. In a different way, Jihae has also completely devoted his life to Jieun, and doesn't react well to the idea of being abandoned by him.
  • Love Redeems: The Wizard's ending can be seen this way. The reason the Wizard created the game was because he was obsessed with Heejung, but by giving up all his memories and even risking his very existence in order to be with her, he's able to get a clean slate and be with the woman he loves, though neither know who the other is.
  • My Parents Are Dead: Jisoo. Made worse by the state of his ill little sister. Jiyeon also grew up without parents, so they are either dead or abandoned him.
  • Narm: In-universe, Jiwoo really enjoys soap operas, but Heejung finds them so clichéd she can't take them seriously.
    Heejung: It's supposed to be a sad scene, but it's so corny. I shouldn't laugh...
  • No Social Skills: Besides Jiyeon, who knows exactly what to say to get what he wants, all of the guys are lacking in social skills and often avoid other people — especially since they are now in a world they never knew.
  • Not a Date: In Jiwoo's route when he sees Heejung and Jisoo out together and she protests that they aren't on a date. Technically, they were, but only because Jisoo insisted; Heejung was just perplexed by the entire situation.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Try wearing a bikini while at the beach with Jieun. Even late in his route, he's invariably unimpressed.
    Jieun: What are you doing? ...I understand that you're trying to cheer me up. Now, put on some clothes.
    • When early on a route, a few of the other boys will also react like that, especially during fall and winter where they are mostly just puzzled why you would wear so little during cold weather.
  • Oblivious to Love: Even when Jisoo sighingly tells her that Jiwoo's crush is older than him and so dense that she doesn't realise she's being courted Heejung still doesn't even consider that the girl Jiwoo likes might be her. She is also incredibly slow in realizing her own feelings in every singly route and it takes a lot of nudging by the guys to make her properly understand herself.
  • Older Than They Look: Jieun. And while Jiyeon doesn't look particularly young, he's certainly older than he acts.
  • One-Steve Limit: While no two characters have the same name, the game sure does like similar names: as per Korean practice while naming siblings, all the pets have the first syllable 'Ji', and in the game there is a Jihae, a Heejae, and a Heejung. Lampshaded by Heejung during the naming cutscene where she questions out loud if their names are too similar and whether it might be confusing or not.
  • Otome Game
  • Practice Kiss: When Jiwoo finds out that Heejung has never kissed anyone before, he offers to show her how. Jiyeon 'rescues' her in time, but she isn't entirely sure what she thinks about the whole thing.
  • Pretty Freeloaders: All of the guys except Jihae, and to a lesser extent, Jiyeon.
    • Jihae's the only one out of the five who gets a paying job not long after he becomes human, although he wasn't trying to get one (he is just that pretty). However, it's not stated how much Jihae contributes to offsetting the expenses of adding five adult, human-sized men onto the food and utilities bill. Jihae explicitly helps with household chores though, which is more than can be said about the other four animals.
    • Jiyeon quickly becomes involved in criminal activities and scams money off of rich women by getting them to either pity him, or by flirting with them. He generally hides this as much as he can, and after Heejung rejects a gift of questionable origin, he doesn't try to give her anything further.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Heejung to Jiyeon, about halfway through Jisoo's route. At least he covered himself.
  • Pun: One of the items you can find on the ground is a Dandetiger CD.
  • Quest for a Wish: The entire reason all the guys are with Heejung in the first place.
  • Relationship Values: Clearly visible numerical ones displayed at the bottom of the screen during every 'normal' day.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Heejae is a perfectly nice guy, but Heejung never even seems to consider him as a romantic option. In fact, ending up with him usually means the player failed to properly romance one of the guys, leading to an Bad Ending.
  • School Clubs Are Serious Business: Heejung always put a lot of effort into her art club because it was necessary to get into a good university, and then to get a good job. When she admits that she'll start going more casually once she decides to take care of the pets, Heejae is quite surprised and disappointed. (Though there might be other reasons...)
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Heejung's mother believes this, even to the point of outright telling her that if you're not number one you're worthless.
  • Snow Means Love: Due to the pacing, most routes have a romantic scene occur in the snow during winter.
  • So Proud of You: When Jieun lets Jihae go under the belief that he is too dependent on him and keeping Jihae from his own happiness, Jihae tells him how proud he is that he has grown into such a kind person.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Wizard. He's even called out as such by Jiwoo.
  • Theme Naming: As per Korean tradition, the boys' names share a first syllable in common, as if they were all a family together. It might make it a bit difficult for Westerners to remember, however.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Despite his haughty appearance, Jiwoo adores trashy romance novels. In his route, he tries to apply that logic to real life. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Apples for Jieun, oranges for Jiyeon, cabbage for Jiwoo, and broccoli for Jihae. Jisoo eats everything, but seems to especially like fish and Yum-Yum snacks.
  • Uptown Girl: Gender-inverted. Jihae and Jieun are both the product of one. Naturally, the kingdom isn't particularly pleased with either situation, but at least since Jieun's the prince he's viewed as being above criticism. Jihae is not at all so lucky. Heejung with Jihae or Jieun would also count.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Jieun has been deliberately emotionless for so long that when he starts to feel love for Heejung, it takes him quite a while to figure out what it means.
    • The Wizard goes through this as well. He starts off the game with the explicit intention that he wants to see Heejung suffer, but as he rewinds time with each good ending his dialogue in the prologue changes and he wonders why he can't leave her alone.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Flashbacks imply that Heejung's father was like this. He was still better than her emotionally abusive mother, though.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: If you go into the bathroom late in Jieun's route, he'll be looking at the skin cream items and admit that he wants to dress up as a girl once before he gets older. Jiwoo also wears a dress in his route, though not of his own free will.
  • Yandere: Jisoo's abusive jealousy is the major tension of his route. Jieun gets dangerously close to this for Jihae in their backstory, but he has since grown and feels utterly terrible for what he did.
  • You Must Be Cold: Jiwoo does this in his own way:
    Jiwoo: Tell me if it gets too cold. I'll give you my jacket — only if you promise to keep it clean.
    • Jihae does it in the more traditional way on your dates with him at the beach.
  • Your Favorite: A common sign of Heejung becoming more attached to one of the boys comes when she starts consciously or subconsciously cooking their style of food more often. Given that two of the boys are carnivores and three herbivores, that can cause some problems.