Dear Mariko is a short, simple game by Soyasushi Productions about a girl who comes home to find a goodbye letter from the one she loves.
Into the game, you are able to control the protagonist around the house and have her examine the items filled with memories of her beloved one - Darien. Upon going into the bedroom, she will find the letter that Darien left before disappearing from the house. That's when you realise something is wrong and things start going down - fast.
There are 3 different endings for you to explore: the True Ending, Normal Ending and Bad Ending. Different requirements have to be met and actions taken to achieve all of the endings. It is difficult to mention tropes without spoiling the twist in the True Ending, so be warned before reading beyond this point.
In addition, there is now an expansion, Dear Mariko: Crimson, that contains an epilogue with 4 additional endings.
The game can be downloaded here.
This game provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: The idea that your significant other is being stalked by an insane person is disturbing on its own.
- Ax-Crazy: The protagonist.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In the True ending.
- Big Bad: Shinku, the stalker and the protagonist.
- Berserker Tears: Mariko breaks down after reading Darien's letter.
- But Thou Must!: In Crimson, one of Libby's letters asks Shinku if she is ready to meet Darien. The choices are "I can't wait to meet him" and "This is wrong, Liddy"- but Liddy will not take the latter for an answer.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: You have green eyes, and the intruder has red. Shinku is a Green-Eyed Monster, and Mariko is incredibly pissed.
- Dual Wielding: Shinku uses two kitchen knives.
- The Ending Changes Everything: The truth about Mariko is revealed by the ending; namely the fact that the protagonist is not Mariko. Therefore a woman worried about her boyfriend's disappearance and looking through the house for him is actually a stalker seeking her victim.
- Foreshadowing: Some of the things that the protagonist says should clue the player in that she's not Mariko.
- For instance, she comments in distaste several things around the house, claiming that Darien also dislikes them, which strongly hints that the only one who likes them is Mariko. She also complained about Mariko's bed smelling strange, because of her hatred for her.
- One major clue was that upon reading Darien's letter, she said 'So that's what you really feel'. While it appears at first that it is 'Mariko' being touched by Darien's love, it is actually Shinku realizing that Darien thinks of her as a stalker.
- Also, the protagonist doesn't have the key to the bedroom and has to look for the spare key, because that's not "her" bedroom.
- In addition, notice how the protagonist has green eyes?
- Golden Ending: The Normal Ending with the protagonist leaving the house. Considering the True End, this the best ending of the game.
- Crimson has Bad Ending I, wherin Shinku blocks out Libby and turns herself in to the police before she kills anyone.
- Hero Antagonist: Mariko.
- Innocent Cohabitation. Darien and Mariko live together, but have separate beds. Subverted in that they are in a relationship, though.
- Knife Nut: Both Shinku and Mariko.
- Man Behind the Man: Crimson reveals that a ghost girl named "Liddy" is the one who's guiding Shinku to commit the horrible actions she does.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In Crimson, it's not clear if "Libby" is just a hallucination of Shinku or an actual spirit communicating with her.
- Meaningful Name: The stalker's name is Shinku, which is Japanese for "crimson".
- Mood Whiplash: What seems like a sad love story turns into horror.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: What Darien was afraid his stalker would do to Mariko if he stayed with her. In the True End, Shinku successfully kills Mariko.
- Never My Fault: In the True Ending, Shinku blames Mariko for being the reason why Darien ran away. She doesn't acknowledge that she's the one who drove Darien away. Although it may be because she's so insane that she honestly believes that she and Darien are in a relationship and Mariko is interfering.
- Pet the Dog: The Normal ending, if the protagonist leaves the house after reading the letter, is one for the stalker (although it only makes sense after watching the True ending). The Yandere protagonist leaves the house without any more fuss after learning that Darien thinks of her as a stalker and is deeply afraid of her. It's implied she gives up on him afterwards.
- Protagonist Title: Subverting this trope is the whole point of the game.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The intruder has bright crimson eyes. Subverted.
- Redhead In Green
- The Reveal: You've actually been playing as Shinku, not Mariko.
- Sanity Slippage: Implied with Mariko.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead
- Slasher Smile: Shinku wears one before stabbing Mariko the second time.
- Stalker with a Crush: Shinku towards Darien. She is the one driving him and Mariko apart.
- Suddenly Voiced: "Oyasuminasai, Mariko-chan."
- Mariko's cries are also voiced.
- Tomato Surprise
- Twist Ending/Cruel Twist Ending
- Villain Protagonist: You play as the stalker Shinku.
- Walking Spoiler: The protagonist, who is actually the stalker Shinku.
- Wham Line: "Goodnight, Mariko. And welcome home."
- Woman in White: Mariko.
- Yandere: Shinku, the stalker who is after Darien. Who turns out to be the protagonist herself. Mariko also shows signs of being Yandere, though hers appears more to be the psychological trauma of being stalked and threatened consistently.