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Visual Novel / Under the Moon

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Under the Moon is an 18+ otome game released for Windows; possibly the best known of its Sub-Genre. It is the second installment in a trilogy that also includes Love Drops and Ijiwaru My Master. With art by Toujou Sakana (also known for Case Closed yaoi fanart), this game spawned a fan disk and a non-explicit PS2 port.

The heroine of Under the Moon (default name: Ashe) is the daughter of the king of the demon world. All is not well in her father's domain, however — his power is fading and a succession crisis is brewing. The royal castle comes under attack and Ashe flees with her cait sith familiar (who can turn into a winged Bishōnen catboy) and ends up getting transported to the human world. There, Ashe soon discovers that her magical powers have vanished. (Though they weren't much to speak of in the first place.)

In no time at all, Ashe and Kyle happen across Leni and Seizh, twin devil brothers with vast magical powers who have been appointed as potential successors to Ashe's father. Neither brother expresses interest in leaving their new home in the human world to take the throne, but they agree to harbor Ashe on account of an ongoing "demon hunt". Angels have declared open season on devils in the human world, leaving Ashe not only unable to defend herself, but unable to go home. Ashamed of her powerlessness, Ashe takes it upon herself to convince Leni or Seizh to become the new demon king.

Being a visual novel, Under the Moon naturally has multiple endings, the routes for which are generally grouped into two types: "pure love" and "love/hate". Pure love is just what it sounds like. The "love/hate" routes are rather controversial for fetishizing sexual coercion and domination — the love interests become Fetishized Abusers and yanderes.

Tropes used in this work include:

  • Abduction Is Love: Unan, of all people, whisks Ashe away to keep her from falling for Leni. It's a vague sort of Stockholm Syndrome; Ashe is not exactly his captive, but he is the only person she has to interact with.
  • Alien Among Us: Most of the characters aren't human, but manage to blend into human society. Leni and Seizh are old hands at the masquerade; Ashe, as a more recent transplant, is a Fish out of Water.
  • All Men Are Perverts: No matter how sweet they may be otherwise, the power dynamics between the characters can lead the guys in this game into some really dark headspaces. Almost all of the love interests have paths in which they force themselves on the heroine.
  • Always Second Best: Seizh feels this way in regards to Leni, who always seems to beat Seizh to the things he wants.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: In his pure love route Sena avoids kissing Ashe, since he'll effectively enslave her if he does. He's justifiably reluctant to explain this to her, and this denial of affection is hard on Ashe.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Sena's motivation in his true love paths. He legitimately starts to care about Ashe's well-being, but he knows that if she sticks with him, there's nothing but misery in store for her. So he tries being cruel to her to drive her off.
  • Break the Cutie: This is the stated intention of love interests with love/hate paths, but Seizh is cutie-breaker extraordinaire. The more deranged he becomes, the more blatantly he treats Ashe like a plaything. In one of his endings, he goes full-on Living Doll Collector and dresses Ashe in a frilly Creepy Doll outfit.
  • Bound and Gagged: A bit of this to be found mainly on love/hate paths, all in the name of exploitative sexiness. Usually Ashe finds her hands tied behind her back with her own hair ribbon before she knows what hit her. Any gagging only barely qualifies as such (since it's no fun if Ashe doesn't make any sounds.)
  • Cain and Abel: Leni and Seizh's Sibling Rivalry is in a sort of ceasefire state at the beginning of the game, but the resumption of open hostilities is likely.
  • The Casanova: Leni and Seizh both have instant fan clubs of schoolgirls that they pick conquests from. Leni's modus operandi is to use a girl and toss her aside without remorse, while Seizh openly maintains a harem.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: This is a dating sim for girls, it's be expected.
  • Closet Sublet: When Ashe and Kyle take up residence in the twins' apartment, Kyle is left with no choice but to use a walk-in closet for a bedroom.
  • Content Warnings: The game opens with a reminder that it is fictional and a warning not to imitate the unlawful behavior depicted within.
  • Downer Ending: The only apparent requirement for a "good ending" is that nobody dies. The others are loaded with trauma, death, and in some cases, What If? scenarios. Some of the tropes encountered:
    • Decapitation PresentationSeen in a disturbing bad ending on Leni's pure love route. Seizh wins a duel with Leni, and brings his severed head to Ashe as proof.
    • Civil WarShows up as a 3rd option on Kyle's love/hate route. The twins send Kyle back to the demon world to separate him from Ashe, and he starts a monster vs. devil civil war. Eventually the twins crush his rebellion.
    • Go Mad from the RevelationIn a Zero ending, Ashe's latent powers awaken and go berserk, killing Leni, Seizh and Kyle. Ashe retreats into self-delusion, unable to cope with the reality of what happened.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Unan's looks are angelic. It's even a minor contributor to his Inadequate Inheritor status in the demon world, since its denizens aren't fans of angels.
  • Dramatic Stutter: Kyle stutters magnificently and hilariously when agitated. It stops quite abruptly when he's on hate mode in his love/hate route.It's very jarring.
  • Emotionless Boy: Unan claims he is this.
  • The Exile: Leni and Seizh were exiled from the demon world prior to the events of the game when their (first) love triangle with Ashe was discovered. (Ashe no longer remembers this courtesy of Laser-Guided Amnesia.) They've come to like life in the human world though.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Ashe wears the sort of frilly black dress one would expect from a demon princess.
  • Elevator Going Down: One of the game's most infamous sex scenes takes place in an elevator.
  • Falling into His Arms: Occurs early in the game between Ashe and Zero, immediately after Ashe discovers she has lost the ability to fly.
  • Fantastic Arousal: In the Zero routes, Ashe discovers that Zero's Pointy Ears are very sensitive.
  • Fetishized Abuser:
    • The love/hate routes turn most of the boys into abusive boyfriends with no compunctions about being cruel, coercive, and even sexually abusive toward Ashe. Yet, they are portrayed as sexy and desirable.
    • Double subverted with Sena. In his love/hate route, his demeanor is generally more pleasant (instead of the deranged or aggressive attitudes of the others). His intentions toward Ashe, however, are still very dark.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: The twins advise Kyle to use his catboy form despite the ears, tail and wings he sports, trusting that passersby will be more likely to accept him as a cosplay weirdo than a talking animal.
  • Forceful Kiss: Perpetrated on Ashe by the twins several times regardless of the route, and always in play in love/hate routes.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: This Romance Game staple is unusually edgy in Under the Moon. Leni and Seizh have both known Ashe for a long time and they are hopelessly attracted to her, but she has forgotten them (through no fault of her own.) This is a major factor in the bitterness and jealousy the twins feel towards her.
  • Freakiness Shame: Sena is half-angel, so he has wings. However, they are stunted and misshapen. He only shows them to Ashe in an attempt to repel her.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Pretty much every love interest with love/hate paths, but applies to Leni and Seizh in all paths.
  • Guy of My Dreams: Ashe has recurring dreams of a sad farewell with a man she doesn't recognize. It takes a while for her to realize it's more than just a dream, and indeed, she may never realize who it is (depending on the path.)
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Sena is half angel, half human spiritualist. He's powerful enough to draw the attention of his non-human dad's people, but not powerful enough to go against their wishes even if he wanted to.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Ashe's name is changeable, and the dialogue is recorded in a way to circumvent actually saying her name except for in her own lines, which you can mute separately from the others.
  • The Ingenue: Ashe rarely left the castle before the events of the game, and her father is clearly interested in keeping her sheltered.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Believe it or not, Leni graciously steps aside in some routes where Ashe doesn't pick him. Not every time, though. Some characters he won't accept.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Seizh is very hesitant in his pure love paths, and requires a lot of convincing on the point that, yes, Ashe really is in love with him.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The truth about Ashe's backstory can only be pieced together through accounts from other characters scattered across multiple routes.
  • Karma Meter: Impression points, gained by making dialogue choices, govern whether the guys view Ashe as a spoiled brat or a cutie.
  • Keet: Sena is in high school like the twins, but his big eyes and playful behavior make him seem younger.
  • Kiss of Death: Sena has the ability to permanently bind another person to himself through mouth-to-mouth contact.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Zero is a vampire, so this inevitably comes into play.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Several paths reveal that Ashe is a victim of this.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Kyle and Unan.
  • Love Bubbles: Fluffy pink backgrounds drive home the unstoppable sweetness of Kyle's pure love routes.
  • Love Martyr: Coming right up! You bad boys are as good as redeemed now!
  • Marry Them All: Yeah, there's a harem ending. It's contrived, as is often the case with this sort of twist, but it's one of the few endings in which Ashe becomes a queen in her own right.
  • Men Act, Women Are: The plot quickly renders Ashe powerless and dependent on the protection of the men around her. It goes deeper than that too: Because Ashe was the most powerful devil in the demon world until her father erased her memories of Leni and Seizh. In the majority of routes she never gets her full power back and is content to rely on her love interest on a permanent basis. In fact, most paths where Ashe regains her powers lead to tragic bad endings.
  • The Mole: Sena. He's a half-angel so his dubiousness is readily apparent, but in his paths he manages to win the other characters over. Nonetheless, he hands Ashe over to the angels in the end.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Everyone except Ashe, pretty much.
  • Mysterious Protector: In the first half of the game, Zero appears out of nowhere to bail Ashe out of some tight spots, but disappears just as quickly.
  • No Name Given: Zero gave up his name when he left the demon world.
  • Noble Fugitive: Ashe. After losing all her powers, she has to rely on outside protection from the angels trying to kill her.
  • Our Demons Are Different: A big example of Dark Is Not Evil. Two groups, devils and monsters, live in the demon world. Devils are mostly indistinguishable from humans in appearance, while monsters have some sort of tell, like horns or wings. The demon world itself is depicted neutrally, though it has a rather harsh feudal social structure.
  • Puni Plush: The art style kind of skirts the line of this, especially in regards to Ashe and Sena.
  • Property of Love: The outcome of the "good endings" on love/hate paths — Ashe ends up in happy subjection to her love interest.
  • The Proud Elite: Once you get past the cold, sarcastic exterior, Leni shows a lot of leadership potential. He's decisive, serious, and he projects authority. His bossiness toward Ashe turns outright domineering in love/hate paths, but in the pure love paths he tries to shoulder Ashe's burdens himself.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Leni loves ice cream, but gets embarrassed when he's caught eating some.
  • Softspoken Sadist: When compared to his brother, Seizh seems downright gentlemanly. He's much easier to talk to, with his pleasant smile and gentle, reedy sort of voice...but he can use this genial tone for anything from devastating insults to veiled death threats.
  • Spit-Trail Kiss: Seldom appears in the visuals, but descriptions of a "translucent thread" connecting two kissers is common in the text.
  • Strawberry Shorthand: The game often mentions that strawberries are Ashe's favorite food, drawing on the cuteness (and the eroticism) associated with the fruit. She smells like 'em, too.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Leni and Seizh. Both have dark hair and compulsions to tease and harass the heroine.
  • Team Chef: Early on, Kyle volunteers to prepare all the meals while he and Ashe stay in the twins' apartment in order to shield Ashe, who has seldom ever entered a kitchen, from the cooking rotation.
  • Theme and Variations: As an expression of the fact that they're twins, Leni and Seizh's leitmotifs are different arrangements of the same melody.
  • They Who Must Not Be Seen: The angels participating in the demon hunt never appear on screen. Their presence is heralded by the sound of flapping wings and arrows of light. The more powerful characters detect them beforehand by sensing their Killing Intent.
  • Tsundere: Ashe definitely has a tsun side, although how pronounced it is depends on the routes.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Seizh is closely associated with rain, and sharing umbrellas comes up multiple times in his routes.
  • Using You All Along: Sena has ulterior motives for approaching Ashe. Gain her trust, use his powers to co-opt hers, and gain rank in the Celestial Bureaucracy.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: Leni and Seizh live pretty damn well in the human world. No responsibilities, a penthouse suite and girls throwing themselves at them? No wonder they don't want to go back home.
  • Yandere: Seizh seems friendly initially, but his dark side rarely stays hidden for long...and it can culminate in things like Murder the Hypotenuse or If I Can't Have You….