Accomplice by Inaction: People who dislike or hate V very often take this stance towards him. Not only did he ignore Rika's cries for help during their relationship while she was still clinging to what lucidity she had left, confessing that she felt herself going crazy and was afraid that she would turn into someone else and hurt him, and instead choosing to tell her that he was all she needed and feeding into her mental illness, but once she did go off the rails, he just decided to tell the RFA and the cops that she killed herself out of the blue, which threw Yoosung into a deep depression and nearly broke the group apart. During his route it comes to light that not only did he know how dangerous Mint Eye was, but was wasting time lamely "investigating" while many people inside, especially Ray, were being kidnapped, drugged, and indoctrinated, and instead of telling anyone else, he decided to play cowboy and deal with it, if you could call it that, on his own, with no real plan to make Rika stop. As we see in the Another Story prologue ending where MC calls the cops instead of going with Ray, once the police found Mint Eye, it was shut down and warrants were put out for Rika's arrest, which means that all V had to do to stop the entire thing was just make a single phone call, and if not to the police, to Jumin, who, as demonstrated in the Secret Ending, has the resources and means to handle something of this magnitude. At one point during his route you can even call him out for making it all about the RFA when there are many people being assaulted and imprisoned inside Mint Eye as you speak, which is a pretty good microcosm of his entire attitude.
Adorkable: They all have their moments, but Yoosung probably stands out, especially when Seven is teasing him ("Pass Out After Drinking Coffee Syndrome", for example...). Jumin probably counts too, as soon as cats are involved.
Jaehee. Is she really just looking for a friendship? Or did she actually fall in love with the player, but keeps saying it's not romantic out of fear that the player would push her away because of it? She only really starts calling it "friendship" and "not romantic" later on in the route, after the interactions became more relationship-like. Seven even comments on it - but then immediately corrects himself, so it's left ambiguous whether he really thinks the two are dating, or if he just wanted to joke around. They get a Relationship Upgrade in the Christmas DLC, with MC kissing Jaehee on the cheek and saying that she will tell her how she really feels someday, and Jaehee saying in the chatroom that she may have developed feelings for MC without realizing it.
By the same token, it's not impossible to read her excessive fawning over Zen's good looks as a case of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? (mixed with some actual admiration of him as an artist, of course).
Zen, in his first Bad Story End. Did he pressure MC into sleeping with him, or was it consensual? He does say he "can't hold himself back in", but right afterwards, he asks if she will "let him have her", which could mean he wouldn't have forced himself on her had she refused.
Is V still in love with Rika despite her actions? Or is it now a case of More Than Mind Control and Stockholm Syndrome brought on by years of Domestic Abuse that motivates him to stay and protect her? Also, how much blame should V get for not stopping Rika from brainwashing Saeran? V's route goes into the former issue; on the way to his good ending, he can reassess his feelings for Rika and come to the realization that their obsessive, toxic relationship was not what love should be. Ray's route goes into the latter issue, that he had been collecting information of the prime ministers crimes to help Saeyoung in case the prime minister tries to find him or Saeran.
There's a significant divide between fans on the subject of Jumin's sexual preferences. Some like the Fifty Shades of Han ending and assume it means he's into BDSM in general. Others find that particular ending incredibly disturbing and wildly inconsistent with Jumin's other in-game characterization, and think he'd be very different in a relationship going forward from his Good Ending. Another portion of the fanbase also likes to headcanon him as asexual, given his overall lack of interest in either gender until the MC comes along.
Is Ray the "real" Saeran, or is he a dissociative identity created by drugs and trauma? In his route, Saeran tells you that "Ray" is essentially a collection of the traits Rika taught him to see as weak; however, his unstable and angry side is also a very real part of who he is. Some fans, however, are convinced that the personality once called "Unknown" was entirely created by Rika and is not really the same person as Saeran.
After some fans complained about Jaehee's route being the only one that doesn't have an explicitly romantic ending, her route in the Christmas DLC ends with the player giving a sleeping Jaehee a kiss on the cheek, with the option of telling her "One day... I'm going to tell you how I truly feel...". In the Valentine's DLC, the two of them get locked in a storage closet and come out of it at the end.
A common complaint about Yoosung's route (as well as his overall character) is that he constantly mentions Rika. In his ending in the Christmas DLC, he apologizes for talking about her too much and promises to focus on the player.
Many players were upset that Zen and Yoosung got Locked Out of the Loop regarding the events of the secret endings; in V's route, they get all of the details. Yoosung does spend a lot of time in denial and making excuses for Rika, but in V's good ending, he finally has to come to terms with how much harm she's done and stop her from dosing the party guests with her elixir.
Quite a lot of fans are annoyed at Yoosung's harsh behavior at V. In V's and Ray's routes, he is able to come to terms and understand why V acted the way he did.
Awesome Music: Route dispute asides, many players agree that the music used during the course of Another Story mode is amazing.
From V's route, Compass V2 emotionally sucker punches you when V is overcoming one of the biggest obstacles that plagued him in the entirety of the game. The song also shows up in the end credits of his route, with lyrics sung by his voice actor. "Sun's Love" and "I Draw" are also beautiful pieces.
Base-Breaking Character: All of them. Every single character has at least one characteristic about which the fandom argues. V, Rika, and (since the release of V route) Unknown are the most controversial; if any one of the three is brought up in a fandom debate, it will get ugly.
Many fans love V, and a V route was one of the top two requests (along with an Unknown route) when Cheritz asked for opinions on new content, which was granted in September 2017. However, other fans find his secrecy and failure to stop Rika from brainwashing Saeran frustrating and blame him for a lot of his own problems and those facing the RFA as a whole. Defenders cite his Domestic Abuse at Rika's hands and obvious trauma as explanation, while detractors claim that he did not do enough to stop Mint Eye, and think that he was stupid for asking Rika to hurt him instead of herself and others. Many of his fans acknowledge that he's made huge mistakes and that his handling of certain situations has been questionable at best, but love him as a character because of his complexity and the way he's written. His route added another issue to the mix, with V still not telling anything to anyone about Saeran even while acknowledging that keeping Rika's condition a secret was wrong. Some players think this means V didn't actually change and is at least partly to blame for Saeran's death. Others point out not only that there was not enough time for the writers to resolve that subplot if it came up, but also that V is severely ill and disoriented (because of Ray) for several days of the route, had no idea Ray would blow up Magenta, and very well may have intended to tell Seven when there was actually a chance they could rescue him. Ray's route has answered a few of the fandom's questions on V and put certain elements of his character in a more positive light. For instance, he was unaware of Rika manipulating Saeran because he was keeping Saeyoung safe at the agency), as well as researching the twins' father to keep them safe in case the Prime Minister came after them. V also manages to bring you food while Saeran has you locked up and starving, and reveals many of the secrets that had fans frustrated with him in earlier routes.
For most fans, Rika used to be The Scrappy. They absolutely hated her for manipulating and abusing Saeran and V (not to mention the many tortured and brainwashed disciples of Mint Eye), even taking into account her own mental trauma. It doesn't help that the other characters idolized her and constantly compared her to the player, which could be annoying even to players who didn't know the whole story, let alone those who did. However, there were people who defended her because of her mental illness and the fact that she was abused by her adoptive parents. Some claimed that this absolved her from some if not all responsibility, others wholeheartedly despised her regardless, and a third group recognized her story as a tragic one but still saw her actions as inexcusable. She became even more polarizing with the V and Saeran route updates; the former won some fans over (for reasons detailed in Rescued from the Scrappy Heap), while the latter made fans who already hate her before, hate her even more as the route brought details of the process of Saeran's Cold-Blooded Torture that made him Brainwashed and Crazy under her hands. And still, another group of fans who at first liked her, came to hate her, as they see her motives as rather shallow because it all stems from her childhood trauma and secretly wishing to induce the same pain she felt on others, all while denying it by falsely claiming she's doing the right thing.
Jumin. For many fans, he's a sympathetic Defrosting Ice King who learns how to open up emotionally on his route and helps out the RFA several times in other routes, but for others, he comes across as a disturbingly possessiveBastard Boyfriend who continues to ignore/override the MC's wishes even after he acknowledges that his handling of their relationship hasn't been the best. Many people in the latter camp also dislike him for his treatment of Jaehee.
Zen. While a lot of fans love him and find him attractive, funny, and sympathetic, others find his constant fretting over the main character irritating and somewhat condescending, as well as how vain and boastful he can be. Plus he can be quite childish and vindictive towards Jumin at times, even when Jumin hasn't said anything to him or isn't even present in the chatroom.
Jaehee is well-liked in general, but the fanbase has varying opinions on her behavior in Zen's route specifically. She constantly butts into the evolving relationship between MC and Zen, saying it's not good for Zen's career and making it clear she disapproves. Some fans understand her concerns and don't blame her at all (relationships and controversy can totally derail a performance career as later parts of his route show), some find her incredibly annoying and hypocritical in that route, given that she herself fangirls over Zen whenever he posts selfies, and others get her point but still think shes going overboard.
Yoosung is considered a cute and funny character by some, but other players find him the least interesting character being an ordinary college student and it's a source of irritation for many that he out of everyone most constantly compares the protagonist to Rika. There's also his frequent harsh behaviour towards V, who usually simply apologises and doesn't refute any of Yoosung's accusations, and how he often brings chatlogs back to talking about his gaming. He became even more polarizing after V's route was released; many fans were annoyed and disgusted by both his extremely rude behavior towards V and his over the top idolization of Rika, to the point where he claims that Rika "had a good reason" to blind V and makes increasingly far-fetched excuses for her even when given overwhelming evidence of her horrifying actions. Other fans defend him by noting that he spends the whole route struggling with Rika's death, that the RFA members do tend to hide a lot of information from him, and that Yoosung does eventually realize that Rika is dangerous, and is the one to stop her from giving the drugged wine to the guests.
Seven has always been the most popular character, but there are definitely a few times when his actions get very controversial. For instance, while many are quick to blame V for not telling MC about the bomb in Rika's apartment, Seven is almost invariably forgiven despite the fact that he installed it and could have told MC even though V asked him not to. Even more polarizing is his behavior in the second Secret Ending, wherein he refuses to let Saeran be treated by mental health professionals and instead drags his violently unstable brother out of the hospital and locks him in his bunker. Yes, mental healthcare is a crapshoot, but with Jumin's resources, it should have been possible to find appropriate treatment for Saeran. Seven also tends to get a pass on behavior that other characters get called out for, which can be frustrating for fans of the less popular characters.
Unknown is frightening, violent, and dangerously unstable. Most fans agree that Saeran's mental state is a product of what Rikaput him through and not his fault, but his actions are a common source of debate. Between his cruel behavior toward Zen and Yoosung (neither of whom has ever hurt Saeran) in their bad endings, and the events of the first secret ending, some in the fandom find it difficult to absolve him from all responsibility. Others, however, feel for him very much because of his tragic backstory and his struggle for recovery in the second secret ending.
V's route made him much more controversial, in a similar vein to people's opinions on Rika. Many players find his manipulation during the first four days (telling MC that the RFA aren't real people in order to get her to spy on them) inexcusable, while others place blame exclusively on Rika. Meanwhile, fans who like V are often unwilling to excuse Ray for his absolutely brutal abuse while V is locked up, no matter how tragic his own story is. Others have redoubled their defense of Ray/Saeran, either because of the Ship Tease between him and the protagonist or because of the further insight this route gives us into his fractured psyche. Specifically on the subject of his infatuation with the Player Character, many fans find him Creepy Cute and love him for it, others find him just plain creepy and think his interactions with you (even as the gentler "Ray" persona) are manipulative and frightening instead of appealing, and the third group doesn't at all see him as creepy and thinks that his affection for you is just plain adorable, even if sad.
Even more division arose with the release of Ray's route. Ray spends days 5 and 6 fawning over you, and MC even kisses him at the end of day 6. Some players found the scene unrealistic and jarring, especially considering that you can't choose not to kiss him and he only just revealed that he's been lying to you for days. On Day 7, Rika re-brainwashes him and he shifts to the Ax-Crazy version of himself we recognize from the original routes. At this point, despite even Rika telling him not "be mean" towards the MC (i.e ignore her at best and discard her at worst), he locks you in your room for days, inappropriately touches you, starves you, emotionally abuses you, and constantly threatens you with torture and death. If you resist him and stay strong despite the abuse, he will eventually become horrified by his own actions and apologizes after you shove him away when he's advancing on you once again. Despite the fact that Saeran tells you even after he settles down that this rage and instability are a very real part of who he is, you have to forgive him to progress toward a good ending, even though in one of the Bad Endings it is shown that he would've continued to emotionally "break" and abuse the MC had she not been strong enough to fight back against him (to make matters worse, the fact that you get a bad ending for shutting down in fear is extremely upsetting for Real Life abuse victims in the fanbase). The sweet romantic scenes after such blatant abuse are disturbing to those fans who are unwilling to write off his behavior at Magenta. There's also the idea that MC saves Saeran with her love, which implies a potentially unhealthy dependency on her. That said, most players see the ending of his route in a positive light and his route is also given praise for giving some form of closure to some character arcs such as Yoosung's dislike of V and the subplot of Saeyoung and Saeran's father. It also answered several of the questions several players had in other routes that didn't get to be answered, such as why V wasn't able to find out that Saeran had been brainwashed by Rika sooner.
The fandom is pretty split on how responsible V can be considered for Rika torturing and brainwashing Saeran. Flashbacks don't show his reaction to it (and he tells Seven that he doesn't know when Rika started talking to Saeran regularly), so it's up for interpretation whether he ever tried to stop her or not. Regardless, he failed to protect Saeran, and it's perfectly understandable why 707 is furious with him.
Jumin's bondage-themed Bad Ending. Many fans see it as pure fetish fuel and joke that it's not a bad ending at all. Others have major problems with the questionable consent and find it pure Nightmare Fuel (because even if MC wanted this kind of relationship, Jumin is very mentally unstable at that point in his route).
Jumin's treatment of Jaehee in her route, is it an in-character Kick the Dog or is he given the Jerkass Ball for the sake of Woobifying Jaehee unnecessarily, especially given Jumin is noted to be a demanding boss but is also portrayed as very competent professional.
Cheritz announced V's route in July 2017, which made many fans excited. However, that opened a can of worms on how his route would play out since the game has firmly set in stone that he loves Rika, making it difficult to make the heroine his Second Love. Furthermore, speculations that you play as Rika during his route have made people irritated because some people don't want to play as an established character, much less Rika herself, nor are they a fan of their Destructive Romance. Many sighs of relief ensued when the route came out and confirmed that the player character is not Rika, and you can help V move on and heal from the trauma of their relationship, but other players have been unhappy with how quickly V gets over Rika, considering his unconditional devotion to her in all other routes, and think that him developing feelings for the player character so soon after comes off as Strangled by the Red String.
With the release of V's route, a new divide has flared up, mainly in response to what some fans see as V being overshadowed or ignored in his own route. More specifically, a large portion of the fandom is rather enamored with Saeran/Ray, who gets tons of (rather unhealthy and obsessive) Ship Tease with the protagonist. There are frequent jokes about ignoring V in favor of Ray, with the overall attention and generation of fan content skewed towards Ray rather than V, which many V fans find upsetting (especially considering the events of Day 7, in which Ray forces poison down V's throat and then chokes him out for calling him Saeran). It doesn't help that Saeran/Ray dies at the end of V's route no matter what you do, or that V and Saeran fans have a history of butting heads over the two characters' treatment of each other (see their entries under Alternate Character Interpretation and Base-Breaking Character for details).
Related to the issue above, V's good ending. Some people don't at all see it as good because of Ray's inevitable and brutal death, as well as the fact that, except Rika, the characters pay very little attention to it. Others recognize his death as tragic, but are mostly just happy to see V finally getting his eyes treated, pursuing his dream to become a painter, learning to love himself and becoming a much healthier person overall. Some also feel that Cheritz "traded" V's survival and healing in his route for Saeran's in the secret endings, with varying opinions.
In a similar vein as the issues highlighted above about V's good ending, another major point of contention is the fact that V never tells Seven about Saeran's fate. Some fans see it as a cop-out on V's part, while others believe that the lie was necessary in order to spare Seven the grief of learning that his brother has died. Some also think that V should've told Seven the truth before that, when Seven directly asked him whether or not the hacker is someone he knows, with others defending V's decision by pointing out that it could've put Seven in danger, since he could try to infiltrate Mint Eye again and get captured or killed in the process.
Another divide over V's good ending, specifically the fact that he spends two years traveling between the party you've been planning (which gets cancelled) and the next one. Some players don't like that he leaves you behind; others love the ending and are very happy that he takes time to heal so he is less likely to develop an unhealthy dependency on you.
Also related to Another Story: many fans want a Ray/Saeran route, while others feel that the second secret ending was a satisfactory conclusion to his story and that a romantic route for him would feel unrealistic considering how traumatized he is. Cheritz's later decision to give Ray a route as an extension of Another Story divided these fans even further, with an additional point of contention in how you need to pay a ton of hourglasses to unlock his route even if you've already unlocked Another Story for V's route (which already required an obscene number of hourglasses to unlock compared to the rest of the game).
Creepy Cute: As of the release of Another Story, many fans see Ray/Saeran as this trope. While he displays unnervinglyobsessive behavior, this doesn't stop him from spamming cute emojis while telling you how happy he is to see you.
Critical Research Failure: One of the organizations you can invite to the party is a group that makes pancakes for cats. They ask you which option would be a better pancake topping: silvervine (a catnip alternative) or dried squid. Choosing squid grants a 'Failure' email... but despite its pleasurable effects on cats, silvervine shouldn't be put on any cat food, let alone pancakes. Thankfully, the guest does mention that they can't use the actual plant (just the fragrance) if you respond correctly.
Cry for the Devil: Many fans had this reaction to Saeran and Rika's fates at the end of V's normal route, after both of their tragic backstories and unstable mental states are revealed throughout the story. Saeran has the double misfortune of dying in V's good ending, too.
Unknown has had fans of this variety since the beginning. Many of them like his look (the leather, the choker, the bleached hair, etc) and his Creepy Cute attraction to the protagonist during the events of the first five routes, and are willing to overlook some of his more objectionable actions in favor of shipping. Saeran is more ambiguous once we get more details on his trauma and the potential for recovery, but there are definitely fans who like him as he is. Another Story has made him more divisive and morally ambiguous than ever, especially his own route. Some fans like his violent side and the scenes in which he intimidates and controls the protagonist.
Since the release of V's route, Rika has gotten some DILP treatment. Some in her newfound fanbase find her more sympathetic because of the new information we get on her and her mental illness, but others have simply jumped on the Fanservice and her potential relationship with the protagonist.
"Mary Vanderwood the 3rd", first referenced as Seven's maid (and represented by a photo of Seven himself in drag), is actually a secret agent in the same organization as Seven. Vanderwood gets incredibly snarky, highly entertaining interactions with Seven, and thus has become very popular in the fandom. This only increased after the release of V's route, with Vanderwood playing the much needed role of the Only Sane Man amidst all the angst and chaos of the story. We were also given an opportunity to once chat with him directly (and even compliment his looks!), and the fans absolutely loved it since he turned out to be surprisingly friendly.
One of the potential party guests is the CEO of "Tiaranol", a new over-the-counter pain medicine. His emails are just increasingly urgent repetitions of "FOR HEADACHES AND PAIN RELIEF???" (the correct answers are increasingly enthusiastic yelling of TIARANOL!!!). The fandom finds him highly entertaining.
The other four default MC avatars for Mystic Messenger (the blonde, the redhead, the brunette with short hair, and the unicorn) have each become fairly popular in their own right, with tons of fanart on tumblr, often trying to pair them all off with a different member of the RFA.
Driver Kim, Jumin's chauffeur. Despite never appearing except as a guest sprite, he is beloved by the fandom due to snippets of information throughout the routes and side material.
A massive one which is dubbed as the Reset theory by fans. Due to Seven occasionally Breaking the Fourth Wall in routes outside of his own and hinted to be have feelings for the MC in the other routes, even in Another Story, players believed that Seven is aware that he is in a video game and will remember the events of the previous routes should the players start the route over to go for another character before his own.
Casual and Deep Story modes connected to Another Story mode. As a bad ending you can get when playing Ray/Saeran's route is where the MC was forced to take a pill that has her lose all her memories about the events in Another Story Route as the bad ending branch ends with MC walking to Rika's apartment, players have taken to think that Saeran's obsession towards the MC in the Casual and Deep Story mode is based on the fact that MC is the same MC from this bad ending branch.
Evil Is Sexy: Overlapping with Draco in Leather Pants; some fans' enthusiastic reactions to several of the bad endings, where characters act in very morally questionable ways, is made of this. In particular, Jumin, Saeran, and Rika get this treatment from fans in their respective bad endings the most.
It's never been confirmed, but most fans agree that V doesn't actually have cancer, and that he only tells Jumin that in Jaehee's route so Jumin won't look for him when things inevitably go downhill at Mint Eye.
Seven's after ending is treated as such to a group of fans in the fandom due to how much of a Cruel Twist Ending it was. While this gets rectified with the Secret Endings, it does less to ease the fans ire about Seven's after ending in general.
There's also a large portion of the fandom that is in denial about V's death in Secret Ending 1. Fics featuring V being saved at the last minute (or surviving the gunshot wound) are very common.
The majority of the fandom chooses to disregard the bad endings as canon despite them being canon alternatives based on the MC's 'bad decisions'. This is very evident when it comes to Unknown despite torturing and implied raping the MC in Seven's Bad Ending 1, the majority of his fans choose to turn a blind eye away from it.
Since the release of Another Story, Fanon Discontinuity regarding the secret endings has become less common since you can save V in a canon timeline, but there has been a veritable flood of "saving Ray" stories and denial about his suicide.
A massive portion of the fanbase has outright rejected V's after ending as canon. Many Retcons, attempts to redeem Rika, virtually no interaction between V and the MC until the events of the good ending, and the totally random introduction of a child did not endear this addition to V's fans. It doesn't help that the story focuses more on the Choi twins than it does on V, even retconning V's two years of self-discovery and healing into two years of rehabbing Saeran, who continuously guilt trips him and demands that V promise never to leave him again. To add insult to injury, it costs more hourglasses than any previous DLC, including both full routes of Another Story.
Foe Yay: Unknown is attracted to you and has even called you cute. By answering his texts with the correct responses in the Christmas DLC, you can even trigger a bad ending where you can be with him! Aside from that, in V's route, he becomes obsessed with you after you show kindness to him, to the point where he gets insanely jealous of you chatting with the RFA and begging you to stay with him when you tell him you want to leave.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: A line of choice you can pick in day four of Another story is "I cant imagine what will befall if Sevens cosplay photos are released T-T". Later in Ray's route, Seven was kidnapped together with Vanderwood by his father after an interrogation with Zen who had those photos, and by his normal ending and good ending, is missing (With the heavy implication that he's dead in the former).
There are some jokes thrown around about Jumin being gay. They appear a lot less funny after Echo Girl spreads the rumor via TV broadcast in order to damage his reputation and thus his company.
Additionally, a real-life example related to Echo Girl: in light of the "Me Too" movement and its increasing prevalence in Korea, everything to do with Echo Girl's false accusation of Zen sexually harassing her becomes far, far worse. While the idea of someone lying about being a victim of sexual harassment was already cringe-worthy enough when the game came out, it's become downright evil in the light of discussions about the rare false accusers in such cases and how harmful they are, not only to those who they are accusing (considering Zen's career likely would have been destroyed in such a scenario, even once it became public knowledge Echo Girl had lied) but also to those who really are victims, because it makes people less likely to believe them. The fact that she gets off practically scot-free for it makes it worse.
Many of the chats that include V (in every route) become way more upsetting with the context of Secret Ending 01.
On the third day of the Deep Route, you get a call from Seven who tells you about a dream in which he was a cat and, together with his brother cat, ran away from their mother because she didn't feed them. It sounds pretty fun, until you find out that Seven and his brother really did have an abusive mother who sometimes didn't give them food or water, and that they always wished they could run away.
The romance song that plays during the end credits becomes a lot sadder when you learn that it's about V's feelings for Rika.
You can ask if V is a painter during a chat in the common route, and he will respond that no, he is not talented at painting. With The Reveal in his route that he always wanted to be a painter but didn't pursue it because of his own insecurities, this becomes heartbreaking.
The Day 5 chat of Ray/Saeran's route, "Poem of Dawn", talks of how Seven look up to V as his Parental Substitute. It gets painful when you consider the events in Seven's route and the Secret Endings.
Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the early memes in the fandom is that MC has no eyes as her eyes are always hidden despite many characters describing how MC's eyes are beautiful. Come the Manhwa adaptation in April 3 2020, the MC's eyes are finally shown for real.
Jumin and Zen's constant bickering with each other can come across as Belligerent Sexual Tension or Foe Yay in some places, like in the chat where Jumin asks Zen if he's imagining his bed. In Zen's route, the scene where Jumin meets him in the mountains and they make up can be interpreted as pretty shippy too. Special mention to this particular snippet of conversation:
Jumin: Zen, it is very hard to satisfy you.
Zen: Woah... Don't say things like that.
At one point in Seven's route, Yoosung tries to drunkenly grope Zen while they're drowning their sorrows together.
Seven in drag is attractive enough to fool Zen (to Zen's dismay and denial). Seven is also canonically pansexual, and one Q&A drawn by the creators shows him attempting to ask Yoosung out while dressed as a girl.
In a chatroom with Yoosung and Jaehee during the Christmas DLC, you can comment that you think V is handsome. Yoosung will be distracted for a minute and agree that V is in fact attractive (even admiring his distinctive hair) - before getting annoyed with himself and returning to the topic of his frustration with V.
Jumin and V are obviously close childhood friends, but the way Jumin talks about V (especially when things aren't going well) can give the impression of deeper feelings. In V's route, you can even lampshade this during one of Jumin's phone calls by referring to them as a married couple.
In Yoosung's Bad Ending 3, he is captured by Saeran and effectively becomes his plaything under threat of Saeran doing something to the RFA or MC. After a time skip Saeran mentions that they've spent several months together and that Yoosung is growing on him. However, what really sells it is the accompanying CG, which depicts Saeran touching/caressing Yoosung's face and holding a leash attached to a collar around his neck.
Idiot Plot: Completely averted for the main plot itself, but the beginning of V and Ray's route requires the protagonist to be astronomically stupid in order to kick off the story. After receiving a strange app on her phone, she talks to a complete stranger through the messenger, gives him her address, gets into the car that this stranger sends to her address, puts on a blindfold that the driver of the car gives to her, and then follows the stranger from the messenger into a mansion that she's never been to before in an unknown location. Having any basic self-preservation skills shunts you into a Bad Ending.
While it's undeniable that Rika has done many horrible things, it's also undeniable that her life has been absolutely miserable. To wit, she was abandoned by her biological parents, both emotionally abused and neglected by her adoptive parents, and ostracized and bullied by her peers for being gloomy. She was so starved of affection and unused to kindness that she would be suspicious of people who would smile at her on the street. Add about twenty years of untreated mental illness to the mix, and it's easy to see why she's so broken.
Unknown/"Ray"/Saeran, especially in the secret endings and Another Story. He's dangerous, violent, and even abusive toward the Player Character in his route, but a lot of players feel bad for him considering what he's been through. See his entry under The Woobie below.
On her route, Jaehee says that her feelings aren't romantic but with calling just to hear your voice, talking about how she feels like you're more then a friend to her, and asking the player to be her partner in her good end fans have taken the ball and run with it. Not to mention you yourself can act pretty much like her girlfriend, up to getting jealous that Zen gets to eat her cooking, or saying you'll stitch up the mouths of workers who gave her a hard time. If you pursue her in the Christmas DLC, you finally get a Relationship Upgrade.
Rika gets very touchy-feely with the MC in V's route, embracing her from behind and telling her how much she likes her. You have the option to return her affections, hugging her and sympathizing with her. The final CG in one of his Bad Endings even has the two girls lying in bed together in rather skimpy negligees, surrounded by yellow rose petals and faces close together enough to be an Almost Kiss. It's heavily implied that the MC has replaced V as Rika's lover, with the MC touching her while they're in bed together, and Rika talking about how good her touch feels. They also exchange some fairly unhealthy, possessive love confessions.
Does Jumin Han is Gay? note This is a variation of the meme "Does Bruno Mars is gay?" His lack of interest in romantic relationships and the in-game jokes about Jumin possibly being gay feed a lot of speculation and shipping, and this meme caught on like wildfire on Tumblr.
Fifty Shades of Han note As a Tall, Dark, and Handsome, filthy rich business executive with a possessive streak a mile wide and a bondage-themed bad ending, it was only a matter of time until the Christian Grey comparisons began.
GAYHEE FOR JAEHEE note A response by fans who love Jaehee as a character and wish for her to be a proper Gay Option. Some also refer to her as "Baehee".
Yoosung blaming V for everything that has ever gone wrong, from burned toast to the apocalypse.
Also Yoosung hating words that have emphasis on the letter V. In general everything around the letter V. Including alphabet songs.
V is hard to reach because he's busy figure skating. note Fans have noticed V's resemblance to Victor Nikiforov, considering his very similar hairstyle and build, identical age, and Victor's first initial.
HAVE YOU EATEN YET?note In order to take advantage of the real-time schedule of the game, the characters often make comments related to the time the conversation opened. But after a playthrough or so, it starts to get a little repetitive, particularly when the characters continue to constantly pester the player about having eaten. Not quite as ironic as when the characters tell the player, in a conversation opening at 3am, that they should take care to get enough sleep, however...
I don't HAVE any eyes!note The protagonist's eyes are always hidden by the angle or her Blinding Bangs in CGs, even when it looks like they should be visible. A common joke in the fandom is to yell that MC has no eyes if another character says her eyes are pretty or asks if she can see something.
There are endless memes featuring Cheritz staff considering a V or Unknown route, then veering off to do something else and breaking the fans' hearts. The memes have tailed off since both characters received routes (V in September 2017, Unknown in January 2018).
When Cheritz confirmed that a V route was going to be added, the fandom exploded with jokes about the player "stealing Rika's man" and/or expressing excitement over possibly fighting Rika.
We want [obscure character] route!note Now that Cheritz has released V's and Saeran's routes, the fandom has been eager for more. The most common request is for a Vanderwood route, but everyone from Rika to Elizabeth 3rd to Driver Kim has been requested in meme form.
Moe: Any character shown as a child in flashbacks. Zen, Seven, and Saeran were painfully adorable. The fact that all three were woobies with Abusive Parents has triggered protective instincts in many a player.
V's route adds CGs of him, Jumin, and Rika as young children. Context on what those childhoods were like (and knowledge of how they are as adults) can make even the hardest-hearted player want to hug the poor kids.
Rika has had several, it seems. It's not clear if she started abusing V before or after brainwashing Saeran, but blinding him would have put her over the line even if she hadn't done either previously. The timeline as presented also proves she started Mint Eye before RFA, so she may have been brainwashing people into believing her twisted plan for world peace before she even met V. When she starts to lose control of Ray in his route because of his feelings for the Player Character, she forces a strengthened elixir on him and redoes the cleansing ritual to bring out his rage, leading to his abuse of the protagonist for a good portion of his route. Even worse, we also get to see that when she originally tortured and brainwashed Saeran, it resulted in the "weak" aspects of his personality splitting off into Ray, while she cultivated the rage and hatred that remained and told him only that was his "real" self. She also had the gall to be proud of Saeran's violence at the MC, of all things, and plans to turn Saeran into a human weapon.
On Day 7 of V's route, Ray forcibly overdoses V on the elixir, mocking him and laughing while saying that he has altered the formula so the withdrawal and crash will be more painful. When V (who is starting to hallucinate from the drug's effects) calls him "Saeran", Ray chokes him until he loses consciousness. It gets even worse if you call V after this; you hear V choking and sobbing while Ray screams at him to tell MC he's fine because hearing him in pain is upsetting you. And then Ray takes over the call to cheerily tell you not to worry and that you should listen to the savior. Many fans found it difficult or impossible to make excuses for Ray after that and lost a lot of sympathy for him.
Seven and Ray's father made an appearance in Ray's route. He seems nice, but later in the route, his early conversation with the RFA is just an act to find Seven and kidnap him, along with Vanderwood, so he can get rid of Seven and prevent him from being a hindrance to his political career. Which he succeeded in the normal ending of Ray's route with the implication that he killed Seven.
Saeran's abuse of the protagonist during his route (see Base-Breaking Character entry above); even with the argument that Rika brainwashed him (despite the evidence to suggest otherwise such as Rika telling him to ignore MC until the party and even him breaking down and admitting that he'd abused the MC in order to "feel better about himself"), his rage and violence are terrifying, and he says afterward that this Saeran is part of who he is. Some players are unable to forgive him and do not want a relationship no matter how remorseful he is.
While there are default icons for your chatroom avatar, you can actually pick something else as your chatroom avatar from your phone's photo gallery. Any scenes that are serious or romantic turns hilarious if you choose something like Shrek or a troll face.
You can get emails from potential party guests during serious cutscenes, which can lead to inadvertently silly situations like getting an email from a cat while you're in the process of being kidnapped by Mint Eye.
The need to have a party in general can come across as this trope, especially in V's route, when circumstances are usually rather dire. Some of the dramatic tension of knowing that you're being held captive in a cult is ruined when you're cheerfully sending out guest emails to Santa Claus or Pikachu. Even worse, you later ask Jumin to invite his family doctor to the party... when V has just been poisoned.
Narm Charm: Zen's whole "beast inside me" thing whenever you get him flustered. It's nearly impossible to take seriously, but his fans love it regardless and it's a common subject of hilarious fanwork.
Flashbacks to Zen's childhood mention some very creepy behavior by the adults in his life, from his teacher giving him candy to strangers trying to take pictures of him or touch him. Even his brother talks a little too much for comfort about how pretty Hyun is.
A flashback implies that one of Jumin's stepmothers hit on him. It's incredibly uncomfortable to hear his father refer to her as Jumin's mother, even if he never knew about those advances.
Paranoia Fuel: If the Non Standard Game Over is anything to go by, Unknown knows where you are and can access the apartment at any time. There's also the bomb inside the apartment...
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Rika, but in a rather unconventional way: with the release of Vs route, she went from Scrappydom to instead becoming even more of a Base-Breaking Character than she was before. Many of the people who hated Rika hate her even more now, mostly because more of her abuse of V is revealed in his route, and at one point she even stabs him. However, a sizable portion of the fanbase seems to have changed their opinions on her, to varying degrees; some people pity her due to her mental illness, which is shown to be even more severe than what we saw of it before. Rika seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse at several different points throughout the story, and breaks down hysterically crying multiple times—ultimately culminating in either her suicide at the end of V's normal ending, or institutionalization at the end of V's good ending. This, coupled with more details about her terriblechildhood that are revealed throughout the route, are seen as some fans as a Freudian Excuse that makes her more sympathetic. Rika also spends quite a bit of time on V's route being very friendly with the MC, which some fans received positively. It also helps that she shows both inner conflict and remorse for many of her actions by the end of the story, since a major complaint about her character in the Secret Endings was the one-dimensional cruelty she showed to people she supposedly cared about, like V and Saeran. And yet another group doesnt quite care about all of the drama and just like her because of the massive amount of Les Yayshe generates between herself and the protagonist in Vs route.
Ships That Pass in the Night: Jaehee and Saeran did not meet in person even once except for the secret endings or his very own route. But there are a few fan works of this ship together. This is fueled by how Saeran, as Ray, sympathize with her working condition in a chat and fans continue on from there.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: In a degree of a sequel. In regards to the After Endings, when most routes simply have you play and read through the story, Ray/Saeran's After ending has Multiple Endings in contrast so you can't just choose any dialogue choice if you wish to get the Golden Ending.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Ray/Saeran's route dropped quite a few throughout the route. Some of which echoes with events that happened in the other routes.
While you are allowed to tell people of your rough childhood, your past does not justify your actions, nor do they excuse them. Especially with the subject of abuse. You are responsible for your actions, not the people and environment around you. Also, hurting others the same way you were hurt before doesn't make you any different from your aggressors. Saeran was able to grow out of blaming people around him for being the cause of his misery as he realize how his bad treatment to the MC doesn't make him any different from his abusive mother and tries to change, for the betterment of himself, the MC, and others around him, while Rika wasn't able to realize her abusive behavior as she continues to blame the people around her for her circumstances even at the end of Saeran's route as she continues emotionally abusing others. And when pointed out, she reacts in denial.
As said by Zen in day 10 of this route, before you love someone, you should first learn to love yourself. Only you yourself know what kind of love you wanted for yourself. V had tried to love Rika unconditionally, but that didn't work out because Rika had so much issues that she can't love herself completely, which led to their relationship becoming very toxic and Rika created Mint Eye as a result to fill the void. Additionally, V's guilt complex makes it hard for him to accept that he himself deserves a form of happiness at his own route.
To love someone means you accept the good and bad parts of them and love them whole. Loving a shadow only brought a ruined relationship. Ultimately, Rika's love for V is more of being interested at the thought that she was loved at all than loving V as a person, part of which deteriorated their relationship. Additionally, getting the good ending for all the routes requires the MC to be understanding and supportive, especially in Saeyoung, V, and Saeran's own routes.
After getting a chance to interact with Vanderwood in V's route, many fans were hoping for more involvement in Ray's. To their disappointment, Vanderwood barely appears, never interacts with the protagonist, and is heavily implied to be dead after his capture alongside Seven. That's not counting his fate in the good ending.
Some players feel this way about Rika during the events of Ray's route. V's route presented her as a complex, broken person who snapped due to Black-and-White Insanity. She was extremely abusive, manipulative, and incredibly toxic, but she was fascinating as an antagonist and honestly seemed to believe that Mint Eye helped people. In Ray's route, she appears to be a less nuanced character and ends up as a simpler evil who openly abuses Saeran and hurts others to make herself feel better about her own childhood abuse.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: By the release of Ray/Saeran's route, most fans felt that the plot involving Mint Eye had become much shallow and less developed than before as Saeran's good ending starts to focus on the aftermath of the subplot of Seven and Saeran's father than about Mint Eye. So much that players started to think that Saeran may have a secret ending following his after ending to give the Mint Eye plot a closure along with this.
Rika was obviously intended to be written as a villain with a Freudian Excuse, but seeing her Start of Darkness and horrifying abuse of V and Saeran makes it difficult for many fans to sympathize with her regardless of her own childhood abuse and mental illness.
V comes across as this for some players on his route. The flashbacks make it clearer that his treatment of Rika and insistence on not telling anyone who could help her about how mentally ill she was definitely contributed to her mental breakdown and this, coupled with his claims about how he'd never truly loved her and him doing nothing to try to help Saeran or the other brainwashed Mint Eye members even though he knew about them, made him come across as emotionally manipulative and more concerned with looking good to the MC than Rika or Saeran's well-being to some players. Also, while this may simply have been due to the limited time left in the route to tie up all the loose ends, V's behavior in his good ending in particular rubbed several players the wrong way, due to him jetting off to rediscover himself while both leaving the protagonist alone for two years and failing to acknowledge Saeran's death. Many players are hoping that the After Ending will address some of these issues.
As of the release of his own route, Ray/Saeran. While yes, he does feel horrible about it, and he was 'brainwashed' (although it is arguable how much that truly plays a role owing to the fact that he was specifically told not to be "mean" to the MC), but with the argument that his anger and violence is real and part of him, some players find it hard to forgive him even after he admits his faults.
Eastern cultures have a very different view of mental illness from Western cultures. It is stigmatized in the West, but appropriate and effective treatment is more accessible and demonizing the mentally ill has become less acceptable. For instance, the idea of moving Saeran to a psych ward in the second Secret Ending doesn't seem like a bad idea to some Western fans (Saeran is very unstable and is a very real danger to himself and others) until they get a bit of context on what that would actually be like for him long term.
Homosexuality is much more controversial in Korea than it is in many parts of the US. Portrayal is getting better, but it's still a major scandal when Echo Girl spreads the rumor that Jumin is gay. Some Western fans don't quite get how that could present a significant threat to an international corporation.
On a lighter note, the RFA members constantly asking you if you ate comes across as strange to many Western players, and it's become the butt of many jokes and memes. In reality, this is akin to asking "how are you?" in Korea.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Some people are confused as to whether Vanderwood is female or male. During the first four days of Deep Story, Seven uses female pronouns, until it's revealed that he was most likely lying to hide the truth behind who Vanderwood really is because of his job. However, in the Secret Endings and Christmas DLC, Seven continues to use female pronouns, and the translated RFA VIP Guidebook does as well (though the latter was corrected in future translations to refer to him as male.)
There's also Jaehee Kang, who is commonly confused for a man before players see that "He's" referred to as a "She", and see her photos.
V's childhood is only briefly referenced by Jumin, but it's implied that he had very distant parents and something traumatic happened to his mother (V's route goes into more detail on his mother: she was a violinist who lost her hearing and fell into a depression so severe that she was unable to care for her child and lost him. After they reconnected, she died saving him from a house fire). Five years before the events of the game, he met and fell in love with Rika, setting off a brutalTrauma Conga Line. He discovered that his fiancée was mentally ill and tried to get appropriate treatment for her. She rejected help, resulting in her becoming increasingly delusional, unstable, and eventually violent. He ended up begging her to hurt him instead of herself and others, and she did. Rika threw herself into the Mint Eye project and discarded V when he tried to make her see reason. V stayed at Mint Eye in the sadly misguided hope that he could bring back a happy version of Rika that may never have existed, gathering information on her cult and attempting to keep her away from the other RFA members. He encourages the rest of the RFA to hate him so they won't look for him when Rika inevitably kills him for his "betrayal" of her twisted utopia. And then he gets shot and dies just as his friends realize how much he's sacrificed trying to keep them safe. His route adds even more trauma (including being forcibly overdosed on Mint Eye's salvation elixir, choked out for calling Saeran by his real name, and later getting stabbed by his violently unstable ex-fiancée), but at least he can survive it. In Ray's route, V does realize that the way he loved Rika was toxic for her, but he doesn't realize that she made her own decisions and is beyond redemption. On Day 10, no matter what you do, he says goodbye to the RFA and goes back to her to say he will love all of her, and her response indicates that she goes right back to abusing him on a regular basis. No one at the RFA ever hears from him again; in the normal ending, he's implied to be dead. In the last scene of the good ending, V does appear when he and Rika visit the twins' old house. He's wearing the blackout glasses from the original routes, and tells Rika he will destroy the place for her because it upsets her.
Unknown (AKA Saeran) had a truly horrifying childhood, and it only got worse from there. He was physically frail, his abusive mother would often starve him and tie him up in the house as punishment for imagined bad behavior, and his politically-important father wanted him dead. He got a brief Hope Spot in his early teens when his twin (Seven/Saeyoung) left him in the care of V and Rika, only to have Rika drug him and twist his mind until he became convinced that Saeyoung and V had caused all of the pain in his life. By the time of the story, he's completely unhinged and devoted to the idea of Rika's utopia. Even after Seven rescues him from Rika's cult, he's dangerously unstable and tries to kill Seven and himself on multiple occasions. V's route woobifies him even more, since Saeran's gentler Ray personality, the one you mostly interact with, is very attached to you and begs you not to leave him constantly. But, unless you go for a bad ending, you have no choice but to do exactly that, and the sheer amount of misery this puts him through is very hard to watch. Then there's the fact that Ray mentions being denied water in a very casual manner, and makes it quite clear that he doesn't mind you physically abusing him as long as you stay by his side, which indicates that he went through so much torture that things like that are normal to him now. And this time you can't save him, either, since in the normal and good endings of V's route he dies by intentionally staying inside the Mint Eye's headquarters while detonating it. While his death is averted in his own route, it isn't any better as we get to see how he was brainwashed by Rika, the process traumatize him so much that he lost his sense of self, mistaking the weaker aspects of his personality as a split personality and all his anger as the "real" Saeran just because Rika said so.
Seven (AKA Saeyoung) along with his brother, had a truly horrifying childhood as well. Despite being constantly threatened by his mother about the risks his father posed to both his and his brother's life, he was compelled to risk his life daily in pursuance of food and water for both his brother and himself by regularly exposing himself to his father's men who he frequently had to evade since he was little in order to survive, owing to the fact that they were bent on finding them both and 'erasing' them from the world. With "their mother failing to be a parent" for them, he had to put his brother before himself by 'protecting him' from the abuse their mother had often tried to inflict upon them. However, he was forced to leave his beloved twin brother behind (who he was promised would receive love and care), by giving up his name and sacrificing every piece of his life except for V and Rika, and become a secluded secret agent, working for an abusive and dangerous agency, where he'd regularly had to run dangerous missions since he was roughly sixteen; which he tells the MC a little bit about when he narrates a to her a story of himself being trapped in a boiler room for three days straight without food or water, and later expressing how he believed that his potential death wouldn't have truly mattered to anyone. He's filled with anxiety and guilt, hides his fears behind wacky behavior and jokes by sometimes even joking about how he might get 'tortured in a basement' if he fails to finish up his assignments for the agency and wanting to die. As his route progresses, he's further compelled to break your heart to save you from the dangers of being in his life. It gets so, so much worse when he finds out that Saeran is far from safe and everything he'd sacrificed for him was almost entirely for nothing; even after they get Saeran away from Rika's cult, which involved Seven getting shot and nearly dying from blood loss along with almost losing the use of his arm in the process, he's psychologically destroyed to the point that he tries to kill Seven repeatedly and nearly strangles him to death. In V's route, despite his growing suspicions, he is left completely unaware that the brother he had sacrificed everything to keep safe had intentionally stayed inside the Mint Eye's headquarters while detonating it. In Saeran's route, he gets kidnapped after being found by his father and in the normal ending, heavily implied to be dead. The good ending has him missing, but questionably still alive; albeit having a very high possibility of being tortured by his father's hands. But with how he still worked in his agency at this point of the ending, the chance of reuniting with Saeran is slim.
Flashbacks to Zen's childhood show a young boy being constantly told by his parents that he's ugly and useless, ostensibly so he'll get a normal job instead of pursuing his creative passions. He ran away from home at 14.
Flashbacks to Jaehee's childhood show a young girl who loses her mother to a car accident and is hated by her aunt for being smarter and more successful than her cousins. She is pressured into going to school and being successful her whole life, and frequently hears her aunt threatening to kick her out of the house.
Jumin didn't know his mother, and his father has had a constant string of girlfriends and wives since Jumin was a child. One of his stepmothers is implied to have hit on him, and Jumin grew up rather isolated from his peer group (V was his Only Friend for a long time). It's easy to feel bad for him on his route, especially when his father pretty much pimps him out to Sarah on Glam Choi's suggestion with zero regard for Jumin's feelings on the matter. And then there's the fact that in the first secret ending, he arrives at Mint Eye's compound right after V gets shot, so he presumably watches his best friend die right in front of him.