Review – What Bothered Me in Mystic Messenger


I would like to start off this review of sorts by saying that, although there were many things that bothered me about this game, I did thoroughly enjoy playing it as well as love the characters from Mystic Messenger. However, as the title may give away, I have a few qualms over some of the topics brought up during the game, and how they were handled. More specifically, the two secret endings are what caused most issue for me, so this review contains many spoilers about these endings, so please be aware before you proceed.

* Note: I will be talking about things pertaining to depression, anxiety, and suicide, so if you are easily triggered or upset by these topics I suggest refraining from reading any further. *

Firstly, one thing that bothered me that isn’t part of the secret endings was when they brought up the topic of Jumin being gay. There were a plethora of different comments, but the general attitude of the characters was that being gay was somehow “weird” and abnormal. While I understand that this game originates from a different country that may still have more closed minded views of the LGBTQ community (not that each country still doesn’t face these issues), I just hoped that Cheritz wouldn’t have used it in a negative way that made being gay seem strange. While it wasn’t a major topic in the game, I wished if they brought it up they would’ve been more open about it, especially being a game that has a female love interest (though you’re technically just “friends”). It can be a tricky and sensitive topic, but seeing the way it was handled I almost wish they had just excluded the “lol Jumin’s gay gross” jokes from the game.

Edit: I’ve also heard some comments about the choice of saying you aren’t female in the beginning and their dismissive action. While it was probably meant as a joke, there is definitely a lack of understanding as to how that can be upsetting, most likely for many nonbinary/transgender individuals who have to deal with being misgendered and their gender being written off quite often.

Continuing with a more difficult topic is how they presented mental illness in the game, especially in the secret endings. We find out in these endings that Rika has issues with depression and anxiety. She seems to be getting help from a therapist (though the most we know is that she saw them for three weeks), and that V is very supportive of her even when she expresses self depreciating thoughts. While it may seem touching at first, these illnesses somehow completely twist her mind, which lead her to creating a religious cult and even blinding her fiance, V. Mental illnesses are a very sensitive topic, and the way they dealt with it was, in my opinion, very poorly. Having anxiety and depression do not necessarily make a person become dark and twisted in the mind to the point of abusing others. The usage of these illnesses to “explain” Rika’s actions seem more so offensive to those who deal with these mental issues on a daily basis.

Edit: Upon further discussion, there most definitely was other issues gone undiagnosed by the mental health providers, that caused her to rationalize her brutish actions and act in such a way. It is also upsetting to see some people defending her actions. While I wish she got proper care and treatment, it is important to understand that she committed crimes; drugged and abused people, most likely more than just V and Saeran, and that shouldn’t be dismissed because of her mental illness and it shouldn’t have been hidden either.

Additionally, we face criticism of mental treatment and medication when Seven takes care of his brother Saeran. Seven refuses to allow the hospital to use medication to help treat him even when his brother is obviously in a very fragile and critical state, after being through so much trauma in his past beginning with his abusive mother up to being drugged and manipulated by Mint Eye. Saeran needs professional help, but Seven decides to “save” him from going to the psych ward because apparently it’s the 1930’s and the hospital is performing lobotomies on their patients. But seriously, mental hospitals are there to help, but the game just made it seem like medication and professional help are bad. “Saeren, they won’t let you escape the psych ward! They want to give you medication and proper treatment so that you can hopefully recover from the many years of abuse and trauma you’ve endured!” Excuse my sarcasm, but seriously, “saving” Saeran from the hospital when he’s in such a state is NOT okay, and the way everything seemed “solved” after Saeran gave Seven the good ol’ attempted murder choke isn’t helping, either.

Edit: Again, being informed that mental health care in South Korea is definitely lacking. The mental health care field worldwide is still developing and still needs improvements. With so many negative stigmas, and a possibly bad psych ward, Seven’s actions seem much more understandable, though I still do wish he had gotten some sort of outpatient care that he needed.

Lastly, the most upsetting issue was V’s death in the first secret ending. More than that, the treatment of V as a character. V existed the whole game to be doubted and blamed, and the game pushes the player to try and see him as the bad guy. Whether you thought so or not, you learn the truth that he didn’t really do anything wrong, and was a victim of abuse on Rika’s part. He tried to forgive her and still love her, despite her foul actions, and I couldn’t help but feel absolutely awful for V the entire game. His death was the worst part. As you may know, suicide is a very sensitive topic, and the fact that a character who was treated so horribly throughout the whole game killed himself, actually made me sick to my stomach. While your reaction may not have been as intense, I think it’s fair to say that V as a character was treated poorly, and having him commit suicide at the end, after him blaming himself and enduring the issues he had, seems downright cruel.

Edit: While the game was confusing at first, it seems that Saeran had actually shot V, and not committed suicide. Still it is quite upsetting. I also realize the V is not completely blameless. He didn’t tell anyone, which ended up hurting everyone more. HOWEVER, I think it’s important to look at this from his view, even if you do disagree and think he’s done more wrong. He didn’t say anything to try to protect others, which was futile. He also endured abuse from Rika, and was most likely scared of what would happen. It is common for abuse victims to try to rationalize their abusers actions and to think its showing love. I am not an expert on the topic, of course, but V’s behavior is not atypical of someone who has been in an abusive and toxic relationship. I think it’s also important to address how unhealthy their relationship was, while the attempts at being supportive were appreciated it ended in physical abuse, and to sum it up, had a lot of words that should have remained unsaid.

I understand that the topic of mental illness is touchy for many including myself, and while I do like to separate fantasy from reality, there are just some topics that are really delicate and you have to use quite carefully. Cheritz use of anxiety and depression turning someone into an abusive dictator, as well as having a character who was treated awfully throughout the whole game commit suicide, is just very upsetting and even triggering to a lot of individuals. I know I am not the only one who was in the least a bit urked by this, I just felt that the way they used these topics and these characters just seemed very shallow. Of course mental illness exists, and is more common than people may think. But, with a topic that can be very difficult for many people. I think they used these illnesses poorly and left many players feeling very personally offended or sickened by its portrayal. I could go on for a very long time talking about how much I hated it, but I’m sure that would be ridiculously boring. I hope that those of you who may have felt similarly can relate, and please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions below! (respectfully, of course).  

I would also like to say that if anyone else became very upset over these topics, or it didn’t sit right with them and would like to discuss it, feel free to comment and ask for my skype, discord, whatsapp, etc. if you’d like to talk! To finish things off, after bringing up these topics I think it’s important to put resources out for those struggling with these things! So, if you or anyone you know are having a difficult time, here are a few things that can help ! 🙂

Suicide Prevention Hotlines

Anxiety & Panic Attack Masterpost


254 thoughts on “Review – What Bothered Me in Mystic Messenger

  1. There’s quite literally nothing wrong with the gender thing, the main character is a girl, you’re supposed to play the role of a girl in the story. Do I get pissy at Nintendo because Link is a man and I’m a woman, thus the game is “misgendering” me? No, I accept that the main character in Zelda is a guy and play accordingly, if I feel so bad about it I can just play something else.

    I’m sure other games out there will acknowledge your non-existent snowflake gender, but this one has no reason to, it’s aimed at a female audience and anyone else will have to accept that if they want to enjoy it.


    • Ah, yes, the exact same argument that has been had on this point a dozen times before in this same thread that you apparently did not read. It’s been years since I last had it with someone, so regurgitating it into your baby bird mouth will feel fresh!!

      No one would accuse Nintendo of misgendering them because they say “here, you’re going to play as this male character named Link”. Who you’re playing as, and what gender they are, has been made clear from the outset. You have not been denied a choice; you have been told “this is who you will be playing as”, and you can decide from there if you WANT to play as a boy named Link or not. All very straightforward.

      This is not what Mystic Messenger did. In fact, that scenario bears NO RESEMBLANCE to what Mystic Messenger did.

      So let’s look at another gaming example! Imagine the Skyrim character creator. You’ve loaded the game up for the first time, not sure what to expect. How much freedom do you have making your character? You don’t know! All the promotional art seems to feature a male Dragonborn, but some games definitely let you play as a girl, so maybe this is one of them. Let’s find out!

      You get to the character select screen, and look at that! There’s a choice for male, and a choice for female. You decide you want to play as a girl. You’re excited for the chance! So you hit ‘female’.

      And the game says “hahahah, you’re so silly, trying to play as a girl! Nah, that was just a fake option. You actually HAVE to be male.”

      Would you feel disappointed in this scenario? Insulted? A little betrayed, perhaps? Why the hell would Todd Howard give you an option they’re not going to let you actually select? What was the point? Just to mock you for wanting to play as something/someone not considered the Default Gender for this experience? Maybe you would have been perfectly fine playing a male Dragonborn, if they’d told you from the start that the character was a male Dragonborn – but instead, they gave you the illusion of choice and got your hopes up for something that was literally never an option, for absolutely no reason. There was no reason they HAD to bait and switch you except as a joke – and getting people’s hopes up for a cool thing, however minor, just to mock them for thinking you were serious…isn’t really that funny. Especially not to those being mocked.

      The primary issue is the bait and switch, and how totally unnecessary and honestly kind of mean-spirited it was to do. But it’s also important to consider the demographics the bait and switch was meant to mock. Overwhelmingly, that demographic is queer people. Straight cis women are not the only people who play otomes, and they’re also not the only people who deserve to be able to have an avatar that represents themselves in an otome. And there are plenty of games – including choose-your-path text games – that are perfectly capable, with minimal effort, of accommodating more than one gender of protagonist. There are likewise plenty of games that let you know up front if your protagonist has an established gender, and doesn’t give you a fake choice that misleads you on that point. Mystic Messenger could have gone either direction, and did neither. It picked a very baffling and understandably offensive path where it dangled something in front of players it never had any intention of giving them.

      People have a right to be annoyed, and just because it doesn’t bother you – and I imagine not much does, since you sound like you only managed to graduate from clown college because your parents were alums – doesn’t mean it wasn’t an insulting and pointless addition. Now I suggest you honk your sad way out of here; how will your gender-critical brethren defend the ramparts of the Sanctity Of True Wombynhood without your valuable contributions of (checks notes) building strawmen arguments and mocking the marginalized in the comment section of a blog post that hasn’t seen activity in over a year?

      Just take your greasepaint and go.


  2. I was looking for information on if they ever fixed this game as had been wondering how people played it if it never worked. Yep, I thought the character gender choice thing was a glitch and it simply kept buggering on me so I uninstalled the game (after reviewing it on Google Play as broken as was thinking it was a genuine error). .

    It would be all fine if the game was ever advertised as having a woman for protagonist or being of specific genre but I found it when looking for psychological horror games and it just said it was a visual novel. Nowhere it said anything about company or their aim or target audience and that had been on Google Play and various technological review blogs.

    Not that I would mind having only one choice if it went with no-romance route of murder mystery / strange and menacing organisation or had some other women as love interests. I played Saints Row like that and any other shooter that had such option just because I could. I don’t really want any romance sprung on me without an option out in anything RPG-like. I do not like sloppy written films and books for same reason – if there is no need for romance, why the hell include it? In the game’s case – it seems to be a the genre but why the hell did they misadvertise and go all out about the plot lines mentioned in article? No idea. Money would be logical but game used to be free when I had it so not likely.

    Even if mental illness topics are not well treated in South Korea … South Koreans certainly speak about this topic as well as horrid LGBTQ treatment so cannot say company would be unaware. Black Desert gotten slack for the same and they also never listened but … some games never actually made same mistakes. I come from similar religious-conservative hellhole and would love to avoid that in gaming at least if I can make an informative decision. The only sub-plot I can excuse from article without knowing much about plot beyond prologue is the hospital one as my town also had horrid one and you would love to avoid that even if you needed one. However, still no need to throw the idea of good ones and medication underneath the bus, especially with characters who appeared fantastically rich to me thus they should have been able to obtain even illegal medication (har, har, I did that while not recommended … this is how town dealt) and while it does not make a good moral – it is reality.

    I guess thanks for sating my curiosity on the topic.


  3. I had problems with the portrayal of mental illness in the game myself. What I also had a problem with is the opening premise especially in the access to V and Ray’s routes. You get a strange app on your phone. You get a call from a stranger asking you to come test out a game. If you refuse, the stranger keeps calling. If you call the police the story stops. If you wait for the stranger to show up you get kidnapped. If you accept the offer to test the game, at that point you have to toss aside all sense of self preservation. You give the stranger your address. He sends a car to pick you up. You’re given a blindfold and driven to an unknown location. At which point, you’re basically captured by Mint Eye. And in V’s route V gets captured trying to rescue you!


  4. Thank you so much for your post. I just finished the secret ending today and I found myself incredibly upset and depressed. However, your post really helped to sort out my thoughts.
    I absolutely enjoyed this game and was fairly addicted, but I absolutely do not agree with the endings. But it is what it is.


  5. My thoughts exactly, especially those secret endings, they got on my nerves!!
    Although the psych hospital here in my country is hell jail -and I definitely think Korea’s one is better- but I was really mad when Seven kidnapped (saved??) Saeran from hospital, and improisned him in his banker (especially that there were no windows, and Saeran found peace in watching clouds)!!! The hospital was ofc a better solution!!!
    And then more secrets, why hide what Rika did from Zen and Yoosung?! Couldn’t understand that!!!
    And V’s death was covers by lies!!!!! He at least deserve to have his name cleaned!! And then with Seven’s and Zen’s selfish “Ideas”, the investigation that Jumin wanted was ruined!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yea it was all so poorly planned and written, things didnt make sense, i mean theyre dealing with mental illness, ADULTS (who should be informed on what rika, a criminal, especially one in their care, has done), why someone DIED. it was all a mess and way too harsh for the game imo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well to respond about Rika’s illness remember that some major personality points for Rika were not translated properly into the EN version. In the KOR version, she was diagnosed with something like ‘persecutory delusional disorder’ as well as anxiety and depression. She had mood disorders and also suffered under abusive parents until she met V. It was mentioned in the EN version that Rika is adopted, but Yoosung also mentions that his aunt regrets adopting her. Whether this means that her original parents or adoptive parents abused her, we’re not told. I assume she got slightly better under V’s tenderness, but she developed paranoia which escalated into becoming delusional after her doggy died, as that is when she decided that she needed to make a world free of pain and sadness in order to bring everyone true happiness and trust. So I don’t think Cheritz was making it out like depressed people are evil (even though some can be since depression can go to all sorts of people) but that the translations didn’t do a good job. So complain on the translations than anything 🙂

    I personally don’t agree with the whole having the option to change “he/she” but that’s just me but I do with how they treat homosexuality since it always bothered me how they handled it. They honestly shouldn’t have even mentioned it to begin with if they were going to be so anti-gay about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yea sadly it was translated poorly, though even those with personality disorders and even past abuse are not necessarily like that. It’s true it can cause some people to become more violent though having her be a full on criminal (being abusive herself, drugging and manipulating saeran, starting a cult, etc. and so on) is still incredibly out there and insulting as most people are not criminals and the way the story was laid out (whether intentional or not) makes it seem like her illness was to blame.
      I understand that the game is geared toward female gamers, but it is not exclusive and all games are open to play regardless of gender so the comment was unnecessary. Same with the gay comments, the whole joke line was unnecessary and shouldn’t be in there, even if all their players were cishet woman (which was not the case)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I disagree with that. Most criminals are mentally ill people so it’s not far fetched. It would have been annoying if she was a criminal and didn’t have something messing with her head and I would call it bad writing. This whole thing of “mentally ill people cannot be portrayed evil” is naive and simply false. I know so many mentally ill people that aren’t just depressed and have anxiety and trust me, if they weren’t my family I would drop them as they can be so toxic and cruel. Not all sure but there’s a reason why they’re diagnosed. Mental illness doesn’t affect just the person but everyone around them.


      • …wow.

        Look, even if you personally know a lot of mentally ill people who are also toxic, your personal experiences do not inform global statistics. ‘Most criminals are mentally ill people’ has to be about the most ignorant sentence I’ve ever seen someone actually express in any medium, and you’d better have a credible source for such statements before you make them. What correlations DO exist between criminals and mentally ill people are often due to a lack of resources and health care for mentally ill people – such as someone who’s too mentally ill to work being unable to afford therapy, a doctor’s appointment to get a diagnosis for their condition, or medication to deal with their symptoms.

        Also, no one said ‘mentally ill people cannot be portrayed evil’; that’s a complete strawman argument. What was said is that ‘portraying people as evil and dangerous because of mental illness perpetuates already existing harmful stereotypes that negatively affect ALL mentally ill people, not just the minority of mentally ill people who may actually be evil and dangerous, and therefore it’s a damaging and irresponsible thing to do’. Unless you think even innocent people who are mentally ill deserve to suffer because SOME mentally ill people are bad, then spoiler alert: those stereotypes aren’t a good thing. And if you think innocent people should suffer just to make sure we punish the guilty ones, congratulations – that’s a level of callous disregard and lack of empathy that itself approaches mental illness.

        Also, are you even aware that people can be terrible without being mentally ill? Do you think every corrupt politician or white-collar businessman is mentally ill, when you could much more easily explain their criminal behavior with greed or ruthlessness, or simply enjoying the power they have over others? I mean…the level of dangerous naivete in your words is staggering. I strongly encourage you to actually do research on this subject before weighing in on it because it’s clear you know absolutely nothing beyond your personal bitterness at the mentally ill people you know. That is not NEARLY enough to have any kind of nuanced or informed opinion on this issue. I get the feeling that you’re extremely young, and I’m trying to moderate my words based on that assumption, but if you’re not – then shame on you. This is beyond appalling and hardly worth dignifying with a response at all.

        I have no intention of continuing this conversation with you, whether or not you respond. This is probably the most offensive thing I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by an obvious troll. (If you are a troll and you’ve just disguised well, congrats on getting at least one bite, I guess? I hope that does for you…whatever the hell trolling does for people.)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes business people can have mental illness. There’s been studies that some CEO’s have anti personality disorders. I have researched this as I am majored in psychology.

        Offensive? How? Because I can admit that some ahem SOME mentally ill people can be criminals? Calling me a troll is a cop out because you can’t stand the truth. Mentally ill people can or cannot be criminals. I have BPD and I know that they can be sweet and lovely people. But just like whites, blacks, Hispanics, etc. can be criminals so can mentally ill people.

        I understand you in some sense. You don’t want to believe that the minority can be evil too but to not live in a bubble we should accept that anyone can make horrible choices.

        Not only that but there are good characters in the game that has mental illness. Why aren’t we talking about that. It’s clear that one character has separation anxiety and depression, etc.

        I am fine if you don’t respond but I don’t think it’s a good idea to mark everyone you disagree with as a troll or someone who is ignorant. That’s ignorance in itself.

        I can say that I respectfully disagree with you, all I ask is you do the same.


      • I’m going to come back here after all, if only to point out that again, you’re not arguing with what anyone’s actually saying. You’re arguing with strawmen. NO ONE, INCLUDING MYSELF, IS SAYING THAT MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE CANNOT BE CRIMINALS, OR BAD PEOPLE IN GENERAL. We’re saying that the demonization of mentally ill people in public perception and popular is an ongoing problem. Adding another tally mark to the long list of media portrayals of ‘this villain does horrible things because they’re mentally ill, and for no other reason’ isn’t JUST a lazy cop-out of writing where you don’t have to give a character motivation, compelling logic, or even behavior that makes sense because you can slap the ‘they did it because they’re crazy!’ excuse on them and call it a day. (But, you know, it absolutely is that. I’m a writer and I’m telling you right now, I wouldn’t avoid writing a villain as being evil purely because of mental illness because of political correctness or even just wanting to avoid the stereotype; I’d avoid writing it because it would bore the hell out of me.) Continuing the trend of demonizing mentally ill people has real world consequences on people with every kind of mental illness.

        Does that mean no one can ever portray a mentally ill person as a villain, ever? Of course not. But until the stereotype is dispelled, it’s not possible to do so WITHOUT PERPETUATING THE STEREOTYPE, AND THE HARM IT CAUSES. This has to be acknowledged, and if people call a content creator on it, it’s only justified that they do so – especially mentally ill people. We have a right to question why the writers thought that this particular aspect of their fictional story was just ~so amazing~ that they were okay with causing harm to real people in order to tell it. “Look how mental illness turned this beautiful, kind, perfect person into a murderous monster!” Fantastic. I’m sure no one will draw any misleading or ignorant conclusions from that, because surely every single person who has ever played Mystic Messenger is a mature, well-educated individual who understands that this is a completely unrealistic portrayal of mental illness, including mistranslations in the English version that suggest depression and anxiety – the two most common mental illnesses – are enough to cause a complete personality change and turn someone into a murderous, amoral cult leader. And again – this is lazy writing! It hinges ENTIRELY on the mental illness aspect. There are no actual motives that make sense. There’s no personality traits that would justify it, no inclinations. Mental illness is literally just a deus ex machina, an asspull done by the writers as an excuse to turn a good character bad because they wrote themselves into a corner when there’s no other logical excuse for it to happen. If the mental illness was just one factor of why the character went bad, if it exacerbated problems that already existed or dark tendencies that already existed, I could swallow it – mental illness can happen to anyone, good or bad. But when it’s used so lazily, as an excuse to face-heel turn a character who has NO OTHER REASON to become a villain except that that evil mental illness turned her head! That’s garbage on every level. I’m sorry, but it is. If you want to campaign for villains with mental illness, you’ve picked a bad one to do it with, because this is the least skillful portrayal possible.

        By the way, I didn’t call you a troll. I said you might be one, given the wildly inflammatory statement you made. Acknowledging a possibility doesn’t amount to an accusation.

        Also, there can be no respectful disagreement when you’re being inherently disrespectful (I still cannot believe “most criminals are mentally ill people” with my own eyes in the year of our Lord 2017, and I see you trying to walk it back that you just meant SOME are – that’s not what you said) and not even paying attention to what I’m actually saying. Start addressing my actual words and not the ones you’re putting in my mouth, and maybe we can have an actual conversation. Until then, I’ll just be over here waiting for you to stop tilting at windmills.

        Liked by 1 person


        This is a source saying that criminals should have mental health care as the plead of not guilty by reason of insanity is rare. I think it’s a good thing to read 🙂

        I also think you misunderstood me. Mentally ill people are not criminals but criminals can and sometimes are mentally ill people. Not all as in people who murder out of justice but I believe that the crimes that Rika did was out of insanity.

        “A recent report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics said that more than half of all prison and jail inmates have a mental health problem. That works out to be 705,600 offenders in state prisons and 479,900 in local jails”

        Those are some but not all of my research. If you want more I’ll be glad to send more ^-^


  7. Honestly, I came here looking for someone else saying they found zens narcissism and arrogance confounding, cringy, and downright annoying, but what I saw instead was people butthurt over an opinion in a review (emphasis on opinion), butthurt sjws over an otome game (emphasis on otome), and Callie basically sucking Corinne’s dick. Did I miss anything?

    Liked by 1 person

    • See, you came onto a review of a game that spoke about what was botheresome in a specific game, so I’m confused as to why you’re surprised that I am in fact bothered by something in the game (aka the TITLE). People are entitled to their own opinions (“butthurt” ones, too), even if they don’t agree with me. I also don’t understand why you’re trying to make me out to be the stereotypical SJW when I clearly stated that the issues I spoke about were personal ones, so it’s not surprising topics pertaining to those subjects, may upset me.

      “Local woman is SHOCKED to find that personal struggles being poorly portrayed is upsetting and offensive. What’s next, people starting to DISLIKE things and having their own OPINIONS?!”

      Callie’s answers are very well articulated and thought out and I highly appreciate their input on my post. They just happen to share some of the same opinions I do (opinions can be shared too! amazing!) and obviously feel strongly about it aswell.

      The only thing you were missing is the people (like yourself) coming in with an unnecessary comment that holds no actual substance besides revealing the fact you have no empathy or sympathy for others who don’t share the same exact thoughts as you. And as for Zen’s personality, it was meant to be part comedic but also holds some truths if you look at his backstory. If you want to actually discuss that, though, I’d suggest coming onto my post being mature, respectful, and civil, instead of spitting out words like “butthurt sjws” like a middleaged fox news reporter on twitter.


  8. Apologies in advance if I offend anyone, that really is not my intention when posting this comment.

    In my opinion, I don’t feel like I have the right to judge Rika for her actions because I won’t ever be in the EXACT same situation or see things through her eyes. Everyone is different and unique in their own way which also means everyone will deal with certain situations differently. Some people will deal with situations positively while others might deal negatively however, that is just my opinion and I can definitely understand why some people think her actions should not be excused and why others think that her actions weren’t entirely her fault. I know this comment might say other wise but I am not excusing her actions nor am I accusing her for anything she has done. This is a very touchy subject and this is the first time I am actually saying anything about Rika since I hate offending people and am afraid people might take this the wrong way so I am very nervous about posting this. Once again I can not stress enough about how much I DO NOT want to offend someone and I sincerely apologize if I do and hope you can forgive me (>.<).


    • It’s fine! Saying that you personally don’t feel you have the right to judge someone either way isn’t a controversial opinion at all, since it doesn’t cast any value judgment on people on either side of the fence(or on those like you, sitting on top of it). You were clearly nervous about making this reply, but I’m glad you went ahead and did it! No one should set out to offend people, or be completely unconcerned about the possibility of doing so, but neither should you be so afraid of expressing yourself that you never speak up. So it’s great you joined the conversation!

      And, for what it’s worth, I feel your opinion is wholly valid. If Rika were a real person, then obviously nobody but her could truly testify as to what she went through, and there’s no way of knowing if anyone else, in her shoes, could have done better – or wouldn’t have done even worse. So from that standpoint, saying “I don’t feel I can understand enough to make a judgment call on her” makes perfect sense.

      For my own part, I happen to be a writer, so I approach the matter from a different perspective – Rika is a character written by a writer, not an actual person, and is no more complex or mysterious than the canon establishes her to be. Anything not shown in canon is speculation, at best. So I judge Rika based off of what canon shows us, because canon isn’t just the only source of information there is on the matter – it is the comprehensive source. If you know the full canon, then you know everything it’s possible TO know about Rika(until/unless more canon info gets revealed later). Which, I feel, is enough information to have an opinion.

      That said, my opinion of Rika varies, because in her case specifically there’s reason to suspect the canon source information about her of being inaccurate. It’s been mentioned before in these comments, but the English translation says that Rika has depression and anxiety which made her paranoid – mental illnesses which I should definitely know something about, since I have both. They in no way provide enough justification or explanation for what she did, or how clearly mentally unhinged she was; depression and anxiety are miserable things, but they certainly don’t create enough paranoia to lead someone to start up a homicidal cult. This appears to be something lost in translation, since another commenter who played the game in the original Korean mentioned that the cause of Rika’s mental illness in Korean was much more clearly laid out to be something more severe, something that might justify just how off the rails she goes. However, does knowing what the Korean version intended excuse the faulty English translation, and the damaging messages it sends? Further, how much of the rest of the narrative may have been changed, mangled, or misinterpreted through translation, if such a damaging an inaccurate change as that made it in the English version? How much of what we know about the game do we have to call into question if we’re not playing it in the original Korean? So it’s not just Rika we have to question, but also the people who wrote the game and the people who translated it. All of that certainly complicates deciding who is to blame for what, and how much.

      But, again, that just brings me back to my original point: I feel that a piece of work – a story, a game, a movie – should be experienced and judged for what it is. And in Rika’s case, she is shown to be a character who persisted in making multiple poor decisions, even against the explicit urgings and warnings of those who cared for her, and the consequences of her decision backfired not just upon her, but upon the people around her who’d done nothing to deserve having to pay for her mistakes. I don’t consider her a bad character, and I can’t even say I hate her, but I can say I don’t sympathize with her. She was the only person in the game who could have averted the tragedies within it – tragedies she almost singlehandedly caused. She was urged to do so, given every opportunity to do so, and chose not to – and then deliberately hurt the person who was trying to stop her from destroying herself and everyone around her, abusing him through his love for her. In that situation, my sympathies lie with the victims of her mistakes, who were never given a choice. She had agency; they didn’t.

      Now, that’s just my personal opinion, based on how I approach the canon; it’s not meant to contradict yours, and I don’t consider yours any less correct for not sharing it. As I said, I’m a writer, and so I approach pieces of fictional media in different ways than other people might. But there’s no right or wrong way to experience something, and the only way to have a wrong opinion is to insist that there is only one RIGHT opinion, and that the single correct opinion is yours. I actually think giving Rika the benefit of the doubt and viewing her motives through the lens of her being potentially as complex as a real person, rather than immediately trying to plaster her with a GOOD or BAD label, allows for a much more nuanced reading of her character than mine. But that’s because as a writer, I think in terms of literary devices, whereas you’re clearly treating her as a person.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. But that’s what makes the story so good, even though V was treated awfully. It gave the story more emotional depth and grit which, although you may prefer lighter-hearted novel, makes a gripping story.

    I absolutely hated it too, but the sappy-crap otomes that are everywhere are no way near as reknowned. Take the anime Tokyo Ghoul for example


    • That’s a valid opinion, certainly, but not a universal rule as such. Yes, gritty stories have their audience, and Tokyo Ghoul is a fine example of that. But that’s not even an otome, so comparing it to an otome game is definitely comparing apples and oranges. A more appropriate comparison would be DRAMAtical Murder, which is at least still in the dating game genre even if it’s BL rather than otome.

      That said, a lot of the buzz surrounding Mystic Messenger and DRAMAtical Murder is because they buck the trends of their genres by being dark and gritty and having much more complex stories than most dating games. (That said, I think otomes tend toward light, sappy content than BL games do, so it’s probably more pronounced with Mystic Messenger.) But the very reason there are trends for them to buck at all is precisely because light, sappy stuff has its audience too – a large, profitable one. I actually prefer the deeper, more complex stories – they don’t have to necessarily be gritty for me, just engaging and intelligent – but that doesn’t mean fluffy romance doesn’t have its place too.

      That said, though – characters don’t have to endure terrible, tragic things to make a story good. I don’t think that V’s having a better ending would have had a negative impact on the quality of Mystic Messenger as a whole, certainly. A story needs conflict, but martyrs are optional. I personally don’t feel that V surviving would have made the story less gripping; if anything, I think getting to see the way the rest of the RFA reacted to his and Rika’s secrets coming to light(since I can’t believe Jaehee and Jumin would have had the heart to lie about him to Zen and Yoosung while V was alive to be negatively affected by those lies), seeing how he dealt with his blindness, seeing him come to terms with the terrible things he’d been complicit in and the damage those things had done and trying to make amends for them, perhaps finally letting him extricate himself from Rika’s abusiveness and move on with his life…that would have added far more emotional complexity and depth. In fact, that has so much potential in it that I don’t think Cheritz COULD have done it without having to make enough new content to basicaly constitute another route. Killing V might have added tragedy to the story, but it came at the expense of complexity and seeing anything resembling realistic consequences for most of the characters, V included.

      You’re entirely valid for liking the story as it was, and if you liked the way V ended up, that’s fine, too. But it’s not the ONLY interesting way V’s story could have gone, and I think you’re (probably unintentionally) implying that what happened to V was necessary to make Mystic Messenger compelling, which I respectfully disagree with.


    • No one’s saying you cant include a dark, gripping story that includes characters suffering. It’s when that suffering affects REAL people. Misrepresenting a mental illness and demonizing it affects REAL people. Actual, living humans wellbeings should always come before a fictional character and fictional stories. They could have included these elements and at LEAST been informed about them before using it as a major plot point in their game.


  10. I’m a bit late to this but I want to add my two cents as well.

    Okay, I love this game a lot, and why I’m for the most part willling to more or less overlook all these issues (although I do recognize them as such), there is another thing that irked me, although it’s just a small line that most people probably didn’t even notice.

    It occurs when Zen suggests sending Rika to Alaska: He knows of the therapy thing because apparantly his director had an autistic friend who went there and a lot of his symptopms disappeared after it.

    Cheritz could’ve chosen literally any mental illness, but they chose to go with autism. Now for those who don’t know, autism is NOT a mental illness, nor can it be treated. There are therapies to help autistic people cope with life and whatnot, but “symptoms” will always be present. While I can obviously not speak for everyone, most autistic people wouldn’t even want a cure if it were an option as it would essentially change their entire personality.

    I’m autistic myself, and I’m not ill, my brain’s just wired a bit differently from most people’s. You don’t need to send me to Alaska, especially not if you’re going to compare autism to whatever Rika had.
    While I get that I shouldn’t take this too seriously, playing as an autistic person and having all these characters apparantly love me for who I am, and then getting slapped in the face with that line was… not great. Especially in the game that is essentially my Special Interest.
    If Cheritz wanted an example to show how great that place is for curing mental illness, maybe choosing an actual mental illness would’ve been a good idea. Not that I’m an expert. Just my opinion. Oh well.


    • That’s a good observation, and entirely justified. I think the line was so offhand that I kind of missed it in my playthrough, but you’re right; it’s absolutely problematic.

      I wonder if it’s an issue in the original Korean as well, or if the localization of the game – as it did in other areas, such as chalking Rika’s actions up to anxiety and depression, as though those things would TOTALLY explain someone’s becoming sadistically violent and creating a cult – threw in something a lot more problematic and a lot less logical due to a clear misunderstanding of, evidently, multiple types of neurodivergence. It might be the creators being dangerously ignorant on these matters, but given that the depression/anxiety thing was apparently an issue specific to the localization team, I have to wonder if Cheritz as a whole is to blame, or just the localization team. It’s harmful either way, so honestly it’s kind of a moot point, but I can’t help wondering. If anyone who’s played a game in the original Korean could weigh in on this, I’d be interested to hear whether the line is the same in both languages.


      • I missed that line as well but overall it seemed Cheritz lacked knowledge. There was a different translation for Rika’s illness, but even so I think it’s unfair to compare anyone with a mental illness to someone who committed that caliber of crimes. Even if it weren’t anxiety but a personality disorder; of course, there can be negative symptoms and people who deal with them in an unhealthy manner, the representation of a mental illness as such is what’s so harmful, as the game itself seemed to lean towards Rika’s mental illness being the cause of all her actions, sending messages that MI makes you a bad person (generally speaking), rather than, Rika struggled with MI and that was a factor in her life that could possibly have influenced her behavior. For some people it may not matter, but having a mental illness be the direct cause of crimes in the story paints mental illness and mentally ill people in a bad light, which I think is the biggest issue here, regardless of the diagnosis she was given.
        Sorry for rambling on, that was just my general thoughts on it and why i disliked it – besides the overall feeling that Cheritz lacked the education on MI and specific ones (another reason why they could have translated it to a completely different illness). Other factors like Saeran’s hospitalization and the entire Alaska-Rika schpeel and Saeran’s escape and miraculous recovery, just points towards general ignorance.


  11. For the Saeyung “saving” Saeran from the psych ward, there’s actually a more believable explanation in-game about it. Saeran was being held at a hospital in secret with Jumin’s help, but they mentioned needing to send him to a different place if they needed to isolate him. The reason why Saeran couldn’t leave the hopsital was the same reason why Zen didn’t want Jaehee to take Rika away from Yoosung’s care. Because then they’d be forced to face criminal charges and they’d be stuck in jail forever.

    You can defend mental illness all you want, but there’s absolutely no doubt that Saeran can’t be held accountable for his crimes (considering he was essensitally drugged against his will 24/7). What Saeyoung did was also taking into consideration that his brother’s identity shouldn’t be discovered and he should avoid any sort of legal repercussions. He didn’t save Saeran from medicine. He saved him from jail and a life of being labeled as the “son of the minister who happens to be a crazy terrorist”. There’s a lot more to consider than just “medicine = bad” here.

    As for the Jumin jokes, you do have to consider the only ones to ever openly express homosexuality as something negative are Zen and Jumin himself. One of the options in the 707 route even has 707 agreeing with MC that he’s accepting of everyone (and that he just wants a scoop to earn money even if it’s fake). I don’t believe Jaehee and Yoosung ever comment much on the whole “Jumin is gay” topic if at all. Jaehee’s answer was that Jumin just wasn’t gay (without any sort of implication as opposed to Zen’s outright “gross/ get away from me” comment). And having two homophobes in a group of 5 is still somehow realistic considering they’re both from religious families. Now I’m not saying it’s not offensive but it’s still just a shallow comment that’s not far removed from the usual “haha he’s gay” jokes you hear quite often in real life. That doesn’t make Cheritz into an irresponsible hateful company but rather just an average one that doesn’t want to stray away from the status quo.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Honestly this doesn’t even feel like a dating sim. Rika is the main character and the guys are part of her harem. The player? The player is just reading a book about Rika. It’s very annoying how everyone is either in love with Rika, or willing to sacrifice their life for Rika. Hey, you guys don’t need anyone else! Especially not a stranger MC! Rika is all you need! Why make us read a book with a misleading “dating sim” tag?


    • while i cant completely agree, i do on some aspects. There are points in the game where its always “rika rika rika,” and it does get quite annoying. I never found her to be a likeable character, but you definitely seemed to be just a replacement (especially in yoosungs route, and even a bit in jumins)
      we understand she ran the organization but it definitely can seem a bit much at times. The worst part is how much damage she actually caused, and how half the members werent even informed of it (not even yoosung, her actual relative). The whole situation seems quite unresolved and not that great.


  13. First of all, this is just a game. And a game made by KOREANS! This is a FEMALE ORIENTED DATING MESSENGER GAME! Not “comply to everyone’s wishes” game. You saying stuff about “offending non-binary and trans people” is such an invalid argument. Also, your right, seven isn’t the most logical guy BUT he didn’t know exactly what was going on with Rika (Ssss) and he trusted saeran with her. The way they also portray mental illnesses is similar to that of real life situations about the psych ward is correct, this is coming from someone who has been in a psych ward for some time and met other patients that have been there for many years because of what they’ve done as a result of their mental illness and because they show no signs of getting better (they even know they will never be able to leave that place, duh) and again THIS IS A GAME, A DATING GAME, THE PLOT ABOUT THE SECRET ENDINGS IS A BONUS AFTER YOUR DATING SIMULATIONS. BESIDES IF YOU’RE TRIGGERED BY BEING A GIRL NO MATTER YOUR CHOICE IN THE GAME YOU CAN STILL DATE ANOTHER FEMALE, “JAEHEE KANG”. Besides, the most important part of the game that most people focused on was the DATING SIMULATIONS, because, again, ITS A FEMALE ORIENTED DATING MESSENGER GAME!


    • Just because Korea isn’t as progressive re: trans and nonbinary people as some other countries – which is, I assume, the argument you’re making, although you didn’t exactly clarify why Koreans couldn’t possibly make an inclusive game – doesn’t mean that Koreans are incapable of inclusiveness as a whole. And that’s kind of insulting to Koreans in general to imply. And none of that changes the fact that no matter how oppressive a country’s views on sex and gender and homosexuality are, no game and no gaming company – female-oriented or not – is required to put in an “I’m not a girl!” option that actively does nothing. Like…nothing about the game would have changed by NOT including that option, since the option is literally meaningless even if you choose it. So including it got people’s hopes up that there would be more inclusiveness than they’d expected(because trust me, very few of us go into an otome expecting inclusiveness and we treat it as a rare and exciting gift when we find it), and then immediately crushed those hopes by going ‘PSYCHE!’. I mean…it just wasn’t necessary. It was an active waste of the developers’ time including it, and it had a negative impact on numerous players. Questioning that aspect of the design is entirely logical. No good game developer wants to put something into a game that only adds negative enjoyment for players with zero positive payoff.

      Also I’m confused why you think ‘being triggered by being a girl’ would somehow be fixed by a lesbian romance…? (Which plays the lesbian angle VERY low-key, as in ‘you can barely tell it’s a romance’, so it’s not even a particularly satisfying route aside from making Jaehee happy.) Presumably someone wanting a lesbian romance would WANT to be playing a girl character. Unless you think LGBT+ representation is basically interchangeable? “Sorry, gay men/trans men/nonbinary people, nothing for you, but here’s a lesbian option so you guys are good, right?” I mean…that’s not how it works. L representation is great but it doesn’t do anything for the GBT+ parts of the queer community, and inclusiveness to one group in the community isn’t interchangeable with inclusiveness to other parts of it.

      Also, while no one is arguing that this is a female-oriented game – we all know it is – the question remains as to WHY otomes have to be female-oriented. Most otome protags are very much blank slates already; leaving the gender ambiguous, too, honestly wouldn’t be a huge change, and it would expand the market. Cis women aren’t the only people who enjoy otomes, and I say that as a queer girl with a large group of queer friends – nonbinary, trans, lesbians, you name it – with many of us playing otomes. No one’s asking for the world here. We’re just saying that, from a capitalist perspective, there’s honestly no reason why gaming companies shouldn’t want to expand their markets when it would be so easy to do.

      Also, PS: saying ‘IT’S JUST A GAME’ is meaningless. A movie is ‘just a movie’. A book is ‘just a book’. Yelling “IT’S JUST A ____ STOP EXPECTING REPRESENTATION IN IT” can happen with literally any form of media, and does, and if that sort of argument were listened to then all representation of all minority groups in media would die. If representation is meaningless to you because you already get represented, then just say so, so that the rest of us know you have no business participating in this conversation that doesn’t effect you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for this, you definitely put it in perspective and gave a lot of good arguments! (also thank you for all your replies to other comments i’m glad others are actively taking part in the discussion!)


      • No problem! I really liked your breakdown and I’ve been enjoying the comments here, aside from the really ignorant ones like the above…but I’m pretty good at shutting down the “I don’t care about this because it doesn’t affect me and I have zero empathy, and therefore no one else should care about it either even if it personally affects them” crowd. Usually by just underlining what they’re doing in plain English to the point where they realize all their arguments are just dressed-up self-centered ignorance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • yea i’ve gotten a few and the only good opposition they have is “stop being sensitive its a game!” like it’s supposed to be a valid argument. Still, I enjoy seeing everyone else joining in and discussing everything!


    • So being korean is an excuse for not being socially aware? This game and company is and has been releasing games internationally in BOTH korean and english, so having some sort of open mindset and awareness of social issues overseas seems logical, no? saying my argument is invalid because the game is a female dating sim doesnt really make sense because again, just because it has a catered audience doesnt mean that is ALL of its audience, and the comment in game just seemed unnecessary, especially if you believe that everyone playing is a female.
      I’ve been in a psych ward as well, they aren’t the nicest places, some are short term and some more long term, we don’t know the details of it so its hard to predict.
      If you dont feel offended or upset by any content in the game i’m unsure why you felt the need to read a criticism on the content. I’m fully aware that it is a game but that doesn’t mean i’m not allowed to be upset by some of the things it portrayed. Again, if you aren’t that’s fine but i have a right to my own opinion and you can’t invalidate how i feel or say just because its a game and you personally dont feel the same. This is a safe space to discuss these issues and how people felt about the game, not for people to try to invalidate others feelings.


  14. Hello! I just finished the game today and I’m glad I found this post. I totally agree with everything you’ve said. I must say that both secret endings left me an uneasy feeling… I cried when V died ( I didn’t think it would affect me this much), but it just made me really sad that he couldn’t get a happy or at least fair ending, it’s true that he made mistakes, but I don’t think he deserved to suffer the way he did.. as well with Saeran. I tried to understand Rika’s condition, but I didn’t like how she got away with all the harm she caused.

    I liked most of the routes of this game, but felt a little dissapointed how things turn out on Seven’s route, the fact that as user I ended up just being an spectator and have little participation towards the end of the story (on the secret endings) was quite frustrating, I understand that these endings were the visual novel not gameplay but I believe it would have been nice being able to do something than just watching (by this I mean when Seven gets injured and when he is trying to help Saeran)..

    But leaving that aside, I think the story went a little more dramatic and tragic that it should, I think Cheritz made its best, but they could have made a better storyline. I think my comment went out longer than it should, but I felt I needed to express my opinion.. Still I enjoyed the game and thank you for writing this post. 🙂


    • Im glad you could relate! Especially being an otome usually the protag is really involved but you’re definitely pushed to the sidelines in this case. Rika got away with abuse and harming people, while V (yes he made mistakes, though not comparable to the level of Rika’s) got killed off horribly while Rika didn’t get any reprecussions for what she did, not to mention adding to the stereotype and misconception that having a mental illness makes doing such crimes ok or is a good excuse. I didn’t feel at all satisfied w the secret ends, which was upsetting bc cheritz did a great job w them in their other games, so MM imo fell short in that regard. They definitely did add drama to the max, it could have been toned down a lot and still been a great game, though it became unnecessarily dark and twisted. im glad someone understands my pov! if you havent i would reccommend trying their other games, i find the secret endings (like i said earlier) way better (at least from what i remember its been over a year now) so you might like it more! (definitely has some darker twists and turns but not as much as MM)


    • The thing is, ass licker, that fiction has high impacts on reality. Separating the two is important, however, the portrayal of many real life things in a negative context effect how people view such things, especially when it is something like mental illness which is not exclusive to fiction. I have a right to be upset and speak up about these matters, since they affect my REALITY, and would like to see it shown in a different light, which would affect how people view it. If you’re interested in exactly how the psychology behind it works, I’d be more than happy to help you find resources, as well as explain my right to an opinion that I expressed on my own blog.


  15. Okay, but like seriously…did no one see the mind fuck ending from Yoosung’s route? Like I will never trust V (and I’m having second thoughts on Seven) because of that ending.


    • sadly, it’s pretty common for bad ends to be like that. Usually, the characters become twisted, evil, cruel, to the opposite of themselves. bad endings really aren’t used to gauge or judge a character because it is almost, in many many games cases, the worst possible scenario you could think of. So while upsetting, I’d definitely advise to not think of the bad endings since 99% of the time they don’t really show a character but just try to display some type of awful occurrence to say “wowee you failed try again”


  16. This is an interesting read. I actually disagree with some of the stuff to do with Rika and V though. First of all, I don’t think Rika just had anxiety and depression, I think she maybe also had schizophrenia or something else that causes delusions? It was never specified in the text. Second, we as the player get to see V for what he really is and I think that’s the important part, not the characters knowing. Endings aren’t supposed to be perfect. And V isn’t blameless either. He arrogantly decides he can cure Rika with ~love~ (my least favourite trope ever) and i really liked the fact that he failed because in real life that doesn’t work at all. When Saeyoung did the same thing in the second ending that really disappointed me. V also allows Rika to involve Saeran and other Mint Eye members(don’t get me wrong, he’s my favourite character, but he’s flawed as hell) Personally I found Rika to be almost relatable in the parts before her dog’s death and was actually really happy that she got a happy-ish ending. I agree there are some issues with the presentation of mental illness but I loved the first secret ending because it felt real to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rika’s delusions and other symptoms definitely point to another underlying mental illness not specified. It is nice we get to know that V wasn’t really the “evil mastermind.” I absolutely hate the romanticization of V and Rika’s relationship. I think there was ignorance on V’s part, he seemed to be supportive but again, just someone’s love cannot cure a mental illness, and that he continued to buy into it is upsetting. Saeran has done a lot wrong, but again I like to see from the character’s perspective, he was abused as a child and grew up as such, then was taken to another abusive home where he was brainwashed. It’s really upsetting, and while his actions aren’t excusable they do have some reason to them. The whole thing is fiction, the situation is really strange so I never felt a sense of realness myself, though the characters reactions and how certain things worked could definitely contribute to a more realistic feeling despite the setting


  17. Just to offer a different perspective, as a bisexual girl who’s playing this game with her bisexual male friend, neither of us were offended by the gender joke at the beginning. I completely understand why others would be hurt by this, but I want to offer my perspective. I actually interpreted it purely as breaking the fourth wall humor and allowing you to be self-aware that you’re playing a game and not necessarily female. The game uses breaking the fourth wall humor frequently. So in that sense, by allowing you to state that you’re not female, it acknowledges that male/nonbinary players can also play and relate to a hetero female oriented game, but the characters obviously don’t know that you’re playing a cell phone game and that you’re not a girl. As far as the characters know, they’re all straight and trying to get close to a girl. I don’t mind that we only had one option to be female because we always read and play stories of characters whose identities are different from ours. But to move forward, I do want to see other games created where we can self-insert into a nonbinary character and have queer relationships. I don’t think they were excluding male players, but I do think they were sadly staying away from homosexuality. I say this not because of the Jumin joke but because we’re not allowed to date Jaehee. They must have been sensitive to the homophobia in Korea. :[ But I heard that Cheritz added, by popular demand, a romantic moment with Jaehee for their Christmas DLC. Someone please tell me it’s true!


    • I do agree in some part, I think it was mostly upsetting to nonbinary/transgender individuals, especially being misgendered and written off about their gender it may have come across as that, though I believe it was just meant to break the fourth wall like you said. Having more queer representation in otome gaming would be amazing, I know there is one game where there was a nonbinary love interest (i cant remember the name currently) but it was very exciting. and yes! they listened to requests and even said in a post that they added a more romantic moment with Jaehee. I havent played the dlc but i saw the cg and it is very sweet!


  18. Honestly I was turned off at the very beginning. As a gay trans boy, I felt very personally attacked when I chose the “But I’m not a girl” option and then how they talked about Jumin being gay. I was just curious to see what all my girl friends were talking about and it seemed fun. But nope. At the very beginning my gender identity AND sexual orientation was attacked and treated as gross. Why do they have the “I’m not a girl” AND the male picture as an option if they’re just gonna say, “Lol no ur a straight girl deal wth it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • The comments were really unnecessary, and I’m sorry to hear that you were upset. While geared towards straight woman, it doesnt mean all players ARE straight woman, and the comment on gender was unnecessary. The gay jokes were meant in jest, though, again, were not necessary and could have been done without.


    • I read in many comments on reddit that the “I’m not a girl” option is so they can gather info to see if it’s worth making a male-adaptable version.

      This was originally made for a South Korean audience (where lgbt is still a little taboo over there), and discluding lgbt all other countries think the whole “gender pronoun” deal is bs. Try not to take it as a direct hit

      Liked by 1 person

      • Friend, being told that the country – and presumably the game company – think your identity is ‘bs’ is the very definition of a direct hit, so if there was any chance of them not taking it personally, you just made it incredibly rude and personal. Not to mention that you have no business speaking for either the entire country of South Korea or Cheritz as a company.

        Also, you likewise have no business telling someone how deeply something should or should not bother them.


  19. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, and V was treated awfully yes. But, although it is said he killed himself, the way it’s portrayed makes it point to a homicide so I disagree on that part.


  20. Personally I have a very different view on most of those topics. I don’t think they treated these things ‘wrong’ or ‘incorrectly’, I think there is just a slightly different view, but there are also other ways to look at it. And in a way its all about perspective, and some of that is all about how the characters view the events, not how you or I view them.

    I never once got the impression that they were making gay jokes to imply something weird. He was just a character who never expressed any sexual preference period. Seven started it, and many of the characters pointed out that he said strange things, as he used all of these off the wall jokes as a way to hide his actual life. Including that one, it was something offbeat and likely different from any other conversation the group had had prior.

    Most of the Rika situation was just a translation setup, as her disorder was more than that. As some have already pointed out.

    As for Seven and Saeran, yes I agree his actions were kind of wrong in terms of how to get his brother help. But to be completely fair, Seven wouldn’t have been in his best state at this point. He went into this horrible line of work that he seems to hate now, just thinking it would save his brother and himself. He spent years thinking his brother was safe, happy, and free from the torture they endured from an early age. Then that illusion of a reality is shattered and he has to, effectively, hunt and stop his cherished brother to protect his dear friends? I don’t know about you but that would sure as hell throw me for a loop, I don’t think I could think clearly for a long time after that.

    Then he has to make all these decisions about his brother who is in a very fragile mental state, probably terrified of pushing him over the edge. Not wanting to put his brother back on medication after they managed to get numerous amounts of other questionable substances out of his system. He was afraid, and fear can make people do questionable things.

    And numerous people have also pointed out V didn’t kill himself. It was just a lie, all a lie.


    • As I’ve said before, I’m sure the gay jokes were just made in jest, though I think that I along with many other LGBT+ people just tire of these jokes made by many cishet people that can be seen as offensive or belittling. Again, not that it was the intention, but moreso, “can’t they come up with something thats more funny instead of using the gay trope,” like the whole “jumin is a robot” thing.

      Seven’s mental state probably was not very clear at that point and putting a family member into a mental hospital (as well as being in one) is stressful, a lot of your personal freedom is taken away but ultimately it is to get better and recover which Saeran sorely needed, though if it was more realistic there would be more communication about what Saeran has been through and that inpatient and medication may not be the best option for him, but more intensive outpatient therapies, though I doubt theyd go into that. It would just be nice to see him getting some sort of help after everything.


  21. i wonder if some of you can answer my question, i just finished the secret ending. i too think that jumin and jaehee know about the truth behind V’s death but why did jumin want to legally interrogate RIka but not Saeran? i mean, it’s still him who killed his dear friend V, no matter what circumstances he’s in (i mean Rika is also mentally ill, what makes him so different from Rika) and how can he stay calm when Saeran enter RFA? I dont hate Saeran but in my opinion Jumin should be having a hard time accepting him. or maybe he also dont know the truth that Saeran shot V?


    • Jumin didn’t want to interrogate either of them, legal situations were coming up though that he could no longer block. He was trying to hold them off for awhile, to protect everyone, but there are certain things even money can’t stop forever.

      It’s also possible that he didn’t exactly know about Saeran being the one to fire, Jumin wasn’t the one who went in there. It was guards that he hired who went in there, so he wouldn’t have seen it first hand. Saeran could have dropped the gun after firing, and only those in the room would have known the truth. Those who were also drugged like Saeran was, or it was implied they were drugged as Rika mentioned the new recruits going through the same process.

      If he did know it was possible that Seven took care of most of it, explaining things to Jumin. Saeran was very heavily drugged, under all kinds of medication and torture. He wasn’t in any kind of right mind at the time, let alone enough to fully understand what he was doing I believe.

      That said, I doubt Jumin was ever perfectly okay with him, but Jumin is very good at controlling his emotions, mostly. That’s his entire thing, emotions get in the way of productivity. It’s not exactly healthy… But he would be good at hiding problems with Saeran if he needed to.

      During the after ending scene in the messenger, for Seven’s route anyways, Jumin is there but not speaking at all. Even when they mention him at first, and Zen says that he’s been like that since V died. Less active with the RFA, less chatty. During the time Saeran would have been able to be there (after getting a bit better of course).

      When he does speak it’s only a little bit, and Saeran’s talking changes a little when he shows up. Which is when Saeran offers yet another apology, one of apparently many. Jumin says nothing to this, which typically implies someone does not accept the apology. When Jumin did speak he did not once speak towards Saeran in specific.


  22. I just finished the endings and was left as well with quite a bitter sweet feeling. Specially about Saeyoung´s attitude towards his brother´s illness that for me has no justification whatsover.
    I got a question about the end, If i did not misunderstood actually searan was the one holding the gun and the one who shot V, all because he was convinced that V has ruined his “ticket to paradise” or whatever he was promised by Rika, wasn´t he?.

    Anyway, now talking about Rika, I did feel a bit weird abut her situation, but as a Psychology Student I started thinking about it and actually from my view, Rika did not only had depression and anxiety she was probably also suffering from another mental illness that could cause the delirious state she was into. Her actions weren´t caused by depression, that’s clear, because as far as I know no depression leads to such thoughts, she literally lost her mind and was trapped inside that delirium.

    Regarding the characters I kept simpatazing with Zen the most during the entire game. His role was clear, he brought humour after really serious and angsty chats, but he also had his very serious moments which I also loved. Maybe because he was very logical, practial and straight to the point whithout losing his human side, he was the character I could “connect” the most, but that’s just personal opinion.
    About Jumin, I have a couple of things to say. At first I was okay with him, in fact liked how rational he was, but then in his route he got out of hand. I understand his issue and everything, but still I felt during the entire route, specially during the time MC was locked (because she WAS LOCKED) inside his apartment from there it went from bad to worst. He is emotionally manipulating MC not to leave him during the entire thing, ejercing control constantly. It was hard for me not to get the hell out of there specially after the scene where he shuts the door.
    But it was just a game where the goal was to help the memebers to heal, and that happened to be his issue, I understand that. However, what actually worries me is that people (I’ve seen it a lot on tumblr) are thinking that Jumin attitude is romantic and even SEXY. ITS NOT ROMANTIC OR SEXY IT IS PLAIN ABUSSIVE. There’s a reason why Jumin’s bad ending is bad, it’s because he kept that attitude and took it even further.
    People let’s stop romanticizing abusive, possesive, and controlling relationships, that’s not natural and it’s definitely not healthy.

    If you overlook those things and don’t overthink it, it’s an entertaining game with and interesting concept and format, very well done indeed. Still I enjoyed it, but it did caught me off guard how serious it suddenly turned, like once you reach certain point it goes from a happy game to a game where really serious subjets were touched, I just wished at moments that those subjects were handled differently but that’s all.


    • I totally agree with what you’re saying. As for Jumin’s bad ending, I think most people (myself included) only took the bondage/dominative role jumin had in the ending as “sexy,” though his actual dialogue and what happened aren’t something I endorse and agree that it is abusive and cruel, as is most bad endings in this game (and many others)


  23. This is a Korean visual novel, or what is considered an otome game. I don’t understand why people would expect any better from this game than what it is, you get to date hot guys and that’s bout it.


    • While you make a valid point, and trust me after years of otome gaming ive come to just accept and not pay mind to a lot of the bs, this particular thing bothered me more than usual, and especially with the mass popularity of the game I think it could prove beneficial to bring it up. just because its a romance novel doesnt mean it cant be medically accurate and socially aware


  24. I feel the same, a lot of people tell me the “oh it’s just a game lighten up” excuse. If you’ve went through any trama or have metal illness, sadly some things are triggering and it’s hard to ignore or let go…especially considering I lost my twin to suicide… Hence why 707’s and V’s stories hurt my heart for a while.


    • ah im sorry 😦 dealing with mental illness and similar situations really can take a toll, and when its a big part of your life and can cause so much hardship and grief some people don’t understand that you cant just shrug it off when its something that closely affects you


  25. Mystic Messenger is pretty much everything that is wrong with Japanese/Korean media for girls. This kind of stuff is criticized in shojo manga by most people so why is it okay here? The game’s plot is literally you being threatened into doing their scam “charity” work. Why is there no ending where your character has taken the whole case to court and Seven is thrown into jail where he belongs? Why are there people saying how much they love this guy?


    • …did we even play the same game? I don’t recall Seven ever seriously threatening the PC with anything beyond kicking her out of/blocking her from the chat room if the background check revealed anything shady about her. And you can argue the legality of that, but 1) Seven is already a hacker who does questionably legal things, although the game gives no evidence his actions personally ever go beyond Chaotic Neutral, and 2) given that the PC somehow gets patched into a private chat room by another hacker, and the RFA have been targeted by malicious hackers before, they have every reason to investigate you as a potential threat to their private security. (And, as it turns out the PC was introduced to them BY the same malicious hackers responsible for past events, they were right to be cautious; it just happens that the people responsible used someone totally unaffiliated to them.) And even when Seven threatens to deny the PC access to the chat room, it’s clear he doesn’t really want to but would do so under V’s orders. V’s orders, and defending the security of the other RFA members, are what guide Seven’s actions, so I’m not sure why you’re singling out Seven for hate.

      Unless you’re taking some of Seven’s jokes, or his *actively warning the PC to stay away from him because his work is dangerous enough to potentially put her in harm’s way as a bystander*, as some kind of legitimate threat to the PC…I don’t know where you’re coming from. Unless he has a couple lines of serious threat somewhere that I’ve somehow forgotten, but in that case you’re basing your argument against the entirety of the character against a couple lines so throwaway that I don’t even recall them.

      Also, there’s no scam involved in the RFA’s charity work…? Nowhere in the game is it indicated their fundraising goes to anything other than actually helping people. And the PC is given the choice of whether or not to help by the actual RFA members, although of course for the game’s purposes you’re not actually given the option to refuse as a player because then there would be…no actual game. All of this ignoring, of course, that the RFA wasn’t responsible for the PC’s introduction into their midst in the first place, so if you want to hate any character for orchestrating what happened to the PC, it can’t and shouldn’t be characters who simply reacted to what another outside group was doing with malicious intent. The RFA had no hand in the PC’s suddenly being thrown at them, and thus had no designs on her. Have you even played the game enough to know who actually DID threaten the PC, and who set all the events in motion…? The people who V and Seven (correctly) feared might do something bad to them, the PC, or both if they just ignored the circumstances of her arrival and sent her on her merry way?

      Like, I’m not saying otome logic isn’t ridiculous and occasionally demands you allow serious suspensions of disbelief, because it does. Nor am I saying everyone has to like Mystic Messenger, or Seven in particular. But wow, what is your damage? Your argument makes no sense to me at all, as someone who’s played the game pretty thoroughly, unless it’s based on serious misinterpretation or some kind of grudge. Or possibly trolling. You’re going to need to provide a lot more evidence and thought behind the premise of ‘Seven specifically should go to jail for threatening the PC’ than you have for anyone to take you seriously. It honestly sounds like you read one badly written wiki page on the game’s events and formed your opinions from that, at best.


  26. I agree with some of this but not all of it. Firstly, V didn’t commit suicide, Saeran was freaking out and had a gun and tried to shoot Rika, V jumped in the way to save her and died. Second, Saeyoung refused to give Saeran meds because he had been drugged before and he didn’t want to put him through that again. He also wouldn’t let him go to an insane asylum because he knew Saeran had trust issues and sending him there to be drugged and confined would only make things worse. I agree about V though, he deserved better.


  27. Im not sure how some contents were translated in English since I played this game in Korean, there could be some issues with the mistranslation or misuse of terms in English version.
    In regards to the “gay” issue, I completely agree with you. Unlike western culture, sadly majority of Koreans still view homosexuality as “abnormal” or “weird” and many consider it as unnatural sexual preferences. This is why LGBTQ community in Korea is not as active as in Western culture because of the stigmatization and scapegoating from the public. Although there have been little progress in human rights movements but theres still LONG way to go for Korea in regards to openly accepting LGBTQ community. It is unfortunate but hopefully with your input, Cheritz would become more aware of the problem. I, too felt uncomfortable with how they project negativity towards homosexuality.
    In regards to V’s death – in Korean version, Saeran is the one who actually kills V after being rejected by Rika. In Korean version, Saeran demands Rika to eliminate Saeyoung as she previously promised to Saeran. But Rika, thinking that Saeyoung’s hacking skills can be useful to the cult, orders to take Saeyoung into the cult. Saeran shoot Rika out of anguish and V takes the bullet to protect Rika. So I domt know why Cheritz decided to have V to commit suicide in Eng version.. But for Korean version, V does not kill himself but protects his beloved Rika :). Thats why Rika develops aphasia out of shock.
    In regards to Rika’s mental problems – in Korean version, they repeatedly used the term “persecutory delusional disorder’ along with anxiety and depression. Im not sure what was being said in English version but in Korean version, Rika originally suffered from mood disorder before she met V. Rika spent her childhood under abusive parents who lacked loving nature. When Rika got older, she began to see a ‘counsellor’. After she met V, she got alittle better from her symptoms but after she lost her dog she began to develop paranoia which further developed into delusional state. According to V, Rika felt guilty for not giving a cataract surgery to her blinding dog early on, which led her dog to die from the car accident. So the game explains how Rika’s twisted perception of world due to delusional disorder led her to believe that only she can create a new world where there is no pain, sadness, but only eternal trust and happiness exist. With her mental illness, Rika becomes more paranoid with V that he will betray her at some point. Although V tried to convince Rika that he still loves her, Rika ends up blinding him to test his words.
    For psych ward being portrayed in the game, I think the game developer lacked knowledge in how psych ward is operated… From what I know, as long as you are not a threat to yourself and others, and also that you dont have any criminal charges or court order, i dont think they permanently lock people in the ward.. But there were many cases where the patient’s family refuse to take back the patient so some patients have no choice but to remain at the ward…but ofc, if the patient is mentally alert and is capable of functioning on his own, he can refuse to be treated even if he can benefit from it though. You actually need court order to force treatments to the refusing patient or the patient has to be suicidal and dangerous to the public. And yes Saeyoing shouldve let Saeran receive treatments but I guess the game wanted show brothers regaining trust in one another, resolving hatred and misunderstanding by having Saeyoung “rescuing” Saeran from the admission. (+Considering how Saeran killed V in the game, legally speaking, Saeran would be placed in the ward even if he does not want to receive treatments… Otherwise he would be sentenced to be in jail.. There are some loopholes in the game esp from the legal aspects..How Jumin got rid of evidences, how Zen smuggled Rika out of the country even after her criminal activities, and how Saeran avoids investigation ans stuff.. Oh welp Jumin’s money works wonder anyway. )
    Welp this is long but hope it explains some of the issues.


    • This is fascinating, and I’m glad you shared your experiences playing the Korean version!

      OP did indeed make a mistake in their post; in both the English and Korean versions, it’s Saeran who kills V, and the story of him committing suicide is just the cover story Jumin, Jaehee, and Seven (and the MC) come up with for Zen and Yoosung. Multiple people have corrected them, but I wish they’d edit their original post to reflect this. As far as I know, on no route does V kill himself, nor is his being dead even a confirmed fact in any route other than Seven’s. (Unless, I suppose, one interprets V as having taking the bullet for Rika, and thus considers that suicide? But my impression, playing the English version of the game, was that Saeran was always aiming for V, using him for a scapegoat in turning Saeran’s ‘savior’ against him and making everything complicated with his existence. Does the Korean version make it explicitly clear that Saeran was aiming for Rika and that V intervened, or is it up to interpretation who the bullet was actually meant for?)

      I wish they actually referred to ‘persecutory delusional disorder’ in the English version; that seems to be a severe mental illness that could dramatically affect someone’s perception of the world and their behavior, which very much fits Rika. However, in the English version, the disorder is never mentioned. Instead, it’s translated into ‘depression and anxiety’ – both very common mental health issues that decrease a person’s quality of life, but do not REMOTELY explain the behavior of someone blinding their fiance and becoming the head of a brainwashing cult. The Korean version clearly explains Rika’s condition much more accurately and with respect to what sort of mental illness could lead to such behavior, while the English translation casts the blame on mental illnesses that by and large only harm the person suffering from them, and as a result unfairly casts people with anxiety and depression as being in the same category as someone dangerously delusional. (That said – I’m sure Rika did have depression and anxiety herself. But clearly what caused her unstable behavior was the persecutory delusional disorder, with the depression and anxiety having other causes – depression could undoubtedly be caused by Sally’s death, for instance, and if she felt delusional and persecuted then obviously anxiety would result from that paranoia. But those are unrelated to, or caused by, her pre-existing condition, and it was the persecutory delusional disorder that actually led her to her actions in Mint Eye.)


      • oh thanks for pointing out whom Saeran was aiming at. I watched the episodes again just now and yeah Saeran did aim at V not at Rika. 🙂 There was a part where Saeran talks about how “savior” has changed since V’s in the cult and how he blames V for his downfall. After this, he shot V not Rika, so I assume that V was aimed in the first place. For some reason I always thought Saeran aimed at Rika (maybe I subconsciously wanted her punished for ruining people’s lives..ahem)…Yes you are right. Saeran did use V as a scapegoat.

        Aside from what was told by V in the game, I cant help but to think that Rika could have borderline personality traits based on her fear of abandonment and betrayal, her sense of emptiness, and especially her sense of grandiosity (when she talks about how she can be the one to lead people into happiness before she forms the cult).
        I agree with you that depression and anxiety alone do not always lead to extreme condition like a delusional disorder. Like you said, I agree that Sally’s death triggered this whole delusional madness. 😦 I think there’s a possibility that Sally’s death exacerbated Rika’s pre-existing negative personality traits, leading to paranoia and delusion. Ofc there could be other cues that I was not aware of.. But for sure, I agree that depression alone is not enough to elicit all those delusional roller coaster ride. Like you said, Chertiz should’ve added the same term (PDD) in Eng version as well to avoid creating loop holes.

        Anyway, it is interesting how everyone here is analyzing, looking deeper into the themes and contents of this game. Im glad I came across this blog/site 🙂


    • thank you for the insight! i wish they said that she had a mood disorder in the english version, since it explains it much much better.
      You are right as to psych wards being run as such. If you are in danger of hurting yourself or others they wont release you, and since Saeran did both after getting out of the hospital he obviously was not ready. Im not sure what kind of place they were in, but the psych ward there was most likely very short term, and if Saeran needed more help he would go into some kind of long term program somewhere else (and usually more long term stays you eventually gain more freedoms like being able to leave on weekends, using your phone, etc), though I guess they wanted to rush Saerans recovery and just have him act out then magically fix things (even though thats usually what gets you put into the hospital but.. the “happy ending” seemed a bit forced to me.
      Also I did make a mistake and got confused on V’s death, it was Saeran and suicide was the cover up


  28. Callie,

    I can’t reply on the trail anymore. i don’t see the reply option. Anyway, thank you again for the details 🙂 Hugs for you!! And oh I have the same plan in choosing routes too. I’m in Zen route now and I’m going straight to Jumin (I can’t hold it anymore) and Seven. I’m fine with spoilers. I’ve seen some convos with Jumin on Youtube and oh my gosh callie, I just want to finish Zen’s route FAST. hahaha

    Have a great day (or night)!


  29. I agree with most of your comments except that V comitted suicide. As I remember it/interpreted it, Searan had the gun and fired it. I got the impression V was saving Rika more than actually comitting suicide. I thought when they said he did so in the game it was to protect Searan. But as a whole I was left very unhappy with the secret endings. Apparently one of Jumin’s bad endings was a bit “R” rated as well according to my daughter. Otherwise, it’s a fun and addictive game.


    • Yeah V’s death was framed as suicide to protect Saeran from being investigated. Otherwise he would have to face charges against him. I guess it couldve been second degree murder… Since he had no intention to kill V. Hmm anyway, hope they make Saeran route for fun though lol it would be interesting.


  30. Hi all. I’m just new to the game. I just finished my first ending and it was a bad ending. And the little events brought to light sort of surprised me. To be honest, I played this coz I thought it was light, etc. but it wasn’t. Not that it’s bad, it is actually good since it isn’t one of those ordinary games with cute guys.

    What I’m trying to say is, I may not like spoilers sometimes but there are cases I wanna know the plot. So I’ve read some and I’d like to ask help if you guys can clear to me…. is Rika an antagonist? Coz I read he took Saeran to Mint Eye and there he was fed with drugs but then Seven was brought by “Rika” and V to RFA? I’m confused.

    I went back to 1st day and now I’m so scared of experiencing something brutal like Yoosung losing an eye, etc. I’ve talked a lot I’m so sorry hahaha I just feel confused.


    • I will try to avoid spoilers while still answering your questions.

      1) Rika is female, and was V’s lover/fiancee. She originally founded the RFA with V’s help, and supposedly committed suicide one and a half years ago under suspicious circumstances in that there was no proof of what happened to her, and only V’s testimony as to her suicide. Yoosung in particular is highly suspicious of this. Her role in the story is a lot bigger than you’re initially led to believe, but you really only hear much about her – and whether or not she’s an antagonist – on Seven’s route in Deep Mode. (Without spoilers, the best I can tell you about whether or not she’s an antagonist in canon is ‘it’s complicated’. Players may have very differing opinions of her behavior. I, personally, hate her.)

      2) Saeran and Seven (aka Saeyoung) are different people, and Rika did very different things with them.

      3) Even the best endings of some routes can be dark, regardless of your doing everything right. Yoosung’s is one of them, and you might want to avoid it if that’s too brutal for you. The secret endings you unlock after beating Seven’s route are *extremely* dark, but they also explain the full story behind the game that you only catch glimpses of in the other routes. Most bad endings that aren’t simply ‘you didn’t earn enough affection to proceed further’ are dark. If you only want light and fluffy things – which is perfectly valid – I recommend looking up a walkthrough to get the right answers for emails and chats so you can get the best endings, and possibly avoiding Yoosung’s route entirely. (The secret endings are completely optional and in fact cost hourglasses, so those are easily avoided if you don’t want them.)

      That said, most of the good endings are relatively safe in terms of enforced brutality. The only one of the best endings I’ve seen (and I’ve seen all but Jaehee’s; I’m still finishing her route) that has enforced an unavoidably dark theme in the ending itself – not counting the after endings – is Yoosung’s. Also, as you clearly have already heard about his eye, I can perhaps mitigate some of the horror of it by telling you he doesn’t lose the eye, he loses *sight* in one eye. Not as gory and horrific as the idea of him losing an eye outright is. And his after ending does address that in a way that makes it a happier ending. Most of the after endings wrap things up pleasantly as well, with only Seven’s after ending and his related secret endings venturing into dark territory. (But when they do, they’re undeniably the darkest parts of the game.)

      So, again – if you want a relaxed, more traditionally happy otome experience, use a guide and get the good endings, and you can decide whether Yoosung’s route, the bad endings, or the secret endings are worth it for you to experience.



        Yoosung is so hard not to love and I think it is so easy to take his route coz he is so lovable. I’ve read blogs and most of them gave a sequence on whose route to take (with Yoosung being the second). Did you do the same?

        So all of them have good endings right? I’d love to get Seven’s 🙂 and is it possible to take Jumin’s love away from Elly to me? hahaha

        Have fun playing and thank you so much!


      • No problem!

        In terms of routes, I definitely took a very weird and not ideal order, but that’s partly because spoilers don’t bother me and, in fact, I seek them out; I had no reason to go through the routes in any special order because I’d checked the wiki pages and already had a rough idea of what was going to happen. (Also, I bought hourglasses with real money so I didn’t have to save up the free-to-play way to unlock Deep Mode.) My order was Zen -> Jumin -> Seven -> Yoosung -> Jaehee, with today being my last day of Jaehee’s route. I did want to save Seven until last, even having spoiled myself, because I thought he’d be the most fulfilling route…but after having had to favor Jumin over my memelord baby so much in Jumin’s route, I couldn’t bear to wait any longer and had to do Seven next. If I had to suggest an order for others, I’d go Yoosung -> Zen -> Jaehee -> Jumin -> Seven. (Technically, there’s no pressing reason to do the first three Casual Mode routes in any certain order, or at least not enough of one that I’d argue you should strictly adhere to even against your personal preferences. My order for them is roughly based on an ascending order of route quality, where I think Zen’s route is better than Yoosung’s and Jaehee’s is better than Zen’s. That’s entirely subjective on my part.

        …well, mostly subjective. Jaehee’s route is adorable and I’ll fight anyone who argues.)

        I do recommend leaving Deep Mode, aka Jumin and Seven, for last. Not just because people playing for free may have enough hourglasses stored by then to unlock it, but because if you like Seven at all, playing Jumin’s route will make it very hard for you NOT to want to do Seven’s route immediately afterward, like I did. And Seven’s route is definitely the most involved in the game and gets into the heart of the plot that the other routes only allude to, so it should definitely come last if you care about sequence at all.

        They all have good endings in that you do wind up in a happy, committed relationship with your bachelor of choice(or, re: Jaehee, in a ~very deep friendship~ where any romantic developments, if they happen at all, are vaguely implied to be something that might transpire in the future). Beyond that, though, details and circumstances differ, and there can be dark or depressing aspects involved in the endings – especially Seven’s. They all end on a positive note, but Seven’s in particular is not devoid of sad and/or upsetting aspects as well. (Aspects that, as several people – myself included – may not feel were handled well or made a whole lot of sense.) That said, I still recommend getting Seven’s full ending to at least find out the full plot behind the game.

        re: Jumin and Elly, yes, his route definitely involves him re-adjusting his priorities.


  31. I’ll try not to dwell too much on things that have already been touched, such as V’s lack of innocence, but these are just a few of my thoughts on what you said.
    Firstly, one does not go into otome games, or most games with a complete sense of rationality. The characters are based off over the top stereotypes, the story is made to be as interesting as possible and as a self-inset avater, you’re not given much choice but to roll with it. The 11 day romance is a rather objective issue. Because I personally developed feelings for the characters, it didn’t quite bother me even though I believe in slow relationships, but a game that tries to be unique by running on real-time can’t make a 1 year or just several months relationship for just one route, as it can make it easy for people to lose intersest.
    In regards to Rika’s mental instability, while it certainly was over the top portrayal that is unlikely to enter the realms of reality, I don’t think it was ENTIRELY innacurate. As someone that has suffered from anxiety issues, depression and a bit of paranoia myself, the dark thoughts that run in peoples heads can go anywhere, whether to harm yourself or other people. It’s rather easy to set an emotionally fragile person off and humans have the most unpredictable things running through their heads. It should also be noted that there are quite a few criminals in reality who tend to harm others and do absurd things when they are losing it. Rika probably had her issues since child hood,,they had gotten worse with the years and she hadn’t gotten proper help for them. which I believe turned it from just ‘anxiety issues’ to insanity. Even if they had arrested her, she could have gotten out of her charges by pleading insane and the end result would just be her going to psychiatrist, which I want to believe she did in unseen parts of the story. V’s death served to shock reality into her, I wish they had found a way to fix her issues without killing him, but he DID have crimes to pay for, Cheritz unfortunately chose the death retribution route instead of prison..
    Saeren’s case not so easy to defend. Seayoung works on emotions in regards to his brother so, it doesn’t surprise me he would do something as dumb as breaking him out of the hospital. Most people can’t stand being locked up however, and Saeren is someone who has been locked up most of his life. I don’t know how, but I wished there was a way he could get help without having to be locked up, and he’s had enough drugs pumped into his system, adding anti-sepressent is not a result I want to see.
    As for the general ending…I admit that the game contradicts it’s own message, which is discussing your problems, with the only difference being that now more than one person has the burden to share (which I guess is a bit better than when V was the only one who knew). However there is a slight hint of realism. Sad things are not something anyone like talking about, as even in day to day conversations, people usually talk about trivial things and aren’t rather open with their anxiety. Not telling Yoosung the truth was something I could not judge since he idolized Rika and would go into deeper denial than he already did (I don’t know why they didn’t tell Zen though). I want to believe that the Mint-eye incident is something they will eventually talk about so as to heal out of their wounds, but the game has ended, so what happens after is based of your understanding of the characters and general hopes
    The gay thing is not for me to judge, not all countries are open to LGBT, mine inclusive, and to be honest, even in a country where it is open any sudden announcement of a person of high social status being gay will lead to a scandal (referring to the issue in Zen’s route).
    I accept the flaws of the game and cheritz is famous for making the true endings twisted, but my general enjoyment of the game made it difficult for me not to say anything in regards to your points. But then again, this is just my opinion and the blog is yours.


    • After reviewing what I wrote, I’d like to alter some things since I can’t edit.
      1. I still believe that Rika’s case had escalated from simple depression, but I wish there had been confirmation of her getting long term treatment. As for her hypocritical personality in Mint eye, that’s basically all Religious extremist leaders so it doesn’t really bother me.
      2. I looked through some older comments to get their view on the Saeren thing, and I have to admit, with all the mental stress it should have taken at least half a year for him to be stable enough to leave the hospital. Depression isn’t really common in country, especially if you were born and raised here, but like I said before, I’ve had slight mental problems so I studied a bit of the procedure even though I suddenly recovered before I could go for therapy. Maybe if Saeren hadn’t had drugs pumped into his system and childhood drama to boot it would have been more believable.
      3. I replayed the secret ending and I understand better why they kept the affair secret, but the message contradiction will forever bug me.


      • You said everything I wanted to say to offer a different perspective. I speak from experience when I say that I am not bothered by the depiction of mental illness in Rika. It’s just unfortunate that the depiction of mental illness wasn’t balanced out, so we don’t know how well Cheritz understands mental illness or not. But abusive and psychotic people do have mental issues themselves. It is case by case whether the psychotic break is from a mental illness that has entered its extreme/severe stage, or just a terrible mentality that is amplified and complicated by mental illness. What makes me optimistic is that Cheritz didn’t only say that she had depression/anxiety, she also had paranoia and delusions, which takes her vulnerability to the next level.

        =Trigger warning abuse/anxiety= To share an anecdote that proves anxiety can become abusive… My mother is abusive, and my father enabled her (like V did) trying to reassure her fears and shielding her from consequences for her actions. She had a terrible worldview and personality already, so the anxiety just turned that into a controlling and jealous and obsessive person.=end trigger warning=

        We can’t say all the characters have a mental illness, but they do all have issues and deep flaws and often act on emotion instead of reason. It’s really nice that their good endings offer resolution to these flaws, which makes me wish we could have a route with Rika. People are taking issue with Jumin, but he becomes less controlling in the end when you’re patient with him because he is suddenly bursting with emotion that he’s bottled up and denied himself for years. He honestly doesn’t know how to emote and be with another person. And unfortunately, as others have said, because of the game’s practical limits, we had to do this all in a few days when Jumin’s issues would normally take months or years to heal and unlearn before he could become more socially well-adjusted.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. It is quite possible that a large percentage of these characters are undiagnosed, and perhaps even in active denial that they have problems that perhaps could be solved with some measure of counseling. I am certainly no expert, but I believe that we should remain aware that we are hearing what the characters are saying, and not necessarily Cheritz’ opinion on these sensitive matters. The characters in this story are not omniscient, and neither are we. All we can do is guess, based on behaviors, what is going on with these characters, who live in an environment that is unfamiliar to some of us.

    I apologize if I am out of line here, I really would prefer to think positively about this group, as they do seem to have wanted to make a good game for the viewers to enjoy…


    • I agree. I don’t think Cheritz actually agrees with all the actions of their characters. We see this in how the characters disagree with each other. They’re just trying to show that each character has flaws and why, and how those flaws when unresolved just lead to making more similarly bad decisions. And that they make these bad decisions out of good intentions. One bad characteristic I think Cheritz might culturally condone is that relationships have to be so possessive, and that it’s desirable and romantic. I’m okay with using the words “you are mine” in a relationship, but the characters are excessive about it.

      The way I feel about the RFA continuing to have secrets after V’s death and being hypocrites is that Cheritz basically denied us a happy ending, and perhaps that is realistic. The characters didn’t understand why V kept those secrets until they found out those secrets themselves, then they understood why V lied and continued to protect others from those disturbing truths. Although I really did expect better of Jumin and Seven to reveal the truth. I don’t know how Cheritz actually feels about secrets. I would have liked all the characters to just be truthful to each other, at the very least about Rika. I especially wanted to see Yoosung’s reaction to the truth about Rika, but maybe that was too hard to write.


  33. To be honest, this game is really far away from reality, especially the fact that you only need 5 days to start a relationship with another person, WHICH you haven’t even meet in real life yet. Another thing, as one commentor said, some of the characters have over-the-top personalities(*ehem* Jumin *ehem*), which is kinda a turn off(but most otome games have lots of this anyway).

    I agree with your content, except the passage, “V didn’t do anything wrong”. He clearly is suffering from obsessive love towards Rika(because no one in their right mind would let themselves be blinded then just let that person go free and do what she wants because he love her). Just from Yoosung’s route, I am already in doubt that V is a good person. And boy, I am correct, when I reached the secret endings. V did not stop Rika, even if he knows that what she is doing is wrong. He even let her do what she wants, from drugging Saeran, to creating a large group (Mint eye), just to defeat RFA. This made me deduce that the secret endings are quite poorly written especially on how Seven tackles Saeran’s physiological state. If Seven really love his brother, he should have refer him to a proper psychiatrist, get him treated and support him properly. But he decided to just do it himself because he’s scared that the hospital will know who Saeran is. This is what made me dislike(sorry for the fangirls) Seven. The person who I thought is the most rational is actually stupid as F.

    In the end, what made me dislike the after endings, is the fact that V dies and the charges are put into him, while Rika is alive. Both of them should have suffered in jail and have a psychiatrist heal them. Another thing that I disliked, is how the members started to lie to each other. Zen and Yoosung believe that V killed himself, while Jumin, Jahee, Seven and MC are the only one who knew the truth. I thought that the RFA are family so why can’t they just tell the truth to the two other members? Seriously, the game turned into a worst state when the after endings happen.

    Anyway, I won’t recommend this to anyone who gets sensitive and emotionally triggered easily and to those who are suffering from depression and anxiety ’cause it will just worsen their state as a whole.


    • V didn’t do anything wrong by choice; he was emotionally manipulated by Rika and even if he knew what Rika was doing was bad, he couldn’t confront her. He was already injured by her, and think: what if Rika killed him? Rika threw all her anger on V, and if V wasn’t alive, she would have hurt someone else in the RFA, and for example, Yoosung would be the first victim. V was scared, was injured, and he didn’t make the best decisions, but it was all for the RFA. He wanted to protect them, even if that made him lie and do horrible things. And he was abused, so hey, your comment “because no one in their right mind would let themselves be blinded then just let that person go free and do what she wants because he love her” was very insensitive. Why domestic abused women don’t defend theirselves, huh? Because they aren’t in their right mind? They are scared. They lie to themselves. Their situation is not that easy. If V had been a woman, would you think the same?
      I don’t like the lying part either, I’ll be honest–but I kind of understand the situation. Zen and Yoosung are, by Zen words, “the most normal ones” (I disagree: Yoosung has his yandere streak), and especially Yoosung, had seen Rika as an angel. Knowing the truth would have been devastating, and while I always prefer the truth, the rest of the RFA might have been scared of their reactions. I’m sure Zen would leave RFA without hesitation, yes, but what about Yoosung? I honestly don’t know how he would react. The rest of the RFA thought sometimes ignorance is bliss.
      So please, try to think more about V’s character.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I actually made the main comment after finishing my first run through of the whole game, and I was really oblivious of the bigger picture(the reasons why V made such actions) during that time, so I blamed a lot of things against him.

        But after playing this game again many times, I realized that there must be a reason why V did something like that, and its not just his love for Rika. That’s why I agree with your statement, that he must be afraid or something like that.

        Hopefully, you didn’t got hurt by my words in my first comment and I apologized for the wrong choice of words I made(if its insensitive). I was close minded that time to just thinking of my own emotions instead of looking at the reason behind his actions.


      • oh no dont worry about it! Even if you made those statements with knowing everything i dont mind – of course i dont agree with that but everyone’s allowed their own opinion! im glad you were able to get the bigger picture and understand a bit better, i think a lot of people forget that v was also a victim and easily label him as a bad person when the situation is much bigger and more complicated than it may originally seem


    • ‘Publicly having an opinion that is different from your own’ isn’t actually a big fuss, unless you don’t think people should express opinions that fail to align with yours.

      That said – media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Reinforcing troubling themes and unpleasant stereotypes in media reinforces them, which makes it harder to get rid of them or the damage they do. People with depression, for example, have a hard time being understood or respected as it is, and those without depression often can’t understand it all. Rika is stated as having depression in the game as an excuse for her doing incredibly illogical and unethical things, behavior that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with depression and can’t remotely be explained by it. But players perceiving her actions as being rooted in her depression, who don’t know much about it already, will come away with a *very* skewed idea of it as a mental illness, and it’s likely to color their perceptions of – and reactions to – people with depression in the real world. So calling out misinformation or blatantly false and offensive portrayals of things in media is important, because media has a lot of impact in shaping people’s views on things. As such, all forms of media need to keep that responsibility in mind.

      The ability to not care about these issues isn’t universal. It’s a privilege. People who are personally affected by these issues HAVE to care about them, and empathetic people who don’t want others to suffer because of these kinds of things may choose to care even if they’re not personally affected. Only people who aren’t affected and don’t care about the people who are wave this sort of thing away.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. One thing I found really disturbing about the game is how possessive the characters act toward the player. You’ve known these “people” for FIVE DAYS and Zen wants you to move in with him, Yoosung is conflating you with Rika, and Jumin literally won’t let you leave his apartment and watches you sleep. I was so creeped out by Jumin. >.< I think there is something wrong with all these characters. Their behavior towards the player borders on abusive and it seems to me that they could all benefit from some kind of therapy. But as another commenter said, maybe that's a normal/stereotypical representation of people with mental disabilities in Korea. ???


    • Actually, this is a really common problem in almost all otome games, largely brought about by the fact that time parallels in otomes are hard to manage. Otome makers have several options:

      1) Make routes that take realistic months/years to develop both in terms of the time passing in-game AND the time passing for the player in the real world, with new content every day to keep players interested. (No one does this, it would be way too much work and expense for what are usually fairly casual games and, frankly, it’d be too hard to get players invested enough from the outset to stick it out through such a slow burn.)

      2) Make routes that take much more time for the player to play than is actually passing in the game world. (Most otomes do this.)

      3) Make routes that have a lot more time passing in the game world than the real one. (This doesn’t solve any problems, because it would mean glossing over huge swathes of time and development between the characters and relegate a lot of the romance to happening offscreen, with the player only being able to infer relationship development rather than being shown it or able to experience it. The only positive would be that it might feel like a more realistic relationship progression. I don’t see many otomes do this.)

      4) Make routes that have the same amount of time passing in the game world as the real one. (Mystic Messenger does this, and frankly it’s the only otome I’ve ever played that plays in real time. It’s very weird and took some adjusting to.)

      As you’ve noticed, both options 2 and 4 result in what feels like a VERY fast and unrealistic relationship progression, because it doesn’t reflect normal real world relationship progression but instead a very accelerated development of a romantic relationship. A lot of it, as I said, is due to practical concerns about otome game design. I’m sure there’s some secondary considerations about appealing to people’s desire for intense whirlwind romances as well. If you’re not accustomed to the way otome games are set up, the pacing is going to feel intensely unnatural to you – but when you consider the other, worse game design options that are available, you realize that you have to give some consideration to the medium. (This is also why a lot of issues and personality problems are wrapped up so quickly; it’s not just the pace of the romance that’s affected.)

      That said, you’re right about Jumin being way too possessive and creepy as a result; that has nothing to do with pacing. His saving grace is that he seems aware that he’s being unreasonable, but he begs for your understanding and forgiveness while he works out those issues. His behavior wasn’t justifiable, but I think it was at least respectful enough of the player – and wrapped up in valid concerns for your physical safety – that he can be given something of a pass on it. In my case, I was actually more creeped out by his putting the player on a pedestal and treating her as some perfect, flawless being, being so utterly devoted to you it bordered on alarming codependence. And unlike the locking you up and being possessive – which EVERYONE in-game, Jumin included, recognizes as a problem that needs addressing – he never gets called out on THAT particular unhealthy behavior, and as far as we know it continues indefinitely. That honestly bothered me even more than the player being locked up because none of the characters or, perhaps, the developers, realized it was obsessive and wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. To be fair to V, V may not have been mentally ill; it may have been a result of Rika being subtly manipulative and abusive, and that slowly getting worse over time – which is to say that Rika may have led him to being codependent through her abuse of him. A lot of abuse victims love and even cover for their abusers before they’re ready or able to break free of them. We never hear anything from V or Jumin about V’s having any serious issues before meeting Rika, and indeed he seemed pretty normal in their first conversation, so there’s a pretty good chance that the changes in him were caused by Rika.

    That doesn’t justify V’s actions at all, certainly, but it puts the ball of blame more in Rika’s court because that would make his actions symptoms of abuse that Rika inflicted on him.

    V is innocent to the same degree Saeran is innocent. They both did horrible things with terrible consequences that can’t just be waved away, but both of them had their minds warped by Rika and weren’t making what anyone could call informed, rational decisions. The only real difference with V is that no drugs were involved. And, in both cases, most of the blame should rest on the catalyst and not the instrument.


  36. I just prefer to think Rika had a much deeper issue that went undiagnosed because she was so insistent on hiding her illness from everyone, and that V not establishing consequences for her didn’t help … but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cheritz held those values about people with depression and anxiety. I’m Korean and there are a lot of stigmas behind mental illnesses especially in Korean culture, since it’s so competitive.

    Though I’ll be completely honest. I don’t object to 707 kidnapping Saeran to prevent him from going to a psych ward. I don’t know how psych wards are in Korea, but I’ve been to one in the US and it was hell. I was only there for 4 days but honestly I would’ve rather died lol


    • psych wards are.. not fun. no one really likes them, so i dont blame them. but even if it isnt fun sometimes its a matter of, will it HELP. is saeran in a state where he can be trusted to not harm himself and others? Which was probably not. We didn’t even get a glimpse of any sort of outpatient treatment after either, which was upsetting most of all to me because the boy obviously has many issues that he needs to get some sort of help for


  37. First of all, I agree 100% on Cheritz’s portrayal of mental illness. Most of the time, those suffering from mental illness do not pose a threat to others, but mainly themselves. They don’t go out and start cults and hurt others.

    However, I do find I disagree with some of what you said about V and how he ‘really didn’t do anything wrong’. Firstly, as a few others already stated, he did not commit suicide. He did indeed die when shot by Saeran. The others lied about V’s death to cover for Saeran. I admit it could be confusing with the fact Zen and Yoosung were saying he’d killed himself, but they were in the dark as well.

    As for whether or not V had done anything wrong, that’s a matter of opionion and I happen to believe he had committed grievous errors throughout the entire game. Sure he loved Rika, but his love was bordering on obsession from what I saw. Him telling her he would commit the crimes for her so that she could keep her hands clean, for one, showed that he was willing to do anything for her. He knew through their talks that she stopped going to therapy and that she had delusional ideas about creating a world so far outside the realm of reality that there could be no doubt V knew she truly needed help she was refusing. Even after she blinded him, V failed to get her the help she needed, choosing instead cover for her by lying to everyone, saying she committed suicide. He wasn’t doing Rika any good by doing this. What he did was in fact allow her the chance to harm others when he let her go.

    Even after V found out Rika had taken Saeran and used him in hurtful ways, V still did nothing to inform authorities, not did he inform Seven of Saeran’s brainwashing and abuse. This.. THIS is what I cannot forgive. Seven trusted V and Rika to help his brother. He put Saeran’s life in their hands and V let Rika hurt him beyond imaginable ways. And what was V’s excuse for not telling Seven? He knew how much he cared about his brother and didn’t want to hurt Seven by telling him. What complete BS! He was covering for Rika even then, trying to find a way to get Saeran away. He had no intention of ever telling Seven. Even when Seven saw Saeran with his own eyes and tried to talk to V about it, V still tried to cover it up and pretend he knew nothing. So I’m sorry. Don’t tell me V did nothing wrong. He did so many things wrong, mainly to protect Rika.

    And I still believe V had a touch of mental illness himself. What mentally sound person would not get their loved one help they need and go so far as to allow that person to physically harm them, even encouraging it? I’m my eyes, V was far from innocent in all this. He was an enabler and in some ways an accomplice to Rika’s crimes. I don’t know about laws in Korea, but here, if you know a crime is being committed and you fail to report it (or in V’s case, also cover it up), you can be tried as an accomplice.

    Do I think V was used as a fall guy the entire game? Sure. But that was his own doing. He wanted to be blamed. He was covering for Rika the entire time.

    Another thing that irked me was the bomb. What the actual hell? Rika, V and Seven all get the blame for that piece of work. Jumin said it best when he called to light everything I’d said the second I found out about the bomb: a bomb in an apartment isn’t going to take out the documents and an intruder alone. There would be dozens of casualties. For someone who claims to want to help people and promotes love and a pain free world, that was as far her goal as possible.

    Do I think V deserved to die? No. In fact, I’d have been happier to have seen both V and Rika behind bars for what they’d done (Rika in a place where she could get the help she truly needs). The entire ending was so far off for me, it left me more angry then anything. Because when all was said and done, Rika got away with her crimes and probably will never get help (you can’t tell me that place in Alaska will hold her help her given that last scene with Yoosung), V died needlessly leading to a cover-up and yet more lies within the RFA, Seven took on his brother’s rehabilitation which will likely end in failure since he has no training, and the RFA members are now a bunch of hypocrites as they each lied/hid things from other members-doing what they’d all chastised V for doing in the first place. The end.

    Again, this is only my opionion. But I honestly don’t believe V was innocent. I just don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • couldn’t have said it better (although i disagree with the part where you say V may have had a mental illness himself because he protected Rika. mentally ill people don’t have the monopoly on irrationality)

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with what you said about V, and this is coming from someone whose favorite character in the game IS V. He was not innocent and “enabler” was a good word for him. We see a lot of those in real life. His actions and words, further twisted Rika. Which makes me wonder about his own past and what had given him such an outlook on love.

      I also agree about RFA being covered in so much more lies than necessary. That is why I find Secret 02 a little hard to accept. Being a student in the medical field, I know that hospitals, facilities, psych wards are there to help, and YES there are confidentiality policies that protect the identity of the patient.

      I find it hard to believe that the RFA would continue to exist in the future. The current situation they have just does not seem like it will foster good relationships. All Seven thinks about is protecting Saeran, in his own way, that he even hinders Jumin and Jaehee’s investigation. And add that Zen and Yoosung hid away Rika to protect her, granted they were kept in the dark, but considering Yoosung’s own circumstances, I have this tiny little hunch he would still try to hide her if he had known what happened.

      What frustrates me the most is how because secret endings happen with seven x mc as a canon, we just sit there as the MC and take all this, even when we know it is wrong. Like, what happened to being in a relationship and being able to tell your significant other what you think about the situation, offering healthy advice, and whatnot?


      • The secret endings were frustrating and very far from satisfying which I 100% agree with.

        As for V, no he definitely isn’t completely innocent. He could have done things differently. But you also have to ask, can you completely blame him? Again, V was trying to help Rika even with little to no knowe\ledge on mental illness. To me at least, while reporting what she had done is what SHOULD have happened, but at this point remember that V was a victim of Rika’s abuse, both emotional AND physical. Its important to note many things about how abuse victims feel, scared, forced to believe their abusers are right, etc. I wont go into it because im not the most knowledgable on the subject but I don’t think its fair to say V is trying to encourage her crimes. He didnt like them, but became a victim to them as well. So no, he is not innocent. But put yourself in his shoes, what he endured. It isn’t as simple as he is/isn’t innocent.


  38. it’s a game. I understand the whole mental illness thing on a personal level, yes, but… it’s fiction. Yeah, the whole thing with Saeran bothered me, and V was such a ball of candyfloss and the way he was used in the game was awful, but this isn’t real life. I guess I partly agree with you. Some of these situations were extreme, but the worst thing you can do is take it to heart.


    • It is a game, but again it is something that has closely affected me and the treatment of it was really poor. Having good representation, that of proper care and treatment, accurate mental illness presentation, it may seem dumb but thats how a lot of people learn and see these things. Having these things included, having these things be different, can help many people who suffer from these things (which is much more common than many believe) to be more at ease and hopefully be informative to those who aren’t aware


      • But do you know that what you say doesn’t make sense? It is JUST a game. That’s like complaining about a kdrama, for example, and say that the woman who was shot in the head shouldn’t have survived and been up walking and talking like normal. It’s fake. Not real. I’m sorry if you fell into the game but that’s on you to separate fantasy from reality. This game was never meant to “help” mentally ill people therefore it’s on you if you get offended, especially about the whole gay thing. This game came from Korea. They are SOOOO closed off to different sexualities so it didn’t bother me one bit. Even if I didn’t know that about them, it still wouldn’t bother me because it’s a game! I can easily uninstall the game if I’m offended. Plus, they seem to be closed off about mental illness as well since I hardly ever hear anyone talk about having an illness. It’s a very personal thing to them that you have to fix which sounds bad but, hey, different cultures, different life style. Like I said, if you had problems with it then, sorry, truly, but I think the game is perfectly fine. It has a story line. The reason why some events went to the extremes is because it’s a game, similar to that of a drama, so the suspense only comes from overly exaggerated scenes. Now, I’m not saying that just because it’s a game, it’s ok. That’s not it. I’m saying that this is the storyline, similar to watching a drama. If you made it too realistic, it would be boring, possibly lack suspense, romance, action (mentally). In this case, I can say it’s JUST a game. You don’t have to play it 🙂 I admit that it is extremely addictive but still. You wouldn’t try to walk through fire if it burned you. You wouldn’t continue to play a game that offended you^^ Of course that determines who you are exactly but still. This game wasn’t meant to be 100% accurate to life since, well, it’s entirely fake.
        So please calm down. This was just a game purely for enjoyment of women (hence the makers, Cheritz). Sadly enough, I believe, after hearing your complaints, that they should’ve put a warning on the app saying “Not suitable for the mentally/emotionally unstable”. It’s not good to make yourself feel worse, however, even with a warning, people would still play it. Only difference, you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it since there was a warning and….you get the point. BUT! That did not happen so of course you have the right to complain. I just want you to know that you could’ve stopped playing at any time if it offended you^^ Honestly, don’t do that to yourself if it’s not making you feel ok 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • it IS a game. I’m not sure why you, and many others, think I don’t understand that concept. HOWEVER, it is media that is put out in the public. I’m allowed my own opinion on it, and i’m allowed to voice it and discuss it, just like everyone else here. If you had no issues with the game, I’m not sure why you find it so worth your time to come and write long paragraphs telling me my opinion is irrelevant. Just like you said I could stop playing the game (which, by the way, I don’t and probably won’t replay any parts that upset me), you could have just stopped reading my review/criticism. It’s JUST a review. I could use the same logic you did but it wouldn’t matter. I have my opinion, I expressed it, let others express theirs, that’s it. Just because it isn’t “real” doesn’t mean you can’t feel anything from it, otherwise it wouldn’t have to be so dramatic and unrealistic to try and spark emotions from people.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. what’s also annoying is if you are not female and playing this game and hit the but im not a girl option at the beginning, they are like what?! i’ll call you a girl anyway??? it’s really not that hard to use gender neutral pronouns or just the player’s name but w/e this is a hetero-normative game idk what i was expecting…..

    Liked by 3 people

      • To be fair, there’s nothing that says only women can enjoy dating sim games, or anything that says a dating sim protagonist has to be female regardless of the gender of the player. A dating sim with a MC of ambiguous gender would obviously be ideal, because then anyone can identify themselves with the main character when they play.

        That said, there’s also nothing wrong with games aimed at a particular audience, either; women don’t get enough games aimed toward their consumption, generally. But I don’t think the particular criticism here is wrong, primarily because the game *gives you the option* to say you’re not female – essentially teases the idea of saying you’re male or nonbinary – and then overrides that choice even if you choose it. It’s one thing to expect representation in a medium that caters to a specific audience you’re not really part of, but it’s another matter to complain about a game going out of its way to give you a choice that suggests it’ll let you customize your experience to who you are and then yank it away like a dollar bill on a string. If Cheritz was always going to make you play MM as a girl, why let you deny you’re a girl if they’re going to ignore you selected that? They could have simply not put that option in, rather than toying with the player’s hopes.

        Liked by 3 people

      • 1) While the intended audience for otomes is largely female, it doesn’t have to be exclusionary. I’ve never understood why more games don’t just let you pick the gender of your played character. Doing a find/replace of pronouns isn’t exactly hard in this day and age. And even if the people playing otomes who aren’t girls are in the minority, what’s wrong with acknowledging them a little? That’s how you broaden your audience, frankly.

        2) You’re missing the point of the objection. No one’s asking ‘why is the main character female by default’, because frankly in the world of otomes that question answers itself. Even if it would be NICE for other options to exist, no one’s surprised by a default female character in an otome. What people are complaining about is “why did they go so far as to offer us this choice and then ignore the choice we made? Why did they taunt us with a selection that was *never going to do anything*?” That’s a much harder question. That’s like asking someone if they want to go to a party, letting them answer, and then telling them – no matter what their answer is – “well, you’re not invited anyway”. Why would you go out of your way to make an offer you’re not actually planning on letting people take? Why would Cheritz?

        I don’t blame people for feeling insulted by the juke. There’s no logical reason to fake out fans who might not want to play as a girl. That option didn’t have to be in the game at all.

        Liked by 3 people

    • This was one of my biggest issues! I use he/him pronouns and was really bummed when I discovered that you couldn’t choose gender neutral or male instead of it being assumed that you were a girl. I would really suggest that Cheritz change this.

      Liked by 2 people

      • it would be really nice for otome games to be inclusive and not make it assume you are a girl. Like another commenter Callie said, protags are usually blank slates, so having their gender not outright stated (even if they still have a more feminine look) would still be great! I think a lot of otomes are more than just cheesy romance – some have incredibly well written and grasping stories, so having it be written to a wider audience who can enjoy not only the romance but the great plot aspects of many of the games, I think it would be really wonderful.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Idk why you guys expect everything to ADAPT to your needs. This is a game catered to WOMEN. Why play this if you use he/him pronouns and then complain at a game made for women? go play Dramatical Murder if you want something that is catered to your own type. Geez.

        Liked by 2 people

      • If you weren’t such an obvious and honestly tedious troll, I might bother acknowledging you with an actual response. But you wouldn’t listen and you don’t actually care about anything other than annoying people, so I’ll just leave you to that ignoble pursuit and everything it says about you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “dramatical murder” you mean the yaoi game thats catered towards women who like bl? not to mention its pornographic, whereas MM doesnt get an 18+ rating.
        I dont see your point at “adapting” to peoples needs. If they have fans that arent women, why cant they be recognized, too? It’s honestly sad how you felt the need to comb through comments and use such a ridiculous name to try to be rude to people in an open discussion. Find somewhere else to complain about “special snowflakes”

        Liked by 2 people

    • Just in case you guys didn’t know, Cheritz ONLY makes games for women. Not men who label themselves as women and not for women who label themselves as men, The company is a Korean company, you would have to look into Korea to understand what I mean by all of this. It is in no way surprising that the didn’t have an option to mix genders. They are very closed off about that. Maybe if this was a Japanese game but this is nothing coming from Korea. Don’t hate, that’s just how they are.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, now we’ve left the realm of ‘lack of inclusiveness’ and entered the realm of ‘straight up bigotry and transphobia’. In one sentence you’ve lost all credibility – because it’s clear you have no idea what you’re talking about – and you need to stop talking.

        Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary people are nonbinary. Genderfluid people are whatever label they feel fits them best. All gender labels – which means even cis people calling themselves ‘men’ and ‘women’ – are completely arbitrary words that we, as people, gave meaning to(that’s how words work, in fact). And people are allowed to redefine those words over time, because that’s how language advances. Saying “I refuse to let you use this word for yourself that makes you feel comfortable in your identity because I don’t want you to” isn’t just selfish and disgusting; it’s implying that you have more of a right to determine how a person should identify themselves than they do. You don’t. Not even society as a whole can define someone’s identity for them. They define it for themselves.

        I’m not going to quote your transphobic comment directly because, frankly, I think your entire comment deserves deletion and it doesn’t deserve direct reference. And none of the rest of your remarks bear addressing because there’s no point in arguing with someone who has no idea what they’re talking about.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Also, in response to your other comment – “This game was never meant to “help” mentally ill people therefore it’s on you if you get offended, especially about the whole gay thing”. This has to be about the most myopic thing anyone has said in a comment yet. Okay, so it wasn’t meant to help us – does that mean it’s meant to hurt us? Because it’s one thing for a game to not touch on the subject of mental illness; that’s taking a neutral stance. It’s another for a game to address it positively, in a way that highlights consideration for people with mental illness (without necessarily excusing their actions, especially if they refuse treatment and then act out as a result of their untreated mental illness – something Rika did) and/or debunks old and damaging sterotypes; that would be helping mentally ill people. Hurting mentally ill people would take the form of rehashing old, damaging stereotypes, or completely mis-characterizing how people with mental illnesses behave. This last is what Cheritz did.

        I have PTSD, anxiety, and depression. I have MORE wrong with me than the game (the English translation, at least – apparently the Korean translation handled it much better, but I have to judge the game as I played it, and as my fellow English speakers will be playing it) said was wrong with Rika. Somehow, I have resisted the urge to create a brainwashed cult of violent terrorists. And yet, how will people who DON’T already know how depression and paranoid anxiety work – and that they don’t work ANYTHING like how Cheritz presents it – view people who have depression and anxiety after they play this game? After Cheritz tells them that those things basically lead to an eventual personality deterioration until they become violent and evil to the people around them? The fact that Mystic Messenger is a game doesn’t change the fact that it’s perpetuating harmful stereotypes that affect people like me IN REAL LIFE. That shape the way people view me and my need for therapy and medication IN REAL LIFE. I’ve said it before, but media HELPS SHAPE OUR CULTURE. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum where nothing that happens in fiction has any effect on the real world. “The cake is a lie” is from a video game, but it became a meme in real life because Portal left an imprint on pop culture with its popularity. That’s a benign (if dated) example. BUT IT CAN AFFECT OUR CULTURE NEGATIVELY, TOO. It cuts both ways. It always has. The argument that something is ‘just a game’ is utterly meaningless. If we’re offended over something in a game, it usually means that it’s something in the game that AFFECTS US PERSONALLY IN OUR REAL LIVES. Even something that triggers someone on a personal level – like, say, if a victim of domestic violence gets triggered by mentions of domestic abuse – the fact that it’s a game doesn’t change the fact that it’s having a PERSONAL EFFECT ON THAT PERSON. It might set off a complete panic attack. Telling them it’s just a game completely ignores that games can have real world negative effects, and thus that argument has no meaning and never has.

        I suggest you should rephrase your argument to “I don’t care about this, and therefore no one else should”, because that’s clearly what you’re trying to weasel around actually saying.

        PS: The fact that Korea is not currently open and accepting to trans/nonbinary/genderfluid people doesn’t mean we should stop pressuring them to become so, or just accept that they aren’t, because there are people those attitudes affect negatively. In – you guessed it – real life. And uninstalling games that offend us, rather than vocally demanding better of them, just means zero pressure for society to change or include people rather than offending them. It invites stagnation and zero positive social change. It says “bigotry and transphobia is fine, and anyone who doesn’t like it should just accept that they can’t enjoy all the nice things those of us who are perfectly okay with bigotry and transphobia can. Sucks to be them! Man, why can’t they just sit back and enjoy their oppression like I, a person not experiencing their oppression, can?” (Spoiler alert: you answered your own question in that last sentence.)

        Why do you think people who have more problems than you do deserve fewer nice things? You’d rather warn people off from playing a game you evidently enjoy than ask that Cheritz make it into something they could enjoy, too. You think trans/nonbinary/genderfluid people and those of us with mental illnesses should have less than you do, and that if we can’t enjoy works that antagonize, ignore, or misrepresent us, that it’s OUR OWN FAULT FOR BEING SENSITIVE TO ISSUES THAT AFFECT OUR DAILY LIVES AND PERSONAL WELL-BEING. Because YOU don’t care about things that negatively impact the qualify of life for other people, so why should anyone?

        The fact is, we have to care twice as hard about these things to make up for people like you, who don’t care about them at all. If everyone cared, these problems wouldn’t even exist, but sadly we don’t live in that kind of world.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Lmao funny how you guys talk as if you know me. Almost all of my friends are apart of the LGBT community. This game has nothing to do with this. I’ll state this again in laymans terms. It is immature to get your panties in a wad over a game. I know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. You guys are clearly too naive to decipher a game from reality and the fact that it’s from a game company in Korea. It is SO naive of you guys to get shook up over this. Are you 5? Just stop playing if it bothers you. I was being nice but now I see how mentally lacking you guys are. Women are women. If you are trans, you are not initially a woman. You may have become a woman through that process but I’m talking about it through the games perspective. Which the majority of you can’t seem to understand! It makes me laugh how powerful the LGBT community THINKS they are. You guys were fine keeping to yourselves but don’t think to highly just because you aren’t “normal”. Or should I say, you’re “different”? I know more than you think and the fact that you assume I’m homophobic is hilarious. Wow, I guess everyone on the internet really are children lmao. If you have a problem, quit. Seriously….how immature.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You’re calling us immature and yet you can’t make a valid argument and just kept insulting us saying we’re naive, five years old, and immature. Having friends in the LGBT community doesn’t excuse you from being homophobic, transphobic, etc. You practically proved your point in being so in your own comment.

        Liked by 3 people

      • See, the thing is that when a queer, mentally ill person tells you that you’re being homophobic, transphobic, and ableist, it doesn’t really matter if you think you are, or even if you intend to be. That’s like telling someone whose foot you’re currently standing on that since you don’t THINK you’re stepping on their foot, and you certainly never INTENDED to stepping on their foot, you’re clearly not stepping on their foot. You’re not the one who’s hurting. You’re not the one in a position to know. (Also, the “I have X number of friends in the Y community so I can’t possibly be problematic” is a defense used by so many racists and homophobes and generally gross people that it’s basically a trope. All that statement does is make me feel sorry for the crap your friends have to swallow from you in the name of not losing your friendship. Personally, if I were them, I’d take the loss. Being around attitudes like yours is damaging enough in the long run that no friendship is worth the gradual erosion of self-worth.)

        You’re the one who’s purporting to speak for Cheritz, their intended audience, their intent for their game, women, trans people, mentally ill people, and now the majority of the commenters here…even though I’ve literally been the only one to bother speaking to you, and I imagine I will continue to be because most people don’t have enough free time to fritter away on an obvious lost cause. I’m trying to explain the social impact of media upon prevalent culture to you, and you’re throwing childish insults and, essentially, a tantrum because some of us are capable of recognizing that YOUR experience and YOUR never feeling any lasting negative social impact from a game are not a universal experience. If anyone’s naive and incapable of grasping complex concepts here, I’d hazard it’s the one throwing insults like a monkey flings feces, hoping that if you call me childish enough times it’ll somehow make it less obvious which of the two of us is mature, educated, and has even the faintest idea what they’re talking about.

        Do your LGBT friends know that you throw our entire community under the bus, laughing at us and calling us weak and telling us we were only tolerable when we ‘kept to ourselves’, as soon as one of us disagrees with you online? Because if that’s the sort of thing they know about you, I can all but promise that they don’t describe you as a friend. You’re someone they have to tolerate. You are actively hurting them on the regular, and they put up with it because you’re in a position to do them exponentially more damage if they cut contact with you, you’re friends with people they value more, or you – as miserable an experience as you are – are the best they’ve got in a community that’s even more blatantly homophobic.

        I’m telling you right here, right now, directly, as a queer person and a mentally ill person and a human rights activist – you are transphobic. You are homophobic. You are ableist. You’ve barely made it through a single sentence in any of your comments, much less a whole paragraph, without saying something actively hurtful to trans people, the LGBT community, or to mentally ill people. You’re advocating we should accept the status quo of not being acknowledged, or being the butt of harmful stereotypes(stereotypes which lead to real world abuses), so that you don’t have to think about us or the damage the media you enjoy can do to us. You don’t care about us, and – especially with the trans stuff – you’re fine with actively hurting some of us. This isn’t open to negotiation, or your interpretation. You’re actively attacking a queer, mentally ill woman and insulting the LGBT community over – as you put it – ‘just a game’.

        I won’t reply again. You’re clearly not capable of understanding and, frankly, I don’t want to give you any more excuses to continue with your hateful, harmful rhetoric on this site.

        Liked by 4 people

      • And it’s still funny because you’re trying to talk as if you know me. My friends love me because I understand them. Taking what you said. Yeah I may be standing on your foot….as your delusion. Still trying to speak as if you know everything. I never once said there wasn’t a problem with it. Again, you aren’t understanding that they don’t have to follow foreign standards. I don’t and never said I did. I’m just telling you that you are expecting WAY too much from a country that’s never gonna give any time soon. I support the LGBT community. I’m all for it but complaining about a game is a different story. I’m trying to get you to see that Korea accepting LGBT’s is like the USA accepting and being open to murder. The chance is close to none. I wish it wasn’t but that’s how it is. Don’t try to tell me when I’m dishing you facts and advice. My friends who are LGBT have played this game. They’re the ones who told me to play it. Not one of them got pissy because of the gender roles. HOWEVER, I never said it wouldn’t offered people. Maybe if you read what I wrote you would’ve seen that already. I said I understood that people may need more options yet when you download the game, it’s VERY clear that it’s directed for women (meaning those born as women, majority of them being straight). THAT is what I was saying. I have nothing against that but if you still let a game affect you in the real world, that’s a personal problem that you need to fix. I wasn’t against your review, I simply stated a genuine, nice opinion. There was no need to get pissy over it. So please be mature when replying. Also, read the reviews and game details before playing a game like that so you don’t get offened. I’m being serious.

        Liked by 4 people

      • As another mentally ill queer person:

        you are being a huge bigot on multiple levels and there is literally a trope called “some of my best friends are x” to demonstrate how it’s practically evidence that you are on some level a bigot

        I could write a longer post but if you are acting this childish and bigoted in response to Callie’s perfectly well thought out responses, then there is no hope for you as you have no desire to listen, so I’m just going to call you out as you should be.

        Best wishes for your friends, ‘tho, they clearly deserve better than how you are at this levle

        Liked by 1 person

      • you obviously have little understanding of gender if youre calling people “men who label themselves as women” and soforth. Cheritz’ games are catered towards and made for women, but seeing as they are – and have been – making games with international releases with english localizations, it would make sense for them to be aware of things outside of their home country.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Cheritz’s slogan:
      “Sweet solutions for female gamers”

      These games are intended for people who identify as “female”, not he/zhe/etc. The MC is drawn female. Also, unlike America, I can confidently say most other countries think this “gender neutral pronoun” deal is quite frankly pathetic. Especially in asian countries like South Korea

      Of all the things to complain about, like you can’t romance Jaehee, you complain about THIS? Jesus christ…

      Liked by 2 people

      • If the games are intended for female gamers, then why include an option to say you’re not female? An option that does nothing, which they still went out of their way to include? Your argument doesn’t make their decision to include that option make any more sense. There IS no argument which makes that option make sense. All your argument does is make it seem like Cheritz was deliberately trying to mock anyone who might play their games that wasn’t a girl, which isn’t exactly a stellar defense of the company.

        Also, I’ll say it again – otomes have a wider audience than just women. Companies that fail to take that into account are only harming themselves. And it’s not surprising that people who thought that Cheritz might be acknowledging their portion of the market – against all expectations – would be disappointed and upset to find out that no, they’d literally included a meaningless option as some kind of joke at the expense of their non-female fans.

        Also, many cultures embrace the idea of gender fluidity or being transgender. (India has a third gender comprised of Hijras, and used to outright revere them; a brief Google search seems to indicate that India might actually be becoming infected with intolerance from countries like the US in more recent years.) I didn’t know we’d started basing our expectations on the lowest standards held by the international community. I kind of thought we were meant to raise the bar by pushing for those falling below it to aspire higher.

        Liked by 1 person

  40. I agree so much with what you’ve posted. Mental illness seems like a joke here, I mean, it’s used as something that drives the story. The conflict is not confusing enough, imagine if Rika doesn’t have any mental illness, then any of this wouldn’t happen. Maybe because I’ve read a lot of novels, I expected a high-rated game to have complicated problems that won’t be solved just by removing one variable, but I feel really disappointed knowing that my expectation is too high for a game like this. Another of my disappointment is, what 707 did to his brother is… irrational. We all know that throughout the story, 707 is the SMARTEST, although not the most logical guy. He should’ve known that you can’t let someone in unstable condition, especially an aggressive one, outside of psychiatrist’s supervision. I’m studying medical, so I know that although mental illness is hard to cure, you shouldn’t take matters into your own hands. Let the experts handle it. The medicines used are not bad, they HELP you, and if your condition becomes more stable, the psychiatrist will lower your dose until you can go on with life without the medicines. And there is “medical confidentiality” too so IMO it’s unnecessary to get so worked up about Saeran identity being leaked out. You just don’t keep someone who tried to strangle you and KILL HIMSELF under the same roof as you. These things BUG ME SOOO MUCH that I actually lose all motivation to play this game again after seeing the secret ending. At first I was so happy when I finally get 707 good ending, I thought “Well even if he’s a bit emotional sometimes, it’s okay because he’s human. As long as he can be rational afterwards, I don’t mind.” But hey, look at him getting *I’m so sorry for writing this, didn’t mean to offend anyone* stupider in each episode of secret ending. It keeps dragging on and on just about “Saeran here Saeran there everywhere Saeran”, even I’m getting tired seeing all that 707 said is “Saeran…” If I may make a suggestion, just watch the secret ending at youtube, IMO it’s not really worth it to buy each of them for 10H (which means you need 140H to unlock all the episodes). I’m sorry if my comment is too long, I feel a lot better after writing all of this. I can’t recommend this game to my friends because it lacks details and… reality. It’s just… the answers to the chats sometimes don’t make sense, and the story is nowhere near realistic. Nonetheless this game is quite fun to play, and I appreciate everything Cheritz has put into this game (because making a game is not as easy as it looks).


    • I agree 100%. Even if the mental facilities weren’t the best, he could’ve sent saeran elsewhere, at LEAST gotten him outpatient cure. Like you said, he tried to commit suicide and then homicide, you dont just “get over” that. Yes it is fiction but, it is upsetting knowing that Saeran is probably still struggling yet probably won’t get any help because of the negative views of mental health treatment even though there are a lot of options, even if it is sending him somewhere else (like they did with Rika) for treatment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s