I have previously covered Rune Factory 4’s bachelors with great enthusiasm, so it’s time to take the plunge and express the love I have for a few bachelors of the Harvest Moon series this time.
My picks will be from Marvelous’ entries only, as I’m sure plenty of us will agree that the Harvest Moon games were at their very best before Natsume kept the series’ naming rights, and what was once Harvest Moon became Story of Seasons.
I may very well be proven wrong by Harvest Moon: One World’s upcoming release however – some of those bachelors are looking absolutely splendid. I’m also limited to titles since 2008 due to not having experienced any earlier entries — something which I hope to amend sooner rather than later. Everyone’s favourite husbandos will always be different, so let me know your favourites in the comments and on the usual social channels!
Rod from Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning may very well be one of the most polarising titles of the series. This is mostly due to some new gameplay mechanics — many of which stayed exclusive to A New Beginning to this very day.
Having to build houses and renovate is a lot on top of the tried and true formula of Harvest Moon, and not only is this an additional layer to the gameplay, the very slow arrivals of new villagers also tests the player’s patience as certain buildings need to be successfully implemented before some characters can be met at all. And one such example of having to keep your options open when it comes to marriage prospects is the adorable Rod.
Rod loves his animals as much as Neil does. While the latter is the tsundere of A New Beginning — and often regarded as the most popular bachelor in the title (notice his return as a marriage candidate in the upcoming Story of Seasons Pioneers of Olive Town DLC as proof!) — once Rod had joined by the mid-point of the game, my attention was fully taken and reserved for him exclusively.
He has all the characteristics you would want in a partner, being a sweet, caring and reliable guy with a heart of gold. Take his second heart event, for example, where he notices you struggling to reach a hill to enjoy a picnic together. My favourite heart event to this day, however, is his final one, with an agitated Allen asking us why we started dating him in the first place.
Despite how optimistic Rod is most of the time, he still has his moments of vulnerability, from feeling like he doesn’t know enough about his beloved animals, to him chatting away about you to an uninterested Allen. For such a simple scene it portrays so much in highlighting that even the happiest people have their moments of doubt, and shows how we encourage him to be himself. His cute smile deserves protection.
Cliff from Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Admission time: I got into the Harvest Moon series far too late to experience the older titles, as I played from 2008’s Animal Parade onwards to each newer installment. This meant that I was ecstatic to experience the Nintendo Switch remake of the highly regarded Game Boy Advance title, Friends of Mineral Town after, so many years. In this new version, each character received an overhaul of their design — and while even I greatly miss the adorable, retro style of its original character designs for the most part, Cliff has never looked better.
I’m drawn to Cliff so much for pretty personal reasons, but these reasons are also quite telling of why he is so popular as a bachelor. Cliff is a shy guy, making us two peas in a pod, and his emotionally enriching journey, triggered by us simply talking to the meek young man for the first time, is a very pleasant surprise and is truly heartfelt.
Starting out jobless and feeling like he doesn’t quite fit into Mineral Town, his character growth is a joy to watch and be a part of. One of his events highlights how he believes his overthinking to be a major weakness — something which will be extremely relatable for many — us acknowledging it goes to show how we notice this side of him, and that we are willing to embrace it rather than think of it as a “flaw”.
It’s such a wholesome and encouraging experience, whether it’s learning of Cliff’s concerns about being a burden to others, or seeing him finally feeling at home with you and in Mineral Town when romancing him.
Hinata from Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
Maybe you could blame the fact that I married Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright’s very own Hinata, who has the same hardworking and enthusiastic personality of Story of Season’s Hinata, to explain my love for this sweetheart. From the very first time you meet him, his blushing face will frequently make an appearance, and it’s a sight to behold every time — and an indication of his immediate interest in you. On top of some very sweet and entertaining love events, his confession will fill your heart to the brim with pure bliss.
His light green love event is very memorable for how wholesome it is. Based on his passion for pursuing a future career in theatre, it features a passionate dialogue exchange between two lovers, Orin and Jiro, played by you and Hinata. Mid-way through the scene, Hinata starts using your name instead of Orin. While the correct reaction is to keep up with the line exchanges, after you excuse yourself once the scene is wrapped up, Hinata facepalms and hopes you wouldn’t notice he meant what he said. He would later confirm once you confess your feelings however.
He has his troublesome sides too, since his inexperience when it comes to romance makes a few of his lines once married come across as quite clingy. And as expected of the Harvest Moon series, your spouses will cook for you — but Hinata sometimes serves you just rice. But nobody is perfect, right?
Klaus from Story of Seasons
Older and mature love interest alert! Story of Seasons has a very strong bachelor line-up if you ask me. Raeger is hard to resist, Fritz is the cutest entity to have ever existed, and Kamil was a heartthrob back in Tale of Two Towns who makes a return here.
But it was the sensible and considerate nature of Klaus that had me gushing as much as I do when playing dating sims, immediately setting my sights on him to marry. In fact his purple heart event is a scene that will be all too familiar to any otome player, as Klaus warns the player of how their correctly chosen answer of “I just want to see you” comes across as romantic; it ends up flaring up our player character’s face due to it being an innocent slip up. Or was it?
As a gentleman, his first event has him concocting a pleasant and calming fragrance for you, along with some treats and coffee that indicates how quickly he comes to care for us. While Klaus also has a few questionable characteristics, such as a consistent habit of bringing up the age difference between him and the player, or how he can sometimes come across as condescending, I don’t care; my opinions are usually the unpopular kind. (You’re among friends here, we all love the unpopular opinions – Ed.) I won’t complain if I can keep him to myself though.
Toby from Harvest Moon: Animal Parade and Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility
Toby was my first crush of the Harvest Moon series, despite him being rather unpopular or at least neutral to many other players’ tastes.
Toby is a lot more “normal” compared to many of the other Harvest Moon bachelors, with a very laid-back personality, but his friendly disposition and always content expressions right off the bat makes for a lovely and appealing romantic interest. As one of the first villagers you meet, you quickly feel at home when someone as calming and caring as Toby is around.
Toby’s heart events are probably the least memorable of my picks, aside from one: the adorable date you have with him where he admits to feeling nervous about the first time he’s eaten alone with a “lovely girl”.
He’s so endearing, kind to everyone, and adores animals as much as you do. If there’s only one drawback, taking Toby for yourself means your rival Renee misses out on a married life with him — and their kid, Matt, will never exist. (But who cares about Renee? -Ed.)
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