Within the scope of otome games, a variety of tropes have become apparent and are now known as staples of the genre.
These range from archetypes that have been prolific even in bishoujo visual novels, such as the outwardly cold but secretly fiercely affectionate “tsundere” characters (Rin from Fate/Stay Night being a popular example), to the “dandere”, the shy and reserved character who comes out of their shell when around those special to them (Nagisa from Clannad being a prime example).
Many of these otome archetypes trickle into different forms of media, from manga to anime and even into video games, and there are plenty of archetypes to explore. Popular character types range from the cool, intellectual glasses wearing “megane”, to the youthful and adorable “shota”, and the blindingly brilliant and infectiously delightful “genki”.
The first time we covered this topic was with the infamous yandere types, and we then moved on to my second favourite type of love interest — the more experienced and mature older men. Today, we look at the cool, intellectual, glasses-wearing “megane”-type love interests.
What’s the appeal?
Megane love interests are, quite simply, the attractive guys in glasses. And since this refers to a visual rather than a characterisation trope, the specific details of megane-type love interests are a lot more varied. Characters who fit the type merely have to be wearing glasses, while their personality traits are not so concrete.
Such a character type could be a sweet and shy guy, while another could be ruthlessly rude, condescending and a know-it-all (at least at first) — and even a hidden yandere. Despite how much we all love Code Realize’s Victor and Amnesia’s Kent, there are five others below that demonstrate the many different personae of the megane types.
Spoiler warning for entry four.
Astrum from Period Cube
In Period Cube, our heroine (default name Kazuha) finds herself in the online world of Arcadia as she attempts to locate her missing brother. One of the reasons why Period Cube is such a great experience for an otome is its exploration of the differences between the “real” and the “online” worlds. They excelled in this by presenting the game’s love interests as a certain type — then turning your assumptions upside-down as we discover their “real life” personality in the latter part of their routes.
The best example is Astrum, who actually appears without the signature megane trait of glasses as his Arcadia avatar. I’m not cheating with this entry, I swear! (Keep talking – Ed.)
Astrum in the online world oozes cockiness and confidence; he’s adored by his guild members, feared by those outside of it, and talks down to many — unless they’re Kazuha. And even then it can get pretty steamy sounding.
That is, until you find him in the real world. Juxtaposed nicely with his Arcadia presence, we discover the real Astrum to be a not so popular, antisocial and awkward teenager. It’s a pleasant surprise to see, and makes him all the more endearing to witness his faults — and to embrace the real him, no matter his insecurities.
Period Cube is available on the PS Vita.
Axel from OZMAFIA!
So, despite my fondness for the hot mess that is Axel’s famiglia’s boss Caramia, Axel is the one to take the title of best husbando in OZMAFIA!
Axel is an absolute sweetheart once you take the time to give him well-deserved attention and break his barriers down. The lengthy and slow-burner progression of the game’s routes does wonders for love interests like Axel, where his initially distant and short conversations with the heroine (default name Fuka) gradually blossom with innocent affection, eventually showing a kinder and more considerate side to him.
This is especially notable as he is loyal to Caramia to a fault — so much so that his feelings and thoughts are sidelined for the greater good of him protecting his family’s head. And despite that seemingly disinterested exterior, he also has a sweet tooth. And we all know how adorable those love interests with a soft spot for sweet food are no matter — how unattractive or standoffish they might initially seem to appear. Right, Takeru, resident tsundere of Collar x Malice? But we’ll save you for another time.
OZMAFIA! is available on Steam.
Eltcreed Valentine from Steam Prison
In polar opposite to the shy Axel above, Eltcreed is the poster boy of Steam Prison — and he truly puts the steaminess in the title. (Nice – Ed.)
As a flirtatious love interest, his attraction to our main character (default name Cyrus) permeates both the common route and every other route — and it quickly progresses as you get to his route proper.
He steals a kiss from Cyrus within moments on his route to demonstrate how serious he is, and has the absolute confidence of some other very dangerous love interests, such as Piofiore’s Yang. Funnily enough, pairing Cyrus with Eltcreed can result in some pretty dark and grim endings not just for Cyrus herself, but also for some of the other cast members, too. It’s a tough experience, folks.
As an oddity who has an overwhelming fondness for pasta (this I can agree with), he’s an acquired taste as a love interest due to his deep fixation on Cyrus as his soulmate — a contrast to his many past flings. But that could also be a particularly appealing aspect for some, so don’t mind me!
It’s entertaining how cunning he is on his route whenever he needs to get himself out of trouble, but his frequent, sexually charged flirting and perverted tendencies may not be off-putting to just Cyrus. Sometimes charm just isn’t enough. At least him acting like a schoolgirl when he realises he’s in love with Cyrus after she kisses him on the cheek is a joy to see.
Steam Prison is available on Steam, and is set to release for Switch on February 25 2021.
Nami from Re: Birthday Song
Now we come to the perfect example of what I mentioned in my introduction: how the megane archetype can blur the lines of tropes.
At the still youthful age of 27, Nami is 10 years older than the heroine (default name Cocoro) and is her sensei, effectively putting him down as the older love interest type. You can also slap the yandere type label onto him, as he ends up locking Cocoro in his room with an end goal of creating a world only the two of them can live in — all because she is the reincarnation of his dead lover.
We can see why you’re more of a miss than a hit, Nami. These guys really do tread on thin ice.
But I still love this guy, especially considering how integral he is to the plot and Cocoro’s origins. While it provides an answer to Nami’s angst, it’s a pretty bittersweet truth, since the matchmaking of Cocoro and Nami feels like the absolute worst, even with its necessity to the plot.
This is coming off as more of a critique of the guy, but it’s only because I feel so filthy for loving him. He’s irresistibly charming despite his lazy disposition, he has a mysterious aura, and he has a deeply sad backstory that makes him deserving of a hug at the very least. And as always, Satoi’s beautiful character designs certainly don’t help us keep a level head around these troublesome fellas!
The full PC version of Re: Birthday Song ~Koi Wo Utau Shinigami~ is only available in Japanese. There is no official English version at the time of writing, but a fan translation can be applied to legal copies of the Japanese original.
Sosuke Tatehira from 7’scarlet
If you want a lover who would happily watch murder documentaries with you without complaining, then Sosuke’s your man.
He keeps his fascination with the dead a secret from others outside of the Supernatural club, perhaps due to his interest being looked on as a little questionable while working in the medical field. He also happens to be very similar to a longstanding favourite megane man, Kent from Amnesia. Both are very logical and intellectual, but draw many blanks when it comes to emotions. He has a very endearing trait of being awful with delivering jokes, which makes for a very nice time when the game gets as tense and eerie as it does for most of the time.
He makes for the best boy out of the lot, with the sweetest confession and realisation of his feelings for the main character Ichiko being enjoyable to see develop as they hitchhike together to locate her brother. It’s damn entertaining to see Sosuke prove his worth by using that academic brain of his to identify and confront the killer. Additionally, Ichiko is the best version of herself when paired with him as she has the confidence to speak back and take action without needing any encouragement.
7’scarlet is available on the PS Vita and Steam.
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