With Rune Factory 5 in the distant horizon to potentially drop for the West I wanted to take a moment to look back on the lovely cast of Rune Factory 4 to celebrate the title after spending well over 200+ hours in their company (yep, I’m pretty obsessed with this cute farming and RPG hybrid). Here we’ll be ranking the best of the best of the cast, the lovely bachelors, from best to bestest (of course).
Rune Factory 4 is an adorable game filled with cute monsters you can befriend by chucking items they like at them and you pretty much do that with the bachelor(ettes) too. From handing out love potions, to asking them out on a date in your local flower shop, to seeing the after-marriage bonus in the Special edition on Switch, the romance is sprinkled throughout, making the title all the more charming when these moments pop up. This is all based on my opinion and as I’ve already said, all the boys are best boys! Who is your favourite?
It’s unfortunate that there has to be someone 6th place considering all of the bachelors are incredibly well written characters but each one will be someone else’s favourite at least. It’s one reason why Rune Factory 4 is so enjoyable! They’ve really catered to everyone’s preferences. Unfortunately for me Kiel appears too young, but if you’re more into Shotas, he’s got the sweet attitude to back up that angelic face of his! Kiel’s personality and character development actually happens to be one of my favourites of the bachelors. He’s very relatable if you identify with his struggles.
He is quite hard on himself and has low self confidence, so much so that him being awful at keeping secrets is not just to avoid hiding anything and everything he knows from his dear friends, but he craves a form of communication. It goes as far as when gifting him any gift, he is thankful for it, making it hard to determine if he actually dislikes the gift. What’s most soul crushing is when you gift him with an item he loves, he will always indicate he is unworthy of the item and shocked that Frey would know what he likes and even willing to gift it to him, highlighting his poor self worth. It’s truly a wonderful journey to see him improve alongside his partner and future wife when seeing his marriage event.
He’s also the most innocent of the bachelors, evident clearly by his youthful appearance. This is even highlighted in his after story segment where he is learning parental tips by reading books, one of his favourite hobbies that shows his intelligence and craving for knowledge. He was also unassuming of Frey’s intentions when she confesses to him, and during his marriage event. And out of only two characters (Arthur), Kiel has explicitly said to always want the best for Frey and for her to be happy. When his feelings are reciprocated and during their marriage event, you can just hear and see the sheer excitement from him in saying he’ll do everything to make Frey happy. Kiel is wholesome, hard working and the game’s cinnamon bun.
Arthur is the first bachelor we meet, with a scene that shows how much of a busy body he is. Arthur is the prince responsible for the kingdom’s trade business as of now when Frey has some trouble with mistaken identity that turns her into helping around the village for Arthur’s sake. His character type is the smart cookie, whose weather reports are, of course, highly accurate as the only available forecast us farmers need to tend to our crops before the potentially harsh weather the following day. It’s played on as him seeming like a fortune teller, but what is his most telling trait is that big brain of his remembering certain habits of his fellow villagers. He has such a knack for it so much so that he can call a certain event’s happenings before it even plays out, showing how much attention and care he has for his fellow villagers. His exterior shows a well controlled and polite individual, but in the few occasions it does slip, it reveals a more playful side.
Humorously, when you present the love potion to him he states it does not affect him since he’s always liked Frey. This happens to be just one time he comes across as flirtatious, and many other moments are telling of his more perverted tendencies. The most obvious one being when Frey invites him into her room when they’re dating and his line is most definitely not innocent. It makes for a lot of unexpectedly humorous and thirsty lines I absolute adore, being a total surprise to hear him say. I also couldn’t help but notice that his after story did not include their child at all, emphasising the importance of their romantic relationship being the most significant part to Arthur. It feels so very different and individual to him in comparison to the other bachelors who all feature their children in the shorts. It highlights how content Arthur feels with Frey so much so that his royal duties come second to her and he has felt so happy doing his busy job with her by his side. It’s almost as wholesome as Doug’s, which I argue is the very best of the short additional scenes.
Speaking of Doug, he comes just outside of the top 3 for me. What with Doug’s relevant backstory that locks his relationship progression up to 3 levels until the second arc has been completed I find that this is the reason why his appeal is underrated as a bachelor. This is evident since you can meet and even increase every other bachelor into the dating phase before you can finally advance your relationship with Doug. However, it can be no surprise of his lesser liked status as a romantic interest compared to his rivals when we consider his initially walled-offed, agitated attitude towards Frey. But it is worthwhile to pursue him even when it’s much more hard work and does test your patience, because just like Dylas, the off-putting behaviour masks a more vulnerable and sweet side.
Being the tsundere archetype, the first telling sign of his denial of feelings is his deep love and overprotective nature over his mother figure, Blossom. His defensive personality is also reinforced by his backstory, which makes his behaviour much more excusable than Dylas. Doug is not perfect however, being the opposite of my next bachelor in his attitude that is mostly very lazy if he’s not doing or eating something he likes, best seen when the village holds events and his lines are dismissive of them. However, his after story highlights how important both Frey and their child are in his life that it completely changes him for the better. It’s a heart-warming and wholesome scene, from Blossom gifting Frey with baby socks with Doug eavesdropping where he does not know of Frey’s pregnancy. This is topped off with the only screamed marriage proposal of a reverse Romeo and Juliet, both brilliantly fun to witness but also being ever so adorable!
Here comes the guys I had an awful time trying to decide who to settle on for marriage. Yes, it did feel like cheating when dating all three and no, I’m not proud of it. Vishnal caught my eye as I compared him being my bachelor of choice in my play through of Fire Emblem Fates’ butler to the main character of Jakob. It really doesn’t help when both are adamant in calling me princess. Both are at first married to their job and keep it up with upmost respect and passion, being loyal butlers first and foremost.
Vishnal is an absolute sweetheart, being both emotional and gullible at all times but does his upmost best to be there for others and do so with considerable care. He’s always there to offer a helping hand even if the request is not serious, such is the case with Bado’s many pawning off of items he sells with false information to get a quick sell from Vishnal for falling for it. Despite how much of a perfectionist he is considering his job never allows him to let others down, he’s got plenty of endearing flaws, even if it happens to be producing those god awful disastrous/failed dishes! And as every bachelor does, he makes you your food during the day when tying the knot, but of course it’s just as disastrous as all his other cooking! It’s a nice, humorous touch that translates really well within the years of their marriage even if it’s literal trash. We still love you, Vishnal.
He also happens to be one out of only two to admit when they first starting liking the protagonist (Arthur), which happens to be as soon as they met. How cute!
Yes, the resident tsundere just misses out on the number 1 spot! It’s pretty easy to explain really.
You either love or hate Dylas. Being the classic tsundere, he comes across as pretty mean and cold before increasing his love points. There is a lot and I mean a lot of “shup up” and “go away” lines before you even get to be good buddies with the guy which can be really off putting depending on the person’s patience and interest level in the bachelor. What in comes down to is it’s always adorable when the tsundere’s walls come crashing down. This is especially notable with Dylas, whose sheer embarrassment by the time the protagonist secures a relationship with him is striking. It’s the most fun when selecting the nickname you ask your partner to address you as and you address them as, with Dylas’ responses being the height of adorableness and awkward shyness. In fact this moment really shows why he puts on such a front to avoid how easily embarrassed he gets.
Many events even provide more moments pleasing to the eye and reinforce how worthy he is as a bachelor, such as protecting Frey from a man advancing towards her without her permission. And Dylas just gets better from there, with his cold exterior being the most significant change out of all the bachelors when marrying. The height of this adorable and positive change to his behaviour is when he is interacting with their new-born child and Frey walks in to see him cooing and complimenting them. It’s the most striking due to his character development being the most noticeable by romancing him, technically making it the most worthwhile to see him grow comfortable with his feelings and opening up his heart to others. I’m proud of you, Dylas, even when you keep denying your displays of affection.
His muscles go unappreciated when we can’t romance him!
The true number 1 is…
Who else were we expecting to be number 1? With the game itself saving the best for last (quite literally considering we save him as the last guardian of the first arc) and myself in this list’s case, Leon is what I deem as perfection. As a smooth talker one minute, an infuriating sarcastic in the next, Leon is one of the most enjoyable and engaging villager to merely communicate with. To be able to romance him is truly a treat.
There’s so many romantic, sweet and humorous scenes to discover when romancing Leon that go as far as seeing him bond with their child, saying loving words towards them both with Frey overhearing the surprisingly words as she enters the house. And on top of this the marriage event has the most emotional hits of the lot, just beating out Dylas. There’s a notable balance of humour and heart with Leon, from being the most romantic due to his teasing while dating, and with lines such as “Our baby… looks kind of like a monkey” the first time he sees their child. It’s an unexpectedly brilliant moment, one of the most memorable one off lines of the entire game! He also happens to be voiced by Matthew Mercer, Overwatch’s McCree, Persona 5’s Yusuke and Fire Emblem Awakening’s Chrom. I mean if perfection had a name we’ve found it. Leon will steal your heart even when you’re not dating him. It’s just a fact.
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