DMMd - Finished Mink’s route twelve hours ago…
…still not sure if I liked it or not. But holy crap it was intense, in a violent, rapey, dominant Alpha male sort of way.
Cutting for spoilers…
I was going into this not expecting to like anything, so on that score I was pleasantly surprised. I think part of my problem with both Mink and Noiz is that prior to the routes branching off their characters are very enigmatic and a little bit unengaging because of it (Okay, so you don’t get much more enigmatic than Clear, but at least he’s… got an emotional connection. Which, when you think about it, is pretty ironic XD). Up to that point, I was seeing more chemistry between Aoba and Mizuki, or Aoba and Virus and Trip than those two. And even the whole “I’m going to kidnap you and have my men rape you to put you in your place” thing didn’t work for me — it might’ve been a translation thing, but even for a Nitro+ scene it felt dispassionate. I may have missed something, but that’s what makes Mink decide to use Aoba’s power, right? What was he planning on doing with him before then? Or did he just think Aoba had something to do with Morphine since he was at the house?
Even when the routes branch off… there was an immediate plot point in Koujaku’s route (the girl with the
dragon spider tattoo) that set up the conflict. One of the things I felt Mink’s route lacked was a sense of his motives and purpose until way towards the end of the route. When it came, it completely turned the storyline around for me, so I’d just have liked a hint of that sooner. :/ Yeah, the scene with him watching over Aoba and touching his hair was sweet, but without a sense of his motives it’s hard not to see that scene as an abusive dominant messing with his sub’s head. Because up to then, I was getting a big Dom/sub vibe going on with the “throw everything away and surrender” stuff. Except Doms don’t beat up and rape unwilling subs (especially ones who start the whole thing off under the influence and obviously not thinking clearly), and I don’t think I can categorize Aoba that way anyway, not when White Aoba makes an appearance.
But then the plot kicks in. And it never seeks to excuse Mink’s behaviour, but it goes a hell of a long way towards explaining why he’s thinking that way to begin with. Why he’s so emotionally dead, and maybe even why he’s trying to make Aoba the same way while at the same time trying to deny the attachment, not only to him but to his new team. I’m guessing now there’s gonna be the ‘mindscape’ scene for every character (though how this’ll work with Clear and Ren I have no idea XD), and for all I adore Koujaku, Mink’s mindscape scene was so much more powerful, possibly because he didn’t explain anything to Aoba the way Koujaku does; how strongly he rejects Aoba’s presence there just goes to show how deeply rooted his pain and his conviction runs. By then, knowing what Toue’s done to his clan, you want Aoba to break those chains. And I guess he does, just not in the way you expect. Actually I loved the way that turned out, because at the time I was growling at Aoba for leaving Mink alone with Toue, but… he kinda didn’t :3 which was a really nice touch. So yeah… he is a prize asshole, but at least you can understand why he feels he has to be that way. And for all he’s done to Aoba, he’s very protective there in those closing scenes.
And then it ends. Well, okay not quite - Aoba reiterating his desire to know what Mink was thinking, how he was thinking, what he really thought of him etc. was nicely echoed from earlier on - but it felt that way. Apparently there are thumbnail CGs in the game files that suggest there was originally meant to be a Mink’s Good End H-scene that looks a lot more consensual than their earlier scenes, but for whatever reason (game size, time constraints, who knows…) it’s been cut from the finished game. But have a look, and rue the fact that his route could have had the closure it really needed.
So yeah… wanted more depth, I guess. Mink telling Aoba about his clan and their obvious spiritual/religious beliefs would have been nice, without being too fluffily OOC. And that missing scene (let’s hope for a side story/drama cd/something) would have done a lot to mitigate the drugged/non-con/punched-in-the-face-and-raped scenes from earlier on if it’s meant to be plausible that Aoba really would travel around looking for Mink like he did.