The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!
Today’s suggestion comes to us from Annie Gallagher, longtime friend of the site and self-described trans feminist philosopher, critic, gamer and otaku. Check out her site Guardian Acorn for some insightful writing on games, anime, politics, music and all manner of other goodness. Also, she likes Time and Eternity, which I really need to write about in more detail on here sometime because it’s vastly underappreciated.
I digress. I was sort of dreading someone suggesting “best waifu” as a category because it’s such a difficult decision to make what with all the incredible female characters there are in Japanese games and visual novels. Even if I narrow it down to just, say, this year’s Cover Games, which is what I’m going to have to do, it’s still a very difficult task! But, well, I’ve started down this road now, so I will not falter. Much. And… and… no, it’s not you, Midori, that wouldn’t be right and proper, would it?
And the winner is…
While there are other equally deserving candidates for the winner of this award, I don’t think I could in good conscience give it to anyone other than Amane from the Grisaia series, a young woman that I was immediately drawn to from the moment she first appeared on screen in The Fruit of Grisaia, and whose routes remain my favourite as the series has continued. I like her so much she’s one of the few characters I have actual merchandise of; granted, it’s just a wallet rather than anything more extravagant, but she left enough of an impact on me for me to want to celebrate her existence outside of the games.
For the unfamiliar, Amane is one of the five main heroines in the Grisaia series, and an attendee of that series’ rather strange and special school Mihama Academy — a school that, we learn over the course of Grisaia’s complete narrative, helps young people who have, for one reason or another, fallen somewhat out of step with society at large.
Amane is an interesting case in that she initially appears to be one of the most “normal” characters in a series full of extraordinary individuals. Depicting herself as a motherly, slightly overbearing onee-san type, albeit one with a seemingly higher than average sex drive, Amane is immediately likeable even if she’s not your “type”. She’s just nice; a comforting presence to be around, and often the voice of reason when chaos ensues with the noisier members of the ensemble cast such as Makina and Michiru.
Amane makes a conscious effort to be “the perfect wife” — or perhaps more accurately, “the perfect dorm mother” — in many ways; she cooks, she cleans, she takes care of people and she does her best to remain strong and responsible even during times of adversity. But as Yuuji discovers over the course of her unique route in The Fruit of Grisaia and onwards into her After story in The Labyrinth of Grisaia, some rather deep-seated issues concerning events in her past have shaped Amane into the person she is now. She’s not the charming, compliant young woman she is purely out of a desire to be a nice person; she, like the rest of the cast, has her own burdens to bear, and this is one of the ways she chooses to deal with it.
The other way she chooses to deal with it is through her aforementioned sex drive. She is the most up-front and honest about her sexual preferences and desires out of all the cast, and it’s no coincidence that her route in The Fruit of Grisaia is the most front-loaded with explicit H-scenes in the 18+ version, nor that she has the most of them out of any character. Despite the fact she often self-deprecatingly refers to herself as a “slut”, however, this is not to say that her routes are nothing but shallow pornography. On the contrary, her story threads are perhaps the most potent example of how the Grisaia series successfully integrates its sexual content into its unfolding narrative.
Amane’s route is a solid exploration of how sex is one of the most intimate ways two people can interact with one another, and it reflects this by these scenes involving both her and protagonist Yuuji being at their most honest with one another — both in terms of how they behave and what they say. One of Amane’s most interesting scenes is an H-scene, in fact; after deciding that she wants to try some light S&M play with Yuuji, we then get to experience the situation from her perspective rather than Yuuji’s, including being “blindfolded” and thus having to assume what is happening based on the sensations she is experiencing. It’s a unique insight into the character quite unlike anything I’ve experienced in any other visual novel — not to mention an intriguing subversion of how H-scenes are typically presented in this kind of game.
For sure, a lot of my reason for picking Amane as my Best Waifu of 2017 is to do with what an interesting character she is, but I can’t neglect the fact that I also simply find her enormously attractive. Her Amazonian stature, formidable bustline, long luxurious red-pink hair and array of facial expressions that make me weak at the knees were what immediately attracted me to the character, but then she well and truly reeled me in with everything else.
I raise my glass to you, Amane Suou. You are one of the finest waifus in all of gaming, and a huge part of why the Grisaia series is something I will extoll the virtues of to anyone at great length.
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