Waifu Wednesday: Uni

We’ve already covered quite a few Neptunia waifus in our weekly Waifu Wednesday celebrations, but there are still plenty more where those came from.

And with today being the six-year anniversary of the release of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk. 2 in North America, I figured it’s only fitting we show our appreciation for one of the CPU Candidates, the “younger sister” characters who were introduced in this second installment-cum-reboot to the then-fledgling Neptunia series.

We’ve already covered my all-time favourite Neptunia waifu Nepgear, so today it’s all about Uni.

Fanart by Albreo (Pixiv)

Uni is the younger sister of Lastation’s patron goddess, Noire. While Noire represents the mainline PlayStation consoles (particularly the PlayStation 3 and 4), Uni represents the PSP and Vita, Sony’s handheld platforms.

Uni’s distinctive, striking outfit is particularly evocative of the original model PSP, with the ring on her chest obviously inspired by the similar design on the PSP-1000’s disc drive. The strong emphasis on black in her costume both mirrors her sister’s fashion and highlights the fact that Sony’s flagship video game products have come in black by default since the PS2 era.

There are plenty of other visual references in her design, too; the arrow-shaped designs on her skirt bring to mind Sony’s distinctive D-pad design, while the circle motif seen most prominently on her chest is also seen elsewhere on her outfit in smaller size, reminding us of the PSP and Vita’s small, circular buttons as well as the original design on the disc drive. Even Uni’s name is a PSP reference; it comes from the PSP’s media format of Universal Media Disc, or UMD.

Personality-wise, Uni very much lives in the shadow of her older sister, much as Sony’s handhelds have always seemed like something of an afterthought to the company. She’s constantly aiming to live up to her sister’s expectations — likely a reference to how pre-release hype for the PSP and Vita promised console-quality game experiences on the go — but never quite feeling like she meets them. This is mostly all in her mind, however; we see plenty of evidence throughout the Neptunia games that Noire loves her sister very much indeed, and this aspect of Uni’s personality can thus be interpreted as a reference to how the Vita in particular is regarded as a “failure” by the mainstream, and yet it still has plenty of loyal, loving followers, particularly among those who enjoy Japanese titles.

Fanart by Crawford (Semochan) (Pixiv)

Uni has somewhat tsundere tendencies, though expresses them a little differently to her older sister. Noire tends to get very defensive and wants to cover things up when she is called on things she finds embarrassing such as her interest in cosplay. Uni, meanwhile, tends to get a little more aggressive, petulant and upset when confronted, which would perhaps go some distance to explaining why people tease her somewhat less than her sister — it’s simply more enjoyable to poke fun at Noire.

Uni has a number of interesting stories of her own throughout the series, beginning with her first appearances in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk. 2 and its subsequent reboot Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation. Throughout these games, she has regular encounters with one of the main secondary antagonists, known as CFW Brave, and these give us something of an insight into how Uni sees the world.

Unlike the other members of the “ASIC” organisation the cast are battling for the majority of the narrative, Brave clearly has something of a noble heart, and he and Uni develop something of a respect for one another over the course of their “relationship”. Both of them understand that it is important to have something to fight for and a goal to strive for; Brave fights because he misguidedly believes ASIC’s end goal will bring about a better life for people, while Uni fights in an attempt to improve and better herself, justifying it as her trying to surpass her sister.

Fanart by Iwasi-R (Twitter)

We also can’t talk about Uni’s personal stories without mentioning the relationship between her and Nepgear. While it begins somewhat unsteadily in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk. 2, with Uni being rather “hot and cold” towards her new friend — to the extent that there is even a full-on fight between the two of them — the two gradually come to realise that they complement one another well despite being quite different in terms of personality; Nepgear, as we’ve previously discussed, is rather demure and “nice”, while Uni has rather sharp edges one would do well not to get on the wrong side of, particularly bearing in mind her proficiency with firearms.

At heart, both Nepgear and Uni are nerds, however — Nepgear over engineering, technology and robots, while Uni is passionately interested in guns. Indeed, in Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online, most of the cast deliberately choose to play a type of character that is very different from the role they play in the party in their “real” world, while Uni can’t quite bring herself to leave the firearms behind altogether — though to her credit she does switch to dual-wielding pistols rather than her usual rifles.

Nepgear and Uni’s feelings for one another are a subject of some discussion and debate among certain parts of the Neptunia fanbase, though to me it seems fairly clear by this point that the writers of the series intend for us to think of them as romantically involved with one another. MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs. Zombies and Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online in particular both feature scenes in which the two of them share some fairly intimate exchanges with one another, and indeed one of the bonus voice clips you can unlock in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk. 2 appears to feature Uni telling Nepgear that she loves her, so this aspect of their relationship has been there pretty much from the very beginning.

Fanart by Doria (Pixiv)

Uni is a delightful character who could easily have simply turned into a “mini-Noire” with clumsy or inept handling of the tsundere trope. Thankfully, right from her first appearance in mk. 2, we’ve seen her grow into her own distinct character who, far from being stuck in her sister’s shadow as she believes, is rightfully popular and beloved by much of the fanbase in her own right. Even if she’s the only member of the cast whose breasts actually shrink during her transformation into goddess form — a fact which leads Nepgear to believe that human-form Uni may well stuff her bra.

Rolled-up socks down the top or not, Uni is a loveable addition to the Neptunia cast, and doubtless she has many more adventures ahead of her in the future, even as the hardware on which she is based is slowly but surely — and, for my money, sadly — coming to the end of its lifespan on the market.

We love you, Uni! Vita means life!


More about the Hyperdimension Neptunia series
More about Megadimension Neptunia V-II
More about Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online

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6 thoughts on “Waifu Wednesday: Uni”

  1. Ah, I’m quite glad you finally did one for Uni. I find her super adorable and endearing, from her hairstyle, her style of dress, her super cute aggressive tsundere attitude (which I like in fiction but probably wouldn’t tolerate at all in real life), and not to mention her interactions with the ever lovable and also adorable Nepgear. It’s a shame that, at least in the Re;Birth games, I’m not so much of a fan of her in a gameplay sense.

    I wouldn’t say Uni’s my favorite, as there’s just too many wonderful Neptunia ladies for me to just pick one, but I do really enjoy her moments onscreen. It’s kind of a shame that in the Re;Birth games she doesn’t get much screentime outside of 2 really. I have yet to play any of the spin-offs or VII (which is next in my Neptunia queue), but I hope to see more of her.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, CyberNep is worth playing after MegaDimension, since it sort of follows on from it, kind of. It involves Uzume, at least, and it’s worth knowing about her before playing anything else that she’s in 🙂

        Like

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