Everyone’s sure to have a favourite from among Death end re;Quest’s all-female cast. And I imagine a popular choice will be Clea.
A great example of how the game sets and subverts expectation with regard to character tropes, Clea might initially seem like your common-or-garden ohohoho-ing ojou-sama, but over time it becomes abundantly clear that there’s more than meets the eye here.
Let’s take a closer look!
Our first encounter with Clea portrays her as a somewhat unscrupulous, untrustworthy figure. Accusing the party of stepping on her contact lens and demanding that they pay up for a replacement, she quickly establishes herself as a quick thinker, able to improvise on demand — and someone who is very much used to getting what she wants.
At least part of this is likely down to the fact that she cuts quite an imposing figure. In the World’s Odyssey game that forms the backdrop to Shina’s half of the Death end re;Quest experience, she is an ogre. Typically the word “ogre” conjures up images of a giant, imposing, vaguely humanoid but obviously monstrous figure, but Clea most certainly isn’t monstrous; her only obviously non-human features are her horns and her pointed ears.
Despite this, she simply has a commanding, almost regal presence about her that kind of makes you want to fall in line. The setup to her initial scam about the party stepping on her contact lens is plausible; although we, the player, may question whether or not a video game went to the trouble of including contact lenses as an item, the narrative establishes by this point that the NPCs who populate World’s Odyssey — including Clea and Shina’s other party members — behave in a strangely “human” manner, meaning that anything is truly possible in this strange, virtual world.
Eventually, the party manages to settle Clea down, particularly with the promise of rare and unique treasures that she might be able to procure on the journey. As such, she enthusiastically joins the group, initially seemingly motivated entirely by the possibility of financial gain for herself, but gradually demonstrating that she does actually have everyone’s best interests at heart.
Although Clea frequently becomes rather immature when it comes to the subject of money — at one point she claims that money is more important to her than her comrades being appropriately clothed — she is, in many ways, the “mature one” of the group.
Actually, that’s not quite accurate; in contrast to some of Compile Heart’s other work, Death end re;Quest’s cast on the whole seems to err somewhat on the mature side, with the exception of Al, who claims to be fifteen but looks considerably younger. The reasoning behind this is something that I won’t spoil for you right now, but suffice to say for now that those who get exhausted after a few minutes with screeching teenage girls in some other games will probably get on quite well with the majority of Death end re;Quest’s cast, and particularly with Clea.
Clea’s manner becomes rather charming after a while. She clearly likes to remain aloof, apparently believing herself above things like petty squabbles and attempting to be the one who provides a rational viewpoint on ridiculous circumstances. She includes everyone in her discussions, referring to everyone as “gang” and obviously watching out for them, even when she claims to only have her own interests at heart.
Design-wise, Clea is a delight. Adopting a mode of dress clearly inspired by traditional Japanese garb, one gets the impression that she takes pride in her appearance, but does not wish to sacrifice the practicality of her garments. Consequently, her elegant kimono-inspired outfit has a large slit up one side, which both reveals her shapely legs and affords her plenty of freedom of movement. And, ever the dedicated merchant, she has packs, gourds and bags mounted about her person seemingly pretty much everywhere that it is practical to.
Her use of dual pistols as a weapon is in keeping with her personality; preferring to remain distant and aloof, she is able to have a significant impact on the battle without getting her hands (or her clothes) too dirty.
She’s also certainly not above making use of the party’s finances to get ahead — many of her skills involve expending money for an immediate positive effect, up to and including complete restoration of HP and SP. This makes her an extremely valuable ally, since she is drawing on a combat resource that no other party members have access to — though you will, of course, want to keep one eye on the purse-strings, particularly early in the game!
Her “Glitch Mode” form emphasises her monstrous characteristics by giving her a somewhat succubus-esque form. Her jet-black hair becomes a vibrant orange, and the spiked growths from her “Entoma” infection — something which all the playable cast have in common — almost seem to resemble devil wings from certain angles. On top of that, the disappearance of her flowing, elegant garments emphasises her curvaceous nature; she’s impossible not to look at in this incarnation, but she radiates a powerfully threatening aura at the same time as unleashing an atmosphere of smouldering sensuality.
Clea is a delight to have around in both mechanical and narrative terms; her excellent physical ranged attacks and restoration abilities mean she’s a strong addition to any battle lineup, particularly if you’re fighting any Sun-element enemies, while outside of combat she may be an imposing presence, but she’s someone you’ll come to feel safe around before long. One can only speculate as to how she would respond if one were accidentally to refer to her as “mommy”.
It probably wouldn’t be pretty.
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