Until Death Do Us Part
I don’t usually like pranksters, for the same reason I don’t like clowns. Their funny isn’t my funny. But then Ichthys smiled at me, and my heart just melted.
Let’s not forget that Ichthys is also one of the cutest gods this game has to offer, and while I’m very much in love with Scorpio, this guy here sure makes for a welcome change of pace.
Like the other gods in the first story, Ichthys, ruler of Pisces, has been banished to earth because of a transgression against the King of Heaven, and the mark of sin that he bears prevents him from using his powers freely. Like Dui (Gemini) and Scorpio (erm, Scorpio), he is a member of the Department of Punishments. But while Scorpio punishes people with pain, Ichthys takes the approach to prank them instead, embarrassing them rather than hurting them. It should be noted that it was his pranking that got him expelled from Heaven, and the other gods are not uniformly fond of his sense of humour. Scorpio calls him “problem child”. But Scorpio has issues.
Now on earth, Ichthys needs the MC’s help to mete out his punishment-pranks. On their first tour, they come across a sinner who’s only a child, namely ten-year-old Ken, whose legs were paralised in an accident. Since his whole life revolved around tennis, Ken is extremely unhappy, acting up with the doctors and nurses, refusing to go to physical therapy, and being a major source of grief for his mother. The MC is horrified that a small child should appear on the punishments list at all, let alone one who suffered such a major misfortune. Ichthys is unusually brusque with the child, telling him to accept his destiny.
It is Ichthys’ own destiny, of course, that governs his behaviour, both towards the boy and the world at large; he harbours a secret that fundamentally colours the way he sees the world.
Ichthys is slowly but surely changed by his interactions with the MC, and humans in general. For example, he discovers that the people of Japan have fish-shaped pastries (taiyaki), which greatly excites him. The MC makes him revisit Ken at the hospital, and this time, instead of being strict, he teaches the boy a prank and explains to him that it’s more fun to make people laugh then cry. The lesson works, Ken is noticeably perking up. Seeing Ken regain the spirit to go to physical therapy and change his fate also makes Ichthys think about the inevitability of his own path.
Living on earth tires the gods in ways that their being in heaven does not; needless to say, enthusiastic Ichthys overdoes it in ever so many ways, and, of course, manages to bring about the very circumstance he dreads so much. In what is customary in these kinds of stories, he acts out of character, tries to push the MC away when he knows what is about to transpire, and does something catastrophically stupid near the end. Luckily, when the time comes, the MC is willing to go to the ends of the earth (or Heaven, as it were) to confront him, the fates, and even the King of Heaven himself to save her beloved.
Since the MC is worried that Ichthys might not be romantically attracted to her because he never initiates anything intimate, she decides to take him to a shrine that should make couples become closer. Only her colleague who gave her that tip misread the description of the temple: people go there to attract a new partner. If one goes with a current partner, the powers of the shrine break them up.
Once Ichthys learns what the strange behaviour of the MC is all about, he reminds her that shrines don’t make people’s fortunes, only the people themselves can take charge of their own fate. He then confesses that he’s been holding back, after Dui advised him to be careful lest he scare the MC. Seeing as she obviously doesn’t want his restraint, he takes her to a few romantic spots, and then to a hotel where they spend the night.
As is the norm with archetypes like Ichthys (Genuinely Nice Guy / Trickster), it’s easy for the MC to relate to him. Ichthys might be a bit of a flirt, but he is fun and easy to be around. He does like to tease the MC, but it’s the kind of teasing that, while it is meant to fluster her, is not malicious. Contrary to quite a few of the other gods, Ichthys genuinely likes the MC beyond her usefulness to him as a source of power.
He is also delightfully curious about the human world. Taiyaki are his favourite thing ever, of course, and he constantly buys large quantities of the pastry for everybody. This, because he is also a very sociable guy, full of life and joy, which makes the looming tragedy all that much harder to bear.
The MC falls for him quickly, but also learns his secret early on. And while she is never certain whether he feels anything for her, she is faced with the knowledge that there will not be a future for the two of them, anyway. Ichthys’ general recklessness terrifies her, not because of concerns for her own safety, but for his. The bond between them is so natural and so… pure, somehow, that his efforts to push her away in the end are both jarring in their emotional quality, and completely futile.
The Love Meter
No problem getting the Blessed Ending here, which tends to be the more benevolent. I usually don’t go for the double ending thing, since the videos you unlock are not voiced in the English version of the games. But here, I’ll think about it, just to get yet another picture of this darling boy.
So, is Ichthys the cutest thing ever? Why yes, yes he is. And his fate is heartbreaking. I was sobbing through the last chapters of his story. I was totally ugly-crying. And I regret NOTHING.
The epilogue, though, was the worst. The MC spends the first two thirds longing to do “more couply” things, and once Ichthys obliges, she turns into the mother of all shrinking violets. When he takes her to the hotel, she protests that she isn’t ready, only to moments later exult in how they lose themselves in each other’s passion. This is the cornerstone Rape Culture is built on, and I hate it. Somebody get a memo to these writers. It also unnecessarily cheapens the otherwise well-written story of a couple who doesn’t need this kind of fucked-up games.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go learn how to make taiyaki.