Rika was the founder and emotional pillar of the RFA. She was engaged to V, but all the boys admit they had feelings for her at some point.Rika was also mentally ill. Chronically depressed, with a luggage of trauma on her shoulders and no set purpose in life.Her boyfriend idolized her like a deity, instead of trying to understand. He sent her to a psychologist instead of talking; told her to unleash her anger on him instead of telling her that hurting people is wrong.
If you encourage his controlling demeanor, you get the infamous bad ending in which your relationship evolve into a 24/7 Dom/Sub affair
Imagine years of bearing with the emotions of everyone – including the semi-incestuous attentions of your cousin. Imagine being forced to smile and be pretty because that’s your role, whilst everyone ignores the darkness growing inside you.
Rika became obsessed with the idea of saving everyone. If she was so good at it, after all, why not expand her activities? If she was so holy, why not let the whole world adore her?What Rika made to help herself was a cult. She faked her death and brainwashed other people with prayers and drugs, told them that everything would be okay – told herself that everything would be okay. And they hailed her as a saint, and she smirked as something inside her broke even more.
There is no “true ending” in Mystic Messenger where everyone lives happily ever after. While the secret ending can arguably be considered the canonical one, it kills some characters and leaves others mentally scarred for life. Rika is, arguably, the one who gets the best deal: traumatized to the point of becoming mute, she’s now being cared of by the people she used to support. Broken, yet finally free of responsibilities. Happy.
Mystic Messenger doesn’t believe in happy endings. You can marry the pretty boy of your choice, but it’s implied the other characters will never solve their issues without you. In certain cases, like with Yoosung and his videogames obsession, seeing him get worse and worse without your support is absolutely heart-wrenching.
The fandom loves this, of course. The lingering sadness, the tragedy, the wounds-poking. And so the Reset Theory was born, because apparently this game wasn’t tragic enough already. What if some of the characters know, or at least, vaguely remember the past cycles? They all break the fourth wall at one point or another, after all. Hell, one of the bad endings involves Yoosung realizing that they’re all part of a game and completely losing his mind.
What if the main character is simply repeating the same story again and again, desperately looking for a way to save everyone she loves?
This theme of self-sacrifice, of constant repetition for the sake of loved ones, powers other powerful stories like the Evangelion Rebuild and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. We like to think it as romantic. The concept of “saving everybody” gets thrown around a lot in the fandom.
But in the end, you can’t save everybody, simply because you shouldn’t. As a woman and a human being, you shouldn’t mindlessly destroy yourself for the sake of others, putting their personal happiness in front of yours. Enough with the myth of the woman as a nurse, a priestess, a saint, finding her higher call in self-sacrifice. Enough with boyfriends that need to be rescued like princesses from the depths of their mental castles.
When you introduce yourself to the group, you get the opportunity to say you’re not a woman. If you do so, though, everyone will mock you, and then decide that you’re a woman anyway. It’s hurtful and disrespecting, especially if you’re a trans/nonbinary person, but it makes a point: the game’s narrative simply wouldn’t work without a female-identifying main character. This is a game about boys and girls, the specific way society often molds their interactions in a toxic way.
At one point of the game, Jumin forces you to spend your days in his apartment. It’s not really a kidnapping, and he has good reasons for keeping you best hookup app Brisbane there (the damned BOMB), but his reasons are part logic, part obsession. Even though the situation is 100% consensual, the game frames it as a bad ending because his consent is put at doubt: he’s still very much a broken boy, and the kinky stuff is just a poor substitute for his real need to communicate.All the bad endings are like this: they don’t punish you for your actions, but for what you encourage others to do. Mystic Messenger can often feel like a game about emotional labor, but also highlights that being in charge of someone’s emotional health is a powerful, dangerous role. And the danger goes both ways, for as always, power corrupts.This is what happened to Rika.