You could say that the second half of the story in ‘Dora-gaku’ moved at a faster pace, a complete change from the peaceful student life depicted in the first half.
After all, this is when the protagonist is revealed to be the queen. From here on, all hell will break loose, Mary will face retribution during the graduation ceremony, and on to the ending… The story events would move in rapid succession.
And what could be considered the biggest turning point here, was the dating event. The event itself was your run-of-the-mill romantic scenario with nothing noteworthy, and yet there was one ‘mechanic’ here used against the player.
“A mechanic, you say?”
What do you mean? Addie asked as he cocked his neck to the side, all the while he was sipping his tea.
To this, Mary replied with, ‘something good’ and took a bite of her cake… “Ah, how delicious.” She said as her eyes widened slightly and looked towards the cake in front of her.
It was a cake that she had randomly selected as they entered the Cafe to rest and to talk. But the perfect level of sweetness and the freshness of the fruit had a lingering effect, it made you want more. It was easily on the same level as anything the pastry chef employed at the Albert house could make.
Without realizing it, Mary’s thoughts had become overridden by the cake. Instead of continuing with her explanation, she found herself saying, “Hey, why don’t you order one as well,” to Addie.
She may have been Mary Albert, but she was only a child. A growing child. There would be times when her conscious were whisked away by a chance encounter with a delectable dessert.
Knowing this, but not caring, Addie coughed rather loudly in order to press her to continue.
Mary understood the meaning behind it, and wiped her mouth lightly with a handkerchief and said, “Excuse me.”
“So, what do you mean by the mechanic?”
“This upcoming dating event. It is the turning point for who will reach what end.”
“And this ending or turning point thing, what exactly are those?”
Addie turned his head to the side again as he called over a waiter and ordered some cake.
Mary ordered a second plate for herself with a “I’ll have another as well.’ Addie gave her a look but she just nodded.
Normally, if one played through the game without knowing anything, they would probably assume that this was just another romantic event.
You would meet the person you were waiting for, they would praise your sense of fashion, several dialogues would occur around the city, and a smile with a ‘That was fun, let’s do this again,’ would end the scenario. It didn’t matter who it was, it was that simple.
However, during this dating scene, Mary would intrude upon the scene and try to lure away the partner right in front of the protagonist. The unsuspecting player may think, ‘What?’ at this development.
But then again, it was a repeated pattern as well. Here, Mary would be rejected once again and she would fling some petty insults towards the protagonist, and then leave… Or so one would think.
…But, that was only if the player had gone through the story without a hitch up until that point.
For instance, perhaps you were caught off guard during the party with Patrick’s route, and you weren’t able to raise your affinity level with him. Or you were being greedy and spent to much time talking with the others… Acting in such a light-headed way in a game that focused on romance could have grave consequences.
It was obvious, the one that you had your mind set on would end up with Mary.
“What!? Why would he do that! We are talking about the villainess daughter, Mary. Are we not? The spoiled and childish, a creepy, disgusting girl who comes out all over the place!”
“I understand why you would be surprised, and yes, she is a loathsome girl. But even so, perhaps you should have little restraint when talking to someone with the same name! I think I shall have half of your cake as a punishment!”
“Well, you and the villainous Mary are quite different. And I think you have had enough cake!”
“Cake and croquette don’t fill up the same space!”
Mary began to make nonsensical excuses, and so Addie had to rebuke her by saying, “You won’t be able to eat dinner if you eat too much now!”
They would have surely looked like especially close siblings or even a couple that have known each other for a long time, to any onlookers. At least, they did not appear to have a master and servant relationship.
After this most tranquil of interactions, Addie pulled his cake towards him for protection and continued the conversation with a “And then what?”
“So, why would the male lead fall for the villainous daughter?”
“It’s because his affinity level with you is very low. For instance, even if you started his route once, if you started to show an interest in other boys, he will hate you. It’s obvious. It’s the same in the game and in the real world, it may be easy to make someone like you, but having that continue can be difficult.”
“…Even so, don’t you think it’s a little much to in turn, go to the side of the villainous daughter?”
“I think it would be more accurate to say that he sided with ‘the daughter of Albert’ than with Mary.”
“Without that name, no one would attach themselves to that woman,” Mary said rather dismissively as she brought another bite of the cake to her mouth.
She was as indifferent as ever to this Mary from the game, but it could not be helped, as she viewed her as a complete stranger.
And in any case, the important thing to discuss was this dating event. While the evil girl, Mary would be involved, she was ultimately just one element of many that would cause the road to branch out.
With regards to this event, Mary would appear regardless of who you were with, and she would use similar lines to try and lure your partner away.
She was able to do such things by using her father, or indeed the name of Albert as a shield. Thinking back, there was something rather sad about this for the current Mary, but given her standing after the denunciation event, it made sense.
It was likely that the villainous Mary has sensed the danger she was in, that was why she was willing to try and take something with no regard to the means. …Of course, that might have also just been a part of her original personality as well.
And to all of this, one might assume that the male lead would reject Mary and prioritize the protagonist… This was not necessarily the case.
This was the famous turning point.
Three endings. This was one of the branching paths that lead to it.
“In other words, one of the endings involves the male lead choosing Mary at this point? Hmm? What happens to Alicia then?”
“The thing is, even if the male lead does choose Mary, it does not mean that the two will end up together. It means that if your affinity level is low, then the male lead will choose Mary over you, and the date will end…”
Of course, there would be certain scenes to follow. An apology and a present will be sent, he will come and see you in the middle of the night… There were plenty of romantic moments to come.
Ultimately, the villainous daughter, Mary is disliked by nearly all of the characters at that point. Additionally, regardless of how low your affinity level may be, the male lead should still have a degree of affection for the protagonist. And so he would not move towards Mary just because he had a change of heart..
All this development meant, was that he had no choice but to choose the house of Albert over the protagonist. And the fact that he prioritized that, means that you had not raised your affinity level enough with him.
“For instance, if you were in Patrick’s route, and the protagonist was constantly making eyes at other men, Patrick may have no choice but to eventually choose Mary.”
“I see. So he has rejected Alicia in favor of the ‘lure of the lordship of the house of Albert, through the daughter.’ That, I can understand.”
“There is no fondness for Mary there. It is the result of him weighing his own standing and his affections for the protagonist on a scale.”
When the scale tips over, and the male lead chooses Mary, -to be precise, the Albert name- then this will result in the player moving towards the ‘bad ending.’
But then again, ‘Dora-gaku’ was still an otome game that was appropriate for all ages. That was probably why it had such a dumb title like ‘Doki Doki Love Gakuen.’ Even this bad ending didn’t have anything particularly dark or depressing. It was just a ‘not quite lovers’ ending. You could even call it a ‘friendship ending.’
So in the case of Patrick, Mary would be ruined at the graduation ceremony and Alicia would rise to the seat of the queen. Patrick would smile and tell her ‘let us do our best for the good of our countries,’ and the story would end.
There would be no feelings of romance there, only friendship and loyalty to the queen. It may sound bad with the label of ‘bad end’, but it was considerably happier compared to most endings in romantic games.
There were some games with endings where the male lead would laugh in a voice of clarity and say, “I decided to study abroad, I hope you will root for me!” This clear and unmistakable symbol of friendship would in a way, only push the player into the deepest pit of despair.
“So in other words, the fact the Patrick prioritized Alicia early, means that she avoided the bad ending in the game.”
“That is it. It means she was completely loyal to him.”
“So, since there are three endings, are the other two also determined based off this affinity level thing?”
“That, that I will tell you later. When the time comes.”
Mary now stood up and suggested that they make the most of their time and do some shopping. Addie looked up at her a with a little annoyance but hurriedly stuffed the remaining pieces of cake into his mouth.
Mary smirked with an expression that seemed to say “I alone know what will happen”, for she did not know how to even begin hiding the joy of knowing something that no one else did. Indeed, she was quite sad to give up any information to Addie.
If not, there was no way that Mary would suggest that they ‘go shopping’ as she had nothing left to buy. Given her personality, she was likely to just go on home unless something else happened before then…
Seeing Mary like this, Addie had to think, ‘what a horrible person,’ but he obeyed her nonetheless. And he forcefully washed the cake down his throat with tea before running after her.