How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

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How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#1 Post by JupiterMercury » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am

Hi everyone! I'm a newbie at VNs and I wanted to make my own VN after seeing so many playthroughs of them Youtube. So I'm really new to the VN scene to be honest.
My question was how to make an antagonist necessary, meaningful and compelling in a dating sim?
What are some archetypes to draw inspiration for a villain for the Romance genre?

I've always been a fan of villains or morally grey characters from shows such as Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Game of Thrones. Though I'm wondering how to make antagonists on the level of those shows or beyond. Usually I don't see many villains in the Romance genre or I haven't seen enough unfortunately. Does anyone have any thoughts?

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:29 am

JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
...how to make an antagonist necessary, meaningful and compelling in a dating sim?
What are some archetypes to draw inspiration for a villain for the Romance genre?
Overall, I'd say "Think about why this character is an antagonist. Do they want to prevent a relationship? Do they want to defeat a group of heroes? What makes them compelling? What makes them believable?"

The first thing that comes to mind is Sweet Fuse, a romance visual novel which I read on PSP and Vita. Its antagonist is quite goofy in appearance, and has a comical laugh. Despite that, he sets up the story by taking hundreds of hostages and unleashing his minions. His intentions are serious -- he can kill the protagonist and her friends. I don't recall if he had a motivation.

I'm trying to remember what happened in Hakuouki. The protagonist becomes allied with the Shinsengumi. While they have a secret weapon, it has many side effects, and they seem hopelessly out-of-date and outnumbered. There are many threatening characters, but I think the story's real antagonist is war itself. Of course, I could be wrong...

The antagonists in Sakura Wars 5 are either dead-serious or comically inept. They want to keep the team of heroic characters from winning. While I almost finished this title, I don't recall if any of them had motivations.

Three Sisters Story is tough to recommend, and I didn't like it all that much about sixteen years ago. That said, a lot of the story regards the protagonist getting revenge on a specific person.

I've heard a number of good things about how Muv-Luv Alternative combines a plot-driven story with some relationship elements. Though I've also heard that in order to appreciate it, a person needs to read its off-the-wall love polygon comedy prequel Muv-Luv first. (Both have official localizations for Windows. I'm trying to be patient for translated PS Vita ports.)
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
I've always been a fan of villains or morally grey characters from shows such as Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Game of Thrones. Though I'm wondering how to make antagonists on the level of those shows or beyond.
Take notes about memorable antagonists. Ask if they might see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.

My favorite villains come from varied sources. Books I borrowed from libraries or had to read for classes, a variety of comics, movies I watched, about thirty years' worth of wandering through video game fandom...
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
...after seeing so many playthroughs of them Youtube...
I've watched some sections of a fan translation of Nisekoi: Yomeiri, which might never get an official translation. That's the only playthrough I've seen. :|

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#3 Post by Westeford » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:48 am

One thing I try to do in my writing is not write the antagonist as a villain. Most antagonists don't think of themselves as villains. Everyone thinks they're the hero in their story. So think about how your antagonist justifies his actions. His actions don't have to be evil. His goals provide an obstacle for the protagonist.
Another quality I like seeing in villains is reliability. You may not relate to an antagonist's methods, but you may relate to their motivations. For example, an antagonist that Rob's a bank to get rich is not so relatable. But an antagonist who robs a bank to pay for his sister's surgery is much more relatable. Sure stealing is wrong, but you understand why.
One thing I love seeing in villains is what they do in their spare time. Because they're probably not using all their time doing whatever evil thing they're planning. Maybe your antagonist likes long walks on the beach, or they're raising a family in the background. Get to know your antagonist.
Write your antagonist like he's the hero in his own story. The antagonist isn't evil because he's evil, they're evil because their goals and/or methods get in the way of the protagonist's.
And if the antagonist is irredeemably evil, show why he is that way.
I'm not sure if any of that makes any sense, but it's what I think.

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#4 Post by JupiterMercury » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:47 pm

gekiganwing wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:29 am
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
...how to make an antagonist necessary, meaningful and compelling in a dating sim?
What are some archetypes to draw inspiration for a villain for the Romance genre?
Overall, I'd say "Think about why this character is an antagonist. Do they want to prevent a relationship? Do they want to defeat a group of heroes? What makes them compelling? What makes them believable?"

The first thing that comes to mind is Sweet Fuse, a romance visual novel which I read on PSP and Vita. Its antagonist is quite goofy in appearance, and has a comical laugh. Despite that, he sets up the story by taking hundreds of hostages and unleashing his minions. His intentions are serious -- he can kill the protagonist and her friends. I don't recall if he had a motivation.

I'm trying to remember what happened in Hakuouki. The protagonist becomes allied with the Shinsengumi. While they have a secret weapon, it has many side effects, and they seem hopelessly out-of-date and outnumbered. There are many threatening characters, but I think the story's real antagonist is war itself. Of course, I could be wrong...

The antagonists in Sakura Wars 5 are either dead-serious or comically inept. They want to keep the team of heroic characters from winning. While I almost finished this title, I don't recall if any of them had motivations.

Three Sisters Story is tough to recommend, and I didn't like it all that much about sixteen years ago. That said, a lot of the story regards the protagonist getting revenge on a specific person.

I've heard a number of good things about how Muv-Luv Alternative combines a plot-driven story with some relationship elements. Though I've also heard that in order to appreciate it, a person needs to read its off-the-wall love polygon comedy prequel Muv-Luv first. (Both have official localizations for Windows. I'm trying to be patient for translated PS Vita ports.)
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
I've always been a fan of villains or morally grey characters from shows such as Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Game of Thrones. Though I'm wondering how to make antagonists on the level of those shows or beyond.
Take notes about memorable antagonists. Ask if they might see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.

My favorite villains come from varied sources. Books I borrowed from libraries or had to read for classes, a variety of comics, movies I watched, about thirty years' worth of wandering through video game fandom...
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
...after seeing so many playthroughs of them Youtube...
I've watched some sections of a fan translation of Nisekoi: Yomeiri, which might never get an official translation. That's the only playthrough I've seen. :|
Those are good games to look up and analyze them better to make a VN antagonist better. I look to other mediums for great antagonists because I don't find many of compelling ones in VNs or they're absent entirely for an abstract one. Abstract antagonists can work as you mentioned in Hakuouki has war as the main villain. Although if you're going to have one, every villain in a story like that has to encompass some part of that motif.
I usually don't hear much about any popular VN antagonists the same way I would hear for comic books, TV, anime, or film. There should be list somewhere for the best VN antagonists but someone's gonna have to make it or maybe it's already out there.
I always hear the antagonist is the hero of their own story, but is their a balance that has to be maintained between the hero and villain to make sure you're not favoring either one?
I go on Youtube because of most of the VNs that I want are on Vita and all I can play are PC VNs. However they are JPN VNs that are said to be locked to US computers or are rare enough to be expensive.
thank you for responding.
Last edited by JupiterMercury on Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#5 Post by JupiterMercury » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:57 pm

Westeford wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:48 am
One thing I try to do in my writing is not write the antagonist as a villain. Most antagonists don't think of themselves as villains. Everyone thinks they're the hero in their story. So think about how your antagonist justifies his actions. His actions don't have to be evil. His goals provide an obstacle for the protagonist.
Another quality I like seeing in villains is reliability. You may not relate to an antagonist's methods, but you may relate to their motivations. For example, an antagonist that Rob's a bank to get rich is not so relatable. But an antagonist who robs a bank to pay for his sister's surgery is much more relatable. Sure stealing is wrong, but you understand why.
One thing I love seeing in villains is what they do in their spare time. Because they're probably not using all their time doing whatever evil thing they're planning. Maybe your antagonist likes long walks on the beach, or they're raising a family in the background. Get to know your antagonist.
Write your antagonist like he's the hero in his own story. The antagonist isn't evil because he's evil, they're evil because their goals and/or methods get in the way of the protagonist's.
And if the antagonist is irredeemably evil, show why he is that way.
I'm not sure if any of that makes any sense, but it's what I think.
Thanks for your response!
I think reliability is important for any character not just for the antagonists but also the side characters around them. I've always wanted to write a Complete Monster type of human villain that can be relatable while viciously sociopathic. The tension between psychopathy and sociopathy sometimes makes relatability difficult to be believable. It is true that antagonists don't believe that their the villain from their own perspective but what are some essential aspects of empathy to nail down for a reader.
The spare time part is something that's being touched on nowadays and it's something I haven't considered as much before. Being evil isn't a hobby so they should have real hobbies or passions outside of doing actions that are "villainous".
Last edited by JupiterMercury on Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#6 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:46 pm

JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:57 pm
It is true that antagonists don't believe that their the villain from their own perspective but what are some essential aspects of empathy to nail down for a reader.
Good question. I think that an antagonist should believe their cause is genuine, and that they're justified in their actions. If an antagonist states their motivation, then it should make sense.
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:57 pm
I go on Youtube because of most of the VNs that I want are on Vita and all I can play are PC VNs.
I looked on the Visual Novel Database for commercial otome games released in English for Windows. The list is only two pages long, and includes some which are still works-in-progress. That said, none of these titles require translation patches, or importing a DVD-ROM.

I'm kind of a strange person in fandom. :oops: For instance, I was actively buying a moderate amount of PC games from about 2002 to 2011. Then I decided that I liked handheld games above all else. Many fans who I interact with on r/visualnovels and related sub-Reddits have only tried computer visual novels.
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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#7 Post by Mammon » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:07 pm

I agree with both Gekiganwing and Westeford, a villain that believes that they're doing the right thing usually beats a villain for the sake of the story needing a bad guy. However, don't rile too heavily on them having to be a good guy, the villain that turns out to be a good guy in the end can be a real cliche you're beating someone over the head with. Complete monsters too can be amusing, as can villains that seem to be villains for the sake of being jerks. This is all depending on the performance rather than the villain and their motivation.

Like a lot of reponses will be on a lot of questions around here: Every story can work if it's done right, and every good premise can be a terrible tale if done wrong.

One important thing that I think you should focus on when wondering whether the villain is a good one, is if they do what they do because they want to do it, or if you want to. A villain that does something evil like burning down a village because it will really show the reader that they're totally a bad guy will only make us see them as a villain for the sake of villainry. If there's a proper purpose for it, or even if the villain does it despite it not being required or even problematic for the story, it might be good. And a villain can do something solely for the sake of villainry, as long as it's amusing or fitting.

When we're looking at the villains, there are a lot of people to pick from. The people that want to see the world burn, people that fight for their regime, people that are driven by their desires, people that want something or want to keep it, masterminds, etc. etc. And if I'd have to pick a few to study for a real simple example barely requiring to know the story, I'd take Dragonball Z. The villains are in base principle extremely simple because they are so powerful that most logical reprecussions no longer apply and the world around them is simple. All villains of the story are inherently evil for two reasons:
1)They have power, so much that few to none can stop them. They know of no laws, or they are the law. Literal armies and nations can't stop them, so why should they adhere to the laws of others? Vegeta was raised as one of the most powerful in a culture where the strongest reign supreme and where compassion and ethics are weakness. Freeza was raised an emperor who never even had to use 10% of his real power to be the most powerful without even trying. King Picollo was powerful enough to conquer the world with the power he has, so why wouldn't he? Cell has the power to destroy the planet, so why shouldn't he? That they'd be considered evil is because the very idea of evil either doesn't concern them or doesn't affect them, they do what they want and that can easily be evil in the eyes of others.
2)Their existence tends to be so simple that evil is part of that existence. Picollo and Buu are evil because evil is directly related to their very creation. Cell is evil because he was created to kill and fight. Vegeta is evil because the Sayian race considers fighting and massacres good in their own culture and they don't care to adapt their culture to that of others if it clashes. That doesn't make it bad design, rather it makes for the evil to be more logical.

There are many more villains that I could mention, but these ones are simple because a lot of factors that otherwise apply are removed or obsolete. They can do what they want to do purely because of an individual design or preference instead of something related to society or their social group. They don't have to worry about their law enforcement or any threat but the MC. Like already mentioned in previous posts a villain should have a reason for their villainry, but it doesn't need to be a justification. A good villain needs a core of reasoning behind their villainry. Because they are, can be or need to be a villain. And that core needs to be solid.

One thing I really wonder about is how you're planning to combine a villain in an otome romance. I can imagine it, surely, but it does immediately make me wonder what kind of story it is. Could you outline the story a bit so I can get a general idea of what kind of villain might fit your story?
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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#8 Post by Kinjo » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:09 pm

For otome games in particular, my first thought is that the antagonist is another girl who is competing for the same love interest as the player/protagonist. Or she is actively trying to sabotage the player's romantic efforts due to jealousy, anger, tragic backstory, etc.

As for writing villains in general, it mostly depends on the kind of story you're writing. Pure Evil villains work in DBZ and Jojo because those stories aren't really about the internal motivations, just about the action. So those stories need villains that put up an enjoyable fight. In contrast to something like Breaking Bad which is more focused on the drama between characters taking morally gray actions. The focus in that kind of show is on the moral dilemmas the characters face, which wouldn't be very complicated if there was a clear 'pure evil' villain standing in their way.

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#9 Post by JupiterMercury » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:15 pm

Mammon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:07 pm
I agree with both Gekiganwing and Westeford, a villain that believes that they're doing the right thing usually beats a villain for the sake of the story needing a bad guy. However, don't rile too heavily on them having to be a good guy, the villain that turns out to be a good guy in the end can be a real cliche you're beating someone over the head with. Complete monsters too can be amusing, as can villains that seem to be villains for the sake of being jerks. This is all depending on the performance rather than the villain and their motivation.

Like a lot of reponses will be on a lot of questions around here: Every story can work if it's done right, and every good premise can be a terrible tale if done wrong.

One important thing that I think you should focus on when wondering whether the villain is a good one, is if they do what they do because they want to do it, or if you want to. A villain that does something evil like burning down a village because it will really show the reader that they're totally a bad guy will only make us see them as a villain for the sake of villainry. If there's a proper purpose for it, or even if the villain does it despite it not being required or even problematic for the story, it might be good. And a villain can do something solely for the sake of villainry, as long as it's amusing or fitting.
Thank you very much for your response!
I agree in the how the story is written that matters when you have a good premise. I admit I like both types of villains: cartoony villains and realistic villains. You could write each type in either terrible or good ways.
Mammon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:07 pm

When we're looking at the villains, there are a lot of people to pick from. The people that want to see the world burn, people that fight for their regime, people that are driven by their desires, people that want something or want to keep it, masterminds, etc. etc. And if I'd have to pick a few to study for a real simple example barely requiring to know the story, I'd take Dragonball Z. The villains are in base principle extremely simple because they are so powerful that most logical reprecussions no longer apply and the world around them is simple. All villains of the story are inherently evil for two reasons:
1)They have power, so much that few to none can stop them. They know of no laws, or they are the law. Literal armies and nations can't stop them, so why should they adhere to the laws of others? Vegeta was raised as one of the most powerful in a culture where the strongest reign supreme and where compassion and ethics are weakness. Freeza was raised an emperor who never even had to use 10% of his real power to be the most powerful without even trying. King Picollo was powerful enough to conquer the world with the power he has, so why wouldn't he? Cell has the power to destroy the planet, so why shouldn't he? That they'd be considered evil is because the very idea of evil either doesn't concern them or doesn't affect them, they do what they want and that can easily be evil in the eyes of others.
2)Their existence tends to be so simple that evil is part of that existence. Picollo and Buu are evil because evil is directly related to their very creation. Cell is evil because he was created to kill and fight. Vegeta is evil because the Sayian race considers fighting and massacres good in their own culture and they don't care to adapt their culture to that of others if it clashes. That doesn't make it bad design, rather it makes for the evil to be more logical.
Those are good examples of villains and I never knew about King Picollo but the others, I did. They seem to follow the evil for the sake of evil model.
Mammon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:07 pm

There are many more villains that I could mention, but these ones are simple because a lot of factors that otherwise apply are removed or obsolete. They can do what they want to do purely because of an individual design or preference instead of something related to society or their social group. They don't have to worry about their law enforcement or any threat but the MC. Like already mentioned in previous posts a villain should have a reason for their villainry, but it doesn't need to be a justification. A good villain needs a core of reasoning behind their villainry. Because they are, can be or need to be a villain. And that core needs to be solid.

One thing I really wonder about is how you're planning to combine a villain in an otome romance. I can imagine it, surely, but it does immediately make me wonder what kind of story it is. Could you outline the story a bit so I can get a general idea of what kind of villain might fit your story?
Right now the story is at a rudimentary level so I'm still trying to make them connect. However it's an sea adventure story that Moby Dick meets a legend that I read in a mythology book plus the otome genre. The two villains in my story are an eldritch abomination sea creature that wrecks havoc on a fishing village and a demigod that's the descendant of the main protagonist's divine form before her descent into an oceanpunk Earth.
The latter's goal(Demigod) is to use the sea creature and kill as many villagers as possible to make them pray to the deity he serves so that the deity (who's been unhappy since his consort(The MC's true identity) left and has neglected all creation) can reclaim the main protagonist. Anyone who tries to capture or kill(and that includes the romantic options) are obstacles to the demigod's goals so he tries to kill them ( but sparing her while slowly killing the others) while sailing with four of them as the MC develops a romance with the option the player chooses. I thought of having him appear as your best friend or the most antagonistic( meaning needlessly argumentative) but both seems to be cliches that were done either in Persona 4, Undertale, Doki Doki LIterature Club, best friend betrayals and a lot more out there. So I'm thinking of him being in your crew to kill the creature but breaking your trust at the last moment.
Whenever the demigod reveals his true identity, depending on who you romanced, the motivation will veer in the motif of the option you chose. Right now, I've thought of having a naturalist, pirate, soldier, and a fisherman as the options.

-For example, in the Biologist's path, the demigod will say that the creature is to be killed by the MC's true husband and that its death by the deity will create a new species that will be the symbol of their newfound marriage covenant between the deity and the MC when reclaimed.
-In the Pirate's path, the demigod will say the creature is a vehicle to punish the wickedness of the world and its death relies on the people's faith, even to go against the MC's wishes if it must require it.
-There's a Suicide path where the MC kills the creature herself and stick up for humanity rather than be cajoled and manipulated by the demigod and it can go with her surviving to live out the rest her life happily or dying in the process to the sadness of not just the village but the deity and the demigod.

The challenge is trying to make all the motivations in each path coalesce into one comprehensive motivation that gives the full picture of his character. Also when the MC left the deity to descend into Earth, it's a separation that was due to a misunderstanding between the MC's divine form and her husband deity. The demigod tries to reunite them out of love for his master and for his mother who he thinks is being disgraced and exploited by having a mortal life along with dire implications for the line between divinity and humanity. Since if any of the options chosen by the MC( who is also unaware of her true identity as a goddess) were to be her beloved, get married, and do the rites associated with life before dying, they can ascend into a higher plane in the afterlife as the pantheon of gods are dying out. Which the demigod fears would result in the created ruling for themselves rather than the opposite. What the demigod wants most is his parents to be together again.
Last edited by JupiterMercury on Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#10 Post by JupiterMercury » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:40 pm

Kinjo wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:09 pm
For otome games in particular, my first thought is that the antagonist is another girl who is competing for the same love interest as the player/protagonist. Or she is actively trying to sabotage the player's romantic efforts due to jealousy, anger, tragic backstory, etc.
Thanks for responding!
I thought of making the demigod also be a romantic competitor along with manipulating the MC into his goals. I thought of him as a assuming multiple aliases and disguises such as assuming a female form to trick and foment romantic conflict with the potential options the MC chooses. If any efforts at seduction fail, then it's straight up murder by the monster or in a slasher horror movie style by the demigod with killing any witnesses. However, I have thought of the villain forming a beta couple relationship and being surprised with the romantic affection by the options you don't romance and in the true ending could actually end up with one of them.
Kinjo wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:09 pm
As for writing villains in general, it mostly depends on the kind of story you're writing. Pure Evil villains work in DBZ and Jojo because those stories aren't really about the internal motivations, just about the action. So those stories need villains that put up an enjoyable fight. In contrast to something like Breaking Bad which is more focused on the drama between characters taking morally gray actions. The focus in that kind of show is on the moral dilemmas the characters face, which wouldn't be very complicated if there was a clear 'pure evil' villain standing in their way.
I've heard arguments made that Shonen villains like those in DBZ and Jojo can be complicated as much as dramatic shows but I think the difference between them results in nuanced complexities. As you mentioned Breaking Bad involves the dramatic actions in a morally grey direction and I think the best example is the conflict between Walter White and Gus Fringe. In DBZ, I think a good example( unless I'm wrong) for strong internal conflict could be Goku and Majin Vegeta in the Buu saga. For Vegeta in that arc there seemed to be a callback to his status as a villain before becoming Goku's ally and then becoming evil again to reclaim a sense of pride that has been "decayed" by his life with Bulma and Trunks but Goku especially. Do I seem to make sense in a way?
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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#11 Post by JupiterMercury » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:42 pm

JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:47 pm
gekiganwing wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:29 am
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
...how to make an antagonist necessary, meaningful and compelling in a dating sim?
What are some archetypes to draw inspiration for a villain for the Romance genre?
Overall, I'd say "Think about why this character is an antagonist. Do they want to prevent a relationship? Do they want to defeat a group of heroes? What makes them compelling? What makes them believable?"

The first thing that comes to mind is Sweet Fuse, a romance visual novel which I read on PSP and Vita. Its antagonist is quite goofy in appearance, and has a comical laugh. Despite that, he sets up the story by taking hundreds of hostages and unleashing his minions. His intentions are serious -- he can kill the protagonist and her friends. I don't recall if he had a motivation.

I'm trying to remember what happened in Hakuouki. The protagonist becomes allied with the Shinsengumi. While they have a secret weapon, it has many side effects, and they seem hopelessly out-of-date and outnumbered. There are many threatening characters, but I think the story's real antagonist is war itself. Of course, I could be wrong...

The antagonists in Sakura Wars 5 are either dead-serious or comically inept. They want to keep the team of heroic characters from winning. While I almost finished this title, I don't recall if any of them had motivations.

Three Sisters Story is tough to recommend, and I didn't like it all that much about sixteen years ago. That said, a lot of the story regards the protagonist getting revenge on a specific person.

I've heard a number of good things about how Muv-Luv Alternative combines a plot-driven story with some relationship elements. Though I've also heard that in order to appreciate it, a person needs to read its off-the-wall love polygon comedy prequel Muv-Luv first. (Both have official localizations for Windows. I'm trying to be patient for translated PS Vita ports.)
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
I've always been a fan of villains or morally grey characters from shows such as Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Game of Thrones. Though I'm wondering how to make antagonists on the level of those shows or beyond.
Take notes about memorable antagonists. Ask if they might see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.

My favorite villains come from varied sources. Books I borrowed from libraries or had to read for classes, a variety of comics, movies I watched, about thirty years' worth of wandering through video game fandom...
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:29 am
...after seeing so many playthroughs of them Youtube...
I've watched some sections of a fan translation of Nisekoi: Yomeiri, which might never get an official translation. That's the only playthrough I've seen. :|
Those are good games to look up and analyze them better to make a VN antagonist better. I look to other mediums for great antagonists because I don't find many of compelling ones in VNs or they're absent entirely for an abstract one. Abstract antagonists can work as you mentioned in Hakuouki has war as the main villain. Although if you're going to have one, every villain in a story like that has to encompass some part of that motif.
I usually don't hear much about any popular VN antagonists the same way I would hear for comic books, TV, anime, or film. There should be list somewhere for the best VN antagonists but someone's gonna have to make it or maybe it's already out there.
I always hear the antagonist is the hero of their own story, but is their a balance that has to be maintained between the hero and villain to make sure you're not favoring either one?
I go on Youtube because of most of the VNs that I want are on Vita and all I can play are PC VNs. However they are JPN VNs that are said to be locked to US computers or are rare enough to be expensive.
Also thank you for responding to my question!

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#12 Post by Kinjo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:43 am

JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:40 pm
I've heard arguments made that Shonen villains like those in DBZ and Jojo can be complicated as much as dramatic shows but I think the difference between them results in nuanced complexities. As you mentioned Breaking Bad involves the dramatic actions in a morally grey direction and I think the best example is the conflict between Walter White and Gus Fringe. In DBZ, I think a good example( unless I'm wrong) for strong internal conflict could be Goku and Majin Vegeta in the Buu saga. For Vegeta in that arc there seemed to be a callback to his status as a villain before becoming Goku's ally and then becoming evil again to reclaim a sense of pride that has been "decayed" by his life with Bulma and Trunks but Goku especially. Do I seem to make sense in a way?
Yeah, I'd say you're right. Vegeta is actually a really good example. Why was he such a bad guy during the Saiyan Saga? This scene explains his motivations -- he was simply being used by Frieza ("Destroy Frieza. He made me what I am. Don't let him do it to anyone else"). That's probably what makes Vegeta such a great character, is that he's not really that evil, he was just in an unfortunate situation and had to make "evil" choices just to survive.

Similarly in Breaking Bad, Walter has to make a lot of evil choices just to survive from Gus. And Gus has to make a lot of evil choices just to survive the Salamancas. And I'd definitely consider Tuco a "pure evil" character, which is probably why he didn't remain on the show for very long (it'd get boring fast). The battles between Walter and Gus, two men who are stuck in very bad situations, are much more interesting. And it's insane how the prequel/spinoff Better Call Saul actually had me rooting for Gus to win. That's when you know you have a complex villain.

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#13 Post by Mammon » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am

Kinjo wrote:Yeah, I'd say you're right. Vegeta is actually a really good example. Why was he such a bad guy during the Saiyan Saga? This scene explains his motivations -- he was simply being used by Frieza ("Destroy Frieza. He made me what I am. Don't let him do it to anyone else"). That's probably what makes Vegeta such a great character, is that he's not really that evil, he was just in an unfortunate situation and had to make "evil" choices just to survive.
*Laughs like a wiseass about to lecture*
You say that as if Akira Toriyama already knew Freeza existed when he made the Sayian saga. Monkeys killed by rocks my friend, monkeys killed by rocks.
P.S. Freeza rules you.

Seriously though, whether it was with or without Freeza, Vegeta would've been evil. HIs entire society was, from the perspective of others. Freeza just conquered them and then destroyed them. Which, considering it was on Beerus's command, might actually mean that Freeza is more of a good guy than the Sayians. Certainly made for a higher mortal rating, that's for sure.
JupiterMercury wrote:I've heard arguments made that Shonen villains like those in DBZ and Jojo can be complicated as much as dramatic shows but I think the difference between them results in nuanced complexities. As you mentioned Breaking Bad involves the dramatic actions in a morally grey direction and I think the best example is the conflict between Walter White and Gus Fringe. In DBZ, I think a good example( unless I'm wrong) for strong internal conflict could be Goku and Majin Vegeta in the Buu saga. For Vegeta in that arc there seemed to be a callback to his status as a villain before becoming Goku's ally and then becoming evil again to reclaim a sense of pride that has been "decayed" by his life with Bulma and Trunks but Goku especially. Do I seem to make sense in a way?
Its not necessarily the grey area, rather than the existence of said grey area. With your story too, you could literally create the being in a way that makes them inherently good or evil without being bound to more realistic issues. In Breaking Bad, there are laws in place that make meth illegal because the government says so and meth makes a lot of money because that's the way the world works. In a story of gods, such higher powers dictating what is and isn't are your characters rather than the indebatable ones above you. You're the minions fighting while having to have the opinions of your masters.
JupiterMercury wrote:Right now the story is at a rudimentary level so I'm still trying to make them connect. However it's an sea adventure story that Moby Dick meets a legend that I read in a mythology book plus the otome genre. The two villains in my story are an eldritch abomination sea creature that wrecks havoc on a fishing village and a demigod that's the descendant of the main protagonist's divine form before her descent into an oceanpunk Earth.
The latter's goal(Demigod) is to use the sea creature and kill as many villagers as possible to make them pray to the deity he serves so that the deity (who's been unhappy since his consort(The MC's true identity) left and has neglected all creation) can reclaim the main protagonist. Anyone who tries to capture or kill(and that includes the romantic options) are obstacles to the demigod's goals so he tries to kill them ( but sparing her while slowly killing the others) while sailing with four of them as the MC develops a romance with the option the player chooses.
I see. Just like with DBZ, that means his motivations and evil can be purely based upon his creation, and his mentality based upon his superior power compared to the humans. This is not a human killing humans, this is a human killing rats. That makes a difference, even if the rats were to disagree.

Considering this is a creation of the MC and the above-antagonist, that does make for a potential interesting dynamic. The antagonist might not ever be swayed by the words of mortals, but the exact same words by the MC could have effect on him. Thus giving the MC power that none other has, without giving her actual physical powers.
Or he could be a case of an agent not made for their purpose. They were f.e. made as a butler to serve, never to use their own judgement or be in command. Thus evil because their plan doesn't work or because of shortsightedness.
Or he could be a pure and perfect being that starts to change due to their descent to a mortal coil, thus perfect in core but corrupted purely and alone by the actions and events of the story.

These are just a few suggestions that can apply to a villain in this situation, chosen to give easy villain motives rather than to fit in a plot. Feel free to ignore.
JupiterMercury wrote:Whenever the demigod reveals his true identity, depending on who you romanced, the motivation will veer in the motif of the option you chose. Right now, I've thought of having a naturalist, pirate, soldier, and a fisherman as the options.
The challenge is trying to make all the motivations in each path coalesce into one comprehensive motivation that gives the full picture of his character. The demigod tries to reunite them out of love for his master and for his mother who he thinks is being disgraced and exploited by having a mortal life. What the demigod wants most is his parents to be together again.
That's indeed a good motivation, as a servant and minion that would be the most relateable and logical drive for his actions. And I can see them having an issue with each of the LI's based upon their simplest description. The soldier is the mortal's pride to overthrow even the gods themselves (perhaps there's been an invasion of the godly realm like in Greek mythology?), the fisherman reaps from nature and breaks the balance for their own gain in what will eventually result in the exhaustion of sea life, the pirate is pretty obvious and naturalist depends on what you've got planned for that one.

Getting all those routes coherent with one another is indeed a challenge. Perhaps he focusses on the LI because MC focussed on him. But to do it coherent with one antoher might indeed be a challenge. I myself added 4 antagonists, a basic one that will always attack you and one for each of the three LI's. The other two are actually supporting the MC based upon their ideology which is either positive or neutral to the LI you chose, meaning you always have one enemy, one friend and one on the sidelines. But whether that works depends on the story, of course.
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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#14 Post by JupiterMercury » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:42 pm

Kinjo wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:43 am
JupiterMercury wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:40 pm
I've heard arguments made that Shonen villains like those in DBZ and Jojo can be complicated as much as dramatic shows but I think the difference between them results in nuanced complexities. As you mentioned Breaking Bad involves the dramatic actions in a morally grey direction and I think the best example is the conflict between Walter White and Gus Fringe. In DBZ, I think a good example( unless I'm wrong) for strong internal conflict could be Goku and Majin Vegeta in the Buu saga. For Vegeta in that arc there seemed to be a callback to his status as a villain before becoming Goku's ally and then becoming evil again to reclaim a sense of pride that has been "decayed" by his life with Bulma and Trunks but Goku especially. Do I seem to make sense in a way?
Yeah, I'd say you're right. Vegeta is actually a really good example. Why was he such a bad guy during the Saiyan Saga? This scene explains his motivations -- he was simply being used by Frieza ("Destroy Frieza. He made me what I am. Don't let him do it to anyone else"). That's probably what makes Vegeta such a great character, is that he's not really that evil, he was just in an unfortunate situation and had to make "evil" choices just to survive.
He can also be considered a reluctant villain from the video you linked too. It's an interesting development when compared to the Saiyan Saga Vegeta.
Kinjo wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:43 am

Similarly in Breaking Bad, Walter has to make a lot of evil choices just to survive from Gus. And Gus has to make a lot of evil choices just to survive the Salamancas. And I'd definitely consider Tuco a "pure evil" character, which is probably why he didn't remain on the show for very long (it'd get boring fast). The battles between Walter and Gus, two men who are stuck in very bad situations, are much more interesting. And it's insane how the prequel/spinoff Better Call Saul actually had me rooting for Gus to win. That's when you know you have a complex villain.
I think Tuco was a Rule of Cool villain so it's seemed logical to kill him off in a short time rather than having him long term. Tuco did have some good scene but if a pure evil character like him was on the show constantly it would rob the show of better appeal by its later antagonists. It feels like the pure evil villain type has a limitation: this villain has to constantly up the shock value of their actions and it risks boredom or becomes tiring. Gus Fringe, on the other hand, when you square him off with Walter and have him interact with Jessie to distance him just shows the calculated ruthlessness of this guy. I wanted to try avoiding a purely evil character like Tuco and try to veer into the Gus Fringe territory.
In fact, I remember that George R.R. Martin himself said Walter White was badder than of his own villains in his Game of Thrones series and that White would the worst of them were he to live in Westeros http://grrm.livejournal.com/337511.html

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Re: How to Create Compelling Antagonists/Villians in Otome Sims

#15 Post by JupiterMercury » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:40 pm

Mammon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am

Its not necessarily the grey area, rather than the existence of said grey area. With your story too, you could literally create the being in a way that makes them inherently good or evil without being bound to more realistic issues. In Breaking Bad, there are laws in place that make meth illegal because the government says so and meth makes a lot of money because that's the way the world works. In a story of gods, such higher powers dictating what is and isn't are your characters rather than the indebatable ones above you. You're the minions fighting while having to have the opinions of your masters.
That's a good idea there. The hierarchy between gods and humans are GOD,Demigod, Sea Creature, Human. Although I think even divine beings are capable of being perceived in moral grays as people are too. One example is Doctor Manhattan who seems to be symbolic of a moral grayness with being so rigid in Black and White Morality. What if the god has laws set that the demigod broke in order to reunite it with its consort to repair not just their relationship but the world which wasn't always an oceanpunk setting?
Mammon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
I see. Just like with DBZ, that means his motivations and evil can be purely based upon his creation, and his mentality based upon his superior power compared to the humans. This is not a human killing humans, this is a human killing rats. That makes a difference, even if the rats were to disagree.
A viewpoint like that is common with depiction of divinity in many works that I've noticed. It's an understandable one that's stems from Black and White morality. I think for the demigod, shades of the viewpoint are held but he (or she? I'm not sure on which gender to go with. I thought both maybe) had some love for humanity but gradually lost it over time as a son.
Mammon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Considering this is a creation of the MC and the above-antagonist, that does make for a potential interesting dynamic. The antagonist might not ever be swayed by the words of mortals, but the exact same words by the MC could have effect on him. Thus giving the MC power that none other has, without giving her actual physical powers.
He might have that as a weakness: being scolded by his own mom but also would fear of the god he serves since this would tampering in human affairs for selfish reasons. I suppose over-confidence can work too and being torn with newfound love can also serves as flaws too.
Mammon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Or he could be a case of an agent not made for their purpose. They were f.e. made as a butler to serve, never to use their own judgement or be in command. Thus evil because their plan doesn't work or because of shortsightedness.
Or he could be a pure and perfect being that starts to change due to their descent to a mortal coil, thus perfect in core but corrupted purely and alone by the actions and events of the story.
I think a combination of both are possible. The demigod's always be a butler-like being sort of similar to Aruna the charioteer for Surya and Surapadma as a mount and servant to Murugan after defeat in Hinduism. For Greek examples, it'd be Pegasus or Hebe for Zeus. But I would say the mission does corrupt him in someway. Either he falls in love with the options the MC didn't choose or commits too many misdeeds to achieve his goal. And then there's the matter of punishment if the player chooses: Be cast down as a mortal with all divinity dead to atone for the casualties in his scheme but maybe have a chance to live out the rest of life with a LI, go through the same adventure the MC had or similar to be reincarnated (but I think that's a sequel idea) or actually die.
Mammon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am

These are just a few suggestions that can apply to a villain in this situation, chosen to give easy villain motives rather than to fit in a plot. Feel free to ignore.
JupiterMercury wrote:Whenever the demigod reveals his true identity, depending on who you romanced, the motivation will veer in the motif of the option you chose. Right now, I've thought of having a naturalist, pirate, soldier, and a fisherman as the options.
The challenge is trying to make all the motivations in each path coalesce into one comprehensive motivation that gives the full picture of his character. The demigod tries to reunite them out of love for his master and for his mother who he thinks is being disgraced and exploited by having a mortal life. What the demigod wants most is his parents to be together again.
That's indeed a good motivation, as a servant and minion that would be the most relateable and logical drive for his actions. And I can see them having an issue with each of the LI's based upon their simplest description. The soldier is the mortal's pride to overthrow even the gods themselves (perhaps there's been an invasion of the godly realm like in Greek mythology?), the fisherman reaps from nature and breaks the balance for their own gain in what will eventually result in the exhaustion of sea life, the pirate is pretty obvious and naturalist depends on what you've got planned for that one.
Those are good suggestions, I wouldn't ignore them. I wouldn't say there's an invasion but the situation of the world and humanity resembles that of the story of Babel and sorta the end of Mt. Olympus with the arrival of Christianity wherein humanity has the power to equal divinity and even surpass with the combination of each path to be self-sufficient without divinity ruling their lives anymore. The naturalist has themes of rejecting the supernatural but also against authority under it. In its place is a pro-science bent that the universe is random and self-determining with nature stronger than the supernatural or divine. What also bolsters this is his view that the sea creature's existence disproves a benevolent god or that god is dead.
Mammon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Getting all those routes coherent with one another is indeed a challenge. Perhaps he focusses on the LI because MC focussed on him. But to do it coherent with one antoher might indeed be a challenge. I myself added 4 antagonists, a basic one that will always attack you and one for each of the three LI's. The other two are actually supporting the MC based upon their ideology which is either positive or neutral to the LI you chose, meaning you always have one enemy, one friend and one on the sidelines. But whether that works depends on the story, of course.
Yeah, making them connect without looking inconsistent is the main problem. It feels like some themes contradict each other. I think games like the Zero Escape series was good at this but also knew when to diverge.

Perhaps the LI you don't choose that loves the demigod could be a supporting antagonist? Although I'm not sure how that'd work. Maybe through jealousy or romantic intrigue with the MC's LI?

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