I was not looking forward to this route, in fact I was planning on skipping Mink’s route all together. But, in order to unlock Ren’s route, I had to complete the Good Ending for Koujaku, Noiz, Clear and Mink… So, I had no choice but to suffer through it. Mink is perhaps my least favorite route of the game, even before I played it, I wasn’t very interested in Mink as a “love interest”. Even now after playing through his entire story, I’m still not a fan.
Mink is the leader of the prison Rhyme team Scratch, and to be honest that’s all that anyone really knows about him. He shares little with his fellow team members, and has a tendency to speak with his fists. But, beneath his stoic exterior lies a complex character whose emotions run much deeper than anyone around him could ever imagine. I was surprised by this route, I definitely got to see a different side of Mink than I expected.
**Disclaimer: I don’t own these images, they belong to Nitro+chiral…and this goes without saying, but there will be minor SPOILERS under the cut… For your sanity and my own, there will be none of the rapey or especially violent CGs in this post…You’re welcome!*
Okay, so let me say how much I dislike it when, a game will present a character as being a complete and utter monster for 95% of the game, only to try and make his actions somehow noble for the last 5%… It does not work that way, I don’t care if he has a whole kitten farm in his back yard or that he poops rainbows and sunshine. If a character is an abusive dick, you’d be hard pressed to convince me otherwise. I am not so easily swayed by a sob story, no matter how convincing, especially when said character violently beats and rapes another character repeatedly. Now that that’s out, lets get this review out of the way so I can move on to more pleasant things.
Mink is an escaped prisoner and leader of the all-prisoner Rhyme team, Scratch. He is the mature one of the group, with more rugged and masculine features than the other potential love interests. Mink is a man of few words and an imposing figure both within his team and outside of it. Despite having a commanding voice, he rarely says much, instead opting to communicate through intense glares and rudimentary grunts. He is a cold and heartless man who is quick to punish any instances of insubordination among his ranks. He disposes of anyone he doesn’t deem useful, never getting close to anyone. In the beginning he is nothing more than an emotionless brute, especially towards Aoba, who he beats and rapes multiple times throughout the story.
Like the other characters, Mink has a tragic past, except I find that his story is by far the most tragic of them all. Years before the start of the game, Mink and his family lived peacefully in a small village that had a deep rooted connection with nature. Their connection was so great, that they were able to cultivate a medicinal herb that could change one’s body odor, producing a calming effect on others. Toue learned of this herb and thinking it to be the missing link to their mind control research, set forth to claim it as their own. The tribe refused their offer, infuriating Toue who in turn ordered the mass genocide of Mink’s people. Mink was the only survivor of the massacre and in the aftermath he was taken to Midorijima where Toue subjected him to various experiments. The experience hardened Mink’s heart against Toue, such that he put his entire being into overthrowing Toue, so much so that he is willing to throw his life away for his mission.
Kiss with a Fist
In the common route, after Tae is kidnapped by Morphine, Mink is waiting for Aoba inside of his home. Thinking he is responsible for the kidnapping, Aoba begins to unleash the Rage of One Thousand Ukes on Mink. However, Mink, being the impressive specimen that he is swiftly knocks our protagonist out and drags him off to his team’s base. Once there he orders his men to gang rape Aoba, but before it can get too far Aoba unleashes his inner Dark side, lets call him Sly Blue, on the men. Afterwards Mink presents Aoba with a proposition; assist him with any task he requires, and in return he will help Aoba locate his grandmother…and like a fool Aoba agrees. The relationship between Aoba and Mink is one fraught with conflict.
Mink demands absolute obedience, by any means necessary, while Aoba constantly tries to break away from Mink’s hold. The character development in this route is so subtle, that if you blink you’d miss it. Couple that with the constant bombardment of forced sex and violence, and it seems almost non-existent. Mink seeks to use Aoba’s Scrap ability to overthrow Toue, but when Aoba is unable to put out, he attempts to force out the Sly Blue personality instead. He does this by beating the living daylights out of Aoba and forcing himself on him to the point that he loses himself to the pain and pleasure of it. I was sick to my stomach every time it happened and it happens often.
After the last time, Sly Blue takes over and the experience scares the living daylights out of Mink, who in turn becomes noticeably kinder to Aoba. But, like I said before, it’s one of those things that if you blink you’d miss it. Mink becomes softer to Aoba, more talkative, even going so far as to watch over a weakened Aoba after his most recent attack. He starts to reveal details of his plan to Aoba, even trusting him carry out key aspects of the plan alone. Mink even stops beating Aoba at this point, instead gently stroking Aoba’s hair while he sleeps. It’s explained that he was so “rough” on Aoba, in order to keep him from getting to close. However, the turn around is completely lost on me, as it comes too late in the story for me to change my opinion of him. In the end, Mink never meant to survive his encounter with Toue. Mink explains that he doesn’t fear death, because he’s already dead. He states that he died the day that his people died at the hands of Toue. So, in the end he is able to face Toue alone, unafraid of death.
Unlike the other routes, the conflict with Toue is more pertinent to the over arching plot of the route. In fact, we actually get to meet Toue and let me tell you he is one mean piece of work. In this route, Mink rams his motorcycle through the roof of the Oval Tower and he and Aoba confront Toue directly. However, Toue has been watching their movements within the Platinum Jail and he has his own counterattack planned. He forces Mink to relive the destruction of his home, causing a mental break. Aoba is forced to use his Scrap on Mink and relive the horrors of his past.
Bad End –If while in Mink’s mind, you help any one, you will trigger the bad ending. After the failed Scrap, Aoba and Mink will seemingly return to the real world. The scene will then flash back to the burning village, from Mink’s memories and he will start rambling that he needs to save the only think that matters. Since his people believe that one’s soul resides in the head, he promptly rips off Aoba’s head to keep him safe from the devil.
Good End- Aoba successfully uses his Scrap on Mink, freeing his mind and allowing him to finally move on. However, some part of Mink still rejects Aoba, and he goes on alone to kill Toue. The tower collapses and it is assumed that Mink has died. Life goes on for the residents of Midorijima, but Aoba still feels like something is missing. So, he packs his bags and leaves the island to search for Mink, who he still thinks is alive.
There is so much that didn’t make it into this post, and for that I highly suggest going over to my Tumblr by clicking HERE, you can see exactly what I had to put up with! I thought Toma from Amnesia was bad, but, Mink makes him look like a frickin saint. I have never been more disgusted playing a game in my life. I wanted to quit so many times, but I wouldn’t have been able to unlock Ren’s route without it. Ren was the only think keeping me on the hell route, and I swear his route better be worth it!
Yes Mink had a change of heart, and yes there was a reason behind all of his actions, but damnit, I don’t have to like it! This route is what I imagine people with Stockholm Syndrome experience. I could not for the life of me understand how Aoba could become so forgiving of Mink’s abuse. And then for him to actually desire it and experience pleasure from it too…that was just too much for my innocent heart! I felt like I was watching a battered wife in a Lifetime movie, the kind that keeps coming back to her abusive spouse even after he almost kills her… My opinon may seem harsh, but, remember this is the watered down version! I cringed playing this route. The only ray of light in this entire route was Ren, and Mink went and killed that too.
This route is not for the faint of heart, it’s definitely written for more mature tastes. As it turns all of the themes from the other routes up to eleven. I will admit that the reveal and the ending were a vast improvement on the overall story, serving to humanize Mink and his actions. But, the character revelation in this route was too little too late, maybe if it had come earlier, I may have been more sympathetic to Mink and his past trauma. But, it didn’t and I don’t. Do I understand why he did what he did? Yes. Do I care? Yeah, about as much as any decent human being would. Does it change how I feel about Mink? Hell no!
I hear that Mink gets better in Re:connect, we’ll have to see about that, but for the time being my opinion remains the same. So, Mink’s route, I don’t recommend it… he is abusive and cold. His earlier actions broke my heart and for that I cannot forgive him, but, I will say that after playing his route to the end I do understand his motivations better. So, if you can put up with his abuse towards Aoba, go ahead and play it, if not…I suggest using Nitro Skip!