What I Look for in an Otome Heroine

Over the years there has been a lot of discourse surrounding otome heroines. In the early days, otome heroines were pretty bland, sweet and demure, but otherwise nondescript. I mean, when a character’s entire purpose is to be a stand in for the player, it makes sense that they’d be a bit lacking in the personality department. But, in recent years there has been a shift in the types of heroines we see in otome games, with many writers giving them a much more defined personality and motivations. Heck, in some cases like Saki from Sweet Fuse, the heroine is a much more interesting character than the actual love interests!

Of course, there’s the other side of the spectrum, where a heroine can be a bit too much to the point of being unlikable. In the Voltage game Liar Uncover the Truth, the heroine is a smart, confident career woman, with a clear vision of what she wants in a man–all amazing qualities to have in an otome heroine–and at first, I LOVED her. But, as the story progressed her impossibly high standards made her less and less relatable… and by the end of the game I found myself rooting against her.

Heroine characters are more a reflection of feminine ideals and as women’s roles in society change so too do our expectations of how female characters should be portrayed in our media. So it’s important to keep abreast of changing norms when crafting female characters, especially those in media targeted at women. It’s about striking a balance between the fantasy that otome games provide and the reality of how women identify themselves. So, that got me thinking about the qualities I look for in my otome heroines and thus this post exists.

I Like a Gal with a Sense of Humor

An otome heroine that isn’t afraid to joke around or even tease her lover is my ideal; there is something really endearing about a heroine that knows how to laugh! Arisu from Taisho x Alice is one of my favorite otome heroines because she knows how to have fun, actively teasing her LIs and even getting in a few really good one liners! She really made the series for me and sometimes that’s all it takes to really make a game.

I Like a Gal that can KICK ASS

I don’t want a heroine that just wait on the sidelines while the men folk head off to battle… NO! I want a heroine that is right there on the frontlines taking care of business! There is nothing cooler than an otome heroine taking down baddies right alongside the LIs. In Collar x Malice, Ichika is a trained police office she doesn’t just let Yanagi and co take on Adonis alone–she’s right there in the trenches with them and she even shoots criminals!

I Like a Gal that is accepting of others

Balance is key, and while I like a gal that can kick ass, I also like it when a heroine is compassionate towards others. Not every situation requires brute force and it takes a truly remarkable person to know when showing kindness is the right move! Kotone from Cafe Enchante is the perfect example of this–she treats everyone the same regardless of if they’re a regular human or a Demon King from an alternate dimension. In her eyes everyone is the same and should be treated with respect and kindness…

I Like a Gal with a good head on her shoulders

Don’t underestimate a heroine with a good head on her shoulders–a clear, level headed woman who solves the problems the boys create! I absolutely love it when the heroine is the smartest one in the room and the heroine that is the epitome of intelligence is Saki Inafune from Sweet Fuse. When trapped in an amusement park full of horrors, she doesn’t panic, no, she uses her intuition and her wit to solve every puzzle Hogstein throws at them and at the end of the day it’s her quick thinking that saves the day!

I Like a Gal that is allowed to be vulnerable

I know most folks favor otome heroines that are “strong”, but there is something to be said for a well rounded character that isn’t perfect. Someone that has moments of weakness, but doesn’t let that define who they are. Moreso than the other characters in an otome game, it’s that vulnerability that makes otome heroines so relatable.

Heroines like Cardia from Code Realize, who starts off with very little knowledge about the outside world and gradually works to better herself. She learns combat skills from Van Helsing, alchemy from Victor, the art of subterfuge from Lupin, and more over the course of the story. She acknowledges her shortcomings, but she doesn’t let them hold her back and that more than anything is the quality I love most in my otome heroines.

So that’s my list of qualities that I look for in my otome heroines, but there are so many more reasons to love them! What are some qualities that you look for in your otome heroines? Do you like strong MCs? Kind MCs? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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11 thoughts on “What I Look for in an Otome Heroine

  1. This whole post is a mood. I don’t know all of these heroines because of budget issues/lack of consoles I possess, but I remember Saki from Sweet fuse, she was super fun ❤❤❤

    I don’t know about other folks, but I was never into this self-insert thing. I mainly play games hoping to see a love story between a fun, likable and realistic woman and her guy of choice, just like a romance novel in paper format. Handsome men swooning over a cutboard cutout with zero personality gets boring real fast lol.

    1. Oh nooo, I hope you’ll be able to get them eventually there are some really great new games. Hopefully there will be a sale again soon

      Saki is the ideal, smart and not afraid to yell at the LIs for being dumb

      Same, I tried once with a voltage game and it weirded me out when the character said “I love you Naja” COMPLETELY took me out of the mood LOL

  2. Oof the Liar! MC1. Liar! is my fav mobile otome game, but I have mixed feelings about her. I did like her in the Mr. Right’s Lovers route because she learns that no one is perfect and she’ll have to accept some flaws, but how much I hated her in the main story just makes it hard to fully accept her.

    I’m not very picky with my heroines at all, and I like most of the ones that I’ve played. All I really ask for is a bit of personality. That being said, my favorites goes to the story as a whole – I like the heroines best when the story is as much hers as it is the love interests’. My two favorites are Cardia and Lucette.

    As for traits I like, though, I tend to enjoy the ones that I relate to – kind, accepting, socially awkward, and a bit “weak.” I also like when they have similar passions to me, such as psychology – that’s why Decoding Desire is my favorite OKKO otome game, even though I’ve noticed some problems in how she handles things.

    I have more to say on heroines, but I’ll leave it at that as I plan to make a post about my favorites once I finish a few games that some of my current favorites are in.

    1. YES!! The Mr. Right Lovers route was phenomenal at showing her growing as a character. I was much more sympathetic towards her AFTER the writers took the time explaining why she was the way she was. I think truly Mr. Right was the perfect match for her because he accepted her flaws and all AND he forced her to really take a long hard look at herself…

      Agreed, the heroine is the main character, but far too often she gets sidelined in favor of the much more dynamic LIs…

      CP is perfect at balancing the story between Lucette and her growth AND helping the LIs breaking their respective curses.

      OH! You’re into psychology? I got my BS in psych (not that I’m doing anything with it now LOL) so I’m always a bit wary of how games portray mental health issues.

      I look forward to reading your post when it’s live!

      1. I’m a psychology major! Only taking my third psychology class now, but I did a lot of research on mental illnesses on my own back when I was younger and had the time and energy. As for the portrayal of mental health issues, I really wish that writers would do their own research on them if they’re putting them in their games, but it especially bothers me how characters with certain mental illnesses always tend to be the villain or a joke character.

  3. I’m pretty open towards otome heroines but sometimes think some of the quieter/demure ones get flack because it’s often taken as not being interesting or having a personality, although there are definitely several that aren’t well developed either. As in, I think there is a difference between Amnesia’s blank slate to Koharu (Norn 9), and Beniyuri (Psychedelica BB)who fit a lot of the traditional stereotypes, or Rinka (BAW) who almost annoyingly lacks agency and doesn’t stand out but in quite a relatable/sympathetic way (for me at least!) Personally I’m shy and socially awkward so it always struck me as weird that they are often said to be unrealistic or unlikeable because of those traits. Then again, Cardia is pretty popular and also a great example of a heroine who is kind, quiet, doesn’t have that much agency usually but is clearly well developed. I guess it’s all down to preference!

    My top tier list would be Lucette, Cardia, Jed and Nanami – all for quite different reasons and I could probably add quite a few more! 😆

    1. You hit the nail on the head, it’s the lack of agency that really grinds my gears. There’s nothing wrong with a more reserved MC, she just has to do SOMETHING for the plot.

      I like Cardia because while she starts off as the traditional otome heroine, you can clearly see her growth over the course of the story. It’s almost like a flower coming into bloom.

      OH!! I love your list, they’re all fantastic heroine characters!! Especially Lucette and Jed!

      1. Thank you! Yes that’s a lovely way to describe Cardia! I really loved seeing how grow into her own by the end. 😊 As for Lucette, she’s great for me precisely because she’s both flawed and vulnerable. Jed is just awesome hands down. I wish we had more heroines that cross dress!

Gush about cute otome boys~