Pure-Hearted & Determined | Cancer Love Interests in Otome Games | Zodiac Reviews #2

We’ve all heard of the famous ‘dere’ character archetypes, from the blushing tsundere to the aloof kuudere, but that’s not what this series is about. In our Zodiac Reviews series, we look at love interests in otome games who share the same star sign to see if there are any common tropes or traits that could indicate the existence of a zodiac-based archetype.

In the first part of this series, we took a look at Gemini love interests in our article, ‘Tricksters & Twins: Gemini Love Interests in Otome Games‘. This time, we’re looking at characters born between June 21 and July 22, that is, the Cancer zodiac.

If you’re not familiar with astrological stereotypes, those with Cancer as their star sign (also known as sun sign), tend to be deeply emotional and intuitive. This sign is associated with the moon, which is often a symbol for motherhood and other maternal aspects. When I was doing my research, I actually came across one site that essentially summed up the ‘tsundere’ archetype…

“Cancer signs may seem prickly and standoffish at first meeting, once they make the decision to become friends with someone, that person has a friend for life.”

Horoscope.com

When I was looking for love interests that fell into this sign, I actually found a surprising lack of characters, and there weren’t any obvious traits they had in common, at least, at first glance. While Horoscope.com mentioned a stereotype that sounded like our classic tsundere characters, not all of the love interests I looked at fit this archetype, and when I first saw the eclectic mix of characters I had put together, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find anything linking them together (well, except their star sign, anyway).

But, before I get into any potential traits that could indicate an archetype, I’ll list the characters I looked at for this review.

Cancer Love Interests

Mori Ranmaru | Ikémen Sengoku
27th June

Tropes: Trickster, Idol, Shota

Ranmaru isn’t currently available in Ikémen Sengoku, but he has appeared in other routes and several side stories.

So far, he seems to fit the Trickster, Idol, and Shota archetypes, as he hides many secrets behind his bubbly, outgoing mask. He’s popular with the citizens of Azuchi for being pretty, cute, and charming.

I’m not sure of Ranmaru’s canonical age in the game, but he acts younger than other characters and his dynamic with MC seems to be one where she cares for him; a cutesy, younger-brother type.

Waltz | Cinderella Phenomenon
3rd July

Tropes: Deredere, Shota/Onii-san, Child-Body Curse

Waltz is an interesting character and difficult to explain without spoiling any of the plot of Cinderella Phenomenon.

For the non-spoiler explanation, I’ll just say that he’s an openly kind, caring love interest who just wants the protagonist (default name: Lucette) to be happy.

Waltz has moments in his route where he fulfils both the Shota (younger brother) and Onii-san (older brother) archetypes. Sometimes he’s reliant on the protagonist to care for him, and other times he’s a dependable character for her, depending on which part of his story you’re reading.

Sanada Yukimura | Ikémen Sengoku
27th June

Tropes: Tsundere, Ouji-sama, Shota

Yukimura has all the awkward charm of the tactless tsundere, yet this somehow blends perfectly with the proud nobility of the Ouji-sama (Prince).

I’ve labelled him ‘Shota’, but he doesn’t particularly act like a little brother to the MC. I chose it more because he’s treated this way by Shingen, and that both Yukimura and the MC give the impression of being (or at least acting) younger than some of the other characters.

Luke | Obey Me!
15th July

Tropes: Shota, Tsundere, Non-Romantic

I’ve included Luke in this list as he’s a prominent character in the mobile game Obey Me!, despite not technically being a romanceable option. You can select him for your home screen and give him gifts in the ‘Special Guest’ mode, but MC’s interactions with him feel more like a sibling relationship than anything else.

Luke is a cute, young angel with an attitude far too big for his tiny body. He can be grumpy and standoffish (especially when it comes to demons), but once you get past this prickly façade, you’ll find he’s an adorable cinnamon roll who loves to bake and just wants to make his mentor proud.

Kyle Ash | Ikémen Revolution
17th July

Tropes: Mature/Oji-san, Yottadere, Darudere, Doctor

While I haven’t reviewed Kyle’s route yet, I have played it and I’m still not quite sure how to classify his character. He’s initially introduced as being a lazy, sarcastic doctor with a fondness for alcohol, but he wasn’t what I expected at all.

Not only is he apparently a lot younger than he’s made out to be (younger than the other character teased for being old, Sirius Oswald), but he’s also not lazy at all. He’s definitely sarcastic, and he likes to drink, but he’s incredibly hard-working and passionate about his career as a doctor.

Kyle was also surprisingly innocent and often completely clueless when it comes to emotions, including misinterpreting MC’s embarrassment as a fever or some other kind of symptom. This contrasted with the initial image I had of him, but it actually makes him more similar to the other characters in this list.

Cancer Archetype

At first glance, I wasn’t sure there was anything connecting these characters, let alone any similarities with the Cancer zodiac sign. However, once I started to describe their personalities and write it all down, I realised they had more in common than I initially thought.

They all have an air of innocence or naivety, with Luke being the angel-equivalent of a child and Waltz (at least partially) being younger in appearance as well. Ranmaru is cutesy and treats MC like a big-sister, and I gave Yukimura the Shota tag because he’s treated that way by Takeda Shingen, and also has a more emotionally immature personality.

While Kyle initially seemed to be a more mature character, he ended up being the opposite. Both he and Yukimura have little tact when it comes to emotions, with several moments in both of their routes where they seem oblivious to their feelings. However, once they realised how they felt, they were direct (perhaps even blunt) in expressing themselves.

They also all have some sort of intense determination that they maintain despite the risks to their own health and safety. Ranmaru is determined to remain loyal to his lord, Kyle is determined to be the best doctor he can be, Yukimura is determined to bring victory in war so he can return home, Waltz is determined to fulfil a promise he made in his childhood and Luke is… well, determined to dislike demons? I’m kidding, Luke is actually very determined to make his mentor, Michael the Archangel, proud, which just happens to include (in his mind), putting demons in their place.

From everything I read about Cancer signs, it seems they hate small talk and mind games, instead preferring to be honest and straightforward with their feelings once they realise they’ve fallen in love. This definitely fits most of the characters in this review, except perhaps Ranmaru, although we’ll have to wait for his route release to find out for sure.

In terms of the maternal aspect, none of these characters come across as particularly ‘motherly’, but this may actually be reflected in the dynamic they have with MC, rather than their own personality. A lot of these characters are younger, or at the very least more innocent, with several of them falling into the Shota archetype. This often means MC takes care of them, even to the extent of filling the role of a big-sister or mother.

Recommendations

While I did find some similarities between these characters, I don’t think there’s a strong enough connection to suggest there’s a Cancer archetype. I would be interested to hear from a character designer or writer’s perspective, to see if they do take the character’s zodiac into account, or whether they choose a birthday arbitrarily.

That being said, if you’re looking for a Cancer sign love interest, my favourite from this review is definitely Waltz from Cinderella Phenomenon. If you do play this game, I suggest saving him for last, as his route sheds the most light on the overarching plot and it’s very dramatic, making it a good finale. Don’t be put off by his initial appearance; his route is cleverly written so that his appearance matches the state of both Lucette’s personal character growth and the development of their romantic relationship.

Unfortunately Ranmaru isn’t yet available, but he’s a character I have my eye on for future releases. Yukimura is a good all-rounder and I especially recommend him for new otome game players, which I explain more in my review of his route. Luke isn’t a romanceable character, but if you want to dote on an adorable angel, you can pat his head and give him all his favourite foods in Obey Me!. Kyle Ash wasn’t what I expected, and I haven’t properly reviewed his route, but if you have a thing for sarcastic doctors who are surprisingly earnest and wholesome, then you can check him out in CYBIRD’s Ikémen Revolution.

You’ll like Cancer love interests if you like: innocent cuties, lots of blushing, submissive love interests who prefer you to take the lead, tsunderes, love interests who go from completely clueless to direct and sincere affection.

Game Info

For more information on any of the games and characters mentioned in this article, you can click the names listed below to be redirected to the relevant official site:

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