Shin | Character Review | Amnesia: Memories

A rude boy with a sweet secret: Shin was your childhood-friend-turned-lover until you lost your memories after an “accident” involving a cliff. Try to recover your memories while solving the case, all without letting anyone know about your amnesia…

I originally livestreamed my playthrough of Shin’s route over on my Twitch channel! At the time of writing, I’ve also cleared Kent’s route, and I’m now romancing Ikki. Video archives of these streams are available on Twitch and YouTube – and you can follow me on Twitch to be notified when I go live and join in while I play through Amnesia: Memories for the first time!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of “Amnesia: Memories” in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Ratings
Sweet 3/5: Shin isn’t a traditionally affectionate LI, and you’ll need to wait until the finale for any truly romantic scenes, but the payoff was super sweet.
Spicy 2/5: This is not a smutty game, but Shin had a couple of great kabedons and some “forward” flirting that boosted the score from 1 to 2.
CD 3/5: Shin’s VA did a fantastic job, but otherwise I found him confusing until the finale. Even then, I felt his insensitive nature went too far on occasion.
Story 5/5: The amnesia and murder-mystery-esque plotline created an unsettling, yet thrilling story that kept me guessing until the end.

Character Design

Similar to:
☆ Zenn (even if TEMPEST) – Dependable, but refers to carry the burden himself and struggles to be vulnerable

Shin is a unique character and it took a while for me to understand him. He’s the “childhood-friend-turned-lover” who is sometimes likened to being MC’s younger brother. He also has some tsundere traits, but not in a blushy, goofy way. Instead, he’s stoic, unreadable, and likes to (affectionately) bully MC, yet his cool facade masks a more sensitive, insecure side that he struggles to express.

He’s an acquired taste, and it’ll take some time to discover the softer, more endearing parts of his personality. A theme in his character design is being initially misjudged by others who don’t take the time to get to know him, and I feel this is also reflected in the way Orion and the player are likely to respond to him in the story.

I personally found him difficult in the beginning and I’m still not sure I felt his earlier behaviour was redeemed by the endings. However, I did feel more positively about his character once I learned more about him and his pre-existing relationship with MC.

Trust No One

One of the major plot devices in this game is MC’s amnesia, and this complete lack of memories makes it difficult to discern the truth. There were several occasions where it seemed Shin was being dishonest, and since I had no way of knowing whether he was lying or telling the truth, I ended up being fairly distrustful of him for most of his route.

Because of this, I struggled to connect with his character while I instead focused on piecing together the fragmented (and seemingly-contradictory) clues. His good ending endeared him to me a lot – and by that point I’d figured out the mystery – but I felt that his initial dishonesty started us off on the wrong foot, and I wasn’t able to appreciate him more prior to the end.

Artist: Hanamura Mai is the artist and character designer for Amnesia: Memories, and if you’re wondering why it looks familiar, then it’s likely because Hanamura Mai was also the artist for Collar x Malice. I love the aesthetic in both games, and the visual kei-inspired fashion in Amnesia: Memories is just *chef’s kiss*.

Rude Boy

Shin embodies the classic idea of “boys are mean to girls because they like them”, and his love language is (affectionate?) bullying. Not in a violent way, but he is direct and insensitive, and often leans on the more forceful side. He never hurts MC physically, but he does upset her on several occasions, even if this is later explained as his way of caring for her.

I still feel conflicted about Shin after completing his route. There were parts of his route I enjoyed – and I loved his brotherly relationship with Toma – but his personality just didn’t gel with me. If you have more of a tolerance for rude tsunderes, then you’ll like Shin more than I did.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t like him more, as I love his appearance and voice actor, I just felt he crossed the line at one particular point in the story (during a concert-related flashback) which put me off his character. Still, there were several CG scenes that were sweet and romantic enough to carry me through his route, and I absolutely loved the murder-mystery-style plotline.

Voice Actor

Kakihara Tetsuya (柿原 徹也) – also known for voicing:

  • The Witch of Ruin – even if TEMPEST
  • Victor Frankenstein – Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth
  • Isora Amari – 7’scarlet
  • Fenrir Godspeed – Ikemen Revolution
  • Carmen – Bustafellows
  • Azuma Yukishiro – A3!
  • Akehoshi Subaru – Ensemble Stars
  • Scaramouche – Genshin Impact
  • Natsu Dragneel – Fairy Tail
  • Rundelhaus Code – Log Horizon
  • Keith Claes – My Next Life as a Villainess: All Roads Lead to Doom!
  • + more!

Story

“As soon as the heroine wakes in a hospital bed, she is greeted by a gentle kiss from this young man. Apparently, he is not only her lover, but her childhood friend as well.

Ostracized for his father’s crimes, Shin is uniquely cold for someone his age. Although it’s rare for him to become emotional, he shows a deep affection towards those close to him.”

– Character Description (Official Website)

One of the things I love most about Amnesia: Memories so far is the storytelling. Aside from the overall unsettling ambience and how the mystery is enhanced by MC’s complete lack of memories, the game has some interesting takes on familiar tropes that further subvert my expectations as I try to piece the puzzle together.

For example, in Shin’s route, Shin is MC’s childhood friend… Or so he says. Usually one of the appealing parts of the “childhood friends” trope is their shared history and existing sense of familiarity. However, in Amnesia: Memories, the main character has lost all of her memories, turning this into a one-sided trope.

I actually loved this, as it became a unique spin on the trope that was interesting to explore. I liked how it tied into Shin’s suspicion of MC due to her amnesia and changed behaviour, and how it generated some much-appreciated angst later in the route.

It also added another disconcerting layer of confusion to the mystery – on the one hand, Shin is your lover and childhood friend, so surely you can trust him, but on the other hand, you have no memories to confirm he’s telling the truth, and he acted fairly shady in the beginning.

I would have liked for their relationship to morph into a “partners in crime” dynamic more towards the end once they’d become closer again, but Shin is a knight-in-emo-armour type who tends to handle everything himself, so their relationship always felt skewed towards Shin. MC did manage to rein him in a bit, but I still felt like a damsel in distress watching from the sidelines as “Shin the Hero” solved the mystery.

This was all very cool of him, and I understand that this dynamic is appealing to a lot of people, but personally I prefer a more balanced relationship, where MC gets to have her moment in the spotlight too. This doesn’t seem to happen often in Amnesia: Memories, as MC is deliberately designed to be a passive character so the player can imagine themselves in her shoes. This is made most obvious by the decision to have Orion react to any given scene on her behalf, with MC’s lines taking place almost solely in the player choices – which are fairly frequent, but still don’t form too much dialogue.

Content Warnings: Bad Ends may involve player character death as well as other disturbing themes. If you wish to avoid these endings, I recommend using a walkthrough to guide your choices.

More generally, Shin can be an overbearing love interest whose insensitive words may upset some players. Furthermore, the game doesn’t hold Shin accountable for his hurtful behaviour, instead putting the onus on MC to understand and accept him, even when he makes her upset or uncomfortable.

This is justified later in his route as both MC and the player learn more about Shin and his intentions, but the player will need to get through the more difficult scenes first to reach his redeeming finale. Plus, some players may not feel his redemption is enough, depending on how much they disliked his earlier behaviour.

Friend / Love Triangle

Despite my criticisms of Shin, there were several parts to his route that I absolutely loved. One of these is the love/friend triangle between Shin, MC, and Toma. There was a lot of guessing as to everyone’s feelings for each other throughout the route, and the brotherly / rival dynamic between Shin and Toma was equal parts exciting and hilarious.

Amnesia: Memories is often disturbing and mysterious – with danger lurking around every corner – but there’s also a lot of comedic relief to balance it out. In Shin’s route, this was his banter with Toma, and the scenes with all three of them were often my favourite moments. In particular, an early CG scene relating to MC’s job at the Maid and Butler Cafe had me in stitches, and it still stands out as a highlight after finishing the route.

It wasn’t just a random trope thrown in there for the sake of it either – this triangle came up in several ways across the story, and I particularly loved how it tied in with the normal and good endings. In terms of storytelling and weaving a compelling mystery, Amnesia: Memories consistently delivers, allowing me to enjoy Shin’s route for the plot, even when I found his personality unappealing.

Final Thoughts

I’m often trying to work out my tastes in otome games and characters as I write about them, so I can better explain my opinions in my reviews. Based on my reaction to Shin and several other love interests I’ve encountered recently, I’m getting the impression that I struggle with stubborn characters.

Despite everyone around him suggesting he be more tactful and kind, Shin refuses to budge. He insists his way is the correct way, forcing MC to adapt and change for him, rather than meeting halfway. I personally dislike this attitude, as if I were to imagine myself in MC’s shoes, I get the sense that Shin’s strong personality would steamroll mine, and I’d rarely feel as though I had a say in anything.

This surprised me, as my IRL partner is stubborn, direct, and sometimes tactless. However, I realised that in real life, I can match him by being hard-headed myself. In which case, I believe my issue with Shin’s character (and other characters like him) isn’t so much to do with his personality as it is the way the story frames it.

If MC had been given opportunities to challenge him, and Shin had shown signs of listening to her and adapting his behaviour to avoid making her so upset, than I might have actually loved his character. Instead, I felt frustrated that MC was forced to just go along for the ride, and the answer in the end was just that Shin is always correct and we should trust him blindly.

Still, even if I struggled with his character in some ways, there were plenty of scenes I loved, and the story was compelling enought to keep me intrigued, even at its low points. His good ending was adorable, and it tied the plot together neatly. If you’re looking for a unique love interest in a mystery otome game that’s bound to leave a lasting impression, I recommend Shin’s route in Amnesia: Memories.

You’ll like Shin if you like: rude boys; perceptive love interests who know you like the back of their hand; emo / visual kei aesthetics; not one, but two chest piercings; mysteries so mysterious you won’t be able to solve them until the end; lone wolves with a secret clingy side; and hard-headed tsunderes with a gooey centre.

Screenshots

Game Info

Game Name: Amnesia: Memories
Developer: Idea Factory / Design Factory / Otomate
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Steam, iOS, Android.
Age Rating: Teen (ESRB)
More information: Website, Twitter.

~Thank you Idea Factory International for providing me with a copy of the game!~

Thank You

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