Time ago

[ID: Hollow Knight fanart. A digital artwork in purple, red and light blue tones. It depicts the Hollow Knight, the Knight and a piece of Hornet's cape in a closed up portrait scene. Hollow's head is low at Knight's height. Bright fluid comes out of their eyes in cascades. Knight flashes it's dreamnail as it bumps it's forehead with Hollow's. Their cheek is stained with orange. Above them a red cape flutters with a string, barely visible in the surrounding darkness. End ID]

*head bonk* They are communicating 😄

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Time ago

When Ayumi Understood

So this is basically going to address just a tiny part of the development of Ayumi and Yoshiki's relationship in Blood Drive. Their relationship is already portrayed in a moderately complex manner to begin with - a feature rare in itself considering the lack of character 'development' throughout the majority of the franchise- but Blood Drive, centering around Ayumi, further gives an insight as to how she views her relationships with others.

As much as I wanted to do this in chronological order, the climax is kind of at the beginning of Blood Drive's timeline, so I'm just gonna do a pick and mix of the minor details I feel help to illustrate my point.

Quite honestly, this isn't really a theory. It's just clearing up something Team GrisGris purposefully made vague to leave to the interpretation of the player. But I believe there's more correct answers than others on this one.

Anyways, we begin. Externally, Ayumi and Yoshiki don't seem to have much in common. They come from very different backgrounds, have no familiar hobbies and seemingly contrasting attitudes towards life in a general sense. However, anyone that's done a bit of digging in either's personality can figure out that they share several personality traits (such as lack of self-confidence) and do, in fact, have some agreed moral stance (attitudes towards authority figures). Sometimes their similarities are shown more simply:

And other times it shows a slight clash of personality, but overall agreement:

Which kind of sums up their stance with each other for the rest of the game, I think. In the first screencap, they're only showing basic levels of conversation as they walk out of the café they met Aiko in - the closest we get to an idea of any normal friendship interactions along with a select few other moments in Blood Drive with other characters. The second screencap links in with what I said about similar attitudes, and parallels what happened when Ayumi and Yoshiki first met. Just for context, Yoshiki assumed Ayumi fit the stereotypical 'good girl' role of class rep, yet by the end of their conversation realises she was willing to lie and break the rules for the greater good. So in Blood Drive, a similar thing happens by which Yoshiki decieves Aiko, and whilst Ayumi doesn't necessarily endorse that, she's happy he did it as it benefits all parties in their eyes. It's also nice to see that Ayumi has focused Yoshiki's rebellious traits onto good causes lmao.

And they are proper friends, though it's not displayed as clearly as the relationships between other characters.

Though the context for this is a small misunderstanding from Ayumi being swept under the rug (which will coincidentally be displayed a little later on), one can imply that she, like Satoshi, has an interest in Yoshiki's family background. Even in such a situation she carries on the subject perhaps just to weed a little more information out of him, given that it's so rare from him to bring it up. We never truly knew just how much Ayumi overheard of Tsubota and Yoshiki's conversation when they first met, but you can gather that it was enough for her to understand that Yoshiki didn't really have anyone there for him to guide him. Based on that, it's likely that the extent of the relationship between Yoshiki and Miki intrigues her.

Yoshiki's eccentricity - or rather, unpredictability - is also displayed through Ayumi's eyes. Since the events of Tenjin he's likely been hanging around her even more than he was previously, blatantly looking out for her rather than hiding in the shadows. She doesn't know how to deal with this, put simply, and just agrees with him because she can't think of anything else to say in these moments.

And obviously it's clear there's been no revolutionary development between them that makes Ayumi understand Yoshiki's intentions entirely and cement that idea that he means well into her mind.

Her views towards men in general stop her from ever getting a grip on exactly what he wants. Though she definitely does have an emotional attachment to him as a friend at the very least.

Since Tenjin, their relationship has changed. Because of Ayumi's overwhelming feeling of responsibility for the deaths of the Kisaragi victims, she becomes more reckless and blindsided. Yoshiki often throughout the plot has to try and set her straight.

Because of their shared trait of stubbornness, it kind of works. Whenever one steps out of line, the other chips in to pull them back and so forth. Although in the above example Ayumi of course takes Yoshiki pulling her to the ground as a more aggressive gesture, as shown above, displaying how oblivious she can be to his behaviour and reasoning on some occasions.

At times she shows at least a basic understanding of how Yoshiki views her, given their immediate argument when they meet in the Nirvana once more:

(Sidenote: I can't be the only person who loves Yoshiki's 'disappointed dad' sprite oh my god)

From this, we can see that she recognises that Yoshiki tries to treat her in a more superior manner than other guys in order to get her attention. She's probably also taken to the fact that Misuto took the mick out of Yoshiki and threw him into a wall to get him out of the way as he and Ayumi set off to the Nirvana. Though it's what he says next that makes everything a little clearer for her.

And this is actually what I'd like to explore today. The exchange in dialogue and thoughts here is purposefully vague in order to display a sudden realisation from Ayumi's side and the mutual understanding between those two and those two only that takes place in that particular moment. We'll start with Yoshiki's question to Ayumi.

As you all know, when someone dies in the Nirvana, their existence in the current world is erased. So every little influence they had in that universe is scrapped, and everybody lives their lives in the way they would if that person had never existed.

For minimal context, it was Ayumi who stopped Yoshiki from getting himself expelled from school when they first met as a last-minute intervention. Apologies for my next screenshot from my Yoshiki rant, which is extremely cringeworthy:

But that's the basic synopsis of their meeting. The effect it had on Yoshiki sets his life story for the next year.

Without Ayumi's existence? That universe where Yoshiki is given a final chance to stay on the right track disappears completely. Had Ayumi not intervened, Tsubota would have received a blow to the face and Yoshiki a permanent expulsion. Without any qualifications it's likely he would be living for the rest of his life working in a convenience store trying to pay rent for his apartment. It's even possible with his cynical outlook on life displayed in that flashback that he might have completely given up altogether and thrown in the towel, so to say. I know it's not good to try and apply character traits to mental illness symptoms, but with Yoshiki's situation of complete isolation and lack of hope for the future I reckon it's fully possible that from there he would have descended further into depression and, ultimately, suicide. This part's just my own personal interpretation though. Overall it's blatantly clear that his personality and his life in general would be much shittier had he never met Ayumi.

Ironically, that seems to be the one thing he actually succeeds in communicating to Ayumi on. Without her, he wouldn't be there either. His current existence directly cosides with her own, as well as the relationship between Satoshi and Yoshiki, and perhaps even Satoshi and Naomi. The relationships in their friendship group are very complex, and so if two key relationships with Satoshi - Ayumi and Yoshiki - are eliminated, that could potentially leave him with a much more distant relationship with Naomi, as they were simply friends in middle school. Those sorts of relationships often break apart in high school, and with Naomi and Seiko's friendship it's well possible that Satoshi wouldn't have gone to Tenjin with the group (assuming they went without Ayumi's interference) and so wouldn't be able to understand the aftereffects on Naomi afterwards - which would again likely lead to Naomi's suicide given her mental state in Blood Drive.

Focusing on Yoshiki's ties with Ayumi though, it's at this point where she understands how much of an effect she's actually had on him. It likely gave her an idea as to why he kept following her footsteps before Heavenly Host - she probably found it incredibly annoying and strange - and why he was so desperate to prevent her from putting herself in any more harm. You can kind of understand why he made the snap decision to go back for her at the end of the game. It's in his best interests; perhaps that makes him selfish; perhaps Ayumi sees his intentions as having an underlining degree of selfishness to them, solidifying her opinion of him possessing that trait.

Ultimately, it's not a direct romantic confession from Yoshiki, but it certainly opens up Ayumi's eyes about how other people view her and that she at least has some degree of worth higher than she previously believed. For this to be canonical it also means that Ayumi remembers what happened when they first met as well, so... well, if you ask me, that flashback was shaped to have many layers contributing to the context and development of the characters throughout the series.

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Chihiro Fujisaki [Danganronpa]

My gal Chihiro deserved better, thank you.

Link Tree

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Weep little lion man

But it was not your fault but mineAnd it was your heart on the lineI really fucked it up this timeDidn't I, my dear?Didn't I my dear...