The Self-Help World Tour
Previously on Moe Era, we were told that we'll never amount to anything, were sent to the Backrooms, then to a Japanese high school where we talked to a drawing of a catgirl and discussed literature, had one of our classmates give us a game he was playing, tried to bake a cake, then went home.
Since we clearly have nothing else to do, we may as well play the game that our classmate gave us.
That game starts with a rambling, pretentious wall of text that tries to bring up several subjects at once.
Its main character ends up joining the army, where he gets shot and (maybe) dies.
Who are you? What are you talking about? Why are you drawn in a different art style to everything else?
This second girl's name is Megan, and she claims to be from the future.
Oh, I get it now. You're trying to parody the way amateur visual novels like this are written.
But then, all of a sudden, a maid catgirl shows up. As if we didn't have enough of them already.
She goes on to explain to the others that death is the ultimate answer to everything, and to prove her point, speeds up time to prove that it has no meaning.
And by that, I mean she changes the background color a bunch of times.
You and me both.
The scene ends with Sophie (the woman dressed like a nurse) jabbing the main character with her syringe.
On to the next scene.
This time, we have a similarly pretentious dialogue on the nature of love, which directly quotes this meme.
This doesn't get us any closer to leaving this classroom, so we are asked a question:
Well, you didn't give me much of a choice.
You know what? I've had enough of this overwritten, pretentious nonsense.
We find ourselves back at the Backrooms, and use the slot machine once more.
This time, it gives us the Cyrillic letters "RUS"--Russia. Three guesses where we're going, and none of them count.
Naturally, the girls from earlier are here as well.
By the way, notice the sign on the right side of the screen? It seems to be advertising Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.
Once again, our character expresses his worries, only to be brushed off.
We head off to school, where we start with gym class.
Unfortunately, our character seems to be a bit...distracted.
Right after that is math class.
Oh...you again. Of course you'd follow us all the way to Russia.
This time, our class discusses how math is used in the real world, and once again, we are asked to pick a topic.
I'll start with "Math and the future."
She goes on to discuss how Big Data is in every part of life these days, using the example of a department store. The store tracks the purchasing habits of each customer and uses them to organize items so that the most popular items are at the customers' eye level.
Just when she finishes, Ermy shows up again and presents the class a "music video" he made.
It's really just an incredibly trippy screensaver set to a beat.
We're then asked to pick one of the two remaining subjects. I pick "Math and success."
Marta goes on about how math can help you make lots of money, using the example of a casino.
Even though casinos are all about luck, if you know how to place your bets, you can increase your chances of earning big.
After this speech, the school day ends, and we meet up with Ermy again.
He tells us that the next day is career day, and asks us who we're going to help.
Just then, the girls show up to discuss the career day, with Ermy hiding behind them.
Naturally, I thought that they would immediately ask my character who he's going to help, but instead, they ask me about traveling the world.
Isn't that basically what I've been doing these past few days?
Of course, it turns out to be just a bait and switch: they ask me who to help anyways.
After another brief scene with the teacher, we meet up with Marta.
She acts like we've known each other since kindergarten, even though, as far as I'm concerned, we only met a couple of days ago. It is then that she challenges us to clean the classrom in less than 10 minutes for a reward.
We end up doing just that. Now how about that reward?
What's more, somehow she knew that my character wanted a kiss, and so she and the others set this up to motivate him.
The school day ends, and once again, we walk home with Marta. The two of us discuss our respective plans for the future; Marta somehow thinks she can get a business job right after college, and from there, work her way up to a six-figure paying job.
Never mind that, it turns she hates business jobs for how dull they are. The only reason that she is aiming for one is that she believes that they're the only type of job that she can do at this point.
She goes on to question why kids are told that they're special, even when it becomes clear that they're not, and that this way of thinking will only set them up for disappointment. Since she has been told the same thing, combined with how her father pushed her into studying, to the detriment of all other potential hobbies, she believes that it is already too late for her to focus on any other life path.
I'll give this game credit: it tries to make its characters feel like characters, rather than mouthpieces for its message.
For the second day in a row, we go back home and are berated by our sister.
Now, I have a theory on this scroll. I think that it's meant to be some sort of debug tool: the icons on it show what scenes you've viewed and what event flags you've triggered.
Yep, the Backrooms again. Let's just cut to the chase.
This time, we end up in school the moment we wake up. After we're treated to some lovely piano music, the school day begins.
Our first class is music class, and while the teacher was initially planning on teaching music theory, but, in her typically unconventional manner, she decides that the plan for today is to have us enjoy music.
As if on cue, Ermy shows up yet again, and serenades us with Schumann.
Sima goes on to give us a brief biography of the composer. Specifially, she mentions how he suffered a hand injury that prevented him from playing piano, forcing him to move to composing.
Ermy's next piece is Eric Satie's "Gymnopedie No. 1".
Then there's Chopin's "Op. 9 No. 1 in B Flat Minor".
With all these biographies of different composers, I feel like I'm back in high school and there's an assignment I wasn't told about.
Unfortunately, my character has no idea how to play piano, so we're just given the first octave to work with. With that, we're given each of the girls' taste in music.
It doesn't look like I'll be able to make anything that fits, especially with just one octave.
Not that it really matters which notes you play anyways.
Just then, Ermy remarks on how nobody's asked him on his music tastes.
Come to think of it, ever since the start of the game, Ermy has been just "there" compared to the girls. Maybe it's because he's a guy and this is a dating sim, but he hasn't gotten much attention at all. That could be why he gave me his game to play and presented the music video; in an effort to stand out and grab attention from the player...
Oh hell. He's this game's version of Monika, isn't he?
But never mind that. Time to discuss geography.
Looks like Ermy's already left. That's not a good sign.
Now then, on to the career exhibition.
We are walked through a mock job interview for a corporate position.
Naturally, my character bumbles his way through all of the questions. Can't really fault them for trying to be authentic to the American high school experience.
Next is the mock interview for a position at a startup.
Miss, I really don't like that expression your making.
Or that one. And aren't you just describing Uber?
Looks like the purpose of this little spiel was not only to show the pros and cons of corporate and startup jobs, but to show that, in the adult world, you are bound to encounter weird, vaguely uncomfortable situations like this.
Once again, we are asked who we are going to help with the handouts.
Now this is starting to feel like an actual high school college expo. All it's missing is the army recruiters.
Um...did you forget to draw a sprite, or...?
The visitor is aiming to get a degree in psychology, but the college is STEM-oriented, so she gets intimidated and walks off.
The next visitor is aiming to study philosophy, but unlike last time, Marta is willing to hear him out.
Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to take this area of study very seriously, and is just looking for an easy diploma. So, when asked for an application form, this happens:
Needless to say, this is not how you're supposed to deal with visitors in this particular situation.
The girls decide to visit some expensive restaurant at the end of the day.
At the restaurant we are treated to one more philosophical monologue from the teacher.
After this, we are left alone with the one I've been focusing most of my attention on up to this point.
Could this be it? Have I gotten myself locked onto her route? Might be time to make my move.
Well, so much for that.
Ashamed? Well, you could have just told me you wanted to come back!
And with that, we have a real date, scheduled for the day after.
Once again, we go home for the day.
Once again, our sister berates us.
And once again, we see that weird scroll.
I wonder where we'll end up tomorrow?