In the months since I first finished Moe Era, one major question has been burning in my mind: just what was the deal with that Ermy kid? The fact that he's the only male character besides the player already makes him stand out, even if you disregard the fact that everyone else ignores him whenever he shows up.
Obviously, there has to be more to him than what we've seen of him so far.
First off, let's go back to that game he showed us early on.
Where we last left off, the characters were having a pretentious, rambling lecture on love, so here, it gets followed up by a pretentious, rambling monologue on hate.
At the end of this, you're treated to a single choice, the words "True Root." Clicking on it ends the game.
The following scene plays out identically to if you didn't finish Ermy's game, right up until you go to gym.
There you meet him trying to get out of having to take part in gym class.
You go through the school day as normally, but right after you leave...
Where you would normally meet whichever girl you're pursuing, you meet Ermy instead. It's there that we find out just what his issue is.
I had compared Ermy to DDLC's Monika before, in that both of them are aware that they don't get much attention compared to the other characters.
I swear, if he tries to hack the game from the inside...
That's not the only problem he has, though. He seems to suffer some kind of mental disorder, probably ADD or something like it.
That night, you have the option to play Ermy's game again. Naturally, I pick yes.
However, unlike last time, when you boot up the game, you are treated to a message from Ermy, explaining why he made the game, and why it's the way it is. As I suspected, the reason that the game is pretentious and cliched is because he believes that that's what players want to see.
The message ends on a really disturbing note; Ermy believes that since he has nothing worth living for, it would be better off if he were dead.
The next day plays out as normal, with a minor difference. The teacher actually expresses concern when she realizes that Ermy is missing.
Of course, since we're not partial to any of the girls here, we decide to help all of them with the handouts.
Normally at this point, the player character would have dinner with whoever you're pursuing. This time, however, you go back to class immediately afterwards.
There, you finally find Ermy.
And once again, he calls you and everyone else out for ignoring him and putting only the bare minimum of effort into looking for him.
Making good on his word, the player offers to hang out with Ermy the next day. Maybe then, we can start to do something about those issues he has.
Sure enough, the next day, they go to the restaurant from earlier.
The conversation immediately goes to the topic of Ermy's game.
I personally thought the game was pretentious, and that its writing went nowhere, but I don't want to damage his self-esteem any further, so I give him a positive review.
Since he thinks that the plot was a cliched mess, it would be best not to draw attention to it.
He takes it pretty well.
He goes on to discuss how he's never had any friends, since everyone who offered friendship only did so so that they could seem better than him.
Then he asks you whether men and women can be friends. I say yes.
This leads to Ermy revealing the last of his issues; that he has depression.
Of course, it's not exactly treated with a whole lot of tact, since this is followed up by him referencing an internet meme.
Despite this, our character is perfectly willing to help him, even though there's little indication that he knows how.
And that's how his route ends. At least we don't have to deal with the philosophical, supernatural stuff from the normal endings.
While this route has its issues, mainly the last-minute reveal that he has depression, there's one major thing I've noticed.
I've compared Ermy to Monika earlier, but after playing through his route, I've come to realize that he seems to be her antithesis.
While Monika attempts to address the player, as opposed to the player character, in her game, Ermy will only reach out to the player character, and only if the player decides to try to help him, with no acknowledgement of the player as a separate entity. Furthermore, Monika resorts to manipulating her game's code in order to gain the player's attention, while Ermy's issues and methods of dealing with them are noticeably more mundane, and he is completely unaware of the supernatural elements around him, despite finding himself in three different countries in as many days.
While that's as far as this story branch goes, I'm not done with this game just yet...