Yume Miru Kusuri

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A Drug That Makes You Dream

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Kouhei Kagami is an Ordinary High School Student who also happens to be adopted but can't seem to fit in with his family even after living with them for most of his life. He feels he's going nowhere, forced to keep up the image of a model student when in reality he just wants to be left alone and do whatever he wants.

Over the course of the story, he meets three girls who all need his help: ostracized, introverted Aeka, cool and distant idol Mizuki, and "Cat Sidhe Nekoko", a mysterious girl who appears out of nowhere and throws his life into disarray. Each of the three possible routes has Kouhei dealing with one of the problems faced by many high school students in Real Life, such as bullying, drugs, and interpersonal relationships. Naturally you can't save them all so Kouhei must choose one and leave the others to their own fates, but such is the curse of being a Visual Novel protagonist. Yume Miru Kusuri also goes one step further and addresses some of the knock-on consequences of these problems like depression, suicide, family troubles and, in a rare twist for a Visual Novel, pregnancy.

Beneath all of its humor and heartwarming moments, Yume Miru Kusuri is a rather dark game and doesn't shy away from dropping some anvils regarding social issues and conventions that some Visual Novels take for granted, although Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. It also has its fair share of surreal moments.

Tropes used in Yume Miru Kusuri include:
  • A-Cup Angst: Aya is as steep as a cliffside and Kouhei teases her about it relentlessly.
  • Adults Are Useless: Teachers will refuse to intervene in the problems of students, parents seem to neglect their children because of jobs or other troubles, and policemen are generally ineffectual. Subverted in the happy ends with Kouhei's adoptive parents who end up repairing their relationship with him with a little help from the girl of his dreams. Dawwwww...
    • At first played straight, but then surprisingly subverted by Hiroko's parents, who after their daughter opens up to them about her problem, prove unexpectedly supportive.
  • A Friend in Need: In Aeka's storyline, this is cruelly subverted.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kyoka. Kouhei even gives her the nickname Antoinette after Marie Antoinette.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: It's left up to the reader to decide whether Cat Sidhe Nekoko actually finds the fairy's home in the sad end. One thing's for sure, Kouhei is left all alone.
  • Author Filibuster: Provided by several side characters including adoptive sister Aya and a doctor at a hospital.
  • Babies Ever After: The Happy Ending of Mizuki's route. Cruelly inverted for the sad end.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Weirdly. The event CGs have all necessary parts (obviously), but nude character sprites lack it.
  • Becoming the Mask: Cat Sidhe Nekoko was once a normal girl but by the time of the story she has become addicted to the massive self-confidence boost and Kouhei's attention.
  • Big Eater: Mizuki eats one of the school's infamous Curry rice specials (infamous for the amount of rice it has) for lunch and keeps her equally large bento box for an afternoon snack.
  • Berserk Button: Aeka can take all the suffering in the world but harm anyone she cares about and you will suffer her wrath.
    • Don't question Mr. Kagami's love for his adopted son. Something that Kouhei learns the hard way during Mizuki's route.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Mizuki is fond of dragging up Noodle Incidents in peoples' lives that cause them no small amount of distress before denying to their face that she is blackmailing them at all. She just wants to find out how that cat was doing.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: There is a certain tension between Aya and Kouhei but it is averted at the last minute. Rumour has it that Aya had her own route that was cut before release.
  • Catgirl: Who else but Cat Sidhe Nekoko?
  • Cooldown Hug: Deployed by Kouhei in order to calm Aeka, after her attempted suicide.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Aya walks in on Mizuki and Kouhei during their drunken romp in the Student Council room. They don't stop going at it.
  • Crazy Prepared: Just how did Mizuki get all of the information on the previously mentioned dirty secrets?
  • Cute and Psycho: Aeka.
    • For clarification purposes the berserk button of going after Kouhei just made her go off earlier. When she telling Kyoka to stop wasting her time and kill her already, it was a threat. As in, kill me now or I will get you eventually, you damn bitch. Also starts sleeping with Kouhei so someone will pay attention to her. So yeah, a little deranged.
      • But seriously, could you BLAME her? She's had a pretty damn terrible life, from parental abuse to everything Kyoka did to her, she just wants someone to look out and care about her. If he hadn't come into her life, she would've attempted suicide.
  • Death by Childbirth: Mizuki's Bad Ending is a mix between this, Drugs Are Bad and Alcohol Is Poison (she dies of pre-eclampsia, probably because she had quite the wild pregnancy)
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Kouhei and MizukiEveryone. They find one in each other.
    • Mostly Mizuki, though. Self-confidence is the driving force of her plot, while Aeka and Nekoko have other troubles (bullying and drug abuse).
  • Different As Night and Day: Nekoko and Hiroko, her true identity, whose hair colors, styles of dress and behavior, and speech patterns are exact opposites of each other. This being the point of Nekoko's existence, as Hiroko wants desperately to be anything other than who she is.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Aeka is awfully calm and cheerful as her hands close around Kyoka's throat.
  • Downer Ending: Each of the girls has a Happy Ending and a sad ending. The sad endings will tear your heart to shreds.
  • Driven to Suicide: Aeka tries several times. In the sad end she finally goes through with it, only to have it subverted so that she survives and is in critical condition. Oh, and it doesn't mean a thing. Once she's gone all of the abuse just shifts to Kouhei.
    • This still happens even if you follow other girl's route, but Kyoka is called by the school (possibly for expulsion) instead of it ending with you.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Sometimes averted (Kouhei recognizes he had a good time when Mizuki drugs him, even if later it dawns on him that he could have easily died, for example when they fell on the pool) sometimes played straight ( Nekoko's story and Mizuki's Bad Ending).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: On the other hand, the happy endings are definitely well-earned.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: Features in one of Mizuki's sex-scenes. Kouhei is noticeably frightened by his actions afterwards.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: In Mizuki's route, where Aya reveals to Kouhei's parents that the reason for his hospitalization and 'wild' behavior is thanks to Mizuki's influence. However, it is a choice that she regrets, especially when Mizuki vanishes for 6 months.
  • Fantastic Drug: The fairy dust that Cat Sidhe Nekoko uses. On the other hand, we also have Kouhei and Mizuki take a drug in her route that is implied but never stated to be cocaine.
  • Flat What: Delivered by Kouhei to Aeka, after she muses to him that the only way Antoinette's torment of her will end is with her death.
  • Genki Girl: Cat Sidhe Nekoko, who literally believes that she is some kind of manic pixie dream girl. Then Kouhei discovers her drug addiction and suddenly "manic pixie dream girl" doesn't seem too far from the truth...
  • Genre Savvy: Most of the characters show brief flashes of understanding their role in a game. The Visual Novel that Kouhei plays seems to mirror his situation suspiciously well...until he criticises Aya for not playing her role properly and demanding that she call him onii-chan.
    • From his brief descriptions, he may have been playing something closer to Kana: Little Sister...which, incidentally, had the same writer as this game.
  • The Hedonist: Mizuki. Stems from the fact that she has no idea what her future holds for her. she calms down in her Good End.
  • In Vino Veritas: Mizuki's libido is increased exponentially under the influence of alcohol, and it helps Kouhei loosen up, too. Especially when his sister accidentally walks in on the pair in the act.
  • Jerk Jock: Gaito. To no one's surprise, he is Kyoka's boyfriend.
  • Karma Houdini: The things Gaito, Kyoka and her Girl Posse do in Aeka's route are enough to land them in juvenile detention (I mean, we're talking about use of illegal weapons in school, assault and Attempted Rape here), and even though Kyoka gets called to the principal's office after teachers find Aeka's suicide note in the other two routes, there's not even the slightest hint that Gaito or anyone of Kyoka's Girl Posse gets in any kind of trouble with school or the police for their behaviour during any of the routes.
    • Welcome to Japanese school life. That's pretty much exactly how it works in the real world. Assuming they were also blaming Aeka for the bullying, anyway.
      • Pretty strongly subverted in Aeka's good ending. An intensely traumatic experience like what Kyoka receives from Kouhei and Aeka is almost certainly going to leave her in therapy for a good, long while, and it may be months before she'll be able to so much as stop jumping at shadows and little movements in the corner of her eye. It's also very unlikely that she'd be able to have even half the malicious spirit she did before, now that she's learned just how seriously the Dog can bite back. Even her posse may be seriously reconsidering just how safe it is to be around her after one of them got a taser in her face. We'll never know for certain, because Kouhei largely stopped caring what happened after he and Aeka left school, but she's definitely not going to be the same again. After all that she's done, Aeka owed a very profound retribution to Kyoka.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Aeka is subjected to various humiliating pranks almost every day and prodded with tasers in the middle of class on a regular basis. Most of her classmates just end up laughing at her misfortune.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Nekoko is clearly quite aware of the affection-point system, and cheerfully informs you when you accrue hers. Also, the hilarious discussion of Kouhei and Aya being over 20, as characters in eroge are required by law to be of age (which most games just get around by never stating ages).
    • Slightly subverted: in spite of what Nekoko says, Yume Miru Kusuri doesn't use affection points, although many eroge do.
    • Also Aya's friends, who didn't get sprites are in the corner of the room where the camera isn't facing. And will probably never come here again. And remark that their introduction is rather odd.
  • Loners Are Freaks: One of the main reasons why Aeka is bullied.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Mizuki starts off as one and her route is pretty much a Deconstruction and Reconstruction of the archetype. Cat Sidhe Nekoko is, ironically, not one despite being manic, a pixie (in her mind at least) and a dreamer; she doesn't try to drag Kouhei out of his shell so much as drag him along on her narcotic-fuelled shenanigans.
  • Magical Queer: Kouhei's co-worker Hirofumi dispenses much wisdom about life, convinces him that H-games are in fact more than just porn, and even delivers An Aesop about games and reality.
  • Meaningful Name: Nekoko literally means "Catgirl." Given the added "Cat Sidhe," the beanie with cat ears, and the... tail, do you suppose they were trying to associate her with some particular animal? Also, "Kagami" means "Mirror". Guess what Kouhei's personality does with each girl?
  • Motor Mouth: Aya whenever she is lecturing Kouhei and Cat Sidhe Nekoko, as a general state of being.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Ironically, the only reason Kyoka survives being strangled is because this happens.
  • No Route For The Wicked: Pretty girl and Alpha Bitch Kyoka is very obviously interested in Kouhei, and she's relentlessly coming on to him in the early parts of the game -- an obvious option for a love interest, you'd think. Kouhei, however, despises her, and the game offers no way to get closer to Kyoka.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you fail to unlock any of the routes and reach a point where it becomes impossible to continue, you get a scene where Kouhei returns to his static lifestyle with a monologue of regret that strains the Fourth Wall to breaking point. Just to rub it in even more, all three of the girls either die or leave school under tragic circumstances. Great job, asshole. Now go reload that save file and PICK ONE!
  • Not Blood Siblings: Kouhei and Aya. But she doesn't get a route, anyway.
  • Not So Weak: Aeka, who takes multiples tasers during class without retaliation and more but eventually gets together with Kouhei and nearly strangles Kyoka to death. And Kouhei is this as well, because he was even more okay with putting up with it than Aeka was... until he took down a gang singlehanded, starting unarmed and held captive.
  • Oh Crap: Kyoka has a really satisfying Oh Crap face when Kouhei makes a cut on her throat with a knife.
    • And some even more satisfying ones when he starts strangling her... and is then joined in by Kyoka's former punching bag Aeka... and they continue until she well, actually does crap herself.
  • The Ojou: Mizuki, complete with waist-length purple hair, wealth enough to fulfill her every whim and large tracts of land. No really, she owns several houses...
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Kouhei when Mizuki starts going through labor just a few moments after she reveals to him that she's pregnant with his child.
  • Porn with Plot: Yes, it does contain a healthy amount of porn. Conversely, it does have a very serious, very complex storyline that takes a very serious look at the effects and consequences of pregnancy, suicide (and the motivations behind why one would wish to attempt it), bullying, and drug abuse, and unlike some games of this genre, the bad endings are not shy in showing the tragedy behind the results of the above. As a result, to get the good endings, you the player must make conscious choices to help the characters (including the protagonist) escape the patterns of behavior dooming them to death or sadness and help them overcome their problems.
  • Psycho Electro: At least in her mind; Cat Sidhe Nekoko is very fond of her "fairy magic", a shock prod that can apparently deliver a 300,000 V charge to incapacitate people. As Kouhei so aptly puts it, that's some physical magic!
  • Riding Into the Sunset: Aeka's good ending. It's even called "Aeka with the Sunset".

Aeka: Yes... Let's go home. Together.

  • Running Gag: Kouhei teases Aya about her breasts, or lack thereof and attempts to compensate. She attacks him. He tries to crack a sweet dodge move, screws it up, and pratfalls. Wash, rinse, repeat.
  • Sadistic Choice: You can only save one of heroines. Once you set your path, the other girls start falling into complete despair. You do get to do things that help to make sure these kind of things no longer happen, however.
  • Secret Identity: Cat Sidhe Nekoko is the librarian girl who goes to Kouhei's school, Hiroko Sakurai.
  • Shout-Out: Kouhei wonders whether Mizuki can use yoga to stretch her body or spit fire.
  • Shrinking Violet: Aeka, who believes she has to blackmail Kouhei to get him to go out with her. Cat Sidhe Nekoko's alter ego Hiroko is like this as well, prompting her to turn to the drugs.
  • Slipping a Mickey: How Mizuki 'coerces' Kouhei into a short holiday.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Aeka turns the school's rooftop into her own private sanctuary, a refuge to escape her woes.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Turns up a few times during Aeka's route. Aya first suggests that victims of bullying should find friends outside of their class/school. Later on, Aeka suggests simply leaving school together with Kouhei, instead of staying and suffering further. They do just that.
  • Slacker Student Council President: Mizuki had the position of Student Council President forced upon her and doesn't want to do the job at all. Because of this she delegates all of the work and, as previously mentioned, is not above using blackmail to get anything she wants.
    • Kouhei on the other hand gets the position forced on him as well but works hard, unintentionally stamps out bullying and drugs in the school and has at least one freshman who all but worships him.
  • Stepford Smiler: Poor Aeka.
  • Suicide Is Painless: An alternative interpretation of Nekoko's sad ending. "She looks around, she gives a catlike grin, and she's gone." May be pushed even further by a possible interpretation of the final text: that Kouhei becomes envious of Nekoko's ability to kill herself.
  • Suspiciously Vague Age: Lampshaded with Aya when Kouhei claims that she must be over 20 despite her obvious loliness. She has no idea what he's talking about. Not that she has a sex scene, but it does otherwise apply.
  • Those Two Guys: Misaki and Takeshi.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Aya
  • Traumatic Haircut: Kyoka tries to do this to Aeka. Aeka tells her to stop beating around the bush and just kill her already.
  • Trojan Gauntlet: In Aeka's route, Kouhei must break off mid-way to the sex to run and buy some birth control. He never did it in Mizuki's route, and the result is quite obvious.
  • Unreliable Narrator: At several critical points on Nekoko's route, most significantly her sad ending, Kouhei himself is high on fairy dust, and gives uncertain information to the reader and himself.
  • Utsuge: Probably not on the same level as Key Visual Arts but whether they're tears of joy or anguish, it will wring them out of you.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: The "auditory hallucination" about the train and the woman who urges Kouhei to start fighting. In the good ends, it goes away since Kouhei has found a purpose and you've reached the end of the game.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Aeka, again.
  • Who Writes This Crap?: The main character is very quick to point out that some plot twists are 'Too corny even for a novel'.
  • Yakuza: Much of Cat Sidhe Nekoko's route consists of running from them and Mizuki has at least one run-in as well.
  • Yandere: Subverted. When Aeka realizes that she'd be tempted to kill Kouhei if he broke off their relationship, she becomes absolutely terrified. This is a huge factor (though certainly not the only one) in her suicide attempt late in the route.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Nekoko is Grade B.