Finding childhood joy in Neon White’s cast.

You wake up in an unfamiliar realm, surrounded by celestial beings and a monument to their god. Angels command you to fight for them in exchange for salvation. That is all the set-up Neon White gives you before you are thrust into a world of speedrunning mayhem. While this premise may sound simple, an underlying emotional core resides within Neon White’s main cast of characters. 

Outside of the platforming slash shoot ’em up frenzy sections, there’s also a base of operations where you’re shown the visual novel side of Neon White. A countess barrage of exposition and character’s begin to bombard you, all fulfilling all-too-familiar tropes found in your average action anime like Naruto and Bleach. This initial section worried me — as much as I was enjoying myself, the pointless story left a large section of the game feeling bland. The more I played, the more I let myself fall into the mindset I had as a child watching Shonen anime. Simply put, I embraced the campiness of the story.

With every heart event, a cutscene between the protagonist and a character giving depth to their backstories, I listened to them with fondness, just as I would be excited for an upcoming episode of my favourite character in anime. The edge lord protagonist, the seductress ex-lover with an air of mystique, the loveable idiot, and the pixie dream girl. All these tropes are done to death, yet, seeing the characters’ pasts unfold made me care for the group and mourn each impactful moment the game threw at me. Each death and betrayal at the hand of the antagonist strengthened my desire to keep playing, and help the group to get their revenge.

As I approached the world with all of White’s memories intact, I felt that childhood version of me took complete control fighting for that idea of friendship which Neon White believes in so fiercely. It may be filled with tropes. It may be simple. But the characters reminded me of a simpler childhood joy. I hope they help you remember yours, too.

By Joel Hudson

My name is Joel Hudson. I'm a student writer and editor from Wales that knows far too much about Kingdom Hearts and Xenoblade. Writing many video essays but failing to finish editing them is my hobby. You can find me on Twitter @NotMyHawk

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