Howdy, everyone. I'd like to preface this with a couple things. I'm currently on my second full runthrough of the game and am enjoying it immensely. I've come to appreciate things on my new run that, previously, I had loathed to no end. To the development team, thank you for the great game, keep up the great work! As for this particular topic, I made a Reddit post recently that describes my original interpretation of this whole shebang. If you want some more context, click here: https://www.reddit.com/r/PokemonReborn/comments/coyvse/fuck_titania_and_amaria_both/
Anyway, on to the main topic of discussion. Strap in, it's a long one.
Obligatory spoiler warning: don't read this if you haven't resolved the Titania/Amaria storyline.
So throughout an average playthrough of this game, one runs into a plethora of interesting characters, some memorable and loved and others infamously despised. During my original run, I found myself absolutely despising certain characters and plot lines. However, for the most part, my second playthrough did much to change my perspective. I took this run through a lot slower than before and actually paid attention to the minute facets of dialogue and player-NPC interaction. Corey went from unredeemable edgelord to a man that reacts in a way that, realistically, any one of us could expect to act after what he went through; Victoria went from bland roadblock to a girl who incessantly wishes to protect those she cares about, a desire stemming from her mentor/mother-figure(?)'s fragility; T3RR4 may be slightly obnoxious, but comedy is subjective and, even if her style of humor doesn't sit right with me, that doesn't make her a bad character; even Fern screams insecurity in a way that might be fleshed out in the coming update. In short, a lot of characters that I previously was not a fan of now leave feeling empathetic; these are people reacting in understandable ways to the problems they face. However, there is one character who, despite my best efforts, despite hoping against hope that I might have missed something, simply fails to incite anything but pure, unbridled rage in my eyes: Amaria.
My reasoning for this is manyfold. Originally, my opinion on Amaria was mostly a conglomerate that encompassed the entire Titania/Amaria plotline. Before, I thought that this part of the game was just melodrama for the sake of advancing the plot. I didn't like Titania much, but unlike the other characters I named, I wasn't sure why other than "hur dur melodrama and edge". However, upon replaying the quest, I realized two things. First, most of my hatred from Titania came from one source: her diary. As a person, it would be very out-of-character for me to go snooping around in other people's secrets. Conversing with them to help them is one thing but, given the opportunity, I would choose to leave a diary or other piece of personal affairs untouched. So when my character had to interact with the diary, I wasn't the happiest camper, and being yelled at by Titania for something I not only didn't do, but frankly had no interest in doing, felt massively unfair. I mean, I'm sorry you're dating someone you don't love, but how is that my fault? Just buck up, rip that Band-Aid off and don't force your insecurities on me! However, while I still disagree with being forced to go against my morals to progress, I understand. I understand that Titania had to snap somehow, so as to clue in Amaria that something was off and create a parallel to the IRL Rebon League. I understand that, given Titania's character, she would be unwilling to trust a stranger that just-so-happens to be standing right next to her darkest secrets. I understand that Titania can't just outright be truthful to Amaria, as contradictory as that might be with her "there's no such thing as a happy ending" mentality; she knows how unstable Amaria is, and as quick as she is to murder people for the sake of her own goals, she doesn't want unnecessary blood, especially from a close friend, to be spilled. If anything, Titania's choice to live a lie for so long might parallel my own choice in a similar position; I want people to be happy, even at the sake of my own happiness, and if that means living a life I detest with someone I don't care about romantically, then so be it. In short, I realized that most of my anger with the "Titania" half of this dichotomy is the forced reading of the diary, but it's still fine by me. It had to happen, her reaction was reasonable and her character is not only someone I can respect and admire, but relate to. However, after realizing this, I realized yet another thing: that the melodrama I hated about this quest stems almost entirely from Amaria.
Oh boy, where do I start? Amaria, as we all know, has a host of deep-seated mental issues. She's suffering from severe depression, apparently self-harms (according to the wiki, correct me if I'm wrong), and even regularly contemplates suicide. Additionally, we know that Titania is the only thing keeping her going; upon meeting the two in their home, we see that Amaria fawns over her even while Titania appears aloof the entire time. I never read her journal in the Trainer School (though it has since been spoiled for me), but I remember listening to her dialogue and feeling sorry for her. "Wow, she's really going through it. Having gone through depression I know the struggle, glad she's found some support", I originally thought. However, her later actions turn my view of her sour. Her suicide tells me that Titania is more than merely a support network for her; without Titania, she cannot function, indicating that Amaria is not attempting to learn to cope, instead using Titania to bear the burden of her own instability. Of course, it only goes down from there. I have only done the Zekrom route, so it's the route I'm more familiar with, but in this route, her dialogue indicates that she even knows about the impact she has on Titania. I would theorize that she has always known that Titania feels shackled by their relationship, but refused to acknowledge it ("Does Tania care about me? She seems so aloof, I wonder if she feels the same way I do. Oh well, she hasn't said anything yet, I guess I must be wrong. She's my world, surely I must be the same to her"). However, despite knowing (or at least suspecting) that Titania isn't happy, she refuses to attempt to become functional enough to move on. This is further exemplified in the Reshiram route, in which she is overcome by a hatred for the player character, blaming them for taking Titania away (so-to-speak) and even going so far as to attempt to drown them for the perceived wrongdoing. This, ironically, finally drives Titania away and forces Amaria to come to grips with reality. The fantasy life she led is now gone, and where does that leave her? Nowhere, because she still cannot accept that, though depression sucks and may not be her own fault, it's still her responsibility to overcome it, to seek help from appropriate sources and to stop burdening those who attempt to help, but end up just shouldering the emotional baggage of the person that has since refused to help themselves. I think this is what fuels my anger at Amaria; when going through my own depressive episodes, I ended up dragging down those around me. It was only after years of this that I realized what I had to do. One's family and friends are, of course, necessary; they're the best support network one can ask for, or should be, at least. However, at some point, I realized that I had to actually work on getting better, not just unloading my baggage on those close to me and never working to change. So I sought therapy, learned coping techniques, and became a functioning human being again. Amaria, as I stated previously, has done none of this. She leaves her best friend in a state of perpetual worry that she might do something drastic, leading to a "forced" relationship that became a prison for Titania, and continued the depressed rants, suicidal ideology and overall instability whilst clinging to Titania with an iron-hard grasp. If anything, the truth/Reshiram route might end up being better for Amaria. With Titania gone, there's nothing shielding Amaria from her demons, and she now must face them head-on, or suffer. Hell, I likely would've gone down this route, were it not for one of my favorite characters: Taka. He shouldn't have to die for Amaria to shoulder some responsibility for her own well-being.
In short, despite my original empathy for Amaria, her actions reveal someone entirely unable to seek proper help for her issues, instead relying on Titania to give up her own happiness to become the final support pillar keeping Amaria's "roof" from crashing down. If she continues to incessantly cling to this farce of a relationship, how can she ever hope to improve? More importantly, this all ends up forced on the player character; a misunderstanding becomes a catalyst for yet more blame placed on the player-character's shoulders, and the fact that Amaria's mental instability becomes the driving force in much of the story with no eventual payoff (unless one does the Reshiram route, but Taka's death is a major turnoff for me undertaking that route, especially since he still develops as a character and leaves Team Meteor in Agate). While I understand that this is somewhat meant to parallel the Reborn League, it still infuriates me to see Amaria acting like a leech and refusing to buck up and help herself.
Anyway, that's that. If Amethyst or anyone else on the dev team reads this, I hope I didn't offend. I merely wish to share my perspective on a character, as well as some insight I gained about myself via my journey through this game. I also hoped to spur some discussion; feel free to share any thoughts down below. Thanks for reading!