There are lots of cast members to care about in Punch Line. Korai House is filled with women of different ages trying to get by and live their lives. Each one might find fans, what with every one of them having personalities that might make them entertaining or endearing. But sometimes, it can feel like certain characters might be more appealing than others, and it is because of what else we end up learning about them. Rabura and her cousin, Ito, are two of them.
Editor’s note: there will be spoilers for Rabura and Ito’s backstories here.
Rabura has a big personality, and there are many times when she can come across as being purely comic relief. While we are first introduced to her as a passenger on the bus being hijacked, albeit briefly, but after that we see her being exceptionally silly. She has a life-size doll of a man in her room, which she is accosting the next time we meet her. She is incredibly expressive. When Meika convinces her that Cheeromancy, complete with a pigeon mask and nonsense dance, can work magic, she does it. (Then goes to everyone in the house to perform the dance in front of others in an attempt to show that she really can be a medium.) When she gets heartbroken, she gorges on bananas, insisting they are the only thing that can heal her.
But we quickly learn that her search for love, trying to find a boyfriend who will appreciate her, her acting as a false medium, and her live streaming her life online all happen for other reasons. Rabura wants to be accepted. She wants to get things right. In her family, all of the women are shrine priestesses who act as mediums. It is a respectable position and the people are admired. But she never had the talent. Her mother and grandmother even went so far as to say she must have been someone else’s child, because she clearly couldn’t be one of them.
Worse, when Rabura tried to fake it, her family saw through it. They rejected her attempts. She says people even started to hate her, all because she tried and ended up attempting to fake it all. She says that she has lost faith in herself and her possibilities. She stopped believing in ghosts. But when Yuta appears, she has a chance to prove herself. While she embarrassed herself with the Cheeromancy, it was because she was so genuinely happy to see she did have the ability that she couldn’t help but run to anyone who was home. The depth is endearing and makes her so genuine.
Ito is another character who is initially played for laughs. She is a shut-in dedicated to her MMOs. We get a hint that something is off about her during her introduction, as Yuta brings up that she went to an exclusive school and dropped out. However, by the time the game begins, she is just a huge gamer who is mostly apathetic unless something directly has an effect on her life. When a Trick Chain results in a power outage and her losing her progress, she goes to Meika’s room to rage. When Yuta needs to perform tricks to steal fragments to power up in her room and turns off the power, she throws a temper tantrum. When she is trying to hide the fact that she has a pet in a building where pets aren’t allowed, she fakes a steam allergy that makes her yelp like a bear, claims she is scratching around the room, and says she enjoys eating salmon whole and raw.
But these reactions are because of an extreme bullying situation. Rabura is the reason Ito is in the household. Up until recently, Ito was a cheerful, friendly, and well-liked young woman who enjoyed going outside. Some sort of incident happened, she started isolating herself in her home, her parents were more focused on her brother’s success and wellbeing instead of her, and Rabura insisted her uncle allow Ito to move in there. Basically, the only person who cared about Ito after what happened was Rabura.
Ito ended up getting a ride home from her popular, male homeroom teacher from school late one evening. As mentioned earlier, her parents did not care about her, and her teacher was concerned about her getting back safely. Some of her classmates saw and were jealous. They spread rumors about Ito around school. They put gum in her hair, forcing her to cut it off. She was afraid and hid away. The reason she acted strange to hide Muhi, the baby bear she found and saved, is because she needed someone to love who would love her back, unconditionally. She was so afraid after what happened, which caused her to put walls up.
Both Rabura and Ito may end up becoming so memorable because of their situations. We have characters that have childish elements to them, once that might make them behave silly or humorously. But once Punch Line has them open up, we see why these goofy interactions may have happened and the drama that led to their actions. They might end up becoming someone people love more because of everything they go through.
Punch Line is available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.