Omori by Kyle Whiteside (Age: 17)
Omori is a game about guilt and overcoming it, thus it is very character-focused. The game has six main characters, Sunny, Mari, Basil, Hero, Kel, and Aubrey. The story follows Sunny, who has isolated himself for four years after Mari’s death, which has split up the group. Sunny re-emerges from his house after four years to spend time with his friends after he moves. As you hang out, you notice that Basil seems to be hiding something, and a floating eye seems to be following Sunny, along with other hallucinations. Over the course of the game, we learn through Sunny’s dreams and his interactions with Basil, that in anger, Sunny accidentally pushed Mari down the stairs, killing her. Basil, wanting to save his best friend, hangs Mari from the tree in their backyard to make it look like a suicide. Revealing that the monster following Sunny was the sight of Mari hanging from the tree, her eye wide open and glaring at Sunny. How the story ends is up to the player. You can either let Basil die from guilt and move away, confront him and throw yourself off a hospital roof, or confront him, forgive yourself, and tell your friends the truth.
Sunny is the protagonist and the player character. Before the accident, he was shy, quiet, but kind. He is said to have a great memory and be a good listener. After a fight with his sister Mari over their recital, he locks himself away and forces himself to forget what he did. He starves himself and lives mostly in Headspace, a dream world where he goes on adventures with his friends who are still 12, and his sister who is still alive. He does this through a dream counterpart named Omori, who is expressionless and colorless. He secludes himself in his house, leaving him pale and thin, and becomes selectively mute. He experiences hallucinations and kills himself in his dreams in order to wake up. He only re-emerges after four years because of his friend Kel. What other things could there be in Headspace? There’s already an underwater casino, another planet, a haunted forest, and a sugar desert. Who knows what other areas Sunny has come up with in his isolation? There could be a clockwork town, maybe a glowing swamp, maybe even a ruined castle buried deep with Headspace.
Mari is Sunny’s older sister, she is caring, airheaded, and is the big sister of the friend group, she often makes puns as well. She is a perfectionist, plays the piano, and always looks out for her little brother. She also had a romantic relationship with Hero, teasing him often. After pushing Sunny too much during practice for their recital and getting mad after he breaks his violin, she is accidentally killed when she is pushed down the stairs. It is implied that she visits Sunny in his dreams and even in the real world as a spirit, telling Sunny to forgive himself and apologizing for pushing him too hard for the recital, though it is unclear if she is actually present or it is another hallucination or dreamed up scenario. If she had killed Sunny instead, how would she react? Would she do what Sunny did? How would the other react? Mari has always been protective of Sunny, so for her to be the one to kill him would be very traumatic. Aubrey would certainly be devastated, as it is implied that she and Sunny had mutual crushes on each other.
Basil is Sunny’s best friend, he is kind, gentle, and timid; he loves photography and gardening, specifically flowers. He develops an attachment to Sunny and spends most of his time with him. When he witnessed Mari’s death, he tried to save Sunny by hanging her in the backyard to frame it as a suicide, lying to himself. Saying that a monster behind Sunny pushed Mari instead of Sunny. When Sunny leaves Basil alone by secluding himself, he becomes skittish, paranoid, and the victim of bullying by Aubrey and her gang. After Sunny comes back outside, he starts panicking, and when the night before Sunny moves he tries to kill himself. If Sunny stops him he will end up in the hospital. How would Basil change after the truth is revealed? Would he learn to forgive himself as well? Or become more anxious around his friends? It may take a while for them to forgive him, but I doubt he’d stop hanging out with them all together.
Hero is Kel’s older brother, he is charming, caring, and sweet. He loves to cook, and cares deeply for his friends. He dated Mari and cared deeply for her, but after her death, he fell into depression and blamed himself for her death. It took him a year to finally start living again after he lashed out at his brother. He kept his mind on studying and tried to move forward with his life, even though he could never bring himself to visit Mari’s grave. He went to college to study medicine and still acts like a big brother to Kel, and his new little sister Sally. His reaction to the truth would be interesting, as Mari was his girlfriend, but he wants his friends to be happy. His reaction could go both ways. Either way, his reaction will be an extreme one.
Kel is the energetic, upbeat, goofball of the group. He is active and friendly to everyone, he’s not the brightest, but he’s more than kind enough to make up for it. After Mari’s death, he became lonely and did his best to keep his friends together, but to no avail. He’s the one to finally get Sunny out of his house, and to hang out with Sunny throughout his last days in his hometown. He is very compassionate towards Sunny and intervenes when Aubrey bullies Basil, trying his best to reunite his friends. We don’t know much about his life after Mari’s death. He may have become desperate as well. Maybe he was just as sad as everyone else but put on an act to seem like he was okay. It would be interesting to dive inside his head during the lowest point of his life and see how he reacted to everything.
Aubrey is a passionate, competitive, but sweet tomboy. She acts tough but actually cries easily and makes her presence known. After Mari’s death, Aubrey was left alone; her father left, leaving her with her alcoholic mother. She felt she had been abandoned by her friends, even though they were trying to deal with Mari’s death just like her. In her anger and sorrow, she turned into a delinquent, sporting a drastically different style and wielding a nail-bat, even leading her own little group of troublemakers. She begins to open up at the end of the game though, apologizing to Basil and expressing concern towards Sunny’s physical health, even going as far as to say she still cares about him. How would the group react to her death if she died instead of Mari? Sunny would most likely take it the hardest as he had a crush on Aubrey, and it probably would’ve affected Kel a lot too, as he and Aubrey were close before Mari’s death.
The events of Omori paint a very depressing story, no matter how you look at it. The characters are deeply shaken by the events that occur, and will likely be shaken by the revealing of the truth. So much is revealed to us through small clues and hints throughout the game, allowing us to put the pieces together but there is still so much we don’t know, and it’s fun to fill in those gaps and find out for ourselves what happened that wasn’t told.