let me fucking tell you about tobi in okami though. his mini arc is a goddamn masterpiece.
rundown: tobi is a demonic scrap of paper who resides on oni island as it’s gatekeeper. he loves racing, therefore you must race him (and win) to move forward in the dungeon. there are nine races in total, and after the last race he dies as punishment for giving up his gatekeeper post.
but the summary does not do this section of the game justice.
tobi oddly polite and a little arrogant, though overall nice and a good sport (he thanks you for racing him, and commends you for winning). basically: he’s great, except for the arrogant bit (i’ll get to that)
the races, on the other hand? terribly annoying, especially when it’s your first playthrough and/or you’re not great at the game. it’s so easy to lose on pretty much all of them, that it can begin to get incredibly frustrating. thus, each and every time you must re-race or meet tobi again, you begin to hate him just a little more each time.
his arrogant comments throughout only help to fuel the fire, despite him also getting more and more happy to race you and even more complimentary. it turns into an angry rivalry, where each time you see him your first thought it “i’m gonna beat you, you mother fucker”. issun eggs this on in spades, with him firing back at every quip tobi makes.
so by the last race, you’re all fired up and ready to beat his ass for good and be done. finally done. you survey the area a little be and—lo and behold—there is a blossom on the other side of the “track”, right before the end. and can even be used from the start button. (a blossom allows the play to “vine whip” themselves from other areas to the flower, within a limited distance). so you laugh a little as you start the race and in 2 seconds whips yourself across the area and beat tobi for the last time.
it’s an incredibly pathetic loss, and at first you laugh about it. it’s so, so satisfying. but then the cut scene happens. tobi tells you he’s now going to die, but that he regrets nothing because he got to do the one thing he loved. he says he wishes he had a bouquet of flowers to give you for the fun time. then, tobi disintegrates into a small flower on the ground.
the entire cut scene is framed as sad. he pissed you off this entire time, but in the end you feel sorry for him, sad that he died. and that was their intent all along. at first glance you could say the races were frustrating because they were, well, races. and mini-game races in general can be frustrating.
but the last race seals their intent. it’s short and laughably easy. you can hardly call it a race. and after it? tobi dies. he dies with this pathetic track being his last. and it is heartbreaking. you laughed at him just minutes before because of it, and now you’re not. now you sort of wish you could take it back, or at least give him a more spectacular finish— one he certainly deserved.
they knew tobi and his races would frustrate people, and they decided to flip that on it’s head. they decided to make you feel things over a fucking piece of paper. it works, and is incredibly hard to forget
can we talk about how basically everyone in a top leadership position in Okami is female
Sakuya is the protector of Kamiki; Fuse rules Kusa Village alone since Yatsu’s death but was always top dog when it came to the Canine Warriors; Himiko is unquestionably the reigning power in Sei-an and highest-ranking person in all of Nippon, while the Emperor who succeeds her doesn’t seem to know much about handling power; everyone in Sei-an and Ryoshima also respected Rao, for her actual teachings and advice as well as her body; the Dragonians used to be led by a king but you (under Otohime’s orders) kill him to save Ryoshima from his rampage and Otohime succeeds him no problem; Kemu and Samickle are the leaders of Wep’keer but Kai and Tuskle are the ones who actually lead you and help you do things, and Lika is like six but massively powerful and successor to Kemu as controller of volcanoes.
Not to mention Ammy.