Hello DMMD friends! Here for a quick spoilery reminder. Because on the one hand I don’t want to be the no fun brigade — do what you like in your fics and your pictures and your posts you’re free go wild — but I do see one thing bandied around a lot that I worry is providing misinformation to newer fans so I wanted to clear it up in case it was :3
(I do want to write a full cited and sourced version of this but that will involve making notes on multiple routes so give me a couple weeks)
This is that “Shiroba” = “Sly Blue”. There aren’t two different personalities at work, they’re the same personality. It’s confirmed in True Route that Aoba only had three personalities - Desire (sometimes called Instinct in translation but it’s the same thing), Reason, and Restraint. Well, Restraint took himself out of the equation, so that leaves him with two (and a big gap in some reactions where Restraint was). Reason is the “Dominant” personality, so usually we think of Reason as “Aoba” but all three parts were, when they were in Aoba, “Aoba”.
After Aoba’s parents left, Aoba went a little wild; Restraint was no longer able to be ‘heard’ so he went off to try to find a way to BE heard. This left Aoba as Reason + Desire. This combination of personalities, working together, was what fandom calls “Sly Blue”*. But it was a combination! Both roles were active in Aoba - Aoba was actively ‘listening’ to Desire. After he went too far and risked being discovered by Toue, Virus and Trip wiped his memory (What the fuck how did they do this I don’t understand what powers do you have, Vitri) and combined with Aoba’s guilt over making his grandmother upset, Desire got pushed down into the subconscious. Tae medicated Aoba to keep him from ‘listening’ to his other voices - as a result when Desire tried to communicate with him, he got headaches rather than any close combined personality.
So, the split we see in the game itself is “Reason”, who has suppressed “Desire”. “Aoba” as we see him is Reason acting on his own, uninformed by his other personalities; “Death and destruction” voice piping up is Desire trying to push his way back in. People often call this character “Sly Blue”, but it’s actually the opposite of the years that Aoba used “Sly Blue” as a rhyme game nick - it’s Desire and Reason opposed to each other and vying for dominance rather than sharing space.
Finally, there’s “Shiroba”. I see a lot of people call Shiroba a separate personality from Desire(/”Sly”), because they act a bit different. But Shiroba is Desire as the dominant personality, having suppressed Reason. Keeping in mind that Desire’s actual goal is reunion with Reason to make a joint Desire-Reason Aoba, suppressing Reason is actually not something Desire wants, but he wants to survive as a person and not be crushed/dissolved by Reason, so he takes ‘take over as Aoba’ as a more achievable goal since Reason won’t listen to him to even try to go back into harmony with him. He loses his coloration presumably because the coloration is a social adaptation (keeping in mind that Aoba was born with the lack of pigmentation/that’s considered his “true” self) and once he takes over he no longer tries to adapt at all. (Relatedly, btw, “Shiroba” is a name change in fandom only and never used in canon: for those who aren’t familiar with Japanese - Ao = blue, Shiro = white, so the fandom nicknames pigmentless Aoba based on his color change). And the reason he acts different is that a) Reason is crushed inside himself the way Desire had previously been crushed and suppressed, so we’re seeing the first look at Desire where Reason isn’t dominant and b) he’s living a life he didn’t want but he didn’t want to be destroyed either, and he’s incredibly self-destructive as a result. (There are some loooovely Shiroba breakdown comics I’ve seen around that portray this beautifully ahsdfj). But he’s definitely still Desire; the tug of war between Reason and Desire is the entire sub-plot of every route, with Desire both trying to protect and crush Reason because what he wants is to be with Reason and can’t have either, so the Shiroba end is the bad end result of “a broken mind without Reason” to parallel Koujaku’s in that end.
Finally! What this means is that on True Route, at the end, what we have is a Desire-Reason meld again. A lot of people think it’s just Aoba(/Reason) but the True Route literally confirms that he takes Desire in as part of himself and no longer thinks of him as a second person. Everything around their interactions with Sei in their True Forms and Aoba(/Reason) reaching out to let himself be mirrored with Desire is accepting them as a whole, rather than halves. The reason the “other him” is gone is because there is no other; there is only a “him” made of the two of them as one being. (I had another essay before about this but disassociative personality disorder is usually aimed to be treated with 1) suppression or 2) balance as separate beings or 3) reintegration; the ultimate ‘good end’ in DMMD for Desire and Reason is reintegration and for Reason-Restraint is balance). There’s now love in his life and more life experiences and much better coping mechanisms and even less split than before, so he doesn’t go back to acting like his wild teenage years, but True Route endgame Aoba is Desire/Reason, while all other good endgame route Aobas is just Reason.
Baby Aoba = Desire + Reason + Restraint
Teenage Aoba/Sly Blue = Desire + Reason
Gameplay Aoba = Reason - Desire
Koujaku Bad End Aoba = Desire - Reason
True End Aoba = Desire/Reason amalgamation
* Relatedly, keep in mind that Desire himself never uses the name Sly Blue, nor does anyone use it to refer to him - Noiz uses it to refer to Aoba-during-rhyme, because it was Aoba’s Rhyme Name during the years he played rhyme, which were also his Reason + Desire years. Having characters call Desire “Sly” is much like having them call Noiz “Rabbithead” - kind of doable in an online context but kinda weird in real life. I totally understand how posts do this — it clarifies what personality people are talking about without awkwardly juggling Aoba-Psyche-Roles — but maybe be cautious having characters icly call him Sly, because one of Desire’s main traits throughout the game is how he constantly reasserts that he is Aoba and wants to be Aoba. I can’t imagine him actually reacting well to being assigned a totally new name, instead of a role of Aoba. Again oocly whatever, and also have fun with whatever you want to have fun with icly too, just a reminder for ic things to help explain the situation especially for people just sliding into the fandom.
Q:i had a dream about magical girls that had super strength/agility, but instead of wearing a special outfit they would shed their skin and turn into a skeleton.
What if, contrary to popular belief, Sei didn’t give Ren his body so that Aoba could be with him?
What if, instead, Sei knew that that was the only way to keep Aoba as his. He had watched Aoba for years, and throughout this he had developed a rather unhealthy, possessive love for his precious little brother~
He was too weak to continue on like he was, so he asked Aoba to destroy him. But as we saw in Dive Into Chiral Night 2.0, in Ren’s route, he says he can still feel Sei inside of him.
Ren is simply a vessel in his body for the time being. Sei will grow stronger, and one day, he’ll be strong enough to push Ren aside and reclaim his body and his sweet Aoba. He’ll make sure that Ren can never resurface again, all but making him nonexistent in his mind. After all, how dare he defile Aoba like that?
No, Aoba was to be only his. Only his.
how does cr1tikal not get startled by anything. how do you do it, cr1tikal. did someone hurt you. did you lose something you once held dear. is that why you’re so dead inside. you can tell me, cr1tikal. i am here for you, and i’m worried about you.