WARNING: This post may or may not be appropriate to sensitive individuals and the weak of heart. You have been warned.
(also contains spoilers for the game Mogeko Castle)
Mogeko Castle, the wonderfully shocking RPG Surreal game which has successfully made itself well-known for its charm, story, black humour, and overall shock value.
But once you’ve finished the stories, seen all the endings, you still have to wonder what the heck just happened. I’m here to analyze what Mogeko Castle means.
Note: I don’t regularly do these kinds of posts, but I’ve decided to bring up my hypothesis about this game so open to interpretation. And also, this is a response/request towards ZULK-RS’ blog which seems to be the only other Mogeko Castle analysis theory on the internet so far. I suggest you go read their blog first since I will be referencing it a lot to avoid repetition. So anyway, here’s what I think:
At the beginning of the game, it shows our protagonist, Yonaka Kurai (literally translates into “dark midnight” in Japanese) riding the train home to meet up with her brother, Shinya Kurai. She decides to fall asleep on the train to wait for the next station but then wakes up when the train has stopped on Mogeko Station.
She decides to explore a bit but then gets cornered by little cat-like yellow creatures before she decides to return. These are the mogeko/s.
From the get go, mogekos reveal themselves to be perverted creatures who are overly obsessed in “high school girls”. Scared of them, she runs away and hides away in the castle nearby, now knowing that that’s where they reside. And that’s how the story begins. I’ll now talk about the game with the impression that the reader has either played and finished the game and/or knows the entire story.
The overall game’s theme is about the loss of Yonaka’s innocence. Throughout this game we see her gradually lose herself. So what does the Mogeko Castle itself represent then? Her traumatic experiences? Her revelation of the real world? We do see at the epilogue at very beginning that a mogeko is telling a bedtime story to a sleeping person who is later revealed to be Yonaka herself in a drug-induced coma.
ZOLK-RS’s theory suggests that the bedtime story scene takes place in a mental hospital while Yonaka’s recovering from her mental illness due to traumatic experiences. While this does make sense, but it doesn’t explain why King mogeko is in the bedroom, both an antagonist and a caretaker who tells her a story.
So then what if I told you, that King mogeko is not medicating Yonaka, but purposefully drugging her so that she may be his property. Yes, in the end the King mogeko reveals his true one-eyed form right next to Yonaka in bed, changing the entire scenery into red and tells her that he will continue to haunt her forever.
In the epilogue, King mogeko is keeping Yonaka captive possibly as a slave plans to constantly torture her for the rest of her life. Haunted with the story of her own past. King mogeko drugging Yonaka represents her transformation into a different person, the loss of her old life, her innocence, or worse. Her student ID even changes from “Female Student” to “Woman” after you sleep with a mogeko in bed.
But what exactly happened in the past that’s made her like this? This remains uncertain, it could be her psychotic brother, could be regular life problems. What’s important is what happens during the game, being chased around in a community of people who have means of harassing her. Surely the mogekos can’t be real right?
I think not. I’ve noticed that quite a lot that in this game shows many parallels to something we have in the real world. What I’m about to say might be a little bit confusing at first, but let me explain. Mogeko Castle represents the internet.
Why is that, you may ask? First let’s take a look at what the word “mogeko” means.
//:But wasn’t that name just made up?
Well, actually it does have an interesting real life parallel and that gives a significant meaning to the word in the game. The mogekos are cute yellow cat like seemingly harmless creatures that stand upright and have a constant happy-go-lucky expression on their face that literally looks like this emoticon: ^o^
They’re visually similar to the 2chan Monā (モナー) and Giko (ギコ) ASCII cats. And it is quite obvious that their design is a reference to that internet meme. I’m not sure if this is could be intended, but if you combine the words Mona and Giko, you get MonaGiko->MoGiko->Mogeko.
Well, now we know mogekos derived from a 15-year-old meme on 2chan, but what about their characteristics? GIko cats are also, as said by ManlyBadassHero, “known for their obsessive nature, hivemind thinking, and bursts of anger that lead to infighting that typically act out a typical thread on 2chan…”(Mogeko Castle – All Endings, Bonus Room & Trailer). Though in this case the Giko cats’ actions are mirrored by actual users on forum threads. Manly also thinks the mogekos represent the player themselves, but I won’t read too much into that here.
So what else leads me to believe that Mogeko Castle is the internet? Well throughout the game the mogekos mention Yonaka’s name and she asks how they know her. They always say “word travels fast in Mogeko Castle”, another one even calls it the “Mogeko Network”, and that’s really what got me thinking about this idea in the first place.
Mogekos are never afraid to be brutally honest about their feelings, and that’s not a good thing considering they all want to molest high school girls. Mogekos have different personalities, they probably represent the personas of each individual internet user. Whether it be what they’re thinking away from keyboard, or what say out loud in public. Just like Austin Jorgensen (Creator of LISA the Painful RPG) said, “The internet is a place where people can say whatever dumb things they want, when it comes to your mind you can just say it to get a rise out of somebody or if you are being truly honest in general…”
Mogekos have a sharp sense of smell, they can sniff out Yonaka easily as said by one mogeko who couldn’t do so since he had hay fever and also when Defect Mogeko said that his blood would cover Yonaka’s scent. Mogekos probably gain information with their nose and hay fever prevents them from finding things. Internet search engine? Hayfever is no internet connection?
In Bad End 1 – Assimilation, when the player interacts with the Mad Mogeko they are given a choice whether to unleash its madness even though they would definitely die. Choosing ‘Yes’ will cause Yonaka to suddenly question herself and forget who she is, resulting to her becoming one with the darkness of Mogeko Castle. I know this sounds a bit far fetched, but unleashing the madness of a mad mogeko is like “feeding the troll” on the internet. Eventually you will do all sorts of stupid things and then become a troll as well, engulfed by the darkness.
Yonaka finds Somewhat Strange Mogeko, the first harmless Mogeko she encounters who tells her how to go back home. He then mentions that the castle is in a completely different dimension from the real world and that humans normally shouldn’t wonder in. A lonely transient world where things are practically imaginary. So for real, the mogekos aren’t even a reality in the game, they’re just beings of imagination. He tells her that the only way back home is to go to the very top of the castle where she will find a door which will return her to the world she wishes for. (Well that reminds me of the ending of Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Cat Returns’) He also gives Yonaka a knife to stab Mogekos with. Though if you look around in his room you’ll see that he’s still as perverted as the other mogekos despite his intentions to help Yonaka. Throughout the game there are now a few non-malicious mogekos who won’t do anything on impulse and won’t give into temptation, this means not all Mogekos are the same.
Suddenly, the castle’s architecture starts to make no sense, the outside is still indoors, and the halls turn into a labyrinth with rooms inside the walls hiding dead mogekos with no doors to lead into them. I love how all of a sudden in the Red Road there’s a mogeko who ask Yonaka a random question. Reminds me of those random questions people ask in chat rooms. The maze area also looks like a chat room too with some guy talking about how tasty chili peppers are and how another mogeko is standing in the corner, wanting to be alone and die. And also there’s a room concealed inside the walls filled with ravaging Mad Mogekos. This is when Yonaka gets ambushed by one mogeko hiding inside a painting all Ib style and then an army of mogekos chase her around.
Yonaka loses them and ends up in a strange cloudy garden room with Mogeko larvae. She meets the Prosciutto Fairy, guardian of the second floor. Prosciutto Fairy might be there to ensure the safety for Mogeko Larvae or something. The fairy gives Yonaka a key. And in this area, there’s a particularly ‘interesting’ event that happens.
Mogekos hatch from eggs, as said in the “Insects” Bad ending. There seem to be no female mogekos, and in this bad end, the anonymous conversation that takes place at the end strongly suggests that mogekos propagate by taking the egg cells of female human beings, in this case, high school girls. Girls her age is when their bodies start producing egg cells, this explains their whole obsession over them seeing how female humans are essential to their survival. It is also said in the bonus room that they hatch from eggs that are “barfed from the mouth, but can also spawn in humans”.The ending name “Insects” may be a reference to how certain insects, like wasps, usually inject their eggs into the larva of other insects so that their offspring will hatch from inside them. And yes, my reaction to this is: gross.
Yonaka climbs the ladder to Floor III, which is where she finds a book about defect mogekos who are described to think differently from the majority. Sounds like defect mogekos are independent thinkers whom the bigot mogekos believe are a threat, sounds pretty obvious what this is all about, basically those who think differently are heretics.
As soon as she reads it, the mogekos find her and throw her in a cell. This is where she meets Defect Mogeko in shackles. Strangely enough, Defect Mogeko is the only one who hasn’t heard of Yonaka’s arrival as if he’s banned from the Mogeko Network. Yonaka remembers the key Prosciutto Fairy gave her and Defect Mogeko uses it to unlock his chains. Apparently the key works on almost every door in the castle. Okay, even if this isn’t intentional, I like to think that the key represents a password and that almost everyone has the same password like “1234” or “password”. You can also check the other cells and see that the other defect mogekos are in for just not liking a certain food or having a girlfriend, etc.
The next room has a giant cell filled with mad mogekos, there’s a red button that releases them. Pressing it results in Bad End 3 – Meat Party. Interestingly, when you do release the mad mogekos, the ending only says that Yonaka is being torn to shreds but nothing about Defect Mogeko. Perhaps it’s because they don’t attack other mogekos?
They come to Defect Mogeko’s friend, Blood Spirit who sends them to the next floor where Moge-ko resides. All the mogeko on that floor are well-behaved for they fear their admin, uh I mean leader. For Moge-ko likes to torture her victims. No one knows why exactly Moge-ko exists or why she looks like a human girl, but it’s said in the bonus room that she was made by the mogekos for unknown reasons.
In bad ending, “Toy”, Moge-ko suddenly asks Yonaka while crucified if she REALLY wants to go home. Looking at the situation, she hesitantly says yes while Moge-ko reminds Yonaka that she’s fooling herself in order to live, knowing that Yonaka came to the castle probably to avoid her psychotic brother. If Mogeko Castle is a representation of internet forum subculture, then it seems that Yonaka is using the castle (internet forums) as a means of escape from her real life problems (her psychotic brother).
Strangely enough, I always thought that Moge-ko was like a representation of Yonaka’s brother because of their eyes, but then I don’t know how that would make sense.
The two run away from Moge-ko and then go to the hospital for some weapons…? I have no clue what that means. Most of the mogekos in the hospital are either dying or sick, but at the top floor is an armory. Yonaka also finds an item called “Huffspray” to kill a bug in the elevator console. Defect Mogeko grabs a rocket launcher and uses in the future in very comedic events.
Defect Mogeko also tells Yonaka about the origin of Mogeko Castle. Saying that there was only one king presumably King mogeko. He made a castle but it was empty, so he make seven special mogekos
I have a theory on why Moge-ko and King mogeko have similar names to the regular Mogekos. Inaudible differences can’t be heard, but can be seen, in text, like a username.
Mofuko are cute harmless fluffy mogekos who are infected with the Blancfluff Mogeparasites. Mofukos are outrageously infectious so they are usually executed by being fed to the monster because those who are infected ,Mofukos, die within a month of infection. Now I think these types of mogeko represent things that go popular on the internet over a short period of time, go viral if you may. The Mofukos can be compared with the spread of viral photos/videos/people passed to other people on the internet to their friends. Mofukkos, being cute and fluffy, can be compared to a cute photo of something. And like most viral things, they tend to die off within a short period of time, just like Mofukos. While being infected by the parasite, the victim feels the bug squirming inside of them, think of it like when you saw something emotionally amazing or outrageous which made you succumb to your own emotions eventually making you want to share that thing in the end. The sign to Fluff Path reads, “The souls of dead Mofuko become stars, which fall on the land.” which would probably mean that old viral things will always be remembered even after they die off.
They soon meet King mogeko in person who has claimed to have destroyed the library, which is where the exit to Floor 7 is. They go escape and then the famous Bad End – Elopement occurs here. I don’t even know…
Yeah, the library, they meet Mogecukoo, he sacrifices himself from mogeko’s interference. King mogeko shoots Defect Mogeko in a chase and reveals that Defect’s real name is Nega-Mogeko and is like a part of King mogeko, like the other side of the coin.
Nega Mogeko sacrifices himself, Yonaka sees him burned at the stake, leaves off to the Seventh Floor where she can return back to the real world. She wakes up at a bus even though she fell asleep on a train so I highly doubt that all that was a dream, unless the train was in the dream too.
She then arrived home only to face her brother wanting to kill her. Yonaka is faced with the choice to either give in, or run away from her problems. I like to think that even her brother’s murders are just symbolic for some abusive character he may be. Since she was very attached to her brother at a young age, her love only makes it even painful for whatever problems these siblings have run into.
In the Normal End, Yonaka rejects her brother and hurts him, represented in the game by her her killing him. Yonaka, scarred for life, returns to the Mogeko Castle and overthrows King mogeko and Moge-ko and becomes the mogekos’ god and king–renaming the place into Yonaka Castle. She will remain in the dreaded place forever ruling over those whom she hated the most, ultimately becoming her greatest fear.
In the Happy End, Yonaka faces her brother and the two eventually went through it despite the painful process. Yes, I know Yonaka appears to have killed Shinya, but since he makes an appearance in the Mogeko Castle Gaiden Trailer, it wouldn’t make any sense if he were to die on this part.
However, there is no happy ending seeing King mogeko, the manifestation of Yonaka’s trauma, will forever be with her ’till the very end. The past cannot be forgotten, and the past makes what the future will be.
To conclude all this, the game is basically all about experience, think Earthbound + Alice in Wonderland + The Internet. It’s a story about the world shown in a surreal manner using cultural references from the internet. Now I’m not saying that Mogeko Castle strictly takes place the internet, seeing how it can fit into real life as well. It’s pretty much all about going through real life and the true nature of human beings only expressed via the internet, “the internet isn’t doing anything, humans are”. (Another Austin Jorgensen quote)
Well that’s the entire blog post, that really took waaay too long than I initially expected and it shouldn’t have. Like about a week. I might still have some spelling errors, please point them out since I don’t feel like doing any proofreading after all this. ( ´Д`)
The blog ends here, everything I needed to say has already been said, what’s below this point are merely bonus features.
Some noteworthy things I couldn’t fit into this article:
//Note: Yonaka says at the beginning that “today’s the day that brother comes home”, does that mean she actually plans on meeting up with him in the first place? Then how come Yonaka ends up on a bus in the end… //
//Note: Yonaka is a second year high school student at Yaboshi High School or 夜星学園高等学校 (Yoruhoshi Gakuen High School) as seen in her student ID. Not sure why the Japanese name is different.//
//Note: The entrance to the castle have statues of mogekos with very interesting inscriptions. One uses the line in Dante’s Inferno Abandon all hope ye who enter here”, just written at the gates of Hell. Then in the center there appears seven statues in a circle, each inscription representing the seven deadly sins. Then just at the end there are some sort of disclaimers written on the statues that keep on reminding you that it isn’t too late to turn back.
//Note: Floors in Mogeko Castle represent different sections of a webforum, one for each distinct topic. //
//Note: ManlyBadassHero pointed out in his playthrough that the Cold Hall is a pun of being cold and not caring about each other. That’s why you can pretty much kill and destroy some essential stuff there like a button to free the prisoners or a lone mogeko just crying.//
Mogeko Castle – All Endings, Bonus Room & Trailer by ManlyBadassHero – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pADf_T8NP0k