I’ve mentioned Hyperdimension Neptunia and its two sequels numerous times on these pages, but I thought today I’d focus particularly on a character who appears for the first time in the third game, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory.
Plutia — named, much like Neptune, after an abandoned Sega console; in this case, the unreleased second model of the Saturn — is Planeptune’s goddess (or “CPU”, in Neptunia parlance) in the alternate dimension Neptune finds herself dragged into towards the outset of the game. Much like Neptune, she’s largely incompetent at her job, prone to slacking off and being lazy, but it’s a different kind of incompetence to Neptune; while Neptune in her human form is an energetic, dizzy young girl, Plutia is rather slothful in many ways; she’s habitually clad in slippers and housecoat rather than something a little more appropriate for a goddess, and she speaks very, very slowly and deliberately (in Japanese, anyway) — like a child who doesn’t seem to have quite grasped communicating just yet.
Plutia’s seeming innocence extends to how she’s depicted in battle, too. Initiating a battle with Plutia will often see her exclaiming konnichiwa! (“hello!”) or yoroshiku onegaishimasu! (in this context, “nice to meet you!”) to the party of enemies, while her turn coming up in the order of action will see her mumbling eto… eto… doushiyou… (“umm… umm… what should I do?”) or e… watashi? (“eh? …me?”) as if she’s perpetually slightly unsure of what’s going on around her.
Plutia’s not innocent, though. Far from it. Much like Neptune’s personality (not to mention cup size) undergoes a significant change when she switches from human form to “HDD” goddess form, Plutia too goes through some changes. While Neptune is all business in HDD form, though, Plutia unleashes her inner desires and becomes a sadistic dominatrix (whom Neptune in particular takes to calling “Sadie”) and whom a number of the other characters become rather afraid of.
Plutia in HDD form is actually quite a refreshing character to come across, because she has absolutely no shame in who she is and what she likes. And what she likes more than anything is indulging her sadistic desires — whether that’s on her enemies or, in a pinch, her friends.
She’s overtly sexualised — arguably more so than most of the rest of the cast, most of whom would put your eye out if they turned around too quickly while in HDD form — but she uses this to her advantage on numerous occasions.
She knows that she scares and disturbs people with her sexuality, so often all it takes is a knowing comment that she’s “starting to get angry” to get people to do what she wants them to. This backfires on a few occasions — for example, her early encounter with a young alternate-dimension IF traumatises the latter to such a degree that one of the strongest, spunkiest characters in the other two Neptunia games is relegated considerably more often to the role of “cowering in the background” than she would be normally. A shame, since IF is one of my favourite characters, but the focus on the main cast in Victory certainly works for me, too.
Plutia’s sexual preferences are sometimes played for laughs, but more often than not they’re played relatively straight, with her castmates alternating between acknowledging her tastes and desires, and trying to hold her back from going too far. Anything… inappropriate that Plutia does is kept completely off-screen, but all that achieves is getting the imagination working even harder. Exactly what did she do to those people who, upon meeting her subsequently, are utterly terrified?
I have not yet finished Victory, though I am, after a long run, on the path to the “true” ending, I think. I’ll be interested to see if Plutia is explored any further in the rest of the game; up until now, she’s been rather refreshing to spend time with. Terrifying too, yes, but one of the more interesting characters I’ve seen in a candy-coloured moe RPG in recent memory.