Of Heroes and Heartbreak: Digital Fantasy and Metaphors of Affect in Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Gabriel Elvery

Issue: Volume 1 Issue 1 (2022): Special Issue: Beyond the Anglocentric


This article uses a psychoanalytic framework informed by Fantasy theory to investigate how the Japanese Role-Playing Fantasy video game Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch offers a depiction of, and engagement with, emotional issues via its deployment of literalised metaphors of affect.  In doing so, it considers the overlaps between Fantasy and video games, coining the term ‘Digital Fantasy’ to describe video games which evoke Fantasy worlds and use the imagery of Fantasy as a means of communicating emotion. The close reading provided uses the work of Fantasy theorists such as Rosemary Jackson and Kathryn Hume, combined with Freudian psychoanalytic theory, to explore how Digital Fantasies use varying degrees of Fantasy and mimesis to offer interactive representations of affective processes such as mourning and melancholia. The analysis demonstrates the continued influence of psychoanalytic imagery as a means of understanding emotion, whilst posing that its deployment within Digital Fantasy situates the form as one of exploring and understanding the emotional challenges of everyday life.


Digital Fantasy, JRPG, Psychoanalytic Theory, Game Studies, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

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