So I wanted to answer @EisenKoubu’s question: What do you think of message behind Harmonia? That question can be interpreted many different ways, but I assume it means “What do you think is the meaning of Harmonia?” Before I answer this question though, we need to talk about
parallel universes the four types of love. The types of love I will be talking about come from ancient greek. They are agape, philia, eros, and storge. Agape love is usually referred to as selfless love or charity. Philia love is usually referred to as brotherly love or the love equals and friends. Eros love is usually referred to as sexual love but also includes the act of falling in love. As expected, it is the love experienced between lovers. Finally, storge love is usually referred to as love between parent or parent-like figures and a child. So the real question now is, does a scuttlebug know love? If so, which type? And now for the main part of the post, I present to you, the meaning of Harmonia.
Many people like to experience Key because it induces emotion. I know I do. Harmonia, however, takes a different, yet “Key-like” approach to these emotions. That is, writing characters based on specific emotions. At first glance, Harmonia may seem like it is about the different emotions, but in reality, it is about the love that causes all emotions. In Harmonia, love is the most powerful force as it influences others’ ability to love, the discovery of emotions, and can change the world. Over the course of the novel, the main character, Rei, with the help of the phiroids, grows from an emotionless, powerless robot to a real human.
For the first half of Harmonia, Rei sees and experiences love of different forms from the people around him. Right from the beginning, Shiona finds him, a stranger, on the road and takes him in. Even though there are dangerous humans out there, she displays agape love by risking her life and the town, trusting that Rei is a good person. As it turns out, he is a good person and she grants him food, shelter, a name, and the song, all of which are forms of love. They are all things that Rei would not be able to obtain on his own, yet Shiona gave them to him expecting nothing in return. In chapter two, after Rei fixes the music box, Rei experiences eros love. This is in the form of the lewd hand holding scene. Rei received this love from Shiona “all night long.” Later in the same chapter, Rei notices that while Madd seems to hate his son, he still keeps the chip he sent him. This internal conflict embodies Madd’s storge love for his son. He still cares for his son, but he cannot see his son’s final message in order to know that his son still loves him back. He is scared that his son may have sent him the movie as to say, “look how much I can do when you aren’t in the way.” In chapter three, after Shiona and Rei perform in the town square, the Rei experiences philia love. This type comes from all the townspeople banding together to help Rei build the projector. This comes as a form of gratitude for performing the song for them. Then, Rei notices storge love, this time from Tipi’s story. Tipi’s parents showed her storge love in the form of books, information, and protection. During the happy times, she was showered in love as her parents always read her books. But at the end of those happy days, her parents’ final gift for her was protection. They knew they were going to be in grave danger and left her to live her life. Unfortunately, this love, while having good intentions, makes way for despair. From the start of Harmonia, Rei learns love from all the people he interacts with. Through Rei, it becomes clear that humans cannot give love if they have never received it, which becomes very relevant in the second half of Harmonia.
As Rei experiences different types of love, it becomes apparent that he can also spread love to others around him. As a result, he also learns the main emotions, joy, sadness, and anger. His first act of love is repairing Shiona’s music box. He does this because he understands the importance of what Shiona has given him. With this in mind, he overcomes his fear of Madd and shows his seriousness by apologizing for what seems like a long period of time. The power of Rei’s feelings show through and Madd then gives him the information he needs to find the broken clock and repair the music box. When Rei finishes fixing the music box, he discovers a new emotion, joy. More specifically, the joy of helping others. His second act of love is quite similar to the first: showing Madd his son’s movie. Like the first act, there was nothing for him to gain by fixing the projector, yet he did it with the intent to help others find joy. Again, he overcame Madd’s anger to borrow the chip. And again, he searched in the junk pile to find the projector. However, things change when the projector is completely broken and Rei has no tools. Because Rei and Shiona performed for them the previous day, the townspeople come and help Rei fix the projector. This demonstrates the unifying power of the eternal song. Later, Rei shows Madd the movie, but none of this could have been done without Rei first getting help from others. This second act helps him further understand joy, the type of joy derived from working with others towards a common goal. In chapter four, Rei’s third act of love occurs as a result of the interactions with the unknown man. When Rei finds the man, he goes out of his way to try to save him. While this may seem like a basic human function, it is important to remember that this is a cruel world where most humans care only for themselves. Because of that, helping the man on the road and attempting to save him is Rei’s third act of love. But it fails, and as a result, Rei discovers the second emotion, sadness. The fourth act of love is a bit different from the rest. While all the others may be considered agape love, the fourth one is more likely in the range of storge love. Since he first met Tipi, Rei has never broken a promise with her. This is especially valuable to her because of how her parents’ promise was broken, leaving her lonely for over two hundred years. In chapter five, he shows this love again by trying to protect Tipi as Shiona bluntly dashes her hopes. Rei’s paternal instincts kick in and he discovers the last emotion, anger. As the story progresses, Rei’s urge to help others leads him to his original goal of learning emotion and becoming human.
Love is the center of all things that make us human. Love comes in many forms: emotion, gifts, resolve, and more. In Harmonia, the most prevalent form of love is emotion. “Love was the origin of all emotions. Because of love, we feel happy when we interact with others. Because of love, we know what we want to protect and feel anger when it is hurt. Because of love, we feel sadness when we lose something important. Because of love… we can feel the same emotions, share them, and know enjoyment.” Yet, the other forms of love also make an appearance. Gifts can be a form of love, therefore, the knowledge Tipi gives to Rei is a form of love passed down from her parents. The eternal song that Shiona gives to Rei in the form of the music box is also love passed down from her brother. When Tipi and Shiona die, their final gift is the resolve to change the world. At the end of Harmonia, Rei finally understands love. He knows firsthand how even a robot can become human through emotions, and he knows that the eternal song can invoke happy and loving feelings in people. With the tablet and music box in tow, he now has knowledge and tools to make humans human again. Love has granted the power to bring about a harmonious world.
In the first half of Harmonia, Rei learns to love from the people around him. As he sees and experiences all four types of love, he can then reciprocate those feelings, granting him emotions. In the second half, he is given strength to change the world as parting gifts. Harmonia as a whole reveals the true power of love. Love is the origin of all emotion but no one can find love on their own. Humans need to receive love before they know how to pass it on. Rei is a representative of humans and as he learns love, he becomes able to change the world. Harmonia teaches that as humans we should never forget where our true power lies, for that is what makes us human.
When I first finished Harmonia, my thoughts were kinda scattered all over the place. After a week of mulling it over I finally organized my thoughts and figured out what Harmonia means to me personally. For me, Harmonia left me with the urge to get out into the world and explore the different types of love. It gave me the push to go and learn about myself. Immediately after finishing, I had the thought of, “I want to seek the powapowa feelings of other humans.” Simple stuff, like just holding hands or hugging another person. I want to feel those things. For the four hours I spent playing Harmonia, I was completely disconnected from the world. At the end, I had returned with a new outlook on life. The reason I thought this more than any of the other Key works I have experienced lies in the genius of the narrative. I was able to relate to Rei much easier than any other Key protagonist because he starts from zero, his name literally means zero. Because he is a clean slate, he learns everything from zero, so if I never learned something before, I’d be learning it with him. As @SuikaShoujo mentioned, Harmonia demonstrates growing up from childhood to adulthood. I felt very connected to Rei because sometimes I just feel like I am emotionless but I want to find those emotions. For example, I read all of the English localized Key works without ever crying. I have the feeling that I want to cry but I just don’t. But Harmonia taught me that it is ok to discover my feelings at my own pace and for that, I recognize Harmonia as my favorite Key visual novel. In my first impressions, I rated Harmonia at 9/10. Since then though, my feelings have changed. The amount of impact that Harmonia has had on me is just too great not to rate as 10/10. That is how much I love Harmonia.