Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has taken hold of my heart. Why, you ask? It's not the gameplay or the story. It's not even the gorgeous animations by Studio Ghibli. No. While all of those are incredible, the main reason is a little Mitey I named Meeko.
Why Meeko, you ask? Well, Meeko was my one and a half year old cat that I had to put to sleep last week.
Before we get into the story, I should mention what a Mitey is: He is a familiar. Think of him as a Pokemon, except instead of Pokeballs to hold them, you hold them in your heart. Ni no Kuni has you collecting, training and sending these creatures out into battle and is one of the main draws of the game.
Anyway, back to the story. Meeko came to my girlfriend, Betsy, and I as a little kitten about a year ago after someone found him roaming around some neighborhood. We had one cat already, Winnie, and I really wanted to get another but hadn't found the right one.
One day, I walked into our vet and I looked to the right and this little kitten was staring at me with the most beautiful orange eyes you have ever seen. He jumped right up and came right to me and I knew this was the one. We brought him home and he was just so happy. Really, he was like a dog, and he would always run right up to you and be ready to play with his favorite blue fuzzy ball or feather stick. He would go on walks with me in the hallway, never running away, just exploring. He would lay on me at night, sometimes nibbling at my ear as if to say, "Hey! Just letting you know I'm here." He very quickly became very special to me and would brighten up even my darkest days.
Then one day he got sick...
Two weeks later it happened again. The vet told us this was very unusual and indicative of bigger issues, most likely related to the liver shunt. He also said that there was another surgery that could be performed to help. However, before that we would have to perform the surgery for the liver, and like I mentioned before, it wasn't a sure fix. Poor Meeko just had too much working against him and was in a lot of pain, and instead of putting him through all this, we decided to put him to sleep and end his suffering.
This was one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life. I know people may say he was just a cat, but he was family to me. I spent the final hours with him and let him go to a better place, knowing he was loved. It's always sad when you have to let a pet go, but it's one thing when you have 10-15 years with that pet. We only had one. However, it was one of the best years, and I take solace in the fact that we gave him a good home and a good life.
I loved that guy, and I hope he truly is happy and free of any pain.
Obviously, this took a toll on me and it still hurts, but time does heal a lot of that pain. Yet time wasn't alone in fighting that battle, Ni no Kuni was there as well.
As I explained before, Ni no Kuni has you catching Familiars and sending them into battle. When you get your first familiar and they explain what they are and that they are sent from your heart, I was intrigued. I loved Pokemon growing up, and this sounded just like it.
Then they gave me an option to rename my first familiar. His name was Mitey and as you may have guessed, the first letter is an "M" and I just knew I was going to rename him Meeko.
It helps that Ni no Kuni is a great game on its own, but it's amazing how things come to you at certain times to make your life a little happier. Another game could have been released at this time, but no, it was Ni no Kuni. The familiar's name could have been Joshal or Timaroo or anything random and I may have not connected the two, but no, it was Mitey. Everything just happened to fall in place at the right time to make this a game that would help me get through this tough time.
Games have always helped me relax and take my mind off all the craziness in the world, but this one is different. This one is actively helping me get over the loss of one of my best friends and I couldn't be more thankful for it.
Obviously, nothing will ever replace Meeko, but it's all about the little things that help us get by. It's all about the little fighters inside us that come out at the right time and are ready to destroy any obstacle or trouble that lies at our feet.
It's all about Meeko.
R.I.P. my friend, I love you.
Adam Bankhurst is one of the co-hosts of The Gamer's Advocate. Send him all your thoughts or questions to email@example.com. You can also follow him @adambankhurst