Welcome back! Fair warning, this post is going to be very long. We’re gonna focus entirely on the characters today and there are A LOT of them. This whole Undertale thing might wind up taking 10 posts cus I love this damn game. And if that happens, well, I hope you’re looking forward to reading about Undertale for the next three years cus you know how bad I am about posting!
There’s a lot of heart in Undertale. Every character has a unique personality, even the most inconsequential NPC leaves an impression. Whether they’re giving you not-so-useful information or they simply want you to remember their name, every character helps build the world just a little more. So whaddya say we talk about ’em?
Pro-tip: This list will only talk about the boss characters, and it will go in a pretty non-specific order.
The Last Child: Our Main Character
Pictured here with a hot dog on their head, our silent protagonist is (quite literally) the heart and soul of the game. Cus…in the battle screen, you control a heart…that represents your soul. It makes sense if you’ve played that game, I swear! I call them “The Last Child” because, as is to be expected from an RPG, you can pick your own name at the beginning of the game. The name itself is an interesting dynamic, actually. If you choose certain names, the game will comment on them, and as you play through the game, you will be given hints about your name that all come to a head in the climax. But we’ll get to that later.
The Last Child is ambiguously sexed, but I prefer to think of her as a girl. It doesn’t matter to the story; it’s just how I think, so leave me alone about it!
There’s honestly not too much to say about The Last Child, being a silent protagonist and all. There is however a twist to her actions, one that is driven by the meta nature of the story. But again, we’ll get to that later. I love the design, the squinty eyes, and expressionless face are a constant source of comedy among all the silliness that happens around you.
Flowey is a flower. He’s the first monster you meet in the underground, and he welcomes you with a smile. He immediately teaches you how the battle system works and about your stats. His explanation ends with him trying to give you a bunch of “friendliness pellets.” Dodge them. They will kill you. He tries to pressure you to take the pellets, and when you continue to refuse him, he surrounds you in an inescapable web of pellets. Then he calls them bullets. Flowey’s bad is my point.
Though the game very much presents your end-game target as the King of the Underground, Flowey serves as a reminder that there are greater things at play. He’s a constant aggressor, and he taunts you with knowledge he shouldn’t have. A perfect example comes at the very beginning of the game. If you kill the first boss of the game and then have a change of heart and reset so she lives, Flowey greets you after the fight and says you can’t hide it. He knows that you killed her and even resetting won’t erase the sin.
See Flowey, like you, can SAVE. It’s revealed throughout the course of the game that he was once in your shoes. He woke up in the underground and learned what he could do and he used it to help everyone. He solved everyone’s problems, made everyone happy, spared every life. But then he grew bored and decided to see what would happen if he killed them. Then he destroyed the world—over and over and over. Until you showed up. Your presence has weakened his powers, but it’s also interesting to him. You’re a new distraction.
Flowey is a warning of what you will become if you give in to your desire to kill. Flowey also has a secret, a big one, but we’ll get to that in Part 3.
Toriel – A.K.A. Goat Mom
Toriel’s name is a play on ‘tutorial.’ That kind of explains all you need to know. Toriel saves you from Flowey’s unblockable attack and then takes you to her home deep in the ruins. Along the way, she teaches you about the game mechanics and introduces you to puzzles. She makes cryptic hints about other children that have visited her in the past and how all of them left…and all of them died.
When you get to her house, she bakes you a pie and does everything she can to try and keep you from leaving the ruins. When you insist enough, she relents. But not without a fight.
Toriel is your first boss fight and the beginning of the emotionality in the game. She doesn’t want you to leave because she just wants to protect you. She is a mother, and you’ll later find out she lost her child and that’s what drives her desire to keep you safe. And, if you’re not careful, you’ll accidentally kill her. If you fight long enough, she begins to relent and she’s going to let you leave. She lowers her defenses, and if you attack, you kill her in one hit. This is actually a mechanic that can be done with every boss.
Afterward, Toriel doesn’t make an appearance for much of the game.
Asgore – The King
Asgore is who the game wants you to think is the main antagonist. All through the game people tell you about how The King is going to break down the barrier between the Underground and the human world by using the power of seven human souls. It’s clear that Asgore has killed six other children before you and he’s going to kill you too.
But when you eventually do find him…he’s the nicest guy in the world. He’s tortured by what he’s done and what he has to do, but he is doing it for his people. He begs you to leave so he won’t have to kill you, and he apologizes beforehand. Asgore is a king who just wants to do right by his people, even if that means sacrificing his soul. He is a good person being forced to do bad things.
He is also Toriel’s ex-husband. He tries to get her back in the game, but she can’t forgive him for what he’s done.
Sans is a skeleton. He is a guardian who is meant to watch out for humans at the exit to the ruins. Sans doesn’t really care about his job. He is the first character you meet after exiting the ruins and one of the friendliest (usually) monsters in the underground. He immediately recognizes you as a human and, instead of doing his job, just kind of lets you move on. His brother is also a skeleton (more on him in a minute) and cares much more about his job than Sans.
The first thing Sans does is warn you about his brother and hide you behind a conveniently shaped mailbox so that his brother doesn’t catch you. Of course he makes several not-so-subtle hints to his brother about where you’re hiding, but his brother is too dumb and too annoyed by Sans’s bone-based puns to notice. That’s another thing—Sans likes to make jokes. Really bad ones. All of them are bone puns. Sans is awesome.
Sans is probably the most interesting character in the game. He is at once very funny, very menacing, and very tragic. There are hints to his past scattered throughout the game, and none of it seems happy. He tells you many times that he has just given up, and it’s implied that he understands the nature of saving and resetting like you and Flowey do. At the end of the game, Sans acts as the arbiter. He tallies your sins, and if they are too heavy, he will fight you. And you. will. die. Sans is by far the most powerful enemy in the game and the most difficult to beat. If, however, you have been a pacifist, he will let you pass without a fight. If you kills his brother though, he will call you a “dirty brother killer.” Sans doesn’t let you forget your sins. We’ll be talking about Sans a lot more in the next part, but for now just know that he will be your favorite character. Well, either him or…
THE GREAT PAPYRUS!! Sans’s brother is the standout character of the game. He’s loud, he’s dumb, he’s hilarious, and he’s just so goddamn sweet. Papyrus, like his brother, is a skeleton and is charged with being on guard for any humans that may pass through the Underground. Papyrus wants more than anything to join the Royal Guard and finding a human is his best chance. But even when he finds you, all he really wants to do is make you solve puzzles. Papyrus loves puzzles. As you move through the beginning part of the game and solve all his puzzles, he will express bewilderment but even when he sets his final, ultimate trap for you, he decides not to go through with it cus he just wants to give you more puzzles to solve. Even Sans comments on how happy Papyrus is when you’re solving his puzzles. You will fall in love with Papyrus; it’s impossible not to.
Papyrus is the biggest source of comedy in the game. He is actually unique in that you can call him on your cell phone at any time and he will comment on whatever room you are in. Also, you can go on a “date” with him. It’s the mechanics of a dating sim but played out like a standard fight. It’s…amazing.
If you kill him in his initial boss encounter, he will just smile and tell you that he knows you can do better, no matter what. Papyrus wants everyone to be happy, especially you, and he is key to befriending one of the major opposing forces in the game: his idol Undyne. He tricks her into being friends with you by taking you to her house, giving her a golden bone, saying it’s from you (despite her having a drawer full of them, all given to her by Papyrus), and then jumping out of the window so you’ll be alone together.
I love Papyrus.
Undyne – The Undying
Undyne is the head of the Royal Guard and your most formidable opponent in the neutral and pacifist runs. She attacks with magical spears and is beloved by all of the Underground. For most of the game, she will have be a very standard badass hero type…until Papyrus makes you be friends with her. Then she will reveal her true nature: a slightly mentally unhinged badass hero. As part of becoming her friend, you…essentially trick her into befriending you by saying that she can’t do it. Her pride wounded, she decides to teach you how to make spaghetti…and winds up burning her house down. Undyne does nothing in small measures.
You can also bring Undyne and another character, Alphys, together. They both have feelings for each other but are too afraid to share them. Alphys (the orange dinosaur standing to Undyne’s left in the picture at the bottom) is a timid, anime-obsessed scientist whose too afraid to tell Undyne her feelings, and Undyne is too proud to Alphys hers. Classic. But through the power of anime and The Last Child’s squinty-eyed charisma, you can bring the two lovers together. It’s beautiful.
Undyne also has one of the coolest moments in the game during a genocide run. Your character, just about to kill a brave but foolish monster child, is stopped by Undyne. She jumps in the way of your attack, sacrificing her life to save the child. Or so it seems. She begins to fade into the dust that monsters turn into when they die but pulls herself back together and proclaims that as long as you threaten the Underground, she cannot die. She is reborn as Undyne the Undying and proceeds to, without a doubt, kick your ass over and over and over.
I also love Undyne.
As you can see, there’s a reason Mettaton is the only character with a gif. Mettaton is the underground’s most beloved (and I’m pretty sure only) media personality. He hosts a news show, a cooking show, a radio show, and pretty much anything else he can think of. His dream is to make it to the surface and grow his stardom up there as well. He starts as just a simple blocky, computer type thing but eventually sheds that form for what you see above.
In Mettaton’s boss fight, you essentially have a dance off and try to make the ratings go as high as possible. It’s fun, fast paced, and, like all the other bosses, has multiple ways of ending. Mettaton was created by Alphys and is all but confirmed to be the cousin of another NPC you meet in the game.
Muffet is sadly underutilized in the game. Appearing only in her boss fight and the cut scenes before and after, her presence is at least felt from the very beginning of the game. Early on you can find a few spiderwebs and a sign proclaiming a spider bake sale. You can buy a spider donut and some spider cider here for very little money. If you buy these and save them all the way to the final section of the game, you can eat the spider donut during Muffet’s fight to end it immediately. When she sees you eating the donut, she realizes that she’s been lied to (by whom, it’s never stated, but it’s heavily implied to be Flowey) and that you’re actually a friend to spiders. Here, she’ll let you pass.
The spiders are actually mentioned quite a bit throughout the game. They’ve been driven from their home in the ruins and are putting on the spider bake sales to raise money for a new home. Despite her having so little screen time, you do get a good sense of how much Muffet cares about her people. Her every action is based around trying to keep her spiders safe and happy. She’s a testament to how good the writing in the game is because even her limited appearance makes you understand her character and care about her plight.
She’s also got a very lovely design. I don’t know if it was intentional but the seams at the bottom of her dress and the gap between her legs looks like an angel. Do you guys see it? It can’t just be me!
And those are the boss characters! This post got…so long. And I haven’t even talked about ANY of the NPCs. There are too many to mention them all, but I’ll probably do a post about some of the more memorable ones later. It’ll be worth it because, just like the bosses, there’s so much charm to be found in every single one of them!
Next up, we’ll be talking about the storyline…finally. I’ll talk about all three paths and how the characters above change depending on which one you take. This is the real reason I started writing these posts, and I hope you’re as excited to read about it as I am to write about it. Once it goes up, you’ll be able to click the pic of all our friends below to go there!
Nyeh heh he!