In most Harvest Moon games, when you give an individual any item he/she particularly likes as a birthday gift, it will be acknowledged as such and heart levels in many circumstances increase far more than they would on any other day.
This is the case, for example, in HM DS and Cute DS, where a birthday gift of ANY item that is liked by the character will have its ordinary value multiplied by 5.
In Rune Factory 2, however, birthday gifts are treated a little differently from other Harvest Moon games. For each individual, there is only ONE item that will be recognised as a proper birthday gift. If you give the character any other item on his/her birthday, there will be no recognition whatsoever of it as a birthday gift.
This information has been included now in a special section in my Characters Guide but it may be helpful to post it here as well.
Here is a list of all characters and their responses:
Julia for Seafood Pizza: I don’t really want to eat something so fattening right now. If it were my birthday or something it’d be different.
ROASTED YAM for Mana:
Mana: I love this, but I would’ve preferred it on my birthday.
EMERALD RING for Alicia:
Alicia: I love this, but… I would have liked it on my birthday.
HOT MILK for Rosalind:
Rosalind: Thank you, Freya, but I’d hoped to get this on my birthday.
STRAWBERRY JAM for Dorothy:
Dorothy for Strawberry Jam: Thank you… I’d love to get this for my birthday…
AQUAMARINE BROOCH for Cecilia:
Ceci for Aquamarine Brooch; I really like those, but I’d prefer one on my birthday.
CABBAGE CAKES for Yue:
Yue: Oh, it looks delicious! Is that really for me? This would taste even better if it was my birthday!
Other 1st Generation Characters:
SNAPPER SASHIMI for Max:
Max: Thanks! But it really would have bene perfect for a birthday present.
PLATINUM for Jake:
Jake: Don’t give this to me when it’s not going to mean anything. You’re supposed to give it to me on a special day. Like my birthday, for example.
SKIPJACK SASHIMI for Barrett:
Barrett: What’s this, all of a sudden? Is that a present for me? That would be a perfect gift if you gave it to me on my birthday.
GRAPE JUICE for Ray: 'It's my birthday.'
RUBY RING for Tanya:
Tanya: Oh, that’s lovely. Is it for me? This is like… a birthday present, isn’t it!
FRIED RICE for Douglas:
Douglas: I love these, but I would prefer one on my birthday.
FRIED UDON for Natalie:
Natalie: I love this, but… I would have liked it on my birthday.
CURRY RICE for Herman:
Herman: (Much obliged!) Thaaaaaank you! Incidentally, I’d be really happy if you gave this to me on my birthday too.
Egan is Stew: This looks really good. It’s definitely the kind of thing I’d want to eat on my birthday.
AMETHYST RING for Gordon:
Gordon: You’re giving this to me even though it’s not my birthday? I’d enjoy it more then. Ba ha ha ha!
SEAFOOD DORIA for Byron:
Byron: Oh, this looks wonderful! What’s brought this on? It isn’t even my birthday! This would make the perfect birthday gift, though, wouldn’t it? Hah hah hah!
FRENCH FRIES for Roy:
Roy: Heh heh heh, that’s my favourite. Maybe some one will give it to me for my birthday…?
HOT CHOCOLATE for Cammy:
Cammy: That looks delicious! I’d love to eat that on my birthday!
Here is a little 'visual guide' I made of all Birthdays and Special Gift Items for each character:
If any one has noted a different response from Ray when he is given Grape Juice, please let me know. My information is taken from the test version of the game.
Finally, I need to make a public apology for a false assumption I made very early in the game. I should know better by now than to make assumptions in ANY Harvest Moon game based on previous games...
In my Characters Guide, I wrote that Herman liked 'all cooked dishes', basing this on his negative response to a raw ingredient, assuming that he would be like the Gourmet in other Harvest Moon games.
In fact, in Rune Factory 2, there are only a couple of items that ANY character truly likes, and only one item that is recognised as a birthday gift, as stated previously in this post.
Herman loves Pineapple Juice, for example. He will state: (Much obliged.)
Isn't this... a PINEAPPLE JUICE???). Are you giving this to me? Thaaaaaank you!
Another false assumption I made in the 1st Generation, as one could not cook at the time in order to TEST his statements, was that I believed Herman when he spoke admiringly about specific items such as Tomato Juice. In fact, if you GIVE him Tomato Juice, he will ask you what in the world he should do with it, which is his standard response to an unwanted gift! His warm recommendations, like the 'urban legends' he and Rosalind tend to spread at specific heart levels, must be taken with more than one grain of salt!
I intended to correct this aspect of the Characters Guide sooner, but it slipped my mind with my recent focus on the birthday items and the Bestiary and Caves aspect of Rune Factory 2. The Characters Guide will be updated PROPERLY today!