Here’s Looking at You, Kid
Ahaha, yet again I go for the Domineering Asshole! This time, though, I have a really good feeling, and that’s mostly because I cheated. Yes. I totally went behind my own back, in a way, and read the first episode of his point of view story. I shouldn’t have, obviously, because part of the fun is always the MC’s uncertainty regarding the motives of her chosen guy. And I must admit, the reveal here in the very first bit of the first episode of his PoV is significant, so I kinda shot myself in the foot a little bit. The story is just not the same after I now know what I know. But you don’t, so it’s all good. And who knows, he might turn out to be a Prince Charming in disguise!
The MC’s life is full of hassle right now. She’s been transferred to a new department at work, and on top of that, she is now in charge of creating the company’s brochure – never mind that she’s never done anything like it before. Her home life offers no respite, either, because she caused a little accident: getting side-tracked while drawing a bath, she forgot all about the water until a furious downstairs neighbour appeared on her doorstep. She didn’t just flood her own bathroom, but his as well. Trouble is, the downstairs neighbour, Jinpachi, is a professional photographer, and the bathroom is his darkroom. Not only is the work ruined that was hanging in the room at the time, but now he has nowhere to work. Mr. Narita, the building manager, has an extremely helpful idea: Jinpachi will just use the MC’s bathroom until his own is fixed! Oh, glory.
From that moment on, the MC usually comes home to Jinpachi hanging out in her apartment. He got a key in her absence from helpful Mr. Narita. Thank you, Mr. Narita. Never mind asking the actual tenant for permission. On the upside, it always smells good when the MC gets home, as Jinpachi turns out to be an excellent cook. All in all, things are not really that unpleasant, until… the MC commits a bit of a gaffe.
Since she was put in charge of the new company brochure, she has to take care of everything, from the concept to the realisation. Her budget is very limited; most professional services are beyond its scope. Desperate to find a photographer she can afford, she asks Jinpachi for a “neighbourhood fee”, not realising what it actually is that he does. As a result, he storms off in a huff. Byron, who happened to be present for the exchange, lends the MC some of Jinpachi’s art books that he happens to own. Deeply ashamed, the MC decides to apologise, but finds she is not immediately able to do that. Since the repairs of his own bathroom are completed, Jinpachi obviously no longer hangs around her apartment, either. In theory.
All of this doesn’t change the fact that she still doesn’t have a photographer for her brochure. She buys a couple of books to do the design and photography herself, but she’s not very good a that kind of thing. Fortunately, Byron comes to her rescue, giving her a list of printing companies that hire out designers and photographers at a reasonable price. At the impromptu rooftop party the next day, however, Byron “lets slip” that it was in fact Jinpachi who put together that list for the MC. As a result, Jinpachi and the MC make up. So much so, that, after the party and while being very, very drunk, they stumble into the MC’s bed together. Totally chaste and fully clothed… and when the MC wakes up in the morning, Jinpachi is gone.
She doesn’t have time to worry about that, though, as she has a morning meeting with the photographer from the printing company. Toda turns out to be a pleasant, good-looking young man. The shoot is scheduled and goes off without a hitch – until disaster strikes, of course. In a server accident (seriously, who doesn’t do backups? And backups of backups?), all the data is lost. The design will have to be redone, but fortunately, the MC still has the photographs on an SD card. Or so she did, until she is attacked one night on the way home. A stranger drags her into an alleyway and, instinctively, she calls out for Jinpachi who happens to be nearby. He manages to save the girl, but the attacker gets away. After walking a shaken MC home, he stays the night, so she doesn’t have to be alone.
Since all the data was lost in the attack (the card was broken), Jinpachi organises a new shooting and takes the pictures himself – for free. The designer can redo the brochure in time, and it turns out to be a huge success with the president of the company, as well as the clients. A grateful MC invites Jinpachi over for dinner. There, however, he overhears her phone call with Toda, the young photographer from the printing company, who calls the MC for entirely personal reasons. Hearing her agree to meet with Toda, he silently leaves her apartment.
But things, as usual, are completely not what they seem.
Masaomi helpfully points out the MC’s lack of maturity and the huge age difference (close to 20 years) between the MC and Jinpachi. The latter does have the tendency to call her “kid” and pat her on the head a lot. As a result, the MC is now slightly paranoid about not being taken seriously by Jinpachi, who is also leaving on a one-week trip to Africa. She decides to become “more mature” in his absence. Yes, it’s like she doesn’t even understand why he fell for her in the first place.
For the characters of this game, the guys’ points of view are available. Jinpachi’s PoV made me seriously more enamoured with him, but to disclose anything here would be a major spoiler.
The relationship between them starts out in an almost antagonistic fashion but turns comfortable very quickly. Food is a key component here. Jinpachi likes to cook, and we all know the adage that the way to a heart goes through the stomach. They build a familiarity that can only be described as “cosy”.
The friction that does occur is often the result of the societal conventions around them; of course, the MC assumes that Jinpachi has some sort of intimate relationship with the beautiful woman who is roughly his own age, and likewise, Jinpachi just assumes that the MC will be attracted to young and handsome Toda. Of course, Jinpachi makes it know from the start that she’s not his kind of woman. Of course, he’s lying, at the very least to himself. Their love for each other develops so… organically, if you will, that it gave me fuzzy feels all over the place.
The Love Meter
There is no visible Love Meter (very disconcerting), but I did get the Happy Ending instead of the also available Good Ending.
Jinpachi is such a darling. He is much less prone to absolute stupidity than younger characters, I must applaud the writers for getting that across. This is, in general, one of the best stories I’ve encountered so far. The writing is spot-on in regard to the reactions of the characters, and how they are misinterpreting each other so often for pretty valid reasons. Apart from the epilogue, where the question of the age difference is the core argument, the issue isn’t beaten to death here, but rather serves as an occasional tension in the characters’ relationship. I’m a little bit surprised at how well this story was written. What a horrible thing to say.