Ichthys is my unexpected other favourite. I love him. I know I love people who are a little bit like him in real life, and I know they also exasperate me. But there is something so irresistibly pure about Ichthys, something so innocent – there’s great beauty in that.
Since I recently decided to read all of his stories, the obvious place to start is his sequel, which I viewed with a measure of trepidation, because apparently somebody is trying to kill my darling. That’s what the blurb says, but, as we’ve discovered frequently with Voltage, that’s not entirely true. Ichthys is just collateral damage, as the real targets are his parents. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
After a long day at work, the MC wishes she could see her boyfriend, Ichthys, but they haven’t made any arrangements, so she resolves to simply go home. On the way, she hears a rustling in the bushes, from whence a figure suddenly jumps her. This is, of course, Ichthys, who is apparently unaware of rape statistics everywhere, and who thinks the MC’s panicked face is hilaaaarious. I will let that slide; while I think that somebody who works in the Department of Punishments should know what happens to mortal women on a regular basis, he’s not more unaware than most men out there.
Nothing much happens; they talk, Ichthys takes his leave. He doesn’t want to stay over at the MC’s place because he would not be able to allow her to go to work the next morning, such are his appetites. The MC blushes prettily and they agree to meet up on her next day off.
Ichthys is a very attentive boyfriend, basically showing up every day just to say hi. On the other hand, what is a man to do who does not own (or understand) a cell phone? After a fun date on earth – what date with Ichthys is not fun? – the MC goes to see him in the gods’ mansion on the following weekend. There, however, she is informed that Ichthys is in his room in heaven, having contracted an illness while on earth. Earth, it turns out, takes a toll on the gods’ physical well-being, and they become more susceptible to disease. Of course, this triggers the old fears regarding Ichthys’ mortality. Teo is quick to assure her, however, that it’s nothing serious; Ichthys has the gods’ equivalent of the common cold. Even so, the MC wants to be with Ichthys to help him recover, wherefore she talks Teo into taking her to heaven. In theory, mortals are not supposed to be in heaven, but you know, she is a former goddess.
Grievously affected by a cold as only a man can be, Ichthys is still very happy to see the MC. While she is tending to his needs by his bedside, he has more surprise visitors, however: his parents show up unannounced. Ichthyo (I know, right?) and Irina are delighted to meet the girl Ichthys loves, and invite the both of them to a party the King of Heaven is holding for them. Apparently, Ichthys’ parents are very powerful and important gods; nobility in the heavens. We never even knew what an illustrious parentage Ichthys has!
At the party, Ichthys is approached by a young man he hasn’t met. The god is about Ichthys’ age, and easy to talk to. He looks like somebody Ichthys could be friends with. What is weird is how his parents react to the stranger. Insisting that they do not know him, either, it is clear that they are hiding something. Another shock comes when suddenly, a chandelier falls towards Irina and Ichthyo. Disaster is averted only because Ichthys manages to stop it in mid-air, thus saving his parents’ lives. The King proclaims the incident an unfortunate accident due to a rusted chain, but something doesn’t seem quite right. Is someone attempting to kill Ichthys’ parents? And why?
Ichthys’ Point of View
His PoV provides us with more introspection. There are cute little moments when the other gods are highly suspicious and subsequently more than a little worried when Ichthys does not prank them. A lot of his inner monologue, however, is concerned with his feelings about his fate, his parents, and most of all, the MC and their relationship. It’s all pretty sweet, if a bit uneventful. It serves to show us how Ichthys is wired, and how he is regarded by the other gods. What can I say, I love that the boy has such good friends.
The MC’s event proposal from Ichthys’ main story is accepted by her boss, and she suddenly has a huge event to plan. This results in her being tired and also unable to spend any reasonable amount of time with Ichthys, who still shows up after work every day. When he offers to help with the work, she insists that she has to do it all by herself, because anything else would be cheating.
As a result of being completely overworked, the MC ends up falling ill. Now it’s Ichthys’ turn to nurse her back to health. Which he does, even if some of his methods are… unconventional. When a bathtub was mentioned, I feared the worst, but fortunately, she, er, manages.
The Japanese are well-documented for not talking about their feelings. I believe they hold the position of World Champions on this, albeit closely followed by the Swiss and the English. Believe me, I’m Swiss, I can tell. Now, Ichthys takes it, as we all know, one step further, because not only does he not talk about negative feelings, he does his utmost to not feel them in the first place. Which is often dangerous and can get people killed. The MC on the other hand enables this kind of behaviour by not forcing the issue – as she is probably conditioned to do by the society she lives in. Consequently, there is a lot of not talking here where there should be talking.
What I do like between the two of them is all the sex. Considering what a Big Deal it is in the main story, in other gods’ stories, and apparently in Japanese culture, Ichthys’ relationship to physical intimacy is refreshingly simple: every opportunity is a good opportunity. As usual, the lady doth protest too much, and again, while this trope still gets on my nerves, I didn’t roll my eyes half as often reading this story than I do when bathtubs are involved. There is one, by the way. I know. I had my reservations, too.
Notably absent are the other gods. While the danger was never really great enough to require the intervention of Zyglavis and company, Dui, Teo, and Scorpio were shown to be very concerned about Ichthys. Giving them a more significant role would have made the story more interesting.
The Love Meter
Solidly Blessed, as always. Not quite Zyglavis-level Blessed, but so very close. Makes me think that a healthy mix of Zyglavis and Ichthys might just be the perfect man.
Well. I liked the story for all the parts that aren’t primarily the story, in a way. Because, quite frankly, nothing much happens. There are, of course, that first incident and then confrontation in the end, but honestly, it’s super boring, way too easy, and all in all just not very dramatic. Nothing like what other gods had to put up with. And apart from that, it’s a lot of talking and introspection. Which I don’t mind per se, but there needs to be a balance. Also, compared to other stories, the other gods are just too absent. There is endless fun to be had with interactions between Ichthys and Scorpio or Zyglavis, and not using this dynamic feels like a wasted opportunity. And does them an injustice, because they would have wanted to help. I like the outcome and the personal development of Ichthys, and honestly, I love the boy to bits; but overall, this is a pretty mediocre effort.