He Who Gives Me the Creeps
I will not lie to you. I did spend money on some of the stories of this series, and I do not regret it. Some of the characters are not just okay, they’re actually good underneath it all. Ota was not one of the ones I wanted to read, not ever. His archetype gives me the creeps. He treats the MC like a pet. Not like a kept woman or anything, but like a literal pet. This, combined with an angelic smile on the outside and contempt for humanity in general on the inside. Do you know what we call this in the real world? A psychopath.
Ota demands absolute obedience, which makes him no different than Eisuke or Soryu, I guess, but again, he expects the blind obedience he gets from a dog. He calls the MC by his former dog’s name. He takes her for walks and refers to her pager as her leash.
Why am I reading this, even? Because it’s free this week and curiosity got the better of me. But I can already feel the bile in my throat and I really wonder if there will be something that turns it all around. He must have some redeeming qualities, right?
After Ota is given the MC that the group acquired in the auction, he tells her that she is to be his pet. Her name is now Koro, after his former dog, and she will obviously live in this apartment with him. He gets a “leash” for her in the form of a pager and a key card to the penthouse, and he reminds her to be a good girl, or else.
On the first day, after reluctantly allowing her to go back to work, he drops by in the common room when the MC is having lunch with her co-workers. He pats her head, as he is wont to – in front of everybody. Then he ostensibly takes her temperature, also by hand, and decides she has a fever, so that he must take her back with him. In the apartment, he makes her change, and then he himself does her hair and makeup before they go to one of the secret auctions in the basement of the hotel.
The next day, the hotel is abuzz with the news that the MC is dating Ota. Erika, who has always had it in for the MC anyway, becomes even more unpleasant, giving the MC endless tasks and sabotaging her work. When she dumps a heap of pillowcases that need mending on the MC, the latter knows that she will never finish them on time, so she takes them to the penthouse after work. There, she finally breaks down and starts sobbing uncontrollably. Ota pets her and promises her a treat. The next morning, he shows up at her work again and makes it look like she’s an old childhood friend. Erika relaxes the regime of terror a bit and the MC can even take a day off.
Ota has his own museum, or at least his own exhibit at a museum. When he takes the MC out for a walk the next day, they meet Rin, a fellow artist who just came from said museum in search of inspiration. As usual, Ota is super nice to Rin in person, before disparaging them behind their back. But apparently, inspiration has struck and he tells Rin all about his idea before he goes to his studio soon after to start working.
Meanwhile, the conditioning is working well with the MC, who is starting to like being treated like a dog. She notices how happy she gets when he calls her a “good girl”. Just like his last Koro. Ota, on the other hand, is spending a lot of time in his studio, apparently invigorated by his new project. He is the happiest he’s been in years, Baba the dog sitter tells the MC, and he suggests that it’s all thanks to the MC.
Then, the unthinkable happens: Rin, a mediocre artist who has always been eclipsed by Ota’s impressive talent, unveils a painting that looks like the very thing Ota had described to them. It is such a “faithful” representation that it’s immediately clear to Ota and the MC that it’s blatant plagiarism. But as Ota says, in the art world, “whoever finishes first, wins.” As a result, he stops painting and goes back to commissioned work. He puts up a cheerful front, but of course everybody is aware he’s just pretending.
Things get worse when the press gets wind of Ota working on a similar painting as Rin. The tabloids waste no time in accusing him of plagiarism, which is doubly insulting, of course, since we know that Rin ripped off Ota’s idea. But Ota has had something similar happen to him in the past, when a former teacher of his stole one of his paintings and passed it off as a work of his own. Since Ota couldn’t prove what had really happened back then, he doesn’t even try now. The MC, on the other hand, who has become, as Eisuke observes, a very loyal doggy, is determined not to see Ota victimised again.
Epilogue / PoV
No epilogue, no PoV, as only the main story was free. I’m not gonna spend money on that creep.
So, Stockholm Syndrome, anyone? Again, this series, because of its premise, lends itself to that, but honestly, I wasn’t even half as disgusted with the development in Eisuke’s story, and that man is the worst Domineering Asshole I’ve ever encountered. Yes, yes, I will probably write a review eventually. Eisuke and also Soryu are quite simply hostile. You are to do what they tell you or suffer the consequences, one of which might be death. While the entire premise is horrible, and they look like horrible people, this is something I can deal with, on a personal level. But Ota is a Puppet Master, and I hate that. Being manipulated by a psychopath is far worse than being ordered around by a Domineering Asshole. I was desperately waiting for him to see the MC as a person. And yes, there are a few times when he does say her name – basically, just before having sex. After that, he reverts to calling her “Koro”, crushing her hopes that she would ever be perceived as an actual human being, a real person. It made me sick.
The Love Meter
This is one of the early titles with a “silent” Love Meter, so I did not know how I was doing throughout. But honestly, I also didn’t care. The Happy Ending is okay, there seems to be a possibility of Ota learning to see the MC as a person. The Good Ending is, frankly, not good at all, as they continue their nonconsensual master/pet relationship, which saddens the MC.
See, I am not opposed to BDSM relationships, and the master/slave variant, while alien to me, seems to work for quite some people. There even is a master/pet version. But of course, the real question is, as always, consent. The MC is forced into this position against her will and without a way out. And yes, it is nearly always the case in these stories that the MC is not in control of her situation, but in most other series, it’s a question of inconvenience, rather than a threat to her life. And while Eisuke and Soryu are dangerous men, they have a concrete goal, after which they intend to set the MC free. Ota? No such thing. It is mentioned that he usually gets bored after a while, but until such time, she is at his beck and call. There is a name for what he does: grooming. Yes indeed, like pedophiles often do with children. This is basically textbook behavior as observed in abusive relationships.
Look, I’m disgusted. I’ve read somewhere else that his other stories are far better, that he does end up treating her as a human being eventually, bla bla, whatever. But I don’t have time for that crap. I would rather spend my time with a member of the Chinese Triads, a thief, a corrupt police officer, or a shady businessman. Every single one of them is more trustworthy than the artist with the smile of an angel. I’m glad I didn’t spend money on this.