This is where it all started. Before I discovered the gods from the stars, my first love in this newly discovered world of otome games were the brave men of the Shinsengumi, a group of samurai in 19th century Kyoto. It’s a funny thing how I got there. Apparently, my browser had realized that I had started to learn Japanese, and in a well-targeted ad, it showed me the title picture of this particular set of stories. I have to say, I do love it when the algorithm gets stuff right. And here we are, one year and countless stories later, and yet I’ve never written about the Shinsengumi.
The truth is, I needed a break. After reading a few of the stories, I was desperate for something more frivolous, more light-hearted. The stories of the Shinsengumi are good. They are very good. But because of their very nature, they have a capacity for tragedy unmatched by titles set in the modern world, for example. Death is possible every time the men set foot outside the compound; and when they come back alive, there’s still no guarantee that they will be healthy in body and mind. If, like me, you get emotionally invested in characters, that really takes a toll.
But it’s been a year, and I thought I’d pay a visit to my favorite samurai (I know, they are technically ronin, themselves). Maybe with some light-hearted holiday fluff? But first, obviously, I owe you an introduction.
Continue reading “Era of Samurai: Code of Love”
Nothing Lasts Forever
I have made my way through most of the zodiac now, with only four gods left whose stories I haven’t read. Since it is December, I thought it fitting to choose Tauxolouve, called “Lou” by his friends (“Louie” by his mother), as the next one. From his interactions with everyone else, I must deduce that he falls in the “Smooth Operator”, womanizer category. These are not necessarily my favorites, but they do tend to turn out quite a lot tamer than what we were led to believe. Also, so far, almost every god has had some sort of dark-ish secret, so I’m looking forward to finding out what that might be.
Continue reading “Star-Crossed Myth: Tauxolouve”
Make the Pain Go Away
Shun is the obligate womanizer that we have come to expect of these stories. He believes in keeping things light and easy with women, because serious relationships are a chore. We know the type; to me, it’s one of the most satisfying, since they obviously fall the hardest. There is evidently usually a tragic love story in their past, where their pure love was betrayed, and now they protect themselves by allowing themselves to love again. Fortunately, this is also what the MC of this story has concluded, so they’re on the same page. Or are they?
Continue reading “Kings of Paradise: Randoh Shun”
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?
Continue reading “Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Kisaki Ota”
The Literal Worst
So, I’m sure you’ve read me go on and on about how the main character’s consent in most stories is not something the writers are actively interested in. Some of the stories are better, and some are worse, but as a general rule, the MC usually meets her roster of suitors through some element of forced circumstances. Sometimes they’re supernatural (she is a reborn goddess who must help some gods get back to heaven) sometimes they’re mundane (her stepfather accidentally rents out the apartment to her and his son at the same time). And sometimes, well, I guess it’s just gonna be human trafficking and slavery.
I KNOW RIGHT?? What an excellent premise for a romance! Who wouldn’t want to be auctioned off to the highest bidder? And yet, this is one of Voltage’s most successful titles. Humans are weird. And I am weird, because I actually read the stuff. So, here it is, the worst of the worst. Have, er, fun.
Side note: this is, obviously, also one of the worst actual titles. The Japanese original is called “A Mischievous Kiss in a Suite Room” (スイートルームで悪戯なキス). Which is also not great, but at least it doesn’t insist on the questionable alliteration. Also, behold the original icon: yes, that is the cage the MC is auctioned off in.
Continue reading “Kissed by the Baddest Bidder”