Our Two Bedroom Story Character Review: Tsumugu Kido

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I decided to pick up a new Voltage Inc. character to try as I haven’t played a mobile game in a while and they were currently having their massive yearly sale. Although the sale has now ended, their yearly sale is the best time to try out their games since the prices re slashed on so many stories from 25%-75% off. If you’re not a fan of buying individual routes, I suggest waiting for these sales to occur before purchasing them.

After browsing the /r/otomegames reddit for some recommendations, I decided on Tsumugu Kido from ‘Our Two Bedroom Story’. I’ve played this title a long time ago when it first came out, and purchased the main story and sequel of ‘Minato Okouchi’ and ‘Kaoru Kirishima’ in the past.

It’s one of their more popular games that spawned a sequel title and I can understand why. Although the premise is rather bland and a rehash of the ‘forced living arrangements’ trope, the heroine is very refreshing and dedicated to her job. I believe back then it was one of their first games that introduced a very different protagonist in comparison to their older titles. The whole ‘step-sibling’ concept was incorporated rather poorly for most of the routes however, and clearly it’s only purpose was to serve as a reason for the couple to live together.

Despite this, I still feel that ‘Our Two Bedroom Story’ is one of their better titles and I did enjoy it back then when I first played it. What interested me about Kido was the literal ‘dual-personality’ aspect and how he actually had two different character sprites. This was quite different in comparison to previous Voltage Inc. routes and I was interested to see exactly how his route would play out.

Prologue Summary

The heroine temporarily moves into her new step-father’s home, only to find that it has already been occupied by a dishevelled, blunt and stingy man by the name of Kido. Speaking with a prominent kansai-dialect, he demands the heroine leave his home as he is the rightful owner of the place. Despite her protests, he childishly asserts that as he has already moved in first; she essentially has no say or claim in the matter. The protagonist has already moved all her things from her previous home, and the current circumstances renders her homeless.

She finally adheres to his living arrangement requirements, and agrees to pay rent for the next month until she is able to find another place. Although she is appalled by Kido’s love for money and unreasonable demands, she concedes that the current situation is far more desirable and less financially straining in comparison to living in a hotel.

The next day at work, she is excited that her efforts at the company had been recognised and her transfer request had finally been accepted. The heroine has been moved to the Seasonelle Department, which is the company section that every employee dreams of entering. It encompasses a group of the most elite journalists and news reporters within the company, working together in a high dynamic and fast-paced work environment.

To her surprise, she is not the only new worker entering the department. Another man by the name of Tsumugu Kido attends the same introductory meeting and the heroine is in awe of his skill and experience. He immediately leaves a lasting impression with his refreshing ideas for Seasonelle, despite it conflicting with the ace of the department Minato. He is unafraid to voice his daring ideas and handles himself with undisputed confidence.

Unlike the inexperienced heroine who struggles with all the new information at the meeting, Kido was head-hunted from another company due to his vast portfolio of publications and talent. She finds herself noticing the subtle similarities between Kido her co-worker, and the rude and dishevelled Kido at home.

She rules it as a coincidence that they share the same name as she is unable to bridge the disconnect between the two completely different personalities. Where the Kido at home is blunt, extremely rude and stingy; the Kido at work is full of gentle smiles, encouraging words and approaches his work with absolute efficiency. Unlike the shabby appearances of the Kido she knows, her new co-worker is exceptionally tidy, proper and emulates the ideal image of an elite businessman.

The heroine is immediately placed on a project with Kido as her support and she is determined to publish something worthwhile. In spite of the article being assigned to her, Kido quickly takes over the project and leaves little to nothing for the heroine to do. She is dismayed by the turn of events as although Kido’s methods are not wrong and far more efficient than anything she could potentially do; it was an article entrusted to her, to complete by her own efforts.

She is determined to prove her worth and at home that night, she begins to research new articles and content that even Kido himself did not include in his drafts. The Kido at home is surprised by her efforts, and asks her why she is trying so hard for a futile cause. She answers that she recognises her weaknesses, which fuels her desire to learn and improve herself to earn the recognition of her co-worker.

Afterwards, the Kido at work concedes to her wishes after seeing the content she produces and allows her to have a more active role in writing the article alongside him. Her relationship with both Kido’s continues to grow, and she finds herself slowly accepting the newfound company of her housemate. She begins to cook for the household in return for a reduction on rent and discovers that they share the same sense of humour.

They enjoy idyllic days together and fall into a comfortable routine of sharing dinner and watching comedy skits afterwards. Although they engage in their fair share of friendly banter, the heroine finds herself enjoying their conversations and her opinion of him gradually improving. However, she finds herself suspicious about the true nature of his work as she had never seen him dressed for it nor leave the house prior to her.

One night, she notices he had fallen asleep with the window open in his room. Despite his warnings for her to never enter his room, she worries that he may catch a cold overnight. She asserts that there would be no harm in sneaking in to close it, before taking her leave. However, she quickly becomes entranced by his sleeping face illuminated by the moonlight and is surprised at how unexpectedly handsome he is. Contrary to his usual dishevelled appearance, he had distinctly beautiful features that she never noticed before beneath his large frames.

To her shock, he briefly opens his eyes and she realises that the face staring back at her is none other than Tsumugu Kido; the prim, proper perfectionist she sees everyday at work.

Character Development

Admittedly, after playing through Tsumugu Kido’s route his character is not for everyone. Due to the complete disconnect between his two personalities at home and at work, it’s difficult to decipher which of the two represents his true feelings towards the heroine. One moment he’s incredibly rude and condescending to her, whereas the next moment he showers her with kindness and gentle words. It’s consistently hot and cold with Tsumugu Kido, and you’re completely at the mercy of his whims for the majority of the story.

It really raised questions as readers on the genuineness of his feelings and actions towards the heroine, due to the incongruity between his two personalities. To me the highlight of the route was actually the protagonist herself, and her refreshing approach in responding to Kido’s difficult personality. She is headstrong, resilient and determined in proving her worth to Kido despite the obstacles she has to overcome. She successfully earns his respect and recognition of her abilities at work over the progression of the story.

This is quite a feat in itself as Kido is well-known for his solitude at work and his ambitions to rise to the top of the company, without the assistance of others. He is arrogant and prideful in his abilities, to which no one can refute due to the quality of work that he produces. On top of that, he is remarkably handsome and considered the current most eligible bachelor at the company.

Kido finds himself equally perplexed by the heroine and becomes increasingly resistant to her attempts at getting closer to him. No matter how rudely he acts towards her and pushes her away, she remains kind and accepting of his true personality. She is the only one he feels the most comfortable around and feels no need to hide his less than desirable traits from her. Instead of being offended by his tirade of insults, she deflects it with ease and constantly has snarky and witty comebacks of her own.

Rather than stepping down and being intimidated by his actions, the heroine isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up to him. I actually found myself laughing out loud at so many of their interactions with one another and it was really refreshing and different in comparison to the usual character dynamics seen in the standard Voltage Inc. routes. It was so satisfying to see Kido’s reluctant acceptance of her as his equal, and gradually opening up to one another due to their surprisingly similar personality traits and interests.

There is notable character and relationship development throughout his route which was crucial to the good pacing of his story. When the heroine decides to enact a cooking strike due to Kido’s actions, we begin to see the change in his character and his clear shift in emotions towards the heroine. It was really sweet to finally see glimpses of Kido’s true self, and the subtle kindness within his actions rather than his words.

When the protagonist finally discovers the truth behind his past, it finally closes the disconnect between Kido’s two personalities and how he came to be the person he was in the present. His suffering, hard work and perseverance to finally achieve his current place in life is admirable and he is understandably jaded due to his experiences. I liked the focus and writing dedicated to the explanation of his past, as it was quite thorough and was a crucial aspect that revealed the complexities beneath his character.

He gradually falls deeper in love with the heroine and how she truly sees him as a person rather than for his monetary assets. This is the pivotal moment where we finally see Tsumugu Kido’s true self and emotions and it felt so satisfying to read. It was like all the heroine’s difficulties in overcoming his difficult personality and finally coming to truly understand him were worthwhile in the end.

Although his character personality and story may not be for everyone, I still really enjoyed his route and was surprised by how much I liked it in the end. It is quite difficult to get into initially because of how utterly abrasive and rude Kido is in comparison to the other Voltage characters I’ve played that encompassed a similar character trope. As Kido quite literally has a ‘dual personality and identity’ in every sense of the word, I felt his character and route were a direct reflection of this.

His personality is very extreme in both ends of the spectrum and swings wildly back and forth between the two. His emotions and actions constantly contradict one another which serves to both confuse and infuriate the heroine, as she is unable to distinguish his true feelings. The banter and light-hearted moments between the two serves to ease the tension and I was really impressed by how snarky and witty the heroine was, in responding to Kido’s antics.

I felt like she was definitely one of the best renditions of the MC in ‘Our Two Bedroom Story’. Although in the other routes she also exhibits determination and passion for her work, considering how infuriating Kido was at times; it also brought out the fire in her own personality.

Despite Kido being a new character to the game, he surprisingly has a lot of content already implemented due to his unexpected popularity. His route is a whirlwind of emotions from beginning to end, and has a very rocky and tumultuous start with his relationship to the MC. However, I do recommend giving his route a try as the conclusion to his story and the development of his character was well worth the read in the end.

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Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Mejojo Von Garibaldi

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

MEJOJO VON GARIBALDI: Mejojo is first-in-line to be King and the older twin of Auger. He is exceptionally cruel, twisted, cunning and stops at nothing when he has something he wants. No one can deny however that these are the traits needed to be a fearsome King and the strength of a Ruler that the country needs.

He suffers from a tragic past that completely unhinged his mental state, and distorted his purpose for living. He must enact revenge for the sake of his mother, and become King in order to return tenfold the pain he experienced his whole entire life. He and Auger are the illegitimate children of the current King, and as a result are treated as the constant thorn in his side.

They’re fortunate enough to be able to remain in the castle, after pleas from their mother not to have them executed. However, they’re the source of constant gossip and treated like nuisances residing in the castle. In order to gain their Father’s attention and approval, they devote themselves wholeheartedly to their study and swordsmanship. Their efforts eventually begin to bear fruit, garnering rumours that they’re more fit to be King than the eldest prince and legal son of their father, Julian.

This earns the animosity of their step-mother and current reigning Queen, Rayleigh. Their birth mother with the status of a mere concubine, is treated as lower than a servant and suffers cruelly beneath Rayleigh’s taunts. Despite their efforts for their mother’s sake, the King never turns their way for he truly loves Rayleigh and his birth son Julian. Rayleigh in order to secure her son’s place, begins assassination attempts on the twin’s lives such as poisoning and hiring assassins to murder them in their sleep.

Mejojo nearly dies from poisoning, and despite Auger’s pleas to Rayleigh to allow them one Royal Doctor to help him; she commands them all to attend to Julian as he is ‘ill’. In reality, they are all playing with Julian in the courtyard and she forbids Julian from asking questions about the twin’s condition. Their birth mother laments on her worthlessness as a concubine, unable to do anything for her sons due to her lower status.

‘If only I was loved more by the King’ she thinks, but concedes to the fact that for a woman like her to remain in the castle is a miracle in itself. From that day forth, the twins enclose themselves in their own world because no one can be trusted otherwise. The only people they have are each other and their mother.

One day, she suggests to play a game of strength with the twins. To prove their strength, they tie a rope around a large bookcase that their mother wishes to move, but is unable to do so herself. They pull with all their strength, enough to move the bookcase to where she desired. At her lack of response, the twins call out to her uncertainly; only to see their world collapse before their very eyes.

Their mother had claimed it was a game; but in reality she had tied the rope around her neck and with their strength they had hung her. Unable to bear living anymore but without the courage to end her own life; she stains her own beloved sons’ hands.

Irreversibly it warps them completely and revealed their mother’s true nature at the very end: her bitter hatred, resentment and sense of worthlessness. However, she lacked the strength and will to enact revenge; and instead projects this desire onto her sons. From this event, it foreshadows the unveiling of history to come.

Rayleigh’s deeds soon come to light, causing her imprisonment and with great reluctance the King dethrones Julian as the first Prince. Rayleigh unable to bear with the loss and shame, eventually commits suicide in the dungeons. The twins imprison Julian in the Castle Garden as its caretaker, in order to decimate his chances of reclaiming the throne.

After all, how can one be King without any followers or knowledge of their existence? Out of spite and jealousy for Julian’s noble birth and as the recipient of their father’s love; they destroy his mental state, leaving him completely crippled and reduced to a barely functioning toy. Mejojo is soon betrothed to Elvira Galland, having reached the appropriate age for marriage.

However, the engagement is in name only as they both hold no romantic sentiments towards one another and share a platonic relationship as childhood friends. Elvira soon falls in love with Arles, Captain of the Royal Guard and titled the ‘Knight of Salvation’ for saving the King’s life and considered his right hand man. Elvira convinces Arles that Mejojo would agree to her proposal in marrying Arles instead; as they had never been in love to begin with.

Arles is reluctant, but trusts in Elvira’s judgement. Their plans for marriage goes off without a hitch, receiving both Mejojo and the King’s blessings. However, misfortune strikes as Arles suddenly begins to contract the symptoms of Zodiva. Unable to bear with the suffering and to ensure Elvira’s safety; he decides to break off the engagement and leave Weblin. However, he cannot bear to leave without seeing her one last time and commits his fatal error.

The Zodiva is in its advanced stages, and in close proximity with the woman he loves; he succumbs to blood lust and attacks her like a ravenous beast. He inflicts countless wounds on her body, leaving her near the brink of death. Arles is disgusted with himself, as he had committed such a heinous act to the one he was meant to protect and loved the most. Mejojo walks in onto the brutal scene, and rejoices for he finally has been given the opportunity to dispose of Arles for good.

Even without Julian in the picture, Mejojo and Auger never received their father’s love or affection. He is even more so distant to them, as they left him no choice but to expel his son and lose his legal wife in the process. Their father only ever spent time with Arles and discussed things with him personally; something which he had never done with the twins. Arles was so beloved by the people, that many viewed he could even potentially become King. Even for Mejojo’s engagement, the King agreed to it wholeheartedly because it was at the request of his beloved Arles; rather than denying it for the sake of his son.

As Mejojo reveals his utmost hatred for Arles and prepares to enact the finishing blow, Arles accepts his fate. He has been reduced to nothing more than a beast in human form, and deserves to die for what he has done; at the very least then no one else would come to harm from his thirst. However, rather than the fatal wound being inflicted upon him; Elvira takes the mortal blow and dies in his place. Mejojo laughs hysterically, claiming it was a befitting end for her as she died belonging to him.

After all, it was better for her to die than ever become Arles’ possession. Even though he felt no love for her, she had meant to be his wife and so she had been rightfully his to begin with. She was meant to love him, and no one else. Hearing Mejojo’s twisted reasoning despite slaying Elvira with his own hands, Arles vows his revenge. Before he escapes he leaves an irreparable scar on Mejojo’s face that completely unhinges him.

With that scar, he will be faced with the constant reminder that Arles had bested him and taken what had rightfully belonged to him. His lifelong burning hatred is set into motion, as Mejojo swears to eradicate all remaining existences of the wolves from the face of Weblin. Then, and only then would Mejojo finally be satisfied with Arles’ death and defeat by his own hand.

I summarised Mejojo’s complete past because I felt it was too integral to the overarching storyline that connects all the characters together. His story essentially forms the crux of BWS, and his actions have irreversibly changed and destroyed their lives. As a result, his route is what I recommend playing first as it explains the entire story and puts everything into perspective. For example: what exactly happened and why the events of history turned out the way they did.

That being said, I had extremely mixed feelings about Mejojo from the beginning until the very end. I was conflicted between resentment and disgust at his character for what he has done to the heroine and countless innocent people. Yet at the same time, I found his actions perfectly understandable and could really empathise with his internal agony.

Because after everything he has been through, can you really say his path for vengeance and redemption is completely unjustified? All Mejojo had ever yearned for was his father’s love and recognition for his talents and achievements; something which he has been denied his entire life.

Rather, his efforts bear no fruit as Julian is first-in-line for the crown in spite of Mejojo’s clear superiority and traumatically loses his mother due to his father’s actions. To add salt to injury, the woman he’s betrothed to then to falls in love with another; and Mejojo yet again doesn’t receive the love he innately craves. He is talented, intelligent, handsome and a man of power and status — yet, why is he never anyone’s first preference or choice?

I’m sure that was what the writer was aiming for in the conceptualisation of his character and story; he plays the role of the anti-hero that constantly wavers the emotions of the reader, and is never meant to be defined as simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

He is completely and utterly insane, and yet has such clarity and intellect in plotting the destruction of the wolves. After all, their terrorist plot was the result of ten years worth of devotion and planning for the events to unfold. It’s what makes his character even more unbelievably demented; because he knows exactly what he wants and would willingly die for its fruition. At the same time, can you really say he’s crazy when he has never been more clear on his life’s purpose?

The torture he inflicted upon Fiona was really painful to read, since it just felt so undeserved. She was used as his outlet for all the pent up anger and frustration he had been consumed by in his lifetime, and a representation of the woman who had chosen Arles over him. The cruelest aspect of it all was that he didn’t see Fiona for who she was or even as a human being; she was just an item that by right, had to belong to him and no one else.

In his good endings where we get a glimpse of his true self prior to the insanity was actually quite surprising and touching. Perhaps, if Mejojo’s circumstances weren’t so tragic; he would’ve remained the kind-hearted, patient and loving cat he truly was. After all, he still accomplished the desired outcome Fiona had wanted for the country of Weblin; restoring it to its former glory, ridding it of Zodiva and beloved by his people as their King. Although the wolves were exterminated in the process, when did good things throughout history ever happen without any sacrifices or consequences?

Despite his wrongdoings, after everything Mejojo has experienced in this lifetime he deserved some semblance of happiness. As a result, I felt his ending with Fiona was quite befitting because she is the foil to his character; he is someone stained by evil and corruption, whereas she is the epitome of human goodness.

I thoroughly enjoyed his storyline as I felt it was by far the best written out of all the characters. His route was a rollercoaster of emotions and the sheer complexity of how it was all revealed in the end was fantastic. Despite my mixed feelings about his character, I could still justify his actions within the shades of grey and that is a testament to how well written Mejojo’s route is.

However, I was fairly disappointed that until the very end, we never did know whether or not he truly loved Fiona. Did he love her only out of possession? If she wasn’t his, would he still love her? Or would he show glimmers of insanity again? Is she merely a replacement for Elvira, or does he truly love her as Fiona? There were just so many questions regarding Mejojo’s capacity for love, and they left it open ended until the very end.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Auger Von Garibaldi

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

AUGER VON GARIBALDI: Auger is the younger twin brother of Mejojo, and unfathomably devoted and loyal to him. He is his most trusted confident ever since the death of their mother, and the only other person in the world that could ever understand Mejojo as they both experienced the same events that irreversibly changed them. However, Auger is very different in personality to Mejojo.

Where Mejojo is serious, extremely jealous and single-minded, Auger is always light-hearted, sarcastic and a trickster by nature. He is the self-proclaimed sole Royal Musician and Jester. Auger is always looking for methods to entertain himself or make his beloved brother smile. So long as his brother is happy, Auger willingly plays the role of the ‘lesser’ sibling and lets Mejojo claim the throne and spotlight.

Mejojo takes all the credit for becoming King of Weblin and eradicating the wolves, despite their plot being a joint effort. I went into Auger’s route very curious about his character, since I found him to be more interesting than Mejojo himself. He has a certain unstable and insane darkness about him, where you can never guess what he is going to do next.

Auger is extremely unpredictable and volatile to the point where no one can ever truly know what he is thinking. Mejojo on the other hand, is straight forward and easy to understand because all his actions are for the sake of revenge. But what does Auger have to gain from this?

Why does he willingly play second fiddle to his brother? Why does he have no wishes for grandeur, or something greater when it’s a natural desire for people to have? Surely, he must have an ulterior motive to lurking beneath his brother’s shadow. Auger has in many events demonstrated even greater cunning, insanity and cruelty than Mejojo himself. He is more than capable of overtaking and betraying his older brother, yet why is he satisfied with being inferior?

Auger’s path is strange in the sense that it’s completely different in regards to Fiona. Mejojo who is now partially blind from Arles’ final attack, has been driven to the brink of insanity by his own reflection. Mirrored in his eyes everyday is a reminder that although he had won the battle against Arles, he had inevitably lost the war.

With Arles’ death he has no outlet to channel his anger and hatred; and thus has resorted to senselessly beating Fiona at every opportunity instead. However, it does little to alleviate his mood as it continually worsens by the day. Although Auger initially spectates gleefully, as the never ending cruelty and torture on Fiona increases; he eventually pleads with Mejojo to cease with the lashings. Soon after, it becomes their daily routine for Auger to attend to her wounds with healing ointment once Mejojo finishes his torture sessions.

Auger’s kindness is the only thing keeping Fiona sane in the dungeon, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to hold onto her mental state in the face of endless cruelty. Mejojo eventually stumbles upon them, and turns on Auger accusing him of betrayal. He had disposed of all obstacles already, and yet why was Fiona still not fully his? Well… he still had one obstacle left that was standing right before him, after all. Perhaps then, Fiona would finally belong to him.

Auger is devastated by this revelation, and denies his accusations by claiming he had done everything for his brother’s sake; they only had each other, and he would never betray his trust. However, Mejojo is past the point of no return and wields his rapier with the intent to kill. Auger has no choice but to defend himself; culminating in an epic battle of swordsmanship. Auger eventually proves victorious, and to his horror inflicted a mortal wound on his precious brother Mejojo.

Auger breaks down, crying about how they had finally achieved what Mejojo had always wanted and yet; why was he still unhappy? Why had it all come down to this? A few days later, Auger is crowned King and Fiona is returned to the Castle Garden. Although she can never forgive Auger for taking away her family and her innocence, she decides she can stay by his side in changing Weblin for the better. Although she is saddened that she is once again kept in confinement, Auger assures her that it is because he did not want to appear weak in front of others and seen visibly doting on her.

He is affectionate, gentle and kind to Fiona; the complete opposite of what we’ve seen of his character until now. Auger expresses his love and how he had always desired her, as they then passionately kiss. The game ends with the feeling of Auger’s tail brushing against Fiona’s neck, as the credits roll. Just before the credits finish, we hear Auger saying in a malicious voice ‘Idioooooooooot!’

That voice is actually the thing of nightmares. Needless to say I was horrified because I wasn’t exactly sure what to feel. For the sake of my own feelings towards the game, I’m just going to turn a blind eye to the twisted implications of his good ending. I’d like to think that he did in fact have a change of heart towards Fiona and truly loved her, and that they had a happy ending together. His route was creepy enough in the sense that he went from endlessly torturing Fiona in every story, to overly affectionate and kind in his route, and then implying at the end that it had all been a lie?

In his bad ending, he kills Mejojo of his own accord claiming that he cannot bear the empty shell that he has become, and there is no point of existing if he is no longer ‘entertaining’. A year later, he stabs Fiona after she gives birth to the twins’ child; saying she has fulfilled her purpose to him and that he had finally ‘learnt to love her’. I felt that Auger’s story was very lacking in comparison to Mejojo’s, which doesn’t make sense considering he’s just as significant of a character as they’re two halves of a whole.

As the game is based on the cat’s side of the story, I was really disappointed. They left so many questions unanswered, and so much potential for an amazing storyline unaddressed. Was it truly his grand scheme to have Mejojo do all the dirty work to become King, and then take it all from him in the end whilst his guard was down? To play the role of the dark horse and commit the ultimate betrayal in this political game of cat and mouse?

Is that why he willingly stayed second and inferior to Mejojo all his life? Did he ever truly love Fiona, or was it all a lie? Or perhaps, that was the only twisted way he was capable of showing love? Did he even love his own brother, Mejojo? Is that really all there is to his character? That his life motto is: ‘if something is no longer entertaining, then he would dispose of it?’

I felt that there was just so much more to his character beneath the surface, and the author just left it all hanging in the end without any explanation. The ambiguity was really dissatisfying as it felt so lacking in comparison to Mejojo’s route. It’s a shame considering Auger had a much more interesting concept to his character.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Julian

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

JULIAN: Julian is the disinherited first prince of Weblin, and current caretaker of the Castle Gardens. He is assigned to serve Fiona, and act as her companion during her arrest for witchcraft. Julian is very kind, gentle-natured and exceptionally soft to Fiona; and the two naturally become affectionate to one another.

During her stay, Julian is her only solace from the loneliness and she is the first person he has been able to speak to in years. He is refined, polite and carries an air of nobility; leading Fiona to question early on whether his status really was of a mere servant. Little does she know however, that he is in fact broken beyond repair by the hands of Mejojo and Auger and his residence in the Garden is akin to house arrest.

During their escape beneath the sewers which Julian had suggested, they are ambushed by Auger and the CCK. It is to their shocking realisation that it had all been a set up between Julian and Auger, with Auger commanding Julian to lead them there or face ‘punishment’. Julian reverts to a child-like catatonic state where he degrades himself to less than trash and revels in Auger’s praise. It was a really disturbing scene to witness because Julian is just such a sweet and lovely character, and then just seeing his personality take a 180 degree turn to something completely different.

His good ending is by far my favourite ending in the game. It just felt so satisfying to read, and it was truly a breather after sitting through both Mejojo and Auger’s routes which is just never ending despair. I felt out of all the characters Julian truly belonged with Fiona and complemented her best. It is through the heroine that Julian regains his true sense of self, and is able to overcome Auger’s tyranny. She brings out the best in him, and they continually lean on one other for support.

They’re the only two people who can understand the other’s circumstances, as Julian has been confined within the garden all his life and the heroine within the tower. As a result, they both lack the skills required to live in the outside world and continually question their self-worth as when the need calls for it; they have no choice but to depend on others.

In the good end when they’ve escaped Weblin and settled down with their new lives, Julian expresses his desire to improve himself for the better and for Fiona to see him as a man; because he wishes to become the type of person who can protect and look after her. It’s just so cute because of their similar circumstances, that they’re able to face the same conflict together and develop as characters. They share so many heartwarming moments together, and definitely have the cutest CGs in the game.

My main criticism for his route is the true ending. Although I have no qualms that they’re the ‘canon couple’ of the game, I definitely felt the conclusion was lack-lustre in many aspects. Julian is finally able to enact his revenge on Mejojo and Auger, catching them off guard for the first time in a decade.

Their calculations regarding him prove to be incorrect, as they believed a broken toy could never develop a mind of its own. He ironically poisons their tea, immobilising them with the assistance of Marquis Galland; Fiona’s relative and father of Elvira. He supports Julian’s reinstatement as the true crowned Prince, and thanks him from the bottom of his heart for finally informing him of the truth behind his daughter’s death.

A few days later, the heroine is eagerly awaiting Julian’s return in the Castle Gardens from his daily duties as Weblin’s new king. However, she notices that he is taking unusually long that day. When he arrives and begins to pour tea, Fiona sees visible blood on his sleeve.

She recalls the rumour she heard from the maids that although the dungeons have now been sealed to public access, the servants claim that they can still hear moans and cries for help at night. Although Mejojo and Auger have been taken away, Fiona herself is unsure of their current whereabouts.

From her experiences throughout the story, she decides that some things are better left unknown; and turns a blind eye to it in order to maintain her current happiness. I always found it strange that Julian’s character was altogether too calm and accepting of his circumstances.

He had every right to be angry, because he suffered just as much as Mejojo and Auger themselves. He lost his mother to suicide, his only remaining family resented and tortured him, and his father disowned him as crowned Prince. This had been the only thing binding them together in a familial relationship.

He suffers helplessly as Fiona is tortured for the sake of breaking him once again. It’s implied that it affected Julian a lot more than it appeared, as he finally puts an end to their reign and inflicts upon them the endless torture he and hundreds of others had suffered. However, I personally wanted to see his anger for myself or just any kind of emotion. He was just so impassive and emotionless to it all, and the writer really wanted to paint him as purely ‘kind and gentle’ to the very end.

It made him weak dimensionally as a character, due to his lack of desires and reactions to anything. After reading through the twins’ story, it’s also difficult to accept their fate in the dungeons. Did they truly deserve it? To some extent yes, but fully? I wouldn’t think so. It brings forth the question in the end on Julian’s own morality: by inflicting upon them what they had done to him, does that really make him any better of a person? Is he truly as gentle and as kind as the author makes him out to be?

As it was the true end, and Julian does not have a route in Last Hope (which I’m appalled about, because every other side character gets one in the game) I really wished to see an ending set in the future rather than only several days later. It would’ve shown us a glimpse of whether or not Julian developed as a character over the years, and whether he had grown into the role of serving as a good and noble King.

Would Fiona have been happy in her future with him? Was turning a blind eye to the torture a mistake? Did he end up reverting to corruption and becoming as twisted as the twins themselves? Would they have had children? What would they have looked like? Considering some of the characters had a futuristic ending, I really don’t understand why Julian doesn’t have one because he is meant to be the canon ending. It would have made a significantly better and fulfilling, holistic conclusion to the game.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Arles V. Felnoir

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

ARLES V. FELNOIR: Arles is the current reigning King of the Wolves, and former captain of the Royal Guard. Gentle-natured, kind and beloved by his men and the town’s people, he was appointed to his position after saving the life of King Garibaldi VI. His unparalleled skill in combat combined with his popularity outside of the battlefield, leads to rumours of his potential to claim the throne. However, Arles dismisses these claims as he believes he does not possess the intellect nor aptitude to make the decisions required to lead a country.

He soon falls in love with Elvira Galland, a woman with status that would normally be considered an unreachable dream for a man of his position. Despite his better judgement, he is unable to suppress his feelings which would inevitably lead to the events that would change his life forever.

After the loss of Elvira, Arles’ personality takes on a complete change. Any hints of his former kindness and gentle nature dissipate; jaded by his tragic experiences and his disillusionment with the royal family whom he had unwaveringly served. He escapes with his family from Weblin, and changes his name in order to avoid detection. However, no one can escape the wrath of Mejojo and they’re all slaughtered save for his younger brother, Rath Vogart.

Mejojo rules that the wolves must be eradicated as they are the direct causes and carriers of Zodiva; they inflict it upon humans and other animals whilst remaining immune to the side effect themselves. This leads to the mass genocide of the wolves, as the people blindly believe Mejojo’s lies and deception.

For the sake of his revenge and fellow brethren, Arles takes on the mantle of Wolf King. He vows to seek justice for his people and save them from Zodiva. Effectively destroying Mejojo would rid the land of his tyranny, and settle the darkness within his heart. He comes to the realisation from drinking Elvira’s blood that only by consuming a Lobeira, can Zodiva be cured for the wolves. As an act of retaliation against humans who blindly killed the wolves and to cure his people, Arles commands them to destroy their villages and consume every person; leaving no survivors.

Although Arles’ motivation for revenge and his actions are more so understandable and empathetic in comparison to Mejojo; he is by no means the ‘good’ guy. He is the lesser of two evils so to speak, as he has committed his fair share of bloodshed and mindless killing of thousands of people over the past decade. In majority of the routes, Arles is eventually killed in battle due to the cat’s cunning and underhanded tactics; as in a fair fight they could never hope to defeat Arles due to his immense strength and skill.

I actually really liked Arles’ character and his route in Black Wolves Saga. He is a tragic and noble hero, stained by the past and suffering that he has experienced in his life. He is an irreplaceable leader and family to the wolves, whom he deeply cares for and spares no expense in order to ensure their survival. With those whom he views as family, he reverts back to the Arles of the past; a kind-hearted, gentle and understanding protector who continually places their needs before his own.

He is extremely patient and thoughtful towards the heroine, due to her courage and determination in reaching out to him for the sake of peace. She is also the spitting image of Elvira, which stirs within him emotions and memories of the past that he has long wished to forget. Arles is respectful towards the heroine and allows her the freedom of choice with her faction; something which I really liked about his character.

The heroine throughout the game is constantly belittled as not knowing any better, and her decisions are always made for her by others who view that ‘it’s what’s best for her’. They never take into consideration her desires, and only concedes to them with extreme reluctance or if Fiona leaves them with no choice otherwise. This is in stark contrast to Arles who withholds any judgement regardless of her decisions, and gives her the power to take hold of her own future.

Arles welcomes the heroine as part of the Wolf Family, and during her stay he places the utmost effort in ensuring she feels a sense of belonging and an irreplaceable member of their group. Although he is slain in many of the endings, he does everything he can to ensure that even with his passing; the heroine remains safe and has a means of escape.

His good ending with Fiona was really touching and sweet; a futuristic ending that I felt very satisfied with and provided a wholesome conclusion to their relationship. However, as I mentioned in the storyline above I found that his route lacked a lot of content, length and development between the two characters. I understand that it’s all meant to be covered in Last Hope; but as a stand alone game it felt extremely dissatisfying as a reader if you compare the amount of content and time devoted to the cats.

Arles and Fiona lacked a lot of romance and build up necessary for a proper relationship, and it felt as though their time together was all too fleeting. It’s immediately cut short before it even begins, leading into the final battle with the cats and then straight into the epilogue ending. I felt that their interactions were platonic at best, as although Arles is gentle and considerate of Fiona; I wouldn’t say I felt any romantic feelings between the two or intense attraction.

It’s really disappointing because he had such great dynamic with Fiona, and played an interesting and integral role to the plot as the opposing faction to the cats. Although they’re deeply in love by the ending of the story, it didn’t feel believable as a reader. Prior to that, they hadn’t even confessed or had any semblance of romantic interaction. It was also never explained whether his attraction to Fiona was genuine, or just remnants of his love for Elvira.

Was he just imprinting on her and using her as a replacement? Is his love for her merely based on the feelings of the past? Although he protects and respects Fiona, it didn’t quite seem like ‘love’ just yet. It felt like a lot of his actions towards her were out of obligation, as for her to join the wolves as family she must ‘marry’ into their coven. If the game had developed their relationship with one another more, it would’ve made for a significantly better route; rather than leaving the readers with questions regarding the legitimacy of their feelings for one another.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Rath Vogart

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

RATH VOGART: The younger brother of Arles V. Felnoir, and the poster boy of Black Wolves Saga. After their family is slaughtered by the hands of Mejojo, they are separated in the ensuing turmoil; where Rath endures many years of immense suffering. They reunite many years later, and he is considered second-in-command amongst the Wolves along with Guillan. Due to his experiences, Rath is extremely apathetic towards the world. He is resentful of his own pathetic existence as a wolf, living life in constant fear of being hunted and with no choice but to constantly flee for their own survival.

Rath resents and distrusts humans due to the suffering that he and others have experienced, and views achieving peace and co-existence amongst the races as an impossible dream. Above all else, he despises himself: he is powerless to seize control of his own future and fate. He lacks the will, determination and leadership to invoke change like Arles, and continually protected and treated like a child; whilst unable to do anything in return for his kindness.

To add salt to injury, Rath is suffering from Zodiva that is rapidly consuming his body and already completely blinded him in one eye. It further increases his burden on the pack and Arles; and does nothing but elevate his self-loathing at his own futility. Even if Rath wanted to change for the better, his time was running out with his deteriorating body. Seeing Fiona’s kindness, determination and will to change the future of the world moves his cold heart, and causes him to reevaluate his own situation.

In spite of her obvious powerlessness to invoke change, she stands by her own convictions and beliefs. She willingly joins the wolf pack despite having to abandon her own family in the process, all for the sake of peace. Not to mention that at the end of the day, she is still a Lobeira and exposing herself to such harsh conditions with the wolves would inevitably infect her with incurable Zodiva.

He cannot fathom as to why she would go so far, as she had been ostracised and outcasted by her own people for witchcraft. Rath eventually warms up to Fiona’s kindness, and slowly changes his opinion of humans; and that perhaps, what he once considered the impossible is now no longer a far-off dream.

Considering Rath is the poster-boy for Black Wolves Saga, I was exceptionally disappointed by his route as I had high expectations from the beginning of the game. From what I’ve read, he finally gets his spotlight in Last Hope as the game revolves around his side of the story. As a result, it left Bloody Nightmare with little to no content dedicated to Rath. It’s a shame considering he actually had what Arles’ route lacked; which was the romantic intimacy and build up between him and Fiona.

They actually had some really cute and meaningful moments together, as well as some of the best CGs in the game. The scene where Fiona allows Rath to drink from her neck in order to see whether it would cure his blindness had so much muted passion and desire. The voice acting, tension and build up was amazing; and I read with bated breath wondering what would happen next. It felt like a major turning point in their relationship, so I was really excited to see how they would progress in the events following after.

To my shock and dismay, the story essentially all ends immediately afterwards. After escaping from Mejojo and Auger, Rath finally decides to take action in what he wants for the future. Although Arles and Guillan’s fate is unknown, they cannot return to rescue them as that is not what Arles would’ve wanted. They had made a promise to continue living, and spread the Wolves’ story; as with no survivors, their tale and suffering would become lost to the history of the world.

No one would ever come to know the truth, and the lives forsaken and sacrificed for the cause would all be forgotten. Fiona agrees, and they walk hand in hand towards their future together. I remember just staring at my computer screen for a few solid minutes trying to convince myself that it couldn’t possibly just end then and there without any sort of epilogue or conclusion tying up their story.

To my complete and utter disappointment, that actually was the ending. It felt like there was so much build up in their relationship and potential for the future; setting the reader up for expectation, and then having it all crumble before their very eyes. It’s knowing how much promise the story had to be amazing, that makes the ending altogether even more dissatisfying.

Especially because Rath is always the focal target of their promotional advertisements on Black Wolves Saga, it really does set up the audience in believing his route would offer a lot more than it actually did. I guess in a way it’s effective marketing by Idea Factory, as out of frustration with the lack of content for the wolves you’d undoubtedly purchase Last Hope for a more satisfying conclusion to the series (laughs).

On that note when I was discussing the game with my SO, we agreed that almost every single emotionally traumatised male character or lead wears what we call an ’emo scarf’. You know the black tattered scarf that is all together way too long and impractical, but it’s a must have accessory in order to show how ‘edgy’ of an ‘edge lord’ they are. It’s always the cold, hard to approach and disillusioned character that wears it as though their life depends on it.

All jokes aside, I did really like Rath’s character and design; and I actually don’t mind the scarf trend. It’s popular because clearly a lot of people are a fan of the look, and it suits the character type. I will most likely play Last Hope and take Idea Factory’s bait, simply because my curiosity is unable to accept the conclusion of his story.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Guillan Guinor

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

GUILLAN GUINOR: Second in command to Arles and his most devoted follower, Guillan obeys his orders without question and supports him with unwavering loyalty. He lives and feeds off receiving Arles’ praise, and he is the only one who can keep his dysfunctional personality in check. Guillan has quite a blood-thirsty and sadistic streak, openly expressing his desire to torture and murder humans for what they have suffered the past decade. He has no qualms with staining his hands with blood, and finds enjoyment and euphoria from it.

Guillan is a major tsundere, despite initially coming across as cruel, blunt and sarcastic. As we come to know and unravel his character, we realise that he has a gentle side to those whom he cares about. He does not hesitate to place his life on the line for Arles, and when he meets his demise during the Castle Siege in many of the routes; he uses his own body to prevent the soldiers from discovering Rath’s escape. In spite of his continual insults and belittling of Rath’s gentle nature, he treats him akin to a younger sibling whom he constantly looks out for.

I had no idea what to expect going into Guillan’s route. Initially I dreaded it since he had an extremely obnoxious voice throughout all of the stories, and his eyes just spelled insane when he was inflicting torture and espionage on helpless enemy soldiers. To my surprise, his route was a lot sweeter than I expected and had a more satisfying ending than Rath’s story — which I found hilarious. It just goes to show how lacking Rath’s story was, that the poster boy of the game was upstaged by a side character’s route.

Guillan quickly opens up to the heroine when she joins the wolf pack, and surprises her with his courtesy, consideration and willingness to accommodate to her needs. Initially, he is unsure how to respond to the heroine’s kindness as he had never been treated with such honesty and gentleness from another person before. I found it so cute when he requests Fiona to call him ‘Lord Guillan’ and when she obliges; immediately becomes embarrassed by the name and retracts his previous statement. Although he claimed that was his rightful name to everyone he met, no one had actually ever entertained his request before.

However, similar to the other wolf faction character stories he suffers from severe lack of development and substance to his story and persona. His shift in attitude towards the heroine was altogether poorly written, as it was in such stark contrast to what we had seen from him until that point. Prior to that, he had been ravenous in his desire for carnage with little regard for the morality of his actions. And yet, from the moment he meets Fiona he reverts to being shy and embarrassed around her.

All of a sudden without invitation, he then requests blood from the heroine and bites her neck — a symbolic act within wolf culture as a sign of pledging oneself and belonging solely to another. The sequence of events and development happened so abruptly, I honestly could not understand at what point his feelings towards Fiona had transgressed to love and romance.

It was like at one stage they were both on friendly, familial terms with one another and then immediately afterwards Guillan is possessive of the heroine and no longer wishes to share her with anyone else. Although Arles and Rath had very little content devoted to their story, at the very least we did receive some background information in regards to their past and what has shaped who they are in the present timeline.

However, in regards to Guillan then we know little to nothing about his past and his motives towards the wolf pack. It’s never delved upon as to why he was so devotedly loyal to Arles to the point of worship, his desire for bloodlust and carnage, and what led to him joining the coven in the first place. Just what was his past history with the two brothers? Where was the rest of his family? What made him the character he is today?

As the wolves prepare for their final attack against the cats, Guillan promises Fiona that no matter what he would return for her. She agrees, and escapes with the remaining wolves that are ill-fitted for combat and still recuperating from Zodiva. They spend many months within a hidden cave near a small town, and Fiona has settled into a daily life of at least some normalcy.

She is content with her life with the wolves, as she feels finally has a purpose and is useful to others. She regularly provides blood to the remaining wolves, and in the past couple of months they’ve more or less made a complete recovery. As they’re now able to revert to their human forms, everyday is lively and Fiona isn’t lonely with their companionship. As she is the only human, she is tasked with visiting the village markets every month to trade goods such as knitted and handmade items she creates out of wolf fur for items that they’re unable to forage from the forest.

Eventually, Guillan fulfils his promise and comes for Fiona. In his good ending, he carries Fiona off to travel the world on a journey with just the two of them as it was Arles’ final request of him. To make the most of his remaining life in creating meaningful memories. To explore the many things that other countries have to offer on a bright adventure with his beloved. In the true ending, Guillan returns with the only remaining piece of Arles — his sword arm along with his weapon that he had been gifted when dubbed the title ‘Knight of Salvation’.

Guillan consumes the arm as a symbolic act of pledging himself to Arles and taking upon the mantle as the next Wolf King. The wolves howl in celebration of their new leader, as he vows to protect them all and enable them to have a life of peace; just as Arles had always wanted. Although the scene was quite disturbing to read along with the CG, I felt it was quite befitting as the ‘true ending’ of Guillan’s story. Although his good ending was light hearted and sweet, it felt strange for him and Fiona to completely abandon the remaining wolves for the sake of their own happiness.

Considering what Arles had meant to them both, disregarding his cause and life devotion to the wolves just didn’t sit right with what we have seen from both their characters so far. My main criticism is that it honestly felt Guillan’s true ending would have made a lot more sense for Rath’s story. It would have been monumental for his character development, to seize the future with his own hands and finally have the courage to invoke change; just like what he had always admired and respected Arles for when he was alive.

Although Guillan’s story was cute and a nice addition to the game, I didn’t truly feel he necessarily needed his own route in the story; especially if they weren’t going to delve upon his past or beyond just the superficial details about his character. I would’ve definitely preferred if they devoted the writing and time to the other characters of the story, as they play a much more significant role to the overarching plot.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Zara Skeens

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

ZARA SKEENS: Zara is the heroine’s dearest childhood friend, and only other companion along with Nesso. He is a war orphan after the rabbits were mass-murdered due to their advanced medical knowledge. Their skills would have revealed the cure to Zodiva, and unveiled its true nature in regards to the wolves; effectively foiling the plans that Mejojo and Auger were to set in motion. As a result, the entire race was destroyed and left only an extremely rare few that had been unable to escape Weblin.

Zara is captured by humans and enslaved to horrible cruelty during his stay with them. As a result, he becomes cold and distrusting of others — having lost everything dear to him at a very young age. Fiona’s father places a gold offer that no one can refuse for a rabbit to serve in his household, due to the rumours of their superior medical knowledge for the sake of his daughter’s health. Zara is immediately sold, and initially does not assimilate well to his new household.

Due to his distrust of humans, he is cold to the family despite the warm welcome he receives; as he believed it would only be a matter of time before they would show their true faces and he would be betrayed once again. He views Fiona as a nuisance with her clingy, irrational and child-like behaviour; constantly asking him to play and spoil her. Zara can never take his eyes off the young lady without her getting into some sort of trouble.

He is confronted by her kindness and treatment as part of the family, and as a result he is unsure as to how to respond to her affections. Overtime, he grows to genuinely care for her and the Galland family; realising that they’re truly kind people who have offered him a home and a sense of family that he had long lost. With his talents and superior medical knowledge, Zara could have easily climbed the social ladder and achieved a great deal more within society.

For example: he had the opportunity to join Nesso in the Royal Castle in order to train as a squire, effectively rising in the ranks of the social hierarchy. However, he chooses to remain by Fiona’s side as he cannot bear to see her crying face begging him not to leave and out of genuine love for her. To him, she provides him with a reason for living in his darkest moments and someone whom he needs to protect no matter the cost.

Zara’s route was actually so cute, the kind of story that just gives you such a warm feeling reading and a sense of deep contentment. I really liked it because it provided such a nice breather from the drama and complexities of the other routes. In terms of actual storyline and relationship development however, then there really wasn’t much to it. The human’s side of the story is prevalent throughout all the routes due to Fiona’s involvement, and their relationship was already established to begin with.

The childhood flashbacks of young Zara and Fiona was just too adorable, and provided that extra depth to their past; and it was clear they had a very loving connection to one another. Zara is like the emotional pillar that Fiona can always depend on — pulling her out of even the toughest situations. He is the voice of reason that keeps Fiona in line, and is the biggest factor as to why she has stayed alive for so long with his medical prowess.

His bad ending actually made me so incredibly sad, because it felt as though a hole had been torn through your heart. Everyone had made it and crossed the finish line – except for Zara. Their family would never be complete again, and it’s like that one integral piece of the puzzle is now missing. Whilst Zara’s route is nowhere near as immersive, detailed or integral to the storyline as the others; I still loved the pacing and tone of his route.

Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Nesso Galland

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

NESSO GALLAND: Nesso is the older, half-brother to Fiona and has fiercely protected her since birth. Both their mother’s died young, and as a result growing up they only had each other and their father for the most part. Nesso is considered to be immensely talented, skilled, popular amongst the people and directs his own special platoon within the army. He is Weblin’s finest swordsman, and has yet to be defeated on the battlefield.

However, normally as part of the Galland family a man of Nesso’s ability and lineage would have easily reached the status of Captain within the Royal army itself. Fiona learns to her dismay that it is due to their family’s refusal of Mejojo’s advances and his resentment towards knights that leads to Nesso taking on many tasks that one would expect of low rank-and-file soldier.

He assures her that he is unaffected by his predicament, so long as his precious little sister is untouched by those devious cat’s hands. After all, the main motivation and drive behind his desire for strength and the ability to wield the sword with such skill was all for the sake of protecting Fiona.

We soon learn that it is due to Nesso’s request rather than their father’s decision to lock Fiona away inside the tower. Although her weak body is partially the reason, for the most part it is due to Nesso’s desire to always have Fiona within his line of sight. Even though Nesso is able to protect her within the castle grounds, due to the nature of his work he is often sent to the front lines of battle. As a result, Nesso reasons to himself that he needs a place to keep her safe when he is not close by; a place out of reach from the hands of others.

In reality however, we realise from the very beginning of the game that rather than out of familial love for Fiona; Nesso in fact has a major sister complex. His actions towards Fiona border on incestuous for most of the game, and becomes insanely jealous at any male who comes close to her. Although it is comical for the most part, you can just tell from the underlying tone that Nesso is actually dead serious.

He continually expresses his desire to marry Fiona, as it is not entirely uncommon for half-members of the family to wed amongst one another. Nesso claims that he is the only man suitable and truly worthy of Fiona. To my dismay, I can’t exactly refute that point. Nesso is the perfect character that tends to Fiona’s every need: he’s handsome, talented, has the strength to protect her, and everything he does is for her sake. His love for her borders on obsession, but he does indeed try to keep her best interests at heart.

At least everything would be perfect about him considering Fiona’s circumstances… except for the fact that he is still her sibling at the end of the day. I actually dreaded and left his route for last on purpose, because although I know some people are fans of incest; it really just doesn’t sit well for me personally. I just wanted to leave my personal impression of Nesso as the caring older brother doting on his sister, rather than finding out any dark, twisted love he may secretly have on the inside.

What really irked me about Nesso’s character is his blatant disregard for Fiona’s opinions and his constant projection on her that she is still a helpless child who knows nothing about reality. He continually rejects her decisions on what she wishes to do for the future, and leaves her no choice but to take action on her own accord. Otherwise, he only gives in when she is extremely adamant on what she wants to do, or leaves him with no choice on the matter. For example: she’s not leaving Weblin, and his only option is to leave without her or stay with her.

Also, his confinement of her within the tower was what led to her complete disconnect with reality to begin with. It wasn’t certain whether or not her solitary confinement was the sole reason as to why she was able to stay alive for so long, as she remained perfectly fine when residing in the Castle Gardens within Mejojo’s Kingdom. He had taken away her freedom without her knowledge, and he reasons that it’s all for her sake rather than his own selfish desires being projected onto her.

That in itself is already a very unhealthy relationship to have. If she hadn’t been confined to the tower all her life, she would’ve grown up to have a better understanding of the world and some semblance of common sense. I just found myself uncomfortable reading the romantic scenes with Nesso, because for some unknown reason they had the most passionate and physically intimate moments with one another; even greater than Mejojo or Auger.

It honestly just felt as though he was preying on her, and confusing her feelings for him as a brother. When they shared a kiss, to me it felt like Fiona was more so shocked and surprised by it all; rather than actually reciprocating his desires for her. Even she herself is unsure of the act, as he always evades her when she questions whether or not it is appropriate behaviour for siblings to engage in.

His good ending actually left me with a deep sense of despair hilariously enough. Due to Nesso taking the brunt of their fall from the cliff and shielding Fiona, he has become crippled by his injuries. Fiona feels an extreme sense of guilt over the situation, as it was because of her that he is now confined to his bed; and their positions towards one another had become reversed. Fiona is now his caretaker, and Nesso is (a little too) content with his newfound predicament.

After all, every waking moment they have now is spent with each other. She continually dotes on and spoils him, attending to his every need and whim. It’s heavily implied they are now regularly engaging in a physically sexual relationship, as Nesso reasons that it ‘helps him feel better’. Fiona who is deeply saddened that her once talented brother is now a crippled invalid unable to ever wield a sword again; obliges him willingly with his embarrassing demands.

To me, what Fiona felt towards him wasn’t romantic love; but the love of a sibling stained by guilt and manipulated by Nesso. Nesso projects onto her his obsessive love, and Fiona is all too clueless about men due to her complete social disconnection from the world. I’m unable to see their relationship as being genuine in any sort of form, due to the nature of the events that transpired.

I admit I was also incredibly salty because Nesso and Fiona had so many romantic moments together, whilst many of the other characters were left out to dry in comparison. If I could choose, then I would prefer Nesso’s route to not be in the game since I felt it would be better used to develop the other storylines. The human faction storyline within BWS doesn’t really contribute much to the overarching plot, as they play the role of by-stander in the main conflict between the wolves and cats.

Their role in the story is revealed in the main linear storyline, and their relationship to Fiona is already established from the beginning. As a result, it doesn’t leave very much substance to work with and the writers decided to focus their routes on the more romantic aspect of the game rather than actual storyline. As I dislike Nesso this was considered a tragedy to me, as I would’ve preferred it with essentially any other character but him (laughs).

Irresistible Mistakes Character Review: Toshiaki Kijima

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

If you would like the walkthrough for his character, you can read it here.

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

Prologue Summary

Toshiaki Kijima is the executive of the accounting/finance department, and regularly dubbed ‘the Evil Executive’ or the ‘Data Devil’ within the office. He often reduces newcomers to tears with his high expectations, critical eye towards work and pushes them to their limits in order to produce the results he desires.

This leaves a less than stellar impression on many of the workers outside of his department, and his cold, abrasive personality doesn’t exactly help alleviate that picture. Toshiaki is extremely passionate about his work, and doesn’t let negative opinions phase him; as he views that his reasons for working aren’t to socialise or befriend others.

However, what Toshiaki says and what he genuinely feels are two completely different ends of the spectrum. Although he comes across as withdrawn and aloof, he actually shows great care and consideration for both the heroine and others through his actions. His criticisms towards work are hardly ever wrong, and he never blatantly dismisses the ideas of others.

Rather, he gives constructive advice and forethought in order to improve their work. Toshiaki even chooses not to attend company social parties out of consideration, due to his knowledge that his presence may be seen as discomforting for most people; something which the heroine views as incredibly sad.

Initially, the MC is shocked at the realisation that her mystery partner whom she slept with from the company party is in fact Toshiaki Kijima—The Devil Executive from Hell. From the glimpses of her fragmented memories, the man from last night had been unbearably sweet, gentle; and yet a sense of sadness glistened in his eyes and actions.

To contrast that experience with the image she had of him within the workplace, it simply didn’t add up at all. On top of that, after meeting at the bar to discuss the events that happened last night; the heroine reluctantly admits that she only has vague memories of what had transpired between them.

She apologises for her unruly behaviour, and Toshiaki’s expression hardens at this revelation. He immediately dismisses her attempts to discuss the matter, and states that it would be best for them both to forget the event had ever occurred and abruptly leaves. The MC is taken aback by his actions, but concedes that there is no point in fretting over the matter; if he wasn’t willing to talk about it, then it would be best to do as he said and write it off as a one-night stand.

After all, it wouldn’t do her any good to further lament over the issue; especially because he was still her executive from work. Thankfully as they were allocated to separate departments, the heroine reasons that she would have very little interaction with him during work hours. It was another reason as to why her impression of him was based on what she had heard from co-workers. She had never seen with her own eyes how he approached work and interacted with others.

However to her dismay, soon after she is placed on a joint project with Yuiko and Toshiaki as her direct supervisor. She is to produce a commercial for the famous Mira Black: a canned coffee well known for its bitter and dark taste. Due to the newfound opportunity and their past history, the heroine is spurred on by her desire to finally get to know the real Toshiaki. The disconnect between the face Toshiaki shows at work, and the gentle man he was when touching her that night… just where does the blurred line distinguishing the two end?

Why did he look so sad that night, and what was the meaning behind that melancholic smile? Thus, begins the complicated romance with a man burdened by his past and belief that he could never fall in love again.

Character Development

I had no idea what to expect going into Toshiaki Kijima’s route, and I had keen interest in him prior to his release since I really liked his character design. I went into his story expecting something similar to what we saw in Shunichiro Tachibana’s route, and oh how extremely wrong I was in that assumption. In comparison to Shunichiro’s route, Toshiaki’s couldn’t be anymore different.

I suppose thinking back on it now with hindsight, it makes sense as they’re in essence two completely different characters. Where Shunichiro is suave, charismatic, passionate and well-accustomed to handling women; Toshiaki is awkward, incredibly sweet, soft and struggles to convey how he truly feels. His story isn’t so much about a whirlwind romance or a heated office tryst, but two people deeply connecting in eventual emotional understanding, and helping him come to terms with his past in order to look towards the future.

For Shunichiro and the MC, they already had prior familiarity as both work partners and as her inspiration for joining the company. It’s no wonder their route takes on a more heated and sensual tone, as their barely contained attraction for one another was already present from the very beginning. Between Toshiaki and the heroine however, then outside of knowing each other’s names and capabilities at work; they essentially knew nothing about one other.

Their relationship development and understanding of one another is gradual, slow, sentimental and bittersweet; the kind that leaves warm feelings of tenderness throughout reading the story. He continually helps the MC when she is having troubles with the project such as taking her to Shimane to visit the origins of Mira Black for inspiration, and gifted her sweepstakes stickers when she had mentioned collecting them.

Toshiaki accompanies her to purchase bingo gifts for the company party, and exhibits his consideration for what others would like through his choice of items; despite them being the very same co-workers who spoke spitefully about him behind his back. He always shows concern for the little nuances and changes in the heroine’s personality, with him being the first to notice she was ill and carrying her to the infirmary.

Before long, she realises that she has fallen in love with him; and wished to know more about him not as a superior or a work colleague — but as a man whom she wanted to be with. She doesn’t want to view that night as a regret, or just a one-night stand. However, she knows that a future between them wouldn’t be possible unless she truly comes to understand the root of his suffering; and why he continued to push her away.

With the help of Shunichiro, the MC learns the truth of his past and the sadness behind his smile that night. Five years ago, his long-term girlfriend had passed away due to terminal cancer. He used to be the type of man who put his all into work, just to make time to fly to Shimane every weekend to visit her.

Toshiaki had never been the same since the incident, and rather than being the person most upset about her passing; he was rendered emotionless and dispassionate to everything. He threw himself further into his work, and despite being so in love with her; he had not shed a single tear at her funeral.

The heroine recalls his pained expression whenever he glances at Tokyo Tower, and decides that it is the place that they need to go to together in order to confront his past. He reluctantly agrees, and when they’re viewing the beautiful Tokyo night sky; he finally reveals to her what happened within his past. His work had been the only thing left for him after she had passed away, and what kept him going through day to day life.

Initially he had been proud of his work, but after she disappeared from his life; he grew to view it as the only remaining good thing about himself. After all, he was the type of cold, heartless man who could not even shed tears for his girlfriend’s death, so did he really deserve happiness? Did he even have the right to love another person? After all, due to his childish wish to see Tokyo Tower when she was better; he decided not to take her. The idea that it would most likely be the last and only time that they could go… he was afraid to accept it, and because of that he was never able to fulfil her last dream.

If only he had taken her, then she could’ve at least been happy and smiled at him one last time. The heroine begins to cry out of sadness and pain for his sake, to see how much he has bottled up inside over the past five years. She cannot even begin to comprehend the sheer loss and yearning he must have felt all alone. She admits that she had already heard the partial truth from Shunichiro, and deduced that Tokyo Tower had some special significance to him. She wanted to provide him with some solace and closure in order to confront his past, and face his inner demons.

She explains that it’s because he feels so much and has such kind consideration for others, that it wasn’t possible for him to truly be cold and unemotional. It’s because of his nature that he simply wasn’t able to face his own grief and the reality of her own death. In order to escape the cruel, painful truth he had immersed himself in his work to forget the past and his remaining regrets.

What I really loved about the heroine was not only was she passionate about her work, but she truly got to know Toshiaki and fall in love with everything about him, both the good and bad. She is tenacious, approaches everything with the utmost enthusiasm and never falls to any set backs that occur. It’s why no matter how many times he pushes her away, she stays true to her own beliefs and convictions about his character; and continues to persist in getting to know the real Toshiaki.

Out of genuine love for him does she go to such lengths in order to mend his heart; for his own sake and happiness rather than her own. To me, that is the most genuine and pure form of love that you could ever show someone else. Likewise, in Toshiaki’s POV story we see that every action he does for the heroine is due to his consideration of her own feelings and happiness.

He doesn’t want to associate with her for her own sake, as he doesn’t want to drag her down with his feelings and past burdens. He doesn’t view that he deserves her or to be loved, due to his past actions with his deceased girlfriend. It was really refreshing to see his inner turmoil over the one-night stand, and that he had fretted over the dilemma even more than the MC.

I highly recommend his POV story in conjunction with the main route since Voltage really did an incredible job with them. It gives so much more dimension to his character and the overarching story, providing more insight on what exactly happened that night and how conflicting his true feelings and actions really are.

The complete opposite of unemotional, it is revealed how much restrained passion he felt for the heroine and his respect of her work ethic, bright personality, determination, and kindness. The final chapter of his POV during his conversation with his girlfriend at her grave was truly befitting with the bittersweet theme of his story. He finally comes to terms with his own emotions regarding her death and can now let go of the past. Although he could never forget her, he hopes that she would continue to watch over him as he finally allows himself to seek happiness.

The fact that he could ultimately shed tears, and release the emotions he had built up for so many years is a testament to how much the heroine had impacted his life for the better. It is because of her that he can now look towards the future, and his life has finally started moving again rather than being forever stuck in the same place.

I really liked how their relationship in comparison to Shunichiro’s route didn’t revolve around the one-night stand. Although it was the beginning of their connection to one another, it didn’t define what transpired between them afterwards. It wouldn’t have fit with the tone of Toshiaki’s route nor his personality. His story ending was so satisfying and sweet, as he finally is able to give in to his passions and love for the heroine.

The common motif throughout his story is the comparison of Toshiaki’s personality to the coffee Mira Black, which the heroine ironically gets hooked on and begins drinking excessively during her work on the project. It’s dark, bitter and leaves a strong aftertaste initially; an acquired taste that not everyone would like. And yet once you get used to it, you notice the rich subtleties of the flavour that no other coffee can compare to.

I felt that perfectly described Toshiaki’s character throughout the route, as he really does grow on you and left a very warm impression on me by the end of his story. Not to mention it represents the heroine’s own growing feelings towards Toshiaki as well. The coffee eventually becomes her staple drink, and she learns to love the subtle sweet and warm nuances of flavour that comes after the initially bitter taste. I recommend his route if you’re after a more romantic and bittersweet story, rather than a sexually charged and dramatic route like Shunichiro’s.