What can I say, I have a type…
So first off, is it me or does Ichiya remind anyone of Ryoki from the manga Hot Gimmick?
You see where I’m going with this… Granted I actually really liked this route, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was playing Hot Gimmick the Otoge. That is without all the weird drama and brother complex . I could spend all day drawing parallels between the two, but that wouldn’t do Ichiya justice, to be honest he’s not that bad. At least he never hits the protagonist like Ryoki did!
He starts out like his character description says, he doesn’t really associate with the other boys and the MC. As a child he was often the token snarker, often teasing the MC. He was an aloof child often playing alone even when he associated with the brat pack. His cold personality caused some distance between himself and the other children, which continued on into adulthood. So while technically he is one of the MC’s childhood friends, he rarely took part in any of their activities. Little Ichiya was adorable, but very cold especially to the MC, who sad to say kind of hates him, especially after he locked her up alone on the roof in the freezing rain, and she gets sick.
So of course when, as adults, the MC runs into Ichiya again, safe to say that she gives him a wide berth. That is until she finds that her company is partnering with Ichiya’s company for a joint venture. To make matters worse she is even partnered with him on the project, which throws the pair into each other’s company more than either would like.
Then Ichiya asks the unthinkable (at least the MC thinks so)…He asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to get his current girlfriend(?) to back off. Of course the MC rejects the proposal without any second thoughts or reservations. This is when Ichiya pulls out his trump card: He threatens to expose the MC’s friend’s affair with a married coworker. Yeah he goes there, so the simple, yet kind-hearted MC reluctantly accepts. Which in turn incurs the wrath of Ichiya’s current girlfriend, a driven, career woman and Ichiya’s secretary. Honestly I feel bad for both women, the MC is stuck with Jerkface McGee and the current girlfriend/secretary (though her reasons for doing so are kind of messed up too) was technically in a stable relationship with him, but instead of breaking up with her like an adult, Ichiya tries to trick her like a twelve year old.
The rest of the route follows the pair as the MC melts Ichiya’s icy heart, and Ichiya learns that it is okay to open his heart to another person. It’s really sweet and heart warming. Ichiya makes some huge changes over the course of the route, and we even get some insight into their childhood through flashbacks. The flashbacks serve to give us some background on the MC and Ichiya as children, and you really get to see just how lonely and starved for affection Ichiya was and to an extent still is. The whole time I wanted to hug little Ichiya and tell him everything would be okay. He desperately wanted to be included in the MC’s group, he just didn’t know the right way to go about it.
This a cute story, which can be a bit off putting at first. Ichiya is a complete jerk to everyone, but beneath his porcupine exterior is sweetheart, who just has a hard time showing it. He may be cold, but as the story progresses, you get to see just how much he truly cares, about the MC and about his employees.
For awhile though the route seemed like a “take one step forward, just to take two steps back” type of story. Every time we see Ichiya redeem himself and act like a genuine human being, he does something that makes him look like a complete jerk. This aspect gets scrapped as the MC realizes her feelings for Ichiya, but it still was a bit annoying when it did occur.
I really like the MC in this route, she holds her own, even standing up to Ichiya when he’s being especially unreasonable. While she does agree to pretend to be his fake fiancé/girlfriend, she sets ground rules and rarely lets Ichiya cross the line. Her inner monologues were hilarious, I just wish that she actually said some of the things that she thought.
Overall a good plot, and I liked the development, if at times it seemed a little rushed. Ichiya is my type, so if you don’t like ice cold, aloof, and at times jerky characters, this may not be the route for you…but if you can see beyond his prickly personality, Ichiya Misono is a sweetie pie who just wants to be loved. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ROUTE!!