So while taking a break from Astoria, I managed to find time for Voltage’s newest game Butler Until Midnight. I must have died and gone to otoge fangirl heaven! I mean, butlers! Frickin, BUTLERS!!!! *cough* Ahem, *cough* I was excited for this game. Of course, there was one character that caught my eye. So, I gave Tomoki Matsuba’s route in Butler Until Midnight a try.
Unlike Yuma and some of the other guys, he seemed like the ideal butler type. He was everything I could have hoped for and more. In the beginning, Tomoki, is a harsh perfectionist with an impeccably accurate internal clock (homeboy can calculate the time down to the second). But, before I knew it this butler really wormed his way into my heart…
Thoughts on Tomoki: He’s a Cyborg, but that’s OK
I will admit that I am biased when it comes to megane characters in games. It’s my thing and Voltage did not disappoint. Tomoki is the perfect butler. But behind his perfect veneer is a man with hopes, dreams, and dare I say it, flaws! I did not expect his route to hit me in the feels, but boy did it. The MC picks “Mr. Matsuba”, because he looks like the most serious and trustworthy of the bunch. But little does she know that there are two Mr. Matsubas. Itsuki and Tomoki are in fact brothers. So, after a bit of confusion the MC confirms that Tomoki is the one that she wants to be her
love interest primary butler.
Tomoki is the eldest son of the Matsuba family, a distinguished clan of butlers. So from a young age he has trained to live up to his family’s expectations. He has had to sacrifice a lot of his own needs and wants for the sake of his family’s reputation. As a result he learned to develop a strong work ethic in order to keep up with his prodigy younger brother, Itsuki.
Yet there was one thing that he could do better than his brother. As a child Tomoki displayed a proficiency for the piano that even his perfect brother Itsuki couldn’t match. However he decided to quit when his playing started getting in the way of his butler training and he hasn’t looked back since. A little part of him died when he gave up the piano. He sort of locked all of his feelings up and put everything into being a great butler.
When the MC meets Tomoki, he is an emotionless, almost inhumanly perfect butler, hell bent on grooming the MC into the perfect lady. In the beginning Tomoki can be a bit of a hard ass. So he and the MC start off with a rather business relationship. He keeps everything private, revealing very little about himself. When the MC starts prying into Tomoki’s live, he immediately shuts it down. I really couldn’t see how their relationship was ever going to evolve into romance. It isn’t until about half way through that he starts to open up to the MC. Unfortunately, this is around the same time that we find out that Tomoki is engaged to be married.
I was not a huge fan of this plot point. I really dislike love triangles, so I distinctly recall rolling my eyes when it came up. But, strangely enough contrary to typical Voltage fashion the love triangle gets swept under the rug. The fiancé is really adult about the whole thing. She bows out once it becomes apparent that Tomoki is in love with the MC. In fact the real source of conflict in the route is Tomoki’s piano playing. Which only really becomes an issue when the MC asks him to teach her to play.
Of course he flat out refuses her, forcing her to ask Itsuki instead. I want to take a moment to say just how awesome Itsuki is in this route. I usually don’t care for the overly friendly and flirty types. But, Itsuki really gave me a run for my money. He is such a caring sweetheart and the main cheerleader for the MC. He’s the one who helps the MC out when Tomoki is being a butt. He even takes the time to explain to the MC why Tomoki is the way he is, actually he is part of the reason I started to fall for Tomoki, that and when he freaked out when the MC went “missing”. Flustered Tomo is adorable! He really turned around after that, becoming much more open and understanding towards the MC.
All in all I didn’t immediately fall for Tomoki. It was a combinations of all of his little sweet moments that really changed my opinion of him. From cold hearted prick to a sweet, sensitive, and passionate man. In the end he is really just a man with strong emotions underneath a butler mask.
Thoughts on the MC: Music to Melt a Mechanical Heart
After reading the prologue I was afraid that Voltage was giving me another one of their weak/defenseless heroines, and to an extent they kind of did. While I will admit the MC did have some moments of pure awesomeness. The majority of the time she was just kind of bland. In the beginning I found myself getting really frustrated with her naivety. She is just too trusting and quick to wallow in self pity. I wanted to shake her until she toughened up. But, thank God that MC, disappeared the minute the main story started up. While she’s only slightly better in the main story, she isn’t unlikable, quite the contrary I found her admirable.
She is very aware of her shortcomings and does her best to attempt to make up for them. She does have some moments of sheer awesomeness, but most of the time she kind of over does it. Like when she injures her hand after practicing the piano too much or when she loses track of time practicing. Now I will say this in her favor, at least, she’s a little spunky. She isn’t one to hold back her opinion, to varying results.
There really isn’t much else to say about her, wasn’t really that noteworthy in hindsight….*shrugs noncommittally*
Do I Recommend Tomoki’s Route?
Sure, but with reservations. He’s such a sweetie pie and I love his sense of responsibility. But, I didn’t really start liking him until the middle/end of his route. Tomoki just didn’t do it for me the way I would have hoped. We’ll see how I feel after I play his other routes, but for now I’m kind of ambivalent. The character archetype is pretty typical. I enjoyed his story, it’s just that Tomoki didn’t really start to blow me away until the end.
There are two endings in this route the Soothing End and the Seductive End. In the Soothing End, Tomoki breaks things off with his fiancé and whisks her off to his family home where he plays her a response piece on the piano. The two share a sweet moment alone together in the dark piano room. In the Seductive End, after breaking things off with his fiancé, he whisks the MC off to the pier at Yokohama. Once there he confesses his feelings for her as a man and not her butler, in his own nonchalantly, wicked way. Both endings are wonderful, but I’d have to go with the Soothing end on this one…Tomoki playing the piano won me over in the end.
So if you are willing to stick it out until the end. I recommend giving Tomo a shot, if not, perhaps give one of the other butlers a shot. I do want to give a big shout out to the music in Butler Until Midnight! The piano was definitely a nice touch especially for Tomoki’s route. All in all it’s a solid route and I’m still hopeful for something better in his subsequent routes….That and ya know, Kyo’s main story.