So this started off as a rant about the Voltage Inc visual novel Kissed by the Baddest Bidder (KBTBB), but the more I began writing, the more it became a tribute to Soryu Oh.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have some fundamental issues with some key aspects of KBTBB, but I’ll save it for another day. But, then this post kinda sat in my drafts for weeks while I played other games, because KBTBB and I had a bit of a falling out of sorts, I just need to see other people for awhile. It happens like that sometimes. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this birthday post on the Voltage Visual Romance Facebook Page:
To be honest, I had forgotten how HOT Soryu is with his hair down…*cough* So in honor of his birthday on Feb. 17, I decided to go back and replay Soryu’s Season 1, and remember just what drew me to the cool mobster in the first place…
*Disclaimer: I don’t own these images, they belong to Voltage…and this goes without saying, but there will be minor SPOILERS under the cut…*
The Man Behind the Gun
For me, cool mobster, Soryu Oh was the break out character of the game. He was the one who was the most normal and showed the most growth over the course of the game. But, what made his route so great for me was how natural his progression as a character is between his Season 1 Main Story and the Season 3 Proposal Story. He starts out like the rest of the guys, indifferent and cold, but as the story plays out and he sheds his prickly porcupine quills, you get to see his softer more vulnerable side. Voltage did a great job at defining Soryu as a man who just so happens to be a mobster and not a mobster who becomes a man. The romance between the MC and Soryu is a gradual thing, unlike the “I own you Stockholm relationship” in that other route that we won’t go into right now…Sure Soryu starts out using the MC, just like the other guys, but he is never cruel to her. He never goes out of his way to punish her the way some of the other characters do.
Initially Soryu wants nothing to do with the MC and tries his best to push her off onto someone else. It’s explained that he hates women, which makes one wonder why he even bid on her to begin with, but, hey why argue with the plot now? In the end Soryu decides to have the MC work off her 20 Million dollar debt by pretending to be an acquaintance mob princess, Mei Ling who is visiting Japan in order to find a husband. At first the MC is reluctant, but Soryu reminds her of the debt and her participation in the auction so she unwillingly agrees to “help”.
As the grandson of the former Ice Dragons leader, Soryu has spent his entire life being groomed to take over the business, and not really much of anything else. His distant and cold personality for the most part scares most people away, and if that doesn’t work he’s not adverse to pointing a gun at people either. He has earned his reputation as a feared mob boss who will do anything for the organization. However, what sets him apart is his morality, which may seem strange given is criminal career choice. He never goes out of his was to endanger the lives of innocent people, which in turn influences the types of decisions he makes. When given the choice Soryu will always choose the path with the least collateral damage.
Freedom and choice play a big role in this route, having been brought up as a mafia heir, Soryu has had little to no freedom. Every person he’s met or choice he has made, was made for the betterment of the organization and his standing within it. So at times Soryu has a hard time relating to people not in the mafia. This is especially apparent when it comes to women! Baba at one point says flat out that Soryu hates women. It’s not that he hates them per se, it’s more so that he has never been close enough to a woman to get to know them.Most women get close to him because of his reputation, but the MC isn’t like that, she sees him for the man he is, and that is what initially gets his attention.
Soryu is naive to the ways of normal people, never having the opportunity to experience life outside of the mafia. The MC accepts that about him and tries to show him what normal happiness is. Throughout the route Soryu is conflicted between his growing affection for the MC and his duty to the Ice Dragons. He doesn’t want to endanger the life of the MC, so logically he tries to distance himself from her. While I understood why he did what he did, it doesn’t mean that I had to like it! In the end Soryu and the MC vow to create a normal happiness together.
Ordinary, Everyday Happiness
I really like that the MC in this route, she realizes early on that he can’t separate himself from his duty to the Ice Dragons and despite his ties to the mafia he isn’t an evil person. She is very understanding and open, always treating him like a man and not a mob boss. She is one of the few people to see the lonely man hiding beyond his cold exterior. Her kindness and warmth, allow him to explore things he has never had the freedom to explore before. She offers him a sense of peace and normality a mob boss wouldn’t normally have access to.
I also want to commend the MC for her resilience, she manages to maintain a level head despite all of the danger she is in throughout the route. Unlike in Eisuke’s route, she and Soryu actually become equals as the story progresses. She opts to become part of his world and support him when he becomes the leader of the the Ice Dragons. She even tries to get Soryu to include her in his work, despite his reservations.
The MC becomes a source of strength and peace for Soryu, rather than a weakness, eliminating most if not all of the inequality in their relationship. She isn’t afraid to stand by her man, at one point in the story she even defends him to her worried friends. The MC is my hero in this game!
Now one thing that surprised me about this route was how nice and supportive Eisuke was about the MC and Soryu’s relationship. He is such an ass in his own route, it’s kind of hard to even imagine him being human. Granted one could argue that he does it for his own amusement, but the amount of effort he puts into getting the MC and Soryu together is worthy of some praise.
I also want to talk about the relationship between the MC and Mei Ling. I love that the MC has a girl friend who is apart of Soryu’s world, someone who can help her understand the world of the mafia. But, even more than that I am so happy that Voltage did not make this a love triangle situation!
Do I Recommend His Route?
Abso-frickin-lutely! I love Soryu, he is my favorite character in the game! Sure I have complaints…Soryu dumping the MC not once but TWICE, the conflict of the Main Story was kind of overly dramatic for no reason, and the fact that he only calls the MC “Woman” for the first half of his MS are just a few. But there were way more good moments than bad unlike, Eisuke’s story, in which I felt so dirty for playing. Soryu is adorably naive about normal things, I found it incredibly sweet that he wanted to have a normal happiness despite being a mob boss. Now, I did find it funny that he likes to read detective novels, especially since he and Mamoru don’t get along very well (he even gets the MC into them).
Deep down Soryu is just a normal guy, who just happens to be a criminal, which is probably why I liked him so much. He’s just a man who wants to be happy. So I absolutely recommend Soryu Oh’s ENTIRE STORY, yes, ALL OF IT (even the sub stories). If you have reservations about this game and the premise, give Soryu a try he’ll redeem the game for you!
Do you have any suggestions for posts? Any burning questions? Want me to review a specific game or character? Feel free to Comment on this post or Ask Me on my tumblr! As always Thank You for reading!