I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I must be a glutton for punishment. If you don’t remember my first foray with D3Publisher’s Dangerous Relationship. Relive my rage induced review of Kei Toyonaga’s route. *clears throat* I was growing a bit bored with my Voltage backlog, so I decided to switch gears a bit and check out some of the other mobile otoge on my iPad. Unfortunately, my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself clicking the Dangerous Relationship app once again.
After the tragedy that was Kei’s route, I willingly dove head first back into the fast paced world of celebrity drama with another playthrough of Dangerous Relationship.
I don’t know what the writers for Kei’s route were drinking when they drafted his story. Taiga’s route is light years ahead of that disgusting excuse for an otome route, that I experienced with Kei. I don’t know what to credit for this route being better. Maybe playing Kei’s route desensitized me, maybe Kei’s route was so bad that everything else looks good by comparison. I’m really not sure at this point, but whatever it was Taiga’s route was much more palatable.
His character description was not very reassuring and I prepared myself for the same slop I got from Kei’s route. In fact, in the beginning Taiga was shaping up to be just as much of a jerk as Kei had been, it was almost an identical experience. Taiga is one of those sour patch guys, in public he’s the sweetest guy you’d ever meet. The other staff members and other celebrities have nothing but great things to say about him. At first even the MC is wooed by his perfectly tailored performance.
But, in private, Taiga is a bitter, foul mouthed grump, with a secret disdain for his “fickle” fans. He does his best to keep up pretenses. But when the MC accidentally catches him mid tirade he decides to drop the façade. From that point on dark Taiga takes the reins, and I readied my rage quit finger! I groaned internally when his nasty disposition took center stage, and he began beating the MC over the head with a barrage of insults from the start. Within the first chapter he tells her that she smells like trash/sewage. And I can’t tell you the number of times he calls her an idiot. I know this sounds like the beginnings of another rant, but bear with me on this one, I swear it gets better!
Like your average tsundere, Taiga changes moods at the drop of a hat, sometimes within the span of a sentence. One minute he’s telling the MC she smells nice, the next he’s calling her an idiot. It gave me whiplash just trying to keep up with it all. But, the way Taiga acts never seems to be intentionally malicious. In fact it seems to be more of a defense mechanism, a means of coping with his celebrity. So while his attitude was upsetting, it was nowhere near as appalling as Kei’s intentionally nasty behavior.
He seems genuinely interested in the MC, especially when she seems to see beyond his prickly pear exterior. He’s confused by her, since she isn’t stars truck over him like his fans, but especially because she doesn’t run when he reveals his true nature to her. Of course the MC isn’t going to be the one to initiate a relationship with him. So like Kei he does attempt to force a physical relationship on the MC, but that’s where the similarities between the two end.
Unlike Kei, Taiga actually stopped when the MC began crying and begging him to stop. Then there’s the fact that Taiga, doesn’t actually initiate a physical relationship until the MC gives consent. While that doesn’t excuse his actions, it does speak volumes about his character. What makes it even better, is that unlike the MC in Kei’s route, this MC actually verbally and physically dismisses Taiga’s sexual advances despite her growing affections for him.
Her feelings for Taiga come to a head when the story presents not one but two love rivals. The first rival comes in the form of a model looking to use Taiga’s celebrity to boost her own career, prompting several rumors and even a tabloid article. When the MC accuses him of playing around, he denies it. He then reveals that the same thing happened in the past with another woman with whom he’d been in love with. After the incident, he became distrustful of women and there advances, opting to keep them all at arms length.
As a result Taiga is extremely unsure of himself when it comes to love. So he constantly question the MC’s feelings for him. But, like his mood swings, his questioning doesn’t come from a bad place, instead he is genuinely afraid that the MC will leave him. His insecurities become even more apparent when fellow celebrity, Akira, reveals that he too is in love with the MC. Usually I abhor love triangles in all their form, but this time around.
This time around, the love triangle served to flesh out a bit more of Taiga’s latent personality. Behind his cruel words is a really lonely guy starving for attention. As a child, Taiga was raised solely by his working mother. Because of her job she rarely had time for him and they rarely spoke. His foul mouth developed in an effort to illicit a response from his distant mother. Even after she died the habit stuck. Couple that with the fame from his newfound celebrity and you have a recipe for a very disillusioned young man. At least during the route he was self aware enough to admit it. His vulnerability and willingness to change are what really sold me on this route. By the end of the route, Taiga’s cold personality devolves into that of a temperamental kitty or a spoiled child.
Do I Recommend Taiga’s Route
I will admit that this isn’t the best otome route that I’ve played. There were several less than stellar moments from both the MC and Taiga. But, eight chapters wasn’t nearly enough time to present a cohesive and polished story. This was most apparent during the whole “Taiga may have to move to Paris” plotline. For such an important story arc the overall presentation was weak and at times even the writers forgot that it was important bringing it up only twice during the route.
In fact, it took a backseat to the romantic rival plotline with Akira. But, despite that this route was a vast improvement on the pile of crap that was Kei’s route. I really felt like Taiga became a better person after the events of the route, the route did a really good job of developing Taiga as a character, so that by the end I found myself genuinely invested in his story.
Okay so I failed to mention this in my Kei review, but it definitely deserves a mention especially for folks sensitive about sexual situations. Like the other Forbidden Romance games, sex is a major part of the route and it isn’t the sugary sweet vagueness you get in some of the other mobile otomes (ie. Voltage). There is explicit references to sex acts (ie. handjobs and fingering), however I want to stress that there are no graphic images in this game. Let me repeat, while the writing surrounding the sex scenes may be graphic in nature, there are NO EXPLICIT images in this game. You have been warned, there are several sexy time scenes in this game and they aren’t optional nor are they avoidable (unless you want to spam the general story skip button).
There were two endings in this route, a Happy Ending and a Super Happy Ending… In the Happy end (Love and Jealousy) the situation with Akira is dealt with and Taiga, the MC, and their new kitty settle into a happy routine. But before they can get too comfortable a crazy stalker appears and sets his sights on the MC. In the Super Happy end (Eating Dessert) we pick up with the MC and Taiga a full year into their relationship, and the pair seems to have settled into a comfortable routine.
While out on a shopping trip Taiga and the MC run into Akira who after seeing the happy couple, finally gives up on his one-sided love of the MC. The couple returns home for some sexy time and a surprise dinner courtesy of Taiga?! While both endings have their merits, the Super Happy ending is much more put together than the Happy ending.
So, my verdict… Despite it’s flaws and the rough start, I do recommend this route. Taiga redeemed my faith in D3Publisher and the Forbidden Romance series, this is a very solid otoge route!