*clears throat* It’s about damn time! I have been waiting for this route to come out for what seems like forever and Voltage just kind of slipped it in under the radar… really?! If I hadn’t checked the Voltage FB page the other day, I might have missed this one…
Haruma Fujioka is like an over sexed version of Ichthys from Star Crossed Myth, which given the character bio above, was wholly unexpected. It’s no secret that I don’t like flirty characters, at the best of times, but when you also have the flirt moonlight as his own comic relief….*sigh* If you want a general overview of Dangerous Seduction, click HERE, it’s covers the basic premise of the game and includes links to the other character reviews I wrote for the game.
So like Hino’s route, the route opens up the morning after the MC selects her hottie for hire, Haruma Fujioka, the friendly back-alley doctor, and the guy wastes no time trying to get into her pants. Literally five minutes into the first chapter, there were two instances of inappropriate touching and one sexy back massage…I mean, medically relevant deep tissue massage, yeah… because it’s relevant to the plot? Or because Voltage couldn’t think of a better way to show that Haruma is a shameless flirt other than to have the MC and her bodyguard jump in the sack. Now, in the MC’s defense, she was asleep when the giant pervert climbed into her bed, but that doesn’t excuse Haruma’s actions…
At this point I resigned myself for more sexual hi-jinks but, despite his questionable actions at the start of the route, Haruma is actually the most approachable member of the Bishie Bodyguard Brigade. But, it’s hard to take the guy seriously when half of the stuff that comes out of his mouth is a joke, and the other half is thinly veiled sexual innuendo. But, Haruma’s happy-go-lucky personality is just a front he puts up to hide the fact that he’s harboring some serious emotional baggage. It’s standard for Voltage to give their characters some sort of emotional damage, but they reserve the juiciest, most heart wrenching plot lines for their pranksters and flirts. Seriously, every single one of their flirty/pranksters has an especially tragic backstory that made them the emotionally detached wreck they are in the present and Haruma is no different.
After causing the death of someone he loved, Haruma turned his back on his life and became a husk of a man. Sure he laughs and smiles on the outside, but on the inside, time had stopped for Haruma; he’s just existing. This route was much more heartbreaking than I originally anticipated, because you can see just how much of a toll it is for Haruma to keep living. But even though he’s locked away his heart, Haruma can’t shake his natural desire to help others, which is why I think he keeps up his medical practice, he doesn’t necessarily do it because he likes to, he does it because he needs to… to atone for his sins.
But, before he can let go and move on, Haruma has to stop running away from his emotions and face the demons from his past head on. The central conflict in Hino’s route, was much more character driven than say Masaharu’s or Arimura’s routes and it did a fair job of resolving some of Haruma’s inner turmoil, but it wasn’t my favorite route in the game so far. I mean there isn’t anything inherently wrong with it, overall it was a self contained story, without any pesky loose ends or cliffhangers, but I can’t help but feel like everything was wrapped up a little too nicely. *shrugs*
The romantic development in this route like the overall conflict was pretty hit or miss for me. I liked that both allowed for a fair amount of character growth from both the MC and Haruma, but I feel like there are better written redemption stories out there… Now, I will admit that there were some genuinely sweet moments between Haruma and the MC, and a few head scratchers too. I liked that the MC could see through his tortured smile and over the top antics, but that wasn’t an especially new aspect of these types of routes.
Then there was Haruma’s punishment kink, which oddly enough I enjoyed, I just wish Voltage had done a bit more with it, I dunno, maybe… forgive me for saying this… pull a 50 Shades of Grey, and tie it in to his character development (sorry, I’ll go sit in the corner now). Instead, Voltage just kind of played around with it and in the end the whole thing just seemed kind of gimmicky.
Do I Recommend Fujioka’s Route?
Contrary to what the above review will have you believe, I didn’t hate Haruma Fujioka’s route, I actually liked it well enough, I just felt like it kind of missed the mark… A back-alley doctor with a tragic backstory, the hapless heroine that worms her way into his closed off heart… on paper it sounds like a pretty compelling story. Instead we got a flirty cinnamon bun masquerading as something more. No matter how broken Haruma is as a character, he never lost his inner goodness, so his turn around at the end felt hollow. Ultimately, I wanted more angst, more drama, this was a great opportunity for Voltage to do something new, and they wasted it!
Oh, I dunno what it is with Voltage and this hip new writing style, but it needs to stop… Haruma has a few questionable lines of dialogue throughout the route, but my absolute favorite (not really) line is:
“I’ll bang you so well, you’ll drown in pleasure…”
Really, bang? That’s supposed to be sexy? There are better words to use, that sounds like something a middle schooler would come up with…smh
The weird writing style aside, Haruma’s route was pretty standard. I liked Haruma as a character and the MC was fantastic, but overall the story fell flat for me. Even the endings were kind of meh, I guess Hino spoiled me, because I didn’t enjoy this route as much as I would have liked. Overall, this was an okay story for an okay character, fans of flirty pranksters will love Haruma, but if those characters aren’t your cup of tea then I say give this route a pass or at the very least wait for a sale. This route is good, but not great…