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OWLS “Lovers” Blog Tour – A Natural Otome Romance: Enomoto and Ichika in ‘Collar x Malice’

Hey Hey Owlets!! It’s been awhile since I participated in an OWLS Blog Tour and chances are you were directed here by Carla over at Pop Culture Literary and her amazing post about how fan culture influences how we view relationships. If you haven’t already given her post a read, I highly recommend giving it a once over!

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For those of you that are here by chance, I’m the next in a long line of bloggers, vloggers, and content creators participating in the September 2019 OWLS Blog Tour! As many of you guys know I’m a member of the blogging group OWLS (Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect). We’re a group of bloggers and vloggers that hope to spread a message of acceptance and understanding through thoughtful community activism! We use our love of pop-culture and other media to discuss a wide range of topics. Each month we host themed Blog Tours where we discuss topics we feel are important to the greater fandom community. 

Last month during our Believe Blog Tour we celebrated the great works from acclaimed animation studio Kyoto Animation as a way to show our love for the studio in the wake of the heartbreaking tragedy back in July. This month, we’re continuing to spread the love with our Lover Blog Tour.

When it comes to romantic relationships, what do we look for in a partner? What core values do we seek when it comes to building a healthy and loving relationship? For this topic, we will be discussing some of our favorite couples in pop culture and what they have taught us about love and relationships, the good and the bad.

September 2019 Lover Blog Tour Prompt

Love is a topic we’ve talked about quite a few time during our past OWLS Blog Tours, but I still had a hard time choosing a topic for this month’s tour. OWLS members before me put their own spin on the topic, and since most of my posts are related to games, I figured it would only be fitting if I talked about otome games. I mean, the main goal of otome games is to successfully romance one of several male love interests, each with their own “unique” personalities. Otome games, like most visual novels give gamers a chance to craft their own fantasy romance experience, for better or for worse. Though some criticize otome games for their unrealistic depictions of love and romantic relationships, I think there is a lot we can learn from otome games about love. So for this month’s tour I wanted to talk about one of my favorite otome couples and why they work.


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It’s no secret that Collar x Malice is my new favorite otome game, since it has a much darker storyline than most romance themed games. This isn’t really a romance heavy otome game, but even still CxM has one of my favorite otome couples. Of all the routes, I think I enjoyed Enomoto’s the most, because he and Ichika seemed to be the most compatible, both as investigation partners and as a potential lover. Unlike the other guys who are all the best of the best of the police force, Enomoto is a bit more on Ichika’s level. He’s not a genius like Sasasuka nor does he have great intuition like Okazaki or Yanagi, in comparison to the rest of the guys, Enomoto is fairly average which makes him the perfect match for Ichika.

With all the other love interests there is a marked difference in skill level between Ichika and the other guys, but with Enomoto they’re both equals which allows for a much more natural progression of their relationship. They butt heads early on, not because they have different ideological differences or because there is a disconnect in their skill levels, rather they’re almost too similar to one another. They’re both impulsive and stubborn, with a strong sense of justice and they’ve both worked hard to get to where they are in life. Enomoto managed to become a member of Field Ops on sheer will alone, much like how Ichika fought hard to prove that she could work alongside the members of Yanagi’s team to solve the X-Day cases.

In all the other routes, Ichika is constantly relying on the other guys for guidance, but with Enomoto they’re both on equal footing, which allows for a much more natural romantic progression. There isn’t an imbalance in their relationship like you see in most otome games, they aren’t afraid to fight or tell one another when they’re wrong. There were of course awkward moments between them and misunderstandings, but ultimately they understand each other better because there isn’t a huge divide between them.

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Otome games sell this fantasy romance experience that tends to gloss over some of the more realistic aspects of building a relationship. The MC will start off the game already smitten with the love interest, or maybe the love interest is someone she idolizes and her feelings evolve into love. But, it doesn’t always happen like that in real life, relationships take time to build, so I really appreciated that Collar x Malice took the time to gradually build up the relationship between Ichika and Enomoto.

In the beginning, despite being a generally easygoing guy, Enomoto doesn’t trust Ichika at all and is openly antagonistic towards her, because he thinks she’s an Adonis spy. He doesn’t want anything to do with her and it’s only after she earns his trust that he even acknowledges her as his investigation partner and even more time before either admits that they have romantic feelings for one another.

Real relationships don’t just happen in the blink of an eye, they take work and time, a firm foundation of mutual trust and of course actual romantic chemistry. Enomoto and Ichika grow together, first as just partners investigating the X-Day crimes, and then as friends, and finally as lovers. We see them going out for drinks, sharing a meal together, laughing and having fun with each other… they feel like a couple, because the story takes the time to build a foundation for their relationship.


Conclusion

That’s my take on the Lovers Blog Tour! I hope you enjoyed my post, but, I’m just one in a long line of OWLS blog tour stops!  Don’t forget to stop by Lyn’s blog, Just Something About LynLyn tomorrow for what promises to be an amazing addition to the OWLS SeptemberBlog Tour! Also if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Official OWLS Twitter account @OWLSbloggers and the Official OWLS Blog, to stay up to date on all OWLS news and announcements!

If you are interested in becoming a member of the OWLS team, please feel free to fill out the contact form, HERE! So don’t be afraid to reach out to any of us on our blogs, on twitter, or at the contact page to learn more about us!! You just need an open mind and a willingness to have fun! Catch you guys on the flipside! 

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