After a thousand years, I return to this blog with a long summary/review of an R18 otome game by PIL-VAMP (they are a sister company of PIL-SLASH who are known for their dark BL games) called Ai wa, Nikushimi ni Yoku Niteiru Nikushimi wa, Ai ni Yoku Niteiru (Love resembles hate, hate resembles love). It has been such a long time since I got so engrossed in the plot of an otome game, so despite a little issues here and there I really enjoyed this game and decided to come out of hibernation, lol. (I also wrote a vndb summary of it which you can check out here.)
Let me explain the format of this review first. In this post I plan to talk about the characters and the general setting first, then describe the plot until the point where routes diverge. Later I’m going to make separate posts about different routes instead of one longass post. The game encourages us to follow a certain order but I’m going to review them in a certain slightly different order for maximum emotional satisfaction.
Narushima Ayako (first name changeable, but the characters have actually pronounce the name if you leave it as default) is the protagonist for this game. She seems to be your average otome game protagonist- meek, soft-spoken, emotional etc etc. Funnily enough, I like her a lot more compared to some conventionally “strong-minded” heroines I played recently despite my usual love for strong heroines. I think that’s because she was pretty consistent in her characterization in most routes. Princess Britania, for example, marketed Chloe as strongest person in the country and then she hardly ever got to prove that (she fights a lot but 95% of the time gets overpowered because of some stupid plot reason). On the other hand, I expected Ayako to be a meek woman with 1930s traditional jp values. She stayed true to that, but also showed a surprising amount of guts when people were shitty to her which I really appreciated.
Despite her being pretty meek and gullible, Ayako’s thought process was unexpectedly logical and although she had her moments of catching the idiot ball, I’d say she was a good otome game protag who was fun to read.
Gamou Tatsuhiko (black haired dude to the heroine’s right) is the lawyer who is carrying out the will of the sketchy millionaire. He is pretty formal and charismatic at first glance, but when he is being more true to himself his speech patterns and aura are more rough and casual. He also had a sexy manly voice 💖 I didn’t like his sprite when he had his hair brushed back, but he looked extremely hot when he had his hair down. He’s a character whose motivations and thoughts are the most confusing in the routes that aren’t his own, and some of my anger towards him because of bad ends from other routes got diffused later.
Saeki Junichi (to the heroine’s left) is the token good guy character of this game. He’s like the dream husband of the Asian culture ideal-well mannered, rich doctor childhood friend character lol. He is very considerate of Ayako’s feelings in almost every route, except certain bad ends where he kind of loses it, but I’d still say that overall he is a pretty decent guy. Some of my friends called him boring, and while I’d also say that he is definitely less exciting than Gamou, I don’t agree that he’s boring.
I believe his voice actor voiced the main character in BL game Galtia, which is in my to-play list.
Tatsumi (far left) is the bodyguard assigned to Ayako by the dead millionaire, and the love interest that I didn’t really see the point of. I guess the other three routes have a lot of dark shit happening and this route is basically there to show you what would happen if nothing went wrong. Tatsumi is devoted to the Heroine like an attendant in all routes, and his almost childlike innocence is kinda cute.
Matsueda Fumiya (far right) is a law student and one of the possible heirs to the millionaire. I called him a shota character when I first saw him because of his youthful looks and his gakuran like outfit (I believe he is actually 19). He appears to be a very sweet and gentle character who takes a liking to Ayako on their first meeting. He was so shiny and sparky that I found him suspicious lol.
I also feel somewhat attacked by the fact that he is voiced by Nakazawa Masatomo hnng. (You might know him from his role as Clear from Dramatical Murder!)
Beniko is the only female character in the main cast and her absent son Nao is the heir candidate, not she. Not much to say about her here that wouldn’t be a spoiler… Thankfully she’s not a LI, and there are no sexual content with her in the bad ends either. I’m glad because I find her unpleasant.
Narushima Seima (left) and Narushima Renji (right) are Ayako’s older twin brothers. Both of them dote on her, Renji to an almost abnormal level. At first I thought that they are also going to have routes, though they didn’t have any. (Seima is actually married with kids.)
The music of this game is not exceptional, but pretty good except for a couple repetitive tracks. The CGs are stunning, the sprite art is pretty good although a little inconsistent with the CGs in the way all the characters have really long faces. I was actually pretty turned off by Ayako’s gaunt face, going all “damn gurl you need to eat more” lol. Her face grew on me over time, though.
The story is where this game shines in my opinion. The game is not really focused just on romance, and a big part of the game is the mystery of whodunnit. The Killer isn’t even consistent across routes because of the Butterfly effect, so you cannot assume things based on just information from another route. The characterization was also pretty consistent across routes, people didn’t just randomly go evil in one route, there are always circumstances behind everything. The identity of the mastermind (who isn’t necessarily always the killer) was not that surprising, however the overall details of the plot had a lot of unexpected elements that had me at the edge of my seat. So overall I’d say that I’m very much satisfied with this work. It reminds me of Chou no Doku, Hana no Kusari, both of them having an early 1900s Japan setting and dark romance plot with a touch of murder mystery (though compared to ChouDoku, the murder part takes up much more screentime in Ainiku).
Do note that some bad ends of this game are pretty awful. Like massive CRINGEEEEE. Some of them are pretty tragic, on the other hand some are 98542659240 miles into WTFland. However in most cases (other than one ending in that I call Chimera experiment end) I thought that the unfortunate conclusions made sense even with the craziness. With that said, let’s start with the the common route summary.
Common route (part 1):
The story starts with a ominous looking black screen where Ayako narrates about how her decisions brought her to “this point”. I almost got worried that the end of this game is going to be bad no matter what, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Then the scenery switches to the protagonist Ayako returning home with some coworkers. The date is October 4, Friday. She internally muses a bit about how the new subway has made it easier for her to commute from her hometown Asakusa to the town the company she works at is located. Soon her coworkers start whining about how she is still single at the OLD AGE of almost 20 and I was like “pwease fuck off, ladies 💢” Especially when Ayako was ??? at their thirsty comments about her big handsome brother and they literally said “this is why you’re still a child” like hello, wtf? ୧(ಠ益ಠ)୨
I really relate to her when she talks about how no guy ever made her feel anything special (obviously her thoughts change later tho, this is an otome game after all). She thinks about how she never got the feeling of getting doki doki over men, all she can manage is simple aesthetic appreciation. She’s pretty “meh” about this lack of interest in men, and after parting ways with her gossipy colleagues, she got distracted by food on a display window while musing over the topic. She seriously considers never marrying and just working to support herself forever, which is a pretty radical mindset for a woman in the 1930s Japan.
Her internal narration helpfully lets us readers know about her family situation:
-she has a pair of twin brothers who are 7 years older than her (she’ll be 20 at the end of the month so they are 27)
-both of them work at jobs that are totally unrelated to their father’s who runs a confectionery
-her dad hopes that she’d get married but he’s chill enough to not force her and has been rejecting marriage proposals that come for her since she isn’t up to it right now
-her mother died at the great kanto earthquake of 1923 and her father didn’t remarry (Ayako is lowkey jelly of her parents who eloped to get married, and a little sad that she never felt such a strong emotion)
-one of her brothers (Seima) is married and lives within walking distance with his own family, but can’t visit often
Once Ayako reaches her home, she runs into Seima who was supposed to visit today, and he’s talking with Saeki Junichi, our first LI. I wasn’t sure if I was reading too much into things but his conversation with Seima sounded like he was planning to send a marriage proposal to Ayako (“I wanted to let you and uncle know about my intentions first”).
First CG GET! Junichi’s voice is soft 💖
Junichi is apparently a childhood friend of her brothers so he has known her since they were little (Ayako used to call him Jun-kun, but she now uses Junichi-san). He graduated from one of the imperial universities and is now a doctor. He has been working at the university hospital at Hakata, but apparently he moved back here recently because he got transferred nearby at another hospital at Nezu. (lots of real life locations come up in this game). Her bro ships her with Junichi so hard, he keeps trying to have her compliment Junichi but she’s too dense to get the hint “Um yeah he has always been good-looking? Why are you bringing that up now? (⊙.☉)” lol.
Her bro makes fun of her (more “you’re such a child” comments (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻) But Junichi seems to like her this way, he laughs and is like “I’m glad you’re still the same 🙂 It’s fine to just be yourself” Ayako is a little unsure about how to take that comment and we get the first choice of this VN when Junichi asks if she’s still worried.
- I’m not worried → Junichi is pleased at Ayako’s faith in him. The guide I followed picked this for Junichi’s route.
- I’m worried because you’re a nice person → Ayako is nervous about Junichi being considerate to spare her feelings, but he says that he’s happy that she didn’t change and is still as straightforward and honest as before, even after she became so pretty. (Did he expect her to become a party girl? lol) I’m inclined to believe that this is the right choice since it gives Ayako max doki doki (“Did Junichi-san always have such pretty eyes? >/////<”), making her earlier dialogue about not being conscious of men as romantic interests sound like bs.
- What do you think, Seima-niisan? → Junichi is disheartened that she finds her brother’s opinion reliable but not his.
The brother starts going “You two look so good together” again but Junichi shuts him up and says “don’t say anything yet, I just wanted to do things properly first”. Ayako is like “uwu are you guys talking about a secret?” which makes Junichi blush (at this point I’m ready to bet my firstborn that he’s planning to propose).
After Junichi leaves, Ayako’s narration gives us more info about her other brother Renji who apparently is a polar opposite to the steadfast and outspoken Seima. He’s moody, doesn’t have a steady job, has always had woman troubles and all of these got worse after he got injured in the battlefield.
At this point their dad invites them back inside the house. Before running off to buy some Sushi to celebrate Seima’s visit (?), he hands Ayako a letter that was addressed to her. After opening it, she finds out that it’s from a lawyer.
“This is Gamou Tatsuhiko from Shinobazu law firm. As the executor appointed by the recently deceased millionaire Konuma Saburou, I would like to speak to you regarding the matters of succession of his will.”
Ayako’s confused, but she doesn’t dismiss it since her brother recognizes the law firm as a legit one that is managed alone by a talented young lawyer. Her dad (he’s back with the food by now) and brother also whisper a little among themselves after seeing the letter, making Ayako think that they know something they aren’t telling her. She’s also smart enough to theorize that the earlier secretiveness over Junichi’s visit had a different reason.
The letter requested a suitable date and time to discuss the issue, so Ayako went out after dinner (in the 1930s not everyone had a telephone at home, so she went to a nearby place offering telephone/telegram services) to call Gamou and invite him for a discussion in her home on Wednesday with her family present. Gamou agrees to her offer. A couple of things to note about that call:
-Hearing his voice instantly makes her think she’s heard him somewhere
-Ayako was hoping to get some info about the inheritance issue out of Gamou during the call, but he preferred talking face to face
-He ends the call with a husky “I look forward to meeting you, Ayako-san” which sends her into massive dokis 😛
On Wednesday, October 9, Ayako is rushing back after work to be in time for the lawyer’s visit. She bumps into the man himself, and there is this pretty CG 💖
Ayako apologizes and after talking a bit belatedly realizes that she’s still being held by Gamou. She’s crushed with a huge wave of doki doki – “It was becoming harder and harder for me to breathe. The strength of the arms holding me…I felt like the sensation was permeating throughout my body.” So thirsty www
Gamou asks her to lead to her house, and on the way Ayako ponders more about how she definitely has heard that voice somewhere even though she can’t find his face in her memories. She also got a “slight sense of nostalgia” during the last phone call. I liked how she was assertive enough to immediately ask Gamou about it, but Gamou asks her back why she thinks so. We get three options here.
- I feel like I’ve heard your voice before → Ayako truthfully talks about how she felt that he had a “nostalgic voice” when they talked on the phone, and Gamou actually gives a sad smile that is bad for my heart ;v;
He asks her “So you aren’t sure that you have met me before?” and starts walking again when she answers yes. Ayako tries to get a clear answer out of him but he says “The truth doesn’t matter at this moment.” The foreshadowing is too strong here XD This is definitely the right answer for Gamou.
- I feel like I’ve seen your face before → Ayako is too nervous to talk about her nostalgia over his voice and says that she feels like she has seen his face before, which Gamou suggests is a mistake in her memory.
- I don’t know, I just have a feeling → Gamou lols at her and warns her that her words can be interpreted as a pick up line, and she gets embarrassed.
They finally reach her house and encounter her other brother Renji there who apparently has been called by their father since this is a important matter involving Ayako. Renji is suspicious of Gamou’s youth (despite his size Gamou is in his early twenties, I believe).
“I’d understand if you were the heir to some big firm, but why would a multimillionaire appoint a lawyer who just started out as his executor? It’s suspicious.”
Despite his misgivings, he lets them pass. Ayako goes to the kitchen to make some tea after Gamou is seated (I found it funny how she kept the door between the room open because she was sick of her family discussing secrets behind her back) and from his conversation with Ayako’s family we learn that Seima is a detective, and has met Gamou a few times in the government office.
Ok, so explanation time. The person behind all this mess, Konuma Saburou, is someone who amassed a lot of wealth through his many businesses in Sarawak, a place located in Borneo Island (it’s a state of Malaysia now, don’t know about the time of the game setting). He died of natural causes at the age of 80. At first everyone was wondering if Ayako is an heir to that man’s property, but the weird thing is that even Gamou doesn’t yet know if that’s the case. The letter written by Konuma Saburou before his death says “I entrust the distribution of my inheritance on Ayako, the granddaughter of Wakamatsu Haru.”
Ayako was confused because her mother’s maiden name didn’t have “Wakamatsu” in it. Her whole family stiffens up and tries to evade her questions about who that is. When asked about it, Gamou reveals that Konuma just mentioned Wakamatsu Haru as a “benefactor” and they aren’t blood-related. The old man left instructions to contact Ayako after his death and give her the right to “control the distribution of inheritance” when the will is read in near future (October 19) at Mejiro Hotel. Gamou requests Ayako to attend the event since they will know the whole truth only once the will is opened.
But it’s a very disadvantageous situation for Ayako, since she doesn’t even know if she’s included in the list of heirs. It’s possible that she might just get the duty to distribute the inheritance even though she won’t be inheriting anything herself. Considering how there are several people with blood ties to the deceased (Konuma was a massive manwhore when young and fathered tons of children both in Japan and Sarawak), it’s possible that she’ll be a target of their grudge if she doesn’t attend and it hampers the distribution of assets. On the other hand, if she does attend and allocates the property to some specific people, the others might hate her. Especially since it’s implied that the amount of inheritance is MASSIVE AF.
Gamou doesn’t push Ayako to attend, saying “Ayako-san’s feelings are more important.” But since Ayako is a good girl(tm), she doesn’t want to directly refuse and potentially cause trouble for the heirs. She decides to spend some time thinking about her decision first, much to Renji’s chagrin (Renji is the classic overprotective bro but in this case I agree with him, it’s all so shady).
However, Ayako isn’t foolish enough to forget about important plot points, so she presses Gamou about the identity of “Wakamatsu Haru”, who refuses saying that it’s better for her to not hear it from him. Ayako correctly guesses that this is part of the issue that her family has been hiding from her, and asks her father this time. Time for the “shocking” reveal (that I saw coming from a mile away): Ayako is adopted.
Her father explains that she isn’t a biological daughter of him and his deceased wife Misao, but a child who was entrusted to Misao by a friend of hers. Misao’s friend “Kayo” was in some trouble that required her to go into hiding, so she left her baby Ayako to Misao. Gamou quips up with the info that Wakamatsu Kayo was the only daughter of Wakamatsu Haru. Because Kayo never returned, Narushima family decided to raise her as their own child. Her brothers also admitted that they were aware of the truth.
Ayako loses her shit at being lied to for so long, and rushes out of the house. She keeps running through the streets of Asakusa for a while, but then crashes into a drunk who grabs her arm and wants her to “accompany” (read: fuck) him as an apology. Ayako resists and screams, and with perfect timing a knight comes to her rescue!
“Don’t you dare touch my woman.”
“Fuck off if you don’t want to be tossed into the slammer, you filthy trash.”
Uh, maybe a little unorthodox for a knight, but he’ll do lol. He punches out the drunk and holds Ayako in his embrace. The drunk is like “ffffs well don’t just let your gf walk around alone here if she’s that important to you” and runs off. Gamou says “Yeah I’ll do that from now on” and checks up on Ayako, now back to his usual gentlemanly speech. Ayako is a little shook at his previous thug attitude, but not enough to be thirsty about how good he smells lol. She’s like “I’m ok you can let go of me now” but Gamou refuses, saying that she might run off again.
She tries to explain that this is the hometown she was born and raised in so she knows this is a safe area, but then gets depressed with the realization that this might not be the place she was born in. Gamou informs her that Wakamatsu Kayo used to live in Yokohoma, so that might be her birthplace. She appreciates that but is still depressed, and in a fit of tears (Gamou’s shirt got all wet) she complains that it would have been better if the letter never came and she didn’t lose her family like this. Gamou disagrees.
“Your family will always be your family.”
Gamou’s hand trembles a little here (the reason for which is found in his route). He follows up that comment with she might make a new family of her own after getting married, and starts teasing her when Ayako explains her plans to be forever alone. Ngl he pissed me off a little, “Ayako-san is still a child www” STOP IT, THIS IS THE THIRD TIME SOMEONE CALLED HER A CHILD BECAUSE SHE’S NOT INTERESTED IN MARRIAGE??? ᕕ(ಠ_ಠ)ᕗ He’s like “you want no experience with love, don’t you” yeah so what??? Ayako gets embarrassed at his teasing, and is taken aback by the difference in his behavior compared to his usual “nice and competent lawyer” mode. He still hasn’t released her from his embrace, claiming that it’s for her safety, and is like “well it’s not like you have bf so it’s alright lol”. When Ayako tries to convince him that it’d be damaging for her reputation if she’s seen like this by her neighbors, he’s like “it’d be good for you to get a little more used to men, otherwise you’d be picked up by some bad guy www” which pisses her off enough to make a retort. We get three options:
- Someone like you? → The guide I followed picked this for Gamou’s route. Gamou likes his women spicy lol. He happily laughs at Ayako’s mocking comment and says that Ayako has a good eye for men, basically admitting to be a bad guy himself. This also makes Ayako look into his eyes and think again about how his eyes also give her a nostalgic feeling.
- Excuse me, I’m capable of judging men → If Ayako denies his claims of her being clueless about men and lists her brothers and her several male childhood friends as reference, he just makes fun of her more. ((ヾ(≧皿≦；)ノ＿))
- I already have a lover → Ayako tries to bullshit but immediately averts her eyes. Gamou is surprised for one second but immediately sees through her lie, and laughs at her even more. She’s like “orz I shouldn’t have tried to lie, now he thinks I’m even more immature”
Gamou was about to propose that they go somewhere if she doesn’t feel like going home yet, but before they can do anything Junichi shows up. Gamou finally lets her go, and Junichi explains to her how he had been asked by Seima to look for Ayako (since she’s likely to blow up at her family if they came themselves), and she’s touched by their consideration. Gamou and Junichi introduce themselves to each other, and for some reason Gamou becomes stiff when he learns Junichi’s full name. Junichi is pissed at Gamou for how he held Ayako in his arms earlier, and demands an explanation. Three options again:
- He really was just helping me → Ayako strongly defends Gamou, making Gamou preen like a proud peacock. Junichi isn’t convinced and a little disheartened, but he accepts it. This is the choice for Gamou’s route.
- It’s true that he had helped me earlier → Ayako admits Gamou’s help but very reluctantly. Gamou looks disappointed, but Junichi isn’t too happy either because because of her Gamou thirst Ayako can’t make up her fucking mind when he asks her if she was unwilling (internally she’s like “well I can’t exactly say that I hated it, I was more worried about the public eye etc”). The guide picked this for Junichi’s route but I think the next one also works.
- Yeah, but he bothered me more than that drunk did → Ayako is pissed and exaggerates a little, and Gamou doesn’t appreciate being compared to a potential rapist. Junichi gives Gamou a death glare (which makes Ayako doki lol) and warns him to never pull shit like that again.
Junichi tells Gamou that he’ll take Ayako home, so Gamou can return (his tone was a very polite “fuck off”). Once Gamou leaves, he fixes Ayako’s hair that got messy and we get a cute CG ♥‿♥
Junichi says that he was worried when he heard about her rushing out of home, and Ayako starts feeling antsy when she imagines what Junichi might have thought when he found Gamou holding her, and is like “ffs this day is the worst, inheritance troubles+’You’re adopted!’reveal+getting hit on my a drunk+being seen with Gamou by Junichi”. She feels super stressed, so she asks for some time when Junichi asks her if she’s ready to return. Junichi proposes that they have some ice cream, and Ayako can’t help taking the bait even though she feels that this is yet another proof of her childishness (nope, ice-cream is GOOD SHIT *:･ﾟ✧(ꈍᴗꈍ)✧･ﾟ:*).
I feel you, Ayako. She’s like “No matter how closed off my heart is, the mention of ice-cream shines sunlight over it” lmao. Junichi proposes to treat her in the expensive “Comet ice-cream parlor”, and assures her that he already informed her family that he might get her some dinner if she doesn’t feel like returning yet. Ayako is touched and accepts his goodwill. (Junichi is so fucking smooth, he lured her into an icecream date to cheer her up 💖)
On their way to the ice-cream parlor he told her even more stories about delicious food found in Hakata, where he worked at before, and she ended up talking about tagging along with him in his foodie adventures. (While Ayako was wondering about the trip cost, we also learn that her father worked hard to pay for her tuition in typist training school, and now she pays him back little by little each month despite his protests. Remembering that kindness now makes her extra moved since she now knows that they aren’t blood-related. The family love in this game is so heartwarming T^T)
Junichi was like “I hope you understand the meaning of me inviting you to a faraway place like Hakata? 😉” and she belatedly realizes that this would be an overnight trip, making her blush from the implication. She also remembers Junichi taking her to movie dates before (that she never realized were dates until now lmao). She’s about to die from the dokis (“My heart was beating so hard that I couldn’t look at him straight”) but thankfully they reached the ice-cream parlor at that point. At first Ayako is still too shook from the realization that Junichi wants to date her and even more (marriage), but once she’s handed the menu her gluttony wins out XD Though it’s famous for ice cream, the place also has regular food so they order food, drinks and ice cream.
Of course, we can’t have a scene without her being thirsty somehow so she first notices how beautiful and long Junichi’s fingers are and then starts pondering about how Gamou’s fingers were. I do like how she calls herself out in her head for thinking about Gamou again lol. When their drinks arrive she loves it, and Junichi is like “I wanted to see that smiling face” What a good boi ❤ He brings up the topic of his earlier proposal about visiting Hakata and admits that the last time he met Ayako in front of their house, he was actually getting permission from her family.
“I want to make Ayako-chan my wife.”
I love how Ayako’s first thought is “doki doki” and the second one is “so THAT’s why they were splurging on expensive sushi” lol. The girl is pretty logical. Junichi describes how he had always been attracted to Ayako and had even regretted not proposing earlier because she kept getting prettier with time (=more possibility of competition I suppose?). He figured that her 20th birthday would be the best time to swoop in and confess. There’s some strong romantic tension here, “Junichi-san looks at me, and I feel so embarrassed that I want to turn away. But I can’t, it’s like I always want to have him looking at me like this.” She even labels her feelings as “tokimeki” as she looks at his “heated eyes” lol
Junichi also informs her that he still doesn’t know what transpired at her house today since he wanted to hear it directly from her. She was worried that he might not want to marry her anymore once he knows that she’s adopted, but once he heard the story was just sympathetic and didn’t care about such things.“I want to marry you and walk beside you in the journey of life. That’s why your feelings are what’s important here.” I was so touched here T^T
When asked about her feelings, Ayako admits in her heart that despite being flattered by Junichi’s proposal and getting dokis from his attention, she doesn’t feel like immediately saying yes. Junichi also doesn’t want to pressure her for an answer, especially considering the circumstances, he just wanted to confess his own feelings. He passionately asks her to rely on him which throws her into another doki storm (I’m worried about how she’s like “my heart speeds up so much I can’t breathe”, that sounds dangerous lol). She thinks about how she never saw anyone as a possible marriage candidate including Junichi, and until now only thought of him as a kind and handsome slightly older childhood friend. The food arrives before she sorts out her feelings, and yummy food just makes her go “ah whatever, all my problems are solvable lol”.
Junichi invites her to eat dinner with him again to celebrate her birthday, and she’s unsure because until now she has always celebrated it with her family. She also starts having doubts over whether this day really is her birthday, but Junichi points out that no matter what the truth is, the fact that it’s a precious day she celebrated together with her family wouldn’t change. Ayako agrees and is like “Whatever if it’s different I’ll just have two birhdays” which Junichi is also on board with. For now he asks her to celebrate her known birthday with him, and again 3 options:
- I want you to celebrate with me → This is obviously the option for Junichi’s route, and the guide also agrees. Here Ayako agrees to his proposal, making him happy. She also grumbles a little about how she wants to be ready next time since today she feels a little underdressed in the high class place they are in. Junichi tells her that her current clothes are fine, and his “You’re the prettiest” line makes Ayako all (⁄ ⁄•⁄ω⁄•⁄ ⁄)⁄ and she starts eating more to hide her shyness XD
- I’ll ask my family → Junichi is a little disheartened at her decision to consult her family first, and Ayako wonders if it was uncool of her to not be able to answer just out of her own will.
- I’ll celebrate with my family → Ayako is set on celebrating with her family and says that the birthday date won’t work. Junichi accepts it and says that it’s for the best, making Ayako think that he really is a nice person to take her family situation into consideration. Also Ayako agrees to celebrate with him on the day before her birthday, so I think this option might also work for Junichi’s route.
They spend some time chatting casually afterwards (also a few lines of Ayako stanning for ice-cream), then Junichi returns to serious mode and asks her how she plans to reply to Gamou. Even though Ayako was pretty set on saying yes at first, thinking over how weirdly complex the whole situation is has started to make her doubtful. I loved how she was like “If Konuma just assigned me as an heir I’d go happily so why this “, her thought process is pretty realistic for an otome game XD Junichi laughs at this, but wonders about the same thing. Ayako also thinks back on the possibilities of inviting the heirs’ hatred by both her possible actions or lack thereof.
In the end Junichi says that Konuma has already gotten her involved into this mess, and since they won’t know the details until the will is opened, the only option is to attend. Ayako takes that point into consideration, and she also thinks that she might become curious about what-ifs if she doesn’t go. She’s also curious about the circumstances of her birth parents and grandmother, and the possibility of the answers to her questions being unpleasant makes her waver between wanting to go and being pensive. When she tells Junichi about it, he promises to protect her with all his power no matter what her choice is.
Ayako is happy that she has someone who supports her like this by her side, and finally makes her decision to go. Her reasoning is that she wants to help out the people involved, and also learn about herself. She’s still a little nervous about the matter of her real parents, and Junichi tries to cheer her up by saying that what she finds might be good news. Ayako decides to stop being negative.
Junichi wishes he could go with her, but only related people can attend the event. He jokes that he might be able to get in if he is her fiance, and Ayako is reminded again of his interest (her shocked face from his comment makes him go “did you forget that I proposed lol”). She keeps getting dokis and is conscious of him but she feels that her excitement is less from the fact that “Junichi proposed to her” and more from “getting proposed for the first time ever”. She even imagines being married to Junichi, with a pretty house and a bunch of children, and while she can logically see herself be happy with him, she still can’t just accept his proposal. She wonders if it’s because this is a once-in-a-lifetime decision. She feels that something in heart is holding her back, but she can’t put her finger on it. (Le foreshadowing…)
Before they leave, Junichi suggests she use the shop’s telephone to call Gamou to give her answer, but for some reason she doesn’t feel like talking to Gamou with Junichi nearby. She gave the excuse of it being late and they go back home, Ayako feeling an odd guilt despite not actually having lied.
Once they get close to home, Ayako thanks Junichi and notices her not-actually-brother-but-definitely-siscon Renji standing in front of the gate. Both of them apologize to each other, Ayako for rushing out and Renji for hiding the truth, and Ayako notices that his hand is trembling. She feels both bad and happy that he got this worried over her. When Junichi reports to Renji that he got Ayako home safe, Renji gets really pissy. Junichi lets him know of how he directly proposed to Ayako, and Renji is like “Even if Dad and Seima are okay with that, I WON’T ALLOW IT (╬ಠ益ಠ)”
Ayako doesn’t get why Renji is that angry even though Junichi is a close friend of his. This is the scene that made me realize how Junichi has balls of steel because Renji was literally growling in a deep voice and Junichi is just all chill “what’s important is Ayako-chan’s feelings ^ω^” Renji was being so aggressive that Ayako freaked out enough to cling to Renji, thinking he was gonna punch Junichi. But Junichi just informed her casually that Renji doesn’t want her getting married at all (which shut Renji up) and then bid her farewell, saying that he enjoyed spending time with her tonight.
After Junichi left, Renji asked Ayako if she planned to marry Junichi. She says that she hasn’t answered Junichi yet, making Renji rant a little about how the rest of her family is super supportive of the proposal. He says that he won’t oppose it if Ayako actually has feelings for Junichi, and she says that she doesn’t yet. This relieves Renji a lot and he laughs a little, saying that Ayako indeed was the type of person without any interest in romance. This makes Ayako pout thinking she’s being called childish again, but Renji just meant that she’s not like most women who’d jump to accept a proposal from someone like Junichi with a good job and social standing. When Ayako asks if he expected her to mindlessly agree, he says “no, I just-” and stares at her with sad eyes. (I smell strong pining here….)
The mood is ruined by Seima also coming out, and destroying whatever cheer Renji had managed to regain by shipping Ayako with Junichi again as soon as Ayako is done saying sorry. His logic is that Junichi can treat them all to good food all the time (like he did for Ayako today) if Ayako marries him lolol. Renji sounds like he’s going to chew Seima’s head off as he warns Seima to not rush Ayako, and Ayako is like “I’m not gonna fall for him right away just from being proposed and being treated to a meal :/” Look at their reactions at this comment.
One of these two is a siscon. Find out which.
Soon after this their father comes out to call them all inside, and Ayako apologizes to him too. Like Renji he also admits to being wrong for hiding the truth, and says “No matter who gave birth to you, you are my daughter.” A good daddy T^T He also says that Ayako is free to do whatever she wants regarding both the inheritance and Junichi’s proposal, and in return she should make the choice with full responsibility. Seima drags Renji off to go drink together in order to catch up(his tone sounded like he was partially lying, so I think he’s gonna lecture Renji on his siscon ways or something lol).
Ayako ponders about the idea of making her own choices and having no one to blame for things but herself. She gets a bit doki doki from remembering Junichi’s words from the icecream date (about becoming his wife and her feelings being important), and her head was getting full of thoughts about him. Right at that moment she remembered Gamou’s forceful ‘rescue’, and is like “omg why am I thinking about HIM （＞д＜）”. Even though logically she knows that Junichi should be more important, thoughts about both men keep swarming in her head.
The next day she decides to directly visit Gamou instead of calling from her office. She rationalizes it by stating that she wants to check out how legit he is and it’s only proper to report her decision face-to-face, but also calls herself out in her head that this seems like she just wants to see Gamou lol. She actually doesn’t find enough free time to visit his office at Ueno until the next Monday, where she unexpectedly sees Junichi leaving the building Gamou’s office is located at. (Junichi doesn’t notice her since she was standing behind a utility pole and he was leaving in a rush.) Ayako wonders if Junichi came here to see Gamou because he was worried about her.
Gamou greets Ayako when she enters Gamou’s office and gives her some tea. She notes that the office is a little barren, and he explains that he only recently moved in and is currently running everything himself. Ayako once again finds his voice seems nostalgic to her, and starts panicking from “remembering his scent and his strength while being held in his arms” lmfao. After hearing her positive answer, Gamou promises to send a car to pick her up on the day of the will-opening, despite her attempts to refuse. Ayako finally agrees, and then asks him whether Junichi visited him. Gamou acts like he doesn’t know Junichi, and when Ayako presses him for an answer he says that he can neither confirm nor deny Junichi’s visit because of lawyer-client confidentiality. Seeing Gamou’s somewhat amused expression and the fact that he didn’t just outright deny it makes Ayako arrive at the conclusion that Junichi did come here.
Then Gamou suddenly changes the topic and asks Ayako whether Junichi really is just a childhood friend to her. Ayako gets a teasing vibe from him at his “oh you don’t HAVE to answer if it’s something that you can’t tell me hint hint” attitude. She figures that Junichi probably already told Gamou about the proposal, so she admits it. Gamou is a little surprised at her frankness, and like her brothers he also teases her a bit for not immediately saying yes to Junichi’s proposal despite his “ideal husband” stats. He does seriously praise her when she states that the decision to spend her whole life with someone isn’t something to be taken lightly, regardless of who she is proposed by. Then he goes back to teasing again and asks how she felt when Junichi proposed to her.
- I was surprised → When she honestly admits that she was surprised, Gamou laughs at her for never noticing Junichi’s thirst, and Ayako is like “I wonder if I’m dense (´･_･`)” lol. The guide picked this for Gamou’s route.
- I was happy→ Ayako says that Junichi’s proposal made her happy and thinks back to how he made her doki, and Gamou goes “that’s to be expected ಠ_ಠ” with an annoyed expression. This is the choice for Junichi’s route, obviously.
- I don’t wish to say → I found this choice to be more suitable for Gamou’s route. When Ayako refuses to reply, Gamou laughs gladly because “So you don’t want to say it to ME”. I suppose he takes it as proof of Ayako being conscious of him a possible love interest and unwilling to talk about another dude’s proposal to him, but I think he’s being too optimistic lol. At this point he stares at Ayako for a bit and makes her doki. “Even if I feel embarrassed I can’t help being drawn to those eyes…I always want to have him looking at me like this.” These lines here give me strong flashbacks to the Junichi scene from earlier, do you want the whole world to stare at you, woman?
Gamou lets her know when the car will come to pick her up on the day the will is supposed to be be opened, and she asks him if he’ll come to pick her up himself. This makes him tease her again, though lightheartedly this time, and instead of pissing her off like before it gives her a ‘nostalgic’ feeling again. He has to disappoint her, however, as the one to pick her up will be someone else who Gamou assures her is trustworthy.
Before Ayako leaves, Gamou touches her hair ornament and compliments it. The phycial proximity makes her remember that time when he hugged her and she goes doki doki for the nth time. They talk a little about the hair ornament’s origin (it’s supposedly her dead mother’s keepsake which was found from the ruins of the earthquake by Renji, but she has never seen her mother wear it) and then Gamou sees her off.
After this day until the day of the will-opening, there is no contact from Junichi which Ayako’s brother Seima finds odd, but Ayako chalks it up to him being busy at his new job, and is lowkey relieved since she hasn’t decided on her answer to his proposal yet.
Finally October 19 comes, but we shall continue what happens after in a separate post for part 2 😉