To start off my blog we will begin with one of my absolutely favorite characters. I bought and played his route on a whim and he absolutely captured my heart with his sense of humor and his unique lifestyle
The word “Mysterious” really doesn’t sum it all up. Like. He is full on leading a double-life. And I’ll get into this more as we go along. For now I want to set our scene.
All Otome games seem to have a backstory. A raison-d’etre for the main character and a setting the MC (Main Character) is faced with. Some of them can be as simple as “You’re a high school student with a crush on his/her sempaii” – while others can be like “You’re about to be fired – seduce your boss and blackmail him!”. Sometimes it can get really crazy – but for most mobile Otome games it’s not over-simplified but it’s not overly-complex. It’s a comfortable middle. One that the player can open on a busy subway or in a doctor’s office and be able to jump right in.
Tsumugu Kido’s route plays in the Voltage Inc. app Our Two Bedroom Story where the MC’s mother is getting married to another man (I think it says your father has passed) and due to them being newlyweds you have to move out – but they have a place for you to go. What luck! From there you choose who your roomate will be. I chose Tsumugu Kido – but that’s where things get interesting! Because you choose Tsumugu Kido which you know from above is prim and proper and perfectly coiffed. But on moving day you meet….
This fellow. Only known as Kido. And he gives no information about himself…Except that it’s his place and to stay there you need to pay rent. $30 a day. Which adds up! And he doesn’t miss a single payment and even feeding you he charges $2.50 for a $1 cup of ramen (delivery charges apply). You got to move out of there ASAP. And that’s pretty much where the prologue ends. Already I’ve really connected with the MC – I wouldn’t want to live with such a tight-ass when it comes to money. She even goes to complain to her mom but her mom is talking about making food with her new husband and you don’t want to be a bother. That rung a bell for me. When I was about twelve and my mother remarried I ceased to exist and I didn’t want to be a burden and ask for anything. Not even food – so I began starving myself. So I can see a grown MC deciding to suck things up and handle it herself being something I would do. It resonated with me.
From here we move to Episode one – but I must explain one more thing about this game. It comes equipped with a different style of ending meter. Otome games can have a variety of endings – usually phone apps having three Ok- Good – Great. Voltage Inc. has been experimenting with a type of ending where you get two endings but both are equally amorous. I think in Star Crossed Myth the meter reads “Blessed” or “Forbidden” and your ending is based on those choices. Due to Two Bedroom Story being somewhat of a “vintage” Voltage Inc. game they have the typical “Good – Great” ending as seen by their meter.
What you want to aim for is the Happy Ending. He will fall for you either way (that’s how these games do) but you want the super best ending ever. You usually get a special image with that that you can save to your phone and generally show the character being a major cutie to the MC. You can play the game based on what you think the character wants to hear – but I’ve found it’s better to be truthful to how you would reply.
This episode is mainly used to set up the main plot of the game. From the prologue we know the MC works in a publishing firm working on a magazine that deals with chess matches and fan-based; but all the “cool” guys who are seen as “major hotties” by the rest of the office work for the magazine Seasonelle -which as far as I can tell is a magazine that deals with trends in fashion, news, politics, etc. You don’t really handle much with the magazine other than editing. Getting to work one day you find that you have been transferred from the chess magazine to work as an editor for Seasonelle. Wow! What a jump! Everyone envies you and you get to work with some very attractive men. But the thing that got me excited to work there was how the boss immediately treated you. Something that doesn’t always happen in real life. Something that some people feel honored to achieve someday – a sense of welcome. Immediately you aren’t the “newbie”. You are a member of the team!
and on top of that-
Your boss trusts you! He expects a lot from you because he knows how competent you are and how you’ll be able to hold your own! Having worked in retail for years I’m used to being treated like absolute shit by my bosses. I even had a boss tell me that a death in my family was an inconvenience to their business because I came back “moody”. And while I’m not in retail anymore there are instances that my boss will talk to me and I can feel them looking down on me. I’m technically the bottom tier of my job and am trying to move up. And while those right above me don’t look down on me – those a little higher tend to. My boss and my boss’ bosses seem to think those on my tier are incapable and slovenly and sometimes even interchangeable. But here I have a boss (who is woo-able if you choose his route, btw – for those interested) who wants me to succeed and believes that I can. Wow. What a sense of acceptance from people who barely even know me; but immediately accept me as one of their own.
And then enter the other new guy…
This handsome devil walks in and immediately takes everyone aback. The thing that sets you and him apart is that he was working at another firm and was recruited to be working for Seasonelle due to his stark, professional journalism. That he is a cut throat journalist with the skills to pay the bills. And the looks to slay. He looks professional…he looks elite he…
….He’s using a pun to…well…Talk about an image changer; but I’ve never been more in love. Puns? You’re making this drop dead gorgeous man more realistic using puns? He may be an elite but that sense of humor. You have wooed me you pun using squishy-faced man. To be honest if a man was constantly using puns at me and introducing himself with such a lame pun at a company meeting I would instantly fall in love. The MC is a bit taken aback but behind the screen I am laughing. It feels like my stress at work and at home has melted because I just want to see how many more puns this guy can make. How funny he can be! But then he 180’s again and goes into serious mode. And here we get our first CI (Character Image)
He’s in serious mode again talking head-to-head with one of the chief editors; showing his confidence and that he is both capable of writing an amazing report and holding his own. And boy is that when you start to idolize him. He seems perfect! And seeing everyone discussing their work so zealously gets the MC (and me!) pumped for the future.
And then you get home to…
This ragamuffin. He doesn’t reply when you get home (Which I come home to nearly everyday) and he’s slovenly laying around the house. What the hell is wrong with this guy! What does he even do for a living! But he has the same name – NAW! No way they can be the same. You immediately put the thought out of your mind. But notice that he’s eating a pastry for dinner – well that’s not healthy.
Being the caring person you are you make dinner (and I chose to make some for him too, because I enjoy cooking and it’s no extra work to make food for more than one person) and his compliment…
Ouch. But he keeps eating it. Which is a precursor to show that what he says and what he means can be two completely opposite things – which is pretty common in everyday life. Sometimes we act cold to those we care about to make sure we don’t hurt them. I know I have crippling social anxiety around those I have a crush on so I keep my head down and try not to bug them. But he seems to have a kind bone in his body because he says if you cook breakfast and dinner for him then he’ll cut your $30/day rent down to $20/day. Quick math time.
$30 x 30 days = $900
$20 x 30 days = $600.
So just for cooking breakfast and dinner for this guy you save $300 a month. DEAL. But then he surprises you with
and….that’s actually kind of sweet. He’s recognized a trait of yours as “pretty good” and is trying to give you a compliment in his….own strange little way. He’s not so much of a jerk. Much about him is still a mystery and now I want to know why his name is so alike and why all he cares about is money. You ask him about his job and hobbies and he doesn’t answer much so you figure Tsumugu and Kido are two different people – especially due to his style and way of speaking. Tsumugu (the work persona) speaks traditional Japanese (which the translators has turned into plain English – nothing fancy, nothing too casual. Just in the middle) – but Kido talks in a Japanese Kansai accent (usually found in Osaka at the Southern-most point of the island) which the translators have turned into the American Southern accent. Having been born and raised in the South I’ve found his accent to be reminiscent of more Georgia-Alabama style; but that may be due to me reading his voice in my head in that slow drawl that I was raised around. Maybe other’s hear other Southern accents. All I know is that it is adorable and the words he will come to use will make me laugh pretty hard to myself. I even overcame my anxiety about playing Otome games and how I would be judged to show a friend some screen caps and got her to play -just showing that sometimes it pays off to be open and honest with friends.
After dinner you are walking outside in your traditional Japanese-Style house and take him down to the ground with you. Thus ending Episode One on a climactic note (as Voltage Inc. Seems to do).
Let’s see how I did for my first Episode’s progress:
Pretty good! It seems we will reach that Happy ending in no time.
As we left off on Episode one we are now sitting atop of Kido and looking down at him and yet-
Those eyes tho. He looks so different without his glasses. And I will give the programmers a lot of credit because if I hadn’t already know Kido and Tsumugu were the same person I wouldn’t be able to guess due to the hairstyle. They did an amazing job making it realistic that the MC wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. This way it feels like I’m not stupid. In some games it’s like “omg how would the character not know!?” and it’s so frustrating because it feels like the game is dumbing you down and you (as a player) don’t deserve that! Not in the slightest! But in making it realistic this game gives you the dignity a character deserves. It is very plausible that one wouldn’t be able to detect the true identity of Kido. But it gives you the credit of catching on rather quickly. It also adds a hint of romance early on in the game
Well ooh-la-la. Already thinking of possible kisses and caresses. The thing that drives me wild about this picture is Kido’s RBF (Resting Bitch Face). He looks so pissed that it’s almost funny. Which I can understand because if I was reading a paper on the porch and my room mate tripped over me and sat on me I would be pretty pissed off too. Just trying to relax and BAM! Floor time. Now remember what I said about his accent and funny translations? Well you call him a “pervert” because he could have seen inside your shirt at your current stance and-
omg. This is one of the more tame ones but it’s enough to crack me up. Of all the things I expect in a Japanese dating simulator “playin’ cowgirl” isn’t one of them. Immediately you realize that Kido can’t see without his glasses worth a damn and apologize – getting off of him in the process. It’s actually rather endearing to see him a little weaker like this. Unable to see. Needs your help finding his glasses. You apologize for knocking him down and –
Ok…Maybe he isn’t such a great guy after all (fumes). Of course you go off to bed without paying him and the scene cuts to work the next day where you’re handing a project by your boss. And as much as he trusts you he doesn’t want you to be alone on a project just yet (understandable considering you’re completely new to the department – it doesn’t feel like he thinks you’re incapable) -but the editor he wants to place you with is rather busy with another article so he’ll just have to edit it himse-
Well hello Tsumugu. It made me feel rather bashful that Tsumugu stepped forward to help me. Or did he step in to help me? All I know right now is that the boss wanted to hand me a project and although Tsumugu has his own projects himself he wants to help me…I feel rather bashful at this part. It made me feel wanted. Like another coworker didn’t want me to drown and perish by myself – and is taking me by the hand and helping me up. It’s actually kind of an honor! Especially from someone the MC keeps saying is “Elite” and is fawning over in her head. This elite guy wants to help me. But…
Where….Where the hell are you coming from Tsumugu? Do you wanna help me or not?! I’m feeling frustrated in place of the MC over here. I can’t tell if you wanna help me or just take over the project yourself to put your name on it. How frustrating! I already want to write a great article and shove his face in it. So when you get home late with stacks of articles and papers about your topic it makes sense that Kido would be a little confused…
Here is where things get a little Romeo & Juliet-y. “Can a rose by any other name” scene where Juliet declares her love without knowing Romeo is right there under her balcony (creepy). But- You tell Kido how you want this guy at work to respect you and see you are a capable worker and will be able to help him. Unknowingly telling Tsumugu this little bit too. He’s quiet – but personally I think he’s impressed a little bit.
And he leaves you alone to pull your all-nighter…but at work the next day he’s actually quite pampering and gets you a drink, mentioning the all-nighter that you didn’t mention to him (What a little slip up – but the MC writes it off as looking tired, he must have guessed it or something idk). He tells you he will start showing you the ropes of journalism instead of just taking over the project himself and arranges for the both of you to go to an interview together. Finally. Someone taking you seriously as a worker who wants to help you and not just take things over. I think we have all had that one project where someone judged you as worthless off the bat and began trying to do your work load instead of showing you what to do – well. This feels like a victory in that situation. You persevered and now it’s paying off. But…You can’t read Tsumugu’s smile or emotions on his face.
We didn’t raise up too much but we learned a bit more about Kido and Tsumugu so all is good. Plus for being on Episode 2 we are on good track. There are 11 more episodes to go. (I hope with the length of each of these and the amount of screencaps used y’all understand why I’m doing these in 4 episode increments whenever I can). So we move on!
This episode starts off at work and immediately gives you a sense of satisfaction at being an accepted member of the Seasonelle team. The head editor comes in and asks you about working alongside Tsumugu and how you squared up to him.
Immediately you’re given recognition and praised for having insisted Tsumugu take you along for interviews and help him collect data and testimonies for the piece. You decide to ask Tsumugu out for lunch to try and get to know him better – but due to his penny-pinching nature he says he’s busy and..
OH DEAR GOD HE DID IT AGAIN. PUN BOY YOU MUST TAKE ME NOW.
But of course MC doesn’t really know how to react to this stupid pun in the office place and just pauses (“…”) to which Tsumugu calmly replies
(This comes to use later- trust me). It seems like despite being a complete tight-ass (I mean the dude could make diamonds between his asscheeks if you gave him some coal) he wants to make people laugh with the stupidest puns I’ve ever heard (and good job to the translators! Taking a pun from one language to another can be a daunting task!) and he succeeds by making me laugh but the MC is more like ‘wut’. Which I could honestly understand. I do pull a lot of puns but if this hot of a guy began making this stupid of jokes I would be rather confused too. Especially after he’s pissed you off as much as he has.
Remember how he said he would include you in interviews and the such? Turns out he went to one without you because his cell phone battery died and he couldn’t reach you from a public telephone. So. Guess who got left out again? Wheee. It’s you. And as frustrating as it is you have to just move along and accept it. And to be friends and amiable coworkers you just move along and give him something that the company was rewared. Rare Bocky (Supposed to be “pocky” without the licencing nightmare) that can only be found in a certain region of Japan. Strawberry flavor – Tsumugu’s favorite…but…Kido is known to be eating strawberries almost constantly. Huh. Probably nothing. But the day kind of feels like a bust to be honest. And sometimes work does feel like that. You have good days. Great days. Horrible days. And sometimes just “meh” days. So this part is pretty realistic.
Your character was charged up from work yesterday but today a little downtrodden from being left out on something important yet again. Oh well. she won’t let it eat away at her. It is best to release things from work when you get home. No point in worrying about stuff you can’t fix until tomorrow.
You get home and Kido is sitting in front of the TV yelling at some Comedy television show that he’s always watching. Kido seems to have a love-hate relationship with these comedy shows because he’s always criticizing them like
WELL THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR.
Same love of strawberries
Same stupid sense of humor
Same hard-ass demeanor…
Yeah…They are too different physically and in their personalities to be the same. Those are just a few little ticks. They might be distant cousins or something. Just because two people have the same last name doesn’t mean that they’re the same person.
But this is where the game starts getting really good. Really good. Walking upstairs later you hear wind coming from Kido’s room – that dork fell asleep with the window open and he’s gonna catch a cold! What an idiot. I’ll be a nice person and help him out by shutting the window for him –
Well you look familiar…. But wow what a cutie
When his mouth is shut he really is a cutie pie. If only he was quiet all the time. But a rustle in the wind wakes him up and…
That’s when you discover that that’s Tsumugu….Tsumugu Kido.
You run to you room in shock and that’s where episode three comes to a close.
And we are making some amazing progress on that meter. It’s almost like a personal best. But I clicked through that immediately I have to know how it’s all found out. How do I confront Kido about this? You can’t just be like “heyo bitch” cause then he wouldn’t understand. But you can’t let it go on forever. And Oh dear God you were all like “I have to prove myself to my coworker!” in front of Kido not knowing he was Tsumugu. I would be in total shock…and complete embarrassment. As well as being absolutely floored. How could someone who looks and acts like Kido be the total opposite at work? How does Tsumugu balance Tsumugu and Kido?! I have to know!
Here we are given our first side-by-side of Tsumugu and Kido..It’s funny that despite being the same person you can refer to one or the other by different names and know exactly who is who. Tsumugu – the elite journalist with suits cut to military precision. Kido – the one who probably has nothing done with any precision and gives you a hard time about god-damn everything. Everything. But is sweet in his own little asshole way. Like Tsumugu. Just like the MC my head, too, would be spinning. Here you’re working with the guy on the right who uses words to cut through you like a blade with no accent and then you have Mr. Kansai to the left “You’re s’posed to laugh” they’re just so different! But they’re the same! What!?
The MC’s confusion is completely understandable and rational. We would all be confused. This isn’t like Superman where Clark Kent removes his glasses and it’s like “OMG THAT RIPPED JOURNALIST IS SUPERMAN WHAT” – this feels very realistic and like it would be confusing to any living person. And the doubt follows the MC even to work.
During a meeting
in the archive room
(Similar…or the same???)
In the archive room is where things get interesting. Instead of just wondering continuously about if Tsumugu and Kido could be the same person you begin grilling him a little…just a little though..”Do you leave your hair messy and uncombed?” “Where are you from? Kansai?” “Do you have any brothers or cousins around the same age as you?” – that kind of stuff. Just trying to verify if it is him or not. But, Tsumugu is one smart cookie and immediately catches your drift.
Here you are in this enclosed space with this man who is glaring at you like that …could it be your imagination that he’s glaring or…
NOPE. NOT AN IMAGINATION. NOT A DRILL. WE HAVE A SHOUJOU MANGA SCENE GOING ON. (I personally love the pin-me-against-the-wall scenes. They seem pretty romantic to me but idk. They might be scary irl).
“You’re Kido aren’t you?”
And there’s the Kansai accent. Here Tsumugu who is always so prim and proper is using his Kansai dialect. Letting his hair down (er…shagged…idk) in a way. Yes he’s Kido…and he is pissed that you know that now.
“missy” omg you’re angry but I still wanna pinch your cheeks that’s just so cute.
And now we have financial blackmail. If we say anything he will raise our rent over twice what it is now…imagine paying about $1,800 a month in rent. No thanks. I’ll keep my mouth shut Kido…Tsumugu….whoever the hell you are. It’s just so weird for me to see Tsumugu but hear Kido. It’s something you’ll grow to be used to but for now it’s just so strange. And there’s nothing quite like blackmail in the office. But it’s understandable. Imagine having a pristine image after having been so slovenly for so long and then someone has the power to destroy the new-found positive public image of you. You’d want to hide it too. So this isn’t like when my boss is hammering in on me for no reason. This is more refreshing in the sense where I can see where he’s coming from and I’m not just blind-sighted. It’s still not fair that he trusts me and resorts to black mail but at least I can rationalize it. But there’s still the issue of…
THIS MAN IS TWO FUCKIN’ PEOPLE
Work goes smoothly after that little….scene and you arrive home and hammer into Kido at home. Why are you doing this? And he, it turns out, is more angry that you went snooping and found out than anything. This dude likes his privacy.
W…well…I’m your roomie. I should know these things. To be honest I can totally understand Kido. When people come into my room to hassle me or whatever I’m just like “Why are you coming into my safe space to bother me?!” like. We all have that one spot where we want peace and I expect Kido wanted that to be his home life. Where he had to be the tight-ass at work but release the real him at home. So having someone snoop around and figure something out I’d be pretty pissed too. But…exploding at the MC in anger and black mailing me further isn’t the way to go so of course it becomes a childish argument of name-throwing and
Well ouch Kido. Asshole.
He says that but…His next line is a bit more…cryptic
Whereas we had his glorious RBF and pissed-off face before this face has raised eyebrows and kind of a worried look about it. Like he doesn’t want to face the possibility of MC having a romantic interest right under his nose…plus dealing with people having sex in your house like right across from you can be super uncomfortable so I am with Kido on that one. It makes things super awkward and uncomfortable for the other party. So, Kido. I got ya man. You’re understandable other than that whole double-life thing.
Is he ashamed of his Kansai roots? Is he nervous? Does he just like being a slob but wants to make the big bucks and has to dress well to do that?
and why does he think like this? There has to be more than Kido and Tsumugu that meets the eye. It’s confusing. It’s mysterious. He’s such a hard ass with these tiny little soft spots where he’s taken care of the MC (complimenting her cooking, giving her a pick-me-up after an all-nighter, cutting down rent, etc.). He’s not completely bad but he’s not completely good. He’s one of the more human characters in an Otome game I’ve ever seen. Sometimes you’ll be playing a game and the dude is such an asshole it makes the immersion aspect super difficult (for me at least – some girls like them).
This is where Episode 4 ends but – I’m left wanting more. I’m left wanting to know more about Tsumugu and wanting to play one more episode. One more episode after that. One more episode after that. Why is he this way? What changed him if he was changed? Who did it if it was another person? How did he come to be split into two people? It’s a huge mystery. So gloriously delicious for a route and the perfect escape from a hectic life. Throw away your troubles and get involved in finding out the mystery of Tsumugu Kido. And…how are you going to make this little jerk fall in love with you? Is he capable of love?
If you are interested in getting a friend into Otome games I would highly recommend Tsumugu Kido being the first one. His route is an amazing balance of Mystery – intrigue – comedy – romance – and sexuality. His flirting and romantic moments are perfectly balanced with the angst of his mystery and it leaves a wonderful taste in the mouth. I was left with a good feeling of this route and a desire to share more. A desire to know more.
And that’s how an Otome game should make you feel.
((I’ll be posting Chapters 5-8 when I have collected more screenshots and commentary! I hope you enjoyed this first posting. Any comments and reviews would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.))