These articles are an informal and unstructured analysis that talk about characters, routes and my general perspective of them. These are meant to be for fun and a place for me to unleash her thoughts. They also may be updated/amended at any time.

Please be warned that although I will not be explaining the whole route, these will contain heavy SPOILERS for the game.

If you’re interested, please check our spoiler-free general review here: Agent of Love Review: Solve the Mystery of Romance


The MC [Miss Takeuchi]

I wanted to start off with the MC’s personality because I actually really like her. I had to stop myself repeating how every point in my non-spoiler review emphasises her character.
At first, she comes off as your stereotypical perfect heroine – innocent, hard-working and serious. Somehow incredibly likeable and attractive yet, is immune to the charms of the plethora of handsome men around her. I’m sure I don’t speak for myself when I say that we are all tired of Mary-Sues in this day and age – in any medium. Now it’s all about flaws and being a realistic human that we can actually relate to.

Unrelated image but this was one of my favourite scenes in the game.


And the MC’s uptight and righteous behaviour is the whole point of her character. This is deep-rooted from her backstory as an orphan abandoned by her real parents. Although she is adopted into a kind, loving family of the current General-Commissioner (affectionally referred to as ‘Dad), this has led to its own trauma.

We get snippets into various aspects of her life in different routes such as her social standing, her past and her personality. This includes her almost obsessive determination to not do anything to tarnish her family’s reputation. Although scandals are understandable, she takes it a step too far. One example is when she’s about to make love to Ryosei, but recalls her mother telling her to wait for marriage and breaks down crying at the thought of letting her down.
This also feeds into her trauma of abandonment issues as again, in Ryosei’s route, she cries about how her real parents never came back because she was a ‘bad girl’.

Ryosei also points out how bodacious she is and I’m really curious to what extent

As if that doesn’t already feed into the fire, due to her family’s social standing, it is well-known that she is adopted. As rich people with nothing but time on their hands do, there is the gossip of how she was handed her Detective badge and how her father favours her rather than gaining them of her own merit. Along with Shiro’s route, this reveals that she has developed a complex with her social standing. Thus, it makes sense how despite all of these men showing interest in her, she’s still in denial because of how low she thinks of herself.

Taking all these into account, it’s an amazement that she’s able to do her job professionally, sometimes directly with these people who partake in the gossip. Although like all humans, she does let her emotions loose at times. And who can blame her? When she’s literally adept in martial arts and can flip a whole grown man, I don’t how she DOESN’T break the arm of every high-class snob she comes across. (So when she does actually take charge and threaten people cough Ryosei’s route again cough It can be pretty badass.)

I think the key thing that you need to remember is that while you ‘control’ the MC, you are not her. You can choose options for her to do or say things, but she will do them in the way her character would. Is it infuriating at times? Of course, but this is her story and there will be mistakes.


Ryosei Asakawa

At first impressions, Ryosei comes off as the rich playboy who toys around with women’s heart due to his exuding charisma, charm and talent handsomeness.

Usually, I avoid these kinds of routes in other otome games. How the plot usually goes is: Guy snags heroine’s affections then suddenly starts shunning her. It usually ends with her pestering him until he ‘breaks down his walls’ due to years of heartbreak and trauma he’s experienced. Thanks, but, no thanks. 

However, I did find it interesting that he was actually a childhood friend of the MC. It’s not often that the playboy trope is anything more. Thus, when his mission requests her specifically to guard him under the guise of his girlfriend, I was very intrigued. Detective girl having to protect her handsome childhood friend has her guard broken down by his charms. Sounds … believable actually. 

Now while I don’t care for playboys, I LOVE the childhood friend trope. Often heroines overlook at them as nothing more than a “brother” or “good friend”. This balances Ryosei out since we know that this the MC’s reasons for being uncharmed by him. In addition to this, she is aware of his string of ‘girlfriends’ that he is infamous for. 

It was a clever idea to make him the childhood friend. First, it creates good plot development as his reasoning of why the MC would be the perfect match (because their family are close so an arranged marriage would be understandable) makes absolute sense. This was favouritism of the typical otome kind, but this time, it had a reason rather than just because he “finds her interesting”. Second the writers add substance to Ryosei by giving him a genuine reason to love her, which he has since they were kids.

As this was my first route and I didn’t have any opinion of the MC yet, the first half of his route had your average development of romance between the two – filled with lots of teasing from Ryosei and a ton of blushing from the MC. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

I also found their interactions tense at times, such as when she notices Shiro in the newspaper and he suddenly gets jealous, or when she mentions Takasuke and again, he gets jealous. I almost got half-worried this was going to turn into Fifty Shades of Grey thing with how overprotective he was getting with her. Thank goodness, it never went that way. 

But he was clearly interested in her and I didn’t know why she kept brushing him off when some moments had clear chemistry between them. …Until she confronts one of his ex-girlfriends who starts passive-aggressively insulting MC about how she’s just his new plaything until he gets bored of her. 

I had completely forgotten his status as a playboy and also, in spite of their activities together, she was still on duty. So this defensiveness was just her doing her job and trying not to let feelings get in the way. 

Of course, as an otome in love, she starts breaking down and then we (along with Ryosei) get to see more of her vulnerability when she cries about her real parents (as I mentioned earlier). And for me, that’s when the plot started to get interesting. Once they started falling in love, Ryosei’s character definitely changed from a flirt to someone who actually cared.

My favourite scene in the route was when they recall their childhood memory of when Ryosei’s mother died and the MC refused to leave his side and comforted him. I feel like this definitely plays into the playboy archetype of breaking down his walls. But as I said, the way that Ryosei’s walls were broken by the MC years ago really makes his affections for her much more meaningful and touching

This affection is definitely more prevalent in his POV, where we are looking (not literally) at the MC from his eyes – as a cute, shy and hardworking girl. The fact that the childhood memory comes up as soon as he meets her again just shows how much longing he’s had for her – as well as the additional thoughts and scenes that happen with Kouhei that MC wasn’t around for. 

I also appreciated how as a politician with no fighting experience whatsoever – he STAYED that way. I worried that there would be a scene where he would protect the MC instead, but luckily there wasn’t, and he knew his place as a useless guy that needed to be protected. (Just kidding.)

His epilogue was incredibly romantic as it defines his commitment to the MC. The way MC is still very shy with him is frustrating but I do hope the future seasons have her taking more initiative, without her being drunk.

I feel that his route is the almost ‘canon’ in the way that he and the MC are so connected. Then again, canonically, the MC might just view him in the way that heroines do, as just a ‘friend’.

I’m gonna go ahead and give a rating for the routes as well and I would give him a:

8/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Ryosei himself is a 10/10 for me (again I just love the childhood friend trope). But while I did enjoy their romance, the buildup for the first half didn’t really make me feel anything for him. And aside from the internal drama of their relationship between their families, the overarching plot made him a sideline character. Not only this but the epilogue after the proposal was a bit lacklustre for me, both because of how uptight the heroine is and also… because of Kouhei (Which I will expand on in his part.)

Regardless, that doesn’t mean I didn’t love his route and am very excited to see what lies in store for them (Cool, rich politician guy with a badass detective wife? Come on, the possibilities are endless!)

I think for anyone who intends to play the game, Ryosei’s route is definitely the “starter”.


Hajime Fukuyama

When I was researching the game and reviews, the main problem that people had was Hajime’s route. Now having played this route, I would say he’s like 80% more likeable but 20% of me is still kinda… unsure.

I assumed his route would stumble into yandere territory. I’ve only played one yandere-route before in Amnesia and though I personally didn’t like him, he was the most popular character in the polls in Japan. So I realise that Japanese female(?) fans definitely have a more free-spirited outlook to romance when it comes to the West.

His route is focused around a case where scientists are mysteriously being kidnapped. After they check out a café that many of them visit on their lunch break (and has the cutest interaction with Kouhei ever), they see a black van park and kidnap another scientist. When MC tries to save him, she gets knocked out by one of the men. At this point, she wakes up in a hospital and is being cared for Hajime, who at this point just seems like a side character with no connection to the route.

So when the MC goes to eat out with him and suddenly wakes up and sees him in bed with her, I… was uncomfortable and confused, yes. In fact, the majority of the game was me feeling a mixture of confused and creeped out. Their relationship was very hot-and-cold to me as she would either fear him, have immense hatred towards him, but then would also feel sympathy when he shows a sad side. I guess this was MC seeing glimpses of the ‘real’ Hajime? Like I said in my other review, she already has established relationships with everyone in the game that we, the player won’t truly know.  

What we did know was that however was:

  1. He sexually assaulted her after spiking her food.
  2. He was blackmailing her for information about the case.
  3. He wants to make her his wife (??)

In all honesty, this route was the one where I struggled to emphatise with the MC and could only watch the story play out. 

However, my opinion gradually improved throughout the story. The first was when we find out that these scientists have a connection to a virus outbreak (which eerily coincides with our current situation in the real world) and that Hajime was the lead scientist of that project. Hmm, okay I’m getting intrigued. 

Then when we find out that Hajime actually CREATED the virus – I was hooked. In that scene, not only did we find out the truth of the situation but also the reason why Hajime acted so hostile to the heroine. 

The fact that his hubris as a scientist led him to discover a deadly virus really added depth to his character. If he is the bad guy, then why not act like one? But he also knows that he is being targeted so anyone that becomes close to him will also be put in danger

I feel his treatment of the MC was not only done out of malice (like the whole drugging her) but due to his feelings for her, felt like it was his last chance of having a fantasy with MC being his wife. (Which he makes clearer in the POV) Although it doesn’t justify his actions, I did start to feel a sense of sympathy for him. 

And I started to wonder if this is stockholm syndrome setting in?

But a big reason why I came to like Hajime’s route was because of MC (once again – such a good heroine). The way she deliberately put herself in danger and then gets injected with the virus to prompt Hajime to create a serum was such an exciting scene for me. Bonus points to her with how feisty she stays despite being on the verge of dying (to the point where she has a flashback of some past trauma?). 

And of course, then comes my favourite scene of the route (and possibly the whole game) is when MC is crying about how she won’t have the opportunity to become a wife because no one will love her now that she’s dying. And that’s when Hajime busts in with the “My wife, in sickness and in health… I will complete it”. Literal goosebumps. 

Unlike Ryosei, I focused more on explaining Hajime’s route. But that’s because his was definitely the most exciting. I even enjoyed the different endings because they all offered something quite different and really showed how his affections for the MC by the end affect what he does.

The story was one of those instances where can I say only the MC could have endured. The trauma and betrayal that Hajime puts her through – paired with the literal life-threatening consequences is something only she could have done. Unlike Ryosei where you can argue that she doesn’t like him, she clearly had an attraction to Hajime from the beginning.

And it is only by the story that you can learn more about who Hajime is.

Although I did prefer Hajime’s more serious side, I actually was pretty terrified by his Secret End. I mean, yes, it makes sense why he would be the more… adventurous type in bed and yes, this is probably personal preference, but I would’ve liked him more if he was “serious in the streets but gentle in the sheets”. (Oh gosh, that was cringey.)

And so my final rating for Hajime is:

9/10

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Hajime’s route was a 10/10 for me. However his character definitely gives off that angsty ‘I’m so hurt, no one will ever love me’ vibe that I know a lot of girls go for. But when it comes to love, I’m personally not a fan of ‘chasing’ others then I am of others chasing me. (Maybe that’s why I liked Ryosei so much?) The reason that their romance resonanted with me more probably was because of how both Hajime and MC deal with their own traumas.

But for my personal taste, I found Hajime a bit too much of a wildcard. Even though I knew what I was getting into and kept my mind open, Hajime was such an enigma that I honestly wasn’t sure how to feel. Finishing his route was definietely cathartic for me, but I can see why people can give up.

We never found what the vision MC had was about, and the mysterious Dr Kaneshiro just escaped and we don’t know who he is either. I am however most excited to see what the second season of his route will be.


Shiro

SHIROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (cries)

I left his route for last because I didn’t think it was going to be exciting. I mean, the other ones had crime and mystery in them whereas Shiro just has… mystery.

But oh boy, when the game specified “Japanese drama”, I would say that Shiro’s route was the drama route.

Now I HATE drama. I feel they… overdramatise everything and make it more complicated then it needs to be. So I’m really shocked by how this route pulled me in and gripped at my heartstrings ready to tug them in a moment’s notice. 

Shiro’s route starts off different from the others, as their meeting was entirely by fate. She was only there because her father was talking to her about arranged marriages so how coincidental is it that she stumbles upon a kind, handsome, amnesiac stranger?

His character is a literal pure-hearted Mr Perfect. Princely in appearance and talented in fighting, it’s no wonder that the MC is unsure what to think of him. But what pulls her in is that in spite of how uncertain he is about himself, the only thing he is 100% sure of what that he loves her

Even to have him propose twice, with the assumption that you, like a normal person, would not say yes. I thought it was a really good story-telling.

Although I knew she (and I) had fallen for Shiro. I actually couldn’t remember how. So I played the first few chapters again and realised. There was not a particular moment that made her fall in love with him – but small acts of kindness that eventually built up. The small things like buying him a disguise, eating her favourite cake, winning her a doll, protecting her against another man (okay that is a big one actually) all became precious memories

Memories that would again resurface once he regained his memory. The way Nikolas did things that reminded her of memories with Shiro really broke my heart. Maybe because the route was more realistic, I found it easier to empathise with how lovelorn she was.

Now I want to establish that, while I love Shiro, I do not particularly love Nikolas. He’s more like a fancier pompous Ryosei (Is Ryosei my favourite character after all??) without the fun teasing. 

However, I can cut him some slack as his defensiveness comes from his position. Even though his responses came off as harsh, such as accusing her of ‘taking advantage’ of him in his amnesiac state to take the throne, while extreme, was fair because people have probably tried it. 

Although I wasn’t a fan of the whole going to another country, again the writers had a clever reason for doing so, rather than ‘just because of heroine-power’. Nikolas, knowing that he has many enemies, monopolises on her love for Shiro so he knows that she would risk her life to protect him. While I didn’t really like Nikolas, that part made me respect him. 

In general, the way that Nikolas’s personality coincides and clashes with Shiro was executed really well. I like to think that Shiro is just his true personality had he not been influenced by his social class and upbringing. 

And the way he finds himself connecting with the MC due to his lingering feelings as Shiro was so romantic because it evidently shows that again, he probably would love MC were it not for who he is. 

Honestly, I don’t think I can say any more about his route because I would just be repeating the same thing. The heroine’s feelings for Shiro stay prevalent for him throughout but she struggles to let go. And Nikolas finds himself attracted to her but frustrated that he doesn’t know why and that she loves someone that looks like him but is not him. 

And I think that’s the point of the plot. Shiro was perfect because he doesn’t exist. 

So while Nikolas remembers his time as Shiro, they both know that he can’t be him. In part, I think she does end up ‘letting go’ of Shiro in a way. (I’m getting emotional thinking about it – SHIRRROOOOOOOOOOOO)

But I think what I loved about the route was the ending. Unlike the other routes, Shiro’s one was more realistic in a sense. Nikolas is royalty so the two can never end up truly being together. And in spite of the MC’s mother warning her about this and knowing how important her promises to her family are she breaks it and agrees to be with Nikolas. The fact that she is willing to be with him, knowing that they would have to be a secret is a sign of true love for the MC. And that’s heartbreaking.  

Also, I must note that Shiro’s Bad End was actually one of my favourite endings because it’s one thing if MC died. (That’s bad.) But when MC is forced to marry someone under blackmail to protect her loved ones, that’s a whole other level of BAD. And I loved it.

9.5/10

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Shiro’s route is definitely my favourite in terms of the romance. The only reason why I wouldn’t give it full marks is because as I said, it’s quite random compared to the others. Shiro doesn’t have any connection to the MC apart from their fateful encounter thus I feel that despite the love she feels for him, its slightly less meaningful (in my opinion) than the others. The same can be said for his ‘mission’ which wasn’t a mission afterall.

As I probably keep saying, I’m also interested to see what the second season has in store for them. I only hope that they will be able to be together someday.


Kouhei (No route)

[I don’t know what I’m going to do with this section once Kouhei’s route actually comes out]

Even though Kouhei doesn’t have a route yet, I feel that his presence is so prevalent in the other routes, that although the MC doesn’t realise it, she CLEARLY LOVES HIM. He’s been with the MC for literally her whole life and has been going out of his way to protect her from danger… and other men.

But the way he becomes so protective of her, like in Ryosei’s route, comes off like a big brother and also a jealous rival. Even in the normal end and epilogue, it felt like Kouhei was really the one who cared for the MC and Ryosei, like the rich boy he is, just scooped up the winnings. Such as when he buys her favourite drink and says he used to follow Kouhei around to pick it up. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s Ryosei’s route, your standard love drama would make MC realise that she loves Kouhei after all and go running into his arms. But alas, that’s not the case.  

In Hajime’s route, Kouhei largely remains the same, although having a more backseat role as someone actually working on the case. What broke my heart was during the Normal End where the MC dies and Kouhei in his sadness carries her lifeless body to take home. Even though Takasuke warns him that it was dangerous to touch her without protective equipment, he ignores it and we can assume that Kouhei would probably soon get infected after. ☹

When I played through Hajime’s POV route, I did find it strange how he got jealous of Kouhei hugging MC after she got attacked though. Without knowing the MC’s feelings, why would he get jealous over adopted siblings hugging? Though again, since we don’t know Kouhei’s route and they’ve all known each other for years, maybe there were more hints.

I think the most obvious signs of his affections was definitely Shiro’s route that focuses on arranged marriages. There’s much more tension such as when she gets nostalgic about Kouhei when Shiro stays in his room. And when she gets mad at him for caring about her accepting a marriage meeting since she felt like he abandoned her. I don’t think I’ve seen Kouhei so speechless before.

And surprisingly, he doesn’t appear or is mentioned in the epilogue at all, even though he would definitely have something to say about her love affair. But apart from the arranged marriage proposal, he surprisingly didn’t say much when it came to him, especially when she becomes depressed after he regains his memory.

10/10

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Okay maybe this rating is a bit of a joke but honestly from what I’ve seen from the other routes, Kouhei’s got the major feels for the MC and it’s honestly sad how he basically has to put them behind him.

It makes me curious about what direction the writers will go with Kouhei. A part of me feels that he’d be wrestling with his attraction to his sister, even if adopted. But considering that in Japanese society, marriage between cousins is legal and then there are games like Love Revo where there is a romantic end with her blood-related brother, I can only wonder. (I personally don’t have problems with adopted sibling love but I do understand how some people can find that a little disturbing.)

But I just hope whatever route we go, that it’s a happy ending and not a secret lover end!


Aftermath (TL;DR)

All in all, I really enjoyed all their routes and it’s very hard to decide which one I preferred the most.

When it comes to character, I think Ryosei’s façade under the playboy demeanour and his past trauma really made me care for him. But the childhood/playboy trope is what really made him stand out and I’m not sure if I’d feel the same if he was different. (But boy I sure do like him more than I thought before writing this analysis.)

In terms of drama/plot, Hajime was the best as it really had a good chunk of mystery, drama and romance. The story runs so deep and without bad guys or virus apprehended, there is still danger lurking. I feel genuine fear for MC and the fact that she actually dies shows how high the stakes are. It’s the only route where it is a clear “To be continued” and while the other routes have me wondering what problems there’ll be next, this route has a clear dilemma ahead.

And last, when it comes to the relationship/romance, Shiro’s route takes the cake. Whereas the other characters did make me feel sad/sympathetic, his route genuinely moved me. To MC, Shiro was literally this golden prince who came out of nowhere and showed nothing but true love. To someone who felt like a nobody and unwanted, having him love her for just being her was truly touching to her. So the stark contrast when he regained his memory was honestly heart-breaking and her struggle to forget about him was really sad.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say about Takasuke and Ayumu but I really look forward to their routes as well! I will definitely update this article when their routes come out!


You can play the prologue of Agent of Love for free on IOS, Android and Steam.

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