Agent of Love: Takasuke character route {Otome mumblings}

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 my thoughts.

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

This is part 2 of my Agent of Love: Perspective and Analysis {Otome mumblings} except Takasuke has the spotlight for this article.


After reviewing Agent of Love and my thoughts of the three available routes, I am pleased to finally review Takasuke, the tsundere computer-whiz childhood friend of the MC.

Takasuke Main Route, Epilogue & Secret End

The first impression you get from Takasuke in the prologue is that of an intelligent and sly trickster with a penchant for fighting with MC. Despite their working professions, the two still can’t help but tease one another, which is a testament to their long-lasting friendship. As a computer tech wiz who often shows up in other routes working behind the scenes, he’s easily seen as a chill guy who isn’t afraid to say what he feels. So for one so unbothered, I didn’t expect it to take such a serious and political route – especially one of a familiar nature.

The MC starts off investigating a missing person’s case of the son, Makio, of rich businessman Susumu Nishioka of Nishioka Inc, a tech company that creates all the computers and equipment they use at the precinct. Takasuke, as always, is enlisted to help MC as her second-in-command who hacks into Makio’s computer to find clues.

Makio is soon found in the apartment’s water tank – which makes me think back to the real life case of Elisa Lam, especially when Takasuke reviews the footage and sees Makio speaking and running away from someone unseen. Maybe its the reference (intentional or not) but it definitely brings a sinister and sombre tone to the plot from the start.

However this sadness is cut short as when reporting her findings back to the father, Susumu Nishioka, the MC is met with a misogynistic remark about her gender and how her role is to “take care of children”. As appalling as that is, it brings to light that this kind of treatment of women in the workplace – especially those considered to be more “masculine” jobs. The old man goes on a solemn speech about how his son would never kill himself… before going back to his annoying ways and demanding Takasuke (NOT MC – the lead in this case) to infiltrate his company.

The plot soon splits into part-covert operation, part-office drama and chaos ensues… well not necessarily.

Although this is probably subjective, this route felt like it represented the Japanese themes and culture that the game is set in. Its heavy emphasis on the family politics and nepotism within the Nishioka clan is one that probably rings true for many prolific families within Japan or even, worldwide. Because of this, the case had a lot of information that you needed to memorise or risked getting lost with who was married to who, which one is the son of who – which I admit, as someone who likes to naturally take in information, did. There are a considerable amount of character models compared to the other routes which did help me out and add into the immersion.

However! I must address the MCs behaviour in this route. Unlike the others, she came off as very… for lack of a better term, childish and self-serving.

“Stop chasing guys around like fish poop!” – Takasuke Hiraishi, 2020

I feel the need to mention the scene in which MC reminisces back to when she first met Takasuke, but not because there’s anything significant but because of the emphasis on her brother, Kouhei.

It starts as MC laments about how Kouhei hates her and how she needs to ‘prove’ herself so that he will move back in. As much as I appreciate this underlying relationship between the two that prevails in all the routes, something about this particular monologue came off as needy. The last moment in which I remember this neediness being so prevalent was in Ryouhei’s route – but even then, she was DRUNK. Even if this is 6-7 years from the past, it was just very frustrating. I guess, a part of me just feels that this really cements the idea of Kouhei being the love of MC’s life and while that’s all very well and good because Kouhei best boy, this is Takasuke’s turn to shine!

And despite the big looming mystery of who in the company killed Makio and what the objective of this mysterious killer could be… the MC spends a good chunk of her time basically forgetting about it. She gets pulled into the target of the ‘Intern killer’ who is obsessed with getting her, which is fair as it did help to allow hers and Takasuke’s relationship to develop. But then the other drama… is about Takasuke’s key necklace. She spends all her time thinking about how it must belong to a secret girlfriend and getting upset for no reason!

Compared to the other three routes, this one doesn’t put MC at the forefront. I mean sure, she does gain the attention of the office flirt. But the real MVP is Takasuke who is literally connected to this case. It’s as if out of spite, the MC makes up this whole imaginary sob story in her head that Takasuke has a secret girlfriend whom he loves very much yet has never mentioned in their 7 years of friendship. I could say its due to the lack of confidence within the MC that she believes no one would love her (just as she thinks with Kouhei). But that’s stretching it and honestly is no excuse for her.

Takasuke is definitely the more fleshed out character as he has his own motives for doing what he does. His story does not NEED MC in it. Unlike Ryosuke who hires MC to be his girlfriend/bodyguard, Hajime who chose to do what he did to MC because of his love for her or Shiro who was saved by her, she literally plays the kawaii muscle sidekick in this story. That’s probably why the story is allowed to go into so much depth because it takes its focus away from the MC. Of course, she still has her own thoughts but because of the fact that its family politics do not concern her, she can only do so much and that’s why there’s so many subplots. She can tell Takasuke what he should do but it is only Takasuke himself who can choose.

The mystery does ramp up around Chapter 22 and all the clues and secrets start to unravel themselves slowly. But with 2 chapters left, it all happens moderately fast (in comparison to the office drama anyway). By the end, it did leave me with some questions… like if the culprit had managed to keep killing all of the Nishioka family members, then what next? There was no way they would’ve gotten away with it as picking them off one by one would’ve made it clear who it was. But I guess since the motive was revenge, sometimes one does not think further than that – especially to save someone you love.

In regards to the endings, it always amuses me how the difference between choosing to speak up or not can cause such a butterfly effect to events. In particular, Takasuke’s bad ending was so extreme that I felt like laughing from the amount of despair. From Takasuke dying to Seiichirou dying to then even his MOTHER dying – I couldn’t imagine what the MC would’ve done after that.

Even though out of the current characters available, despite the MC being the closest to Takasuke, it also feels the least …genuine? I’m not sure if it is because of the fact that the two are so used to taking jabs at each other that they’re unable to manoeuvre the clear awkward romantic tension but it just feels… awkward. They felt very self-contained within some scenes and I guess the best way to describe it was your typical will they-won’t they dynamic that romance dramas like to depict. Unlike Hajime, Ryosei and Shiro, there’s no problems with Takasuke and MC getting together in terms of their friendship and chemistry but because they can’t just get together so soon, some friction needs to be created. But these just come off as annoying on the MC’s part. Even in the epilogue, she has to again be annoying and create problems out of thin air and assumes he is embarrassed of being with her (Do you not know how tsunderes act, woman?!)

The epilogue was also not as enjoyable as the other routes as it skips to when Takasuke takes MC back to her room. MC, who is drunk, forces herself upon Takasuke who is trying to be a good boy and resist her – but ultimately fails. It doesn’t seem as romantic as from my understanding of the MC, she is someone who 1) cannot hold her liquor well and tends to act her thoughts and regrets it later on and 2) holds the idea of marriage and making sure she doesn’t dissappoint her parents. I mean, the whole point of Ryosei’s epilogue was that she was so scared of betraying them by sleeping with him before they get married (and they were actually engaged!).

But complaints aside, I did get my dose of fish poop that I had been waiting to see since seeing it in his character introduction in the opening PV.


Takasuke POV

Takasuke’s POV definitely made the plot feel more natural, as we’re given actual insight into his background, his motives with the case and his goals. It also fixes some of the problems in the main route, like the MC’s drama being more contained and important. The way Takasuke addresses how the IT department in the company is the same size as his room and how shoddy it is compared to how grandiose they made it seem (which is absent from the main route) which definitely offers some more information about the company and how it is all about showing face. Compared to how random the MC’s musings were about the company, Takasuke was already more aware and insightful.

His hatred for his father is also more understandable in this route whereas in the main route, he just seems stubborn. But here we learn that not only does he think that his father doesn’t care about his brother’s death, but that he doesn’t care about him or his mother. While this is explained to MC, because we don’t know what Takasuke thinks, you don’t get a clear picture until his POV.

In the flashback of their first meeting, it also seems more streamlined as it connects with Takasuke’s background with his mother. When he meets the MC, rather than observe her as being beautiful, she is just referred to as “Weirdo Girl”, This not only made me chuckle, but without hearing her inner thoughts (especially surrounding Kouhei and his training), she just comes off as this strange girl with brute strength who obediently follows her brother’s command. So that was much more interesting.

We also get some speaking lines from his mother, which clearly shows how feisty she is and where Takasuke gets his brash attitude from. We also find out that Takasuke studied at MIT in America at a young age which considering his family background, makes it make much more sense for the plot even if it does end up being on the nose.

One problem I had is there is a disconnect between Takasuke’s inner thoughts versus how he actually speaks, as I felt that his thoughts come off more eloquent and well-spoken than his actual words did.

I felt the romance flows better and feels more natural. During moments where Takasuke worries about her or during one scene when he points out that MC is not girly but makes his heart pound during the times she is – and you can feel the pounding hit you in the face (figuratively). Another is when he makes a bento box which feels random in the main route but Takatsuke throws a hilarious one-liner about how much of a glutton MC can be while on the other side she just assumes that he’s being sweet for no reason.

In general, Takasuke’s route almost shows MC in a different light. They all view her as this innocent maiden which he also does but with a barrage of insults. It shows the big brotherly instinct he feels that characters often don’t realise is actually love. On MC’s side, he’s just an annoying guy who’s also hot and kind sometimes but not really but sometimes but then no – it just felt really random from her.

Also, Takasuke and Kouhei have a discussion and it seems there is a family secret:

WHAT IS THIS. WHAT IS THIS SECRET. I NEED TO KNOW. There is also a scene in the epilogue about an “organisation” that Takasuke helped Kouhei takedown revive so I’m not sure if it’s related.

As mentioned, the main story from MC’s POV had her spending a good time crying about Takasuke’s key necklace. Going into Takasuke’s POV, I came out EVEN MORE annoyed at her. The amount of internal struggle Takasuke goes through from his POV just made MC come off all that more self-serving and I realised she portrayed a more clingy girlfriend/mary-sue-esque vibe in this route.


FINAL THOUGHTS

8.5/10

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Takasuke’s route had the most intriguing story that best fit with the theme of the game. The execution wasn’t as suspenseful as I hoped as the main route kept getting sidetracked with MC getting caught in petty office drama (which I’m sure we can all relate to) so it didn’t leave enough time to enjoy the mystery. However, Takasuke’s POV is a 10/10 as it helped tie everything together and addressed any inconsistencies and plot gaps. Out of the other three’s routes, this POV had the most substance and actual purpose further than just “providing the love interest’s side” so it is definitely my favourite.

I would say, in terms of the character himself, Takasuke is my third favourite thus far after Shiro and Ryohei (Sorry Hajime but your scary seductive doctor ways don’t sway me!). Although his POV is my favourite one, his overall character route is my least favourite one out of the other 3. Unlike the others, I can actually feel his story ending here as I honestly don’t have any idea what else his story can expand on (aside from the mysterious organisation) but whatever is in store, I just hope MC fixes up back to her cool and non-clingy ways!

Now, onto Ayumu and Kouhei!


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

To follow Delusional Inc for future updates, you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Check out our interview with Delusional Inc to learn more about them here: Interview with Delusional Inc, the developers of Agent of Love

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A self-proclaimed heroine who has a love for indie games and strategy JRPGs with a twist.

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