You know I had been meaning to write up this post for sometime.
Since the inception and humble beginnings of Heroines of the Cherry Blossom I had briefly discussed my introduction into otomes. I’m glad that I remembered it vividly but I REALLY wanted to show you how it opened my eyes from the get go. So? What better place than to start at the beginning.
It was the Winter of 2012. I was home on Christmas holiday for 2 1/2 weeks back home in Pennsylvania and like usual, my sleep schedule was wonky for lack of a better term. I’ve always been a night owl as it’s serene, quiet, and….. I’m going on a tangent. Back to the story.
Christmas had just passed and as a present from an extended family member I had received a iTunes gift card for $50. Ten dollars was immediately used to purchase some songs I had wanted to pick up for my iPhone, but for the life of me I had no idea what I wanted to use the remainder of my gift card for. So I went stumbling around looking at some new games to pick up. I don’t remember specifically but I think i typed in “anime” in the search terms and stumbled upon this:
I’m going to pause my story for a few minutes so you can just take this in…
… Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere…
… Did you absorb all that? I know I did. AGAIN.
So yeah. I stumbled upon this beauty and my first immediate thought was, “WHO DAT BE? IS THAT MY HAND? CAN IT BE MY HAND?” and then read the description for what I would later learn and love as Shall We Date?: My Sweet Prince.
The story starts with a scene in which you (a protagonist) travel abroad for the first time. Right after you are stepping in the country, you are ordered by someone and taken to a palace! And you end up with an unbelievable situation — you have to choose the next king from a few princes! Those handsome princes will make your heart beat faster! Now who will you choose?
Uh… can I choose the bronze God?
So with no hesitation I downloaded the app, played through the prologue, and had chosen Chezem as my first ever otome route. There’s many reasons he was my memorable first. Those reasons being:
- He was free.
- He was handsome.
- He was the strong, silent type based on his interaction in the prologue.
- He was free. We’re in an economic recession so free is me!
So I dove into the story, and much to my surprise? I fell for him hard and I fell for him fast! My interaction with him was daunting at first, but seeing him open up as a romance-able option left me with butterflies in my stomach, crooked smiles across my face, schoolgirl giggles from some of his CGs, and the feeling of falling in love again for the very first time.
I’d love to tell you all how in my first run through of his route blind that I got the happiest ending possible, just like in fairy tales. Then I’d be lying though.
I really got the shittiest ending, and I raged like the true Otome Trash that I am inside. I did NOT just invest all that time into this route, get these AMAZING CGs of him, a metric fuckton of in-game letters from Chezem (yeah I dropped the Prince title BS. At this point we were like golfing buddies!) only to have it all end like this?! No. I ran through the route again, and again, and again, until I got my super happy ending.
…. and then the rest of that $40 dollar gift card was spent on buying the rest of the route and the side stories and sleep was out the window by that point. But? I got the best gift I could ever receive for free, and that was the love of the otome genre. That one route carried me to love a genre of gaming that I felt was my little secret in my otome closet for years until I met Sushi and we both realized we loved the genre together. It was my happy place and it was my escape from the real world all in the palm of my hand.
Being that I recently changed from my 4 year old iPhone, and finally upgraded to the iPizzaPhone I re-downloaded the game. The story and route itself will not change as well as the cast of characters and routes, but I have. For that very reason? I want to reconnect with Chezem and see where it takes me. I got my bets on getting the bad route on my first run through yet again since it’s been 3+ years, but for the sake of nostalgia? It’s worth a shot.
Do you remember your first otome? Do you remember the guy whose innate charms won your heart? Leave your story in the comments section and let’s chat! ❤