Takeru Sasazuka

sasazuka

Plot Summary: When Ichika decides to investigate the August case because of her strong desire to reinstate the weapon ban. However, this means that she must work with Sasazuka who makes it clear that he doesn’t see Ichika as anything more than bait. Ichika’s insistence wears Takeru down to the point that he agrees to accept Ichika if she takes on a challenge to prove her worth.

What I think of him: Takeru has a way with cutting words and is an abrasive guy to be around. He’s used to being one of the smartest guys in the room and doesn’t deal well with people who don’t meet his standard for intelligence (not that you would notice much difference in his attitude if you did). He’s a tsundere, but heavy on the tsun. Takeru acts pretty cold, but he’s actually actually pretty easy to rile up if you know the right buttons to push. Takeru has a huge sweet tooth, especially in regards to donuts, but he doesn’t like the flavors of traditional Japanese sweets. He spends a lot of time treating Ichika as a pet.

Nickname: Seaweed head

Charm point: His determination to feed Ichika sweets.

Cuddle, kiss, or push down: Take him down

Would have eloped with: 

  • Okazaki, because he’s a bundle of kindness and smiles

Most enjoyed: Takeru is a great character and this route was perfectly tailored for him to run rampant through it. I like that his goal and Ichika’s goal are ultimately the same and that while he might slow down for her, Takeru expects Ichika to keep up with him. Takeru knows that his personality is abrasive and he uses that to push others to go the way he wants them and he usually gets his way, and it is a pleasure to see him go at enemy and ally alike. (Takeru tormenting Kazuki is my favorite thing.)

Least liked: There are times that Ichika feels like a bystander to proceedings because she doesn’t have advanced computer skills. It would have been ridiculous if Ichika had somehow obtained those abilities over the the month during which the game takes place, but it’s unfortunate that Ichika has to sit back and watch most of the “final battle”.

Worth the price of admission?: Takeru might be too harsh for some people’s tastes and he doesn’t really soften all that much towards Ichika even, but I though he was a great character and I enjoyed his route, although maybe slightly more as a detective story than a romance. Plus I don’t really see anything wrong with expecting people to keep up with your pace, especially considering how X-Day is quickly approaching.

I really like Kakeru’s route as the entry into the game because there is a reveal that will likely be spoiled if you play Kei or Mineo’s routes first. Since that information relates to this plot, I just like it here. Additionally it feels like Ichika would most naturally end up on this route since reinstating the weapons ban is a crucial step to returning Shinjuku to normal and lifting the quarantine.

Recommended routes: 

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Collar x Malice

collarxmalice

Company: Otomate, Aksys, Idea Factory

Purchase Collar x Malice

Synopsis: The X-Day countdown began in April with a broadcast on the screens in Shinjuku. What followed were a string of crimes, month after month, leading to the government to quarantine Shinjuku and repeal the weapon ban. Ichika Hoshina is a low ranking cop who spends her day listening to the complaints and concerns of the trapped Shinjuku residents. On December night, she responds to an emergency call from her superior and upon arriving at the scene is immediately rendered unconscious. She wakes up in a church with a poisoned collar around her neck. The X-Day perpetrators, Adonis, say that they will be observing Ichika’s justice and urge her to come to them by X-Day. When a group of detectives come to save her, Adonis claims that she is one of their sympathizers and urges them all to seek the truth behind the X-Day incidents.

MC: Ichika Hoshino, age 21, is a rookie cop who moved to Tokyo from her family’s inn in the countryside to pursue her dream of joining the police. She lives in her apartment with her younger brother, Kazuki, who is living with her while he attends high school in Tokyo; both of them are unable to meet with their family due to the quarantine and the relationship between them is stressed to say the least. At work Ichika is part of SRCPO, a division created since Shinjuku was quarantined with the purpose of listing to the concerns and complaints of the public in regards to X-Day, they also patrol. Ichika has been settling into her position and has  been making strides towards her goal of becoming a good cop; she has even overcome her fear of using a gun to become a crack shot. Ichika is always happy to help others and wishes for the people of Shinjuku to be able to return to their peaceful lives. She has a knack for dealing with the elderly and children.

Guys: 

  • Aiji Yanagi: The owner of the “detective agency” and a former police officer in Unit 1. He’s reassuring, calm, quiet, and never fails to step in when arguments get too heated. He’s basically the dad of the group. This role in the investigation is processing all the information collected by the others.
  • Kageyuki Shiraishi: The director of the Field Support unit (basically CSI) and a talented criminal profile. He likes cats, and only bothers with things that interest him. He is in charge of the September and October cases.
  • Kei Okazaki: A member of the SP unit (bodyguard) assigned to “protect” Yanagi’s group. Acts like a smiling airhead but is extremely stubborn, especially in regards to getting his job done. Even though he seems to always be around, Yanagi’s group considers him a nuisance and do their best to keep him out of the loop.
  • Mineo Enomoto: A former officer in the Field Ops division. His boisterous and flamboyant attitude masks his awkwardness and pure nature. Enomoto is in charge of investigating the first X-Day cases from April and May.
  • Takeru Sasazuka: A former officer of the Cyber Crime division. Sasazuka is a talented hacker with an abrasive attitude. He’s a returnee from America and love sweets so long as they are not traditional Japanese flavors. He is investigating the August incidents.

Impressions: Collar x Malice is the best otoge I’ve play in a long while. Ichika is an excellent MC. She might be inexperienced, but she is good at what she has been trained to do and she pushes herself to exceed; and honestly, how weird would it be if she was able to easily solve cases that the entirety of Japan’s police department is unable to crack. Ichika has a firm sense of justice and a high degree of empathy so she is able to understand the motives of criminals, but she never excuses the crimes they’ve done. The best thing is that Ichika is a very active participant, even though she can’t prevent things from happening to her she tries her best to do what she can do.

I found the love interests to be great as well. They’re interesting and diverse, each with their own reason for involving themselves with the X-Day cases that tie deep into their characters, much further than anything having to do with Ichika. They’re a rowdy bunch and that paired with the awesome cast of minor characters (A+ supporting cast, I love them) things get very loud and very fun. Although I wish they would all wear their jacket correctly (especially Okazaki because seriously how does his coat even stay on).

The plot has vibrant cast is key to offsetting the serious nature of the plot, and make no mistake, the plot is very serious, there’s murder, bullying, stalking, suicide, police corruption and basically all of Shinjuku is being held hostage. Nothing but murder is on screen, but it’s still heavy subject matter, and the MC takes her time considering what is happening around her and what she might have to do as a person who carries a gun.

There is a shooting mini-game which is not at all riveting but is at least intrusive. There are couple of extras, the best of which is the short story, but I also enjoyed the “Voice Recorder” which is a voiced profile and “Situation” which is a couple of scenarios throughout a day-long date between the MC and her love interest. There is thankfully a history function, for all your replaying needs, and, paired with the ease at which you can see how your answers are affecting the relationship meter, it is super easy to get the endings you want even without a guide (unless you are trying to get all the bad endings for the trophy)

In addition to the good endings, each route has about 5 bad endings throughout the route (one of them involving getting killed by one of the executors unimportant to the current route), and a Tragic Love Ending which happens at the end of the final chapter if the love meter isn’t high enough.

The order I played the routes while playing blind is:

Kei Okazaki > Takeru Sasazuka > Mineo Enomoto > Kageyuki Shiraishi > Aiji Yanagi

But the order I recommend is:

Takeru Sasazuka > Mineo Enomoto > Kei Okazaki > Kageyuki Shiraishi > Aiji Yanagi

I definitely, definitely recommend that you play Collar x Malice if you have a PS Vita, and if you haven’t yet bought it consider purchasing it through my affiliate link here or at the top of the page.

Favorite Guy: Kei and Mineo

Favorite Route: Yanagi

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