Plot Summary: Ichika decides that it is very likely that there is something to the rumors of an Adonis mole within the police force and decides to investigate. At the top of her list of suspicious people is the person who received the letter leading to her rescue after her collaring, Kageyuki.
What I think of him: Kageyuki isa man who has not been properly socialized with regular people, and who therefore comes off as odd and frequently unlikable. He lack a filter between his brain and mouth and is very straightforward with his thoughts. He is the top profiler amongst the police and is appropriately perceptive, but he tends to miss or ignore things if they’re inconvenient; he tends to take the shortest, most logical path to his goal no matter who it might hurt. Even though he’s intelligent and cunning, Kageyuki can be surprising uniformed about basic things. He doesn’t really see the point in emotions.
Charm point: His deep-as-the-ocean love for cats
Cuddle, kiss, or push down: Hold hands, before and after he understands what entwined fingers mean.
Would have eloped with:
- Yanagi, because he’s a great sounding board and really the only reason why the relationship progresses
Most enjoyed: Kageyuki is the problematic™ character of Collar x Malice, and the game knows it. I think the game handles the whole thing pretty well. Ichika has a lot of trouble getting along with Kageyuki, even giving up on dealing with him entirely at one point. In fact, without some assistance from Yanagi, I don’t think Kageyuki and Ichika would have gotten together. And Kageyuki has just as hard a time connecting with Ichika, almost having a couple of breakdowns in the process. This pairing had a mountain stacked against it, and I commend the writers on doing as well as they did. Better still, they held Kageyuki responsible for his actions, even though they had set up the perfect escape clause for him. In short, the good thing about the route was that it was well written enough to be not nearly as problematic as it could have been.
Least liked: I have mixed feelings about Kageyuki, and he is definitely my least favorite love interest and route of the game (though that is in part because I liked all the other routes so much). Kageyuki does bad things. Yes he eventually comes to do them for Ichika’s sake, and yes he was previously doing it because of his past, and blah, blah, blah. The point is that he does bad things, and that he’s a bad man in the sense that he isn’t charming enough for me to forgive his badness. Sure, there were times when I was a little in love, but when I reflect back on the route what comes to mind first is my early, bitter impressions of him. And the way that Ichika eventually comes to get along with Kageyuki is in give in and think “oh well, Shirashi will act how he will act, and I need to just accept it”, and to me this is unacceptable in a game featuring a theme of understanding other. The thing that save the route is that at this point Kageyuki is already changing in order to connect with Ichika.
Worth the price of admission?: One thing that this route didn’t do so well that was well done in the other routes were the parts from his perspective. I this route they spoiled a lot of the reveals too early and then when they could have been more informative in the late middle part of the game, they weren’t being helpful at all.
I’ve said a bunch about the route so I think it is pretty clear that my stance is “not my favorite, but interesting”, but there is one thing that this route has above the other routes. The good ending and the tragic love ending branch off from each other too late for my taste and are too similar. Kageyuki is held accountable in the good ending, and in the end it is a lot more bittersweet than happy. I can’t help but wonder why they tried to cram so much into this ending (it spans just over a year in time). However, as I mentioned earlier there is something really great in this route, and that is that there is another bad ending with a CG. This other ending is twisted and the CG is gorgeous. It is far superior as a tragic love ending (take note, Mineo’s route). I loved it. Best bad ending of the game, hands down.