Last week I asked your help in deciding which of the three possible romantic foils in Japanese dating sim New Love Plus+ I should try dating. The winner by a landslide was fighting gamer Rinko Kobayakawa. But before I could get to the dating part of the game, I had to first successfully woo her. …It was a rocky road.
Before the game proper began I had to make some choices — i.e., how I wanted my bedroom decorated and which of the several Japanese personal pronouns I wanted to use. After that, I got my first look at Towano (literally “Ten Feather Field”) High School. As I did, I overheard some students talking about the library club so I went to check it out. There I met Rinko for the first time. …She was less than impressed with me.
At this point I was able to plan my schedule for the following day. Because Rinko is most concerned with intelligence and artistic sense, I chose to focus on literature class, the library club, and my hobbies to boost those stats. Also, between classes I spotted Rinko. I called out to her with a neutral “hey” and she basically told me to fuck off. When I got to the library club meeting, she flat out told me I should quit the club. This is not going well, folks.
After a day of doing quite well in my classes, I got ready to go home only to spot Rinko doing the same. I invited her to walk home with me:
Me: “Because we’re both going home…”
Rinko: “Fuck no.”
Well, that went well.
Woah! That was a surprise. Today, Rinko saw me and actually initiated the conversation. But lest you think I am making any progress, let me just say that I decided to invite Rinko to walk home with me again. …Though why I expected anything different from before is beyond me. At least I did well in my classes and boosted my stats.
I saw Rinko in the library and decided, since I was already sucking at this, I’d karate chop her head instead of calling out to her. Predictably, she kicked me in the shins.
I am a fucking love master, you guys.
In library club, Rinko got a call inviting her to go somewhere with three other people. She turned them down and then stormed off when I asked what the call was about. I followed and found her crying on the roof.
On a whim, I went wandering around tonight instead of studying and came across some guy hassling Rinko about beating him in an arcade game. I decided to intervene. He mockingly asked if we were going out. Rinko said yes and that we were in the middle of a date …and then told the guy I was totally gonna kick his arse. But because I’m not moron enough to fight a guy twice my size, I instead grabbed her hand and ran the hell away.
Rinko was more than a little pissed that we ran away. However, after she calmed down, she mentioned that she was surprised I didn’t run away alone and leave her behind. I ended the night by walking her home.
The major victory from all this? She sent me an email. I’ve totally got her number now.
I was startled this morning as it seemed like she was actually happy to see me. She even thanked me for the work I am doing for the library club. Then, she invited me to a game center. As expected, she kicked my arse. Of course, given my skill in handling her so far, it’s no surprise that I managed to mess up the whole thing, causing her to run off in a huff after I asked if she was usually out this late. In hopes of somewhat rectifying the situation, I mailed Rinko when I got home. She told me I woke her up. FML.
I had a luckier day than usual. I ran into Rinko on the way to school and we ended up walking together. For small talk, I asked if she liked animals. She said no. I said, “What about cats?” and she freaked out immediately looking around for the hypothetical kitty. She then explained to me that cats weren’t animals per se but something different. It was a cute little scene.
At random, I went out at night to the nearby convenience store and ran into Rinko. She was buying canned fish of all things.
Success! I have now karate chopped Rinko on the head so many times, she doesn’t bother to kick me anymore. We are officially winning, kids.
Went to the school library and came across Rinko wearing her street clothes. Taking a chance, I asked her out on a date. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “If it’s a date, why do you think?”
Rinko: “Date? Who with who?”
Me: “You with me”
Rinko: “…What are you saying, idiot?”
Me: “Oh… I-I see. So that’s how it is.”
Rinko: “You said Sunday, right?”
Rinko: “Then it’s ok for us to go out.”
Rinko: “Well this isn’t a date! We’re just going out someplace.”
Me: “Alright then. We’re just going out someplace.”
Day 32 — Our First
Date “Going Out Someplace”.
Rinko made very sure I didn’t call it a date and got angry if I even accidentally said anything of that nature. We went to check out the cherry blossoms and it reminded her of “going out, just the three of us.” She then told me that her new step-mother and step-brother had moved in and asked if I was satisfied now knowing about her home life problems. I said that I was not — because why would I be satisfied that she was in emotional pain. She did not take it that way, I fear, and ended up storming off before the end of the date. She also ignored my emails for the first time ever.
Cassanova has nothing on me.
Late at night I went out for food, only to see Rinko reading a magazine in the convenience store. She got mad that I found her as she was obviously just killing time so she didn’t have to go home. Regardless, I walked her there. She told me I was pushy but didn’t seem to mind the company.
After school, I saw Rinko at the station but she did not see me. So, not content with a chop, this time I jumped out and scared her. She was not impressed with my “elementary school games.”
I asked Rinko what she was reading in the library club. She said I wouldn’t be able to understand it as it was a story about being alone. She continued to say that she was alone and that everyone was her enemy, that it’s Rinko VS the World. When I started to protest, she got mad and ran away.
Got a phone call in the middle of the night from Rinko and realised she was awake and still at the local convenience store. I rushed out to meet her only to find all she wanted was to show me the rare canned mackerel she had found. I got a bit angry but still walked her home. She asked me to go out with her on Sunday. Obviously, the whole call and everything was a pretext to ask me.
Day 50 — Rinko
Date “Going Out Someplace” Number Two: The Amusement Park.
As we walked around, I learned more about her family issues. Despite how it seemed at first, she doesn’t hate her new mum, rather, it’s the opposite. Rinko thinks her step-mother is a great person and Rinko herself feels any problems between them are her own fault. She always feels sorry for her dead mum if she smiles when with her new family. I told her I was there for her if nothing else.
..And now she’s offered to call me “Onichan.” If only you could have heard the exasperated sigh I made as I turned that down. The night ended with her admitting that, in fact, she had just been on her first date ever.
I got another late night message from Rinko: that she was waiting at the convenience store to buy more canned mackerel. But rather than running away from home again, she wanted to tell me that she made up with her family. They told her that it is ok for her not to smile — that everything is fine just by being together. And she even admitted to crying after that.
As I walked her home, she wondered if I will be lonely now that she’ll no longer be calling me out at night. I said sure, but we can still meet up. Then, she got a phone call that interrupted her right before confessing her feelings. This time, it was totally not my fault. That was clearly a divine cock block right there.
Wow damn. Today, Rinko had a major personality shift. She lost her “tsun” and went straight into her “dere.” She was cheerful, kind, and smiling… I don’t know how to take this. …Of course, I doubt that this was due to me or anything I had done. After all, she only acts this way when around the kittens we’re secretly taking care of.
Today, I got held back by my teacher and was forced to make copies for hours. I completely missed library club, but Rinko waited at the school gate for me — though she wouldn’t admit it. Before we parted she mentioned how nice it is to be able to say “see you later” to someone.
Rinko actually waited for me today so we could go to school together. On the way, we finally talked about what kind of music she listens to: British punk rock.
It’s finally here! By Rinko asking what type of girl I like, I am being offered the choice to change her base personality. Just out of sheer morbid curiosity, let’s see what happens when we change her from “cool and quiet” to “kind and active.”
Rinko found more cats.
Oh dear sweet God thank you! The game is giving me the chance to change Rinko back from her new “kind and active” personality. Seriously, this personality is so out of character with its little pouts and “tee-hees” that it seemed like every emotion is being forced or faked for some devious purpose. I kept waiting for her to suddenly shove a knife in my gut!
As we walked to school, I asked her what her thoughts on kissing were. She was not expecting that and got more than a little flustered. After school she wanted to hit the arcade. When we got there, she saw the guy that was hassling her way back on Day 16 and she suggested we go home. Instead, I pushed past and confronted the guy. … he beat the ever loving shit out of me. She wanted to know what would ever possess me to do that. And I replied because it’s the arcade she likes to go to.
We walked to school together every day. Each day I learned something new about her, her dreams for the future, her likes and dislikes… it was happy enough.
Tonight I had a dream. Rinko was all grown up and wearing typical housewife attire. She was seeing me off to work and chided me that if I didn’t hurry I’d be late and get in trouble. She asked what I wanted for dinner. I said I was in a hurry and would rather think about that later, but she was insistent that it was part of her job as my wife. I told her to choose for me and she reacted poorly, like I just implied she was a bad wife. She asked if she made a bad meal choice, would I still love her? I responded that I would.
The rest of the scene was more jokes about her insecurity as I tried to leave. If I didn’t have my wedding ring on, she was sure I would be stolen away. If I didn’t give her a kiss before I left, she feared that she was unloved. In other words, if this dream is prophetic, Rinko gets real needy and real insecure in the future.
The dream ends with me literally have to say “I love you” over and over into the 3DS’ mic.
I got a mail from Rinko telling me to meet her on the roof. She said she invited me to see the sunset with her. She asked if I remembered when we first met — when she was isolated. She said my face is her favourite in the world. She confesses that she thought it would be fine if I saw her as a little sister, but now she wants more, she wants to be my girlfriend. I said I wanted the same and we kissed (aka, I tap the screen on her lips).
Afterward, as we were walking home, she asked if she could call me by my first name; I said sure and the credits rolled. As they did, she asked for a date this Sunday… which is my real life birthday. I wonder how that’s going to work out.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.