Ahh the older guy trope. Sometimes voltage makes this trope really well and sometimes they make it kind of stink. Their best one I played before this was definitely the Kunihiko route from My Forged Wedding. So, needless to say, I’ve been waiting for another older man to come and sweep me off my feet. Well, good news, Johji is kind of hunky and just the right dose of interesting mixed with mysterious!
I think the real draw on this character is that you realize you like him. Normally in these stories one of three things happen, you’re oblivious to the end, you realize it in the middle, or you know almost right away and feel awkward about it the entire story. Then there’s the very rare, I know it and it’s awkward but it’s also kind of endearing and dramatic. I prefer to be dramatic or to take awhile, but dramatic is a lot more fun and that’s why Johji’s is so fun.
Now if you’re wondering, what about an older man is appealing, and how would he acknowledge you- welcome to the Voltage Johji route! Most of the game is every single one of your childhood friends realizing you’re into Johji and very softly implying how he might see you as a child, while also acknowledging your feelings. As usual the ‘main’ guy that has most of the interest in you is a bit of a tsundere about it, but got to give Ichigo props on staying in character and mostly just wanting you to be happy.
My biggest problem with Dreamy Days in general is the flashback stuff. These guys are from your childhood and you have history with them, but usually they’re just painful and tedious to get through. There’s nothing less sexy than finding yourself attracted to someone who then flashbacks to kiddy moments. It really puts you out of the mood! But Johji was a teenager and very kind and gentle to you, so this? Actually not so bad! I really didn’t mind when his memories came up or the cute things I learned about him.
I don’t really enjoy the rehash of a particular theme though: your love interest is rich and has a fiance in storage to cause drama. I liked how they handled it in Kunihiko’s route because he’s legitimately like, no I really do not want a fiance so pretend to be mine just as a favor my niece, wait niece I might love you, crap I do love you niece. And it goes on in such a manner that I am infinitely fond of Kunihiko and find it to be well developed. More often than not Voltage has a storage fiance who is there to make you doubt yourself. Let me defend that for a second and say I love the delicious dramu. Nothing pleases me more in my romance games than to have a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and force me to deal with it. It’s why Ota Kisaki is top tier to me! I love this. But I require something original to really be drawn in.
Does this do it? Well, in one regard. One is that Johji actually did love his storage fiance, but she loved his friend. His childhood memories are a tale of a little girl comforting him as he is rejected by the girl he loves. If it wasn’t for the childhood memories of this part, it would fall short, so I think for once they are a welcome addition to the story. It really solidifies the theme of DD, which I think is simply that each route you choose is a representation of destiny or a love that was always meant to be. Childhood Memories stories are there to show you how you’ve always gotten along or meant something to each other, and then it jumps back to the future to show how it still applies.
Johji is delightful in light of that. He is nothing but exactly what the story is going for, while going a little above and beyond with how the affections work. Even moreso, I am absurdly fond of when something angsty happens and it goes to the next level. Trying to leave and being stopped? Good, but not quite there. Leaving Japan and keeping your feelings hidden and leaving no note declaring your secret love? ding ding ding ding ding! I love that. I think it’s really dramatic and leaves romantic tension, and besides you’re younger and have no reason to believe this older guy might care at all. He must prove it, dammit, and he does!
I will say, I yearned for more. It is always underwhelming in these stories when your love interest is older and is afraid to push his luck, but that was addressed in the epilogue. All of the routes I’ve played actually underplay your romance in that respect. It’s such a juxtaposition from First Love Diaries where you’re having sex in your junior year of high school almost everytime, yet you usually have to play the sequels to get anywhere in Dreamy Days.
That being said, for this route I only played the Main route and the epilogue, where nothing happens. Yet I found that satisfying and eventually plan on doing his sequel and 3 years later. Jeez, Dreamy Days has so much content. That’s why it’s so good though, and hopefully if you enjoy it all I’ll get a little push to continue reviewing his content. Next up is Koh’s route and a few more from Class Trip Crush and First Love Diaries. Why is February so short?!