With her developing feelings for Ishigami, the MC struggles to keep it a secret from him while she strives to do well at the academy. Ishigami continues to help her in her studies, and things are going well until he discovers her feelings for him. After coldly rejecting her, he distances himself and the aides are all reassigned to different instructors. The MC throws herself into her studies to avoid thinking about it, but continues to wonder if their relationship will continue to be this strained and distant.
In this route, you get to learn more about Ishigami as a person, not an instructor. While the student-instructor relationship between him and the MC did play a large part in the story, there are moments in the story where you learn about his past, whether it’s from himself or his colleagues. You also get to see little things about him that make him appear more human instead of the “cyborg” he’s reputed to be. It’s no secret that he loves pudding, but the little rivalry he has with Kaga over what sweets are the best is absolutely adorable >w< He opens up more to the MC in the beginning of the route before he distances himself from her, but is still careful to keep their relationship strictly professional.
This route differs from Goto and Kaga’s in that Ishigami discovers the MC’s feelings for him early on in the story, which allowed their characters and their relationship to be explored in different ways from the previous routes. I loved how much the MC grew in Ishigami’s MS1, and she continues to do so in this story as well. Ishigami trusts her capabilities more, and even when he’s not there to support her, she still strives to do her best and earns her place in the academy, even though she got in through fraudulent means. The MC blew me away towards the end of the route; even though she sometimes lacks confidence in herself, she doesn’t let that get in her way of doing what she believes in the right thing to do. She grows as a prospective PSD and as a person, and what I absolutely loved is that Ishigami didn’t play a direct role in it; he did help in the beginning, but she takes to initiative to push herself after they grow distant, and you see the fruits of her own hard work at the end.
The plot is a lot more solid in this route, and the writing and pacing were done extremely well. There wasn’t a single dull moment for me in it; I was either cheering the MC on, crying over Ishigami, or drowning in tears because Chiba doesn’t have a route (if you thought you liked Chiba before this route just wait ; w ;). The reconciliation between Ishigami and the MC was written well, and went along with the flow of the story and didn’t seem too sudden. I highly recommend this route, as well as Ishigami’s MS1, to everyone. Both are my favorites in HLITF so far, and I can’t wait for Ishigami’s sequel. Happy playing!