After being rejected by Hiroki, the MC decides to put her motivation into work when she’s assigned to Kokonoka’s 100th anniversary campaign. While she’s resolved to put her first love behind her, her relationship with him takes an unexpected twist when she’s suddenly introduced as his girlfriend! When she’s given the chance to deepen her relationship with Hiroki in a way she’s not sure she’s ready for, the MC chooses to take it and change her bond with him beyond being just childhood friends.
This review is a bit long because there’s a lot I want to address about the story and Hiroki himself. I think I kept the spoilers to the minimum. This story is a bit controversial because of the relationship Hiroki and the MC share, but please keep in mind these are my opinions and you’re free to disagree with them.
Hiroki is somewhat of an enigma not only in the other characters’ routes, but also his own; it’s difficult to discern what’s behind his smile. He’s similar to Ichiya in that they’re both business-minded individuals who view everything as a transaction; however, while Ichiya acts cold because he’s unsure of how to express kindness in certain situations, Hiroki can act cold or warm depending on the direction he wants the situation to go. Hiroki expresses “kindness” when it’s needed, but it’s usually because doing so holds some sort of benefit for him; he’s experienced in both business and women and knows how to manipulate things to his favor.
Not to say that he doesn’t have a heart. While he’s not aware of it in the beginning, Hiroki does show concern for the MC in his own way. I highly recommend reading his POV because he’s a difficult character to grasp and how you view his character in the main story is somewhat influenced by the MC’s perspective. The five-year age gap between him and the MC shows in the difference not only in experience but also maturity; the MC in this game is somewhat sheltered, but Hiroki differs in many ways, mostly in regards to his past relationships and the expectations people held for him. While he plays the perfect businessman living in luxury, his past experiences have made him feel as if he’s only worth his status, hence why he’s so focused on doing well in work and gaining merit for promotions. However, this part of his personality isn’t touched upon until later on in the story.
I think the MC grows up a lot in this story. While romantically it may be due to the age gap between her and Hiroki or the relationship she embarks into with him, I feel that the MC personally grows in other areas as well. She gains the courage to do things she hasn’t been able to do before both personally and professionally and pushes herself at work with not only motivation, but also diligence. She learns a lot while working on the 100th anniversary campaign with Hiroki; he’s a big influence on her and helps her gain more confidence and independence when it comes to making decisions she wants to go through with.
This plays a big part later on in the story when the MC is conflicted between wanting to keep her current relationship with Hiroki, but also wanting more than only his body but also his heart; she makes a decision that I feel she wouldn’t have been able to if she been faced with the same situation in the beginning of the story. Like Riku’s route, Hiroki’s also tackles the idea of “friends with benefits”, though in this case it’s more like a contract between Hiroki and the MC. If you aren’t comfortable with these sorts of situations, this story definitely isn’t for you. I really liked the MC in this story; while I personally wouldn’t have made the same decisions she did, I can say for sure that she grows the most in this story compared to the rest of the MLFK routes. She gains the courage and takes the initiative to choose what she wants, and although she falls here and there, she learns to deal from the consequences of her decisions.
I was doubtful as to how the relationship between Hiroki and the MC would progress, but I was pleased with how it was written. They were full of misconceptions of each other in the beginning, but they slowly learn more about each other and how they’ve changed since their childhood as they grow closer. While the start of their “real” relationship may or may not have been a flight of fancy for Hiroki, you can see that he grows to cherish his relationship with the MC and treasures her; he plays the bad guy later on because of his guilt, but I liked how it was resolved and I thought it showed how much not only the MC but also Hiroki changed throughout the story.
Once again, this story isn’t for everyone. If you’re someone who needs to relate to the MC and/or don’t agree with the idea of “friends with benefits”, I cannot recommend this story for you. I strongly recommend reading Hiroki’s POV story to get a better idea of his character; while it’s not a pleasant read in the beginning (he’s kind of a asshat), you’ll understand the reasoning behind some of his actions and have a better grasp of his character. I had high expectations for this story and they were definitely met! I can definitely say for sure that I’m looking forward to his season 2. Until next time, happy playing!