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In Your Arms Tonight (Voltage)

In Your Arms Tonight is possibly my favourite Voltage game so far, which is funny because my first impression of it was really bad.

A iOS/Android game, In Your Arms Tonight follows the main character in an arranged marriage. Three months into the marriage, she finds out that her husband is cheating on her with another woman. She begins to question their relationship, and depending on whose route you pick, she either gets divorced or tries to work things out with her husband.

There are a lot of routes available. The main men as seen in the image above are Shohei Aiba, Kiyoto Makimura, Genji Higashiyama, and Kippei Ebihara. Not shown is your cheating husband, Koichi Natsukawa, although he's a main character and has a route.

I refer to the five characters above as the 'main cast' because while there are other routes available, they are not introduced in the prologue. You meet the characters only when you purchase their route, while for the 'main characters', you get a taste of their personality in the prologue.

The other routes are: Ritsu Moriyama, Soji Higashiyama, Ginnosuke Oguri, and Tsukasa Niregi (coming soon).

For the purposes of this review, I'll stick to the main cast!

First up, Shohei Aiba, affectionately known as Aibaman.

Aiba is your friendly neighbour and coworker. He's nice - almost too nice. He genuinely wants the main character to be happy, and he's willing to do almost anything to see her smile, even if it means sacrificing his own happiness.

Oh, and he makes some of the worst puns ever.

Aiba and the main character have a lovely relationship. They've been good friends for eight years, and it shows in their rapport. They trade jokes and cutting remarks easily. The main character tells Aiba he's too cocky, and Aiba throws a joke back. In many ways, they remind me of old friends - which they are, I guess! - in how either one always knows what the other is up to.

But of course, all stories have conflicts, and in this one it comes in the form of Nanami, a younger coworker with a massive crush on Aiba. I can't write too much about Nanami without giving away a lot of spoilers, but she's not a black-and-white villain, and I really like that about her.

Aiba's story is heart-wrenching and sincere, much like the man himself. I wept as I read it, and I'm not ashamed of that.

Now that I'm done gushing about Aiba, moving on to another fan-favourite, Kippei Ebihara!

Kippei is the main character's boss at work. On the surface, he's serious about his work, stoic, and very unapproachable. As you spend time with him, though, you get to know his softer side. He's kind, but strict - not only with others, but with himself. Especially with himself. 

In Kippei's route, the main character is not divorced with Koichi. Because of this, she determinedly denies her feelings for Kippei, telling herself that if she cheated with him, that would make her no better than Koichi. She's trying so, so hard to make their marriage work, not just for herself, but for her parents as well. When the main character finally acknowledges her feelings, she feels that she's betrayed Koichi and her family. 

The pressure from her parents is incredible. Her father, especially, expects her to be with Koichi, to fulfill her duties as a wife, to make him happy -  never mind that she's miserable in the marriage. I have a lot of respect for the main character for staying strong through this. If my father had that kind of expectation for me, I don't think I would be able to go against this.

Moving on to Genji Higashiyama, otherwise known as that guy on the title screen of In Your Arms Tonight!

Told you.
Oh, Genji. Genji is cocky, childish, possessive, and did I mention childish? He's spoiled and narcissistic, and way too used to getting his own way... and yet he values his friends and family, thinks nothing of helping them out (although he grumbles all the way!), and when you call him out on his attitude, he listens. Genji is proud, but not too proud to apologise.

Genji and the protagonists were high school sweethearts, but he left for Italy to pursue his dream of becoming a world-class football player. He'd told the main character to wait for him, but after twelve years, she (very understandably) has moved on and married someone else. Genji being Genji, he takes this as a challenge to win her back.

Oh, and he's a celebrity. Aiba's a big fan.

Not pictured: a thousand other guests freaking out.
Genji's route is essentially the 'childhood love' route many otome games have. The main character is dealing with a failing marriage, expectant parents, and to top it off, a lost love come back. Genji's been in love with the main character for at least twelve years!

Which brings us to another character similar to Genji... Kiyoto Makimura

As you can probably tell from the CG, Kiyoto is pretty child-like. Not just in behaviour, but he's literally child-like next to the main character: Kiyoto is eleven years younger than her. 

Kiyoto is a student artist who also works part-time in the bar the main character and her friends frequent. The first time you meet him, he tries to flirt with you. That doesn't change at all the entire route. Kiyoto aggressively pursues the main character. He is pushy and sometimes goes over-the-top with his flirtations. It is, honestly, very creepy, and the main character is having none of it. She puts him in his place when she needs to. 

To be honest, I don't have much to say about Kiyoto because he's not my cup of tea. I find Kiyoto a bit too much, and if I met him in person I'd probably run for my life. That being said, Kiyoto does have a very painful past that you learn about. Like in Koichi's route, Kiyoto's route explores the concept of marrying for financial stability and security rather than for love. The age difference is constantly brought up, and it brings to light many stereotypes in not only Japanese society, but in Western society as well. 

Also, he signs his artwork with Kiyo. It was pretty hard not to smile at that.

Last but definitely not least, Koichi Natsukawa - your cheating husband. 

Koichi is treated with great disdain by many people, and for good reason. He cheats repeatedly, and if the main character confronts him with it he brushes it off with his regular "marriage is a business contract" or "this is a marriage of convenience". If you look up utilitarianism on Wikipedia, this is what you get: 

...the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, usually defined as maximizing total benefit and reducing suffering or the negatives.

This sums up Koichi's entire worldview. He does not factor emotion into his decisions. Even his affair is purely for physical pleasure - he feels nothing towards the other woman. Incidentally, because of this hilarity ensues during the climax.

It took me a while to play Koichi, because in every other route (prologue included) he is so very disdainful. He looks down on you, treats you like dirt, and not-so-subtly insinuates you're foolish for thinking marriage is for anything but convenience. And he is very good at making his point, reminding the main character that while he married to her for what is essentially a trophy wife, she only married him to appease her parents and for financial stability, so what makes them any different?

And yet through the route, he grows as a character. The main character, bless her heart, refuses to give up on him even when everyone else has abandoned him. She continues to support him, and in return we get to see Koichi's walls crumble.

For example, this piece of dialogue comes off as typically Koichi - angry, disdainful, and arrogant. Even his expression is cold.

And yet, if you play his point of view story, you see this: 

Koichi might just win the gold medal for worst at communicating. 

And that's just it, really. Koichi has a painful past that shaped his worldview to be what it is. His parents aren't particularly helpful, either. Like many children, Koichi's idea of marriage is based on his own parents' marriage - and they most definitely are not a shining example of a healthy relationship. 

In Your Arms Tonight is available for free on the Apple store or Google Play and each route costs USD 3.99. 

Who will you choose? 

Written by Dee

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