Welcome to my tiny little tribute for my favourite Voltage otome character of all time: Ren Shibasaki from My Forged Wedding. This is a lengthy, one page shrine where you will find a whole lot of my personal opinions and admirations for this character. You will also find a gallery section where I have compiled pictures of his route as well as his CGs. Please note that this tribute is filled with spoilers for Ren's route and so if you do not wish to spoil yourself, I would suggest you come back later. If you're ready to go, however, please proceed and hopefully you will be entertained as I devolve from classy human being into otome game fangirl. ♥

my forged wedding

Cover and title page of My Forged Wedding [via iPhone 4S]

My Forged Wedding is the English adaptation Japanese otome game (dating sim) for iPhone/Android. The story starts with you (to remain referring to as you - the main character), a twenty-something college graduate who is in desperate need of finding work. You come from Kyushu and arrive by train in Tokyo for the first time. You come with the promise of your Uncle Kunihiko (who you find out isn't really your uncle but an extremely distant relative) helping you find work as he runs his own company. On your way to his place, you encounter a couple, miscellaneous men until you eventually wind up at your Uncle's bar. There, you meet five men who your Uncle introduces you to and only giving you enough information about them to help sway your choice for choosing which route you will go on. Nobody gives you information before your choice but the objective of this game turns out to be that you are to play fake wife to one of these men based on different needs. Such as Saeki needs you to play as his wife for inspiration for his writing, Takao needs you to play wife because of a promise to his grandmother and so on and so forth. Now we break into my first (and by far my favourite) route of choice...

first impressions

Title screen for Ren Shibasaki's season one main routes

In the prologue, you are introduced to all characters but let's focus solely on Ren. Ren is originally introduced as a man you randomly see peering through the window of a wedding dress shop. You think about how he's quite handsome and how lucky his wife must be to get to marry such a handsome man. You wind up meeting him once again when you arrive at your Uncle's bar and he is the last of the choices to arrive. When he first speaks, he simply says 'yeah' to everybody who either speaks to him or scolds him for arriving late. He doesn't fully seem to acknowledge the words but simply that he is being spoken to. It is here that you comment on how you actually met earlier but he doesn't seem to recall such an event. This is our first indication that Ren is a man with a one track mind; something we will discuss in a minute. When you try to fill in the blanks for him by mentioning the window, he tells you that he wasn't actually looking at the dresses but at a plant in the window that he found unusual. Another sneak peak into a shining characteristic of Ren Shibasaki. Uncle Kunihiko gives starting introductions and when he gets to Ren, the characteristics he gives you are as follows:

"quiet, aloof, sincere, says only what's needed and is difficult to communicate with but fine once he is comfortable with you"

These are all centre point character traits that reign true through out Ren's story. When Uncle Kunihiko concludes this introduction, Ren wraps it up by saying he 'doesn't like to be mindful of others'. This may seem like a rather cold answer to give and I'm sure for a lot of people, it was off putting (or maybe you're into the whole cold personality thing) but this actually intrigued me. Ren was never, in his introduction, commented on how he was rude. In fact, Takao even explains to you that this is just how Ren is. Nobody is trying to excuse his behaviour and every one seems extremely fond of him compared to the others. If the boys could be considered a band of brothers, Ren would probably be one of the youngest. Thus devolved my resolve to play Ren's route (and now as this shrine will reflect) my classy human self into heart melting fangirlism.

ren shibasaki

"...Me?"
"Yeah, I'll help you with whatever you need."

Look at that face. Memorise it. That handsome face - the one with the sort of muted surprise - is the face you wind up looking at through his entire story. Believe me, it may not look like much at first compared to the other beauties this game has to offer but that expression gets you right in the gut, making you clench your chest over precious moments and wondering how someone so simple minded can possibly be this god damn cute. Ren is a man of little emotion but a lot of heart. At first, this comes off as sort of cold and displaced until you wind up catching onto the beat of his personality. Ren is hardcore logic; through and through. I'm talking give this guy a flower because you think it's pretty and he will break down all the scientific uses for it before stating that he isn't sure how any of those can be qualified as "pretty". It's not that he's dense (in the sense of overlooking an obvious situation) - he just doesn't see the world on a superficial level. He sees the world for what it is, how it functions and how it can be improved. He sees the gears moving where we would only see a pocket watch to check the time. Ren has a thirst for knowledge that is something to aspire to and maybe even be a little intimidated by. He doesn't care that the juice is good for you - he wants to know what vitamins and benefits it contains, what each chemical does and exactly what part of the human body it helps to improve or maintain. Any of those little details could lead to a new discovery; new knowledge that he could take and apply to a completely different situation.

This man takes simplicity to a whole new playing field. He always speaks his mind and with no filters. As stated before, he says it himself that he doesn't like to be mindful of others. It wastes time. Through out his story, you learn very quickly that he thinks it's better to simply get the information out there and then you can take it as you will. Personal opinion doesn't play a very large role in Ren's life and he lives an extremely independent lifestyle with very little excess.

Ren's Condo and the Main Room
"What is this place? It's awfully bleak."

When you first go to his home, he has absolutely nothing inside of his house. I'm talking nothing. The man has a bed, a couch, some plants and basically just everything that comes with a place that's been bolted into the wall. When you ask him if he wants tea, you quickly find out that the man doesn't even keep food or dishes in his cupboards. They're empty. Has he just moved in? No; he's been living in that same place for what he says is over ten years. Ren is 25 - this means this has been his lifestyle since he was at least 15. This isn't just some choice he made when he became an adult. A lack of excess has always been his mentality. He survives off eating supplements because, as stated before, the man runs on logic. Why eat a full meal when you can get the needed nutrients from a couple vitamin packs? When you question him about it, he gets defensive and states that he survived two whole weeks just drinking supplements - just so he could continue to focus completely on his research.

Warming up to Ren (or rather, Ren warming up to you) comes in little doses. He's quiet and stubborn, focused on the task at hand rather then what could be and he's not the most sociable creature. You start to learn more about him by watching his actions. He scowls at carrots and broccoli because he hates them. He pokes at your neck when he means to tell you he likes your hair up. He takes your luggage because he knows it's heavy and heavy things are a burden. They're small, simple gestures that become the focus point of your time spent together.

ALL WORK

If Ren could be described in one word, it would be workaholic. Not a moment passes in his story where his work doesn't play a large, vital role in his character. More often then not, you are left home alone to fend for yourself while he is busy. What does he do that takes up all his time? Ren is a researcher - specifically, a pharmaceutical researcher. He is spending all his time in trying to make, complete and test a drug of his own creation. Dude is wicked smart but you sure as hell wouldn't guess it from half of the things he says.

"You need to sleep, Ren."
"But I slept for three whole hours."

Marry me. God. No, wait, what as I talking about? Oh, right. He's a little bit strange but it is this eccentricity that makes Ren radiant. He has an amazing memory and a wide bank of knowledge when it comes to the medical field. During an outing with Ren, you take a trip to the mountains in search of an herb that he needs in order to complete his research. During this hike, you get to witness how Ren knows the medical use for each and every herb and plant that you come across. From gaining weight to cell regeneration, he knows them all. Such a vast line of knowledge just goes to show Ren's work ethic and how much the medical field clearly fascinates him. Honestly, it's cute. It's a quality that I find so endearing. I could honestly just listen to him ramble on about that sort of stuff and fall head over heels all over again.

NO PLAY

It's not so much no play as much as Ren just... don't have any hobbies. It's not necessarily a bad thing because he enjoys his work and he's focused on it but it also means he doesn't really have much else going on. Any time that you and Ren wind up going on any adventures, it's for one of two reasons: there is something about it that he finds medically interesting or it's something you want to do. Ren is the kind of man who is easy to please. He just wants to spend time with you. He doesn't care what it is that you're doing, so long as you're doing it together. It's not just a line he feeds you in hopes of getting on your good side. It's a fact. He is most at peace when he gets to be beside you.

Ren is, ultimately, a selfish person. He does what he likes and that is that. He's stubborn to an irritating fault sometimes and he prefers to do things at his own pace. But what sort of relationship would it be if he didn't get caught up in your pace sometimes? He doesn't mind it. Being with you is something that he likes and so he is easily drawn into your wishes.

Your budding romance, however, is all in the little things. There aren't any huge, climatic romantic gestures in his tale or any outright flirting. You're washing dishes together the first time you hear him laugh. You're fresh out of the bath the first time he kisses you. It's a quiet sort of romance and one that fits such a silent soul like Ren perfectly. Something domestic. Something easy.

the "marriage"

Every character in this game has a reason that they wish for you to be fake married to them. Now when I started Ren's story, I never actually read his profile. That's right. I thought he was so bloody charming in the prologue that I went right ahead with his tale. So imagine my surprise when suddenly those calculated table manners turned out to not be simply a gentlemanly action but actual royal training. That's right - Ren is a literal god damn prince. Let me tell you: did not see that one coming. The man is the exact opposite for what you would expect a prince to be; he sleeps with his eyes open, for crying out loud. Not exactly what I would picture as the classic fairytale quality of a man expected to lead a kingdom.

The reason he asks you to play his fiancee is because he needs time. Specifically, he needs time to complete his research so that his parents don't decide to pull him back home in order to arrange a marriage for him. He doesn't care about the formalities of the court; all he cares about is how he can help benefit his country. He wants to help the people as a whole; to prove that he is capable in his own way.

Ren wants to develop a drug that will require the resources of his country to be used in order to make it. As such, he is hoping to boost the economy and lower the level of unemployment that seems to be scaring his nation. As somebody who is insanely fascinated by politics and is a socialist, I absolutely applauded this plot point. It was what officially won me over for this man when he had already claimed my heart. Somebody who not only wanted to help out his country as a whole but who took into consideration the people who were living below the poverty line by creating jobs for them? To take into consideration those who had families to support, saying later that he wanted to see the "kids smiling" again? Marry me twice. Just. If there was a way to soul bond with somebody, Ren would be my number one without so much as a question.

THE UNWANTED HELP

Daniel
"It has been a while, my Prince."

When this guy first showed up, my first thought was, 'Whose this tool?'. Keep in mind, I had no idea Ren was royalty at this point. All I saw was some weird butler dude in frills and a pretentious face showing up in a bar run by a man in flip flops. Turns out, he actually was a butler. He is Ren's man servant, meant to keep tabs on Ren for his parents back home. He originally came with Ren when he moved to Japan and helped to look after him until he turned 20 and could live on his own. Now I didn't care for Daniel at first. In fact, he's an ass. He looks down at you as commoner, basically refers to you as filth and seems to make it his sole purpose to poke his nose in between any conversation you can possibly have with Ren.

But then the bastard grows on you. He has Ren's best interests at heart and I am not talking about what he should be doing as a prince. He accepts the fake proposal as real, simply wanting Ren to be happy above all else. He tries his best to persuade Ren's parents to allow him to do as he wishes and finish up his research but a butler can only do so much in the face of royalty. When you and Ren wind up having a fight over a misunderstanding that could result in the lose of funding for his research, Daniel is the one who shows up to remind you that you're not taking everything into consideration. He speaks up for Ren, who is normally so closed off about his emotions, and tells you about the other side of the story. He does this because he's rooting for the both of you; he wants Ren to be happy because he sees that you make him happy. It's as simple as that.

So, in short, Daniel sort of becomes your number one supporter, actively trying to ensure that you two remain together. He's a sweetie at heart and don't be fooled by his younger appearance. The man has stated that he's been actively taking care of Ren since he was born and since Ren is 25, well, you can take a guess at how old Daniel actually is. So to have won over this old timer by the power of love? I'd count that as a pretty sweet victory.

happily ever after

Super Happy Ending

As you can imagine, the story plays out pretty normally. There is a love rival when you go to visit Ren's home country, some disapproval in the royal family for marrying a commoner but at the end of the day, love always wins. You and Ren wind up falling in love for real and eventually get to go back to Japan to be together and for Ren to complete his research. Happily ever after. Exactly what you paid for. But just because it's a classic ending doesn't mean it loses its flavour. On the plane ride back, when Ren pulls a blanket over your heads and kisses you in the temporary privacy of that material, it feels like the sweetest gesture in the world.

Everybody plays otome games for different reasons but the heart fluttering this man gives you through out his tale is very much real. He may be fiction but he's a sweetheart and when I played his story, it was exactly the sort of pace that I needed.

Ren might not be your outright playboy, the boy with all the charms or even the fun loving guy who is always smiling but at the end of the day, if I could pick one character to be my otome game soulmate, it would be Ren Shibasaki. You may now kiss the bride ♥

sequels & side stories

Coming soon! This shrine is ongoing so sequels and side stories will be added as they are released and I have played through them!

links and credit

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