Otome Spotlight: My Forged Wedding
Welcome to the first full size Otome Spotlight! Each week, we will be discussing a different Otome game available on iOS and Android devices. The otome market in the west has exploded in recent years, flooding the market with translations both good and bad. Someone interested in these types of games can be overwhelmed deciding which apps are safe to spend their money on and which have clearly gone through a quick google translate to grab a quick buck from the unsuspecting. We will break down some of the best examples of otome games in the west, and give interested buyers a guide to selecting the right stories for them.
The summaries below are free of any major route spoilers, and should act as a guide to give a more detailed blurb about each route than what is provided in the app before purchase. Each character whose route is currently available in English is listed below, listed in order of release. Most otome characters fit certain archetypes, so learning which character types you prefer can also guide you to characters in a new game. Some people buy all of the routes of a particular character, some people buy the main route of every character. Sub stories and sequels are not discussed here, and may be discussed at a later date at some point.
This week, we will be kicking off The Spotlight with a heavy hitter.
My Forged Wedding is an otome game by Voltage Inc, released in 2012. One of the first games to hit it big on mobile, this is many fans’ first foray into romance sims. Its a solid start, and still a fan favorite at now three years old. Now featuring sequels, new seasons, wedding stories, sub stories, and more, this is the grandfather of quality apps from Voltage Inc, and if one of the oldest on the market that is still consistently updated.
The set up for this game is that you are coming to Tokyo from the country to find work. Your uncle owns a bar in the area, and you are going to be staying above it while you look for a job. Once you arrive, you discover each of his friends has a favor that only you can help them with, and your rich uncle promises you a guaranteed job using his connections if you agree to help someone. No matter who you choose, the problem is the same. For one reason or another, you need to pose as their fiancee for a short time, during which time you will be living with them. Afterwards, you will gain a comfortable job, and your dreams of living in Tokyo will be made real.
Thankfully, that gives you plenty of time to fall adorably in love. Hurray for romance! Each of the characters is briefly introduced in the prologue, but they don’t give you a very clear idea of how their routes will actually play out. Below are spoiler-free guides to each character, so that you have some insight into what their routes will be like, as well as a recommendation. Check the Otome Spotlight: Glossary for helpful explanations of character archetypes in otome games. Since this is the inaugural edition, definitions will be included parenthetically.
Tsundere (Hot and Cold, Stuck up and teasing at first, but soft and sweet on the inside)
What to Expect: Yamato needs a fake fiancee so that he can continue teaching at an all-girls’ school. Single men are banned from teaching at the school, so Yamato fibbed to snag the position. Prepare to deal with a suspicious Vice Principal, out to prove your relationship is a sham and Yamato is a perverted deviant, as well as smitten students jealous of Yamato’s wife suddenly hanging around.
Recommendation: Yamato is the flagship character for the app, featured heavily in the promotional artwork. If this was turned into an anime, he’d be the canon route. That being said, he’s a solid choice. A good blend of teasing and flirting; think a little boy picking on a girl he likes. It has a satisfyingly steamy ending, and some nice plot twists regarding why Yamato is so determined to stay at that school to teach. All in all, a solid introduction into the world of otome.
Flirt (Exactly what you think it means)
What to Expect: Saeki is a famous screenwriter, and is a method writer. He needs to write a story about a newlywed couple, so he wants you to indulge his eccentricity and play his wife until he finishes the script. This route involves lots of Pretty Woman-esque poor girl-rich guy moments, as well as the backstage with a celebrity vibe. Prepare for movie sets, actresses, and scandals. High drama, and a nice contrast to Yamato’s more realistic, down-to-earth romance.
Recommendation: Those who love the flirty Hollywood darlings and stories about regular girls thrust into the world of celebrities will be right at home. Works well as an escapist fantasy, and satiates any thirst for flirtation and seduction.
Kuudere (Calm, composed, speaks little, doesn’t show much emotion, affectionate and sweet on the inside)
What to Expect: Ren is a scientist, he’s researching plants in an attempt to find a cure for a disease prevalent in the tiny European kingdom he hails from….and is in line to rule. Ren is the Crown Prince of an unnamed European country, and needs a fake fiancee to stop his parents from going through with a political marriage for Ren that would force him to abandon his research and return home. Another good fantasy/escapist story with a very unusual prince charming.
Recommendation: Ren doesn’t talk much for a long time, so be prepared to be patient. Once he warms up to the protagonist though, hes like a puppy. Slow burn story that really resonates with fans. Another popular character, he’s a stark contrast to the flirty and slightly mean suitors before him.
Deredere (A sweetheart, just a genuine nice guy that’s upfront and kind. A Cinderfella)
What to Expect: Takao’s grandmother is about to undergo surgery with a 20% chance of recovery. Her dying wish is to see Takao married and happy, so Takao asks only that you accompany him to the hospital with him before she goes in, claiming to be his fiancee so that she can die happy. Grandma complicates things by beating the odds and coming out of the surgery stable. This route is one of the most lighthearted, and the protagonist quickly becomes good friends with Takao.
Recommendation: This route is perfect for anyone looks for something simple and sweet. Not a lot of drama, and the tension is not on the two characters, but the two characters working together through screwball hi-jinx that snowball from the initial white lie.
Shota (younger, or at least appears younger, friendly, cheerful, appears immature within the group, but is mature on the inside)
What to Expect: Yuuta is a comedian, the tsukkomi (straight man) of a manzai (traditional Japanese comedy duo) called Fukumimi, and he’s landed a reality television show! He agreed to play the husband in a staged “reality show” featuring a rough and hostile “wife”. When the paparazzi catch you two in a compromising position, you are forced to play the role of the “wife” to keep the show viable. This route has a bit of a rough premise, but tons of heart, and is another route featuring a nice guy that is immediately nice to you. Shares themes with Saeki’s story regarding celebrity life, and adjusting to things like paparazzi and tabloid articles. High drama at the end.
Recommendation: Anyone hesitant about Saeki’s route because they don’t typically like arrogant guys are right at home here. Yuuta is sweet and more mature than he lets on in other routes.
Ossan (lit. “middle-aged man” usually significantly older than the protagonist, a leader, commonly the only one with facial hair)
What to Expect: despite being introduced as a distant uncle, Kunihiko is technically not actually related to you. Described as first cousins, once removed and even then only through marriage, but the protagonist will refer to him as “uncle” for more of the route then makes me comfortable. Kuni is the CEO of Aikawa.com, a huge tech company. A large client’s daughter favors an arranged marriage that will benefit both Kuni and her father, and the only way to turn down the offer without jeopardizing his business dramatically, is for Kuni to already have a fiancee. Now, this story is a little different, as are the ones that follow. In each of these, the protagonist refused Kunihiko’s offer to help one of his friends, and has been working part-time at Kunihiko’s bar while looking for work. Very unsuccessfully.
Recommendation: If you can get past the fact it’s one step off from incest, the route is actually very solid. It has a “dating your boss” vibe that’s different than the other routes, and Kunihiko and the protagonist really get along well. A big if, but if you’re willing to push your suspension of disbelief, or it doesn’t really bother you, definitely worth a read.
Kichiku Megane (lit. “brutal glasses” cold, sophisticated, kinky in a Fifty Shades way, wears glasses)
What to Expect: Taking place three months after coming to Tokyo, another interview ends in failure. Returning to your uncle’s bar, Kyoichi hears your story and offers you a job on the spot. He is a diplomat recently returning to Japan and a childhood friend of the guys. He has you sign a job offer contract on the spot. Don’t sign things without reading them, because it turns out that the “job” is to pose as his fiancee to fool his relatives, so that he can collect his grandfather’s inheritance. The still-living grandfather has decided he will write his will naming the first grandchild to marry as heir to his fortune, and Kyoichi’s jerk of a cousin is already engaged. Kyoichi is not included in the prologue, just like the remaining characters. These characters routes’ were introduced after the original six due to the game’s popularity, hence the deviation from the prologue’s framework.
Recommendation: Kyoichi starts off cold and businesslike, telling you how he fired his last maid for falling in love with him. As you slowly piece together Kyoichi’s motives for lying to his family and his desperation to best his cousin, his sweetness is gently revealed. Definitely a “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” route chock full of family drama.
Oujidere (“princedere” masculine form of himedere “princessdere” a royal, or regal attitude, from a powerful family, typically out of touch with “normal life” and very graceful. A prince charming)
What to Expect: Haruka is the heir of a prestige family of flower arrangers. He’s famous, and you meet him by happenstance one day. It turns out that he also went to school with Takao, and you end up getting placed as a maid at his house through a temp agency. After he catches you having broken a very expensive vase, he takes the blame, then blackmails you to agree to pretend to be his fiancee for ten days. Why such a specific request, and what being his fiancee actually entails, are questions answered slowly throughout the story.
Recommendation: Haruka’s route is cute, coy, and interesting. A behind the scenes look into a cool part of Japanese culture, and Haruka’s one liners keep the route interesting, and the romantic payoff is a final scene of a Meg Ryan rom-com worthy. I like the integration of having Takao and Haruka know each other. Beautiful people do all tend to know each other, and themes of destiny run throughout this one, amping the cuteness vibe. Perfect for a story to make you go “Awe”.
Childhood Friend (Some tropes are universal)
What to Expect: Saeki wants to set you up with a job at a new spa, since you have been in Tokyo for months with no luck. The spa likes your interview, and gives you a chance to use their services before you accept the offer. It turns out the dreamy guy massaging you is your childhood friend Akito. You run out of the room horrified, essentially ditching your interview. Akito meets you at your uncle’s bar later to tell you he covered for you, and the job is yours. After filling out the paperwork, he agrees to walk you to the resident area where spa workers live. Which is a thing in Japan, and totally normal. The next day you meet Akito to head to the employee housing, when suddenly you’re at a table with him and his parents. Akito had you fill out marriage paperwork, and informs his parents, your lifelong neighbors, that you two are going to be wed. He reveals that his family has been trying to get him to return home to run the family brewery, and give up his spa dreams. By marrying you, and you having just joined the company in Tokyo, it would be impossible for you two to move back home. His parents are delayed for the moment, but problems arise as word of your engagement spreads to your own family.
Recommendations: To lift the curtain a bit, this is probably one of my top three routes. Akito is funny and flirty, with just the right amount of charm, and the history between you two makes a romance seem infinitely more natural. Definitely more of a “slice of life” story like Yamato’s than Haruka’s or Saeki’s, and just the right amount of conflict to keep the plot moving smoothly, without becoming overly dramatic.
My Forged Wedding is a solid starting point for otome fans. The cast interacts really well, and each route gives different experiences. Other otome games tend to be more specific, either fantasy, office romance, school years, ect. My Forged Wedding introduces different types of subgenres well, and has a wide variety of archetypes, almost covering the full spectrum. My Forged Wedding is available on Android and iOS, Main Routes are $3.99 USD to date.