Yesterday mobile otome company ‘Shall we Date’ under NTT Solmare released their first female love interest. The game, ‘Love Tangle’ is one of their over 20 free dating sim apps and currently features 19 male love interests. The introduction of Celina is a courageous and wonderful move by Shall we Date to make dating sims far more representative for players. However, one merely needs to look on Shall We Date’s Facebook page to see the rush of negative and hateful comments following Celina’s release. Many comments have been deleted, and the page has issued a statement asking fans to be more considerate and open-minded to other members of the community. Far too often the voices of negativity and hatred overshadow the efforts of companies to make a more inclusive world. I wanted to write this post celebrating female love interests in otome games to not only show my support for ‘Shall we Date’ but also to encourage them and other otome companies to continue this exciting trend!
Female love interests in otome games are very few and far between. Perhaps the most ‘famous’ one is Jaehee Kang from ‘Mystic Messenger’, an intellectual and hard-working woman, her route is focused on gaining the courage to follow her dreams. Unfortunately her full route toes the line between friendship and actual romance, and it is only during a Valentine’s event fans actually get a chance to see a bit of physical affection between the two women. Although a wonderful fan has made a game called ‘Marry Me, Jaehee’ which looks at what happens during MC’s and Jaehee’s life together. Voltage USA, focused on OVELN games different from Voltage Inc. which translates their Japanese games, has been truly spectacular in featuring female love interests. Unfortunately I have not had the chance to play any, but to give some examples, there is Medusa in ‘Astoria: Fate’s Kiss’ and Emily in ‘Queens Gambit’.
So what is Celina actually like? Besides being ‘Shall we Date’ s first female love interest, she’s also one of their more badass female characters. She’s a master pianist, runs a cafe that doubles as an informant hideout and is incredibly strong. And that’s just what I got from seeing her now and again in Earl’s route! There’s no telling how interesting her route will be! Like most games, visual novels provide the chance for escapism. So give Celina a go, see what it’s like to fight against undercover hackers with a gorgeous woman by your side.
The final crux of the issue is very simple – if you don’t like it, don’t play it. No one is forcing you to engage in stories or games that you don’t like. But on the flip side, please do not sprout negativity. It takes a lot less energy to simply enjoy other stories than it does to type out foul rants on social media. So haters, take a deep breath and move on. Everyone else, show your support for Celina as much as possible. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll get to see a Lily Diamond route for ‘Lost Alice’ or Joy in ‘Love Tangle’!