Love Brings You Home is one of the many Otome titles written by Voltage Inc and currently available on the Love 365 app, which is constantly updating with new series and routes even adding old standalone games into it. Taiyo Inami is one of the characters in the series and I managed to take a look at his main story in the past few days being available for free (it expired, so if you want to read it you have to purchase it).
As someone who always loved playing games with different routes and choices, I found Otome visual novels very fun and pleasant to read/play. It’s not that easy though to get stories that perfectly match my tastes and mindset, since the protagonist needs to behave in specific ways in order to feel more like myself.
Every series has a free prologue that gives you a general overview about the novel and the kind of life the main character leads. In this case, you as the protagonist are living alone in your grandmother’s house and working for a toys industry in Yokohama as character designer for collectible capsule figures. Your boss is very pretencious, taking advantage of you whenever he needs a job done quickly and someone to run his own errands if he gets too lazy to do it himself.
You are a workaholic and always give your best with every proposal, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to please Mr. Kato, who dislikes cutesy designs and prefers the creepy and edgy style for his department.
Each prologue also introduces all the male characters that have (or will get in the future) their own route in different circumstances, Taiyo is the very last one introduced at the end of the prologue before the game prompts you to choose the route you want to follow.
Warning: Although I am intentionally avoiding the ending(s) and major details to let you discover everything on the app directly if you haven’t played the story yet, the article still includes a bunch of spoilers for part of the plot.
I’s been a very long and difficult day, things at work have gone extremely wrong and you have nobody to lean on in the hardest times of your life. “I smile and tell everyone that I’m just fine, but deep inside I’m a total mess.” That’s what you say to yourself on your way home that night, feeling completely down the weather and ready to spill tears at any minute for the piled up stress and heartbreaking.
And then he comes to you like a magnet guided by a powerful force; a pretty face framed by wild light brown hair, looking at you with a soft expression. A warm hand wipes your forming tears away with a gentle touch, a warm smile tightens your painful heart as the man in front of you tells you not to cry. He looks so incredibly familiar that you can’t quite grasp it though… did you actually see him somewhere before or are you imagining things?
Confusion washes over you when he says you want to lean on someone because you’ve worked way too hard all by yourself, fingers smoothing your hair behind your ear tenderly. After a moment of hesitation you rush away from him when he opens his arms to you, stating he’ll be there to make you feel better and get rid of your sadness with a healthy hug.
“It’s you again.”
After that odd encounter at the beach, the mysterious man somehow managed to arrive at your place at the same time using a different path. Introducing himself as Taiyo Inami he claims to be looking for your grandmother Midori, who used to live in that house before you moved in. Judging by his intentions of speaking to the woman he’s clearly not informed about the her recent passing, so you let him get inside to offer a cup of tea.
The stranger explains he fell in love with the special sardine buns Midori made when she ran a food truck with other local specialties, strangely affirming he wanted to see her again because that’s “all he got left to go on” and has “no other place to go”. Taiyo tries to convince you to let him stay with you at least for the night, promising to adapt and sleep anywhere without causing trouble. It’s quite hard to accept a man you don’t even know into your house out of nowhere, but you surely don’t have the heart to brutally kick him out…yet.
Taiyo is genuinely affectionate as he prepares you breakfast and offers a warm hug first thing in the morning to improve your mood, which has been especially off lately because of how badly things are going at work. As nice as the guy is, due to your current frustration you don’t really want to live with an unknown person around and thus you have all the intentions in the world to make Taiyo leave your place as soon as he can. And yet, his gentle embrace and the sweetest manners you could ever find in a guy are rapidly getting right to your heart, Taiyo’s voice soaked in sadness when he declares to have no place where he truly belongs out there.
“It’s just the two of us together… alone.”
Up to this point it’s literally impossible for you to send the poor thing away, so you decide to let him stay in the guest cottage built into the backyard. Not only he’s treating you as nicely as one possibly could, but you just found in his hugs all the comfort you were silently seeking the times you came home devastated, both physically and emotionally, for your daily struggles and the constant loneliness affecting you more than you want to admit.
However, things start taking a strange turn one night when a mysterious man with a suit and a pair of glasses approaches you to ask about an expensive looking long-haired cat, free-spirited but friendly. He tells you to keep him informed should you find this pet anywhere and leaves without giving you any sort of contact information. Did he simply forget to do so, or is he planning to meet you again sometime soon?
The more time you spend with Taiyo, the more you try to uncover his past. He’s been extremely vague since you started to live together, acting like he has spent his full existence under a rock and doesn’t really know what’s going on outside your dwelling. But the moment you see him staring at the moon with such a lost and serious look on his face, you can’t seem to brush off the feeling of him looking extremely familiar again, just like an actor you admire and your friends are dying for despite his recent disappearance from the scenes.
You accidentally walk on Taiyo in the bathroom one day as he wears a pair of sweatpants and a towel around his neck. Ignoring your initial embarassment for the awkward situation, you are immediatly captivated by the three dark moles on the back of his right shoulder, perfectly lined in a constellation shape.
A popular drama featuring Haru the actor is airing on TV again later that evening and you constantly observe how much Haru and Taiyo somehow look like two dopplegangers.
The feeling of familiarity turns into a certainty when Haru appears shirtless during a steamy shower scene on set and you can distinctly recognize that same lined moles you saw on Taiyo’s skin just a moment before in the bathroom. It’s absolutely unthinkable that they both may have the same moles in the same spot by a pure coincidence.
The shock on Taiyo’s face upon seeing himself on TV doesn’t go unnoticed and the man wonders out loud if he got any lost twin he didn’t know about somewhere in Japan.
In front of your confusion for the fact he doesn’t know this Haru at all, Taiyo finally confesses the kind of truth you definitely weren’t expecting to hear, yet makes so much sense now that you’re facing it once and for all; Taiyo has amnesia.
How exactly he lost all the memories about the past few years remains uncertain, fragments of childhood still present in his mind along with the short time he spent with Midori when she took him in like you did. He only seems to remember specific people and events of his life through food, reason why the sardine buns managed to keep your grandmother’s memory alive inside of him. You decide to visit the market nearby together in hope to help him recover at least part of the memories he cannot put together, but unfortunately none of the local foods manage to light his brain up.
Walking along the usual street from the station to your house, the mysterious man in a suit approaches you a second time. He confirms to have found his pet the moment you ask about it, but your blood runs cold when he also clarifies that he actually saw him wandering in your house, making it perfectly clear that he’s talking about someone else through metaphors.
Worried about what this man could do to you notwithstanding his peaceful tone, you turn on your heels and run as fast as you can without bothering to see what he’s trying to get out of his pocket for you.
Still, your days with Taiyo are as relaxing as they could be. His warm personality is getting rid of the suffering in your heart and spiking up your energy at work. He reveals more details about his childhood and the two of you just end up growing closer each passing moment, holding hands tightly and going out like a couple despite not being one.
“…I wish it was only you and me left in the whole world.”
When you decide to investigate online and learn more about Haru’s agency, the truth about its tyrannical President treating him like a golden goose and forcing him to work to death hits you like a hurricane. You’ll have to fight with all your might to keep Taiyo away from such a harmful lifestyle, but do you really have the right to keep him all to yourself, hidden from the fans who love him and away from the brilliant acting career he left behind? Will your love for this guy be enough to have him by your side, or is he going to say goodbye one day and take the warmth of his affectionate hugs away from you?
Just like any other Voltage title, Love Brings You Home has two different endings; Tentalizing and Serene. One of the two will be unlocked as the last episode depending on the choices you made in game, so you can easily go back and play once more to see the alternative if you’re curious. There is no such thing as a bad ending in these series, it’s up to you to freely decide which version you like most since they will not affect the sequels in any way. Either you canonically go with one instead of choosing the other, the game will still see the main character and the man of choice as an official couple.
Pros: Taiyo’s story is certainly a novel full of fluff and exciting moments, well written overall and extremely nice to read. Its pace can get a bit slow at times, but it hardly feels boring. Taiyo is sweet and an animal lover (he talks to squirrels from the cottage’s deck!) and I particularly liked Megumi as side character, the gay best friend who owns the bar you often go to. I like how sexualities are not an issue in these games.
Also, the fact the MC is having troubles at work is not unusual, a lot of us surely had to deal with a boss who ordered us around and never acknowledged our hard work no matter the efforts. Your character is tough and patient despite the anger and pain boiling inside of her, I really appreciated her development and the fact she never appeared like a weak victim all the time.
Last, but not least…. KANON. I mean, we’re talking about a chubby kitty wearing a security hat and a little bowtie, how am I supposed to resist that?? 😻
Cons: The first time I saw Taiyo I kinda felt a bit awkward. I personally would never accept to be comforted by a total stranger, who says I’m not dealing with a creep?? I understand we’re talking about a fictional world, but that was maybe a bit too outspoken and unrealistic for my tastes. I am also not completely sure about that “Clark Kent” disguise with fake glasses to pretend Taiyo is just Haru’s look-alike and not the real deal. A close resemblance is possible, it happens quite a lot irl after all… but to believe he doesn’t just look 100% like the actor? Are glasses really enough to change someone’s appearance so drastically? 🤔
Another thing that left me a bit confused is the way Taiyo found himself with amnesia. He mentioned about collapsing after feeling dizzy out of nowhere, did he hit his head hard against the ground? A memory loss is surely no joke, he must have hurt himself pretty badly to cause such a trauma and yet he never even visited the hospital. Or was his memory lost due to a psychological shock caused by exhaustion? Dissociative amnesia sounds more like a possibility, unless I missed something important from the story while playing.
Overall rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Taiyo’s route costs 400 coins (around $3.99, but it highly depends on your currency conversion) and has his POV story for the main part and a little follow-up of three chapters.
If you want to enjoy this and many other app games on your monitor rather than using a phone I highly recommend an Android simulator like Bluestacks. It’s totally legal and allows you to connect your Google account for legit in-app purchases. My eyes get tired pretty easily and my phone doesn’t have enough space for so many apps to install, Bluestacks was a lifesaver!