So here is a fact you should know: In Your Arms Tonight is my favorite Voltage game. I own every route and I love (most of) them with a burning passion: In Your Arms Tonight is why I pay 5-7 dollars to play routes for Voltage. It’s not even a particular route: I love the protagonist of In Your Arms Tonight and I feel so sad for her unlucky love life, her uncaring husband, and the struggles she goes through. So, of course, the moment ‘In Your Arms Tonight 2’ came out I was essentially shoveling money in the general direction of Voltage while drooling incessantly. I didn’t even believe it at first “I must have the title of my favorite game in the series confused, obviously.” But I didn’t, so let’s see if it lives up to my own hype!
To start off the scenario is definitely different. Your husband isn’t a horrible person like Koichi was, which is already disappointing because I love that garbage man because I whipped him into submission, but instead does not support your dreams. It’s important to note that this is a very Japanese concept. While there might be some people in North American and European countries who aren’t cool with women working, typically the Western ideal is that people can do whatever they want. In Japan if you’re a high ranking worker it’s sort of a big deal to have a wife who stays home. It’s just sort of expected you’ll quit, too. This isn’t how it is everywhere of course, but this is a very traditional Japanese idea and it’s not surprising to see it appear once again in a Voltage game.
In this route, there is so much ambiguity it drives me crazy. I never know what Takeru is thinking, nor Kazuya. I find myself always in a situation with the main character yearning to shake her love interests viciously in an attempt to say ‘come the crap on or you’ll definitely never get her’. For a long time in the story it was hard to tell if Kazuya was just an absolutely nice guy who was being cheated on, which is not a story I really want to read, or if he was sort of a bad guy. Ingeniously it’s because of the ambiguity that I felt the way the main character must, I can’t just cheat on my husband even if I’m falling in love with someone.
Nobly, even though the protagonist is having complicated feelings she eventually decides to just be there for Takeru as a friend. She stays true to her husband the more she accepts her own feelings, but he pushes her away at the mere sight of her being around Takeru. As it turns out, simply because he is around his wife your husband ends up destroying Takeru’s life. He had a PI look into Takeru, then leaked information to a friend of his about Takeru’s sordid history of being from an illegitimate love child. While I could potentially understand hiring a PI because you might be worried and communicating with your wife (I still don’t agree with it mind you, and he had every right to be suspicious because she was definitely lying at a few points in time).. . .he then breaks down and says it’s all the protagonist’s fault because she….has …worked at her job and stayed out? ‘All those meetings! Staying out at night!’ When hilariously, even though she was hanging out with someone she used to date she refused his advances and never cheated on her husband. She was never willing to go farther and always reminded Takeru she was married and would not date him no matter how much he asked.
I feel so many mixed emotions because Kazuya turned out to be so petulant. He hated Takeru’s work and the man himself so he ruined it, even manipulating the MC so she would quit the job she has always dreamed of. I wanted to punch him for ruining her dreams. The way that your husband acts when he manipulates me crawls so much more under my skin than Koichi, who cheated on you but never put you down for your work. When you eventually won his love in his route I never felt bad for forgiving him and always appreciated the depth of the character. How do I appreciate someone who blames all his petty shortcomings on the person who has done nothing but supports his ambitions? More on that later.
I felt so many mixed emotions for Takeru in his route. He clearly loves you by the end of it and I felt so gut-punched. I’m happy about that though! I love the sweet agony of these routes. There is nothing so existentially enjoyable as having to deal with the complicated failings in humans. Takeru loves you and he can’t have you because he hurt you so much you married a man you never loved but were determined to devote yourself to. He hurt you so badly that you took simple acts as sincere ultimate kindness and decided to forgive any cruelty.
When Takeru admits his love for you in this route you will feel so shell-shocked. Your character does the right thing, but the reader falls in love with him in a bitter way. I feel like Takeru’s route was way better executed than Genji’s was because the two of them both felt unreadable but their motivations better show through with what happened. Takeru’s past made him who he is and he loses people he loves because of that.
But the best way to tell the success of the story is that by the end of it even your in-game husband becomes redeemable. You know that when the writers are capable of making someone I said I was not a fan of in this earlier review into someone admirable, then it’s ‘In Your Arms Tonight’. By the end of the story, your husband makes a decision I can actually respect and it just kicks me in the heart. The delicious feeling of suffering in beautiful agony is restored in ‘In Your Arms 2’s’ very first route. If every Voltage game made me feel as happily miserable as this I would buy all of them tomorrow and cry at my credit card statement. I feel like all the characters are real and dealing with things I could comprehend.
There are a few things I admire: Hello, being a writer. I loved the feeling of being able to relate to the character and understanding how it felt to struggle with tired ideas and breaking out of your shell to write something you actually believe in. I struggle with this not only with my writing but my art, and I think many creatives could read this route and feel torn on how they feel about everyone. Your husband, your main love interest, the concepts of infidelity and earnest love, and even your character. All of these are successfully done in the sequel to ‘In Your Arms Tonight’.
By the end of the story, all I could think is that I loved how it ended and I couldn’t wait to see more from this route alongside all the other ones. I’m hoping they all live up to the glorious feeling of miserable delight that this story did and I can’t wait for the next installment. Give me my angst, Voltage. I need it to fuel my cruel ginger heart. So please go out and give this route a shot- I don’t think you’ll regret it!