An unreported medical error caused my mother's sudden death. 12 years later... the time for vengeance has finally come.
Kiss of Revenge is a Romance GameVisual Novel by Voltage Inc for iOS and Android devices. In it, the player takes the role of a woman whose mother died twelve years ago due to a hospital error which was subsequently covered up. Now a doctor herself, the protagonist takes a job at that same hospital with the intention of finally getting revenge on the man responsible, hospital director Sezaki - and killing him with her own hands.Falling in love with one of her colleagues - one of whom is Sezaki's son - is not a part of her plan.Is it a sin... to forgive?
Kiss of Revenge contains examples of the following tropes:
Accidental Murder: The death of the protagonist's mother twelve years ago at Ebisu General occurred due to a mistake during what should have been a simple surgical procedure.
The Alcoholic: Issei's not quite there yet, or at least is capable of managing it well enough to abstain when there's a chance it would interfere with his work, but he regularly drinks alone at a bar near the hospital, and comments when the protagonist visits his apartment that "there's nothing here but liquor."
All Take and No Give: Much of the plot of Junpei's Another Story is moved by the protagonist's fear that their relationship is built entirely on Junpei giving to her without getting anything back, and trying to figure out what she can do to make sure that's not the case.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Dr. Kowatari is full of embarrassing stories from when Irie was a child. Most of the drama of Irie's Another Story springs from Irie's efforts to keep Kowatari and the protagonist from meeting because he doesn't want to be made to look silly in front of his new girlfriend.
Art Shift: Perhaps to go along with the darker and more mature themes of this game, Kiss of Revenge uses a noticeably different art and coloring style and a more muted color palette for its character sprites and CGs, compared to the brighter cel-shaded look of other Voltage romance games.
The Atoner: Issei Sezaki is so haunted by the death of the protagonist's mother that he has no life outside of his work and spends pretty much every waking moment working to provide patients and their families with the best possible care. He keeps a notebook full of the details of every patient he couldn't save, starting with the protagonist's mother. When the protagonist tells him that saving other people's lives doesn't make up for the mistake which killed her mother and the cover-up that followed, he goes on TV to make a public confession about the incident twelve years ago, sends letters to every member of the hospital's board of directors to ensure that his father is removed as director of the hospital, and gives up practicing medicine completely.
Attempted Rape: On Irie's route, the protagonist accompanies a man to a private room at a party, fully aware that he expects to have sex with her, because he's an associate of the director's and she's hoping to get some useful information out of him and then escape once she has what she wants. It doesn't quite go according to plan and she's almost raped before Irie intervenes.
Bad Dreams: Issei has them often, to the point that he's on prescription sleeping pills in order to get any rest at all. The protagonist has a few as well.
The protagonist herself in all stories, but most notably on Junpei's route, where it becomes an integral part of the plot: The protagonist initially tells herself that she's only a surgeon to get close to the director, but realises over time that she finds genuine fulfillment in helping people. This, along with sudden awareness of the collateral damage her plan will cause at Ebisu General, makes her reconsider her plan.
It's also prominently in play during Issei's route, in which she approaches Issei with every intent to use him as a means of getting at his father, telling herself that she's just manipulating him, only to fall in love with him for real as she gets to know him.
Behind the Mask: Of the five major characters of the game, only Junpei turns out to be exactly the kind of person he seems to be on the surface. "Super Doctor" Issei seems cold and brusque, but is actually an emotional disaster area; Irie comes across as the director's yes-man, but really he's The Chessmaster; and Kyosuke seems like an easygoing goof-off but proves to be much more perceptive and on top of things than he lets on. And of course the protagonist puts up a cool, professional facade to cover the fact that she's planning to commit murder.
Best Served Cold: The protagonist has been working towards her revenge for twelve years, including putting in the considerable effort necessary to become a surgeon.
In Junpei's route, when the protagonist finally confronts director Sezaki, she makes up her mind not to pursue her revenge against him any further thanks to Junpei's influence and the director making an actual apology, and instead asks only for him to declare Junpei innocent of the theft of the hospital records. Then the director makes the mistake of offering her money in exchange for the unaltered copies of her mother's records...
Something very similar happens in Irie's route when the protagonist initially confronts the director about the incident twelve years ago, albeit with less immediately violent results.
Brick Joke: Irie's aversion to peas comes to the protagonist's attention during the prologue. It isn't brought up again until the end of his Another Story, when she makes him an omelet with peas in it in order to tease him.
Broken Ace: Issei is a brilliant surgeon whose skill earns him quite a bit of recognition in the medical community. Emotionally, however, it quickly becomes clear that he is damaged goods.
Broken Bird: Interestingly for the genre, the protagonist. The trauma of her mother's untimely death, compounded by inadequate emotional support in its aftermath leading to a twelve-year fixation on getting revenge, have left her a mess of issues which she hides imperfectly behind a mask of cool professionalism.
Cannot Spit It Out: Irie rarely gives away any more information than he can help, a habit which is very useful when it comes to manipulating others for his own advantage, but - as demonstrated in his epilogue and Another Story - becomes much more problematic when he's trying to have a relationship with the protagonist. He ends up causing her a great deal of stress that could easily be avoided if only he'd explain his reasons for doing things instead of leaving her to worry that he's not as interested in her as she is in him.
Character Tics: The protagonist runs her fingers through her hair when she's lying, and Junpei is well aware of it. Throughout his route, he uses this knowledge to gauge the protagonist's mental state, and call her on her self-destructive behaviour.
The Charmer: Kyosuke Narumi is friendly, sociable, often flirtatious, and generally capable of easily winning over most of the people around him. He's very popular among patients for his ability to put them at ease and make them forget for a little while that they're in the hospital.
In Issei's route, a passing mention is made of an invitation for Issei to appear on a television program, which he refuses as he has no interest in publicity. He changes his mind near the end of the route and takes the opportunity to confess to his part in the death of the protagonist's mother and the subsequent cover-up.
In Junpei's route, a staff member complains about the head nurse's insistence on keeping records and photos from the hospital's old holiday parties in the records room. The unaltered medical records from the surgery that killed the protagonist's mother are hidden among them.
The Chessmaster: Dr. Irie is very skilled indeed at arranging situations and manipulating people to his own ends.
Chick Magnet: Junpei is said to be quite popular with the nurses - a statement borne out by Saomi's obvious crush on him - and as shown at a class reunion in his Another Story, at least some of the women he went to high school with would like to have a chance with him as well.
Cool Big Sis: The protagonist describes Dr. Ayame Yukishita in nearly those exact terms.
Cool Old Guy: Dr. Kowatari, Irie's old mentor and the only person in the game who Irie can't, or at least won't, manipulate.
Curtains Match the Window: Every character's eye color matches their hair color, which for most of the cast simply means everyone is brown-haired and brown-eyed, but it stands out much more noticeably on Season 2's blond, golden-eyed Naoya.
Dark and Troubled Past: The protagonist and Ebisu General Hospital share one involving her mother's death twelve years ago. The protagonist has spent that twelve years planning to take revenge; meanwhile, director Sezaki and several other longtime members of the hospital staff, including Irie, Head Nurse Narumi, and Issei, have been keeping the incident a secret which weighs heavily on many of them, especially Issei, who was the actual operating surgeon and the one who made the fatal mistake during Ms. Maeshiro's surgery.
Darker and Edgier: Kiss of Revenge is significantly darker than most of Voltage's other romance games, dealing as it does with themes of revenge and featuring a protagonist who spends most of the game planning to commit murder.
Dressed To Heal: All of the doctors wear the classic white labcoat whenever they're at the hospital - over surgical scrubs when they're operating - although only Kyosuke and Ayame, the doctors from Internal Medicine, have the usual stethoscope around their necks. The nurses, meanwhile, wear flattering minidress uniforms in varying pastel colors.
Drowning My Sorrows: On Issei's route, the protagonist stops in at a bar near the hospital for a drink or two to try to take the edge off her conflicted emotions. She finds Issei already there, drinking heavily; the bartender confirms while he's not exactly there a lot, he's been a regular, solitary customer for years.
On Junpei's route, Junpei is (accurately) suspected of stealing records from Ebisu General, the protagonist confronts Director Sezaki about her mother's death with copies of the original and altered medical chart, and attacks him with a knife, leading to a scuffle in which the director ends up stabbing Junpei. What should be a legal and public-relations shitstorm is subsequently for the most part brushed under the rug with only the director suffering any consequences; both the protagonist and Junpei keep their jobs with the support of the rest of the hospital staff.
To a lesser extent, on Issei's route Issei publicly announces that he committed an error during surgery which led to the death of a patient and then allowed it to be covered up for twelve years. He attempts to quit medicine, but is convinced to stay on as a surgeon at Ebisu General by the protagonist, Irie, Kyosuke and the other main characters. This one doesn't strain credulity quite so hard as the above, given that several of the hospital staff knew about the incident and even those who didn't have plenty of reason to continue to trust Issei as a surgeon, Ebisu General is shown coming under severe backlash following the revelation, and neither the main route nor the epilogue shows the full extent of what the fallout will turn out to be.
Empathic Environment: In three of the four main routes, the protagonist hitting an emotional low point is reflected by the weather turning to rain. In Issei's route, it comes after she confronts him about causing her mother's death and finds herself unable to kill him; in Junpei's, it's after the director's party, and in Irie's route, it happens after she confronts the director and he threatens to have her medical license revoked.
Soichiro Irie is pleasant, polite, and deferential to a fault... until Director Sezaki leaves the room. As soon as he's gone Irie promptly complains about having to fake a smile so much, and makes several very keen observations about the protagonist's conversation with the director.
Issei gets one without even being present: despite his father's instructions to keep his schedule free, he's not present to greet the protagonist along with the Director and Irie because he's in surgery. When he does finally appear, it's later in the prologue, stepping in and skillfully taking over for the protagonist to save a patient who's begun hemorrhaging during an operation.
Everyone Can See It: Junpei's feelings for the protagonist are painfully obvious to everyone. Just how obvious becomes abundantly clear in his Another Story - every time the protagonist tries asking for general relationship advice, whoever she's speaking to knows automatically that it's Junpei she's talking about.
The Ghost: Dr. Yoshioka, whose frequent absences help nudge the plot in one direction or the other.
Gratuitous German: The name of the bar near the hospital, as visible in the background showing its exterior, is "Wenig Nixe," German for "Little Mermaid."
Has a Type: Ayame has a very definite preference for older men - much older men. As in, no younger than sixty.
Hospital Hottie: All of the winnable guys, of course, as well as Dr. Yukishita from Internal Medicine, who the protagonist observes looks unusually stylish for a doctor. Nurses Akako and Saomi are also good-looking, although theirs is more a case of Generic Cuteness.
Downplayed, but the protagonist is already a fully licensed practicing surgeon at the age of 29.
Deconstructed with Issei, who had already earned his medical degree and was a resident at Ebisu General by the age of 24, and according to Irie was treated more like a full doctor than a resident. His father was Mrs. Maeshiro's doctor, but had Issei perform her operation, leading to her death when the inexperienced Issei made a mistake during the procedure.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Junpei really does just want the protagonist to be happy, even if that means supporting her in pursuing a relationship with Issei, risking his career to steal her mother's records from the hospital, or taking a knife for her.
Jade-Colored Glasses: The protagonist is surprised to learn that, in the past, Irie started out as a hot-blooded idealist. By the time she makes the scene, he's acquired a much more cynical and pragmatic attitude towards his work as a doctor and the amount of political gameplaying and compromise it takes to accomplish one's goals in the medical industry.
Lady in Red: The opening animation shows the protagonist wearing a red dress as she seduces Issei with an obvious intent to murder him. The use of red as a signature color also extends to the game menus and splash screens for the beginning and end of each chapter: in most Voltage games, these are predominantly pink, but Kiss of Revenge uses a color scheme of dark blue and vivid scarlet instead.
Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: In Irie's route of the "Our First Winter" side story, Junpei proves himself the only person in the room with any degree of social sensitivity, herding Kyosuke and Ayame away from Irie's party so that Irie and the protagonist can have some time alone together.
Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Once all of the misunderstandings in Irie's Another Story are cleared up, the protagonist's general attitude toward the whole mess is "please forget that ever happened...!"
Lost Food Grievance: During Junpei's route, mention is made of an incident when they were teenagers in which Junpei drank the protagonist's lemon soda, which caused her to carry quite a grudge over it until her mother bought more.
Love-Obstructing Parents: In Issei's Another Story, Director Sezaki is not at all pleased that Issei has fallen for Misae Maeshiro's daughter, and does everything he can to keep the two of them apart.
Misplaced Retribution: Subverted. The protagonist plans to murder Director Sezaki under the belief that he was the surgeon whose mistake killed her mother. In fact, it was Issei, then a resident, who performed the operation. Learning about this, however, does not do anything to absolve the director in her eyes, since although Issei committed the error, the director is the one who engineered the cover-up and shows no regret over the incident, whereas Issei has spent the past twelve years torn up with guilt and making every effort to atone.
Most of the plot of Irie's Another Story involves the protagonist stressing out over various indications that Irie is seeing another woman while claiming to be in love with her, a situation not helped by the fact that Irie seems almost incapable of giving straight answers about anything unless cornered into it. He takes a phone call while they're out on a date? It's his mentor from his old hometown. He carefully ignores the protagonist's signals that she's interested in further intimacy, ends dates early and sends her home claiming he has to work, and won't let her into his apartment? His old mentor is staying over and he doesn't want them to meet because the old man is full of embarrassing stories. He brings a homemade bento lunch to work and tries to hide it from the protagonist? His mentor made it. Junpei mentions seeing him on a city sidewalk at night with a beautiful woman? She's an old classmate he ran into by chance and they talked for maybe five minutes. She overhears him on the phone saying the name "Rinko"? Rinko is his mentor's cat. Most of this doesn't get cleared up until the protagonist finally confronts him at his apartment near the end of the route.
Their roles are reversed in Irie's route of the "Our First Winter" side story, in which Irie starts to have suspicions about the protagonist and Kyosuke when in actuality the two of them are working together to plan a surprise party for him.
In Issei's "Our First Winter" scenario, the protagonist gets discombobulated when she thinks Issei is seeing Ayame. Issei was just asking Ayame for dating advice.
Nepotism: Issei is a genuinely exceptional surgeon who deserves all of the praise he receives for his abilities, but it's clear that being the director's son also allows him a lot more influence at Ebisu General than you'd expect a surgeon his age to have - for instance, dictating the hospital's policy regarding how long patient records are retained. Given how passionately Issei feels about putting patients first, this is generally to the hospital's overall benefit, but there are negative consequences as well: if his father hadn't used his own position as a surgeon to allow Issei to operate in his place, the protagonist's mother would not have died.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Late in Irie's route, Issei realizes that the protagonist is Misae Maeshiro's daughter and goes to his father to insist that they owe her a proper apology. Unfortunately, Issei wasn't aware that his father had already asked Irie to look into the protagonist's background and that Irie, aware of her real identity, was deliberately keeping that information from the director. As a result, Issei's effort to do the right thing tips his father off to the fact that Irie is working against him, and nearly destroys Irie's plan to force the director to step down in a way that will not endanger himself, the protagonist, or the rest of the hospital.
Nom de Mom: The protagonist uses her mother's maiden name (chosen by the player) so as to avoid anyone at Ebisu General Hospital recognizing the connection, since her mother was treated there under her married name, Misae Maeshiro.
Parental Substitute: Dr. Kowatari describes himself as Irie's guardian, and observing the two of them together the protagonist thinks that they really do seem like father and son.
Poor communication is a frequent failing of Irie, who outside of work is in the habit of not explaining more about anything than he can help.
It's also a source of drama in Issei's "Moving In With Him" side story: Issei avoids giving the protagonist opportunities to spend time with his old friends from high school and doesn't want her to know that he's agreed to run in an upcoming track meet, and since he doesn't talk to her about any of it or explain his reasons, she takes it to mean he doesn't want to share that part of his life with her and ends up feeling insecure about their relationship as a result.
Posthumous Character: Misae Maeshiro, the protagonist's mother. Her death twelve years ago casts a very long shadow over the events of the game.
Pull the Thread: Irie is far too perceptive to be fooled by the protagonist, but even when she's obviously lying, he typically doesn't call her on it directly. His preferred modus operandi is to play along and maybe put some bait in her way to see how she'll react - giving her rope and waiting to find out if she's going to hang herself with it or not.
Race for Your Love: In Issei's Happy Ending, guessing that Issei might have gone to visit her mother's grave in Shimane, the protagonist has to hurry to try to catch him before he disappears for good. She's helped along by Junpei, who catches her outside Issei's apartment building and drives her to the airport with all possible haste.
The Reveal: Both Issei and Irie's routes reveal that Issei, not his father, performed the operation which killed the protagonist's mother. Irie's Another Story contains a more detailed reveal: Issei's father began the operation but left in the middle of it to tend to a more socially important patient, leaving Issei, then a resident, to handle the procedure since the surgeon who was supposed to take over had not yet arrived.
Nurse Saomi is interested in Junpei, but he only has eyes for the protagonist. The protagonist tries to set them up together on Junpei's route with, for obvious reasons, no success.
Samaritan Syndrome: Issei has a non-super-powered variant. He devotes his entire life to his career as a surgeon and his entire career as a surgeon to giving patients the best care possible, from pulling all-nighters researching new techniques to counseling the grieving relatives when a patient dies. He keeps detailed records of his failures to ensure that he never forgets them, keeping the guilt fresh.
Schrödinger's Gun: Specific details regarding the circumstances of Misae Maeshiro's death vary from route to route. In Issei and Irie's routes, the operating surgeon was actually Issei. In Junpei's route, it's left ambiguous whether the director was really the person who made the surgical error or if the protagonist simply never learns of Issei's involvement, but in Kyosuke's route it's made fairly clear that the director was in fact the one who caused Mrs. Maeshiro's death.
Seppuku: During his Another Story, Issei offers to kill himself if the protagonist tells him to, in order to apologize for the death of her mother.
Sharp-Dressed Man: Irie, in the tuxedo he dons for a fancy-dress party halfway through his route. Nice.
Shipper on Deck: Practically everyone at Ebisu General is delighted to encourage the protagonist in a romance with Issei, mostly because Issei has never shown any interest in another person before on any level other than that of doctor to patient, and everyone around him is hopeful that starting a relationship with the protagonist will do his emotional state some good.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Kyosuke has a talent for appearing out of nowhere with no warning, and for occasionally vanishing the moment the protagonist takes her eyes off him.
Irie's default expression is a pleasant smile, and at first blush he can come across as a syncophant and a pushover, but behind his calm, smiling exterior he's a calculating, terrifyingly intelligent and observant, and deeply disillusioned man.
The protagonist herself, though less successfully than Irie. She has become adept at feigning normalcy, but many people (particularly Junpei, who remembers her old self) inevitably sense that there is something very wrong beneath the surface. Even Issei, the least socially adept of the main cast, observes late in his route that he doesn't think he's ever seen a true smile on her face.
The Stoic: Issei doesn't emote much. Irie, towards the end of Issei's route, reflects back on the past several years and describes Issei as never smiling, crying, or even getting angry, as though he were both alive and dead.
Sugar and Ice Personality: Issei is outwardly cold and terse, rarely expressing his emotions or saying more than necessary. Underneath that, however, he proves to be a very caring and sensitive person.
Sunk Cost Fallacy: One of the things that keeps the protagonist on her quest of revenge in spite of her growing misgivings is the thought that, if she quits now, the twelve years of her life that she's invested in getting revenge will all have been for nothing.
Supreme Chef: Junpei, as shown in his Another Story, is an excellent cook with a cabinet full of Le Creuset cookware.
Taking the Bullet: Junpei shields the protagonist from being stabbed by the director near the end of his route, taking the knife himself.
Taking You with Me: A professional rather than mortal variation occurs in Irie's route. Irie manages to corner Director Sezaki into making a public confession and resigning from his position. However, it comes at a price: the director forces Irie to personally fire the protagonist, and to resign from his own position at Ebisu General, in an attempt to take both of their careers down with his. Fortunately for them, once the director steps down, the one left acting as director in his place is Issei, who is fully aware of the situation and promptly reinstates them both.
On Issei's route, the protagonist gets hold of some of his sleeping pills and replaces the contents of the capsules with poison, intending to switch them for his normal pills. After missing a chance to do so, she later tries to empty one of the capsules of poison into his drink while they're out together after work.
On Junpei's route, she tries to switch the director's diabetes medication with an antihypertensive medication which would cause potentially fatal complications with his diabetes.
On Irie's route, she plans to lace the director's insulin injection with poison, but abandons the idea after very nearly getting caught by Irie.
And on Kyosuke's route, she poisons a glass of champagne meant for the director.
Trade Your Passion for Glory: Along with donning a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses, Irie admits on his route that this has happened to him - he's become so caught up in maneuvering himself into a position of greater power and influence that he's lost sight of his passion for medicine and the reason he wanted influence in the first place, which was to improve options and resources for doctors in rural communities.
Tuckerization: The name of the hospital: Ebisu General Hospital. The name of where Voltage's head office is located: Ebisu Garden Place Tower.
Vengeance Feels Empty: By the time the protagonist gets the justice she sought - such as when Issei makes his public confession and quits medicine near the end of his route - it feels so empty she's no longer sure what she wants any more.
What If?: Each character has "Another Story" which branches off from the main route based on a particular decision the protagonist makes, showing how things would play out if she decided that love meant more to her than revenge. For example, in Junpei's Another Story, she hugs him back after he confesses his love for her, while in the main story, she shakes him lose.
What the Hell, Hero?: During Irie's route, the protagonist verbally tears into Irie for not coming back from the conference he's chairing when one of his patients takes a turn for the worse, instead having Issei perform the operation for him and letting the patient - who'd previously spoken in glowing terms about how reassured he was knowing that Irie was his doctor - believe that Irie was the surgeon. She feels bad about it later, but Irie admits that she had a point.
Why Can't I Hate You?: The protagonist ends up feeling this way towards Issei on his route, after discovering that he, not his father, was responsible for her mother's death. The trope is cited almost word for word during Issei's Another Story.
Workaholic: Issei. The nurses are used to seeing him staying up all night at the hospital to do extra research on the nights when he's not on duty.
You Killed My Father: The protagonist is seeking revenge for the death of her mother and the subsequent cover-up.