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Visual Novel / Finally, in Love Again

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Left to right: Momoi, Sosuke, Aki, Yuto, and Yoh.

Another year alone... What a depressing birthday. Until...

Finally, in Love Again is a Romance Game Visual Novel by Voltage, Inc. for iOS and Android devices. In it, our protagonist is a pastry chef in her thirties and looking forward to a possible promotion. At least until an accident causes her to drop pastry on a customer, and her boss fires her for it. When she gets home, she receives a package from her mother containing an invitation to a singles event. When she arrives, the protagonist is mortified to find out that this is supposed to be an event catering to people in their early 20s, while she has just turned 34 that day.

Despite trying to keep a low profile, her former co-worker's attempts at sabotage only draw the attention of several of the game's love interests to her. As the singles event draws to a close, she's called on to pick one of her five suitors...


And then the game begins.

Finally, in Love Again provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All-Loving Hero: The protagonist has a nearly endless capacity to forgive slights to herself and look for the best in people, even when it's someone who's actively malicious toward her like Sakurako. This trait is particularly highlighted on Momoi's routes; Momo, equal parts admiring of and exasperated by her good heart, observes on more than one occasion that she lets people take advantage of her far too easily.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In Sosuke's route, the protagonist desperately declares her love for Sosuke when it seems like he might have drowned in a sailing accident.
  • Animal Motifs: Yoh is frequently associated with dogs, both for his apparently puppy like nature... and as the protagonist's guard dog.
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  • The Bet: Yuto and Kamei have a habit of making wagers to stave off boredom. One such game involves selecting a woman and wooing her. The first man to kiss her wins. The woman in question is the protagonist, chosen because she's in her thirties and therefore a more challenging target by virtue of her more serious outlook on life. This backfires spectacularly when Yuto inevitably falls in love with her during the course of the route.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Late in Momoi's route the protagonist comes upon him sleeping in the breakroom, and watches him sleep for a little while.
  • Beneath the Mask: At first blush, Aki comes across as kind, composed, and always pleasant. It's not precisely an act, but there is definitely more going on in his head than you'd think.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Aki, owner of patisserie Larme and the protagonist's new employer, encourages all of his employees to be familiar with him and will bend over backwards to help them out.
    • Kazuki's employees adore him, and their only complaint is that he won't rely on them more.
  • Best Beer Ever: The protagonist enjoys a good beer. It's not at all uncommon to see let out an exclamation of satisfaction after chugging one down.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Momoi can be a jerk, but it's Aki who you really have to watch out for. He's skilled at getting people to go along with what he wants, and has a surprising knack for saying the harshest thing possible without ever losing his genial smile. His character profile in game describes him as a "wolf in sheep's clothing." For anyone who's read his PoV, Yoh has elements of this as well.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The "Fuji" in Aki's family name Fujishima means "wisteria." Wisteria, in English this time, is the name of the clothing retail company owned by Aki's family, which he's expected to one day take over as CEO.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sakurako comes on sugar-sweet, but she never misses a chance to make cutting comments about the protagonist's age and love life, especially if it gives her a chance to try to humiliate the protagonist in front of others. Momoi calls her out on it on more than one occasion.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Studio Gibli," makers of films such as "My Neighbor Tororo" (featuring a dogbus and cute goggle-eyed dustbunnies) and "Kaki's Delivery Service".
  • Bridal Carry:
    • Aki catches the protagonist in one during the opening video when she turns out to be unsteady in high heels.
    • Taking Kazuki's route in the prologue results in a CG scene in which Kazuki prevents the intoxicated protagonist from falling down stairs and catches her in a bridal carry.
  • Camp Gay: Mr. Kishikawa, owner of the florist shop next door to Larme, is thoroughly camp in his behavior, squeeing unabashedly over attractive men and demanding to be called "Cathy."
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Aki has a surprisingly low alcohol tolerance and gets drunk easily, although it can be hard to tell since he tends to retain his outward composure even after he's drunk. When out drinking he usually just has part of a beer and pawns the rest off on Momoi, or sticks with chu-hi.
  • Christmas Cake: A great deal is made of the protagonist being over 30 when she goes to a singles event she had been invited to, and in several routes, such as Aki's, she faces pressure from friends and family to get married and settle down while she still has the chance.
  • Disposable Fiancé:
    • Hiroyuki gets this treatment in Aki's route, though the Bland Perfection subset. There's nothing wrong with him, and the protagonist is certain that he's someone she could live with as a husband... she's just already in love with Aki.
    • On Kazuki's route there's Yuriko, who Kazuki agrees to marry for the sake of business support his company needs. This example ends up falling into the Let's Call The Whole Thing Off subset, with Yuriko cheerfully agreeing when Kazuki breaks off the engagement that she didn't really want to get married anyway.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: When the protagonist finds Momoi sleeping in the breakroom, she finds herself briefly tempted to kiss him. She stops herself from going through with it, however. Turns out he was awake the whole time and hoping she would kiss him.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Momoi does not like being called "Momo"note , which does not stop either Aki or the protagonist from doing so. He's even less fond of his title as "Prince of Pastry."
  • Food Porn: Much of the action of the story revolves around a patisserie, so there are frequent, loving descriptions of the cakes that the protagonist works on. Good luck getting through a route without craving something sweet.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: The protagonist starts to suspect early on that she knows Sosuke from somewhere, but she can't recall when or how they might have met before. Not surprising, since the last time she saw him was right before she moved to Tokyo seventeen years ago, and he was all of nine years old at the time.
  • The Gadfly: Early in his route, Momoi acts like he's about to kiss the protagonist, and then tease her about it when he doesn't. Later starts to take on a more pigtail-pulling flavor, like that of a kid who's teasing his crush to make sure she's paying any kind of attention to him.
  • Gratuitous French: To be expected given the strong French influence on high-end baking. Salon de l'Ange, the patisserie where the protagonist works in the prologue, means "the angel's lounge," and "Larme" means "teardrop." Mon Cheri, the name of the florist where Yoh works, means "my sweetheart."
  • Groupie Brigade: When Momoi's picture makes it onto the front page of Hiroyuki's magazine during his route, Larme ends up mobbed by girls hoping to score a connection with the "Prince of Pastry." Momo is thoroughly disgusted.
  • Handsome Lech: Yuto Tsuruya is referred to on several occasions as "the Hikaru Genji of Japanese sweets," which the protagonist not inaccurately takes to mean that he's an inveterate playboy.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: When the protagonist and Sosuke finally get together, her twin younger brothers take the time to make it clear to Sosuke that he'd better not ever make her cry.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Larme waitress Ikumi frequently says whatever's on her mind, completely unfiltered. The protagonist chalks it up to Ikumi's youth, and notes that unlike Sakurako, the girl is not malicious, just insensitive.
  • Instant Web Hit: On Sosuke's route, the protagonist doesn't realize until after she's made her Anguished Declaration of Love that there's a live news crew filming them. One of them shows her a stream of Twitter commentary cheering the pair of them on. The publicity helps save Sosuke's continued sponsorship as a professional sailor despite his accident getting him disqualified from the race.
  • Insufferable Genius: Momoi is one when it comes to baking. He's rude and demanding and he and the protagonist clash frequently, but she can't deny that he's a brilliant pastry chef who's well ahead of her in skill in spite of being nine years younger.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Momoi, who will continue to berate, tease, and belittle the protagonist even as he helps her out.
  • Keet: Yoh is explicitly described as "the puppy dog" when it's time for the protagonist to pick which route she's taking. He's also one of the youngest love interests at only 22 years old.
  • Kiss of Life: On Sosuke's route, a near-drowning leads Sosuke to perform rescue breathing on the protagonist. She's unaware of it due to being unconscious, and Sosuke is adamant that it doesn't count as a kiss, but that doesn't stop Aki, Momoi, and Ikumi from talking it up more than once as a "passionate kiss," and Mr. Kishikawa (when he hears about it) asserts that it's even sexier than a normal kiss due to the high emotions involved.
  • Likes Older Women: With the exception of 38-year-old Kazuki Serizawa, all of the love interests are explicitly younger than the 34-year-old protagonist. Most of them are in their early to mid 20s.
    • Sosuke in particular has been in love with the protagonist since he was six years old.
  • Love at First Sight: The "His POV" side story confirms that not only has Sosuke been in love with the protagonist for twenty years, he fell in love with her at first sight.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Through no fault of her own, the protagonist ends up at the center of a network of mostly one-sided romantic relationships. Yuto and Yoh actively pursue her in most routes, with Yuto's friend Kamei also frequently expressing interest, and Sosuke and sometimes Aki carrying an unspoken torch. Meanwhile, Sakurako pursues Momoi or Kazuki on their respective routes, and Ikumi seems to indicate some interest in Aki on his route. Hiroyuki is presented as a prospective partner for the protagonist on some routes, and of course Kazuki is the protagonist's ex and on his route briefly ends up engaged to Yuriko Tanukiyama...
  • Married to the Job: The protagonist, Hiroyuki, and Kazuki have all made it to their mid-to-late 30s without marrying or forming any serious romantic relationships because each of them has been primarily focused on their respective careers. On some occasions, Hiroyuki and the protagonist commiserate with one another about the situation they're in; it's not that they don't want to find love, but it's difficult for a thirtysomething who's been off the field for so long to meet prospective partners.
  • Meet Cute:
    • In the prologue, the protagonist first meets Momoi when she accidentally drops a mont blanc on his head.
    • The protagonist and Kazuki originally met when they bumped into one another and accidentally picked up each other's phones. Then they met again at a cafe when they both ordered the same strawberry tart.
  • The Missus and the Ex: In Momoi's sequel, Momo's ex-girlfriend Riko shows up at Larme hoping to patch up their relationship, and the protagonist finds herself in an awkward position as she finds she genuinely likes the girl who is trying to come between herself and Momoi.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: The protagonist's breakup with Kazuki was originally touched off when she saw him go into a hotel with a female co-worker who'd been messaging him a lot, during a period in which he hadn't had much time for the protagonist due to work. There's an explanation, but between strong emotions, poor communication, and a couple of unfortunate coincidences, she doesn't get to hear it until ten years after the fact.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Sakurako's attempts at shaming the protagonist by loudly 'accidentally' proclaiming her age to everyone in at the single's event only winds up drawing the attention of the love interests to the protagonist - one of whom has no problems calling out Sakurako on her behavior.
  • The Nicknamer: Mrs. Futaba, Hiroyuki's mother and the owner of the Larme crew's favorite restaurant hangout, applies nicknames cheerfully to her regulars. Aki is "Sir Smiles," Sosuke is "Child of Wind," Ikumi is "Larme's Angel," and she's also responsible for Momoi's "Prince of Pastry" moniker. After meeting the protagonist, Mrs. Futaba dubs her "Goddess of Larme."
  • Old Flame: The protagonist and Kazuki were an item ten years ago, before she broke it off.
  • One Last Fling: Played with (subverted?) in Aki's route. The protagonist sleeps with Aki for the last time before deciding to commit to a marriage with Hiroyuki. In the end though, she doesn't marry Hiroyuki and ends up dating Aki.
  • Perspective Flip: The "His POV" side stories revisit the events each guy's main route from his point of view.
  • Pie in the Face: In addition to the mont-blanc-in-the-face incident with Momoi in the prologue, Momoi almost upends a slice of chocolate cake over a man's head for causing an altercation in Larme's dining area. In his happy ending, he does shove a cake into the face of the protagonist's former boss, as retaliation for his ill treatment of the protagonist.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Kazuki has a very bad habit of not sharing important information with people who may be personally affected by it because he's trying to handle everything himself. It was a prime factor in his breakup with the protagonist ten years ago, and causes a lot of trouble for both of them on his route.
  • Precocious Crush: In the backstory. Sosuke fell in love with the protagonist when he was six years old and she was fourteen.
  • Race for Your Love: Aki has to run to catch the protagonist at the end of his route when it seems like she's going to marry Hiroyuki, as shown in Aki's "His POV" side story.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Momoi treats Sakurako to one on his route. In the main route it occurs off-screen, but we get to see it firsthand in Momo's "His POV" side story.
  • Red Baron: Momoi is known as "the Prince of Pastry." He finds it rather embarrassing.
  • The Reveal:
    • Sosuke's first appearance in the prologue hints that he knows the protagonist somehow, but it's not until much later in his route that she recalls where he knows her from.
    • In Momoi's sequel, Riko reveals to the protagonist that she broke up with Momoi not out of jealousy, but because she'd developed a medical condition which was causing her to lose sensation in her hands, and she didn't want to hold back his career or cause him to worry about her.
  • Romantic Runner-Up:
    • Hiroyuki in Aki's route.
    • Aki in Kazuki's route.
    • Sosuke is in love with the protagonist in every route, but usually doesn't make any direct overtures if he even appears.
  • Runaway Bride: The protagonist pulls this at a mock wedding.
  • Second Love:
    • Downplayed, but any love interest other than Kazuki is the protagonist's second love, after ten years without a relationship.
    • Momoi also had a past love that ended badly: she was a fellow pastry chef, and broke up with him out of jealousy over his skills, leaving him convinced that all other pastry chefs are competition and dating one could never work out.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Ikumi in particular is a Momoi/protagonist cheerleader on his route, rather to the protagonist's embarrassment.
    • The entire Larme staff, once they become aware of Sosuke's feelings for the protagonist, become enthusiastic supporters of the two of them getting together.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Sosuke has been in love with the protagonist for twenty years, since he was six years old. He's tried dating a few other girls along the way, but admits to the protagonist that none of those relationships ever made it off the ground. Even when it seems like she can't reciprocate his feelings, he tells the protagonist that he'll always love her, describing her as his first and last love.
  • Supreme Chef:
    • Momoi is a first-class pastry chef despite his young age; his cakes and pastries are so good that the protagonist, a professional pastry chef nine years his senior, admits without reservation that she has a lot to learn from him. This only applies to baking, however - the protagonist is more than a little amused to discover that when it comes to any other kind of cooking he's completely hopeless.
    • The protagonist, although not quite up to Momoi's caliber, is also excellent at what she does, which is what leads Momoi and Aki to pursue her for the job at Larme to begin with. She's also a very good cook in general, unlike Momo.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: In Kazuki's route, his company's financial struggles lead him to consider an arrangement in which he'll marry a business associate's daughter and allow his company to become a subsidiary of theirs in order to keep his business afloat. At the last moment, he realizes he can't go through with the deal... at which point his now-ex fiancee thoroughly flattens her father's promises of retribution, agreeing that she didn't really want to get married either. In the aftermath, the positive media attention results in a flood of customers and new business opportunities, ensuring that the company will be able to manage just fine.
  • Sweet Tooth: The protagonist is a pastry chef, after all. Kazuki in particular likes sweets so much that he ended up founding a company centered around importing high-quality baking supplies and ingredients.
  • True Companions: Larme is a small patisserie and its staff are a close-knit bunch, with the protagonist quickly welcomed into the fold. Across routes, Aki, Momoi, and Ikumi are quick to support the protagonist and close ranks around her when they feel it may be necessary.
  • Unmanly Secret: Momoi is a closet Studio Ghibli fanboy. He tries to explain his memorabilia as coming from a sister who's a fan, and gets the protagonist to go with him to the "Gibli Museum" because he's too embarrassed to be seen there by himself.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Early in Aki's route, the protagonist drinks too much and passes out... and wakes up naked in bed in her own apartment, with Aki beside her and no memory of how either of them came to be there. When Aki confirms that it's exactly what it looks like, the memories start to resurface, to her great dismay.
  • Working with the Ex:
    • In Kazuki's route, Kazuki convinces the protagonist to teach baking classes at his company as a way of promoting Larme, making the two of them professional colleagues.
    • In Momoi's sequel, he ends up faced with having to work with his ex-girlfriend when it turns out that she's the wedding planner for a couple who've asked Larme to make the cakes for their engagement party.

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