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Visual Novel / My Sweet Bodyguard

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Left to right: Sora, Katsuragi, Mizuki, Kaiji, and Subaru

My Sweet Bodyguard is a Romance Game Visual Novel by Voltage, Inc. for iOS and Android devices. An expanded Free-to-Play version has also been released for the GREE social networking service, and a Westernized adaptation has been released by Voltage Entertainment USA under the title To Love and Protect.

The protagonist is a university student who grew up believing that her father died when she was an infant, only to suddenly learn that not only is he alive, he's the Prime Minister of Japan. Her father is eager to have a real paternal relationship with her, but his position presents complications: he is under threat from political extremists who have somehow found out that the protagonist is his daughter, and they're entirely willing to use her to get to him.

To protect his daughter, Prime Minister Hiraizumi assigns a member of his security detail to be the protagonist's full-time bodyguard. She has to choose which of five attractive men will be at her side 24/7 to protect her from danger, and it's not hard to guess where things go from there.

In 2016, the North American adaptation To Love & Protect was discontinued as a stand-alone app and received an Updated Re-release via Voltage USA's Lovestruck app. In addition to updated artwork and further adaptation of the material, this version removes the character of Maxwell and replaces him with a female love interest, Agent Madison Lane.

My Sweet Bodyguard contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All-Loving Hero: The protagonist cares about everyone, even extending compassion and forgiveness to the people who are out to get her if there's any kind of sympathetic reason to be found behind their villainous behavior. Several of the guys comment on how kind she is to everyone; it's usually one of the reasons they fall for her, but at the same time they worry that her selflessness also makes her vulnerable to being taken advantage of or hurt.
  • Badass Crew: The bodyguards.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Katsuragi, Ishigami, and Goto.
  • Bodyguard Crush/Rescue Romance: Inevitably, given that it's pretty much the point of the game. Kosugi Lampshades the hell out of it on Katsuragi's route, addressing him as "Kevin".
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Aside from Katsuragi, the security team are a pretty odd bunch, Sora and Mizuki especially. Ishigami dryly dubs them the Party Police.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Katsuragi's sequel, after Kate takes a bullet for Ishigami she reveals that she's wearing a bulletproof vest. Later in the route, the trope is subverted when she repeats the performance to protect the protagonist - her vest does her no good whatsoever when Kate catches the bullet in the neck. However, it somehow misses anything immediately vital and she makes a full recovery.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: In Katsuragi's sequel, FBI agent Kate is a heroic ally of the main characters, while the assistant director of the CIA turns out to be involved in terrorist activities around the world.
  • Character Overlap: President Robertson and Secret Service agents Chadwick and Edgar - To Love & Protect's localized versions of Prime Minister Hiraizumi, Katsuragi, and Subaru - play supporting roles in the Voltage USA original game Queen's Gambit.
  • Chocolate of Romance: Featured prominently in the "St. Valentine's Day" side story.
  • Christmas Episode: The "Merry Christmas" side story.
  • Comfort Food: On Goto's route, after the protagonist thinks that Goto has rejected her, she asks Subaru if they can get something to eat. Subaru kindly promises to make her anything she wants, including dessert.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: In To Love & Protect, Ellis (Sora) looks suspiciously like Colin Farrell, President Robertson (Hiraizumi) looks like Aaron Eckhart, and Albert (Momota) appears to have been modeled after Bill Murray. The resemblances went away when the artwork was re-done for the transition to the Lovestruck app.
  • Continuity Nod: At the beginning of the New Year's side story, the protagonist and her bodyguards reminisce about the events of the past year, making a whole string of nods to most of the game's previous side stories.
  • Declaration of Protection: The entire security team is responsible for protecting the protagonist, but her bodyguard of choice invariably makes a personal promise to protect her once he's fallen for her.
  • Divided for Publication: Goto, Ishigami, and Kurosawa's routes were released in two parts. The first part is the Public Safety side story which includes routes for all three characters and introduces them to the protagonist (and by extension the player). Their individual routes pick up where the side story left off and show the growth of the relationship into romance.
  • Dub Name Change: In To Love and Protect, Subaru, Sora, Kaiji, Mizuki, and Daichi are renamed Edgar, Ellis, Felix, Maxwell, and Chadwick, as part of the change of the setting from Japan to the US. Other characters' names are likewise changed.
  • Face Doodling: In Katsuragi's route of the "A New Year" side story, a New Year's Day game of badminton between Katsuragi and Ishigami gets considerably more heated after Superintendent Momota suggests drawing on the face of the loser. Several matches later, both men have faces covered in ink.
  • Fair Cop: All of the love interests are officers with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
  • FBI Agent: Kate Turner, a classmate and ex-girlfriend of Katsuragi's from his time studying in the US, is now an agent of the FBI. She appears during Katsuragi's sequel to investigate a possible terrorist attack on the American representatives who are there to negotiate a deal with the Japanese.
  • Gay Option: Madison Lane in the Lovestruck re-release of To Love & Protect.
  • Genki Girl: All three of Kaiji's sisters. Since they do everything together, the energy gets... concentrated. Anyone meeting them for the first time tends to come away from the experience a little shellshocked, and Kaiji's friends speculate that they're the reason he professes to hate women (they're not; he has other reasons.)
  • Groupie Brigade: Mizuki was a famous singer before switching careers, and his fans are still out there. This occasionally leads to situations where the bodyguard draws more attention than his client.
  • Honey Trap: The trope is mentioned by name in Katsuragi's and Ishigami's route of the Shanghai side story when they discover that a Japanese diplomat Ishigami's childhood friend was influenced into leaking sensitive information to the Chinese by a woman.
  • I Have Your Wife: The intention of pretty much every antagonist in every route is to kidnap the protagonist in order to use her as leverage against her father. In some routes they succeed as far as kidnapping her, but of course she is always rescued by her chosen bodyguard.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies:
    • Ishigami's justification for distancing himself from the protagonist on his route.
    • Goto does the same on his own route when an investigation causes him to become a target for a gang of drug-runners.
  • It's Personal: Disgraced mercenary Mariko eventually begins targeting the protagonist specifically to get revenge on the bodyguards for crossing her. What better way to make them suffer after all, than to have their princess in harm's way because they're her protectors?
  • I Want Grandkids: The protagonist's father occasionally mentions wanting grandchildren in some of Katsuragi's additional content. Not so much in any of the other guys' epilogues and sequels, amusingly enough.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In Katsuragi's sequel, Ishigami comes into conflict with Kate Turner over which of their departments, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police or the FBI, has greater claim to jurisdiction over the case at hand. Katsuragi has to mediate and convince them to work together rather than at cross-purposes.
  • Merging the Branches: The events of all routes and side stories have happened, and are canon in relation to each other. The only variable is where the protagonist's affections lie.note  So, for example, a Sora-centric side story featured the Marvellous Mariko as the villain, and it was noted that she bears a particular grudge toward Subaru and Kaiji for events that happened in their respective storylines.
  • Missing Mom: The protagonist's mother died young, and the protagonist was raised by her maternal grandmother. Likewise Subaru lost his mother very early and Sora's mother left him and his father for another man.
  • More Expendable Than You:
    • Pretty much all of the guys consider themselves to be more expendable than the protagonist, which is not exactly unreasonable given that she's the Prime Minister's daughter and they are all either bodyguards or police officers. Goto in particular takes it to something of an extreme.
    • They also occasionally get into more-expendable-than-thou arguments with one another, somewhat less reasonably. In Katsuragi's sequel, every one of the bodyguards present is prepared to make the dangerous climb onto the roof of an out-of-control maglev train, only for Katsuragi to insist on doing it himself rather than put any other member of his team in danger.
    • Also from Katsuragi's sequel, there's Kaiji Taking the Bullet for Subaru, and Subaru's intensely distressed reaction.
  • No OSHA Compliance: In Katsuragi's sequel we have an out of control maglev train with three emergency brakes. Of those three, only one is manually operated — and can only be reached from the roof of a train car travelling at 360 mph.
  • Out of Order: Rather than standing alone as the main bodyguard routes do, Ishigami and Goto's routes are written to follow the Public Safety side story, which covers much of the initial process of the protagonist getting to know them. The English localization released both characters' individual routes well before the side story, creating some confusion among players over why the routes seemed to be picking up halfway through the story.
  • Plausible Deniability: The Tokyo Metropolitan Police does not run undercover operations.
  • Posthumous Character: In Goto's route, his dead girlfriend Kazuki has a very strong influence over the story.
  • Race Lift: As part of the change of setting, everyone in To Love and Protect is American instead of Japanese. In the Lovestruck re-release, Chadwick is re-cast as Chinese-American (and given a new family name, Lin), and Ellis has been updated from white to black.
  • Romantic Runner-Up:
    • Kaiji in Subaru's route.
    • Ishigami in characteristically low-key fashion in Katsuragi's sequel.
  • Same-Sex Triplets: Kaiji's older sisters are identical triplets, and are collectively known as The Three Flower Sisters.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Kosugi can produce this effect at will, much to the bafflement of everyone else.
  • Second Love: The protagonist both for Seiji and Mizuki in their respective routes.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Subaru tends to be the protagonist's first and best wingman on every route other than his own, although his methods are sometimes offset by his need to give the guy in question a hard time. On Goto's route in particular he's an interesting intersection of this trope, Romantic Runner-Up, and I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: he seems to be at least somewhat romantically interested in the protagonist and envious that Goto has her affection, but in the choice between having a chance with her himself or seeing two of his favorite people happy with one another, he never hesitates in doing whatever he can to ensure that Goto and the protagonist end up together.
    • On a lighter note, Prime Minister Hiraizumi is very happy with the idea of having Katsuragi as a son-in-law.
    • On Ishigami's route, Goto and Kurosawa take it upon themselves to sort out their boss' love life, since he clearly isn't going to.
    • In Katsuragi's route, Kosugi picks up on the potential of what's going on with Katsuragi and the protagonist and runs with it. Complete with belting out Whitney Houston lyrics and outright proclamations long before Katsuragi and the protagonist figure it out.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spin-Off: The Public Security department is now being featured in its own game, with Ishigami and Goto among the main cast and guest appearances by the bodyguards on some routes. Her Love in the Force appears to occupy an Alternate Continuity in which the Broad Strokes of the characters and setting are the same, but specific details are different.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kosugi again. She's awesome like that.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Kate does it twice in Katsuragi's sequel - once for Ishigami, who is not at all appreciative, and once for the protagonist. The first time, she catches it in her bulletproof vest. The second time, not so much, but she survives and recovers quickly from the injury.
    • Also in Katsuragi's sequel, Kaiji for Subaru — much to the latter's distress.
  • True Companions:
    • The bodyguards are a very close-knit group, which is not surprising considering what they do for a living. The protagonist is quickly adopted as their "princess". The Public Security officers (Ishigami, Goto and Kurosawa) tend to get dragged into the madness as well, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
    • Kosugi and Midori are very close, supportive friends to the protagonist.
  • The Un-Smile: Momota has one. In a variation, it's not because he's ridiculously serious; he smiles often. It's just that his smile makes him look like a serial killer.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: The "St. Valentine's Day" side story.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Subaru and Goto seem to be at each other's throats every time they meet, but they actually go way back, and never fail to back one another up when it's needed.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: The plot of Katsuragi's sequel turns out to have been masterminded by the assistant director of the CIA. He explains his actions by claiming that after the Cold War ended, the CIA has been increasingly considered irrelevant. He's been manufacturing incidents of terrorism around the world to ensure that the agency would continue to receive funding and would not be disbanded.