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Visual Novel / Office Secrets

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Left to right: Ryoma, Mr. Goda, Toranosuke, Junya, Shota, and Shingo

Is it okay to fall in love with a co-worker?

Office Secrets is a Romance Game Visual Novel by Voltage, Inc. for iOS and Android devices. A Westernized adaptation has also been released by Voltage Entertainment USA under the title Intimate Business.

The heroine is an employee of Infinite, a well-known clothing company, who suddenly receives notification that she's being transferred to a new department. All of the other people selected for the new department are top employees, so the pressure is on the protagonist to pull her weight and contribute to the success of the company's newest project. Matters only get more complicated when she inevitably ends up on increasingly intimate terms with one of her co-workers, even though workplace romances are strictly against company regulations.

Office Secrets includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Arranged Marriage: Ryoma Shirasagi is being set up with one by his father, and it's a subject of great concern to the protagonist on his route.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The protagonist with Toranosuke on his route.
  • Benevolent Boss: Mr. Goda, head of the New Business department, supports his subordinates unfailingly and is always willing to go to bat for them in the face of doubt, pressure, or disapproval from the company's executives.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Atypically for a Voltage romance game, the "Normal" endings of each route fall into this category rather than being an only slightly less happy counterpart to the route's Golden Ending. In most cases, the protagonist and her love interest end up not getting together in spite of their feelings for each other, choosing instead to focus on work.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Shota Kurumi, who was raised in Europe.
  • The Charmer: Junya Sakurazawa.
  • The Chikan: One of the first things that happens in the prologue is the protagonist noticing that a high school girl is being molested on the train, and attempting to intervene only for Toranosuke to beat her to it.
  • Continuity Nod: Toranosuke's sequel mentions the bridal wear project that serves as the focus of Junya's main route. Whether this means that Junya's Normal Ending is in continuity with Toranosuke's various routes or if only the Broad Strokes of the route carry over is up to what amuses the player more.
  • Crossover: The characters have yet to cross over, but Infinite as a company is mentioned in Kunihiko's sequel epilogue in My Forged Wedding, and in the subsequent Wedding Bells sequel, Kunihiko receives a congratulatory letter from Goda.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Ryoma.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: In most of the Normal Endings.
  • Dub Name Change: As per usual for Voltage USA's adaptations, Intimate Business changes all of the characters' names. Toranosuke Hajime, Ryoma Shirasagi, Shota Kurumi, Junya Sakurazawa, Koji Nagumo, Shingo Kai, and Tamotsu Goda become Hunter Stark, Alistair Stewart, Francis Costanza, Noah Housler, Damon Urban, James Park, Robert Stierman, and so on.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Office Secrets is one of a very few Voltage games to have actual unhappy endings, so it makes the better endings even easier to get by having only two options per decision point instead of the usual three.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • By the end of Toranosuke's route, indications are that the rest of the department knows he and the protagonist are in love with each other, although they continue to hide their relationship.
    • More blatantly in one of James's endings in Intimate Business: "Wait, are we still pretending we don't know they're dating?"
  • The Fashionista: Mr. Morikubo, Infinite's lead designer.
  • Good with Numbers: Shingo is capable of flawlessly performing complicated mathematical calculations in his head, a skill which he puts to good use towards the financial end of the New Business department's work.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Any commentary on the re-done artwork aside, the narration in Intimate Business is noticeably racier than it is in the corresponding scenes in Office Secrets.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: After spending almost all of Ryoma's sequel apart, he and the protagonist finally get an emotional moment alone together at the launch event of the new store in Shanghai. They only realize that Ryoma's lapel microphone is still on when the crowd of people attending the event begin cheering them.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Junya... maybe. The other characters frequently warn the protagonist about getting played by him, but his route suggests that his reputation is at least somewhat exaggerated. Unless you get his normal ending, in which the trope is subverted when he leaves with another woman immediately after the protagonist agrees to be his girlfriend.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The protagonist gets a severe case of the dumb in Shingo's epilogue. First she lets herself get so preoccupied by mooning over Shingo that it gets in the way of her work; then, when she realizes it's causing a problem, she avoids discussing it with him at all and instead decides that the most appropriate course of action is to a) avoid any kind of personal contact with him while they're working, which leaves poor Shingo hurt and confused since she won't talk to him about it, and b) overwork herself until she gets sick.
  • The Mole: Shingo, as a new employee who was headhunted from a competitor, is always the first person suspected any time it seems like the department's plans might have been leaked to a rival company. It's never him, and it's usually never revealed who, if anyone, is responsible for the leaks. On Shingo's route it turns out to be an employee from the Sales department hoping to score a better position at the rival company by feeding them confidential information.
  • Must Have Caffeine:
    • Downplayed but given a nod in the protagonist's narration when she observes that it's "just plain irresponsible" to let the vending machine at the office run out of coffee.
    • It's played up more in Intimate Business - the protagonist spends a good half of the prologue fiercely craving caffeine.
  • Nepotism: Junya is the grandson of the company president, and has a bit of a complex over the assumption that he got to his current position by his family connections rather than his personal merit.
  • Never Gets Drunk: A mundane example. The guys are all amazed at the protagonist's ability to drink nearly anyone under the table, causing her to retort that it's hardly her fault men are such lightweights these days.
  • Nice Guy: Koji, the only member of the New Business department the protagonist is already friendly with before the beginning of the game.
  • The Nicknamer: Tamotsu Goda does not believe in proper names, apparently. Pretty much the only one who escapes this is Ryoma, presumably out of some lingering respect for the man's dignity.
  • Office Romance: It's the whole basis of the game.
  • Out of Focus: Shingo, Koji and Junya, whose routes only include the main story. Everyone else has had a sequel, and - in Ryoma and Toranosuke's case - engagement and wedding stories released.
  • The Proud Elite: Ryoma comes from a very high-class family and is a strict perfectionist.
  • The Quiet One: Shingo is not much of a talker, and on his route the protagonist quickly gets used to long silences.
  • Race Lift: Koji's Intimate Business counterpart Damon is black. Shingo's counterpart James is Korean, and the rest of the cast are changed from Japanese to Caucasian.
  • Romantic False Lead: In Ryoma's sequel, the protagonist begins working closely with Morikubo the designer while Ryoma is on an extended business trip. Despite her best efforts to keep things professional, Morikubo quickly develops a personal interest in her.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Shingo makes a characteristically subtle romantic overture to the protagonist on Koji's route, long after he has any chance of getting her attention.
  • Self-Deprecation: Junya's preferred method of dealing with office gossip about him is to join in, derailing the gossips by beating them to the punch line.
  • Serious Business: On Junya's route, the New Business department succeeds in arranging a collaboration with a prestigious English designer, Catherine Stegmayer, who is known for being a bit of a diva. Near the end of the route, the project almost falls apart at the last minute when Stegmayer goes missing in transit from England to Japan; she's eventually located in Hong Kong, having freaked out at the airport and escaped onto a different flight. The reason for this nervous breakdown? Her face is breaking out.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The entire New Business department, not surprisingly given that they work for a prestigious clothing company.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Goda's niece Marika is enthusiastically in favour of her uncle and the protagonist becoming an item, and becomes the protagonist's personal cheering squad throughout the route and into the epilogue.
    • Kerry Wang in Ryoma's sequel seems like a Romantic False Lead in the making, but turns out to be an enthusiastic member of Team Ryoma+Protagonist.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The protagonist is the only woman on the New Business team, which is not surprising given that the point of the game is for her to fall for one of her co-workers.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Shingo Kai.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality:
    • Ryoma, of the "chilly and aloof until the heroine melts his heart" variety.
    • Shingo is another example; his cool exterior is less harsh and more expressionless.
  • Sweet Tooth: Ryoma is very fond of sweets.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Toranosuke, Ryoma, and Shingo.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Toranosuke and Ryoma.
  • Unmanly Secret: James in Intimate Business likes cars, brandy, and... girly, upbeat K-pop music. He blames his younger sister for getting him into it.
  • Urban Legend Love Life:
    • Junya, possibly. Most of his interaction with women on his route is more innocent than it appears, unless you get his normal ending.
    • Mr. Goda is likewise surrounded by rumours regarding his personal life. According to office gossip, he's divorced, a single father, and pursues relationships with much younger women. The first two are completely false, and the girl taken as evidence of his affairs with younger women is his niece, Marika. Goda is unaware of the rumours, and quite appalled when he finds out. Marika, on the other hand, thinks it's hilarious.
  • What If?: The "School Secrets" side story explores what it would be like if the protagonist and Toranosuke fell in love in a high school setting, with the protagonist as either Toranosuke's kouhai or his teacher.
  • You Know What You Did: Toranosuke pulls this one on the protagonist after he happens to see her chatting with Mr. Morikubo and plunges straight into a fit of jealousy, leaving her baffled by his sudden sour mood and his refusal to tell her what she did to make him angry. Fortunately, the misunderstanding doesn't drag out for too long.