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Visual Novel / Romance Detective

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Romance Detective is a Ren'Py-based visual novel created by NomnomNami in 2014. It follows the adventures of Romance Cop, a newly transfer to the peaceful Lovebloom City, and her partnership with the eponymous Romance Detective, a suave yet oddball detective who specializes in crimes of passion. Together, they fight crime and also find love in each other. However, what started as a short series of love-related crimes soon proves to be a much bigger issue, as all of the roses from the city have suddenly developed mind-altering properties and make people fall madly in love and act with no self-restraint.

Shortly after that and for almost two years, NomnomNami and her partner started the development of a sequel, Romance Detective 2, but said sequel was cancelled due to disagreements with her partner and the artwork was never truly finished. The story, however, was complete (minus a few removed concepts) and fully playable despite certain moments where the characters appear as sketches. In this story, Romance Detective and Romance Cop, now an Official Couple, must investigate certain love-related crimes that, once again, are revealed to be a byproduct of the mind-altering roses.

Both visual novels have since been completely removed from NomnomNami's account, though the first novel can still be played online on

Both novels provide examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Otherwise normal names like Rose or Courtney are mixed in with names like Chrys or Aster.
  • Author Appeal: As a yuri lover, both NomnomNami novels feature prominently homosexual couples.
  • Big Bad: In both, the culprit behind the love brainwashing is the artist Leandre, who wants to create a world of loveexcept she herself is a pawn of Venus, the Love Goddess, who wants everyone to worship her again.
  • Buddy Cop Visual Novel
  • Cast Full of Gay: Heterosexual people are as almost as rare as gods are in this universe.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Police Chief, Romance Cop and obviously Romance Detective are mostly referred to by their titles, even between them. On certain occasions, though, they refer to each other by their real names, particularly during emotive moments.
  • Fish out of Water: Romance Cop, who was born and raised in an otherwise normal city, is often puzzled by how kind-hearted and nice things are in Lovebloom City and in particular by the oddities of Romance Detective. Downplayed in the sequel, where she starts to fit in, although her different background is still mentioned once or twice.
  • Gayborhood: More like Gay City. Homosexuality is very common in Lovebloom City, even if not everyone is exclussively homosexual or bisexual.
  • Large Ham: Romance Detective might as well have been called Ham Detective. Other good contenders would be Lupin, Sage and Ivy.
  • Jerkass Gods: The best of all the gods shown in the series is Cupid, a carefree, JerkAss slacker who likes to butt heads with the protagonists. He gets somewhat better in the sequel, especially if you collect the cat poster. Much worse than Cupid are his parents, Venus and Ares: the former is a Manipulative Bastard who wants to mind-control the world and the latter controls war in the world and is implied to be a wife-basher.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Canary has petal-shaped pupils, the people under the influence of the roses (plus Rose and Leandre) have pupils with roses in them and Venus has heart-shaped pupils.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Cupid is shown as a lazy, irresponsible prick who rarely takes responsibility for his actions. Only by getting the Golden Ending can this change.
  • Iconic Item: For Romance Detective, it would be her comically large net. She even goes out of her way to retrieve it once she leaves it out of reach.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Up until the sequel, where Romance Cop can be seen wearing civilian clothes at the beginning, everyone is always dressed the same way, and even then it doesn't last.
  • Love Potion: The one in the roses, which moves most of the plot of both novels.
  • Magic Realism: While the stories take place in an almost unrealistically nice, kind and idyllic city, its existance is mostly within the barriers of realism. However, there are gods and roses that manipulate people's feelings and that are out of the norm.
  • Mind Screw: Quite a few, due to the novels' silly nature.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: People under the effect of the roses display pink pupils with rose patterns. The only exceptions would be Rose and Leandre, who have them by default.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In both novels Romance Detective and Romance Cop tend to be fooled into helping the villains one way or another, though it is mostly justified since the threat they unwillingly help is so outlandish it could not be expected.
  • One True Love: Romance Detective and Romance Cop.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The roses. Mostly, however, Venus. Up until the end of the second novel nobody expected the main reason for all the problems in the series to be caused by a goddess and there was no mention or hinting that other members of the Greek pantheon aside from Cupid existed. When pitted against Venus, the protagonists are all but helpless to fight her, and it takes Cupid, Venus' own son, to defeat her.
  • Queer Romance: Through the roof. Most of the main and secondary pairings are lesbian with one gay secondary pairing in the sequel and only a few hints of heterosexual couples sprinkled here and there.
  • Sugar Bowl: Lovebloom City is practically an Utopia. Its characters are mostly kind and light-hearted (with the occasional Jerkass, and even then they turn out to be mostly nice people under a thorny cover), the crime rate is incredibly low and the police department prison is almost always empty.
  • Surreal Humor: Both novels love to use the wackiness and silliness of the characters for laughs (though this is mostly downplayed in the sequel, which has a more realistic tone to it).
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: The first novel is very much in the side of fantasy, whereas the second one, while still having many shades of fantasy, is a bit more realistic and certain fantastic elements of the first novel (such as the rose Romance Detective was supposedly born with) were retconned into realism.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Many characters like Romance Cop or Canary have pink eyes. This also applies to all the people who are under the effect of the roses, as their eyes become pink even if it wasn't its original color.
  • The Power of Love: A big recurring theme.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The roses seem to have this effect on people, or at least in Romance Cop, as she can hardly remember what happens when she's under the influence.
  • Where The Hell Is Lovebloom City?
  • White-and-Grey Morality: With the exception of Venus (and probably Ares), there are no truly evil people in either novel. The criminals are harmless and reasonable at best and Affably Evil and still reasonable at worst.

Tropes from Romance Detective:

  • The Big Damn Kiss/Official Kiss: Happens right at the end.
  • Chekhov's Gag: At the beginning of the story, Romance Detective gives Romance Cop a rose to symbolize her becoming her recruit. Later on, this rose ends up making Romance Cop act lovey-dovey.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It doesn't take a medium to guess that Romance Detective and Romance Cop become lovers in the end.
  • Gainax Ending: The main duo and Lupin use a rocket to send all the roses in the city to outer space to fight their influence.
  • Kinetic Novel: There's only one ending and no choices whatsoever.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Subverted. At one point Romance Cop almost kissed Romance Detective while under the influence of the roses, but the influence disappeared when she stepped on the rose causing it.
  • Precocious Crush: Romance Thief has one for Stephan. It ends quite quickly.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: While not soused by a drug per se, the roses were unexpectedly the reason behind all of the love-related crimes.

Tropes from Romance Detective 2:

  • Agents Dating: Guess which agents begin the story during a date.
  • Art Shift: Due to the unfinished nature of the novel, many scenes feature characters or entire sceneries drawn only as crude sketches.
  • Bickering Couple, Peaceful Couple: Ivy & Aster (One-sided, since Ivy is the one bickering) vs Romance Cop & Detective. Their relationship even seems to inspire Aster to take things further with Ivy.
  • Bodyguard Crush: The romance between Canary and her bodyguard Delphine is anything but subtle. One drawing during the ending shows Canary proposing to her during one of her concerts.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Quite a few times.
  • But Thou Must!: At more than one point you can choose to go to different places other than the one you're supposed to go (like the Park or Romance Detective's house). However, said choices don't really affect the story other than to reveal some more dialogue between the main characters.
  • Cupid's Arrow: Surprisingly inverted. The arrow, rather than make people fall in love, is used against Venus and breaks her heart-shaped gem, symbolizing her heart being broken and her powers being threatened.
  • Death Glare: After insisting way too many times on taking the cat poster, Romance Cop claims to feel like Romance Detective's eyes are shooting daggers at her.
  • Deface of the Moon: The moon gets covered in roses thanks to the rocket carrying them. Romance Detective even comments on how awful it is that a love symbol like the moon is defaced that way.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Neither Rosemary nor Leandre are behind the brainwashing, as Rosemary is no longer pursuing her utopia, and Leandre is a pawn of Venus.
  • Doing in the Scientist: It is revealed in the Golden Ending that the roses and their hazardous effects were not really Leandre and her formula, but rather Venus using her powers and manipulating Leandre as a mere intermediary.
  • Drama Queen: Sage is this up to eleven and his overreactions are what causes one of the crimes to investigate at the beginning of the novel. This also applies to Lupin.
  • Eyepatch After Timeskip: The Chief wears one, partially as a prank and partially as a result of getting (accidentally) hit in the eye by Sage. She removes it in the end.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: Right before the final confrontation one of these happens to give the impression of a dissapointing ending.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Much to Romance Detective's surprise, Romance Cop was originally a prankster and a delinquent. However, she got better.
  • Just Take the Poster: The cat poster in the abandoned lab seems to have a weird influence on Romance Cop and makes her want to take it home with her. Justified in that the poster is actually a being created by Cupid to watch over the lab and has that effect on people. Taking him with you allows you to reach the Golden Ending.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The sequel gives an explanation to the origin of the mind-controlling roses.
  • Multiple Endings: Four in total.
  • The Woman Behind The Woman: Leandre was being manipulated this whole time by none other than Venus, the goddess of love, who not only helped her develop the formula but was also the one who made the rocket carrying the roses crash on the moon.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Justified. Romance Cop acting as a lovestruck and nearly insane person while under the effect of the roses is treated as such, since it represents her losing her personality and becoming like that against her will.
  • Religion is Magic: Cupid reveals that magic isn't real but divine powers are. Whether he's to be believed or not is up to debate.
  • Serial Escalation: In the first novel the roses affected only Lovebloom City and its inhabitants. In the sequel, the roses covering the moon affect the entire world and make crime rates worldwide rise dangerously, to the point some people think about the end of times. Also, the one behind the roses plans to use them to mind-control the world into becoming a love-filled utopia.
  • Serious Business: Romance Detective takes poetry and art this way, even if they're not masterpieces. Romance Cop not agreeing with her causes her to be disappointed and sad.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Discussed by Romance Cop, who asks Romance Detective why does she wear her Cool Shades at night.
  • Shirtless Scene: Downplayed. In two different occasions Romance Detective takes off her signature Badass Longcoat to cover Romance Cop from the effect of the rose-infected moon and she's wearing a sleeveless shirt underneath.
  • Symbol Swearing: When Ivy swears, it appears as this.
  • You Have Failed Me: When Venus appears in front of the protagonists during the Golden Ending, she says as much about Leandre and uses her powers to trap her in what seems to be a deadly clutch of roses. She got better, though.