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Visual Novel / Scandal in the Spotlight

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The secret deal that fooled millions.

Scandal in the Spotlight is a Visual Novel Romance Game from Voltage, Inc. for iOS and Android devices. Its story revolves around Revance, Japan's hottest Boy Band - five members perform to the adulation of crowds of fans, but the sixth, the lyricist, prefers to avoid the spotlight and never makes appearances.

The heroine, meanwhile, is an aspiring screenwriter with little interest in boy bands. She has more immediate concerns, like the notebook of her work that's gone missing and the sleazy producer who keeps hitting on her. When she happens into tickets to a Revance concert, however, she's startled to recognize her own words in the lyrics of their newest song. She's even more surprised when - just when it looks like that sleazy producer is poised to end her career before it's even gotten off the ground - the members of the band sweep in with an unexpected solution.

They let her in on a closely-kept secret: the secretive sixth member of Revance, their lyricist Ryo, has in fact gone missing, and they want her to fill in for him until he's found. If she does, they assure her that they can use their influence in the entertainment world to clear up her problems. If she doesn't, she'll probably never find work in the business again.

The visual novel contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Above the Influence: Near the end of Kyohei's route, the protagonist - torn up with guilt and confusion over her feelings for Kyohei, and desperate to come up with lyrics for a new song suitable for Revance's 10th anniversary concert - goes to Kyo's room and asks him to sleep with her to give her inspiration. Although at first he's eager, Kyohei stops himself before matters have progressed very far and spends the night chastely holding her instead, not willing to have sex with her if it's only for the sake of the song.
  • Accidental Public Confession: In Iori's route, the protagonist decides to agree to Mr. Yokoyama's Sexual Extortion to keep Iori from being dropped from a big upcoming media event, which could damage his career. Yokoyama has her meet him in an unused broadcasting booth while Revance is making a live appearance elsewhere in the studio, and aggressively tries to pump her for blackmail material he could use against the band before moving on to sexual assault. Neither of them realizes that, somewhere along the way, one of them accidentally flipped a switch and everything they've said was clearly heard in the studio where Revance was doing their live broadcast.
  • All Part of the Show: Invoked repeatedly for fun and profit by Kyohei, who takes every opportunity he can find to lavish attention on the protagonist in public by doing things like having her play the role of his girlfriend in a music video or stand in as the love interest character during an audition. So far, none of the fans have caught wise.
  • Animal Motifs: Kota is frequently compared to a cat; "If you try to pet him, you just get scratched." Nagito on the other hand, is usually referred to as a dog - specifically, a dirty one.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Iori comes to the protagonist's rescue twice on his route - first when a group of angry fans recognize and assault her, and again later on when Mr. Yokoyama tries to rape her.
  • Blackmail: A frequent hazard in the underbelly of show biz:
    • In Kyohei's route, Shinya resorts to threatening to tell the media about Ryo's disappearance and the protagonist's ghostwriting lyrics for Revance in his absence, using this threat as leverage to make the protagonist hand over her just-finished lyrics to him.
    • In Iori's route, Mr. Yokoyama takes advantage of his position as producer of 25 Hour TV to try Sexual Extortion on the protagonist.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Takashi is not much of a talker even when the guys are performing, generally preferring to stay in the background. When it comes to composing, however, he turns into a tyrant who his bandmates call a "song-writing monster," and although Kyohei is the primary driving force behind Revance, it's Takashi who everyone refers to as "Leader."
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Kota and Nagito tend to take this dynamic, with Kota as the straight-man and Nagi as the funny man, and play it up for the public in performances and appearances such as when they co-host Revance's radio show. Takashi also sometimes picks up the role of Tsukkomi against Nagito's Boke.
  • Boy Band: Revance is one, albeit brought together and produced by Kyohei himself rather than by corporate executives. They also write all of their own music, and are depicted as having massive Multiple Demographic Appeal; by the time the protagonist crosses their path, they've been going strong for ten years. On-stage, Kyohei fills the role of both Heartthrob and Bad Boy, contrasted by "Prince Iori" as the the cool, kind Older Brother; Nagito is the Cute One, with deadpan Kota as his foil, and Takashi is the Quiet One.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Nagito. He's got an eye for the ladies, especially compared to his bandmates. But he's also the nicest of them, to everyone he meets.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Invoked by Revance's stage costumes, elaborate military-esque getups in white, gold, and one color per band member. Kyohei's color is red, Iori's is blue, Kota's is green, Nagito's is yellow, and Takashi's is purple. Since Kyohei and Iori are the primary frontmen for the band and Takashi usually stays in the background, this also makes them an example of Chromatic Arrangement. In later storylines, however, the trope is dropped completely and the stage costumes are changed to uniformly black and silver.
  • Commissar Cap: All five band members sport them in their stage costumes.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Kyohei's stage costume includes fingerless gloves, with diamond-shaped cutouts over the knuckles. Nagito's stage costume also sports one fingerless glove.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kyohei Rikudoh's father Hiromi was a famous pop star who managed to cross over into the Western market and made it to #1 on the US charts. He died at the height of his fame at the age of 27, saving his then five-year-old son from drowning. Kyohei blames himself and is determined to surpass his father as a star as a way of making up for cutting his father's life and career so short.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In-universe, Kota has been known to manipulate his fellow actors to influence their performances, such as intentionally making his co-star angry to get a more realistic effect in a scene in which their characters fight. The protagonist speculates that he's been acting cold toward her to affect the way she writes the lyrics for his movie's theme song.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Iori's father is a wealthy and high-powered corporate executive who expects his son to succeed him in running their family's company, and strongly disapproves of Iori's career as a (phenomenally successful) pop star. When Iori first joined Revance, his father declared that he would allow Iori's participation in the band only until Iori turned thirty. Since Iori was nineteen at the time and didn't expect his run as a pop star to last more than a few years, his father's edict hardly seemed important... but with Revance still going strong ten years later and the deadline looming increasingly close, Mr. Enjo has become more and more willing to resort to underhanded methods to force Iori to quit.
  • Fan Nickname: In-universe, Kyohei is known to his fans as "Sir Kyo," and Iori is popularly called "Prince Iori."
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Iori's stage costume has fluffy blue feathers over one shoulder.
  • Forgets to Eat: When Takashi is composing, nothing else matters, especially not inconveniences like food. He tends to crash hard when he finishes a period of songwriting, and the other guys know to have time set aside for him to rest.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Kyohei pulls out all the stops in his "Dramatic Love" ending. Since the protagonist has left and he has no way to reach her directly, he writes a song expressing his feelings; when she turns up at the 10th anniversary concert, he arranges a front-row seat and full-access pass for her, and performs his song as a solo ballad. Then he pulls her up on stage during the finale, in front of sixty thousand fans.
  • Groupie Brigade:
    • Screaming throngs of fans are a nearly constant hazard, given Revance's popularity. Aside from the mysterious and absent Ryo, any one of the band's members is all but guaranteed to be mobbed if he's recognized in public; one such incident puts an end to a date in Kyohei's epilogue.
    • In Iori's route, they get downright nasty after a photo of Iori and the protagonist together finds its way online.
  • Ho Yay: Deliberately invoked in Kyohei's sequel; when Kyohei talks about his trip to the US during a media appearance, he teases the audience by claiming that he came back with tan lines from his swim trunks... which Takashi then pretends to check. The audience eats it up, naturally.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Once the protagonist is officially in a relationship with one of the members of Revance, insecurity sets in hard, and she inevitably ends up doubting what appeal she could really hold for an ultra-famous pop star who's fervently adored by multitudes of fans.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In Kyohei's sequel, Kyohei eventually decides that he would rather break up with the protagonist than risk getting in the way of her chance to realize her dreams of succeeding as a screenwriter. He's convinced of the error of this decision by the climax of the sequel, but remains fully supportive of her career and encourages her to take professional opportunities when they come her way even if it means spending less time together.
  • Imagine Spot: As a writer, the protagonist frequently attempts to imagine how a scenario might play out. Her imagination tends to be a little too vivid, however, with the result that her Imagine Spots are often as not derailed by things like Iori making snarky comments or paparazzi crashing her imaginary date with Kyohei.
  • Internet Counterattack: The protagonist experiences intense backlash from Revance's fans over a picture of her and Iori together, though Iori waves it off as a common occurrence not worth getting worked up over. He ends up fanning the flames by letting his "prince" persona slip when a group of fans recognize the protagonist from the photo and accost her, with serious consequences.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his sharp tongue and often unpleasant manner when not performing, Iori isn't a bad person, and as the protagonist gets to know him she has opportunity to see past the snark and cynicism to his warmer nature. It's shown particularly clearly in Iori's His POV side story, which shows that underneath the belligerence he's actually trying, in his own fashion, to meet the protagonist halfway and build up her confidence.
  • Leonine Contract: The protagonist can't really refuse to ghostwrite lyrics for Revance when her own budding career as a scriptwriter is on the rocks thanks to Mr. Yokoyama. If she helps the guys, they're willing to use their considerable influence on her behalf; if she doesn't, she's all but guaranteed never to work in the entertainment industry again.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The guys have a few changes of clothes, but not nearly as many as you'd expect out of a group of famous pop stars, including each of them having just one suit for formal occasions and one stage costume for all of their performances. Beginning in the main route epilogues, the stage costumes do get switched... for black-and-white Palette Swaps of the previous costumes.
  • Love Makes You Uncreative: In Takashi's route, falling for the protagonist creates a crisis for Taka - where previously his head was full of music, now his thoughts are occupied by the protagonist, and it's interfering with his ability to compose new songs. Separating from the protagonist doesn't help, either, but with an assist from the other guys he's able to turn things around by the end of the route and find new inspiration in his feelings for her.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Kyohei wants the protagonist to write a "sexy" song, and keeps teasingly offering to provide "experience" to give her inspiration. On multiple occasions he throws the protagonist off by behaving unexpectedly romantic toward her and then playing it off casually as "boyfriend-girlfriend roleplaying" intended to help give her ideas for the song; as a result, she spends the whole route reminding herself that he only sees her as a lyricist, and has a very hard time wrapping her head around it when he finally declares his feelings.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Iori's public persona is gentle and princely, but his true personality is blunt, cynical, and sardonic. The protagonist is boggled by the contrast, and on Iori's route, letting the mask slip in front of a group of fans who've assaulted the protagonist contributes to a PR mess that potentially threatens Iori's career.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Kyohei is a consummate performer and ten-year veteran of the spotlight. So when, in his sequel, he locks up during a live performance, forcing the studio to hastily swap in a recording of an earlier rehearsal, there's no doubt of how badly the protagonist's absence is affecting him.
    • In Iori's sequel, the stress from his father's announcement of Iori and the protagonists marriage, drives him to despair briefly. The protagonist is very alarmed by how badly worn out this makes Iori, especially when he starts to suggest they go along with it and get married. Some reassurance that yes she loves him, but no she doesn't want Revance to end that way, gets Iori back on his feet again.
  • Old Retainer: Matsunaga, the caretaker of Iori's vacation home, has looked after Iori since he was a child. He's basically the only person who can make Iori toe the line.
  • Paparazzi: Given Revance's popularity and Japan's idol culture, paparazzi are an inevitable concern. The guys are pretty well accustomed to dealing with the media and managing their PR, so the protagonist ends up worrying about being caught by paparazzi more than any of her prospective boyfriends do, but there are a few incidents which prove that her worries are not entirely unfounded.
  • Perspective Flip: The "His POV" side stories show the events of the main routes from the guy's perspective.
  • Princely Young Man: Iori's stage persona is gentlemanly and chivalrous, and he's known to fans as "Prince Iori." As the protagonist discovers, this is very much an act.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kyohei and Iori seem to have some shades of this trope in their performances. The two of them are featured most prominently as singers among the group, with the swaggering "Sir Kyo" in red contrasted against the gentlemanly "Prince Iori" in blue.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: As shown in Iori's His POV side story, the protagonist's influence and the outpouring of fan support during the 25-Hour TV event causes Iori to rethink some of his cynicism regarding women (and people in general).
  • Secret Test of Character: In Kyohei's sequel epilogue, Kyo's sister Akina turns up and puts the protagonist through the wringer, doing things like dragging her around to carry bags on an all-day shopping spree, insisting that she miss the opening night of the play she wrote for more shopping, and nearly mentioning Ryo's disappearance and the protagonist's ghostwriting for Revance during an interview. The protagonist, not wanting to alienate Kyohei's beloved sister, tolerates all of this with varying degrees of grace, but when Akina starts bad-mouthing Ryo and saying that, despite their longtime friendship, Revance should refuse to ever let him come back, it's the last straw and the protagonist finally lets her have it - to the delight of not only Akina (who was starting to worry that the protagonist was too much of a pushover) but Kyohei and the guys (listening avidly at the door), and she finally realizes that it was all Akina's way of making sure Kyohei's new girlfriend was someone right for him.
  • Sexual Extortion:
    • Mr. Yokoyama in the prologue wants the protagonist to sleep with him, and her refusal to do so kicks off the plot when Yokoyama threatens to destroy her career as a scriptwriter over the humiliation.
    • In Iori's route, negative media attention begins to threaten Iori's princely stage image and it looks like he's going to be dropped from an upcoming media event as a result, which could have lasting repercussions on his career. Yokoyama takes this opportunity to approach the protagonist again, offering to make the problem go away in exchange for her... cooperation.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Select lines of Kyohei's dialogue are voiced by Shinnosuke Tachibana in his season two "His POV" story and the "To My Beautiful Jewel" side story.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Iori's default state when not under the public eye is arrogant, blunt, and very snarky. The protagonist comes to think of him as an "evil prince."
  • There Is Only One Bed: During Kyohei's route, a storm strands him with the protagonist at a house that, naturally, has only one bed. They end up sharing, which does nothing to help the protagonist's growing attraction to Kyo, but nothing racy happens.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • The protagonist, at least on Iori's route, is particularly fond of oranges and orange juice (not from concentrate, please!). Iori does not share her preference, and dubs her with the unflattering nickname "orange breath."
    • When Takashi is composing - especially if he's having difficulty - he eats nothing but caramels. The protagonist learns to judge how much Taka is struggling by the quantity of caramel wrappers strewn over his workspace.
      • Turns out that Takashi doesn't actually like caramel - he just works better when he's all sugared up. His favourite food is actually Kyohei's fried rice