Tokugawa Ieyasu | Character Review | Ikémen Sengoku
Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康)
Abrasive, introverted, and awkward; Ieyasu initially comes across as rude and confrontational, but any tsundere fan will know this prickliness is there to hide the sensitive sweetheart underneath. At first, you will have to be persistent and chase him down (sometimes literally), but, before you know it, you’ll have fallen head over heels for this contrary warlord and his clumsy affections.
Tropes: I’ve labelled Ieyasu as Tsundere, Dandere, and Shota. I’ve chosen ‘Shota’ for three reasons: his younger appearance compared to the other warlords, his reliance on the MC and other characters to take care of him, and his passionate drive to prove himself capable of protecting those he cares about.
The ‘Dandere’ tag refers to Ieyasu being introverted and pushing people away, although he tends to express this by being sarcastic and defensive. This ties in with the Tsundere trope; a type of hot and cold attitude that leaves you wondering how he really feels, and whether his insults are sincere or he’s just embarrassed by his feelings.
Ieyasu is a Samurai character, so honour and stoicism are consistent themes throughout his route. This is to be expected from Ikémen Sengoku characters, as the ever-present reality of war turns them into hardened warriors who prioritise their duty to their lord over their personal desires. Ieyasu despises weakness and has an intense desire to become stronger and prove himself, particularly to his sworn lord, Oda Nobunaga.
You can expect plenty of drama and emotional conflict as you uncover Ieyasu’s past and learn how he became the man he is today. I really enjoyed getting to know his character and I thought the romantic side of the relationship developed very naturally. I didn’t find myself questioning why or how the MC had fallen for him, or vice versa.
“Do as you please. I have no interest in weaklings like you.”– Tokugawa Ieyasu
Often with awkward, contrary characters, the MC and love interest end up pushing each other away due to frustrating miscommunications. And, sometimes, these miscommunications can seem over the top, or simply there to force drama. I never felt that the conflict in Ieyasu’s route was unnatural, and it was never so exaggerated that I became frustrated with either Ieyasu or the MC. All in all, I found Ieyasu’s personality to be well-balanced between his prickly, difficult side (‘tsun’) and warm, affectionate side (‘dere’).
Currently, I have only completed one playthrough of Ieyasu’s route, so I am yet to try the ‘Normal’ story options. Normal story options are available for in-game currency, which is easy to acquire through minigames. Special story options, on the other hand, are only available for ‘coins’, which are purchased with real money. The appeal of Special stories is that they are longer and get saved to your story collection to be re-read at any time.
Below are reviews of each of the Special story options to help you decide whether or not to invest in the more expensive choices.
Story Options: Special vs. Normal
Special Story 1
A Grumpy Boy
Sweet, funny, and a little flirty; the banter between MC and Ieyasu in this scene establishes the dynamic of their relationship. It also works well as a standalone story, so it will still make sense even if you return to it months down the line after you’ve forgotten the main story. I recommend this Special story as a heart-warming reminder of the beginning of your romance with Ieyasu.
Special Story 2
A Sweet Demand
A dramatic, bittersweet scene that serves as an important milestone in your relationship with Ieyasu. I enjoyed this story at the time, but I don’t feel the need to read it again. If you absolutely love Ieyasu then you may wish to add it to your collection as it is a standout scene in his route in terms of the progression of your relationship. But, for those who want to save money, or just don’t feel that strongly about Ieyasu, it’s not a Special story you need to splash out on.
Special Story 3
A Contrary Confession
Ieyasu really puts the ‘Tsun‘ in Tsundere in this contrary, hot-and-cold Special story. As far as confessions go it definitely has Ieyasu written all over it and I love how consistent it is with his personality, rather than just being another typical romance scene. As with ‘A Sweet Demand’, I enjoyed this scene during my first reading, and I definitely love a bit of drama, but it’s not necessarily a story I feel the need to return to later.
Special Story 4
An Immodest Desire
If you want at least one saved story of Ieyasu’s signature brand of affection, this one would be my recommendation. It’s a little steamier than previous options while still incorporating Ieyasu’s awkward charm. It’s also the last Special story before you branch into the different endings and definitely the spiciest one in Ieyasu’s main route. I haven’t played his Dramatic ending yet, but ‘A Perfect Happiness’, which takes place in his Romantic Ending, is actually spicier than this one, so if you plan to do that ending you may wish to save for that Special story instead. Otherwise, this is the best guarantee you have for a spicy Special Story with Ieyasu.
Special Story 5
A Perfect Happiness
If you want a truly spicy Ieyasu Special story for the archives, this is the one I recommend the most. It takes place in Ieyasu’s romantic ending and makes a great highlight for the heart-achingly sweet conclusion of his route. The Special stories in the endings are always good to have saved as you can read them to remember the ending without having to play through the entire route again. ‘A Perfect Happiness’ is definitely a good name for this story and it has a great mixture of both sweet and spicy moments. If you enjoyed Ieyasu’s route, and you like his romantic ending, then it’s worth pitching in the coins to add this story to your collection.
Endings: Romantic or Dramatic?
For the hopeless romantics, this ending is for you. Adorable and sickeningly sweet, Ieyasu’s romantic ending had me equal parts saying “awww” and grinning like a fool. The quintessential ‘happily ever after’.
One of the things I really enjoyed about Ieyasu’s route was how he maintained a balance of snarky and sweet, without being all one and then completely switching to the other halfway through his route. This ending showcases the most appealing aspects of Ieyasu’s character, while also providing a satisfying climax to his romance.
Bonus: If you’re a Sasuke fan, there is a great moment in this ending that should seem familiar if you’ve already played his route.
Tokugawa Ieyasu pleasantly surprised me as perhaps my favourite “contrarian” character so far. The banter between him and the MC is witty and cute and his emotional conflict born from his position as a warlord is intriguing and dramatic. Furthermore, the romance between Ieyasu and the MC feels natural and unforced without being boring or too realistic.
If you enjoy an awkward tsundere with a blush to die for, a determined love interest with an intense desire to prove themselves, and a perfect balance of drama to sweetness, then I recommend choosing Tokugawa Ieyasu’s route.
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