Zero | Character Review | Ikémen Revolution
Zero (Ace of Hearts)
Zero has a very earnest type of kindness. He takes his job seriously (to the point of being a workaholic) and follows a strict moral code with a simple goal: protect the people who need him. An expert swordsman with a mysterious past, Zero is the only member of the Red Army to earn his special rank, rather than inherit it from his family. The beginning of his route is full of words like ‘sunshine’ and ‘bright’ and ‘radiant’, which made me think his stern expression was misleading. But, as you learn more about Zero, you begin to catch glimpses of darkness hiding behind this blindingly brilliant Ace of Hearts.
“You feel so warm. The more I feel your warmth, the more desperately I want to protect you.”– Zero
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Zero. He’s the Ace of Hearts, which is the Red Army’s equivalent of the Ace of Spades, Fenrir Godspeed, so I thought Zero might be similarly wild and eccentric. However, Zero couldn’t be further from this ‘Genki’ archetype. He’s simply a Very Good Boy; kind, protective, and earnest. What I liked most about Zero’s character was how serious he was in his ‘Goodness’. It wasn’t performative, nor was he trying to be charming, he was simply doing what he believed was right, with no ulterior motive or unnecessary complications.
Despite this simplistic, pure form of kindness, Zero’s character is far from boring. His tragic past is slowly revealed throughout his route, adding a dark and angsty streak to an otherwise blindingly radiant personality. He has an aura of mystery that hints at the reasons behind his dedication to his job, and why he can follow his beliefs and moral code without hesitation. The more you learn about Zero, the more his overwhelmingly kind nature becomes apparent, and it’s this sweet nature that will draw you in and have you falling in love before you know it.
Tropes: Zero is a complicated character with many layers that you gradually discover throughout his route. He’s protective and provides MC with many head pats (and even lollipops), which lends itself to the Onii-san (or older brother) archetype. However, he is also very stoic and aloof, which is more suggestive of a Kuudere. Despite this, he’s never harsh, and while he can be distant and brooding (Dandere), he eventually warms to the MC, becoming more open with his sweet and affectionate side.
Zero’s personal backstory is very different from the other characters in Ikémen Revolution and I hadn’t learnt much about him from the other routes I had played (except for some hints in Harr’s route). Zero’s story sheds light on some of the sub-plot hinted at throughout the rest of the game, so it was interesting to finally unravel the mystery behind Zero’s past and his connection to the other characters. His route provides a unique perspective on the common plot, making it an interesting story regardless of how many playthroughs you have already completed.
Independent from the overarching story, the romance between MC and Zero is incredibly wholesome. Their relationship stems from a mutual trust and admiration for each other, which sets the foundation for a healthy, heart-warming romance. One of my favourite aspects of Zero’s route was that MC got to be his knight in shining armour just as much as he got to protect and rescue her. Their relationship has a very balanced dynamic, with both of them supporting and empowering each other.
Story branches: As you progress through the story, you will encounter several sections where you can choose between a ‘normal’ and ‘premium’ option. The premium option is saved to your ‘saved story’ collection (which means you can return to it for re-reading at any time). It’s also extended slightly, with an extra portion included in the scene. However, the normal version is cheaper and can be purchased with in-game resources rather than real currency, meaning you can unlock them without spending any money.
Premium Story: Part 4
Secrets of His Tattoo
The scene that takes place in this premium story is an important moment in MC’s relationship with Zero that gets referred to multiple times throughout the rest of his route. It’s nostalgic to read after finishing Zero’s story, but it’s set at a point before their relationship becomes romantic, so it’s not particularly sweet or spicy.
Premium Story: Part 10
A Winning Kiss
I’m torn with this one on whether or not to recommend choosing the premium option. It is very sweet, and I enjoyed re-reading it, but I wish it started a little earlier to give it more context. I had forgotten where in the story this scene occurred and it took until part way through the scene for me to remember what was going on. However, once I remembered how cute and awkward the premise was, I enjoyed this premium story a lot more. Zero’s route gets much more complicated after this point, so it’s a nice reminder of the more innocent and light-hearted moments in his story.
Premium Story: Part 15
‘Conflicted Feelings’ is a very appropriate name for this premium story. If you like conflict and drama, then maybe you’ll enjoy this scene more than I did, but personally I just find it frustrating. For plot purposes it’s fine and makes sense within the context of his route, but when I re-read premium stories I prefer them to be sweet, nostalgic, or spicy. This part is quite sweet, but it’s also filled with complicated feelings and confusion from both Zero and MC.
Premium Story: Part 20
A Vow to Protect
If you’re not into angsty, bittersweet romance, then I wouldn’t recommend this scene (or route, really), but otherwise this is a very cute moment with Zero during a difficult part of the plot for him. It represents the overall appeal of his character as he fights against the darker parts of his story and personality by holding fast to his beliefs and values. If you’ve gotten this far into his route and enjoy the dynamic between Zero and MC, then you’ll enjoy this premium story.
Premium Story: Part 25
The Swordsman Learns of Love
This is my favourite of Zero’s premium stories. Occurring in the final chapter before the story branches to the endings, this scene is heart-warming and filled with the relief of finally overcoming the hurdles Zero and MC faced before this point. Zero’s route doesn’t get particularly spicy, even in this scene; instead, when it seems like it’s getting heated they tend to pull away and say something cute, which shifts the mood. It is very sweet, however, and I enjoyed the relaxed and comfortable tone, especially after so much angst and conflict.
Despite being ‘Dramatic’, this ending is a wholesome and sweet conclusion to a turbulent but otherwise pure-hearted romance. Zero and MC continue to support each other equally in their balanced dynamic as they adjust to their new day-to-day life in the Red Army. The first half focuses on the conclusion of the plot, featuring a heart-warming scene with King Lancelot and some entertaining banter with Kyle (the Red Army’s doctor), but I was surprised that Edgar (the Jack of Hearts) didn’t feature more in this ending considering how involved he was in the rest of Zero’s route.
The second half focuses on a very sweet date with Zero and MC, providing the premise for the photo you receive from completing the chapter. As with all good endings, there is a beautiful love confession and a reminder of how far the characters have come since they first met. There is a lot of imagery to do with the weather in Zero’s route, particularly the sky, which is poetically incorporated into this finale.
I was expecting something a bit more intense from the ‘Dramatic’ ending, but after the trials and tribulations faced in the rest of Zero’s route, some calm after the storm was appreciated.
Zero is a wholesome, pure-hearted Good Boy. His story explores the darker mysteries behind the stoic Ace of Hearts, shedding light on some of the intrigue hinted at in other routes. I enjoyed the balanced nature of his relationship with MC, as both of them had the opportunity to protect and care for each other in equal measures. Zero’s ego wasn’t affected when MC helped him, in fact, it just made him like her even more.
Unfortunately, Zero’s route was released prior to Ikémen Revolution’s tone shift so there isn’t really any spicy content, even in the ending. If you like more explicit or sexy romance stories, you won’t find what you’re looking for with Zero. However, if you’re looking for a more pure romance with an earnest love interest who admires and thinks the world of you, then you’ll enjoy this story.
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