Leon Dompteur | Character Review | Ikémen Prince
Leon is the classic storybook hero. He’s the kind of man whose larger-than-life presence fills the room, and those around him can’t help but fall prey to his effortless charisma.
Much like Leonardo Da Vinci from Ikemen Vampire, and Date Masamune from Ikemen Sengoku, my first impression of Leon was that he’s the type to sweep you off your feet and on an exciting adventure – one you would never have embarked on without him.
MC describes it as feeling like a minor side character getting to watch the hero in the spotlight, but Leon definitely doesn’t see her as unimportant. He has some great ‘comfort character’ lines, and he’s generally a supportive, kind love interest – I just wish his route had contained as much action as I expected, based on his initial introduction…
☆ Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikemen Vampire) – Lonely Beast
☆ Fenrir Godspeed (Ikemen Revolution) – If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends
☆ Date Masamune (Ikemen Sengoku) – Dashing, but dangerous
Leon has several lines that rival the best instagram motivational quotes, and in general, he’s an easy, comfortable character to read. I was surprised by this, as I expected a storybook hero’s route to be action-packed and exciting, rather than slow-paced and – dare I say it – uneventful.
Thanks to his storybook-hero-protagonist powers, you know that Leon will be able to save the day, no matter how impossible it might seem, so even the “dramatic” scenes didn’t feel particularly dangerous, or compelling. I found this disconnect between the absurd way in which Leon could just ‘protagonist’ his way through everything, and the grittiness of what was actually happening, to be jarring, at best.
At worst, I felt that the ‘classic hero’ element of Leon’s character somewhat contradicted the overall concept of Ikemen Prince. Everything I’d read up until that point seemed to indicate that ”not your typical fairy tale” was going to be a core theme, with the love interests themselves being portrayed as ‘Noble Beasts’, and definitely not your classic, flawless princes… yet this is exactly what Leon turned out to be.
If one of the recurring conflicts for the other characters is that they’re not perfect, and the real world is a lot more complicated than a fairy tale (and therefore compromises are inevitable), then Leon being able to just show up and do whatever he wants, however he wants, kind of undermines the struggles of everyone else in the game. It also removes any sense of drama, as you know Leon will be able to just say something cool, do something cool, and then everything will be fine again.
Even Leon’s ‘dark secret’ somehow made him even more impressive, rather than flawed. Plus, the secret was spoiled by a bizarrely-specific, off-hand comment Leon made, which ruined any impact the reveal may have had otherwise. Instead of wondering what his secret was, I was just waiting (im)patiently for Leon to finally let MC in on it.
If Leon’s fatal flaw was supposed to be that he took on everyone else’s burdens, then it’s not really much of a hindrance, as he seemed to be perfectly capable of solving everyone’s problems, anyway. There was one moment where he tried to handle everything alone and failed, but even then, the failure wasn’t his fault, he was just disappointed by an inevitable outcome, so I didn’t feel like there was much character growth in that regard.
In the end, I think his “flaw” was meant to be his loneliness, but, once MC addressed this with him, he seemed very willing to open up and stop being lonely, so even this was resolved quickly and easily. I will say, however, that after his secret was revealed to MC, the story picked up dramatically, and I enjoyed the final chapters much more than the rest of the route.
Despite my criticism, I enjoyed the few ‘dashing hero’ scenes we did get, and he had some great comfort character lines that I took screenshots of to cheer me up the next time I’m feeling down. I just felt that the romantic scenes with Leon prior to the revelation of his secret were a bit too generic, as you could have substituted him with any love interest and they would have still made sense. I would have preferred lines that felt more specific to Leon’s character, as this would have made them more meaningful (and therefore romantic).
But, Leon’s a largely inoffensive, ‘safe’ character – a cool, noble prince who’ll treat you well and, whenever a problem arises, he’ll save the day in a dashing fashion, and you can go back to laughing and sneaking out of the palace to go to festivals and just generally enjoying life together. It’s simple, and heavily based on classic romance story tropes – I just personally find this archetype uninteresting, as I tend to prefer more complicated, unique romances with equally complicated, unique love interests.
I said in my review of Ishida Mitsunari from Ikemen Sengoku that even if I don’t particularly connect with a love interest, I can still enjoy their route if the story is compelling enough on its own. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Leon in Ikemen Prince.
I really, really wanted to enjoy this route, as it was the first I played in Ikemen Prince and I was super excited for the EN release of the game. However, no matter how hard I tried, I just really struggled to connect with Leon’s character, and there wasn’t enough drama in the non-romantic plot to keep me intrigued, regardless.
In the opening chapter, Leon whisks you off to the festival – which is all very naughty and exciting – and immediately I was reminded of Leonardo Da Vinci and Date Masamune. I didn’t mind though – I know that there’s some overlap in archetypes and tropes across the Ikemen Series games, and I actually like this wild, adventurous type, anyway. But, somehow, this ‘loveable storm’ moment seemed to drag on for far too long, making it less of a spontaneous, exciting whirlwind, and more of a prolonged breeze that just left me feeling a little chilly.
As I mentioned in the ‘character’ section of this review, there were ‘dashing hero’ scenes that I did enjoy, but I can only think of two from the main route that were particularly memorable (and they happened in chapters 1 and 8… so, several chapters of nothing too exciting or action-packed happening in between).
There was more action in Leon’s dramatic ending, and I generally found I enjoyed the story more at this point in the route, but, unfortunately, it was too little, too late. If I hadn’t been committed to completing the route for the purpose of writing this review, I would have given up on Leon before I even got to his ending, which would have left me with a purely negative impression of his character and route.
“I’ll prove it through the way that I live whether the qualities of a king dwells in a person’s blood or their character.”– Leon Dompteur
There was also an entire chapter were Leon just didn’t appear at all (save for MC’s thoughts as she reminisces, but still, that means no new scenes with Leon, just repeats of old ones). Instead, MC goes off on a side quest with Nokto – which I personally enjoyed, because I adore Nokto – but if you’re a Leon fan, I could understand being frustrated at an entire chapter without him.
My main issue with the story, however, was that Leon’s route had enough flashback montages to put an old-school shounen anime to shame. I understand that the ‘5 free chapter tickets a day’ system means that the vast majority of players will be reading the story bit-by-bit over a month or so and, in this case, having a few flashbacks is helpful.
However, by the end of the route, I counted that one particular scene had been brought up again four times through various flashbacks. I’m aware that I did binge-read the last third of the route, so the flashbacks were definitely more noticeable, but still. It just felt like a lot more than usual, and I found myself skipping through a fair bit of each chapter, just to find some new content.
I simply found this route difficult to finish, and while I felt the overall pacing was painfully slow, I do think my lack of enjoyment was largely due to the fact that Leon’s character just isn’t appealing to me. If either his route or his character had been unappealing to me, then I would have had a much better experience, but, unfortunately, I didn’t particularly like either, so I can’t say that Leon’s route was my cup of tea.
Story Options: Premium vs. Normal
Story branches: at several intervals in the main route, you will be prompted to choose between a ‘Normal’ and ‘Premium’ story option. The normal story is cheaper and can be purchased with ‘gold’ – an in-game resource acquired through completing the minigame ‘salons’ – whereas the premium option is purchased with ‘diamonds’, an in-game resource bought with real money.
Premium stories are typically longer, more romantic, and saved to your collection – meaning you can re-read them at any time, but it can be difficult to know if they’re worth the money, based on the limited preview you receive at the relevant story branch.
Below is a list of reviews for all the premium stories and purchasable side-stories in Leon’s route, to help you choose whether to splash your diamonds, or save them for another day…
Chapter 4 – Premium Story
It’s no secret that I didn’t enjoy Leon’s route, so I may be a little biased when it comes to this premium story. I personally found it boring, but when I re-read it, I did see some of the appeal. It’s a quiet moment between the two of them, where Leon’s caring side shows. It’s a (mostly) wholesome moment, save for some aggressive ‘flirting’ (it was a very explicit pick up line that kind of came out of nowhere before being passed off as a joke), before the scene ended with MC laughing as she discovered a new side to Leon’s character (his ‘gap moe’ trait).
Upon second reading, there are some sweet, wholesome lines from Leon that would probably have a stronger impact if you’re connecting more with his character by this point than I was, but it felt mostly just ‘friendly’ to me. Leon was being kind and supportive, but not necessarily in a romantic way– just simply kind… aside from the oddly-aggressive ‘joke’ pick up line, that is.
Chapter 6 – His Side Story
How a Noble Beast Loves
This side story gave me a lot of insight into Leon’s character and his reasons for being attracted to MC. It highlights the ‘big-brother’ side to his personality – always watching over MC, looking out for her, and spoiling her. It’s a sweet, wholesome moment between the two of them that I was glad I read from his perspective, as it helped me to further understand Leon’s character.
Note: if this is your first time purchasing a ‘His Side Story’, the tutorial will give you enough ‘keys to his heart’ to get it for free.
Chapter 9 – His Side Story
*This side story is unlocked on the second playthrough, which I haven’t yet completed. When I replay for the Romantic Ending, I will unlock this side story and update this review*
Chapter 10 – Premium Story
A Rose By Any Other Name
I didn’t like this self-imposed barrier to their romance. Their feelings for each other are pretty obvious by this point, but MC continually tries to push them aside, and I’m not entirely sure why. I re-read this premium story and I think it’s probably to do with her sense of duty around being Belle – she doesn’t want her feelings to interfere with her decision – but I don’t think her reasons were explained clearly enough, so it felt more like a forced way to turn an otherwise-easy romance into a slow-burn.
‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ starts with a heated, intense moment that ends abruptly, without addressing the spark behind the tension, before petering out into a fairly typical (but cute) interaction for MC and Leon. The rest of the scene is perfectly fine, and fairly romantic, but I felt that the initial burst of intensity took away my focus from the following moments – particularly because they chose not to address it and instead act like nothing happened, so I was left feeling disoriented and disappointed – and it meant the rest of the scene felt a little lacklustre in comparison.
Chapter 13 – His Side Story
The Lonely Beast’s Fate
Everything I read in this scene, I learned elsewhere in the story. It was either explained by another character, or MC worked it out for herself, but either way, I didn’t feel like I gained any new insight into the story by reading ‘The Lonely Beast’s Fate’. It also had nothing to do with MC or her relationship with Leon; it was a plot moment that revealed a little about Leon’s character, but again, we had the same revelation in the main story, just from a different perspective.
Chapter 14 – Premium Story
You’re The Reason I Can’t Sleep
Misleading, uneventful, and short. The preview and set-up for this scene made me think it was going to finally get a little bit spicy (with some delicious, heaped-helpings of angst), but it was actually just incredibly disappointing and anti-climactic. It sets up a more dramatic scene in the following chapter, but that means the bonus story saved to your collection (that you paid for) is just the set up, and not the actual drama.
It was sort of sweet – in an angsty, tormented way – but rather than dealing with the previous scene’s conflict, MC just sat there and struggled to say anything (literally anything), and no progress was made at all. I kept waiting for the scene to start… and then it ended. ‘You’re The Reason I Can’t Sleep’ is one of the very few instances where I’ve regretted spending money on a premium story in the Ikemen Series.
Chapter 18 – His Side Story
*This side story is unlocked on the second playthrough, which I haven’t yet completed. When I replay for the Romantic Ending, I will unlock this side story and update this review*
Chapter 19 – Premium Story
Kiss Me And Stop Me Saying It
I may have said a lot of negative things about Leon’s route so far, but I actually really enjoyed this premium story. The obstacle in the way of their relationship makes more sense by this part of the story (Belle’s reason for holding back changes right before this scene), so the angst felt less forced, more relatable, and therefore more compelling.
It’s also the spiciest scene by this point in the route, and I liked the way Leon’s actions were described, tying in his bittersweet passion with the ‘lonely beast’ concept his character design is centred around. This scene was one of the peak moments in Leon’s route for me, as all the different elements of his character tied in together to create a moment that felt unique to Leon and his story.
Chapter 21 (Dramatic Ending) – His Side Story
The Beast’s Hope
While the events of this side story don’t differ from the main story, Leon’s perspective adds an extra layer of romance to the scene, as you get to hear his inner monologue about his feelings for MC. It exposes just how much of an impact MC has had on Leon, as well as the reasons as to why he fell for her. I liked that the evidence of his character growth is made more obvious in this scene, and it was sweet to read how he felt about MC, especially because he didn’t voice these thoughts out loud, so you can’t read them from MC’s perspective in the main story.
Chapter 24 (Dramatic Ending) – Premium Story
A Beast Drowning in Love
This route really kept me waiting for the climax of the romantic plot, but considering how long it took to get here, I didn’t feel the result was worth the wait. ‘A Beast Drowning in Love’ felt oddly short considering the cost of the story, (and the fact that it’s the last premium story in the dramatic ending), and right as I thought I was finally going to get the payoff that I’d been waiting for… it faded to black.
All in all, Leon’s route was a lot less spicy than I anticipated, especially considering the erotic tone of some of the 5-Star cards in the game’s gacha (Leon’s 5-Star card, especially). Plus, the emphasis on MC being an older character who loved reading romance novels made me think that the story itself would be more mature, but Leon’s route was fairly innocent compared to my expectations.
The romantic climax focused more on their declarations of love, and while it was certainly passionate, it wasn’t necessarily that sexy. Nothing particularly explicit happened beyond kissing and a little bit of stripping/getting handsy, but even that was breezed over and the tone quickly switched to more euphemistic language (and the dreaded fade to black).
Chapter 25 (Dramatic Ending) – His Side Story
What The Beast Found
Purchasing the side story for the final chapter of Leon’s Dramatic Ending will cost twice as much as usual (600 diamonds, rather than 300), but you also get avatar attire for him – a red cloak with white fur trim. The CG for this chapter also shows up in the side story, which was a nice touch, especially seeing as this CG was my favourite from Leon’s route.
Considering the cost, it was a little bit short, but I appreciate that the extra diamonds are for the attire, not just the story. I didn’t think the overall experience of the scene was too different from reading it in the main story (in MC’s perspective), but it was cute to read Leon’s overwhelming happiness and love for MC, even if I thought the scene itself was a little underwhelming.
Unless you particularly want the attire, I wouldn’t recommend getting ‘What the Beast Found’, as the scene isn’t as dramatic or romantic as the prior premium story, and the comedy felt a little forced (MC suddenly became very dense, for some reason). The spicy part of the scene was great for the CG – which you also get in the main story – but again, the actual spiciness was breezed over and the scene cut before anything particularly explicit could happen.
The endings in Ikemen Prince are actually pretty long, so it’s difficult to rate the entire ending with only one set of scores. On the whole, the non-romantic plot took up a decent portion of the ending, which affected both the sweet and spicy ratings, but there were definitely some romantic scenes, too, especially towards the end.
My main criticism for this ending is that Nokto was the star for the first half, and this (combined with the entire chapter spent with him earlier in the route) meant that Nokto got a bizarre amount of screen time throughout Leon’s story, despite not even belonging to the same faction.
Other than that, I liked the way the non-romantic conflict was resolved, as it tied in Leon’s character in a way that would only be possible in his route. I did think, again, that the danger wasn’t particularly problematic, as Leon has a habit of just doing the impossible, and his fears about what would happen after his ‘reckless’ behaviour were obviously not going to be an issue, yet he couldn’t quite figure this out himself.
Still, I can’t overlook the fact that his actions were pretty badass, and I was shocked (and impressed) at how dark Ikemen Prince went with some of the events in this ending. This was one of the instances where Leon encapsulated that concept of ‘not a typical fairy tale’ that drew me to Ikemen Prince in the first place, as he finally had to compromise and do something risky to get what he wanted.
The second half was a little less dramatic, in my opinion. This is where the romantic plot comes to a head, and the ‘Clause 99’ problem is resolved. But, even here, Leon resolves the problem in such an easy, obvious way that it made me wonder why anyone was worried about the contract in the first place.
If either of them had just stopped for a moment and tried to think of a way to get around it, I’m almost certain they could have come to the same conclusion a lot sooner, instead of moping around feeling tormented and angsty. But maybe that’s my old, shrivelled, yandere-loving heart talking, and both Leon and Belle are just too pure-hearted and good to think of doing anything but following the rules to the letter… at least until the plot demands it.
I was also a bit disappointed at the lack of spicy content, especially during the climax of the romantic development. When I first opened up Ikemen Prince, the prologue described MC in a way that made me think she was a bit older and more mature, yet she basically admits, in this ending, to never having had sex before (which, now I think about it, may explain why she keeps resisting Leon throughout the route, despite clearly being interested in him).
Furthermore, the card art in the game’s gacha gave me the impression that Ikemen Prince wouldn’t shy away from the spicy content, however, none of Leon’s spicy scenes went much further than kissing and taking off blouses/shirts. Before things could get properly heated up, the scene would inevitably fade to black, with vague euphemisms that told us what happened next, without giving us the juicy details.
I haven’t played the Romantic Ending yet, so I can’t properly recommend one ending over the other, but, for the most part, I did enjoy Leon’s Dramatic Ending. One of my major criticisms for this route was that I felt his character design was a bit generic, so I liked that the plot was resolved in a ‘Leon’ way, and that his past became integral to the solution.
Epilogue: I loved the decision to have this epilogue set in the palace’s library, as it incorporates the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ theme that forms a core part of the concept for Ikemen Prince as a whole. I was a bit confused about some of MC’s choices after she officially enters a relationship with Leon (her career choices and social standing, to be as precise as I can without spoiling anything), but if you set that confusion aside, it’s a whimsical, fairy-tale-esque, romantic scene that suits the new couple and their wholesome relationship dynamic.
I really struggled to write this review because I honestly didn’t enjoy much of Leon or his story, at all. His route was an unfortunate combination of things that I just don’t enjoy in otome games, however, I didn’t want to write a 3,000 word rant, because I appreciate this is just my personal taste, and I don’t want to dissuade otome fans from playing a route they might actually love.
If I can use ice-cream as an analogy for my experience with Leon’s route, then I’d say Leon is vanilla ice-cream. He’s familiar and comforting, but not necessarily original or exciting. Sometimes you want something cozy – you want a love interest who you’ll understand, who won’t shock with with a sudden twist that completely changes his character, and who you could see yourself falling for in real life.
However, when I started Ikemen Prince, I was excited to try a new game, and hopefully try a whole-new flavour of ice cream, but instead I ended up with a very normal vanilla ice cream that I’ve had a hundred times before. Maybe if I were in the mood for something familiar and easy, I might have appreciated Leon more, but it just wasn’t the case this time.
But for those who are in the mood for a character like this – Leon is the classic romance novel love interest. He’s a handsome, charming prince who always knows exactly what to say and exactly what to do, who recites poetry, and looks out for MC, rescuing her when she’s in danger with a wink and a cheeky grin.
I get the appeal – there’s a reason why the dashing hero is a popular trope – but I expected more action and drama in his story. Even if I’m not a huge fan of Leon’s character archetype – and his general, one-sided dynamic with MC – making the non-romantic plotline more exciting would have dramatically improved my experience with his route.
In the end, Leon is sort of a comfort character, sort of a noble prince, sort of a lonely beast, and sort of a good guy with a dangerously seductive streak. But, I felt that these parts conflicted, rather than complemented each other, and they didn’t necessarily lend themselves well to the ‘storybook hero’ character concept. The result was a vague, confusing character that I had difficulty connecting with, and who I had to think about for hours after I finished the route, before I could figure out what the writers were going for in the first place.
That being said, there were some elements of Leon’s character concept that I found intriguing – his dark secret was an interesting idea, but I think its impact was lessened by the fact that several references (including his tagline on the character selection screen) make fairly obvious allusions as to what the secret is. By the time it was revealed within the story, I’d already figured it out, so the entire ‘revelation’ scene just fell a little flat. As a result, the secret felt largely unimportant, despite it being a core motivating factor for Leon’s behaviour and ambitions.
There was a line that I particularly liked during a scene with Nokto, where Nokto describes Leon’s kindness as being ‘cruel’, and that MC would understand this if she truly fell in love with him. When this idea returned later in the route – after MC properly fell in love with Leon – the writers made an interesting point about love, romance, and selfishness, that I hadn’t considered before. I wish this had come up more as a recurring theme, but, like most of the conflict in Leon’s route, it was resolved quickly and easily with a few words and a romantic gesture from Leon.
However, as I said before, I also appreciate that this archetype isn’t something I typically enjoy anyway. I don’t want the romance to be easy – I want them to have to fight for it, to earn it – and I want to finish a route feeling like I just got off a turbulent but riveting emotional rollercoaster, not like I just ate yet another bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Everyone has different tastes, and this is just my opinion, so I’m sure there are plenty of people who won’t agree with my review. If you loved Leon’s route, please leave a comment below, as I’m curious to read other people’s opinions – especially if they’re different from mine!
You’ll like Leon Dompteur if you like: dashing heroes, noble princes, lonely beasts, supportive love interests who always know how to cheer you up, daring rescues, charismatic guys who can befriend anyone, vanilla ice cream, and natural leaders.
Kato Kazuki (加藤 和樹)
- Date Masamune (Ikemen Sengoku: Romances Across Time) – Video Game
- Daisuke Kazama/Kamen Rider Drake (Kamen Rider Kabuto) – Drama
- Malleus Draconia (Disney: Twisted Wonderland) – Video Game
Kato Kazuki also has a YouTube channel for his music, which can be found here.
☆ Game name: Ikémen Prince: Beauty and Her Beast | イケメン王子 美女と野獣の最後の恋
☆ Developer: CYBIRD / Ikémen Series
☆ Publisher: CYBIRD / Ikémen Series
☆ Platform: Android, iOS
☆ Age Rating: 17+ / Mature
☆ More information: here!
~☆ Patrons ☆~
SSR – Tarranga
SR – Fitzroy
For business enquiries, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org