Nokto Klein | Character Review | Ikémen Prince
My new problematic fave: Nokto Klein is a suave, manipulative playboy with kitsune cunning and a glimmer of mischief in his deep, ruby-red eyes.
From out-foxing you on your first night at the palace, to attempting to seduce you (every time he sees you), with his silver tongue and undeniably dangerous charm – Nokto initially presents himself as a flippant womanizer with a knack for getting into trouble.
But, once you see past the mask he’s so cleverly crafted, you’ll find a vulnerable, broken heart, shattered by a devastatingly tragic past. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster in this bittersweet tale of love and lies, as you fight for truth and sincerity from a notoriously crafty fox…
☆ Akechi Mitsuhide (Ikemen Sengoku) – Crafty kitsune
☆ Arthur Conan Doyle (Ikemen Vampire) – Flippant playboy with a tragic past
☆ William Shakespeare (Ikemen Vampire) – Dangerously alluring, enemies to lovers
While I personally loved Nokto’s character and route, I don’t think he’ll appeal to everyone. He’s definitively on the spicier end of the spectrum, and his relationship with MC is a perfect blend of both kinds of ‘frustration’. He’s deliberately antagonistic, and knows exactly how to provoke MC, so be prepared to fight him and love him.
This ‘combative’ type of dynamic is my favourite, so I felt very much in my element all the way through this route. If, like me, you’re a competitive person – or you just like a love interest who’ll tease you, and who you can tease back – then you’ll likely enjoy the relationship MC builds with Nokto in his route.
Further to the banter and general back-and-forth, the power balance between MC and Nokto is pretty even. Nokto may take a little while to let himself be honest and vulnerable, but he eventually comes to think the world of MC, and he enjoys it when she’s confident, assertive, and dominant. However, he’s also just as happy to take charge (and he’s good at it, too), so they tend to pass the reins back and forth between them, just as they do when they verbally spar with each other.
The ‘problematic’ part of ‘problematic fave’: The only part I didn’t like about Nokto’s character was how he viewed the victims of his womanizing ways. Just because a character is a playboy archetype, it doesn’t mean they need to look down on or disrespect the women they fool around with. This wasn’t quite so obvious in the main route, but in his ‘Chapter 0’ prologue story (available in his route release set), Nokto’s thoughts about the women he slept with were unpleasant, to say the least (and kind of misogynistic, to say the most).
After learning more about Nokto’s character, I came to understand that his feelings towards these women are an extension of his own emotional issues, but I did still feel that this aspect of his personality wasn’t even properly addressed, let alone redeemed or resolved in any way. MC does call him out on his behaviour, but the way she goes about this makes it sound like the issue is that he’s sleeping around at all – that is, that the issue lies inherently in casual, sexual relationships, rather than Nokto’s attitude, specifically.
Again, this isn’t so obvious in his main route, but the added perspective from the prologue chapter made it feel like the reason Nokto falls for MC is because she’s “not like other women”, which just didn’t really sit well with me. I would have liked a more obvious learning moment at some point in his route, where he at least acknowledges his behaviour is not okay (and maybe even has some semblance of remorse).
Plus, I find it hard to believe that every single other woman in Rhodolite is inherently shallow, superficial, and/or stupid. It would have been better, in my opinion, if the reason for MC being the one to get Nokto to settle down was more to do with him overcoming his emotional issues and changing the way he viewed love and intimacy, rather than MC simply being special because she refused to give in to his manipulations… besides, I hardly think it’s the women’s fault for falling for his seduction, since he’s consistently described as being very good a seducing people.
An example of the playboy redemption arc done well is Arthur Conan Doyle, from Ikemen Vampire – although, to be fair, he never treated women poorly in the first place. He even explicitly says on multiple occasions that he respects women who know what they want, and aren’t afraid to take it. If you’re looking to try out the playboy archetype and want to know where to start, I’d recommend Arthur over Nokto in a heartbeat.
I have a feeling that the other womanizing prince, Jin Grandet, will follow along a similar vein to Arthur, and, while I appreciate the writers didn’t want their characters to be too similar, I still felt that the “she’s not like other women” trope is a bit tired, and I personally (as someone who loves women) find it grating.
That being said, I still loved Nokto and his route in Ikemen Prince — this is just my reason for calling him my ‘problematic’ fave. And, while I wouldn’t recommend Nokto to newer players (nor would I suggest he’s a great first impression for the ‘playboy’ archetype as a whole) he will still likely appeal to otome players who want a unique spin on these familiar archetypes, or perhaps just a spicier experience than can be expected from a typical otome love interest.
Artist: Kachiru Ishizue – Nokto’s character design is beautiful. Regardless of whether or not he’s your type, it’s hard to deny how pretty he is. He looks like he’s made up of moonlight, and not only does this perfectly reflect his character, but it’s also easy on the eyes. In general, I love the character designs in Ikemen Prince, so thank you Kachiru Ishizue for your hard work!
“Me as the king? Hm, I don’t mind that kind of roleplaying. You’re ready to obey my every command, then?– Nokto Klein (Ikemen Prince)
I found the pacing in Nokto’s route to be much faster than Leon’s route, and I liked how Nokto’s unique skill set became integral to the way conflicts were resolved in the story. I also liked that the ‘fairy tales aren’t real and reality is much more complicated’ theme was consistently prominent, especially during Nokto’s big secret reveal.
There was also a clever call-back to the opening scene towards the end of the main route, which not only served as a nostalgic reminder of where the couple started, but also a showcase for their character growth throughout the 20 chapters since then. In general, the writing in this route displayed technical, creative decisions that clearly showed how much thought had been put into the story and its structure.
Content warnings: Nokto has a deeply tragic past. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most intense backstories I’ve come across in the Ikemen Series to date – so, be emotionally prepared for some potentially disturbing themes towards the later chapters. However, I will say that the story doesn’t dwell on the flashback for too long, and the descriptions aren’t particularly vivid or graphic.
It’s important to learn about his past for the sake of the story, but the writers don’t turn it into a gratuitous angst-fest that exists purely for the sake of macabre fascination. I actually thought they did a good job of making it emotive enough to be compelling, without indulging in the trauma so much that it becomes too uncomfortable or distressing to read.
Story Tropes: The ‘fake engagement’ trope had an iconic introduction in the early chapters, that made me both intensely hate and fall head over heels for Nokto. It did then take a bit of a back seat for a while (leaving me wondering if the scene only existed so the marketing team could use the trope as a buzzword), but it turns out I was just being impatient, and the fake engagement made a beautifully romantic comeback later in the story that was absolutely worth the wait.
Nokto’s route also features the classic ‘enemies-to-lovers’ trope. I love a good enemies-to-lovers story, especially how the trope allows for some “heated” dialogue between the love interest and the main character — anger, frustration, and agitation, all fall into the blurry overlap between two types of “passion”, and I love romances that incorporate a beautiful blend of both.
In Nokto’s case, I did sometimes feel that the ‘enemies’ part was a bit forced, as MC seems to at least get a general idea of his true intentions relatively early in the story. This realisation shifted their dynamic from “I hate you and never want to speak to you again” to “I’m hopelessly horny for you, but you can clearly tell and won’t stop smirking about it, so I’ll die before I admit I like you”. Which, to be honest, I kind of enjoyed. Rather than being ‘enemies’, they felt more like rivals, as they both tried to outwit each other, without any real hatred or animosity.
On the whole, I enjoyed the plot in Nokto’s route, and I felt it was suitably focused on him for the vast majority of each chapter – although, there were inevitably moments where MC had to get to know the other princes as part of her duties as ‘Belle’. I especially liked how Nokto’s personality was an essential feature of both the romantic and non-romantic plot, and that there were several dramatic scenes that both added some action to the story and acted as a vehicle for MC to further get to know Nokto and continue developing their relationship.
Story Options: Premium vs. Normal
Story Branches: In Ikemen Prince, the character routes will intermittently prompt you to undertake an ‘avatar challenge’. This essentially means you’ll be offered two avatar attire options, one ‘normal’, and one ‘premium’. By purchasing the attire, you’ll be able to read the corresponding type of bonus story.
‘Normal‘ attire can be purchased with ‘gold’ — an in-game resource acquired through the minigame ‘Salons’, log-in bonuses, liking (and receiving likes) in the avatar feature, and having players on your friend list use your card in their ‘guest’ spot when conducting their own ‘salons’. This is a much easier option for free-to-play gamers, but the story isn’t saved to your ‘Memories’ for re-reading later, and the bonus story you receive is typically shorter, and less romantic than the premium option.
‘Premium‘ attire has to be purchased with ‘diamonds’ — an in-game resource that can technically be acquired for free by completing ‘Mission Boards’ and collecting log-in bonuses, but it’s typically purchased from the store with real-world currency. The appeal of these premium story options is that they’re saved to your ‘Memories’ for re-reading at any time, and the bonus story you receive tends to be longer and more romantic.
His Side Stories: After clearing certain chapters in a route, you’ll be allowed to purchase an optional ‘His Side Story’ from the story progress page. These are unlocked with ‘keys’ (a relatively difficult resource to acquire), or diamonds, if you don’t have enough keys. These side-stories take place during the same scene as their associated chapter, but they’re told from the perspective of the love interest, rather than the main character.
Below is a list of reviews for all of the ‘attire challenge’ branches and optional ‘His Side Stories’, to help you choose when to spend your diamonds, or when to save them for another day…
Chapter 4 – Premium Story
The Fox’s Etiquette Lesson
If you’re enjoying Nokto’s mischievous flirting and MC’s reluctant attraction to him, then I highly recommend this premium story. I played both the normal and premium version of ‘The Fox’s Etiquette Lesson’, and I enjoyed the premium version substantially more.
You get all the same plot points in the normal version, but the extended portion of the scene is far more sensual and ‘spicy’ than the rest. The extended part also highlights the adversarial dynamic between Nokto and MC, and the most memorable lines from this story occur in the premium version.
I will say that it works better when reading it as part of the route than later as a standalone story, but it doesn’t take too long for the scene to remind you of the context, so it’s not enough of an issue to diminish the added appeal of the content in the extended scene.
Chapter 6 – His Side Story
Our Engagement of Lies
I personally loved this side story, as it gives some extra insight into Nokto’s thoughts as he’s pulling off his scheme, but I don’t feel that it adds so much to the scene that I can whole-heartedly recommend it, especially considering its cost.
If, like me, you’re heart is set on Nokto as your favourite prince, then it’s worth splashing out for the extra mischief, and some particularly good lines that only appear from his POV. But, if you’re not quite so head over heels for him, then I’d suggest saving your keys and diamonds for other stories, instead.
Chapter 8 – His Side Story (Second Playthrough)
Sleepless Nights, Restless Nights
I may have rated this side story low on the sweet and spicy scales, but this was a pretty long side story, and it gives so much insight into Nokto’s character. I can see why it’s only unlockable on a second playthrough – otherwise it would contain spoilers for reveals later in the route – but it was worth the wait, as reading this side story just made me fall for Nokto even more.
It also explains some of his actions from the main story version of this scene – particularly questions I had when reading it the first time around. If you’re a Nokto fan, I recommend getting this side story for a deep dive into Nokto’s more troubled inner thoughts, and the reasons why he behaved the way he did towards MC in the beginning.
Chapter 10 – Premium Story
The Fox’s Sweet Seduction
To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this scene. It explains why MC refuses to give in to Nokto’s temptation, and I understand her reasoning, but I didn’t like how she was completely unable to understand his point of view, and that she just judged it as inherently wrong. The way Nokto and MC’s arguments are presented in this scene implies that casual, physical relationships are shallow, hollow or empty – which comes across as a bit preachy and conservative.
After re-reading a second time, I think the writer’s were trying to say that these casual relationships were ‘bad’ because Nokto didn’t find any true joy in them, only temporary amusement. But, I think that point could have been made clearer, to avoid MC’s opinion coming across as the story’s intended ‘correct’ way of thinking (with Nokto being ‘wrong’ due to his inability to view things her way).
I would have preferred it if the writers focused more on MC’s concerns about the way Nokto felt about these relationships, rather than trying to put forward her view that physical intimacy is only acceptable if they’re in love. Alternatively, they could have presented MC’s views on the matter as just one opinion, rather than the ‘correct’ one. I actually ended up agreeing with Nokto in this scene, despite the purpose of the scene being for MC to try and show him that his way of thinking isn’t right.
If you want more spicy content, you may want to go for the premium version anyway, as there’s an extra portion of the scene that gets pretty steamy, but, otherwise, this wasn’t my favourite of the premium options, and I have no desire to read it again.
Chapter 12 – His Side Story
The Poison Exposes Love
It’s interesting to read this scene from Nokto’s perspective – and it adds a little romance that wasn’t present in the main story – but I felt the main story version from MC’s perspective was actually more enjoyable. It’s a dramatic moment plot-wise, but it’s neither romantic, nor sexy. If you want a keepsake of this plot-driven scene, then it’s interesting as a standalone story, but if you’re looking romance or smut, then you won’t find much of either in ‘The Poison Exposes Love’.
Chapter 14 – Premium Story
Kisses More Bitter Than a Broken Heart
I’m a bit torn on my recommendation for this one. On the one hand, the premium version is significantly better than the normal one, as the premium version gives more insight into the characters’ motivations, and the whole scene just seemed to make more sense in the extended version. On the other hand, this scene isn’t necessarily one of my favourites in the route, and it’s not one I feel tempted to re-read later.
As a standalone story, it re-establishes the context fairly quickly, and it’s a dramatic, bittersweet moment that marks an important milestone in their romantic development – but it’s also a ‘difficult’ scene, as neither MC nor Nokto act in a particularly ‘nice’ way. Both of them are a little problematic, and I like that Nokto calls MC out on her behaviour, and that MC doesn’t let him get away with being mean to her, either.
In the end, I think it’s worth going for the premium option, simply for the fact that it’s significantly longer, with added insight into their feelings, which makes the scene far more impactful and meaningful.
Chapter 18 – His Side Story (Second Playthrough)
A Shadow Dazzled by the Light
Nokto’s route has a fair amount of angst to go with the spice, and this side story is especially angsty. If you want your heart to break all over again, I definitely recommend purchasing this side story. I love how it shows the way Nokto sees MC, which also explains a lot about his behaviour in the main route.
As with the previous side story that’s unlocked on the second playthrough, it contains information that would be a spoiler on your first run of his route — but, once you already know more about Nokto’s character, ‘A Shadow Dazzled by the Light’ further demonstrates a side of his personality that’s still mostly hidden at this point in the story.
I personally loved this side story for its drama and tragedy, but if you’re not interested in reading anymore angsty Nokto content, then you may want to give it a miss.
Chapter 19 – Premium Story
Let’s Drown in This Night Together
Aside from a few too many flashbacks, this premium story is beautifully dramatic, and well-suited to the climax of his main route. It works well as a standalone story to re-read later and the flashbacks – while annoying when reading in the context of the route – are a helpful way to remember the key moments of his story without needing to do another full playthrough.
It’s a raw, emotional bonus story with some of the heavy themes I mentioned earlier in this review, but it finishes with a particularly spicy scene that was suitably satisfying, considering the building tension in the chapters leading up to this moment.
It clarifies some of the underlying themes and conflicts of Nokto’s character, and solidifies the role MC plays in their dynamic– the radiant, blinding light that illuminates the shadows to which he’s confined himself. (Although the pace was a slowed down a little by the flashbacks).
The extended portion of the scene in the premium version not only includes more spice, but also more sweetness. It calls back to a conversation they had earlier in the story, and ties all the threads of the route together with a pretty bow. Well, nearly all of them – there are still endings after this – but, honestly, it felt climactic enough to be an ending on its own.
After Chapter 20, the route will split into two ending branches: Romantic and Dramatic. There are several premium stories and ‘His Side’ stories within these endings, so I’ve split them into two groups below. To help you choose which ending to read, there are also full reviews for both options below the list of side-stories.
Chapter 21 – His Side Story (Romantic Ending)
Crimson Eyes Reflect the Dawn
I did enjoy this side story, and it occurs during a scene where MC and Nokto aren’t together, so the events of this side story can’t be read in the main story. However, it’s more about Nokto’s character growth than any major plot point or romantic moment between the couple, so it’s not my favourite scene in his route.
The main route version from MC’s POV was just as climactic, and I didn’t feel there was any unique reveal in this side story that makes it necessary to purchase.
Chapter 24 – Premium Story (Romantic Ending)
Love Won’t Submit
If you love bittersweet, angsty sex scenes, then you should absolutely get this premium story.
While I found the angst around the ‘Clause 99’ problem a little forced in this ending, I can still appreciate a melodramatic spicy moment in all its glory.
Plus, this scene is unique to the romantic ending, so it’s a nice memento to remind you of what happens, without needing to re-read the entire route again.
Chapter 25 – His Side Story (Romantic Ending)
The Lie Becomes the Truth
This side story is twice as expensive as a usual, but you also get bonus avatar attire for him, which is the case for all the final side stories in Ikemen Prince.
‘The Lie Becomes the Truth’ encapsulates the finale for Nokto’s route, and I highly recommend purchasing it, despite the extra cost.
The CG that you unlock in the main route also shows up during the scene, and it’s just a sweet, feel-good moment that serves as a cute souvenir of Nokto’s romantic, grand finale.
Chapter 21 – His Side Story (Dramatic Ending)
I Can’t Tell You the Truth
This side story works well in the context of the route, as it continues building tension for the following chapter – but, as a standalone story, it doesn’t have quite so much impact.
I also felt that it didn’t particularly add anything that I hadn’t already gained from the main route version of the scene. There are more romantic, dramatic, and spicy options later in this ending, so I’d recommend saving your keys and diamonds for them, instead.
Chapter 24 – Premium Story (Dramatic Ending)
Intoxicated With You
I loved how creative the spicy scene is in this premium story, with unique background art as well.
When read in the context of the route, it’s a satisfying moment of relief after the major conflict has been resolved, finishing with a memorable ‘climax’.
As a saved story, it serves as a souvenir of Nokto’s dramatic ending that can be re-read later, without needing to re-play the entire route.
Chapter 25 – His Side Story (Dramatic Ending)
Belle and her Beast Drown in Love
I wasn’t particularly impressed by the first half of the story, as it didn’t add much that I hadn’t gained from the main story.
However, the second half was much more enjoyable, and I loved reading the spicier scene from his POV (yup, the dramatic ending has two spicy scenes!)
In short, it’s a sweet souvenir that captures the grand finale of the dramatic ending, and it comes with exclusive avatar attire to make Nokto truly look like a noble, regal prince.
I loved the way the non-romantic plot was resolved in this ending — the negotiation scene managed to create just as much tension and drama as a typical, action-packed battle scene, which I found fitting for a diplomatic character. I also love that MC got to be the hero, rather than solely relying on everyone else around her for help.
However, I wasn’t so much a fan of the resolution to the Clause 99 problem. I can kind of see why the writer’s made this decision, but it seemed a little odd (and kind of forced) at this point, especially considering the development of their romantic relationship in the prior chapters.
MC went from trusting in Nokto’s capabilities completely – and being willing to put her life on the line for him – to just giving up and acquiescing. It seemed a little out of character for both her and Nokto, but it did set up a fairy-tale style, romantic finale (with a very cute CG), so I can see why the writer’s forced the story in this way, to set up the final scene.
I think, in order to appreciate this ending, it’s best just to take the second half with a pinch of salt, and enjoy the ride for what it is. It’s a shame, because the negotiation scene in the first half was beautifully written, but the second-half just felt out of character for both Nokto and MC.
The resolution to the non-romantic plot in this ending wasn’t intense in quite the same way as the romantic ending. Rather than being dramatic due to the events unfolding, it was dramatic thanks to the turbulent emotional rollercoaster it sent me on — and not in a good way.
Don’t get me wrong, it was one hell of a plot twist – and I wasn’t expecting Nokto to go down that road – but I was glad I binge-read it, as I kind of hated the situation until it was all resolved. I should add that the resolution scene was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it – I just wish it hadn’t been so stressful to get there in the first place.
Belle still gets to have a defining moment where she takes her future into her own hands, and I was surprised (in a good way, this time) at the resolution for Clause 99 – especially the way she went about naming the next King.
As we’d expect from a Dramatic Ending, there was an increase in ‘spicy’ content, and I thought the climactic scene was much more creative (and steamy). Plus, there’s not just one, but two spicy scenes in this ending!
All in all, this ending took a little longer to resolve the non-romantic plot, but, thanks to the prolonged build-up of tension, the payoff was far more impactful in the end.
Half-and-half: Nokto’s Romantic Ending was sweeter, and I preferred the resolution to the non-romantic plot in this option – but, the Dramatic Ending was much spicier, and the final romantic scenes felt more mature, and less like a typical fairy tale.
If you’re prepared to put up with some anxiety in the first half, then the final chapters of the Dramatic Ending were ultimately more passionate and sexy. However, if you’d rather have a more compelling resolution to the plot with a sweeter, less spicy climax, then I’d recommend the Romantic Ending.
It’s difficult to make a clear recommendation, as I essentially preferred the first half of the Romantic Ending, and the second half of the Dramatic Ending. But, if I had to play again, I’d choose the Dramatic Ending between the two. The final spicy scene was much longer (and more interesting), and I felt that both MC and Nokto’s choices made more sense for their characters in this version of the ending.
While I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the way Nokto’s womanizing behaviour was written in some parts – as well as MC’s conservative views regarding sex and love – I still adored his character, and the route was consistently entertaining, from start to finish.
The story begins with a dramatic opening chapter that perfectly sets the tone for the turbulent, emotional rollercoaster to follow. Moving forwards, the pacing doesn’t really drop at any point – as it continues to entertain with Nokto’s troublesome schemes, all while building intrigue into his tragic past.
When I first started playing Ikemen Prince, I had a feeling Nokto would be my favourite character… and playing his route confirmed this. He’s exactly my type of otome love interest, and the playful, competitive style of relationship he shares with MC is my favourite kind of dynamic.
If you’re looking to test out a playboy or trickster character, then I don’t think Nokto should be where you start. He leans more on the problematic side – and there are definitely ‘safer’ options for both of those archetypes – and I felt frustrated with some parts of his route, even though I usually adore problematic characters.
However, if you know you like the naughty boys (particularly the ones with all the kitsune allegories) then I highly recommend Nokto’s route. To put it briefly, it’s an angsty, hot mess of a story – and I loved it.
You’ll like Nokto Klein if you like: smug, smirking guys who get all blush-y when you take charge; wicked, enchanting tricksters who smell like ‘midnight trysts and forbidden sensuality’; rehabilitating broken, problematic love interests; and very, very pretty ikemen who know exactly how to get you into bed…
Eguchi Takuya (江口 拓也)
- Vane (Granblue Fantasy)
- Lee Gyu-Hyuk (Buried Stars)
- Kakeru Manabe (Fruits Basket)
- Kazuki Hoshino (Collar X Malice)
- Risaburo Nomura (Hakuoki)
- and more!
☆ 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!
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