Oliver Knight | Character Review | Ikémen Revolution
Your snarky knight in shining armour – Oliver’s story is an intricately woven tale befitting an adaptation of the beloved Mad Hatter of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. His character is uniquely eccentric, ranging from ‘cute-but-rude child genius in a fancy hat’, to ‘dashing (but still rude) prince in a fancy hat’…
His route is full of unexpected twists and turns, all winding together to create a fascinating whole that’s inextricably linked to his unusual character design. As the layers are peeled back, it’s clear that there’s more than meets the eye to this snarky hatter, and as the protagonist uncovers the truth, she’ll learn more about Cradle as a whole, not just Oliver himself…
Second playthrough: I’ve now completed two playthroughs of Oliver’s route, so I’ve read both of his endings (Romantic and Dramatic) and both the ‘normal’ and ‘premium’ story options for each ‘Avatar Challenge’.
I’ll include comparisons of the options and endings in the ‘Story’ section of this review, to help you choose where to spend your Magic Crystals, and which finale is right for you.
☆ Waltz (Cinderella Phenomenon) – A child at heart… and (sometimes) in body
☆ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Ikemen Vampire) – Snarky, but pretty
☆ Sariel Noir (Ikemen Prince) – Your sadistic boss
Oliver’s character design is unique for a variety of reasons – some more controversial than others. I tend to use the ‘shota’ tag liberally in my character reviews, simply because it has a much broader, nuanced meaning than the absolutist negative connotations it seems to have gathered across the western community (Patreon even gets worried if I use the word ‘shota’ in any of my posts) – but, unfortunately, Oliver does somewhat fall into this latter category.
To add to my point about the shota archetype – not all ‘shota’ characters are underage, nor are they necessarily child-like. They may sometimes have a younger appearance, but this doesn’t always mean a child’s appearance – similarly, while they are often younger than the main character, this doesn’t have to mean they’re a child or teenager. In the context of otome games, ‘shota’ simply refers to their personality type, and the relationship dynamic they have with the protagonist.
MC will often have to take care of the shota love interest (the classic example of this is nursing them when they get a fever), and she’ll usually have a more nurturing role in the relationship. In terms of personal characteristics, the LI will typically have a more youthful, immature, or naïve personality – striving to prove themselves as a reliable person in the MC’s life (with the classic “I want you to see me as a man” moment).
Adult men can have this personality type too, so it has nothing to do with the age or appearance of a character. Are there problematic examples of this archetype? Sure. But that doesn’t mean that all shota characters are inherently wrong. As with most things, there’s more nuance than simply being 100% right or 100% wrong, and Oliver Knight is a prime example of this.
For some people, the mere fact that he sometimes takes the form of a child will be enough to put them off playing the route – which is perfectly valid, to be clear. I’ll explain how this aspect of his character plays into his route in the ‘spoiler’ section of this review – but for now, I will clarify that Oliver only temporarily assumes the form of a child (for plot and character development purposes), and is not actually an underage character.
Tropes: While I’ve used the trope tag ‘Shota‘, this is more to avoid spoilers and let you know the sorts of scenes to expect in Oliver’s route. It’s very heavily implied in the prologue, and the reader is expected to figure this out long before MC, so I’ll tentatively say that Oliver falls more into the ‘Child-Body Curse’ category (similar to Waltz from Cinderella Phenomenon).
Oliver is also a genius (‘Tensai‘), renowned for his eccentric inventions (and hats!). He spends a lot of time tinkering away in his workshop, but even away from the work table, Oliver’s ability to think outside the box allows him to quickly come up with creative solutions to complex problems, even in dangerous circumstances. It’s his unique mind that gets him out of seemingly impossible situations, as his opponents can never predict what he’ll do next.
I’ve also included ‘Tsundere‘, as this is a pretty constant character trait that, while it doesn’t lend itself to the plot of his route so much as the others, is a large part of his character’s appeal. Despite being (apparently) small and cute, he’s incredibly snarky, with a haughty attitude and sharp wit to match other otome characters like Sasazuka Takeru (Collar X Malice), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Ikemen Vampire).
There are also moments in Oliver’s route where he gets to be the knight in shining armour (albeit a slightly eccentric one), and – as is typical for Ikemen Revolution – he has his own ‘princely’ charm (ouji-sama). Oliver’s character is based on the ‘Mad Hatter’ from the tales of Alice in Wonderland, so if you’ve ever wished your fairy-tale prince was a sarcastic weirdo with a fabulous hat, then you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in Ikemen Revolution’s Oliver Knight.
Artist: the character designer for Ikemen Revolution is the artist TCB, who also designed the characters for Tears of Themis, as well as the models for VTubers Kanade Izuru (Holostars) and Ike Eveland (Nijisanji EN – Luxiem).
Hamano Daiki (濱野 大輝) – also known for voicing:
- Gaspard Herbet (Tales of Luminaria) – Video Game
- Dakeshin Kaido (Jack Jeanne) – Video Game
- Grueler (Granblue Fantasy) – Video Game
- + more!
Out of all the Ikemen Revolution routes I’ve read so far, Oliver Knight is perhaps the one who best exemplifies the Alice in Wonderland theme. While Loki was a great adaptation of the Cheshire Cat, I honestly can’t think of a better way to adapt the Mad Hatter to this setting. He’s witty, eccentric, and his childlike wonder and curiosity is befitting of such a weird and wonderful character.
While the endings made more deliberate references to the source material, I would have liked these themes to be more consistent throughout his route. That being said, I had a lot of fun playing Oliver’s route. It’s perfect for the whimsical, fairy-tale tone of the game, and it’s just mad enough to respectfully pay homage to the wonderfully nonsensical tales of the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The following section will go into further detail about the ‘shota’ and ‘child-body curse’ aspects of Oliver’s character and route. In order to discuss it properly (and to appropriately warn players of potentially uncomfortable content), I’ll need to be more specific, and therefore include some minor spoilers. If you’d like to skip this part, you can do so by clicking: here.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
I’ve seen some otome fans on social media asking about how Oliver’s child body plays into the ‘romance’ part of his character, as (understandably) having romance in the same story as a character who, at the very least has the appearance of a child, can be a bit uncomfortable, to say the least.
In the case of Oliver, there is a scene towards the beginning of his route (corresponding with the first unlockable CG/image), that has a deliberate double-entendre, despite Oliver maintaining the appearance of a child throughout the scene. However, this was written in a comedic way, rather than a romantic one, and it’s worth noting that MC does not interpret the situation in a romantic or sexual manner.
However, the explanation for his behaviour doesn’t occur until after the initial set-up, which felt a bit misleading, and made me uncomfortable until it was explained. I would have preferred for the explanation to be in the same chapter part, to prevent ending the scene with such an off-putting moment that made me pause and consider quitting the route then and there.
Similar situations occur a few more times throughout route – typically during the premium stories – but, as with the aforementioned early scene, MC never finds Oliver’s child form to be romantically or sexually attractive. She does, however, find him cute – and gradually comes to care for him – but again, this is never implied to be inappropriate, considering his appearance.
“Listen, young lady. Don’t you dare belittle me– or treat me like a kid!”– Oliver Knight (Ikemen Revolution)
As you might expect, once she finds out more about the curse and realises that the child Oliver and adult Mad Hatter are one and the same person, this becomes a bit confusing for her, as the lines become more blurred. MC’s attraction to Oliver is solely in relation to his adult body, though there were a few scenes where she sees a glimpse of the adult Mad Hatter in the young Oliver, which I did feel was pushing the line a bit.
My main issue with the route is that some parts seemed to be deliberately written in a vague way, as though they were leaving it up to the reader to determine how to interpret the interaction. While I can understand MC being confused about falling for the adult Mad Hatter, caring about the child Oliver, and then realising they’re actually the same person, I still would have preferred the writers to be much clearer in separating the romance from his child form.
On the whole, Ikemen Revolution does stay within the realm of what’s appropriate, but, there were definitely a few moments that made me think, ‘yikes, that’s getting a bit too close to the line’ – particularly in the second-last chapter of his main route and the final bonus story (unfortunately, both the normal and premium options contained the questionable parts of the scene). Despite most of the route being relatively safe, I’d still suggest that you give this route a miss if you find these themes uncomfortable.
What makes this part of the review difficult is that the ‘child-body curse’ aspect of Oliver’s character is intrinsic to him, his route, and the overall story, so it’s difficult to separate them or determine whether or not it would be better to remove it all together. While there are definitely some iffy moments, the way the curse works and how it inextricably ties in to his personality and backstory makes his character much more interesting than if he were simply a snarky inventor.
If you took it out completely, there wouldn’t be much left to work with, and I can’t conceive what the route would look like without it. For better or worse, Oliver Knight is a truly unique character, and while I can’t recommend him for everyone, I still enjoyed his route, and I appreciated the novelty of experiencing a character unlike any I’d come across before.
~ No more spoilers! ~
That’s the end of the spoiler-inclusive part of the review. The rest is safe – just don’t scroll up!
Story Branches: In Ikemen Revolution, 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’ – purchasing and equipping one of these attire options will unlock the corresponding type of bonus story.
‘Normal‘ attire can be purchased with ‘Lin’ — an in-game resource acquired through minigames and log-in bonuses. This is a much easier option for free-to-play gamers, but the story isn’t saved to your collection 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 ‘Magic Crystals’ — an in-game resource that can technically be acquired for free by collecting event rewards and 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 collection 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 Magic Crystals, 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.
Story Options: Premium vs. Normal
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 Magic Crystals, or when to save them for another day…
Part 3 His Side Story
An Invitation to Tea
If this side story were available by grinding for free, I’d definitely recommend it. There’s a lot of Oliver’s inner monologue, which adds further insight into this thoughts that can’t be intuited from the main story – but, it’s set prior to any romantic development, so it’s neither particularly sweet, nor spicy.
I did enjoy it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily worth 300 Magic Crystals or 3 x Keys to His Heart (both of which are difficult to accumulate for free). If you have the resources, enjoy Oliver’s character, and don’t mind spending, then I actually enjoyed his side stories more than most of the premium options, so it might be worth opting for this side story anyway – but, if you’re trying to save your crystals and keys, then I recommend skipping this side story and saving for different options later.
Part 4 Premium Story
The Taunting Mad Hatter
Personally, I enjoyed the premium story more, but the extra portion of the scene doesn’t make a significant difference, and it’s occurs so early in the route that there hasn’t been much of a chance for romantic development between Oliver and MC. It still works well as a standalone story, but it’s not overly memorable and there are sweeter (and spicier) options later on.
The premium part of this story definitely enhances the overall scene, giving it an extra boost of Oliver’s distinct ‘sarcastic-knight-in-shining-armour’ personality, but it’s not so substantial that I can recommend it unless you’re particularly enjoying his route and you don’t mind spending the magic crystals.
If you want to save your crystals, then you can safely choose the ‘normal’ option and still get much the same experience. If you don’t mind spending them, then the extra part in the premium scene does add a little extra flavour that feels typical of Oliver’s character and the comedic dynamic he shares with the protagonist.
Part 9 His Side Story
A Riddle Without An Answer
If you enjoyed the ‘fever’ scene in the main story, then I recommend purchasing this side story. It was already adorable, but reading it from Oliver’s perspective just made it even sweeter. It’s an interesting way to learn more about his character without needing to wait for reveals later in the route, and it’s a cute saved story to have in your collection for re-reading later.
Part 10 Premium Story
The Amiable Mad Hatter
I actually preferred the normal version of this story, and I don’t recommend the premium option at all. There isn’t much of a difference to begin with, but the extra part in the premium story is one of the uncomfortable scenes that I mentioned earlier when discussing the ‘child-body curse’ aspect of Oliver’s character.
It also doesn’t work well as a standalone story. It features the end of one scene, and the beginning of the next, making it two halves pushed together, rather than a whole story on its own. It makes sense when you read it in the context of his route – providing you remember the preceding chapter – but when you read it in your saved story collection later, it just starts abruptly and it took me a moment to remember where and when this scene was happening.
Part 14 His Side Story
A Delicately Glowing Love
I loved this side story — even though the events taking place were exactly the same as the main story version, Oliver’s thoughts were much more romantic than the things he said, so if you’re enjoying his route and want to read the Mad Hatter’s sweet thoughts about MC as he comes to realise his feelings, then I’d highly recommend getting this side story.
Part 15 Premium Story
The Mature Mad Hatter
Again, this is one of those times where the premium option adds some uncomfortable undertones to the scene, considering Oliver is in his child body when it happens. It does explain how MC sees him after she learns his secret, so you may want to get it if you’re curious about that part, but I personally preferred the normal version.
The normal version had basically the same plot – just without the uncomfy part. On the other hand, ‘The Mature Had Hatter’ is actually a pretty long bonus story, so if you do purchase the premium option, you’ll get a lot of content for your magic crystals.
Part 19 His Side Story
To Move Time Again…
Being a tsundere, Oliver is awful at saying how he really feels – and MC, being naïve, is even worse at picking up on his hints. By this point in the route, it’s obvious to the reader (and the entire Black Army) how Oliver and MC feel for each other, but neither has admitted it to the other. Oliver thinking his true feelings is incredibly sweet, and I highly recommend getting this side story if you’re an Oliver fan.
Part 20 Premium Story
The Cautious Mad Hatter
The bonus portion in the premium version of this story adds a little extra spice that isn’t present at all in the normal version. However, the difference isn’t so substantial that I’d say it’s worth spending your Magic Crystals. If you’re frustrated at the lack of spicy content with the more ‘mature’ Mad Hatter, then you may wish to purchase this premium story anyway, otherwise, I didn’t think there was enough added to justify the cost.
In terms of being a standalone story to re-read later, ‘The Cautious Mad Hatter’ doesn’t contain any particularly memorable scenes, so I don’t feel the need to spend Magic Crystals to capture this moment in my ‘Memories’ for a later date. There were some side stories I preferred to the premium stories in this route, so I’d highly recommend saving your keys and crystals for them, instead.
Part 21 His Side Story
Don’t Go, Alice…
Not only was this one of my favourite moments in Oliver’s route, but there’s a bonus scene with him and Blanc that doesn’t appear in the main story version. The same CG appears, and there’s plenty of context to make this story enjoyable, even when returning to it after completing the route. It’s a sweet, romantic scene that I loved in the main story, and still love as a saved side story – with the bonus of some extra lines from Oliver that make it all the more heart-warming.
Part 24 His Side Story
A Mad Tea Party Never Ends
If you only purchase one side story in Oliver’s route, then I recommend you make it this one! It has the most bonus content – i.e. scenes that don’t appear in the main story – which further explain Oliver’s past, particularly the specifics of his child body curse. It’s not the most romantic side story, but it’s interesting to see more of what’s happening behind the scenes. There are still sweet moments – especially towards the end – but in terms of exclusive plot reveals, this side story has the most out of all the options in Oliver’s route.
Part 25 Premium Story
The Zealous Mad Hatter
There’s one particular moment in this bonus story (that occurs in both the premium and normal versions) that completely puts me off spending Magic Crystals on it. If it wasn’t for this middle part of the scene, ‘The Zealous Mad Hatter’ would be an easy recommendation. If you’re not so averse to the uncomfortable moments between MC and child Oliver, then you will likely enjoy this story more than I did.
It’s relatively long, for a bonus story, and contains a mixture of climactic plot, sweet romance, and some spicy moments with the Mad Hatter. The extra portion in the premium version only slightly extends a moment towards the end of the story (the spicy moment with the ‘mature’ Oliver), so that aspect does make it tempting, even if the extension is only slight.
The plot part of the first half of the story is also a memorable moment, and worth having in your saved collection. I just resent that the iffy scene in the middle is still present in the normal version, as opting for ‘normal’ was a consistently reliable way of avoiding these moments until this part of the route. As I said, if it weren’t for the uncomfortable part in the middle, I would happily recommend going premium to add this story to your memories, but I just don’t feel like reading it again – unless I skip through the middle part, that is.
Part 26 – Romantic Ending – His Side Story
Alice Fell for the Mad Hatter
The side stories that take place in the endings are twice as expensive (6 x Keys to His Heart, or 600 Magic Crystals), but they give bonus avatar attire and work well as a souvenir of the ending – meaning you can re-read the saved story to remember the ending, rather than needing to re-play the entire route again.
If you loved Oliver’s route, and you enjoyed his Romantic Ending, then I’d recommend getting this side story as a memento for the aforementioned reasons. The bonus avatar attire is a top hat for Oliver’s avatar, which matches the suit you unlock by completing his Dramatic Ending (as well as the cane you unlock by purchasing the side story for his Dramatic Ending).
However, in terms of adding extra insight and content that isn’t available in the main story version of the ending, I felt that this side story fell a little short. There were extra lines for Oliver’s inner monologue, but the actual events that take place are the same, and only cover the second half of the ending, not the entire chapter.
This is why my recommendation is a ‘maybe’ – if you loved the ending and want a souvenir, go for it, otherwise, I suggest saving your keys and crystals for other options.
Part 26 – Dramatic Ending – His Side Story
Today is an Ordinary Day
As I mentioned in the Romantic Ending His Side Story, the cost is double, and the events only cover the second half of the ending. The bonus avatar attire for this side story is a cane for Oliver’s avatar, which matches the suit unlocked by completing his Dramatic Ending, as well as the top hat unlocked by purchasing the Romantic Ending side story.
Again, if you enjoyed Oliver’s route and his Dramatic Ending, I recommend purchasing this side story as a souvenir that’s easy to re-visit. While it only covers the second half of the chapter, I felt that it works well as a standalone story, and it contains a bonus scene that isn’t available in the main story version of the ending.
This bonus scene focuses on Oliver and Blanc, but their discussion raised some interesting points about the intentions behind Oliver’s actions in this ending, as well as some intrigue into Blanc’s mysterious past. If you’re curious about Blanc’s character, I’d recommend getting this side story, as it’s made me all the more interested in reading his route (when it finally becomes available!).
If you’re interested in spicy content with Oliver, then this is the ending you should choose. While the CG gave me oddly creepy yandere vibes, the actual scene wasn’t quite so dark and intense.
Despite being the ‘romantic’ ending, the tone was overall a little more sultry and passionate than I was expecting, and Oliver did get a little possessive towards the end…
There were more references in this ending to the ‘mad’ part of ‘Mad Hatter’ than in the dramatic ending, but it still felt less ‘Alice in Wonderland’-y, overall.
The Dramatic Ending doesn’t contain any dedicated spicy scenes, but it felt like the more natural conclusion to Oliver’s story.
I liked the whimsical, slightly nonsensical tone, as this was much more quintessentially ‘Mad Hatter’ – including references to the original Alice in Wonderland tales.
In short, it’s wholesome, sweet, and felt like a truly happy ending for a wonderful fairy tale romance. It was my personal favourite of the two endings, so I’d recommend it if you’re not sure of which to choose.
The banter in this route is truly beautiful and made me laugh out loud a lot. I loved that MC didn’t just let Oliver get away with saying whatever he wanted, and gave just as good as she got. His age and appearance are often the punchline – especially once his secret is revealed, and I’m honestly impressed at how many different ways the writers found to insult MC – plus, Oliver’s exasperation at her naivete cracked me up every time.
If you’ve ever fallen for the eccentric adventurer – perhaps David Tennant’s Doctor in Doctor Who, or Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean – then I have a feeling you’ll enjoy Oliver Knight. His weird genius and daring escapades reminded me a lot of these characters, and left me feeling equally smitten.
While the ‘Shota’ archetype can be controversial – and I understand why otome game players are hesitant to try Oliver’s route – there weren’t any moments that I felt completely crossed the line into the inappropriate, and most of the moments that felt a little uncomfortable happened during premium story options, so you can largely avoid this by opting for the cheaper, ‘normal’ story options at each avatar challenge.
There are a couple of scenes to be wary of in the second-last chapter and the final bonus story (even the normal version), but MC and Oliver’s feelings and intentions are mostly explained, and I’m hesitant to disregard the creativity and ingenuity displayed in the rest of the route based solely on a few brief, ambiguous moments.
While I can’t recommend Oliver’s route for everyone, I think it’s worth giving him a chance. There’s so much more to his story than the controversial aspects mentioned in this review, and his route sheds a lot of light on the overarching plot and general world-building of the game as a whole. In the end, once you look past Oliver’s appearance and any preconceptions you may have, you’ll find an intriguing love interest, with an equally intriguing story.
When I started Oliver’s route, I was curious, and a little wary. I nearly stopped playing after one moment early in the story, but I’m glad I decided to keep reading. I’m yet to come across another character quite like him, and, as a fan of the original Mad Hatter, I finished Oliver’s route head over heels for this witty, exciting character and his fascinating, compelling story.
You’ll like Oliver Knight if you like: eccentric geniuses; mad hatters; sarcasm; witty banter between MC and the love interest; snarky insults; lots of comedy; creative problem solving; unpredictable stories and characters; wacky adventures; and unique, interesting character designs.
☆ Game Name: Ikémen Revolution: Love & Magic in Wonderland | イケメン革命アリスと恋の魔法
☆ Developer: CYBIRD / Ikémen Series
☆ Publisher: CYBIRD / Ikémen Series
☆ Platform: Android, iOS
☆ Age Rating: 17+ / Mature
☆ More information: here!
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