Anime Review Visual Novel

Agent of Love – Review | Thrilling Detective Melodrama


Released on Steam, Google Play, and App Store in 2019, Agent of Love is an indie Josei Otome Visual Novel by Delusional Inc. with storylines and themes targeted for a mature audience. For this romance game that touches on dark topics and has mild sexual content, its trigger and content warnings include sexual and intense violence, abuse, suicide, death, blood, kidnapping, needles, use of alcohol, and mental illnesses.

In Agent of Love, you play as Detective Takeuchi, a 24-year-old woman who is a fully trained and capable employee of the Japanese police force. Orphaned at a young age, she is adopted by the Takeuchi family, with her adoptive father as the Police Chief Commissioner of Japan. Her story begins when she is asked to pick her next assignment that will involve one of the six possible bachelors.

Primarily designed for mobile, the game contains in-game purchases that follow the usual model for paid mobile otome games: free prologue and chapter 1 of each route, followed by Main Story, His POV, Epilogue, and Secret End packages that can each be purchased separately as desired per character route. While there are a total of six bachelors for Season 1, only four character routes are currently available: Ryosei Asakawa, Hajime Fukuyama, Shiro, and Takasuke Hiraishi. For each character, there are 22+ chapters and three endings in the Main Story package, 10 chapters in His POV package, three chapters in the Epilogue, and one chapter in the Secret End. The Main Story has branching choices whereas His POV, Epilogue, and Secret End are all linear with no choice points.

As the in-game purchases are by character route, my review will include my verdict for each route, which is a more logical grading method for this game as opposed to only giving it a generic verdict on the whole. As much as I would like to keep my review spoiler-free, some discussions do contain spoilers but they will be appropriately marked. This review is based on the PC version of Agent of Love.

Art: Sprites, CGs, and Backgrounds

Generally speaking, art is not the most compelling part of Agent of Love. The non-animated 2D anime character sprites look decent on the whole, despite their simple character designs and rather tense-looking shoulders. Every character is frozen in their own single pose but this shortcoming is somewhat compensated for by having head tilts, facial expression variations, and outfit changes. There is also visible effort seen in ensuring that side characters have their own representative sprites too, although I must admit I had a good laugh over a group of side characters in suits who look so similar to one another, they can legitimately be called “brothers”. Still, I am not a fan of the male characters’ shirtless sprites where their head seems disturbingly disconnected at the collarbone.

Agent of Love - Heat

Like the character sprites, CGs offer nothing too stellar. CGs in Ryosei’s and Hajime’s routes are quite bland in composition; most of them depict scenes in the most boring way possible with the same close-up frontal view. Thankfully, there is a noticeable improvement to the CGs in Shiro’s and Takasuke’s routes where action scenes and different camera angles are attempted. There are also a multitude of facial expression variations used in some of Takasuke’s CGs, which impressed me as this is not observed much in the other three routes. However, I am miffed by the fact that not all CGs are stored under the Image gallery, such as the one in Shiro’s Good End. Some may also find the faceless protagonist in the CGs repelling.

Regarding the background art in Agent of Love, the majority of them look like photographs edited with an artistic filter. Undeniably, there is a great variety of locations included and an appropriate personalized paint-over done to suit the narrative. Even so, more care can be afforded in creating the backgrounds as some edits actually look awkward; for instance, in the night variant for Ryosei’s workplace where semi-transparent black rectangles are layered on top of the curtained windows, the indoor flowers by the window are erroneously overlaid by the black patch. As for the exclusive use of grayscale backgrounds in flashback scenes, it would have been an effective visual cue if only there were not that many venues with originally white or grey aesthetics.

Audio: Music and Sound

With a small library of background music available, it is no surprise that the same tracks will be heard repeatedly in the short span of a chapter. Each track in Agent of Love is generally tagged to a specific mood and the music would change in tandem with the mood changes in the writing. Most times, this is fine if one does not mind the abrupt cut-ins. But there is a particular track that I find is way overused to the point of misuse, and I ended up starting to subdue its significance whenever it plays. Instead of thinking “this is foreboding and tense”, I started to think “this music is being too dramatic again”.

Agent of Love - Flashy Guy

The library of sound effects in the game is even smaller than that for music. Nothing sounds out of the ordinary and I find the selection used quite all right.

Writing: Quality, Choices, and Protagonist

The writing is easy to read with a nice flow generally, but minor typos can still be spotted in every route. There is also, to my initial annoyance, extensive use of ellipsis to connect parts of a sentence that spread over at least two consecutive scenes. Formatting problems pop up in some routes but they are luckily trivial and do not affect the text.

Agent of Love takes place in modern Japan and there is a constant effort in keeping the writing relevant to the setting so that players’ immersion is not broken. Each route also comes with its own unique storyline that does not interweave with the others. Although there are obvious but noncritical loose ends to every ending, they are likely deliberately left in preparation for a second season story.

In this Visual Novel, two choice points are typically presented in every chapter of a Main Story, with each choice point featuring three choices. As all endings are eventually accessible from the character’s Main Story menu, there is no pressure to always pick the correct choice. While largely inconsequential, these choices serve as nice breakpoints in the Main Story.

Agent of Love - Doctor

Besides being a competent detective, the protagonist is also a conservative woman with no prior dating experience. Despite her inexperience, Takeuchi does have her own views regarding certain topics like relationship deal-breakers and having children. Still, as a character who exhibits reasonably high emotional intelligence at her job, Takeuchi has some laughably cringeworthy reactions unbefitting of her character. For example, Takeuchi not understanding her own feelings or worrying about her first kiss when administering CPR to a dying man. In addition, I find every route’s main character feeling a little different, notably with her inconsistent initial stance on premarital sex. Perhaps Takeuchi’s shift in some routes will be well-received but I cannot stop thinking how such inconsistencies seem to indicate attempts to bend a perfectly fine protagonist in order to fit her into whatever events believed to be a must for the plot.

In the next sections, I will be giving my verdict for each route, keeping in mind that Agent of Love is a Josei game where mature storytelling and realistic romance are notable elements.

Ryosei Asakawa’s Route

Ryosei is the son of an influential political family and is well-known for his history with dating women. He is also someone Detective Takeuchi has known since childhood. As a character meeting the flirtatious trope, Ryosei is not one whom I will like on the get-go. Coupled with his sometimes passive-aggressive behavior, I do not particularly like him as a love interest.

The case Detective Takeuchi handles in Ryosei’s route is not very memorable, not because it is unexciting but that it is overshadowed by the romance arc. Plenty of events transpired during the relationship but some bits could have been avoided if both parties would agree to communicate properly with each other. Partly due to the circumstances surrounding Takeuchi and Ryosei, the whole romance is wishy-washy with a steady stream of drama contributed by multiple parties. Nevertheless, thanks to the arduously long-winded route the pair had taken, the final chapters and story thereafter are quite satisfying to read. Still, I find it a pity that the narrative did not show how Ryosei supports Takeuchi with her insecurities, an aspect that would have added much substance to their teenage-like romance.

Agent of Love - Ryosei

While I am not impressed by this drama-filled route and am often put off by Takeuchi’s stubborn fixation with “masculine scent”, I have enjoyed the ride nonetheless. Notwithstanding his flaws, Ryosei is a good lad whose heart is in the right place. Furthermore, the advances he made at the protagonist do get pretty sensual at times. So I will say Ryosei’s route is worth picking up, especially if one likes flirtatious characters.

Hajime Fukuyama’s Route

Hajime is the oldest amongst the bachelors, and he is seen as a mature and friendly doctor who has been taking care of Detective Takeuchi since her police academy days. Given that Agent of Love is a Josei game, having a 35-year-old love interest is a good take in principle. Unfortunately, due to how poorly thought-out and executed the plot is, I do not recommend Hajime’s route. In the following paragraphs, I will be referring to the specific content of this route for elaboration, so major spoilers ahead (Warning: sexual assault is discussed).

To start off, I would like to assert that I really appreciate that this route brought up the heavy topic of rape. I also appreciate that there is quite an in-depth portrayal of the victim’s thoughts and feelings, all of which I find realistic given Takeuchi’s circumstances. The writing is so good at riling me up that I cussed a lot at the deplorable abuser who has unmistakably pushed the protagonist until she broke down. But here is the problem: I was led to feel justified anger at Hajime based on what he did to Takeuchi for more than half the route, and then suddenly towards the end, everything became utter nonsense with the romance feeling more contrived than realistic.


First, there is the choice to bring up rape as a big focus only to subsequently declare it as a lie created by the perpetrator as part of his cunning ploy. Arguably, Hajime’s plans would still work if he had threatened the conservative protagonist with her nude photograph, minus the rape and pregnancy scares. Without a clear reason provided in the story to explain why it is actually necessary for Hajime to use rape, the route makes me feel that this serious topic has been handled carelessly.

Next, even if Hajime did not rape Takeuchi and this helps justify their pairing slightly, Hajime is unduly left scot-free despite his emotional abuses that have scarred Takeuchi for real. There is no active attempt by Hajime to make up for his wrongdoings to the protagonist either. Hajime saving the protagonist’s life is, to me, simply his duty as a doctor instead of atonement. While Takeuchi’s gratitude towards Hajime for saving her life is understandable, she is actually not obliged to forgive, much less love him unconditionally in return. Takeuchi, a rational detective, loving Hajime immediately after all the emotional breakdowns she just suffered through is so illogical and baseless that it killed the story for me.

Several important issues are touched upon in the story and the narration is emotionally impactful. Hajime is also a well-depicted douchebag character who does a lot of things that I do not agree with. But I find his route a big letdown when the development towards the end is too forced to make meaningful sense of. Therefore I personally do not recommend this route.

Shiro’s Route

Shiro is a foreigner whom Detective Takeuchi met while on her vacation. The romance in this route is enjoyable and light-hearted, and I absolutely love how there is evidence of the pair supporting and helping each other grow.

Naked Shiro

Different from the other three, Shiro’s route presents some refreshing elements in its writing approach: the route does not immediately start off with an obvious case, and players are led into the romance right away without additional frills. The case goes through quite a journey before reaching its crux near the end, but things feel rather rushed near closure and this poor pacing dampened the case’s climax. Romance, on the other hand, is better paced. I like how the initial groundwork is laid down concretely enough for latter conflicts to be built nicely on top of. However, maybe because I have watched too many dramas, the turning point in Shiro’s story did not surprise me at all. Instead, I was laughing my ass off when a certain attendant appeared, which totally derailed me off the serious plot at that point.

Topic-wise, cultural differences between Shiro and Takeuchi are mentioned but sadly not delved further into. Meaningful subjects such as how those differences may have impacted their relationship and how they and their families reconcile them are not explored. Otherwise, I am quite amazed by this route that is packed with many emotionally beautiful moments — even its Bad End gives me really pleasant eerie chills. I am also impressed by how the narrative is cleverly weaved together under his POV. Hence, I recommend Shiro’s route, especially for those looking for a feel-good romance.

Takasuke Hiraishi’s Route

One year older than the protagonist, Takasuke is Detective Takeuchi’s tsundere colleague at the police department. He is an endearing character whom I have taken quite a liking to while playing Ryosei’s route (but was mad pissed at during Hajime’s route for something he said to Takeuchi). Despite being a tsundere, Takasuke does not feel that cold or hostile, perhaps because he and Takeuchi have been co-workers for some time already. He does get flustered easily, however, and this makes any “idiot” he blurts out at Takeuchi sound way more cute than menacing.

An immediately likable bachelor aside, this route has the best balance between detective work and romance I have seen thus far in Agent of Love. The case opens with a rather intriguing situation that mentions several social issues in Japan. There is also quite a realistic portrayal of workplace politics. But much to my dismay, it ends rather blandly despite the big topics present.

Agent of Love - Takasuke

As for romance, the entire journey is steadily adorable and sweet, and I have especially enjoyed their playful teasings which highlighted their amicable relationship. The only frustrating moment is when Takeuchi adamantly refuses to resolve a problem, which she knows was giving her internal turmoil, by simply clarifying with Takasuke. Instead of opting for a more mature approach of communication, this brilliant detective chose to cling onto her unfounded assumptions. Storytime wasted by Takeuchi’s stubbornness could have been given to discussing their transition from friends to lovers, which is a much more interesting theme.

While the Main Story and Epilogue have been a pleasure to play through, I did not enjoy the Secret End as much because I feel the protagonist was forcing the visibly uncomfortable Takasuke way too much to do her bidding. When the teasing borders on bullying, things become uncomfortable. Nevertheless, on the whole, I do recommend Takasuke’s route, particularly if one fancies a cute romance with a tsundere.

Notes on the PC version

Apart from the limitation of having only fullscreen mode, there is the issue of the game frequently freezing whenever I Alt-Tab to other programs. In addition, pressing “Esc” will quit the game immediately without a confirmation prompt, which nearly gave me a heart attack until I found that the game always auto-saves at the last line read, so no progress was actually lost. Otherwise, the controls for this game, which is playable with a mouse, are really straight-forward.


As a Visual Novel, Agent of Love has decent art, music, and writing. As a romance game, it gives plenty of interaction and unique moments for every pair. And as a Josei game, even though different important topics are brought up in every route, most are not expanded upon and are instead given way to typical relationship conflicts.

None of the four Season 1 routes have quite achieved what I deem as mature storytelling and realistic romance, but Ryosei’s, Shiro’s, and Takasuke’s routes have undoubtedly brought much enjoyment nonetheless.


Platforms: PC, Android, iOS

If you enjoy more visual novels, you may be interested in Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen. 

Many thanks go to Delusional Inc for a PC review code for this title. 

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