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Every Thought I Had During Ikémen Sengoku

It's a lovely day in Kyoto and you are a horrible wormhole

By Phoebe Sunny ShengPublished 23 days ago 15 min read

April 10th, 2023.

I’m bundled up in my blanket, giggling hysterically as the light from the blinding white rectangle of my phone pierces into my pupils. My maniacal cackling only increases in intensity when I realize I sound like Ed from the Lion King, and I clamp a hand over my mouth, so my family will not have me sent to the psychiatric unit that I obviously need to be contained in.

“I’m doing this ironically, I’m doing this ironically,” I repeat to myself, like a mad king reciting his mantra before burning down his palace with himself still sitting on his throne. “I’m doing this ironically; I’m doing this ironically.”

Oh, little do I know…

With bated breath, I enter the Google Play Store and type in the two fateful words that will change my dreary existence forever.

Word one: Ikémen. Is that supposed to be the term for a handsome guy in Japanese? Huh, maybe this experience will be more educational than I thought. I have net zero experience with dating sims. Now that I think about it, I don’t have any experience with real life romance either, but in my sadness-stress-induced stupor, my inner dark Kermit convinced myself that maybe after honing my game with some sprites on a screen, I will be maiden-less no longer.

Word two: Sengoku. The only expertise I have around the actual Sengoku Jidai and the key players of the era are the hazy fragments from the section in my unreliable hippocampus dedicated to the series done on it by the team at Extra History.

My pointer finger hovers over the install icon. I tap the button and shriek silently before I retreat into my blanket-burrow, clutching the phone to my chest in disbelief at my own decision and burying my face into my pillow.

For a few minutes, and by a few minutes I mean approximately an hour, I wallow in my own tears and the disappointment of my only brain cell, my ancestors, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Eventually, I mustered up the courage to look at my phone. Surely enough, the app sits smack-dab in the middle of my home screen.

I mutter a prayer to my lord and savior Jesus Christ, even though he won’t be able to save me now, and then…I click on it.

Opening

  • A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO JAPAN’S HOTTEST WARLORDS?!
  • PLEASE TELL ME I GOT THIS IRONICALLY
  • OKAY, I DID GET IT IRONICALLY. AND TO BE FAIR, IT DID MAKE ME LAUGH
  • Oh good, it’s informative, too. That way, I won’t seem too thirsty. Then again, I did download a dating sim.
  • First up, we have Yukimura Sanada, the Peerless Warrior. Why didn't they give him his historical epithet "Crimson Demon of War?" I feel like that's cooler. Anyway, I love the red and black color combination, plus his headband is quite cute. Nice voice as well.
  • Next up, we have – next up, we have – Masamune…Masamune, um…Date. The One-Eyed…uh…One-Eyed Dragon 😳
  • The eye patch. The asymmetrical armor. The bandages. The crescent moon helmet. The black, dark blue, gold color combination. The dark hair. The cool nickname. The voice that’s slightly husky, not too high, and not too low…
  • Anyway, we should move on before I fall for him solely because of his character design.
  • Then we have Nobunaga Oda. This name I do recognize from the Extra History series! Again, I like the red and black color combination. He’s got a cool nickname, too, but his voice is a bit too deep for my taste.
  • Damn, he got betrayed, his palace set on fire, and then he died by seppuku. I…I don’t even know what to say. That’s just terrible.
  • Imagine if your death got turned into a cheery children's rhyme 🤣
  • Oh shoot. A man is approaching me and I’m alone in a foreign country at night? Do I have pepper spray? I hope I don’t have to use it, but still.
  • Ooh, he’s a med school student? My mom would like him –
  • UH-OH, IT’S RAINING. I should get out my umbrella – did I even bring an umbrella? You see, this is why I shouldn’t go on vacation by myself.
  • There’s lightning?! Please God, I’m only nineteen.
  • It's nice of Mr. Med School to offer a hand.
  • GIRL, DID THE LIGHTNING HIT ME?! WHY AM I PASSING OUT?
  • *Kicks the man slightly to see if he’s dead.*
  • Oh good, he’s only asleep. He’s not dead. At least, I think he’s not dead.
  • A SWORD?!!?! OH SHI–
  • *Kicks the man harder*
  • YOU! WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP
  • THERE’S SOMEONE TRYING TO KILL YOU AND THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE AND I’M SORRY TO INTERRUPT YOUR SEPPUKU AND FOR KICKING YOU BUT I AM NOT DYING AT NINETEEN AND ONLY YOU KNOW THE WAY OUT AND WE NEED TO GO GO GO GO GO GO NOW NOW NOW NOW
  • *coughs aggressively in asthmatic because of all the smoke* PLEASE LORD I'M ONLY NINETEEN
  • Of course he couldn’t do it! He's just a little baby boy. Why would you hire a CHILD to do your dirty work? Not only is that unethical, but it’s also just unintelligent, smh.
  • Aw, don’t cry.
  • Looked me over?! SUS.
  • With all due respect, sir, I don't even know where I am, so how am I supposed to know who you are?
  • I mean, if you'd like to give me a reward, I wouldn't stop you.
  • Don't laugh at me. I am not in the mood to be laughed at.
  • I would say that saving your life is worth more.
  • AH AH AH AH AH AH AH 😃🖐️DON'T TOUCH MY FACE I DON'T KNOW YOU LIKE THAT
  • There's no way I'm giving this guy my real name, so I'm gonna go by Xiao Long. It means little dragon, but it also reminds me of Xiao Long Bao. I really miss the Xiao Long Bao from Din Tai Fung.
  • I'm glad you think it’s a good name! I chose it in honor of my father because his Chinese zodiac is a dragon, and also my maternal ancestor Zhuge Liang, the wisest man in China, had the moniker 'Crouching Dragon'–
  • Oh, is he still touching me?
  • *Scoots away*
  • No, because why is this new guy prettier than I am? Anytime I see a character with white hair and violet eyes I think of the Targaryens, so until I learn his name I'm calling him the Targaryen.
  • Hideyoshi! I know that name from Extra History as well. I think he's Nobunaga's right-hand man, and before that, his sandal bearer. At this rate, I'll probably have to start up as a sandal bearer too before I earn their trust.
  • I'm not obeying his orders because I'm a pushover. I'm obeying his orders because I don't want to get beheaded, and it would be rude not to introduce myself.
  • Good evening, it's a pleasure to meet you, Mitsunari! My name is Xiao Long.
  • He has such a soft, sweet smile! His voice is so soothing, too. I like Mitsunari, he seems very trustworthy. I'd like to learn about war tactics from him, he seems like he'd be a good teacher.
  • You don't need to thank me, but I appreciate it!
  • If by abroad, you mean from a different time period, then yes, I am from abroad.
  • I am a story-teller, but this is not a story.
  • The smoke was disorienting and distressing given that I have a lung condition, but I am not lying. In fact, I'm a very bad liar. If I were lying, you would be able to tell.
  • He's so kind! You guys, I really, really like Mitsunari!
  • Can I keep my clothes after I change, though? They remind me of my home.
  • I'm already feeling better because of your kindness. Thank you very much!
  • He's such a gentleman.
  • AH AH AH AH IT'S TOO SOON TO BE HOLDING HANDS BUT I'LL ALLOW IT THIS ONE TIME BECAUSE YOU'RE PRETTY.
  • Ooh, I get new attire? NOICE.
  • Let us get you into these? I hope by "us" you mean the maids.

Prologue (1 - 5)

  • Oh my, I didn't even think of having some water. He's so caring and considerate. Y'all, I really, really, really, really like Mitsunari.
  • Clean up well? Err…thank you, NO-bunaga.
  • HIS EYES LINGERED ON ME? YOU GOT THE WRONG IDEA, SIR, I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP WITH ANYONE UNTIL I'M MARRIED THANK YOU VERY MUCH
  • The rat is here, be on guard 😒

  • Kudos to the people in charge of character design because Mitsuhide sure looks shifty as hell. He looks like the kind of guy who would slip something in your drink.
  • *Covers my tea*
  • Oh, who's this? I like the green, red, and black. I think he's the one with the best hair so far, it's so fluffy.
  • So that’s Hideyoshi!
  • Great. Now Mitsuhide knows I saved Nobunaga. He's probably gonna put me on his hit list next. LORD PROTECT ME.
  • Slender thing?!?!! MOM, CAN YOU COME PICK ME UP? I'M SCARED
  • It seems like Hideyoshi already suspects him. Maybe if I can get him alone, I can warn him about how in the future we're told that Mitsuhide is responsible for Nobunaga's death. Then again, there are some theories out there that Hideyoshi hired Mitsuhide to take out Nobunaga, only to kill Mitsuhide to keep up a loyal appearance. This Hideyoshi seems genuinely loyal, though. Also, he's not creepy like Nobunaga or Mitsuhide.
  • OOH GET HIM HIDEYOSHI!
  • You see, I would have never gotten on Hideyoshi's bad side because I know when to keep my mouth shut. You see, my strategy is to act like I'm all kind and demure, but if they try anything, then the claws are coming out. I'm going to be serving ✨Silk Hiding Steel✨. ✨Yamato Nadeshiko✨. Sheep on the surface, but the dragon underneath HEHEHEHEH
  • I was there by chance because I'm from the future. I'm not a good liar. If I were scheming, you would know.
  • Please don't yell at me Hideyoshi. I will ugly-cry and then it's going to be very awkward for all of us.
  • No, no, no, don't leave me alone with Mr. Lingering Eyes. I have the feeling his intentions are less than savory.
  • I don't know how many times I have to say this. I'm not lying.
  • OH NO NO NO NO NO HE'S TOUCHING ME HE'S TOUCHING ME NO NO NO AAAAAAAA
  • I'm flattered by your offer but it seems like too much responsibility and you've only just met me.
  • You see, I would never run away when I'm already at a camp. You know, where it's SAFE and there's SHELTER and FOOD. I would just push Nobunaga away and ask for Mitsunari. I know Mitsunari has my back.
  • Hey, I like this guy's earring and his braids. He's got style and he pulls off the blue and yellow quite well. He seems a bit unhinged, though. Scourge of the Seas? Is he a pirate?
  • Girlie, the camp was safe. What about the forest makes you think that we're safe?!
  • What am I doing in the woods? I'm dealing with the repercussions of a string of poorly made decisions. But what's new?
  • Oh thank goodness. He's a monk. Maybe he's peaceful.
  • Never mind he looks shifty too. That's a nasty scar, oof. WHY DIDN'T I JUST STAY AT THE CAMP
  • Girl, why are you wasting time talking to him? Turn around and RUN
  • OH THANK GOODNESS, HE ONLY TOUCHED MY SHOULDER BUT I STILL DIDN'T SAY THAT YOU COULD TOUCH ME, KENNYO
  • Ahh, Ranmaru. So that's the baby boy's name.
  • Okay, Kennyo, you may be a creep, but at least you're a good boss to Ranmaru.
  • Um, *gulp*, I’ve been having a difficult night. I, uh, I finally had my dream job and I went to this monument ‘cuz it looked cool, and then I *cough cough cough cough* - sorry, um, anyway, I think I got struck by lightning. Th-then I got, err, I got trapped in a burning palace *inhales deeply* and had an asthma *cough* attack. I got hit on by three creepy men in the span of five minutes and now I’ve nearly fallen off a cliff and - *voice breaking* and my family’s probably really worried about me and…I just wanted a nice vacation. I don’t know what I did to deserve this...
  • Oh, he's nice, too!
  • Found himself a girl?! Oh no, is Yuki a player?
  • Oh wow, Shingen is huge. Great voice, though. So velvety and suave. DEFINITELY A PLAYER.
  • Beautiful ghost? You and your sweet words, Mr. Takeda, but you ain't slick. Tiger of Kai. Solid nickname.
  • Says the gentleman who's good-looking enough to bring any ghost back to life.
  • Did you see the way I threw it right back at him? You aren’t the only smooth-talker around here, Shingen. Better keep an eye on your side chicks ;)
  • Ooh, I love this new guy's design. The heterochromia? The fur? The black and white? Excellent contrast! The God of War. Kenshin Uesugi. Wicked nickname!
  • Don't. Touch. My. Face.
  • Why is Yoshimoto Imagawa also prettier than me?
  • PIECE OF WORK?!?! LIKE AS IN ARTWORK OR DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH? EITHER WAY, NOT COOL!
  • The fact that I didn’t even register that he was telling me to take my clothes off PFFFFTTT
  • Thank you, Yuki, you're a real one.
  • Hold on, those glasses – YOU! Mr. Med School!
  • So that's his name…Sasuke…
  • Sasuke, I know you recognize me. He's probably just lying so I don't get involved with his employers. Smart move.
  • Shingen, I don't like what you're implying.
  • Thank you for covering me, Sasuke! I knew you recognized me!
  • You do physics? That's amazing. I could never wrap my head around physics. I think I got 8% on one quiz and 45% on another.
  • You waited four years for me? Sasuke, I don't know how I'll ever repay you. You're a truly good person.
  • The swift striking storm?! That's awesome. Do I get a nickname? I want a nickname.
  • Ah, I see. So, we're in an alternate timeline. That's a relief.
  • This would make for a great science fiction story. If I manage to record everything that happens here, get back to the present, and write a novel based on it, it could be another hit!
  • There's women? Will I get to meet Kaihime? I want to date Kaihime. Cool Samurai girlfriend? Yes, please. 🥵
  • I wish I were as quick at adapting as you.
  • I'm sorry, Sasuke, but you should go for your own safety. Thank you for waiting for me. I'll try to find you again if I can.
  • Hideyoshi! Damn, he searched the whole forest? I didn't realize I mattered that much to them.
  • EEEEEE IT'S HIM! IT'S MASAMUNE, RIGHT? HE LOOKS EVEN BETTER UP CLOSE.
  • Stalwart: loyal, reliable, and hardworking. Thanks Masamune! Notice that he complimented my character, not just giving me a creepy look.
  • No, because he literally AND figuratively swept me off my feet. My heart is POUNDING.
  • I mean, Mitsunari and Yoshimoto are pretty, and Yukimura, Sasuke, and Shingen are good-looking, but this man…he's handsome.
  • Thank you for the introduction, Hideyoshi. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.
  • You're the head of your own clan? Impressive!
  • I'm going to be polite until I get on their good side. I need to make as many allies as possible here.
  • Pardon me for fidgeting. Honestly, I'm a little spooked, too.
  • I mean, I've done horseback riding before, but I always did it at a walking pace!
  • You best believe I'm holding on as tight as I can, you absolute stud.

I ORIGINALLY PLANNED TO STOP HERE BUT MASAMUNE GAVE ME 5 MORE CHAPTER TICKETS! HE KNOWS I HATE CLIFFHANGERS. BLESS YOU MASAMUNE!

Prologue (6 - 10)

  • For some reason, I like it when Masamune's holding me. It's not invasive like Nobunaga. He's just trying to help me up and keep me from falling off. And they say chivalry is dead!
  • Oop, nevermind. He’s putting the moves on me. When you would gladly make a PB&J sandwich for him, but he's only imagining you spread out like peanut butter😔
  • Thank you for the ride, but I would like it if you let me go now.
  • Lord, please, I don't want Nobunaga to take an interest in me, especially not THAT KIND of interest 😭🙏
  • I like you, too, Masamune, but let's get to know each other first.
  • “Men don’t thrive in the shadows of other men, neither in battle, nor in love.”
  • Absolutely BASED quote, my dude
  • Hold your horses, it's a bit soon for love.
  • Heheh. See what I did there?
  • WHY IS HE LOOKING AT ME LIKE I'M PREY?!?! WHY AM I INTO IT?!?! DO I HAVE A PRIMAL KINK? I’M DISCOVERING A LOT ABOUT MYSELF AND NONE OF IT IS GOOD
  • You see? Women like Hideyoshi and Masamune! That must mean they drink their respect-women-juice!
  • *smiles and waves back at the women because I can be a gentleman too 😤*
  • I would not be in this situation because I'm polite. Hideyoshi would love me, okay?
  • Who am I really? An elder from my village once taught me that identity is infinite. The constantly changing creation of millions of choices and contingencies. The truth is, even I do not know who I really am. With every new person I meet, I put on a new face. Do you not do the same? A face, not a mask. It is real part of me, but only a part. You will need to earn my trust if you wish to see my full visage.
  • *Masamune listening to my monologue about the infinite nature of identity when he just wanted to know my name, where I’m from, and what I’m into* 👁️👄👁️
  • Mitsunari! Thank goodness you're here!
  • Oh who's this? I like his scarf! Nice color scheme, too.
  • That's Ieyasu Tokugawa?
  • That reminds me of a saying that I found in the comments of the Sengoku Extra History series. They said there's a saying where they asked Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu what to do if a bird wouldn't sing for them. Nobunaga said he would kill the bird. Hideyoshi said he would make the bird want to sing. Ieyasu said he would wait for the bird to sing. I personally like Hideyoshi's approach the best.
  • Pitiful?! Ieyasu, you haven't even met me!
  • *externally* Yes, I'm Xiao Long. I’m not pitiful, and you shouldn’t judge me when you’ve interacted with me for less than a second.
  • He is like a doll. He has nice eyes. But personality-wise he puts the EW in IeyasEW.
  • Hah! I knew Hideyoshi would warm up to me. You're next, Ieyasu.

  • I'm sure the room is prepared beautifully! Please send my thanks to the servants.
  • Gotta be nice to the service workers.
  • SASUKE! YOU MADE IT! :D
  • I'm staying in the warring States period for THREE MONTHS? LORD, I AM NOT YOUR STRONGEST SOLDIER
  • Yes, that makes sense. Azuchi is probably the safest place for me right now.
  • If I can fight off Nobunaga and Mitsuhide, and earn Hideyoshi's trust, that is.
  • I'll do my best, but if I start to see them as my friends or family, you should go back without me.
  • Thank you for seeing me, Sasuke. Be careful!
  • AAAAAGH IT'S THE RAT! I should stop calling him a rat. That would be disrespectful to Remy. SASUKE COME BACK 😭
  • Can Mitsunari accompany me? I'll feel more comfortable with him there.

  • I assure you, I will be much calmer if you respect my space.
  • Oh thank goodness. I'm not alone. PRAISE THE LORD!
  • What kind of service o_0
  • Before I say yes, I'd like to know the details.
  • Any way I like? Can I be a records keeper? I want to take notes about the culture here. Battle strategies, instruments, architecture, food…
  • AYYYY I'M A PRINCESS, LET'S GOOOO
  • I'm grateful for the hospitality you've all shown me, but to be honest, I don't want to stay in my room all day.
  • EEEE I knew Masamune would understand!
  • Ooh a Chatelaine! That's cool, too. I bet I can interview some of the soldiers and servants. I wonder if they'll let me attend their war council.
  • LORD THANK YOU FOR MAKING MITSUNARI
  • I can prove myself very useful if you would put aside your prejudice and give me a chance.
  • Yeah, hold your tongue Ieyasu.
  • HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO TOUCH ME
  • I appreciate your generosity.
  • Oh shoot. I forgot this is a dating game.

Okay, it's time to choose a suitor – WHY IS MASAMUNE THE FIRST OPTION? IS THAT HOW IT’S SET UP? BECAUSE THIS, COMBINED WITH THE EXTRA TICKETS INCIDENT EARLIER, IS MAKING ME BELIEVE THAT MY PHONE LISTENING TO ME.

I'm kind of torn between Mitsunari, Sasuke, and Masamune. I'd add Hideyoshi to the list, but he seems to hate me right now. Mitsunari and Sasuke would definitely treat me right. I almost feel like they're TOO good for me, y'know? Since Mistunari's a tactician, I'm most looking forward to learning about war strategy with him. Also, practically speaking, Sasuke is the best option since he's from the same time period. I also heard that Sasuke's route has a lot of memes and the scope is quite wide.

HOWEVER, I did not download a dating sim to be practical. I came here for pure wish fulfillment and MASAMUNE DATE IS BY FAR THE HOTTEST GUY.

Don't worry, I'll definitely save Sasuke for later, and I'll do Mitsunari's route right after Masamune.

YES I WANT TO DO MASAMUNE – I MEAN, I WANT TO DO MASAMUNE'S ROUTE FBEJJHSBIWK

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About the Creator

Phoebe Sunny Sheng

I'm a mad scientist - I mean, teen film critic and author who enjoys experimenting with multiple genres. If a vial of villains, a pinch of psychology, and a sprinkle of social commentary sound like your cup of tea, give me a shot.

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