Yoosung down, Jumin outta the way, up next is the hard-working actor, lovely Zen ~
So, I mentioned in my review how I liked Zen the least since there really wasn’t much to his character, at least from what’s shown in the common route. However, given his reactions during Jumin’s route I decided to give Zen a try because it was pretty funny. The voice actor seems to be having a ton of fun with the script; he gets a lot of loud, shouty lines lol. Plus, I seriously wouldn’t be able to handle 707’s route if it was anywhere near as “deep” as Jumin’s. So my plan is Zen –> Jaehee –> 707 –> ??? (betting on secret stuff unlocked).
TIP #4 – Start your new game as close to (but not before) 12:00 AM as possible. I made the mistake of restarting at like 9 PM. One, it’s kind of funny seeing all the chatrooms pop up really close to each other. But two, I lost out on like 46% of progress for Day 1 that I won’t ever get back. Also, I’d like to take the time to bring up the redundancy of save slots. If whose route you end up on is based on your choices throughout the first four days, then there’s really no point in saving at the branch off point. The only purpose save slots really serve is if you want to see other dialogue options or go for the bad (good if you somehow fail? lol) ending. Even then it’s such a time sink to unlock because progress is literally time-gated in actual days – which is why I won’t be going for them (sorry).
Anyway, to win Zen’s heart just keep flattering him in the common route. However, there will be moments where you have to choose what’s best and look out for our little rising star, even if that isn’t necessarily praise outright. Whereas Jumin loves cats, Zen does not – and for good reason: he’s allergic to them. I’m actually a cat lover myself, so it’s a bit of bummer to choose those options, but being able to pick on Jumin totally makes up for it, lol. The convos between the two are hilarious.
Zen’s claim to fame comes about when he’s given the opportunity to act on stage with a fairly popular celebrity/TV actress by the name of ECHO GIRL. The play is to take place right before the party, so there is a bit of pressure on Zen given the short notice of things. However, Zen and Reina begin to grow closer around this time, and her support gives Zen the motivation he needs to keep on going ~
Truthfully, Zen was such a work-a-holic and didn’t really get into the RFA as much before Reina came. But now he admits he has something to look forward to and constantly checks to see if she’s on. Awww. There is a bit of tension between her and Jaehee at first (with Jaehee being such a huge Zen fan and all), but ultimately she is willing to show support. Yoosung and Seven are like insta-onboard while Jumin…really doesn’t care, lol, as expected.
Zen hits a snag when he accidentally breaks his ankle (yeah, not even twist) during practice and requires a cast and crutches. For an actor with a play so soon this seriously depresses Zen, as his chances of staying on the play is slim. He even had to give away a different role to get this. Make sure to provide plenty of support! Apparently on top of his good looks, Zen has abnormal healing and is even joked to be an alien. So we have a robot and now an alien, gotcha. It really becomes a vulnerable time for Zen, and he even reveals the insecurities he has and his troubled past, especially with his family.
You eventually find out even at a young age, Zen was protected by his family who feared his good looks would bring out complications. They really just wanted him to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and become a layer or doctor, when it was clear Zen was already showing his passion for performance. It’s a mix of envy and traditionalism, but eventually tensions escalate to the point where Zen runs away and begins living on his own during middle school. He hasn’t really spoken to them since then (nor have they reached out to him). What really hurt was that Zen thought at least his brother cared, but even that wasn’t real.
Anyway, back to the present, Jumin actually offers to send Reina to Zen’s apartment by offering his limo (though with a bit of objection from Jaehee) to help cheer him up. It’s a very cute moment and you learn quite a bit from what Zen reveals. I think this is the moment where feelings are realized ~
Afterwards, Zen hobbles his way to a local goldfish-bread-seller outside his house. Lo and behold Echo Girl herself makes her presence…I can already tell that this will be a source of drama. Echo Girl even “helps herself” inside Zen’s apartment, and you can totally tell she’s just another rich daddy’s girl. She reveals that she’s been a longtime fan of Zen, and this whole production was just something conjured up so they could get together. In fact, thanks to her dad she knows all about the RFA and even worked once as a model for one of Jumin’s products. But Jumin brushed her off, and Zen is just so much more handsome in person… Wowowow. Zen swiftly shuts her down, but we all know how that goes – “this won’t be the last you hear from me!” or something along those lines.
Echo Girl even has the audacity to storm into one of Jumin’s meetings and announce her little war declaration on both him and Zen. Jumin is like wut and then she huffs out, lol. Well, the storm definitely arrives and whaddyaknow, it’s a SCANDAL with her claiming that Zen sexually harassed her, with PHOTO PROOF (taken by her equally scummy manager). -_- Oh, and there just so happens to also be a rumor that Jumin is gay “from an anonymous source.”
Welp, it’s safe to say that Zen’s acting prospects are ruined as the media eats this all up without hesitation because Echo Girl couldn’t possibly be lying ~ and Zen is pretty much an underdog/nobody. (Jumin on the other hand gives no effs on his part.) This wrecks Zen HARD and he pretty much runs away off on his motorcycle. Reina can only do so much while she stays at the apartment. (You know, I’d contacting a lawyer and PR manager in this sich.) Anyway, it turns out the one to save the day is none other than Jumin, who, you know, despite being terrible at expressing his intentions, actually cares for Zen. He even knows the secret spot that Zen goes to during tough times like this, and they share a very heart-warming bro-moment.
You also learn that Rika and V had been fans of Zen even very early in his career, and it was through her words of encouragement that Zen was able to find the strength to persevere. Rika even got Jumin involved in trying to help him, but of course Zen rejects it. The source of contention between the two stems not only from cats, but the fact that Jumin so thoughtlessly tries to offer Zen help through his money when that’s exactly what Zen dislikes. He wants to find success through his own efforts, not just money or even his looks; something he felt Jumin, born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth, would never understand.
[It’s around this time that the game updated, yet again, but this time with significant changes. I swear each time it gets clunkier and clunkier with more loading screens to deal with.]
Thanks to Jumin and through the support of Reina (and the other members), Zen is able to come back and gain a bit of confidence as the RFA figures out how to handle this PR disaster. But that’s not all! Like with Yoosung’s route, the realization that a bomb is planted in Rika’s apartment comes to light. 707 goes right away in trying to disable the bomb, but it would also mean disabling the security system. Zen even has a psychic dream that Reina will be kidnapped in the midst of this, and appropriately freaks out.
You actually learn a bit more about Unknown and the Magenta paradise thingy-whatever this route. It seems Reina is the “chosen” one, and V/Rika seem to have some ties to it. The main bad guy (who I’ll just call Mr. Edgy cuz of his looks) is someone from 707’s past, and is tasked to retrieve Reina (alive) and return her to the HQ. Thing is, he claims to be Unknown but doesn’t seem to match the picture that he sends you in the Deep Route…hmmm.
Anyway, the dream comes true as predicted – but fear not, for your silver-haired knight in shining armor comes to save the day. It’s a tense moment, but I chose to stay calm and not provoke Mr. Edgy (can’t help but feel like there might have been a bad ending here?). Turns out Zen, worried by his dream, rushed over to 707’s place to demand the apartment location (going against protocol) and then ran over as fast as possible. Who knows what would have happened if he had not reached there in time.
Obviously, Rika’s place is a no-go but lucky for us that means staying over at Zen’s. Ah, these moments are just so, so cute and you will get a lot of loving words from Zen. It even borders on cringefest with the pet names used. Any time I see Zenny I can only think of the currency in Capcom games, lmao.
Er, so the scandal thing. The plan is to actually host a press conference during the party to quell the rumors once and for all. 707 and Yoosung get to work in uncovering what they can about Echo Girl aka Kyungju Choi (what is with Chois in this game) while Jumin arranges to get as much media attention to the part as possible.
So, day of the party. I got a whopping 26 people to attend! Whoo. Still A ranking, though (thought there’d be S or something). Man of the hour Zen plays it real professional yet earnest at the press conference, but is also able to publicly declare his relationship with Reina. 🙂 In the final moments, you get a kiss, and the end ~
After story: No idea how long after it takes place, but Zen is now the popular star he deserves to be and has moved up from musicals to TV dramas. In fact, in his current gig in a historical drama, he actually has to work with Echo Girl. But it’s all cool, and Reina even became his manager. How cute.
So, even with the scandal bit, I would say this route is still more tame than whateverdafawk Jumin’s route was. I did appreciate the depth it took as well. Two takeaways:
- Be thankful for the network of those who are close and care for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept their help.
- Sometimes family may not even be those related to you by blood.
I also appreciate that Rika was barely mentioned in this route compared to the other two, lol. The whole underlying story with the paradise thing, though, still intrigues me.
Zen eventually reaches out to his family with a phone call, but not much is touched upon that like at all afterward. Overall, though, pretty good route.
At this point, though, I am just so annoyed by how tedious it is just to navigate around this game. Cheritz needs to caaalmmm down with its updates. I also realize that Zen has a whopping 40+ photos in his gallery, lol compared to most other’s at around 30. Jaehee has the least, so I’m curious to see how her route goes. I’ve committed this much to the game, now, so no point in stopping. Off to Jaehee we go…