Café Sourire: First Impressions: Miyuri’s Route

Warning: Major spoilers for Miyuri’s route contained below.

Miyuri’s route is the most ambitious yet, with several plot twists and addressing some surprisingly dark issues. Perhaps to balance this out, the events leading up to Shinichi and Miyuri becoming lovers were extremely slow, focusing on the day-to-day life of Miyuri working as a waitress, or the uneventful process of Shinichi learning how to bake cakes. However, even these common events had a tinge of melancholy to them, as there were several hints of Miyuri hiding a foreboding secret.

It isn’t until this secret is revealed does her route truly begin, and with it, the pacing also dramatically improves. Miyuri’s family is planning to move to France, not only separating her from the friends she has come to love, but also putting a strain on her relationship with Shinichi. Desperate to escape her familial circumstances, Miyuri begs Shinichi to run away with her. And, surprisingly, he does!

Eloping to a nearby town, Shinchi and Miyuri begin to live together under the pretense of siblings, isolated from their former lives. But as their friends and families grow concerned in their absence, Shinichi begins to realize that their impulsive actions have consequences, and that running away from their problems is not a viable solution.

Miyuri, despite appearances, is also the most unpredictable and extreme of the heroines. Coming from a troubled childhood, her parents’ difficult marriage meant mother was distant and her father was uncommunicative, causing Miyuri to develop a severe fear of abandonment as a young adult. She is willing to go to desperate lengths in order to stay with Shinichi, doing everything she can to distract him from the reality of their situation, bribing him with sexual favors to even temporarily taking his cell phone away, and planning to run away again before their families can find them.

It takes a serious argument between her and Shinichi before he manages to convince her to reconcile with her estranged family. But on the night they plan to return home, Miyuri is hospitalized after getting caught in an accident. As it turns out, Miyuri’s accident has brought her parents together again, and when they come to visit her in the hospital, she confesses her deepest fears and concerns to her mother and father, speaking openly with them for the first time.

While she recovers without complications, there is still the bittersweet truth of Miyuri moving away. However, she is willing to face the future without hesitation, and has faith that she and Shinichi will be reunited one day. The epilogue sweetens the ending further, with Miyuri returning from France and reuniting with him, this time forever.

As stated before, this is certainly the most dramatic of the routes so far, trying to address Miyuri’s insecurities, her inability to bond with her parents, and the pressure of escaping her own responsibilities. However, because there were so many different issues, it felt like the route was too slow in the beginning, yet the second half was too complex in order to sufficiently resolve each plot point. Also, while Kasumi and Serika’s routes both focused primarily on family, the theme of family in Miyuri’s route is not as touching as the others, perhaps because there was so much other material to balance.

Miyuri’s route was underwhelming, and she is my least favorite of the heroines. Still, on a positive note, Miyuri is a dynamic and layered character, whose personal growth surpassed my expectations. But the truth is, rather than trying to be adventurous, CUFFS ought to continue their simple but sweet stories, which is what they do best.

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