Asuka! – Minase Ren

Next up is Ren. Both his baseball and romance parts of the story are basically the same as in Daichi’s route. Only we get to see them from Ren’s point of view here. I like his 立ち絵s a lot.

Minase Ren lives in a Buddhist temple next to the Homura shrine, also across the road from Sky Blue. Just like Daichi, he’s also a year older than Asuka. Ren is a slightly narcissistic ore-sama when he’s not fighting with Daichi over her attention, which proves that he’s actually just as stupid. He also likes to daydream about his romance with her, but his delusions are often negative and makes him feel down.

Ren and Daichi used to play together during their Little Senior days. They were a battery, Daichi being the pitcher and Ren the catcher. During a match with Naoe Ryousuke, Daichi’s shoulder was wounded and he stopped playing baseball. Ren felt responsible as the catcher who lead him, and so he quit playing as well. He’s really skilled at calligraphy, and is the only member of calligraphy club at school.

Just like Daichi, deep down Ren still loves baseball, but he continued to deny his feelings because of his past guilt. As long as Daichi refused to play baseball, Ren wouldn’t play either. Daichi eventually got over his faer and decided to join the team, but Ren was harder to convince. He was shocked to hear Daichi’s decision though. While Daichi started being active in the club, Ren was feeling down and spent his time sighing in Sky Blue after school. He finally joined the team as well after Haruto came to talk to him, under the condition that he won’t play as a catcher.

Daichi soon noticed that Asuka has been spending a lot time with Ren lately, and he asked her if she’s going out with Ren. Asuka noticed that she feels weird, but she said no. Daichi then said that he might still have a chance, though she didn’t get what he meant. One day after school, Ren asked her to stop by because he wanted to talk. Under a big tree in front of the temple, Ren asked her if she wants to go to school and going back home together everyday. Asuka said yes and both of them were happy.

Just when she was about to go home, Asuka tripped over the tree’s root and Ren caught her before she falls. Holding each other so close like that, Ren couldn’t hold back his feelings anymore and told her that he loves her. Asuka tried to answer properly, but Ren asked her to forget his confession. He wasn’t planning to confess since he thought it was still too early.

Of course things became awkward between them after Ren’s sudden confession. Even though they agreed to go to and back from school together, Ren didn’t come and avoided her instead. Asuka didn’t have a chance to talk to him, and Daichi noticed something’s wrong between them. Ren eventually came to talk to her at night, telling her to forget his confession. He wanted to go back to their usual relationship and left before Asuka could say anything else, making her sad.

Some days later, Daichi said he wanted to talk, so Asuka went to the shrine with him after school. There he confessed that he’s been in love with her and asked her to go out with him. Asuka apologized, and Daichi knew that she couldn’t accept his confession because she’s in love with Ren. She started crying after realizing her feelings, so Daichi hugged her for the last time to end his first love. What they didn’t know was that Ren actually saw them hugging. He thought Daichi and Asuka are going out behind his back now, and he started crying.

Ren started acting cold towards Asuka ever since, going as far as ignoring her whenever she came to talk to him. She didn’t know what happened to Ren, but his attitude really made her sad. Eventually she managed to talk to him after practice, only to have him telling her to go home with Daichi. Both Asuka and Daichi thought that there might be a misunderstanding, so Asuka went to see him at the temple. Ren started crying and told Asuka that he knew she loves Daichi.

Just when Ren asked Asuka to leave him alone, Daichi came to the temple. Ren finally said that he saw them hugging. Daichi told him that while it’s true he confessed to her that day, he was rejected because Asuka is in love with Ren. Realizing that he was wrong, Ren apologized to Daichi before he left. He asked Asuka if the feeling is mutual and she said yes, both blushing heavily.

They didn’t officially become a couple until Tohru left though. After losing their second match and seeing Tohru off, Ren said he wants to do it properly and confessed to Asuka beneath the tree at the temple. Asuka laughed at how formal he was, but happily accepted.

However, their new relationship wasn’t going smoothly. Both Asuka and Ren was painfully shy, which created an awkward distance between them. Asuka got over this quickly, but Ren would blush heavily and took a distance whenever they got too close. This resulted in Asuka wondering if it’s really okay for them to go out like this, since it was more fun back then when they were still just childhood friends.

By this point everyone already came to the conclusion that they won’t be able to reach Koshien if Daichi and Ren don’t form a battery. As usual, Daichi was still doubting if his shoulder would be okay.. and Ren was still tied up by his past guilt. They both refused the suggestion. Though Daichi eventually agreed to be their pitcher, Ren didn’t accept the catcher position until much, much later in the game.

Ren asked Asuka out on a date one day, and they had their first date ever. They were so nervous and couldn’t have a proper conversation. Asuka wanted to take purikura together and he agreed, but still kept himself at a safe distance. Even after she asked him to move closer, there was this very awkward space between them. Asuka then drew a heart around them to make up for that space.

They met Akanuma and Naoe during their date. Akanuma was surprised to see them going out, but that’s not stopping him from aiming for Koshien. He said he’s planning to confess to Asuka if he managed to play there. This made Ren upset. He knew that they won’t be able to beat Teigetsu Minami unless he pairs up with Daichi as a battery, but still he didn’t want to play as a catcher no matter what.

When he walked home with Asuka one day, he told her that he wants to stay in this town with her. Asuka gathered up the courage and asked him if it’s fun being with her. She said that she likes being with him, it’s just that she gets nervous and couldn’t talk properly. Ren said he feels the same. They finally hold hands after that, taking their first step as a couple.

Sometime before Daichi agreed to play as a pitcher, Ren also started training as a catcher at school. He’s been rejecting the idea and wasn’t sure about it, so he practiced secretly. Asuka caught him cleaning his protector and leg guards when she visited him one day, but he still denied that he wants to play as a catcher. He asked her not to tell anyone.

Eventually Daichi asked Ren to form a battery with him, but Ren refused. During the gasshuku, Ren left the gym and Asuka went after him. He cried in her arms, saying that he doesn’t know what to do. He knew how much Daichi wants to play as a pitcher, but on the other hand he also felt guilty for giving Daichi a lot of difficult trainings — which he thought was the reason for the wound on Daichi’s shoulder.

Ren was confused and didn’t know what he must do, but it was a decision he had to make. Asuka said that she will stay by his side no matter what happens. Ren thanked her, and they finally had their first kiss.

A day before the regional tournaments started, Ren took Asuka to the big tree in front of the temple. There he made a vow to take her to Koshien by hitting a homerun, which means that he won’t be playing as the catcher after all. Haruto switched Daichi to the pitcher position on their first match here. Daichi trained hard as a pitcher ever since, and he eventually asked Ren to form a battery with him again.

He refused at first, even after after Daichi said his power wouldn’t come out unless he partners up with Ren. Feeling that there’s no other way, Asuka told him about Minato moving out of town by the end of summer. Ren apologized to Daichi on their second match, accepting his request and forming a battery with him.

Ren stayed back with Asuka after the match, watching Teigetsu Minami’s performance to gather some data. They went to the big tree again after that, and Ren renewed his vow. He will definitely take her to Koshien, this time playing the role he was supposed to play. They kissed again under the tree.

From here it’s the same with Daichi’s route. I’m guessing the semifinal match with Teigetsu Minami is the same for every route? It’s only that we get to see Ren’s assessment of the match here. So yeah, despite their hard work and putting up a good fight.. Naoe managed to hit the ball. Teigetsu Minami pulled off a full-base homerun. Seitou High lost the match.

After losing their chance to go to Koshien, Ren apologized to Asuka for not being able to fulfill their promise. Asuka said it’s okay since they did their best. Ren then said that he’s going to attend university, and made a new vow that he’s going to take her to Jinguu instead.

Ren told Daichi that he’s going to continue playing baseball in university. Daichi asked why he told him such a thing, and Ren asked him if he’s okay with that. Daichi answered that it’s not up to him to decide things in Ren’s life, but then he asked for the university name.

Good Ending
Asuka and Ren went on a date again after the tournament ended. She asked if it’s really okay, but Ren said it’s okay since wanted to take purikura with her again. They chose the frame and background together, and…

…a kissing purikura, with a heart and “always together” written around them. You can compare this to the previous one and have a good laugh.

Bad Ending
Instead of telling Ren that she’d always be there for him when he cried during gasshuku, Asuka didn’t know what to do. Ren then took her to the beach, where he asked her to break up. He felt that the current him would only make her sad, and he didn’t have any confidence to make her happy. But if she could forgive him for doing this, he wants her to wait for him. They continued training for the tournaments, with Ren eventually forming a battery with Daichi again. They still lost to Teigetsu Minami though. Ren went to the beach with Asuka after the match, confessing to her again and promising to make her happy this time. Asuka said yes. A fresh start for their relationship.

What the heck. This route is so wrong on so many levels, lol. First, they still don’t make it to Koshien. What’s the point of having these romantic promises when they won’t be able to fulfill it? (ノ-_-)ノ〃┻━┻ Second, why do I feel like the bad ending is actually better than the good one? Then last, why does Ren look so different in some of his CGs? I really like his 立ち絵s, but his CGs.. not really. I also like his personality better than Daichi, but it feels like this route was dragged out for too long because of his fear / obstinacy.

It’s funny how his own delusions get him down though. When Daichi daydreams about him marrying Asuka, in his own delusions Ren saw Asuka falling into other guys’ hands. Oh, and he picks flower petals when he couldn’t decide whether he should go training or not lol.

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