Community Visual Novel Book Club - 428: Shibuya Scramble

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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Welcome to the MetaCouncil visual novel book club!

For the very first MetaCouncil visual novel book club, we will be reading the 2008 visual novel, 428: Shibuya Scramble. 428: Shibuya Scramble is available in English on Steam and for the Playstation 4.

This is an informal book club, so there is no fixed schedule; you simply read the novel at your own pace, and hopefully share your thoughts along the way. You are of course welcome to organize a reading schedule with other members, should you wish to do so. My personal goal will be to read and write about at least one "chapter" every week.

The book club also has it's very own chat room on MetaCouncil! It can be found by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page and clicking on the "Enable Chat" button, if you have not already enabled chat. Once enabled, click on the Chat bar on the bottom of the page, and then 'Browse Rooms' to locate the Book Club chat-room.

Just remember to use spoiler tags liberally and always indicate how far you are in the story, so that people who haven't caught up to you won't get spoiled and so that people who are ahead of you don't risk spoiling stuff for you.

For general information and past and future book clubs, please see the main Book Club thread:


The story and characters

A kidnapping on the streets of Shibuya brings together a hot-blooded detective, hard-hitting journalist, former gang leader, the head researcher of a big pharma manufacturer and a part-timer stuck in cat costume for a series of events each more unexpected and outrageous than the last. Can they--or the city itself--make it through the day?


Hitomi Your average college student, if you discount the fact that her sister was just kidnapped and the perpetrators are demanding that she deliver the ransom money in front of Shibuya station. A handoff in broad daylight, at the busiest intersection in Japan? It’s almost as if the criminals want to be caught...​
Shinya Kano A rookie detective with his heart in the right place but his head in the clouds, Kano is torn between his sense of duty and his doting fiancée. See, his would be father-in-law is in the city demanding to meet the no-good bum his daughter is dating, but before Kano can smooth things over, there’s the small matter of a kidnapping case that needs to be handled first.​
Achi Endo Shibuya born and raised, Achi keeps trash off his streets, whether that means collecting litter or busting some scumbag upside the head. A former gang leader, he united the neighborhood delinquents into an impromptu vigilante squad but his abrupt departure left some of his former crew holding a grudge. And in a place as small as Shibuya, it won’t take long for Achi’s past to catch up with him.​
Minorikawa This rabid journalist isn’t a jerk, he just acts like one to get unscripted responses from his interview subjects. Okay, so he actually is a bit of a jerk. But when his old editor calls him up crying that yakuza loan sharks are coming to collect, Minorikawa drops everything to help—and stumbles onto the biggest scoop of his life.​
Kenji Osawa Brooding and brilliant, all Osawa wants is to be left alone. But alas, when you’re the head virologist for a big pharmaceutical firm, everyone wants a piece of your time. He can’t keep the real world shut out forever—especially when his involvement with a killer virus threatens to come to light.​
Tama Obviously, Tama is... a cat. Or is she? Poor Tama can’t remember who she really is. All she knows is that she woke up with a bump on the noggin and got roped into wearing this costume to demo a dodgy diet drink. Not a bad gig, except that her boss is liable to jump ship before she gets paid.​


Keyboard Controls:

Controller Controls:

Spoiler free guide to bad ends:
 
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Knurek

Anti-VR Edgelord
Oct 16, 2018
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I want to say the first impressions the game makes are kind of so so.
Who thought it was a good idea to have a VN on PC without mouse controls?
I literally didn't get past the main menu
 

Gevin

Watch Madoka
Nov 16, 2018
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Rosario
I'll start this after I finish my current game. No idea about schedule but I always blaze through these things so prolly 1 chapter/week is too slow for me.

My initial plan is to go full blind for the first playthrough and then come back to get 100% with a guide and see the real ending.

PD: :blobyesanime:
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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You guys made me buy it despite having started Danganronpa only yesterday :p
It's currently downloading, so I'll definitely give it a try later today. Still unsure how I'll split the time between Shibuya and Danganronpa, but we'll see. Thankfully this week is a short on for me, so there's some extra gaming/reading time :)
 

Panda Pedinte

Not a real Panda
Sep 20, 2018
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I started playing it some months ago, reached the second chapter and stopped for no apparent reason. This thread may be the incentive needed to finish it.
 
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Kvik

Festive Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
I want to say the first impressions the game makes are kind of so so.
Who thought it was a good idea to have a VN on PC without mouse controls?
Yeah, it's a poor decision not to include mouse controls for a PC port, definitely a blemish on otherwise a very competent port. SC probably don't want to spend development budget on mouse controls since most people have a game pad of some sort.
 

daxy

MetaMember
Dec 6, 2018
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I mapped all controls to my mouse. Finally made proper use of all those buttons! Though I ended up playing a good chunk of it on Vita with in home streaming.

This is a pretty beefy game. I'll be interested to see how quickly people finish it. Took me a really long time.
 

Knurek

Anti-VR Edgelord
Oct 16, 2018
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Obviously, I'm playing on GPD Win 2, with my trusty AHK script that changes most keys to Enter.
Game looks great, surprised there's this much animation so far, thought it'd be static pictures only.
Kind of wish the game had a 'full page at once' mode - having to press to proceed after each line sucks...
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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Alrighty, I've played through chapter 1. Before I talk about them, my thoughts about the general and technical stuff:

I don't like that it has it no mouse support.
Is there any way to speed up the text?
Is there any way to skip already read text? (Edit: Hm, this doesn't appear to be much of an issue after all).
Those 2 things are the major annoyances I currently have with it.

I found it amusing that Achi comes across as suspect and douchy during Kano's first bad end the game forces you through and then when you play his side it turns out he's the goodest of good guys, lmao.
I don't really have much to say about other things yet, as it's only getting started. I found the switching between character routes and stories to be pretty interesting and look forward to see how this will be with 5 instead of 2, lol. I really would appreciate a skip/speed up text thingy though...
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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Here's a little anecdote:
Aya Kamiki, who sings the theme song, also sings the opening for Kamen Rider W (watch Kamen Rider W!).

She also appears stealthily in the game :p
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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And suddenly I find myself having finished Chapter 2 :whistle:

Alright, there are a ton of things to unpack here.
Achi and Hitomi barely escape another confrontation with the man with the cane and then start looking for a blue van that the kidnappers ordered Hitomi to approach. Shockinly, this is a trap to abduct Hitomi as well, but they manage to get away. We also learn that Achi was once part of a the vigilante-turned-delinquent gang S.O.S.

Meanwhile Kano follows the guy(s) with the attache case around while his marriage is on the line, lol. It just has to be this day where the stubborn father of his girlfriend demands to meet him face-to-face and has already arrived and is waiting for him.
We also learn that those kidnappers are all part of a foreign crime syndicate.
So what does a crime syndicate want with those 2 girls?

Well perhaps it has something to do with their father, who happens to be a genius scientist working on an antiviral for a deadly new virus. And it turns out his company seems to have performed illegal clinical trials (read: human experimentation) in South Africo to test this antiviral. Which Osawa learns through mysterious emails sent by "A" - who seems to think Osawa is guilty of those crimes. I found the Aya Kamiki marketing extremely amusing during this section.

Meanwhile freelance journalist Minorikawa stops a newspaper/magazine company owner from commiting suicide due to sudden debt caused by human error and commits to helping him out to finish the next magazine issue in time.
This brings him in contact with Achi's father, who runs an electronics shop and happens to have set up and manages a 500 webcam-strong surveillance network in the neighbarhood and tells Minorikawa about Achi's connections to S.O.S, which happen to be the object of an another article he needs to write.

And then there's Tama.
And I have a lot of questions about her.
Who is inside the costume?
When asked, why did she come up with Tama instead of telling her real name?
What's with those pangs of pain she gets occasionally? Does it have something to do with the virus? Or is it something completely unrelated?
Is her desire to get that necklace at all costs after seeing it once just of comedic nature or is there more to it?

I'm looking forward to seeing how those different plot threads will evolve and intersect - and which others will still spawn.

Also here's an amusing out-of-context screenshot :p
 
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Knurek

Anti-VR Edgelord
Oct 16, 2018
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Midway through Chapter 1, I guess, just unlocked the F2 menu.
Liking what I'm seeing so far, just hope the story doesn't destroy itself in the later chapters (like it did in 428's spiritual successor, Time Travellers)
 
OP
Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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Just a quick tip that could save somebody some time:
Once unlocked, you can bring the Time Chart back up immediately after (re)picking a choice, which allows you to skip forward to content you have already seen on that path or check if it results in new branches. I only noticed this after wasting a bunch of time "fast"-forwarding.


I also finished 10:00, and here are my thoughts and wild speculation covering that time-slot. Please let me know what you think:
Uppercase names are used for main characters.

The first thing we see is intro, in which we see a car matching the description of the car HITOMI's sister was forced into. His face is hidden, but judging by the suit it appears that KANO is tied up inside. We furthermore see a blurred somebody that is likely HITOMI (could be her sister, but the light clothes matches what HITOMI is wearing), approach the car and knock on the window. KANO(?) is seen sending an SMS to "Alpha" that he as been tricked, at which point a mobile phone is used to trigger a bomb in the car. The time is 15:29 based on KANO(?)'s mobile phone, but the date is not apparent to me.

Switching back to the main story, I note that we have at least 3 criminals:

  • A foreign man in his thirties
  • A middle-aged man with a cane, that is seemingly only for show (or was that a different person?)
  • An unknown person riding a motor-bike.

The role of the first man was to grab the brief-case, and to hand it over to the third suspect. The role of the second man is unclear; ENDO's route makes it seem like is attempting to assassinate HITOMI, as he points a gun at her head in broad daylight, but that would strongly suggest a different motive than extorting money.

Note that this contradicts the early witness testimony, which suggested a single perpetrator (a middle-aged man). The cynic in me is also led to question if one man could have kidnapped HITOMI's sister, raising the possibility that the sister is the 3rd (or yet another) member of the group extorting money from HITOMI. The fact that the identity of the motorbike riding member is obscured could point to this: They wear loose clothes, gloves, and a helmet, leaving no identifying characteristics.

One possibility is that criminal #1 and #3 are the kidnappers, while criminal #2 is unrelated to them. However, criminal #2 appears to be the man seen by HITOMI (not confirmed), suggesting a connection with them. So why would he attempt to kill HITOMI? One possibility is revenge, in which case the money would just be a bonus, but the main goal was actually to kill HITOMI. That would also explain why criminal #2 kept chasing HITOMI despite the obvious risks, and could mean that the explosion in the intro was meant to hit her specifically.

There is also the obvious question as to how HITOMI was able to secure 50,000,000 yen in cash so quickly; that is more than 450,000 USD, and hardly a small sum of money. That would suggest that their family is quite wealthy, which could point to them being well-connected in some manner.

Even HITOMI's own actions are suspect here; why were she delayed on the day of the kidnapping (she "messed up the time"?) and why doesn't she want to involve the police. Notice that the kidnappers supposedly contacted HITOMI at their home, this was only witnessed by HITOMI herself, making misrepresentation of the facts and even outright fabrication a possibility.

ENDO is best boy; I also enjoyed how he initially appeared to be a delinquent, but then turned out to be a hot-headed kid with a heart of gold.


I am also up for a Saya no Uta book-club afterwards, on/near Halloween is a good idea, but for now I'd rather we focus on 428.
 
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Kvik

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Downunder.
All good impressions. Obviously, I can neither confirm or deny whether you're in the right track or not.


Ascheroth

There is definitely something amusing about a middle-aged man who's into idol fandom in his spare time. Tama's desire for that necklace could be driven by its sentimental value, but ultimately not in the way you would think.

Exzyleph

Interesting theories. Keep in mind any one of those criminals you mentioned may or may not be strictly criminals. They also could be the mastermind and/or perpetrator with their own objectives which may or may not be related to the kidnapping. I'll say this though: the identity of the man in the suit is known by at least one person in the main cast. Whether it's actually one of the main cast or not, I can't say.

The next hour block should be interesting for Minori-san and his predicament.
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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This game really is just a giant Aya Kamiki ad isn't it? :p

I finished the 12:00 time block. Then I went back and cleaned up all the bad ends I didn't get in those 3 blocks with a guide.

Mr. Banana-detective on Osawa's story is both amusing and unsettling. Some of those scenes with him are shot in such a creepy manner, but the actual content is benign. It gives off a bizarre disconnect. Not yet sure what to think about him. Is he just socially awkward? Or is the more to him. Probably the latter.
Turns out that Osawa also isn't exactly as innocent as I thought. Apparently he also administered the antiviral to someone - perhaps Tama?
And what's with the bug on Ai, that we learn about in one of Minoru's bad ends? Is it from the police, from the kidnappers, or someone else?

Meanwhile Mr. Cane-man is still hot on Achi and Hitomi's toes. The chase ends up with them completely wrecking the Burning Hammer bottles - what will Tama's boss now do !?
Interestingly enough, Mr. Cane-man seems to know Achi. In Kano's story we also learn that detective Tateno is supposed to be protecting Hitomi, but there has been no communication from him. Is Cane-man actually Tateno and on Achi and Hitomi's side?
Tensions between Achi and S.O.S are also brewing and we learn about his reason for ditching the gang and collecting trash - a promise with his hospitalized sistern. I hope she gets a happy end :/
The interactions between him and Hitomi also continue to be great.

Kano and Sasayama continue tailing the men with the case and eventually end up trying to apprehend 2 of them during an exchange, against orders. It kinda fails, but the one on Kano's side gets taken out by US agent Stanley that essentially enlists Kano from then on. Kano and hiss boss Kuze don't know what's going on, and neither do I. Stanley seems to know more about what's going on, and considering his behaviour when he asks Kano if the guy he tried to catch said anything, I'm not sure yet on which side he is.

Meanwhile on Tama's side the Burning Hammer is gone so they start looking for it, and as mentioned the search ends with shards..
The cockroach scene was hilarious.

Minoru continues to write articles and continues to meet people connected to the other main characters.
 
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Knurek

Anti-VR Edgelord
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Done with Chapter 1, managed to unlock all the Bad Ends for the chapter as well without resorting to using a guide.
Talk about a cliffhanger, eh?
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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The shameless advertising in this game is kind of endearing :p


And that's chapter 4 wrapped up. This was the first one where I got all the bad ends on my own. What I did differently this time was instead of playing one character until I got a Keep Out or To be continued adn then switching to the next, I was kinda playing them in a parallel. That made figuring out which decisions affect what easier. I think I'll keep doing that going forward.

So the cat's out of the bag. Turns out Tama is Maria. Funny thing is, I had this idea back in chapter 2 but I didn't write about it, because I thought it was a bit too farfetched. Alas. Lol.
And her amnesia and occasional headaches don't seem to have anything to do with the virus, but rather were caused by a good old hit to the head. Now, were the kidnappers responsible for that? But then why did they let her go? Did someone rescue her and things went a bit awry, causing the memory loss? Hard to say yet.

On Achi's side, it turns out Mr. Cane-man is indeed detective Tateno! Who apparently has gone rogue. But according to Kano, he's an amazing guy, so is he playing some sort of long game here? Or was he, like Stanley said, actually playing the long-game by pretending to be a great guy? Which level of dimensional chess is he playing here?
And how does he always know where Hitomi and Achi are? Could it have something to do with the listening device Kajiwara noticed on Tanaka's body? Which then begs the question - is Tanaka in cahoots with Tateno, or is he being used?
This makes me think back to the listening device that is on Ai's body, the one that Minoru found in a bad end in the café. Is there a connection here?

Continuing on with Osawa's side, I find the continued Aya Kamiki shilling extremely amusing. Kajiwara's oddness also keeps creating amusing scenes.

Back to Achi and Hitomi though, who is the girl that saved them at the end?

The plot thickens even further as Kano and Stanley find the remains of a massacre in the hideout of the syndicate. Who killed them all?

Meanwhile Tama's scenes continue to be very amusing and Minoru continues to get material for his stories.

It also looks like the kidnappers are actually after Hitomi and only abducted Maria by mistake since they're twins. What makes her different? Does she have something to do with the virus or antiviral? (Perhaps she's the one in Osawa's flashback? But then, he really doesn't strike me as someone who would experiment on his daughters...)
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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You really powering through those chapters, huh.

I know the feeling.

:wd_blush:
Haha, it's mostly been because of great timing with having no work yesterday and today.
I probably would have even read a bit more if the constant Aya Kamiki shilling didn't make me want to watch some Kamen Rider, so I've been busy binging the last 15 episodes of Ex-Aid on the side :whistle:
(Another fun anectode, the actor for Yanagishita also plays a character in Kamen Rider W)
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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And thus, chapter 5 endeth.

Some of those bad endings are positively hilarious. My favorite so far has to be CATS. I wonder if this was just complete nonsense, or if it's actually somewhat true and will come up again later. I mean, the Meow-ing also happened earlier during Tama's story once.

Speaking about Tama, the mix-up in the department store was amusing. But now she got caught again, uh-oh. At least she has a professional assassin killer spy as a friend, who just got a bunch of killing done (and was the one that saved Hitomi and Achi), so.... that's hopefully someone you can count on in sticky situations like these!
And why does Tama have a picture of Stanley that makes her remember her killer-friend telling her he's dangerous?

The reasons behind the kidnapping finally became clear. So Hitomi was the one we saw in Osawa's flashback and he did administer the antiviral to her. But it turns out that was because she got infected by the virus so he had no choice. And she was infected precisely so that the criminals could abduct her and get the antiviral that way. And Tanaka was in cahoots with them. Turns out the listening device was kind of a red herring. Now in the search for Tanaka's motive, it looks like he's finally got Minoru properly involved in the story.

It's still not entirely clear how many sides are in this game and who is on which side, but I'm eager to find out how things continue.

(And find out how much more Aya Kamiki shilling they can fit into this :p).
 
OP
Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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I finished up the 11:00 block and learned quite a lot, so here are my thoughts before reading other people's comments:

The first thing I'll focus on is OSAWA. His employer carried out human experimentation and the implication is quite clear that the subjects were intentionally subjected to the Ua (Ebola-like) virus and then given OSAWA's anti-viral, all without OSAWA's knowledge or approval (he clearly disapproves). One of the syndicate members were "dark-skinned", suggesting a personal connection between the syndicate members and what happened in South Africa a year ago.

We are also introduced to "A" in the same scene, an unknown person (or persons) to whom or about whom KANO most likely wrote in the intro sequence. Looking back, the exact thing that KANO wrote was "I've been deceived. Alpha", which makes it seem less like it is addressed to Alpha than I initially thought. However, if it is addressed to Alpha, then it could suggest that Alpha/A is not in fact as hostile as the emails send to OSAWA would suggest. However, my current estimation is that A/Alpha (if they are the same person or group) are not friendly towards OSAWA, since they clearly seem to blame him from the human experiments.

We thus have a motive for revenge that involves HITOMI, explaining the kidnapping and apparent murder attempts, namely the fact that her and Maria are both the daughters of OSAWA. Killing them could be away to get at their father, which would explain why the syndicate members are leading the police around by the nose using the money (it is not the actual goal), while trying to kill or kidnap HITOMI. However, the fact that one person is seemingly trying to outright kill HITOMI, while others merely wish to kidnap her could suggest that the kidnappers are at odds with each other, or that multiple groups are involved. Them being OSAWA's children also explains how they could raise that much money for the ransom.

This brings us to TAMA. We've previously been made aware that TAMA isn't her real name, and multiple times we are told that she has hit her head and has trouble remembering. That leads me to conjecture that TAMA is in fact Maria Osawa, who somehow managed to escape from the kidnappers. This could explain why the kidnappers are trying to get HITOMI, and why also ENDO did not see Maria in the blue van (though obviously that could also be because the plan was never to hand her off). If that was indeed the motivation for getting HITOMI, then Maria must have escaped very shortly after the kidnapping, as the demand for HITOMI to hand over the money was given an hour after the kidnapping (see below).

We see TAMA in a flashback, where she is revealed to be wearing a yellow knitted sweater (or similar) with long sleeves; she has black, slightly below shoulder length hair, and seem to be wearing denim shorts or a short denim shirt, and she is wearing black (sued leather?) boots with yellowish/white soles. TAMA seemingly knows martial arts, but it is unclear if it was just a fluke. As far as I could determine, she could be Maria based on appearance. While her clothes do not match the picture shown early in the game (wearing black clothes), that photo did not appear to be from the time of the party, but looked like an (older) official ID photo.

The connection between TAMA/Maria, if it is her, and the necklace she is desperate to buy, could be that this necklace belonged to her departed mother, whom we are told died 15 years before the present. That would explain why she feels like it belongs to her. Her apparent troubled relationship with her father and step-mother (she was not in any recent family photos) could explain why she is clinging to the memory of her biological mother.

Looking back at my previous comments, I no longer believe Maria to be connected to the foreign syndicate.

There is also something going on between OSAWA and Tanaka, but we do not yet have a clear idea what OSAWA wouldn't be bothering Takana about.

We also get a rough time-line of the kidnapping, by putting together various bits of information: The ransom demand was delivered at 8 PM, an hour after the kidnapping , and an hour after the Maria was supposed to meet HITOMI.

MINORIKAWA gets a lot of things done, but it is not yet clear how he'll fit into the rest of the story. Perhaps he will make contact with ENDO after all? Or maybe he will end up going to the Burning Hammer demo? Chiaki does not seem like she'll play an important role, based on her not having a single photo, but that could be intentional to mislead.

Also, upon re-watching the intro, I took note of an an ongoing hostage situation around 15:29 in an office in Shinjuku; This appears to have started around 12:29, 3 hours earlier, meaning in chapter 3, the next chapter. The suspect is believed to be a man named Kitajama, a is middle aged man who worked in the building.

ENDO is still best boy, even if he didn't do much this chapter, and TAMA is obviously best girl.


Unlike the previous block, I did not manage to get all endings on my own, but ended up having to use a walkthrough for ending 15. I've updated the OP with a link to a spoiler free walkthrough that includes a guide to all bad ends.


Looking at Ascheroth comment, I agree that the product placement is indeed very blatant. There is also the looong scene that is basically two close-ups shots of a hifi-system (the brand of which I won't mention). I usually don't pay attention to brands in media, but I bet there's a lot stuff like that in the game.
 
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Ascheroth

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The biggest twist this chapter is that Kano's father-in-law is a regular on the same Aya Kamiki fanboard as Osawa and pretends to be a 19 year old college-girl. The shilling also reaches another level, as she makes a quick appearance herself, lol.

Things get intense as the blue minivan explodes as Hitomi approaches it. She gets saved in the nick of time by Canaan and it looks like they took the antiviral from her (the little bit of blood on her neck that Achi notices is pretty definitely from the extaction. I remember the game stating the remnants of the DDS gather there because of the lymph node).

Stanley notices Canaan and he knows her for sure. There's a chance that they're either enemies or on the same side, but Canaan warned Maria of him, because he's pretty much a "kill the few to save the many" kind of guy. And Maria turns out to be infected as well. That's why the kidnappers let her run free. She didn't escape, no. They let her go after turning her into a human biobomb.

The big question now is, how will they cure her? Both Osawa and Tanaka are necessary to get some of the antiviral, and not only is Tanaka on the enemy side, he's now also dead. It appears he burned to death inside the mini-van. Of course the corpse is basically unrecogniceable, and the police only identified him from his belongings. So this code be a faked death. Minorikawa gets a disturbing call that Hana thinks her dad was the one that died inside the van. I hope not :/
Considering Ai's big reaction to Tanaka's death, there's a good chance that Osawa was on the right track when he thought that Tanaka was actually Ai's previous husband/boyfriend.
I guess the only useable antiviral is now in the hands of the crime syndicate again, or whoever extracted it from Hitomi.

As the scope of the case changes massively, Kano is taken off the case and uses the chance to warn Rumi and Shizuo, tell them to leave Shibuya asap. They have a very good heart-to-heart that gives Kano newfound determintion and hopefully marriage in the future.

Maria escapes the clutches of Tateno, only to be taken hostage again by him at the end.
It looks like Tateno also joined the "kill the few to save the many" club. I wonder how this meshes with his principles. I'm looking forward to a confrontation between him and Kano.
 
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Virix

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Dec 6, 2018
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I finished the first block months ago and never got back to the game, now seems like a good opportunity to jump back in!
Think I'm almost done with the 11:00 block. Can't get over how much Aichi looks like a lady lol.
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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My head is spinning, things are coming together in the most unexpected ways.

Tateno was able to follow Hitomi and Achi because Achi's father was guiding him. Because they both need Hitomi brain-dead so that Achi's sister, whose condition is worsening, can get her needed heart-transplant.

Achi is devastated right now after he connected the dots, understandably so.

Kano learns about that after he confronts Tateno himself, who took Maria as a hostage and demanded Hitomi in exchange (which is now custody of Stanley).
Their confrontation was expectedly great, with Kano learning that the actions that made him look up to Tateno were not intended to be heroic.

Minorikawa has it rough as well, now that Toyama is dead the debt collector goons are focusing on him. Thankfully they learn in time that he is still alive.

Achi also has another run in with the hollow remains of S.O.S and it looks like Suzumu is also not that happy with the current situation. I wonder how the gang will play into everything.

Osawa clues Kajiwara, who decided to stick with him after the case was called off, in on the situation with the Ua virus and the emails and things, and with some mad haxxing skills Kajiwara finds out that the emails are likely sent from someone in the same house.... Osawa immediately thinks of Ai. Is Ai A? What is her goal? Or is A actually Alphard, the mastermind of this whole plot and Canaans archenemy who just cleverly faked the IP adress?

Maria also got her memory back end her story "ends" here. :thinking-face: Only the 4 other characters available next hour.

This is also the part where I start wondering how much of the game is left. I've clocked a bit under 15 hours so far and have gotten all the bad ends I could.
Looking at the achievements, there is one hour block left. There's only 1 bad ending left, but there are a bunch of hidden achievements still. HLTB says 27 hours for main story and 40 for completionist.
I know there's a true ending route, but I doubt it's as long as the entire game so far - or maybe it is? I'm usually far faster then HLTB says when it comes to visual novels, but this game's non-standard way of skipping/fast forwarding or just speeding up text has probably made me take a bit longer than usual.
Hm.
No answers please, I'll likely find out today anway :p Just thinking aloud.
 
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Gevin

Watch Madoka
Nov 16, 2018
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Rosario
Just ended Chapter 2, it's been great so far.

Random theory

Is Tama Maria? Sounds like the most likely candidate so far

Also has anyone watched Canaan? It's an anime sequel to 428
Finished chapter 4, some thoughts

Hah, turns out my theory was right. Intrigued to know where she learned how to fight and what caused the amnesia.

Also the girl Canaan appearing, now I want to know if the anime I linked is actually worth it.

Got a question for veterans

Is detective Tateno the cane guy? Seems VERY likely but I didn't notice any explicit confirmation so far.
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Well well, this really feels like the penultimate chapter.
There's not much to say. Kano, Canaan, Stanley, Maria, Achi and Hitomi all congregate at Endo Electronics where it turns out that Achi's father was not only the one asking Tateno to kill Hitomi in order to save his daugher, he was also the one who kidnapped Maria to begin with.
The confrontation between all of them was heavy.

Meanwhile Minorikawa does his best to finish the articles in time, but the print guy arrives early and is making trouble (incidentally he is the replacement for the usual one, who is in the hospital because when Achi and Hitomi crossed that street during a red light way in the beginning he caused an accident by evading them. Talk about continuity and crazy coincidences weaving together 😵 ). I do wonder if the new print guy is more than he seems (one tip mentions he already appeard in the story earlier, which can be noticed by his pet-phrase "it's just common decency".

I'm guessing Minorikawa and Achi will somehow meet up at the S.O.S hideout next chapter.

Osawa's story also "ends" here after he confronts Ai about Tanaka. Unfortunately she does not know the password, but just in time Hitomi informs him about the new master plan they hatched.
It was interesting that in this crime thriller drama, his story was more about being an Aya Kamiki fanboy that it's never to late to start becoming a better person and things like that.

Also I was with that 1 bad end remaining. Yeah, that block had only 1 but the achievement for all didn't pop so it looks like there are still more. So the next block is likely going to be a bit longer than I thought :)
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
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This is such a wild ride. So many twists still this late in and all the tiny seemingly irrelevant little choices and details come back to tie things together.
Even the fucking broken dry ice machine from that theather group. Yeah, you get bad endings if Minrikawa tells them that Endo is recalling it because it causes Minorikawa to be late for something else, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that not telling them would result in them being on the scene of the bomb with lots of dry ice just in time. Even that Aya Kamiki ringtone was an importmant plot point.
The way this game interweaves all the choices and set-ups is incredible.

That stuff got me more than the reveal about who Canaan actually is. Or Palmer.

Lots of character development for Stanley as well. For a guy that started as a bit dickish and suspicious, he sure turned out to be great. Kind of a recurring theme in this game. Not everyone is how the first impression makes them look like and awesome characters.

As expected S.O.S also makes their move thanks to both Achi and Minorikawa. Lots of great scenes throughout.

On to the epilogue!


Uh, it looks like I finished it :whistle:
(20 hours with all bad endings)

That wrapped up nicely. The true end doesn't change that much, bit it makes things work out better for everyone just that little bit. It's great.

Some Bonus Content opened up though, so it's not completely over yet.
 
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Gevin

Watch Madoka
Nov 16, 2018
737
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Rosario
Chapter 6 done, things are really heating up :sweaty-blob:

Poor baby Tanaka :notlikethisblob:

Nice that we finally got back to the game's opening, and now we know who exactly is the person there, but still don't know how he got there (unless I missed it?) Also Aya Kamiki appears herself in the game lmao

Intrigued on how they will manage to cure Maria now. Maybe they can use Tanaka's hand, not like he needs it anymore :evilblob:

Also a heads up that while the walkthrough Exzyleph posted is really good, it has some mistakes. For example, to get ending 49 you actually need to Select the first choice at Achi 15:30 (the one without name), then after the choice jump to Minorikawa (if you didn't break the KEEP OUT already) and you'll get it (it's a companion ending to Kano's one)
 
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Gevin

Watch Madoka
Nov 16, 2018
737
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Rosario
Chapter 7 thoughts :sweaty-blob:

Shit is getting very real, lots of reveal in this chapter (Tateno's backstory :cryingwhyblob: ), and he is in cahoots with Achi's father to get Hitomi's heart (literally). Never imagined I would be typing this when the game started lol.

Then Maria regaining her full (badass) memories and her story ending. what's up with that? I assume it just means we are not gonna see her POV anymore.

Achi teaming up with Stanley seems intriguing, he acts nice but he probably is really shady and will cause a major fuckup later on.

Osawa didn't get much action but he's now teaming up with Kajiwara and it looks like Ai was behind everything that happened to him, I'm intrigued.

Not really a fan of Minorikawa (specially this chapter). I assume he will become more relevant in the near future but his chapters have been kind of a chore for me
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
353
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Finished chapter 3. Lots of good stuff!
But it's shit-o'clock and I'm completely pooped after collecting my thoughts, so I'll check and comment on what you've been writing tomorrow.
I apologize if this is all a bit messy.

Starting with TAMA, we have have near conclusive evidence that she is in fact Maria Osawa: When she confronts the roach, she remembers training in roach-fighting to protect someone who is deadly afraid of roaches. This person is most likely HITOMI, who keels over dead when she is exposed to a roach in a bad end. For this reason, I will be assuming that TAMA is Maria from this point on. TAMA/Maria is still best girl.

A surprise connection is established between HITOMI and Tanaka; why does they have each other's contact information? A romantic connection is suggested, but a more plausible connection is perhaps that Tanaka has acted as a replacement father for the girls, considering that OSAWA himself seems to have a poor relationship with them. Another possibility is considered below.


We learn a lot about OSAWA; while the toilet scene is probably just bad humor, we learn more about his and Ai's relationship. It is suggested that Ai has an affair with Tanaka, as OSAWA finds a lighter in her room with the initials M on it (this could be her father's, Makino, or it could be Mamoru Tanaka's). The fact that a gossip rag mentions Ai having a relationship prior to her marriage, and the fact that she has clippings of Tanaka, supports the notion that she has an affair. That could also help explain Tanaka's close relationship to the girls and would most likely mean that Tanaka is already aware that OSAWA was headhunted by an American pharma company. We also learn that somebody, most likely the police, is tracking Ai. It also apparent that Makino, and possibly Ai/Tanaka went behind OSAWA's back to get access to anti-viral samples, though currently it is unclear exactly who is involved.

One of them also flushed OSAWA's plane ticket down the toilet (supposedly, it seems a bit surprising that it would survive in such pristine condition); my current guess is Ai, since she is presented as the most temperamental and prone to go off, but that could be a ruse. Okoshi Pharma (Ai/Makino or the rival group in Okoshi Pharma) could possibly be related to the kidnapping, but currently the possibility of that seems low; I am more inclined to go with the revenge motive.

We also learn that OSAWA has himself performed human experimentation: OSAWA thinks about having "dirty hands". and a women is shown receiving an injection. Notably, that woman is wearing a necklace, forging a connection between the necklace that TAMA/Maria desires and the woman; was that OSAWA's wife who volunteered to be test subject for the anti-viral agent, and was her death caused by the anti-viral agent's side-effects? The drug in the flash-back is described as having passed animal trials, which would match OSAWA's anti-viral agent, but the time-line is unclear. It is also possible that the woman was TAMA/Maria, but that seems less likely, considering their poor relationship.


ENDO and HITOMI is still on the run; as mentione above, we learn that HITOMI is deadly afraid of roaches, and we see the their relationship beginning to take form. Questions are also raised about how the man with the cane is finding them, for which I have 3 hypotheses:

1) One possibility is that the assassin is using the network of webcams installed all through Shibuya; that would also explain why he knows Achi ENDO's name, since that network is run by ENDO's father, and explains why that network was brought up earlier in the game.

2) It is also possible the man with the cane is tracking HITOMI via her phone (triangulation using cell-towers), but that possibility has not been mentioned before, so it would be surprising from a narrative perspective if that was the answer, though it is still a possibility.

3) Another possibility is that this person is detective Tateno, whom KANO is looking up to. If so, then he might be able to track HITOMI by using a police tracking device and it would explain why KANO could not contact Tateno in chapter 1 (he was already chasing HITOMI) and why he went missing in this chapter (as told by Suze). Looking at the picture from KANO's flash-back, and at a close-up of the man, it seems like he could be a match: Screenshots

My current hunch is that it is a combination of (1) the webcam network and (3) the man being Tateno, which explains a lot of the current information I have, except for the motive and relationship to ENDO. The man is described as having "dead eyes", which initially made me wonder if he had witnessed the human experimentation. Why would HITOMI's death be in ENDO's best interest? Perhaps that can be connected to OSAWA's work on the Ua virus (Wild-ass-guess: Could she be a carrier, somehow?) That's the only thing I can think of to justify it, other than just revenge.


It is also confirmed, first by Suze/KANO/Sasayama and then by Jack Stanley, that the suit-case is just a diversion. That much should be obvious to anyone at that point, and indicates that the girls were the targets to begin with. Speaking of Jack Stanley, it is unclear why the US Embassy/the USA is involved, but bio-terrorism is an obvious guess.


Kajiwara is an interesting character in all of this; he is presented as stunningly out of touch, yet touches of him being extremely sharp shines through as well. Who is he exactly and what are his talents? Was his fame (and manga) a joke or is he actually as good as he claims? Ninja edit: I had previously conflated Kajiwara and Tateno and only realized my mistake by the end of KANO's route, which is what made me jump to the possibility that Tateno could be the man with the cane.


There was no mention of the hostage situation in Shinjuku, despite being something that should be happening in this time-frame, according to my estimates. It may just have been a red herring, or I may have gotten the time-frame wrong.

Why does LeLand keep showing up around Shibuya Station? I find that suspicious, but currently there is nothing that directly connects him to the kidnapping case, other than the fact that he (supposedly) witnessed it.
 
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Theswweet

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Late to the party here (or early?)

Wish I'd known this was happening this month - I would've delayed my read.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
353
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This game really is just a giant Aya Kamiki ad isn't it? :p

I finished the 12:00 time block. Then I went back and cleaned up all the bad ends I didn't get in those 3 blocks with a guide.

Mr. Banana-detective on Osawa's story is both amusing and unsettling. Some of those scenes with him are shot in such a creepy manner, but the actual content is benign. It gives off a bizarre disconnect. Not yet sure what to think about him. Is he just socially awkward? Or is the more to him. Probably the latter.
Turns out that Osawa also isn't exactly as innocent as I thought. Apparently he also administered the antiviral to someone - perhaps Tama?
And what's with the bug on Ai, that we learn about in one of Minoru's bad ends? Is it from the police, from the kidnappers, or someone else?

Meanwhile Mr. Cane-man is still hot on Achi and Hitomi's toes. The chase ends up with them completely wrecking the Burning Hammer bottles - what will Tama's boss now do !?
Interestingly enough, Mr. Cane-man seems to know Achi. In Kano's story we also learn that detective Tateno is supposed to be protecting Hitomi, but there has been no communication from him. Is Cane-man actually Tateno and on Achi and Hitomi's side?
Tensions between Achi and S.O.S are also brewing and we learn about his reason for ditching the gang and collecting trash - a promise with his hospitalized sistern. I hope she gets a happy end :/
The interactions between him and Hitomi also continue to be great.

Kano and Sasayama continue tailing the men with the case and eventually end up trying to apprehend 2 of them during an exchange, against orders. It kinda fails, but the one on Kano's side gets taken out by US agent Stanley that essentially enlists Kano from then on. Kano and hiss boss Kuze don't know what's going on, and neither do I. Stanley seems to know more about what's going on, and considering his behaviour when he asks Kano if the guy he tried to catch said anything, I'm not sure yet on which side he is.

Meanwhile on Tama's side the Burning Hammer is gone so they start looking for it, and as mentioned the search ends with shards..
The cockroach scene was hilarious.

Minoru continues to write articles and continues to meet people connected to the other main characters.
What bad ends did you miss?
The ones I miss have been the ones that involve a bad end in one route messing up another route, since I tend to immediately try the alternative choice when I trigger a bad end (The Worst-Case Scenario and ??? Goes Overboard).

I'm glad that I am not the only one who is skewed out by Kajiwara (Mr. pocket-banana); there is something going on with that guy, and I am sure there'll be some revelations about him waiting as I get further into the story. He simply doesn't strike me as a mere comic relief character at this point.

The bug on Ai is also super interesting. The implication is that it is the police, both because of them bugging the suit-case and perhaps also because Kajiwara seemingly always knows where OSAWA is, I realize at this point that I may be conflating a listening device with a tracking device, which potentially throws a wrench in my conjecture about Tateno/The Man with the Cane, though I still think that Tateno is a very likely candidate for being that guy due to the other facts (his disappearance and physical appearance + a hunch). If it is just a listening device, then it is not clear who would do it, as OSAWA seems like a more important target for "bugging".

But perhaps Ai is not unaware of the bug, and is using it to record OSAWA on the sly, when they discuss him being head-hunted by the American pharma company; she is the daughter of one of the heads at Okoshi Pharma and is highly vested in keeping that company afloat, a company that was seemingly troubled in the past prior to her and OSAWA's marriage. OTOH, she dis not react particulary guiltily when MINORIKAWA confronted her about being bugged, or so it would seem to me, which suggests ignorance. Perhaps her father or Tanaka has bugged her?


The destroyed Burning Hammers caught me by surprise; I was sure that picking the non-throwing option would save them, but that just led to the a very funny bad end. TAMA and Mr. Yanagishita continues to be a great pair of characters, and their route is a highlight of the VN desite being so much lighter in tone than the rest of the story.


I am glad that I am not the only one who glommed on to Tateno being the man with the Cane; multiple things are unclear, however, such as why he suddenly has a limp. When we saw Tateno in KANO's flashback, he is described as "striding", not walking with a limp. And why does he have "dead eyes" and want HITOMI dead? Is he connected to South Africa, somehow? I also just remembered that a hint describes his gun as being a model used by "detectives", which was a lot more significant than I realized at the time.


Jack Stanley is indeed quite enigmatic, and I think you are right to question whose side he is on; he knocked out the kidnapper just as the man tried to say something and then questioned KANO about what the man had said? Would he have attempted to silence KANO if the latter had been told anything? We have already been informed that the Ua virus is kept a secret, so it seems plausible to me that he is he acting as MIB in that case, ensuring that no information about the virus leaks to the public. If so, then we will likely he a conflict between him and KANO in the future, considering that KANO is sure to learn more about OSAWA's work and (I imagine) what went down in South Africa one year ago.


Also, I'll second your shout-out to the fantastic roach scene. It had one of my favorite shots so far:
The hint for that complete threw me off (the roach had a fight with a cat), since I keep forgetting that TAMA is a cat :)


Late to the party here (or early?)

Wish I'd known this was happening this month - I would've delayed my read.
We only decided to do this book club the day before I posted the thread, after Knurek suggested it, so there was really no way for you to know that this would happen back when you started on 428.

However, I do intend to keep this club going as long as there is interest, so hopefully you can join us for the next VN.
You could start thinking about what VNs would be good candidates for the book club and that goes to all of who wished to join but already read 428.
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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What bad ends did you miss?
The ones I miss have been the ones that involve a bad end in one route messing up another route, since I tend to immediately try the alternative choice when I trigger a bad end (The Worst-Case Scenario and ??? Goes Overboard).

I'm glad that I am not the only one who is skewed out by Kajiwara (Mr. pocket-banana); there is something going on with that guy, and I am sure there'll be some revelations about him waiting as I get further into the story. He simply doesn't strike me as a mere comic relief character at this point.

The bug on Ai is also super interesting. The implication is that it is the police, both because of them bugging the suit-case and perhaps also because Kajiwara seemingly always knows where OSAWA is, I realize at this point that I may be conflating a listening device with a tracking device, which potentially throws a wrench in my conjecture about Tateno/The Man with the Cane, though I still think that Tateno is a very likely candidate for being that guy due to the other facts (his disappearance and physical appearance + a hunch). If it is just a listening device, then it is not clear who would do it, as OSAWA seems like a more important target for "bugging".

But perhaps Ai is not unaware of the bug, and is using it to record OSAWA on the sly, when they discuss him being head-hunted by the American pharma company; she is the daughter of one of the heads at Okoshi Pharma and is highly vested in keeping that company afloat, a company that was seemingly troubled in the past prior to her and OSAWA's marriage. OTOH, she dis not react particulary guiltily when MINORIKAWA confronted her about being bugged, or so it would seem to me, which suggests ignorance. Perhaps her father or Tanaka has bugged her?


The destroyed Burning Hammers caught me by surprise; I was sure that picking the non-throwing option would save them, but that just led to the a very funny bad end. TAMA and Mr. Yanagishita continues to be a great pair of characters, and their route is a highlight of the VN desite being so much lighter in tone than the rest of the story.


I am glad that I am not the only one who glommed on to Tateno being the man with the Cane; multiple things are unclear, however, such as why he suddenly has a limp. When we saw Tateno in KANO's flashback, he is described as "striding", not walking with a limp. And why does he have "dead eyes" and want HITOMI dead? Is he connected to South Africa, somehow? I also just remembered that a hint describes his gun as being a model used by "detectives", which was a lot more significant than I realized at the time.


Jack Stanley is indeed quite enigmatic, and I think you are right to question whose side he is on; he knocked out the kidnapper just as the man tried to say something and then questioned KANO about what the man had said? Would he have attempted to silence KANO if the latter had been told anything? We have already been informed that the Ua virus is kept a secret, so it seems plausible to me that he is he acting as MIB in that case, ensuring that no information about the virus leaks to the public. If so, then we will likely he a conflict between him and KANO in the future, considering that KANO is sure to learn more about OSAWA's work and (I imagine) what went down in South Africa one year ago.


Also, I'll second your shout-out to the fantastic roach scene. It had one of my favorite shots so far:


The hint for that complete threw me off (the roach had a fight with a cat), since I keep forgetting that TAMA is a cat :)
I don't remember the endings I didn't get the first time, they were just 1 or 2.
Starting chapter 3 I kind of did the opposite approach, first I try to maneouver as many as possible into a Bad End and then I'll slowly go from there :D
I did Tama before Achi, so when Hitomi got K.O. by the cockroach it immediately clicked :)
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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I don't remember the endings I didn't get the first time, they were just 1 or 2.
Starting chapter 3 I kind of did the opposite approach, first I try to maneouver as many as possible into a Bad End and then I'll slowly go from there :D
I did Tama before Achi, so when Hitomi got K.O. by the cockroach it immediately clicked :)
I also played Tama first (how could I not?), but somehow I didn't connect the "cat" in the hint with Tama, so I was really confused what other fight they were talking about. My thinking was something like, "did the roach fight Tama and then a cat? But where in the time-line would that happen?" So I just tried changing Tama's actions, and that worked.

It wasn't until the interview that it clicked for me what the hint meant.
"Well, right now, as you can see, I am a cat!" :D
 
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Gevin

Watch Madoka
Nov 16, 2018
737
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Rosario
Chapter 9 + Epilogue

:notlikethisblob: :notlikethisblob: :notlikethisblob: :notlikethisblob: Poor baby Osawa :cryingwhyblob:

So it all came to a standoff with Canaan who was not Canaan but Alphord all along :sweaty-blob: (what happened to the real Canaan then? maybe she's not dead but only unaware of what's going on) Figuring out the exact path to get to the final confrontation was pretty fun.

Also it turns out Stanley was a good guy all along. And the teacher was evil, I knew it since the start but never got around to post it. Made me think of SG0 and it was meant to be like that.

Finally that scene after the credits :sweaty-blob:

I'm excited to see the rest of the game, will do that tomorrow

Bonus stuff
Poor baby Takuya :notlikethisblob: :blobclosecry:
 
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Gevin

Watch Madoka
Nov 16, 2018
737
2,048
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Rosario
Done with the game :blobyesanime:




True Ending + Bonus scenario 2

So it ends up being happier for everyone, but mostly the same. I guess the last scene is a setup to the sequel anime but no interesting in watching it.

Canaan's scenario was interesting (and I knew the game was anime after all), more background for a character that literally does not appear in the main story seems odd though, we don't really get much from it

Overall thoughts, it was amazing. The story kept me gripped and at some points I could not stop playing the game. Almost all of the cast was really interesting and the structure really made you stay on the edge of your seat and keep playing. I also liked the bad endings and keep out mechanics, it made figuring out the correct path really fun.

I do think the game could use a number of improvements: faster text is a must, less clutter when jumping and skipping, better PC controls (at one point you have to use a keyboard and have to manually select each key instead of having the ability to just type them), better settings, etc

In the end, I recommend it to anyone looking for a great story with fun bits.