Community Visual Novel Book Club - The Silver Case

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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Welcome to the 12th MetaCouncil visual novel book club!

For this book club we will be reading SUDA51's debut title, The Silver Case, a murder mystery about a string of serial murders in Tokyo's 24 Wards and a mysterious killer from 20 years ago who is suspected to be behind them. Bookclub participants can obtain The Silver Case on Steam and on GOG. The novel is medium length according to VNDB and a completionist play-through is estimated to take 16 hours on HLBT.

This is an informal book club, so there is no fixed schedule; you simply read the novel at your own pace, and share your thoughts along the way or when you are done reading. Just remember to use spoiler tags liberally. For general information about past and future book clubs, please see the main MetaCouncil Book Club thread. The main thread also includes a preliminary schedule for the rest of 2020, and suggestions are very welcome both for 2020 and beyond.​


The Story
1999 – Tokyo’s 24 Wards.

The city has been plagued by a string of serial murders.
The detectives of the 24 Wards Heinous Crimes Unit have their sights set on one particular suspect: Kamui Uehara, legendary serial killer and perpetrator of a number of assassinations of government officials 20 years prior in the now-famous "Silver Case". However, nobody knows who - or what - Kamui really is.

Is this really the second coming of Kamui? Who is this infamous serial killer, and what is his endgame?

[Taken from Steam]​


Walkthrough
A spoiler-free walkthrough can be found here.​


Speeding up The Silver Case
The Silver Case contains a number of slow (and unskipable) transitions.
Credit goes to Ascheroth for describing how to speed those up using Cheat Engine:
In Cheat Engine go to Edit -> Settings -> Hotkeys. In the list there are entries for Speedhack speed 1 - 5 as well as +/-. You can set a multiplicator for each of them, but personally I usually only use 2 or 3 - one to go back to normal (1.00), one a bit faster (2.00) and one very fast (4.00). Change their hotkeys if you want. (For Silver Case I just use 1 and 4). It comes down to personal preference and a bit of experimenting though.

In the "General Settings" section there is an entry "Automatically attach to processes named". Enter "TheSilverCase.exe" here, so you don't have to attach it manually every time you start the game.

And that's it! When you start the game with Cheat Engine open and press the specified hotkeys the game will speed up if possible.
And when playing with a controller you can use Steam Input to map the defined Hotkeys to unused buttons.

Next Month
The currently scheduled visual novel for September is Coffee Talk (VNDB), a visual novel about coffee-brewing and listening to other people's problems, set in a modern world of elves and succubi, werewolves and vampires.
 
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FeedMeAStrayCat

When you see me again, it won't be me.
Sep 19, 2018
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I just recently made a "top 100 games I should play next" list and The Silver Case is indeed on it. Sooooooooo this seems like a good time to start it! I'm in!

:minos_anarchy:
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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I'll be joining in again this month. Sadly I didn't finish with The Devil in G-String for whatever reason. Hopefully, I will fare a little better this time.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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I'll be joining in again this month. Sadly I didn't finish with The Devil in G-String for whatever reason. Hopefully, I will fare a little better this time.
That's just how it is sometimes.

But I hope that you'll be able to finish off The Devil some day.
I had criticisms, but it was still a really enjoyable read with a bang of a finalé.
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Read through case #0 last night, and it was quite the experience. lol. The presentation was unique enough, but I don't know whether it's just the localisation style, or everyone speaking in such hard-boiled style is the intention. Puzzle-solving is also quite obnoxious since I can't use the keyboard to quickly type the answer.

Still, the hook is interesting enough that I'm keen to see where this will lead up to.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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So I finished the first chapter (Lunatics) as well, and that was quite something. Overall I am really enjoying the presentation of this game, with the way it mixes traditional VN elements with animations and visual gibberish, for lack of a better term (it is kinda funny to see programming language keywords on screen). However, the control scheme is something thought up by the titular lunatics and the Ceasar Cipher puzzles got old in 3 seconds flat.

There is a lot to unpack here. The 25 Wards is described as containing 100,000 people who've been picked or selected (I forgot the exact term), which raises the question as how people are selected to live there. Is it exactly 100,000 people or just around 100k? And if it is such an exact number, then what is the significance of that and how is it maintained?

Initially I just thought that the 'Heinous Crime Unit' was a "regular" special task force, but by the end of the chapter it becomes apparent that both it and 'Republic' are essentially paramilitary units tasked with eliminating criminals. Moreover, it seems that calling crime a "virus" is not merely a metaphor here, as the crime seems to take some sort of physical form and become capable of possessing humans. The gun-man in particular seems like a victim in this, injecting "PLEASEDONTKILLME" and "IREALLYDONTWANTTODIE" in between his nonsense. In fact, early he directly says that "THATWOMANKILLEDTHEM", foreshadowing her subsequent actions. He also says that "JUSTWANTEDTOPROTECTMIKA" and "FORGIVEME", though I am not sure who Mika is.

However, it is not clear if that is a general thing or something that applies only to specific criminals, as Kotobuki describes this entity as "the demon brought on by their criminal power". Kumoi, the criminal connected to the titular "Silver Case", is described by this entity as a "holy hunter" and the "demon" states that they will have their "revenge" when he returns, whatever that means.

A minor thing I noticed is how the tutorial seems to quite explicitly break the fourth wall. I was left to wonder if this was merely gameplay-bullshit or if there is some deeper significance to this. After everything else that happened in this chapter, I am even more interested in the answer to that question.
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
Read through case #1.

Things are happening rather quickly. We as the protagonist and the sole survivor of Republic mission gone wrong suddenly got embedded with Heinous Crime detectives and got thrown back into the field almost immediately on the trail of Kamui. During what I thought would be a "routine investigation", we found Kamui in an office stowed inside a closet and strapped with a straitjacket. Huh. Ok then.

However, it seems like this case is a "murder by proxy" thing since Kamui himself is mentally disabled. And, the actual perpetrator managed to escape custody from the police precinct. So much for being the "Heinous Crime Unit" if they can't secure heinous criminals, lmao.

We also found some kids in the shelter, who turned out to be Kamui's kids. The mothers are actually the three victims of the murders committed. I have many questions. :dana_think:

Btw. when is a suitable time to read the Placebo reports? After all cases, or interspersing?
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
Read through case #2.

For this case, we've been tasked to investigate a murder-suicide in an apartment complex named Typhoon. But somehow, we got acquainted with a latchkey kid named Koichi, who's living in the same building. We learned that his friend and neighbour named Hikaru went missing in mysterious circumstances.

Meanwhile, Kusabi and Sumio are on a stakeout job which was previously discussed in Case #1. I'm a little unclear who are they observing/following, though. Sumio has fallen for Ayame, the perpetrator in Case #1, Kusabi had gambled away his monthly paycheck, only to be down 100K in the hole after borrowing money from Naka. lol.

We continue to investigate Hikaru's disappearance. Koichi takes us to his secret base, which he built with Hikaru. He then elaborates some dossiers he compiled of possible local kids which may have kidnapped Hikaru. We learned a bit about his school life, friends and group/clique dynamics. One thing I find curious is that we can see spectres/apparitions? I forgot to mention this during Case #1, but somehow we can see Hikaru's ghost, which tells me that he might be already passed away at that point.

None of the suspects from Koichi's dossiers is capable of killing if there's a foul play involved in Hikaru's disappearance. I wonder how the suicide victim, Hiruma is related to Hikaru? After speaking with all their neighbour, we found that Hikaru has passed away, caused by a cardiac arrest. There was nothing conclusive in their statement, and we still don't have conclusive evidence involving foul play.

Koichi revealed that at some point, they are running away from Hiruma, but we didn't learn the reason why. Little by little, his memory came back and we learned the truth about what happened. Seems like while running away from Hiruma, Hikaru had a cardiac arrest and died. Hiruma went back to his apartment and committed suicide. The lower floor neighbour corroborates this since they heard Hiruma walking up the stairs back into his apartment that night. Koichi watched what went down, and repressed his memory, probably out of fear.

Now, this is the bit that I'm unclear. At the end of the case, Chizuru implied that Koichi could possibly be the one who threw Hiruma down the balcony, in order to get revenge for Hikaru. But, Morikawa countered that argument by saying that Koichi is the one who wants to be killed instead, out of guilt because he saw his friend died and he could do nothing to prevent it. Everything is vague at this point, we still didn't know how an elementary school kid can manage to throw an adult male out of a balcony. We never saw that autopsy report either.

The case ends with a flashback of Hikaru and Koichi in their happier time, eating lunch together at a restaurant with big smiles on their faces.
 

Ascheroth

Chilling in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Oh yeah, one recommendation I have: alternate between the Transmitter and Placebo cases, Placebo always gives a bit more insight into whatever happenend in Transmitter and gets more and more important. The initial Placebo cases aren't too interesting, which is also why alternating is preferrable to reading all of one and then all of the other.

And use CheatEngine's speedhack functionality if the scene transitions are starting to bother you :)
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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Finished reading case 1, so here are my thoughts/questions/ramblings.

Kamui is probably the centerpiece of this chapter. We seemingly start by seeing him exterminate Republic, yet at the end of the chapter he is near catatonic and without strength. It is also curious that Republic, who seems more like executioners than police, would be tasked with capturing Kamui alive. And if justice is metered out by groups like Republic, how was he captured alive originally?

The answers lie perhaps in the cryptic statements that we've heard so far, as said by Natsume "Kamui isn't here. Kamui is next door. Kamui is just peeking in". Furthermore, Morikawa later describes the apprehended Kamui as "Kamui's shell", thought I am not sure I got that right. Is the killer Kamui something akin to the "entities" we have seen at every crime-scene, something that operates independently of Kamui the patient? The game does give a strong hint that both Kamui and his children have some sort of paranormal abilities, in that the children are seemingly able to identify that Ayame is pregnant with their sibling, and in that Kamui reacts when Ayame is apprehended/tries to kill herself. Moreover, how did Kamui go from seemingly being a fully functioning individual who was able to form relationships with multiple women, to the point where they carried his children, to the point where he seems completely unresponsive? There is also the question as to why INFECTED(?) civilians and killers keep mentioning Kamui, including the guy you find at the shopping center. And what the heck was that "harpoon gun" all about?

But perhaps I am making a mistake in thinking that the "crimes" are actual entities. After all, we are a lot of this from Big Dick's perspective, and we do not know his background. In fact, we are told that his background has been erased. Could Big Dick be someone similar to Kamui, another product of that program that produced Kamui? That could explain why Big Dick has "wiped out his emotions". It could perhaps also explain why Kamui did not attack him, as he did the rest of Republic. And it could perhaps explain the entities we see (the "crimes") as some sort of psychic echoes of the criminal deeds, that are picked up by Big Dick.

It is also unclear why Ayame would go to such lengths to frame Kamui, killing 3 people in the process. Was it actually of her own free will? I don't think she is responsible for the death of Republic members, but I could be wrong.

A minor funny detail was that Kamui's advert included the phrase "Kill The Past". Did Kamui play Enter the Gungeon? More seriously, it seems to directly reference what was going on at that point, with Kamui's former relations being killed one by one. The phrase "flower, sun, rain" also pops up early in the chapter, with the answer being "inside" Kamui. "Flower, Sun, and Rain" is apparently a later is a game by the same company, but it's significance here is unknown.

All in all, I am left with a lot more questions than answers at this point. Looking at Kvik's comment, it seems that we are pretty much in the same boat.
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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OK, read through Report #1 (Yume).

This report detailed the experience of freelance reporter Tokio Morishima, and how he came in contact with Kamui Case. Apparently, he was the survivor of Decoyman case. He is the man found in a state of trance on the second floor of Babylon shopping centre. I didn't remember how he looks like until the introduction since he lives in Typhoon apartments on level 5.

Tokio was tasked by a person named Inohana to write a report on Kamui Uehara. I don't think we know anything about this person up until this point. Tokio interacted with Kusabi, but like all detectives, he kept his card close to the chest, and instead Tokio gets most of his leads from a colleague named Erika. Interestingly, we didn't glean anything useful from his experience in Decoyman, since he himself didn't remember what happened to him. There's a bit where he wrote some stream of random thoughts which tells me he had a traumatic experience during those lost hours in Babylon shopping centre.

At the end of the report, we observed Tokio and Erika in a chatroom. Erika mentioned that Ayame's past has been erased, or fabricated. Interesting. Just who is Ayame, then, and why is she capable of killing to a gruesome degree? Erika proposed Tokio for them to work together when suddenly, their chatroom was suddenly hacked and the hacker issued a warning to Tokio not to pursue the case any deeper and left him with a very ominous message. This hacker identified themselves as "The Bat". I think we know this moniker before, as they also sent an email to our protagonist at some point.

I'll continue with Report #2 before continuing with Case #3.