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HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



428: Shibuya Scramble is a visual novel adventure video game produced by Koichi Nakamura with Jiro Ishii serving as executive producer, developed by Nakamura's company Chunsoft, and initially published by Sega, originally in Japan for the Wii on December 4, 2008. The game was ported by Spike to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable in September 2009. A version for iOS and Android was released in November 2011. A PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows version was released in September 2018, the first and currently only versions to be translated into English.

The game shares many story and gameplay elements with Chunsoft's 1998 sound novel game Machi, the most prominent being the locale, Shibuya. Although Chunsoft does not openly state 428 is a sequel, the game contains numerous references to Machi, and an early marketing slogan reads "Breaking a long silence, Shibuya gets going again." The game has received high praise from critics, earning a perfect score in Famitsu Weekly, Japan's largest circulating video game magazine, as well as acclaim from international publications.

(Information taken from Wikipedia.)

A few notes about this LP:

No spoilers, please. The main draw of 428 is the story. Speculation is more than welcome.

Audience Participation: 428 will explain this in greater detail, but essentially, we have five playable characters, and we need get each character through the day, one hour at a time. Once all five characters have reached the end of the hour, the next hour will unlock.

Throughout the day, each character will have to make decisions that may impact that character directly, or affect another of the five characters. Every time a decision comes up, I'll be looking to the audience to vote for their choice. When voting, please note that 428 has a lot of bad endings. Some of them are straight up bad endings, others are amusing, or outright weird, and a lot of them are worth seeing. This leads to the next point:

This will not be a 100% playthrough. Mainly because honestly, I'm not that keen on a lot of the post-game content, and getting all the endings becomes something of a chore later into the game. At this time, I am currently not planning on showing off any bad endings missed during the playthrough.

Two things to bear in mind when voting, first, each hour is self contained. A decision made in the 10:00 block won't change anything in the 11:00 block. Secondly, it's completely possible for Character A to make a decision that will cause a bad end for Character B, but won't stop A from reaching the end of the hour.

Index:



10:00, Part One – Kano.
10:00, Part Two - Achi / Kano.
10:00, Part Three - Kano.
10:00, Part Four - Achi.
10:00, Part Five - Achi.
10:00, Part Six - Achi / Kano.



11:00, Part One - Tama.
11:00, Part Two - Tama.
11:00, Part Three - Tama.
11:00, Part Four - Achi / Minorikawa.
11:00, Part Five - Achi / Osawa.
11:00, Part Six - Tama.
11:00, Part Seven - Tama.
11:00, Part Eight - Tama.
11:00, Part Nine - Kano.
11:00, Part Ten - Kano.
11:00, Part Eleven - Kano.
11:00, Part Twelve - Minorikawa.
11:00, Part Thirteen - Minorikawa.
11:00, Part Fourteen - Minorikawa.
11:00, Part Fifteen - Minorikawa.
11:00, Part Sixteen - Minorikawa.
11:00, Part Seventeen - Achi.
11:00, Part Eighteen - Achi.
11:00, Part Nineteen - Osawa.
11:00, Part Twenty - Osawa.
11:00, Part Twenty One - Osawa.



12:00, Part One - Kano
12:00, Part Two - Kano.
12:00, Part Three - Kano.
12:00, Part Four - Minorikawa.
12:00, Part Five - Minorikawa.
12:00, Part Six - Tama.
12:00, Part Seven - Tama.
12:00, Part Eight - Tama.
12:00, Part Nine - Kano.
12:00, Part Ten - Kano.
12:00, Part Eleven - Osawa.
12:00, Part Twelve - Osawa.
12:00, Part Thirteen - Osawa.
12:00, Part Fourteen - Minorikawa.
12:00, Part Fifteen - Minorikawa.
12:00, Part Sixteen - Minorikawa / Achi.
12:00, Part Seventeen - Achi.
12:00, Part Eighteen - Achi.
12:00, Part Nineteen - Achi.
12:00, Part Twenty - Achi.
12:00, Part Twenty One - Osawa.
12:00, Part Twenty Two - Osawa.
12:00, Part Twenty Three - Kano.
12:00, Part Twenty Four - Kano.
12:00, Part Twenty Five - Minorikawa / Tama.



13:00, Part One - Tama.
13:00, Part Two - Tama.
13:00, Part Three - Achi.
13:00, Part Four - Achi.
13:00, Part Five - Tama.
13:00, Part Six - Kano.
13:00, Part Seven - Minorikawa.
13:00, Part Eight - Minorikawa.
13:00, Part Nine - Minorikawa.
13:00, Part Ten - Osawa.
13:00, Part Eleven - Osawa.
13:00, Part Twelve - Osawa.
13:00, Part Thirteen - Osawa.
13:00, Part Fourteen - Osawa.
13:00, Part Fifteen - Tama.
13:00, Part Sixteen - Tama.
13:00, Part Seventeen - Tama.
13:00, Part Eighteen - Achi.
13:00, Part Nineteen - Achi.
13:00, Part Twenty - Achi.
13:00, Part Twenty One - Kano.
13:00, Part Twenty Two - Kano.
13:00, Part Twenty Three - Kano.
13:00, Part Twenty Four - Achi.
13:00, Part Twenty Five - Achi.
13:00, Part Twenty Six - Achi.
13:00, Part Twenty Seven - Osawa / Tama.
13:00, Part Twenty Eight - Minorikawa.
13:00, Part Twenty Nine - Minorikawa.
13:00, Part Thirty - Kano.



14:00, Part One - Kano.
14:00, Part Two - Achi.
14:00, Part Three - Achi.
14:00, Part Four - Achi.
14:00, Part Five - Achi.
14:00, Part Six - Achi.
14:00, Part Seven - Tama.
14:00, Part Eight - Tama.
14:00, Part Nine - Tama.
14:00, Part Ten - Tama.
14:00, Part Eleven - Tama.
14:00, Part Twelve - Tama.
14:00, Part Thirteen - Achi.
14:00, Part Fourteen - Tama / Achi.
14:00, Part Fifteen - Achi.
14:00, Part Sixteen - Osawa.
14:00, Part Seventeen - Osawa.
14:00, Part Eighteen - Osawa.
14:00, Part Nineteen - Minorikawa.
14:00, Part Twenty - Minorikawa.
14:00, Part Twenty One - Minorikawa.
14:00, Part Twenty Two - Kano.
14:00, Part Twenty Three - Kano.
14:00, Part Twenty Five - Kano.
14:00, Part Twenty Six - Minorikawa / Osawa.
14:00, Part Twenty Seven - Minorikawa.
14:00, Part Twenty Eight - Minorikawa.
14:00, Part Twenty Nine - Osawa.



15:00, Part One - Minorikawa.
15:00, Part Two - Minorikawa.
15:00, Part Three - Minorikawa.
15:00, Part Four - Tama.
15:00, Part Five - Tama.
15:00, Part Six - Osawa.
15:00, Part Seven - Osawa.
15:00, Part Eight - Osawa.
15:00, Part Nine - Achi.
15:00, Part Ten - Minorikawa.
15:00, Part Eleven - Minorikawa.
15:00, Part Twelve - Achi.
15:00, Part Thirteen - Achi.
15:00, Part Fourteen - Achi.
15:00, Part Fifteen - Achi.
15:00, Part Sixteen - Achi.
15:00, Part Seventeen - Tama.
15:00, Part Eighteen - Tama.
15:00, Part Nineteen - Tama.
15:00, Part Twenty - Kano.
15:00, Part Twenty One - Kano.
15:00, Part Twenty Two - Achi / Kano.
15:00, Part Twenty Three - Minorikawa.
15:00, Part Twenty Four - Kano.
15:00, Part Twenty Five - Kano.
15:00, Part Twenty Six - Kano.
15:00, Part Twenty Seven - Kano / Osawa.



16:00, Part One - Minorikawa.
16:00, Part Two - Minorikawa.
16:00, Part Three - Minorikawa.
16:00, Part Four - Achi.
16:00, Part Five - Achi.
16:00, Part Six - Achi.
16:00, Part Seven - Achi.
16:00, Part Eight - Tama.
16:00, Part Nine - Tama.
16:00, Part Ten - Kano.
16:00, Part Eleven - Kano.
16:00, Part Twelve - Kano.
16:00, Part Thirteen - Tama.
16:00, Part Fourteen - Minorikawa.
16:00, Part Fifteen - Osawa.
16:00, Part Sixteen - Osawa.
16:00, Part Seventeen - Osawa.
16:00, Part Eighteen - Minorikawa.
16:00, Part Nineteen - Minorikawa.
16:00, Part Twenty - Minorikawa.



17:00, Part One - Minorikawa.
17:00, Part Two - Minorikawa.
17:00, Part Three - Minorikawa.
17:00, Part Four - Minorikawa.
17:00, Part Five - Minorikawa.
17:00, Part Six - Osawa.
17:00, Part Seven - Osawa / Achi.
17:00, Part Eight - Achi.
17:00, Part Nine - Achi / Kano.
17:00, Part Ten - Kano.
17:00, Part Eleven - Kano.
17:00, Part Twelve - Kano.
17:00, Part Thirteen - Kano.
17:00, Part Fourteen - Kano.
17:00, Part Fifteen - Achi.
17:00, Part Sixteen - Achi.
17:00, Part Seventeen - Kano.
17:00, Part Eighteen - Osawa.



18:00, Part One - Minorikawa.
18:00, Part Two - Minorikawa.
18:00, Part Three - Minorikawa.
18:00, Part Four - Minorikawa.

HydroSphere fucked around with this message at 21:59 on Aug 4, 2021

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HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014






Title.




Main Theme.



We start with an image of Shibuya.



This is the main cast in 428. Unfortunately, aside from Kano (whom we'll see this update) being a Kamen Rider, and Osawa (who will be appearing a little later) being a singer, I have no information about these actors. If anyone has any information about them, please feel free to mention it.





The scene moves to a parked blue van.




Inside, radio is playing a news broadcast.




In the back of the van, a man struggles against the ropes that bind him.



Outside, people pass by, unaware of the man's predicament.








The man manages to start sending a text to someone, telling them that he was deceived.



A lady in white knocks on the windscreen, attracting the man's attention.



Before the man can do anything, his phone starts to ring...



And with the sound of an explosion, the scene cuts away.





Setup.









No music.



Just two more minutes to go...

Shinya Kano noted the time again on his watch, scowling at the slow creep of the second hand.

The time was 9:58 AM.

Furrows of consternation creased his forehead.

He wasn’t nervous, but he knew better than to expect everything to go smoothly. Keeping a level head was proving rather difficult.

There was no room for failure...

Shinya Kano




He eyed his surroundings.



Was the perp really going to show up?



When?

Where would he be coming from?

How would he make his approach?



The Shibuya scramble was as packed as ever. A throng of people crossing this way and that, blissfully unaware...

...of the dozens of detectives hidden in its
midst.



“All right. Another minute and a half.”



Kano glanced down at his watch yet again.

A mere 30 seconds had passed.

Detective Kano had been with the enforcement arm of Shibuya’s Criminal Affairs Section for a year now, but he’d never been part of an operation this big before.



He eyed the young woman standing beside the statue up ahead. She was small enough to get lost in the crowd, and she carried a nondescript attaché case.



Hitomi Osawa, age 19.

The attaché case in her hands contained a full 50 million yen in cash.

Yesterday, her twin sister Maria had been kidnapped. This was the ransom payment. The culprit had called Hitomi last night, at home, referring to her by name and telling her to wait by the statue of Hachiko in Shibuya.



It was almost time, but...nothing.

Kano was staring fixedly at the second hand on his watch when a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk murmured just loud enough for him to hear:



“C’mon, Kano, quit looking at your watch so much. What if the kidnapper sees you?”

Kano tried to look nonchalant as he lifted his eyes, but the scruffy character continued.

“You’re too nervous. Just relax, already.”

“You’re the one acting suspicious, Sasayama.” Kano frowned.

“Why would some homeless guy be talking to me?”

Yuji Sasayama was the senior officer of the Shibuya Precinct’s Criminal Affairs Division, five years older than Kano.

He always went a little overboard with the disguises. He claimed it was all part of the job, but word around the station was that he just liked playing dress-up.

Tips posted:

Some words and phrases in the text appear in bold. These are called Tips. Underline a Tip to see extra info relating to that word or phrase. There are Tips containing general knowledge, and ones that are '428' specific.

428 Tip - Shibuya Precinct posted:

Official name: Shibuya Central Precinct.

Responsible for the safety of approximately 200,000 people in 32 neighborhoods, including Uehara, Uguisudanicho, Udagawacho, Ebisu, Ebisunishi, Ebisuminami, Oyamacho, Kamiyamacho, Sakuragaokacho, Sasazuka, Sarugakucho, Shibuya, Shoto, Jingumae, Shinsencho, Jinnan, Sendagaya, Daikanyamacho, Dogenzaka, Tomigaya, Nanpeidaicho, Nishihara, Hatagaya, Hachiyamacho, Hatsudai, Higashi, Hiroo, Honmachi, Maruyamacho, Moto-Yoyogicho, Yoyogi, and Yoyogi-Kamizonocho.



“Hey, pal. Spare some change?”

Sasayama lurched to his feet and shuffled in close to Kano.

“Hey! Knock that off!”

Fittingly for the part, Sasayama reeked pretty badly.

“Well? Ain’t so suspicious now, huh?”

He clung to Kano with mock camaraderie, despite the younger man’s attempts to pull away.

“Come on, Sasayama! Cut it out!”

Sasayama’s blithe confidence rattled Kano’s nerves.

Of course, there was good reason for that confidence.



This was Kano and Sasayama’s jurisdiction, but they were positioned a good distance from where the handoff was to take place. The statue of Hachiko was surrounded by elite investigators from one of HQ’s Special Investigation Teams.

Kano and his partner were just there to provide backup if the kidnapper attempted to flee.

General Tip - Jurisdiction posted:

A particular region over which an organization, or a member thereof, has control or authority. Refers here to the areas under the jurisdiction of various police precincts. The Metropolitan Police Department, at the pinnacle of Tokyo’s police hierarchy, has vastly more authority than local precincts, but since many officers wind up needing to work with both, the outright rivalry between the two isn’t as notable as TV dramas may make it seem.

General Tip – Statue of Hachiko posted:


General Tip - HQ posted:

Here, refers to the Metropolitan Police Department. The Tokyo police section responsible for managing 101 precincts within the city. Japan’s largest police organization; in addition to policing Tokyo, it has various other duties and authorities for maintaining public order in the capital.

“Look, just try to relax. We’ll be fine.”

Sasayama gave him a wink. A moment later, the radio squawked in Kano’s ear.

“All right everyone. It’s time. Keep your eyes open.’



The voice coming in through the earpiece was Koji Kuze, HQ’s Operations Director.

Until last year, he’d been the Shibuya Precinct’s head detective, and Kano’s supervisor.

“We don’t know when the perp is going to make contact. Don’t let your guard down.” Kuze’s low, gravelly voice echoed in Kano’s ear.

General Tip – Operations Director posted:

The individual responsible for directing the investigation in the event of a serious crime. If a task force is set up, the Operations Director is the one who assumes command. TV dramas and other fictional accounts often feature some young prodigy from the MPD as Operations Director, but in reality, the position usually goes to a proven veteran.



“You don’t sound too worried, Kuze.”

Kano winced at Sasayama’s words. How could the man be so nonchalant?

The appointed time had come and gone. Something should be happening!

Whap! Kano smacked himself in the thigh to release a little tension.

The sound was louder than he’d intended. Though the suit hid his muscular physique, it did little to dampen the noise. He needed to stay focused. He might be called to action at any moment.



The department handled abduction cases according to a certain standard investigation procedure.

Was it an attempt to extort money, or was the motive something personal? The answer to that question determined how they’d deal with the criminal.

And based on the investigation team’s initial findings this time around...

...they probably weren’t dealing with a professional kidnapper.

Still, in all likelihood, it was someone with quite a long rap sheet. Probably someone who knew the family, but so far they had few leads on who might bear such a grudge. With the situation so unclear, the plan was to apprehend whomever came to make the handoff on sight.

If the culprit ran with the money, there’d be no guarantee of the hostage’s well-being.



“Hmph. Still nothing,” Sasayama muttered.

Mystery.

“There he is! He's here!”



Kuze broke in, his voice spiking into an excited chirp.

“Subject is a young male in his 20s, wearing a bandana and an orange hoodie!” Kuze, normally calm and stoic, was now squawking like an excited child.

That only happened when he got particularly worked up. Kano and Sasayama steeled themselves.

General Tip - Excited chirp posted:

Kuze’s particular vocal quirk. Whenever he gets overly flustered, excited, or panicked, he slips into a childish register, prone to babbling and pitching his voice.



They could see the subject now.

A twenty-something male nonchalantly approached Hitomi to talk to her.

“All right, people. Be ready to grab this guy.” Kuze was stationed in the mobile command center, not far from the intersection, keeping tabs on the situation via video surveillance from the camera team.



This first decision has no impact whatsoever.

Yes, that was him all right!

Kano took a step forward.

“Hold it!” Sasayama yanked him back. “Don’t be so hasty.”

“But...”

“Just watch for a minute.” Sasayama gestured with a nod.

With Hitomi steadfastly ignoring him, the young man slunk away.



No Music.

“Guess it wasn’t him.” Kano felt the tension of the moment linger in his spine.

“Guy must’ve been hitting on her,” Sasayama muttered. “I mean she is pretty cute and all.”

He had a point.

General Tip – Hitting on her posted:

Succeeding at meeting someone on the fly like this takes a special knack. Looks are also important.

Sometimes, of course, the person trying to get your attention out of nowhere is just trying to make a sales pitch for a product or a nearby establishment.

At first glance, it isn’t always easy to tell the difference.

“Though, of course...”

Something in Sasayama’s voice made Kano brace himself.

“She’s got nothing on my Mii-chan!” Mii-chan was Sasayama’s wife. They’d gotten married just last month.



Relaxation.

“Lemme tell ya, Kano, married life is the best. You gotta hurry up and give it a try for yourself.”

This was Sasayama’s favorite topic lately, and Kano was getting more and more fed up with it.

“Sasayama, come on. Just knock it off, okay?” The phrase had become a common refrain of his since the department partnered them.

“Fine, fine. Let’s talk about your girlfriend, then.”



“Huh? Now? You can’t be serious.”

Sasayama leaned in close again.

“What’s she like?”

“We are not having this conversation.” Kano muttered, looking away.

“Awh, c’mon!”



Sasayama set his hand on Kano’s chest, still playing the homeless troublemaker.

“Show me your phone. Lemme see your lock screen.”

“Huh?”

Sasayama pawed for the phone.

“You’ve got a pic of your girl on your lock screen, yeah?”

“I ...... I do NOT.”

But he did. It was scary how on-the-mark Sasayama’s instincts were.

“Hey! Cut it out! We’re in the middle of an investigation!”

“I am investigating,” Sasayama chuckled as he plucked the phone from Kano’s pocket.



His face scrunched up with astonishment as he looked at the lock screen.

“The heck is this?”

“It...it’s not...”

“Ain’t this Masami Nagahama?”

428 Tip - Masami Nagahama posted:

A national star. Tends to play the heroine on national morning soap operas or in national historical dramas; her songs have been a series of national hits, and she’s even slated to host the year-end national singing competition program. Everything about her is national.”



Kano realized he had to bite the bullet.

“No! That’s my girlfriend. Her name’s Rumi, and she’s-”

Sasayama cut him off.



“You’re telling me this ain’t Masami Nagahama, the famous actress. Because this right here is Masami Nagahama.”

“Like I said-”

“You sly ol’ dog! Trying to make like you’re dating Masami Nagahama.”

“I’m not! I mean, I guess Rumi does kind of look like her...”

Sasayama let out a huff.

“For real? You really think I’m gonna fall for that?”

“There’s nothing to fall for, I swear!”

Sasayama scowled, unconvinced.

“All right, then why don’t you marry her?”

Kano stammered, but he had no answer.



The truth was, he would’ve happily married her already, but there were...obstacles that needed to be overcome.

“Okay, playtime’s over. Let’s focus on the job.”

Sasayama handed back Kano’s phone and turned his gaze back to Hitomi.

Kano let out a quick, uneasy sigh.

But his shoulders did feel looser. Maybe Sasayama had been trying to relieve a bit of the tension. Maybe he should be grateful.

No music.



By now, several minutes had passed since the guy with the papers had gone away.

He peered at Hitomi. The strain on her face was visible.

In addition to the weight of the attaché case itself, the five thousand 10,000-yen bills it held weighed close to six kilos.

Her slender arms must have been getting tired.

Still, she refused to set the case down. She wasn’t taking any chances with her sister’s life.

Verification.



The kidnapping case had begun the day before, at around 7pm.

“This is MPD dispatch. The Shibuya precinct is reporting a missing person, believed to be an abduction. Subject is Maria Osawa, a 19-year-old student at Midoriyama Academy, last seen at the LL Diner near campus. A man was allegedly seen forcing her into a car nearby. All officers in the Vicinity, report to the scene at once.”

General Tip – Abduction posted:

In Japanese law, the act of indirectly luring or deceiving someone into the control of a third party is known as kidnapping; using forcible threats or Violence to achieve the same result is known as abduction.

Kano and Sasayama had been working a burglary case in Jingumae’s fifth district when they got the call.



The two arrived at the LL Diner at 7:15 p.m. At roughly the same time, several other officers showed up to secure the area, blocking off entry to nearby roadways and monitoring the surrounding establishments.



Inside the restaurant, Kano and Sasayama were met by the girl who’d reported the kidnapping.

It was the victim’s twin sister, Hitomi. “Could you tell us about when Maria was taken, starting from the very beginning?” Kano said, keeping his voice low.



“I...my sister and I...we were supposed to go to a party together today.”

Hitomi was trembling, her voice hoarse.

“But I messed up the time...I showed up right at 7, an hour later than I was supposed to.”



So Maria had gone alone to the party, a mixer for locals and exchange students. Hitomi, arriving late, had showed up just in time to glance out through the restaurant window and see her sister getting shoved into a car.

She described the vehicle as a blue station wagon of Japanese make.

“Why...Why would something like this happen to her?”

Hitomi held back her tears, but she was shaking all over.

“Did you get a look at the kidnapper?”

“Yes, it was a man. Middle-aged.”



There was another eyewitness: Leland Palmer. He identified himself as a lecturer at Hitomi and Maria’s school.

I've never seen it, but Leland Palmer is apparently a Twin Peaks reference. This isn't the only reference to appear in the game.

“I saw, too. It’s like Hitomi says.”

“I heard Hitomi cry out, and so I, uh...I went to the window to look. And...”

His Japanese was halting, as if he hadn’t been in the country very long.



“And I think that maybe the kidnapper was working alone.”

Leland explained that he’d seen the man shove Maria into the back seat, then clamber into the driver’s seat.

If he had an accomplice, wouldn’t they have been driving?

Neither Hitomi nor Leland had gotten a look at the suspect’s face.

Kano was interviewing others who had been on the scene, looking for other potential witnesses, when his phone rang.



It was Yoshio Kajiwara, one of the senior detectives.

“We’ve set up a task force for the investigation. Get back to the station once you have a handle on the situation there.”

Barely half an hour had passed between the time the kidnapping was reported and the time the task force began operation.

428 Tip – Task force posted:

Roughly 150 people are working on the case in the Shibuya Precinct’s conference room. The main force at work is HQ’s First Special Investigation Unit. Additionally, other detective sections, a riot squad, and investigators from neighboring precincts have been assembled.



When Kano and Sasayama got back to the precinct station, Kuze had already arrived from HQ. He informed them that a response team had been formed to investigate the victim’s home.

General Tip – Response team posted:

In a case where someone has been abducted for ransom, it is often difficult to resolve the situation without cooperating with the victim’s family; but the family can also be a hindrance in making an arrest. To help guide the family’s actions, a response team is assembled and stationed at the victim’s home, led by an investigator with the proper training.

Kano could feel a peculiar tension in the air; unfamiliar MPD detectives scurried to and fro around the Shibuya offices.

He pulled one of them aside to get a quick update.



An hour had now passed since the kidnapping. There had been one new development: the perpetrator had made a threatening call to the victim’s home.

He said the following:

Tomorrow, 10 a.m., by Hachiko in Shibuya. Have the sister, Hitomi, bring 50 million yen. If not, the girl’s life is forfeit.



Kajiwara, from the precinct, was put on the response team, along with detectives from elsewhere who’d received special training in abduction cases.

Normally, a local precinct detective wouldn’t have gone undercover in a victim’s home. Kuze, however, had decided that having a knowledgeable local was crucial, and had sent Kajiwara along.



The detectives disguised themselves as delivery people and movers to make their way inside without arousing suspicion arriving there at 8:30.



The response team had come prepared to run a trace if the kidnapper contacted the family a second time.

But there were no further calls.

General Tip – Trace posted:

The act of pinpointing the source of an incoming phone call. The police are not allowed to do this independently, without oversight; they must go through a formalized process that includes securing the cooperation of the phone company. In the past, conducting the trace itself would take time, but nowadays, acquiring the location can be practically instantaneous.

No music.



Kano checked his watch again. Twenty minutes had now passed since the time designated for the ransom handoff.

The kidnapper had yet to appear.

“Crap. You think we might have spooked him?” he wondered aloud.

“Hey, stay calm.” Sasayama scanned the passing throng.

“He’s just playing with us. Why'd this guy even pick this place?”

Kano voiced the question he’d been asking himself ever since he’d heard the kidnapper’s demands.

Sasayama shrugged. “Figure he must want to blend in with the crowd, nab the money and disappear before anyone knows he’s there, would be my guess.”

“In that case, Why not pick Shinjuku or Ginza?”

The big crowd didn’t just benefit the kidnapper, after all.

It also allowed the police to use the sea of people to conceal their own operation.



Right now, there were 50 detectives stationed within a 50-meter radius of where Hitomi stood.

The kidnapper would be taking a major risk if his plan was to nab the ransom money and run.

That’s what bothered Kano.

Any criminal with half a brain would know better than to do a handoff in front of Hachiko.

“You’re overthinking things, pal,”

Sasayama grumbled.

“No, I’m not.”

Kano reached into his pocket and pulled out his notepad.



This was Kano’s “Dick Diary,” which he always kept close at hand.

Sasayama rolled his eyes.

“That thing again?”

Kano ignored him, flipping through the notepad pages.

“Aha, here it is!”



Dick Dictum #89
The more irrelevant something seems, the more relevant it’s bound to be.

It was a favorite saying of Kyuzo Tateno, an assistant inspector from the Shibuya precinct. Tateno was the kind of detective Kano aspired to be.

For the current operation, he’d been placed in charge of Hitomi’s personal safety.

He was in position to defend her as soon as the ransom had been handed off.

Of course, Hitomi hadn’t been informed of how much protection she was under.

There was a risk that if she acted too secure, it might alert the kidnapper.

“I think Tateno has the right idea.”



Sasayama snorted quietly. “Maybe. I mean, he’s a great detective, don’t get me wrong. But do you know how many ‘irrelevant’ things there are to consider?”

Again, Kano ignored him. It didn’t matter if nobody else understood.

Kano had faith in Tateno, as both a detective and as an individual.

He had first witnessed Tateno’s brilliance during a standoff at a financial company three years earlier.

A man had shut himself in an office, splashing gasoline everywhere and threatening to set the place ablaze. While the others hesitated, Tateno unflinchingly doused himself with gasoline and strode into the building,where he managed to talk the man down and secure the scene.



The others had been awestruck by Tateno’s actions.

And Kano, who at the time had been content to be a run-of-the-mill policeman, had found it quite inspiring.



“Still, y’know...” Sasayama murmured under his breath, “As great a detective as Tateno is, it’s not like anyone else in the world has ever heard of him.”

“I suppose not,” Kano said. “So...?

“Only time anyone ever hears a cop’s name is if he’s caught up in some scandal or killed in the line of duty.

“I mean, doesn’t really seem fair, does it?”

Kano just shrugged.

It was a strange definition of “unfair,’ really.

“I mean you’ve got celebrity chefs and celebrity hairdressers and stuff, so how come no celebrity gumshoes, y’know?”



“Look, please. Can you just focus on what we’re doing here?”

Kano rubbed his eyes, then turned his attention back to Hitomi.



“What’s the matter? Didn’t sleep?”

“Not enough, I guess...”

“Did you eat?”

“Didn’t have time.”

Between bringing in supplies for the base of operations, readying the team’s vehicles, photocopying hundreds of documents and various other tasks, Kano had barely slept the previous night, and hadn’t gotten a meal in, either.

“What have you been doing?”

Sasayama puffed out his chest.

“Saving up my energy for today!”

“So you were sleeping.”

General Tip – Base of operations posted:

A base of operations is usually set up in a large room at the precinct, such as an auditorium. MPD and precinct investigators assemble there, and communications equipment, investigation resources, and such are brought in. Because of the scale and scope of these activities, newspaper reporters can be liable to notice, and so in cases such as kidnapping where a victim’s personal safety is at stake, the flow of information is tightly controlled.

Kano gave a wry chuckle at his partner’s lack of shame.

Shibuya Scramble.

“There he is!”

“A man in his 20s wearing a sleeveless red jacket. He’s carrying a garbage bag!”



A young man had emerged from the crowd about fifteen feet from where Hitomi was standing. He strode toward her, a sinister look on his face.

He didn’t match Hitomi’s description, but Kano felt a jolt of nerves all the same. Maybe the kidnapper had hired some young street punk to snatch the ransom payment.



“That our guy? What do you think, Kano?” Sasayama whispered.

“Yeah. I think he’s got to be.”

This was it.

Kano swallowed the lump in his throat.

He bent his knees, ready to act fast. Blood rushed to his leg muscles, banishing the stiffness that had begun to take hold. Could this be the culprit?

Or perhaps...



The young man tried to snatch the briefcase from Hitomi, but she clung to it with desperate strength.



It was him!

The detectives rushed in.



“Whoa, hey! What the hell?!”

The young man cried out frantically and tried to dart away, but the officers closed in, forcing him bodily to the ground.

“Target secured!”

“Oh, jeez! I think we’ve got another suspect on the scene! Eek! He’s taken the ransom!”



Kuze’s hysterics made Kano spin around. Sure enough, a foreign-looking man was sprinting away, attaché case in hand.

The mob of detectives scrambled to pursue. Before Kano could react, most of them had run off, leaving him to look after the original suspect.

No music.



“What should I do with this guy, sir? He might have some connection to the kidnapper. Should I bring him in?”

“Huh? Oh, sure, that'd be swell.”

“I’m on it!”

With the help of one of the remaining detectives, Kano brought the suspect back to the Shibuya precinct.

Shinya Kano.



“Look, how many times do we have to go through this? Cut the crap!”

In the interrogation room, the young man, who gave his name as Achi Endo, steadfastly insisted on his innocence.

“Why’d you try to steal that case?”

Kano watched Achi’s face intently.



“Like I said, it looked heavy, so I was just trying to help her out.”

It wasn’t inconceivable that a young guy would want to help a pretty girl.

But Hitomi had just been standing there - hardly in desperate need of assistance.

“She hadn’t set the case down, so I figured there had to be something important inside.”

An entry from Kano’s Dick Diary shot through his mind.



Dick Dictum #25
When the tongue slips, grab it,and yank out the truth.

Classic advice for a questioning.

“Something important, you say? Such as?”

“How the heck would I know?” Achi spat. He huffed and slumped back in his chair.



This standard, textbook back-and-forth had been going on for nearly an hour.

Kano didn’t mind. Chasing down criminals was all well and good, but questioning suspects was another key part of the job. Plenty of off-the-scene work went into cracking a case.

Once again, he had Achi explain what he’d been doing, starting from the beginning.



When Kano finally emerged from the interrogation room for a short break, he learned that there had been some progress on the case at the crime scene.

What the police hadn’t been able to determine yet, however, was whether or not Maria was safe.

Fighting back his anxiety, Kano consulted his Dick Diary.



Dick Dictum #54
Haste makes waste.

He felt his tension subside. Remembering the right maxim always helped; it was like casting a magic spell.



Kano returned to confront Achi once more.

“You were there to act as a distraction. To mess up the investigation. Weren’t you?”

“Huh?” Achi looked a bit dumbfounded. “What are you on about?”



Dick Dictum #55
The truth hungers to be free.

“You hungry? Got some katsudon, if you like.”

Achi nodded silently.

General Tip – Katsudon posted:

Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of White rice topped with breaded pork cutlet and egg. There are several variations, such as “sauce katsudon,” where the egg is replaced With Worcestershire sauce, and “miso katsudon,” Where the pork is stewed in miso.

Not typically the sort of thing a policeman offers a suspect during an interrogation; this could be seen as “baiting with food,” and is to be avoided.



Achi devoured the bowl of katsudon with gusto. He looked like he hadn’t eaten in a while.

“All right, then. Spill it. What’s this guy after?”

Achi just shrugged. “I’unno,” he murmured, a thick slice of egg-laden pork between his teeth.

“How many accomplices do you have?” Kano asked, but Achi just shook his head as he inhaled his food.

Resignedly, Kano flipped through his notebook once more.



“Let’s see...Number 115. Use the lights to your advantage.”

As the minutes ticked past he found himself referring to his book again and again, trying a dozen different methods to tease out whatever his suspect might be hiding.

The experience began to feel strangely surreal, their two voices, echoing hollowly in the interrogation room.



Eventually Kano looked at the clock, and realized that the questioning had been going on for nearly five hours.

He still hadn’t made any headway.

What was he supposed to do next?

Tateno would know, but he sure didn’t.

Still, he was determined to do whatever he could to keep the victim and her family safe. Gritting his teeth in frustration, he perused the Dick Diary like it was scripture.



“Number 116...”

The monotonous questioning was clearly tiring Achi out. His eyelids drooped like they were beginning to get heavy.

“Number 117...Get ‘em When they’re tired.” Kano’s eyes gleamed.

“You’re part of some criminal gang, huh?”



Achi’s head slumped forward heavily. Nodding off was basically the same as nodding yes, right?



“Mr. Kuze! I did it! The young guy we grabbed at the handoff site? He finally confessed to the crime!”

“What? What are you talking about?” Kuze laughed in disbelief.

Abrupt Ending.

“We're just about to apprehend the mastermind, here!”

“Huh?” Kano clutched his cell phone, dumbstruck.

"Listen, why don’t you, ah... Look, just wait there at HQ, okay?”

No...It can’t be...I...I...



After the kidnapping case wrapped up, Kano tendered his resignation.

Guess I'm not cut out to be a detective after all, he thought to himself.

He dropped the Dick Diary on his desk as he left the Shibuya precinct for the last time.




When we reach a bad end, the game provides optional hints on how to proceed. This early in the game, the hints tend to be quite explicit, but will become more vague as we progress.

HydroSphere fucked around with this message at 16:04 on May 11, 2019

SystemLogoff
Feb 19, 2011

End Session?



I'm so glad that someone is going to tackle this game as a SSLP.

Thank you!

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Setup.




Achi Endo.



Achi Endo called out at the door to his father’s room. “Okay, I’m heading out.”

“Sure.’

His father sounded unconcerned. He didn’t even open the door.

“Sure you don’t want me to stay here in the shop?”

“It’s not like we’re gonna get any customers.”

Achi grimaced. “Yeah, I guess not.”



The drawer by the front door held a stack of heavy-duty trash bags.

Achi pulled a few of them out.

Guess it’s gonna be that kinda day.



He stuffed the trash bags into his pocket, then slipped on his favorite pair of sneakers.

The entryway to Achi’s home also led into the family’s shop.



Various pieces of electronics were piled up like so much junk in the tiny retail space. The slightest bump brought the risk of an avalanche.

Achi wove his way through the gaps in the appliances like a spelunker exploring a cave.



From Shibuya Station, if you make your way past the 109 building, then up through Dogenzaka, you’ll come across an old shopping district.

Nestled in its outskirts is Endo Electronics, in the same place it’s been for decades.

Within its dimly lit interior you’ll find rows of wares all caked in dust.

At a glance, you might well assume the place was closed.



A mom-and-pop place like Endo’s couldn’t compete with the big consumer chains booming throughout Shibuya.

So far the store had remained in business, thanks to the locals who appreciated that they made house calls to do repairs.



But things weren’t looking good for the future. Achi, the eldest son and nominal successor to the business, had no interest whatsoever in working there.



Achi stepped out of the shop and into the sunny morning air. The good weather lifted his spirits. “All righty, time to do this!”



He unfurled one of the big garbage bags, which caught the wind and fluttered like a cape.

Then he slowly made his way toward Shibuya Station, scanning his surroundings all the while.

“Sheesh, this place is filthy.” He paused to pick up a plastic bottle that had been tossed on the ground.



Then, with a heavy sigh, he slipped the crushed receptacle into his trash bag.



He’d been picking up trash around town like this for about six months now.



It had gotten so that the sort of garbage most people would hardly notice stood out to him like a sore thumb.

Most days he’d fill his trash bag to the top by the time he made it from his house in Dogenzaka to the train station.

Today, he was halfway to the station when a woman’s anxious voice caught his attention.

“I’m sorry. I’m in a bit of a hurry, here.”



No music.

He looked up, and saw a timid-looking woman being confronted by two men-one with brown hair, one with black.

From the look of them, he guessed that the men were scouts for some hostess Club.

He ran into this sort of thing pretty frequently on his trash—cleaning walks around town.

Another kind of trash to take care of.



Achi quickly interposed himself between the girl and the two recruiters. “Hey, can’t you
see that you’re bothering her?”

“Huh? Who the hell are you?” The two men glared. “Take a hike, pal.”

Achi stood his ground. “Look, she ain’t interested. You’re just gonna have to find some other mark.”

The hustlers’ annoyance turned to open rage. “Well, well. Listen to you. Got a bit of a mouth, huh, buddy?”

The brown-haired thug smacked his lips around his chewing gum like a dog worrying a bone. “How ’bout we take this someplace more quiet? Yeah?”

General Tip – Someplace more quiet posted:

What this means can depend on the person speaking. To a young woman, “Let’s go someplace more quiet” might suggest a café or a park, but to a street punk, it might mean an alley where passersby are unlikely to interrupt.

The girl stood by uneasily watching the goings-on.

“Hey, take it easy. I’m not looking for trouble.”

“Is that supposed to be an apology? On your knees and beg, pal!”

The man spat his gum onto the ground.



Achi looked down at the glistening wad of gum on the sidewalk.

His last shred of goodwill vanished. “You better pick that up. Right now.”

“What?! Didn’t you hear me? ’Cause I told you to get down on your knees and b-AAAAAAAACK! ”

Achi’s hand shot out, grabbing the man by the jaw.

“Whoa! Whoa, easy, pal!” The other man’s bravado drained from his face.

Achi tightened his grip on the brown-haired hustler’s jaw.

Sweat dripped from the man’s reddening brow.

“Urgh...hrrrk...!”

The man struggled, but Achi just tightened his grip.

“Gum’s a real pain in the rear end to clean up after it’s gotten stuck to the street, y’know. Ever stop to consider that?”

“Wait. Are...are you...”

The other hustler’s panicked eyes had fixed on Achi’s chest.

Achi Endo.



“Gah! Oh, crap! That shirt, man.” The guy’s voice was starting to break.

“That’s Mean Clean!”

“A guy with a Mean Clean shirt, carrying around a trash bag? That means you’re...” His face went pale.

“Gwuh? Meem Gleam?”

The other man echoed the words through his held-shut jaw, tears welling up in his eyes.

“Get it right, pal.” Achi clenched the man’s jaw harder still. “It’s ‘Mean Clean’!”

“Ow! Owowowowow!”

“We’re...we’re sorry, man! You’re Achi, right? Dude, we honestly had no idea! Come on, man, you gotta cut us some slack!”

The man scrambled to snatch the wad of gum off the street, stuffing it into his pants pocket.

Finally, Achi let go of his companion.

The brown—haired hustler’s face was twisted up with fear; tears streamed down his cheeks. Gasping out hasty apologies, the two thugs scampered off.



“Um. Hey, so...” A shy smile came to the girl’s face. ‘...thank you for saving me.”

“No, I apologize.”

“Huh?”

The girl stared in surprise.

428 Tip – Girl posted:

Ryoko Kakinuma, a second-year student at Midoriyama Academy’s law school.

These hustlers managed to corner her while she was on her way to her part-time job at a café. It’s a popular plot in trashy e-novels for the main character to fall in love with a hustler like these guys, but such things rarely happen in real life.

“You’ll run into creeps like that now and then, but don’t hold it against us. Shibuya’s a good town.”

“Uh, yeah, okay.”

Achi gave her a quick wave, then turned and continued on his way down Dogenzaka.



Achi was Shibuya born and raised. He was keenly aware of all the changes the ward had seen since he was a kid.

Grocer’s stalls in inconspicuous little side-streets, tiny parks nestled between buildings-Achi knew it all like the back of his hand.

Trash-human or otherwise-had no place in this town. Not on his watch.



Achi made his way down toward Shibuya Station.

Throngs of people shuffled to and fro across the scramble.

The view shifted constantly from one moment to the next, almost as if the city itself were alive.

And if the city was a living thing, then Shibuya Station was its heart, with streets like Bunkamura Dori and Center Gai serving as the arteries pumping a bloodstream made of people.

Today, as ever, the heart was pumping that blood to every nook and cranny of Shibuya. And there was Achi, just another part of this great, urban organism.



Guess I’m one of the city’s white blood cells. or, wait. Maybe I’m a red blood cell? Hmm. Hold on. Is that right? Or did I have it right the first time?

White blood cells eliminate pathogens from the bloodstream. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Achi was probably thinking of white blood cells.

No music.

Emerging from his reverie, he noticed a rather conspicuous young woman standing by the statue of Hachiko outside Shibuya Station.



Ooh. She’s totally my type. Wonder if she’s a model or small time actress or something.

General Tip – My type posted:

To be up someone’s alley. To be someone’s cup of tea.



Looks like she’s waiting for someone. Probably another guy. Dang.

Good-looking as she was, there was no way she wasn’t already taken. What kind of guy scored a girl like that? Probably the rich-rear end CEO of an IT company or something.

Crouching down to tie off the trash bag, he continued gazing wistfully at the girl. Then he noticed something peculiar.



She was carrying an attaché case, the kind a businessman might use. It was a large case, and apparently so heavy that she was struggling to hold it despite using both hands.



The game won't let us pick option A yet.




Setup.





  • We're forced to go back to Kano here.




No music.



“I suppose you could call it that,”

Kano gave a wry chuckle at his partner’s lack of shame.

Shibuya Scramble.

“There he is!”



“The man in the black coat! He’s not Japanese. Looks to be in his early 30s!”

A foreign man had emerged from the crowd about fifteen feet from where Hitomi was standing. He made his way toward her, his expression blank.



He didn’t match the description Hitomi had given them, but Kano felt a jolt of nerves all the same.

Maybe the kidnapper was using an accomplice to snatch the ransom payment.

“All right...” Sasayama raised an eyebrow. “This may be our guy.”

This was it.

Kano swallowed the lump in his throat. He bent his knees, ready for action.

Blood rushed to his leg muscles, banishing the stiffness that had begun to take hold.



Was this the culprit? Or perhaps...

The stranger took hold of the attaché case.

Pursuit.



It was him!

En masse, the detectives began to close in.

“Let’s go, Kano!”

“On it!”

Sasayama and Kano leapt into action.

But they never expected what happened next. With the case clutched in both arms, the man suddenly veered - running right toward them.





Guide posted:

In order to advance beyond a KEEP OUT, you need to JUMP from another protagonist's story. At 10:30, Achi has the text [young man in a suit] set as red keywords. Checking these red keywords will allow you to jump from Achi's story back to Kano's.

Now, head back to Achi's story and keep an eye out for that key phrase.


Setup.




No music.



Huh?

A man had come up beside the girl.

Tension.



He was dressed in black, and he wasn’t Japanese.



It looked like they were having a conversation.

The girl nodded tensely at something the man said.



Achi stared. Something tells me that’s not her boyfriend.

The girl handed the attaché case over to the man.



He took hold of it with his right hand and began walking briskly away.



“Whoa!”

A nearby homeless man suddenly leapt over Achi and broke into a run, as if he’d been waiting for this very moment.

Sprinting alongside him was a young man in a suit.

428 Tip – Homeless man posted:

Yuji Sasayama, a detective with the Shibuya Precinct. Known as the “Cosplay Detective” due to the strange outfits he wears while on stakeouts. He’s partnered with Shinya Kano for the kidnapping investigation.




  • Jump points (underlined and in bold) can appear in Tips as well as the main text.




Setup.



Pursuit.






But they never expected what happened next. With the case clutched in both arms, the man suddenly veered - running right toward them.

“Wha?!”

Catching sight of the two detectives, the suspect staggered to a halt, then bolted off in a new direction.



Kano whipped off his costume glasses and followed in hot pursuit.

At the crosswalk, the signal changed to red, and the flow of foot traffic abruptly halted. Just as quickly, hundreds of cars all lurched back into motion.



There was no escape for the culprit now. Or so it appeared.

The converging cops slowed their pace, confident their man was cornered.



Then the foreigner barreled straight into the intersection, dodging between the oncoming cars without any hesitation.

The mob of detectives came to a halt, not eager to rush to their deaths along with him. Kano, however, remained in hot pursuit, charging into the traffic at the crossing.

“Kano, are you crazy?! Come back!”

Kano heard Sasayama shouting, but his feet kept carrying him onward.



With shouts and sirens echoing all around him, Kano closed in on the foreigner.

Just a little closer...

Just a little closer and he’d be in tackling range.

He leaned forward, preparing to pounce, his eyes fixed on the culprit’s feet.

It was now or never...



“Kano, back off! Don’t take him down!” It was Kuze, shouting through Kano’s earpiece.

“Huh?” Kano hesitated in surprise.

Had he really just been ordered not to apprehend the criminal?

“Let him go for now! The real perp is someplace else!”

What had happened to the plan?

He’d been told that all personnel were to secure the area ASAP.

Didn’t HQ want them to catch the perpetrator?

General Tip – Real perp posted:

“Perp” is police jargon for “perpetrator.” Here, Kuze is referring to the fact that the principal offender in the case must be elsewhere.

Arrest team stay on the foreigner’s tail. Forensics team, get busy cross-referencing photos!”

Even if this foreigner was only an underling hired for this one task, the police had now tipped their hand that they’d been lying in wait.

If they didn’t lock things down now and get more info on the kidnapper, a girl’s life might be at stake.

General Tip – Arrest team posted:

Police team dedicated exclusively to the task of apprehending the criminal. While a kidnapping case is in progress, the roles of the officers involved are carefully designated so that every officer is ready to take immediate action as the situation develops. Typically, tried-and-true veteran MPD officers are put in charge of teams for breaking into buildings or apprehending the suspect.

General Tip – Forensics team posted:

Team deployed by the MPD to handle the actual tests and techniques of on-scene investigation, such as collecting and comparing fingerprints and analyzing photos of suspects.

Kano recalled another maxim from his Dick Diary.

Dick Dictum #12
Always assume a worst-case scenario.



If Kuze had told him to let this guy go, that implied he was counting on the team that was now in position.



But if the crook had planned a way to break through the police dragnet and escape with the ransom, and he succeeded...



  • Now the tutorials are more or less over, we're free to finally start making some decisions. Should Kano disobey orders and continue chasing the criminal, or abandon the chase? Or should we see what Achi is doing?

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



Disobey orders. You can't just ignore dictum #12.

Arkanumzilong
Sep 10, 2016


Hah! I absolutely love this game and was even gearing up to try my hand at LPing for the first time with this game due to said love!

Glad to see someone beat me to the punch, since I inow jack poo poo about LPing :p

As for actors and other roles they had, from some quick digging i did right after i finished the game
Kano's actor was both a Kamen Rider (in blade) AND a villain (in fourze)
Achi's only other "notable" role i found was voicing young tidus in ffx

There are some more storied actors, but their characters have yet to appear, so to avoid accidental spoilers I will avoid mentioning them for the moment.
Though i should me tion there is more than o e kamen rider related actor in this.

Edit: as for my vote... Lways follow the dick diary
So time for Kano to be a loose kanon...

Arkanumzilong fucked around with this message at 07:23 on May 14, 2019

SgCloud
Oct 30, 2011


Not sure whether it's really a spoiler-ish question, but...

What's this game's connection to the anime Canaan if any? I saw it once and I think I saw on Youtube that it has an animated section in this game.

Arkanumzilong
Sep 10, 2016


SgCloud posted:

Not sure whether it's really a spoiler-ish question, but...

What's this game's connection to the anime Canaan if any? I saw it once and I think I saw on Youtube that it has an animated section in this game.

the anime is related to this game, and that is as much as can ne said atm without going into spoilers

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Pursuit.



Letting the perp escape now is too big of a risk.

He had to catch this guy ASAP!



The man darted down a narrow alleyway. Kano ran faster.

The man sprinted through the side streets. Evidently he knew his way around Shibuya pretty well.



“Eep! Someone’s taken Hitomi!”

Kano recognized Kuze’s trademark squawk immediately.

“Subject is male. He appears to be carrying a gun! He’s fleeing in the direction of Meiji Dori!”

“What?!” Kano could hardly believe it.



Hitomi had been kidnapped?

Had she been abducted by whoever had taken Maria?



But, why?

Someone must have been waiting for the moment when the police took their eyes off her.

Something’s very wrong here. What in the world is going on?

Kano saw that the road forked up ahead. The man with the attaché case ran to the left. If the man who’d taken Hitomi was heading toward Meiji Dori, there was a good chance he’d gone down one of the alleyways off to the right.



Making a snap judgement, Kano told the detective behind him to follow the case-snatcher, then turned and headed down the nearest alley.

After darting through the side streets, he spotted a different man-another foreigner-crossing an intersection a few dozen meters ahead.



The man was dressed in black, just like the guy who’d grabbed the ransom money.

Kuze’s right. The kidnapper wasn’t acting alone.

But wait. Something was amiss.

Hitomi isn’t with him!

Where was she?

Kano skidded around the corner, then stopped short.



The man in black was standing there, pointing a gun right at him.

Before Kano could react, the man fired.

Vertigo.



Kano felt hot all over, as if he were on fire. All except for his cheek, pressed against the asphalt, and the palms of his hands. They felt so, so cold...

There was nothing he could do.

Nothing, that is, except lie there and watch as his killer turned and walked away.




  • Going forwards, I'll be putting the bad ending hints in timg for those who want to try figure out the correct options entirely on their own.

    We can now either go back and make Kano follow orders, or check-in with Achi.

HydroSphere fucked around with this message at 17:10 on May 21, 2019

Wes Warhammer
Oct 19, 2012





Ooh, 428! I've always been interested in it, and I enjoyed reading your Layton Brothers LP on the Archive so I'm eagerly following this.

Let's go back to Achi for now. We're not gonna bend to what The Man wants, dammit!

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



Well, that was brief.

Minus Green posted:

Let's go back to Achi for now. We're not gonna bend to what The Man wants, dammit!

I can get behind this

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Polsy posted:

Well, that was brief.

Sorry about that. That's going to be one of the main issues with this LP; sometimes very little happens between decisions. I'll try to get updates out more quickly when that happens to make up for it.

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Setup.



  • Once we've played as a character, they'll be darkened in the character select for the rest of the hour.


No music.



First one.

Then another.

A third, a fourth, a fifth-over a dozen now!

What. The. Heck?

Clearly something big was going down. Were they after the attaché case?



Within moments, Achi lost sight of them all through the crowd.

With that many people chasing him, the guy with the case was sure to get caught.

But wait. What about that girl?

Achi turned back around. The girl was still there.

She was staring in the direction that the man who’d taken the case had gone, a worried expression on her face.

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



HydroSphere posted:

Sorry about that. That's going to be one of the main issues with this LP; sometimes very little happens between decisions. I'll try to get updates out more quickly when that happens to make up for it.

Oh, that wasn't really a criticism, just funny that you die on such short notice after making a decision.


Well, the game said talk to Hitomi, so let's do that.

Thirty-Five Minutes
Aug 12, 2007
not a republic serial villain

Let's talk to her!

HR12345
Nov 19, 2012


Well this is gonna be fun. I spent quite some time platinuming this game to the point I had to look up some unique sources for it.

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



No music.



Achi couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong.

Maybe he should talk to her and ask what was going on?

But just as he was making up his mind, a middle-aged man in a ratty business suit shuffled awkwardly over to her first.



Was there something wrong with one of his legs? He was using a cane to walk.

Then one of his hands slipped into his jacket pocket.

Achi could scarcely believe his eyes.



…A revolver?

General Tip - Revolver posted:




With a single, fluid motion, the man lifted up the gun and pointed it in the girl’s direction. He was aiming right for her head.

“Huh?”



The girl had noticed the man with the cane now. Seeing the gun pointed right at her, she froze in fear.

Achi didn't hesitate.

On The Move.

Breaking into a full run, he tackled the gunman with all his might.

Caught off guard, the man sprawled to the pavement.



But the would-be assassin kept hold of his weapon and quickly scrabbled back to his feet.

Achi knew he had to act fast.



He grabbed the ashen-faced girl by the arm and attempted to drag her away.

“This way!” he shouted.

She just stared at him, uncomprehending, trembling like a startled animal.

“Come on, run!”

Finally, the girl snapped out of her daze and gave a fearful nod.

tomanton
May 22, 2006

beam me up, tomato

Maybe just leave? If that's a service revolver the cops can't be trusted

Your Everyday NEET
Apr 26, 2017


That was a short update.

Anyway, why don't we go to the police? Coz what could possibly go wrong?

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



tomanton is probably right but that just makes me want to go to the police box to see what happens

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



On The Move.



“The police box! Let’s go!”

Still pulling the girl by the hand, Achi headed for the police box outside the train station.



But it was empty.

There were always policemen staffing these things! Why did it have to be unmanned now?

Achi flashed a worried glance behind him, and saw the assassin in pursuit like a man possessed.

“Yikes. This is not good.”

There was nothing they could do but run.



With the frightened girl in tow, Achi ran beneath the JR Yamanote Line railway overpass.

“Don’t worry, just trust me!” he told her. “But first-”

General Tip – Yamanote Line posted:

A railway loop line that services the Tokyo Metropolis. Typically, the morning rush is quite intense, with the stretch from Ueno Station to Okachimachi Station sometimes crowded as high as 216% capacity-roughly 300 people riding in a space designed for 143 passengers.

Unrelated to the “Yamate Line” subway that operates in the city of Kobe.



They sped past a convenience store where an employee was cleaning up the sidewalk.

“Here, take this, will ya?” Achi tossed over the bag of trash.

“Huh? Wait, whuh?”



“This way!”

They slipped through the crowd and into a nearby back alley.

“But...this way’s a dead end,” the girl said, breathlessly.

“Like I said, just trust me!”



Stopping abruptly, Achi kicked down a wooden plank covering a gap between two buildings, clearing a space that a person could fit through.

“See? We can get away through here. In you go!”



But the girl just stood there, looking terrified.

“What’s the matter?” Achi asked. “Come on, we gotta hurry!”

“But, but I...” She looked at him as if he, too, was about to pull a gun on her.

He could hardly blame her. After all, he was just some random guy who had turned up out of nowhere.

But this was no time for dawdling.

The man with the cane appeared at the end of the alley.

If they just stood there, he was going to catch them.



“Okay sweetheart, hear me out,” he said in a rush. “The name’s Achi Endo. I live in the neighborhood, and I’m not the kind to stand idly by when a girl is being chased by some killer. So please, just trust me, and I’ll do my best to keep you safe!”

He hoped the look in his eyes could convince her he was being on the level.

After a painfully long moment, the girl nodded her acceptance.

Phew.

“Right! Let’s start with this-!”



They had paused beside an enormous stack of beverage crates. With a quick shove Achi knocked the whole pile down, sending it cascading across their pursuer’s path.



“Now that was a close call.”

The man with the cane was floundering, struggling to get past the fallen crates.

“My bad, man!” Achi called out. “Mind cleaning that up for me?”



The man scowled back at them and fumbled for his gun.

Achi flashed him a wave goodbye, then slipped away between the buildings with the girl.



Hurrying down a narrow alley, they emerged onto a side-street lined with dive bars and clubs.

Assuming the man with the cane hadn’t given up, he would probably lie in wait on the path back to the main road.

Achi decided their best bet was to try to stay inconspicuous rather than risk getting caught on the move.

“Guess we can lie low here for a bit,” he said. He led the girl to the entrance of a tiny old hostess club.

She followed him reluctantly.



No music.

Achi flicked the switch inside the front door and a chintzy chandelier glowed to life.

He sat the girl down on the small sofa beside the counter.

She gave him a worried look.

Achi felt a pang of embarrassment as he realized what she must be thinking.

“Oh, no, don’t get the wrong idea! I’m not gonna try any funny business. Someone I know used to run this place. It’s not in business anymore, so I figure we’re safe here.”

Hitomi Osawa.

The girl chuckled at his evident discomfort.

“All right, then,” she said.

“So...we good?”

“We’re good.”

“Okay. Uh, well. Good.”

Achi made a vague attempt to straighten his disheveled clothes.



“So, how about some introductions? I’m Achi Endo. Like, uh, like I said earlier. You can just call me Achi.”

“I’m Hitomi Osawa. You can call me Hitomi, I guess.”

With each new word out of Hitomi’s mouth, Achi felt his heart sing.

She was charming, personable-just about everything about her was captivating.

Achi had never met another girl like her.



“Um, Achi?”

“Bwuh?”

“Is something the matter? You were spacing out there for a bit.”

Achi shook his head to dispel his daze.

Dammit. This is no time to get all starry-eyed.

He needed to think of some way to keep her safe from the guy who was after her.



“Look, can you tell me what the heck is going on? Please. I need to know if I’m gonna help
you.”

“Right. Okay. I’m not really sure where to begin.”

Hitomi looked down, lost in thought. Apparently hers was a long story.

“All right,” she said at last. “I guess I’ll just explain things as they happened.”



“Wait, hold up. Could you keep it as simple as you can? I mean...I’m not really the sharpest tool in the shed. Complicated explanations ain’t exactly my strong suit.”

“Okay.” Hitomi chuckled. “I’ll try my best.” She got comfortable, and then started her story.



Doubt.

“So. Last night, somebody abducted my sister. The kidnapper demanded that I make the ransom handoff personally. He told me to stand by the statue of Hachiko in Shibuya at 10 o’clock in the morning to make the exchange. So I did. And this man came by and took the attaché case with the money, and then afterwards that other guy with the cane turned up and pointed his gun at me and-”



“Whoa! I’m sorry. Hold up a sec.” Achi had suddenly lost the thread of the conversation. “Could you say that again, but like, simpler?”

“Huh? Um, sure.”



“I’m just having trouble following, is all.



I mean-is this the plot to some movie or soap opera?”

“No, that’s not-”

“Or some kinda hidden camera show?”



“This is real. This really happened.”

The look in Hitomi’s eyes was dead serious.

She’s got to be telling the truth. What would be the point of lying?

And he had seen the attaché case and the gunman himself.

“How much was the ransom, if you don’t mind my asking?”



Hitomi hesitated. “50 million yen,” she said after a moment.

Achi gave a whistle of amazement.

“The detectives told me that was a typical amount for a kidnapper to ask for.”

“It’s plenty, that’s for sure! I guess there’s good money in that sorta thing-”

As soon as the words were out, he realized his blunder.



“Ah. Sorry. I...I shouldn’t have put it that way.” He fidgeted awkwardly, and Hitomi looked away.

“I’m an idiot. But, okay, I think I get this kidnapping thing. So I’m guessing those guys who chased the guy who took the ransom were undercover cops?”

He replayed the scene in his head.



“But then-hmmm. The kidnapper took the attaché case and ran, right? So if you were empty-handed, why’d that guy with the cane come after you?”

“I’m honestly not sure. I just...” Hitomi’s words trailed off.

This was clearly difficult for her to talk about.

“Anyway, we should probably get you to the police as soon as we-”



“No! We can’t do that.” Hitomi’s tone was resolute. “I can’t take this to the police.”

“Why not?”

Achi waited for an answer, but none came. After a long and awkward silence, she stood up from her seat.



“I really appreciate the help. But I should go now.” She gave Achi a deep bow.

“Nuh-uh, hold on! What do you mean, ‘go’? Go where?” He hurried to intervene as she headed for the door.



“I don’t want to cause you any more trouble. I’ll figure the rest out on my own, somehow.”

“Hey! I said hold on!”

Hitomi ignored him and opened the door, and their argument came to an abrupt halt.



Standing there was the man with the cane, his revolver in his hand.



Guide posted:

Achi Endo's 10:00 story ends here. However, Shinya Kano has more to do. Read along further in Kano's story.

Setup.





  • Last time we played as Kano, we chose to disobey orders and continue pursing the suspect. Hitomi was taken by a man with a gun, Kano abandoned the chase to search for her, and ended up being shot himself. This time, we're still disobeying orders, but with Hitomi now being with Achi...


Pursuit.



The man darted down a narrow alleyway. Kano ran faster.

The man sprinted through the side streets. Evidently he knew his way around Shibuya pretty well.



The man shot out onto a major thoroughfare, then bolted up a pedestrian bridge. Just where the heck was this guy heading?

Halfway across the bridge, the man stopped abruptly.



Cautious, Kano stopped as well.



Height, roughly 190 cm.
Age, 30's.
Hair, dark brown.
Clothing, all black.



A moment later, the man flashed a triumphant sneer, and he held up the attaché case.

Before Kano could even yell “STOP!” it was already too late.

No music.



The man threw the attaché case down to the roadway below.

“Nooo!”

Panicking, Kano peered over the railing.



A man on a motorcycle was waiting beneath the bridge.

I’ve been had.

Kano bit his lip, hard.



“Dammit!”

Kano sprinted back down the bridge, hearing the bike’s engine roar to life.

He had to make it in time!



Descending the stairs four at a time, he leapt toward the roadway, but the bike sped out of reach, and roared away in the direction of Yoyogi, leaving Kano in its dust.

Looking back up at the overpass, he saw the man who’d thrown the attaché case running away.



“He handed the money off to someone else! He’s currently on a motorcycle heading toward Yoyogi!”

His report to Kuze complete, Kano slumped down in dismay.

The cops had played right into the criminals’ hands.

Now the crooks were getting away, and people’s lives were in danger.

Was there any greater failure for a policeman?

Staring off into the distance where the man who’d thrown the case had disappeared, Kano gritted his teeth.



Shibuya Scramble.




Setup.

Guide posted:

This is the end of the tutorial for this part of this story.

Now '428' has reached the 11:00 time block. You have five protagonists available! Whose story will you read first?



  • – Tama; mascot advertising a new diet drink.
  • – Osawa; researcher, father of Hitomi and Maria.
  • – Minorikawa; freelance journalist.

Wes Warhammer
Oct 19, 2012






That's a "triumphant sneer?" He looks more like an Aphex Twin album cover.

We've got a lot of options. I kind of want to stick with Achi, but I'm more interested to see how Tama fits into this story.

Arkanumzilong
Sep 10, 2016


Go for cat hijinks
so basically, Tama

ChaceRider
Aug 15, 2009

and above all else, be kind


Oh boy, fun fact: I've had the wikipedia page for this game sitting in an open tab for months now, in a vain attempt to remind me to look into this game. I am a forgetful fool, but at least the LP subforum has now saved me from the constant loop of "What's that tab? Oh, the game that sounded interesting... well, I'll look into it later." Thanks, LPs! Forever enabling my laziness and lack of memory.

Anywho, as much as I am here for the adventures of Captain Planet: No Brain Cells Edition, and Policeman Kamen Rider (but not that Policeman Kamen Rider, and no, not that one either, nor that one, nor the ones who were time cops once)...

Curiosity decrees I join the current bandwagon and vote for Tama. (Who is a cat with a job, but presumably still not that stationmaster cat of the same name.) (Unless it is Stationmaster Tama, operating this mascot suit through an elaborate system of pulleys, working a second job to pay their cat bills.) (It won't be, but I can dream.)

Jabor
Jul 16, 2010

#1 Loser at SpaceChem

What's with the "Adjust Brightness" prompt on all the screenshots?

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Jabor posted:

What's with the "Adjust Brightness" prompt on all the screenshots?

That option always appears when hiding the text, sometimes the text can blend in a bit with the background.

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Setup.





Tama.



It’s so hot.



It’s so hot in this thing.

Way, way too hot.

I feel like I’m sitting in a sauna.



Everyone else on the street looks nice and cool.

But here I am, getting treated to my very own personal midsummer heat wave.

On top of that, I can barely see. I can barely breathe, for that matter. But hey, what can I do?



Huff, huff...pant, pant...

Huff, huff...pant, pant...


Oh, I am so thirsty.

Some iced tea would be amazing right now. I’m going to pass out from dehydration at this rate.



I may as well admit it: I underestimated how tough this would be.

Who knew wearing a mascot costume could be so uncomfortable?

A delicate young lady like myself has no business doing this sort of job.

I suddenly have so much respect for the people on those superhero team shows.

Like, can you imagine doing action scenes in something like this?



Heck, all I’m doing is standing here and I’m this close to calling it quits.

But I can’t. I need the work. I need the money.

This is no time to be a wuss.

If I give up on this, what else am I possibly going to do?



“Check out the revolutionary new diet drink, Burning Hammer!” I thrust a free sample toward passersby while shouting as loud as I can.

General Tip – Free sample posted:

A free portion (usually quite small) of a product given out to consumers as a sales gimmick; allows them to test the quality and effect of a cosmetic or health product prior to purchase. Frequently referred to as a “trial size” or “freebie” version of the product. In addition to passing out free samples on the streets, some shops also include free samples with purchased products. Please note that simply taking a product without paying for it in order to test it out is theft. Don’t do it.

“C’mon and give it a try!”



Oh, it’s no use.

People just walk by, one after the other. They avoid looking at the sample.

It’s been like this ever since I started standing here.



What gives?

You’d figure at least one person would have taken a bottle by now.

I mean, it’s free! But I haven’t managed to give away a single one.

If this keeps up, there’s no way I’m getting paid.

And then this whole miserable experience will have all been for nothing.



“Just drink this and watch the pounds melt away! No exercising or dieting necessary!”

I can hear the desperation in my own voice.

“Just burn, burn, burn! Burn those pounds away!”

They’re giving me cold looks, now.

They probably think I’m some shyster trying to offload dodgy product.

“It’s that simple-that simple, folks-you just drink the weight away! I guar-an-tee it!”

Heck, this whole thing reeks of a scam to me, too.

Losing weight just by drinking some concoction is way too good to be true.

General Tip – Reeks of a scam posted:

In other words, it seems extremely dubious or suspicious. The word scam, referring to a type of dishonest scheme, is actually of unknown origin; several folk etymologies have been proposed, including that it comes from a simple shortening of ‘scandalous misdeeds,’ but these claims have little evidence to support them.

But still, free is free.

You’d think I’d be able to give one or two away.

It’s not like I’m not trying.

Okay, pep talk time.

You can do this.

Think about the money.

Just start with one bottle.

All right. I am going to give this bottle away to the next person I see, no matter what.

I close my eyes and gather my determination. I just need to get started, and the momentum will build from there.



All right! Eyes open!

There are two people walking in my direction!

Wait, two?

Oh no, which one do I pick?

If I keep waffling they’re both going to pass me by.

I just need to hand this bottle off.

Which one of these guys looks more likely to take it?

ChaceRider
Aug 15, 2009

and above all else, be kind


Aww, now I feel bad. Poor Tama. What time of year is it supposed to be again? Tokyo summers can be notoriously unbearable, I've heard. Our poor scammy-wares-hawking cat might very well get heatstroke like this.

Anyway, B: let's shove our Very Legitimate Diet Drink at the scruffy homeless-looking dude on our right! Surely he'll be nearly as thirsty as us, right?!

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



ChaceRider posted:

What time of year is it supposed to be again? Tokyo summers can be notoriously unbearable, I've heard.

It's mid-spring.

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



No music.



Clutching the free sample in my furry fist, I try to force it off on the disheveled fellow to my right.



To my surprise, he takes it.

“Huh? What’s this?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow as he looks at the bottle.

I flap my fuzzy arms and strike a cute pose as I launch into the product pitch.

“It’s Burning Hammer! The number one new diet drink! Please, give it a try!”



“No thanks,” the man says. “I’m good.” I keep my arms held open wide and pretend I didn’t hear that.

“Look,” he says. “I’m in a hurry. You should give this to someone else.”

He tries to hand the sample back to me, but I hold my ground.

For a few moments, we are at a silent impasse.

Maybe he’s weirded out by my cat alter-ego holding its freeze-frame pose, because eventually he looks away, slips the bottle into his pocket, and walks off.



I did it.

I finally got someone to take one.

But there are still so many samples left.

My brief surge of excitement dies before it can even fully take hold.

I wonder how the other mascot is doing about now.



“There’s a sales demo happening today at one o’clock at the Nokane Building!”

Huh. Looks like the chicken has handed out all kinds of samples.

I don’t get it. How come nobody is taking any of mine?

What could I possibly be doing wrong?



I look at the clock. It’s a little after eleven. My morning of wandering around hawking diet drinks is just about over.

I’ll need to get ready to head over to the sales demo.

I’d love to take the costume off, but then I’d have to carry it.

The samples I haven’t given out are almost too heavy as it is.

Oh well. I might not have gotten results, but I tried my best.

I sure hope they don’t withhold my pay or anything.

Fatigue.



“Hey, what gives? You got that many left?”

The chicken speaks with a female voice.

“Yeah,” I reply sheepishly. “Nobody seems to want to take mine.”

“Well I mean, are you looking for the right targets?”

“Huh?”

“Like groups of girls, or bored-looking older ladies. Those are the types you gotta be gunning for, y’know.”

Wow. I hadn’t even considered that.

Now that she says it it seems so obvious. This is a diet drink, after all. Of course I’m not gonna have any luck trying to foist it off on random guys.

“Well, whatever,” the chicken says. “Here, give me the samples you’ve got left.”

I hand over my samples, and the chicken dumps the whole lot into her basket.

“I’ll drink whatever’s left so they don’t find out you didn’t pass them out,” she says.

“Huh? Wait, like all of them?”



“Yeah, all of them.”

The chicken sounds pretty confident in herself.

These may just be sample-size bottles, but still, they add up to a lot.

I can feel myself on the brink of tears at the kindness of her offer.

“Thank you so much. That’s a huge help.”

I bow deeply, which makes my mascot head wobble.



Leaving the station behind, we head down Center Gai towards the Nokane Building.

The Burning Hammer sales demo is going to be held there this afternoon.

The job’s supposed to pay 10,000 yen for the day, but if we can sell at least a hundred bottles at the demo, they’ve promised another 10,000 on top of that.

428 Tip – Nokane Building posted:

A multi-tenant office building in Udagawacho, located in Center Gai, Shibuya’s downtown district. In addition to hosting the weight loss drink sales demo, the building is also home to the foreign capital protection firm Japan SellCom, the IT mainstay Shibuya On-Net (SON), Video game developer Shindai-Tradco, and Strikeback Labs, publisher of the monthly magazine Science Strikes Back, along with many others businesses.

I need to make sure I sell those hundred bottles. I need that 20,000 yen, and I need it ASAP.



We arrive at the Nokane Building-a run-down, multi-tenant office complex.

We head in to the room where the Burning Hammer sales demo is taking place.

There are already about fifty seats set out.

I wonder how many people the free samples will pull in.

A stage has been set up at the far end of the room.

That’s where I’m going to be standing, sipping Burning Hammer while explaining its effects to the customers.

“Hurry up and take that thing off .” The chicken flaps her wings as she speaks. “It’s kinda early, but c’mon, let’s have lunch! I’m staaarving.”

Now that she mentions it, I realize I’m pretty hungry, myself.

The demo’s not starting for another two hours.

I can’t win a war against my stomach for that long.

The chicken and I head to the waiting room where they’ve set out our lunches for us.

“Mind getting my back real quick?” the chicken asks. She arches her back towards me.



Apparently she can’t reach her own zipper.

“Oh sure, gimme just a sec.”

I try to unzip the back of the chicken suit, but my own suit’s thick, fuzzy fingers have a hard time of it.

“What’s the holdup? C’mon, I’m roasting in this thing. Hurry up and get it off me.”

“I’ve almost got it. It’s just awkward with these mitts.”

Finally, I get hold of the zipper and yank it downward.



A girl emerges from the chicken as if the chicken itself were an egg.

“Whew! I’m aliiiiiive!”

Her red sweatshirt is drenched in sweat. Almost at once, she’s kicking back and cooling off with a hand fan.

“Sorry, but would you mind getting me, too?” I ask.

“Yeah, okay.”

I turn my back to the girl.



I hear metal clacking behind me.

At long last, I’m about to be free of this five-ton fursuit!

“Hmm, Huh?”

The girl murmurs awkwardly.

“Huh? Whuh?”

A spike of anxiety hits me.



“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“Yeah, that’s a no-go. Zipper’s busted.”

“What?!”

“Yeah, sorry. This thing ain’t coming off.”



“Whaaaaaat?”

My vision goes dark.

“No, no, nooo!”

I tug desperately at the costume, but no luck. I’m trapped inside.



“Oh, what the crap?!”

“Ah, well. We can talk to the boss about it when he gets back,” the girl says. “I mean it’s not like we can just cut it off you with scissors or anything.”

She sounds entirely unconcerned.

It’s so unfair! I need to get out of this stuffy, sweltering steam bath as soon as possible.

All I can do is clench my fist in impotent rage.

“But anyway, good work out there today,” the girl continues. “I’m Chiriko Osugi, by the way. You can just call me ‘Chiri.'” She smiles as she introduces herself.



“I mean I am a pretty cheery gal, after all.” She breaks into a hearty guffaw.

“Oh, sure,” I say. “It’s nice to meet you.”



“Yeah, for sure. So...I guess you’re not gonna be able to eat lunch in that getup, huh?”

“Huh? Gah, that’s right. What should I do?”

“Don’t sweat it. Just leave it to me.”

“Huh?”

“I’ll eat both lunches myself.”



Chiri doesn’t even wait for me to reply before reaching for my lunch.

“It’d be a shame to let it go to waste,” she says.

She makes it sound like leftover food is a bigger concern than my hunger.

I can feel my appetite stirring all the more as she devours my meal with a satisfied grin on her face.

A faint, pathetic gurgle rises from my belly.



It’s just a cheap little prepackaged box lunch, but right now it looks like a feast.

“So what’s your name?” Chiri asks.

Her cheeks are still packed with rice.

“My name?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh. It’s, uh...”

As I struggle to think of an answer, my eyes alight on the piece of tamagoyaki clutched between Chiri’s chopsticks.



The yellow slab of lightly grilled egg wobbles to and fro.

I can see the inside from the way it’s been sliced; it looks somewhat undercooked.

“C’mon, what’s your name?”

“Hmm? Oh, right, uh. Tama. It’s Tama.”

“Huh! You mean like the famous eat? Well ain’t that fitting!”

Chiri chortles and stuffs the piece of tamagoyaki into her mouth, then takes a big swig of iced tea.



I am beyond jealous.

I wish I could gorge myself on those lunch boxes until I’m full to bursting.

Heck, even a cold glass of iced tea would be a lifesaver right now.

I’m so thirsty I’m starting to get all dizzy. Maybe I really am getting dehydrated.

This isn’t good. If I don’t do something, I’m going to pass out before the sales demo even starts.

And then I remember something.

The zipper down my back might be busted, but I can still take the head off, right? That way, I’d at least be able to eat and drink stuff.

“All right!”

HydroSphere fucked around with this message at 20:00 on Jun 1, 2019

Wes Warhammer
Oct 19, 2012





A. Off with our head! Why should we ask someone who's eating our food to help us?

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



Agreed. Honestly I was expecting them to do just take the head off in the first place but I guess it must be easier to step out of the suit entirely.

ChaceRider
Aug 15, 2009

and above all else, be kind


Yeah, same on wondering why "pull the head off" didn't occur to 'Tama' sooner. I get the feeling it won't be that easy though, considering our dehydrated cat won't (can't?) even give out her real name...

Ah well, at least it's only spring and not summer. Let's try A: just tear the drat thing off, then!

HR12345
Nov 19, 2012


I also vote Choice A.

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014





Fatigue.

I decide to grab the head in both hands and yank it upward with all my might.



“Hmph! Ngh! Urgh! Bah!”

Oh, come on!

No matter how hard I pull, it won’t come off.



“Ow!”

A dull pain throbs at the back of my head. Did I smack it against something at some point?

Chiri flashes me a curious look.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“I thought maybe I could at least get the head off.” I try pulling again, refusing to give up.

“That ain’t gonna work. That thing’s attached to the body.”

No music.



I slump forward in defeat, faceplanting on the tabletop.

“Nooooo...”

“Most folks would have noticed that when they put it on, y’know.”

“Well I didn’t! The boss helped me get into it, is the thing.”

“Hmm. Well, don’t let it get you down,” Chiri says. “Here, drink some of this.”



She pulls a bottle with a straw from her bag, and pours some of the tea into it.



In a fever of thirst, I jam the plastic straw through the mascot costume’s mouth. Thankfully, it reaches as far as my own.

I suck for all I’m worth. I suck and I suck and I suck.

My body rejoices as the moisture returns to it, like rain coming to the desert.

And thus, I revive!

Actually, it kind of does feel like I’m coming back to life.

Tama.



“Oh, thank you so much. I am never going to forget this as long as I live.”

With tears welling up in my eyes, I clutch Chiri’s hand in my fuzzy mitts.

“Aw, hey, I’m not the kinda person to abandon someone in need, y’know?” she replies.

An embarrassed grin crosses her face.

“How come you’re carrying this bottle around with you, anyway?” I ask.

“Oh, that’s ‘cause I make my own protein juice.”

Protein juice?

Never heard of it.

General Tip – Protein posted:

In Japan, the word “protein” is frequently used to refer to a powdered health food supplement that contain vitamins and minerals as well as a protein component. It is dissolved in milk or another liquid to create a drink. A “protein diet” typically involves drinking a glass of this in place of a meal. Drinking it in place of tea would assuredly lead to weight gain.



“I heard that if you have protein juice for one of your three meals a day, you’ll lose weight. So yeah, I kinda need to keep it.” Given Chiri’s sort of, well, chubby frame, I don’t think the protein’s been working so great for her.

“I’ve been trying all sorts of stuff, but right now protein is totally the best thing for my diet. This, stuff, though—”

Chiri casts her eyes at the samples of Burning Hammer on the table.

“It’s like, totally bogus.”

“Huh? Bogus?”

That’s a surprise.

“Well yeah,” Chiri says. “You’ve gotta exercise if you want to burn body fat.” She smacks herself on one flabby arm. “I mean, there’s no way you’re gonna lose weight by taking in more calories.”

Huh. Didn’t she just say she was drinking protein juice to lose weight? I keep that thought to myself.

General Tip – Burn posted:

The best way to burn fat is to engage in steady, low-intensity aerobic exercise. After roughly 20 minutes of such exercise, the body burns through its available blood sugar, and the brain sends signals to have fat brought into the bloodstream. This is how fat is burned. Anaerobic exercise, which leaves you panting and breathless, is not effective.

“I mean, that’d be as ridiculous as all-you-can-eat Kobe beef,” she adds. She shakes her head seriously.

I’m not sure about using “all-you-can-eat” anything as an example in a discussion about weight loss. But again, I keep the thought to myself.

“But hey, a job’s a job,” Chiri says after a moment, perking up again. “They tell me to sell this junk, I’ll sell it.”

No music.



A sudden wailing comes from the other side of the door.



Mr. Yanagishita is down on his hands and knees, begging, while two uncouth-looking men glower at him.

“Just a little more time, that’s all I ask!” he pleads. “Once I sell this stuff I can pay you back!’

I see a tiny bottle of Burning Hammer in his hand.



“Just a little more,” mimics the middle-aged fellow. “'I just gotta sell this.' We've heard enough of that outta you.”

“Yeah,” the younger guy sneers. “We ain't givin' you any more time. So quit askin'.”

“But I really just need a little longer this time. Please, you gotta believe me!”



From the look of things, Mr. Yanagishita is dealing with some loan sharks.

And the two thugs are clearly in no mood for his continued groveling.

Chiri and I exchange a glance; it’s probably best if we don’t go out there right now.

But now I’m really worried. Am I actually going to get paid for this gig?

General Tip – Loan Sharks posted:

Though it seems obvious that this term refers to toothy predators of the deep, the word shark in this case actually has its origins in an older Germanic word meaning “parasite” or “someone who preys on others.” The same word gave rise to the terms “pool shark” and “card shark.” In the case of loan sharks, though, the initial mental image seems quite appropriate.



As I’m pondering that, one of the men grabs Yanagishita by the nape of the neck and drags him to his feet.

“Come with us, pal. We’ll take you someplace you can, ah, work off your debts.”

“Say whaaaaat?” Mr. Yanagishita wails.

The two men drag him away.

“Huh. Guess he’s gone, then,” Chiri says.

She’s already starting to pack up her things.

Tama.



“Wait, what are you doing?” I ask.

“Going home. Not much point sticking around.”

“Going home?”

“I mean the demo sure ain’t happening now. Anyhow, it was nice workin’ with you! See ya!”

Moments later, Chiri is out the door.



Now what do I do? Hmm... I’ve been left here all by myself, more or less at a total loss.




  • This is as far as we can go with Tama right now. Who would you like to see next?

JamMasterJim
Mar 27, 2010


Let's go back to Super Recycle Man, Achi.

ChaceRider
Aug 15, 2009

and above all else, be kind


Oh Guess going for the cute kitty-mascot first wasn't the best idea. Trapped in a suit forever (or, well, until someone finds the industrial scissors) and not getting paid, a sad fate indeed. At least they didn't die of heat stroke.

Anyway, I'll vote for Achi too, mostly because I don't quite recall who the new options were outside of the cat, oops. Also, I like his ponytail.

HydroSphere
Feb 11, 2014



Current character options:

  • Achi.
  • Kano.

HR12345
Nov 19, 2012


Minorikawa

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Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

Osawa

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