Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Update XXIX: Superstition ain’t the way



Finally, we can get started on the three routes of actual importance. I’m sure we all had fun with Ryuji and Meoshi… and I guess some of you had fun with Towa (I am most certainly excluded from that group), but those three didn’t give us much in the way of overall story answers. All we got was some minor plot stuff that tied those three specific characters together very loosely.



Urabe, Shirabe, and Shidou’s routes are (supposedly) going to change all of that. Now, I’ve seen competing opinions on what order these three should be done in. Some people suggest leaving Urabe’s route for last and starting with Shidou’s, but others suggest starting with Urabe and ending with Shirabe.

For the purposes of the LP, I’ll go along with the suggestion of the review I found which alerted me to this whole “some routes are more important than others” thing in the first place. A blog site called Daiyamanga had a spoiler-free review that recommended the “Urabe->Shidou->Shirabe” order, so that’s what we’ll go with.



To that end, we need to start boosting Urabe’s affection points. Urabe doesn’t have many opportunities for this in Stages 1-3. He still gets the Break Time events like the others, but he misses out on some events (most notably the Alice Kart race). That said, all we really need to do is just make sure that we select whatever choices pop up which involve checking on Urabe or accepting his help. Other than that, we make sure to limit everyone else’s affection choices.

(Yeah, I think I feel like Japanese today.)

Anyway, as far as new scenes go the first major one is when Saki is deciding what to eat after Samurai Fantasy VII is completed. The last time we saw this scene was in Wakasa’s route.

I headed off after Urabe.

Oh, you’re going to be having Japanese as well?

Yeah, I thought I could use something healthy.

Then Japanese food is the clear choice. So, what will you be having?

Hmm… Maybe… broiled fish?



He beckoned over one of the piglets, and relayed our order. The piglet nodded, gestured for us to wait, and disappeared into the back of the restaurant.

Goodness, I’m rather tired. I imagine you must be exhausted as well. Are you feeling all right?

I’m tired too, but I’m feeling okay. What about you?



A fear has been creeping into me since I started this route. Kimimaro has been absent for so much of the game so far that I forgot about how few expression portraits he has. I get the feeling I’m going to have to create a bunch of new ones once his route really kicks off. Pretty sure the “sadness” expression is just around the corner getting ready to ambush me.

Huh?



…My fears are real. Dammit…

Is something wrong? Apart from the, uh, obvious, I mean.



I’ll just brute force this for now, I guess. This is going to be a short update anyway, so extra screenshots won’t be a problem.

Urabe…

He sighed, and closed his eyes. I felt like he was being too hard on himself. It wasn’t like this was supposed to be easy

There’s a choice here. We want “There’s always next time.”

Well, we’re going to be here for six more days. I’ll bet your skills are going be [sic] really important later on.

I wonder…

Don’t be so hard on yourself, man. I’m sure you’ve got some kind of useful skill. I mean, you can’t do any worse than Saki, the girl who apparently decided to start the game of life with the “Waste of skin” class selected.

C’mon, I’m sure they will!

*Affection up*

He gave me a shy smile and said nothing, but I felt like maybe I’d cheered him up, if only a little bit.



In other words, it’s a crock of poo poo. A collection of vague statements that your mind will interpret into being highly specific and personalized and therefore correct. It’s called the Barnum effect.

Oh…

Which is fine. Nature of the beast, and all that.

What does that even mean?

He shrugged, and looked down.

(I wonder what’s wrong with him…)

It didn’t seem polite to just ask him that point-blank, but I was worried.



Oh, no, that’s fine…

He he… Well, if we manage to survive all of this, perhaps I can read your fortune for you.

I’d imagine all you would see is static. Or maybe like my fat rear end sitting here in my chair staring back at you. That would be a cool mindfuck, wouldn’t it? Have a scene like this with a crystal ball and when the character looks into it it’s just a collage of faces from the game’s fanbase.

Your future is directed by a group of higher dimensional beings, Saki.

Th-Thanks.

Moments later a piglet appeared with our food. We took it, and headed back to the others.

And that’s all for that scene. Time to jump ahead to Break Time 1.



Urabe?



I just couldn’t get to sleep… What’s up with you?

Oh, nothing really. Just looking into my crystal ball.

Really…?

Yes. I find it very calming. Would you like to have a look?

Is that okay…?

Normally no, but… For you I think I can make an exception.

Why is that normally not okay? Afraid someone is going to see the electronics or something you’ve got stuffed in there to help you “see the future”?

I stared into the depths of the ball.



Can you see anything?

…No, just… a crystal ball. But you’re right, it does make you feel nice.

Interesting. You’re a very happy person.

I guess that’s one thing she’s got going for her.

Huh?



…What?

Ha… In fortunes, I mean. I would prefer to see only the good futures, but sadly life is not so simple.

Well, yeah, but if we didn’t have to go through bad stuff every so often, wouldn’t we appreciate the good stuff less?

Ha ha ha… Yes, perhaps you’re right. I should thank you. You seem to have lifted my spirits.

Awesome!

Thanks to you, I think this may be my first sound night of sleep in some time. …A state of affairs which is not without a certain degree of irony…

Oh…

He wrapped his hands around my own.

(His hands are… cold.)



*Affection up*

With that, we parted ways and I returned to my room.

Moving on. Our next stop is Break Time 2. Remember, Urabe ducks out from Alice Kart, so there’s no unique scene for him at all in Day 2.



Okay, so that’s not entirely true. There is a very brief moment where we decide to be nice and check in on him when he’s looking kind of under the weather. It’s just an affection point thing though. He brushes off Saki’s concern by saying that he’s just a bit ill from the kart.

Urabe!



Anyway, on to Break Time 2.

I could ask you the same thing.



What’s wrong?

During the… excitement today, one of my garments caught on something and the hem was torn completely off.

Oh… Yeah, I see.

He held up the damaged hem and sighed.



Then why the hell did you wear it to a theme park opening? Do you have any idea how much kid snot, ketchup, and grease is going to accumulate on that?

So you asked to borrow some sewing supplies?

Indeed I did, and I am fortunate that they were available, but it appears my skill with needle and thread leaves… Something to be desired.

“Leaves something to be desired” was a serious understatement. It looked like some sort of textile warzone.

Here, let me give it a shot.



That’s the face of someone who realizes that they had earlier thought “Well, at least it can’t get any worse than this” and is now about to be proven wrong.

I bet you’d never guess it, but I’m actually pretty good at sewing.

…Wait, really? Oh! I get it. This is a setup to a gag, right? Like the whole anime bullshit staple of girls offering to cook and then excitedly revealing some kind of biohazardous mess.



I picked up Urabe’s coat, and set to work on the damaged area. It made me a little nervous to have him watching me so closely, but I soldiered on.

…There! All done.



Hold on, Saki is good at sewing for real? Holy poo poo! Saki finally reveals something she can do! It’s an early Easter miracle, I guess. Or an especially late Christmas one. Either way.

He seemed really happy.

Glad I could help.

Perhaps someday I can return the favor. My usefulness is limited, but…

Oh, you don’t need to do that. It was easy— Aah!

Are you all right?!

Aah… I poked myself in the finger with the needle.

How? You finished sewing, Saki. Were you sitting there playing with the sewing needle or something?

Oh dear. You must be treated, immediately.

No, I’m fine, really. I can barely even feel it…

But Urabe ignored me and ran off to borrow a first aid kit from the piglets.



Sorry…

Despite my protests, I ended up getting bandaged anyway. Even though it was barely bleeding, Urabe handled my finger with gentle care.

So now we’re even, right?

I’m afraid the service you have rendered to me far outweighs this small gesture.

*Affection up*

(His hands are cold, but… it actually feels kinda nice.)

It occurred to me that maybe I should let myself get poked with needles more often in the future.

Calm down, Saki. Let’s not go awakening any dormant fetishes or anything.

Anyway, that’s all for Break Time Event 2. Now we skip ahead to the big finale, Bloodstained Hospital.



Kimimaro gets a CG here during the moment where Ryuji bum-rushes the zombie in the maze section. He tells them both to run and Urabe grabs on to Saki’s hand to help her.



All that really happens is Saki starts thinking about what Urabe might have been trying to say (he was trying to come clean about the traitor thing that we now know about thanks to previous routes). After they escape from the zombie, Urabe then asks Saki if she’s okay and makes this slightly unnerving comment about how she looked very distraught (you were running for your lives, man. Of course she looked distraught).

Saki also tries to ask him what he was trying to say earlier, but Urabe dodges the question like you would expect.



There’s also something here that isn’t unique to Urabe’s route but that I feel is worth mentioning.

The choice to go with here in both routes (Urabe’s and Ryuji’s) is normally “Come on, Urabe!” That gives an affection point to Urabe and also agrees with Ryuji (who is trying to rush the group to chase after the sound of the screaming girl, who we know is Mai).



But if you choose “Mitarashi, wait!”, he actually gets so worked up about Saki and Urabe’s hesitation that he ends up earning a Game Over.

I skipped ahead a bit after this moment to see if anything else would change, but it seems like everything proceeds as it normally does with Ryuji asking Urabe to use his crystal ball GPS to find them a way through the maze.

I went back to the choice around that moment and got the Urabe affection point instead. I realized afterward, however, that this should result in either a new scene in the Vivisection Lab or a plot hole to occur.



If you recall, way back during our first time at Bloodstained Hospital, the game’s rules were that if three people maxed out their heart-rate monitors, it was game over for the whole group. In the Vivisection Lab, Shirabe will always get a Game Over. There’s no way to avoid this because it isn’t tied to dialogue choices.

In addition, this moment where Shirabe nearly beats Mai upside the head will always result in either Shidou or Saki getting a game over. Saki loses if she does her “What were you thinking?!” thing, but Shidou will lose instead if Saki restrains herself.

So then what happens in that scene if we trigger this one and cause Ryuji to fail? I’ll have to go back later and test it out to be sure, but my money is on either the writers or the translators having screwed up and created a plot hole. I very highly doubt that they would pull a total Game Over in the Vivisection Lab as a result of this choice. That would require the player to be sent back quite a ways, which this game has so far been very good at avoiding.



Anyway, I’ll let you know how that pans out. For now, we turn our attention back to the end of Stage 3. In this timeline, Saki sticks up for Urabe and tells the others that they should trust him (regarding cutting the blue wire). Everything still proceeds the same way as usual, but this time Urabe is the one to save Saki from the explosion.

The blast slammed into me, and I felt my body begin to fall, when—

Unn… Urabe?!

He’d wrapped his arms around me and turned his back to the explosion.

Are… are you okay?!



I’m fine…

Good.

(He protected me…)

*The screen shakes a bit*

Guh…!

I held up an arm to cover my face, but the blast hit me with such force that I could feel my mind start to drift into unconsciousness.









(Is he…crying?)



No… don’t…

He carefully lay me down on the ground, then turned and walked away.

(I can’t let him go, but my body won’t move…!)

As I watched him fade into the billowing smoke, my mind slipped into unconsciousness.

Things go roughly the same as usual from this point, but there’s a major shift right before the end of the Stage.



Just as the group is calling off their search for Urabe for the night and returning to the hotel, Saki stops on the boarding ramp and has second thoughts.

Um…

What is it?

I stopped halfway up the ramp.

I want to go have another look.

Why?

I feel like if I go back to the hotel now, I’ll never get to see him again…



Well, maybe, but…

Yeah, we’ve been all over the park and we didn’t see anything.

Exactly. We can also keep looking tomorrow.

I know. I just…

…?

I just feel like I gotta do this, okay?

I turned and ran back down the ramp.

Hey!



You idiot!

That’s rich, coming from Ryuji.

Sorry!

I stood there for a few minutes, watching them pull away.

(Sorry guys… I know this might throw a bit of a wrench in things, but I can’t just leave him out there…)

Maybe there had been a better way to deal with that situation, but I hadn’t been able to think of one.



Part of me was a little scared too— what if he hadn’t made it? And he had betrayed us…

(But he still helped us out in the end. We’d be dead without him…)



Urabe’s route seems to lock in a little earlier than everyone else’s. Normally, the end of Stage 3 would offer up one last Break Time event. It’s not a full event with a CG or anything (it’s basically just deciding who shows up at Saki’s room to check on her condition), but if Urabe’s affection points are even slightly ahead of anyone else’s before the bomb segment, then that final Break Time choice is skipped.

Now that I think about it, I wonder when the exact point is that the game locks you into a route. I had assumed that it happened before the explosion and whomever rescues Saki is the one you are locked into, but there is a final choice after that where I think an affection point is possible.

(This is where I met him for the first time…)

Something else I will need to test later on, I guess.

It felt like we’d known each other a lot longer than just a few days.

(I never would have guessed something like this was going to happen…)

Unfortunately, he wasn’t there.



(You know, Urabe asked to ride alone, didn’t he… He looked pretty sick afterward, and I just assumed he was carsick…)

But what if he’d looked that way because betraying us was really bothering him?

*Sigh*

Suddenly my cell phone rang.

H-Hello?

Inafune?

Shidou!



Yeah, I know…

We understand how you feel.

…Uh huh…



Okay. I’m sorry I made you all worry.

I reassured him that everything was all right, and then hung up.

(I guess that caused more trouble than I thought, although it is nice to know they’re worried about me.)

Still, Shidou was right that I probably should have thought things through a little better.

(Well, you live and you learn.)

Right up until you get you and everyone else killed as a result of your reckless behaviour. There’s no learning after that.

I headed off to see if I could find Urabe somewhere else.



(He’s not here either…)

I was about to give up and leave when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I turned, and there he was.



”Don’t mind me, just posing dramatically for nobody in particular.”

Urabe seemed to be absorbed in some kind of meditation. He was sitting beneath a tree, illuminated by the soft glow of street lights.

Urabe!

Wh-What?! Why are you here?

His eyes went wide with surprise as I rushed over.

Well, um, when you left, you just… Looked really lonely.

…Oh.

I couldn’t leave you behind. It’s not just me either… everybody else is worried about you too.

I’d run out of things to say, so I simply closed my mouth. For several long moments, the only sound was the quiet whisper of the wind.

(Oh… I guess I never thought about why he might be here meditating by himself…)



…Urabe…?

His eyes shifted to me, and then looked out at Samurai Fantasy VII.

…This was where it began.

Huh?

The first game that we all faced together. It was also the first time that I touched your hand.

Um…

Would you care to sit down and talk?

Sure!



He gave me a soft smile that seemed genuinely happy, and I grinned back.

(Well, that went better than expected.)

We sat down on a bench. Most of what we talked about wasn’t important, and we both felt a little awkward. We didn’t bring up Hogstein, or Urabe’s betrayal.



So I talked about whatever I could think of. I wanted to know more about him, and I found I wanted him to know more about me too.

(What’s this feeling…?)

Beats me. You barely interact with him during the common route, even when specifically going for his route.


So that’s it for the leadup to Urabe’s route. Next time we’ll find out what crazy direction his route will take us in. Personally, I’ve been a little creeped out by him so far. There’s some weird unnerving feeling I get from the way he talks to Saki. Of course, that could just be me being suspicious of him due to the whole betrayal thing. After all, we still have no idea what his motivations for that are.

…I also have more portrait work to do before we continue. Damnit, Urabe. Why couldn’t you be less expressive? Like Shidou!

Psycho Knight fucked around with this message at 17:25 on Mar 1, 2021

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Blaze Dragon
Aug 28, 2013
LOWTAX'S SPINE FUND



I agree in that route feels a bit creepy. I can't quite put my finger on why though, but it feels...off, in comparison to the previous ones. I wonder what that will lead to.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Blaze Dragon posted:

I agree in that route feels a bit creepy. I can't quite put my finger on why though, but it feels...off, in comparison to the previous ones. I wonder what that will lead to.

Personally I just find the way he talks to Saki a bit creepy. He's always had the refined style of speech, but now that we're going for his route he seems to be rapidly fixating on her and that makes the refined speech unsettling.

There's also the fact that we don't know where the game is planning to take this route. Saki is alone with this guy who is known to have been working for the villain and whose motivations for doing so are still a mystery. It is possible that Saki simply convinces Urabe to rejoin the group and the route consists of just doing the remaining games, but given the differences in routes so far I doubt that's going to be the case (I also hope it's not the case, because that would be pretty boring).

BurningStone
Jun 3, 2011


I wonder if you can spread your affection points in just the wrong way and lock in nobody.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

BurningStone posted:

I wonder if you can spread your affection points in just the wrong way and lock in nobody.

I haven't tried it, but I would assume it's not possible. Remember that in any route where Saki returns to her hotel room (every route except for Urabe's), there's an unavoidable choice of which guy shows up to check on her before bed. My guess would be that if there is a tie, that choice is used to break it.

I can certainly use chapter select to try, though.

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

It's very strange, because I want to be interested in this guy but it feels like they're giving us nothing to latch onto. Maybe they assume you'll be pursuing him more out of meta-interest from knowing he's involved in the plot?

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

gegi posted:

It's very strange, because I want to be interested in this guy but it feels like they're giving us nothing to latch onto. Maybe they assume you'll be pursuing him more out of meta-interest from knowing he's involved in the plot?

I think his appeal rests mainly on appearance and possibly a "tortured artist" vibe (which you would think would be Towa's thing).

I can see his physical appearance garnering a fanbase, but I think you're right in the sense that there doesn't appear to be anything to latch on to with him outside of the fact that he clearly has some kind of larger involvement with the narrative. In terms of personality, he's definitely who I would consider to be the weakest out of the cast. Of course, that could simply be a side effect of how little screen time he gets during the common route (as well as in other main routes).

SimplyUnknown1
Aug 18, 2017

Cat Cat Cat


gegi posted:

It's very strange, because I want to be interested in this guy but it feels like they're giving us nothing to latch onto. Maybe they assume you'll be pursuing him more out of meta-interest from knowing he's involved in the plot?

It actually might be a point to not go after Urabe for your first route. After all, during your first playthrough, you're unlikely to expect him to be a traitor unless you went looking for spoilers. Going for his route first thing might change a lot of things for you in the long run, sort of how there's a huge divide between people who went for Edelgard's route first vs those who went for Dimitri's route first in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. So they made Urabe less interesting for players so they wouldn't go for him on their first playthrough. I mean, it's unlikely they thought this through that much, but it's a possibility.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

SimplyUnknown1 posted:

It actually might be a point to not go after Urabe for your first route. After all, during your first playthrough, you're unlikely to expect him to be a traitor unless you went looking for spoilers. Going for his route first thing might change a lot of things for you in the long run, sort of how there's a huge divide between people who went for Edelgard's route first vs those who went for Dimitri's route first in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. So they made Urabe less interesting for players so they wouldn't go for him on their first playthrough. I mean, it's unlikely they thought this through that much, but it's a possibility.

That's an angle I didn't consider. Do you think there's any correlation between the most popular characters and the "best" route order? As in the characters who have more spoilerific routes are designed to be little less attractive to the fanbase? Kind of a case where the developers tried to steer the players towards the suggested route order without overtly saying it.

Shirabe and Urabe seem like the two characters who would have the smallest fanbase in a game like this. Shirabe suffers from the fact that he's a 32 year-old single dad in a game aimed primarily at 13-17 year-old girls (his kind of character would probably be more popular in a Josei game). Urabe's whole thing (being a fortune teller that dresses in a more traditional Japanese style) also likely appeals more to older ladies than it does teenagers.

Shidou is the only standout. Shidou's route is supposedly one of the more story focused ones, but his character strikes me as being one that would garner a lot of attraction from the fanbase, given that he's a young, sharply dressed, professional. I'm also probably giving the developers too much credit, though.

It would be easier to test this theory if there were character polls done for this game, but it's such a small title that I doubt there was ever any polling for it. Personally, I feel like the characters most likely to be chosen first by players is probably ordered:

1. Ryuji
2. Towa
3. Shidou
4. Kouta
5. Urabe
6. Shirabe

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

In my experience the spoiler-heavy super important characters are often really popular but also often route-locked so that you can't do them first. Gives you motivation to keep playing, though also makes people frustrated that they have to slog through routes they don't care about before getting to the meat.

There's a forum poll on gamefaqs about favorite guys and it puts Shidou as most popular.

gegi fucked around with this message at 18:21 on Mar 5, 2021

cardinale
Jul 11, 2016



I'd probably pick Shidou as my favourite right now too

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Sorry for the delay. Haven't been having a great time lately so I'm working slower than usual.

Good news is that I did manage to get some new Kimimaro portraits done. They will see ample use during this update.


Update XXX: Exposition Dump



Time for us to get start on Urabe’s route proper. We’re uhh… we’re not going to be going anywhere for a little while.



When I woke up it was chilly.

(Huh…? When did I fall asleep…?)

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, and sat up.

The technical term for that is rheum, by the way. It’s a discharge of mucus and liquid that collects in the corner of your eyes while you sleep. It can also happen with the nose and mouth.

Now that everyone is grossed out, let’s continue.

It was still dark.



Oh!

It all came back to me in a rush.

(I was talking to Urabe… I must have just drifted off!)

I quickly stood up.

I’m so sorry! I must have been really… tired…

My voice faded away as I realized there was no one there.

…Urabe?

But there was no answer, and he was nowhere to be seen.



Maybe he was never there to begin with.

Urabe?!

Perhaps he’d been kidnapped by Hogstein. …Or maybe he’d gotten sick and collapsed somewhere? I tried not to think about what might have happened and started to run, looking around every corner for him. I stumbled and tripped, but I kept going. No matter where I looked, though, he was nowhere to be found.

(Did he disappear again? I’d only just found him!)



*At this point the background goes black*

Urabe…

Misery and fear washed over me as I realized I might never see him again, and I dropped to my knees.

!

Then suddenly, reality shifted.



I’d thought I was on my knees, so why was I looking up…?

(That… that was all dream [sic]…?)

My heart was still pounding, but I let out a sigh of relief.

Oh? Are you awake?

Urabe?

I turned to find him looking at me, his face much closer than I’d expected.



How do you feel?

O-Oh, I’m fine. Sorry… I guess I was just really tired.

Quite all right. It’s fortunate you don’t seem to have caught ill. I considered moving you to a warmer location, but you looked so comfortable… I confess I was afraid I might wake you, so I left you as you were.

As I… was?

His hand stroked my hair gently.

(…Did I bring a pillow? It seems kinda warm for being outside all night… …Wait.)

I froze. Why hadn’t I realized it earlier?

…Urabe?

Yes?

Is… is my head on your, um…



He just smiled.

I’m super creeped out by this CG. Like, letting Saki rest her head on his lap = The gentlemanly thing to do.

Creepily stroking her head? No es bueno.

I’m afraid it’s not terribly soft.



!

(Oh God I am! I’m sleeping on his lap!)

I-I-I am so sorry!



You have nothing to apologize for. I enjoyed watching you sleep.



This is not what you were designed for, TCG!

Oh jeez, did I look weird? I looked weird, didn’t I.

Nothing of the sort. If I were to pick a word, it would have to be “adorable.”

A-Adorable?!

Correct. Your presence… calms me. I would have been content to remain as we were for as long as time allowed.

I may have asked this last update but… it’s not just me, right? There is something really unsettling about the way Kimimaro talks to Saki. Coming from any other character, this kind of talk would probably be flirtatious or sexy, but from Kimimaro it just seems super creepy.

Maybe it’s just because I’m not a lady and I don’t understand the appeal of this.

W-Well next time you should wake me up!



(Oh gosh, this is so embarrassing!)

My hands were cold from the morning air, and I pressed them to my scorching cheeks.

You looked so peaceful, though…

S-Stop it, please! Oh jeez, I can’t believe I feel asleep…

You were clearly exhausted. That you fell asleep is no great surprise.

You had to have been just as tired…

Perhaps, but I would have been remiss not to keep an eye on you while you rested. On to more important matters. Surely you must be famished?

My stomach made a loud, unpleasant noise.

…Maybe a little.

Would you care to take our morning repast together?

Never refer to breakfast as a “morning repast” again.

Yeah! I’d love that!

There’s no way Saki knew what that word meant. I’m assuming she’s just guessing at what he meant by it.

Then shall we depart?

I nodded, and we got up and headed for the restaurant.



Please, you needn’t wait for me.

All right!

*Saki presumably starts inhaling food*

Ooooh man, this is so good!

(Gosh I was hungry! And… I have to admit it tastes better with Urabe here.)

He he. Yes, indeed it is.

He gave me a soft smile.

I have not enjoyed such a serene morning in… some time.

…Yeah…

I wondered if the others had finished their breakfast.





… …Might I have a moment of your time?

I looked up from shoveling food into my mouth to find his eyes looking straight into mine. I hastily wiped my face and sat up straight.

Of course.



He means this, by the way. Settle in for a spell.

He was beginning to fidget a little. Whatever he was about to say, it was big. I gave him a small nod.

Okay. Go ahead.

It will… take some time…

That’s fine. I’m not in any hurry, and I want to know.

…Thank you.

He gave me a quick, nervous smile, and folded his hands.



Once again, game, stop pasting character art over a background and treating it as a new CG. This is the same shot of Kimimaro we just saw except it’s been rotated 30 degrees and had a lighting filter slapped over it.

For quite some time, I have detested my father.

Really…?

He gave me a slow nod. I couldn’t imagine hating your own dad…

He is the owner of a construction firm. A rather important firm, in fact. He has secured contracts for a number of prestigious, well-known sites.



And here we go. I didn’t think his route would pay off so quickly in terms of backstory details.

What? Really?!

He nodded.

He poured a great deal of effort into its construction, and I suppose I began to conflate the two, to some extent. When Count Hogstein proposed blowing it up, then, I found myself quite amenable to the idea.

Oh…

(So he hates his dad enough to want to blow up his park? Why does he hate him so much…?)

Then you dad is…



Man, it must have been fun times in the hostage cage during those last three routes when he was trapped in there with his rear end in a top hat dad. At least now we know how Kimimaro scored access to the grand opening event.

…!

I’d had no idea! That meant both of us had family under Count Hogstein’s control.

Why didn’t you say anything?

I dunno, Saki. Why haven’t you told anyone that your uncle is the park’s owner?



His voice went flat when he spoke, but I could see pain on his face.

There’s a choice here between asking why he hates his dad so much and asking if he really does want to blow up the park. We want the hate option.

Why do you hate him so much?



He gave me a sad smile.

Because he is evil to the core.



Your eyes say you neither understand nor believe me.

Sorry…

Urabe shook his head.

You needn’t apologize. Any other response would have been disappointingly uncharacteristic.

*Affection up*



I shivered. His usually warm eyes were as cold as ice.

My father is a murderer.

What…? Wait, you mean he’s killed—

Before I could push further, my cell phone began to ring. I pulled it out of my pocket and looked at the caller.

It’s Shidou!

He smiled and nodded.

Go ahead.

Thanks. One sec!

I put the phone to my ear.

Hello?



Yeah, sure.

I looked over at Urabe and heard Shidou sigh with relief.

Where are you? Are you safe?

I’m at the restaurant with Urabe, and yes, I’m safe.

Let’s hope that statement doesn’t end up being premature. We still don’t know what Kimimaro’s end game is now that Saki has caught up to him. In every other route he tries to break into Castle Hogstein and ends up as a hostage.

You found him?!

Yeah. He’s telling me about why he did it.

I… see. How… is he? Can you talk freely?

He’s fine.



Shidou knows what’s up. Ryuji might be hellbent on forgiving him and letting bygones be bygones, but everyone else should be keeping a suspicious eye on Urabe from this point on.

I made a mental note to pay careful attention to Urabe’s behavior.

Got it.

Good work. We can handle today’s game. You stick with him.

I can do that, but are you sure you’ll be okay?

Yes. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be fine.

Thanks! Good luck!

He hung up, and I slipped my phone back into my pocket.



I guess they’re gonna do today’s game by themselves.

I see… …

I’m sure they’ll be okay. They can handle anything that pig throws at them.

He fell silent for a moment.

…Yes, I suppose so.

His face relaxed, and he gave me a small smile.

So, uh, about your dad…

Yeah, we got weirdly sidetracked there for a second. Get back to the good stuff.

Ah, yes. Of course.

After a moment of thought he began.



To anyone else, it would, no doubt, have appeared to be a charmed life.

…But there was a darkness behind the glamour.

Your dad?

…Correct.



His expression darkened.



While that does sound philosophical, I don’t think it’s as difficult as you think it is to define people as good or evil. There’s a lot of people out there right now that I think we can all easily agree are evil.

Granted, I will concede that ”Good” may be a little more dubious.

He could do dreadful things, things that would make your blood run cold, and never bat an eye. Money was his only desire, and remorse utterly foreign to him.



So he was Yakuza?

As a child, I knew nothing of this, and loved him dearly. But…

He bit his lip, and I realized suddenly that he was holding back tears. It broke my heart.

I finally… became aware of his ill deeds when I was in junior high. One night after supper, I was returning to my room when I noticed that the door to my father’s study was ajar. I thought he had forgotten to close it, but as I went to do so I noticed that he was on the phone. The next words I heard from him froze me in place.



What?!

He he… Sounds rather like something you’d hear from a television villain, yes?





I didn’t know what to say.

Then a few days later, it happened. A car collided with a bus. The reporter was killed, as well as…

His face twisted with grief, and he was silent for a moment.



A snarl contorted his face, his hand tightened into a fist.

That was when I learned to hate him… And to hate myself, for living high on money soaked in blood.

Dun dun duuuuunn. So here is Hogstein’s motivation for dragging Kimimaro into this whole thing. It’s also Kimimaro’s motivation for going “You know what? You’re right. Let’s blow this place up.”

Hogstein’s dad (presumably of course, we still don’t have concrete confirmation of who the flashback family is) was a reporter who was getting a little too close to Kimimaro’s dad’s shady business/Yakuza dealings. Kimi’s dad put out a hit on Hogstein’s dad, which somehow resulted in the bus crash that killed him and most of his family (along with Ryuji’s parents).

This is a big piece of the puzzle, but there are also a few holes in it. How did Kimimaro’s dad engineer such an accident? Was the driver of the bus part of the plan? Did he know exactly when and where the reporter would be driving? Or was that other car which Meoshi reported seeing part of the plan? If so, then the hitman driving that car must have been precognizant if he set out to deliberately make a bus swerve off the road at the exact time the reporter was approaching. Was it all a total accident that just coincidentally worked out in Kimi’s dad’s favour?

(Oh no…)

Can you imagine how that young boy felt, to discover that the father he had heretofore loved was in fact a monster of unimaginable depravity?

Regardless of how much of a hand Kimi’s dad had in this whole thing, that still doesn’t justify Kimimaro’s actions in working for Hogstein. Yeah, sure, you wanted to stick it to the old man. But how exactly is blowing up a park that his construction company built supposed to be enacting vengeance against him? It isn’t going to ruin his business. You could say that the revenge aspect was supposed to be taking him hostage and threatening his life, but why would you still go through with working for Hogstein after seeing all the innocent people that have been caught up in this alongside him?

Methinks there is still something missing from Kimimaro’s backstory.



I kept quiet. What could I have possibly said? It was a lot to take in all at once. To think he’d lived with that kind of pain for so long… Suddenly I didn’t feel very hungry any more.



To be fair, that seems to be pretty easy to do with Saki. As peppy and scrappy a heroine as she is, it’s real easy to make her feel bad about things.

…No, it’s all right.

(Well, I did want him to open up to me…)

Once we have completed our breakfast, would you care to take a walk and perhaps talk a little more? The fresh air may clear both our heads.

…Okay.

We finished up and left the restaurant quickly, perhaps in the hope that we’d leave the depressing atmosphere behind.



Outside in the cool morning air, I started to feel like maybe we had left some of the gloom in the restaurant. The park was silent, and it felt almost surreal as we wandered through it, cut off from the rest of the world.

I must apologize.

Huh?

For telling you such an unpleasant story over breakfast.

Oh, no, don’t worry about it. I mean, I asked you tell me, didn’t I? Forget about it. I’m fine.

He smiled, and seemed to relax a little.

If you insist.

I was glad he seemed to feel more comfortable, but…

Urabe…

There was something else I wanted to know. After a few minutes, I finally mustered up the courage.

Can I ask you something?

Of course.



Ah… To explain, I must continue my earlier story. Is that… all right?

We’ve got nothing better to do.

Sure.

As we walked he began to speak.

I developed an interest in fortune telling during college.



M2…

That name sounded… familiar.

Well, it has been quite some time for us. Saki, however, heard this name less than 24 hours ago. When Mai pops out in the Vivisection Lab of Bloodstained Hospital, Shirabe comes clean about the reason why he’s here at the park. He was following a lead on a certain case (most likely related to his late wife given how evasive he is about it) and was contacted by someone called M2. M2 told him to come to the park if he wanted to find out the truth.

In truth, M2 was my only friend. After learning the truth behind my father’s success, I began to suspect and fear everyone. Only M2 understood what I felt.

Man, remember back in your angsty teenaged years when you thought the people you talked to on message boards and in chatrooms were the only ones who would ever truly understand you? Apparently that thought continued on into the early twenties for Urabe.

That was why I trusted him.

I’d read only a few of the books he suggested before I found myself hopeless [sic] enamoured of [sic] the world of the fortune teller.

You wanna take another crack at that sentence, Sweet Fuse?

There was a slightly distant look on his face.

Perhaps adbising strangers was what saved me.

Why…?



And instead of seeking the help of a counselor or some kind of advisor, they turn to you… for some weird reason.

By lightening their burdens, it seems possible I felt I was somehow cleansing myself of my father’s sins…

He gave me a soft, sad smile.

There’s a choice here between telling him that he’s not his father, or saying “I think fortune telling is awesome.” We want the first option.

You’re not your father.

The words were out of my mouth before I even realized I was saying them.

I mean, after all you’ve told me about him…

What do you mean?

Um, well, I mean, sometimes you seem to like to make fun of me and that’s not very nice, but I think you’re actually a really good guy.

Ha ha… Thank you.



Wait, what?

You have already saved me countless time [sic] with kindness I do not even think you knew you were giving.

*Affection up*

His smile was wide and warm.

In any event, I threw myself into fortune telling, and in no time I found myself known as the “Oracle of Shinjuku.”

Oracle of Shinjuku…

(I’ve heard that name before. He’s a really famous fortune teller.)

Some of the kids at my school had gone to see him, and I’d seen an article about him in a magazine once.

But despite my success, I found myself thinking about my father.



…But he said nothing.

Why not?

He has no interest in his son.

!

So long as he lives he will never give even a fraction of his power to another. It should come as no surprise that a man such as him would feel as he did, but…

In some deep part of my heart, I hoped that he cared for me like a normal father might. I was a fool.



When I looked up, I realized we were in front of an attraction I hadn’t seen before. It was a colorful, animated place, with statues of animals playing music.

M2 understood my suffering.

Even thought [sic] we spoke mostly through e-mail, he was an irreplaceable friend.

We kept walking, and he kept talking.

Then one day he contact [sic] me and said he wanted to speak over voice chat.

Jesus, Sweet Fuse. Even I’m not this bad with my proofreading. Get your poo poo together.

Since I trusted him implicitly, I of course consented. Once I had heard what M2 had to say, I knew that the time had finally come.

The time…? For what?

His voice was unpleasantly calm.



!

It was a bright, calm morning, but when I looked at Urabe’s smile… I felt a shiver run down my spine.

Wh-What did he say…?

Urabe’s eyes thinned to slits.

He intended to blow up the park my father had constructed, and he had need of my assistance.

B-Blow up…?

In my mind’s eye I saw the Ferris wheel collapsing in a dark cloud of flame and smoke.

I was thrilled, and asked why he wanted to destroy the park. M2, however, said simply that I should trust him, and gave no reason.

”And I figured, ‘Hey, that’s a good enough explanation for me to go along with a domestic terrorism plot.’”

And did you trust him?

…Yes. When I was lost, he gave me a purpose. My trust in him was absolute.

His gaze shifted off into the distance.



In any event, I agreed unconditionally— no. I practically volunteered to assist in his plot.

I would pull the strings while M2 conducted the game. When we were finished, all that my father was would be in shambles.

I still don’t understand how blowing up a park that Urabe Sr.’s construction company built would ruin any part of his life or teach him a lesson, but I can at least see some logic in why Kimimaro would be convinced into going along with that aspect of the plan. At the very least it’s giving a middle finger to his dad in a symbolic way.

But what the gently caress did any of the other 5 guys involved in this plot do to you to warrant wanting them dead? We all know the game is going to try and redeem Kimimaro (because he is a love interest with his own route), but I want everyone following along to remember that Kimimaro was totally on board with blowing up a theme park even after finding out that a bunch of innocent people would also die. It seems the only thing that made him rethink this was Saki’s unexpected involvement.

(Oh…)

Anyway, there’s another choice here. We can ask if he regrets it, or we can ask him to confirm what we all should have figured out by now.

So… M2 was Hogstein?

…Yes.

*Not sure why, but Affection Up*

He nodded slowly.

When I’d had nothing else, M2— Count Hogstein— had been all I could trust.

His expression grew dark.

…So do you think you did the right thing?



He looked down and sighed.



That was my only mistake.

So yes, Saki is the only reason why Kimimaro backed down from helping to murder a bunch of innocent people.

You had no connection to any of this, and yet here you are, in deadly danger.

Hey, I am connected! My uncle’s one of the hostages—

No, you don’t understand.

He shook his head. What didn’t I understand?! If my uncle had been taken hostage, then I was totally involved!

(He’s not making sense.)

Urabe [sic] expression was unreadable.



All right, I guess we’re just not going to address what he meant by that.

We continued to walk, and before I knew it we’d arrived at Bloodstained Hospital.

(Gosh, just look at that.)

The explosion had wiped out the building completely. We were lucky no one had died.

(If Urabe hadn’t helped us…)

…I was pretty sure none of us would have survived. The thought sent a shiver down my spine.

…Are you all right?

Yeah.

I nodded.



He gave me a light, gentle touch on the back.

Let’s hurry past, shall we?

Warmth spread out from where he’d touched me, and the legs that had been weak and shaky a moment before felt much sturdier.

Yeah, let’s.

We hurried on, doing our best not to look at the remains of the hospital.



Shall I continue?

Yes.

Once we’d passed it, our pace slowed to a more normal one.

As you know, I spent each day with all of you. Then, each night, I would report to Count Hogstein.



(I already know he betrayed us, but hearing him talk about it makes me sad…)

I recounted what each person was thinking, what we discussed… everything.

And that accomplished…. what, exactly? The only chances you had to provide him with information on the others were before Alice Kart and before Bloodstained Hospital. Neither of those games had Hogstein capitalizing on insider knowledge.

…Well, very nearly everything.

Wait, so there was something you didn’t tell him?

…Yes.

He looked away.

What was it?



…You.

Me?!

Yes. I also refrained from telling him that you received a message from your uncle on the second day.

Okay, fair enough. That is information that could have royally screwed over Saki if Hogstein had found out about it.

(But…)

Another choice here. We could ask him why, but the correct choice is to just thank him. I think we can infer that his reasoning for why is down to “sudden and slightly creepy attachment to Saki”.

Thank you.



You have a far more generous interpretation of that than I do, Saki.

It’s not something you should be thanking me for.

*Affection up*

Indeed, I should be apologizing to you for getting you involved in the first place.

Oh come on, you don’t need to apologize for that. I volunteered!

No. I should have found some excuse, something, to keep you out. Letting you stay was unforgivable.

Once more: Kimimaro had no issues with anyone dying, until one cute girl got involved. That is not something anyone should be praising him for.

He sighed.

Then, on the second night…

He grimaced.

To make his game more… exciting… Count Hogstein ordered me to mislead and obfuscate so that we would fail.



Since killing all of you at once would have been dull, he instructed me to help a few of you escape.

…But I could not bring myself to do it.

Urabe frowned.

Why?

Because you were there.

Suddenly he turned to look at me.





H-Huh? What…?

You were optimistic, no matter this [sic] situation. You put your heart into everything, and you faced every new problem head-on. The more I saw of you, the more I began to regret getting you involved.

He looked into my eyes for a long moment, and I could see him trying to form his next words.

I… I did not wish to see you sad.

That was why I betrayed the Count.

…But you just told us that the plan was to suddenly discover a hidden door just before the building exploded, which is what you did anyway. God, you suck at this traitor thing.

M2 had been Urabe’s only friend, and he’d given him his complete trust. But when the time had come for Urabe to let M2 kill some of us, he’d betrayed him to save us. To save me.

How would you have saved some of the group from an explosion using a hidden passageway? Were you planning to shut the door on the ones at the back of the line? I’m pretty sure the group members that survived would take umbrage with that. Even Ryuji wouldn’t be willing to let that slide.

(He betrayed his best friend for me…)

HE WAS PLANNING ON LETTING PEOPLE DIE! Damnit Saki, this isn’t the noble act that you seem to think it is.

Now you know all that I know.

He closed his eyes and let out a long, slow breath. Urabe’s confession was finished.



I’m already hating this route. Not the backstory details of course. This has been a goldmine for information, and I want more. I just hate the fact that Saki seems to be immediately lovestruck by this dude that fully admits to only going back on a plan to help kill a bunch of people (including her uncle!) because he thought Saki had a sweet rear end or something.

If Saki didn’t make the impulsive decision to insist on being part of this game, then there is every indication that Kimimaro would have been partly responsible for her uncle’s eventual death. This is the man that Saki is now swooning over.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!



…We’re here.

I felt a shiver go down my spine.

What do you mean…?

I’m afraid the time has come for us to part ways, Saki.

What?

Please, tell the others what I have told you.



Wh-What?! Why!?

…To ask him to end this game, and release everyone involved.

No, that’s crazy! Beside, [sic] you don’t even know where he is…

He is in Castle Hogstein, and I know the way in. I had intended to pay him a visit after breaking from the rest of the group… But I felt someone should know the truth— you. Now, I have no more regrets.

Urabe…

Another choice. We can tell him not to go or insist on going with him. You know the answer.

I’m coming with you!

I knew there was no way to stop him. That left me with only one option. I knew I might not be any help, but I knew that if I didn’t go that chance would drop to zero. But maybe more than that, I just wanted to be with him.

No. I can’t allow that, it’s far too dangerous. I do, however, appreciate the thought very much.

*Affection up*

That was that.

Please, return to the others. Do not worry about me.

Oh come on, of of course I’m going to worry! You think I can just… turn that off?!

When the man who was willing to let your uncle die for the sake of petty revenge is the one being put in danger: Yes! I’d like to think you could turn off that part of your brain!

I didn’t know what would be waiting for him in there, and I had a feeling he didn’t either. There was no way I was letting him go by himself. I opened my mouth to argue again, but he just shook his head.



I put you in danger, and I’ve plotted to take the lives of others— of my own father! I am a villain.

At least someone is saying it.

He gave me a sad, crooked smile.

My life is worth less than nothing. No tears would be shed, were it to be snuffed out.

…!

I was really starting to get tired of him always being so down on himself.

(How can he even say that?! I’d shed some tears, for one!)

Why?

(And even through [sic] he was kind of a traitor, everybody else would be sad too!)

I’m sure everyone involved in this (excluding maybe Kimimaro’s dad) would be super torn up to learn that the man who plotted to kill them ended up tasting poetic justice.



Ugh… I don’t really want to do this, but the thread demands Saki get angry at every available opportunity. So here we go.

What’s wrong with you?!



He looked kind of shocked.



A-Are you all right?

My anger and frustration finally boiled over, and hot tears started to roll down my face. I couldn’t take it anymore. Urabe was so worried about me, but he didn’t care about himself at all. How did he not see how ridiculous that was?

You know who else he didn’t care about? Everyone else involved in this.

What’s the matter…?

Don’t talk about yourself like that!



I don’t even want to think about you dying… It’s horrible!

The tears kept coming, but I didn’t care anymore.

Yes, I’m going to worry about you!



… …Well, well. What to do.

He shook his head, but he was… smiling.

…What’s so funny?!

My apologies. I regret making you sad, but I confess that I feel rather… happy.

You see, my wish has come true.

H-Huh? What are you talking abou— ?!

He laid his hand against my face, cradling my wet cheek.

Stop weirdly touching her constantly. What is wrong with you?

My voice caught in my throat.

I knew that if I told you I meant to go alone, you would likely get upset, but…



His fingers traced a line across my cheeks as he wiped away the last of my tears.

So… that is why I’m happy.

…Urabe…



He dropped his hand from my face and I took it without hesitation. Before I could speak, he wrapped his fingers around my hand and pulled me into an embrace.

U-Urabe…?

I couldn’t manage to get any other words out— all I could think about was the warmth of his body. His hold wasn’t particularly strong. In fact, it was almost gentle, and I could have easily pulled out of it, but… I didn’t want to.



Please, Saki, don’t cry anymore.



I never thought it would hurt so much to see you cry…

You’ve spent a total of maybe 6 hours talking to her. At least 2 of those hours seem to have been spent explaining your involvement in a plot to kill people. You only met her a little over three days ago.

Would you do the favor of accompanying me?

There was only one answer.

Of course!

I nodded, and pressed myself further into his embrace.



We must have spent more time talking than I’d realized.

Of course it’s night now. Of course Kimimaro’s backstory took over 8 hours to explain.

I found myself wondering how the game had turned out, but I knew I’d only get everyone in trouble if I tried to get ahold of them while it was going on.

”Ahold” is wrong to me and I wanted to mark it as [sic], but apparently Merriam Webster accepts it as an informal usage because it is common in the U.S. Yet stuff like “alot” is still considered unanimously incorrect.

I hate English sometimes.

I forced myself to let go of my cell phone.

(I have to trust them!)

*The game fades to black, then fades in to the same castle CG we were just looking at, and then pans upward to the top of the spire*

Worrying wasn’t going to accomplish anything. I shook my head and turned toward the castle.

You look nervous.

He frowned.

…Okay, yeah, maybe a little.

Are you… quite sure about this?

He smiled.

You needn’t worry. Stay with me, and everything will be all right.

See, when you say things like that it should give Saki more cause for worry.

No matter what may happen to us, I sweat I will protect you.

Thank you!

Well then. Shall we?



A hidden switch, you see?

As I watched, the door clicked, and then swung open with a loud creak.



(It looks just like it did on the first day…)

Well, well, well.

A familiar voice echoed across the room from the throne at the top of the stairs.

Hogstein!

There he was, sitting on his throne, his enormous stomach shaking with silent laughter. We began to walk slowly toward the base of the stairway.

Today’s game just ended.

He spread out his arms as if to say, “Welcome to my humble home.”

Are they okay?!



Oh thank goodness…

…Indeed.

I felt some of the stress that had been building all day evaporate.

So. What do you want?

Urabe stepped forward, putting himself quietly in between myself and Hogstein.

I’ve come with a request.



Hmm… Okay!

What?!

He’s lying, you idiot.

…Huh?!

He nodded.

(Wait, this doesn’t make sense… Why is he giving up so easily?)

He’s lying, you idiot.

Urabe also looked taken aback by the sudden turn of events.

A-Are you really going to stop? Just like that?



Well, it [sic] just that after all the other stuff you’ve done, it’s kind of hard for me to believe that you’d give up that easily…

Oink oink. Hm, good point. Well, let me give you some proof, then!

He pulled a small box out of… somewhere… and tossed it to us. It rolled down the carpeted stairs and came to rest at our feet.

(That’s…!)



We should open it.

Urabe and I carefully reached down to pick up the box and open it, all the while keeping a close eye on Hogstein.

(It looks just like the others, but…)

Urabe clicked it open. Inside was a small, folded piece of paper. We opened it up…

This is—!

“Try again!”

Ahahahahahahahahaha!

His maddening laughter echoed through the hall.

Look out!

*The screen goes black*

Ah!

There was a metallic screech from above us, and Urabe pulled me toward him, wrapping his arms around my body.



He was lying, you idiots.

(He tricked us!)



I pulled out of Urabe’s protective embrace, and shook the bars of the cage.

Urgh…!

…He has us now.

His voice was quiet and resigned.

*The screen goes black again*

Wh-What?!

Hogstein whistled, and a thick, black cloth fell down over the cage.

(I can’t see anything…)

Urabe laid a gentle hand on my shoulder.

It’s going to be all right.

The warmth of his hand was comforting.

I promised, didn’t I? I will see to it that you are safe, no matter what that might require of me.

…Yeah.

He was right. I was not alone. As long as I had Urabe with me, everything would work out.

Wha… what…?



And that’s the end of Urabe’s Stage 4. Saki just passes out for some reason after getting captured along with Urabe. I’m not sure if there’s some reason for her sudden inability to stay conscious, or if the writers just couldn’t think of a way to transition to the flashback dream.

I guess we’ll find out next update.

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

He's physically attractive and shows some elements of a type that could be appealing, but... still absolutely no sparks IMO.

My otome instincts say that either there should have been some better buildup between them before the route proper begins, OR there should have been a dramatic switch in his presentation after his route starts.

If up until the reveal he's been this quiet, polite, old-fashioned, only-slightly-creepy guy very into ancient Japanese tradition, partly as a deliberate act to look harmless, and then when she stays behind to look for him she finds a man who's set down the crystal ball and is now more sullen and trying to keep his distance from her (because he's realising how much he's screwed up, and that helping to have people killed is no different from what his father did), that would give her more motivation to push into his background and try to determine what the real him is like, and that increased conflict and angst between them would boost the romance.

I don't know, obviously I can't analyse the whole plot since the story's not over yet, but it does feel very lacking in connection from Saki's side. He keeps acting like there's been a big romance that truly hasn't happened.

BurningStone
Jun 3, 2011


This feels like Urabe is going to be a villain and we’re going through his backstory. By the end of this route he’ll have a pool full of sharks and a butler called Pegleg Murgatroid.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

gegi posted:

There's a forum poll on gamefaqs about favorite guys and it puts Shidou as most popular.

cardinale posted:

I'd probably pick Shidou as my favourite right now too

Like I said, I get Shidou. The rest of that poll is weird though. Nobody is where I figured they would be.

BurningStone posted:

This feels like Urabe is going to be a villain and we’re going through his backstory. By the end of this route he’ll have a pool full of sharks and a butler called Pegleg Murgatroid.

I wouldn't put it past Keiji to have built a pool of sharks somewhere in this park. All we're really missing is the butler.

gegi posted:

I don't know, obviously I can't analyse the whole plot since the story's not over yet, but it does feel very lacking in connection from Saki's side. He keeps acting like there's been a big romance that truly hasn't happened.

That's one of the main weaknesses of this game. A romantic connection has to form between Saki and one of the guys by the end of Day 3. That is very little time to get to know someone, especially when you are in some kind of death game. It's incredibly off-putting to see Saki throwing herself on this guy that she met 3 days ago and has barely spoken to. Even in terms of dating sims, that's not enough time to form any kind of true emotional connection. Dating sims usually at least handwave a few days or weeks in between major scenes for that reason.


So there's a question for the thread: Do you think this game would be stronger if it ditched the urgency of the time limit and daily games and instead focused more on the character relationships? Like, there could still be a mystery to solve, but instead of 7 days to stop the park from blowing up, it was a month to investigate something.

Or would it be better if the game focused less on romance and more on the mystery side? There could still be character endings, but maybe they ditch the dating sim part and individual character routes.

Because to me, it sort of feels like Sweet Fuse is chasing two rabbits and catching neither. It wants to be a mystery/thriller visual novel, but the dating sim aspect splits up the plot into too many branches that requires the player to run through it several times in order to learn critical details. It also wants to be a dating-sim, but the mystery/thriller aspect leaves little time for the characters to realistically build a personal connection or feelings with the heroine.

Blaze Dragon
Aug 28, 2013
LOWTAX'S SPINE FUND



Psycho Knight posted:

So there's a question for the thread: Do you think this game would be stronger if it ditched the urgency of the time limit and daily games and instead focused more on the character relationships? Like, there could still be a mystery to solve, but instead of 7 days to stop the park from blowing up, it was a month to investigate something.

Or would it be better if the game focused less on romance and more on the mystery side? There could still be character endings, but maybe they ditch the dating sim part and individual character routes.

Because to me, it sort of feels like Sweet Fuse is chasing two rabbits and catching neither. It wants to be a mystery/thriller visual novel, but the dating sim aspect splits up the plot into too many branches that requires the player to run through it several times in order to learn critical details. It also wants to be a dating-sim, but the mystery/thriller aspect leaves little time for the characters to realistically build a personal connection or feelings with the heroine.

I feel either would be better than what we have now. This route especially feels incredibly forced for all the reasosn you pointed out - the love is just instant and unrealistic, Saki somehow ignores how Urabe was completely fine with murdering a lot of innocents which includes the people she's befriended and her uncle, all to kill one person he personally hated, and Urabe comes across as creepy instead of "kind" as the game wants us to think. In general, it's just...bad.

Focusing on the mystery and making Urabe's plot not romantic would help a lot, at least then you'd be able to properly learn of him with time. Or if it was focused on character relationships and this went slower to be able to properly learn of him instead of his instant crush on a teenager being his one redeeming trait (despite being very loving weird)

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

So far this game doesn't seem to be any good at the mystery and thriller aspects. The passage of time never makes any sense, the deadly games aren't actually fun to play, the tone/seriousness is wildly inconsistent, the explanations for what was going on at the end are horribly unsatisfying. So if I wanted to focus more on that story it would probably require a writer who didn't totally suck at it.

At least with the first two guys it did better with the romance aspect than it did with the mystery. I keep harping on how badly this route is doing with it because it's really noticeable by comparison.

But, I mean, I can invent dozens of solutions that would seem to make a better game than what we've seen so far, but until I know what the authors were actually trying to achieve overall I can't argue effectively. I have no idea where the hogstein plot is going.

Simply in terms of mixing a death game and a dating sim, seven days is plenty of time if you use the pressure intelligently to force bonding and intensify relationships. Deadly drama should push people together faster. It's undercut by the specific mechanics here where you can choose anyone to hang out with, or blindly choose food to eat, which is a very low-pressure thing more suited to a slow casual relationship. If you've got the options to mix with multiple people and get to know them, you should actually be able to explore those options. It's bad design if you can only pick the same character at every juncture in order to avoid a bad end.

One thing I might do if I were the designer for something like this is force the route choice almost immediately by breaking down the characters into teams of two or three who have to stay together throughout. Send everyone on separate quests during the day, with only brief amounts of catching up on what everyone else is doing on the night-time scenes. Being tied together all the time and risking death together both makes it more natural that a bond would develop between Saki and her partner, but also makes less of a need to force that bond to be romantic right away. You don't have to have suddenly been overwhelmed with romantic feelings enough to "choose" them over the others if the choice was already made. Romance can develop slowly until the end, or never quite develop if you keep making choices that don't raise affection, leading to the route's bad end.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Blaze Dragon posted:

Or if it was focused on character relationships and this went slower to be able to properly learn of him instead of his instant crush on a teenager being his one redeeming trait (despite being very loving weird)

I think the major sticking point here is time. Not even just in the sense of "There's only seven days." Kimimaro essentially becomes a different character after the events of Day 3 (we don't yet know how much of "Kimimaro" was an act and how much is the real him). By the time his route splits off, we're already on Day 4 of 7. That leaves Saki with about 4 days to connect with someone who has been knocked back down to "slightly above stranger" levels. So the already short timeframe the game gives us is even shorter for Urabe.

Like you said, Urabe's only redeeming trait right now is "has a crush on a teenager", which is... not exactly heroic or noble as far as "motivations to not commit mass murder" goes. You need to give a character like that way more time than 4 in-game days to reverse course on that and make him a viable romance, especially when that character only gets decent screen time during 1 route and almost completely disappears in the other 5.

gegi posted:

One thing I might do if I were the designer for something like this is force the route choice almost immediately by breaking down the characters into teams of two or three who have to stay together throughout. Send everyone on separate quests during the day, with only brief amounts of catching up on what everyone else is doing on the night-time scenes. Being tied together all the time and risking death together both makes it more natural that a bond would develop between Saki and her partner, but also makes less of a need to force that bond to be romantic right away. You don't have to have suddenly been overwhelmed with romantic feelings enough to "choose" them over the others if the choice was already made. Romance can develop slowly until the end, or never quite develop if you keep making choices that don't raise affection, leading to the route's bad end.

I like this idea more than what we currently have and I think you have the right idea with the discussion of how a limited timeframe could still work for romances.

When you think about it, Saki is only really given about 3 days to connect with one of the guys. Day 1 is the setup and Samurai Fantasy VII, which is mostly spent on introductions and learning to come together as a loose team. There's a 1-on-1 moment at the end of the night, but that has only ever lasted for a few minutes so far. It's not until Day 4 when the route split happens and Saki starts spending serious time around any of these guys. By the time the player gets to make that choice there's only a little less than 4 days remaining.

Pairing the characters off right out of the gate would go a long ways in resolving that time crunch. I don't want to generalize, but I would imagine that most players of this game already know who they want to pursue as soon as they see they box art. Other dating sims also have things called a "common route", but those games tend to give the player more opportunities for 1-on-1 moments with the target of their affection (they are also typically longer games that can more easily justify a lengthy common route accounting for 40-50% of the game's playtime).

gegi posted:

At least with the first two guys it did better with the romance aspect than it did with the mystery. I keep harping on how badly this route is doing with it because it's really noticeable by comparison.

I feel like Mitarashi's route works much better because of his stereotypical manliness. It's easier to see Saki falling head over heels for a guy that is passionate, can take charge of a situation, and doesn't hesitate to throw himself in the line of fire for someone (especially her).

Likewise, Ryuji developing a romance with Saki is believable because she actually gives a poo poo about him as a person. He spends every day surrounded by cooing women, but they are largely there for Ryusei, Ulysses' #1 Host. Saki cares more about Ryuji, the orphaned kid who managed to pull his life out of a self-destructive spiral but tries to pretend like he's not still a bit of a child on the inside.

As far as Towa goes, I think he just benefits from being Saki's age and also an idol. There doesn't need to be much in the way of deep personal connection between the two of them because they are both stupid kids who are mostly following their hormones. Saki is "the only one who knows the real me" for Towa, and Towa is "the cute pop star who knows how to flatter a girl" for Saki. That's all you really need in that instance.

Psycho Knight fucked around with this message at 14:18 on Mar 15, 2021

Space Kablooey
May 6, 2009





Oh my God Urabe is so dramatic. I'm starting to think Towa's route is a little better if only because he didn't sound as pretentious (and creepy) as Urabe.

As for the thread question, I think ditching the romance aspect of the game and just focusing on the mystery plot would be better, IMO. One aspect of this is because I don't like dating sims in general anyway, and I was more interested seeing both the attractions and the mystery.

If we are going down our wishlist for the game, I wish they would have made the attractions into either skill-based minigames or more elaborate than that. The kart and spaceship attractions could have been made into elaborate games into themselves, but they are just a bunch of text boxes that you tap through. Saki's insights are cute, but they are few and far between and not very uh, insightful.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Space Kablooey posted:

If we are going down our wishlist for the game, I wish they would have made the attractions into either skill-based minigames or more elaborate than that. The kart and spaceship attractions could have been made into elaborate games into themselves, but they are just a bunch of text boxes that you tap through. Saki's insights are cute, but they are few and far between and not very uh, insightful.

I admit, this is one of the biggest things that disappointed me about the game. I didn't get very far into this when I first bought it way back in 2014-2015. Some other big game came out around the time I bought this and I think I ditched Sweet Fuse for that (it may have been Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, or Disgaea 4 Vita).

Anyway, that's why I didn't realize that this was just a straight Visual Novel. The back of the game case talks all about games (as in the death games) and Saki needing all of her cunning/insight/logical thinking to escape alive. I figured there would be more of that in here that would spice things up and make for interesting thread participation with puzzle solving or minigames or something. Looking back, it was super naïve of me to expect that.

To be perfectly honest, I was seriously considering abandoning this LP about halfway into Ryuji's route. I don't hate this game and I'm glad that there are a bunch of you following along and enjoying it anyway, but this LP hasn't been as interesting as I had initially hoped when I was preparing it. I hate the idea of leaving an LP unfinished, though. I know that I get bummed out when an LP that I've been following just stops.

I probably shouldn't be picking games where I'm going in blind when choosing something to LP.

Psycho Knight fucked around with this message at 14:44 on Mar 15, 2021

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

yeah I LP on a different forum and generally get the best results when I know the game well so I can direct the experience for the readers. Blind is fun so we can all theorise together, but is sometimes a trainwreck when the game doesn't go where I'm expecting and I end up just ranting about how my idea would have been better. (This doesn't stop me from doing blind LPs, though, it's just that the odds of it going wrong are a lot higher)

If you do in the future want a VN full of deadly puzzles, half of which are INSANELY difficult and make no sense, Abyss of the Sacrifice is out on Steam. Then you could have a different flavor of angry frustrated ranting!

(Though I am hopeful for this one continuing at least long enough for us to feel like we've gotten some story resolution.)

FalloutFan56
Jan 3, 2020


Yeah the game would probably be better if it just picked either the mystery or the romance to focus on. I think that the romance goes from "person I just met" to "I love you" in way too short of a time frame for me to get invested in the relationship. Also nice to see the "Don't be a creep!" again. Kind of surprised you haven't had use him more in this game but they've been pretty good about that so far.

BurningStone
Jun 3, 2011


I think you could make three days work, but you’d need to pack them with events. Not “and we spent six hours stumped by a simple puzzle.”

CremePudding
Oct 30, 2011


Psycho Knight posted:

So there's a question for the thread: Do you think this game would be stronger if it ditched the urgency of the time limit and daily games and instead focused more on the character relationships? Like, there could still be a mystery to solve, but instead of 7 days to stop the park from blowing up, it was a month to investigate something.

Or would it be better if the game focused less on romance and more on the mystery side? There could still be character endings, but maybe they ditch the dating sim part and individual character routes.

Because to me, it sort of feels like Sweet Fuse is chasing two rabbits and catching neither. It wants to be a mystery/thriller visual novel, but the dating sim aspect splits up the plot into too many branches that requires the player to run through it several times in order to learn critical details. It also wants to be a dating-sim, but the mystery/thriller aspect leaves little time for the characters to realistically build a personal connection or feelings with the heroine.

I think the game has too much of a tonal problem to get anywhere.

There's like no emphasis on the hostages aside from the very distracting cameo of Inafune to motivate the player. The game also draws very little attention to Hogstein's motive or why the guys are chosen. Hogstein is inconsistent and makes stupid demands, but he also folds like a wet noodle to Saki's weak demands whenever she get mildly mad.

Everyone's being waited upon by inexplicable servants in a theme park. The obstacles are absurd but taken seriously by the characters, except it's not wacky or bombastic enough to make comedy with the juxtaposition.

So there's like no tension to make the deadly game premise work. Maybe Hogstein has some deeper motive but the player isn't really given a reason to care when some routes flat out skips over that in the ending.

As for the romance side of the game, I don't know. I feel like most of the effort went into drawing the characters being distressed at Saki's outburst. The thriller side of the plot being so weak means they can't really use that to build characters without making them look dumb either

I can't wait to see how the game scrambles to explain the plot with the other two routes.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

gegi posted:

If you do in the future want a VN full of deadly puzzles, half of which are INSANELY difficult and make no sense, Abyss of the Sacrifice is out on Steam. Then you could have a different flavor of angry frustrated ranting!

(Though I am hopeful for this one continuing at least long enough for us to feel like we've gotten some story resolution.)

I'll keep that one in mind. I'd like to eventually do something that has a greater deal of thread participation in it.

As for this one, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I committed myself to this for the long haul the second I started Wakasa's route. My only real chance to end the LP was at the end of Ryuji's. There's no way I can drop this LP now, just as we're finally getting good story details.

FalloutFan56 posted:

Also nice to see the "Don't be a creep!" again. Kind of surprised you haven't had use him more in this game but they've been pretty good about that so far.

I'm always happy to be able to use that banner as well. It's one of the few Paint/GIMP projects that I feel like I did an okay job on (which isn't saying much considering it was a very basic image).

This is a T-rated game, so it was unlikely that it would have any moments similar to Conception II or Plus. There's also the idea (I won't say "fact", since this might just be a personal thing) that there's a sharper divide between "innocuous" and "sexualized" with dudes. You have to get much more suggestive in an otome title to push it into "Don't be a creep" territory. Compare the sexy CGs in an M/CERO D otome title to a T/CERO C dating-sim/VN for guys and most of the time you'll find TCG more appropriate for the guy oriented title.

BurningStone posted:

I think you could make three days work, but you’d need to pack them with events. Not “and we spent six hours stumped by a simple puzzle.”

Speaking of "How much time do you need to give for characters to believably form a bond?" You just reminded me that Kouta and Saki spent literally a full day sitting in a room either unconscious or sleeping. 50% of Kouta's route is spent with the two of them not talking to each other and just sitting around waiting for time to pass.

CremePudding posted:

The game also draws very little attention to Hogstein's motive or why the guys are chosen. Hogstein is inconsistent and makes stupid demands, but he also folds like a wet noodle to Saki's weak demands whenever she get mildly mad.

This is one of my major pet peeves with this game. Hogstein should be threatening. He's delighted by the protagonists suffering, he enjoys loving with them for fun, he's unpredictable and willing to flip the whole table whenever inspiration strikes him, and he has demonstrated his ability to back up his words (he has blown up a Ferris wheel and the Bloodstained Hospital attraction). He's also shown himself to be willing to get his own hands dirty, such as holding Ryuji and Saki at gunpoint (and shooting Ryuji in Ryuji's bad end). There's also the fact that he appears to be very capable of evading law enforcement and disappearing without a trace. All of those things would make for a legitimately threatening and scary antagonist even if he didn't successfully kill anyone throughout the course of the game.

But like you said, Hogstein crumples the second that Saki raises her voice to him. The other protagonists also routinely subvert his rules and ultimatums without receiving any punishment (with the exception of maybe Kouta). Your antagonist stops being scary or intimidating when you know that they're too chickenshit to actually do anything.

Now, this could work really well from a narrative perspective if, in the end, we learned that Hogstein was actually just a kid. That was one of my initial theories, because it would explain why he backs down when Saki yells at him and why he gets flustered whenever someone circumvents his rules. If it turned out Hogstein was just a kid, then all of those things I mentioned in the first paragraph would click and make sense. He'd be someone hellbent on getting revenge, but who is secretly too scared to actually go through with anything and shrinks whenever an adult angrily confronts him.

Of course, we already know now that Hogstein can't possibly be a kid. The game is clearly setting him up as being one of the kids that survived the accident 10 years ago, so he's likely into his 20's at the very least. That means we just have an antagonist that the game tells us is driven by revenge, but who we know won't follow through because Saki is an anime scary girl when she's angry.

Psycho Knight fucked around with this message at 14:37 on Mar 16, 2021

Astrofig
Oct 26, 2009


What I took from that backstory reveal: Kimi would absolutely have been a QAnon believer. Convinced that this faceless 'friend' is the only one to understand him and easily manipulated into a plot to harm/kill potentially untold numbers of people??? Yep.

But Saki got a hug, so that's nice!

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Update XXXI: Your lucky numbers are…



Are you all right?

…Hm.



This is new. Also cool.

I woke up to Urabe shaking me gently. His eyes were worried.

Are you awake?

Yeah, I…

(Hogstein had trapped us in a cage, and then…)

I looked around the dim room we’d found ourselves in, and saw walls lined with fish tanks of various sizes. Each one had different sorts of tropical fish.

Has Hogstein been getting the piglets to take care of these things? I’ve got to imagine that after four days without tank cleaning or food that a good portion of those things would be dead.

I had been laid down in the corner of the room.

Um… why are we in here?



Once we were captured, I assume we were given some manner of sleeping gas and then brought here.

S-Sleeping gas…?

(Dang it! That was cheap, even for Hogstein!)

You should be a little more concerned about getting doused with sleeping gas. That poo poo can easily become lethal if administered incorrectly.

I was pissed, but that wasn’t going to help anything— I needed to concentrate. I stood up and moved my arms and legs experimentally. Nothing seemed to have been damaged. Satisfied that I was operating within acceptable parameters, I took a closer look around the room we were in.

Saki-bot is 100% operational.

(…This room is kinda weird.)

Do you know where we are…?

Unfortunately no, I do not.

He shrugged apologetically.

We may not even be within the confines of the park, for all I know.

Hm…



Shall we see if we can seek a way out?

All right.

*There’s a fade-to-black wipe here, but the background CG doesn’t change*

We began to examine the room.

Huh. Well, that’s not opening.

The door was, of course, locked shut. The walls and floors were covered with fish tanks… Perhaps there was a hidden door, like the one Urabe had used to get into Castle Hogstein. We went over every inch of the room, but couldn’t find any other doors.

Well shoot. I guess that’s it.



Oh boy, more sitting and waiting for time to pass! How many days are we going to skip this time?

Yeah…

Suddenly I felt very tired, and sat down on the floor. Urabe sat down next to me.

”We decided to take a quick 48-hour nap.”

I found myself wondering how the game was going, which led to…

(Oh! What time is it?)



I slipped my hand into my pocket—

My phone’s gone!

I frantically checked my other pockets, but it was nowhere to be found.

Oh, thank god. At least the game is sparing us of that.

Urabe checked his pockets as well, but eventually sighed and shook his head.

It appears mine has also been taken.

It seemed our phones had been confiscated after we’d been knocked out.

I suppose we ought to be thankful that they did not bother to tie us up, although I confess their decision not to is cause for some trepidation on my part.

Eh, I wouldn’t read into it. They didn’t do it in Towa’s route either. Hogstein just seems to live under the assumption that locking the door is good enough.

So we had no idea what time it was, and we couldn’t get out.

(I guess all we can do for now is… sit here.)

*Another screen wipe*



I wasn’t sure how much time passed before we heard the door open and looked up.

Rush him! There’s two of you and only one of him!



A piglet appeared, carrying two trays of food.

Um, excuse me, but… where are we?



Can you get us out of here?

… …!

The piglet handed us our trays, then made an “X” sign over its chest with both arms.

What’s going to happen to us?

It just shook its head and rushed out the door.



The door slammed shut.

*Sigh*

You mustn’t be discouraged.

He smiled.

Count Hogstein has ordered them [sic] keep silent. I doubt you’d be able to get anything out of them.

Right now it would be best for us to conserve our energy for when we truly need it.



Once again, I wish I had a Japanese playthrough of every route. Urabe is using a Turkish proverb here, so I’d like to know if that’s the same case in Japanese or if this was a localization choice.

Either way, this one isn’t as egregious as when it happened in Conception Plus. Kimimaro looks like the kind of guy that would be looking up quotes like that to post on his Facebook profile.

I took a deep breath, and thought about what he’d said. Urabe was right: Panicking wasn’t going to get us anywhere.

Okay, you’ve got a point.

Well! Shall we eat, then? I imagine it is best warm.

We sat down again and grabbed our trays.

…Is this breakfast?

Hm… It might be lunch, but I very much doubt it’s dinner.

There was no way for us to know how long we’d been asleep, but when we’d arrived at Castle Hogstein, the sun had already set. Judging by how hungry I felt, I guessed it was at least breakfast, possibly lunch.

(Then that would mean…)



I think that means they are going through Colosseum Knights IV.

I believed in the other guys, but our lives were on the line. It was hard not to be at least a little nervous after seeing what had happened to the hospital.

(Do you think Shidou’s still in charge?)



Given the game that they are going into, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitarashi’s arm has been cut off or something. I’m sure he’s already been injured in some way.

(I’ll bet if it’s something scary Wakasa’s scared again, and Meoshi’s nervous. Mai’s probably back in the hotel. I hope she’s not too sad about being alone…)

I knew we needed to wait and conserve our energy, but it was hard not to get worked up about what was going on outside. Perhaps he’d noticed me looking at the door and chewing at my lip, because Urabe suddenly spoke up.

I am so sorry. If I weren’t so useless, we would never have ended up in this situation…

No! Oh gosh, I’m sorry if I made you think that. I don’t think you’re useless at all!

But…

I mean, it’s not like I’m about to break us out of here either. We’re in the same boat.

Thank you…

I told you already, you don’t need to thank me.

If anyone should be thanking anybody, I felt like I should have been thanking him. Urabe had helped me keep my head above water.

Right, but up until the day before yesterday, he also intended to put you and everyone else underground. Not sure you should be so quick to thank him.

(I think I know why people go to you for fortune telling now… When I’m with him, I just feel… calm. Well, most of my emotions feel calm…)

I… I would like to make a promise to you.

I drew myself up straight.

Promise?



Please, let me make this vow.

O-Oh, um…

I thought back to when he had saved me from the explosion in the hospital. So long as we were both trapped in Hogstein’s game, there was no way to know what might happen next.

(Can… can I really ask him to do that?)

My face felt warm. I’d never had anyone say something like that to me before.

(I feel kind of silly saying this, but…)

…Yes.

But in my heart I made myself a promise as well.



(I’m going to protect him too.)

*Another fade wipe*

We finished our meal, and went back to… sitting. Nothing much happened as the minutes ticked by.

(I wonder if the others are all right…)

We could philosophize about it as much as we wanted, but there was no getting around the fact that being cut off from everything was frustrating.

You look rather upset.

Huh? …Really?

Indeed. Your brow has been quite furrowed for some time now.

He reached out and tapped my forehead.

Stop touching her! The two of you are not close enough for that kind of playful contact!

Ah!

I jumped as he touched me, surprised, and he grinned.

Worrying so much has little benefit. Perhaps we could distract ourselves?

Oh? How?



This should be good.

He laid a hand on top of his crystal ball.

*There’s a faint blue flash on the screen*

Oooooh…

After a moment or two of waving his hand over it, the ball began to shine with a faint light. It was pretty amazing. Something about the glowing ball combined with the overall surreality of the room itself to create a perfect mystical atmosphere.

Now, what do you wish to learn? Love? Money? Your career?

He looked up from the crystal ball, his face open and waiting.

We do actually get a choice here and the answer doesn’t have any impact on relationship points. Let’s take a look at all three, since this update is on the short side.


Saki’s Fortune #1: Love

Um, well, love, I guess. Can you…?

But of course. Love…

He began to gaze intently into the ball. I looked into it too, but I couldn’t see anything.

Oh…? My, my…

Do you see something?

”I see… like 20 faces of random people. Hm… I wonder what that means?”

Indeed. It appears your heart longs for someone even now.

Ah!

(Oh my gosh, he’s right!)

This person… Hm… I sense you have… met recently?

H-How do you know that…?

He he. I know only what the ball shows me.

Oh… Can you see their face? Or their name?

(…Is he on to me?)

I swallowed.

No. Well, perhaps. There are many factors.

He was so focused on whatever he saw in the crystal ball that he didn’t seem to notice my nervousness.



For you, I have only vague signs.

O-Oh…

(Whoa, that was close. Guess he hasn’t figured it out yet.)

…Can you see what’s going to happen with me and him?

One moment… The future is in your hands, it would appear. You near a crossroads…

Ah… what?

Technically we passed the crossroads like 3 in-game days ago when it became impossible for any other guy to overcome your affection point total.

I still couldn’t see anything in the crystal. What did he mean?

You needn’t look so concerned…

B-But… what if I make the wrong choice?

No need to fret. In life, little is ever “wrong,” only… different. There is always a solution.

He smiled, and looked back into the crystal.

I suppose you could call it the power of faith, if you were so inclined.

You mean faith in the religious sense? Because some of those don’t believe in predestination and would label you a heretic for claiming to be able to predict the future.

If you can trust this person, implicitly…

Then you will find what you seek.


Saki’s Fortune #2: Money



Oh… Yes, of course. Money, correct?

That expression is certainly a sign of positive things to come.

He gazed into the crystal ball for several minutes before his eyes widened in shock.

What? What is it? Am I gonna get rich?

He gave me a strained smile.

Ah… not quite. The opposite of that, in fact.

Whomp whomp.

What?! Aw man…

My hopes were dashed.

I apologize if I gave you false hope, but your situation is not as dreadful as you seem to think.

While you aren’t poised to acquire sudden wealth, neither are you near to losing everything. You will be stable, but not rich.

I wouldn’t consider that “quite the opposite” of rich. There’s a lot of people in the world right now who would love to be “stable” in a financial sense.

Oh, well, that’s good I guess. So just, like… my allowance and part-time jobs and stuff?

I know this is different for Japan, but it’s an interesting little question to ask. If you received allowance as a kid, then at what age did you get cut off from it? It was 16 for me. I got a paper delivery route as my first job and that was the out my parents needed to cut the rope guilt-free.

So I would assume. You are still a student, after all.

Just a reminder that Saki is supposed to be 17. 18 is her localization age. Granted, it is still possible to be a high school student at 18 (without being held back I mean).



What is it?

It appears your luck with money will improve significantly near the end of next year.

Really?!

Indeed. It is possible that purchasing a lottery ticket at that time would pay significant dividends. Hm…

And that’s Saki’s money fortune. Now, what about our plucky heroine’s career?


Saki’s Fortune #3: Career

Uh, what about my career?

In this case, perhaps it would be more pertinent to inquire as to your schoolwork?

Yeah, I guess so. I hope it’s good!

There’s a pause between those two sentences for some reason. Saki’s name and the “Yeah, I guess so” line both disappear before the next line, almost like one of Kimimaro’s lines or Saki’s internal monologues got cut.

I clasped my hands in excitement and Urabe laughed before turning to gaze intently into his crystal ball.



His brow furrowed and he frowned.

Is… is it bad?

Yes. It seems you are spending too much time on romance, and neglecting your studies.

Wh-What?!

Something you want to tell us about your life, Saki? You only met these studly bachelors a few days ago. Have you been out chasing tail even before all of this theme park stuff happened?

I’m afraid it’s true.

He nodded, and raised his eyes from the crystal ball to look into mine.

…Is there someone you have feelings for?

What?!

(W-Well, there was somebody who’d made my heart skip a few beats…)

And that man was Ryuji.

(But it’s not like I can tell him that.)



I don’t know about love but there is somebody I’m kind of… interested in. I mean, I like, respect him and stuff, and… um… yeah.

Urabe looked a little relieved.

Respect… Well, if that should turn to love, so long as you don’t lose yourself I imagine you’ll be fine.

Lose myself…?

If you value your schoolwork, then keep your love life… moderate… and all should be well.

Thanks, Nostradamus.

So there are Saki’s various fortunes. The regular dialogue picks back up starting at this next line.

He seemed so calm and certain. It would be hard not to believe him…

He’s calm and certain because he already figured out that you have the hots for him for some stupid inexplicable reason. All he needs to do is maintain a vagueness and that guarantees that his prediction will be correct either way.

He he. So, what do you think of the Oracle of Shinjuku’s fortunes?

A+ for the special effects, D- for the act.

I feel like I’d believe you, even if it was bad news.



And that’s an Arabian proverb. Also, is he outright admitting that his profession is bullshit? It sure sounds like it.

In the end, the choice is yours.

What do you mean…?

You are the master of your own life. A fortune is not a guarantee. More like… a suggestion. Your decisions define the path your life will take, nothing else.

In other words, “Everything I just said was worthless guessing and I’m not liable for any stupid decisions you make based on what I told you.”

If you abdicate responsibility after receiving a positive fortune, you set yourself upon a dark road.

So consider this only a distraction. Do not allow it to dictate your choices, and all will be well.

Oh…

You look rather concerned… Ah, I know.

Concerned is not the word I would use. I’d say she probably looks disappointed at being told upfront that everything she just heard was just made-up nonsense.

Something seemed to occur to him, and he unwrapped the prayer beads from his hand.

Might I see your hand, Saki?

Uh… okay?



Sweet, friendship bracelets!

I would like you to have this.

Really? I mean… isn’t it really important to you?

This is exactly why I wish to give it to you.

These beads contain my spirit. If something should happen, it will protect you.

(His spirit…?)

There’s a choice here between thanking him and telling him that’s it’s kind of weird. You know the drill.

Awwwww, thank you!

The beads glinted around my wrist in the dim light from the fish tanks.

(It feels nice to have a little spiritual protection, but…)

What really made me happy was that he’d given it to me.

I am glad you seem pleased with it.

*Affection point up*

He smiled. We spent a while talking about my fortune, and his prayer beads.

*After a time skip fade-to-black wipe*

(What time is it…?)

The room didn’t have a window or a clock, so there was no way to even guess. It made me uncomfortable.

Um… Urabe?

Yes? Is something wrong?



I’m sure Hogstein would be phoning in to gloat if they weren’t.

He stopped polishing his crystal ball and looked up into my eyes.

Best we simply trust them. I have no doubt they can succeed.

At the moment, it is wisest to focus on your own survival.

Okay…

(He’s right, I do need to focus on myself. But… Something just feels off. What is it…?)

That’s just Urabe in general.



Another piglet appeared, with another tray of food.

Oh. Thanks.

…!

It handed us the trays and then walked quickly out of the room.



I guess so.

As we ate, we discussed what our next move should be.

We need to find a way out of here.

I agree, but… how? We’ve already looked for any other possible exits.

Well, I was thinking… We should make a break for it the next time that piglet shows up.

Finally! It’s about time one of you caught on to that obvious escape route.

What do you mean to do?

Well, we could trip him, or just attack him. As long as we get out, does it really matter?

I looked over at the door, and Urabe knit his brow.



There is no “but” in this discussion. Knock that piglet out or push him over or something. Whatever it takes to get us out of this room and avoid having to sit around watching time fly by at warp speed.

Is something bothering you?

It has been five days since this game began… That means we have two days left until the end of the seventh, correct?

That’s how math works, yes.

Yeah, that’s right.

It doesn’t seem like the piglet is going to hurt us, so I think perhaps it might be safest to, well, remain here.

What…?



Really?

NO! Don’t do that! We’ve had enough “waiting for time to pass” in this game!

Yes.

(He can’t be serious…)

Yes, it was the fifth day, and we’d been out of the game for two days by that point. I didn’t know for sure, but I was betting that the others were having a hard time because they were short two players.

(They need our help! We need to get out of here as soon as possible! But Urabe doesn’t seem to feel that way… Why?)



Hogstein?!

After the long silence his voice sounded frighteningly loud.

Today’s game has ended! Unfortunately they managed to beat it again. Boo-hoo!

Urabe and I looked at one another.

Thank goodness…

Indeed.

I was hoping I could make things more fun by using you guys as hostages, but… oh well.



(Huh?)

What the hell would this game have involved? Identifying fish?

I sure hope you appreciate what I did! Oink oink oink!

With a few more snorting laughs, he hung up.

What was that about?

The room was quiet again. All I could was our breathing and the soft bubbling of the fish tanks. Hogstein’s voice echoed around inside my head.

What do you think he meant by all that?

By what…?

He said he was planning to have the game here, but then he moved it…

And if he was planning to use us as hostages… why hadn’t he?

(Or was he lying about that, and he had told the others he had us hostage? …No, I don’t think so.)

Three guesses what’s going on.



(So what’s going on? Something’s off here…)

Then suddenly, I realized I’d felt this way before… earlier, when Urabe had said we should just stay and wait.

(But if I felt the same way about what Hogstein said, and what Urabe said… Then… that would mean…)



Insight time. Here’s Saki’s thought process:

(The first time I felt like something was off was when I was talking with Urabe… I got him to agree that we had to get out, but… He just said that it was safer to stay in the room and wait for time to pass. Hogstein was acting weird too. Why did he say that he was “nice enough” to move it somewhere else. He also said that we should be thankful that he did what he did! When I pointed that out to Urabe, he didn’t seem to care… So what really, really feels out of place…?)



This one is a little vague. I think we all know where this is going, but knowing which word is the correct choice is not as obvious.

(That’s it! I don’t think Urabe wants to get out of here at all! Of course he’d say it’s safe to just stay here!)

I felt my hands tighten into fists.

Um… Urabe?

Is something the matter?

He saw my expression, and I saw his eyebrows tilt down.



!

…What’s come over you? Of course I want to leave this place.

No! That’s not true! “Save our strength for when the right opportunity presents itself”? People are out there risking their lives! How can you say that?!

I locked my eyes to his.





So… you have caught me.

?!

It seemed like even the air around him suddenly changed. He wasn’t the warm, kind man who’d been there the last few hours.

I brought you here. I did this for you.

His expression was dark, and there was an almost maniacal determination behind his eyes.

Wait… what are you saying?



I can’t let anything happen to you. That is why, on the third night, after you fell asleep… …I struck a bargain with Hogstein.

What?!

Yes…



Flashback time.

Hogste— no. M2. I had hoped to speak to you. As you well know, Saki volunteered to be a part of this game. Her presence was not a part of your plan. As such, her lack of participation should have no significant impact. I promise I will keep her from interfering further, so… Please, spare her.



He’s got you there.

Yes, I betrayed you. But I did as you asked, and caused the explosion that prevented them from acquiring the reward. Now, I am asking you to let her live.

Bold move on Urabe’s part. “Yes, I betrayed you by ignoring your orders. But, to be fair, I ended up doing what you wanted me to do anyway due to you planning for my betrayal in advance. You owe me.”

I don’t really mind sparing her, but that intuition of hers… it makes things so exciting! Much better than I’d imagined.



I will do whatever I must.



Hm… Oh… oh! Oh, I’ve just come up with a great idea! Oink!

A… great idea?

Yes, yes! I’ll grant your request, but in exchange…

*End of flashback time*



…Did… did the game just edit itself in real time?



I wanted you to know the truth about me.

None of that was a lie. However…

So you did what he’d told you to do, and brought me to the tower…

I thought back to what he’d said…

*Very brief flashback time*



*And we’re back*

…And then I was trapped. Just as planned.

Correct. It was the only way to protect you from danger.

But… why? Why is it so important to you to keep me out of the game?

I told you before… “You were a light that shone into the darkness of my soul.”

(That’s right… I remember.)

That was back when we were escaping from the hospital.

You remembered!

It’s hard to forget a line as cringey as that.

His face brightened.

When I agreed to help M2 with his plan, there was only one thought in my mind…



Once again, I need to highlight the fact that you were dragging along 5 other innocent dudes and a bunch of possibly innocent hostages with you on your little suicide run.

But then… I met you.

…Me?

You were so dedicated, so optimistic… I found myself inexplicably drawn to you.

But it did not end there.



He paused, and smiled at me.

What, is that supposed to be Urabe’s redemption moment? “I was fine with killing everyone up until a cute girl got involved, then I started having second thoughts”?

It was the first time that, somewhere in my rotted, corrupt heart, I felt a desire to live.

Tears started to stream down his face, and my heart felt like someone had stuck it in a vice.

I’d really like to say “Don’t tell me you’re going to fall for this crap”, but this is Urabe’s route so obviously Saki’s going to swallow it hook, line, and sinker.

You gave me that… and I wanted to keep you safe, no matter what that took. I will do whatever it takes to protect you.

(Urabe…)

There’s another choice here. Ask him to help get them out of this room, or pay lip service to him while still clearly being put off by all this.

I’m touched, but…

It was nice that he was worried for me and all, but…



Sorry.

He gave me a sad smile.

…Just what I thought you would say.

*Affection point up*

That is why I couldn’t tell you.

He looked up into my eyes.



Urabe…

Then we are at an impasse, aren’t we? I say Saki should bolt as soon as the door opens and put the ball into Urabe’s court as to what he should do.

I’m truly sorry, but I cannot lose you.

I imagine you will hate me for this. That is a consequence I am prepared to accept, if it is the price of your safety.

He turned away and stood up.

Please, remain here for the next two days.

Urabe!

Farewell.

Before I could do anything, he was gone.



The door was unlocked the whole time?!



No…

He had left me behind.

What am I going to do now?

I understood what he was trying to do. I understood it so much it hurt.

(He keeps saying I’m so nice, but he never really looks at himself. Even though he hates his dad, it hurts him to do it, and he hates himself for it…)



I’m just going to give up on this plot point. I can scream from now until the end of the entire LP about how wrong of an assessment this is and how willing he was to kill a bunch of people for personal reasons, but we all know it won’t change anything. Best to just save my sanity.

(And even if he’s not exactly going about it in a… good way… he’s doing what he thinks he has to do to keep me safe.)

I can’t bring myself to hate him for that…

(Maybe if I could help him work through some of that pain…)

But I wouldn’t be able to do that— or anything else— if I just stayed shut up in a room full of fish tanks.

I’m not staying here.

(I’m gonna get out of here, and I’m gonna go find Urabe, and we’re gonna beat this game together!)



And there we go. We say goodbye to Stage 5 with Urabe running off to do… something, and Saki stuck alone in an aquarium. Will she be able to escape her prison without the help of another person? Will she be able to stop Urabe from going through with whatever agreement he made with Hogstein? Will Urabe end up in prison himself like he does in every other route so far? The answer to two of those questions, next time on Sweet Fuse.

Let’s be real, there’s no way he sees jail time in this route.

Blaze Dragon
Aug 28, 2013
LOWTAX'S SPINE FUND



They sure keep failing to make this guy even slightly seem like a good person. None of this actually helped at all, and every update just makes me more sure that this is the worst route so far (admittedly, it's been a downwards slope in general, but from Towa to Urabe it's more like it jumped off a cliff).

cardinale
Jul 11, 2016



Feels like we should have been able to do "What's wrong with you!" on this guy, jeez

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

The more messed-up pieces of his route we see, the more I want to play with them to try and make them work. Like, people being upset at him for being a "traitor" in earlier routes didn't make much sense because he hadn't done anything but help the party, there was no clear sign of him being a traitor to be mad about. This route, he's not only been clearer about actually being a traitor, but he's managed to betray Saki again even after making her think he was opening up to her. Which is potential fodder for an angsty villain route. It's just... not working, because the emotional elements are in the wrong places to build the connection.

I'm imagining this for a possible different story progression:

First playthrough, Urabe's route is locked, he can't be pursued. He 'betrays' the group and disappears. Saki protests that he didn't actually hurt anyone and we don't even know if he really was a traitor or if Hogstein just made that up, but nobody listens to her. Bad things happen to him during the rest of the route (like that whole being crucified mess). The seed is now set in the player's mind: Poor Urabe! If only we could have saved him!

Next playthrough, more of his interaction events are available, with a little meta-nudge that for some reason Saki feels bad for him, but with him being very distant from her and NOT weirdly staring at her or anything. If his route is taken, after he disappears she insists on staying behind to look for him because she believes in him. She finally finds him and he looks unhappy to see her. He does NOT do any creepy touching stuff or have her sleep on his lap. She's all "I knew you weren't really a traitor!" and he Laughs Bitterly and tells her his backstory and explains that he really was a traitor, and why, and that he was all up for murder in the abstract but once he saw people's lives at risk he felt bad about it and that's why he betrayed Hogstein to get the others out of the hospital. Saki tries to convince him that he's not really a bad person, she still believes in him, but they have to Stop Hogstein. So they go off to do that - again, without any creepy weird you-shine-a-light-on-me stuff, no sign of romantic interest on his part at all. Saki should develop her crush entirely one-sidedly at this point.

Then we can have events like this last update where they're hanging out together until she realises he's stalling her, and then he makes the surprise reveal that he "fell for her" after she believed him despite all the evidence and he decided he had to save her at all costs. ,And that's why he betrayed her by going back to Hogstein and promising to help him kill the others as long as Saki lives. (This makes the betrayal much more of a gut punch, because not only is he betraying her a second time, but he's openly making it her "fault" that he's going to attack the others. Congratulations, sympathetic player, you made things worse!)

Saki's shocked and upset, he smiles that she should have known he was a traitor all along, and leaves.

This of course makes him explicitly not a good person, but in the kind of obsessive way that's often popular with otome players. Depending on the exact flavor of psycho wanted, it could either be that he cares about no one in the world other than Saki (some girls are into that) or that he just figured the party was doomed and couldn't possibly win, so turning 'traitor' again to save Saki was better than all of them dying. In either case it leaves room for her to bust out of her imprisonment, find him, deliver several heaping WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? slaps to snap him out of it, and then finally get him to properly work together to defeat Hogstein.

On the other hand this may all be more generic than whatever they're doing. I told you, I get too into making up alternate versions of stories.

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



Psycho Knight posted:



Once again, I wish I had a Japanese playthrough of every route. Urabe is using a Turkish proverb here, so I’d like to know if that’s the same case in Japanese or if this was a localization choice.

This is a Japanese proverb, though not a terribly interesting one (it's literally "Hurrying makes you make mistakes". Japanese-English dictionaries favour 'haste makes waste' for this)

Psycho Knight posted:

I know this is different for Japan, but it’s an interesting little question to ask. If you received allowance as a kid, then at what age did you get cut off from it? It was 16 for me. I got a paper delivery route as my first job and that was the out my parents needed to cut the rope guilt-free.

I think this wasn't until I got out of university. I mean technically I wasn't getting a "weekly allowance" at university but I was getting money.


This one is 'Divinations may come true, but also they may not'.

Astrofig
Oct 26, 2009


I only got an allowance sporadically as a kid, and it stopped entirely when I turned eleven. Afaik my younger brothers never did Yay for being lower-middle class!

Also holy crap Kimi. That's...wow. I am curious now if the whole crucified thing still happens in his route.

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

Blaze Dragon posted:

They sure keep failing to make this guy even slightly seem like a good person. None of this actually helped at all, and every update just makes me more sure that this is the worst route so far (admittedly, it's been a downwards slope in general, but from Towa to Urabe it's more like it jumped off a cliff).

There has been a pretty big leap in likability. I may not like Towa, but outside of his Bad End he was depicted as being just as noble as everyone else. He also agreed to betray the group, but unlike Kimimaro he did it for selfless reasons (to get Saki much needed treatment for her injuries).

It also doesn't help that Kimimaro's revenge plan is complete nonsense. Blowing up this theme park won't impact his father's life in any way, shape, or form. I highly doubt that his father gives a single poo poo what happens to some video game amusement park that his construction company built. If Kimimaro's ultimate revenge is to kill the man, then why bother with this insanely complex and elaborate setup? You're his son. Request a meeting with him and then stab him a bunch of times. Or if Kimimaro doesn't want to be that direct, then simply hire someone to do the deed for him. Judging by the suggestions the game is making, I'm sure it would be easy to find a rival gang/corrupt construction firm willing to take him out for personal gain.

It would be easier to redeem Kimimaro as a character if there were some limited scope in his revenge. If the change of heart had come from Kimimaro finding out that Hogstein had suddenly involved a bunch of innocent people in the plan without telling him, then that would be a lot easier to come back from. At least then you could present Kimimaro as a character that was blinded by vengeance and ended up getting in over his head. Instead you have a character that's like "Oh, no. I totally would have gone through with it and killed all of you. But I think Saki is cute, soooo..."

cardinale posted:

Feels like we should have been able to do "What's wrong with you!" on this guy, jeez

Right? I'm surprised they didn't bother with that. Even if you wanted to limit that moment to only once per route, then this part should have still been way more appropriate than when Saki freaked at him for not being sufficiently concerned about his own safety.

gegi posted:

This of course makes him explicitly not a good person, but in the kind of obsessive way that's often popular with otome players. Depending on the exact flavor of psycho wanted, it could either be that he cares about no one in the world other than Saki (some girls are into that) or that he just figured the party was doomed and couldn't possibly win, so turning 'traitor' again to save Saki was better than all of them dying. In either case it leaves room for her to bust out of her imprisonment, find him, deliver several heaping WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? slaps to snap him out of it, and then finally get him to properly work together to defeat Hogstein.

I get the appeal of that character. It's an archetype that exists in male-targeted dating sims/VN as well. Some people are attracted to "dangerous" characters, or characters that are willing to go to extremes to get what they want instead of the typical JRPG all-loving-idiot types who believe everything will work out as long as everyone huffs enough pixie dust and Care Bear farts.

But Kimimaro is being positioned almost in-between those two. His actions are that of someone who is explicitly not a good person, but the game is trying to paint him as being "too good for this sinful world". It's almost like the game is going "What would happen if Saint Teresa woke up one day and blew up a Wal-Mart because Sam Walton was being a corporate rear end in a top hat?"

Polsy posted:

This is a Japanese proverb, though not a terribly interesting one (it's literally "Hurrying makes you make mistakes". Japanese-English dictionaries favour 'haste makes waste' for this)

---

I think this wasn't until I got out of university. I mean technically I wasn't getting a "weekly allowance" at university but I was getting money.

I know that almost every proverb has a regional variant. I was referring more to the specific wording being used. I was curious about whether the Japanese version used this phrasing or it was something closer to what you described, as in "Hurrying makes you make mistakes."


That's pretty late, although based on what you're describing that sounds more like "assistance" than "allowance". I guess you could argue that adult students getting money sent to them, even occasionally, is still considered an allowance.

Astrofig posted:

I only got an allowance sporadically as a kid, and it stopped entirely when I turned eleven. Afaik my younger brothers never did Yay for being lower-middle class!

That, on the other hand, seems really early. You don't really get a chance to learn about fiscal responsibility as a pre-teen. Then again, I still have the probably outdated idea that an allowance is meant to prepare a teenager for money management and ease them into their adult life where money gets progressively tighter, more difficult to get, and required for more important things.

FalloutFan56
Jan 3, 2020


Yeah, I never got an allowance. We were a bit too poor for that. At least I learned how to be fiscally responsible early on. Also Urabe is starting to sound a little bit like a sociopath with everything he has said so far. Hell, even if he did blow up the park the dad might be commissioned to build another one and would probably thank him. It would probably be like: Father "Good job son, you helped secure a contract by stepping all over people. I'm so proud of you." Urabe: visible angst.

FalloutFan56 fucked around with this message at 02:33 on Mar 19, 2021

Space Kablooey
May 6, 2009





TBH I'm assuming his dad is part of the hostages, and that's why he wants to get the park blown up.

Space Kablooey
May 6, 2009





For the allowance thing, I got 10bux a month for like a year when I was like 10-12 or so, if that. Then I got cut off because my mom found out that I was spending all of it on (pirated) video games every month.

I only started to have my own money when I started my internship at 17, but I only started being fiscally responsible when I decided to start paying my uni tuition (but still living with my parents), and only then I started budgeting for stuff and whatnot.

Space Kablooey fucked around with this message at 05:27 on Mar 19, 2021

CremePudding
Oct 30, 2011


Psycho Knight posted:

It would be easier to redeem Kimimaro as a character if there were some limited scope in his revenge. If the change of heart had come from Kimimaro finding out that Hogstein had suddenly involved a bunch of innocent people in the plan without telling him, then that would be a lot easier to come back from. At least then you could present Kimimaro as a character that was blinded by vengeance and ended up getting in over his head. Instead you have a character that's like "Oh, no. I totally would have gone through with it and killed all of you. But I think Saki is cute, soooo..."

He couldn't even make that work because there's like nothing he could offer to Hogstein in the first place as an antagonist. He's literally just some guy with a crappy crystal ball with a lame fortune telling routine, and his betrayal was weak and vague. An actual antagonist going "I am going to kill everyone but I think the protagonist is too cute" could have worked in some other plot, but definitely not here with Hogstein and Kimimaro being nonsensical wet farts.

I really don't like his vaguely floating crystal ball either. All of his poses look really bad because of it.

CremePudding fucked around with this message at 11:37 on Mar 19, 2021

Psycho Knight
Jan 19, 2017

"Being a fangame and not bound to a rating, Pokemon Reborn is able to expand more on topics such as death and the extreme dangers Pokemon could pose. These topics...are treated with the respect such a subject deserves."

Let's throw a Medicham into a volcano and make it give the T2 thumbs up!

FalloutFan56 posted:

Hell, even if he did blow up the park the dad might be commissioned to build another one and would probably thank him. It would probably be like: Father "Good job son, you helped secure a contract by stepping all over people. I'm so proud of you." Urabe: visible angst.

Space Kablooey posted:

TBH I'm assuming his dad is part of the hostages, and that's why he wants to get the park blown up.

Urabe's dad is indeed one of the hostages, so at least part of Urabe's revenge scheme seems to be his dad being blown up along with the park. From the sounds of it, Kimimaro is dancing along to Hogstein's tune because Hogstein promised him the "justice" that Kimimaro wants his father to face. Kimimaro gets to see his dad pay for his supposed crimes while Hogstein puts in all the dirty work required to make it happen. In return, Hogstein gets Kimimaro on board as a helper in order to make things more interesting in the name of some twisted sense of fun or spectacle.

The problem is that if Urabe's ultimate goal is to kill his dad (and from the sounds of it, go down with him), then why is this whole theme park thing required at all? It seems like a convoluted and unnecessary step at achieving revenge. It'd be easier (and probably more satisfying) to simply have the man kidnapped and tortured or something.

Right now it seems like we might still be missing part of Urabe's backstory. For the sake of argument, let's say the game's attempted portrayal of Kimimaro as a caring/good person at heart is true. The game is trying to make him out to be a sincerely nice person that simply made a bad decision or got wrapped up in his desire for justice, so let's indulge in that for a moment. If that is the case, then why would someone like Kimimaro actively take part in this plan? If he simply turned down Hogstein's request to be one of the participants, then Kimimaro would still get to see his dad face consequences and he could at least pretend as though there was no innocent blood on his own hands. My assumption right now is that there is some type of blackmail involved which forced Kimimaro to go along with the idea and that it will probably come to light during Stage 7. The question is, what dirt does Hogstein have on Kimimaro?

Space Kablooey posted:

I only started to have my own money when I started my internship at 17, but I only started being fiscally responsible when I decided to start paying my uni tuition (but still living with my parents), and only then I started budgeting for stuff and whatnot.

That's about the time it kicked in for me as well, although I started with College/Trade School. University didn't happen until like 8 years after that when I realized my diploma wouldn't get me jack poo poo in terms of decent work.

But yeah, post-secondary really forces you to learn how to budget. Unless of course your parents are rich enough to give you a free ride. I earned my own money before then as well but, like you, I wasn't exactly responsible with it (I usually blew my allowance/paper route money on games and junk food).

CremePudding posted:

I really don't like his vaguely floating crystal ball either. All of his poses look really bad because of it.

It does seem strangely out of place. We just had a conversation with him where he basically outright admitted that fortune telling is complete junk. We can now assume that his ability to navigate the Bloodstained Hospital maze was because he knew the layout from Hogstein (instead of figuring it out through mystical powers). So then what the hell is the explanation for the very clearly levitating crystal ball? It being able to glow can be chalked up to LEDs or something inside of it, but how is it floating? Magnets in the ball and his hands?

I wouldn't say this game is overly realistic, but it also hasn't been indulging in anything too fantastical (mass hypnotism notwithstanding). So why is that drat ball able to levitate and nobody at all has curiously inquired about it?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

gegi
Aug 3, 2004
Butterfly Girl

He's constantly juggling it back and forth so it only looks like it's floating because the image captures it in mid-motion.

Imagine his calm serene smiling face and his hands jittering like caffeine shakes to keep the ball flying.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply