We do these things not because they’re easy but because they’re hard.
(HEAVY SPOILERS IN THIS POST)
I didn’t actually play the demo version of the game, but I’m guessing that it would ended after the parts I just covered. And from here on out, the chapters become increasingly longer and covering each chapter with sufficient attention to detail is going to be even harder. But I gotta do this. This game needs more love.
I’m only covering one chapter this time. Again. It’s a long one, though!
Everyone is now inside the room with the myriad of monitors. The man in white introduces Mina to the people she’ll be working with. Mina, however, is still feeling devastated about what happened to Sayo.
The man in white also introduces himself as Minawa Yukito. Mina realizes that this is the same man that Touko-san had told her to contact. Small world, huh?
Minawa mentions that Mina has to learn how they do things in this world and explains that they keep track of potential targets that could be dolls via surveillance cameras, daily routines and all. Once it is visually confirmed that they are Puppets, they are then exterminated.
Mina is still in a daze so she’s not entirely understanding what’s going on. Minawa hands her a new phone with the app that regulates all of this already installed. Realizing she’s still confused, Minawa says they’ll leave it at that for today and that the rest is best learned on the job. Before he calls it quits, however, Minawa asks Riko to oversee Mina’s training. Riko isn’t pleased, but he argues that it’ll be easier since they go to the same school and all. As a result, she reluctantly agrees to play mentor.
Mina can’t believe that no one is questioning this and finally decides to ask why’re they’re doing this. Minawa slowly explains to her that Puppets are dangerous and that people have to take care of them. It just so happens Mina has the ability to do that. She realizes that Minawa takes her for an idiot.
After leaving the room, Mina has a brief conversation with Jessica, who says this is all just work. Yang and Jay agree and they all leave Mina behind.
Mina looks towards Riko and remembers that she had considered Riko’s eyes to be sad and trustworthy after she had killed Sayo. However, Riko only mutters, “It looks like I’m…assigned to train you.” As if she were a burden. Mina tells Riko that they’re all weird and insane. Riko agrees and also leaves.
Everyone accompanies Min to the coffin where Ruka sleeps. Li-Fang is waiting there and tells Mina to give everything to Ruka. Then they all leave while closing the door behind them before Mina realizes what’s happening.
As Mina pounds on the door, begging to be let out, Ruka awakens and basically forces herself on Mina while everyone watches in the monitor room. Ruka kisses Mina, sending threads of light into Mina’s mouth that spread throughout her body. She then controls Mina’s arm and forces it to insert into Ruka’s chest. In the end, Mina is given a blue bracelet around her wrist after she experiencing searing hot warmth invade her body.
On the train ride home, Mina considers what happened to her. Apparently normal humans can’t see this new bracelet. Mina likens the bracelet to an animal collar.
Meanwhile, in Yang’s Chinese restaurant, “Blue Dragon,” Jay, Jessica, and Yang have a late-night meeting. Jessica voices concern for Mina, saying that what Ruka did was revolting. Yang averts her eyes and says that Ruka seems incredibly attached to Mina, but Jessica emphasizes that Ruka went overboard. Jay agrees with Jessica.
Yang vaguely mentions that Li-Fang considers Ruka to be special, which causes Jay to ask her if she knows something they don’t. Yang twitches and replies that she has only known Mina for as long as they have. Jay doesn’t press the issue even though he feels like she’s hiding something.
Jessica proceeds to ask Yang what she meant when she said that Mina’s aura is on par with an Eidos‘. Yang, communication major student extraordinaire, says she meant exactly what she said. Jessica replies that Mina hadn’t made a contract with Ruka yet, so she considered this to be impossible.
Yang decides to take this seriously and explains that Ruka was able to animate a Puppet (aka A-san, who left the mansion) that was cut out from its aura without being contracted to Ruka. Apparently this is a difficult feat and showcases her raw power.
Jay chimes in and says that he doesn’t really know what they’re talking about. However, he considers her to be too honest and normal. As such, he has a hard time considering her to be special.
Jessica agrees and states that it might have been Ruka’s aura that animated the doll. Yang is insistent that it was Mina who did so, which causes Jessica to get upset.
Yang answers that the Puppet wasn’t attached to any existing Eidos, which meant that Ruka couldn’t have animated it. Jessica finally accepts this but is in disbelief that the flaky girl could have done this. Yang stands up, signifying the end of this conversation, and leaves while throwing another insult.
Jessica is infuritated that Yang called her a child. Jay wistfully watches Yang leave and Jessica kind of takes her frustrations out on the poor guy. He tries to cheer her up by saying that it’ll be nice to experience having a kouhai, but Jessica takes offense to that and claims she was never the lowest on the totem pole and that she’ll decide who she welcomes. In other words, Jessica needs to calm down.
The 10 year-old girl then gets up and storms the exit. Jay offers to give her a ride, but she responds in a belligerent fashion.
Left all alone, Jay thinks that everyone is acting strangely. He remembers Mina and thinks to himself that her smile was cute. He snaps out of it and starts to wonder if he’s losing it, too.
The scene then jumps to Riko moving around in her house. It’s readily apparent that she comes from a background of wealth considering the decorations and vast size of her place. She carefully glances at a photograph which depicted two girls. One was herself. The other was Sayo. Riko tearfully murmurs, “Onee-chan…”
And theeeen the scene jumps to Mina chilling at home. Maybe chilling isn’t the right term since she essentially cries herself to sleep while wondering why all of this is happening to her.
The following day has Makoto waiting for Mina at the train station. We also get to see into Makoto’s side of what happened yesterday (in Chapter 3). She felt rejected with Mina’s behavior. Mina was actually wrong – Makoto never considered herself to be outside of Mina’s world. She desperately wanted to be able to support Mina, but Mina just rejected her over and over yesterday.
Mina ends up sending her a message saying that she’s skipping school. As a result, Makoto has to board the train by herself. She wonders if Mina is with Sayo again. It turns out that Makoto did indeed see them when they were talking in the cementary. The sight was too painful for her so she ended up waiting for Mina in a restaurant instead. Makoto had also seen Mina smile happily at Sayo in front of that rich girls’ school yesterday.
As Makoto thought about Mina, she heard something hard, like ceramic, break inside of her head. She checked her hand. It looked normal as always. But for a split second, Makoto was sure it wasn’t…
The scene then jumps baack to Mina. She had felt drawn to Sayo’s apartment even though she knew Sayo was gone. Nevertheless, she rings the doorbell…and is surprised when an older man opens the door. She is let inside after saying she was one of Sayo’s friends.
The man introduces himself as Sayo’s father and explains, to Mina’s confusion, that he couldn’t bear to get rid of the apartment even after all this time. While the furniture in the living room remained the same, the decoration had completely changed.
The man takes Mina to Sayo’s room. Mina realizes that this room hasn’t been used in a very long time. He then confesses that he still can’t bring himself to touch the room and that he feels like she’s still here, three years after she died. Mina, now completely confused, makes some more chit chat before leaving.
Outside of the apartment building was Riko, waiting. Riko explains to Mina that the people’s memories of a Puppet are completely changed once they’re destroyed. The only ones who still remember the truth are the people who do the exterminating. If you resonate with Ruka, in other words, you have the ability to resist God and its constructs, the Puppets, since Ruka is the only way humans can level the playing field.
Riko elaborates on Sayo’s unique situation by calling her an Eidolon. An Eidolon is born in a human womb, but actually contains the soul of a doll. No one, including the Eidolon, knows about an Eidolon‘s true nature until they enter “mammalian fertility” (aka puberty). When that happens, they remember the nature of their mission and their bodies change from being human to being that of a doll’s.
Riko admits that there’s someone else more qualified to talk about Puppets than her and that she’ll show up sooner or later. Before Mina can collect her thoughts, Riko announces that they have work to do.
The two girls go to a soccer field. Their target is an elementary school boy. Mina is disturbed by the fact that they’ll be killing a young boy should he turn out to be a Puppet. Riko argues that Puppets are Puppets and that they must be destroyed.
Mina becomes hysterical over this line of thought, but Riko eventually manages to convince her to really See if he’s a Puppet or not. Mina does (after Riko instructs her on how to do so) and she manages to confirm that the boy is indeed a doll. Riko declares that they’ll ambush him after school. Still confused, Mina tries to argue that the doll isn’t doing anything wrong, but Riko labels him as a foreign object that doesn’t belong there.
Riko walks away while Mina asks for her to slow down and to explain why they’re doing this. They arrive at a shrine and Riko hands Mina a gun. Obviously Mina is disturbed that a high school girl had a gun in the first place (since the gun laws in Japan are very strict), but she’s also distraught that this girl is giving her a gun.
The plan, Riko explains, is for Riko to distract the doll while Mina shoots the doll in the head. She shows Mina how to use the gun and then tells her to relax and put the gun away for now since the doll isn’t expected to show up for two more hours. Dolls can’t easily adjust their schedule, apparently.
As Mina has another mini breakdown, Riko tries explaining to her that they all felt this way during their first time. She continues to explain that minor things can change the course of history and that it was their job to stop that from happening. Mina realizes that she was answering the question she asked Riko earlier and relaxes slightly. Riko closes her eyes for a brief moment.
And then the boy shows up. Mina wakes Riko up and the two spring into action. Riko pulls out a little remote-controlled car and drives it past the doll. This catches the doll’s attention. Riko quietly explains to Mina that this is a programmed response and that Puppets don’t actually feel emotion. She then walks up to the doll and starts talking to the doll (in a very different voice compared to the one we’ve heard her saying thus far), managing to get him distracted.
Mina moves as if she’s in a haze after Riko shoots her a piercing glare. She starts hyperventilating, knees feel weak, arms are heavy. Don’t sue me, Eminem.
She staggers towards the dooll, aims the gun towards the doll, pulls the trigger…and nothing happens. Riko tells her that she needs to undo the safety, so Mina panics, does so, and fires before aiming. She then hits Riko’s shoulder with the gun. C’MON MINA
The doll tries to run, but Riko is faster and grabs him by the hair. She slams him on the ground and places her foot on his back.
The doll alternates between sounding like an actual boy and a doll. After Riko urges for her to do it, Mina finally manges to shoot the boy. His face cracks, his body bursts, and the shining liquid rose from where his body was and floated towards the skies. Riko explains that they call those “Shards of Heaven.”
Reality strikes Mina and she ends up throwing up after recollecting what happened to Sayo and realizing what she just did. Riko offers her a hankerchief and tells Mina she did well. Mina pathetically laughs at herself since her hands and the gun are covered in vomit and bile. Riko, however, reaches forward and pries the gun from Mina’s soiled hands.
As Riko held both of Mina’s hands and kept her own hankerchief in her mouth, Mina thought Riko looked like the Holy Mother. They have a little heart-to-heart, complete with Riko blushing slightly and catching Mina as she almost fell, before they board a train.
While they’re on the train, they have another heart-to-heart talk. Mina feels strangely weird and relieved that she did her job. Riko replies that they all felt like that during their first times. Mina then laughs and says she found it funny that Riko carried around a toy car for her all day, which causes Riko to blush again. She stammers that it wasn’t that heavy and that it belongs to her brother. By the way, the brother never, ever shows up in this visual novel. Don’t hold your breath.
Mina then notices that Riko is speaking more formally. Riko admits this is what she does when she’s not on guard. Uhhh it’s usually the other way around, but sure, Riko. Mina at least acknowledges this is backwards, but she’s thankful that Riko seems to trusts her and says as much. Riko is embarrassed as a result. They part as friends, excited to see each other at school tomorrow. Before Mina leaves the train (it’s at her stop), however, Riko warns Mina to be wary of Gramma. I neglected to mention this in previous posts, but Jessica, Yang, and Riko sometimes refer to Li-Fang as Gramma.
Upon arriving at her apartment, Mina finds Jessica lying in wait in front of the door. Noticing Mina, she spouts the classic line known to anyone who’s ever watched anime even once.
Mina remembers that Riko said someone more qualified to talk about Puppets would show up eventually, which causes Mina to ask Jessica to explain things. Jessica is happy to obliege.
Upon entering the room, Jessica notices that Riko is “working-class” and asks about Mina’s parents. Mina’s dad died a long time ago and her mom, as you know, is a nurse who works a lot of night shifts. Jessica apologizes for thinking of Mina as an airheaded type since it seems like Mina has a lot going on, too. Way to not mince words at all, Jessica.
They head to Mina’s room and Professor Jessica starts explaining everything after pulling out a laptop from her backpack. Long story short, they assigned these arbitrary names to various Puppet types.
Marionettes “are like string puppets without consciousness. They just fill the ranks.” In other words, those would be the dolls Mina saw participating in the protest/riot back in Chapter 2. They lack human will, cannot blend into human society, and cannot be found in the family register. Jessica ends up comparing them to plants and insects since they all lack thoughts and are just mechnically a part of the world.
Next up: Golems. They’re on the family register and follow a daily routine while waiting for orders. Society and memories are altered when they enter into human society; society and memories are again changed if they’re destroyed. Examples would include the boy Riko and Mina just destroyed as well as the lady on the train that Riko eliminated back in Chapter 1.
Jessica considers them to be fakes imitating humans and that their responses are already predetermined and pre-programmed. She compares them to a squash wall or the folding leaves of a touch-me-not. Golems are the types of opponents they usually face in their jobs.
Mina tries to press the point by asking if Golems can truly not feel emotions (since she still feels like she “killed” a boy instead of “destroying” a doll). Jessica admits that it’s not entirely understood. However, she concludes by saying that everything in nature, Golems included, act within a predetermined framework. Humans are excluded from this, she notes while looking depressed.
Mina gets anxious and Jessica guesses that she thinks that humans are what’s ruining the world since they have a free will. Jessica readily admits that Mina’s hunch is right and that humans are strayed too far off the correct path to the point that the dolls have no choice but to remove humans entirely. Nevertheless, their organization will still fight for humanity’s right to stay in this world even if they’re toxic and destroying everything. Your mileage may vary in regards to this loli’s thought process.
Jessica then proceeds to explain some of the world’s disaster to have been caused by Puppets. Arab Springs, the American subprime crisis, etc.
I kind of already explained Eidolon/Eidola already. Jessica notes that Eidolon aren’t affected by their detection powers and that’s what makes Sayo’s case so strange. By attacking their hideout like that, she was committing suicide when she could have just lived her life quietly with minimal chances of detection. Seems like there’s even more to Sayo, dear readers!
Eidos are basically like gods. Jessica admits that they’ll never be able to perceive the Eidea that rule over the current world since they are already part of the system. It also turns out that Ruka is an Eidea and that there’s other Eidea aside from Ruka. As Ruka’s emissionaries, those Eidea and her Puppets are their true enemies. By eliminating them, Ruka can become the last remaining Eidea and can help determine the world’s future fate.
Jessica ends the conversation by walking over to and sitting on Mina’s bed. Mina admits that Sayo had something similar about how humans are less worthy than dolls. Jessica calls Sayo haughty but admits she probably has a point.
Mina then asks Jessica why she’s doing this job. Jessica (suspiciously) responds that she has nothing else to do. She then interrupts Mina’s thoughts by asking if it’s trendy to not serve guests tea. Mina jumps to it and hastily prepares some tea. When she comes back, however, she sees that Jessica has fallen asleep on Mina’s bed.
Mina feels terrible that she’s so lost as a high schooler while Jessica seems to have her head on straight as an elementary school student. Mina moves Jessica’s laptop to her desk, but then decides to attempt to review what Jessica taught her. However, she’s clumsy as usual and accidentally closes the pyramid page…only to open up another page altogether. Mina wonders about the meaning of this foreboding term.
Deciding that she won’t figure this out, Mina closes the window curtains, but she then spots Yang outside. She runs outside to see what Yang wants. Apparently Yang wanted to berate her some more.
Mina assures Yang that she’ll try her best and tries telling her about what happened today, but Yang scoffs at her and replies that she has no intention of getting along with Mina and that she despies Mina. When Mina asks for a reason, Yang replies in a curt, bitchy manner that kind of rings true.
However, Yang starts to sound a bit petty after this. She concludes by saying that Mina has always been like this. What does Yang mean? Did Yang know Mina from some other time or other place?
She turns away from Mina before Mina can properly ask a question. The last expression Mina saw on Yang’s face looked empty and peaceful.
Mina may come across as whiny for some, but cut her some slack, okay? She has been thrown into this strange, new world (heh) and did not receive any sort of decent explanation until now. In fact, she is still in the dark for the most part.
Jessica and Riko definitely treat Mina coldly at first, but we’re seeing them dethaw already. Jay is already soft on the girl. My god, I wish you all could hear the voice acting. It’s top-notch I’m usually not one to swoon over men’s voice, but Jay’s is amazing. Same goes for Jessica’s, Mina’s, and Minawa’s.
Sayo’s behavior as an Eidolon was considered very strange and it seems like we’ll be learning more and more about why she did this as the game progresses.
Finally some of the mysterious terminology was explained! The relevant terminology was bolded throughout this post!
Yang seems to have some sort of baggage. Stay tuned for that!
Phew, I’m done for this week. I’ll try to hammer out 2 chapters a week, but no promises, okay?
Am I being tepid with the spoilers? Do you want me to keep up this level of detail? Please let me know!