Collar x Malice – Common Route (Prologue)

collar-x-malice-cover

The protagonist is a woman named Hoshino Ichika. She works as a police officer in Shinjuku, while various terrorist attacks known as “X-Day incidents” have been occurring. One day, she’s attacked and a collar filled with poison is placed upon her neck. With this, she’s become a vital key into solving this on-going case.

The game starts out explaining officers have started to go missing within Shinjiku. It introduces an organization that goes by the name “Adonis”. They claim they are carrying out judgement and purging sinners who retain their title of “police officers” until this so-called X-Day. On May 1st, a video aired with police officers tied up in chairs, wearing stuffed animal masks. A gun shot is heard, and the video cuts off. Only one body is found at the scene of the crime with the rest missing.

On September 1st, five months after the first case, the government issued Shinjuku as a danger zone. So in order to contain it, the area was blocked off and quarantined. Which meant no one could enter or leave Shinjuku. From there, laws on firearms and swords were lifted with certain restrictions. The weapons were individually numbered (and sensors that can track the gun if shots are fired) when registered for self-defense precautions. Ichika is part of the special regional crime prevention task force. It was formed due to the X-day incidents.

So one day Ichika gets called by a persistent lady who always calls for help. Her and Mochida run into some guys who possess firearms and try threatening them because the police nowadays often get threatened because most believe its their fault that Shinjuku has become what it is now. They end up getting told by Mochida and they lay off. Back at the task force place, Ichika encounters her friend Saeki, who claims she’s not as spunky as she used to be when in training lol. But they promise to meet up and have drinks together and he wishes her luck. Afterwords, Ichika goes to the training room to practice shooting and remembers what Saeki told her about a gun. That it is meant to protect people, not kill. Which is why police are given the responsibility to only use it in the situation where it’s truly needed.

On December 6th, Ichika gets a call from Mochida that there’s suspicious action going on in Shinjuku park. When she arrives there, she hears footsteps thinking its Mochida, but nope! She gets stunned by a stun gun and falls unconscious. She wakes up in a church with a mysterious collar around her neck. After that, she hears a voice telling her that she’s a test subject to be watched until the X-Day. Not long after that, she’s found by a man named Yanagi along with his partners Mineo and Takeru.

2016-08-26-014354

They came because they were given a warning a woman would be poisoned on December 6th and that the only way to help her is to input a code. It claims that they can not contact the police, nor can they even mention about the collar and they’ll be on surveillance through the camera. Yanagi notices Ichika’s gun and realizes it’s a police gun since he was a former police officer part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Takeru is suspicious of Ichika’s relationship with the criminal (since normally they just kill their victims rather than keep them alive) so they tell her to report back to Mochida like normal.

Back at the police department, Ichika thinks back on what happened. She wonders about Yanagi and tries searching for him in their records. Just as she does though, Saeki appears out of nowhere and scares the shit out of her lol. He goes on about her not overworking herself before leaving. Ichika is finally able to search about Yanagi and he did indeed work for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. The next morning, Ichika gives Mochida her report and encounters Kageyuki, a forensics scientist investigator. She wonders why he’s there and he mouths the words without speaking, “collar”.

2016-08-26-014445

Just before she can speak, he puts a finger to her lips and tells her not speak unless she wants to die. He knows about the collar as well and its his duty to take her to Yanagi’s hideout. She meets up with him in his office and finds out he’s actually chief of his department which she finds strange considering the strange demeanor and fondness of observing people. Apparently he specializes in profiling and psychoanalyzing. Finally, he takes her to their hideout where they sit her down to explain the situation.

2016-08-26-014515

They are a detective agency, originally formed by Yanagi. They tell her they want her cooperation in their group since the collar on her neck is the best clue they have to finding the culprit. Suddenly, that distorted voice begins speaking through the collar and says that they’ll kill her if they try to forcefully remove the collar. Which proves that they are being spied on by the culprit through the collar. After which, Mineo accidentally reveals that they’re all former police officers.

Mineo was a former investigations team member, and Takeru was in the cyber crime department. Basically, the police department didn’t meet their goal of finding the perp, so they decided among themselves to work individually and separately from the police. On Ichika’s collar is a cat, which symbolizes the terrorist group “Adonis” since they always leave a coin with a cat and flower on it. Takeru decides to investigate her collar a bit since the voice stated they are welcome to investigate the collar but just can’t forcefully remove it.

2016-08-26-014438

They’re all investigating separate X-day incidents, Mineo is April and May, Takeru is August, Kageyuki is September and October, and Yanagi is investigating the entire case as a whole. And with no sudden notice, a man with white hair appears. His name is Okazaki Kei, and he’s part of the SP Security Guarding Division; he’s in charge of protecting their organization and secrets within their group. Anyway, Ichika says she needs time before deciding to cooperate. Just as she’s leaving, Takeru appears and grabs her by the neck. He doesn’t know why she’s involved in this case or what the culprit wants with her, but if she’s a lead to cracking this case, he’ll make sure she doesn’t escape. After she finally leaves, Okazaki brings it upon himself to walk her home. When she gets home she’s greeted meekly by her younger brother, Kazuki before she immediately goes to bed.

2016-08-26-014416

Next day she encounters Okazaki who sneaks up on her while she’s lost in thought. He asks if they can talk at the park together and after her reluctance, she just can’t say no. But when they sit down on a bench together, Okazaki immediately falls asleep on the spot lol. She decides to be nice and not to wake him until he’s already sleeping for 30 minutes lol. He asks her what her name is and says he heard Takeru call her “stupid cat”. So her name to him ends up becoming Neko-san.

Afterwords, she meets up with Saeki but she doesn’t feel like having a drink and ends up getting a oolong tea. He ends up getting completely drunk so she has to walk him home. She gets a text from Yanagi saying to meet him at 11 pm. She ends up bumping into Mineo though and he wonders if Saeki is her boyfriend which she makes sure to deny right away. He then wakes up and asks if Mineo is her boyfriend and they completely deny it saying neither of them are each other’s type lol.

2016-08-26-014426

When Ichika reaches the detective hideout, she agrees to cooperate in order to find the culprit and remove the collar on her neck. They tell her to visit Sakagawa Kotoha, in her crime laboratory and that the best way to convince her to help is to give her meat lol. Suddenly, Okazaki appears and they end their discussion there. He walks Ichika home and on the way she asks about everyone there and he tells her quirky things about all of them. When she asks why he took on his job, he says it’s because he has something important to protect and believes he’ll find what he’s looking for very soon.

When Ichika gets home she’s greeted by her rebellious brother who had some friends over. She tells him that its late and he should contact their parents but he’s all “its fine so leave me alone” lol.  Then his friend Sera comes out and says he’ll contact his parents. She let’s him stay the night since it’s already pretty late.  From here, it’s a review on each incident that has occurred thus far.

2016-08-26-014452

In May and April, there was the kidnapping of the officers who were killed but bodies missing. The numeral “IX” and “VIII” were written. They had animal masks placed on their head before gun-shots could be heard throughout the video.

2016-08-26-014456

In June, there was a school bombing with a whole class killed. Because it happened during a science experiment, it was speculated it was an accident. But the numeral “VII” as well as a coin was found on top of the school building, indicating it was caused by the terrorist group “Adonis”.

2016-08-26-014501

In July, a man was killed during a scuffle with a passerby after consistently stalking a certain woman. The culprit was arrested, but according to testimonies, the perp may have been acting in self-defense. Although still in custody, their trial was prolonged due to suspicions of being involved in the May X-Day case. A numeral “VI” was left in the victims house. Leading them to believe the victim or suspect has connections to the terrorist group.

2016-08-26-014503

In August, there were serial killings among online game players. This incident caused the biggest panic since online players are spread throughout the entire country. The murders took place in Shinjuku, but they were all spread out in various areas. The time and place of the murders, as well as the age of victims, had no correlation to each other. And so, the roman numeral “V” was carved onto the bullets. Within August 5th to the 7th, nine people were murdered in sets of three per day. There was no conclusive evidence so the case only proved more difficult to solve. Due to this, people started to doubt the police. On August 11th, three more people were killed who were part of a guild in Shinjuku. This made for speculation among players that the cause may have been online bullying. One of the players, not residing in Shinjuku, felt guilty over this and committed suicide. People began to fear “Adonis”. And distrust in the police grew stronger since no further progress in the “Adonis” attacks were being made.

2016-08-26-014505

In September, a video with the numeral “IV” was shown. The same day, Ken Hachisuka, was found dead in his apartment and discovered by his girlfriend. It was thought to be suicide, but after further investigation, it turned out it was murder made to look like suicide. No numerals were found at the scene of the crime, but it was highly speculated it was connected to the X-day incidents. Soon it was discovered a man named Yuki Sunmori had visited the victim’s apartment on the day he was murdered. He went to the same school as him years ago and since his fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime, he was detained by the police. He stated “he had been chosen” so the police concluded the case as him the culprit of the murder.

2016-08-26-014507

In October, another video X-Day countdown video was aired with the roman numeral “III” and a coin. The investigation team kept their guard up since this video closely resembled the previous one. But since they held the supposed perp of the last incident, it would’ve been impossible for him to commit another crime. In addition, no murders occurred on that same day. Although, the next day Sunamori hung himself in his own cell. Which meant the police had lost their biggest clue to uncovering the truth to this case.

2016-08-26-014509

In November, there was a traffic “accident”. Two people were killed when a truck collided with a motorcycle. It seemed like an accident at first, but security footage proved otherwise when it showed the traffic lights had been tampered with. The traffic control system was hacked and the monitors displayed the numeral “II”. One of the victims held a coin with the Adonis symbol. Afterwords another video was uploaded and this was concluded as another X-Day case.

Which now, leads to December when the letter was given to Yanagi’s group to find Ichika with the collar on her neck. From there on, Ichika decides what she wants to investigate further.

Thoughts: If you thought this game was supposed to be dark and thrilling, you thought right. It really gives off that creepy, dark, mysterious atmosphere that it’s clearly going for. It reminds me of Death Note, Psycho-Pass, and somewhat… Zero’s Escape? It has a strong murder-mystery theme to it. And if you thought Amnesia is dark, then this is much darker. It goes on about the injustice, distrust, and discrimination the police have continued to show. Which makes it very interesting and draws you in immediately. I will say now that Aksys made a good choice in localizing this game even before the game’s Japanese release. I haven’t progressed much further than this, but I shall write up my full thoughts on the game in the final route I review; which will most likely be Yanagi since his route is locked (until you do everyone else’s route first).

One thought on “Collar x Malice – Common Route (Prologue)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s