Tatewaki (CV: Tsuda Kenjiro) is the unreliable leader of Sidekicks. After the truck incident in the diner, he recruited Inori into SideKicks with curiosity in her ability. ((Unlocked after Nora’s route as Another Story; MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS; PLEASE CLICK MY JUMP LINK FOR NON-SPOILER THOUGHTS))
[[Although this is basically Tatewaki’s route, it briefly goes through the common route events and skips through until a certain point.]]
Inori is at the diner waiting for everyone in SideKicks to meet her after what happened with the truck collision. They all order their food and Tatewaki says he already has an ID card ready for Inori. She joind the team and is already familiarizing herself with the Sidekicks office. Tatewaki decides to show her around the station. He tells her about the bombing incident and how his best friend, Ishizaki, was killed. After that, Inori hears Tatewaki talking on the phone with a serious tone. Before she hears anything further, Hibari and Rico appear asking if she got lost. They then talk about having a party for her later.
Some more time passes, Tatewaki gets lectured by Yashiro for not attending his counseling sessions with Yanagi. When Inori finds Nora in the office, he asks what she thinks of Tatewaki. She gives a simple answer, but Nora says he wonders which side of him is the real him. Everyone then appears and Inori is officially welcomed into SideKicks and a party is held for her. Inori forgot to turn in some paperwork though and leaves. On her way, she hears Yanagi call out from thr counselling room to Tatewaki and he leaves the room saying there’s nothing more to talk about. He acts like normal though and Inori reminds him of the party back in the office.
The next day, Tsubaki asks Inori the same thing wondering how she feels about Tatewaki. He tells her to forget about it but to let him know if anything suspicious regarding the case or him happens. That same say, on Inori’s way home, it starts to pour rain. Inori spots Tatewaki without an umbrella. She follows him and spots him in an alleyway yelling at somebody. When he leaves, Inori makes sure she isn’t found by him but wonders what it was about.
The next day, a man named Somejima is killed the day before it rained. When Inori goes home that day, Tatewaki is suddenly in her home with a bloodied shirt. She asks what happened but he doesn’t tell and says he’s going to borrow her couch for now. Just as he seemingly falls asleep, he opens his eyes and tells Inori jn a much more serious tone to not tell anyone he was there or what happened. The next morning Tatewaki is his usual overly relaxed self and still has hos bloodied shirt on from yesterday. She tries again to ask what happened but he says he’ll tell her later but for now, she should go to work like usual and not tell anyone he’s there, even SideKicks. Everyone back at Sidekicks mentions how Tatewaki is absent but figure its just him being him.
When Inori gets back home, Tatewaki is wearing her apron and cooking food lmao. After they eat a steak he made, Inori tells him to explain what the heck is going on and why he came to her house. He goes on to say 35 years ago he was born in Boston, Massachusetts then Inori interrupts to ask what the hell his point is lmao. Anyway, he says he has reasons he can’t say, nevertheless he promises he’ll only be there a little while longer. The next day, Yashiro asks to speak with Inori at a cafe. She tells her suspicious items were found at Tatewaki’s place such as a fake passport, a hidden account, tons of Ripcord, and some guns that weren’t registered. She knows Tatewaki is in some deep shit, but doesn’t know where he is. Even when she asks Inori, Inori lies and says she doesn’t know.
Inori goes home and finds Tatewaki asleep on the couch. She puts a blanket on him and asks why he won’t tell her anything. He says he can’t, but then Inori goes on to tell him she talked to Yashiro and told him what they found at his place. She starts to get upset saying she believes him, but wonders why he won’t tell her anything and she could call Yashiro right now. He tells her that she needs to just believe in him for now and he knows she won’t tell anyone or call Yashiro. Back at the station, Tsubaki calls Inori to the interrogation room to talk about Tatewaki. He tells her he’s suspected of contacting drug dealers and leaking police information. Yashiro was taking a polygraph test to confirm she’s not hiding anything about Tatewaki. Inori can do nothing but lie and say she knows nothing about where Takewaki is. When she gets back home, Tatewaki acts like his usual self again. She finally gets him to speak about his intentions as vague as it is. He assures her he’s not in the wrong here, and explains his goal of taking over Ishizaki’s will of SideKicks. And Inori decides to believe in his words.
The next day, Tatewaki decides he wants to treat Inori somehow since he’s been letting him stay there with her. She decides she wants to see a movie and so she forces him to go the same night she asked lol. A couple days later, Inori goes home to see the police are there, arresting Tatewaki. Kurumi flips out at her and Tatewaki says not to blame her for hiding him since he threatened her, so he claims. Kurumi takes Inori to the interrogation room at station and Inori immediately starts crying over the over whelming situation. Everyone appears and Chika immediately flips the fuck out for Inori lying and demands to know why she didn’t say anything. Everyone tells Chika to chill the fuck out and Tsubaki explains Tatewaki said he was threatening her and will be giving Inori a polygraph test since she’s a suspect in withholding a criminal.
Later, Inori goes with everyone to the diner to explain her situation. She tells them how Tatewaki suddenly appeared in her home asking her to hide him. She trusted him so she kept quiet about it. She continuously apologizes for deceiving everyone and they all tell her they understand why she did what she did. The next morning, Inori asks Tsubaki to see Tatewaki, so he arranges a visit for her. She talks to him in between the glass and he greets her with an apology. She tells him everyone is worried about him and still believe in him. Nevertheless, he says nothing and they both put their hand on the glass. That night, Chika gets a call that Tatewaki died after committing suicide.
A funeral is held and everyone is devastated and in tears. Nora appears as well and Inori demands to know if he knows anything. He gives a vague answer but says its best she goes home for now. When Inori returns home, she’s greeted happily by Tatewaki. Inori can’t believe her eyes and immediately runs up to hug him. She starts crying and asks what the heck happened. She demands to know why he’s alive and rants at how worried she was. Tatewaki stays silent for a while and after Inori tells him to say something, he interrupts her with a kiss, saying he’s home.
After that, everyone from SideKicks comes to Inori’s house on shock that Tatewaki is alive. He tells them there were circumstances in faking his death and Nora helped him out. Nora finally arrives as well to speak about the situation in detail. Tatewaki says he didn’t do anything wrong and continously said he can’t say anything because the mastermind is among them. Not in SideKicks, but within the police. He tells them 5 years ago about a man named Asahina who developed Ripcord as originally what was supposed to be a medicine, but was made into a drug. Nora convinced him to expose it and the company but was silenced before he could. So his research was left behind and then Ishizaki took over investigating it. However, he was killed in the bombing incident and thats when the rain killer incidents started. Before be continues though his stomach grumbles and everyone sighs in exasperation. So, they decide to eat before he continues.
After everyone finished eating, Nora continues from where Tatewaki left off. Nora worked with Asahina to reveal the truth about the company selling the drugs. However it wasn’t just the set company, but a community. He was told from Asahina a list of collaborators from the police and another set of names. The other set of names he told him were the victims. Nora thought it was only a coincidence at first, but realized after the 4th victim they were the targets. At first, Nora thought Ishizaki was the collaborator within the police, but he was wrong. Ishizaki figured out who it was and was murdered. Then Nora suspected Tatewaki after finding out he was contacting drug dealers. But he was actually trying to get information about Ishizaki from them by revealing fake police secrets. So now, they’re looking to find the real culprit behind this.
Tatewaki tells them to not trust anyone else who’s not among SideKicks. Shishiba lets everyone know to communicate within an app that can’t be tracked. Shishiba asks if Nora can really be trusted, and Inori says she trusts him and Tatewaki since he’s their leader. And so, Tatewaki officially disbands them for now. Just then, there’s silence and they ask if he intends to stay at Inori’s, which he says he does since he has no where else to go. Chika says he believes in him then and Rico chimes in that he won’t do perverted things to Inori 👀. That night, Inori and Tatewaki do the dishes together. Tatewaki hugs Inori from behind and apologizes for hiding something so important from her. He initially thought she was an interesting part of the group and realized how meaningful her presence was for everyone. He asks her to say “welcome back” and he says “I’m home” before kissing her.
The next day, a press conference is held at the police station and Yashiro will be making a statement about Tatewaki’s death and the case. Suddenly, Rico gets a call that his brother opened his eyes so he immediately heads to the hospital. During the press conference, Yashiro explains the incidents and how they’re investigating “former” Tatewaki and his relations to Ripcord and the rain killer case. Tsubaki has been promoted to Tatewaki’s position and is the leader on the case. He explains about the pharmaceutical company that had been distributing the Ripcord and how theu’ve narrowed down the next target of the rain killer to be Tsujidou. Before rhe conference ends, Tsubaki tears up and begins to say that he normally doesn’t cry about criminals, but Tatewaki was a friend of his.
Afterwords, SideKicks meets at the diner and Nora calls saying he hasn’t found Tsujidou yet and will contact them when he gets more information. Inori sees another vision but its of Tatewaki speaking on the phone. She tells him this but doesn’t deem it important. Tatewaki also speculates the rain killer is most likely someone related or has somesort of relationship to either Ishizaki or Asahina. That night, Inori sees another vision of Tatewaki, except he’s covered in blood in the church in the hospital. When she wakes up, she immediately texts the others what she saw in her vision. Chika also tells her that the rain killer murdered Tsujidou.
Chika and Hibari meet up with Inori and she tells them what she saw in her dream about Tatewaki and him receiving a phone call. Without other clues to go on, they head to the church in the hospital. There, they find Tatewaki covered in blood and on the floor. Yashiro is there as well and speculates they came because of Inori’s vision. She says she knows all about their plan and Tatewaki’s fake death. She aims a gun at them telling them not to move. She gets Chika to disarm himself and another person hidden in a raincoat is beside her. Hibari asks whats going on and who the person in the raincoat is. Tatewaki is still alive and Yashiro tells him not to move.
Suddenly, the attention is directed to the person in the raincoat. Shishiba appears saying its probably best he came and Yashiro laughs realizing they still don’t know who the rain killer is despite being so close. And the person revealed under the coat is none otber than… Rico ((yeah color me fucking surprised)). They call him Rico and he repeats that he’s not Rico but the rain killer. Apparently he was the son of Asahina and brother of Ritsu. The day Asahina was murdered, they broke into his house and Rico witnessed it as a child. Tatewaki was the one who asked Shishiba to investigate it and apologizes for having him do it. Rico continuously says he’s not Rico, but the rain killer. And in killing everyone, his brother will wake up. He says there’s one person left and that’s Tatewaki. If he kills him, his brother will wake up.
Tatewaki tells him he’s wrong and that Yashiro is the mastermind. She’s the one who used him to kill and lied, saying his brother would wake up if he did. He starts screaming over and over they’re wrong and that Yashiro saved him. He ended up accidentally killing one of them. And when he went to see his brother after that, his eyes moved. So he believed killing the bad guys would wake up his brother due to Yashiro persuading him so. Hibari tells her she’s infected his heart but she laughs and says she just granted his wish is all. Rico says its Yashiro who saved him. Shishiba tries to convince him to come over to their side and save his brother. He starts yelling over and over none of them understand him or how he felt. He completely remembers the day his parents were murdered right in front of him. Rico begs Yashiro to tell him who the last person is and asks if it really is Tatewaki.
Yashiro sighs and shoots Rico in the shoulder saying he’s talked too much. He asks why he did that and if she’s deceived him. She laughs saying he really is a child. She tells him her brother won’t be revived by killing someone and soon he and his brother will be dead along with his parents. He begs her to say it isn’t true but she tells him she never thought when she killed Asahina aka Rico’s father, that she’d find and use in his son. She was the one who got Ayame to make the bomb and kill Ishizaki and it just so happened that Rico’s brother got involved. Tatewaki loses his shit and grabs Yashiro trying to get a shot. Yashiro uses Rico as a shield though so Tatewaki ends up getting shot.
Yashiro explains that her reasoning with this whole thing was basically she’s a feminist who believes woman don’t get what they want and only the men in Sakurada station got promoted and she got the shit end of the stick. Like all typical bad guys, she wanted to be some hotshot with glory or some bs. Inori studders in shock and Rico gets up and tells her in his normal voice its okay. He says he’ll judge the evil one if front of him as the rain killer and kill Yashiro. He jumps at her, trying to stab her with his knife, and as everyone runs towards him telling him to stop, a gun is resounded.
When Inori opens her eyes, Rico is hovering over her, covered in blood. He tells her he’s glad she’s okay, but he has one more thing left to do. He then stands up and charges towards Yashiro, saying she’s the last person, cutting her throat and killing her. Rico then falls to the ground as everyone desperately calls out to him. He tells them its okay and apologizes to Shishiba. He asks them to say thanks to Nora for him and to not leave his brother alone. They all promise they won’t. And he then slowly passes away and everyone screams in agony (it also shows Rico’s brother, Ritsu open his eyes).
After that, Rico’s things are collected and put into a box at the office. Everyone is depressed over it and show no motivation. Tatewaki comes in as usual telling everyone they should go eat at Kirara’s. When they arrive, no one orders anything. Tatewaki begins to ask everyone if they’re sad and if its painful. In that case, its proof of just how much they liked Rico. He tells them he’ll always be with them and part of SideKicks forever. In saying so, they all order their usual items on the menu. They also add milk as an additional drink ((what Rico used to order)).
Thoughts: First of all, this game did a good job in dicking me around. First I thought Nora was the culprit since it seemed possible even if he was a route. Then Tatewaki was made to seemingly be the culprit ((I more believed this than Nora)) and then it ends up being Rico of all fucking people and I’ll admit, I didn’t expect that at all. Even after playing Rico’s route, I had literally no suspicions even though it makes sense his parent’s death would traumatize him. So either some things were hinted along the way and I just completely missed it, or they just did a good job of hiding the facts cause I didn’t really pay attention to what he was doing when there was a new victim in the rain killer case. I’m personally glad they didn’t make it obvious though because the shock factor was pretty big. Also, I felt like Rico said his parents were killed in front of him, but it was only his dad. According to a recording you can play in the Notes, his mom was put in a mental hospital after the incident and when Rico went to go visit her, she almost choked him to death. After that, she committed suicide. It’s also clear based on some of those recordings that Rico had issues as well, which yeah, clearly showed.
Also, this is more or less Tatewaki’s route but… I felt like it was kinda just shoved in there?? I didn’t really mind an ossan route ((thankfully Inori’s 20 years old while in the states!!)) but the bulk of the plot was literally shoved in his route, which is kinda weird making him the ‘canon’ route I guess you could say. I’ll admit I did believe he was dead though, that got me. Nearing the end of the game, Tatewaki and Inori’s relationship isn’t even mentioned at all and there’s no epilogue scene with them ((just his omake scene)) It’s even called ‘Another Story’ but this is clearly more the true route rather than an alternate story. I personally thought it meant it would be an alternate story where Tatewaki, the culprit, would fall for Inori. That was thrown out the window when you find out the truth though lmao. I actually did suspect Yashiro though but really just cause I was suspecting all the sub characters cause I didn’t think a route would be the culprit.
Not only that but damn that end… like, I’ve learned from Hakuouki that all your fave boys can die in other people’s routes but… damn its more depressing in this case. Which brings me to another point… how the heck would a FD work in this case? If he was the culprit all along, then what the heck would become of his future with Inori in his route when eventually he was caught??? I figured if he did survive, he’d be arrested or sent to a mental hospital. It makes me wonder if in every other route the outcome would be the same. I can only imagine how even more depressing his route would be if this was the outcome of it lol. Kinda disappointed we didn’t get to see his brother at all too (aside from him opening his eyes). I imagined a scenario where Rico would survive by his brother taking his place or something because they’re twins lol.
FINALLY, they never explained Inori’s prediction dreams?? It was the most supernatural thing of the game but I kinda wondered if there was a reason behind it but I guess it was what it was since she was born with it idk.
Story – This game has a great story and if you liked Collar x Malice I think this’ll be enjoyable. It’s certainly not as dark, but the lightheartedness of it really made this game fun. I think the main thing that’ll drive you to keep playing is the ‘who’s the culprit?’ question. You’ll keep fucking wondering the entire time and after twists and turns finally when it hits you, it hits you good. At least, it did for me. Or maybe I’m easy to surprise lol. I think I read that some wanted more romance and I can see where they’re coming from. It was there, but it was just really short at times. Some of the routes felt slightly short too, I guess they had like 6 routes so I shouldn’t be surprised. Either way, the story was great.
Characters – I really liked the set of characters and this game had enjoyable sub characters!! Yes, I’m looking at you, Kurumi and Kirara. Kurumi especially though, not only was she hilarious but her reactions with Tsubaki were priceless. Chika was hands down my fave (being the cute tsun he is). Inori was… well, she wasn’t a bad heroine but she really didn’t stand out… she was kinda too generic. I mean, without her visions they wouldn’t have hired her into the crew in the first place. Even Kurumi pointed out she apologizes too much for everything. Kurumi was the shit. Best sub character in my eyes.
Visuals – One of the strong points of this game were the visuals. Toybox helped with the game (7’scarlet) so they had animated backgrounds and intros/effects at times. Not all backgrounds were animated unfortunately but there was enough going on in the background to admire. A lot of it was clearly inspired by actual California beaches or streets. You can definitely tell they had a western atmosphere in mind.
Music – There was one track that stuck out to me called ‘Tears in the Rain’ I think? Anyway, it was a beautiful track. I wish I knew who sang it. It reminded me of a Final Fantasy track. I really liked the music for this game though. Even the OP was pretty catchy. I can’t really remember the ED song though so it clearly didn’t stick in my head.
Final Thoughts: I bought this game back in January so I didn’t really know what to expect when I bought it because I know the previous game by the company was crap. Clearly they had better writers for this one. Kinda wish I got a stella set or something so I could get some cute pins. Anyway, I’m a big fan of detective/mystery hence why I bought the game in the first place. I don’t think this game is as dark as Collar x Malice (it’s more lighthearted than anything) but it was still enjoyable nevertheless. I’ve never really played games that take place in the USA (aside from Tiny x Machinegun) so it was refreshing. I definitely recommend this game though!! It was fun and lately Otomate’s games have been meh. This year in particular Otomate hasn’t really released much and Extend surprised me with this game. I really loved it.