So just like before, there’s a booklet that came with the Collar x Malice Switch version that has short stories related to each character’s pasts. I decided to translate them (I’m on quarantine so I have nothing better to do… haha…ha). If you haven’t beaten the game I recommend doing so before reading. This is Aiji Yanagi’s story and just a note for those who didn’t know, Yanagi does have an older brother that’s present in the FD. It’s not a spoiler but he wasn’t in the first game.
I like Shinjuku. Students chattering about the latest trends, office workers walking in a hurry, parents taking their children shopping.
With the modernized buildings lined up like tombstones, following the back street not far from the station, you can immediately see the downtown area. In the worn down poorly constructed area there were drunks who drink morning to night, sketchy trade businesses looking to reel someone in, and homeless people.
In the worn down poorly constructed area there were drunks who drink from morning to night, sketchy trade businesses looking to reel someone in, and the homeless. Absent of incongruities, these wide variety of people form a single city.
A world where one’s living standards and purposes are completely different; I too am a small part of it. It’s stupid way of looking at it but I see myself as a speck of dust—a tiny existence.
“If it isn’t Suga High’s Yanagi Aiji.”
As the setting sun hit the split between the buildings, I stopped and narrowed my eyes. In front of me were three men in school uniforms, blocking my path. All three of them were in high school like me.
“I’m in a good moon right now so I’ll let this slide.” Naturally, I don’t actually say these drama-like words. Rather, even though I was in this poetic sort of mood and wanted to escape any sort of trivial hassle, I was irritated by this annoying voice.
“I heard you were rough with my buddy here yesterday.”
“Hey, you listenin’? I came out of my way to return the favor.”
“Don’t ignore me you asshole!”
One of the three, who seemed to be their leader, was growing impatient and approached me. I always find it strange. Why do delinquents like these guys always feel the need to get up in your face like this? As if I wanna be this close to his ugly mug.
I take a glance and see a familiar face behind his leader. I actually do remember him running away in tears after I only hit him once.
“It was that guy from yesterday’s fault. If he’s your buddy then tell him to get his shit together.”
I started to give up and just go along with it. I could ignore them, but these sort of idiots are relentless. They know what school I go to so for the sake of avoiding any future hassle, it’d be better to settle things here.
“I’m no saint, but that woman didn’t seem happy about being pressured into getting in that car. Didn’t have a license, either.”
“So when I called out to him he just started to swing at me, so that’s when I hit him back. He was weak as hell though. He couldn’t even manage on his own and brought some friends. Talk about embarrassing.”
I lean forward to purposely try and provoke them. Honestly, if they were to take a swing at me, I could make it look justifiable. Even if a passerby made a fuss, those small fry will run off with their tail between their legs.
“….Pffft…. Haha… Ahahaha!”
I thought he was pissed, but this man in front of me laughed. But damn, that’s gross. Pretty sure his spit is just flying everywhere.
“Wow, you think you’re some hero or somethin’? Hey, aren’t you from Kunugi Middle School?”
“Oh? Well that explains it.”
“Yanagi from Kunugi, you’re pretty much a celebrity aren’t ya? A lone wolf, someone you gotta watch your back for? And what the hell is all that about harassing a girl? No license? That sounds like some bullshit!”
I didn’t get why he was enjoying himself so much, but I think I got the gist of what he wanted to say. I also don’t get how a well-known delinquent having good morals is “bullshit” to them. It’s not like I wanted to be associated delinquents that do bad things. I only happened to start getting in trouble when I was in middle school. And because I didn’t want to get involved with anyone anymore, I try to be alone. But even when I tried not to do anything, every time something happened, the fights accumulated over time and the rumors got out of hand. I didn’t have a hard time with my studies, so I got into a decent high school and finally things calmed down. I’m really getting sick of this.
(If you’re gonna hit me just do it already.)
I gave such a big sigh that bangs of the man who was at such a close distance swayed a bit. That same man who was laughing just a moment ago, took a step back. A second after noticing it was a signal, a right fist hit the air and broke the silence.
Before I knew it, there were bodies groveling on the ground. I wasn’t doing so hot either. My legs were wobbly, and I felt like I could keel over at any moment. A man passing by even made a comment on how it looked and asked if I was okay. He sort of scoffed while saying so but ultimately he ignored it and turned away.
(Looks like I overdid it…)
There was a dull pain in my fist, my cheeks were swollen and numb, and I could taste blood in my mouth. I felt a sore non-stop pain in my stomach, but my bones were… probably not broken.
It’s almost as if I just lost complete control. I didn’t have any martial arts experience and I’m strong enough to fight off multiple people. I merely fought as if it was life or death. While walking along with these self-loathing thoughts, I noticed I was at my doorstep. I hesitated a bit before opening the door. My face alone is proof I got into a fight. Not to mention my uniform is tattered and has blood on it. I put my hand on the door hoping not to encounter my family.
(Shit, it just had to be him, didn’t it?)
I can’t have it all, huh? Standing at the door was my older brother Yuuji Yanagi. It seemed like he just got home and he looked at me as if I was a walking pile of trash.
“Really? Again? I thought things calmed down when you got into high school, yet here we are again. Even dogs learn quicker than you do.”
Naturally, I took off my shoes and passed by him without even giving him a reaction. On my way up the stairs, I heard a piercing voice from behind.
“Do you enjoy making mom and dad upset?”
“Do you enjoy being violent and beating up people?”
“Answer me. You give me the quiet treatment whenever something bad happens. You need to consider your future more–”
“I don’t enjoy it!! So stop askin’ like you care, dammit!”
I slipped into my room and slammed the door. I felt a cold chill down my spine. I didn’t know why. Because I was angry? Or maybe because I was afraid of my brother getting on my case about it.
(…I don’t enjoy it… right?)
I don’t know if there’s some sort of meaning in me getting into fights. But if I were to answer if it was only for self-defence, the answer would be no. For some reason, the moment my fist hits their face and knocks out their teeth, it’s for that moment I feel as though I actually enjoy seeing their distorted looking face. After the fight is over, I start to feel empty and hate myself for what I’ve done. But it’s only after I beat my opponent I feel a sense of accomplishment. I feel like yelling out that I’m not helpless. I’m honestly nauseated by these thoughts.
(No, if someone hits you then you hit back. So what’s wrong with retaliating? I’m putting myself at risk just like my opponent is.)
What’s wrong with retaliating? After a few months passed I began to ask myself that question throughout my life.
“So you constantly fought with your brother… But what does that have to do with improving your housework?”
“Well, during that rebellious period, you know how I wanted as little involvement with my family as possible?”
“Well, I guess I do.”
“But if I left my uniform in that state, I would’ve had trouble going to school.”
“….Hm, I suppose there’s that.”
“So that’s when I started to wash and to fix my own uniform. I got immersed in it and started to enjoy doing it… I didn’t really use my kitchen much so it was nice to finally live alone after I graduated and cook my own food. Morioka-san, why are you laughing?”
“….Heheh, no it’s just I can’t help but smile thinking about what an adorable delinquent you were.”
“See? I told you my past would be boring to hear.”
What? No, not at all. You certainly entertained me. It also made me remember my youthful days.
“Were you a mischievous bad-mouthed kid, too?”
“Yes, but I had good morals and was what you call a rare honors student.”
I usually want to say something back but it’s annoying that he’s probably not lying about it. From time to time we bond over playful stories like these but when it comes to work it’s more… strict. Well, I guess strict is a good way of putting it. It’s only been a few days since I’ve worked under him, but I think he’s the earnest, fair and rough around the edges police officer that I had in mind.
“So, you’ve distanced yourself from your family since then?”
Morioka-san spoke without hiding the bitter smile he had on his face and my shoulders twitched. Someone as busy as Morioka-san asked me to eat lunch with him and I guess this is what he wanted to hear. It just so happened to be when we finished eating soba together. I didn’t even think about the taste. After being assigned to Investigation Division 1 there was a brief Q&A on the first day. But, because I’m part of the Youth Rehabilitation Program that the higher ups implemented, I didn’t know I’d be thrown into it until today.
“I’m not looking to lecture you about it. I heard some things from other people and I just thought about wanting to ask you something.”
“What is it?”
“Yanagi, why did you decide to become a police officer?”
As if to to make time for my reply, Morioka took out a cigarette and took a glance around the store. “Even if there’s an ashtray around, I still get anxious about the customers around me,” he gives a small laugh. His smile seemed softer than usual as if he was trying to relieve the tension. I finally uttered an answer.
“…Because I was part of the Youth Rehabilitation Program.”
“I’ll change the question. What is it that you want from this job?”
At that moment, the word that came to mind was “atonement”. That incident… I beat up a man who abducted a 9 year old girl with an iron pipe. As a result, he was paraylized for life. I’ve never done anything like that before and I think about it everyday. Was it a justifiable act? That day when I tried to help her, I did feel it was a righteous act in the heat of the moment. But I know I didn’t have to go as far as I did. Was it to protect her or was it to protect myself? Was I afraid I would die if I didn’t kill him first?
No, that’s not it. In my heart I believed I was justice and because he’s the villian in the act, I should condemn him for what he’s done.
“I want to do what I can… in order to solve criminal cases…”
I was terrified of Morioka’s gaze. I wasn’t trying to be deceitful. Aside from me who was a special case, there must be people who are more worthy. Despite this exception, I passed the exams and became a police officer which included police school, training, and the proper procedures. And under the jurisdiction of the criminal division, I also gained experience in investigating. But the Investigation Division 1 is not easy to get into. It’s very possible I cut in line of those who had strong convictions to becoming a detective.
“You’re more inexperienced than I thought. Now’s the time to lose that stern delinquent mentality.”
“…I’m not a delinquent anymore.”
“It was a joke. Well, whether we we’re the exceptions or the ones that break our backs to success, the results are what we’ve become. You should just accept your abilities and leave it at that.
“I’m still unsure. For what purpose did I become a police officer? I feel complacent about wanting to do something for someone.”
“Then I’ll decide for you.”
“Be a police officer for your own sake.”
“There’s self-satisfaction in resolving a case as a police officer. And in doing so, you gain a sense of accomplishment. That builds confidence. It’s not for the sake of anyone else.”
“Hey, why are you acting like a dog that’s just been scolded? Police officers don’t exist solely to bring peace and justice. Whether it be the thrill of solving cases, extorting the bad guys, or just having the stability and authority. Either way, it’s fine.”
“It’s true there are a lot of people like that but… I’m still uncertain.”
“It’d be a good idea to find that ambition. Being too devoted only makes it harder. It’s often you can’t protect what you want to protect. Just as you see the ugliest part of humans, you may find yourself tormented by their malice. Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ve seen many cases while under the criminal division’s jurisdiction. As long as you build confidence in numbers, you’ll eventually find what it is you want.”
(What Morioka said is correct. But, with whatever beliefs I have, if I can’t protect what I want to protect, can I really be forgiven?)
After that, I continued pursuing cases in the Investigation Division 1. Even while increasing the number of solved cases, the wounds of the victim cannot be healed. A criminal’s anger or pleasure never disappears. As I handle the cases put on a conveyor belt, I watch the rest fall into paper work under the administration of justice. Depending on the feelings of each person involved in a case, we can’t continue working on it.
Time passed and I was still worried about the progress I was making. I wondered if many of the things I couldn’t do as a police officer, such as not shooting the perpetrators in a standoff, may lead to me hindering the organization. This idea continued to stay in the back of my mind. While in training, I didn’t have to worry about this. Partly due to the fact I wasn’t experienced in more difficult situations or large scale investigations. It was also probably because as an organization the first division saw more corruption and unfairness.
Something Morioka often said was, “You’re doing what you can. The investigations, intuitions, the way of using people, and the mobility is all authorized by me. However, if you’re only going to be overcritical about it, you oughta do something about that.” His usage of that word was probably out of concern. In reality he should’ve said something like, “Quit it with that pretentious talk” or “tell me me one of your crazy stories.”
(…I’m afraid of getting hurt.)
Even if saving the victim is a way of atoning, I don’t thinking condemning a criminal would be the way to do that. Even more so if you witness the weight of a sin twisted by the power of the system. I’m afraid my actions would only create more sorrow.
While looking at the evidence presented in yesterday’s case, I meaninglessly repeated this to myself…
At that time, a loud alarm rang.
“Each station from the Metropolitan Police Department. Please confirm the footage regarding X-Day on the digital screen in Shinjuku. As of April, in this video several victims suspected to be police officers were shot and killed.”
“Hey, open the video site!”
“Looks like the special investigation team arrived.”
“What’s the location of the crime scene?”
“We don’t know yet… Oh, near the station.”
“I don’t get it! Isn’t this the same video as before?”
“I’m checking in with the higher management!”
“What the hell is the cyber police doing!?”
All at the same time, a video displayed on the monitor.
“Hello everyone, thank you for waiting. It is now time for the judgement.”
“As the X-day approaches, we commenced our judgement.”
“We are Adonis.”
Judgement. My mind froze when I heard that word.
For the people who aren’t helped, they judge the sinners themselves. Those who have been ridiculed or feared, these people wanted to condemn those many people within this city… no, within this country.
“Adonis… is this a copycat criminal from two years ago?”
“There should’ve been some people left. What are these guys thinking?”
“They’re thinking of revenge.”
“Yeah, but for what?”
What they consider even is the national laws and justice followed by the public opinion. But for humans that decide to bring disorder, what sort of morals can they preach? What meaning does it have? They–I… chose rather than getting hurt, rather than make someone sad, chose to eliminate the malice in front of them.
(I have to stop them.)
This endless chain of revenge. Not for anyone else. I’m fine with doing it for myself. I feel like I finally found what I was looking for all this time.