The story so far: a rich family goes on holiday. This is narrated in excrutiating detail.
We leave Kanon behind. Now it’s time for a discussion of architectural styles.
This is some Victor Hugo level digression. I guess this was probably a major deal in the 80s, when this is set? No doubt still is.
Apparently, of all the servants, old Kinzo will only open his heart to Genji. And he has a smelly habit of ‘black magic’. And he had a history of physically abusing his children and grandchildren (hitting them with a wooden sword and his fists). Delightful.
Oh yeah and there’s a matter of inheritance. Jessica will inherit the head house instead of one of the branches. Family structure seems to be a bigger deal in rich Japanese families than I’m familiar with? Admittedly I’m generalising this out of this one game and videos of the Yakuza games so like, what the hell do I know lol. I know our own remnant aristocrats are equally fucked up. (Is there a guillotine emoji yet?)
So uh since these people are going to start getting murdered eventually, it’s probably worth noting who’s rooming with who. It’s pretty straightforward: parent couples together, Battler and George share, Rosa and Maria share… I guess Jessica’s on her own?
They have all the luxury that two-point perspective paintings can provide.
All the adults go off to the mansion while the Cousin Gang holds back in the guest house. As they leave, George asks Kumasawa a question that we don’t hear. Chekhov’s gun, etc. etc.
…or not, Battler demands to find out about it right away and he and Maria tickle George until they get their way. Apparently George is inquiring after one of the servants, a girl called Shannon.
Meanwhile, the adults might actually be starting a plot..? Also we meet Natsuhi, another Ushiromiya, who we previously heard mentioned as Jessica’s mum, (I misspelled her as Natsui before). She has headaches. Eva is a dick to her about it. They discuss cajoling children through exams. (*cough*reformthewholeinhumansystem*cough*)
There’s some dynamics around hosts’ responsibilities and stuff (again, spelled out in patronising detail) and we meet Shannon the maid at last. Shannon seems to be traumatised, or at least rendered extremely anxious, by the strictness of her hosts. If this doesn’t end in communist revolution, I will be disappointed.
Eva continues to be incredibly nasty to everyone. And there’s this whole thing where if the servant isn’t perfect it reflects poorly on the host which just leads to toxic dynamics all round. I really feel for Shannon getting caught in the crossfire of aristocratic status games. I’m not going to be particularly sorry when these people start getting murdered.
Thankfully Kanon is here with some servant solidarity.
Look, Kanon even has a beret. Excellent start for any revolution. But Gohda is apparently the one resonsible for setting up Shannon’s humiliation.
As ever, the game does this thing of explaining what just happened in overwhelming detail. In this case, to shake things up, Kumasawa is the one delivering the lecture rather than the omniscient narrator, but either way, it’s… getting quite tiresome.
(It’s the opposite end of the scale from the more cryptic games I’ve played recently like Dark Souls and Hyper Light Drifter, which give you the vague but evocative hints and images by way of exposition and leave you to puzzle out the connections. Or, to pick an example closer to what this work will apparently become, it’s labouring its points far more than Homestuck. But I’ll bear with it.)
But now it’s time to go back to the Cousin Gang.
CW sexual harassment, ‘jokingly’ threatened csa and incest, and also actual sexual assault
FUCKING HELL Battler, she’s fucking NINE YEARS OLD, it was vile enough when you were creeping on your other cousin in front of her but this makes me feel ill.
I know he won’t die first because he’s the protagonist, but I really want him out of this series asap. Why are men - and I mean the man responsible for this scene - so incredibly vile!?
Shannon arrives on the scene, and Battler wastes no time in literally attempting to sexually assault her. And in the narration, he tries to play it off as ‘just a joke’. This is making me seriously angry.
And it just gets worse. The game gives us a closeup of Shannon’s boobs and like fuck this shit? The story of this post is ‘service worker suffers workplace abuse and then almost sexually assaulted’, and the latter is played as a joke. That’s not OK at all.
Thankfully Jessica intervenes violently, but not violently enough, before our protagonist can actually sexually assault someone. I want her to break Battler’s legs.
Battler does not get the shit beaten out of him, and immediately starts giving a victim-blaming lecture to Shannon, and demands that she smack him to complete the “joke”. It’s not just that Battler is a horrible person that really gets to me, it’s that he’s meant to be sympathetic. Someone wrote this character thinking that this behaviour was somehow endearing.
Shannon repeats the ‘we are furniture’ line that Kanon gave. So many fucking red flags in this house. These fuckers deserve what they get, as long as Kanon and Shannon escape.
Even after the situation is defused (by, let’s be clear, a norm being established where the assaulting behaviour is not questioned but turned into a ritual where a man tries to sexually assault someone and gets rebuffed), Battler’s still wittering on about Shannons boobs. This is so creepy and awful.
Kanon and Shannon turn out to be siblings, at least as chosen family. And it’s extremely clear from the writing that they’re in an abusive situation.
I’m going to end this post here.