Headscratchers: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
What would June and Santa have done if someone (not Ace or The 9th man) entered a numbered door and didn't deactivate their watches, and it was revealed that there was no detonator? Just like that, you'd remove an element of danger, weaken the morphogenetic field, and possibly prevent Junpei from saving June's life.
They would have been disappointed. However, that possibility could only happen if someone decided to make the potentially-fatal experiment of not deactivating. And if the bombs were real and someone made that same experiment, the outcome would be a lot worse. The chance of weakening the field is better than the chance of blowing up an innocent person, no?
Actually, that's simple - they just wouldn't. They saw The 9th man blow up, and to them, that guarantees that the same will happen to them. Under that kind of pressure, all you're going to do is think about how you're going to survive - instinct. Nobody's even going to consider the possibility that it was all set up and that in fact their bracelets weren't detonators. Besides, even if they did, would -you- be willing to take that risk?
But there was also a pretty good risk of a situation that they couldn't deactivate. What if Ace tried to kill someone else the same way he thought he killed Snake? Then there was the DEA Ds that were located a significant distance away from the doorway, why would they put them there if the last thing they wanted to happen was them to fail to deactivate?
But remember, while Zero/Akane/Aoi knew this was a risk, they had an infinite number of chances because of Akane's ability.
The fact that The 9th Man enters the ship armed with a knife suggests that there's no way to change that event, as Akane planned for it to happen in order to introduce the element of danger. Word of God is somewhat vague on how much mind-control Akane is able to exert, but she was able to overwrite Seven's memories, so it's probably considerable. She also would be familiar with the personalities of the original Nonary Game planners and how to manipulate them. Either someone really failed a spotcheck in letting The 9th Man into the game with a weapon or it was always a set-up, possibly even a character test — Ace, after all, was given a chance to confess to a witness. Had Ace come clean and had The 9th Man not been holding a weapon, both of them would have survived the game unscathed. The fact that The 9th Man does die, however, creates the need for Snake's disappearance mid-way through. Alternatively: Bavarian Fire Drill. Social psychologists have enormous amounts of data proving that the collective is much more stupid than the individual.
There's also the matter of how willing people are to follow orders, especially if there's some particular motivator in place: Junpei even notices that at one point it felt a lot longer than 81 seconds before he deactivated his bracelet, but assumes that he's wrong because of how willing he is to believe that the rules of the game are being followed. In that kind of danger, your perception of time would be skewed, to say the least.
In addition to all this, June and Santa both know that everyone except for The Ninth Man and Nijisaki won't fulfill any of the conditions necessary to explode, as June already knew what would occur every time someone went through a numbered door from having Junpei's point of view.
Even for show, isn't it a bit risky for Santa to take June "hostage" by way of pressing a loaded gun to her temple? Maybe if you put the safety on or removed the bullets beforehand. But I wouldn't take such a great chance if I was only making a show of taking someone hostage.
It could have been that Santa only put one bullet in the gun, with the intent of firing that one shot, just to scare the others.
Unlikely, the one very bad ending shows that the gun is loaded to the brim and is working very fine. Although Santa sure could have removed the bullets after he stole the gun, that much is true. It really depends on what Akane saw in the past so that it would play out exactly like that in the future. So basically, if she saw that her brother would do just fine even with the gun loaded like that and her at gunpoint, it would be like that in future, simple as that (Word of God says so basically, at least).
It's a double-action revolver. The trigger is taut enough that you have to really *squeeze* to fire the gun, which pretty much means you're only really going to do it on purpose.
The answer is actually quite simple; say he messes up and kills June. Young Akane can still alter the timeline to one where she doesn't die, and nothing will really be lost. Except possibly at the very last part of the True Ending, where young Akane is in time-sensitive danger, there aren't any stakes because everything that happens is a hypothetical situation within Akane's mind.
How was the original experiment supposed to work anyway? If the first set of kids were simply given the answers and then told to transmit them, maybe you could test to see if the other kids received anything. But if they're both in identical situations _solving_ identical problems, both sets solving the puzzle wouldn't suggest ANYTHING about data being sent or received. It might make some sense if the second group's game only started after the first group's game completed, so that the first group would already have answers to give and the two sets of completion times could be compared, but this was never explained as far as I remember... and even then, one group being slightly faster or slower is well within chance and you couldn't prove anything had been transmitted at all.
Keep in mind that these same people apparently thought that it was a great idea to perform an experiment by kidnapping eighteen children and essentially putting them in a giant death trap and telling them to more or less develop some psychic powers or they'll die. They nearly didn't make it past the hospital room, if Snake hadn't gotten them to pull themselves together.
This one is answered in the game: Clover said was that the kids in Building Q were "told to solve the puzzles and transmit them or else their siblings would die" and, in the True End, Snake explains how the first game was run — the Nevada group started working on the puzzles some measure of time before the second group. The point wasn't to compare completion times; it was to provide a situation in which the "A" group would tap into the morphogenetic field. By this logic, it would make sense that the hints in Building Q wouldn't have existed in the Gigantic, facilitating more urgency for the "A" group to receive the answers the "Q" group would send.
If the pharmaceutical company clearly got caught taking the kids, since they were rescued, why did they not suffer any repercussions? It seems like they went on to make lots of money with no problems...
Lotus did say that she tried to get the police to find out what happened to her children during their disappearance, but they pretty much sat on their hands. It's possible that the company paid off any efforts to investigate them.
Could have had some fall guys to take the blame, insisting that they happened to have done the kidnapping. That, combined with bribes, and the fact that it was only Seven's (and perhaps some fellow detectives') word that it was Cradle.
Lotus specifically says that she could never get her kids to tell her what happened during the time they were kidnapped, and that eventually, over time, they returned to behaving like normal kids. Given that, and what happened to Akane and Aoi, the kids were probably too traumatized by the experience that they wouldn't have made any kind of formal confession to the police (they'd probably repress the memories until years later). Since the Gigantic was also implied to have been purchased by a dude with serious black market connections, I'm guessing the explosion and subsequent sinking weren't terribly important to the law enforcement, either. Couple that with only Seven's investigation (which only got as far as it had because he got a vague tip from one guy who worked at Cradle) proving the whole thing, and Cradle's sudden enormous financial growth...the police probably didn't have any significant leads to investigate, and/or were bought off by Cradle because hey, the kids were home safe anyways, why bother digging any deeper?
What is the point of the submarine and the Sun Key? Apparently the players don't need it to go through the final door. From what I hear, the submarine was meant as an alternate escape route for the children if they couldn't go through the 9 door. Obviously then, the submarine is useless in Zero's game since it takes place in a desert. But I'm still confused over why the submarine was there in the first place (on the ship), since the "explanation" that I've found isn't 100% satisfactory, and also, even if Zero needed an exact replica of the ship, the fact that door 2 is basically a dead end in the Nevada building is pretty unfair.
Zero is just using the building that was already there. The submarine was probably still there so Zero just kept it since it would be way to much hassle to take it out.
It's an alternate escape route for both Building Q and the ship. If you choose door 2, you can't go to door 6 and consequently door 9. June/Santa had an extra sun key for escaping when things go south. Ace probably had one 9 years ago. In ending 6, since he knows Junpei is going through door 2 and thus getting the sun key, he murders everyone and plays dead, so he can ambush them and take the key. June escapes from him, wounded, opens the sun door, and collapses near the sub. Ace completes his plan and escapes.
Word of God's official statement is that the submarine was just there because there was one in the Gigantic. It was there when it was purchased from Gordain, and was never removed. The Submarine doesn't actually go anywhere, so it's actually just a dead end in Building Q.
The point is that both the submarine and the sun key were implemented into the Nonary Game. Several doors and rooms on the ship and building were locked off, so even if removing the sub would be too much of a hassle, there was no reason to make the number 2 door lead to the submarine just for a dead end.
Every doors, from which you can choose simultaneously has a digital root 9 (5+4=9; 8+7+3=18, 1+8=9; 1+2+6=9;). Why? There is no reason to go through those doors simultaneously.
It's just a numerological motif, for sure. Also, I see it as a kind of prize - if they didn't kill each other, they can end the games quicker (all people means you get all the cards and keys faster, since you clear all rooms on the floor simultaneously).
Akane is recreating the original Nonary Game, in which all nine team members did survive (as they were all present in the incinerator when Seven showed up). Had The 9th Man lived, two teams would have met in the hospital and been able to divide into three teams of three instantly (then meet in the hospital with new keycards and keys, find the remaining three doors, and divide again for doors 2, 6, and 1). However, the absence of working REDs in the hospital suggests that Akane and Aoi were prepared for Ace's tricks and preemptively disabled advancement. The search for the RED components was when Snake was "escorted" to safety, as he was in the greatest danger.
Why is Seven dressed like a dock worker? And where did he get those scars?
I was wondering about his clothes myself. Maybe it was to throw him/the others off from his real profession? The scars I don't see as that weird. He IS a lone-wolf detective that doesn't seem afraid of getting physical when it can get results.
Or he was doing undercover work when he was gassed.
Word of God says he got them in some investigation of a big company between the events of 9 years ago and the "present."
Why is Lotus dressed in costume? I guess we don't know what her current job is, but we know she used to work in computers, she's a mother (although since both of her kids are around Junpei's age, they wouldn't live with her), and she never mentions that Zero dressed her up like that (and why would she?). So what the hell was she doing dressed like that at home, around midnight, alone? Even more pressing, why does NO ONE else seem to care?
Moonlighting as a belly dancer instructor (Pure Fanon but it's funny) and everyone has more pressing concerns then comments on Lotus' Huge Tracts of Land.
It could be that Lotus had been out at a costume party or something, and was kidnapped when she came home. It would also explain why Junpei originally thought she was a dancer of some sort.
Word of God says it's because she thinks it's fun, honestly - she enjoys belly-dancing but does not work as one, so she simply dresses like one because she wants to. She's actually a penetration tester.
If June is Zero and she set up the second Nonary Game to save herself in the past, why is she so passive and useless during the present-day Nonary Game? I can understand not wanting to be too effective so nobody suspects that she's Zero, but I think the only point in the entire game where she's remotely useful is discussing science in the freezer. She doesn't even try to talk Junpei out of making obviously wrong choices! I suppose if her past self is sending solutions to Junpei then she IS technically still taking action, but you'd think she'd be doing whatever she had to in order to stay alive. :/
Well she does have the heath condition called 'being dead'. It's taking all her will just to manifest. The reason she keeps collapsing is her fading away. She is literally running on pure willpower here.
Whenever she collapses, it means she's dead because you took the wrong choices. And she never stops you from making those choices because it doesn't matter, in fact it benefits her. As she herself mentions, all non-true endings never actually happened - they were all possibilities that she sees, and thus in the end benefits from. After all, the True End would be impossible without Junpei first having gone through the Safe ending, which is a dead end for June. And she can't just tell Junpei what he has to do, as that would ultimately weaken the Morphogenic Field and she'd lose access to that timeline.
Remember, she's the only person here who is actually not under any real stress: yes, she's trying to save her own life, but she's exploring multiple timelines. She's not there to participate, she's there to observe, and that's the point— she already set up the dominoes, now she has to watch them fall. If she interferes too much, she could paradox herself out of existence because then her escape from the incinerator would require her future self to rescue her from it, and since there's no time travel involved, that's impossible. That's why she needs Junpei to save her in the first place.
My headcanon runs like this: when Akane escaped the incinerator, she knew that in the future everyone believed she was dead. Therefore, in order to survive she needed to have first died - which is impossible. The grief and horror that most of the other players who knew about her death seem to share seems too real for her to have just said 'all right now everyone needs to pretend that I died or I will die.' So what I figure is that she accessed the morphogenic field in order to change everyone's perceptions of reality, and overlaid their memories of her surviving with a memory of her dying in order to keep herself alive. The thing about doing something like this is that she is also connected to the field, and so implanting the memory of her death would have screwed with her own perceptions of the timeline as well, letting her remember escaping and burning to a crisp at the same time, and theoretically both would feel equally real. Or heck, her memory of dying might have felt more real than her memory of surviving! Having two (or more, as she did play the second nonary game a lot to try to figure out how to use it to save herself) versions of the timeline chasing around in her head was doubtless disorientating and confusing, and probably resulted in her not being quite sure what the specifics of what she had to do were, once the game started. The setup never varied, and there were a few key elements in the game that never varied either, but as to which doors to go through and suchlike she might no longer have known.
Only Seven believed that she had died in the first Nonary Game.
Not true. The fact that a girl died was also mentioned by Clover in the Captain's Quarters.
What's up with June's fever all the time? Something going wrong in the Timey Wimey Gambit? Or the Incinerator going worse? Not concentrating enough/too much and the time is having too much paradox to hold her up?
The first. It only happens when you move away from the true ending.
To be more specific, it's because she dies in the past, so she ceases to exist in the "present." The fever is a result of her burning up quite literally in the past.
How the hell does Clover get the 0 bracelet from Musashidou in the safe ending and presumably the knife ending as well (endings 4 and 5) if Ace wasn't there to kill him?
Obviously, she killed him instead. It isn't much of a stretch, considering she's probably Axe Crazy by that point.
Not so obvious when you consider that Ace had a lot of advantages that allowed him to do it. He knew that someone was waiting for him in the next room, and he had intended to kill him all along, but Clover did not have such knowledge, still she rushed to the next room anyways leaving her partners behind (for no apparent reason). Ace also knows the solutions to the puzzles, which was what allowed him to rush to the next room and come back without the others noticing to begin with, but Clover doesn't seem to know the solution to those puzzles, as she does nothing to solve them even in the ending where she tells you about the experiment 9 years ago, when she has no reason to hide it anymore. I guess it's still possible for her to kill Musashidou without Seven and Lotus noticing, but it requires to suspend your disbelief quite a bit.
I read a theory that actually would make sense to me. Couldn't it be that Cap confessed to her? Apparently he was told that another witness was going to come and he had to confess then, so he may have thought that the witness was Clover. He was released after confessing (the bracelet would come off then) and that's also how Clover got to know about the safe. The incinerator in this ending was turned on later on because Ace was no longer needed since Cap already confessed. It's of course only a theory and possible that Clover just killed him (she doesn't seem crazy at all in the safe path though) and hid his body under the bed but Lotus and Seven also said they searched everywhere in that room...
Cap was the witness. Ace was supposed to be the one to confess and escape. I'm not sure how Clover got the note from Cap or where he went in the Safe ending providing he was still alive.
What was the point of switching up the bracelet numbers so that June was wearing 0 and Santa was wearing 9, forcing Santa to stay with June no matter what so it doesn't get exposed? Junpei also mentions during the Safe End that it doesn't make sense that there would be two number 9 bracelets, but then it's never really brought up again. Also, what number was Nijisaki wearing? Whose decision was it to drag the 4 original planners onto the ship? It seems like Santa's idea, given how distraught June is at the thought that anyone's dying; it's also weird how at points she honestly doesn't seem to have any idea what's going on, which doesn't make any sense because unless she's pretending, there's no way she wouldn't recognize her own brother.
Snake just theorizes about Santa having the 0 bracelet (not June) and June having a reversed 9 bracelet (which looks like a 6) when he suspects that Santa is Zero. When it is discovered that Santa is not Zero, his reasoning falls apart, so we can assume that Santa and June really were 3 and 6 after all and Junpei was right about thinking that Snake's theory didn't make sense. Since Ace made Nijisaki go through door 3 with the 1 and 9 bracelets, he could have only been wearing a replica of the 2 bracelet. Regarding the 4 original planners and June's attitude, it's possible that June just had to go along with what she had seen 9 years ago from Junpei's point of view.
No, Snake was actually not so far off. It's actually June who has number 0 (since she is Zero), Santa is 9. Word of God confirms this plus the fact that June was the mastermind behind it all and not Santa, even though most people would probably think it to be the other way around. She "seems nice, but she planned this ruthlessly and she is also someone who would easily kill someone to reach her goal." As to why both of them have these numbers... I'm guessing because 0 and 9 don't change the digital root. That means if things take a turn for the worse they could theoretically also split up and join any team they want.
It's pedantic, but, technically, things can't take a turn for the worse — there's only one ending that actually occurs, with the rest being alternate possibilities. In the Safe End, Akane doesn't leave the hospital (and note who stays to watch over her — foreshadowing for the True End!) and presumably blinks out of existence. Aoi is later heard as the voice of Zero (Word of God states that Zero's voice is Aoi using his psychic powers to "talk" to Junpei), at which point the game restarts.
To answer your questions point-by-point: Akane and Aoi already had a digital root of 9 (3 and 6) and, if you map the numbered doors and run all possible combinations, Akane and Aoi would remain together (assuming you're playing as intended, with no deaths and everyone advancing; once The 9th Man died, Snake had to be removed for his own safety and because of his number). There are other pairs of 9 — Seven and Snake (7 and 2), and, more importantly, Junpei and Clover (5 and 4). Akane had nine years to plan this game, so it's unlikely it's a coincidence that the numbers are distributed the way they are. You can work with Clover in multiple rooms (1, 7, and 8) and you have to work with her because your pairing doesn't change the digital root (the third team member is always the person whose bracelet matches the door number).
The four planners: whether it was strictly Akane or Aoi's idea isn't made clear. You could probably find more evidence suggesting that it was Akane's, as Aoi is pretty firm in declaring that he's Zero's "assistant" and not the mastermind of the second game's creation. (He is chessmaster-ing the players, but it's Akane's plan, based on her vision from the first game.) As for "June," she is acting and pretending not to know her brother. Multiple cast members are hiding what they know, actually — Clover, Snake, Ace, Santa, and June have all done these puzzles before; only Junpei, Lotus, and Seven are learning the solutions for the first time. Clover's conversation with Junpei about Locke's Socks and the Ship of Theseus is a metaphor for Akane, based on the creator's interview: Junpei remembers his childhood friend and Akane acts the role accordingly, but she's also Zero. Who is the real Akane?
Nijisaki was wearing a 2 bracelet. As for the "point" of Aoi and Akane's actual numbers, it's likely a hint to Junpei, but it's only revealed in the True End. The Captain's number is "zero" (so we think) but, when tested, proves to be a six. Junpei references this when he figures out that the final "9" door isn't a number but a letter. It's a subversion of an invoked red herring — Junpei's correct when he says that the Captain's murder is too perfect (i.e., the Captain isn't the real Zero), but it's not until the bracelet is scanned that the remaining players pick up multiple clues. The remaining players need to consider the idea of bracelet numbers being different than they appear in order for Snake to reveal what he knows about Aoi and Akane, the first Nonary Game, and what he thinks Zero's motives are. (While he's wrong about the bracelet numbers, his other inferences are correct and allow Junpei's consciousness to make sense of the final puzzle.)
The whole Submarine End in general is full of small little holes. First of all, it can be assumed that Ace was the killer, but there's never any confirmation, since he was found dead and was counted among the dead while Junpei was going over the victims in his head before he died. And, if it was him, why did he go all the way back to the grand staircase to appear dead? What was the point of leaving June near the sub? How the hell did he manage to overpower both Seven and Lotus without Junpei even noticing (alright, he was preoccupied with Akane, but still)? Similar problems arise if you consider the possibility that Clover is the killer, which isn't too far-fetched.
Actually, you could say that it's confirmed that Ace is the killer in the sense that he's the only possible one. Junpei never confirms the death of anyone, but Seven confirms that Clover is dead by checking that she has no pulse. He doesn't confirm the death of anyone else because of Lotus' interruption. Furthermore, in the CG you can clearly see that the corpses of Santa and Clover are not wearing their bracelets... but Ace has his left arm hidden. As for the rest, I can only think that Ace killed Santa and Clover, June tried to run away to the sub (assuming she has the keys since she is Zero) and Ace got her in the sub room, then he thought that it would be dangerous to face Seven head on and played dead, so he could back-stab them later off guard. Junpei didn't hear anything because he was yelling June's name?
Word of God says it's him. He faked his death (he hides his bracelet arm if you look) after killing Santa and Clover, then followed Junpei, killed Lotus and Seven, then finally killed Junpei. It definitely wasn't Clover, though.
It's also goes against Ace's personality. If he thought killing everyone was a legitimate tactic then he would have done it as soon as he got the knife and everyone split up to look for the RED's hardware. Instead he's quite content to act innocent and only goes murderous when his cover is exposed in the other endings. I know word of god says otherwise but my personal theory is that it was Capn in this ending, Ace wasn't able to perform the same sleight of hand as he could on Junpei and as a result the drug wore off allowing Capn to chase them down with the axe. Not an ideal theory but I still think it holds up slightly better than Ace suddenly saying feck it, I'll kill everyone (bear in mind he hadn't even found the Number 9 door yet in this ending).
Why doesn't Clover find the note (truth had gone) on Musashidou's body in the endings where she kills everybody (Knife and Axe)? For that matter, what did Clover know that let her find the note to begin with?
This may have spoilers for you if you haven't done the Safe or True ending, but its widely believed that Ace is the killer in the Knife ending. Anyway, there's nothing that says she didn't pick up the note, but in the Axe ending, she was too driven by revenge to care about the meaning of some strange note she found on the corpse. And the note was in the guy's front pocket...since she was taking his bracelet, it's not unlikely that she just searched him. She didn't need to know beforehand that there was actually any note with any special meaning, which is to say, simple searching abilities let her find the note. You might want to get a second opinion if you're curious, but I don't think the note is very relevant in the Knife and Axe endings.
Who says she doesn't find it? It doesn't matter if she does, she won't make it out anyway. Word of God confirms that she does not make it out in that ending.
Clover only gets the note from Musashidou if he is alive when she enters the Captain's quarters, which is only possible in the Knife and Safe ending, because Ace does not go through door 1. This is why she goes missing in the Knife ending; Ace found her first and killed her, just as he does in the Safe ending.
Where did June disappear to when they mentioned Akane was dead in the incinerator?
June simply snuck out of the incinerator when no-one was looking. It's as simple as that.
How did she sneak out? She somehow managed to get through the room and the door with no one noticing anything?
Ye-up. Don't underestimate her skills: this is the girl who masterminded the entire Nonary Game and even directed her plan from the front lines without drawing the slightest bit of suspicion to herself.
How did she have a morphic resonance with Junpei instead of Santa, her brother? Or did she have a connection to both of them?
Akane was supposed to have formed a morphic resonance with Aoi, but couldn't because she was mistakenly placed in the wrong group. A key requirement for morphic resonance is that both the transmitter and the receiver have to going through the exact same experiences, and Akane couldn't do that considering Aoi was standing next to her. However, there was one other receiver with whom Akane shared a strong bond and who was in the exact same situation as her: Junpei, nine years in the future.
How was Akane able to plan the Nonary Game with Santa if she's been dead for 9 years?
Akane never died. She formed a morphic resonance with Junpei at the end of her Nonary Game and that saved her life. Anyone who says otherwise is collaborating with Akane and Aoi.
Who was talking over the speaker when June was with everybody?
The simplest explanation is that the voice over the speaker was a recording.
No, it answers Ace's question. Though many things in this game can be (and is, in the interviews) explained by that they are just reconstructed from how Akane saw/heard them in the future or other timelines. She, well, had a canon to follow and it became a recording. But there could be problems with recording anyways, and I think it were just a random Akane's worker - she had an organization all to herself and used plenty of help in getting the true ending. It does state that it's Zero speaking, but it also identifies as a captain of a ship, which surely is not true.
Where did Santa and Ace go after going through the incinerator door? Why did they find Ace and not Santa and June? How come the news just forgot two of the missing kids? Forgive me for having so many questions, but I am more confused than Lotus is by the end.
Akane had already left the incinerator when Santa and Ace exited. From there, they simply left the "ship" (perhaps on a lower level, rather than from above, as the second group did). Aoi had Ace at gunpoint, and since the second team finds Ace bound and gagged in the trunk of the SUV, it's implied that Aoi and Akane left him there so that he could be turned over to the judicial system and punished for his crimes. As for why the second team didn't find Aoi and Akane: they had an 18 minute headstart (at a minimum, considering how long it would take to run up all those stairs), since Junpei had to solve the final puzzle (to stop the incineration in the past) and then figure out the door's solution (to keep from being burned alive in the present). There's a car with a full gas tank waiting for them and they're following another car's tracks, but they aren't shown meeting up with Akane and Aoi. It's easy to follow tracks through a desert, but once you're on actual roads, it's pretty hard to find a car when you don't know what the car looks like or which direction it's going.
For the 16-18 kidnapped kids discrepancy, it is because Santa and June were orphans and were not reported missing by anybody. :) Hope that helps.
Just a bit. I have more questions, but I fear that it would annoy people a lot more if I happened to ask all of them. But, here's one more to add to the pile; what did the astrological symbols mean? They didn't symbolize or relate to anything else in the story, other than some locked doors.
The solar system keys are in relation to the fact that, until a few years ago, nine planets were part of our solar system. So the number is important in and of itself. The Sun door cannot be affected by the participants of the Nonary game, not unlike the planets cannot truly affect the sun. Zero was more or less setting the planets aligned. IIRC most of the keys are used in the order of the planets throughout the game (Correct me where I'm inaccurate.) Near the end, Snake is wearing a cloak. This is important because if you look closely, the cloak has the symbol for Pluto, which makes him a key. This is also a reference to Pluto, the Roman equivalent of Hades, the Greek god of the dead, quite fitting where he is found at that point. Please excuse the rambling, hopefully this was coherent.
Actually, there do seem to be some encoded hints in the astrological symbols. The only two keycards (instead of keys) used in the main game are for Mercury (light blue card for the 1st planet) and Saturn (violet card for the 6th planet). (There are two others— Uranus (green card for the 7th planet) and a 0/Sun card (yellow), but they're only used in the True endgame behind Door 9.) The Mercury and Saturn cards both open elevators whose inner doors have the symbol for a nine-rayed sun (the central 0th planet of the solar system, so to speak). Akane's name means "red", her original Japanese alias was "Murasaki" (purple), and her brother's name sounds as the same as the common word for "blue" (though written with a different kanji).
Answering the very first set of questions, it's possible that Akane had a connection with Santa and Junpei, and that was how everything was set up. Her past self was contacting Santa, telling him what he had to do to safely replicate the game so that everyone could go through and she could survive. As for how Santa managed it, he would have had the money (if you ask him if he means gambling "like the stock market", he tells you that he did make a lot of money through Cradle stocks) and the knowledge (he was in the game, so he knew where and how everything went). He was the one who actually stood in for Zero, wearing the gas mask and kidnapping everyone, and he made the recording on Akane's behalf. As for why Akane had Junpei help her solve the puzzle instead of Santa, there are a number of reasons. Maybe she wanted to fill the last position with someone who she trusted but who was not involved in the original game, so he'd be a third party of sorts. Or, it could be that her connection to Junpei was stronger than the one to Santa, thus making him a better option as her transmitter. Or, she could just have felt better knowing that she was being helped by her old childhood friend. Mind, all of the above is just speculation.
The connection to Junpei was stronger because there was no emergency with Santa. Santa had long gotten over the fact that his sister died and the spark to save her only re-emerged when he started getting her messages. The game explicitly states that the morphogenetic field is best activated when someone's life is really in danger, and since Santa was the one who had to cause the danger, someone else who had a link to Akane would have had to be her transmitter/receiver. Note that both Santa and Junpei are natural receivers and Akane is a natural transmitter, it could be that the only time they could gain enough power to change their method of accessing the fields is at a time of extreme and very real danger(The True Ending).
I answered all of this above, from Word of God.
The person in the gas mask actually was Akane. It's even shown in the game — her face switches with the gas mask of somewhat similar shape. But she obviously wasn't dragging sleeping bodies around by herself. I thought it was interesting how all the characters state they were kidnapped at midnight - June's got some fast ways. Or some of them slept quite a time, though it's doubtful she waited for that hour just to get a person or two for one day.
What was Aoi, an orphan, doing in a private school uniform?
It's possible that he was attending the private school before his parents died, and he simply didn't drop out afterward; at one point he talks about saving up all year to buy presents for his little sister, but he would have been too young to actually have a paying job, so he had to have been getting money one way or another. All transmissions from Akane aside, he did have to re-build and orchestrate the second Nonary Game and all of its door combinations (the badge puzzles in the Zero's Lab section suggest that it was a testing machine for the numbered doors) effectively by himself, so it's not like he isn't extremely intelligent. It's likely that he got into the private school he was attending by merit/academic scholarship.
Foreshadowing why Junpei didn't know Akane had a brother and why the two of them will be going to different schools the next year.
It's possible that the school has a need-based scholarship as well.
It's important not to forget that neither Santa nor June actually set up any of the puzzles. They simply made use of Building Q as it already was 9 years ago - all they did was kidnap everyone, plant bombs in the Cradle execs, and let the morphic field do the rest.
Except, of course, altering the final puzzle, which in the first Nonary Game immediately shut off the incinerator and reactivated the ability to scan the bracelet needed to complete the "9", and in the second Nonary Game merely revealed the solution that the "9" was really a "q".
The real question to all of this is why someone who could plan out this entire elaborate Gambit Roulette can't solve a Sudoku puzzle on her own.
Probably because she had no idea what it was. It's rather surprising that no one recognizes a Sudoku puzzle, but if you were presented with a strange grid of numbers and had never heard of Sudoku before, and in addition, you were under stress because there was a time limit before you got incinerated, it's not strange to think she needed help.
There's nothing saying she couldn't figure out a Sudoku. Her situation was that she had fifteen minutes to solve one with the threat of being incinerated if she failed, and she only had one chance with no hope of escape otherwise. Plus, she was a scared child with literally no time to collect her wits.
She didn't plan it all out in the past. She planned it after she escape over the course of 9 years.
Another thing, while the game has intense music while you try to finish the puzzle, there is no time limit in the present (future?) incinerator, just like how there weren't actually any bombs, not counting the evil executives. It's justified because Akane already has experienced the other timelines with no apparent actually time being spent at all, so while Junpei gets all the time in the world to finish the puzzle, the only time Akane spent was actually typing in the numbers, and possibly crying for him to help her.
It's obviously implied during The Stinger that Junpei's SUV caught up with Aoi's and they moved Ace, but there's no mention of if they were driving together or if they split up at that point for whatever reason. What was that reason? Was Akane with them? Why aren't their names mentioned again at all?
I think it said Santa and  were in the other SUV, presumably meaning June. Having just scanned the official Q&A (http://www.aksysgames.com/999/answers), it looks like Santa and June intended to disappear after the events of the game, to avoid the consequences of their crimes (kidnapping, murder etc) and having to face the others about it. However, they still wanted Ace to go on trial, so maybe they dropped him off the back of the truck still tied up so the others would find him while following the tracks, without there being an actual exchange.
It's actually not implied that Junpei and the rest ever caught up with Aoi and Akane. In fact, Junpei's first thought after exiting the game is I really must be crazy about the girl if I'm willing to spend the rest of my life chasing her. The above-linked Word of God states that, no, there is no reunion between Jumpy and Kanny at the end of the first game. As for why Ace was in the trunk, Aoi and Akane were the ones who left an SUV with a full tank of gas there for the team — they threw a bound-and-gagged Ace into the trunk so that he would be brought to justice. If Aoi simply killed Ace, then "the truth would be lost." (Word of God again.) It's mentioned that Ace seems "broken," and the fact that he fell into Akane's trap seems to be what shatters him (moreso than the fact that, you know, he's committed multiple murders). It's heavily implied that he's no longer attempting to play innocent and will either end up confessing to law enforcement and/or being prosecuted. The fact that his co-conspirators' bodies remain on the replica ship make it pretty easy to build a case against him and link Cradle to the original kidnappings. (This also explains why Akane is still on the run: if found, she'd be tried for multiple murders, the kidnappings of the the 9 "second-gen" participants as well as the three men linked to the original game, etc.)
Although the severity of Ace's prosopagnosia is unknown, the Other Wiki's definition mentions that being unable to distinguish hair colours isn't a symptom, and that sufferers often use hair style and color as one indicator to tell people apart. That said, how could he have mistaken the black-haired Nijisaki for Snake? And unless the explosion completely removed all traces of his hair, wouldn't one of the others have also picked up on the fact that Snake didn't have black hair?
Anime hair colors are often taken as a style thing rather than representative, so it might be that they all have black hair.
Not to mention the fact that, despite Junpei's incredibly detailed overview of the corpse, no one really got a good look at the corpse. I mean, really, even Clover didn't notice that the corpse had two arms, while she knew her brother only had one real one.
Justified however, since Clover would hardly want to see Snake's body, if he had just exploded. She mentions at one point that she could hardly look at him.
Though the latter part mostly works because it is a gruesome death scene and no-one likes to look at the victim's face that long while the rest of his body is mush...especially if you see his clothes and immediately connect that to the person you know (and in Clover's case the person you love and have been living with all your life). Coupled with the shock it is no wonder no-one notices the difference. None of them is used to seeing corpses to think rationally and look closely for long. The original problem could be explained with Ace's carelessness. It's just that the formerly useless REDs are functioning and that someone must have done something. So he must assume that they MIGHT be close, and that is why he has to hurry. Or just the hurry alone caused him to overlook that part. He saw the clothes and the bracelet number and that was enough for him. Plus the person reacted to the name he was called. Add that to the killing intent that was primary in Ace's head and that leads to carelessness. Basically "clothes make the man", especially in Ace's case, due to his illness, it is to assume that Ace just is used to identify people's reactions and clothes and voices (which means, the clothes and that the person reacted to the name "Snake/Nils" rather than really taking into account that the hair color doesn't match. Now if we also assume he decided to kill Snake right there and then (I mean the decision to kill was already there but when and how was not decided yet, I guess), he didn't have much time to take action and just did. Like said, carelessness, it can have many reasons.
Two things: the hair color and style could be easily taken care of with a bit of hair dye and a quick hair cut. It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to fool someone who's not looking too hard, and it's something that Zero- magnificent bastard that she is- would undoubtedly have thought of. Second, Ace clearly has trouble telling everyone apart by hairstyle. Think it through. When he was asked to put the headshot cards in the correct slots, he couldn't do it. There are three people who should be immediately doable, the 9th Man, Clover, and Seven- they all have immediate distinguishing features (glasses, ear muffs, and a hat) that don't depend on facial features or hairstyle. Next are June, Lotus, and Santa. June's hair is much longer than everyone else's, Lotus's is in a very distinctive braid, and Santa's is a distinctive color. Ace's hair is also fairly distinctive. The only two that he could conceivably get confused on are Junpei and Snake. He hadn't memorized everyone's hairstyles yet, and so was going solely by clothing and voice.
Also, considering how frustrated Ace is with his inability to recognize faces, it's likely that he prefers to simply not look at people's heads in general.
A bigger question: how did Ace recognize Snake as a former participant in the Nonary Game at all?
Simple deduction I guess? After all, what are the odds that Zero would grab some completely unrelated blind guy & his sister to use in the second Nonary Game?
It's my personal headcanon that Ace's prosopagnosia is so severe that it extends past the inability to recognize faces, making him unable to recognize or remember hair style/color too. He wasn't able to tell Santa & Junpei's hair colors apart, so he may only be able to recognize people in more superficial ways like their clothing, or perhaps their voices. It would certainly explain his... extreme measures to be able to use the morphic field to be able to finally see faces.
Chalk it up to Hollywood Medicine. Not the only time either since Arrested Development just had a character whose prosopagnosia prevented him from differentiating faces and hair.
Word of God states that Zero needed Lotus to solve the laboratory puzzle. That, along with the fact it's a re-enactment of the first Nonary Game in the Nevada Building Q, means the puzzles were the same as the very first Nonary Game. Except Lotus wasn't in the first Nonary Game; her daughters were instead, and they were young. Does that mean they had their mother's ridiculous skill, or what? How did Cradle Pharmaceutical expect little kids to solve that problem? If there was an alternative method, why did Zero need Lotus?
The one who is hacking the computer 9 years ago was probably some other computer whiz kid in the group. Lotus' daughters are not necessarily the hackers, though I understand it still improbable for a kid to do such thing.
Well, that's a good point, but I think if it was via hacking it would be one of Lotus's kids. It just seems more probable because they could have learned from their mother.
The password nine years ago could have been something pertaining to one or some of the children; none of the others would know an thus it must be hacked. Also explaining why Zero chose Lotus for the Nonary Game despite her being the least related to the whole thing.
I see, good point.
Also, Word of God constantly emphasizes that Akane took the people for her plan as she saw in her exploration of the future, thus just did as she saw. She saw Lotus, so she kidnapped Lotus to recreated exactly what she saw.
Important to note that Door 9 suggests that the puzzles you had to do in the present are slightly different than the ones 9 years ago.
Axe ending. So, Clover, just armed with an axe, manages to kill at once the mastermind behind everything, a guy who is twice her size and a guy who is carrying a gun (Santa has to have the gun, since he went through door 6 without Ace). Ahem.
"Hey, Seven. Could you come here for a second? I need a little help here. [kill, tap on Santa's shoulder from behind] "This is for my brother, you son of a bitch." [kill, June starts to freak out, Clover takes the axe to her, kill]. Not that hard to imagine actually.
Door 2 is an enclosed room, with doors practically soundproof. If she took out Seven in one room, she could eliminate Santa in the other room, before he understood what was going on. June then would have found out before the room was solved, but unlike her brother, she was unarmed.
Neither of those explanations work, as Clover specifically mentions that the reason she killed June was that she was in her way, trying to protect Santa and Seven, which implies that they were alive at the time June died and aware of what she was going to do.
Of course, Snake (who is blind) manages to take down Ace, unarmed, Ace with a pistol, out of a pure frenzied revenge. Clover may have done the same. Furthermore, they likely wouldn't have died instantaneously, June interrupting Clover having her bloody, bloody revenge as the two "murderers" writhe. She was doing it for pure vengeance, remember, and would likely not have stopped at their deaths. Perhaps June finds out at that time, June "was in her way,"as the above troper stated.
I think it was a kind of a 'deer caught in the headlights' scenario. Santa and Seven would have been so shocked that Clover was suddenly coming at them with an axe, they wouldn't really have had time to react until she had already hit them. And June is kind of weak, physically, and it probably happened too fast for June to come up with any sort of plan so I bet she only went running up to Clover and tried to plead with her, and that's when Clover killed her for 'getting in her way'.
Don't forget that the whole game is controlled by June (with the help of Santa), and the bad ends are only tests. If Clover became insane and was trying to kill them, then it means that Junpei and Clover never found out that Snake was actually alive, and then it was impossible to save June (and get the True End). June and Santa probably let themselves get killed. As for Seven, well...she took him by surprise, I suppose.
Not to mention that given how crazy Clover was, who knows what she defines "got in the way" as. For all we know, June was just unlucky enough to walk in on Clover hacking up Seven or Santa and Clover interpreted as "Oh no, SHE MUST DIE!"
There's a fanfic that answers this pretty well. Remember, Clover is the one who insisted on exploring Door 2. Maybe she remembers from her first Nonary Game that behind that door lies the Torture Room, where someone needs to be restrained to solve the puzzle. She already has the axe at this point, so all she has to do is wait till one of her targets is immobilized, then take the other by surprise.
A minor one. I might be wrong though but I'm sure Junpei never called Akane by her nickname in the True end. Why is the True End and Coffin End the only ends where Junpei never say Akane's nickname 'Kanny'? It's like a curse or something. This troper haven't done the Axe Ending yet but so far, the Safe, Submarine and Knife ending have Junpei using the calling Akane 'Kanny'. We all know how it ends right? What exactly are they trying to imply here?
Most likely futility — before he calls her "Kanny" he prefaces it with "Codenames don't matter anymore!" signaling that he has failed and started to panic. You could also interpret it as him not seeing her as the girl he knew in his childhood and instead the mastermind behind the Nonary Game.
A meta one: On the Aksys site for the game, it asks for your date of birth. What bugs me is that it goes all the way down to year 1861. What.
I wonder whether entering a certain date will reveal further information. I don't seriously wonder, but it could be.
As of this writing, 1861 is exactly 150 years ago. The only reasoning that comes to mind is that few people live past 100, but no one lives past 150. Perhaps they were just going by fifties and thought to tack on another, just in case. But wait! The digital root of 1861 is... 7. Hm.
This. It now reads 1862. I didn't know Besse Cooper liked these games so much...
Ahh, but 1.1.1861, which would be the earliest date you could possible enter, has a digital root of 9.
Is it just me, or do several of the characters look a lot younger than their purported age? Santa is a few years older than Junpei and June? Clover is 18 (mannerisms suggest teen or preteen)? Lotus is 40?
It's anime-style. In anime, people are either young or super old.
Don't see what's so out of place with Santa. 18 year olds can still act immature. Lotus is simply a MILF.
Yeah, Santa does strike me as looking/seeming a couple years older than Junpei and June. What makes you think he looks super young? As for Lotus, while if I didn't know she was 40 I'd certainly probably put her at more like 30, she's a canonical MILF. She's supposed to be a very sexy and attractive middle-aged woman. There a tons of examples of hot forty-year-old women. Really, June (and possibly Clover when you can't see the bottom half of her) aside, the one who looks least like their age to me is Snake, who I think looks significantly older than 24.
So, in order to get to the library you need the Uranus card key. Okay. So you get it behind the door 1 from a book, or a file, or whatever on ALLICE. Fine. So what exactly happens if at the point where our heroes had to choose between doors 1, 2 and 6 they decided to ignore door 1 completely since it seems optional once you reach the 9 doors? Would a group of people just be driven to starve to death in that corridor with two locked doors while the people outside the smaller door 9 (even if they'd decided to backtrack and did find the Uranus card key later) just stare hopelessly at the "ENGAGED" on the RED? ... Aaaaahhh!
The only time this problem would come is if the person with the Uranus cardkey went into the larger of the Door 9 and not the smaller ones. Our heroes were fine since they can't skip Door 1 even if they wanted too (since the digital root of their numbers could never go into 6 alone and most of our heroes already knew about the puzzles before hand so they wouldn't let it happen either) and the nonary game was created in a way that all the rooms can be checked out (so they wouldn't miss anything)
While it is true about the current Nonary Game (which wasn't entirely fair anyway, what with more than half of the people knowing the answers to all puzzles already), what about the one that took place nine years ago? It's true that it's designed in such a way that visiting door 1 would seem inevitable (and by that I mean that if the team reached the point where they had to choose between doors 1, 2 and 6 with all their members, then the only way to not leave anyone behind would be to go through them all simultaneously), however, at that point they could already suspect that these doors worked the same way all the previous ones did - wherever you go and whatever you do, you will at some point end up back in the area where you started. So what if the kid with number One bracelet felt dizzy and wanted to lie down for a while, and their friends Three and Six decided to stay behind with them (just in case everybody else don't come back, so they still can go through a numbered door), and then, twenty minutes later both expeditions 6 and 2 come back with these news respectively: "We found the 9th door! There are two of them!" and "Jesus Christ, guys, we've just been to a torture chamber and had to tie Molly to an electric chair and play with her brains to get the door open, let's leave this place!" I wouldn't go through door 1 after that, if I were them. And there you go: no door 1, no Uranus card key, half the team dead in front of the library door. That's not a very well designed game, if you ask me. Plus, of course, the possibility you mentioned: that they did get the card but gave it to the wrong party.
Well, it would take way more time than 20 mins to get through those rooms for one thing. While I get your point the problem is how the is Nonary Game was designed. The game nine years ago was especially and specifically created in a way that both groups (Gigantic and The Nevada Building) were in a constant state of danger and urgency so stopping to rest and not exploring everything is the very last thing that they would want to do (one side to help out their siblings by solving all the puzzle and finding everything, and the other to survive and stay alive by finding all avenues of escape). Then you have the fact that Ace was monitoring the game and I doubt that he would just let them rest and ruin the experiment. The original Nonary Game on the other hand you would be correct about, but Gordain's game was straight up Mind Rape and then he took the losers and burned them into the incinerator so they wouldn't be trapped there forever. So to summarize basically the scenario you presented would have been impossible for both the Current Nonary Game and the one Nine years ago.
There was a submarine accessible, and even Ace helped June to be able to get out when she was in a room alone, you know.
So I understand Why June gets the fevers and the significance of why they happen, but why does she get a fever when we open Door 5 to see what happened to the 9th man? We haven't even done anything yet to start down a wrong path besides open a Door 5. Since this also happens no matter what, Just checking the door should not lead to her final fate.
Junpei checking the door may slightly increase the odds of going through the door, (which is the wrong one). Exposing the horror that is the 9th man's fleshy remains to the party may also have desensitised them, and so increased the odds of losing their marbles.
June doesn't actually have a fever at that point; she just faints after seeing the 9th Man.
I have a different problem, to the point that i scratched my head to a bloody mess. If in the original Nonary game June died, and her brother set off on the mission of vengeance (or something) how come she is somewhat alive during Zero's Nonary game? While being Zero no less? And what happened to the Mouse? =)
That's a problem I have too, which is why I prefer the Stable Time Loop theory. Akane never died, in any reality - she and Santa lied about it, and Seven and Snake were either brainwashed (semi-Word of God in the case of Seven) or lied as well. But she still had to set everything up to complete the loop, and that involved being there herself.
My headcanon: Because of her ability to look into alternate paths of time, Akane was capable of telepathically communicate with people in the future of an alternate timeline where she would have survived. Since she was capable of interfering with this timeline, she created a situation in which she was capable of surviving the first game.
Why does one of the characters in the sequel look like a cyborg?
He's the Steel Samurai? Why does one girl look like Allice, and another look like Clover?
It's suppose to get you talking about the sequel. And it worked.
It's all explained in the sequel.
Considering how close Junpei and Akane were 9 years ago . . . I'd assume he'd run into Santa/Aoi several times, yes? Or is it possible for real close friends to never run into their siblings? Hypothetically speaking, let's just say Junpei met Santa/Aoi few times 9 years ago. In the present, wouldn't Junpei have recognised Santa/Aoi? I mean, Santa/Aoi had his white hair and everything 9 years ago, and he does in the present, so why didn't Junpei remember Santa/Aoi?
Junpei barely recognized Akane when he saw her. Even if he had been familiar with Aoi nine years ago, it would only really be in passing, and it certainly wouldn't be enough to identify him when he doesn't act like he has any connections with Akane during almost the entirety of the second Nonary game.
Additionally, facial features change a lot in 9 years, and it's easy to change hair colour/style and eye colour with dyeing and contact lenses. That, coupled with the above, makes it entirely possible. Plus, if you woke up on a ship, didn't know how you got there and your life was in immediate peril, would you have time/energy to think about how one of the other players resembles a boy you've met maybe a few times over 9 years ago.
What did all that information about urban legends, pseudo-science and philosophy really have to do with the game? When I got the true ending I found myself scratching my head as to why they brought up subjects like Locke's Socks/Ship of Theseus and chemicals communicating. Then there's the thing with the mannequins I don't quite get. Were they just there to be puzzles in the original Nonary Game or did they have something to do with the experiments?
Morphogenetic fields, the thing Akane used to communicate with Junpei. Just a guess but I think it adds to the question: Is current Akane the same as past Akane at all?
One of the comprehension questions is "Was Zero still on the ship with them...?" And your options are "Not sure" and "Of course." If you choose the former, Ace berates you because Zero said "this ship." Is that really such perfect proof that Zero was on the ship?
It could be that Ace was using that as flimsy evidence, to cover up that he really knows that Zero is nearby because she left him a note asking him to confess and promising to let him out immediately if he did, making it likely that Zero had to be nearby to watch for that.
It's a case of Lost in Translation. In Japanese the distinction of this/that is a lot stricter. Mixing up this/that when you are not currently by the object is close to a grammatical error.
Here's a mind screw for you: all endings but true are impossible because Akane (the young one) died nine years ago in them. If she died, how did she set up the second game? Also, she can communicate with all possibilies of the future. However, all endings but True, as I have said, are impossible, and therefore NOT possibilities. How does she gain the information from them if they are, by time paradox, impossible?
The game makes it a bit ambiguous as to whether or not Akane actually died in the past, given that the only eyewitnesses were Santa (in league with her), Snake (blind and thus potentially mistaken), and Seven (who gave his account of the events after recovering from amnesia, suggesting he remembered incorrectly). If that's the case, it could be that it works like changing the flow of time in Harry Potter, that there is no "first time around". In the minutes before Akane burns, she has a vision of herself setting up the second game, which leads to young Akane seeing the answer to the puzzle in front of her. Akane understands that to keep her past self alive, she must arrange for the events of the second Nonary Game when she grows up. This is why some of the details of the second game seem a bit off. Word of God is that Akane based the entire plan solely on what she saw as a child.
How exactly are they supposed to punish Gentarou Hongou in the True Ending? Admittedly he seems to have given up but there's nothing guaranteeing that anyone would believe his story. Even if they did, if his company could force the Japanese police to cover it up what's to stop them from doing it again?
Zero had kidnapped all of the ringleaders of the Nonary game. It isn't much of a stretch to assume she got decisive evidence and planted it inside the car Junpei's team won for participating. And Cradle was only able to hush up the case, presumably avoiding suspicion in this action with the guise of "The children were kidnapped from our pharmacy by a terrorist group; the location is only incidental. We don't want any negative publicity, so..." With a group of witnesses and evidence, there's no reason they would be able to cover it up.
During the folded-paper vote, Ace asks Junpei if he wants to know why he chose door . Considering his true reasons for doing so, wouldn't he raise suspicion by doing so, even if he came up with another excuse?
Why would it? At basically every other door people have given excuses for why they want to enter one door or another. No one questions the other characters when they say they want a door because their bracelet number or to avoid going with another person.
It's an example of Ace's poor sense of humor. He's referring to the fact that it should be obvious why he, Ace (Number 1), wants to go through Door 1.
How do the bracelets detect that their user is dead? The obvious answer would be that they detect someone's pulse, but what about Snake? Considering his prosthetic arm has no pulse, wouldn't the bracelet fail to remain attached to his arm?
Correct. Even Snake realized that the bracelet would have no effect on him.
In that case, why doesn't the bracelet detach automatically? (Remember, he had to crush his hand to slip it out in the Safe Ending.) Is it programmed differently than the others?
I'm pretty sure it's stated outright that the bracelet thinks you're dead if you have no pulse. As for Snake's prosthetic arm, maybe it's not the bracelet that measures the heartrate? The players did spend some time unconscious before the game, the Ninth man and the Exploding Guy from the shower room (and presumably Ace too) even had bombs installed in them, so all the others could possibly have some other sort of device in them that monitored their life signs? Just a guess.
Given the fact that Akane and Aoi have advance knowledge of everything that's going to happen, it's possible they just programmed his bracelet differently.
The game takes place about a decade in the future. Perhaps the prosthetics are more advanced at this point?
So to open door q you need only to "solve the puzzle" and have bracelets with you that would make the answer. And after that everyone you came with can leave, without counting and stuff? Well, yes, I guess it's stupid, but bugged me for a while.
Were you paying attention? The answer was designed so that the people Akane knew would be in the Incinerator could escape on purpose. Unless you mean the exact same door 9 from the first game. As it should be obvious, the men intended a lot of children to die. Several went ahead of the rest without solving the sudoku though.
9 years ago it's obvious that the door was in fact a  and not a [q] - before Seven rescues Aoi, Akane, Nona and Light, Aoi says that they let the others go on ahead (which means their bracelets unlocked the door with the digital root as expected). Also, Hongou scans two bracelets into the door for Akane so that once she solves the puzzle her bracelet will open the door. And then you have Ace being dumbstruck and enraged when his bracelet + Lotus + 9th man's won't unlock the door as he expects it to - all proof that in his Nonary Game, that door actually WAS a . That's something that June and Santa obviously changed in their version of the game because the future Akane saw had all of those people inside the incinerator, and Akane isn't pure evil - she didn't want those innocent people to die, so she conceived of a way they could all escape the incinerator alive.
Wait, what? Hongou actually let Akane out, as she wouldn't have any chance at that point without him pressing a couple of braceletes. And there were some escape routes. And only one girl is reported dead in that game, which is a lie, so you say a bunch of scientists with such manic intentions got themselves too many smart kids and couldn't think up anything to raise the death count? I think Hongou has just gone crazy beyond belief, but wanted not specifically death but the results at any cost. For him monkey's life didn't matter much, I guess, but he didn't get joy out of monkey's death too.
How was Gordain's library replicated? You'd think lots of the books he owned would be out of print...
The contents of the books weren't important. The replica library can easily be made of nothing but blank books, mostly.
If the confinement rooms are part of the Nonary Game, why was Seven locked there? Wouldn't the kids need to search his room to solve the puzzle behind door #2?
It was stated right there by himself: It was a different cell that looked just like that one. I personally went to the dark room and tried to search its bed for the hole, to no avail. Pity.
Was the whole freezer debacle a deliberate event? It seems unlikely that the designers could rig the pipe to spray water on the lock so it would freeze just enough to be impossible to open by hand, while not being strong enough to resist a jury-rigged explosive. But if the leak was an accident, then there were lots of unnecessary items in the freezer that could confuse the players and cause complications if they were taken to further rooms. And what would happen if whoever went in the freezer (sensibly) didn't close the door behind them?
For the past and present players, the freezing of the door was probably not deliberate. The room still contained an item (the pork with the clue paper stuck in it) that was necessary to open the cabinet in the kitchen. All of the other items that were in there were probably just there and were convenient for the present players to get themselves out. (Although I do question why dry ice of all things would be in any standard kitchen freezer...)
The dry ice was probably there just in case the door actually did freeze shut, so that whoever was stuck would have a way to get out.
Akane knew in advance that the present group of players would become stuck in the freezer from Junpei's perspective of the event.
What was the point of the final "the 9 is a q" puzzle? Up to then, the puzzles all had to match the previous game so that the morphogenetic field would work. But once Junpei solves the Sudoku puzzle, Akane has what she needs; anything after that is immaterial to her situation. So the only purpose the RED door would serve is to incinerate five innocent people if they couldn't figure out the solution in time. With all their resources, Aoi and Akane could easily have rigged the door to open and the bracelets to unlock as soon as the Sudoku was finished.
Most likely the reason was so that a victorious Ace or insane Clover -both of whom would know about how the door worked in the previous Nonary game but not Zero's changes - wouldn't be able to make it out in the bad endings.
Though, if Clover decided to try to use the axe to chop Snake out of the coffin (she seemed pretty in tune with finding its location, and it looks to be made of wood), it's entirely possible that she could have made it out.
Clover didn't know that Snake was alive any time outside the true ending.
I have the biggest headscratcher of all: Was that really Alice at the end? And regardless of whether that was really her, why was her body missing when Ace found the coffin on the original Gigantic? Even more importantly, how and why was there mandragora there instead? That mandragora was ultimately what led his company's success and to the events of the first nonary game in the first place. It has to have some significance, especially when it was mentioned at the end right before "Alice" showed up. The only conclusion I can make is that "Alice" put the root there for him and that the events of the game are all the doing of a well-preserved mummy.
Alice shows up in the second game and Clover says they "met a year ago in the Nevada desert."
Alice was never actually a mummy; in the second game she references the story and says that it was just an urban legend.
Why did Musashidou finance the Nonary Project? It wasn't something for the company, but a pet project of Hongou's (to put it mildly). Nijisaki and Kubota could be roped into it by their boss, but the backer just agrees to have children kidnapped to test a pseudoscientific theory that could help people suffering from a specific, unusual cognitive impairment?
Ace may have started it to cure his prosopagnosia, but you have to admit the ability to manipulate a psychic field could spawn far more uses than that.
Word of God says that, in Lord Gordain's original game, corrupt wealthy men placed bets on the winners and, when Ace won a game waaaay back in the day, convinced some of the benefactors to fund his improved version of the Nonary Game. It's possible Musashidou is one of those original benefactors...
Spoilers for the second game: it turns out that Cradle had investors and corporate personale who were in with Freedom of the Soul, who's leader is Brother, a confirmed esper who can tap into the morphic field. Ace himself was a member, and it isn't that for of a stretch to imagine Musashidou being one too. In fact, this might even explain how he got obsessed with the morphogenetic fields in the first place to cure his condition.
If the Nonary Game involves blowing up the Gigantic, how were Gordain and Cradle ever able to conduct multiple rounds of it?
Gordain didn't as far as I remember, since his version just involves him torturing people. Cradle only did the Nonary game once.
Correct, Gordain & his friends merely had the game take place on the ship, letting there only be one winner and killing the rest in the incinerator. In fact, Gordain was only the inspriation for the Nonary Game in that they had people play for survival on the ship before being killed, the Game proper was developed by Ace. The bomb on the Gigantic only happened once, when Ace detonated it to provide the urgency for the children on board.
If June dies whenever the final puzzle isn't opened in the bad endings, how is she able to manipulate nine years' worth of planning and events multiple times in less than 15 minutes (and undo being barbecued whenever necessary)? Is she TASing or something?
She's able to do so because there is still a future in which she gets the answer to the final puzzle.
But at what point does she figure that out and start divining that future solution? And how long does it take?
She never truly dies. She's calculating all the possibilites and getting info from them. It somehow all happens while her Nonary game lasts (not in it's last 15 minutes), simultaneously with Junpei's game. She says the world doubled when the game started (referring to DS screen too - the upper screen is Junpei's time, the lower is Akane's time and the puzzles are more or less the same) and she sinchronized with Junpei nine years later, as she ended up in the wrong group and had noone to send info to (so we are solving the puzzles as Akane and sending the results to Junpei). She also talks about being able to see multiple possibilities, iirc, something about seeing both consequences for one decision, A-reality and B-reality at the same time. So it's not like it's (only) her clever thinking and planning got her through the finale, it's just how she saw every possible reality then, i think.
What's that thing around Santa's neck?
You needed to be able to hack computers to get through the laboratory puzzle. What would have happened if Lotus had not gone through that door?
Shortest answer: it's impossible for her to move through any other door under the conditions available. Long-ass answer: she has to go through the door based on the decision to advance in two teams of three players and the numbered doors available. This is planned by Zero from the start — Snake is deliberately removed from gameplay at the mid-point and The 9th Man's death doesn't have any effect on team combinations (short of shorting the teams one person and forcing them into groups of 4 and 4, and, later, 4 [+/- 1] and 3). There's no way to enter without Lotus, given her bracelet number, and Lotus can't be part of any other team without forcing casualties. Santa shows you the equations during the Let's Split Up, Gang decision-making — Lotus and Seven can't be on the same team and neither can Junpei and June (8 and 7, 5 and 6). Lotus and Seven have the numbers closest to 10, which allows for two others to join and do the additive work for a digital root. If Lotus had wanted Door 7, she would have to force three people to stay behind (similar to Junpei and Door 3). There's no combination (from the available players) that allows Lotus to move through Door 7, taking both displayed and "actual" bracelet values into account. The closest you can come is Lotus (8) + Seven (7) + Ace (1), but Ace self-eliminated. That leaves the Door 8 team as Junpei (5) and some combination of Santa (3), June (6), and Clover (4). There's no way to get a digital root of 8 out of that set, particularly if you consider that Junpei will refuse to leave June behind and that Santa has to move with June; their combined value is 9, so they will never change a digital root. It's likely Lotus and Santa had both done the math when team selection began, as she was the first to choose a door and picked Door 8. Since it was her idea to split up as two teams of three, she must have calculated all possible routes.
The math here is actually pretty savvy, as the removal of Snake and Ace leaves you with two sets of bracelets that equal 9 (four players) and two players whose bracelets match the number on the door — Santa (3 and/or 9) and June (6 and/or 0) equate to 9, as do Clover (4) and Junpei (5). Paired with either Seven or Lotus, they have no effect on the digital root. Ace's sacrifice is canonically a Batman Gambit, but it would also have been inevitable given the door numbers and Snake's absence. Since Akane prepared the doors and had Snake removed, Ace will always be forced to stay behind, giving Junpei a chance to explore both doors and receive information required for the True and Safe Ends. Damn, that's some brilliant planning.
Is Clover canonically insane? It's a leap to go from mourning your brother to offing everyone with an ax unless you're a little bit unhinged already.
Well, she'd already gone through the Nonary Game once (she was a transmitter in Building Q, remember?) and knew that it had caused a girl to die. Plus, there's the fact that the entire game hinges on getting to Door 9 and making it out alive. In the Axe ending (the only one in which she's portrayed as totally unhinged), she believes her brother has been killed (for knowing too much or for his bracelet), she's trapped with the murderers, and all she needs to do to escape is collect the right combination of bracelets to equal "9." (She wouldn't know about the incinerator, since she was in the other group.) She has no clue regarding the meta-plot with Ace and Cradle. Considering that at the time she acquires the axe, there's all of 1.5 hours left until "Game Over" (i.e., death by detonation), she probably felt she could trust no one and that "kill 'em all, let fate sort 'em out" was a valid idea. It's not as though anyone was thinking particularly logically under the time constraints and the threat of imminent death.
How did Ace get through any doors with the number nine bracelet? Even though he never authenticated with it when entering numbered doors, wouldn't the beeping keep going once everybody else authenticated on the DEAD and alert everyone that he had an extra bracelet?
No. He would have had to scan the 9 bracelet in order for it to "activate," so there wouldn't be any beeping. The REDs aren't sensitive enough to pick up on the presence of a bracelet that's hidden, as multiple characters are able to move around with bracelets hidden in pockets, and when Junpei tests to see if bracelets can be activated without a handprint, he has to bring the bracelet very close to the RED. There are multiple times we see people move through doors by using unattached bracelets — it doesn't seem to pose a problem, provided the bracelets are swiped at the DEAD (suggesting to the computer that an equal number of people activated and entered). Akane deactivates her own bracelet and the two Ace left in the True End; the ones Ace swiped to make her original number part of a workable combination serve two purposes: (1) to ensure that the minimum number of "people" (i.e., bracelets) passed through the door and (2) to provide the correct digital root. As long as Ace never swiped the '9' bracelet while in the presence of others (which he explicitly doesn't), he's good. The only time he does use it, canonically, is to open the 3 door, which he doesn't enter, triggering the detonation of the device in fake!Snake — who was unable to deactivate his bracelet for the same reason The 9th Man was (the RED and DEAD input must match). Ace never used the 9 bracelet in such a way that would reveal the fact that the detonators were fake.
Towards the end, when "present" Akane narrates what happened several minutes before she got stuck in the incinerator, she mentions running back for "Junpei's Present", without specifying any further. My first thought, of course, was "What a Fucking Idiot", but a moment later things started becoming clearer and I assumed this was actually Fridge Brilliance: the way it was worded, I thought maybe it was a present intended for Junpei that she would give him once the Nonary Game is over, leading to him falling in love with her and inadvertently causing him to care about her enough that in the future he can make the connection with her "present" self. But it turns out I was wrong - it really was just the present Junpei gave her. For a game that otherwise made everything fall together so neatly, this disappointed me somewhat.
Same. She's a kid, but it's still hard to believe that she'd make that kind of error. Plot-Induced Stupidity? The irony, at least, is pretty delicious: Junpei did accidentally give her a voodoo doll and considering what she does to him in the present....
It'd seem that Junpei, Lotus and Clover were only able to solve the puzzle in the laboratory because Clover accidentally got stuck behind the bars. The puzzle is clearly only possible to solve if you have people on both sides of the laboratory but this was due to a mistake; there was nothing to hint at this course of action. What would have Zero done had Clover not decided to run forward and get herself stuck?
I suspect the bars were triggered to fall and lock someone in the moment they detected someone crossing the threshold. Given the way the room was set up, someone would have had to cross. Remember: you need the other part of the room in order to solve the computer puzzle and to find the plug adapter. So let's say everyone was puzzle-solving and no one had crossed to investigate the area behind the bars. Junpei, Lotus, and Clover realise they have the wrong plug. Junpei sees the wires on the other side and says, "Maybe Zero hid the right cord in there. The puzzle might be restoring power through the right combination of plugs and wires." He crosses the threshold and the gate comes down. Same outcome, different reasoning.
Except if Lotus had decided to go for the plugs, in which case there would be no one to hack the computer.
It'd be a pain in the ass and a lot more time consuming, but push comes to shove Lotus could probably have talked Junpei through it. However, there is the distinct possibility that the group would stay together and all go through the door at once and ALL get locked in there.
Why was it important that Zero told Snake not to tell anyone of the experiments 9 years prior, but didn't give Clover the same instructions? Why would Clover be given free reign to tell anyone...?
Zero gave Snake the instructions in braille, allowing for a safe method of communicating with Snake only (Since presumably none of the other players know braille). She knew from her experiences with the morphogenetic fields nine years ago that giving these instructions to Snake would make him tell Clover to keep quiet as well, and giving Clover a separate paper would require it to be written down in a non-braille alphabet, making it possible for it to be found and understood by someone else (Something which we know Ace could possibly do, since he does it to Junpei in Door 1, albeit for different reasons).
In the beginning of the Second Nonary Game, Akane is seemingly all ready to tell everyone her real name before Junpei gives her a codename. Given that Hongou learning that Akane was one of the participants would've been deadly, so what would have happened if Junpei hadn't stepped in? Or was that another thing she foresaw?
Lotus is clearly the person with the least to do with the plot. She wasn't conspiring with Zero or she wasn't present in a previous Nonary Game, her daughters were but they never told her anything. So then I ask, did she just randomly talk about things that are very very relative to the plot (particularly the picture tests and prosopagnosia) or are these things she happened to come by in her research of what happened to her daughters? And if it's the later than surely she would know something of Ace since he is the only person with any relation to prosopagnosia.
What was the point of the Ship of Theseus/Locke's Socks discussion? I don't believe it ever came up again.