Visual Novel / 428: Shibuya Scramble
aka: Four Two Eight Fuusasareta Shibuya De

428: Shibuya Scramble ("428: Fuusasareta Shibuya de", lit. "428: Blockaded In Shibuya") is a 2008 Visual Novel for the Wii, published by Chunsoft. It is one of the few games (and even fewer visual novels) awarded a perfect 40/40 score from Famitsu, and was later ported to the Playstation Portable, Playstation 3 and mobile devices. It is scheduled to be released internationally as 428: Shibuya Scramble on Steam and Playstation 4.

In the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan, a young woman named Maria Osawa is kidnapped and held to ransom by a criminal gang. Hitomi, the sister of the victim, is ordered by the criminals to deliver the ransom money to a contact at the famous Hachiko statue outside of Shibuya Station. However, the exchange takes an unexpected turn when the kidnappers suddenly order Hitomi to "find a blue van" before fleeing with the money, and a mysterious man attempts to murder her.

Over the next eight hours events quickly spiral out of control, and as the government moves to blockade Shibuya it becomes apparent there is something far more complicated and dangerous about this kidnapping than first appeared.

Unlike most visual novels, there are five protagonists whose individual stories play out over the game:

  • Achi Endo: A chivalrous former street-gang leader who happens across Hitomi during the botched ransom exchange and ends up saving her life.
  • Shinya Kanou: A young police detective assigned to supervise the ransom exchange. When the criminals flee with the ransom money, he quickly gives chase.
  • Kenji Osawa: A renowned virus researcher and the father of the kidnapped girl. After returning from an overseas business trip, he receives an anonymous email that claims an antiviral drug he had been working on has been illegally tested on humans.
  • Minoru Minorikawa: A Hot-Blooded freelance journalist. After receiving a desperate phone call from his former boss, he agrees to help complete the latest issue of a magazine within a single day by following up article leads within Shibuya.
  • "Tama": A temp worker currently employed as a giant cat mascot named Tama. She is mysteriously drawn to a pendant she found in a second-hand store, and is saving all of her wages to buy it.

Using a timeline chart, players must navigate all five stories simultaneously in order to progress towards the ending, with decisions in one story directly affecting another. For example, if Achi chooses to immediately approach the ransom exchange in his route then he is wrongfully arrested by Shinya; this in turn causes Shinya's route to stall because he arrests the wrong person. In another instance, choosing to give accurate directions to a pair of yakuza members will cause them to show up at an inappropriate time in another character's route, making it impossible for the latter to proceed.

A bonus scenario for this game dealing with Maria's past was created by Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi of Type-Moon fame. This scenario eventually got its own spinoff anime called Canaan (which, to give fair warning, does spoil a few plot twists of the game).

428: Shibuya Scramble contains examples of:

  • Badass Normal: Canaan. Or rather, Alphard masquerading as Canaan.
  • Big Bad: Alphard.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: How people infected with the UA Virus die.
  • Broken Pedestal: Tateno Kyozou.
  • Clingy Costume: Tama's costume becomes this when the zipper breaks. Her shady boss still insists on putting her to work on tasks where the giant cat costume is nothing but an additional hindrance.
  • Evil All Along: The foreign woman introduced as "Canaan" is actually Canaan's arch-nemesis (and Big Bad) Alphard.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck figuring out the correct sequence for the final segment, where all five characters are together and must choose who does what at a critical moment.
  • Heroic Archetype: Achi
  • I Am Who?: "Tama" turns out to be Maria, who escaped from her kidnappers but developed Identity Amnesia because of her exposure to the UA Virus.
  • Identity Concealment Disposal: When "Tama" is revealed to be Maria, she sheds the costume and her name changes in the menu screen.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Minoru.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: It can feel like this at times; fortunately, the game only progresses one hour at a time, and there's a handy timeline/interaction chart to help you figure out which events cause knock-on effects on others.
  • Locked into Strangeness: The real Canaan has white hair as a result of her exposure to the UA Virus.
  • MacGuffin: The pendant that Tama wants to buy. It belongs to her, though thanks to her Identity Amnesia she doesn't remember receiving it from Canaan. Furthermore, it has a GPS tracker in it that allows the heroes to find her.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: Hitomi, whose body contains the antiviral to the UA Virus.
  • No One Sees the Boss: "Alphard", a notorious criminal-for-hire whose age, nationality and even gender are a complete mystery. This allows her to hide in plain sight by masquerading herself as "Canaan".
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Canaan.
  • Series Mascot: Tama.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Tama's boss, who was conned into stocking "health drinks" for an inflated price and decides that the appropriate response is to sell them at an even more inflated price.
  • Twin Switch: Hitomi and Maria. More exactly, Hitomi was the person who was sought after since she was the MacGuffin Super Person; Maria pretended to be her in order to protect her.
  • The Virus: The UA Virus.

Alternative Title(s): Four Two Eight Fuusasareta Shibuya De