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"Kudo Shinichi: high school intrepid reporter in a city of super-powered vigilantes and villains. Current status: In distress, probably. Could really use a superhero, maybe. Waiting on a certain team of teen heroes to get their shit together, mostly. Snarky and annoyed, definitely."

Dominoes is an Alternate Universe Super Fic of Detective Conan written by archiveofourown author Scratchienails that functions as a Deconstruction Fic for the superhero genre.

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In a world where the highly manipulative Kudo Yuusaku is responsible for leading the International Super-Hero Association as a Batman Expy called Night Baron and trains a group of teenagers to fight disturbances to the peace, trust and truth are rare commodities.

Especially to his son.


Tropes Appearing in Dominoes:

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  • Abusive Parents: After eight chapters of having all the warning signs, Yuusaku openly proves he is this to Shinichi in chapter 9, rationalizing his years of power abuse over Shinichi by matter-of-factly explaining that he deems all his son is and cares about to be "useless" and inferior to everyone else in the room—except for his skills at soccer, something that Shinichi has long ago lost emotional investment in. He then puts on a faux fatherly act and verbally coerces Shinichi to retreat from who he is now back to the soccer player he no longer wants to be. He does this all in front of the Irregulars, who are so shocked at Yuusaku's cruelty that they appear unable to fully process what they've just witnessed.
    • Yuusaku's also abusive to Hakuba in order to maintain his allegiance to Yuusaku's goals and methods, but in a much more subtle way: when Hakuba is outraged and hurt over the openly abusive treatment Yuusaku gave Shinichi in chapter 9, Yuusaku reacts with deep condescension, writing off Hakuba's pain and emotional hurt as something in the line of "Shinichi's dramatics" and implying that such emotions are childish and beneath someone like Hakuba. This stance communicates both the repressive abuse Yuusaku puts others under and yet another subtle example of the condescension Yuusaku feels towards Shinichi and the situation he has forced Shinichi into—showing that Yuusaku trivializes the legitimacy of Shinichi's feelings even around Hakuba, the one person who supposedly knows Yuusaku's true reasons and has always insisted that Yuusaku loves his son and has done so much for him. It's revealing that the moment Yuusaku demonstrates he's also willing to abuse Hakuba is the one time Hakuba shows insubordination in defense of his abused brother. Despite Hakuba's insistence that Yuusaku doesn't like hurting people and his trust that Yuusaku is right in his way of handling the situation, there is no reason for this particular moment besides causing pain and reinforcing control.

  • Accomplice by Inaction: The Irregulars, in the face of Yuusaku's increasingly obviously abusive behavior, do absolutely nothing to help the victim besides deliberately isolating him—partially because the majority aren't thinking of it in the context of abuse, as the superhero authorities have told them that this treatment is For The Greater Good. Chapter 9 basically destroyed any subsequent plausible deniability in terms of them not realizing that this is abuse, and while the issue temporarily splits the Irregulars in chapter 10, they have so far failed to actually do anything to end their complacence, failing to bring it up again after parting ways that night and then functionally acting like nothing happened to disrupt their group throughout the rest of that and the subsequent chapter. The only acknowledgement to what happened comes from Ran after she steps away from the group to talk to Shinichi alone for a short while, and her words lead Shinichi to the conclusion that Ran stood aside and let this happen without thinking it was wrong because she's adopted Yuusaku's condescending perspective of Shinichi as a "weak little fool" and burden, whether she's willing to acknowledge that or not.
    • In the post-Part 1 Interlude, Hattori finally demands he and Hakuba finish Chapter 10's conversation one-on-one, simultaneously renouncing his Irregulars membership and declaring that he's going to go find and help Shinichi. Likewise, Hakuba begins taking small steps in the direction of honesty and emotional openness, realizing that following Yuusaku's example of lies and emotional neglect was a major contributor to the conflicts in Part 1 going as far out of control as they did. We don't know if and how the other members will address their accomplice status, as of yet: Aoko's the only other member the reader is updated on and she's suffering Heroic BSoD after finding out about Satoshi.

  • Adaptation Name Change: In this Alternate Universe, the Black Organization is referred to by Shinichi as "the Crows." Played with in that "Black Organization" is even in canon merely a stand-in nickname for the group given based on the members' appearance due to lack of knowledge of their organization's formal name. Given that the actual name in canon is later revealed to be "Karasuma Group," whose name literally means "Circle of Crows," calling them "the Crows" as shorthand is arguably an inversion of this trope.

  • All for Nothing: Shinichi cooperates with Kaitou KID to get back the thumb drive he stole with the records pertinent to the child kidnappings. After all the drama and suffering, Yuusaku Mind Controls Shinichi into giving it to him during his Faux Affably Evil The Reason You Suck Speach in chapter 9.

  • Alternate Universe: All the characters are superheroes, supervillains, or "normal" people living in a universe with those things.

  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • How aware are the rest of the cast of Shinichi's powers? Ran discusses Shinichi like he's a fragile being who can't handle danger or his own investigations, and even Hakuba, Shinichi's surrogate brother and perhaps Yuusaku's closest confidant, puzzles over how much Shinichi knows at any given point and how Shinichi learns the things he does—and one would think he'd consider Shinichi's powers as a possible source of information if he knew of them, since they seem specifically geared towards information-seeking. It's easy to assume Hakuba knows more than any other teen member of the cast, given his knowledge is often described deliberately ambiguously as if it's some great secret—but how much has Yuusaku really told him, and how much was actually true? Chapter 10 confirms that the rest of the Irregulars didn't know Shinichi was a meta, but it's still unclear how much Hakuba knows and how much of what Hakuba knows is truth about Shinichi or just assumptions others made about him.
    • By Chapter 10, it's become readily apparent that Yuusaku's motivations for his actions are very different from what he says they are. Given that Hakuba is supposedly his confidant yet Yuusaku appears to give Hakuba similarly holes-ridden justifications for his actions, does Hakuba actually know Yuusaku's real reasons or is Yuusaku simply lying to Hakuba too? Given Hakuba's internal thoughts during the conversation with Hattori in the Interlude, it's possible Hakuba himself has had doubts.
    • Given that Yuusaku has clearly messed with large portions of Shinichi's memory at multiple times during Shinichi's life, how much of Shinichi's memory has he been editing and suppressing? How often? Has he done it more times than we know of over the events of the story? In which case, exactly how much of an Unreliable Narrator is Shinichi? Has Yuusaku done this to other characters he tries to control?

  • Balance of Power: What is seen of the wider world from the character's perspectives imply that it is in constant tug-of-war between What Measure Is a Non-Super? and ISHA's unfortunately inherent Super Supremacist leanings, with the various incarnations of law enforcement constantly struggling to keep tensions civil. Currently ISHA is winning and keeping the majority of the public complacent through emotion manipulation and propaganda; the major push against them comes from extremists and terrorists, few of which have open public support.

  • Big Brother Is Watching: The amount of surveillance and control Yuusaku puts towards his son is heavily implied to be at this level, judging by Shinichi's reaction to Hattori's attempts at friendship. In chapter 6, Yuusaku proves Shinichi's fears absolutely right: having failed to capture the Kaitou KID or gain evidence that would be admissible in court against him without compromising Yuusaku himself in some way, Yuusaku ups Shinichi's surveillance in an attempt to prevent KID from following through on his threat to expose them all to Shinichi. This includes getting Shinichi's own girlfriend to prioritize spending time with Shinichi for the first time in what's implied to be a long, long while, entirely for the purposes of spying on him for them. When Hakuba sees the toll this has already taken on Ran's and Shinichi's relationship, he briefly considers getting Hattori to spy for them again instead, but Hattori's bungled attempt at friendship exposed his allegiances already and Shinichi's pulled away from him too.
    • Kaito's status as a Technomancer means, among other things, that all cameras everywhere do his bidding. Along with all electronic security systems, high-speed transportation, most forms of distance communication, and the internet. However, this may be downplayed, as Shinichi's deduced there are limits on what Kaito can control, though we don't know what those limits are yet.

  • Black and White Insanity: Aoko, with an increasing removal from reality. Initially this manifests in what appears to be childish optimism, such as when she insists that "the world was good and innocent and only one heartless criminal (KID) was at fault for taking [Kaito's] father away." She also uses very childish phrases to describe moral conflicts, referring to ISHA's enemies as "bad guys with too much evil in their hearts." During the blowout with Kaito later in Chapter 5, Aoko's simplistic view gains an increasingly insidious subtext: when Aoko begins to rant about all of the pain KID has made everyone suffer (by which she means her and her family), Kaito asks about the pain her side caused his family, and her response ("You're a criminal! A supervillain! Just like he was!") is not only a dodge, but when added to her previous line, seems to imply the Kurobas deserved the pain of losing a family member because of Kaito and Toichi being KID. In chapter 10, Aoko demonstrates a similar complete inability to feel empathy for Shinichi's Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal and suffering at Yuusaku's and the Irregulars' hands because he "betrayed them" and "helped a criminal" (KID), and when Hattori bites back that Shinichi had good reasons, Aoko dodges by exclaiming about the small amount of superficial damage Shinichi did to Ran during the conflict—the implication being that she sees Shinichi's victimhood as illegitimate because those who hurt him are her team, who are justified in what they did to him simply by virtue of Aoko considering them the "good guys," and since they're the good guys, any act Shinichi took against them, no matter what reason, makes him unquestionably the bad guy. (Especially if that reason involves KID). At this point, all of her self-justifications for why she is the right and good one in these conflicts have descended into I Reject Your Reality.

  • Break His Heart to Save Him: For chapters 1-8, Hakuba and Ran seem to be running on this mentality to justify their actions when it comes to Shinichi. After finding out their secret, Shinichi, chafing under the subtext of an intensely condescending lack of respect and faith evident in their actions towards him, flips the script and breaks up with Ran. He struggles with emotionally going through with it in the moment, but describes it afterwards as a "relief."

  • Break Them by Talking: One of the major red flags in Yuusaku's behavior. Hakuba notes that Yuusaku has a specific voice, tone, and linguistic strategy he uses to do this specifically to minors. The most egregious example of this is Yuusaku's horrifically emotionally abusive "The Reason You Suck" Speech to his own son in chapter 9 (and the implications from that conversation of the exact depth and duration of the abuse). Hakuba also notes that Shinichi is the most common recipient of this strategy of Yuusaku's in general.

  • Bystander Syndrome: A particularly ironic example. The five teenage superheroes who act as secondary protagonists are being trained to be active problem-solvers in any conflict—but they're are standing aside, permitting, and even reinforcing the abuse of someone they claim to care about because their boss and his sidekick have assured them it's all For The Greater Good.

  • Central Theme:
    • Justice (and injustice), and the complications of its ramifications within human society. All of the central characters feel they are enacting justice in some way, but the narrative draws us to question whether they truly are.
      • Aoko, for example, is a superheroine who fights crime, but her Black and White Insanity when dealing with KID brings her capabilities of deciding what is just into question. Both Aoko and Kaito, ex-friends on opposite sides of the battlefield, are motivated by their mentally equating justice with vengeance for a perceived wrong against them: Aoko feels KID has slighted her by causing her father to work late nights and neglect his family; Kaito feels he is attaining justice in fighting Aoko's ISHA superteam because ISHA covered up his father's murder at the hands of Aoko's mentor, and thus sees their authority over justice as illegitimate.
      • The Irregulars, a team of teen superheroes, are essentially the main teen DC reoccurring characters cast as expys of the Teen Titans, and their leader is Yuusaku if he were Batman, but despite their desire to do genuine good, their blatant hypocrisies and abuse reinforcement towards Kudo Shinichi have enacted just as much injustice as justice, something they are inconsistently aware of.
      • The actual justice department—as in law enforcement—is superseded in authority by the Overseers, the most powerful superheroes in the world. That the expy group of the "Justice League" is instead called the "Overseers" even brings to mind the plantation worker tasked with beating slaves into complacency, a reference to one of the greatest injustices humans have ever done to each other.
      • Shinichi posits a more morally grey take on justice, admitting that his methods are at times unscrupulous and never claiming to be a moral authority, but sincerely believing that any and all methods outside of harming others should be done to protect any and all lives that are at risk, no matter how pedestrian the problem may seem, and that no problem is worth treating another's life as disposable for the sake of a solution—something that sets him apart from the superheroes and the police, who often either don't notice or don't prioritize these issues - or believe they can't afford to do so. However, this does lead to him putting one child's life before the lives of the people of Tokyo and gambling nine million lives on being able to save Santa, which in and of itself is an extreme and perhaps unjust decision to make and certainly a morally controversial thing to do.
    • Shinichi's journalism also highlights the theme of knowledge being equated with power, even in a world with actual superpowers, and how a knowledge disparity can quickly descend into an injustice. The superheroes squirrel away secrets that might affect the public for the sake of being able to act more freely on what they think is best and have more power over the situation, consequently causing most of the Moral Myopia within the story. Shinichi illuminates what others hide, dispelling some of that power disparity—thematically tying truth and openness of knowledge with justice. It's implied part of the alienation he's given from authority figures and law enforcement is because he airs their affairs to the public, threatening the control those authorities have over what the public knows, when the public knows it, how the public perceives them, and the situations that subsequently arise from this. During Yuusaku's The Reason You Suck speech to Shinichi in Chapter 9, one of his rationalizations for why Shinichi isn't worth trusting or respecting confirms the latter.
      • Relatedly, knowledge that affects one's everyday reality, whether intentional on the part of its distributor or not, is a call to action. Illusions and delusions, likewise, have so far been used mainly to prevent action within the story. ISHA keeps the public docile by controlling their information in order to limit the number of situations in which the public may act and become an unpredictable variable. Yuusaku and the Irregulars keep Shinichi in the dark, likewise, to control him and prevent him from acting in a way they do not like. And most of the Irregulars, and Shinichi himself, face the conflict of self-delusion and the choice to protect oneself from noticing information they may not like. In all situations, staving off recognition of information prevents feeling burdened or challenged with an emotional drive for action.
    • The effects of the varying kinds of abuse that result from power discrepancies are the drivers of basically every conflict and are thus ever-present in the narrative, as evident by how many times the word "abuse" is used on this very page.
    • The complicated morality of the very existence of different types of power is also a major theme, as characters stand their ground on stances about the morality of everything from political power to media influencers to actual superpowers, and a huge portion of the plot hinges on various sides preventing usage of various types of power by other parties. Is it ethical for those who cannot or will not conform to an authority's view of correct behavior to be depowered—of agency, of voice, of literal superpowers? Should individuals be allowed to release information at their own digression, or is it irresponsible to take information control out of the hands of crisis management authorities? In a world where weapons of mass destruction can also be thinking and feeling human beings, can such people be allowed to live if their mere existence threatens countless others' lives? These ethical questions are at the very heart of the conflicts and divisions between the cast.

  • Child Soldiers: What the Irregulars functionally are, under the veneer of superheroship. They're being trained by Yuusaku to function like a specialized military squad and even report, brief, and debrief like soldiers. The fact that Hakuba has apparently been going on missions since before middle school makes it clear that ISHA's superhero program is a glorified child soldier grooming process.
    • It's darkly fitting, then, that the bizarre "monsters" they occasionally fight and eliminate are also children, and often younger than them.

  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Kudo Shinichi is the son of Kudo Yuusaku, famous detective in public and Head Overseer and official in charge of the teenage "superhero" team, the Irregulars, in private. All of his "friends" are his father's superhero trainees, who seemingly have moved into his house most days. But despite having investigative skills equal (or perhaps, with training, one day surpassing) Hakuba's, and powers of his own that seem specifically geared to investigation (he is literally psychic), Shinichi is denied his dream of being a detective and kept in the dark on all secrets involving the superheroes he's actually closely involved with - and instead of working to raise him up, like he does with the other superpowered children, Yuusaku goes out of his way to encourage others to put Shinichi down. It's implied they believe Shinichi's powers may make him a danger to others in some way, which Yuusaku is trying to hide. It's known that those with superpowers are typically registered and monitored by the government, and Yuusaku and Yukiko are deliberately flouting the law by leaving Shinichi unregistered.

  • Condescending Compassion:
    • Ran plays this straight, although of course she doesn't realize this. She fully believes in the sincerity of her love for Shinichi, but isn't emotionally mature enough to realize the unhealthy dynamics present in their relationship, of which this is one. Ran considers Shinichi "normal, delicate, [and] weak," but loves him in spite of this, and so helps Shinichi's father "protect" Shinichi by monitoring and shaming him for his attempts to rebel against his father's pre-approved life plan in favor of chasing his own dreams, disappointed that Shinichi can't put aside the same drive to help people that she herself also feels and gets to fulfill. Ran sincerely believes all of this is an expression of love and considers herself weak for not being able to withstand the emotional burden of Shinichi's own weakness and the risk that she might lose him because of his flaws. Despite declaring that the more obvious abuse Yuusaku gives Shinichi is "not okay," it's heavily implied in her perspective during Shinichi's "rescue" and her conversation with Shinichi after the championship game that she actually agrees with the degrading and condescending ideas about Shinichi that are behind the abuse without realizing that they and the overt nastiness of Yuusaku's words towards Shinichi are the same. That conversation's seeming confirmation to Shinichi that Ran actually sees Shinichi as "the same weak little fool his father [sees]" is the last straw in their relationship; Shinichi dumps her.
    • Yuusaku claims that he covered up the truth of Toichi's death to protect the memory of Toichi's civilian identity and give Kaito a "purpose," thus asking the Irregulars not to consider Kaito a purely bad person. He goes onto explain that clearly, if Kaito didn't have him to hate and was given the chance to understand Yuusaku's reasons for the cover-up, then Kaito would have nothing to live for. Because, obviously, even if given the chance, Kaito could never have found any other meaning in his life that didn't involve Yuusaku—no hobbies, or friends, or a Childhood Friend Romance that wouldn't have suffered from opposing sides and secrets, none of that. This utterly reductive and condescending view of his fellow humans—and worse, the family of his supposed friend—really demonstrates the tenderness and emotional sensitivity Yuusaku shows towards others; worse, it's unclear if this is even true, because Yuusaku may or may not be a Consummate Liar.

  • Conflicting Loyalty: Though Agasa and Yuusaku are usually great friends, it's clear that Agasa does not entirely agree with Yuusaku's policies on dealing with Shinichi, whom he also views as family, as evidenced by the fact that he's continued to build an armory's worth of gadgets and tools over the years for Shinichi's investigations despite Yuusaku never allowing Agasa to actually give to Shinichi. In previous instances where his attachments conflict Agasa has acquiesced to Yuusaku's decisions—but now that Shinichi's found out Yuusaku's identity and asked for help on his own terms in a major crisis which in no uncertain terms demands action, Agasa decides to give him access to the tools anyways, while expressing discomfort with the fallout this will involve regarding Yuusaku. Agasa clearly shows himself to be of two minds, wanting to be honest and work well with Yuusaku while also wanting to support Shinichi in his ambitions, which Yuusaku forbids.
    • Hattori deeply desires Shinichi's friendship, trust, and admiration (to the point where he apparently is very jealous of Shinichi's favorite superhero, who isn't Hattori), and he recognizes and is deeply troubled by the clearly unjust treatment Shinichi is given by his father and his friends... but that father and those friends are Hattori's ISHA teammates, who are the ones who ordered and have enacted that very specific unjust policy towards handling Shinichi. This puts him between contradictory desires and loyalties: follow his desire for Shinichi's friendship, trust, and admiration by demonstrating loyalty towards Shinichi, or comply with the policies that have destroyed everyone else's relationships with Shinichi and through this, demonstrate loyalty towards his boss and the superhero organization with which he hopes to have a lifelong career. Hattori has so far complied with the main beats of Yuusaku's and Hakuba's orders, but his temper, sense of justice, and desire for sincere and loyal friendship with Shinichi have begun to inspire obvious feelings of dissent. Hattori quits the Irregulars in the post-Part 1 Interlude, because both he and Hakuba now understand that helping Shinichi in the way Shinichi desperately needs is incompatable with an Irregular membership; Shinichi won't open up to anyone who will side with his abusive father over him.
    • This is the state of pretty much all of Shinichi's relationships. Yuusaku has used his influence to ensure every authority figure/potential in Shinichi's life is compromised by their equal or stronger allegiance to Yuusaku, which enables Yuusaku to enact the extreme control and abuse he does within the story without anyone standing in his way.

  • Cool Loser: Shinichi implies that he is seen as is this. Despite single-handedly running a fairly famous and accredited news site, semi-regularly being in the news himself for his scoops, easily being the greatest soccer player in the school, and being considered quite handsome, Shinichi believes the student body of Teitan High thinks Ran is too good for him, that they all expect Ran to break up with him for not being good enough, and that everyone he knows will hate him for breaking up with her and automatically take her side, all of which implies that Shinichi doesn't really have any friends in school.
    • The absurdity of this is possibly deconstructed by Shinichi's nature as an Unreliable Narrator. Shinichi's issues with Hattori and his distancing from Agasa demonstrate that one of the unstated but very clear scars Shinichi bears from his father's abuse is that he seems to expect everyone to view him as lesser, unworthy, and unimportant, something unfortunately repeatedly reinforced by the fact that the contesting loyalties his father set up drive the people Shinichi loves to choose between them, and they've pretty much always chose obedience to Yuusaku over Shinichi's wellbeing, with Yuusaku thereafter even inciting those close to Shinichi to spy on him. Throughout the story Shinichi seems confused by and distrustful of the idea that people would want to be around him because they actually like him, so it's unclear how accurate Shinichi's assessment of his CoolLoser status actually is.

  • Create Your Own Villain: Played with. Due to the complex moralities of the cast, it's hard to argue anyone (except the Crows) is a true villain, but Yuusaku and the Irregulars have created more than one of their own antagonists.
    • Regardless of what actually happened during the tragedy, Yuusaku's poor handling of the aftermath of Toichi's death caused the Kuroba family to turn against him, with the second KID's mission explicitly being revenge. Throughout the story Yuusaku continues to handle this situation terribly, making threatening demands rather than giving answers or showing compassion to the son of his deceased friend, driving Kaito to further extremes against him. Yuusaku proves that he's aware of this in chapter 10, but he tries to convince the Irregulars that he's the good guy for framing KID for Toichi's death and covering up his own culpability in the disaster. Yuusaku even has the nerve to claim he's helping Kaito by deliberately antagonizing him, because without Yuusaku Kaito would have no purpose in life.
    • While the people around Shinichi do love him—or at least think they do—Shinichi's own emotional and psychological wellbeing were constantly seen as the less destructive opportunity cost when handling each problem that arose as the teenage cast grew up. Every conflict's solution seems to have been considered more important than the immediate or long term consequences for Shinichi personally, who, ideally, would never know of the slight anyways. This eventually poisoned every relationship Shinichi had with Gaslighting and led to him assisting the vengeful second Kaitou KID against his own family, friends, and girlfriend—largely because KID was the only one to treat him with respect and give him a way to help the missing 40 children, whom everyone around him had gaslighted him about, ironically making Shinichi's relationship with KID more honest than his relationship with anyone else.

  • Cornered Rattlesnake: As of chapter 10, Hakuba despairingly realizes that, rather than stoically accepting the "twisted" brand of Tough Love Hakuba and Yuusaku gave him, Shinichi has actually increasingly retreated into this position. Hakuba had long attempted to shield himself from seeing the toll his and Yuusaku's abuse takes on Shinichi; undeniable evidence that they've pushed Shinichi to the point where he is willingly hostile even to Ran shakes Hakuba to his core.

  • Daddy Issues:
    • When Hattori betrays Shinichi's trust by calling Ran, Hakuba, and Yuusaku about the incident in the warehouse, Shinichi's subsequent rejection of Hattori's overtures of friendship hardlines what has already been long apparent by this point in the story: Yuusaku is severely emotionally and psychologically abusive to his son, and has convinced most of the people around his son not only to accept this as justified, but to reinforce it as the right choice of action and thus become functional accomplices in the abuse. By his dialogue, Shinichi is aware that his father continuously turns those around him into Shinichi's handlers on Yuusaku's behalf, and as much as Shinichi tries not to let it bother him (because he genuinely cares for most of them) he also feels genuinely betrayed because of this. It's the reason Shinichi feels he can't trust anyone around him: he fears they'll go to his father, who seems determined to steal all of Shinichi's agency. The feeling is justified, as while Yuusaku seems to have a very serious reason and Hakuba insists that Yuusaku loves his son dearly, Yuusaku also seems to have targeted anything that Shinichi cares about about with disturbing precision, and Shinichi has only ever won modicums of autonomy through stealth and subversion of his father's authority.
      • Kazuha namedrops the trope in chapter 11 in a fit of anger, mentally using it to belittle Shinichi's conflict with Yuusaku and the Irregulars in order to downplay the legitimacy of his closely related reasons for breaking up with Ran.
    • Less obviously, Aoko has major difficulties emotionally confronting her father's neglect of their family in favor of his job, and exhibits a variety of mental gymnastics techniques in an attempt to displace the blame for his choices onto others so she doesn't have deal with reality of the issue.

  • Death Glare: Hakuba gets these a lot from Shinichi. He's painfully aware of them and at least partially willing to acknowledge how justified Shinichi is in giving them, but forces himself to ignore it.

  • Death from Above: The name of chapter 12, and deservedly so. Yuusaku, the Irregulars, and Shinichi all express their own ideas about how to handle the small child unintentionally creating city-threatening black holes, but none of them end up mattering: someone unidentified higher up in ISHA orders an airstrike and seconds later, she's dead.

  • Death of a Child: Shinichi concludes in chapter 10 that the fireball monster that attacked the city in chapter 1 was likely one of the kidnapped children he's searching for, having been subjected to illegal experiments. This means that the Irregulars killed a terrified child without knowing it and implies that it may not be the first time they have done so, since Tokyo is noted to have had an sudden increase in "monster" attacks in the last year or so and there is suspected to have been dozens of children kidnapped for these illegal experiments in that time. Shinichi doesn't tell the Irregulars because he assumes they know, as Yuusaku made his superior intellect, resources, and intelligence-gather capabilities a major theme of his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Shinichi in chapter 9. But if Yuusaku does know of this, then he's been using the teenage Irregulars as an extrajudicial Death Squad and having them execute terrified children for the security of the city, and it's one of the many things he hasn't been honest about.
    • Chapter 12 features the vicious and sudden death of another of the kidnapped children, this time without the guise of a "monster" attack.

  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Whatever truly happened the day Toichi died, Yuusaku covered it up using this as his strategy, blaming KID—whom Yuusaku had killed—for the forty injuries and three other deaths. Yuusaku tries to spin it in a noble way, claiming that by framing KID and playing off Toichi as a bystander, at least part of Toichi's name would be spared—but this doesn't excuse the fact that the benefits from this cover-up were entirely for Yuusaku, leaving Toichi's wife and child emotionally scarred and deprived of justice or closure, with everyone blaming an alias of their deceased loved one for the tragedy.

  • Deconstruction Fic:
    • Of the entire superhero genre. The story explores the implication of secrets when interacting with severe power disparities - contrasting the superheroic trope of "justice" with the equally superheroic trope of widespread inequality of information that, in the real world, often leads to power abuse. So far, the story seems to imply that secrets, when used to dodge accountability, are the enemy of justice, and thus no one who operates under a secret identity while holding so much power over the daily lives of others can stay, or truthfully claim to be, entirely just. This is evident in the change in dynamics in the cast: being put in a position of responsibility, the manipulative Kudo Yuusaku ends up abusing his son because he believes it's for the greater good; abuse which others in the system take as an example and replicate out of trust that Yuusaku knows better than them and that they collectively know what's best for the kept-ignorant Shinichi, reflecting how this inequality of power creates a mentality of condescension towards those who are deprived of key information - the "normals," whom superheroes claim they protect.
    • Of the DC cast. The story places characters in positions that would most test their moral limits—-for example, Yuusaku, ever manipulative, is placed in a position of extreme responsibility and influence and ends up heavily abusive to those he has control over because he believes he knows better than they do; Shinichi, who values truth and justice above all else, is placed in a position where no one will be honest with him and he cannot attain justice through honest means because of Yuusaku and thus ends up intermittently allying with Kaitou KID; Ran, whose defining traits are her love and constant stressful worrying for Shinichi and her faith in her friends, is placed in between Shinichi and Yuusaku as a superhero-in-training whose trusted boss Yuusaku assures her that Shinichi's treatment is justified and necessary, and ends up reinforcing this abuse out of a desire to keep Shinichi safe so she doesn't have to worry about him; Hattori, whose major character trait in the manga is Undying Loyalty and his bromance with Shinichi, is caught between loyalty to his superhero team and his desire to befriend Shinichi—but his attempt at becoming Shinichi's friend unintentionally demonstrates that when push comes to shove, Hattori's loyalty to his team and Yuusaku will compromise Shinichi's hard-fought autonomy, and Hattori only realizes afterwards that Shinichi sees Hattori's split-second decision as a betrayal he can't walk back from.
    • The morality of Detective Conan's policy of deception For The Greater Good is deconstructed as well by inverting the premise of the story from Shinichi keeping secrets from everyone into everyone in his life en masse keeping secrets from Shinichi. Because of the resulting extreme power imbalance and greater opportunity for control to achieve the desired secrecy, the deception and manipulation that Detective Conan treats as acceptable tactics and never really morally examines ends up causing corruption and abuse of all sorts.

  • Destructive Romance: Ran's constant lying at Yuusaku's request "for Shinichi's own good" probably wouldn't be so bad if Shinichi had other, more stable relationships—but when compounded with everyone Shinichi knows cooperating with Yuusaku's information blackout towards Shinichi and her omission of support for Shinichi in the face of Hakuba's and Yuusaku's abuse (and her casual reinforcement of their abusive rhetoric), she becomes one of the three people in the world who've hurt Shinichi the most rather than someone who makes him happy. As it is, their relationship is so emotionally toxic that many aspects of Shinichi's narration on the subject mimic Domestic Abuse flags. Aside from Ran's open discouragement towards Shinichi's interests and complete lack of respect for her boyfriend's basic boundaries, Shinichi's trust and Ran's openness are so non-existent now that they have absolutely nothing but platitudes to verbally exchange anymore and no way to emotionally relate to each other; in fact, the only time Ran is seen prioritizing time with Shinichi is on his father's orders to monitor him, proving all of Shinichi's paranoid beliefs about how people only want to spend time with him in order to spy on him for his father absolutely right. Ran's very presence causes Shinichi so much emotional pain at this point that he even describes her grip on his hand as a "shackle." After a depressing nine chapters of this extremely toxic and harmful relationship, Shinichi breaks up with her in chapter 10, and while he struggles emotionally to even say the words, he describes it in the aftermath as a relief.
    • It's implied that before learning her secret identity, a part of Shinichi suspected Ran was cheating on him with Hakuba. As Shinichi notes, she kept passing up opportunities to spend time with him and wasn't exactly good at hiding the fact that she was lying to everyone about what she was doing during these instances, often feeding Sonoko and Shinichi two different and contradictory excuses. And despite Ran supposedly being off doing things that often had nothing to do with Hakuba, Shinichi's noted more than enough clues to suggest that Ran was secretly meeting up with Hakuba during the times that Ran blew him off and lied about why.
    • Even worse, in chapter 8 Ran confirms herself that she is completely fine and willing to put Shinichi's happiness and agency second to keeping him safe for her own emotional benefit, and while she'd prefer him happy, it's really not her priority as long as he's safe and right where she wants him. This makes clear that she sees the relationship entirely on her terms and views him more like a fragile, prized comfort object than a person.

  • Determined Defeatist: Even in the face of being shut down and abused, with seemingly no hope for being able to help or for getting anyone to fully respect or appreciate him, and even after fully accepting that everyone around him can be and do more than he ever could, Shinichi refuses to stop doing the little he can to pursue his dream of investigation and try to expose those who would do harm towards others.

  • Differing Priorities Breakup: This is a major aspect of Ran's and Shinichi's breakup. Ran put her dreams of being an ISHA hero far before her relationship with her boyfriend; by trying to maintain a romantic relationship without transparency and communication and run entirely on her terms and priorities (which she allowed to be dictated by Shinichi's abusive father for the sake of her job as an Irregular), Ran became an extremely toxic significant other. On his side, Shinichi's dream is to be a detective, and when that is blocked, to be an Intrepid Reporter, a goal that is intimately tied in his mind with the achievement of personal agency, as his abusive father has been such a roadblock to Shinichi succeeding in his personal goals. While Ran used to support Shinichi, after joining the Irregulars under Yuusaku's tutelage she began expressing disappointment and shame with him for it as his father does, privately reasoning that she can't handle the idea of her fragile, weak boyfriend deliberately increasing his risk of danger when she sees so many of the world's dangers everyday. Despite each having the best intentions, they break up soon after Shinichi discovers Ran's secret, mostly because her position and choices make him feel like a burden.

  • The Dog Bites Back: By chapter 7, Shinichi assists Kaitou KID in his vendetta against Shinichi's abusive superhero father and his father's minions, even retooling KID's plans himself to make them more adequate against his father. The namesake idiom of the trope itself is referenced by Hakuba in chapter 10.

  • Doorstopper: Downplayed, but subject to change. As of the end of Part 1, Dominoes is over 132,000 words long, which is around twice the average length of a published novel. While comparatively large, this isn't quite up to Doorstopper status, but Word of God has confirmed there will be at least two other parts before the story ends.

  • Dramatic Irony:
    • A couple in chapter 10:
      • When the Irregulars break their promise to attend the championship game that their group coerced Shinichi into playing in the first place, Kazuha assures Ran that it's not a big deal, claiming that Shinichi will understand what a hard day they've had. But after such a long time of being written off as the lesser deal and always expected to be the understanding one, Shinichi does not see this as a small indiscretion. In fact, Shinichi expected the Irregulars' failure to honor their agreement so surely that he plotted an Exact Words Loophole Abuse in his stealth bargain with them: if he stopped investigating, they would come to his game. But as they didn't come to his game and defaulted on their side of the bargain, Shinichi now has complete validation in his lack of faith in their words and their terms, and now has gone right back to investigating because of them missing the game. Further, their broken promise is the metaphorical last straw in Shinichi's and Ran's romantic relationship; minutes after Kazuha tells Ran that it's "not a big deal" and that Shinichi will understand their priorities, Shinichi makes clear that he does understand their priorities—better than Ran, possibly, because she can't actually find the words to verbalize why she thought the way she treated him was acceptable. He understands Ran's reasons, and dumps her because of them.
      • Shinichi considers himself "stupid" for not trusting in Agasa more, but keen readers will remember that Ran mentions a "Professor Sun" back in chapter 8 as the Irregulars' and Night Baron's tech support and inventor. The name "Professor Sun" is likely a reference to something Yuusaku pointed out in the "Moon, Star, and Sun" case, during which he realized that Agasa's name in the case's symbol code was spelled entirely with suns. This means that even though Agasa clearly desires to support Shinichi, he's likely just as involved in the information and power plays against him as the rest of them.

  • Dumbass Has a Point: Hakuba and Yuusaku shut down Hattori's criticisms of their secrecy policy regarding Shinichi due to Hattori not knowing the full situation, thus considering him too ignorant to make relevant comments. But clearly Hattori picked up something they hadn't: by Hattori's attempt to assure Shinichi that they're not his enemies, it's obvious that he's realized that not only is the secrecy policy damaging and failing at its purported purpose of keeping Shinichi safe, but Shinichi is increasingly seeing them as his antagonists. Shinichi proves Hattori's concern warranted when he sides with Kaitou KID against them in order to further his cause of saving a group of missing children whom Yuusaku's minions have denied even exist.

  • Dysfunction Junction: Until chapter 11, the most healthy relationship given significant focus in the story is the still-distant acquaintanceship between a friendless reporter and a supervillain thief who seeks a blood debt on the reporter's father and is the enemy of everyone else in said reporter's life. It's the most healthy because despite the difference and conflict, both always show a default level of respect to each other as intelligent fellow human beings. Yes, the relationships in this story are that screwed up. This changes once the very supportive Professor Agasa takes prominence in the plot, but this doesn't improve any of the other relationships.

  • Evil Hero: Played with and discussed. The Irregulars genuinely believe they are doing good, genuinely do save civilian lives, and most genuinely seem to have good intentions, but they also are unquestioningly complacent in a very flawed system that inherently breeds power abuse due to the powerful rarely facing consistent accountability, often resulting in them using morally questionable solutions for problems whose consequences they don't believe they'll ever have to personally face. Kaito, at least, positions superheroes as distopian authorities enforcing double standards onto the rest of society and enabled to do so because those same authorities control nearly all the information the public is given, and thus almost never have to answer to anyone except each other.
    • The major (though not sole) example is how the Irregulars ignorantly reinforce their leader's abuse of Kudou Shinichi, a skilled and efficient psychic investigator. Much of this abuse is the outright dismissal of his ability to be useful or helpful towards anything, and they seem to have burned the last bridge by standing in the way of his attempts to locate several dozen kidnapped homeless children (who are possibly being experimented on by a crime syndicate) by gaslighting him and outright denying the problem, something Yuusaku even gets the police to join in on. This eventually drives Shinichi to side with one of the Irregulars' supervillain enemies because at that point siding with one of their enemies appears ultimately more productive for helping people. After they realize the position they've put Shinichi in, they argue for a few minutes, and then... ultimately don't do anything about it, making no changes to how they function. After a time period of at least a few days in-universe, the narrative has yet to even hint that they've returned to the topic.
    • Another prominent example is the death of Kuroba Toichi at the hands of Kudo Yuusaku, the Night Baron, which was covered up and blamed on KID. In fact, Kudo Yuusaku's characterization in general has leaned more and more towards this as the story goes on, with him performing the role of a hero while exhibiting the traits of a villain; the only functional differences between Yuusaku and the obvious villain role manifest from a difference in position. Since he already has a considerable amount of privilege and official control, Yuusaku has no need to commit major crimes to attain that. Instead he commits moral wrongs within the permitted limits that he himself helped to create, and when he does commit crimes, he hides the information from the public and finds a way to rationalize them as For The Greater Good to the few who know. As an authority over crime, he and ISHA as a whole also get to frame themselves as the heroes as long as they can keep the general populace content with their authority, and anyone who stands against them can be labeled villainous. Despite his position of legality, Yuusaku and the supervillains in the story still use many of the same tactics; Yuusaku steals objects and evidence from his son and pressures him into situations that deprive him of agency like KID does, and covers up felonies under the facade of perfectly legal authority like the Crows. In fact, Yuusaku's done pretty much everything known to be on KID's rap sheet and more.
    • The sudden and merciless airstrike on a terrified eleven year-old girl whose powers were out of control (for whom a nonviolent plan was already in place to neutralize her as a threat) absolutely reeks of this, with even the usually unquestioning Hakuba and Ran left horrified.

    F-N 
  • Faux Affably Evil: Though Yuusaku is nominally a leader of the world's superheroes and is so manipulative it's hard to guess what about him is a ploy and what is genuine, Chapter 9 shows that he's currently operating and emoting as if he is this, at least with Shinichi.

  • Foil: Shinichi to his father, Yuusaku. Both are intellectually brilliant, highly perceptive, more than a little manipulative, utterly ruthless, and very, very good at what they do. Both have some kind of mind-manipulating superpower. The difference is that Shinichi is, in practice, a much kinder, more earnest person: his abuse at his family's and friends' hands has killed his over-confidence and replaced it with a frustrated desperation to help people. While Yuusaku appears to look at the world like a spectator's novelty, too focused on monsters, international incidents, saving the world, and "protecting" his son to fully realize how awful his actions towards the people around him are (or if he does, he sees their issues as too small-picture to prioritize them), Shinichi is focused on the more everyday tragedies that create the big problems from the ground-up. Even the way they use their powers is different: Shinichi's centers around emotional sensitivity - he perceives the emotions and memories of others, and is implied by Hakuba and Yuusaku to be able to manipulate their emotions, though he doesn't seem to do this consciously. Yuusaku, on the other hand, only has two scenes so far in which he uses his power, and in both he uses it to outright mentally attack and control his son's mind.
    • Also, Kaito to Yuusaku, especially in chapter 9. Though his methods and designated "role" is supervillainous—chaotic, destructive, and unlawful—Kaito demonstrates a core personality and motivation of empathy and fairness. One of his reasons for drawing Shinichi into his plans against Yuusaku was because he was genuinely upset at how Shinichi was being treated by the supposed heroes, relating it to the pain Kaito felt when he found out about his family's secrets the day Toichi died. In the very next scene Yuusaku demonstrates that, despite his supposed superheroic role, his behavior is that of a Faux Affably Evil villain; beneath his surface facade of passable civility and kindness is a sociopathic level of cruelty and dismissal towards the value of those whom he can't "use"—one could easily lay Yuusaku's speech about the "uselessness" of his son over the visual images of countless Machiavellian-type Big Bads with family relations to the hero and change surprisingly little of the dialogue. It doesn't help that his own words imply that he looks down on people whose abilities he sees as unequal to his own, calling into question whether he is even morally capable of making just decisions involving the lives of millions if not billions of non-powered civilians. In short, the two are supervillain and superhero but their contrasting dialogue highlights that each demonstrates the personality traits usually attributed to the opposite role. But in chapter 12, they flip this: their determination to get the nullifier and willingness to sacrifice others' lives for what they see as a more important priority actually makes them Not So Different; both of them put the nullifier before the lives of Santa and the citizens of Tokyo. By the end of the disaster their attempts to enact their agendas are paid for with the blood of the innocent.

  • For The Greater Good:
    • Yuusaku rationalizes the decisions made at Shinichi's expense by arguing that they bring about the most overall good and, tellingly, that it won't matter because Shinichi will (hopefully) never find out anyways. Yuusaku's mention of the latter excuse immediately after insisting it's for the greater good shows that he's really telling himself that it's okay because he won't have to face a Shinichi that knows what he's done—which underscores the possibility that part of Yuusaku's real reasons may be to protect himself from the consequences of his own actions. Unsurprisingly, Shinichi does find out, and Yuusaku's reaction even horrifies the Irregulars. Despite Hakuba's insistence that Yuusaku loves and has deeply sacrificed for his son's happiness and wellbeing, Yuusaku is so emotionally and psychologically abusive that, rather than bringing about good, it's almost like Yuusaku's trying to push Shinichi to a precipice.
    • In chapter 11, Yuusaku pulls this again, stopping the Irregulars from destroying the Meta-Nullifiers during the black hole crisis by claiming that ISHA needs them. In doing so, Yuusaku puts possessing these nullifiers over the safety of nine million people, choosing not only to leave all of the superheroes in the city depowered during a time when as many options as possible are desperately needed, but to render any attempt to call for backup fundamentally pointless, because the backup will be made as powerless as the Irregulars as soon as they come near the city. As far as the Irregulars and Yuusaku know, this leaves four normal teenagers as Tokyo's only defense against the growing black holes that threaten to erase the city and millions of people from existence, and they have less than two hours before the entire city is gone. Hakuba's only remaining solution? Find cause of the black holes and destroy them. That cause being a terrified child whose powers are going out of control due to her being experimented on against her will. Notably, Shinichi even mentally addresses how The Needs of the Many would cause the Irregulars to kill the child and how that might even truly be For The Greater Good, but unlike ISHA, Shinichi can't morally accept that. Despite his best efforts, it happens anyway.

  • Friendship Moment: Subverted. Hattori wants to be friends and offers his complete trust to Shinichi, but a pained Shinichi rejects the offer, because he can't bring himself to trust Hattori in return—Hattori already put Yuusaku's bidding before Shinichi's trust or wishes, having called Ran, Hakuba, and Yuusaku during the incident at the warehouse without understanding the reason Shinichi would view that as a betrayal, and worse, the fact that Hattori continues to hide information in accordance with Yuusaku's wishes proves that he will continue to, at least passively, support their control. Shinichi can't look at him and not see an agent of his father's manipulations, one who has consciously made a decision to side against him, and therefore Shinichi can't trust him. It's rendered tragic by the fact that both Hattori and Shinichi sincerely do want to be friends and Hattori is at least partially aware that Yuusaku's treatment towards his son is abusive; it is a sincere belief that Yuusaku and the Irregulars are ultimately doing the right thing even if they must use unkind tactics, rather than outright malevolence, that keeps Hattori siding with Shinichi's abusers. When Hattori tries to communicate his best intentions, sooth open wounds, and get Shinichi to understand his perspective by convincing Shinichi they're not actually on separate sides and not trying to hurt him, Hattori isn't believed and knows he isn't believed, because of the undeniable fact that, at this point, Hattori can't actually think of a single reason for Shinichi to trust any of them: regardless of Hattori's belief of intent, they are acting against Shinichi, and they are hurting him.
    • It's notable to compare and contrast Shinichi's relationship with Kaitou KID, who is a distant other rather than semi-permanent houseguest, the enemy of all of Shinichi's loved ones, and the giver of a far less friendly overture of proposed "partnership" with Shinichi... but ultimately is more respectful, and thus more successful. Though not publicly considered good like the Irregulars, KID validating Shinichi's talents and providing an outlet (the ONLY major outlet) for Shinichi to actually work to save the kidnapped homeless children is what earns him Shinichi's tentative alliance while Shinichi pulls away from everyone else.
    • Hakuba and Shinichi have a few subtle moments in Chapter 12, including but not limited to Hakuba hanging up on and directly disobeying Yuusaku in order to side with Shinichi.

  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Kaito became KID to bring down the man who murdered his father and used his position of power to escape consequences and lie about it to the entire world. Subverted by Shinichi, who, despite siding with Kaito on the idea that such injustice should be resolved, has no problem criticizing Kaito on his own more ethically problematic choices. In chapter 12, Kaito ends up hypocritically doing the thing he accuses Yuusaku of and seeks revenge for—serving his own agenda at the cost of someone else's survival.
    • Aoko becomes irrational involving KID because her mother died alone in the hospital while her father was busy hunting that particular criminal. The legitimacy of this excuse is also subtly called into question by the fact that she's used KID as a scapegoat to dodge serious ethical questions about her own actions and the actions of others that she is complicit in; by the time of the story she's become the main embodiment of Black and White Insanity and arguably the most unstable and hypocritical and least empathetic member of the Irregulars. However, it should be noted that this death is implied to have been quite recent, and she apparently did her best to suppress the emotions so as not to ruin Kaito's own emotional recovery as he returned to the place of his traumatic childhood. Finding out Kaito is KID made her Black and White Insanity a lot worse.
    • While the Irregulars certainly bare a good bit of the blame for their personal conflicts with Shinichi, a portion could certainly be blamed on Shinichi himself for his poor maintenance of what interpersonal relationships he has. But a lot of it clearly stems from his pervasive subconscious mentality that everyone sees him as a burden. It isn't helped by just how many times those who claim to love him have reaffirmed this, nor by his own father calling him useless to his face. Further, his father's tendency to set up competing loyalties with all of Shinichi's loved ones seems to have resulted in learned helplessness; Shinichi's been burned so many times by this that he assumes those around him will fail to support him or even outright abandon him when he needs them, to the point where he's actually surprised by Agasa prioritizing his events and needs in chapters 10 and 11.
    • Discussed with Yuusaku, though arguably subverted. Yuusaku gives various excuses for his actions throughout the story, and while they make sense with the immediate situation, none of them make sense with his wider actions beyond a cursory glance, implying the possibility that he's a Consummate Liar even to those he supposedly confides in most.

  • Gaslighting: Events in the series make it clear that Yuusaku, the Irregulars, and the police use this as their policy for dealing with Shinichi, up to and including confiscating his evidence of the events they deny and pretending thereafter that it doesn't exist. They actually treat his reports very seriously, but act like he's delusional or incompetent to his face.

  • Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!: Downplayed, as Shinichi hasn't had a life-or-death confrontation with those threatening his freedom, but still implied through his willingness to endanger his life for the sake of his highly discouraged investigations. Shinichi wants the help and support of those around him, but he values his agency more, and burns with a desire to help the people around him and expose truths even if that should require him to risk his life. Because all of the Irregulars have chosen to follow Yuusaku's manipulative and abusive supposed "Greater Good" policy when it comes to how Shinichi is treated, Shinichi cannot investigate the troubles and problems of Tokyo with their support; instead, he has chosen to run into possibly life threatening situations alone, with no backup and no one knowing where he's going (sans an ambiguous note on his website about what to do should he go missing), because even when in dangerous situations, he's more concerned about his father, "friends", or "girlfriend" hearing about what he's up to than he is about being hurt or killed, with the implication being that they, the ones who threaten his freedom, are considered a bigger threat by Shinichi than the ones who could possibly threaten his life.

  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Played with and then arguably subverted at the end of Part 1. Shinichi was deprived of the resources and privileges given to those around him and discouraged from following the same career path despite it being his dream. In spite of this, Shinichi kept working devotedly on investigating and on solving the real, serious, humble cases that he came across, but was continuously met with Parental Abuse and Gaslighting regarding his capabilities and experiences in return. It's a continuous battle to stay on the path of this career, as Yuusaku has gotten both friends and the police to refuse to indulge or cooperate with Shinichi, placing further limits on his resources and outlets that those favored by his father weren't put under. Despite being called "useless" to his face and told that there wasn't anything he could contribute that Yuusaku hadn't already provided, Shinichi's still ultimately the one to crack Part 1's overarching case, because even with more resources and supposedly more talent, Yuusaku and Hakuba just didn't seem to focus on it with everything else that was going on. Of notable contrast, while Yuusaku and Hakuba chose to focus on the conflicts and power-struggles that personally involve them and were rarely shown to discuss or think about the missing children, Shinichi, despite everything going on in his own life, still took the time to deduce and memorize the faces, names, and nicknames of every suspected victim and spent weeks giving them priority in his time and attention; thus, despite being deprived of the vast resources, privileges, and training possessed by those supposedly better than him, it's still Shinichi who cracks the case. Despite not succeeding in saving the child due to ISHA's and Kaito's interventions, Shinichi's ceaseless effort still paid off; he cracks the case where Yuusaku and the Irregulars failed, proving every reductive thing they've said about him wrong.

  • Harmful to Minors: It's confirmed that Kaito and heavily implied that Shinichi were both there to witness the actual events of the death of Kuroba Toichi. The memory is buried in Shinichi's psyche and not consciously available to him, but the brief instances in which it surfaces are extremely disturbing in description. When Kaito's memory of the event is described in full, it's as gory and horrifying as previously implied.

  • Hypocrite:
    • The Irregulars frequently complain about being left out of things (Hakuba), not being informed about or trusted with important matters (Hattori), and being underestimated and forbidden from helping as they wish (Aoko). All of which they do to Shinichi, and accept as justified because Yuusaku told them it was.
    • When fighting with Kaito in Chapter 5, Aoko even highlights the concepts of information abuse and abuse of trust, seemingly oblivious to the fact that ISHA and her own team use this same tactic for their own convenience at others' expense.
    • When Ran yells at Shinichi for putting himself in danger constantly, she conveniently ignores the fact that she does the same all of the time, behind his back. When she implies he's not good enough to investigate, she conveniently ignores that she and the others are being privileged with a combat and crime-solving education that was denied to Shinichi despite him being their mentor's son, possessing both talents and passionate interests that perfectly align with the job, and having dreamed about being a detective since he was a small child. She seems unaware that all of her reasons come from her copying the calculated and abusive rhetoric Yuusaku uses to justify ISHA's and the Irregulars' position of power and privilege, specifically in contrast with Shinichi who was denied these same privileges—the power dynamic she's invoking and exploiting is an unjust one that privileges her at Shinichi's expense. In these instances, Ran is a toxic and relatively much more privileged significant other complaining that her boyfriend's the one causing her problems.
    • In chapter 12, Kaito ends up doing the thing he accuses Yuusaku of and seeks revenge on him for—serving his own agenda at the cost of someone else's survival.

  • I Control My Minions Through...: Despite nominally being a hero, Yuusaku's increasingly villainous manipulations and control tactics fall into this. Yuusaku demonstrates variations on using Authority, Fear, Loyalty, and Mind Control; specifically, respect, popular sovereignty, indoctrination, actual Mind Control, Gaslighting, and when all else fails and he can't hide his tactics, framing himself and his actions as the lesser and necessary evil and emotionally shaming those who feel guilty or hurt from this as being ridiculous.

  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Shinichi shares information from his investigation with Hakuba and allows Hattori to accompany him on his investigation into the warehouse because, despite his snarky attitude, he's actually very lonely and desperate for someone to trust. Both of them throw these chances he gives them back in his face: Hakuba shuts him out, pretends the information he's acquired is trivial and worthless, condescends down at him like he's a burden, and generally destroys any hope Shinichi had of Hakuba regarding him as an equal, while Hattori asks for trust and friendship but compromises Shinichi's freedom by putting his loyalties to Yuusaku and the Irregulars before Shinichi himself. It becomes clear by the aftermath of the warehouse incident that Shinichi is incredibly lonely mostly because the people around him have forced him to choose between friendship and basic agency. Even more alarming, all of Shinichi's most healthy interactions by that point are with the supervillain Kaitou KID, simply because the two have mutual respect for one another and KID is the only person who doesn't condescend or tell Shinichi he isn't good enough. The thing is, at that point, they're barely closer than strangers—Shinichi describes their relationship as "acquaintances."
    • The reason Shinichi lets Hattori in on his investigation even though he suspects there's a chance it's actually one of his father's attempts to control him? He plays Devil's Advocate against his paranoia and asks himself, "Maybe someone just wanted to spend time with him for once?" Ouch.

  • I Reject Your Reality: Aoko's Black and White Insanity is beginning to descend into this territory. By chapter 10 the story has completely illegitimized the "good" reasons Aoko has used throughout the earlier chapters to justify her moral judgement towards others, and she does not react well. Her supposed motivations of "justice for Kaito's father and protecting other children from loss of family" is challenged by the revelation that she's joined the side that not only killed Kaito's father and left Kaito to suffer but also lied about it and denied his family closure. As Aoko had previously snidely referred to the forty-some injuries and four deaths that occurred during the Night Baron and KID conflict as "numerous counts of manslaughter" and used this to help justify her scapegoating KID for all of her problems, Aoko struggles to even handle this new information, as by that logic the Overseers she's idolized and joined are the true guilty party in those charges now, a guilty party that also deliberately framed one of the victims for the deaths and got away with it. On top of this revelation, Yuusaku simultaneously demonstrates his Faux Affably Evil Abusive Parent status right in front of the Irregulars, Mind Controlling Shinichi to hand over his evidence and give up his autonomy while telling Shinichi that he's functionally useless and doesn't deserve the respect or care Yuusaku gives to others in the room. By chapter 10, Aoko's left pinwheeling desperately for reasons why Shinichi (and, by his proxy, Kaito) are the bad guys but unwilling to abandon or reflect on her reasons for feeling this way, deliberately dodging valid criticisms against her stance on the issue by firing off barely-related redirections and ad hominems. On the whole, Aoko so far demonstrates a tendency to seek refuge in a deliberately simplistic view of the world around her and scapegoating and strawmaning the antagonists in her life that may upset this view, with the implication being that this is because she doesn't want to face the more complicated and emotionally challenging reality. The resulting rejection of the reality of moral nuance appears to be her way of protecting herself from painful self-reflection.
    • Many of the characters actually have aspects of self-delusion and denial as maladapted coping mechanisms in response to their implicitly dystopian reality and the personal conflicts it forces them into, evident so far (to varying levels) in not only Aoko, but Ran, Hakuba, and even Shinichi; recognition of their issues would force them to confront and act upon painful truths, so, consciously or not, they sidestep full awareness of their situations until they've met their own personal limit to how much they can rationalize away.

  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance:
    • Subverted initially with Shinichi, who knows that those around him are hiding something.
    • Played straight with Ran in chapter 10. Ran protests to Shinichi referring to the Irregulars' actions as "playing hero," but then tries to explain her reasons for complying with Yuusaku's obviously unfair and hurtful information blackout by claiming she just wanted to keep Shinichi safe, which is the same thing she did after the warehouse incident. Even after witnessing Yuusaku's more explicit and less subtle abuse in chapter 9, she's still completely ignorant to the fact that she's basically repeating a sanitized version of Yuusaku's abuse rationalizations, and further, that this ignorantly self-important and condescending declaration towards those she protects is one of the many heavily problematized aspects of ISHA and the Irregulars in the narrative and largely why Shinichi called their behavior "playing hero" in the first place. Ran insists that she's actually "good at" being a hero—but up to this point in the story, Ran hasn't exactly demonstrated the keenest ability to perceptively discern between right and wrong on her own. She seems to only know heroism in terms of ISHA's rigid policies, which have continuously been problematized when put under moral scrutiny throughout the preceding chapters—so she's good at being an ISHA Hero©, but laying claim to genuine moral heroism with so little self-reflection up to this point shows that, despite the rude awakening during the previous chapter, at this point she's still struggling to appreciate just how out of touch she is with the reality of her own relationships.

  • Implicit Prison: Shinichi is constantly in conflict with his "friends," "girlfriend," and father over his desire for the autonomy to pursue his dreams and act on his own goals and wishes (which involve investigating crime and helping people), a desire that is met with degradation, lectures, and expressions of shame from all people close to him and is made much more difficult to achieve given his controlling father's Big Brother nature. More explicitly within the language of the story, Shinichi compares the grip his "girlfriend" Ran has on his hand to a "shackle."

  • Inappropriate Role Model: Yuusaku has apparently saved the world a bunch, but he also unfortunately has no scruples with acting like a controlling, emotionally manipulative, calculating Jerkass when it conveniences him, especially (and constantly) to his son; an integrity-less behavior that his sidekick, Hakuba, has clearly internalized into his psyche as unquestionably right and begun to replicate with those around him, particularly (again) with Shinichi. When the abuse gets to the extent that even Hakuba begins to question Yuusaku, Yuusaku delegitimizes the feelings of guilt and injustice that Hakuba is motivated by as "childish." If this man was ever capable of making decisions with at least fair consideration of morality, it's clear he isn't capable of that now and is functioning on unsettlingly extreme For The Greater Good policies.

  • The Ingenue: Ran is not only more powerful than most examples but also a deconstruction. Unlike Aoko's darker, enforced naivete to cover up her Black and White Insanity, Ran truly is innocently acting on the best intentions. Like Shinichi, she genuinely wants to help others and bring the most good into the world. She also wholeheartedly loves her boyfriend, and would do anything to keep him safe and sound. Unfortunately, her innocence means she isn't truly self-aware of the less-than-good power dynamics she's aligned herself with or how emotionally cruel, damaging, and selfish her "protective" choices are with regards to her boyfriend. Her acceptance of ISHA's political stances towards power also seems to have turned her into an Innocent Bigot towards non-supers, given how her thought process is also extremely condescending towards her boyfriend largely on the basis of his lack of superpowers, even thinking that he's too fragile to be trusted with his own agency. Her ignorance of the damage she contributes to erodes her relationship with him, culminating in him breaking up with her in chapter 10.

  • Insane Troll Logic: Ran has a moment in chapter 8. In it, Ran expresses a disturbingly condescending view towards Shinichi's capabilities at handling his own independence, outright calling him "fragile" and "weak" (though to be fair, she also calls herself weak for being unable to emotionally handle the possibility of him being in danger). She rationalizes her support of the secrecy and control policy used against Shinichi by making clear that she considers the limitations on his agency and knowledge acceptable, preferable, and necessary so as to keep him safe, even if it costs him his happiness. The insane part is that Ran internally proclaims this while under the impression that still-ignorant Shinichi has been kidnapped due to his relationship with the Irregulars, proving that the secrecy and control policy used towards Shinichi has done none of what she's insisting it does. Despite her rationalizations, the basic reality of her situation while asserting said rationalizations proves them completely and utterly wrong.

  • Internal Reveal: Due to the many, many secrets kept between cast members, there are also many moments of revelations:
    • In Chapter 3, appropriately titled "The Rotten Core," Hattori realizes that the secrecy policy has eroded and toxicified all of Shinichi's relationships.
    • Aoko finds out that Kaito is Kaitou KID in Chapter 5. Due to her Black and White Insanity when it comes to that particular criminal, she doesn't take it well.
    • Sometime between Chapter 6 and Chapter 8, Kaito told Shinichi that Yuusaku was Night Baron, and that Yuusaku's students, including Ran, were the Irregulars. Shinichi himself confirms this in Chapter 8.
    • Also in Chapter 8, Yuusaku finds out his son has been cooperating with Kaito against him.
    • In chapter 9, all of the Irregulars find out that Yuusaku murdered Kuroba Toichi (or at least, that what Kaito and Shinichi witnessed heavily implies this), and Yuusaku gives a full demonstration of his Abusive Parent status in front of them, making ignorance of the abuse pretty much impossible from here on out unless Yuusaku tries to mess with everyone's heads.
    • In chapter 12, Hakuba finally listens to the findings of Shinichi's investigation and learns that the disasters he and his team have been combating are the kidnapped children Shinichi's been trying to locate. Further, the Irregulars have personally murdered at least one of them.
      • In the Interlude we see the aftermath of Hakuba telling Aoko this. She boots up into Heroic BSoD.

  • Irony:
    • Kaito is KID in revenge for Yuusaku murdering Toichi and then framing KID for the death. Because of this, much of the public think KID is a killer. But in chapter 12, in order to get tools for his revenge against Yuusaku for this frame-up and murder, Kaito steals the chemical needed to neutralize and stabilize an out-of-control metahuman child, and with no way to neutralize her, she's put down by missile strike. Arguably, in his quest for vengeance over the murder and slander, Kaito himself gave KID's reputation for callous bloodshed an underlying truth.
    • A bit of Fridge Irony, if such a thing exists: In chapter 10, when Ran steps away from the group to talk to Shinichi alone for a short while, her words lead Shinichi to the conclusion that Ran stood aside and let this abuse happen—and even somewhat contributed to it without thinking it was wrong—because she's adopted Yuusaku's condescending perspective of Shinichi as a "weak little fool" and burden, whether she's willing to acknowledge that or not. Her words convince Shinichi that she felt she couldn't trust him with his own agency. In other words, in Shinichi's mind, Ran was treating him like a child.
    • Despite Yuusaku and Hakuba—the leader-figures of the Irregulars, and the ones spearheading most of Shinichi's abuse—sabotaging Shinichi's efforts to pursue an investigative career from a young age and insisting that Shinichi isn't cut out for being included in hero or detective work, Shinichi appears to be the only one of the main cast to piece together the case in Part 1 like a detective, the only one resolutely and uncompromisingly prioritizing the recovery of the missing children like a hero, and the only one to come up with a decisive plan to resolve the quagmire of the Black Hole Crisis in a way that still maintains moral integrity like a leader. Meanwhile, Yuusaku and Hakuba, despite insisting they're the real detectives and heroes who rightfully should be the ones deciding and leading the response to these crises, fail at basically every implicit and explicit goal they set themselves as detectives, heroes, and leaders throughout Part 1. Part 1 proves, if nothing else, that Shinichi's still a better detective than both of them—because even if they're right and they're just naturally more talented, that doesn't change the fact that, during the climax of Part 1, three chapters after calling Shinichi "useless" to his face and insisting there's nothing Shinichi could contribute to their efforts, they literally needed Shinichi to explain to them the criminal investigation that is threatening the city and has dominated every major event for the last month or so, because they just hadn't been putting the effort and focus on it. That Yuusaku and Hakuba needed Shinichi, someone they insist is not detective or hero material, to basically do both jobs for them because they didn't is a colossal failure. It also underscores that, in terms of the plot of Part 1, they were the ones who contributed little to nothing positive and have so far been functionally useless in the investigation.
      • It's not that Hakuba and Yuusaku haven't been working very hard, but they're clearly too overwhelmed and compromised to perform both of their jobs with any standard of consistency or quality; their inadequacy at managing their workload and the consequences of it as they prioritize the power-plays of their own personal lives and sacrifice focusing on the concerns of seemingly nameless, distant victims is what ended up proving beyond a reasonable doubt that, far from being useless, they desperately need someone with the skills and perspective Shinichi can provide. A part of them must know this, too, considering Yuusaku uses Shinichi's news reports to evaluate the quality of the Irregulars' performance early on in the story.

  • Inversion: Dominoes's initial plot runs on this, inverting the basic premise of the franchise from which it spawned. Instead of the protagonist Shinichi going to great lengths to keep secrets from everyone out of a belief that it will protect them, it's everyone else in the cast cooperating with each other to keep secrets from Shinichi for the same reason. The cooperative mass effort by everyone in Shinichi's life highlights and exacerbate the negative side effects of such secrets through the control this mass effort allows those keeping secrets to enact over Shinichi and the lengths to which they rationalize taking this control if they believe they are in the right. Inevitably this ends up showcasing one of the moral quagmires that ''Detective Conan'' doesn't touch on by pushing the morally ambiguous "protective" secrecy of canon to extremes and revealing its potential for corruption and abuse.

  • The Jinx: "Pandora," the name given to the hypothetical metaorganism located somewhere in Tokyo that has caused an "impossible" increase in the rates of violent crime, suicide, depression, and mood disorders. The resulting increases are referred to Professor Hirota as the "Pandora Effect."

  • Just in Time: Subverted spectacularly in Part 1's climax; Shinichi almost saves Santa, but KID sabotages him and ISHA cruise missiles the girl and Bell Tree Tower along with her.

  • Kick the Dog: In order to try to keep Shinichi away from subjects his father doesn't want him near, Hakuba Gaslights Shinichi and deliberately rubs salt in Shinichi's emotional wounds by bringing up Shinichi's percieved inadequacy in the eyes of his father. Hakuba has apparently used this tactic so many times to shut Shinichi down that he calls it "the Yuusaku button." The police also do this, calling his theory about the kidnapping ring a "conspiracy theory" to his face but later reporting it as a serious problem to Yuusaku. However, Yuusaku takes the cake in chapter 9 with his long, cruel, calculated speech about how Shinichi is "useless" and inferior to everyone around him.

  • Lack of Empathy: A major part of the conflict between characters is that the Irregulars either don't notice or feel they can't afford to respect the emotional toll they're taking on Shinichi, and the result is that this is the tone they generally have while dealing with him. The characters with more time devoted to them each have their own complex, varying reasons for why: Hakuba was raised to always follow Yuusaku's lead concerning any issue, Ran openly admits to valuing Shinichi's safety over his free will and happiness and seems to have been largely ignorant of just how much was being done to limit that free will, and Aoko has a lot of unrelated issues that tend to affect her perception of right and wrong. Aoko and Kazuha are also prone to taking this one step further and outright victim blaming, the first because of her dogmatic approach to morality and both seemingly because their concern and respect for the victim is marginalized when they personally have stronger emotional attachments to the perpetrator. When Kazuha hears that Shinichi broke up with Ran, Kazuha exclaims in a fit of anger that she'll "make him wish he was never born," despite acknowledging that Ran was the one who dealt the fatal blows to the former couple's relationship.
    • Despite Hakuba swearing Yuusaku doesn't enjoy hurting people and actually loves Shinichi dearly, Yuusaku says a lot of nasty things about Shinichi even when it seems absolutely unnecessary even by Hakuba's assumptions of his motivations. In chapter 10 Yuusaku compares Hakuba's own upset at Yuusaku's actions to "Shinichi's dramatics" and thus childish and beneath Hakuba. Keep in mind: Hakuba was upset because Yuusaku had taken his child abuse against Shinichi Up to Eleven, and even in the aftermath of that Yuusaku can't muster up an ounce of decency or verbalized respect for the son he appears to have completely emotionally broken, talking down about Shinichi even then, with no one but Hakuba, his supposed confidant, around to necessitate any kind of facade.

  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Shinichi is heavily implied to have been present and a witness to the death of Kuroba Toichi at Yuusaku's hands, but the memory isn't consciously accessible to him and only surfaces briefly on occasion, immediately forgotten soon after. The true circumstances of the death are unknown, but Yuusaku insists—without providing reason—that there is more to the story, and that Toichi's death isn't his fault. It's confirmed in chapter 9 that Yuusaku has definitely meddled with Shinichi's memories, which is why Shinichi is subconsciously obsessed with creating records of all he learns.
    • It's implied that editing Shinichi's mind is how Yuusaku has kept Shinichi from knowing the secrets of everyone around him in spite of Shinichi's own psychic powers.

  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In chapter 10, Shinichi gathers his thoughts and comes to a realization about the Crows' experiments, their connection to the antimeta terrorists, and the ultimate fate of the children who were kidnapped off the street, concluding that at least one of them became the fireball monster from early in the story whose abilities had been boosted to an uncontrollably destructive level and that the CATS' and KID's goal was to steal the Org's research to utilize it in depowering metas, with Shinichi even hypothesizing over various ways they could implement this and ways to set the groups' threats against each other to solve them both. Shinichi tries to get into contact with the Irregulars, none of whom answer their phones, but once Shinichi comes to his father's number he ultimately decides to stop trying to tell them anything because both Hakuba and Yuusaku had made very clear over the last few chapters that Shinichi was inferior and that there was nothing Shinichi could tell them that they didn't already know and know better and more thoroughly than him. Shinichi is too good a person to refuse to help someone, but this reminds him that they have made clear that his help is unwanted and worthless, and convinces him that they probably know all of this anyways and that he's, as always, the last to know anything. This means that the Irregulars pay for their complacency in Shinichi's abuse and exclusion by being put firmly on the other side of the knowledge-is-power disparity for once solely because of their own actions, not being warned about the connections between any of these groups or about the possibility of the Antimeta mist, which depowers them all later in the chapter.
    • Shinichi has known KID's power since chapter 5. Shinichi tells KID of his intention to tell the Irregulars, but KID points out that the Irregulars never believe Shinichi. They do, of course, but their gaslighting means that, whether in civilian or super guise, they never act like they believe Shinichi—so they've never given Shinichi a reason to trust that he'll be believed. As such, Shinichi has no reason to tell them after KID calls his bluff, and even less after finding out the Irregulars' identities. It's quite obvious from Hakuba's assumption of jammers during Kaito's and Aoko's talk that he and the Irregulars have no clue of what KID's abilities are, leaving them deprived yet again of key knowledge through no one's fault but their own.
    • The entirety of the Irregulars by the end of Part One have sacrificed so much for the sake of being "good heroes" as judged by ISHA's parameters, and what comes of that is brutal, especially for Ran. She spent over a year emotionally abusing and Gaslighting someone she considers to be the love of her life and constantly sacrificing the quality of her relationship with him for the benefit of her secret training with his father, thinking that complying with this abusive policy was just a normal, necessary thing on the path to becoming a noble, heroic member of ISHA. Even when faced with the fact that she's aiding an abuser (and even replicating the abuser's abusive rhetoric) and her and Shinichi's romantic relationship has broken beyond repair from this, she still claims she's "good at being a hero." By the close of part one, it's almost as if the world answered her claims of heroism by rubbing her face in how ignoble her chosen career truly is under the propaganda: she (and the others) are left faced with the fact that the Irregulars are actually the minions of a police state that extrajudiciously murders people whose lives they consider incongruous or threatening to public order, including innocent children, and the Irregulars have actually committed at least one of those murders themselves. Their boss is a murderer, and now they are child muderers. Ran's also newly single.

  • The Leader:
    • Yuusaku/Night Baron is officially a leader of ISHA, but is implied to be at the top of the bunch (Shinchi refers to him as "an Overseer" and then corrects himself, calling him "the Overseer"). As a leader, he tends to rule through manipulation and abuse. He can be fair and constructive in building those around him towards positions he deems appropriate, but he also becomes very manipulative and abusive should they step outside of the boxes he draws for them.
    • Hakuba is the leader of his trainee team, the Irregulars. Unfortunately, he's not a very good one as of yet. He's smart and tactical, but horrible at emotional and moral leadership or support, very bad at managing his own mistakes, and outright terrible at handling or resolving conflicts within his team in a healthy or honest manner. The two examples of major emotional upsets in his team that we see have him either staying silent to the side while his teammates cry and/or rage, or just sending everyone away to fume separately. He also doesn't have an accepted, unquestionable integrity to ground the team's trust when things go awry, or an ability to inspire much loyalty. When in a pinch he doesn't know how else to handle, he often relies on the abusive tactics he learned from Yuusaku, which often get the immediate result he desired but have long-lasting negative consequences. In essence, Hakuba's character is attempting to fill the role Shinichi does in Detective Conan that is vacant in this story and be the great prodigy detective, upcoming leader of crime-fighting operations, and unifying force around which his team and friend group rally, but while he can meet the challenge of the role in a pinch, he's just not a natural leader.
      • This is demonstrated pretty clearly by Hakuba's choosing between whether to follow Shinichi or Yuusaku on the Black Hole Crisis. On one level, it's presented as a choice between Shinichi's refusal to compromise over the worth of human life vs. Yuusaku's idea of The Greater Good. On a more subtle level, however, the fact that Hakuba chose a side to follow rather than taking the primary leadership position himself gives away how ineffective Hakuba is as a leader in the overarching story of Part 1; for all his supposed insider knowledge, he ultimately knew the least about the situation at hand and how to handle it, let alone lead others through it. Shinichi, despite everything against him, is still able to completely re-route the Irregulars' mission to fall in line with his plan based solely on his word that his solution to the situation is possible and preferable, but he's only able to do so because, rather than leading the Irregulars' plans himself, the Irregulars' leader, Hakuba, chose between Yuusaku and Shinichi taking charge. When given the opportunity to choose between taking the leadership role in a group or following another, Hakuba is a Child Soldier at heart, not a general: despite knowing that he's supposed to be in charge of his team, he still tends to default to following orders and replicates the behavior of whoever is leading him when he does have to try to lead. Which makes sense, because Hakuba is a Child Soldier, and has been raised to trust his superiors and follow orders since he was in elementary school.
      • This adds further implications to Shinichi's exclusion, because Hakuba's choosing between Yuusaku and Shinichi implies innate recognition that Shinichi is a natural leader despite Yuusaku's attempts to minimize Shinichi's influence and isolate him—Shinichi is independent-minded and unable to be cowed into toeing someone else's line against his own principles, quick and thorough in creating plans to manage problems, willing to advocate for his own ideas in an even and fair manner, confident in creating and enacting his plans with the resources available while being sensitive of the ethical issues of exploiting people, and even the characters that cooperate with Yuusaku's abuse discuss Shinichi's solid moral and factual integrity and accuracy of perceptions (though never to his face). Despite confronting infinitely more road blocks and everyone expressing nothing but shame and reprimands, the bare, obvious fact remains that Shinichi still ran circles around Hakuba in every facet of Hakuba's job throughout the entirety of Part 1. It hints again that the reasons for excluding Shinichi aren't that he's "useless," because he appears to honestly be a far better leader in a crisis than Hakuba despite his lack of training.

  • Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman: Aoko is romantically interested in Kaito until chapter 5 but intensely hates the Kaitou KID. Now that she's found out they are one and the same, her feelings are more confused, but she's so far fervently sided with ISHA against him and is currently desperately clinging to any reason she can find to maintain that he's the bad guy to ISHA's good, even though those reasons keep collapsing into irrationality.
    • A significantly downplayed version of this dynamic must've been Shinichi's position with Ran at one point; she's his girlfriend in civilian clothes but a member of a novice superhero team and subsequent target of his criticism when in costume. However, this has become inverted by the beginning of the story: the Irregulars' adoption of Yuusaku's condescending and abusive secrecy policy has distanced and eroded the relationship between them and Shinichi to the point where Shinichi feels more comfortable around Ran's superhero identity then her civilian one, whom he still loves dearly but whose painful presence he now dreads.

  • Living Emotional Crutch: Shinichi has always adored Ran from childhood, but it's discussed by Hakuba that the situation with Yuusaku's power plays and Hakuba's own switching schools to avoid seeing Shinichi basically forced Ran to be Shinichi's only consistent source of emotional support, as they'd left him with no one else. After Ran joined the Irregulars and ceased being that consistent source, she got away with a lot of unjust liberties in her relationship with Shinichi, since he had basically no one else but her. She doesn't seem to have been aware of how exploitative this situation became on her end because he's also her Living Emotional Crutch, to the point where she was clearly incentivized to continue the exploitation and abuse for the sake of certainty over his physical wellbeing and assured presence in her life on her terms, and the normalization of this meant she never recognized this behavior for what it was, just as others either also normalized it or were incentivized to keep their silence.

  • The Load: What the Irregulars and Yuusaku treat Shinichi as, whether they're all willing to admit this or not. As of chapter 9, Yuusaku at least is perfectly willing to do so. It's played with in that Shinichi has skills that could make him a very big asset to their cause, but despite treating him poorly for being The Load, they're not willing to let him be anything else.

  • Locked Out of the Loop: Shinichi's friends, family, and even the police all conspire to keep him ignorant of the things going on around him. KID breaks the only lock he knows of sometime between chapters 5 and 7, but it's clear there's still another, equally large secret that Yuusaku and Hakuba are keeping from everyone.

  • Loophole Abuse: At the bottom of chapter 9, Shinichi, seemingly with all the fight stripped out of him, asks a favor, and then a compromise, of the Irregulars (and, in particular, Hakuba): first, that if Shinichi gives up investigating, returns to being a docile little soccer player, and his soccer team makes it to the championships, that they will be there to watch him play; and second, that if he stays out of investigating the matter of the disappeared children, that they will find the children and save them. While the words are said with sincerity at the time, by the next chapter the Irregulars default to treating their relationship with Shinichi as a non-priority in comparison with everything else and miss the game. Once they remember—too late—Kazuha tries to console the others with the idea that the game really wasn't a big deal, making it clear that the Irregulars saw the championship as a thing they would hopefully get to do but, ultimately, a nonbinding Empty Promise made primarily to placate Shinichi after they hurt him. Unfortunately for them, Shinichi saw his deal as Exact Words, and since they didn't keep either promise (having not only missed his game, but actually killed one of the children they promised to save), he sees himself free from his promise to stop investigating.

  • Love Cannot Overcome: Perspective inverted; Shinichi is the main protagonist but Ran is the "hero." Hurt by Ran's condescending view of protecting him and the lack of faith and respect indicated by her complacence in the policy to exclude, monitor, and control him, Shinichi breaks up with her in chapter 10, and feels "lighter" for doing so.

  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Two examples so far: Kaito's and Aoko's prospective first date is ruined by her finding out he's Kaitou KID, and Shinichi's and Ran's relationship is ruined by the complete lack of trust and faith demonstrated by her choosing to help exclude him from The Masquerade "to protect him." For bonus points, the breaking point in the latter relationship literally involved Shinichi ripping off Ran's mask.

  • Mind Manipulation: Yuusaku's power. He's been using it to shape and alter Shinichi's mind at Yuusaku's own convenience for years, but by Chapter 9, Shinichi's realized a way around it—Yuusaku can't take memories that Shinichi absorbs from others.

  • Might Makes Right: ... as long as the "right" people wield it, of course. The Superhero teens are granted and groomed for positions of privilege and influence over the public based solely on their metahuman traits and their support of ISHA. They're not elected, they're chosen exclusively because they're considered inherently superior and because they'll presumably continue to prop up the current order as they grow up. As such, they have an automatic tendency to assume themselves and their leader justified in all actions, but hypocritically complain when they have to deal with the same conditions they force on others (in particular, secrecy, lack of agency, and non-inclusion). Kaito appears to think this is a flaw inherent in all Overseer-aligned metahumans and the justice system they've created.

  • Missing Mom: Yukiko is absent for the first story arc. She's later revealed to have been off playing the role of ISHA spokeswoman Fumiyo Edogawa. It's implied the frequent physical distance between mother and son began in childhood, when Yuusaku noted a correlation between Shinichi and Yukiko being in close proximity and mass mental health strains on nearby populations.

  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Shinichi doesn't see it as betrayal—he sees it as using the options he has available to help rescue missing children—but he ends up cooperating with Kaitou KID, a supervillain, one of his father's and his friends' major enemies, and someone who had stolen key evidence on the missing kids case from Shinichi personally, against Shinichi's own friends—because despite Shinichi knowing next to nothing about him, he still sees KID as more reliable than his father, the boy who was raised along side him like his brother, his girlfriend, and all of their acquaintances. If that doesn't get across how horribly they've treated Shinichi, nothing will.

  • Moral Myopia: The story is told within a Superhero AU in which the teen superheroes are varying aware that they are self-righteous integrity-less accomplices to abuse functioning on some fluffed up version of Might Makes Right, and their mentor mentally assaults his own son and has a recognizable special voice he frequently uses to tear him down. They're opposed by an anarchistic vigilante thief out to reclaim a blood debt incurred after said mentor apparently killed his father and covered it up. Everyone involved except the Mentor is framed as a protagonist, not an antagonist (and the Mentor is only an exception because he has yet to have his own perspective represented); the only outright antagonists are the Crows.

  • Narcissist: Yuusaku shows downplayed hints of this quality in the very self-centered excuses he gives for his treatment towards others in chapter 10. Of the death of the first Kaitou KID, Yuusaku claims that he covered up the truth and denied the Kurobas closure or public justice after Toichi's death... supposedly to honor Toichi's memory and give Kaito a "purpose." He goes onto explain that clearly, if Kaito didn't have him to hate and was given the chance to understand his reasons, then Kaito would have nothing. Because obviously Kaito couldn't find any other meaning in his life that didn't involve Yuusaku—no hobbies, or friends, or a Childhood Friend Romance that wouldn't have suffered from opposing sides and secrets, none of that. This utterly reductive and condescending view of his fellow humans—and worse, the family of his supposed friend—really demonstrates the tenderness and emotional sensitivity Yuusaku shows towards others. Despite Hakuba insisting that Yuusaku isn't someone who likes causing pain, the cover-up is pretty obviously nothing close to the Cruel Mercy Yuusaku self-gratifyingly argues it is, and noticeably was a far greater benefit to Yuusaku's own reputation then to the Kurobas; even when explaining the deception, Yuusaku frames himself as the victim and tragic hero taking the brunt of Kaito's blame for poor ignorant Kaito's own good. Even if Yuusaku's right and the courts would have let Night Baron off for the murder of Kaitou KID, Yuusaku still dodged the potential reputation stain and the Kurobas were in turn never able to gain closure while their loved one's murderer obscured the truth. Still, despite displaying these narcissistic qualities in this moment, it's likely that even these awful rationalizations aren't Yuusaku's real reasons for the cover-up, as it still doesn't match up with all of his decisions surrounding Kaito and Shinichi pertaining to this incident.

  • Necessarily Evil: It's implied this is how Yuusaku and Hakuba see their attempts to contain Shinichi in the abusive environment they've turned his life into, as Hakuba at least clearly still sees himself as a hero. We have yet to see their reasoning, but whatever the goal is, it's probably not going to be achieved through this strategy because, predictably, Shinichi now sees them as the enemy and is in open rebellion.
    • This is how Yuusaku frames his Abusive Parent status to Hakuba in chapter 10, calling it "necessary" to "put [Shinichi] back in line" after Shinichi found out they lied about basically everything—which flies in the face of the reasons Yuusaku apparently gave Hakuba on why they were lying in the first place, which was ultimately to spare Shinichi's feelings. Hakuba likes to think that his mentor wouldn't want to hurt anyone, but at that moment Yuusaku is deliberately hurting both of his sons by outright dismissing the legitimacy of each's feelings, seemingly for no reason. The truth is, given the circumstances of this conversation, Yuusaku isn't likely trying to be open with Hakuba here, he's trying to control Hakuba and push him back into a place of obedience to Yuusaku by reminding him that he, Yuusaku, is always right, a mentality Hakuba operates on in several chapters but which in hindsight seems completely unreasonable for Hakuba to believe given the circumstances.

  • Neutral Female: Shinichi is a very rare Gender Inverted Example, and his first act conflict exhibits a variety of ways to play with this trope.
    • This trope's enforcement basically defines the conflict between Shinichi and the majority of the cast. This is what Yuusaku and his allies want Shinichi to be. They refuse to train him to handle an active role in the events and conflicts around him or encourage an ability to defend himself; they want him out of what they see as exclusively their business at all costs, and prefer that he be ignorant of that business as well. Though there's an attempted veneer of concern for Shinichi's safety, the excuse is so flimsy it doesn't even hold up among the Irregulars (despite Ran desperately clinging to it). Every attempt to play with this trope afterwards derives from Shinichi's attempted rejection of its enforcement: Shinichi's neutral role is simultaneously invoked and subverted by Shinichi's ploy at being KID's helpless kidnap victim in order to lure out and expose his father and the Irregulars for their manipulations and lies; it is thereafter a heavy topic of controversy and discussion among the cast.
    • The enforcement of this trope and its naturalization in the perspective of the Irregulars is also deconstructed through the breakdown of Shinichi's relationships, particularly with Ran. In fact, Ran thinking of Shinichi like this is the exact reason Shinichi breaks up with her. The fatal flaw in Ran's perspective of her relationship with Shinichi is that from the moment she chose to become Angel and decided his safety was more important than his happiness or honesty in their relationship, she stopped treating him like an equal and partner, deprioritized caring about how he felt about the positions she and the Irregulars put him in and how he felt about his life in general, and started treating him like a precious possession that she valued mostly for the emotional crutch—like Shinichi himself was a keepsake of her romantic feelings rather than an actual person she loves. She stopped talking honestly with him outside of lecturing him and attempting shallow small talk, stopped prioritizing spending time with him, and even habitually became accustomed to shaming him when he stepped out of the behavioral lines she and her team drew for him without honest engagement or consent—restricting him entirely to her one-sided terms on how their relationship should function. The obvious solution to these problems would be to talk about the conflict between them, but Ran's lack of openness and Shinichi's growing distrust prevents this. Because of Ran believing that playing this trope straight was right, what was a healthy and equally supportive partnership devolved into a one-sided and oppressively restrictive Destructive Romance whose effects are comparable to the abuse Shinichi gets from his father and Hakuba, with Shinichi spending the first story arc dreading his significant other's very presence.

  • Not So Different:
    • Despite Aoko insisting she's the good guy and Kaitou KID the bad, both have the same motivation and about the same ethical standards when it comes to enacting that motivation, having long ago conflated revenge with justice. In fact, the major thing that differentiates them morally is that, unlike Kaito, Aoko actively represses all self-awareness of this similarity, leading her to self-righteously claim a moral high-ground she hasn't earned.
    • Shinichi's narration chapter 10 heavily implies that this is now his opinion regarding Ran and Yuusaku of all people. Early in the chapter Ran is horrified to discover Yuusaku's more open and obvious abuse, but Shinichi directly compares his relationship with Ran to his relationship with his abusive father multiple times throughout the rest of the chapter. Because Ran bought into Yuusaku's Big Brother Is Watching And Locking You Out Of The Loop And Into A Life You Hate For The Greater Good ideology when it came to Shinichi, what had been a healthy and equally supportive partnership (the only healthy, open, and supportive relationship to speak of in Shinichi's life) devolved into a one-sided, oppressively restrictive, neglectful and emotionally abusive relationship whose effects are directly comparable to the abuse Shinichi gets from his father and Hakuba, with Shinichi spending the first story arc dreading Ran's presence as much if not more than Yuusaku's. After Shinichi finds out the Irregulars' and Yuusaku's secret identities, Shinichi's frequent comparisons all but state that Ran's choices and condescending view of him transformed this sole healthy relationship into an outright mimicry of Shinichi's relationship with said abusive father, just with the abusive undertones communicated through Ran's more gentle wording. Tragically, Ran appears so deeply oblivious to the effects and implications of her choices in the context of Shinichi's neglectful and abusive homelife—whose conditions she has ignorantly chosen to replicate and reiterate—that unlike Yuusaku, she legitimately doesn't realize she's caused any damage until she finally tries spending time with Shinichi again and realizes that, like with Yuusaku and Hakuba, he no longer wants to be around her.
    • Despite each tending to look down on the immoral qualities of the other, both KID and the Irregulars overall tend to be similarly exploitative of their personal relationships (although this varies on an individual level within the Irregulars). And likewise, both have their relationships with the ones they exploited fall apart in spectacularly painful fashion. Shinichi even calls KID out on it, telling him that tools can't be friends.

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    O-Z 
  • Parental Favoritism: It's still unclear why, exactly, but Yuusaku functionally adopted Hakuba and then gave him every privilege and advantage that he denied to his biological son. Predictably, Hakuba's and Shinichi's relationship didn't go well from there. It marked the first time Yuusaku's abuse fundamentally broke a close personal relationship of Shinichi's, but unfortunately not the last. Hakuba insists that Yuusaku dearly loves Shinichi and has sacrificed greatly for his wellbeing, but absolutely nothing so far besides Yuusaku's own frequently self-contradictory words to Hakuba in private supports this.

  • Parental Substitute: Yuusaku to Hakuba, who explicitly says Yuusaku raised him. Yuusaku trained Hakuba from a young age as his apprentice and sidekick, in both his skills as a detective and his work as a hero. Which serves to put Yuusaku's abuse towards his biological son in stark contrast - Shinichi dreamed of becoming a detective, but Yuusaku tore him down while encouraging and favoring Hakuba.

  • Personal Space Invader: This is one of the reasons Shinichi dislikes his father's students. As one of Shinichi's powers is psychometry, the ability to absorb memory through touch from both people and objects, he tends to avoid physical contact and hates other people touching his things. As the Irregulars have begun treating Shinichi's home like a second home, Shinichi can't go anywhere without the ever-present evidence that they're all keeping secrets from him—invading his life and home, and still excluding him despite that.

  • Personality Powers: The characters' powers tend to align with their defining traits in the manga. For example, Yuusaku is manipulative and can literally alter a person's mind, Shinichi can literally absorb knowledge from objects and people, Hattori is an infamous hothead that is now a literal one.

  • Platonic Kissing: Played with. By Chapter 9 Shinichi's realized that Yuusaku has used his powers to mess with Shinichi's memories many times over the course of his life and that the one thing Yuusaku can't alter or erase is the memories Shinichi absorbs from others. Shinichi can absorb said memories and information through skin contact, but Kaito's KID costume covers nearly every part of his body, so Shinichi, in his very practical way, decides to kiss Kaito to obtain Kaito's memory of the night Toichi was murdered and ensure that Yuusaku can't make Shinichi forget again. The whole thing is ostensibly done with strict rationality behind it; however, Shinichi does add a possible element of flirting to it when he tells Kaito afterwards to "consider it a thank-you gift."

  • Point of No Return: When the Irregulars break their promise to attend the game Shinichi was coerced to play in for their convenience, they brush it off as "not a big deal" and that Shinichi will understand... except for Ran, who has begun to realize (albeit a bit too late) that they've brushed basically everything about Shinichi off as not a big deal and always burdened him with the expectation of being understanding even when they haven't actually given him the option to understand. Ran correctly assumes that, even though the game is long over, Shinichi is probably still there waiting for them. He is. And it's there that he breaks up with her, because she picked her future, and it's one in which she, whether she's willing to admit it or not, views him as a burden.

  • Police State: Kaito believes that ISHA is a "brainwashing [...] superpowered police state." As the story progresses, we find that while he's overly-insistent on assuming the worst intentions in everyone, he's also not entirely wrong—ISHA appears to regularly commit human rights violations and war crimes, interferes with police investigations and procedures for the sake of its own interests, and uses emotion- and thought-manipulating metahumans as their spokespeople when public outcry occurs. There's also a clear cultural indication of a police state—becoming an agent of ISHA is glorified and citizens are made to feel indebted to these "heroes" who maintain order, to the point where Kaito's class is vocally upset and angry at him for expressing skepticism towards the morality of ISHA's (and its members') status, power, and efficiency, simultaneously exclaiming that they wish they too were members and writing off his criticisms of ISHA as bigotry against metahumans and/or misdirected bitterness at ISHA's supposedly sincere but failed attempts to catch his father's murderer, the Kaitou KID. In reality, while ISHA did investigate the matter, ISHA has never tried to capture Toichi's murderer because Toichi's murderer is on their payroll and the slaying has so far been characterized as a measure taken to protect civilians.

  • Prestige Peril: Hakuba always wanted to be a detective. Now he's a famous one despite his age and a superhero, following in the spotlighted footsteps of his famous mentor and adoptive father Kudou Yuusaku... but he got there because of Parental Favoritism at the cost of his adoptive brother's happiness and freedom and their entire relationship as brothers, so now he's miserable.

  • Properly Paranoid: Shinichi avoids company because he always suspects those around him of secretly being agents of his father, who will prioritize keeping Shinichi on his father's metaphorical leash before actually caring about or helping him. He's been proven right too many times to trust much, anymore.
    • At first, Hirota Masami seems to be crazy, at least when he deems Pandora the greater threat than Tokyo's destruction. But if the riots at the end of Chapter 12 were a glimpse of Pandora's power, then he may not have been entirely wrong.

  • Psychic Powers:
    • Shinichi demonstrates psychic empathy (the ability to experience the perceptions of another), retrocognition (the ability to perceive past events) and psychometry (the ability to sense an object's history). It's possible all of these are mere manifestations of the same power, perhaps some kind of mental manipulation. It's implied by Hakuba and Yuusaku that Shinichi may unintentionally be capable of emotional manipulation or intensification as well, considering Hakuba's comment in chapter 5 about how loosing control of one's emotions when Shinichi is around is "a potentially fatal mistake." (Another interpretation of this line could be that extreme emotions make it easier for Shinichi to gain information off people, as Hakuba and Yuusaku are very afraid of Shinichi learning more than they want him to).
      • In one instance, Shinichi absorbs muscle memory from a door lock key pad in order to get inside a building, implying he can also absorb physical skills from people and the objects they interact with, as long as his body is physically capable of reperforming them—which would further imply that he can absorb information and skills from just about anyone.
    • Yuusaku outright attacks his own son's mind when Shinichi touches him, overriding his consciousness, blocking his memories, and forcing him to go home like a puppet. Later, Shinichi regains awareness inside his room, with no memory of what happened after seeing Night Baron. It's unclear if Yuusaku's demonstration of power is a different usage of the same power as Shinichi, or a different kind of mental power altogether. (If he's as sensitive to the emotions and experiences of others as Shinichi and still choses to treat those around him as he does, he's even more abusive than previously thought).

  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Played with and ultimately subverted by Shinichi in the second half of Part 1. By chapters 9 and 10, Shinichi is painfully certain that those who claim to care for him will always treat his happiness and emotional wellbeing as second to basically anything else. So certain, in fact, that at his emotionally lowest point so far in the story, he dares to gamble his most precious commodity—his own agency over his future and his career, that which has been the subject of a tug-of-war between Shinichi and Yuusaku and Hakuba for years—on the Irregulars failing to even support him in something as small as a championship game when he asks. Shinichi even tells Agasa not to go to the games, because even though he wants Agasa there, he doesn't want the Irregulars to try to argue that they sent Agasa in their place. Shinichi is 100% the bitter winner of this gamble, validating every reason Shinichi has ever rationalized for his trust issues—and worse, his girlfriend (though not for much longer) functionally reconfirms his worst fears regarding this to his face immediately afterwards. On one hand, Shinichi's jump-started his own self-validation again after one of the most viscerally awful emotional beatdowns put to words; on the other, Shinichi's proven his most painful suspicions regarding how those he loved see him to be horribly correct. The trope is subverted because ultimately this empowers Shinichi, despite the pain it causes; Shinichi is now much freer, as the toxicity of those around him (and the pointlessness of wasting energy struggling to continue entirely one-sided relationships with them when they're not willing to reciprocate) has been dragged out into the open and highlighted to the point where only Aoko and Kazuha would deny its reality.
    • The entirety of Part 1 seems to be this for every character involved: Shinichi knows the truth, Tokyo has been saved, and Kaito got the nullifying agent, but only at an immense cost.
      • With particular focus on Yuusaku and Hakuba. The two desperately want the Nullifier, to the point where they were willing to gamble the survival of a city of nine million people for the chance to get it. The reason they don't? They did their best to write off every investigative effort that Shinichi made as worthless... and he's the one who was investigating the case surrounding it. If they had treated him with respect and listened to him earlier, the three of them collectively probably would have been able to realize the connections between the kidnapped children, the Red Siamese Cats, and Professor Hirota much sooner and made better plans to handle the Nullifier and the experimented children; perhaps, for example, working with Professor Hirota to acquire further production of the Nullifier in exchange for his protection and support for his research. Because Yuusaku and Hakuba were more focused on invalidating the credibility of everything Shinichi was trying to tell them, they missed the opportunity for the Nullifier until there was almost no time to manuver for options and the opportunities for most of the wiser solutions had already passed. Thus, instead of having time to calmly decide how to manage the situation with the Nullifier and the children who needed it, Hakuba and Yuusaku had to choose between them and almost every conflict introduced in part 1 broke into crossfires, during which the Nullifier was lost. If Yuusaku and Hakuba wanted the Nullifier for use on Shinichi—as is heavily implied and many readers suspect—then how they lose the chance to acquire it is painfully, tragically ironic; as a consequence of their own poor decisions and ill-chosen priorities, the city whose survival they were willing to gamble was saved at the cost of Yuusaku and Hakuba ultimately losing almost everything they'd gambled and compromised it and their own morals for: the victim who'd unintentionally caused the black holes, the Nullifier, and, it appears, Shinichi himself. "Won the battle, lost the war" seems quite apt; it'd almost be Laser-Guided Karma if the consequences for others weren't so much greater.

  • Quit Your Whining: In chapter 10, even Hakuba is outraged and hurt over the openly abusive treatment Yuusaku gave Shinichi in chapter 9, and confronts Yuusaku on the obviously abusive tongue lashing he just gave Shinichi in front of the entirety of the Irregulars. Yuusaku reacts with deep condescension, writing off Hakuba's outrage and hurt at the injustice as something in the line of "Shinichi's dramatics" and implying that such emotions are childish and beneath someone like Hakuba—two points which serve to underscore both how emotionally abusive Yuusaku is willing to be towards anyone in order to maintain control of them and exactly how much he looks down on his own son.

  • Reality Ensues:
    • The superheroic tendency towards secret identities and the subsequent dishonesty about their lives destroys the vigilantes' relationships, moral standing, and integrity in the eyes of those they aren't honest with.
    • The Superheroes' constant "Greater Good" mentality at the expense of the same individual over and over again causes this person to distrust them due to how willing they are to abuse him. Their impeding his investigation into the kidnapping of fourty+ children causes him to see them as unjust and begin to sincerely regard them as antagonists.
    • Yuusaku tells the Irregulars that revealing their secret identities to Shinichi would put Shinichi in danger. Of course this backfires. The stupidity of this is somewhat justified by the implication that Yuusaku is only saying this as an excuse to get the Irregulars to cooperate while hiding his real reasons for locking Shinichi out of the loop. Given that this is so supremely stupid that it never works out even in non-deconstruction superhero stories, it's unsurprising that the story plays with the fallout of this choice by initially leaning into the cliche of the ignorant person getting kidnapped to target the heroes and then subverting this when it's revealed Shinichi plotted his own "kidnapping" as a trap to draw out the superheroes and confirm the truth behind their manipulative lies.
    • The openly manipulative but ultimately more respectful KID gains an alliance with Shinichi that the manipulative and abusive Irregulars lost. Who knew that simply respecting another's inherent worth and capabilities would make them more willing to cooperate with you?

  • The Resenter: Whenever Yuusaku was cold and cruel to his son, preteen Shinichi redirected that coldness to Hakuba, the adopted son who was given all of the privileges Shinichi was denied for seemingly no reason. In present day Shinichi seems much more willing to extend olive branches and try to rebuild their relationship, but unfortunately Hakuba has emulated Yuusaku a little too well and believes he can't afford to give Shinichi the interpersonal honesty and support that he desires, and so he chooses to stomp on Shinichi's psychological wounds instead.

  • Runaway Hideaway: Shinichi visits one to get information on the possible disappearance of homeless children.

  • The Scapegoat: By chapter 9 it's clear that Kaitou KID has served as this for at least two "heroes":
    • Yuusaku blamed his murder of the first KID and the damage and other deaths it caused on KID himself, hiding Toichi's identity and labeling him a civilian casualty of KID's deadly act.
    • Aoko blames her difficult and long-standing family issues on KID because it's easier for her to do that than working through the complicated emotions she feels for her neglectful but well-meaning father, who was at a KID heist when her mother died in the hospital and continues to neglect Aoko in favor of his work catching KID.

  • Secret Identity: Basically the entire cast has one except for Shinichi. Yuusaku is ISHA overseer Night Baron. The superhero teens are the Irregulars; Hakuba is Hawk, Ran is Angel, Hattori is Heliopause, Kazuha is Banshee, Aoko is Tsuyu. Yukiko is Edogawa Fumiyo, ISHA's spokeswoman, and Dr. Agasa is more than likely Professor Sun. Kaito is (of course) the supervillain KID.

  • Self-Disposing Villain: According to Professor Hirota, Miyano Shiho desired to invoke this, for completely different reasons than the trope usually has. Miyano Shiho was forced to amplify the powers of kidnapped metahuman children until they were an unstable danger to all around them, so in desperation, she turned to her old mentor Professor Hirota to request he develop a way to nullify the abilities she amplified to prevent disaster as best she could. Desperate for resources, Hirota contacted the Red Siamese Cats to fund this research and to help him cover his tracks, triggering the inside job of the Red Siamese Cats stealing Miyano Shiho's research on metahuman amplification from Hirota's computer. The RSC then mass produced the suppressant Hirota developed and constructed them in time to attempt to suppress the gravity manipulation meta's Superpower Meltdown; however, the suppressant used in the dispersal machines are not yet strong enough.

  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Yuusaku's face value reason for being outright emotionally and psychologically abusive and attempting to keep Shinichi under his thumb and in the dark (or at least, the excuse he fed to most of the Irregulars) was that the knowledge would put Shinichi in danger. However, Shinichi's self-evident bravery, curiosity, sense of justice, resourcefulness, and deep desire to help others mean that all Yuusaku's attempts at holding Shinichi back do is make Shinichi feel he can't trust anyone around him - which means that instead of limiting the danger Shinichi gets into, Yuusaku's controlling personality actually increases the amount of danger Shinichi is in, because in order to avoid his father's abusive and controlling manipulations, he feels he cannot afford to ask for help. Hattori points out how flawed this thinking is, but is shut up (likely only temporarily) by Hakuba pulling rank. It's implied that Shinichi's safety is just an excuse given to the Irregulars, and that there's another reason they haven't been told.
    • Hakuba is so painfully aware that they're pushing Shinichi to "an edge" that he repeats the idea of them being "doomed all along" multiple times throughout chapter 10, and despairs over there seemingly being no right and moral answer for whatever problem they have with Shinichi. Yuusaku's defense of their actions makes it worse, because his reasoning is utterly cyclical: Shinichi is dangerous because he puts lives at risk... but, as Hakuba is aware, Shinichi only risked the lives of those who had pushed him into that position in the first place through the very treatment Yuusaku is trying to justify. The whole thing runs on a positive feedback loop.
    • Same for how Yuusaku treats Kaito: he saw no apparent worth in giving the Kurobas closure if it meant releasing painful truths, and so "heroically" "lets" Kaito hate him enough to become a supervillain for revenge, all so Kaito has a purpose. A purpose which Yuusaku uses to sabotage Kaito emotionally while they battle. It leads one to ponder whether there really is a reason for Yuusaku's treatment of Shinichi and Kaito besides Yuusaku's own sick and desperately self-justifying mind.
    • In Chapter 7 and 8, Ran has to face the fact that, in true deconstruction fashion, keeping Shinichi ignorant of his relation to superheroes to protect him from supervillains does not make him immune to the dangers of being around superheroes, and in fact makes him an easier target.

  • Sherlock Scan: Shinichi's deductive abilities are just as present as ever, if unfortunately not as well-honed due to being raised in an environment consciously attempting to suppress them. In fact, their potental is even more impressive, because they're complimented by actual psychic powers.

  • Ship Sinking: Aoko and Kaito both blow their potential relationship up together in chapter 5; Shinichi dumps Ran in Chapter 10.

  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: The story constantly plays with this and questions the point at which this is or is not becoming true for each character. With a true Grey And Grey And Black Morality cast, the story uses situational extremes to constantly have the characters teeter on the edge of immorality. While no main characters are truly evil so far, the rationalizations of wrongdoing present in each of the cast constantly call to question whether their ends are worth it and to what extent such means can actually be considered justified. Because of this, an argument for this trope can be made towards nearly every member of the cast, each of whom have had to compromise one or more of their moral standards for their own ends. The difference in morality between the cast members is found instead in what exactly each are willing and unwilling to compromise and to what ends. (Ran, for example, is willing to compromise Shinichi's freedom and autonomy for not having to worry about his safety, and willing to compromise her romantic relationship for obedience to her mentor's orders; Shinichi is willing to compromise support and approval from those he loves for freedom and autonomy, and lawfulness for the protection of others' lives and for the truth).

  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Well, it presumably does, but it has virtually no affect on the children who need it within the story. The children in this story are easily preyed upon, manipulated, or otherwise mistreated both by criminals and by those too high up in power to be questioned for their treatment of minors. Forty children go missing off the street and the authorities appear to spend more time gaslighting about it than doing anything. Notably, the only one seen looking out for the street kids when they aren't missing is a minor criminal himself.

  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside:
    • Shinichi is cold, snarky, sarcastic, aloof, cynical, and calculating, but beneath the mask of composure is a deeply emotionally wounded and damaged teen who's had to suffer under the abuse of arguably the most powerful man on earth, and not only has no one been willing to help him, but those who've noticed have turned a blind eye or even supported this treatment under the assumption that his father has good reasons for this cruelty—and those individuals include Shinichi's own girlfriend. Even worse? Shinichi's a psychic empath, making emotion regulation and mental stability even harder to maintain than normal and making him arguably much more vulnerable to that kind of emotional and psychological damage. However, Shinichi's control over his own emoting is usually so convincing that even Hakuba deluded himself into thinking they weren't doing that much damage, only realizing this was a self-delusion once he sees a rare instance of Shinichi's rigorous emotional suppression slipping.
    • If Shinichi is cynical, Kaito is bitterly jaded. KID still keeps up his cheerful facade, but rather than the fun-loving character from DC canon, Kaito's resentment of ISHA as a superpowered ruling elite, along with the public that uncritically adores them, has turned his civilian identity into a bitter troll that tends to upset and anger those around him rather than cause anyone fun or amusement. Of course, that hatred stems from said superpowered ruling elite apparently murdering his father, Toichi, and then framing Toichi for his own death. To make matters worse, Kaito only found out his father was KID by witnessing KID's murder at Yuusaku's hands. This trauma and the lack of resolution or justice obviously still pains Kaito to the point where, despite being one of the cast members who exhibit the most Jerkass tendencies, he's actually the only person to express open empathy towards Shinichi specifically because he relates Shinichi's situation to his own.

  • Spanner in the Works: Kaito, ironically and cruelly to Shinichi, whom he'd previously cooperated with. Kaito steals the Meta-Nullifier that Shinichi needs to end the Black Hole Crisis without ISHA putting Santa, the child involuntarily causing it, down like a rabid dog. Because of this, ISHA orders an airstrike on Santa's and Shinichi's location; Kaito saves Shinichi at the last second, but leaves Santa to die.

  • Spot the Thread: Despite being in emotional turmoil, Shinichi manages to partially notice that Yuusaku's own actions contradict the rationalizations he gives for abusing Shinichi in chapter 9: Yuusaku's reasons for considering Shinichi "useless" apply just as much to Hakuba, whom Yuusaku has given inclusion to every step of the way. The only difference between the two is Shinichi's journalism, which happened in response to Yuusaku's decision to exclude Shinichi, and thus, despite Yuusaku's attempt to use it as a dodge, isn't actually acceptable as an explanation for why Yuusaku excluded him from a young age. Throughout Yuusaku's abusive "The Reason You Suck" Speech there are other obvious contradictions between Yuusaku's words and his previous actions, but Shinichi wouldn't know about them (yet) because they happened in private conversation between Yuusaku and Hakuba. All of this implies that Yuusaku is lying through his teeth and picking reasons that are as hurtful as possible because it conveniences his goals for Shinichi to feel powerless.

  • Street Urchin: Satoshi and the other missing children are all metahuman street kids who were either abandoned or ran away from home. The lack of diligent legal authority figures watching out for them is likely why they were targeted.

  • Strict Parents Make Sneaky Kids: Yuusaku's Big Brother Is Watching nature towards his son means that Shinichi has only ever won modicums of autonomy through devising calculated plans to subvert his father's authority.

  • Super Supremacist: It's downplayed, but the way ISHA functions has a lot of inherent tendencies towards this. ISHA's policies regarding the general population subtly encourages its heroes to regard civilians, not explicitly as beneath them, but as people who have no place in the conflicts and power structures that supers deal with other than as potential victims to be saved. The inherent condescension seems to be a side effect of selecting individuals for community leadership roles based solely on genetic traits and drilling into their heads that the general populace can't be trusted with the information their members are given, leading to their members gradually socially secluding themselves from those not associated with ISHA due to the challenges of maintaining relationships without intellectual or emotional honesty. A lot of the Irregulars' biggest mistakes with Shinichi are implied to come from their ignorantly condescending view towards non-supers, the group to which most believed Shinichi belongs. Only Hakuba and Hattori show much awareness of this; though Ran is horrified by Yuusaku's more blatant condescension (refering to Shinichi as "useless to [him]"), she still repeats the more polite version to Shinichi as justification for her own actions, seemingly without realizing it.
    • Ran in particular shows some worrying signs that she's ideologically begun leaning towards this. Her perspective sections have her both implicitly and explicitly expressing some uncomfortably Super Supremacist beliefs regarding the innate delicacy and weakness of those lacking metahuman abilities, using them to justify the abusive control and shaming tactics used on her boyfriend by Ran, her team, and her boss—Ran behaves as she does because she can't emotionally handle that Shinichi wants to have a dangerous job when she considers him so powerless and weak. She seems completely ignorant of the moral implications inherent in the beliefs she's adopted and acted upon.

  • Superpower Meltdown: What the "monster attacks" really are: kidnapped children experimented on until their metahuman abilities go wildly out of control.

  • Sympathy for the Hero: Crosses over with Condescending Compassion. One of the most painful parts of Shinichi's exclusion and abuse is that most of the people around him are at least partially aware of how they're hurting him and genuinely feel bad for it, but still consider their own purposes more important than his wellbeing. As a psychic empath, Shinichi is fully aware of this, and the question of why they would be willing to do this to him has turned into a deeply present but never-directly-stated internal doubt of his own worth. Yuusaku, on the other hand, projects complete callousness to the cruelty, which only feeds into Shinichi's self-worth issues further.

  • Take a Third Option: Preteen Shinichi wasn't allowed to be a detective but refused to do what his father commanded and give up his desires to investigate... so he secretly began a career in investigative journalism, and by the time Yuusaku found out, Shinichi was so successful and entrenched in the newsmedia that Yuusaku either couldn't bring himself to, or just simply couldn't, forcibly shut his site down.
    • Current Shinichi had the option of accepting KID's plans against Yuusaku and the Irregulars entirely on KID's terms, or rejecting them and losing the one person willing to help him find the missing forty children. In a moment that establishes exactly what Shinichi is willing to gamble and what he is entirely unwilling to lose, Shinichi chooses to suggest he retool and improve KID's plans himself in order to gain a modicum of agency and control over the situation. Tellingly, while both Yuusaku's and KID's factions have previously taken action to limit Shinichi's agency, KID allows Shinichi this freedom where Yuusaku worked to shut him down, cementing Shinichi's cooperation in this plot.

  • Tautological Templar: Aoko points out that Kaito keeping the kinds of secrets he does is an abuse of trust and power... while her entire superhero team does this same thing for their own convenience at great expense to others. She outright claims that it's okay if she lies because she's doing it to protect people, a declaration whose validity has been challenged and refuted both before and after she says this within the story, even by Aoko herself in the very same chapter. One assumes, both from this conversation and from her dialogue in chapter 10, that the "logic" behind Aoko's thinking is that Kaito's actions are villainous because she considers him a villain, while her actions are heroic because she has dubbed herself a hero. It doesn't seem to occur to her how backwards, circular, and self-affirming that line of thought is, but then, Aoko is the story's chief example of Black and White Insanity so far.

  • There Are No Therapists: But a good half the cast desperately needs one.

  • Tough Love: Exaggerated and deconstructed. Though willing to admit that what Yuusaku has done to Shinichi seems... unkind, Hakuba insists the extreme psychological and emotional abuse they put Shinichi through is actually this. It's telling, though, that in the moment Hakuba admits Yuusaku's tough love is "particularly twisted," Hakuba unconsciously displaces blame for the cruelty entirely to Yuusaku, as in reality the abuse comes from both Yuusaku's and Hakuba's influence and actions. It's deconstructed in that, despite insisting he had accepted the necessity of this, Hakuba has to regularly fight with his own defense mechanisms in order to attempt to maintain any grip on the reality of the situation, because Yuusaku's insistence that Cruel Mercy is necessary destroys Hakuba's ability to feel he has any control of the situation and encourages him to seek refuge in Willful Blindness for the sake of his own emotional wellbeing. Hakuba's intentional disconnect from Shinichi's emotional situation in order to protect himself from guilt bites back hard when this disconnect costs him the ability to tell when he's crossed the line; he ends up driving Shinichi into the furthest extremes yet, which destroys the kindly facade draped over the "Tough Love" status quo of secrets and repression that Hakuba and Yuusaku had desperately tried to maintain.

  • Toxic Friend Influence: Hakuba and Ran somehow both play this straight in the emotional sense and invert the usual way the trope functions. Instead of trying to emotionally manipulate Shinichi into actively doing bad things by encouraging him to break rules, as is more common for this trope, Hakuba and Ran try to emotionally manipulate Shinichi into passively accepting harmful things by shaming him for not following rules. Because these "rules" are unjust policies put in place by Shinichi's Abusive Parents, this still makes Hakuba and Ran just as toxic as the usual variety of toxic friend, if not moreso.

  • The Unapologetic: So far, Yuusaku, about pretty much everything. Whenever someone calls him out on the pain he's caused others, he's so far given nothing but self-flattering rationalizations before actually doubling down on causing that pain.

  • Undying Loyalty: Hakuba to Yuusaku. It's not truly portrayed as a good thing, because Hakuba reinforces the destructive effects of a lot of Yuusaku's worst actions out of faith that Yuusaku is always right and no one has the right to question him. This turns Hakuba into an abuser just like Yuusaku, at least where their treatment of Shinichi is concerned.

  • Unreliable Expositor:
    • Because Yuusaku is such a distant and closed-off presence, most of what is known about him and his intentions come from Hakuba and Hakuba's conversations with Yuusaku, as Hakuba claims that he is Yuusaku's closest confidant whom Yuusaku entrusts with secrets he tells few others. Hakuba insists that Yuusaku has good reasons, loves Shinichi deeply, and has sacrificed more for Shinichi than Hattori could know. But in Chapter 10, despite being alone with Hakuba and thus having no reason to lie, Yuusaku gives Hakuba similar illogical rationalizations that he fed to the Irregulars, but with even more circular logic and emotional gaslighting. Not only that, but in the very same scene as Hakuba tells himself that "Kudo Yuusaku was not a man that enjoyed hurting his son, that wanted to break people down and crushing their hopes," Hakuba is emotionally gaslighted by Yuusaku in a manner clearly intended to instill shame in Hakuba for feeling upset at the injustice of Shinichi's situation and to reinforce Yuusaku's own authority over Hakuba. This not only implies that Yuusaku was and is abusive to more than just his biological son, but casts doubt over whether Hakuba has been honest with himself about Yuusaku as a person and whether Yuusaku has truly been honest with Hakuba about this situation, placing Hakuba and all information he has concerning Yuusaku firmly into this trope.
    • Yuusaku himself. Every time he gives a reason for his actions, they often superficially apply to the particular instance he's discussing but conflict with the bigger picture and the other things the reader knows he's said and done. Having proven himself a Consummate Liar who toys with his truths and lies enough to obfuscate them even to a psychic empath, it's impossible to know if he's ever been honest with any of the cast and, if so, with who, and about what. In chapter 11, the reader is left with an implication that may explain the rationale behind Yuusaku's and Hakuba's decision to functionally attempt to strip Shinichi of agency and imprison him in an extremely regulated pre-approved lifestyle—but with how twisted Yuusaku's other rationalizations have been, and how much of a self-centered martyr complex he has demonstrated concerning his framing of the conflict with Kaito, it's unclear whether Yuusaku's assessment of the situation, whatever that situation is, can even be trusted to be "the truth"—even if Yuusaku himself believes it.

  • Vagueness Is Coming: Hakuba and Yuusaku seem certain that something bad is going to happen involving Shinichi. They've "kept a tight lid on the disaster" so far, but don't have much time left, and Yuusaku doesn't seem to know what to do. Presumably, their absolutely deplorable treatment towards Shinichi is an attempt at dealing with this.

  • Villain Has a Point: A major plot point of the conflicts between the characters. Despite nominally being the villain, being very destructive, manipulative, and coercive when it suits him, and speaking from a place of vengeance and spite, none of the criticisms Kaito makes about ISHA's justice system have proven inaccurate—in fact, what little we've seen so far only supports and demonstrates his points; ISHA shows itself to absolutely be the super-powered police state Kaito accuses it of being when the chips are down, and it usually just hides or uses propaganda to excuse the morally questionable part of their actions after the fact. The "heroes" have really only managed to maintain the illusion of moral highground by at least intending to limit the destructive impact on the public and by sweeping KID's points under the rug as best they can. In fact, this particular villain makes so many points that when given a choice between ceasing investigating the disappearing children (as per the Irregular's repeated command) and helping KID for the benefit of evidence on the disappearances, Shinichi sees cooperating with him as the lesser evil.
    • By chapter 10 this plot point, represented in this case by Shinichi who's now openly demonstrated his willingness to ally with KID over the Irregulars if forced to choose, is one of the many things that splits the Irregulars into conflict after the horrifying end scene in chapter 9. Hattori and Ran hotly take Shinichi's side while Aoko sides against him (and KID), but even then Aoko can't really make a rational argument against the gaping moral failings pointed out by Shinichi's and KID's situation and Yuusaku's own actions right before their eyes. Unfortunately, after Hakuba sends everyone home, the Irregulars spend the rest of the current chapters carrying on as normal and no one mentions the divisive argument, so it's not entirely clear where the lines are drawn as of now.

  • Was It Really Worth It?: This is the underlying nature of Hakuba's question to Yuusaku in chapter 10, after Yuusaku's Break Them by Talking scene in chapter 9. By this point, the information gleaned from Hakuba's scenes adds up to this: Yuusaku's apparent plan to spare Shinichi the pain of knowing whatever horrible secret they're hiding was predicated on being able to keep all of their secrets from Shinichi forever. Yuusaku then brought literally everyone around Shinichi in on at least some of the secrets Shinichi wasn't allowed to know, creating more secrets in the process and eliminating all possible emotionally open and honest relationships for his son. This is bad enough, but Shinichi is literally psychic, and can access others' memories through physical contact with them or objects they have come into contact with. In other words, from the beginning, the only feasible way to keep the secrets from Shinichi was Mind Rape, isolation, and abuse; tactics which only became more necessary to keep him ignorant as more and more people around him joined the conspiracy against him (although they would not have seen it that way). By the story's present, the personal toll this has taken on Shinichi is immense: Shinichi's relationships with almost everyone he knows and loves lay in seemingly irreparable ashes and Shinichi himself is bitter, jaded, resentful, rebellious, and clearly emotionally and psychologically damaged, with scars on his personality that, even if this abusive treatment ended tomorrow, would realistically take decades to heal if they ever do. At that point, who did Yuusaku think he was sparing? The situation is so bad that Hakuba's moment of insubordination is only shut down by the fact that Yuusaku's convinced him that there is no other option left but to double down.

  • We Used to Be Friends: Shinichi with Hakuba, though his relationship with Ran also carries tones of this. Hakuba still cares deeply for Shinichi like a brother would, and refers to him by his first name in conversation—but only when Shinichi isn't around, as a hurt childhood Shinichi told him to no longer refer to him by his first name (and given their culture, it's actually very disrespectful that Hakuba continues to do so behind Shinichi's back). But though Hakuba cares, he typically ends up giving Shinichi lectures implying how he's not good enough or capable enough to solve cases or others' problems. Present-day Shinichi tries to reestablish a bond of trust by sharing information from his investigation, but Hakuba throws it back in his face—along with deliberately preying on all of Shinichi's abuse-originating insecurities in an attempt to get Shinichi to stop investigating. While Hakuba's aware of the growing tensions, he doesn't seem to fully comprehend that that lecture really started Shinichi's crossing of the Rubicon—his and Yuusaku's actions have effectively entoxicated everyone's relationships with Shinichi to the point where Shinichi now sees all of them more like jail wardens, and even compares the grip of his own girlfriend holding his hand to a "shackle." In Chapter 5, Shinichi begins temporarily working with the Irregulars' enemies, because working with them is still somehow more productive towards protecting the citizens of Tokyo than working with the supposed superheroes. By Chapter 7 he's actively participating in creating plans against them.

  • When It All Began: Kuroba Toichi's last heist is increasingly being treated as the inciting incident for the majority of the conflict in the story. It serves as Kaito's Start of Darkness, it caused the tarnishing of Yuusaku's reputation, and it is heavily, heavily implied to be what caused Yuusaku, who'd already forbidden his son from becoming a detective, to think that doubling down on his limiting policies towards Shinichi was a good idea.

  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Instead of planning an elaborate fake kidnapping, why doesn't Shinichi just use his platform as a news reporter to publicly out Kudo Yuusaku as a metahuman using his powers to abuse Shinichi and others? Yes there would be pushback, but the move would certainly bring things to a head within the cast: Yuusaku would have to make a do-or-die decision while unable to hide his actions from the Irregulars, and the Irregulars would have to pick a side with relatively full knowledge of the moral implications of that choice and the knowledge that, no matter what, they will have to face Shinichi afterwards—either a Shinichi that knows exactly how they've wronged him or, worse, a Shinichi who doesn't anymore, and they'll have to live with that. And there are contingencies against memory loss, like records, to prevent losing the actual information if Yuusaku should try anything—with the added bonus that any attempt would be more fuel for public outcry should Shinichi release that information too.
    • Alternatively, if Kaito has such thorough power over technology, why not just release the secret identities of every super? Or, combining the above, prevent Shinichi's posts from being interfered with and let him be the face of the public reveal? Several commenters have pointed out that the lack of accountability inherent in secret identities is the heart of most of the cases of power abuse in the story, and Kaito's already made clear that he knows Night Baron's secrecy is his greatest vulnerability.
    • Chapter 10 explains that Shinichi isn't willing to out everyone around him and put them through such intense public scrutiny and hardship—implying that as long as superheroes are put on a pedestal as mysterious spectacles rather than ordinary public servants, outing them is too much of a hardship on the individual and their family. Perhaps he still could have outed Yuusaku as an abusive metahuman rather than as Night Baron, but it's all but stated that part of his reasons for not exposing anyone at all are because he fears ISHA will lock him away for the rest of his life in retaliation. The Interlude after Part 1 shows that Shinichi did do this part way: instead of outing individual people, he outed the cover-up the police and ISHA had been attempting regarding the missing children's case. And because he did so right before he went missing and asked Kaito to prevent the post from being taken down, ISHA hasn't been able to do anything about it.

Willful Blindness: All but stated to be Hakuba's strategy for surviving the Kudo family with his emotional stability in tact. He supports and is one of the biggest contributors to Yuusaku's and the Irregulars' treatment of Shinichi because he feels these tactics are necessary, but he still can't actually handle the guilt when forced to look at the full reality of the effect on Shinichi's quality of life, and so he's minimized his exposure to it, only willingly interacting with Shinichi in small groups or one-on-one when he feels in control—to the extent that he chose to attend a different school explicitly to avoid seeing or interacting with Shinichi, and placed the burden of being Shinichi's sole emotional support onto Ran... who, due to her involvement with ISHA, quickly became just as emotionally unavailable as Hakuba. This leads to them, and the Irregulars in general, missing or ignoring warning signs indicating that the entire situation is, for lack of a better term, fast approaching critical mass, because Shinichi can't and won't bear the emotional load for them anymore.

  • This is a characteristic true of most characters, to varying degrees. Ran ignored the damage she was doing to Shinichi, Aoko ignores the flaws in her moral posturing, and Shinichi's powers are such that his total ignorance of the big secrets in his life can only be explained by this and/or by Yuusaku's attempts at Laser-Guided Amnesia.
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