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AI: The Somnium Files is an Adventure Game/Visual Novel from the mind of Kotaro Uchikoshi and developed by Spike Chunsoft. It released on September 17th, 2019 for Windows PCs, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

The game is set in Tokyo and follows Kaname Date, a police officer working for the top-secret Advanced Brain Investigation Squad (ABIS). Together with his AI partner Aiba, Date finds himself investigating a series of gruesome serial killings. Aiba's abilities allow Date to enter the dreams and memories of witnesses and suspects, where he can extract information and crack the case once and for all.

Suffice it to say, things get very complicated, very quickly.


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This game contains examples of:

  • Alternate Universe: The idea of parallel worlds are discussed and serve as a prominent theme in the rightward routes. The two final routes are influenced by Date gaining access to information only available in other routes.
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  • Amnesiac Villain Joins the Heroes: Subverted. The game hints that Date was the original Cyclops Killer, recruited by ABIS when he lost his memory six years ago. The truth is that while his body is that of the original Cyclops Killer, Date’s pre-amnesia identity was on ABIS’s side from the beginning.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The game opens with Shoko’s mutilated body displayed on Bloom Park’s carousel, complete with Creepy Circus Music. The park has been sitting abandoned for eight years after a nearby chemical explosion, adding to the eerie atmosphere.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Ota's route comes to a rather abrupt ending after The Reveal that Iris has Mayumi's knife and that Shoko's missing eyeball was found inside Renju, with Date and Aiba saying there's still a lot more to investigate.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: With a twist! When Date has to lie in order to trigger Aiba's self destruct when she can't come back due to her cloud data being wiped, he tells her that he hates her and never wants to see her again.
  • Apology Gift: Ota gave Mayumi her floral-patterned kitchen knife for Mother’s Day to apologize for his bratty behavior. The memory of this is so important to Mayumi that it acts as the turning point in her Somnium, reassuring her that she is loved and cared for by her family.
  • Arc Number: Six. The maximum time allowed in Somnium is six minutes. Date can't remember anything past six years ago. Several past events are referenced to have occurred six years ago. Many characters have ages that are a multiple of six.
  • A-Team Firing: There are several action sequences where Date faces dozens of foes armed with automatic weapons (such as the ambush at Golden Yokocho or Date and Mizuki's assault on the Sejima mansion). Despite this, very few of the bullets fired during these engagements hit their target. Though it's mostly enemies that miss their shots, it evolves from Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy to this trope during the raid at the harbor to rescue Iris, where neither Date not Moma seem to be injuring any enemies when taking potshots at them.
  • Augmented Reality: Aiba cannot physically manifest in her human form outside of a Somnium, so when she wants to appear to Date she projects an image of herself onto his left eye, overlaid onto what he is actually seeing.
  • Autosave: Though you can also save manually if you wish.
  • Balloonacy: In Mizuki's Somnium, Aiba can use balloons to lift a metal cage that she couldn’t even move on her own. Justified, as Somnia run on dream logic.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mizuki, Ota, and Moma show up to save Date and Aiba on two different occasions.
  • Big Fancy House: So Sejima lives alone (aside from his bodyguards) in a massive manor complete with a sprawling garden. It’s mentioned in-game that it was originally a castle owned by a samurai.
  • Bland-Name Product: Unlike Zero Escape, this game is packed with references to real-world companies. Among the most memorable are Great Grin, azamon (Amazon), To-Witter, ShovelForge, Yotota (Toyota) and NILE (the Japanese messenging app LINE).
  • Body Sushi: Referenced. Data misreads an item on Sunfish Pocket’s menu and believes that it is referring to this. Much to his disappointment, it is not.
  • Brain–Computer Interface: Date can interact with Aiba directly through an artificial nerve in the back of his left eye socket, allowing the two to communicate without speaking aloud.
  • Brick Joke: Much of the fluff dialogue sets up jokes in earlier chapters that are paid off much later.
    • Aiba mentions sneaking bags of flour into Date's glovebox as a prank. Later in the route, Iris asks Date about the plastic bags she found in his glovebox.
    • During a flashback segment, Date tells Mizuki that a chozuya is for washing belly buttons. If you examine the chozuya at the end of Mizuki's route, she'll complain about how her classmates laughed at her because she believed him. It's also mentioned by Iris during the epilogue of the Resolution route.
  • Calling Card: A body on display with one eye gouged out. Subverted. The eyes weren’t removed only to shock or advertise who committed the murder. They were actually removed to give to Rohan Kumakura during the Original Cyclops Killer case, and in order to use the prototype Psync machine during the New Cyclops Killer case.
  • Captain Obvious: While examining Shoko’s body:
Aiba: Pupil dilation and corneal turbidity indicate the victim is dead.
  • Character Signature Song: “Invincible Rainbow Arrow,” for Iris. It’s also her Leitmotif.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the game, Date and Aiba decide on secret commands which trigger Aiba's self-destruct function: Date says the number 41205, and then tells a lie. During the final confrontation with Saito, who has swapped bodies with Date, this is finally used to make Saito's head explode.
  • Classified Information: Boss cites this whenever Date starts asking too many questions about the Original Cyclops Killer. It’s actually classified because of Date. His involvement in the case as Hayato Yagyu would be damning for the police department, so they keep all details on lockdown.
  • Comfort Food: In a flashback in Date’s Somnium, Date offers a dejected Mizuki some homemade stew on her first night living in his apartment.
  • The Conspiracy: In Iris' route, she reveals that she believes herself to be the target of a secret society called Naixatloz, considered so big that it swallowed up both the Illuminati and the Freemasons. Their ultimate goal revolves around building a satellite to transmit code into space to spread the existence of artificial intelligence. Except, not really. The strong beliefs on the topic stem from delusions caused by her brain tumor, and while Naixatloz may still exist in universe, they themselves aren't involved with the story.
  • Contractual Purity: In-universe. Ota cites this as the reason why he didn’t tell anyone that he saw Iris leaving Lemniscate alone with Renju and then driving alone (and unlicensed) in Renju’s car shortly before Renju’s murder, since he didn’t want Iris to get in trouble.
  • Controllable Helplessness: PSYNCIN' IN THE CHaiN has Saito psync with Date in order to reclaim his body. As the subject Date can freely move around his own Somnium but cannot interact with it in any meaningful way apart from catching glimpses of Saito undoing his Mental Locks. At the end he gets caught in a quagmire of blood and the player can do nothing but choose "Sink" until time runs out.
  • Creepy Circus Music: The game opens with this, as the camera descends over the crime scene at Bloom Park. It also plays inside of Mizuki’s Somnium, which is based on the same location.
  • Covert Group: ABIS operates in secret. It’s unlikely that the public would react well to the police possessing the ability to extract information from their dreams or switch bodies with other people.
  • Dance Party Ending: During the end credits, most of the surviving cast dance and sing along to "Invincible Rainbow Arrow". Afterwards, you unlock the Dance mode in the menu, where you can make any character perform the song's dance.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: While there are a limited number of resets to checkpoints within Somnium worlds, you can reset to the beginning of the Somnium as many times as you like, which also refreshes your chances to reset at said checkpoints. By skipping previously viewed dialogue, making up for any lost progress is fairly quick and painless.
  • Death of Personality: Saito inflicts this on his victims when carrying out his chain of murders with different bodies. He switches bodies with the victim, then kills them while they are inhabiting his previous body. Even though the victim’s body is still very much alive, their personality is gone and never coming back. Date mournfully reflects on this when speaking with Saito in Boss’s body.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • In Iris’s route, she confesses that she has been blackmailing Date to let her accompany him because she is being hunted by Naixatloz. If he decides to believe her story, he vows to protect Iris with his life as her bodyguard.
    • Date made a similar declaration in his former life as Hayato Yagyu, vowing to protect Iris and Hitomi from all harm. He resumes this role after regaining his memories during his showdown with Saito.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: In one route, Iris succumbs to her brain tumor despite Date and Aiba’s best efforts and dies in Date’s arms in the abandoned factory.
  • Difficulty Spike: PSYNCIN' IN THE REFRaiN is incredibly strict, requiring creative ways of mitigating time penalties and having situations where the whole thing can be rendered unwinnable. Perhaps justified in that outside of a Controllable Helplessness segment, it is the final Somnium of the game.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Used repeatedly, to the point of becoming a Running Gag:
    • Mooks can be distracted by lingerie or racy magazines, no matter how dire the situation.
    • According to Aiba, Date’s reaction time increases significantly when dirty magazines are involved. She often uses this to their advantage in action scenes.
  • Domino Revelation: Once it comes to light that Saito has been using the prototype Psync machine to commit crimes while Body Surfing, it quickly falls into place that the New Cyclops Killer is not (physically) one person, but Saito using a chain of victims to throw off the investigation, that he is targeting those victims because of their proximity to Date, and that he is targeting Date because Date is inhabiting Saito’s former body.
  • Double-Meaning Title: According to Uchikoshi, the "AI" in the game's title can refer to numerous things; shorthand for "Artificial Intelligence", the first-person pronoun "I", a pun on "eye", and even love. It also represents the recurring number, 6, as a roman numeral VI looks like AI reflected upside down. The syllable 'ai' also appears in every single chapter title.
  • Dream Land: A Somnium world is a dream land constructed from the subject’s memories and psyche. The results are appropriately surreal.
  • Dream Walker: Psyncers such as Date can use the Psync Machine to view people's dreams. Date uses this to get information from suspects and witnesses' subconscious.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Aiba, Mama, and Mizuki all reference times in the past when Date did this to excess. Date and Renju frequently meet to drink together at Marble.
  • Dumb Struck: Mizuki is traumatized after discovering her mother’s body at the start of the game and becomes unable to speak. She recovers, either through Date and Aiba’s intervention in her Somnium or after Hitomi holds her for an entire night in the hospital and gives her a chance to cry.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Shoko was physically abusive to Mizuki, while Renju was too preoccupied with running Lemniscate to take good care of her. At least the latter had the common sense to realize that the family situation isn't working out and asked Date to take care of Mizuki.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: You have to go through a lot to get the ending, such as seeing most of the cast die horribly in the Annihilation Route, and having Aiba pull a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat Saito. But in the end the killer is dead, you're in a timeline where most of the good guys are still alive, and Aiba gets rebuilt.
  • Eldritch Location: Somnium worlds are surreal by nature, and can become downright sinister depending on the subject.
  • Electronic Telepathy: Date can communicate silently with Aiba through his optic nerve. Other characters sometimes notice that Date seems to be spacing out, and he has an unfortunate habit of sometimes responding to Aiba out loud.
  • Exact Time to Failure: When Psyncing, Date has exactly six minutes to get the information he needs before being consumed by the subject’s consciousness. Pewter later admits that the limit is much less defined than that, taking up to seven or eight minutes, and has an entirely different effect.
  • Exact Words: In the Annihilation route, Hitomi has a bomb strapped to her and Saito tells Date that he'll give him her location if Date gives Saito his body back. Date agrees, and Saito gives Hitomi's location... and the bomb goes off anyway.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Date sleeps on the sofa in his apartment while Mizuki sleeps on the only bed. In Date’s Somnium, Mizuki watches his memory of how this came to be. Eight-year-old Mizuki slept on the sofa when she first moved in with Date, but Date carried her to the bed after hearing her Talking in Your Sleep cry out for her parents in her sleep and took the sofa for himself.
  • Eye Motifs: Date lost his left eye in an incident six years ago; the vacant socket is now occupied by Aiba. The serial killer removes the left eye of each of his victims as a calling card. A major character is named Iris. The trippy animation that plays when entering a Somnium looks like a bunch of abstract eyes. Even Spike Chunsoft's logo violently loses an eye during the intro screen!
  • Eye Scream: The Cyclops Killer is named such thanks to their calling card of gouging out their victims' left eyes. For extra ick points, this seems to be done while the unfortunate victim is still alive. It's also a prerequisite for connecting to the stolen Psync system prototype, since it lacks the nanocable technology that allows ABIS' Psync machine to connect to the optic nerve through the eyeball. Merely pulling the eye out while leaving it still attached to the optic nerve can work (and allows it to be put back into place without harming the psyncer and subject), but Saito is crazy enough that he rips his eye out entirely when psyncing, leaving his victim half-blinded and reeling from the pain once the body swap is complete. In the Resolution Route, you get to see Saito yank out his own eye when he uses the machine.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Date discovers a dead body on a table under a tarp in the Cold Storage Warehouse and immediately informs CSI before departing the scene. Later, the investigation team report that there is no body at the scene after having searched the warehouse from top to bottom, something Date confirms when he returns to the scene. Evidently, nobody thought to check the trunk of one of the two highly-conspicuous forklift trucks in the warehouse, as they would have then realised where the body had been moved to.
  • Fake Memories: The Mandela effect is discussed by Iris, describing how he died in 2013 yet there were people who thought he died in prison in the 80s. While it's not mentioned due to trademarks, they do allude to the Berenstain/Berenstein Bears as well.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Part of Hayato and Hitomi’s Meet Cute. Hayato was injured while being pursued on a job, and forced Hitomi into a kiss to hide from his attackers.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Date can find Pewter's homoerotic BL manga and gay romance novels in the Psync Control Room. We only find out much later that Pewter is Renju's lover.
    • Aiba consistently brings up Date's "dosage" when selecting sillier dialogue options. It's revealed later that she's supplying his body with oxytocin to compensate for his body's brain dysfunction.
    • During a conversation in the Matsushita Diner about parallel universes, one story Ota mentions involves a boy who laughs so hard, his eyes pop out of their sockets. He then just pushes them back into place, and Aiba explains that it's possible to do so with no lasting health effects. The prototype Psync machine, introduced much later in the story, relied on this principle to work, since it lacks the nanocable technology that allows ABIS' machine to go connect to the optic nerve through the eyeball.
  • For Want of a Nail: What separates the two sides of the flowchart. On the left side, Saito successfully lures Iris to the chemical factory, swaps into her, and kills her, while on the right side, Date saw a body which he thought was Iris, so he panicked and called her, telling her not to go anywhere; so when Saito called, Iris refused.
  • Flawed Prototype: The prototype Psync machine works just like the real deal, apart from one important detail: the Psyncer and subject have to remove their left eyes in order to use it. It's actually not as bad as it sounds, as this can be done under anaesthesia, and merely pulling the eye out without severing the nerve makes it possible to put it back in place with no lasting damage. It's still highly preferable to have a nanocable too small to be felt going directly through your eyeball, however.
  • Follow That Car: Several characters mention using taxis for this purpose. We hear about it from the taxi driver’s perspective after Mayumi tails Iris and Ota to the abandoned factory.
  • Food Fight: Six years before the game takes place, Iris and Hitomi tried to make okonomiyaki with Hitomi’s boyfriend Hayato. They both look back fondly on the food fight and mess that ensued, depicted in a drawing on the wall of their house.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The hidden function of the Psync machine, activated by spending more than six minutes in the subject’s Somnium, is that it can cause its users to swap bodies.
  • Fresh Clue: When So is hiding in Moma’s back room, his recently extinguished cigarette and the still-warm seat on the couch tip off Date and Aiba to pressure him into revealing himself.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • ABIS stands for “Advanced Brain Investigation Squad”
    • TIMIE stands for “Time Induction Matter In Encephalon”
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The PC version suffered from issues making the game freeze or crash at many points when played on a machine running Windows 7. Notably, the first cutscene wouldn't play (though it would progress past it after the duration of the video), PSYNCIN' IN THE MaiN: 1 would often crash (setting graphical settings to the minimum may help with this), and most glaringly of all, the game would crash just before the final cutscene, making the game impossible to complete.
  • Get Rich Quick Scheme: Examining the magazines in the Lemniscate lobby will often give Flavor Text of a character seeing one of these on the cover and expressing interest in reading it.
  • Grand Theft Me: Pretty much what kicked off the Kudzu Plot of the game, and a major element behind the serial murders. Saito uses the prototype Psync machine to swap bodies with his victims, throwing off investigators who repeatedly find the prime suspects as the next victim.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: ABIS’s Psync machine had a prototype, but it was stolen six years before the game’s start. Saito arranged the theft using mercenaries and has been keeping the prototype in an abandoned factory.
  • Hand Wave: In-Universe. During the epilogue, Date is now back in his original body, which is quite different in appearance to Saito's. The police force manage to hand wave it to say that he was badly injured during the confrontation, and that he required extensive plastic surgery. Nobody appears bothered by this.
  • Heart Symbol: In Iris’s Somnium, a group of flowers form a heart shape on the ground, marking where Aiba can dig to progress towards finding Iris’s soul.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The game is absolutely loaded with puns and wordplay, especially with regards to the fluff text from examining random items.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When Date questions So about Iris’s apparent murder, So lets it slip that he knew that “Iris” (actually Manaka) was stabbed.
  • Insanity Defense: Rohan Kumakura was arrested for attempted murder six years before the game, but was placed in a hospital instead of prison because he was legally insane at the time. This is because he wasn’t “Rohan” at all. Hayato was inhabiting Rohan’s body during the shooting, and Saito’s fragmented consciousness was in Rohan’s body during and after his arrest.
  • Inside Job: Prisoner #89’s escape. He appears to take Pewter hostage, but Pewter was actually helping him to escape custody.
  • Instant Sedation: In the epilogue, Pewter knocks out Date this way in order to place the resurrected Aiba in his new prosthetic eye.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Date finds Manaka’s corpse in the cold storage warehouse, but it disappears by the time the police arrive to investigate. Since Aiba had been out of battery at the time, the only evidence that it was there in the first place is Date’s word.
  • Kill 'Em All: The Annihilation route ends with Renju, Iris, Ota, So, Boss, and Hitomi dead.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: Manaka doesn’t leave their newborn child with a name. Renju and Hitomi have to come up with a name for the baby after Manaka’s death, in order to forge a birth certificate. They settle on the name Iris.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The game takes place over nearly a week, but nobody seems to change their clothes. Lampshaded when Date returns to his apartment: he and Mizuki each have several duplicate outfits hanging on their clothing rack. He claims that this is purely for the sake of practicality, so that he doesn’t waste time choosing his clothes in the morning.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The Nintendo Switch version often has issues with the game's numerous flashback scenes, taking upwards of ten seconds to load. Since the camera is freely movable during most conversations, it is often left ambiguous whether the game is loading a flashback or if the game is waiting for you to investigate something.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: It's obvious from the get-go that Boss and Pewter know a thing or two about Date's past, but refuse to talk about on the basis that it's top secret and can't POSSIBLY be related to the current case of serial murder.
  • Love Makes You Evil: In the routes where Renju isn't killed early on, his boyfriend, Pewter, betrays ABIS on Renju's behalf, unaware that it's Saito in Renju's body. In the true ending, this lands Pewter in prison.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: So, after shooting Date in Mizuki’s route. It’s complicated. So is actually Saito’s father, but Date is in Saito’s body. Also, Saito was in So’s body at the time, so he was fully aware that the statement only applied to their physical bodies, not their minds.
  • Mathematician's Answer: “Puncture Wound” is defined in the in-game glossary as “a type of stab wound,” which, even in context, clears up nothing.
  • Meet Cute: Hitomi’s first encounter with her boyfriend at the shrine. Hayato had been badly injured during a mission and was about to be hunted down. He stopped Hitomi from calling an ambulance, and forced her to kiss him to hide from his pursuers. She brought him to a mob doctor, who saved his life.
  • The Merch:
    • In-Universe, Ota spends most of his money on A-set merchandise and concert tickets, which Mayumi views as Iris taking advantage of Ota’s enthusiasm and naiveté.
    • Date and Aiba figure out that Moma is an A-set fan by identifying an A-set figure in his safe that they had previously seen in Ota’s home.
  • Meta Twist: Being a Visual Novel from the creator of the Zero Escape games, the player might expect that this game's plot will feature parallel worlds, jumping from one timeline to solve a mystery in another, and altering past events through actions in the present. In one timeline, Date finds Iris' dead body in a warehouse, enters the Somnium of the man he believes to be her killer, rescues her from the murderer's clutches in the Somnium, and then discovers that the dead body has disappeared upon re-entering the waking world, and Iris is still alive. Date comes to the conclusion that changing the events in the killer's Somnium saved Iris from being murdered in the past, and Iris herself contributes to the idea by suggesting that Date entered a parallel world in which Iris was never killed. But in reality, it turns out to be impossible to enter parallel worlds through Somnia. The dead body Date found wasn't Iris at all, and was merely hidden away from the police when they investigated the warehouse. While parallel worlds do indeed factor into the game, their role is greatly downplayed in comparison to the Zero Escape games, and even by the story's end, Date has no answers as to why he recalls events that never took place in his current timeline.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: A rare justified version. The puzzles in the dream world have solutions that logically make no sense, but that's because dreams don't follow the conventions of reality.
  • Multiple Endings: There are five endings that branch off based on decisions made during certain Somnium sections, excluding joke endings and bad endings.
    • The three standard endings can be completed from the start, with all of them revealing bits of information about other routes.
    • The final two endings require the other endings before they can be completed. Interestingly, they also can't be completed without progressing through segments of each other. The Golden Ending cannot be completed without completing the Annihilation route first.
    • At least two joke endings are done by heavily flirting with the Lemniscate receptionist:
      • In Mizuki's route, Date suddenly quits the police force and invites the receptionist to move to Atami with him, leaving Aiba behind.
      • Another joke ending comes from Aiba threatening to pop out of Date's eye socket if he does not stop pestering the receptionist for her number. Doing so anyways forces her to follow through with her threat, causing both Iris and the receptionist to faint from the Body Horror they witnessed, while Date claims that his life is over.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Aiba is privy to Date’s body chemistry, so she can detect when he’s excited about something. She notes this in particular when Date uses XRayVision on the waitress at Sunfish Pocket.
  • Nanomachines: Both Aiba and the Psync machine use nanotechnology to function. Iris tells Date that nanomachines are also being used in experimental cancer treatments to remove otherwise inoperable tumors. With funding from Boss, this treatment saves Iris’s life in the Resolution route.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: Iris’s cancer could be cured using nanotechnology, but the treatment is still prohibitively expensive. In the Resolution route, ABIS gifts her with enough money to get the treatment as incentive to keep the truth about Saito and Psyncing under wraps.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: One of Aiba’s enhancements to Date’s vision.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted. When investigating Renju’s murder, Aiba notes that the corpse evacuated its bowels upon death. The fact that there is no evidence of this at the scene is a clue that the body was moved postmortem.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Ota, Mayumi, and Takero Matsushita have much more cartoony faces than the other characters.
  • One Degree of Separation: Date spends most of the game in the body of Saito Sejima, who is Iris' half-brother by way of their father So. Iris' biological mother, Manaka, was best friends with Hitomi and Renju; the latter is Mizuki's father, Shoko's ex, Date's drinking buddy, Iris' producer, and Pewter's lover. A young Saito was the one who murdered Manaka, and the Kumakuras including Rohan disposed of the body. The Kumakura family is also involved with Shoko's investment fraud operation, and their current leader, Moma, is also a huge fan of Iris. Hitomi is Mizuki's teacher, and also taught Ota in the past. In his former identity as Falco, Date dated Hitomi and was a father figure to Iris. He was forced to work for Rohan, who was one of the two Original Cyclops Killers along with Saito. Boss was one of Falco's old friends on the force and helped kick off the whole body-swapping plot. The use of this trope is partially justified; as the New Cyclops Killer, Saito is primarily targeting people important to Date as revenge for the body swap incident six years ago. Almost all of these connections that aren't directly related to the current string of murders are still vital to solving the case.
  • Out of Focus: Depending on what route you play this can happen to specific characters. such as Iris in Mizuki and Ota routes (Saito was in Iris's body most of the time.) Mizuki in Annihilation Route who was suffering from a Heroic B So D from Iris and Ota's deaths ect.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: In the Annihilation Route, Date visits Mayumi and Hitomi after Iris and Ota are killed in the cold storage warehouse.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Aiba can hit/kick/otherwise abuse many objects during Somnium segments. The televisions in Iris’s actually Saito’s Somnium are particularly notable.
  • Pick Up Babes With Babes: Date tells Mizuki that he’s more attractive to women when they’re out together, since it gives him an attractive “single dad” aura. Mizuki retorts that he just looks like a creep.
  • Plea Bargain: Prisoner #89 demands to be released in exchange for providing ABIS with information.
  • Portal Door:
    • Some of the warehouse doors in So’s Somnium are actually portals that warp Aiba to other parts of the map.
    • The central mechanic of Saito in Boss’s body’s Somnium is navigating the factory using a complex chain of these.
  • Posthumous Character: Several characters are already dead when the game begins, and their stories are told through flashbacks or by speaking with people who knew them.
    • Shoko Nadami, by virtue of being the murder victim whose death kicks off the game's events. As it turns out, however, Shoko had actually died a full year beforehand after having her mind forcibly swapped into the body of Rohan Kumukura and killing herself out of confusion and terror. Saito Sejima inhabits Shoko's body for a year after the death of her mind, before he swaps again with...
    • Renju Okiura, who is therefore the actual murder victim whose death kicks off the game's events. While Renju's body is killed only in certain paths through the game, his mind was already dead before the game began. Any time he appears in the game outside of flashbacks, it's Saito once again inhabiting his body.
    • Rohan Kumukura, the former head of the Kumukura Clan of Yakuza, who killed himself a year before the story begins. As above, that death was actually Shoko in his body, which had been previously occupied by Saito after Rohan's mind had been put into the body of Falco (aka #89). Thus, Rohan is really a subversion of this trope, as he is very much alive and impersonating #89 for most of the game. Phew!
    • Manaka Iwai, the true identity of the dead body Date discovers in the Cold Storage Warehouse and mistakes for Iris.
  • Press X to Die: In the last somnium on the Annihilation Route, there's a gimmick involving target doors that you have to open; each one carries a time cost of 999 seconds (this instakills you), and you're supposed to use the Time To 1 ability on it. Using the Time to 1 ability on anything else invokes You Are Already Dead, but this trope comes in with the very first door you see, which not only has 999, but has a negative time penalty of x999 on it ; even if you time-to-1 this door, the penalty WILL kill you.
  • Press X to Not Die: During certain action sequences, you need to input the correct button command or keep a wobbly crosshair over a certain target in order to succeed.
  • Race Against the Clock: You can only stay in the dream world for 6 minutes at a time, though a newly-added feature of the Psync Machine slows down time immensely while Aiba is not moving.
  • Real Place Background: A partial example. The overview map is clearly Tokyo, and the ABIS HQ is located in the Keishicho police station, but areas such as Bloom Park do not exist. (The space where it appears on the map is, in real life, a train yard, an expressway, and the Ota Stadium.)
  • Red Herring:
    • The Lemniscate A-Set video series contain a few. The series is not in chronological order. Additionally, Naixatloz does not play a large part in the story. They are explained to be a fabrication involuntarily created by Iris due to a brain tumor. The suspicious group in the Reservation Unknown video are confirmed early on to be the security crew of So Sejima that work to keep intruders off the property.
  • Repressed Memories: At first, there’s no explanation for why “Iris”/Manaka’s frozen corpse appeared in Mizuki’s Somnium. It turns out Mizuki had repressed the memory of finding her body when she investigated the cold storage warehouse, which kept them from mentioning it during the investigation.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It's never exactly explained how Date can pick up on fragments of memory from other timelines, and it gets even screwier in the epilogue when Iris also remembers something that happened in a different route.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: One of the extra services that Sunfish Pocket provides customers (for the right price). A short cutscene of the waitress doing this to Ota is used several times as a gag.
  • Running Gag:
    • Aiba has a strange fascination with insects. Examining the plants in the Lemniscate building will have her comment on the increasingly improbable insects visiting the building.
    • Lemniscate is a magnet for running gags, including the above, a Hurricane of Puns every time Date examines the sofas there, the television playing promotional videos for people Date's never heard of, Date constantly getting Distracted by the Sexy receptionist... the list goes on.
      A receptionist with huge breasts is sitting behind the desk.
      A receptionist with huge breasts is sitting.
      A receptionist with huge breasts.
      Huge breasts.
      Breasts.
      Huge breasts are sitting behind the desk.
    • The variations of Date constantly asking for, and forgetting the inspector's name during crime scene investigations. Although, later on, when investigating Sunfish Pocket after discovering the murdered Renju Okiura, it's implied that it's become something of an inside joke between the two of them, much to Mizuki's confusion.
    • Date usually has a snarky remark ready anytime the purple fridge in Marble is examined. Most of the remarks are directed towards Mama.
  • Same Clothes, Different Year: Characters wear the same clothing in flashbacks, unless their model needs to be aged down.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Referenced in Ota’s Somnium
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Date and Iris take on this dynamic when they team up.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In some routes, Date believes that he can change the past with his actions in Somnium because he found Iris' corpse in the warehouse, only to see her still alive after saving her in So's Somnium. However, this only turned out to be a major coincidence, and the one time he tries to actively take advantage of it, it fails to work.
  • Sexy Secretary: The receptionist at Lemniscate has Gag Boobs, and there's Running Gag of Date flirting with her whenever he sees her.
Aiba: A winter iris… This is an iris that blooms in winter.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Date can ask Iris and Mizuki why they’re tagging along on the investigation instead of being in school. Mizuki points out that she’s in mourning and obviously taking some time off. Given that Iris is terminally ill, she likely doesn’t care about missing a few days of school.
  • Signature Item Clue: A dropped piece of chocolate is crucial evidence to prove that Mayumi witnessed Iris’s attempted murder and the attack on Ota in the cold storage warehouse.
  • Sleep Deprivation: After working on the investigation for several straight days, everyone in ABIS starts to express exhaustion from too little sleep.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: Aiba's "chibi" form resembles that of a hamster's.
  • Something Completely Different: Date loses Aiba and becomes the subject of a Psync during the Resolution route, leaving him completely helpless to watch as the Cyclops Killer advances through his Somnium breaking his Mental Locks.
  • Stars Are Souls: Iris’s soul is represented by a star in her Somnium. Whether Date and Aiba choose to touch it or to destroy it is a major point of divergence between routes.
  • Super Senses: Aiba can magnify Date’s eyesight and grant him special modes such as night vision, thermal vision, and x-ray vision.
  • Synchronization: According to Pewter, the level of compatibility between Psyncer and subject affects the difficulty and effectiveness of the Psync. Date and Mizuki are highly compatible, which is why Boss asks Mizuki to Psync with Date to wake him from his coma. Date and Ota have terrible compatibility.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Mizuki sees in Date’s Somnium that Date first gave Mizuki his bed after hearing her call for her parents in her sleep.
  • Talking to Themself: Date occasionally attracts unwanted attention by accidentally speaking to Aiba out loud instead of in his head. Mizuki is particularly skeptical of his mental health.
  • Tears of Blood: Not literally, but the victims that lose their eyes have blood trails that resemble tears.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Date specifically asks Boss to make sure that Mizuki sees the best therapist they can find after Date and Mizuki find Renju’s body in Sunfish Pocket.
  • This Is My Chair:
    • Boss gets territorial when you examine the chair in her office.
    • Mizuki refers to the single-seat sofa in Date’s apartment as her chair, and becomes concerned about leaving a butt print on it in Date’s Somnium.
  • Thousand Origami Cranes: Ota and Mizuki agree to make a thousand cranes together for Iris, after she loses her eye in the cold storage warehouse.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Justified. Aiba is noticeably sillier and more eccentric during Somnium sessions, which is Lampshaded by Date. However, this is explained in-universe by how the Psync system works, which only sends a part of Aiba with Date's consciousness instead of her entirety.
  • Untranslated Title: The English version’s chapter titles are in untranslated kanji with Romanized subtitles, presumably to maintain the motif of ending each one with “ai”.
  • Urban Legends: Iris and Ota are fans of these. When they discuss the existence of Naizatloz with Date, Ota recounts several of these that he’s heard in the past.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: Saito Sejima, whose modus operandi involves swapping bodies with his victims, takes on the voice of whatever body he's currently inhabiting.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Shoko justifies her abuse of Mizuki this way. She had trouble thinking of other ways to discipline her, so physical violence was the last resort she had to get her under control.
  • Witch with a Capital B: This is Mayumi’s favorite insult towards Iris. She leans in to the magical implication, accusing Iris of enchanting Ota to use him for her own ends.
  • X-Ray Vision: One of Aiba’s frequently-used functions in investigations.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Iris declares to Date early on in one timeline that she knows that she's going to die soon. Date briefly believes she has some form of precognition, especially after she is seemingly murdered later on in the same timeline. In truth, however, she means that she's terminally ill with no hope of recovery.
  • Your Head Asplode: Aiba informs Date that she has a self-destruct feature which, should it ever be activated, would result in this trope for him. She activates it during the game's climax, by which point "Date's" body is being inhabited once again by its original owner, Saito Sejima, who is holding Hitomi at gunpoint.

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