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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 near-future Tokyo and follows Special Agent 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, which all involve the victims having their left eye removed by the killer. 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:

  • Adult Fear: This game is full of them:
    • Renju's is realizing that he is too neglectful to raise his own daughter and has to give custody to the one man he trusts.
    • Hitomi's is having to watch her adopted daughter slowly succumb to her terminal brain cancer, while pulling every dirty trick she can just to get her treated. And that's not even counting how she had to adopt said daughter and deal with the scorn of being a single mother because her best friend from High School was murdered by a serial killer.
    • Date has to investigate the death of his best friends and deal with their daughter being traumatized by stumbling over the crime scene.
    • Ota, despite being the Manchild that he is, has to watch his mother slowly slip deeper and deeper into her dementia, with him being her only support system after his father died from overwork.
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    • Mayumi's is thinking that her son, the only thing that she has left in the world, is the Cyclops killer. Along with having dementia and forgetting your own husband's death.
    • In general, outliving your child. Doubly so when your child is killed by a serial killer.
  • All Balloons Have Helium: Aiba blows up a balloon in Mizuki’s Somnium, and it floats like it’s filled with helium. Justified, as normal logic doesn’t apply in a dream. Especially since Aiba doesn’t breathe in the first place…
  • All for Nothing: Hitomi's attempts to save Iris from her brain cancer rather tragically become this after every route save the Resolution Route, in all of which she dies.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Date lives and breathes pervy jokes and at times has to be convinced that the case is more important than his libido.
    • In certain routes where Date is under attack by hired hitmen, distracting them by throwing porno mags or women's underwear consistently works.
  • Alternate Universe: The idea of parallel worlds are discussed and serve as a prominent theme in the rightward routes. However, their actual importance is zig-zagged; The two final routes are unlocked by the player gaining access to information only available in other routes, while Date gets that information from his latent memories coming back. That said, there are definitely cases of Date remembering things that could only come from other routes. They just aren't that relevant to the main plot
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Nanotechnology that cures certain illnesses like cancer do actually exist in reality and was first performed on animals like dogs and cats.
  • Always Close: You could finish Ota's Somnium with minutes to spare, but the path in which Ota almost discovers the polar bear's identity always plays out as if Date is going seconds over the limit.
  • Amnesiac Villain Joins the Heroes: Heavily implied. The game repeatedly points out that Date's memory loss and the original Cyclops Killings both happened six years ago, but Boss and Pewter insist it's just a coincidence. Subverted. 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 surrounded by skewered upside-down merry-go-round horses, 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. The reason for this is likely because continuing past that point at all would spoil major parts of the plot that are intended to be revealed on other routes instead.
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The three character endings.
    • In Ota's ending, he realizes how spoiled he has been and makes an effort to improve his relationship with his mother. However, the Cyclops Killer is still on the loose, having claimed So Sejima as another victim.
    • In Iris's ending, she comes close to discovering a beloved long-lost person from her past only to succumb to her illness before she can finish asking Date if he's that person. The Cyclops Killer is still out there despite not having killed anyone new.
    • Mizuki's ending is a lot sweeter on the surface, as Mizuki and Date realize how much they mean to each other. The Cyclops Killer is dead, but his assumed identity lives on in Iris's body, while Iris has long been dead.
  • 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).
  • Bleak Level: Not that the game is sunshine and rainbows, mind you, but... once Iris and Ota have been killed in the Annihilation route, Date is repeatedly given the silent treatment by characters he visits, and his playful snark when examining the environment is completely gone. And this isn't even the worst that route has to offer.
  • 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.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Mizuki during her route as a warning to Date from So to not investigate him further, and Iris in the true ending as Saito prepares to kill her in his original body.
  • 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.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: During Iris's psync, if you tell Aiba to commit seppuku, she and Date will put on exaggerated Japanese accents while pretending before Aiba tells him she isn't going to do it.
    • A bit later, Date puts on a less exaggerated but still stereotypical Japanese accent while playing the role of a martial arts master for Mizuki during a flashback.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Most of the appendix entries, with the exception of tutorial tips, are written in a straight, matter of fact way to describe things from an in-universe perspective, but entry 30, "Epilogue Timing" is a rather frank, first-person admission by the writer that yes, they are aware that the characters should be using "7 years ago" instead of 6 after the three-month timeskip but the author had gotten so used to using it in the game that it sounded weird if they suddenly stopped.
  • Break Them by Talking: When Date finally confronts the killer, the killer traps them down and decides to torture them via this means.
    The Killer: I want to see you mad. But what will really set you off?
    Date: If you don't shut your mouth right now...
    The Killer: All right, talking it is.
  • 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.
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: A prominent theme in Mizuki's Somnium, as the merry-go-round she's trapped in is stuck under one and Aiba is later forced to knock one of two over to symbolically free her.
  • 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.
  • Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa: Mayumi and Takero Matsushita, respectively, the latter standing a foot taller than his wife. Ota seems to have inhereted his father's skinniness.
  • Circling Birdies: Happens to Yogano, one of Moma's lackeys, when Date knocks him out.
  • 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.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each character has a primary color which influences their entire appearance (and also appears as a border around their name in dialogue). Date for instance is purple, Mizuki is yellow, Ota is light blue, etc. etc.
  • 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 induced 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.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The fact that the current murder victims have their left eyes removed makes the police sure that the killer is a copycat of the original Cyclops Killer who removed his victims' right eyes. It IS true that the killer is related (in fact is the exact same killer), but the eyes being removed is something of a coincidence. The original victims had their right eyes removed because Rohan had a sick infatuation with them. The new victims all have their eyes removed because the prototype Psync machine that the new killer is using to swap bodies requires that the left eye be removed to work.
  • 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.
  • Cop and Scientist: Date is the cop, Aiba is the scientist. A unique example in that they both live in the same body and share each other's thoughts on the fly.
  • 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...except Saito, but...would you really want to see a guy dance with an exploded head? Probably not...right? It’s just as weird as it sounds.
  • 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.
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: Date and Aiba can communicate mentally with each other, but Date has a tendency to talk out loud when he thinks he's alone or when he gets frustrated with her. It leads to people who don't know about Aiba to think that Date just talks to himself a lot.
  • 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.
  • Disney Death: Happens to Aiba in two different routes:
    • In Mizuki's route, So shoots Date in the left eye, breaking Aiba. She is easily recovered because all her data was backed up online.
    • In the Resolution route, Date orders Aiba to self-destruct in Saito's eyesocket in order to save Hitomi, knowing that Aiba's data has been destroyed and she will be gone forever. It turns out her data has been stored in fragments online and gets restored over the process of several months.
  • 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 speed 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.
  • Downer Ending: Downplayed in Annhilation; nearly everyone Date knows is dead, he feels like a failure, he's trapped in Boss' crippled body for the rest of his foreseeable life, but Saito has been arrested and Mizuki and Aiba are there to help put his life back together. It's still a pretty shitty day for Date.
  • Dramedy: And how!
  • 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.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: During the left side path, you psync up with Iris. Depending on how you handle the initial choice there, you see the original Cyclops Killer's murders. Naturally, Date assumes that Iris must have been present when the murders took place and assumes she was dragged along to each murder. She was nowhere near the murders because you aren't in Iris's memories. You are in Saito, the killer's memories, as he has swapped bodies with Iris by that point.
    • During the right path, Date comes across So leaving a warehouse, inside of which he finds Iris's frozen corpse. After interrogating So, he Psyncs with him, during which time he saves a dream version of Iris from being stabbed to death. Shortly after this, the cops who arrived at the warehouse after Date left call to say that the corpse is gone. Shortly after, Date finds an alive Iris hanging out at her home. Date begins to wonder if somehow changing events within the psync somehow changed reality, with Boss not being 100% convinced it isn't possible either. In actuality, the corpse Date found wasn't Iris, it was Iris's real birth mother who had been killed many years earlier then frozen. The body was moved to another location after Date left the warehouse, and Iris was never in danger after she was warned by Date not to leave her house the previous night.
  • 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. One major character is named Iris, and her mother is named Hitomi (which means the pupil of the eye). 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.
  • Fission Mailed: In one instance of flirting with the Lemniscate receptionist, it's possible to push Aiba to the point of jumping out of Date's eye and scaring both the receptionist and Iris into fainting, causing a Non Standard Game Over. Date then has a, "That's what would happen, so I didn't do it," moment and the game resumes normally.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In "Day 3: Sunday 'rihAI'" on the left side path, Date and Iris take a visit to see Ota at Matsushita diner. One of the items that Date can inspect is a wok lying on the floor, with Date questioning why it's there. He discovers the answer the hard way when he finishes his conversation with Ota and gets hit over the head with it during a moment of distraction.
  • 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 anesthesia, 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, and Saito doesn't care.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • When you Psync with Iris on the left story path, her somnium is rather disturbing and creepy, with one path showing memories of the Cyclops Killer killing his victims and the other involving pictures of animals drawn by a child being destroyed in disturbing ways. The initial reaction might be that Iris is much more disturbed internally than her bubbly personality would imply, but you aren't in Iris's somnium. You are in the Cyclops Killer's somnium, as he swapped bodies with her earlier on.
    • Related to the above, in Iris's somnium, at the end you see a reflection of the man who is killing the victims and it is Date. Everyone writes it off as simply Iris's memories jumbling together but he really was the killer. Or rather his body was when it was inhabited by it's original owner, Saito, the Cyclops Killer.
    • 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.
    • When #89 talks about his past, he does so in third person because he's actually Rohan in Falco's body.
    • On the right side of the flowchart, the first visit to So Sejima's mansion, So's reaction upon seeing Date is an, angry "You!" Odd for what is Date and So's first meeting in that continuity, but makes perfect sense when one learns that Date's body is actually that of So's murderous son that So had gone to great lengths to cover up.
  • 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. And, worse for Saito? He got in a car accident.
    • A lesser version of this splits the Annhilation Route off from Mizuki and Ota's routes. In the former, Iris (really Saito in her body) requests that Date drop her off at Marble, where Ota incapacitates Date with a taser; the electric shock both knocks out Date and shorts out Aiba, and by the time Date comes to he's too late to save Iris or Ota. In the other, Iris is dropped off at Ota's home instead, and Ota only has a wok to work with. As a result, Aiba remains functional and Date is out for a shorter time, enabling him to save them both.
  • "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.
  • Freaky Friday Sabotage: A side effect of the prototype Psync machine's requirement of removing the subjects' left eyes. The New Cyclops Killer rips out his own eye before swapping bodies, since he won't need his current body anymore. The machine also sedates the Psyncer's body, so the victim is even more vulnerable after the swap.
  • 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.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Shortly before the branching point of one pair of routes, Ota knocks Date out with a wok to the head.
  • 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.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Generally averted; the game has no problem depicting characters up to the moment of their deaths. However, in the case of Iris in the Annihilation Route, thick blood splatters onto the camera so you don't see her getting sliced in half.
  • 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.
    • After the Dance Party Ending, Aiba tries to explain how everyone was able to see her dancing, but the others talk over her so you can't hear.
    • The existence of parallel worlds and Date's access to them, which allows him to remember things he only knew from other routes happening is never explained or pondered on much, except for the fact that one highly deluded character can believe in that stuff. On the meta-level, it's like Uchikoshi telling the player, "Well you've probably heard of me and seen some of my work? So let's skip all those lengthy expositions, they exist and he knows all that you've seen in the game, now roll with it".
  • 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.
  • Hero Insurance: During Mizuki's route, they realize that So Sejima was the man in the bear suit who attempted to kill Iris and Ota. However, due to having many connections in the police, Date is officially told that he cannot go after So. He goes after So anyway and ultimately shoots him in the face (in self defense). He gets off completely scott free, as the order not to arrest So essentially came from So himself.
  • High-Pressure Blood: In Ota's Somnium, injuring the polar bear causes blood to spray everywhere, despite the thickness of the clothing. Ota later confirms the event, which means it's not just a matter of Somnia having different rules than reality.
  • Hope Spot: During one of the routes, the killer kidnaps Iris and ties her to a table below an ice cutting machine and sets it to cut her in half, while live-streaming the whole thing. As Date rushes to the location it's happening at, he sees on the stream that Ota arrived and turned off the machine before turning to face the killer. It seems like Date will have enough time to arrive and save them, however a few minutes later the killer reappears on camera and restarts the machine, which cuts Iris in half violently. By the time Date arrives, Ota has been killed the same way. Averted with another route where the exact same set up happens but Date arrives in time to save them both.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The game is absolutely loaded with puns and wordplay, especially with regards to the fluff text from examining random items.
    • When Aiba first pops out of Date's head early on, Date can ask Boss about Eye (as in his eye), I (as in himself), Ai (as in love, which is what Ai translates to), or Aiba (the AI inside the eyeball), all of which sound phonetically the same (with Ai getting Boss to call Date a dork while explaining the translation, at least in the English text).
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Disobeying Iris' requests and going behind the shrine wall in "PSYNCIN' IN THE MaiN: 1" results in the screen going black. The in-universe commentary by A-set has her theorize that the game is loading. While in-universe she's referring to the game of ShovelForge, the actual game is hiding a loading screen to load in the real somnium version of Golden Yokocho.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than Zero Time Dilemma at the very least. It's still dark with routes ending with multiple characters dead, but there is less imminent dread considering that you control a cop attempting to solve murders instead of being a prisoner in a deadly game. The scope is also much smaller than Zero Time Dilemma and Virtue's Last Reward, being "just" about catching a serial killer rather than the fate of the entire world. And unlike Zero Time Dilemma (and all of the installments of the Zero Escape series in general), there are endings besides the true ending that are actually happy if you ignore the Fridge Horror that comes about from details revealed in other paths about the killer. It also has a case of Denser and Wackier with certain characters, with a large instance being Mizuki who has supernatural strength that isn't explained which culminates in her taking down multiple trained guards with pistols and smgs with nothing but a pipe and her physical abilities without breaking a sweat when she and Date assault So Sejima's mansion to take him down.
  • 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 initially claims that this is purely for the sake of practicality, so that he doesn’t waste time choosing his clothes in the morning, but then says he's just joking and that they do have other outfits, they just store them somewhere else.
    • Played to a bigger extreme with Falco's memories. Hitomi has the exact same outfit at the present time that she had years before when she was shot.
  • 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.
  • Logo Joke: The Spike Chunsoft skull gets pierced in the eye by a long, thin object.
  • Lost Food Grievance: One of Mizuki's strongest memories of Date in PSYNCIN' IN THE CAPTaiN is the time he ate the pudding she was saving and she locked him out of the bathroom for it.
  • 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. The casual way he says it implies he may not have known Date didn't know and was mentioning it to maintain character.
  • 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.
  • Maybe Ever After: Though Date as Falco had essentially proposed to Hitomi, during the epilogue, Date is uncomfortable restarting the relationship he had with her due to his baggage about accidentally shooting and crippling her. He does note that perhaps with time things may change, and Hitomi doesn't hold anything about what happened against him. And Iris certainly is hoping they'll get back together.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: The game does a LOT of this. With it jumping from comedy to dark to action to comedy within action at the drop of a hat.
  • 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.
  • murder.com: The attempted murder in the cold storage warehouse is livestreamed. Depending on the route, it either succeeds or fails.
  • 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.
  • No Such Agency: ABIS' existence is officially classified by the Japanese government, and outside themselves and the government, their existence is known only to a few higher ranking members of the police.
  • Noodle Incident: Date's favorite cabaret girl, Reika, comes up multiple times during the game but never actually appears. Apparently something happened to cause her to block his number and Aiba frequently ribs him about her.
  • Offing the Annoyance: The New Cyclops Killings may include one unintended victim due to this. Saito gets annoyed with Ota's constant meddling and takes it out on the poor guy after killing Iris.
  • 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.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In the Resolution route we see that Iris's (actually Manaka's) body was in fact a part of Hitomi's plan to blackmail So for the money for Iris's surgery and that he just happened to walk in at the wrong time.
  • 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 since the warehouse incident) and Mizuki in Annihilation Route, who was suffering from a Heroic BSoD from Iris and Ota's deaths.
  • 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.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Date and Aiba may argue with each other a lot, but that doesn't mean the friendship isn't still there.
  • Plea Bargain: Prisoner #89 demands to be released in exchange for providing ABIS with information.
  • Pocket Protector: A variation occurs in Mizuki's route when So shoots Date in the left eye. Since that eye is artificial, it prevents the bullet from going all the way to his brain.
  • Poor Communication Kills: When Hayato Yagyu/Falco switched bodies with Rohan Kumakura 6 years ago, neither Boss nor Pewter obviously told anyone else about it, since the procedure was illegal. Still, they could have told the policemen to not let Rohan-in-Falco's body leave without question. This led to the shootout at the Sagan residence, where Hayato accidently shot and severely injured Hitomi.
  • 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 doors that teleport you to different places.
  • 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.
    • Takero Matsushita, Ota's father and Mayumi's husband, who died of a heart attack years before the game begins. He only appears in flashbacks.
  • 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. Wasting both available Time to 1 abilities on anything else makes the level Unwinnable by Design, 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.
  • Reality Ensues: Saito's scheme to frame Date in the Annihilation route using Boss' identity and body falls apart as soon as Date knocks out the police he cons and sends the video of "Boss" killing So; at no point did Date harm anyone except in self-defense, and as soon as it became clear "Boss" was abusing "her" position, nobody even bothers to question Date.
  • 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.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: At the end of the Mizuki Route boss declares the case closed, since the presumed killer, So Sejima, has been killed. The killer is, indeed, dead in that ending, but the killer was not So Sejima, but his son Saito, who had swapped bodies with So before being killed.
  • 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.
  • Shaking the Rump: Aiba dances like this at the beginning of PSYNCIN’ IN THE REFRaiN, adding that her silly entrances are "of the utmost importance" when Date asks how necessary it is.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
Aiba: A winter iris… This is an iris that blooms in winter.
  • Shmuck Bait: An oddly IRL version. In the game's glossary, in the entry for "collage", the writer notes that he is reminded of "mormon bubbles". He then tells you to tell someone you love to google the phrase. For reference, another name for the term is "mormon porn".Explanation 
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Normally whenever you run into Kagami at a crime scene, Date can ask him what his name is, as Date keeps forgetting much to Kagami's frustration. But when the murder victims are Iris and Ota, all you can do is ask him about whether his team has found anything at the site. In fact, anything that usually has a Running Gag related to it will be taken seriously during serious scenes (such as the empty bookshelf at Hitomi and Iris's house during the scene where Hitomi tells Date about Iris's brain cancer.
  • 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.
  • The Stinger: Used only in two routes, interestingly enough. The one on the Mizuki route is more of a Playable Epilogue, comprising of Mizuki, Date, and Aiba making a family visit to the shrine, while the one on the Ota route is more straight-forward with a cutscene where Aiba reveals Iris possession of the knife used to stab Ota and the further results of Renju's autopsy, namely that his stomach contained Shoko's missing eyeball.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Aiba gets Date's attention multiple times by saying there is a porno mag on the floor. It works every single time. In one route, Date can attempt to distract a guard by saying he sees UFOs or grandmas nearby with the guard not even flinching. But if Date says there's a porno mag on the floor, the guard will excitedly ask "Where?" and look down. Date notes that he likes this guy.
  • Super Senses: Aiba can magnify Date’s eyesight and grant him special modes such as night vision, thermal vision, and x-ray vision.
  • Suspect Existence Failure: On the left-side branches, the prime suspect in each murder keeps winding up dead or in mortal danger, which repeatedly throws off the investigation. The real killer, Saito, tends to hop into a new body and dispose of the old one, so the suspects were technically guilty at the time they were suspected.
  • 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.
  • 1000 Origami Cranes: Ota and Mizuki agree to make a thousand cranes together for Iris, after she loses her eye in the cold storage warehouse.
  • Three-Point Landing: Aiba starts out PSYNCIN' IN THE PaiN in the position, adding that she wanted to "enter the scene like a cybernetic assassin from the future." Date points out that she'd have to be naked for the reference to work.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mizuki is regularly snarky to Date and is an exceptional fighter while Iris is a professional idol with a particular love for dancing.
  • 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.
  • Virtual Sidekick: Kaname Date's prosthetic eye houses an AI named Aiba. In addition to performing standard AI tasks, she acts as Date's more rational partner, and the two frequently bounce ideas off one another during investigations. While she does have a physical body that can act independently when needed, it rarely sees use since she's much more useful (and less conspicuous) in eyeball form.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Date, both with Aiba and with Mizuki. This leads to several Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments in the Mizuki route and the final route where it becomes clear he loves them both, and vice-versa.
  • 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.
  • Wham Line: Day 5: Tuesday "ihAI" of the Annhilation route, Date finally gets an interrogation with the killer, Saito Sejima in Boss' body. During the interrogation the killer utters the reason why they've done all of the killings: "You stole my body! You took it from me six years ago! That's why I want revenge!"
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the Annihilation Route, we never find out what happened to any of the side characters who aren't dead, as it abruptly cuts off with Date still in Boss's body.
  • 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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