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Video Game / The 25th Ward

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Yet another "perfect lifestyle" has been born, and the dreamlike life based on despair contaminates the people.

The 25th Ward is the sequel to The Silver Case and Flower, Sun and Rain - like its predecessors, it is a visual novel/adventure game directed by Suda51 with a complicated and surreal mystery story.

In the year 2005, a new 25th Ward has been built as a successor to the 24th Ward project. This so-called utopian city was constructed with the purpose of providing a perfectly orderly lifestyle, but its ideal of order is soon threatened by the impending chaos represented by Kamui Uehara.

The story is divided into three different "storypoints", which each take place from a different perspective and parallel each other. These are:

  • Correctness (written by Goichi Suda), which follows the 25th Ward Heinous Crimes Unit investigating the secrets of the 25th Ward's conspiracies.
  • Matchmaker (written by Masahiro Yuki), which follows the Regional Adjustment Bureau, a team of glorified government hitmen who "adjust" undesirable residents of the city.
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  • Placebo (written by Masahi Ooka), which follows returning character Tokio Morishima who has lost most of his memories.

These three different stories together tell a labyrinthine and exceedingly bizarre tale about city infrastructure, murderous intent, big data, order and chaos, observation, and the nature of protagonists.

The 25th Ward has a complex release history; it was originally only released episodically on Japanese flip-phones in 2005, which means that very few people had a chance to play it before it went down. For this reason, it was long considered lost media and a "phantom game", until a full remake was released in 2018 on PC and PS4, complete with four new chapters.


Kill the tropes. Save the tropes. Believe in these tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: One of the big themes at the beginning - the chaotic introduction of Kamui into the Ward, and the order/chaos divide it symbolizes - is dropped around the chapter 3s, with the observers/Kurumizawa plot taking the focus instead.
  • Alien Geometries: The abandoned Thousand Hotel. It's described as the floors being alive and shifting, but in practice, it's more like this trope in that the exit can't be found physically but only through taking a certain path.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Unlike the first game in which you strictly played as two protagonists, The 25th Ward switches the player character a lot: boys don't cry changes you to Shiroyabunote , digital man to Sumio, as well as a brief segment with Sakura, white out to Akira, the protagonist of the first game and YUKI to, well, Yuki.
  • Arc Welding: Certain endings in black out cross over with other Suda works, and YUKI returns to the setting and subject matter of the Twilight Syndrome series.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Taken to an absurd level. The reason why "Goddess" was killed by the deliverymen in *01: NAGARE? Because she didn't separate her trash correctly. And she wasn't their first victim.
  • Art Shift: Like in the original game, though not quite as frequently.
    • Correctness, Matchmaker and Placebo all have their own different artist and style.
    • On the internet in TIGIRI, characters have more cartoonish or anime designs and the 3D environment is based on early dungeon crawlers.
    • YUKI's style is even softer than the rest of Placebo and uses lots of colored highlights.
  • Big Bad: Kosuke Kurumizawa, although in true Suda fashion his role is very non-traditional.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: black out shatters it completely.
  • The Bus Came Back: YUKI brings back the setting of Hinashiro City to the Kill the Past series, which hadn't been mentioned since Moonlight Syndrome in 1997.
  • Carnival of Killers: The Okiai hitmen in boys don't cry.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • You know Kosuke Kurumizawa, the dead guy who gets abruptly brought up and abruptly dropped very early on in the game? Turns out he's the main antagonist.
    • Yagisawa, the random man who Tokio tricks early on was actually not the man Tokio contacted online, instead being somebody else who Meru was using as a body by proxy.
    • Aoyama and Akama are very minor characters in the main game, only there to fill out the HC Unit's ranks. In black out, they reveal themselves to be time cops who play important roles in the plot of both this game and others.
  • Creepy Child: Alice.
  • Cyberpunk: Even more so than in the previous game. Transhumanism is a more prevalent theme that is explored in both positive and negative ways, and the line is blurred even more between the city and a computer system.
  • Darker and Edgier: The original Silver Case was dark, but 25th Ward is filled with sociopaths; even the Correctness protagonists are blatantly guilty of police brutality.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Big Bad is disguised as... the cursor you use to move around and solve puzzles.
  • Eldritch Location: The Red Room (why, yes, that is borrowed from Twin Peaks) and its adjacent Blue Room.
  • First-Episode Twist: The Postal Federation is a shadow government and its deliverymen are assassins who have been killing people in the high-rise.
  • The Four Gods: A puzzle involves inputting their names on the right directions.
  • Gainax Ending: Several sequential ones.
  • Gambit Pileup: It's much less possible to sort out than Suda's other ones due to us missing several pieces of the puzzle regarding who's aligned with who.
  • Government Conspiracy: Too many to list; the entire city is muddled with conspiracies on all sides.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: As you might expect from a game played from three separate perspectives; even then, though, it's a particularly complex one, with some of the pieces being in previous games while others have yet to come.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Tokio is suffering from this. Justified, in that peoples' minds being treated like data ends up being a major theme to his story, and sure enough, his memories really are stored like data elsewhere in the city.
  • Mind Screw: One of Suda's biggest, especially in Correctness, the chapter he wrote.
  • Multiple Endings: Parodied in the final chapter, black out, which features a full 100 of them, chosen arbitrarily from a menu. They range from completely ridiculous to ominous and sinister to crossovers with other Suda and Grasshopper properties. There is a "true ending", but the only way to see it is by going through all 100 endings, each of which requires you to play through black out again to see. Also doubles as an extreme example of Last-Second Ending Choice.
  • Nostalgia Level: digital man for The Silver Case; YUKI for Twilight Syndrome.
  • No Ending: In the original mobile version of the game, Correctness ends extremely abruptly. The HD version's additional chapters give an at least somewhat smoother ending.
  • Playing the Player: The apartment puzzle in electride, which asks you to investigate 100 floors of an apartment building, even making a point of telling you that you need to look over every nook and cranny of the building and check every single apartment. But there must be some trick to it, though, because it also tells you that you'll receive "no hints," which is itself a bit of a hint that you don't really need to do all that. The secret is that the rooms you have to check aren't actually specific rooms; going to any floor and checking the first door will make the person you need to find be in that room, and the room you need to find to finish the puzzle can be any one of many that follows certain rules. You don't actually have to investigate thousands of rooms, but the only way to solve the puzzle is to buy into the idea of doing least, until after checking every room of a few floors you notice that only the first apartment of each floor has anybody in it.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: YUKI, which is tonally and artistically very different from the rest of Placebo and stars a new protagonist.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: The chapter white out stars protagonist Akira from the first game.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Correctness, but especially boys don't cry, is this for Shiroyabu. He starts off as a good-intentioned detective; trigger-happy and reckless, but not any more evil than the other trigger-happy cops in the game's world. In boys don't cry, he's left to his own devices for an investigation and ends up killing civilians, sexually assaulting one of the bad guys (or bad girl in this case) and becomes a pawn of the villain. At the very end of electride he might have a Heel Realization, but the circumstances are unclear.
  • Sequel Hook: Subverted. Every single one of black out's 100 endings ends with a "TO BE CONTINUED..." If the player doesn't bother to go back through the chapter 99 more times to get every single ending, he/she will think this is a sequel hook. It's not. It's actually a hint that the player needs to get all the 100 endings because the game isn't quite over yet. Once you finally get the 100th ending, after it plays, a brand new ending will play. This is the game's true ending, finishing up on the word "END.". Other elements of the final few chapters definitely do imply multiple continuing plot threads in future works, though.
  • Sixth Ranger: Discussed by the characters, who compare the new member of TRUMP to one of these.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Uehara begins talking in the true ending, and from what he says, it's a pretty big deal.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Correctness' protagonist "Uehara" is so similar to Akira from the first game that it's very easy to assume they are the same person; only one easily-forgettable line early on (implicitly comparing Uehara to Akira) indicates that they aren't.
  • Take That!: black out is very much a Take That to critics of Suda's previous visual novels as well as to the idea that visual novels have to have choices, branching stories, and Multiple Endings. For once in the entire series, you are given true freedom to affect the story in any way you in, actually choose from a list of a hundred, while being told "this is what you wanted." And to top it all off, you literally cannot get the game's true ending unless you painstakingly replay the final chapter a full 100 times through and choose every single ending one by one. And's as painful and time-consuming as it sounds.
  • The Stinger: Exaggerated. Although the chapter order is up to you, proceeding in the most normal method (rotating between the storylines) means that there's as many as five whole chapters after the game's credits, besides the stinger to their own chapter. And then, after you play through all of the game's chapters, another chapter opens up which is itself a stinger to the rest of the game. And then, even that chapter has a stinger in the form of the game's true ending, which won't play until after you play through that chapter no fewer than 100 times. Holy grasshoppers, Batman.
  • Time Skip: YUKI takes place in 2017.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Although the player switches POV to several different protagonists during the game, the cursor used for gameplay and the running wireframe man used to select the chapters are both Kurumizawa, meaning that the player was playing from their perspective all along. Though, it's said that Kurumizawa exists "within Kamui's power", which gives another perspective: that the player is the true nature of Kamui.
  • Trash the Set: Tokio destroys the 25th Ward at the end of *05: MISOGI.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Similarly to the first game, the most sensible playing order is to rotate between the storylines, only there's three instead of two this time.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: boys don't cry and SIZUKU feature very unexpected turn-based RPG combat.
  • Villain Protagonist: Matchmaker's protagonists are part of the Ward's conspiracy.
  • Wham Line:
    • A major one from #02: good looking guy:
      Kuroyanagi: Machiko, I have just one final question. Where are you from?
      Machiko: The shelter.
      Kuroyanagi: I see... Same as me. I'm from the shelter, too.
    • In moon over 25, "The fact that Osato was an illegitimate child of Sundance...". But only if you've played Flower, Sun and Rain.
  • Wham Shot: In white out when Joker's mask falls off, and the camera zooms in to reveal him to be Shiroyabu himself.

(A digital moon appears)

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