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Video Game / Yomawari: Midnight Shadows

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Yomawari: Midnight Shadows is a Survival Horror video game developed by Nippon Ichi for PlayStation 4, Play Station Vita and PC. It was released in August 2017 in Japan and internationally two months later. It is the sequel to Yomawari: Night Alone.

One fateful night, two girls, Yui and Haru, return home from a fireworks festival in the mountains. However, when Haru begins hearing voices, Yui offers to investigate, only to wind up missing. Worried sick for their friend, Yui and Haru travel through their town, hoping to reunite with each other. However, the town becomes a different place at night and the many malevolent spirits lurking about aren't going to make their journey easy for them.

A compilation port of both this game and Night Alone known as Yomawari: The Long Night Collection was released in October 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.

The series was followed by a third game, Yomawari 3, released on the Switch and PS4 in Japan on April 21, 2022. It released outside of Japan as Yomawari: Lost in the Dark on October 25, 2022.

This game provides examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: In the ending, Mr. Kotowari cuts off Haru's hand when she's unable to escape from Yui's evil spirit.
  • Anti-Advice: Malice will try and trick you into getting killed by "advising" you on the bottom of the screen. To win the boss fight, you need to do the opposite of whatever it tells you.
  • Big Bad: The Spider Spirit who abducts Yui. It is the one who manipulated Yui into committing suicide and uses its control of Yui and Haru's Red String of Fate to try and kill Haru.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, despite their best efforts, Yui and Haru have to let go of each other and move on, with Haru losing her arm in the process. However, Yui is able to spend her last moments saving her best friend, Haru adopts Chaco, and Haru is able to move on and make a new friend. The post-game reveals her new friend to be the little girl from the first Yomawari.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Night Alone was a T-rated game that didn't get worse than a few bloodstains here and there except for the end where the heroine's eye explodes. This one has a lot more blood and even a few severed body parts, kicking it straight to M Town.
  • Call-Back: Just like the first game, Midnight Shadows begins with a tutorial that contains a shocking death, and ends with the heroine losing a body part.
  • The Cameo: In the post-game, Haru can travel to the bordering town and encounter some of the spirits from the first game, including Mr. Yomawari, the centipede spirit, and Hanako. She can run into the little girl from the first Yomawari as well. They quickly become friends.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At some point in the game, players will find a sign warning people to beware of strange voices in the mountains. At first, it seems like it is simply referring to a random spirit. It is actually referring to the game's tutorial.
  • Darker and Edgier: Manages to one-up the first game by including suicide to the list of gruesome deaths and creepy spirits. The game's ending is also significantly more depressing than the first's.
  • Death of a Child: Yui kills herself in the beginning, and she's only about 10.
  • Diegetic Sound: Just like its predecessor, the only time any music ever plays is during the credits theme.
  • Driven to Suicide: Yui. It is eventually revealed that she crossed the Despair Event Horizon due to all the misfortune she suffered in her life. Her father and one of her dogs are dead, her mother is distant, and Haru is moving away, leaving her all alone. However, it is later revealed that she was manipulated by the voice of the Spider Spirit, as her notes indicate that she planned to stay in touch with Haru when she leaves. This note becomes important, as it prevents Haru from suffering the same fate.
  • First-Episode Twist: The game's tutorial looks normal enough, guiding you through the game's controls, which leads the player to have Yui hang herself. Most promotional material has thankfully done a good job of keeping this a secret.
  • Foreshadowing: As you walk Haru down from the mountains, she mentions she can feel something calling to her. It's the voice of Malice, trying to call her up to the mountain so it can finish the job.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
    • Early in the game, when Yui finds a red leash, the game prompts the player to open up the menu. Yui and the player inspect the item and everything seems normal until an evil spirit peels part of the menu away and roars, terrifying both Yui and, most likely, the player.
    • The big revelation toward the end of the game. The tutorial and most of the prompts the player receives? They all came from the evil spider spirit and was trying to get the player to lead both of the heroines to their deaths.
  • Gashadokuro: The boss of the sewers is one.
  • Ghostly Goals: Some of the bosses are put to rest this way. Like burying the rat spirit's corpse, or giving the subway spirit her umbrella.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Whatever death the spirits have planned for the little girl, the player is thankfully spared with a Fade to Black and blood splattering across the screen. Averted when Yui (or Haru, if the player chooses to) hangs herself.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: The Gashadokuro encountered at the end of the sewers. Which oddly enough is actually the ghost of a rat.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Most of the boss spirits have at least some hint of a backstory... except that giant ball of eyes and hands (named Original Mr. Raw Head), which is just kind of there.
    • Common theory is that since the shrine of the Centipede Spirit, the deity of that area, is being torn down some time between the two Yomawari games, leading to the shrink of power of the spirit. As a result, Original Mr. Raw Head, an evil spirit, took over the area.
  • Guide Dang It!: Just like the first game, finding all the collectibles is not likely without help, especially with the greater focus on sub-events.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When Haru cleans up his shrine, Mr. Kotowari stops trying to kill her and helps her in the final chapter, cutting the statue to end the spider spirit's whispers and offering his scissors to her. Also, as gruesome as it was, him cutting off her hand severs the Red String of Fate, saving Haru from death and allowing Yui to finally move on and rest in peace.
  • Heroic Dog: Yui's surviving dog, Chaco. It does everything in its power to help Yui and Haru, leading them on the right path when they are lost and barking away spirits that try to harm them.
  • It's All My Fault: The trope is said word for word prior to the final chapter. When Haru realizes that the news of her going away is what lead to Yui committing suicide, Haru's diary entry is illegible due to Haru scribbling "No" all over the page. The one exception is a single sentence — "It's all my fault".
  • Jump Scare: There are plenty of spirits that love to quickly pop out of nowhere when the player least expects it, most notably the first major spirit suddenly peeling away the menu screen.
  • Madness Mantra:
    Spirit!Yui: Always, always, always, always!
  • Meaningful Echo: At the beginning of the final chapter, the game has Haru go through the tutorial just like Yui at the beginning of the game. If the player decides to not follow through with the last part of the tutorial and leave the area, the game will urge the player to turn around and continue the tutorial until Mr. Kotowari puts an end to it. It is then revealed that the one narrating the tutorial was the Spider Spirit and that it manipulated Yui into killing herself.
  • Missing Child: As if walking around at night with plenty of malevolent spirits wasn't bad enough, one of the girls goes missing. Made even worse by the fact that she had committed suicide.
  • Motion Parallax: The tutorial is full of Scenery Porn achieved by layering the mountains with motion parallax so their depth is noticeable against the setting sun.
  • No Name Given: Averted. Unlike the first game, the main girls are given the names Yui and Haru. Played straight with the main character of the first game, who never says her name.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In the final chapter, if the player has Haru complete the tutorial all the way through, she will hang herself just like Yui and the player will be taken back to the title screen. In order for the player to continue the story, they need to turn away from the noose on the tree, read the paper scrap, and walk away from the tree until the prompt "I can't take it anymore!" can be selected.
  • Nostalgia Level: The factory that Haru is whisked to turns out to be the very same one from the first game, and has many of the same spirits, including the evil fleshy monster that chased after the little girl. In the post-game, the rest of the first game's town is opened up, allowing Haru to see the first game's various places and spirits. She even gets to run into the previous game's protagonist.
  • Not Always Evil: While there are plenty of malevolent spirits, there are quite a few spirits who are sympathetic and need help, will not harm the girl at all and do their own thing, or just like to play creepy jokes on her. Even the more dangerous spirits are willing to help if Haru helps them.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Touching or getting attacked by any of the malevolent spirits will end with either girl's death.
  • Post-End Game Content: Completing the main story unlocks the rest of the town, the Nearby Town, and a series of new quests there.
  • Red String of Fate: Deconstructed. In the ending, when Yui's malevolent spirit tries to attack Haru, Haru is unable to leave because her arm is ensnared by their red string of fate. Their bond is so strong that no matter how many times Haru tries to cut the string, it grows back. It takes Mr. Kotowari cutting off her hand for Haru to finally be free and for Yui to rest in peace.
  • Resist the Beast: Near the end of the game Yui's ghost becomes a black flaming spirit and tries to spike Haru with occasional moments of consciousness as both Pre-Final Boss and Post-Final Boss and requires Mr. Kotowari to forcibly calm her down.
  • Sequel Escalation: The game has basically more of everything than Night Alone: more story, more enemies, more boss encounters, more sub-events, more post-game content, and actual areas instead of the whole game being on the streets.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Despite all of Haru and Yui's best efforts, the girls cannot be together in the end. Parting is the only way Yui can rest in peace and not turn into a malevolent spirit.
  • Sprint Meter: Both girls can only sprint for a limited amount of time before she tires out, indicated by the meter that appears at the bottom of the screen. That time is lessened when in the proximity of dangerous spirits, indicated by the loud beating of her heart. The meter is longer than the first game and the rate at which it is depleted can be decreased if Haru has a special item equipped.
  • Treacherous Advisor: The tutorial, of all things, turns out to be a malicious spirit named Malice, who is luring people to their deaths for no other reason than presumably For the Evulz.
  • Youkai: Naturally, with the Japanese setting, many of the spirits are based on spirits of Japanese folklore.
  • Where It All Began: The final section of the game requires Haru to trek up to the mountain where the tutorial happened.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The spirits won't hesitate to kill the protagonists, who are both 10-year old girls.