What kind of delusions would you imagine?
A sensual world? A despotic society?
Chaos;Child is a visual novel by 5pb. and the fourth installment in the Science Adventure Series. The game was first released for the Xbox One in 2014 and later released for the Vita, PS3, PS4 and PC. The story is set in Tokyo's Shibuya district in 2015, 6 years after the events of Chaos;Head.
It has been 6 years since the great Shibuya earthquake. Since then, the citizens undertook a project to rebuild Shibuya, and the once-ruined district is now back to the way it was. Still, the earthquake brought great destruction and took many lives, something that still lingers in the minds of the survivors.
Takuru Miyashiro is a high school senior and president of the school's newspaper club whose family died in the earthquake 6 years before. Adopted by the kindly doctor Wataru Sakuma, Takuru bonded with the other earthquake orphans Sakuma adopted, until a bad argument one day convinces Takuru to leave the house and move into an RV. Takuru becomes accompanied by his childhood friend Serika Onoe, foster sister Nono Kurusu, best male friend Shinji Itou, fellow club member and gamer chick Hana Kazuki, murder eyewitness Hinae Arimura, isolated orphan girl Uki Yamazoe, and Mio Kunosato, a misanthrope who has been sent in to aid the police.
They all deal with the bizarre events referred to as the "Reincarnation of the New Generation of Madness" (or the Return of the New Generation murders) while also using the superhuman powers that some of them possess. Takuru hopes to investigate and solve these murders ahead of the police and bring high praise to the newspaper club. All of the murders involve mysterious stickers, known as Sumo Stickers, that have recently been plastered all over Shibuya. As Takuru investigates, he realizes that these murders were not committed by ordinary humans, but by psychics. As he go deeper and deeper, however, Takuru begins to realize that he may be in over his head, and his very life is in danger. Eventually, Takuru finds his entire life turned upside-down by dark secrets finally surfacing.
Meanwhile, on a chat app, the mysterious user Ami-chan orchestrates the Return of New Gen murders for some unknown purpose of theirs...
Like it's predecessor, the game uses the "delusion trigger" system where the player can opt to view one of Takuru's daydreams/delusions. Additionally, the "Mapping Trigger" system is added in which the player uses their own wit to match clues together in the ongoing investigation of the "Reincarnation of the New Generation of Madness".
The PS4 and Vita versions were localised for release in North America and Europe in Q3 of 2017. An english patch for the PC version was released by the Commitee of Zero group in July 2018 and the game got an official Steam release in 22th January 2019 (the Commitee of Zero patch also works for this version and fixes some bugs and translation mistakes).
An anime series produced by SILVER LINK. started in January 2017. The first PV for the series can be seen here. It's licenced for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation with the latter providing a simuldub for the series.
Chaos;Child provides examples of:
- The Anime of the Game: The original game was released on December 18, 2014 and the anime aired in January 2017.
- Adaptation Distillation: It takes about 50 hours to complete the entire game as well as the true route. The anime however adapted this story into merely 12 episodes and an OVA.
- After the End: The story takes place after the intense Shibuya-Quake that occurs in Chaos;Head and shows the fall out of the events of that quake and narrative in full detail.
- An Arm and a Leg: The first murder of the game, Yuuma Ootani, had not only cut off his own arm, but eaten bits of it without knowing.
- Anti-Escapism Aesop:
- Uki's route ends with one. In it, the dying Uki creates a delusion for Takuru where Yui is still alive, Shinji is not brainwashed, the murders are over, and an idealized girl wants to date Takuru. But when Takuru learns that the delusion is slowly killing him and separating him from his friends in the real world, he and Uki battle to wake him up.
- Love Chu Chu also ends with one. The game takes place in a delusion created by Mr. Wakui where Takuru and his friends can live happy lives and nobody dies. Because of this, Mio is rather reluctant to break the delusion. But when the delusion turns nightmarish, Takuru ultimately decides that he and the others need to wake up, even if this separates him from them. Downplayed in that he welcomes the possibility of meeting Serika and the others in their dreams.
- Arc Words: Much like Chaos;Head's "Whose eyes are those eyes?", but instead it's "Those eyes are God's eyes", in reference to the in-universe theory that the eyes of the mysterious Sumo Stickers are the face of God.
- Bad Date: Exaggerated. A bad delusion in Arimuras route has Takuru running around town to find a place to take her out to eat, only for all six places to be full. At that point, Arimura just tells him off, calls him a virgin, and ditches him. In public, in front of other people who start talking about him. And his failure even makes it onto Shibuya News, bringing a whole crowd of reporters and angry people to his doorstep. In the real world, it starts to go this way before they decide to just go to Cafe LAX instead.
- Bland-Name Product:
- Big Bad:
- The mysterious chat user known only as Amy is the mastermind behind the Return of the New Generation Madness murders, replicating the ones from the original story. The true identity of Amy is Serika Onoe, the main heroine and childhood friend of Takuru Miyashiro. However, she is working for Dr. Wataru Sakuma and Mr. Shuichi Wakui, Miyashiro's Mad Scientist foster father and a teacher at Hekiho, respectively, who are members of the Committee of 300 and want to kill all Gigalomaniacs on their behalf. In the Real Sky route, Serika betrays Sakuma and Wakui to become the antagonist for real.
- Love Chu Chu: Shuichi Wakui reprises his role, being the one who traps Takuru and his friends in a shared delusion to make Takuru use his powers.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- The Deep Sky Ending. Mr. Wakui is defeated and killed, and Nono is saved, but Takuru and Hana had to unleash a Kaiju to defeat him, and it is now rampaging across the city. The two resolve to run away, even with the entire world against them.
- The Dream Sky Ending. Takuru and Uki break out of the delusion, but Uki gets brain damage as a result and becomes a mental vegetable. Takuru ultimately takes care of her, in hopes that she will recover one day, and there are hints of this happening.
- The Real Sky Ending, despite being the happiest ending, still has elements of bitterness. The Return of the New Gen murders are brought to an end, Senri accepts who she is, and she and Takuru live a happy life with Uki and Yuto, but they had to give up the Aoba dorm and live in a dingy apartment, Yui and Sakuma are still dead (though the latter is an Asshole Victim, unbeknownst to Takuru), and Serika kills herself to atone for her crimes. In addition, as the True End reveals, the characters are still unknowingly living with Chaos Child syndrome, but Mio may still eventually develop a cure as she does in the True End.
- The Common/Over Sky and True/Silent Sky Endings. Wataru Sakuma, one of the masterminds of the murders, has been more or less dealt with, and Nono/Senri, Hinae, Hana, and Uki are shown to have been cured of their Chaos Child Syndrome and are living happy lives whilst Serika gets a chance to live a normal life. However, Takuru is being taken away by the police and put in isolation due to his role in the Return of the New Generation murders, Serika seems to be remembering what she's done, and Shuichi Wakui (and by extension the Committee of 300) got everything they wanted and are still out there. In the Common/Over Sky End, Serika breaks Takuru out of prison and the two run away together, while in the True/Silent Sky End, Takuru and Serika also mutually agree to pretend not to know each other, as it is for the best and only way for both of them to live normal lives, while Takuru goes on to be interrogated and imprisoned. There is a Sequel Hook in that Kunosato says she'll be watching Wakui to see if he slips up, possibly altering Takuru's fate at some point in the future.
- The True Ending of Love Chu Chu. Takuru ultimately has to destroy the happy delusion where he and his friends can be happy and nobody dies to go back into the real world where he is still stuck in a prison cell, away from his loved ones. Wakui's plot is foiled, but he himself still escapes. However, the blow is softened in that Serika promises to Takuru that they can meet in their dreams/synchronized delusions, and Takuru himself swears to one day make Wakui pay for what he did.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The official English translation is full of name errors and typos much more than a normal VN would be expected to have. It notably uses the wrong names in some places. Fortunately, the Committee of Zero patch fixes all of these issues and even edits untranslated CG/images and backgrounds.
- Continuity Nod:
- The earthquake and the white light from Chaos;Head are major plot points.
- The second coming of the New Generation Murders.
- Senri's mother is a member of the Cosmic Church of the Divine Light.
- One of Hana's online friends in her game Ensue 2 is Neidhardt a.k.a. Takumi Nishijou. He even helps her understand her powers and helps her and Takuru avoid Wakui and the Committee during her route.
- Kunosato Mio appears for the first time talking in English with someone called Chris, later she gives instructions to Takuru and his friends to flee to Akihabara, where her quirky hacker acquaintance can keep them safe.
- Gunvarrel appears in a poster.
- Deadline News: A reporter gets herself eaten onscreen by a Flame Arch-Dragon.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In one of the Negative Delusions near the end of Chapter 1, right after Serika brings the Newspaper Club lunch, Shinji freaks out because she got him a tuna sandwich instead of a ham sandwich, and when she tries to calm him down, he proceeds to strangle her to death. It doesn't stick, though, as it only happened in Takuru's imagination.
- Downer Ending:
- The appropriately-named Dark Sky Ending. Megumi kills Takuru, and Hinae goes insane without him.
- The Another Sky Ending. Takuru and Uki escape Uki's delusion just before she dies.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Actually NOT the True End, which is more of a Bittersweet Ending that does not end well for Takuru. Instead, it is Nono's's route ending. After what she'd been through in her past and a personal drama between her and Takuru after he found out that Nono Kurusu he knew was Senri Minamisawa all along and that he'd been lied to the entire time. Senri finally decided to be honest and live the rest of her life as her real self. Takuru ultimately chose to forgive her as the familial bond between them were indeed real. They then defeat Serika, ending the Return of New Generation Madness. Uki and Yuto slowly comes to accept Senri as their big sister. And they're all able to move on from their losses and live the rest of their normal humble life in peace.
- The Ending Changes Everything: Several of the routes contain big reveals that change the nature of the story or a certain character.
- In the Common Route, it is revealed that Serika and Sakuma were behind the murders and Serika was actually created into existence by Takuru himself to be his friend with his powers after the earthquake. She was carrying out the murders to fulfill Takuru's desire to recreate the New Gen murders and be in the same position as Takumi Nishijou, who he thought was cool for revealing the true culprits of the original murders.
- In Hana Kazuki's route, the reason she almost never speaks, which previously seemed to be a cute quirk, is because her power causes things she says to become real, and it is uncontrollable, so she stays silent to avoid accidentally using her powers. Also, Mr. Shuichi Wakui is Serika's partner-in-crime.
- In Nono Kurusu's route, Nono herself turn out to actually be Senri, who used her powers to make herself look like Nono and take her place so she could finally live a happy life on behalf of her best friend, while the real Nono was Dead All Along.
- The biggest shock of all, however, comes in the True End, with the reveal of the true nature of Chaos Child Syndrome. Essentially some people who were awakened as Psychics during the quake couldn't handle their mental trauma that came from the event, and they had delusions that they lived in a more ideal reality where nothing was wrong. The collective delusions of these psychics plus normal people who also wanted to avert their eyes from their nightmarish reality pooled together to create a massive delusion synchro that has entrapped all of Shibuya for the past 6 years. Because of psychics and other normal people who are contributing to this delusion maintaining it for that large amount of time, these patients received their affliction as a result of that stress which is slowly killing them, and causes them to actually look zombie-like. However the delusion which is trying to make them see the ideal reality they want causes them to appear normal in their own eyes, though not the eyes of non afflicited people. Hehiko Academy was little more than a facility for Chaos Child Syndrome patients, including Takuru and friends.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: One of Takurus delusions has everyone turn into zombies and eat him.
- Evil All Along: Takuru's foster dad Wataru Sakuma and his club's advisor Shuichi Wakui are both members of the Committee of 300 and were heavily involved in the conspiracy, the former being the one who helped in committing all the murders, with the one who orchestrated them being Serika Onoe, Takuru's childhood best friend.
- Evolving Credits: The anime's opening changes Nono to appear as Senri, her true identity, following Episode 8.
- Fanservice: As in the original, some of the positive delusion scenes show the girls in sexual situations.
- Fan Disservice: Essentially every fanservice scene becomes this after The Reveal that everyone really has zombie-like skin and don't realize it due to Chaos Child Syndrome.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing:
- In Hanas route, Mr. Wakui shows up and starts speaking to Takuru about the incidents and his personal beliefs, becoming increasingly suspicious until a text message confirms him as an assassin.
- In Chapter 8, when Yui Tachibana goes missing, Yuto and Uki tell Takuru that she was last seen with Shinji Itou. About two or so minutes later, Shinji is revealed as Ed Lucas, who kidnapped Yui to kill her.
- The game has several clues leading up to the reveal of Nono's true identity as Senri Minamisawa:
- Hinae's ability reveals that 'Nono' is lying about having seen Senri die in the earthquake (because it was actually the other way around).
- After the attack by the pyrokinetic, Nono says that she knows Senri is not the murderer. Later, during the confrontation with Ed Lucas, Nono says that Senri never knew him or was interested in him. It seems weird that she knows this and is so sure of it, until it turns out that she herself is Senri.
- Lastly, when Nono confronts Serika, she confirms she knew that Serika was never there with Takuru when he stumbled upon Senri being experimented on. How else would she have known if she hadn't been there to see him arrive alone herself?
- There are several hints to Serika not being a normal girl.
- A lot of Takuru's delusions tend to get a comment or portrait change from Serika if something weird happens in them. She makes these comments not because he says something, but because she can read his mind.
- Her name has the same initials as, and sounds somewhat like, Seira Orgel, Takumi Nishijou's idealized anime waifu. Both are also pink-haired. This hints at Serika also being an imaginary friend made real.
- In Hana's route, when she and Takuru are hiding in the seemingly empty school, Takuru at one point says he hears something that sounds like a teacher talking. It is likely Mr. Wakui, and him being in school when no-one else is hints that he is not just a teacher.
- An early delusion has everyone in Takuru's classroom turn into zombies. As it turns out, nearly everyone in Shibuya has a zombie-like appearance due to Chaos Child Syndrome.
- The game has several clues leading up to the reveal of Nono's true identity as Senri Minamisawa:
- Go Mad from the Revelation: When Takuru's friends/love interests realize that all of Shibuya was a delusion, and that everyone is going through Rapid Aging, they go into a coma from the shock.
- He Knows Too Much: Why the third victim, Kakita, was murdered; he knew the identity of the organization behind the Return of the New Gen murders and was going to tell Hinae the truth.
- Hypocritical Humor: When the newspaper club is taking a vote on whether to continue pursuing the Return of New Gen case, Nono chooses to abstain. Takuru, who wants to continue, pressures her to vote, so she does- and casts a no vote, to which Takuru reacts by immediately going back and letting her abstain.
- Interface Spoiler:
- After finishing the common route, one of the characters in the sound menu is still missing, so you know a major character has yet to appear. Could it be...Senri Minamisawa, the pink-haired girl appearing on the game's Steam Page banner?
- The first time you unlock each side ending, the game alerts you via an achievement. This makes unlocking them easy: choose all positive delusions and when you get one of the achievements save your game, then reload the quicksave from before and choose the opposite delusion to go on unlocking the other endings.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Takuru says this, in his Internal Monologue, about Mio Kunosato, in the neutral option of the Chapter 5 delusion:Why did characters like this always act so arrogant when you saw them in movies and novels? Who the hell do you think you are? Just give us the damn information already. That's the whole point of your character, right? Are you trying to draw out the mysteries so you get more screen time? Youre just a side character, so know your damn role!
- Takuru says this to Shinji, his best friend, about the worthlessness of popularity and dating rumors:Takuru: Knowing those facts doesn't make you a true right-sider, and it certainly doesnt give you the ability to determine larger truths. All it does is make you the best friend in a visual novel.Shinji: Who are you calling the best friend in a visual novel?Takuru: What you just said is exactly what that character always says.
- In another route, during a particularly intense scenario, Takuru says this:I felt like Id become a character in a video game.
- Takuru says this, in his Internal Monologue, about Mio Kunosato, in the neutral option of the Chapter 5 delusion:
- Mass Empowering Event: The white light from the Shibuya earthquake is what created numerous psychics in Shibuya, who are essentially nerfed gigalomaniacs.
- Multiple Endings: As per most visual novels. In an interesting case, you're forced to go through the common route (the canon main story events) that acts as Takuru's route first before you're given the options to go through either Uki's, Kazuki's, Arimura's, or Nono's routes. Uki is particular noteworthy, as her route splits from the common route later on and has a total of six endings, two good and four bad, instead of the normal one good/bad ending Kazuki and Arimura have, or the one Nono has. Serika's route is considered the canon true ending.
- Nonuniform Uniform: The female students at Hekiho Academy seem to have more variation in terms of dresscode than the male ones do. For example, Nono and Serika both wear the standard uniform and ribbon, Hana wears the uniform without the outer jacket-like part and a necktie instead of a ribbon, and Hinae wears neither a ribbon nor necktie, and has the collar of her uniform stylized as if it's a hoodie. And despite never showing up for classes, Mio is pretty much always wearing her Hekiko uniform with a white lab coat over it.
- Pervert Revenge Mode: Subverted in Chapter Seven's positive delusion. After a whole incident in which Takuru winds up lifting the skirts of every girl in the cafeteria using his Gigalomaniac powers, all the girls (except Serika) look at him, ready to beat him up (especially Nono). He then explains the situation and how it was actually Shinji's idea- and the girls actually listen to him and redirect their wrath towards Shinji. Double subverted, but still downplayed, in that Takuru still gets reprimanded for playing along.
- Phantom Thief: One of Takuru's delusions has Shinjo and Hinae chasing one known as Phantom Thief Lomangiegah.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- Hana does this in the bad end of her route in a vain attempt to use her Gigalomaniac powers to kill the monster chasing her:The Flame! Arch! Dragon! Will! Die!
- Hana also does this in the good end, trying to summon a Sumo Sticker:Super! Strong! Sumo Sticker! Super-Strong Sumo Sticker! Super Strong! Sumo Sticker! Super! Strong! Sumo! Sticker!
- Hana does this in the bad end of her route in a vain attempt to use her Gigalomaniac powers to kill the monster chasing her:
- Punny Name: Some of the deaths are given this. Gottsuan Deathnote and Revolving Dead are two of them.
- Quieter Than Silence: At one point when Takuru is temporarily deafened, all sound in the VN is cut off.
- Recap Episode: The hour-long first episode of the anime spends its first half recapping the main events of Chaos;Head for viewers who didn't play the VN or watch the anime adaptation.
- Sailor Fuku: The female students' uniforms at Hekiho Academy.
- Story Branching: Happens upon fleeing from the attack on Takuru and Arimura from the pyrokinetic. Where Taku ends up and whether he's with Arimura or not is a result of the route he's on.
- String Theory: Over the course of the game, Takuru plots the Return of the New Generation Madness killings and his theories about the killer and victims on a map of Shibuya in the newspaper club room. By the end of the game, it's covered in pictures and notes connected with string.
- Summon Bigger Fish: In Hanas route, to fight off the dragons the size of two buses (and Mr. Wakui), Hana summons a Giant Sumo Sticker Man the size of a tall building, and he is easily able to swat away the smaller monsters.
- Superpower Lottery: Of varying levels, though it's not a "true" lottery because of how Gigalomaniacs came to be. Though most powers have drawbacks in spite of their awesomeness, one character in the story is the biggest loser, having only the ability to sense the emotions of a single person. There are also two winners: Wakui, who isn't limited to any specific power, and Takuru, who is not only stronger than Wakui, but is capable of doing even more if he had any real experience, due to both of them being True Gigalomaniacs.
- There's a big loser, as well: Kazuki, who has the power to have her voice create things...according to the imagination of others. She has zero control over this whatsoever, beyond the decision to not speak at all so nothing is ever created from it. When she does use it in her route, everything is derailed and goes straight to hell.
- Title Drop: The Chaos Child Syndrome, a condition that manifested for kids when they became Gigalomaniacs during the Shibuya earthquake.
- It appears during a positive delusion in Chapter 5, as the title of Takuru, The Chosen One destined to wield the Holy Ideoblade Gladiolus.
- It's also the name of the VN's True Ending.
- Too Long; Didn't Dub:
- The fourth death is dubbed Gottsuan Death even in the English translation of the VN, due to how difficult it would be to make a proper translation. For those who don't know, gottsuan is a very polite sumo-specific way of saying "thank you" and doesn't have anything resembling an English version.
- According to the title card, chapter 2 in the VN is called Rikishi Sticker, which would translate to Sumo Sticker. Weirdly, both the text log for the title card and the save screen do translate it as such, and Sumo Sticker is also used in the game otherwise. However, any CGs that show characters with RIXY shirts on also leave the text unaltered.
- Kazukis route depends on placing pins on specific points on a large map of Shibuya according to the dialogue. Unfortunately, all of the maps text is left untranslated, so any player who cant read Japanese is left either resorting to a guide or just trying to guess the correct points based on the maps features. (Fortunately this and all of the other issues are fixed with the Committee of Zero patch.)
- Wham Episode: Episode 07, "untitled".
- Wham Line:
- In Chapter 8, when Yui Tachibana goes missing, Takuru calls Shinji Itou, the last person that the missing character was seen with, to confirm their safety. Then:Takuru: Anyway, just hurry back. Yui might be in danger.
- Shinji's lines right before Takuru realizes that Shinji, his best friend, is about to kill Yui, his foster sister.
- Later, when Serika answers her phone, one of the Return of New Gen masterminds answers- and if the voice wasnt already familiar enough...Sakuma: Hey, did you make it to Freesia?Takuru: That voice-[...]It was the voice of my father- Sakuma Wataru.
- Shinjo tells Arimura Hinae this in her route, about a recent murder victim:The victim was Arimura Koichiro. Your father.
- During a pretty innocuous conversation between Takuru and Mr. Wakui, Hana Kazuki, in her route, sends Takuru a particularly shocking text message.
- In the True End, Takuru and a few of his allies are all set to cure Chaos Child syndrome, and Takuru himself shares a heartwarming moment with Serika. Then, an unwanted guest shows up:Wakui: Hey, didnt anyone tell you not to steal?
- In Chapter 8, when Yui Tachibana goes missing, Takuru calls Shinji Itou, the last person that the missing character was seen with, to confirm their safety. Then:
- Wham Shot: Arimura, in her route, is finally able to get a look at her stalker... and sees her brother, Shingo, who should be dead.