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Visual Novel / CROSS†CHANNEL

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The characters, clockwise from the top: Youko, Kiri, Miki, Misato, Touko. Not shown: ability to function in society.

"This is the Gunjou Institute Broadcasting Club. Is anyone alive out there?"

A Visual Novel created by Flying Shine in 2003. CROSS†CHANNEL is an H-game for PC with a clean version available for PlayStation 2 and Playstation Portable called CROSS†CHANNEL ~To all people~, a newer version with added CGs and scenarios for the Xbox 360 called CROSS†CHANNEL ~In memory of all people~, and a reprint edition for the PC in 2012. A translation for both the clean and H version is available from Amaterasu Translations. A Steam version with an official English translation was released in March 2018 (though said translation has been described as being obviously a slightly polished machine translation rather than a proper localisation, and as such it contains several instances of "Blind Idiot" Translation).

Self proclaimed "Love Aristocrat" Taichi Kurosu attends a school called Gunjou Institute with his fellow members of the Broadcasting Club. Gunjou is a place for people who, based on an adaption exam, have an abnormally high adaptation coefficient. This means that the government has deemed them unlikely to be able to adapt into society. Taichi himself has an adaption coefficient of over 80, which is thought to be impossible.

After a slow falling out between members, Taichi attempts to bring the fractured Broadcasting Club back together by getting them to go on a camping trip together. This trip serves to only fracture the relationships between members even more, ending up a disaster. But as the members make their way back to town, they discover that every living thing, from other people down to insects, has somehow disappeared from the world, leaving only them behind. Taichi tries to convince the others to help rebuild the broadcasting antenna so as to contact other survivors. The group manages to achive this task, but at first their signal is met with nothing but silence. Then things get even stranger...

Strangely enough, the characters were the basis for the highly popular flash game NANACA†CRASH!!.

Provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: The few male characters we do see are rather perverted to some degree.
  • All There in the Manual: The bonus scenario Tower of Friends, which (sort of) answers some of the most puzzling questions of the main game via a quick Mind Screw full of horror.
  • Alternate Universe: Again, Tower of Friends. It's implied to be the same world that Taichi and friends from the main game end up in.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: All of the main characters are intended to be a deconstruction of typical anime/dating sim archetypes, although no one is diagnosed with anything specific.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Yutaka.
  • Angrish: Touko will lapse into this if Taichi pushes her too far. You can partially blame it on her lisp.
  • Announcer Chatter : Shows up to explain Touko's katana as well as Taichi's Karade (Not Karate).
  • Arc Number: Both seven and eight are arc numbers. A list of appearances is highlighted here.
  • Arc Words: "Friendship asks for—" "Nothing at all."
    • The quote at the top of the page, "This is the Gunjou Institute Broadcasting Club. Is anyone alive out there?"
    • And in the later parts of the story, "An X is made by crossing!"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Taichi describes his and Youko's plan to kill the Shinkawas.
    Taichi: "We made time, prepared tools, trained, observed, altered, investigated, deferred, purchased, revised, searched, decided, withdrew and kissed."
  • Artistic License – Biology: The explanation given in the ending for how Taichi can see in the dark is laughably nonsensical to anyone with an even decent understand of biology that it's easier to say what there is even right.
  • Art Shift: When Tomoki punches Taichi in the face, there's a brief picture of the scene being shown in The Powerpuff Girls style. Also, see Freeze-Frame Bonus below.
  • Attempted Rape: Taichi to Yuusa, prior to the story's events. Also uncomfortably close to doing this in Kiri's route, were it not for Youko's intervention.
  • Awful Truth: Taichi finally breaks Youko down by reminding her of what happened back at the mansion. The awful part wasn't that they killed 14 people, it was that Youko didn't kill a single one.
  • Axes at School: Kiri has the crossbow she pulls out of her Hyperspace Arsenal. Unfortunately, there's nobody else but the cast in the whole city.
  • Batman Gambit
  • Bittersweet Ending: Everyone but Taichi escapes the loop, and he's repaired his relationships with all of them and helped fix at least some of their problems. Unfortunately, he himself is stuck in the repeating world, where he rebuilds the antenna every week and broadcasts. It's implied that he may be able to get out, but it's unlikely he will due to a lack of desire to do so.
  • Bleached Underpants: The Updated Rereleases of this game are all clean versions — if you compare the old and new trailers, you can see that they even edited out the panty shots. NANACA†CRASH!! is also a possibility.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Somewhat literally when Taichi explains what's in his handmade popsicles. Misato is not pleased.note 
    Misato: What were the ingredients in these?
    Taichi: Lemon and sugar and egg whites and—
    Taichi: two hundred million cute little wonderful lives.
  • Break the Cutie: Okay, who doesn't go through this throughout the course of the story? There's Sakuraba, and... that's it, really. And when someone breaks, they either break hard or die, accidentally or intentionally.
  • Bromantic Foil: Hiroshi, Tomoki, even Yutaka to an extent.
  • Brother–Sister Incest : Taichi amuses himself by calling Tomoki a siscon. However, Tomoki doesn't really get along with Misato very well. It turns out he's more or less right anyway.
  • But Thou Must!: When Miki attacks you, you have three choices: Look at her panties, Look at her panties, and Look at her panties.
  • Call-Back: Especially common in the sendback routes. Justified due to the loop mechanics.
  • Cerebus Retcon: A lot of them. Comedic moments and character quirks in-game are frequently given much darker contexts with later revelations:
    • Taichi's perverted behaviour and "skill" in seduction. Heavily implied to have been the result of him being repeatedly abused by a paedophile when he was young.
    • Touko's aggressive hatred of Taichi, only to suddenly deflate when he acts nice to her. She and Taichi were in a heavily Destructive Romance that Taichi started as an experiment, and ended when she started trying to cut him off from other people in her obsession. The breakup caused Touko to snap, and she even attempted suicide in an attempt to get his attention.
    • Misato's workaholism and clumsiness. She has a self-destructive personality born from guilt of sending her own father to jail for supporting her through illegal methods. The Broadcast Club is her attempt to cope by constantly pushing work onto herself in spite of being unqualified, and it's revealed in one scene that before that she was into Self-Harm.
    • Kiri referring to Taichi as "despicable" and telling him to get away from Miki. Not because he's a pervert, but because Taichi was responsible for her brother Yutaka committing suicide.
    • Miki's ability to easily adapt to Taichi's antics. Because she's a clinical sociopath, so concepts like shame aren't something she natrually feels.
    • Taichi's relationship with Yusa in flashbacks. Ended in him attempting to rape her in the midst of a psychotic episode.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "Shimura Phenomenon", psuedophysics made up by Taichi which later prove to be essential to the entire plot.
  • Club Stub: The Broadcasting Club was this, but Taichi slowly got some members to join.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: With a dose of Mood Whiplash.
    Taichi: Are you eating something delicious? This is the Gunjou Institute Broadcasting Club.
    ([Touko] spat out something delicious)
  • Conflict Ball: Kiri has a death grip on one for the majority of the game. She does have a reason, but her actions are still not helping the situation everyone is in.
  • Deconstruction: Isn't it interesting how all these tsunderes, cuckoolanders, emotionless girls and whatnot are all living together in a community for those who cannot function properly in society?
  • Dartboard of Hate: Except replace "darts" with "crossbow" and "dartboard" with a doll of Taichi. Though in Kiri's sendback route, the doll is unscathed.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Taichi suffers some pretty major Sanity Slippage throughout the whole game, but he comes closest to this in Youko's route. After his realization, he finally decides to truly become The Atoner and return everyone to the original world.
  • Destructive Romance: Taichi and Touko used to be in this type of relationship. Taichi was basically using her as an experiment to see just how much he could break her while retaining his sanity, and Touko was so desperate for love and attention that she just decided not to care, so long as it wasn't with anyone else. And when he decided to break the relationship? Hoo boy...
    • Or at least that's how Taichi thinks of it in retrospect. At the time, it was an experiment to see if he could be a normal human being. It failed, and part of the reason why is that in a place like Gunjou he has no one normal to interact with. The basics still apply, though, as Touko becomes more and more obsessed when during her route the relationship is restarted.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Miki's route. Oh god, Miki's route. Even Youko dies in that one.
  • Downer Ending: Not to the game itself, but some routes end poorly. All of them except maybe Kiri and Miki's. And in Kiri's he comes really close to passing the Moral Event Horizon, and Miki's isn't much better.
  • Driven to Suicide: A good number of suicides or attempted suicides
    • Taichi commits suicide at the end of Touko's route after Touko is killed Taking the Bullet.
    • Some off-hand dialogue reveals that Miyuki, a member of the broadcast club who was seen briefly in an early flashback, suffered from psychotic attack at some point that lead to her attempting to kill herself. She's apparently been institutionalized ever since.
    • Yutaka jumped off the school a year before the main story. While seemingly just a random incident, it turns out Taichi basically caused the entire incident after he psychologically broke him.
    • Misato very suddenly kills herself in a bad ending to Youko's route. It's heavily implied this is also what her "accident" in Miki's route was as well.
    • Flashbacks reveal Touko attempted to kill herself after Taichi broke up with her, and only survived because Youko was at the scene at the time to save her.
    • Taichi comes incredibly close to killing himself after he's left completely alone in the final week, due to a combination of intense isolation and self-loathing taking its toll on his mental state. It's only through The Power of Love that he chooses to live.
  • Dysfunction Junction: It's important to remember that everyone in this has been deemed unlikely to be able to adapt to society. They ALL have something wrong with them. Except Sakuraba, who is only in the school because he requested to be transferred there after falling in love with Taichi.
  • Ear Cleaning: In Miki's route. Unfortunately, Miki is terrible with this.
  • Elevator School: Gunjou is one without the university.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Tower of Friends.
  • First-Name Basis: Youko and Touko address Taichi this way. For Youko, it's because they've known each other since childhood. For Touko, it's a hint that their relationship is a lot deeper than initially portrayed.
  • The Four Loves: Considering the theme of the game, it appears often.
    • Storge: Kiri towards Yutaka, Tomoki and Misato, Nanaka towards Taichi, combined with Agape love. Sakuraba is also said to have a very good family, unlike Touko.
    • Phileos: The Broadcasting Club (and Tomoki), of course.
    • Eros: Pretty much all the girls you see towards Taichi. Including Sakuraba.
    • Agape: Nanaka towards Taichi, which Taichi later gives in turn to his friends.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Taichi mentions "petting", there is a brief flash of an H-CG drawn in a different style. This CG is actually from one of Flying Shine's other eroge, Shokuzai no Kyoushitsu BAD END.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Early into the game, Taichi has a rather strange homerotic dream of Sakuraba trying sexually assault him. This is actually a flashback to when they first met.
    • Taichi always enters the girl's bathroom out of habit. Later its revealed that Taichi was made to crossdress his entire childhood as a "doll".
    • Despite attempting to perv on her like all the other girls, Taichi always feels any lust he has vanishing while talking to Nanaka. Because he subconsciously recognizes her as his mother.
  • The Ghost: Mutsumi-san, Taichi's and formerly Youko's as well, caretaker.
  • Gratuitous English: Sakuraba gets to show off his supposed bilingual ability in Miki's route.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Taichi mixes in quite a few languages in his speech, and once even emulated a Mexican accent.
  • Golden Ending: As pointed out by Youko the hundreds or thousands of times Taichi has repeated the game has resulted in countless downer endings for Taichi and there IS no super happy ending out there. And ultimately she is proven right in the game's Bittersweet Ending, where everyone but Taichi gets sent back to the real world, Taichi remains in self-imposed exile, and it's left questionable if a few people who he sends back will ever fully recover and become functional members of society. (Kiri does not fully heal, but it's enough for her to leave Gunjou.)
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The Broadcasting Club are experiencing the same week on a loop, starting with their return from their camping trip and ending with them sending out the signal. Each iteration of the loop comes with both some major and subtle changes, however.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: This seems to be the opinion of most of the girls, especially when they hear about Taichi and Sakuraba's story.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Heaps of it between Taichi and Sakuraba, Played for Laughs. Sakuraba heading to Gunjou after he fell in love with Taichi in a dress does not help matters.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Where Touko's Demon Harakiri Blade and Kiri's Buckmaster's Mark Point Crossbow come from. Also lampshaded by Taichi.
    Taichi: "That's just too weird! There's no way something so big could fit in your pocket!"
  • In-Series Nickname: The "Flowers" for Kiri and Miki.
  • Irony: Despite Sakuraba being the most stable member of the group, he's also the Cloudcuckoolander.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One : An exchange of insults between Tomoki and Taichi.
    Tomoki: Lower classes, lower income!
    Taichi: Earth debris!
    Tomoki: Lone survivor of the stock market crash!
    Taichi: D-d-d-don't talk about my stocks!
  • Iyashikei: The game has the general aesthetic of this, with Taichi even stating that as the town's theme. But considering the people attempting to carry out the Slice of Life activities are a Dysfunction Junction, things get worse pretty quickly.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During the second to last week Youko points out that every one of the hundreds or maybe thousands of weeks preceding could be considered a Bad End. Taichi is not happy at the end of a single one, and he's also frequently dead. Along with the entire cast.
    • Earlier on, Taichi wonders to himself, "Am I some sort of eroge hero or something?"
  • Left Hanging: While the main story rather conclusively wraps up the main narrative, a lot of strange details about the world the characters are in suddenly vanish after Miki's route is finished. "Tower of Friends" resolves some of them, but ends up creating "more" in its stead.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Actually pointed out when Taichi remarks on how Youko never bothers to change her dirty uniform. When he asks how Touko is able to keep wearing the same dress while keeping it clean, Youko mentions that it's because she has multiple copies of the same outfit.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: All over the soundtrack.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: In a rather unique way.
  • Madness Mantra: During Tower of Friends, sometimes some crosses appear in the text box, among other things.
    • Fridge Horror: If you look at Meaningful Name below, "korosu" (kill) sounds very similar to "Kurosu", which is a near homophone with "cross" in Japanese. More crosses appear as alternate Taichi's sanity slips. †††††††††
  • Malaproper: Taichi is really bad with this. His weird usage of Gratuitous English makes it even worse.
  • Meaningful Echo: "I'm sorry... that's all I can leave you with..." Unique in that the second time you hear it is actually the first.
  • Mind Screw: Oh boy. It's not too bad at first glance, but trying to read into everything put in this game can give you a headache.
    • Mind Screwdriver: Tower of Friends manages to be both this and the above trope. Somehow.
  • Minimalist Cast: You know NANACA†CRASH!!? That's basically the entire cast minus two or three shown characters in the backstory.
  • Multiple Endings: All of which are in a sense canon! However, Youko points out that not a single one has been a good ending to the week. At best he's managed to reconcile with one person, but either everyone dies (Misato/Touko's weeks), almost everyone dies (Miki), or the aforementioned reconciliation is extremely forced and messed-up (Kiri). There's only one 'true' ending.
  • No Antagonist: With the exception of debatably Youko, none of the students take an antagonistic role in the story really. An argument can even be made that Taichi is the games main antagonist.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted twice: one in the beginning of the story with Touko, and another with Kiri in a rather Squick-worthy moment.
  • The Plan: Youko nearly pulls off one in the final week, figuring out what Taichi is up to she aids him without question in sending everyone else back to the real world. Then when only the two of them remain she torches all the saved records from the hokora then captures and plans to kill his "saved" self and live forever in a perpetual loop with him as a phenomena, with his reset self none the wiser to what has happened and incapable of learning the truth. Only a brutal last minute Breaking Speech by Taichi allows him to turn the tables and force her to leave instead.
  • Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: To conceal Youko not killing anyone at the Shinkawa mansion, and Touko impaling herself with her sword. Also, when Taichi describes some sort of sexual technique to Kiri, the Shinkawa mansion flashes on screen for a second. Then you finish Kiri's week and something clicks in your head.
  • The Power of Friendship: The game revolves around this. It's friendship that helps the Broadcasting Club live through their problems, even if they can't exactly get over them.
  • The Power of Love: As Taichi suffers a Heroic BSoD from being alone for so long, he draws upon the very first memory he has: his very own birth. That makes him realize that there was always at least one person in the world who would unconditionally love him, without ever asking anything in return: his mother, Nanaka.
  • Punny Name: In the Updated Re-release on the Xbox 360, Misato decides to call a dog "Poko-chin". Chinpoko is Japanese slang for a tiny penis...
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Averted. Taichi can never remember what happened in a past week, but there is the spot safe from resets at the hokora. Notebooks are stored there. Near the end, Youko intends to abuse this to make Taichi forget his plan of sending everyone home, but he mentally breaks her down instead.
    • The hokora is also the only place where Taichi can send everyone back.
  • Rule of Three: Used for laughs and drama at different points. The But Thou Must! segment uses this trope for comedy, while Nanaka's last words to Taichi are repeated thrice for an extra punch in the gut.
  • Sanity Slippage: Everyone, but it is most obvious with Taichi. Each arc shows you a more tragic and/or crazy Taichi than the last. It's especially bad in Kiri's route, which gets rather... unpleasant. It's the route that really introduces just how messed up Taichi is, so the writers pulled no punches in making the point. During the final route, you get to see a different version where Taichi uses the knowledge from the notebooks to avoid all the really disgusting scenes. While Taichi may or may not be trapped forever depending on how you look at it, he's at least sane at last.
  • Sexual Karma: Played With. Most of Taichi's "encounters" are forceful, yet passionate, reflecting his somewhat skewed morality. However, during his second sex scene with Miki, the sex is shown to be incredibly awkward, yet it's probably the one where Taichi cared the most.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Largely averted - though the concept of an "adaptation coefficient" is utterly laughable and several characters' "ultramarines" (i.e. the reason they were sent to Gunjou) are singled out, it's also implied that their "defining" neuroses are hardly their only ones, and what few issues are conquered during the course of the game don't magically turn them into well-adjusted people overnight.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Despite a lot of dark themes and critique of anime cliches and aversion of Single-Issue Psychology, the game ends in a largely idealistic manner. This is reflected in a throwaway line during the epilogue, which states that Taichi's weekly broadcasts were actually able to stop many people from committing suicide, proving the point of how valuable human communication and connection really is.
  • There Are No Therapists: You know it's bad when there's an entire school dedicated to isolating all the crazy people.
  • Through His Stomach: Indirect version. Yuusa's mom tries to get on Taichi's good side by giving him really good food for lunch and lots of it.
  • Title Drop: When the Broadcasting Club decides on the name of their channel before their first broadcast.
  • Trailers Always Lie: As seen here.
  • Trapped in Another World: What's truly going on with the students.
  • Updated Re-release: CROSS†CHANNEL ~To all people~ for the PS2 and PSP and CROSS†CHANNEL ~In memory of all people~ for the Xbox 360. Both versions include new CGs and remove the sex scenes, while ~In memory of all people~ includes two new scenarios.
  • Utsuge: Especially in the final weeks.
  • Wham Line:
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The epilogue shows the lives of the main cast in the months after Taichi sent them back to the real world. Most of them show their lives as largely unchanged, though Misato has moved back in with her family, and Kiri has officially recovered enough to leave Gunjou. Regardless of situation, though, all of them hear one of Taichi's broadcasts.