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Visual Novel / Dark Nights

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Miyoko, the protagonist of the game
"You live in a small, peaceful village. Every day is the same as any other; boring. Right when you wish for something exciting to happen, strange things start to occur, stemming from the nearby forest. If that isn't enough, the locals have begun disappearing. At the same time you meet four mysterious guys. Will you discover the truth before becoming the next target?"
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Dark Nights is a 2019 visual novel created by Pinlin, made on the Ren’py engine. It is a mystery, otome visual novel with horror elements.

You play as Miyoko, a bored daredevil who lives in a town where locals are mysteriously disappearing and then getting murdered. Miyoko chooses to investigate one of the four mysterious men that appear around town during this period: The blunt and dismissive Zeikun, quiet gentleman Junoru, the lost little boy Sachiro and the care-free and friendly Kurato. As Miyoko delves further into her investigation, she realises the dark secrets the town is hiding.

Dark Nights was released on the 31st October 2019 and can be downloaded here.

Dark Nights contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Tenshi ends up getting murdered just because he was used as a human shield by Kurato.
  • Action Girl: Miyoko can defend herself from creepy stalkers, assailants and supernatural spirits
  • Alas, Poor Villain: On Zeikun’s route, though Chain tries to kill Zeikun, he sustains fatal injuries after the fight and requests Miyoko to burn his body as he does not want to be remembered. This is made worse when you realise he had protected her before.
    • Roya’s death on Junoru’s route is also gut-wrenching.
  • Alternate Universe: Rasumi’s goals in every route changes. Miyoko’s personality is also slightly different depending on who she pursues.
  • Ankle Drag: Happens to Miyoko on Kurato’s route, but thankfully she doesn’t die.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Without the bell sound effect from the right choices, getting the romantic ending would be quite difficult.
  • Anti-Hero: A couple of examples
    • Roya seeks vengeance for everyone who was responsible for their parents’ deaths and still murders people today to quell the zombie infestation.
    • Chain wants to eliminate all supernatural creatures as he believes they are too dangerous. This means he would even kill his friends, relatives or humans who defend them.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The elite class in their school are relatively unknown but can be recognised by their fancy uniforms. Subverted as this is where most of the weird supernatural creatures are.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When someone goes to an angel to make a wish, the price they have to pay often makes the wish not worth it. This happens to Sachiro who loses his powers and memories just to live as a normal human. If he regains his memories before his one-year contract period Rasumi would capture him again.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Blace’s philosophy and justification for being prickly with everyone. Justified since he would have to send these people to their death anyway.
  • Big Bad: Rasumi ends up being the final villain in most of the routes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sachiro’s normal ending, where Miyoko and Sachiro cannot be together in the end.
    • Kurato’s normal ending also has Miyoko and Kurato working together to defeat the possessed people but Kurato still remains cursed for eternity.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Chain sees all supernatural creatures (and humans who side with them) as evil and kills every one of them.
  • Bridal Carry: Kurato does this to Miyoko on his normal route (so does Roya). And Zeikun does this to Miyoko on his route. Miyoko sure is pampered.
    • In fact, this happens to Miyoko a lot whenever she is running away from an enemy.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Junoru and Miyoko if Miyoko pursues him.
  • Came Back Strong: Zig-zagged with Tenshi. He is reborn as a weak, little child called Kaichi in this era, but in the night he transforms into a powerful shinigami.
  • Cassandra Truth: Who would believe that ghosts and supernatural creatures are committing these murders? Right?
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bunny that Miyoko keeps running into in the beginning of Zeikun’s route. It ends up protecting her in multiple instances.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Some of the bodies of the murder victims end up mutilated.
  • Cultured Badass: Junoru is usually well-mannered until you try to kill him or his loved ones.
  • Damsel in Distress: Miyoko ends up taken as hostage in many instances by zombies, afterlife guardians.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All the main love interests and even some side characters hold some trauma from the past.
    • Junoru and Roya's parents constantly received threats from jealous townsfolk who wanted their formula for immortality. Their parents were murdered and Junoru and Roya were forced to drink the potions to avoid them from falling into the wrong hands. This caused them to become the living dead who are still being chased after today.
    • Zeikun's grandmother had tainted the reputation of the forest demon such that the townfolk villanise the demon. This causes Zeikun to live away from the townsfolk while the townsfolk try to pin any misfortune on him.
    • Though Sachiro protects the village by killing evil spirits, he slowly turns into an evil spirit and is not allowed to enter the temple anymore. This makes him wish that he could live as a human instead, pushing him to make a deal with an angel.
    • Kurato literally got cursed because he opened a box given to him by an angel, and this angel refused to remove the curse. He then gets sent through time as punishment for using Tenshi, his only friend in his class, as a human shield when said angel tries to kill him.
    • Tenshi literally got killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least he is reborn as a shinigami now.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Zeikun’s route shows that demons get a bad rep for things that happened in the past.
    • Junoru, although a zombie, does not want to harm anyone.
  • The Dividual: Jace and Blace are brothers, who look similar (but not indentical) and always work together, but have different personalities: Blace is hot-tempered one and Jace is easy-going one. Blace guards the Heaven Gates, and Jace guards the Gates of Hell.
  • Easily Forgiven: Miyoko seems pretty chill about Roya committing all these murders on Junoru and Kurato’s route.
  • Expy: Junoru's dad looks a lot like Sebastian Michaelis. He's probably not as evil, but he ends up being dragged to Hell all the same. And, while Junoru is rather similar to Ciel Phantomhive in backstory and character design, his brother Roya is similar to Ciel in his motivation and methods.
  • Extreme Close-Up: Hope you get a good night’s sleep after that close-up of the face stealer on Sachiro’s bad end 2.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Zombies, ghosts, demons, shinigami and angels are present in the work - and this is not even the whole list. Magic, curses, and time travel exist.
  • For the Greater Good: Multiple people want Junoru dead on his route as they believe it would end the murders.
    • On Zeikun's normal ending, he also gets willingly sealed away by exorcists to stop their witch-hunt over him.
  • Foreshadowing: The book the protagonist reads end up foreshadowing a later plot point.
    • The romance novel which starts off with slice-of-life portions mirrors the game structure, which is an otome game starting off as a slice-of-life story.
    • The novel about the protagonist falling in love with a murderer could hint at how Miyoko may ally herself with people who are partially responsible for the murders and disappearances in Junoru’s route.
    • Bright Days, the sequel to a novel called Dark Nights hints at how the side characters have their own stories as well.
  • Forgotten First Meeting:
  • Ghost Story: The story of the school ghost and the forest demon. They all end up being true.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Most of the zombies and ghosts you encounter have these.
  • Gone to the Future: Kurato being whisked to the future without anyway to return. There is a tombstone for him which can be found in present day.
  • Good All Along: Junoru and Roya who are responsible for the disappearances/murders end up being well-intentioned people who also want to stop the rampage. Though some ways more immoral than others.
  • Grass is Greener: Sachiro wishes to become a human though Kaichi tries to dissuade him, saying human life isn’t that great compared to spirit life.
  • Guardian Entity: The temple guardian Sachiro, who kills evil spirits.
    • The forest demon also protects the spirits in the forest. The current forest demon Zeikun occasionally helps the humans as well, despite being told not to be involved with them.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck getting through the chase scene in Zeikun’s route on your first try.
  • Haunted House: The game opens with Miyoko passing an abandoned mansion presumed to be haunted. Sachiro also approaches Miyoko to look for a haunted house.
  • Have We Met?: Miyoko to Kurato when he mentions that he had met her before.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Quite a few instances.
    • Miyoko does this when Chain attempts to murder a mourning Junoru.
    • Junoru also may have done this in his normal ending.
    • Kurato does this in his animal form to save Miyoko on Zeikun’s route.
    • On Zeikun's route, the game punishes you for choosing not to do a heroic sacrifice, and instead watch all your friends sacrifice themselves instead.
  • High-Class Glass: Roya wore a monocle when he was a child.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: On Zeikun's normal ending Kaichi ends up dying the exact same way he did in the past.
  • Identical Stranger: Miyoko finds an article on Kurato with his childhood photo attached to it, but brushes it off as being an identical stranger since this article was dated a century ago. They are actually the same person.
  • Just a Kid: Many people say this to Miyoko when she tries to get more involved in the murder investigations. On Sachiro’s route, Chain also says this about Kaichi when Miyoko suspects he kidnapped Sachiro.
  • Just in Time: Miyoko is often saved from danger at the nick of time by her private guard, her love interest or some other random event
  • Light Is Not Good: Though Rasumi is a sweet-looking angel, she becomes the final villain on all the routes and acts purely for her self-interest/amusement.
  • Literally Falling in Love: How does that mid-air kiss in Zeikun's romantic end work anyway?
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Roya seems to take the whole being-turned-into-zombies thing pretty well.
    Roya: Welcome to immortality, lil’ bro!
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Every time Miyoko defends the current love interest in the middle of a battle.
  • May–December Romance: Subverted with Sachiro. He ends up looking his real age when he regains his memories.
  • Mysterious Stranger: The premise of the entire game is investigating one of the four mysterious strangers.
  • Not What It Looks Like: On Junoru’s route, Miyoko confides in Ikuya about her crush (she hasn’t revealed who they are yet) and later that night Ikuya walks in on Blace and Miyoko having a serious conversation in her bedroom. Hilarity ensues.
    • On Zeikun's route, Ikuya and Lioji were heard making very strange sounds in Miyoko's bedroom.
  • Old-School Chivalry: When Junoru takes Miyoko to their school ball, he comes in a carriage drawn by two deers.
    • Junoru, Roya, Jace, Blace and Rasumi also fall under this.
  • One-Steve Limit: Junoru happens to share the same surname as the family that was killed a century ago, and Miyoko brushes this off as a coincidence. Justified as he is from that same family.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Junoru and Roya are different from the common zombies as they have some superpowers as well (Junoru has telekinesis and heals insanely fast and Roya has super strength). In fact, they have a whole hierarchy of zombies from brainless ones, parasitic, to inhuman humans.
  • Police Are Useless: As the body-count increases, the police — sans Chain — don’t really do much.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted with Blace and Jace. Blace is dressed in blue but is the hot-tempered one and Jace is dressed in red and is the easy-going one.
  • Reincarnation Friendship: Subverted. Though Kaichi and Kurato are in the same generation again, Kaichi hates him and wants revenge.
  • Serial Killer: Once the body count starts increasing, civilians suspect a serial killer is on the loose.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Junoru to Miyoko in his romantic ending.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Miyoko and Zeikun, though downplayed since Zeikun is pretty strong too.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Though Miyoko is pretty small she can pack a punch. Roya also has insane strength.
  • Tear Jerker: Junoru and Zeikun’s normal endings.
  • Time Travel Episode: Chapter 3 of Sachiro’s route where Miyoko gets sent to the past.
  • Token Human: Miyoko surrounded by the cast of pretty boys who are all supernatural creatures.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Zig-zagged with Miyoko. Miyoko can find the cure for zombieism and beat up zombies with an umbrella on some routes. But she follows mysterious strangers, walks into haunted houses unarmed and walks around the streets late at night even though there are murderers lurking.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: There are many urban legends such as forest demons, temple guardians and ghosts. And they’re all true.
  • Trapped in the Past: Miyoko gets whisked to the past in Sachiro’s route.
  • The Unfettered: Chain seems pretty ruthless in eliminating all supernatural creatures, regardless of how dangerous they seem to be.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Kaichi gives this as an excuse to spare Kurato on his route if Kurato runs into him at the school.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Why would you kick a ghost child? Look what it’s gonna do to you now!
  • Wall Pin of Love: Miyoko does this to Kurato twice on his route. Subverted when she does this to Kaichi on Zeikun’s route, as she’s just testing his strength.
  • What Have I Become?: Sachiro realises he becomes less and less human after killing more spirits, such that he cannot even enter the temple anymore.
  • The Woobie: You've gotta feel sorry for some the boys in this game.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • Subverted. Though Blace and Jace had a hand in his parents’ deaths, Junoru seems to understand they had their own circumstances and doesn’t want revenge.
    • Played straight with Roya however, who spent his childhood murdering the people who betrayed their parents.