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Visual Novel / Death Mark

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Death Mark (死印 Shiin); titled Spirit Hunter: Death Mark in the US, is a supernatural horror adventure game developed by Experience, Inc. on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, and Steam.

Set in H City of Tokyo, Death Mark revolves around people who bear the eponymous Mark, who are fated to die after having it for too long, and suffer memory loss in the meantime (which affects their ability to live normally). Marks are the doing of malevolent spirits, born of grudges and resentful of the living. And those who are Marked tend to meet impossibly horrific ends.

The Player Character is Kazuo Yashiki, is a man who dismisses the rumors about disappearing people as stupid Urban Legends. Cut ahead to him in front of the manor of Saya Kujou, where he discovers A.) a scar on his right arm in the shape of a fanged mouth, B.) Saya Kujou herself dead, with flowers growing out of her body, C.) Kujou's life-sized doll that can talk, and D.) the unsettled man has forgotten his own memories. The doll, named Mary, helps Kazuo come to grips with his predicament of identity, before presenting him with a nasty revelation: he indeed possesses the Mark, and he will die by dawn. And Saya Kujou was on the verge of breaking her own Mark... but perished before she could pass that information onto Mary.


Faced with the prospect of death, Kazuo chooses to fight his Mark, with Mary's assistance; but it will not be easy, for the one responsible for the Mark does not want Kazuo to live without a fight, and sends various vengeful ghosts to hinder his progress.

The official Japanese site and English site is available.

The game is followed up by a sequel known as Spirit Hunter: NG.


  • The '90s: The dates line up with the last great war (World War II) taking place 50 years ago and Seiko Hasegawa's death was five years ago from the start of the story. Chapter 4 treats cell phones as more of a new invention that'll soon be everywhere.
  • Abusive Parents: Adopted parent, but the principal of H Elementary adopted a young boy and every night in a secret room under his school "tutored" the boy, slowly killing him.
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  • Adults Are Useless: The boy that would become Hanahiko asked for help from the teachers at H Elementary, but they all refused out of fear of the principal. Likewise, in Chapter 6 DLC, S-ko went to her teacher to get help reporting illicit activities at Masquerade, only to be betrayed by him and tortured at the hotel.
  • Adult Fear: Your son being abused by the principal of his elementary school, and no one believing that the principal could be capable of doing that.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Mary's origins and identity are left largely a mystery in the main game. However, the artbook included in the limited edition details her history. A small town, which would eventually become H City, was plagued by a curse. To suppress this, people were ritually sacrificed every fifty years, the first being a foreign girl with strong spiritual energy. Eventually, the Kujous created elaborate living dolls infused with spiritual energy to contain the curse, but the knowledge behind the dolls was lost in the war. One particular doll, resembling the foreign girl, was particularly powerful. When Mary awoke, she was fueled by the power of the curse she contained and the grudges of countless human sacrifices.
    • Red Riding Hood's true name: Sayoko Shiina, known as S-ko in-game.
  • Alternate Character Reading/Meaningful Name: The default name given to the protagonist, Kazuo Yashiki. The surname "Yashiki" here uses the kanji 八敷, but an alternative "yashiki" would be the kanji 屋敷, meaning "mansion", and Kazuo using the kanji 一男 means "eldest son". Mary was both saying his assigned name — "Yashiki-sama"/"Lord Yashiki" — and "Eldest Son who is Lord of the Mansion" since he's really Masamune Kujou, the previous head of the Kujou family prior to his younger sister Saya taking over. For an additional spin, there's the kanji 八 for the number eight and the kanji 一 for the number one — the Kujou's kanji is 九条, 九 being the number nine.
  • Amateur Sleuth: The protagonist, as well as some of his Marked companions. Not with Mashita; he's a former police detective.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: By the end of the game, Kazuo Yakishi feels this way about his true self, Masamune Kujo. Kujo played a dangerous game to purify the nenjibutsu sealing Mary, which unleashed cursed ghosts upon H City that has left victims in its wake.
  • Amnesiac Hero: The protagonist.
  • Apologetic Attacker: If the ghost of Seiko Hasegawa is successfully appeased instead of destroyed, the last words they leave behind is their apology to the mark bearers for their actions before they pass on.
  • Animal Motif: Bees for Shimi-O and spiders for Red Riding Hood.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Moe is a big occult fan and has always wanted to meet a ghost. She found meeting Hanahiko terrifying.
  • Bee Afraid: Shimi-O in Chapter 2 kills his victims with a drill and turns them into human beehives. He's also covered in hundreds of bees.
  • Berserk Button: Madoka Hiroo flies off the handle whenever someone mentions anything occult-related. Hanayome also murders anyone who says they saw "it".
  • Big Bad: The one responsible for giving Kazuo Yashiki his Mark and creating all the Vengeful Ghosts that he must fight for his life against is Mary, the doll who pretended to be his ally throughout his investigations but is actually a sadist who thrives on the pain and suffering that comes from inflicting people with a Death Mark.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Banshee gets a major one. When the protagonist and Hiroo face off against the Kannon Soldier, Banshee comes running at the last moment (having run all the way from the mansion, on top of that) to give them the tool they need to appease/defeat the spirit: one of Masamune's chisels. Sometimes, it is Daimon who saves the day, which is a more impressive feat considering his usual sickly conditions.
    • Mashita gets one in the Chapter 6 DLC when he stops the protagonist from being dragged out the window to his death by Red Riding Hood.
  • Big Good: Saya Kujou helps the protagonist either as the black bunny or a voice in his head. Towako Yasuoka seems to take up the role in the Chapter 6 DLC.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The good ending of the game. The Mark is finally cleansed from the protagonist and Mary is defeated. However, the seal will eventually wear down on Mary again and the protagonist remembers he's Masamune Kujou. Not only did he knowingly allow the risk of Mary wreaking havoc for a month so he could re-seal her, but he also lost his sister Saya Kujou as a result.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Hanayome operates on this. While she'll help you find something missing if you didn't see "it", she'll also brutally murder you and eat your eyes if you say you saw "it".
  • Bungled Suicide: Shimi-O's change into a ghost was because of his bungled suicide, so he was left alone while the rest of his cult died successfully.
  • Cool Big Sis: By chapter 6, Christie's taken this role to Suzu.
  • Convenient Coma: Masamune Kujou was in one for half a year while abroad. During this time Saya was made the head of the household.
  • Creepy Doll: Mary, the late Saya Kujou's doll. Luckily, she's also an ally to the Mark Bearers. Or not...
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Hanahiko's biological mother doted on him and happily played along with her son's interest in makeup and dressing as a girl.
  • Depraved Homosexual: It's strongly implied that the principal of H Elementary regularly raped the boy that would become Hanahiko till he died.
  • The Ditz: Let's just say Ai isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • Downer Ending: The bad ending of the game, where at least one Mark Bearer dies. The protagonist fails to properly seal Mary and she comes for him at the end.
  • Down the Drain: In Chapter 4, you end up going down a sewer in Manhole Street. You come back in Chapter 5 to find and explore a hidden military research lab housing many questionable experiments, most notably the Kannon Soldier.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hanayome (Seiko Hasegawa) and Red Riding Hood (S-ko), resulting in them becoming ghosts.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Each of the spirits' appearances are beyond deformed once they reveal themselves.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Banshee Itou states that despite being homeless, he would never steal. Which he proves when he returns the protagonist's forgotten wallet when they met 10 days ago.
  • Eye Scream: Hanayome will eat the eyes of anyone that says they saw her blackmail photos.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Mary is a beautiful doll, but she's actually incredibly sadistic and kept the protagonist alive just to feast on his fear and despair.
  • Fan Disservice: There are plenty of attractive women in various levels of stages of nudity in this game... as the ghosts are slowly killing them...
  • Fat Bastard: Shimi-O is an obese ghost that kills his victims with a drill and uses their corpses as bee hives. In life, he was a cult leader that urged his followers into ritual suicide.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Even with all the supernatural events she's personally exposed to, Madoka Hiroo completely refuses to believe in anything "unscientific".
  • Flower Motif: Hanahiko has this motif with making his victims sprout flowers out of their bodies.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Mary states that coming face to face to the spirit that gave a person their mark tends to accelerate the amnesia caused by the mark. The protagonist seems to forget his name just as he met Mary.
    • An one-off line by Ai has her joking that the bunker under North Street in chapter 4 is a lab. Chapter 5 reveals she was very much right.
  • Genki Girl: Moe and Ai are usually very cheerful and hyperactive.
  • The Ghost: Towako Yasuoka in the Chapter 6 DLC. Every other Mark bearer either appears or at least has a line of dialogue, but she is mentioned a lot.
  • Healing Factor: Mary is revealed to have one, recovering from her "death" after one day.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The default name for the protagonist is "Kazuo Yashiki", but players can give him a new name at the start.
  • Heroic Dog: Seiko Hasegawa's dog Genta chased after the truck of the gang that kidnapped her and was killed in its chase.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite Eita's appearance and personality, he cares deeply about Suzu to the point he's more afraid for her than himself and admits he wouldn't be able to forgive himself if something happened to her.
  • How Unscientific!: The trope name gets quoted in Chapter 5 by Madoka.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Christie, as her journalism knowledge provide clues.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Christie went to the forest to commit suicide, but seeing Shimi-O scared her too much to go through with it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Satoru Mashita. His lines are filled with derision and sarcasm. But he cares greatly for human life and is very protective of everyone around him.
  • Love Hotels: The hotel Masquerade in chapter 6 DLC is an abandoned one.
  • Marked to Die: Every person who bears the Mark as a result of interaction with a haunted Spirit.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Manabi Zukawa has always hated humanity, even wondering as a child why she was human. She jumped at the chance to become something else.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Christie didn't react well when she saw Eita Nakamatsu with Suzu Morimiya at the dead of night in chapter 3. Though Eita only sees Suzu as a little sister.
  • Multiple Endings: Each chapter has alternative endings depending on who you partner with and what item you use to either appease or defeat the spirit. Generally, appeasement results in a "good" ending. Defeat, on the other hand...
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The protagonist, or Masamune Kujou. The protagonist is the one who intentionally removed the expiring seal on Mary in order to extend it for a few more decades, allowing her to awaken, and who removed the nenjibutsu suppressing her powers, allowing her to run wild for a month. Even without his memories, he unknowingly helped Mary's agenda through helping her expose Mark Bearers to spirits, giving her fear to feed off of.
  • Old School Building: Chapter 1 revolves around H Elementary, where the spirit of Hanahiko dwells. Chapter 4 returns to that same building, where Miss Zoo dwells on the second floor.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: If a character is behaving out of sorts, it means that their Mark's effects are progressing further.
  • Plot Armor: Downplayed as some characters need to survive till the next chapter, thus they can't be used in the climax of the current chapter where they could potentially die.
  • Posthumous Character: Saya Kujou, the spirit healer who owns both the Kujou manor and Mary the doll. The protagonist discovers her dead body in one of the rooms, where it soon vanishes. The Reveal confirms that Saya is the protagonist's younger sister in the Kujou clan, who possessed a black rabbit that has helped the protagonist till Chapter 4.
  • Pragmatic Hero: The protagonist, or more accurately, his true self Masamune Kujou, is this. He purposefully took out the nenjibutsu that was sealing Mary's powers as he knew it was reaching its limit. He took it to be cleansed so it could seal Mary's powers again, but that would take time. When faced with a month of letting Mary run wild to an eternity, he chose the month despite knowing that lives could be lost.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It's disturbingly common for the ghosts.
    • It's strongly implied the boy that would become Hanahiko was adopted and then raped daily by the principal till he died.
    • Seiko Hasegawa was kidnapped, gang-raped, and then had photographs of the aftermath taken by the gang as blackmail just before her wedding. She committed suicide from grief.
  • Recurring Character: At least one character from one chapter will resurface in the next, whether they are/were Marked or not.
  • Red Herring: The game strongly hinted since Chapter 3 that the cause of the protagonist's mark is the grudge of the Buddha statues that were stolen from the H Shrine, only for chapter 5 to reveal it's false and Mary is the actual cause of everyone's misfortune.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Seiko Hasegawa's fiancé found and murdered every member of the gang that raped her in revenge for her suicide.
    • It's implied that the Kannon Soldier's rampage against the army was fueled by the grudges of the Buddha statues that were beheaded and the victims of the Imperial Japanese Army scientists' insane experiments.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: It's implied that Hiroo and Daimon got their Marks because they're the grandchildren of the survivors of the Kannon Soldier's first attack and their Marks were passed down when the soldier reactivated.
  • Starter Villain: Hanahiko is the first ghost and the only one of the five ghosts that doesn't hint at Mary's role as the Big Bad.
  • The Stoic: Shuuji Daimon's character sprites always have a very emotionally neutral face.
  • Undying Loyalty: Seiko Hasegawa's dog Genta is this towards his owner and her fiance. After it died trying to save Seiko, it willingly became a spirit to guide Hanayome to the afterlife where her fiancé was waiting.
  • Vengeful Ghost: What the protagonist and the others have to overcome over the course of the game.
    • Chapter 1 has Hanahiko, the spirit of a cross-dressing boy who largely despises adults. He'll also kill you if you tell him he's pretty... and fail to give him that "red stuff" he's been looking for. It's his mom's red lipstick, a memento of the one person who never judged him. Hanahiko has cursed Saya Kujou (who died when her Mark remained unsolved before running out of time), Moe Watanabe, Tsukasa Yoshida, and ex-detective Satoru Mashita.
    • Chapter 2 has Shimi-O, a figure in the forest who kills people with a power drill. He used to be a member of a cult, the Honey Bee Family, near H Shrine and had botched his suicide to a degree. One of Mashita's fellow officers had tried to infiltrate the cult, but was outed. Shimi-O's victims would be turned into new "beehives". His cursed victim is high school student Shou Nagashima as well as Satoru Mashita, who intentionally got in an encounter with Shimi-O out of his own curiosity.
    • Chapter 3 has Hanayome, who has a thing about people "seeing it" and eats the eyeballs of her victims. She was Seiko Hasegawa, a bride who was gang-raped before committing suicide out of shame and the fear of photographic blackmail when her rapists pulled out a camera. Her cursed victims are Otaku Eita Nakamatsu, journalist Christie Arimura, and young Suzu Morimiya.
    • Chapter 4 has Miss Zoo, a former teacher at H Elementary that loves animals. She was also a former misanthropic researcher named Manabi Zukawa who willingly turned herself into a vengeful spirit so she could continue her experiments with animals. Her cursed victims are idol/actress Ai Kashiwagi and fortune teller Towako Yasuoka.
    • Chapter 5 has the Kannon Soldier, an experiment gone wrong that killed the IJA scientists that performed on it back towards the end of World War II. Its cursed victims are science researcher Madoka Hiroo, Dr. Shuuji Daimon, and vagabond Banshee Itou.
    • Chapter 6 DLC has Red Riding Hood, who drives people crazy to the point of them committing suicide if they go into the abandoned love hotel with her where she haunts when it rains. She was a high school student known as S-ko who had threatened to tell on her fellow students of their highly questionable "part-time job" at the love hotel Masquerade, but was tricked into a BDSM "game" by the very teacher she had respected because he was also one of the "clients" of Masquerade. She later committed suicide from the sixth floor of the hospital where she had been sent to, the very same floor where the "special clients" went to at Masquerade and where she was tortured. Her cursed victims were Madoka, Banshee, and Shou.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Madoka Hiroo was this with Manabi Zukawa, who would become Miss Zoo.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending in Chapter 5 tells what happened to each of the surviving Mark bearers.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The artbook mentions that H City is located in Western Tokyo (Tama area).


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