Double Cast (ダブルキャスト, Daburu Kyasuto) is the first entry in the interactive anime Visual Novel series Yarudora, produced by Sony Computer Entertainment, and developped by Sugar&Rockets and Production I.G. The game was initially released in 1998 on Playstation 1, then re-released in 2005 on Playstation Portable and in 2009 on the Playstation Store.
The story takes place in summer, and is about an unnamed protagonist (supposed to be the player's representative), who is a member of his college's Film Club. One night, he goes out drinking with his fellow club members, and gets so drunk that he passes out on top of a bunch of garbage bags. Upon awakening, he finds himself on a fountain with a strange girl holding him, the girl who took him out of the garbage bags. As thanks, the protagonist takes her for a bite at a nearby fast food restaurant. He quickly discovers that the girl has no memory of who she is aside from her name: Mitsuki Akasaka. With nowhere for her to go, the protagonist offers for her to stay at his place, which she enthusiastically accepts.
A short time later, the Film Club decides to film a movie called "The Enclosed Woman's Room", based off a script written ten years ago that was attempted to be filmed, but ended in tragedy and was surrounded by mysterious circumstances. As a result, the club director, Haruka, requests that they need to find a lead actress who is not connected to the school. The protagonist then asks Mitsuki to do it, and she accepts. However, although filming goes well, Mitsuki appears to be stalked by someone, and several incidents occur around the protagonist that make it seem like someone is after his life...
The "Summer" title of the four original Playstation 1 Yarudora games, Double Cast was directed by Mizuho Nishikubo (Ghost in the Shell, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Patlabor 2 The Movie), the character design is courtesy of Keiji Gotoh (Martian Successor Nadesico, Those Who Hunt Elves), and the Original Soundtrack is signed Yuki Kajiura (.hack//SIGN, My-HiME, Puella Magi Madoka Magica).
Not related to the manga of the same name.
BEWARE, this game is very story-driven. DO NOT HIGHLIGHT THE MARKED SPOILERS BELOW if you want to keep the full experience of the game. You Have Been Warned.
This game presents the following tropes:
- A Day in the Limelight: Normal Ending 1 is this for Shouko, a member of the film club who barely gets any lines in the main story, as it greatly expands and develops her character.
- Adventure Game
- All Just a Dream: Humorous example: In Bad Ending 2, where Mitsuki leaves the protagonist after their first meeting, he suddenly wakes up to find himself in the garbage bags he fell asleep on, thinking it was a dream. However, he soon sees Mitsuki, and realizes their meeting hasn't occured yet, and resolves himself not to mess up this time.
- The Atoner: Futamura, who felt guilty about (accidentally) causing the deaths of the main actress and the director of the "Enclosed Woman's Room", and thus went to the protagonist's college just so he could join the film club and finish the movie.
- Beta Couple: Futamura and Haruka, at the end of the best variation of Good End 1.
- Big Damn Heroes: Can happen during the final confrontation with the killer. After the psychotic Mitsuki tricks you and has you at her mercy, Sakuma will jump in and save you from her metal pipe. If you didn't activate the required Event Flag, he won't come and she'll kill you.
- Big Fancy House: Haruka's summer island house; not only the house itself is vast and luxurious, its bathroom is even more over-the-top; to the point the main protagonist wonders what's the purpose of building such a huge bathroom, and comments that he'll never understand rich people.
- Big "NO!": Haruka before she gets killed in the Genocide Route.
- Bittersweet Ending: Good Endings 2 and 3, where the "Mitsuki" personality falls asleep, but Shiho loses all of her memories, including her time with the protagonist, and her personality seems to be neither Shiho nor "Mitsuki". However, both endings still have her going on a date with the protagonist, as he hopes they'll be able to overcome this barrier.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: Used twice- In the Genocide Chapter, where Shouko has been killed in her bathtub, and in Shiho's flashback, where the original Mitsuki had comitted suicide by slitting her wrists in the bathtub.
- The Casanova: Sakuma, who's known for having lots of girls flocking around him, and who certainly enjoys it. This leads the protagonist to be jealous when he feels he gets too close from Mitsuki.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The psychologist Morishima, who appears briefly on a TV show. It happens very early in the game if you go eat ramen with Mitsuki. As it turns out, she was actually Shiho's psychologist while she was hospitalized for her Split Personality.
- Does Not Like Men: Justified. The original Mitsuki and "Mitsuki", due to a Domestic Abuser who traumatized her badly.
- Downer Ending: Most of the Bad Endings, naturally, but also Good Ending 4- the protagonist succeeds in falling off the roof with Shiho, but his plan to awaken her "Shiho" personality fails, and the "Mitsuki" personality is still awake and wilder than before, forcing her to be hospitalized again. However, Haruka says there is a small Hope Spot that once she sees the completed movie, she'll awaken to her old self.
- Driven to Suicide: The original Mitsuki, who did this out of a combination of her hatred for men and feelings of betrayal by her sister Shiho, who dated guys regardless. The trauma Shiho experienced from the sight of her sister's body, combined with her feelings of love and hatred for Mitsuki is what gave birth to her "Mitsuki" personality.
- Earn Your Happy Ending / Golden Ending: Good End 1, where the protagonist in-universe, and the player will have to go through lots of difficulties (and mortal danger for the protagonist) before curing Shiho from her Split Personality, and win her heart. Also, that Ending is the only one where Gouda and Hanazono don't show up for a hint, effectively making it the true ending.
- Featureless Protagonist: The protagonist's face is never shown up in the game: when he's displayed, it's either only up to his neck, or with his face hidden by the shadows in night scenes.
- Foreshadowing: Several of them, with some even being right at the beginning of the game:
- The game's title: "Double Casting" is actually a film terminology...
- The box's front cover: What in the world could mean that reflection of Mitsuki's silhouette?
- The quote at the top of the article, which are the very first lines of the game when you start it for the very first time.
- And, somewhere near the beginning of the game, the camera focuses an awful lot on the knife Mitsuki uses for cutting that cabbage...
- Genki Girl: Mitsuki, who's always playful and full of energy. She's not above teasing the protagonist a lot, too.
- Girl with Psycho Weapon: "Mitsuki"'s preferred method of killing is stabbing people with a knife, but she also likes wielding metal pipes.
- Guide Dang It!: As expected from a Yarudora game. Aside from the 100% Completion and Last Lousy Point elements typical to that series, some of the Good and Bad Endings are hard to get.
- Hint System: Appears after all Endings aside from Good End 1 (thus effectively making Good End 1 the Golden Ending). Gouda and Hanazono are the ones providing hints in the regular route, while Futamura, Haruka, Shoko and/or Mitsuki do it for the side-story routes.
- If I Can't Have You
: Mitsuki's Plan B if it the above fails. In Bad Ending 14, she forces the protagonist to let go of her to her and Shiho's demise. Made particulary poignant in that, just before, Shiho's personality briefly comes back, tearfully telling she wants to live."Mitsuki": Shiho is mine, I won't hand her over to you!!
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Played straight and subverted. The protagonist attempts to do this in his final battle with "Mitsuki" as he tries to awaken her Shiho personality again. However, this is subverted in two ways- not only does it fail, but the protagonist had also expected that would fail, and thus prepared a Plan B- jumping off the roof of the school with "Mitsuki" (onto a stunt mat) in an attempt to shock her Shiho personality awake. Whether this suceeds or not depends on your choices up until then, and leads to several endings.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Haruka has feelings for the protagonist, but lets them go because of his relationship with Mitsuki. However, when she realizes that the protagonist's life is in danger as long as Mitsuki is living with him, she arranges it so that Mitsuki lives with her in order to keep the protagonist safe. Fortunately for her, there's still a chance for her in Futamura, who has feelings for her (and confesses them in the best version of Good Ending 1).
- It's Probably Nothing: At the start of the Genocide Chapter, the protagonist hears a loud scream in the middle of the night. Two separate choices have him assume he's just hearing things and he goes back to sleep. Unsurprisingly, he turns up dead in both cases.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Mitsuki. This turns out to be the result of her clashing "Shiho" and "Mitsuki" personalities, which grew so out of hand that she suffered memory loss.
- Laughing Mad: The killer does this after having murdered everyone in one of the Genocide Chapter's Bad Endings.
- Ma'am Shock: It's possible to bring this reaction on Haruka during the bathroom scene, if you tell her that "older women aren't something I peek at". Cue a Relax-o-Vision gag of a view of the bathroom, as you hear a loud wooden bucket-like "thud" sound.
- Man on Fire: One of the ways you can die in the Genocide Chapter.
- Mistaken for Gay: Played for Laughs; in one path, Futamura admits to the protagonist that he has a crush on someone. The protagonist has the choice to guess who it is, including Gohda. If he chooses this, Futamura will joke that he's right before angrily denying it.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Mitsuki's Plan A to deal with the protagonist, with some Leave No Witnesses for good measure.
- Non Standard Game Over: Bad Endings 1 and 2 are more or less this: if the protagonist is too rude during his first meeting with Mitsuki or too insistent that she take her problems elsewhere, she gets fed up with him and leaves him right on the spot.
- Nosebleed: When the protagonist and Mitsuki are filming an intimate scene together, Mitsuki clings to the protagonist. Not used to being held like that, the protagonist suffers a nosebleed and passes out. Haruka is not pleased.
- Not What It Looks Like: In one of the later unlockable paths, the protagonist has the option of visiting a hot springs late at night, only to find that Haruka is also there. As he leaves, Mitsuki comes in, and no matter what the protagonist chooses, Haruka comes out at the wrong time, causing Mitsuki to make the wrong assumptions. Should the protagonist not choose to go after her and clear up the misunderstanding, the Genocide Chapter will occur.
- Out of the Inferno: The killer pulls this on an horrified Haruka in two of the Genocide Chapter's Bad Endings.
- The Plan: The protagonist plans quite the elaborate one in the climax. First, after figuring out that "Mitsuki" is the one trying to kill him, he calls up the rest of the film club to help him stage an ambush at the initial cut screening. Second, after gathering all the evidence he needs, films it all, and adds it into the film reel. Then, he manages to get "Mitsuki" all alone with him so he can confront her with the evidence. Then when "Mitsuki" tries to flee, he has the whole film club wait outside so she can't escape, forcing her to retreat to the roof so he can stage an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight. And then, anticipating that will fail, he has the rest of the film club prepare a stunt mat at the bottom of the school so he can jump off the roof with "Mitsuki" in an attempt to reawaken her Shiho personality.
- Psycho Knife Nut: "Mitsuki", whose preferred killing method is using big scary knives, and has a lot of psychotic fun butchering terrified people.
- Quest for Identity: Mitsuki, though she doesn't ever seem to actively seek it out, and is quite happy just living with the protagonist.
- Red Herring: The game throws several hints that makes it seem like Mitsuki's past is connected to the "Enclosed Woman's Room" script and failed shooting that occured ten years ago. As it turns out, it's actually Futamura who has the deepest connection to it, while Mitsuki has none.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Futamura in Bad Ending #10, when he reveals that he was the one who arranged for the remake of the "Enclosed Woman's Room" and caused the deaths of the last crew.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Used to great effect- the killer is always shown as being obscured by shadows to the point that you can barely make out any of their features.
- A Sinister Clue: The clearest sign there is that the "Mitsuki" personality is awake is when she's using her left hand. It's this aspect of hers that first clues the protagonist in that something's not right.
- Split Personality: Mitsuki is actually a girl named Shiho who has two personalities- "Shiho", her Genki Girl self, and "Mitsuki", a vicious personality based off of Shiho's conflicting feelings for her sister Mitsuki that was born after the original Mitsuki's suicide. As a result, Shiho was hospitalized for a while.
- Split-Personality Merge: Good Endings 2 and 3 seem to imply that the personality in control of Shiho there is neither Shiho nor "Mitsuki", but rather a third personality that combines traits of both of them.
- Split-Personality Takeover: Good Ending 4 is actually a Downer Ending, as the plan to cure Shiho of her split personality not only failed, it also only managed to fully awaken the "Mitsuki" personality. The hope is small, but Haruka mentions there may be a chance that Shiho's true personality takes over again when she'll see the completed movie.
- Take Our Word for It: In the Genocide Chapter, if you try to drag Shouko out of the bathtub she's lying dead in, her corpse becomes visible. We don't get to see it, but it's apparently so gruesome that it causes Haruka to scream and vomit.
- Those Two Guys: Gohda and Hanazono, who, while barely present in the main story, show up in the Hint section after a Bad Ending to tell the player what they did wrong and how to get a better ending.
- Visual Novel
- Visual Pun: In the climax, when the protagonist runs up the roof to confront Mitsuki. When he does, there are three round lights surrounding her- two spotlights (which look like moons) and the moon itself, in other words, three moons. In Japanese, one way the name "Mitsuki" can be read is "three moons".
- Woman Scorned: The original Mitsuki, who, as a result of having a very abusive boyfriend at one point, grew to hate all men, growing even more furious whenever she saw her sister Shiho with a man, and would beat her whenever she saw it.
- Yandere: "Mitsuki", who is extremely possessive of Shiho and attacks any man who gets close to her. She's the inspiration for Visual Novel Trope Codifiers School Days and Higurashi: When They Cry.