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Visual Novel / Jisei

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Jisei is a series of supernatural mystery OEL Ren'Py-based Visual Novels created and produced by Sakevisual in their Green Tea Line. The titular first installment opens to a scene in a coffee shop with the unnamed main character waking up in a city called Edgewater. After conversing with the barista behind the counter for a while, he starts to feel strangely sick and hobbles to the bathroom. There he finds a dead woman with a knife in her chest.

(Un)fortunately, our loner protagonist has an ability that allows him to "read" the death of any body he touches. He learns from this that the woman was not stabbed, at least not at first, and that she was apparently suffocated. However, while he's using his ability, a woman walks in, sees him touching the body, and makes the unfortunate assumption that he is the killer, interrupting the reading before he can fully determine the true cause of death. Now he must clear his name (no pun intended) and find out who the real killer and their motivation behind the grisly murder.

Jisei has currently spawned two sequels entitled Kansei and Yousei (in that order). Each game involves the protagonist (nicknamed "Kangai" by his friends) investigating (and inevitably solving) a murder while also piecing together his own fragmented past, including the gruesome murder of his younger sister. Joining him are a group of kids with similar psychic abilities (called "kansei"), a bitingly sarcastic but dedicated detective, and a whole cast of suspects and witnesses to be questioned. Jisei and its sequels can be purchased here.

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  • Anti-Hero: Aki's a good person, but isn't so much reformed as it is that not being a criminal makes life easier, and she's certainly willing to fall back on her con artist ways when necessary. Gurski describes her life as a moral grey.
  • Born Unlucky: Kangai's character bio describes him as seeming naturally unlucky, given that he's constantly coming across dead bodies.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Detective Gurski spends most of his time guarding the crime scene and making calls to get a background on the victim. He will not hesitate to arrest you if he manages to see you trying to get another look at the body. However, he does defy this trope by encouraging the protagonist to do most of the questioning on his own.
  • Catchphrase: Aki seems rather fond of the phrase, "Got it in one."
  • Commonality Connection:
    • Kangai and Li Mei bond over having a kansei that allows them to experience others' emotions, and the struggles of how it's distorted their own views (Li Mei with how she personally feels about things, and Kangai with whether or not he fears death).
    • Kangai and Aki are both older siblings who understand what it's like to want to protect their younger sibling at all costs.
  • Cursed with Awesome or Blessed with Suck: Kangai's kansei isn't exactly pleasant, but it sure is helpful when it comes to solving murder mysteries.
    • Ditto for most, if not all, kansei ability users.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kangai and Detective Gurski both.
  • The Ditz: Chance. Subverted at the end of Kansei. (And before that, the epilogue of Jisei.
  • The Empath: Li Mei. She's often so full of other people's emotions that she herself comes across as an Emotionless Girl.
  • Extreme Doormat: Kangai can accuse Naoki of being one for Aki, though according to Naoki, he does argue with her—Kangai'll see for himself if he sticks around long enough.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Naoki and Aki looks uncannily similar. In Kansei, Naoki even gets mistaken for a girl by Liam.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Detective Gurski definitely comes across this way. And Kangai at times as well.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Aki is a benevolent example, who typically uses a combination of her charm and kansei to help solve cases. Chance is a darker version, with hints of The Chessmaster as well.
  • Meaningful Name: "Kangai," which means "deep thoughts" or "strong feelings" in Japanese. This is invoked by Aki, who gives him that name when he refuses to tell her his real one.
    • Also, Naoki means 'honest', and Kizaki means 'pretentious'.
  • Mystical White Hair: Naoki's and Aki's hair have strands of white hair, while Li Mei's hair is completely white. According to Aki in Yousei, the white hair is gradually caused by the continued and stressful use of kansei.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A particularly eerie example of this trope can be seen in Chance, who is seriously dangerous and not at all The Ditz she pretends to be.
  • Once per Episode: Kangai has a tendency to get accused of crimes he didn't commit. In Jisei, Miss Bergstrom accuses him of being the murderer; in Kansei, lying to Sophia will have her briefly accuse him of being the murderer (again); in Yousei, Jupiter, David, and Nathan believe him to be the thief who stole their research.
  • Poison Is Evil: Not surprising in a murder mystery series, but particularly notable is that poison is the preferred weapon of Chance, who poisons Kangai's coffee in the Dead End of Jisei and presumably again in the True End of Yousei (although Li Mei dumps the coffee out before Kangai can drink it) and also uses it to off Nathan in that same game's Killer Lost End.
    • In Kansei, William Auten's cognac is poisoned by Kevin.
  • Psychic Powers: Those with kansei have them.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Gurski is described in his bio as knowing more than he lets on, and it shows. He knew all along who Kangai was, and just didn't bring it up until the second game. One ending in Yousei reveals that he knows the real reason why the twins' mother died, and they do not take it well.
  • True Companions: Aki, Naoki, and Li Mei view themselves as family, and they gladly welcome Kangai into it. Naoki is even appalled when he thinks that Kangai doesn't plan on staying with them, despite having only known him for less than a week. On his part, Kangai doesn't have concrete plans for the future, but admits to himself that it might be nice to finally have a place to call home.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, Kangai initially feels that Li Mei comes across as off, due to her Emotionless Girl impression.

  • Amateur Sleuth: The main character questions the others so that he may clear his name and help Detective Gurski find the real killer.
    • It's revealed in Kansei that years ago, the main character solved cold cases with his sister, prior to her death.
  • Asshole Victim: Sara Blackmoore was working for Biodev in stealing research from Auten Engineering, but decided to doublecross her employer in favor of a third party that offered her more money.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Chance once threw burning coffee at an ex-boyfriend who showed up at her work, flaunting a new girlfriend. Subverted in Kansei, where it's revealed that Chance isn't very nice after all...
  • Clear My Name: One of the reasons why the protagonist decides to question everyone and help out with the investigation in the first place.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: The protagonist is seen as the prime suspect because he was next to the murder victim when the body was discovered.
  • Eidetic Memory: The reason why Kizaki can perfectly recite the prices of menu items is that he remembers everything he sees, smells, or hears in a location. This certainly helps fool the main character into believing that Kizaki is a regular at the cafe when it is actually his first time there.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Chance changed her name from “Bertha” because she thought “Bertha” was an unsuitable name for a famous singer-to-be.
  • The Empath: In the sense that the player character senses death in close proximity, and when he touches a corpse, he experiences the person’s last dying moments.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: The protagonist has one when he realizes that the red speck stuck to the duct tape in the trash can is actually a false nail that broke off the murderer's hand while restraining the victim.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: None of the characters have a clear alibi.
  • Eye Remember: Not per se, since the protagonist doesn't see the last moments of a person's death, but he does feel what the victim felt.
  • Genre Savvy: Kizaki, in a panicked state, exaggerates the situation as a Closed Circle. The protagonist counters that Kizaki has access to the internet to call for help, and insists that the plot is not Ten Little Murder Victims.
  • He Knows Too Much: Two options are needed for this path. First option is when talking with Detective Gurski he suggests that Chance may be involved,the player has the option to either disagree Chance's involvement or agree. Second option is when Chance suggests that the murderer may be someone not currently within the coffee shop, the player has the option to either disagree Chance's involvement or agree, and agree with her or else suggest that her claim is a bit iffy respectively. If the latter option is chosen for both, Chance will offer to make the protagonist another coffee. When he drinks it, he realizes it's been poisoned, and as he's dying, she informs him that he knows too much.
  • No Name Given: Throughout the entirety of Jisei, you never learn the protagonist's name.
    • In Kansei, Aki nicknames him "Kangai."In the True Ending, it's revealed that his name is Alex.
  • Red Herring:
    • Invoked by Miss Bergstrom, who finds out that the best way to draw away suspicion from the identity of the real murderer is to accuse an innocent person of committing the crime.
    • There's also a red herring bad ending. Specifically, if the player makes a certain wrong choice when talking to Chance, she will poison the protagonist's coffee and say something ominous about his asking too many questions. However, if the protagonist accuses Chance as the murderer of Sara Blackmoore on a subsequent playthrough, he will come to another bad ending. This is because, while Chance was gunning for Sara Blackmoore's USB drive, her motive is ultimately unrelated; Miss Bergstrom killed Sara first. Chance murders the protagonist in the bad ending because he was, in fact, interfering with Chance's plans...but it wasn't Chance's plan that killed Sara.
  • Sherlock Scan: Detective Gurski notes that it is odd that the main character fell asleep after a cup of coffee, and proceeds to tell him his exact drink order as offhandedly deduced from the markings and packaging on his coffee cup.
  • The Summation: Done where you have to pick out the correct order that the suspects arrived, the cause of death, and finally, the identity of the murderer.
  • Telepathy: A voice tries to help the main character with his investigation. She is able to transmit her thoughts into his mind, but can't hear his replies.
  • Twist Ending: More of a twist epilogue. Chance was also after the USB drive that the victim carried. It is unclear which party she was working for.
  • The Voice: A mysterious voice helps the protagonist with his mystery. She shows up in person at the end of the game.

  • Art Evolution: The art style takes Jisei's softer, more cartoonish look and makes it slightly more realistic and mature.
  • Asshole Victim: It's telling that every time you ask someone if anyone had reason to kill the victim, every single one of them responds with yes—he was definitely not a popular man.
  • Big Fancy House: William Auten's estate. This holds true only on the inside, however; the outside is fairly plain and unattractive. The characters Lampshade this.
  • Cute and Psycho:
    • Li Mei in the Find the Killer end, where she ends up brutally murdering Kevin when he's revealed to be the killer and takes her hostage.
    • Chance, who appears in the epilogue that is unlocked after completing the True End. It is revealed that she was working with (read: using) Liam in order to acquire confidential research papers from William Auten. When Liam explains to her that he couldn't get all the papers she wanted because Kangai took some to Gurski, she asks why he didn't stop him. He counters with, "What did you want me to do, kill him?" to which she responds, "Yes. It's what I would have done." She sends him off by telling him to enjoy the rest of his pitiful life. The screen fades black, and she adds, "There's not much left of it, after all."
  • The Dog Bites Back: Kevin kills Auten for manipulating him and his family: Auten deliberately drove their family business into debt so that he could force Kevin to work for him, unpaid, for an indefinite amount of time.
  • Enhance Button: Averted in the epilogue to the SD ending: Aki tries to enlarge the video clip found on Auten's SD card in order to see it better and notes that it's still blurry.
  • Gilded Cage: How Kangai sees Aki's apartment, where he's being held.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Sophia and Kevin both work for William Auten for no pay and take a great deal of pride in the work they do for him. Subverted when it's revealed that Auten is essentially blackmailing them into his service, which is what leads to his death when The Dog Bites Back.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Melissa Klein seeks out an interview with William Auten in order to snoop around his house and maybe learn something about Liam Auten as well. Turns out, she runs a humanitarian blog where she exposes the cruelties committed by influential people, and William Auten is a target she's been following for awhile.
  • Leonine Contract: Both Sophia and Kevin have one with Auten, who forces them to work for him for free by holding onto what each holds dear (Sophia's husband, who needs a heart transplant, and Kevin's family business, which is severely in debt.
  • Manipulative Bastard: William Auten.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Kevin only killed Auten because the latter was manipulating him and his family with a Leonine Contract. He seems like he would have been a nice guy otherwise.
  • Twist Ending: Happens again in the epilogue, where it's revealed that Liam and Chance were working together.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: In the epilogue, Chance implies this of Liam.
    Chance: "Go enjoy the rest of your pitiful life, Liam. There's not much left of it, after all."

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing two of the four endings earns you options to give Li Mei and Gurski glasses. A third opens the option to put a charm on Kangai's cellphone. It's only when you get all four endings that you unlock the more substantial rewards.
  • Art Evolution: The art in Yousei has better shading and an even more mature and darker look.
  • Asshole Victim: Averted, compared to the previous games. When asked, other characters express that the victim was a great person with no reason to be hated. Sure enough, whereas the other murders were generally some form of revenge against the victim, the motivation for this one is decidedly more selfish.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: If Dr. Johansen's brutal death is any indication...
  • Book Dumb: David.
  • Big Man on Campus: Shawn Tasse, The Ace of Edgewater University. Apparently, Even the Guys Want Him, as David mentions that even he'd date Shawn if he didn't have Jupiter and Shawn didn't have Chance.
  • Break the Cutie: When Naoki and Aki's father started drinking, he would beat Naoki and blame him for their mother's death. This is especially horrific considering Naoki's kansei allows (and forces) him to remember everything he's ever experienced in perfect detail. When Aki is able to control her kansei, she uses it to manipulate their father's mind and redirect his anger toward herself.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Aaron's tendency to snap photos ends up providing a crucial clue to solving the case.
  • Clear My Name: Happens again to Kangai when he's accused by Jupiter of having stolen the university's research papers.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Remember that moment in Jisei where it's mentioned that Chance once threw hot coffee on her ex-boyfriend for flaunting his new girlfriend in front of her? Apparently, that ex was David, and the new girl was Jupiter. And they weren't really bragging at all, Chance just exaggerated the whole event.
    • Examining David's textbook reveals that it once belonged to a Kevin—presumably the one from Kansei, who was an alumnus of the university.
  • Dies Wide Open: Nathan's body is found this way in the Killer Lost Ending. It's quite creepy...
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Shawn offhandedly mentions that the girls he date usually go for him only for the fame and his parents' money, which is why he's happy that Chance is dating him, even if she's using him for different reasons. Subverted as hell in the True Ending (and the other endings), where he helps Chance escape when the characters learn the truth.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Jupiter occasionally answers with "sí" and in one instance exclaims, "¡Dios mío!" even though her English is excellent.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Johansen is cut in half from where the bell landed on him while he was unconscious.
  • He Knows Too Much / You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the Killer Lost End, Chance kills Nathan for these reasons.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Nathan's motivation for murdering Dr. Johansen stems his own feelings of inferiority. Unwittingly tricked out of the coveted position of head of the research team by Chance and disgusted by Johansen's cowardice in trying to erase his life's work out of fear for his life, Nathan kills Johansen in order to preserve the research, which he was to give to Chance in exchange for Dragon Blood, the substance allegedly responsible for the development of a kansei.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Aki's kansei allows her to become this for other kansei users when the stress becomes too much for them. Especially for her brother Naoki.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The killer tried to play Dr. Johansen's murder off like this by having him crushed by the bell in the bell tower.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Jupiter certainly thinks Chance is one, and vice versa. Jupiter's claim has more backup to it when she mentions that Chance is the reason why their department is in one hell of a mess. Plus, the True End confirms Jupiter's claim.
  • New Super Power: In the opening scene, Kangai's younger sister is just discovering her kansei.
  • Poisoned Weapons: How Chance kills Nathan in the Killer Lost End.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Kangai returns to Edgewater because his Father just passed away.
  • Rain of Blood: After retreating from the scene of Johansen's grisly murder to avoid triggering his kansei, Kangai waits at the bottom of the bell tower with Li Mei. Then the victim's blood drips onto his face from above, and, well...
  • Red Herring: The Edgewater University vs. Western University rivalry, as well as the whole "stealing information" fiasco. It turns out David was selling test answers to his students.
  • The Resenter: Jupiter thinks Nathan is this because she became the head researcher of their team instead of Nathan, who was more of a senior compared to her. Nathan says that he bears no hard feelings towards her and has moved on. He hasn't.
  • Straight Gay: Though he's certainly quirky in his own way, Aaron doesn't possess any stereotypically gay behaviors or mannerisms.
  • Transparent Closet: Completely and notably averted with Aaron, who casually mentions his boyfriend to two near-strangers without any shame at all. He then goes on to add that all his friends have even met him. This serves as his alibi when he's accused of stealing Edgewater University's research and selling it to Western University.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: How Aki views her kansei.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nathan has one in the True End after he's been surrounded by Kangai and the twins. He tries to kill them with his shattered light sword, but they easily avoid him until Detective Gurski arrives and apprehends him.