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Visual Novel / Kara no Shoujo

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Kara no Shoujo (Girl in the Shell) is an erotic visual novel created by game company Innocent Grey.

It’s Tokyo in 1956, a few years after the American occupation. Tokisaka Reiji is an ex-cop turned detective after the death of his fiancée six years ago to a serial killer known only by the name Rokushiki Makoto. The story begins when a pair of mutilated bodies are discovered and Reiji’s assistance is requested. At the same time a mysterious young girl named Kuchiki Toko makes a strange request: Please find my true self.

As all the victims have been young female students, Reiji is asked by the school with the most missing students to take a temporary lecturing job while he investigates. The school is rather oppressive and is seemingly populated almost entirely by indistinguishable drones. There are only a few students who seem to have a spark of individuality, and among them are several of the girls who have already been killed. At the academy, he runs into Toko again who asks if he’s made any progress. Can Reiji stop more murders from being committed and also discover whatever it is Toko is looking for?

Kara no Shoujo was originally released in 2008. The English translation was released in early July 2011 by MangaGamer after they purchased the translation from a fan group. The 2013 sequel Kara no Shoujo - The Second Episode was released on October 20, 2015 by MangaGamer, and the third to be released in late 2020. The first game also had an Updated Re-release that added voices in 2019.

It should be noted that Kara no Shoujo itself is a sequel to Innocent Grey's 2005 visual novel Cartagra, which was released in English by MangaGamer in 2014.


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    Kara no Shoujo 
  • AB Negative: Toko Kuchiki is of the Bombay Blood group, which is a real blood type that can give blood to ABO blood types, but cannot receive blood back from them due to antibodies. They can only receive transfusions from other members of the group.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Reiji starts calling Tsuzuriko Tojiko early on since her name is hard to say. Yukari does it sometimes as well.
  • Affably Evil: All the three serial killers were introduced as nice and unassuming people, and some of them was even cooperative during his investigation, before they were revealed to be the murderous psychopaths the police (and Reiji) were after.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Orihime, the student council president, is reserved and elegant with the apparent worship of the younger girls. Being forced to live like this all the time has caused her to snap and enlist some of the other girls she knows into a prostitution ring for the sole purpose of shaming the school.
  • Anyone Can Die: There are a lot of endings, and there are a lot of dead people in them. Tojiko, Orihime and Mizuhara always die and Toko only lives in one ending… as a torso. Hatsune and Kyoko always live.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Stella's father was supposedly an Italian missionary named Christophoro Belge Stella. The first name is plausible (the Italian version of Christopher, originally from the Greek for "Christ-bearer" and the name of a saint), but using Stella (the word for "star") as a family name is not.
  • The Atoner: Mamiya Shinzo. He went insane after his first wife was accidentally killed by his son and developed an obsession with Misa, Toko’s mother. Eventually, he killed her and Shinji used her as the model for Kara no Shoujo. His son saw this and, as he was already pretty screwed up, snapped. When Shinzo was sane again, Shinji was gone. When the latter resurfaced, Shinzo did his best to help, but by then it was of course too late.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The endings where Rokushiki is caught. Okay, most of the cast is dead, but Reiji and Kyoko have put their pasts behind them and seem to be moving towards hooking up. Or Hatsune if Reiji met with her more. Whether you count Shinji getting away as a good or bad thing is up to personal interpretation, though to be fair it seems like he’s put his… interests… behind him.
  • Bowdlerise: Yes, unbelievably. The hentai adaptation is far less graphic than the visual novels, and some characters are Spared by the Adaptation and removes the infamous patched corpse of Yui, but it ends with Shinji still at large.
  • Bungled Suicide: Yaginuma’s sister attempted to kill herself after a long train of rape and abuse at her father’s hands. She doesn’t die, but she’s left brain damaged from lack of oxygen and despite the obvious signs of abuse, Yaginuma’s father still got away with it.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Stella. Justified in that any fully foreign person would be very out of place in 1956 Japan.
  • But Thou Must!: There are a few decisions where Reiji is given a choice of whether to do something or not, but he’ll generally end up doing it either way. For example, whether or not to try Hatsune's cooking.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mizuhara Toko. She actually does recognize Reiji as a good person and claims to herself not to hate him, but she still can’t get along with him due to her fixation on Kuchiki.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Yukari worries about koi drowning, has a fondness for insects and uses them in her cooking.
  • Continuity Nod: This series takes place after Innocent Grey's previous work Cartagra, in which Takashiro Shugo is the main character. Takashiro, Kazuna and Hatsune are returning character from Cartagra.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Hatsune’s tuna, tomato and soy sauce pancakes are surprisingly edible. The chocolate and baking soda sandwiches are not.
  • Death of the Author: Mentioned in regard to the painting Kara no Shoujo. What the painter intended to express is not as important as what the viewer thinks. Probably because what the author intended was just an expression of his paranoia and madness. invoked
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: The narrative has an inconsistent approach to this trope.
    • Averted with Mamiya Shinji's backstory - his experience of sexual abuse is consistently portrayed as horrible and traumatic, and his abuser being female does not change this.
    • Zigzagged with Mizuhara Toko - what she does to Reiji is not consensual and is played as highly traumatic to him, but is still recorded for the player as a collectible and desirable sex scene.
    • The scene where Natsume demands sex as payment from Reiji, however, plays it straight: Natsume completely ignores Reiji's repeated objections to what she is doing, and his first-person narration outright says that she forcibly undresses him, that he feels like she sees him as nothing but a toy, and that he's "resigned" to having sex with her rather than actually wanting it, so it can only be called Questionable Consent at best. Even so, the scene is portrayed as both sexy and humorous, rather than disturbing.
  • Downer Ending: There are a lot of bad ends with extended story. The first three endings apart from those are probably even worse. The Rokushiki captured endings manage to get all the way to bittersweet except the last one, the true end. That one’s ‘’also’’ basically a downer. Basically, none of Kara No Shoujo's endings are very happy.
  • Driven to Suicide: Orihime before her bad end, which is interrupted. Shinzo, on the other hand, succeeds after he kills his son.
  • Eats Babies: Rokushiki didn’t actually eat the aborted fetus. No, he fed it to the mother.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It's implied that Rokushiki, who egged on the two main killers, saved Kazuna and killed the first killer. The reason being that the latter was getting too indiscriminate: Kazuna was married and intended to have the baby, but the killer still attacked her like the others.
  • Everyone Is Related: Once Rokushiki’s identity is uncovered and Shinji’s connection to Toko discovered, it becomes clear how much all the cast was connected.
  • Eye Scream: The girl noted below had her eyes cut after she died.
  • Fan Disservice: Pretty naked girls are a good thing, right? Not when their arms have been severed and they’ve just died via having their heads turned backward and the text notes how the killer is removing their uterus. Even worse, most of the girls Reiji can have sex with are brutally killed soon afterwards.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Yaginuma wears glasses and has a seriously nasty personality. Subverted, in that he's actually putting on a Jerkass act.
  • Freak Out: In one bad ending, Mizuhara convinces herself that she’s Kuchiki and acts completely different. But she’s still not acting like Kuchiki and doesn’t seem to truly understand who she’s trying to imitate. Also, Rokushiki Makoto used to be a nice guy, but then he ended up probably the most horrible person in the story.
  • From Bad to Worse: Toko getting hit by a car is bad enough. How about now we kill off Mizuhara, and then have Toko’s limbs removed via surgery to save her life and then have her kidnapped? And she only gets to live through one of these kidnappings.
  • Genki Girl: Tsuzuriko is very cheerful and energetic.
  • Guide Dang It!: Seriously. Try beating this game without getting a bad ending on your own. The choices are numerous and the consequences are rarely immediately obvious. See also Trial-and-Error Gameplay below.
  • Hate at First Sight: It's implied that Yaginuma and Reiji instantly hated each other, though they've known each other for some time before the story begins. It's not hard to see why: Yaginuma is intentionally an asshole to everyone.
  • Hypocrite: Rokushiki turns out to be this, once his identity and motivations are uncovered. He judges others according to an extremely strict and literalist interpretation of Christian doctrine, but when it comes to his own actions, his approach to religious rules suddenly becomes a lot more flexible.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: An early scene with Kuchiki Toko and Mizuhara Toko has Mizuhara sort-of in love with Kuchiki, but admitting that since neither are lesbians there’s nothing she can do about it.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Mizuhara Toko, for Kuchiki Toko.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In the depths of his madness, Rokushiki ate Yukiko’s head.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Or inconsistent subs, in this case. The English translation doesn't have a consistent romanization scheme for long vowels in Japanese. In the transliteration of the characters' names, the difference between short and long vowels is ignored - so "冬子" is written as "Toko" instead of, for instance, "Tōko" or "Touko", and so on. In the transliteration of Japanese Sibling Terminology forms of address, however, the translation does represent long vowels (with double letters).
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Reiji tricks Murase into revealing that he knew that Nene had kidnapped Toko and also that he was involved himself.
  • Insufferable Genius: Yaginuma is a dick with an inflated view of his own abilities, but he still is pretty good.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In one early bad end, Orihime is about to commit suicide out of guilt and self-loathing and is stopped by Reiji. Considering what happens to her immediately after, maybe it would have been best if she had succeeded.
  • Jerkass: Yaginuma and Murase consistently antagonize Reiji for seemingly no reason.
  • Karma Houdini: Shinji gets away in some endings. Though he’s a fairly pitiful figure, he did kill off most of the cast.
  • Keep the Reward: Reiji feels he didn’t earn a paycheck from Ouba.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point Reiji insists Yukari couldn't have told him about the Easter event at her school because he didn't write it in his notebook like he does with most information in the game.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Toko’s grandfather removed all her limbs in order to save her life. That… really makes it clear why they were sure she couldn’t struggle. Though she dies in most of the following endings anyway.
  • A Love to Dismember: First murder arc ends with telling us that Kusaka has sex with the rotting composite corpse of his sister and the other girls from Schisma before committing suicide depending on the player's choices. Unless he was killed.
  • Mad Artist:
    • During a period of deep insanity, Mamiya Shinzo created Kara no Shoujo by killing his lover, Misa, and using her body as a model. Now that he’s sane again you might say he’s not terribly proud of his masterpiece.
    • The second serial killer kidnaps and amputates young women and then put their corpses into sculptures resembling broken, black egg-shells, imitating Mamiya Shinzo's Kara no Shoujo. It's subverted though, since he isn't doing it for the art, but because he happens to be Shinzo's son and being raped by his mother as a child and seeing his father killing Misa, his substitute mother figure, made him lose his mind. He holds a delusional belief that his acts are going to bring Misa back somehow.
  • Magnum Opus: In-Universe, the Kara no Shoujo is considered as Mamiya Shinzo's greatest work.
  • Multiple Endings: Most of which are bad.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mizuhara steals Kuchiki’s medicine, thinking it was a gift of drugs from Reiji. Kuchiki ends up passing out and getting hit by a truck.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Yukari has no qualms in helping her brother undress, and is disturbingly unfazed when the latter accidentally walked in on her while she was bathing.
    Reiji: I wish she was more modest about this kind of things...
  • Oblivious to Love: Kyoko doesn’t seem to realize how Uozumi feels about her.
  • Offing the Offspring: In one of the endings, Mamiya Shinzo kills his son to stop the latter from his serial killings.
  • Onee-sama: Shows up in a couple places throughout, though since the story takes place in the 50s it doesn’t seem as well recognized instory. The first one seen is with Orihime, who seems to have quite the number of fangirls. Mizuhara and Kuchiki’s relationship is also described in a similar manner by Yukari
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with Kuchiki Toko and Mizuhara Toko. Stella’s name is actually her middle name, her dead older sister also had the same middle name.
  • Parental Incest: Yaginuma’s father raped his sister repeatedly. She put up with it so that Yaginuma would be beaten less. Shinji’s mother also raped him.
  • Perspective Flip: Two bad endings change the perspective from Reiji to Mizuhara.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: The half-Japanese Stella is somehow blonde and blue-eyed, even though these traits are recessive and shouldn't occur unless her mother was half-Japanese as well and passed the genes onto her daughter. Plus, her father was supposed to be an Italian, and would thus be much more likely to have brown hair and eyes to begin with.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Some of it is justified due to the Villains Act, Heroes React nature of the detective novel. Even so, considering how many choices and paths there are, it's still a little grating that no matter what you do, almost all major characters die anyway and despite all the posturing about stopping the villains to avoid more victims, Reiji generally fails to save anyone. On top of that, most of the villains work out their issues amongst each other (with fatal results) or achieve their goals before getting caught or disappearing, making you wonder just what use he is, other than being a narrator.
  • Rape as Backstory: Mamiya Shinji was sexually abused by his mother as a child.
  • Repetitive Name: Stella’s older sister, Celestial Stella. Both are related to stars.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Reiji realizes how Kyoko feels about him, he just doesn’t think it would be right to be involved with her.
  • Serial Killer: The game's core storyline. Reiji's main objective is to find the person responsible for the gruesome murder and dismemberment of numerous school girls.
  • Sex Signals Death: If you come across a sex scene with someone, they’re probably going to die in about a minute or two. Bad End! There are exceptions. Kyoko, Natsume, and Hatsune never die even if Reiji sleeps with them, and Toko sometimes survives.
  • Sex Starts, Story Stops: The H-scenes tend to come completely out of the blue, and many of them (especially the optional ones) have little to no bearing on the plot.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Rather than being defensive about it, Reiji is mostly confused as to why everyone thinks there’s something between him and Toko. Tojiko and Mizuhara both assume he’s slept with her.
  • Significant Name Overlap: Kuchiki and Mizuhara Toko are best friends, and the latter is possessive of the former—being jealous of Reiji when he starts getting closer to Kuchiki. In one route, Mizuhara's obsession with Kuchiki reaches its peaks when she deludes herself into thinking that she is Kuchiki, and forces herself on Reiji because she's convinced that the two were sleeping together.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Tsuzuriko may seem like a stupidly Hot-Blooded Genki Girl, but is very knowledgeable in history and literature, and had given many useful information for Reiji's investigation.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The notebook tends to be professional in its contents until a little after Yaginuma is introduced. There’s a brief description of him as normal followed by “Still an asshole.”
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Yaginuma at least behaves like a Jerkass out of being pretty psychologically damaged and not wanting anyone to get close to him and end up like his sister.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Toko is very similar to her mother Misa.
  • Student Council President: Orihime is the "role model student" in Ouba Academy, and appears to be the one responsible to reinforce the school rules.
  • Title Drop: Kara no Shoujo is considered the masterpiece of painter Mamiya Shinzo. It depicts a girl who looks like Toko inside a black egg.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The main plot is just about solvable through common sense deductions, as long as you aren't tripped up by the Pixel Hunt gotchas in a few of the murder scenes. The side routes, extra h-scenes, and true ending, however? Finding these requires collecting every optional appearance of a particular character in order to unlock the final scenes related to that character, and there is literally NO way to know where and when each character will appear other than visiting every place on the map and making notes of who was present on that date, then reloading and trying the next location.
  • Truly Single Parent: Toko allegedly has no biological father, because the only sexual relations her mother had before giving birth to her was with Makoto Rokushiki, who believes he is sterile.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Reiji and Uozumi seem to spend most of their time arguing or sniping with each other. However, Reiji admits in one of his monologues that Uozumi is one of his most trusted companions.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: One of the bad endings has Reiji attempt to mutilate Takashiro to find the key to the prison Yukari is trapped in. Uozumi, who arrives at the scene shortly afterwards, was forced to arrest him despite sympathizing with his reasons to do so.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Yukari is a calm, and extremely well-mannered girl who takes charge of all the household chores in the family. She even wears traditional Japanese clothing around the house. However, she's also a slight cloud cuckoolander and has some rather questionable taste, which either detracts from the impression or puts it in a comical light.

    Kara no Shoujo: The Second Episode 
  • The Atoner: Fuyumi had to abandon her baby in an orphanage, so she adopted Yukiko in order to atone for it.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In some of the endings, Yukari grabs the blade of Yukiko's knife with her bare hands in order to prevent her from committing suicide.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The True End. Most of the cast is okay and gets a happy ending, and Reiji finally finds Toko as a corpse. However, Reiji and Toko's child, whom she gave birth to before she died, was abducted by Naori.
  • Cartwright Curse: All the girls Ayato had sex with or were his fiancèes died. Satsuki was murdered, while the others were killed by a jealous Karen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Yukiko's hairclip. It was given to her by Fuyumi and serves as a clue that Fuyumi and Ayako are the same person.
  • Death by Childbirth: Poor Toko...
    Toko: It’s crying. This precious life, only having been born into this world moments ago... is crying. Ah... I’m so glad. I’m so glad that you’re healthy. His blood runs in your veins, the blood of a person that meant the most to me. Thank you so much for being born. Please...I want you to live and be happy in my place as well. I don’t have much time left to live...I am unable to even embrace the child I’ve given birth to...Nor can I convey these feelings to anyone...So let me rest...and pray that the next time I awaken, I will be in his embrace..
  • Doppelgänger: The Satsuki Ayato fell in love with was the Body Double for the actual Satsuki.
  • Everyone Is Related: Because Ayato and Karen's father Really Gets Around. It turns out that Ayato, Karen, Satsuki (the real one), Naori, Meguri, and Yu are all related. Ayako's father is Ayato's grandfather, making her his half-aunt! Plus many other characters too minor to list are also related one way or another!
  • Evil Mentor: Saya appears to have been one of sorts to Karen at least for a while, but to what extent is anyone's guess.
  • Expendable Clone: Saya had Ayako for the purpose of carrying out the more unpleasant duties Satsuki, as the fabled Miko, was meant to do.
  • I Have Many Names: Ayako Shigusa, who was forced to adopt the dual identity of "Satsuki" and then later changed her name to Fuyumi Kayahara.
  • I Just Want to Be You:
    • Yukiko considers herself a hollow shell who merely “assimilated” other personalities by killing their bodies. She killed her twin brother when she was young and in a bad end she kills Yukari and adopts her personality, much to Reiji's horror.
    • Being forced to live in Satsuki's shadow by her mother with few even knowing of her existence, Ayako envied how revered Satsuki was.
  • The Lost Lenore: Masaki's motivation is to find who murdered his sweetheart Satsuki - though it later turns out that the one he had fallen for was Ayako and Satsuki was the one who died.
  • A Love to Dismember: Saya certainly doesn't let those arms and legs go to waste...
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Ayato and Fuyumi are revealed to be Michiru's parents. In a twist, she realises it before they (or Reiji) do.
    • The man Karen and Ayato thought was their uncle is actually their father. Yuzuru Kuroya had an affair with their mother, Rika Hinagami. See Everyone Is Related.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted - there are two people living as "Satsuki". One is Saya's daughter and Ayato's sweetheart, Ayako and the other is Satsuki, who is Ayato and Karen's half-sister and was murdered by Ayako. It also turns out that Michiru, the baby Ayako abandoned, was originally named Satsuki.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The Hinagami drug illegally entered the orphanage Yukiko and Michiru lived in, and it was to be tested on all of the kids.
  • Physical God: Because Satsuki suddenly appeared in the Hitogata village as a "guest" before the festival and is staying at the Shigusa shrine, there's rumors she's the legendary Miko that appears every dozen years. It was all a cover for the Hinagami family's illegal drug testing. Anyone seriously effected was murdered under the guise of Hinna-sama's curse.
  • Sex Signals Death: Satsuki was murdered shortly after having sex with Ayato. Later subverted, as the one who had sex with Ayato was Ayako, and Satsuki was killed.
  • That Man Is Dead: After accidentally murdering Saya, Ayato runs away, moves to Tokyo and changed his name to Masaki, the name of a dead friend from the Army. However, he always happens to run around people who recognize him as Ayato. Also, after murdering the real Satsuki, Ayako escaped and moved to Tokyo where with some influence from Rokushiki, she changed her name to Fuyumi. Both get better in the end.
  • There Can Only Be One: Jealous of Ayako's relationship with Ayato using her identity, Satsuki starts to strangle Ayako so they can become one. Ayako's able to murder Satsuki instead.
  • Together in Death:
    • The ending in which Karen is caught and Ayato kills himself out of guilt.
    • One interpretation of the Paranoia End is that Reiji falls to his death and reunites with Toko in the afterlife.
  • Yandere: Karen, towards Ayato. When she found out she couldn’t get pregnant, she didn’t want anyone to take her brother away and killed all his fiancées.

    Kara no Shoujo: The Last Episode 
  • The Bus Came Back: Stella, who didn't appear in the second game, returns as a central character.