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Visual Novel / Master Magistrate

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A visual novel originally titled Ouka Sabaki, it was originally released in Japan in 2017, and has received an Early Access English and Chinese translation patch on September 17th, 2019.

According to a summary by the official Steam page, "Enjoy daily life in Oukacho, interacting with the townspeople, and building relationships with your friends and coworkers—until an incident disturbs the peace! Interview witnesses and suspects to collect information and build dossiers, investigate the crime scene for material evidence, and explore the town in pursuit of more clues. When you need a breather, explore your dormitory to get to know your friends better! Once your investigation is complete, hold a hearing with your suspects and key persons of interest to narrow down the possibilities and uncover the truth behind the lies!


But don't forget: some mysteries are longer-lived and deeper-rooted than any one case. As the magistrate of Nakamachi, will you have the resolve to do what it takes to uncover the conspiracies at the heart of your city and your life?"

At the time of this writing, only 3 out of 4 chapters have been translated.

On December 16th, 2019, the development team released a translation of a bonus mini-chapter dedicated to Fanservice, along with an announcement that they expect the final chapter, and thus the full game, to be completely translated and released by May 2020.

  • A Day in the Limelight: After day 2 of chapter 3, Shimei is temporarily hospitalized and put out of commission after pushing Sakura out of the way of a falling building. Sakura is temporarily appointed the Magistrate for day 3's trial, and Shimei comes back during day 4.
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  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: During part of chapter 3, you temporarily play as Sakura instead of Shimei, as Shimei has been temporarily put out of commission due to an accident.
  • Assist Character: Rimu serves as Shimei's counsel; if you get stuck and you question all the suspects without finding anything, Rimu will give you a hint as to whose testimony doesn't sound quite right. In fact, it's necessary to do this a couple of times to advance.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Sakura gets this in chapter 3; see the below Break the Haughty entry.
  • Benevolent Boss: Both Takeru Kondo, leader of the Shinsengumi, and Ayaka Yamanami, vice-commander of the Shinsengumi and manager of the Nakamachi Magistrate's dorm, are this.
  • Big Bad: So far only 3 out of 4 chapters of this visual novel have been translated, but currently Chief Minister Yoshiaki Nagai is this, as he and his fellow nobles are involved in a plot to manipulate the shogun like a puppet, and to avoid the truth being found out Nagai insists on obstructing Shimei and making unreasonable demands of him. However, you take down Nagai at the end of chapter 3, so it remains to be seen if Nagai will still be this in chapter 4.
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  • Break the Haughty: In chapter 3, Shinsengumi leader Takeru Kondo organizes one for Sakura. Specifically, Sakura has spent the whole investigation with a lone-wolf attitude, never listening to anyone else's input. So when Sakura temporarily becomes the Magistrate, Kondo gives Sakura one whole day of nobody helping her or assisting her, so she can see what being a Magistrate all alone would actually be like. The experience reduces Sakura to tears.
  • Broken Pedestal: The chapter 2 culprit turns out to be Rimu's inventing mentor, Atsumi Tsuruoka. Rimu can't believe that after how much Atsumi taught her, she would do something she can't take back like murder, and Rimu is reduced to tears over it.
  • Brutal Honesty: Both Sakura Toyama and Shino Okita are very blunt, always speaking their mind and not afraid to voice criticisms.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In chapter 2, the Water Pump invention Rimu is working on becomes very handy when a fire needs to be extinguished; Shimei muses that this moment will change history, as before Rimu's invention the only way to stop a fire would be to demolish the surrounding buildings so the fire runs out of material to burn.
    • In chapter 3, the teddy bear that mysteriously fell into Sakura Toyama's hands becomes this, as the teddy bear secretly contains the "blood pact" of Nagai and his friends manipulating the shogun like a puppet. So the teddy bear indirectly proves Nagai's corruption.
  • Cuteness Proximity: In chapter 2, Shino Okita, one of the Shinsengumi, enjoys hanging out with sushi maker Tasuke Ookura's partner Battera, a land mackeral, as Shino finds Battera interesting (plus since Battera was singed from a fire, it smells delicious, though Shino doesn't actually plan to eat Battera).
  • Dirty Coward: In chapter 3, the culprit wouldn't kill the victim himself; he tricked Ootaki into committing the murder for him. Sakura, who has by now developed into a better person, is so disgusted with his cowardice that she gives him the punishment befitting a murderer, while giving Ootaki a lighter sentence of shogunate supervision.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In chapter 1, the culprit killed the victim just because the victim's incompetence caused her to lose her hairpin (in fairness, he also refused to look for it to give it back to her, but it's still a petty reason to kill someone).
    • In chapter 2, the culprit killed the victim for trying to save her life (which would result in her leaving behind and losing her motor invention, which she considered more important than her own life).
    • In chapter 3, the culprit has a slightly more sympathetic reason, as the victim trapped him in debt by lying to him that his loan wouldn't have huge interest rates. The problem is that his murder scheme also involved manipulating Ryu Ootaki into killing for him to avoid dirtying his own hands, even though Ootaki never did anything to him; she just helped keep her boss's accounts straight.
  • Fanservice: There's a "bonus chapter" dedicated to this.
  • Gadgeteer Genius:
    • One of Shimei's childhood friends Rimu Hiraga is an inventor who is constantly working on new inventions.
    • Rimu in turn learned her trade from her mentor, Atsumi Tsuruoka, an inventor who appears in chapter 2.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Rimu wears her hair in pigtails and pink ribbons.
  • Genki Girl: Rimu is full of energy and excitement, especially when inventing.
  • Hint System: If you question every suspect in a trial and can't find anything, Rimu will give you some advice as to what sounds "off" to her.
  • Humble Hero: Shimei tends to be very humble and self-deprecating since he is aware that he's not as experienced as his own father is; with rare exceptions he tends to take others' criticism in stride and blame himself for conflicts. This also makes him an excellent Magistrate in court, as he refuses to rush judgment or jump to conclusions. In fact in chapter 2's trial, this is why the gang leader Iidenosuke Okitama eventually starts cooperating with him after initial rudeness, as Iidenosuke is impressed by Shimei's fairness.
  • Internal Affairs: The Shinsengumi are the rough equivalent of the police force in this setting, as they work for the Shogunate and their job is to help the Magistrate keep the peace.
  • Jerkass: Sakura Toyama, the daughter of Kitamachi's Magistrate Kagetora Toyama, is very abrasive and keeps insulting Shimei and his abilities, chiefly because she's not sure why Shimei was chosen to be Magistrate and not her. She gets better after the events of chapter 3, becoming a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Knowledge Broker: Futabatei officially runs the Ouka News, but he explains when you meet him that he's more like this in practice, as members of the Shinsengumi sometimes ask him for knowledge given his ability to gather legit information.
  • King Incognito: The current shogun is the uncle and "body double" of the real shogun—who is none other than Koume of all people; in fact her real name is Aoi Kananori, she just disguised herself as a commoner so she could gain experience seeing what the world is like through the eyes of the common people.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: The protagonist's father is murdered after the first trial, and as of the current 3 out of 4 chapters released, it's still unknown who killed him.
  • Nice Girl: Koume Kawai is sweet, friendly, and has a strong work ethic; she's so nice that even abrasive suspects will become more cooperative if Koume is the one who talks to them.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In chapter 1's trial, Koume refuses to explain why she was wandering around town at night, which only makes her look more suspicious. Given what you learn at the end of chapter 3, though, Koume actually does have a good reason for keeping her background a secret.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Chief Minister Yoshiaki Nagai constantly makes unreasonable demands on Shimei that makes his job harder. In chapter 3 he's revealed to actually be even worse than just an obstructive bureaucrat, as he and his fellow nobles are using the shogun as their puppet.
  • Pet the Dog: In chapter 3's trial, after Sakura has begun to accept others' feelings and input, Sakura has an opportunity to declare a swift end to the trial, because Ootaki turns out to have killed the victim. But by now Sakura is willing to take everyone else's feelings into account, and she insists on continuing the trial until she can punish Youri Takahata, who manipulated Ootaki into committing the murder and is thus the true criminal. Sakura then gives Ootaki a light punishment—she'll just be relocated to another house and put under surveillance by the shogunate.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Koume Kawai, the Shrinking Violet Nice Girl you're introduced to in chapter 1, is revealed at the end of chapter 3 to secretly be the real shogun Aoi Kananori, but is currently too young to lead so she had her uncle serve as her "body double" and disguised herself as a commoner so she could gain experience about the world from the common people's perspective.
  • Red Herring:
    • In chapter 1's trial, Koume's clothes are covered in blood and she's fled from the crime scene. But players already know Koume isn't going to be the culprit, because she was shown off in trailers as one of Shimei's allies. Also, Mai Yamanobe was really gung-ho about Koume being the culprit, so players might suspect it's Mai. It isn't; Mai just jumped to a hasty conclusion and the culprit is someone else.
    • In day 1 of chapter 2's trial, Yuza Sakata was fighting with her husband before her husband died, and she has an abrasive personality. But she's not the culprit.
    • In day 2 of chapter 2's trial, both Yuza Sakata and Tasuke Ookura are responsible for (accidentally) starting the fire, but neither of them killed the victim, the person who did is someone else.
    • In day 1 of chapter 3's trial, Nezumi Kozo actually confesses to being the murderer, but he's just covering for someone else, and has ulterior motives for wanting to be taken somewhere else for sentencing.
    • In day 3 of chapter 3's trial, Ryu Ootaki confesses to killing the victim, and she actually did—but she's not the mastermind; she was tricked into committing the murder by someone else.
  • Shrinking Violet: Koume Kawai at first in chapter 1, but after she joins the heroes she's more open and friendly. A straighter example is Ryu Ootaki, the accountant from chapter 3.
  • Smug Snake: As per mystery game tradition, the first culprit is this: Hina Kahoku constantly hurls accusations at other suspects left and right, which only makes her more and more suspicious as the trial goes on. She also doesn't do a very good job at covering up her involvement in the crime; if Koume hadn't been found covered in blood and thus been named a suspect, Hina Kahoku would've been caught right away.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Not intentionally on the part of the person in question, but Shino Okita isn't a boy like Shimei initially assumes; she is actually a girl.
  • Talking Animal: The land mackeral Battera is a partial example; for the most part it can only say variations of "Saba", but it will sometimes call someone else a "bonehead" (you even get a Steam achievement if you make a mistake in a specific part of the trial that causes Battera to call Shimei himself a bonehead).
  • The Protagonist: Shimei Ooka, a white-haired man wearing glasses who has recently been appointed the new administrator of the Nakamachi Magistrate's Office.
  • The One Guy: Shimei's other childhood friend Toshikaze Hijikata is this, especially after Shino Okita, who Shimei initially assumed to be male, is revealed to actually be a woman.
  • The Reveal: Chapter 3 has two of them:
    • Chief Minister Yoshiaki Nagai and his fellow nobles are manipulating the shogun like a puppet.
    • Koume Kawai, who has been your ally ever since chapter 1, is secretly none other than Aoi Kananori, the real shogun ever since the death of her father the previous shogun. It turns out the man currently serving as shogun is her uncle and "body double", as Kananori is currently too young to lead and she wanted to pose as a commoner to learn more about the world from the eyes of the common people.
  • The Watson: Both Shimei Ooka and Rimu Hiraga are this at different times; because Shimei has only just been appointed the magistrate, and Rimu is new at being his counsel, they both sometimes need other characters to explain the basics to them (and thus to us the audience).
  • Those Two Guys: One guy and one girl in this case, but this narrative role is served by shogi player Ainosuke Tojo and the woman who is always by his side, Megumi Saotome. Shimei will sometimes play shogi with Tojo to discuss current events, with Megumi providing additional commentary.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Koume Kawai is one of the primary suspects in the Chapter 1 trial, but because Koume is prominently shown in the trailers as one of Shimei's allies, players already know in advance that Koume can't be the murderer.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Shimei tends to be self-deprecating, and also tends to blame himself for conflicts. For example, even when Sakura is a jerk to him, he thinks, to paraphrase, "she must have many valid reasons to dislike me." He's actually criticized by other characters for being too yielding sometimes, but it also makes him a very skilled Magistrate, since he doesn't rush to judgment in trials and waits until he has all the information before coming to a conclusion, hence him always catching the right culprit.
  • Undying Loyalty: In chapter 3, Tsuki Ideha the secretary was Ryu Ootaki the accountant's only friend, and for this reason they are unfailingly loyal to each other. Unfortunately the true culprit used this to his advantage; he lied to Ootaki and gave her false evidence that the victim was going to send Ideha to be preserved in a jar (the victim was actually just going to send Ideha to study abroad), so Ootaki killed the victim to protect her best friend.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Ryu Ootaki, the accountant from chapter 3 and one of that chapter's suspects, is written In-Universe as being "twitchy" and having only a single friend in this country's Japanese setting. She is more popular in the West, however, as on October 8th, the English translation team released "The Accountant Patch" which is themed around her (mostly to correct her title from mere "bookkeeper" to the "Accountant" title she deserves).
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ryu Ootaki in chapter 3. She did kill the victim, but she was manipulated into doing it by another party.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: As per Japanese media tradition, the cast has a wide variety of hair colors, from Koume having white hair, Megumi Saotome and Atsumi Tsuruoka having green hair, Rimu Hiraga having purple hair, etc.

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