Follow TV Tropes

Following

Web Animation / hololive ERROR

Go To

Due to the nature and developments of the plot, especially with it utilising knowledge of continuity from the 3D series and game for later manga elements, all spoilers are unmarked.

https://mediaproxy.tvtropes.org/width/350/https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hololiveerror1_1.png

"We'll be friends forever, won't we?"
Advertisement:

hololive ERROR is an horror-based multimedia projectnote  by hololive, a group of Virtual YouTuber idols by COVER Corporation. Announced on August 1st, 2021, the 3D VR series began on August 14th, with a game demo released on January 7, 2022, and the manga starting on February 19, 2022. The full version of the game was released on July 18, 2022, while the 2.0 update and Steam version were released September 16, 2022.

The series starts with a New Transfer Student finding their way in a new school. The student meets several girls in Aogami High, all of whom are friendly and eager to get along with their new classmate, with some appearing to be attracted to her. However, there is also some slight apprehension around treatment of her, and students from another class are noted to have gone missing recently. On top of this, there may be something far darker going on just out of sight...

Advertisement:

The characters are portrayed by a number of hololive idols in either slightly similar or drastically different roles to the talent's characters established in hololive proper which varies from character to characternote . The playlist for the 3D VR series is here, while the official site, which also hosts the game demo hololive ERROR: Escape from Aogami High, is found here; the playlist for the animated manga is here. In April 2022, a website dedicated to the Train Arc was launched. In June 2022, a website dedicated to the Revelations Arc was launched.

Note: Where Episodes are remarked upon, it refers to events in the 3D VR, whereas Chapters refer to the Animated Manga Series. While events are detailed respective to where they happen, it is important to make the distinction what happens when and in which video as the two series offer very differing plot points and tropes.

Advertisement:


The series provides the examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Considering the girls of Hololive are playing similar roles in this project, this is to be expected.
    • Shino being a ghost and haunting the school may be a reference to Sora's Nerves of Steel personality when she engages in horror games.
    • Nanase's behavior as a subdued Cute But Psycho is reminiscent of Suisei's infamous Comedic Sociopathy, but here, it isn't Played for Laughs.
    • Sakura is a shrine maiden who is lazy (at first) and doesn't like to exercise. Miko herself is a lazy shrine maiden who doesn't like to exercise.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Ultimately subverted; the animated manga series appears to offer this to the 3D VR videos at first, and allows for seeing the Transfer Students verbally (though not audibly) express themselves and giving us a look at events outside the school grounds, in addition to the classroom where the original videos take place. However, it becomes clear that it's not so much of an adaption as it is a "Groundhog Day" Loop continuation of the original media and game elements, very subtly indicated with the conversation between Inari and Touka about the disappearing students in Chapter 2.
  • Ambiguous Time Period:
    • July 20XX. Episodes 1 to 3 of the 3D series and Chapters 1 to 3 are used to introduce Aogami and the basic premise of the project, but the introduction of an implied second July 20XX in Chapter 14, noted to be "the Perfect World", calls into question the reality of these early entries. Additionally, due to various differences between the two series' versions of this time period, it is implied that the Ominous Visual Glitch ending of Chapter 1 means that installment takes place after both the "Perfect World" and the 3D version due to how the conversation is deliberately obscured out of inference it has happened at least twice prior.
    • July 19XX. Similar to 20XX, this time period is used to introduce further elements of the project's story, and, from a chronological standpoint, is the earliest point in time until the Revelations Arc begins, which implies Sakura existed in a July 19XX in which Mari was alive. Considering the implications and Ambiguous Situation of the Transfer Student in this time period, there are subtle inferences that the two July 19XXs shown before the Revelations Arc take place after the time period with Mari.
  • Anachronism Stew: Overlaps with Ambiguous Time Period, A Glitch in the Matrix and "Groundhog Day" Loop.
    • Chapters 8 and 9 show the Transfer Student recognising Akane, but narration in Chapter 1 explicitly states that the former first saw the latter when she moved to Aogami two weeks before her first day at Aogami High.
    • Chapter 9, carrying the time setting of February 20XX from the chapter before, becomes very odd very quickly, with a five minute conversation apparently needing to take 2.5 hours (the characters move up the street, not to the school for classes or clubs), and the season outright changing from Winter to Summer in this time-frame, despite the cast still wearing the winter uniforms, with the later discussions even remarking on summer colds, to say nothing of the summer-uniform-clad Touka and Inari appearing and disappearing out of nowhere. Snow is also briefly seen in spite the apparent adjustment to Summer despite still apparently being February.
    • Starting in Chapter 8, carrying through Chapter 9 and into Chapter 10 is the character-specific anachronism of the 20XX Transfer Student wearing the Aogami High School uniform five months before she's due to actually transfer there. It isn't noticed by her or the other girls either.
    • The titular locomotive of the Train Arc - it's a steam-powered locomotive in the modern era, while the carriage that the Transfer Student and Uzuki enter has digital, albeit glitched, displays.
    • Chapter 20 takes the cake with it. Every time an Ominous Visual Glitch occurs in this chapter - which is very frequent - every character is likely to have their seasonal uniforms change on a dime, and when Shino energetically states her intention to get to know Aogami and her "new" classmates, she's wearing the 19XX Uniform before the next shot puts her back in the summer uniform.
  • Apocalyptic Log: In the game demo, the player can find notes from a reporter, incident reports, articles, paranormal logs and gossip notes, which detail various suspicious circumstances and act as Foreshadowing to anything not yet established in the 3D series or the rest of the game demo.
  • Arc Words:
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the manga series, Shino manages to plant the seed that grows trees that replaces the old ones and breaks the curse. This causes all of the characters from every arc to be brought back to life and live a peaceful school life together...except for Sakura, who has become the town's new guardian deity and can't be with the others.
  • Book Ends: The first and last chapters of the animated manga are titled "Welcome to Aogami High".
  • Buried Alive:
    • The fate met by the children sacrificed to the mountain spirits by the ancestors of Aogami. A number of the girls in July 19XX are shown to suffer this fate by way of the landslide, and it is heavily inferred to be the case in the manga for the July 20XX girls, if not for the ambiguity of both the ending of Episode 3 and their existence after the events of Chapters 5 and 15.
    • The narration in the retail release trailer states that the people of 19XX Aogami apparently resorted to this, burying children alive as part of a Human Sacrifice in desperation to stop deadly landslides from plauging the town. It worked, but the sacrificed children started haunting Aogami High afterwards.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Chapter 9, the Blue Screen of Death Ominous Visual Glitch near the end lists out a bunch of Color Hex Codes that, when translated into RGB, appear to display the base palettes of all 16 named actresses of the cast up to that point.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The premise of the project. In general, the idols of hololive portray characters somewhat similarly to their streamer personas, but this is very pronounced with Nanase; her actress, Suisei, is well known for her Comedic Sociopathy, and her sociopathic behavior is Played for Laughs, whereas Nanase is the complete opposite, showing clear disdain for Shino and anyone else who gets in her way of getting close to the Past Transfer Student.
    • It's even darker than hololive - Holo no Graffiti where, barring some 【Horror】 tagged episodes, the idols engage in Surreal Humor, and it escalates its randomness all Played for Laughs. This series takes itself very seriously, and has a total dark atmosphere, and is unapologetically open about it.
    • Past Aogami High also acts as this compared to the Lighter and Softer Present version, due to its darker color palette (in both the uniforms and the environment itself) and a very serious plot about Nanase trying to get rid of all those that stand between her and the Past Transfer Student... which her increasingly unstable mental state comes to see as at least two of her classmates.
    • The Train Arc is somehow this even more so than the Past Aogami High Arc. Whatever the hell is making things go wrong begins affecting things outside of the school and its students on-screen, the Ominous Visual Glitch becomes even worse than in the previous two arcs, Yuka ends up getting the Un-person treatment with very few people remembering she ever existed, and one of those few, Akane, blames the Transfer Student for it.
  • Dark Reprise: The full game's soundtrack also includes an eerie arrangement of Shiny Smily Story.
  • Demonic Possession: Thoroughly implied to be the case with at least Nanase and Mari after the latter's recounting of the Rumour of the Woods in Chapter 18, albeit downplayed as they still seem to have some control of their faculties depending on the moment, and that them being within the confines of the school, itself all but confirmed to have been constructed out of the wood from the haunted trees of Aogami Forest, enables the possession to take an even greater hold - indicated by them coming down with headaches. Going by Yae's perception of Nanase's "change" from a Nice Girl to the haughty and vitriolic individual we've mostly seen in the 3D series and manga, there is a clear implication she was not at all at the helm when Shino tried to check on her just before the landslide; meanwhile, Mari's desire to create the perfect painting is taken advantage of, leading her to drain herself of enough blood to expire as her friend finds her in the Art Prep Room.
  • Discretion Shot:
    • In Episode 3, the scene fades to darkness with some errant glitches and low rumbling right as Touka's about to explain the rumour to the Transfer Student, with Touka then apparently having an Oh, Crap! realisation while Suzune outright has a Scream Discretion Shot. Due to the alternative nature of the manga, it is never made clear what actually happened to the poor girls in the 3D series.
    • Chapter 3 uses this during the transition from the classroom to the corridor, with a very blurry smoke effect utilised.
    • Chapter 4 does it again, this time with a clearer smoke effect transitioning the switch from the Present Aogami High corridor to the one in the Past.
    • Overlaps with Ominous Visual Glitch in Chapter 9 and Chapter 10: the last thing we see from the Transfer Student's perspective is the Dissonant Serenity of Akane and Yuka, before the glitches cut to Aogami Station.
  • Dissonant Serenity: With the exception of the Transfer Student and Uzuki, every character in 20XX in the manga are essentially fuelled by this.
    • Touka and Saki's discussion of, and insistence that, the red spider lilies be viewed by the Transfer Student sees the former duo adopt The Un-Smiles, which unnerves and confuses the latter due to the sheer shift from how they spoke to her before bringing them up.
    • For all their eagerness to be friends and get along with the Transfer Student, the end of Chapter 3 unravels this notion when the five girls stop acknowledging, or rather, become completely unable to acknowledge the Transfer Student as the school collapses around them.
    • Despite all her smiling when she elects to, which lapses into Slasher Smile and The Un-Smile, anytime Shino talks to the Transfer Student about going home/back is brimming with this, as her notions are blatantly nebulous and nefarious. When she's next seen in Chapter 8, it is left entirely ambiguous as to what she intends with the Transfer Student after appeared at point-blank range before her.
    • In Chapter 9, after Inari and Touka disappear, Akane and Yuka, having been established as friendly, energetic/talkative individuals earlier, adopt eerie stares and speak in a tone as if they're possessed.
    • Chapter 10 sees Kaoru, Saya and Miku take on this, as after creeping the Transfer Student out over the lack of knowledge about Yuka, whom they were speaking with the day before, they offer to take the Transfer Student around in the place of the disappeared girl and Akane, and fall further into it when Kaoru tries to stop the Transfer Student from going to look for Yuka.
    • Chapter 13 builds further upon Chapter 10, with Kaoru seemingly pretending to be or instructed to act as broken as Hanabi in Chapter 4, and Saya's urging the Transfer Student, Uzuki and Akane to play displaying that what's about to happen will not be a game. Whatever happened to the seemingly friendly trio who knew something to try and keep the Transfer Student out of potential harm, they're gone.
    • Chapters 15 and 16 take the situation with Kaoru, Saya and Miku to greater heights with Uzuki, Akane and Yuka; Yuka tries to talk about the "Perfect World" to the Transfer Student and that they go back to Aogami, all while in some sort of trance, which worries Akane and Uzuki. After The Reveal and Chapter 16 starts, the latter duo take on the same repetition and insisting as Yuka and the other three girls, which ends up pushing the Transfer Student away.
  • Don't Go in the Woods:
    • The game demo has a note that states that if one were to step into the "dark even in daylight" forest in the dead of night, they'd see children wandering through the trees and if they're approached, one would be forever taken to their world.
    • In Chapter 7, Sakura hearkens to this when she warns Nanase against going into the woods any further, and to inform her father not to continue cutting trees down for the sake of developing the town.
    • It is implied in Chapter 16 that the bleak world Shino finds herself in is the town of Aogami overcome with the forest, putting her in danger of what the note highlights and Sakura suggests.
    • Chapter 18 shows that Mari also took leisurely walks in the woods often, and it's inferred Sakura warned her like we saw with Nanase earlier; however, Mari raises a terrible implication as she recounts the rumour of the woods - the wood taken from the trees of the forest are used to make the buildings of Aogami...
    • Chapter 22 reveals that the reason behind the implications is pollution, the buildings of Aogami were constructed using polluted trees which are bad for the villagers, hence Sakura's quest for Aogami's reforestation.
  • Dramatic Wind: The wind distinctively howls when Shino comes face to face with the terrible state of Aogami after she leaves the train in Chapter 16.
  • Driven to Madness: Shino reaches this conclusion about Nanase and Mari in Chapter 18, realising the danger of the woods and going to investigate them.
  • Drone of Dread: There is a constant droning ambiance on a loop throughout the game demo, which does little to abate the atmosphere or events. If one listens carefully through the majority of the manga chapters, it can be heard even outside of the corridors in which the game demo takes place.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The school in the game demo features Unnaturally Looping Location with apparitions of students in rooms you can't acccess. The physical condition of the corridor in both time periods gets worse the further you progress, with the route you took leading up to the chase sequences abruptly being wildly different the moment the lighting turns red, until you get home-free from Shino; even then, the corridor you finish the demo is much more dreary and dull in palette compared to the one you start in.
    • By extension, the town of Aogami is falling into this as the manga progresses: the population is steadily disappearing with students in their numbers, with those of whom remaining commenting on the situation but only positing guesses at best; the school in July 20XX falling apart much like was seen in the game demo, but without a concrete reason as to what actually caused it (Saki states an earthquake in Chapter 3, while an official report states "gas leak" in the demo). In Chapter 9, the scenery disappears before everything else during the final Ominous Visual Glitch, Chapter 10 sees the street that the Transfer Student, Kaoru, Saya and Miku are on is devoid of life contrary to background noise earlier, not to mention what appears to be a completely absent sky, and in Chapter 11, the train, being a blatant Anachronism Stew of its own, is running after Uzuki remarks that the last train has already departed.
    • Additionally, it seems as though the train is fond of having the schools from the two time periods on display in the background: Chapter 12 displays the 20XX school in the final scene, but the shot is the same as seen in Chapter 2, and in Chapter 14, the 20XX school, albeit very blurry, can be seen behind Uzuki when Yuka's found, matching the photo in the yearbook, while the closer image of the 19XX school can be seen, its shot coming from Chapter 6. Then in Chapter 15, prior to The Reveal, it appears as though chunks of the train's roof are absent because of a glitch appearing behind Akane, twice.
  • Evolving Credits: In the animated manga:
    • Chapters 1 to 6 display (mostly-)everyday classroom scenes particularly drawn from Chapter 1, starting with drawing focus on a wider view of Aogami, the train station, the spider lilies at the school, and the classroom, where Saki, Suzune and Touka are glitched, followed by a glitch transition to Hanabi and Inari, before focusing back on the spider lilies and coming to the key visual animatic of Shino in the two time periods where the title comes on screen.
    • Chapters 7 and 8 forgo most of the above scenes, showing only the title card animatic part.
    • For Chapters 9 to 16, along with a different theme compared to earlier Chapters, the opening credits display a train carriage in a state of disrepair with black handprints all over the windows and a school desk leaning against a seat, then photos of Aogami Shrine and the 19XX Aogami Sation, before focusing on Shino's silhouette in between carriages and the train moving as speed past a crossing. Akane and Yuka are then seen guiding the Transfer Student, with a short, panned shot of Saya, Kaoru and Miku, which leads to a new key visual animatic focusing on Akane hesitatingly looking towards the PoV, turning her attention to Yuka on the seat when she cuts in, and then back towards the PoV just before Yuka disappears, while the logo takes Yuka's spot on the animatic, and Shino's silhouette draped in a red light similar to earlier in the sequence, which is then zoomed in on. Chapters 10 onwards only display the animatic portion.
  • Exorcist Head: If you try to read a note next to a window wherein you can see the Past and Present students sat at their desks, they will all simultaneously turn to stare in the direction of the note and you if you are close enough to the Schmuck Bait.
  • The Faceless: In the game, there are two character models that look nothing like the rest of the cast, having jet-black hair that either barely grazes their shoulders or drops halfway down their torso; the upper half of their face is absent to the point that it looks like a hole starts above the cheeks and nose, and they have no discernible mouth. If one watches carefully when the other characters disappear throughout the corridors, these two models, in a silhouette form, replace them during the disappearing action.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Used in the game demo and Chapter 5 of the manga. The character models that aren't using the talents' appearances are shown to be The Faceless as described above during th Surprise Creepy classroom scene in the demo, whereas in Chapter 5, it is punctuated with Honoka to horrifying effect with some kind of wet, gurgling sound, and the students present in the classroom staring at the Transfer Student with no emotion and hollow eyes not too dissimilar to the unknown 3D models, giving an implication that the nine students have since lost their humanity, if the inference in Chapter 18 is anything to go by.
  • Flower Motifs:
    • The school in 20XX is absolutely teeming with spider lilies due to Saki’s love of them. In the game’s demo, you can also find a spider lily in a pot with a note that it signifies "sad memories". One appears where the Transfer Student previously stood after she escapes Shino in Chapter 5, which is picked up by the latter, and they also line the path Shino takes to the shrine in Chapter 8.
    • Also in Chapter 5 is a Pangea Lily that Shino is holding by the riverbank. It's significance is yet to be elaborated on, but considering it's color and the what they can be a flower of choice for, it's implied that Shino is en-route to a funeral...
  • Freak Out:
    • A nuanced one by Nanase in Episode 6, when she decides on her own that Yae is another person on the list of people coming between her and the Past Transfer Student, creating a glitch as she determines to make them go away.
    • In Chapter 2, Inari definitively has one after Suzune playfully bumps the protagonist from behind, as the former descends into a monotonous declaration of the rumor.
    • In Chapter 5, Shino has a major one when she is refused by the Present Transfer Student.
    • Chapter 7 sees Nanase have an even more violent and vitriolic one than Shino two chapters prior, when the latter checks to see if the former's headache's gone.
    • Chapter 12 sees Akane hold the Transfer Student in blame over the disappearance of Yuka, with Uzuki even remarking she's never seen Akane in such a state.
  • Funny Background Event: When the girls in the background finish their lines, they tend to idle or goof around; the only exceptions to this is Sakura and Honoka's conversation in Episode 4, where the conversation audibly finishes but continues with the former whispering something to the latter, and again in Episode 6 when Yae is left hanging and despondent when Nanase leaves.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Due to the nature of 3D episodes being in interactive 360 VR, you, the viewer, can move their view freely and look backwards even while others (such as Shino and Nanase) are talking to them; this makes it easier to see what the other characters are doing in their conversations as well as background events.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: When Suzune has her Heroic BSoD in Chapter 3 as the school comes down, Touka and Saki waste time trying to get her to snap out of it long enough to get to safety.
  • Ghost Memory: While not directly receiving them, this is implied to be the case at various moments in the game demo, especially in the Past School, with some overlap of Shared Dream via implication of Shino's dialog; when the characters other than Shino are seen in the game, they are extremely different to what we've seen in the 3D Episodes previously, appearing to interact in ways not seen even in the later manga plotline, and various scenes can be seen among the dark which imply somebody has been bullied. In addition, a projector starts whirring before the Exorcist Head scene, implied to be connected to the film that Nanase, the 19XX Transfer Student (and maybe Shino depending on source media) were meant to see, but never did, which raises the question as to who did see it or why it's even there.
  • Ghost Town:
    • Aogami Landslide Event Report #3 notes that the residents of Aogami Town started to leave after witnessing a ghost, though that doesn't seem to be the case during the Present. However, the reports of people disappearing via Aogami Station and discussions by students on the topic imply it might be heading this way again, but through more nefarious means...
    • After Shino leaves the train in Chapter 16, she finds Aogami in a unmaintained state, absent of other people. Then she learns of Mari and the Rumour of the Woods, which implies that the residents who fled Aogami had to lest the vengeful spirits claim their lives.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix:
    • In a series of rapidly acting Freeze Frame Bonuses when Nanase has her Freak Out, vertical strips of various colors appear outside the windows of the classroom and hallway, which then distort as the glitch continues, giving the illusion of the scenery becoming corrupted or deleted.
    • Chapter 2 is the earliest indication of this in the manga, as the conversation that Inari and Touka have in Episode 2 is replicated, but shifted in location and time of day; specifically, after the shot of Aogami Station is displayed, Inari asks Touka "Do you still think it's just a stubborn summer cold", but this is the first time they've had this conversation in this media. Touka also sounds increasingly irritated as she asserts her response to Inari and the Transfer Student, as if she dislikes repeating herself, even though there's no reason for her attitude to swing that way.
    • Whilst heavily implied throughout the 3D Series, game demo and Chapters 1 to 5 and 8 in the manga, Chapter 9 of the latter really ramps up the implications by creating a small Anachronism Stew as detailed above as well as replaying near enough the same conversations Inari, Touka and the Transfer Student have in Episode 2 and Chapter 2, but with Kaoru. Saya, Yuka and the Transfer Student, and outright throwing an Ominous Visual Glitch Blue Screen of Death that details Hex Codes for RGB values pertaining to the actress' palettes. An off-key version of the opening theme starting in Chapter 9 can also be heard for that brief moment with the BSOD.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop:
    • Compare the events of Episodes 1 to 3 and Chapters 1 to 3. In the latter trio of videos, some conversations are shifted to more directly involve the Transfer Student, but with different atmospheres to those of the original, and small changes such as Touka's increasingly irritated attitude from seemingly repeating herself and the glitches are more rampant as opposed to being utilised at the end of Episode 3.
    • The game demo is effectively this with its three runs. The only thing that changes is what Shino says, and the one line of refusal from the Player Character isn't carried over into the second and third runs of the game.
    • The fact that the Transfer Student in 20XX remembers seeing Akane in Chapters 8 and 9 before it should be chronologically possible heavily suggests that Aogami Town is trapped in some sort of time loop.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss:
    • The Blue-eyed Shino becomes completely content to leave her Brown-eyed counterpart to this mindset while directly confronting her in Chapters 15 and 16, coming of the opinion that there is no helping her counterpart if she continues to cling on to the notion of being with her friends instead of facing the truth. It takes her stating that the Transfer Student Shino will just keep "running away forever" and the forceful grab from Yuka, Akane and Uzuki to pull the Transfer Student away from it, much to the Blue-eyed Shino's delight.
    • On the other hand, when the Brown-eyed Shino manifests herself as an apparent separate entity like the Blue-eyed one had prior to the Revelations Arc, she is more than welcome to feed into this sort of mindset for the at-the-time devastated Blue-eyed version, "confirming" her deluded claims that it's all just a bad dream and helping her "wake up" back in the Perfect World.
  • Jump Scare: Shino's appearance in Episode 3, the flickering silhouette of Shino's expression in Chapter 4, the punctuated focus on Honoka turning to face the Transfer Student in Chapter 5, Miku's very brief flicker in Chapter 13 before the Transfer Student and Uzuki follow after Akane and the cut to the Painting in Chapter 18 after Mari passes out.
  • Kimodameshi: Honoka suggests one of these to Nanase when she heard of the haunted art painting in the art room, and eagerly invites the Past Transfer Student, Shino, and the other named girls of the past.
  • Lens Flare: Commonly utilised in the manga, and very subtle; they flit across and/or around the screen, and if comparing the conversations (for example, Inari and Hanabi's initial conversation with the Transfer Student in 20XX eventually being drowned out when the original went on uninterrupted, or Shino's more assertive approaching to the Transfer Student in 19XX as opposed to her hesitant, meek approach) to the original ones from the 3D series, add to the notion that there is something very wrong with the world the characters are in. The only times they aren't seen are in Chapter 6, when Shino is praying at the shrine and sees the Transfer Student at the bottom of the steps, and later when she goes to meet up her classmates for the Test of Courage; in Chapter 7, when the girls are on the way to the school and after they finish at the Art Prep Room, and in Chapter 8, when Shino awakens and is among the ruins of the school. Additionally, they don't appear in Chapter 11, nor do they when the Transfer Student and Uzuki are explicitly alone, and due to other lighting effects being utilised in Chapter 13, are absent there too.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: 20XX is riddled with this: for being set in the modern era, there is a substantial lack of technology of any kind, the most being seen is a corrupted digital screen in the first train carriage in Chapter 11. None of the girls from July seem to ask for or exchange contact details with the Transfer Student or vice versa, with no phones on display whatsoever.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Justified, as several girls are portrayed by anthropomorphic idols, such as a white fox, fennec fox, white lion, a King Charles Spaniel, a cat, a wolf and a rabbit.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: It is heavily implied from various subtle hints and copious amounts of Ominous Visual Glitch across the three mediums that the majority of the story (barring Mari's reality) takes place in a multi-layered one, starting with the inferred death of Shino being given a "Perfect World" where she could have the friends she longed for, only to abandon it due to a pain that Yuka alludes to. 20XX as a whole leans towards this due to the way the characters act more to a scripted sequence to maintain the illusion, and any deviation raised by or pertaining to the Transfer Student is met with hostility and vague warnings, and memories are hinted to be method to break the script. With The Reveal regarding Aogami Forest, it is just as inferred that any 19XX that has Nanase present is also an illusion, considering her repeating Mari's lines regarding the forest, headaches, and being subject to something happening to her because of the woods. Shino's three variations of dialog in the game demo and Chapters 5, 15 and 16 further support this through her challenging the Transfer Student Shino on her "fantasies".
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • Subtitles are provided to the characters in the background of the 3D series that adds more context for later elements of the project. With the exception of Suzune, Saki and Inari in each of the first three episodes respectively, you can focus on any of the conversations.
    • The scenery frequently offers this, overlapping with Rewatch Bonus and Foreshadowing, especially in the manga; with the world outside of the school visible, and while much of the focus being dedicated to the characters and what they're saying/doing, there are various elements in the background that at first appear to be A Glitch in the Matrix but in fact are foreshadowing of later elements, such as the clocks in July 20XX perpetually displaying 10:08, the time the landslide struck the 19XX school, and the central shots of the school from the train as seen in Chapters 8 and 12.
  • Meaningful Name: Most names are made up from the respective vtuber's name.
    • Sora Tokino -> Shino Misora (Sora's name is written as 空 in kanji, itself containing the same Kanji for "sky" as Misora)
    • Suisei Hoshimachi -> Nanase Furukawa (both Hoshimachi and Nanase contain the Kanji for "star" (星))
    • Miko Sakura -> Sakura Shinomiya
    • Noel Shirogane -> Yae Shiromi
    • Polka Omaru -> Honoka Omori (both Omaru and Omori contain the kanji for "tail" (尾))
    • Botan Shishiro -> Shiina Fukami
    • Fubuki Shirakami -> Inari Shirayuki (Fubuki's name is written as 吹雪 in kanji, itself containing the same Kanji for "snow" as Shirayuki)
    • Matsuri Natsuiro -> Natsuno Hanabi
    • Aki Rosenthal -> Saki Ibara
    • Lamy Yukihana -> Touka Yukihara
    • Nene Momosuzu -> Suzune Karamomo
    • Korone Inugami -> Akane Inukai
    • Okayu Nekomata -> Yuka Nekomiya
    • Mel Yozora -> Saya Kisaragi (both Yozora and Saya contain the Kanji for "night" (夜))
    • Mio Ookami -> Miku Kamishiro
    • Pekora Usada —> Uzuki Mizuta (both Usada and Uzuki contain the Kanji for "rabbit" (兎))
    • Marine Houshou —> Mari Akagane (both Akagane and Houshou contain the Kanji for "bell" (鐘))
    • Towa Tokoyami —> Kana Tokiwa (both Tokiwa and Tokoyami contain the Kanji for "always" (常))
    • Kanata Amane —> Kanade Amano
    • Luna Himemori —> Mitsuki Himekawa (Tsuki (月) translates to Moon, of which Luna's name is the Latin word for)
    • Flare Shiranui —> Hotaru Shiratori (Both Shiranui and Hotaru contain the kanji for "fire" (火))
    • Roboco-san —> Yuki Kaizuka (although Roboco is an android (人造人間, jinzou ningen) instead of a cyborg (改造人間, kaizou ningen) lore-wise)
  • Minimalist Cast: There are no more than seven students in each time period in the VR series, with no Ghost Extras. Touka suggests that some of the other students suddenly caught a summer cold; so far in February 20XX, including the Transfer Student and Shino, there are eight characters for the arc, the cameo appearances of Inari and Touka notwithstanding.
  • Must Make Amends: The Burnt Notebook found in the game alludes to someone who wants to do right by Shino, but while it's ambiguous as to whom the author of the writing is, it's implied to be from either July 19XX or the time period introduced at the end of Chapter 14.
    "Now I can be just like you. I'll see you soon. I'm so sorry, Shino."
  • Nice Girl: With the exception of Uzuki later on, who appears to be the straightest example of this in her interactions with the Transfer Student, the girls of 20XX are variously downplayed, subverted or inverted.
    • Hanabi, Suzune and Saki are each downplayed, as they all appear decent and treat the Transfer Student nicely, but they each act awkward or weird around her (Chapters 2, 3 and 1 respectively).
    • Inari and Touka stray into inverted, as the latter is inexplicably hostile in Chapter 2, which sticks with the Transfer Student, and despite her recital of the rumor at the end of that chapter, Inari does nothing to intervene on that moment.
    • Akane and Yuka are subverted due to their Mood Whiplash Dissonant Serenity as Chapter 9 ends, and the former's hostility towards the Transfer Student in Chapters 11 and 12.
    • Kaoru, Saya and Miku slip into inverted in part because the Transfer Student doesn't understand what's going on around her or with them, and it's only after Kaoru asks about Yuka do they become more akin to Touka in Chapter 2; specifically, Kaoru's warning is seemingly made with positive intentions in spite of the negative action, making this instance lean towards Poor Communication Kills.
  • Nightmare Face: The Painting. It's pretty awful to behold in the game demo, with descriptions noting it to cause pain in the head and chest, and the manga version is even worse, having realistic-looking teeth and hollow eyes; it doesn't help either that its expression is one of screaming.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Getting caught by Shino in the game demo sends you right back to the title screen, after being pushed into darkness.
  • Once More, with Clarity!:
    • The manga serves as this relative to the 3D series and the game, with extra context provided where it hasn't been outright changed, and makes efforts to drive home the point of "Error" being in the title with a range of glitches.
    • Meanwhile, the manga itself has a smaller-scale version of this in Chapter 17. As the present Shino (in the past/ghost Shino's body) looks over the ruins of Aogami, we see a few flashbacks to events in the 20XX Aogami High and Train arcsSpecifically... , this time with us actually seeing the present Shino as the previously-anonymous 20XX Transfer Student.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: This series has ERROR in its name for a damn good reason.
    • In general, there is plenty of static, pixelation, chromatic aberration and artifacting that adds to the unsettling nature of Aogami High and the town around it. Most are associable with Shino, especially in the way she typically appears in out of nowhere in the manga, though Chapter 9 implies that Inari and Touka are also a source behind them if they're not a result of them. Small, free-roaming lens flares also appear to highlight when things are not quite right in the manga compared to what was previously established in the 3D VR series.
    • Episode 3's OVGs, being the Shino Jump Scare and the Discretion Shot, show that all is not right with Aogami High, and acts as a portend for things to come in later entries.
    • Episode 6, on the other hand, has a massive one with Foreshadowing for the Freeze-Frame Bonus development in Chapter 7 when Nanase has her Freak Out, as a few Freeze Frame Bonuses occur in rapid succession: the classrooom, Nanase, Honoka, Shiina and Yae are riddled with blood splatter, vertical strips of red, green, blue, yellow, cyan and magenta amongst the white backdrop outside the hallway and classroom windows, and then the scenery looking like it's breaking apart or being deleted until Yae interrupts Nanase's rumination.
    • Anytime a character is seen in the game demo, it is almost a given that they will contort into shadowy shapes and a very dark ultramarine-colored model that looks nothing at all like them as they disappear from sight, including Shino, except when she's behind you during the chase sequences.
    • The manga has it nearly Once an Episode with the exception of Chapters 5 to 7.
      • Chapter 1 sees the ones around Akane bringing the music to a grinding stop into static, as her words are kept drowned out by said static, and various visual glitches accompanying her close-up. Later, right after the narrator introduces Touka, the screen flickers into Touka, Suzune and Saki becoming emotionless with clouded over eyes, as a very minor visual fluctuation punctuates the shift to this small scene, and white noise rings in the background. Then high amounts of static, static noise and artifacts drown out the conversation between Inari, Hanabi and the Transfer Student, implying that the events in the manga do not fully align with, or are even a "second take" of, those seen in the 3D VR series.
      • Chapter 2 inexplicably has Aogami Station show up when Inari and Touka discuss the missing students, Foreshadowing the later Train Arc. When Touka makes her rebuttal to the Transfer Student, scanning static lines like one would see on a old, just barely in-tune TV can be seen scrolling up over her. At the end, Inari appears in the classroom with a stronger version of those lines, and the focus on her face shows it distorted with glitches as she recites the rumor, while Shino is cut-in with more scanning lines.
      • As soon as Touka declares her lack of belief in the rumor, the entire space glitches out, replacing the classroom with a darker variant that has Shino present, whom in the midst of these glitches appears as a disembodied face, all while the artifacting is met with digital numerals. Shino's proper appearance to the Transfer Student at the end is pronounced with the same artifacting that makes it seem like the screen is bubbling.
      • Hanabi is covered with greyscale-palette vinyl-like ones when the Transfer Student notices that something is very wrong about her. Then the same happens with Inari, but with an inverted palette. The hand that grabs the Transfer Student's ankle before the shift to the past is comprised of nothing but glitches, and when she tries to get her bearings, her vision is filled with more vinyl-like glitches as she turns to find Shino behind her.
      • When the Transfer Student looks out at Aogami from the train in Chapter 8, a very snappy glitch makes the view brighter, and when she notices Akane, the glitches that transition to the alternate shot of Chapter 1 and to Shino follow the same style of artifacting as Shino's Jump Scare in Chapter 3.
      • Chapter 9 is riddled with them. The first is the Transfer Student suddenly moving position a fraction of a centimeter momentarily and a smile just as instantly cropping up on Akane's face; the moment Saya starts talking at 2PM sees a glitch, followed by static artifacting taking up the whole screen after she recommends going to Aogami Shrine; when Kaoru brings up the missing students, a brief distortion appears over her and again when she notes they can't be reached, followed by a greyscale, static-distorted shot of the backs of Inari and Touka from Chapter 2; when Yuka weighs in to the conversation, the colors on-screen lose contrast; and finally two happen in very quick succession: as Akane and Yuka prepare to lead the Transfer Student around Aogami, the street outright disappears, and the biggest one in the project yet occurs as a Blue Screen of Death detailing RGB hex codes, with colorful and bubbling distortions transitioning quickly from the girls to the BSOD, to Aogami Station, to a clock reading 11:44PM and then a shot of the train.
      • Chapter 10 is more minor compared to the previous chapter. he Parrot Exposition carried out by Saya and Kaoru is replayed again, with popping glitches used to indicate that the scene itself is problematic, and a Freeze-Frame Bonus turns the lifeless stares of Kaoru, Saya and Miku into Dissonant Serenity smiles.
      • Chapter 11's only moment of this is itself a Call-Back to a certain event in the game. When the Transfer Student and Uzuki approach Akane, the latter is flanked by outright missing blocks of the scenery around her, which are replaced with static glitches, which change to a red hue as the scene behind Akane also becomes more and more red in hue. This is carried over into Chapter 12, which continues right after The Stinger at the end of Chapter 11.
      • Chapter 17 has a static filter go over the screen as Shino touches the blood painting, before transitioning into a flashback to the one who likely created it.
  • Real-Place Background: Aogami High is apparently based off of a real abandoned high school, which Polka explores in the Legend of Polka episode "Dragged to School at Night!".
  • Red Filter of Doom:
    • The copious amounts of red colored blocks and blood splattered around the characters and classroom in Episode 6 foreshadow a very unpeaceful end for some of the girls.
    • In the game, when the scene turns red, Shino will kill you when falling into her catch radius; she grabs a hold of you and seemingly drag-push you into a pit that didn't previously exist. In addition, there is also the red-toned Art Prep Room, which implies a painful curse to those whom are meant to behold the painting.
    • In Chapters 11 and 12, Akane's hostile disposition is punctuated with an ominous red light can be seen behind her and outside the train.
    • In Chapters 13 and 14, after Akane has abandoned her hostility in favour of searching for Yuka, and after Saya creeps the Transfer Student, Uzuki and Akane out, the red light doesn't let up in the slightest. However, it can only be seen from within the train.
  • Replay Value: Overlaps with Rewatch Bonus, as events that occur or are alluded to in the manga are first found here. While the fundamentals of the game (the notes, the scare moments, the "map" layout) remain the same in the game demo, there are key differences between playthroughs; Shino's dialogue has three different versions based on run (the Transfer Student's one line in the first run is absent later), and the apparition of Nanase and Shiina in the second corridor of the 19XX school is randomised on Shiina focusing entirely on Nanase, turning her head away slightly, turning her head away from and back to Nanase, or turning her head away from Nanase only to focus on you. Additionally, the speed with which the girls in the classroom perform their Exorcist Head turn varies between runs.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Overlaps with Replay Value. As the plot advances in the manga series, the Foreshadowing elements from the 3D series and the game demo become much more apparent and stronger in the implications that they carry; for example, the missing students, which becomes the focus of its own arc from halfway through Chapter 8 onwards.
  • Run or Die: Irrespective of what Shino says when you encounter her after the Art Prep Room in the three variations, when the lighting shifts to red, move your feet. Lingering at any part of the chase sequence up to the final corridor sectionnote  results in a Non Standard Game Over.
  • Scenery Gorn: When Shino leaves the train towards the end of Chapter 16, the apparent state of Aogami evokes this, being in a state of ruin and disrepair judging by the appearance of Aogami Station and the street she finds herself in and at least part of the town appears to be Reclaimed by Nature.
  • Scenery Porn: Conversely, the first proper look at the woods in Chapter 18 makes it appear like a tranquil and beautiful place, leaving little wonder why Nanase and Mari enjoyed it there. It's a shame that it's implied to be the source of all the problems in 19XX and 20XX.
  • School Festival: The Present Aogami High is preparing its 50th festival, which has a religious background.
  • The Seven Mysteries: A magazine describes being trapped in a classroom with floating furniture as one of them, and another one is the story of an art student who bled herself out to use her blood as paint.
  • Share Phrase: "My head is killing me", uttered each by Nanase in Chapter 7, the Transfer Student Shino in Chapter 14 and Mari in Chapter 18, when they come down with a headache, and each precede a pivotal moment. With Nanase and Mari, it is implied by the latter to be a result of being in a place made from the wood of the cut-down haunted trees, but with Shino, it is solely just as a result of recalling "the Perfect World".
  • Sinister Silhouettes: A recurring element throughout the game demo is that when Shino, Nanase, Shiina or the July 20XX girls disappear whilst in sight, their form shifts and warps into either flat-colored versions of The Faceless models, or become vaguely-human shaped silhouettes, or both, as they phase out, which raises the implication as to each of the named characters being Ambiguously Human. It doesn't abate the atmosphere of Aogami High in either corridor.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 5.
    • Starting with Chapter 1 of the manga, while a good introduction to the world of ERROR and takes the incentive to introduce characters, isn't the starting point of the story - Episode 1 holds the honor, and the 3D series as a whole make up the first two story arcs that build up Aogami through dialogue - as noted under Adaptation Expansion above, the manga's initial chapters are more closer to the fourth and onwards arcs of the story, with the game demo being the third.
    • On which note, unless you've played the game demo in its absolute entirety (three playthroughs) and paid attention to each scene, all the notes and Shino's dialogue variations, then you won't know that it furthered the Missing Child plot point hinted at in Episode 2 with what becomes the Train Arc in the manga, and is the precursor to Chapters 4 and 5. Additionally, the game's notes hint at events to come after the Train Arc while carrying hints as to the fates of the characters seen in the 3D.
  • Spirit Advisor: With The Reveal in Chapter 15, it is implied this was the Blue-eyed Shino's role all along, only becoming antagonistic and violent if her Brown-eyed, Transfer Student counterpart refused her beckoning to "go back"; by Chapter 15, she's mellowed out, but cold to Transfer Student Shino when she feels her words are not getting through to the latter.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Of hololive - Holo no Graffiti. Holo no Graffiti features many of the hololive idols of the Japanese branch getting into odd and wacky antics, and completely runs on Surreal Humor. This series has a complete dark atmosphere with the idols portraying characters in the opposite direction, and completely runs on Surreal Horror.
  • Stopped Clock:
    • A report mentions a landslide occurred at about 10:10 PM. In-game, you can find wall clocks with bearing 10:08. Anytime the clock is in view in the episodes, it is always at 10:08, which granted, appears to be during breaks between classes, but nevertheless looks to function as a kind of Arc Number and is very coincidental to the landslide in Chapter 7.
    • Chapter 1 has a Freeze-Frame Bonus that shows the time in the classroom if one focuses on Touka's right cheek during the scene transition, as it becomes too blurry to read once the girls are further away. It is also reading as 10:088, even though the morning bells have just tolled, and the morning recess is an hour later.
  • Survival Horror: The game version is the type of survival horror without combat involved. Justified as the Player Character is just an Ordinary High-School Student.
  • Tagline:
    • From the original PV and Chapters 1 to 10, the tagline is "We'll be friends forever, won't we?".
    • Chapters 11 to 16 change it to "Can I still believe in our friendship?".
    • Starting Chapter 17, it becomes "Will you be my friend again?".
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Heavily implied twice, once in Episode 3, once in the game demo, being the Schmuck Bait note that triggers the Exorcist Head moment as detailed above. In Episode 3, Hanabi tells Saki about trying to find information on the source of the rumour lead to a dead end as the school library was absent of answers, which Saki finds odd. Hanabi then considers asking her grandfather and people around town if anything similar has happened previously, and Saki states she'll ask her mother. However, neither appear to get the chance to carry out their investigation...
  • Time Loop Fatigue: By the time you see her for the first time in the third playthrough of the game, Shino has had enough, resorting later to chastising the Player Character in an effort to accept her urging to "go home/back".
  • Title Drop: The yearbook that the Transfer Student and Uzuki discover on the train in Chapter 14 has a clearly legible hololive ERROR on the page across from the photo of the school.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Aogami Town has a lot of old rumors involving the supernatural, one of them tells about a great misfortune if the New Transfer Student isn't treated well, the other involves Human Sacrifice. Nanase tells Honoka that her family built the school on a cemetery site.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Heavily implied in Chapter 9 and Played for Horror as a one-woman-show, with the two timelines/realities of July and February 20XX crossing enough for Touka to address both the Transfer Student (Chapter 2) and Yuka (Chapter 9) positing ideas alternative to her Insistent Terminology; the moment that Touka interjects in Yuka and Kaoru's conversation, it is exactly in the same tone she delivered her Death Glare response to the Transfer Student in Chapter 2.
  • Unseen Evil: The true form of the Vengeful Ghost children is unknown, and they are heavily implied to be the cause behind both the events to the story, particularly the death of Mari and Nanase's outburst just before the landslide, and behind the more unusual and/or eerie actions of a number of the girls such as Miku, Kaoru and Saya seemingly hunting the Transfer Student throughout Chapter 13. For as dark and nebulous as Shino appears prior to Chapter 15, her actions completely pale in comparison to what these beings are capable of.
    • Chapter 22 suggests that the reason for this is that the spirits don't even truly exist, with Nanase and Mari's situations happening due to the forest being polluted.
  • Urban Legends:
    • In Episode 5, Yae tells Sakura the story of a female art student who had talent, but fell into a slump under the weight of others' expectations; she eventually holed herself up in the Art Prep Room regularly, to the point a custodian found her bloody body one night, a smile upon her face. She was so intent on creating a piece of art that was so unique that she resorted to using her own blood to create it, but bled herself to death in the process. The final painting is stated to still be kept in the art room and doom those who gaze upon it to death. The game implies the painting encountered in the Art Prep Room is this very painting.
      • The expanded/altered version from the game specifically claims that the one who made the painting is still hanging around in the Art Prep Room after her death. She is still looking for more paint for her masterpiece, and is more than willing to use other people's blood for it...
    • In the game demo, UFOs, an unknown train with an unusual whistle and children wandering the forest who spirit people away who "foolishly approach them" are remarked on in the Special Report notes. The second Aogami Station Report Incident note expands on the train legend with people whom are disappearing were last seen in the vicinity of the train station. Chapter 1 implies that Akane is one such victim, likewise in Chapters 8 and 9 with Yuka.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 15, as it reveals the identity of the Transfer Student of 20XX - Shino (albeit with brown eyes), after implications in the end credits of each chapter preceding it, and direct implications in character dialogue and events in Chapters 12 and 14. Additionally, Yuka also posits knowledge of a world only the Transfer Student has just barely begun to remember, all while implying that for as perfect as it was, something went disastrously wrong.
  • Wham Line: When Shino appears at the end of Chapter 15, the Transfer Student attempts to interrogate her as to what she did to Yuka... but then Akane interrupts with a very important question:
    Akane: Why are there two of you?
  • Wham Shot: We finally see the Transfer Student's face at the very end of Chapter 15... And it's a brown-eyed Shino.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The ancestors of Aogami routinely sacrificed children to appease the mountain spirits by having the poor souls Buried Alive, just to stop being struck by landslides.
  • Yandere:
    • Nanase clearly has taken a liking to the Past Transfer Student, as she rudely interrupts and acts as a Jerkass to Shino in Episode 4 to monopolise the former, and is implied to have done something significant to a student in another class to prevent them from attending. She starts Episode 5 staring straight in the direction of the Past Transfer Student (or Sakura, whom is talking to the protagonist), and her conversation with Yae in Episode 6 even alludes to this to the point that Yae is understandably worried about her friend's behavior; after deciding on her own that even Yae is trying to take the Transfer Student based on the flimsiest of evidence, Nanase even ruminates to herself as a glitch flares up about making everyone else go away...
    • Shino, in the game demo and animated manga. She is very insistent about "going back" with the Present Transfer Student, and ignores anything the latter says otherwise. It's only after the Transfer Student refutes with "I won't go!" in the demo, or demanding answers to her questions before they follow along in the manga, does Shino Freak Out at the rejection, starting the chase back through the school corridors.

Top