Paradise Hotel 51

Where Gaming Dies

片倫 HENLIN (Glimpse of Morality)

Program: Noguchi, Toshio | Sound: Sugiyama, Chiharu | Screenplay: Kuriyama, Yuji

The chapter opens on Mika having a chat with Kazuki after class, namely on how Mika has been loosing sleep due to playing RPGs. In 開扉 KAIBYO, when talking to a person much closer to her, Mika will actually voice her distaste for videogames in general, meaning that this is another façade she puts up to avoid admitting that the strange events surrounding her are causing her lack of sleep, thus retaining her social status within the class.
Miho then enters the classroom, excitedly telling Mika that she just got a week-long suspension for punching her teacher.
As the three girls discuss teacher-fighting techniques, Mika spots Mithra running outside the classroom and chases after him. The school then turns into a labyrinth, something that already happened in the opening chapter of Twilight Syndrome, and Mithra asks Mika to find him as if it were a game of hide and seek.

This is the second and last time in the game where you actually have to “do” something to advance, namely, you’ll have to figure out a path to return to Mika’s class while all internal connections of the building are jumbled up.

The town of Hinashiro has been drowned under the wave of urbanization. The new world left in its wake has abandoned the superstitions of ages past in favor of the material and the rational. However, an unfamiliar kind of madness is brewing within the cement walls of its apartment complexes, muffled by the loud music of its night clubs. This new society, where people can be exchanged and replaced like commodities, is the one where Mika Kishi and Ryo Kazan are walking along by themselves, in parallel lines, seemingly going nowhere. Hidden from sight, a white-haired boy is laughing at them. Above them, the moon observes them silently.

THE MOON MURDERS

Once Mika opens the door to her classroom she finds herself in Hinashiro Grove, the place where the ritualistic sacrifice of maidens (the one that the old town’s name, 雛代, referred to) used to take place. She had already seen this place in the fifth rumor of Twilight Syndrome, which happened to be the connecting point between Search and Investigation, when she was spirited away there by the lonely Sakura Himegami, who had been one of the girls sacrificed to appease the gods.

While Mika recognizes the grove, her cognition devolves to that of a child as she has a vision of her friends and classmates chatting and laughing, getting further and further away from her, unable to hear her. She then has a vision of those same friend’s corpses, her standing above them, having knifed them to death.

This is foreshadowing two different things: In 慟悪 DOWAKU we’ll eventually see that same knife being used by Mika to kill Kazuki. However, we are also told that it was not Mika killing the girls, but the headmaster himself, seeking corpses for his disturbing hobby.

Also, between 慟悪 DOWAKU and エピローグ EPILOGUE, Mika’s friends will indeed all die because of their attachment to her, so in a sense she does indirectly “kill them”.

It is also very much possible that Mika resents the expectations put on her by her friends, namely having to play the role of “Mika Kishii”, the upbeat, pop-obsessed young girl, in order to fit in.

Mithra, as a disembodied voice, once again reinforces to Mika that human connections only exist for convenience, and that “friendship” as a concept is meant to help you keep an eye on the people who could pose a problem to you. What he’s referring to is the fact that Mika only seems to hang out with Rumi in order to indirectly keep an eye on her boyfriend Sumio (who might I remind you has been dead since the start of the story) and to know whether or not she is aware of their sexual relationship.
This vision is similar to the nightmare that opened 変嫉 HENSHITSU: Mika is forced to confront her darker impulses, instincts and fears, and is unable to forgive herself for the person that she is. The one to forgive her is, of course, Ryo.

As she screams out, Mika is awakened from the vision and back in her classroom.
As she goes home, an ambulance passes by. This is either foreshadowing for 浮誘 FUYOU (a bunch of kids would already have died at this point) or it might even be the ambulance that was called over Kimika and Sumio’s deaths in 夢題 MOWDEI, with Mika only getting closer to accepting Sumio’s death at this point in the narrative. It could also just be a random ambulance.

We are then shown a close-up of a face; Izzeybee already theorized that it might not be Mika’s, due to her bangs. I tend to agree with her in that regard, it seems to imply that Kyoko is ominously watching over her “substitute” as she is tormented in her place.

KNIFE