“24 Wards” or “24th Ward”?
While the Playism translation of The Silver Case has been generally well recieved, I noticed an outstanding translation error which seems to confuse a lot of players.
I’m referring to the actual setting of the game, the 24th Ward. In many instances through the game, it is incorrectly translated as the “24 Wards”, which would instead encompass a large part of Tokyo.
Kanto Government Special Administrative Region “24 Wards”The Silver Case, #0 LUNATICS
In accordance with the increasing population, it has been segmented into five areas.
Among the inhabitants, selected by public vote, 80% are poor and 20% are wealthy, creating a rift in the economic strata.
The most outstanding source of conflict among the classes is caused not by the difference in income, but by the discord between those with easy access to information and those without.
The number of crimes has skyrocketed, and related information is propagated using news shows and communication intelligence networks as media.
A population of 100.000 people.
Mayor Hachisuka enters his fifth term of office.
The reason why this discrepancy is important, is because it completely changes the setting of the game. To a relatively small area, into a huge one encompassing 24 different districts or wards.
I am assuming the confusion stemmed from the translation team being unfamiliar with the structure of real life Tokyo, which is already segmented in 23 different districts or wards.
Therefore, The Silver Case mostly takes place in a fictional 24th Ward, the mayor of which would be Kaoru Hachisuka, founded in 1979. This fictional 24th Ward has a population of 100.000 people, not “the 24 wards”. (The real life Special Wards of Tokyo already hold a population of about nine million people, making that number nonsensical when applied to such a wide area.)
The conflict between the three NGO parties and the Direct Governance System are limited to a single Ward, rather than such an extensive part of Tokyo. Hence why it’s referred to a Special Administrative Region; its governmental structure is different from that of the remaining 23 Wards. Namely, it is ran by two non-profit, non governmental organizations through the volunteerization of several public jobs.
Hachisuka’s (and therefore Nezu’s) political influence is limited to a relatively small area, populated by 100.000 people, rather than the totality of Tokyo’s Special Wards.
A manga called Tokyo Ghoul actually had a similar plot point, with the fictional 24th ward referring to an underground area being inhabited by Ghouls:
Thankfully, this mistake has been rectified in the sequel, the 25th Ward. However, it is important to keep in mind the actual scope of The Silver Case setting during the game itself.
What is the 24th ward’s governmental structure?
The 24th ward is essentially an alien, independent and self-governing area within Tokyo’s government, led by the non-governmental entities TRO and CCO and overseen by Kaoru(Uminosuke) Hachisuka and Nezu.
The TRO and CCO factions managed to gain political control of the ward by employing most of its citizens as NGOs, thus gaining control of voting blocks and forcing the government to implement a direct governance system; making most public jobs “volunteer-based” (due to their status as non-profit organizations, I’m assuming they wouldn’t be allowed to outright privatise public roles, thus using volunteer jobs as a front) from garbage disposal to public security.
Therefore, “public workers” of the 24th ward are not employed by the Japanese Government at all. As such, the 24th ward exists in a state of semi-independence from the Japanese Government.
The game’s Manual goes into details in regards to how power is divided between these two syndicates:
The TRO (Techno faction), which outwardly consists of a technological development organization focused on helping foreign countries bereft of natural resources, controls the Department of Finances and the Department of Communications.
The CCO (Civic faction), outwardly consisting of an organization dedicated to volunteer work in the areas of nursing care, education and civillian patrols, is in charge of the Department of Investment (thus handling the 24th ward’s budget), the Department of the Environment and other unlisted departments within the 24th ward’s governmental structure.
Each faction controls their own police force, with the TRO being in charge of the Central Police Department (also referred to as the Metropolitan Police Department in-game) dedicated to criminal investigations, which is divided in the Heinous Crime Unit, Infocrimes Unit, International Crimes Unit and the 24th Precint, and the CCO in charge of the Public Security Department (also referred to as the Public Safety Department in-game) which is dedicated to regional security investigations (think anti-terrorism for instance), in turn divided in the International Security Unit, Infosecurity Unit, Corporate Security Unit and Secret Security Unit (REPUBLIC).
(If you want a real life example to compare this situation with, Italy also has two different police forces; the state police is controlled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while the Carabinieri are under direct command of the Ministry of Defense, its members recieve military training and are also allowed to take part in international military missions; the separation between the Central Police Department and the Public Security Department within the 24th ward is nigh-identical. You can read more about it HERE.)
Note that the parties are referred to “Former TRO” and “Former CCO” in the manual. The reason for this is that these two NGOs would have ceased to exist after being recognized as governmental entities; however, the people in charge of the previously listed departments would have been a part of either faction when it came time to divide responsibilities and power. That is to say that while the TRO and CCO ceased to exist on paper, the allegiances the individual activists formed within their group of choice still exist, making the TRO and CCO factions a de-facto “shadow government”. Hence why different departments of government would be aligned with the former TRO, and others with the former CCO.
Daizaburo Kai is listed as the chairman of the TRO/CCO Alliance, a role previously held by Ginji Nakane before the Silver Case murders; it is unknown, however, if his actual authority outweighs that of Kaoru(Uminosuke) Hachisuka.
A third NGO existed during the gestation period of the 24th ward, the FSO (Frontier faction), a conservative faction led by Sundance Shot with a focus on environmental preservation. This party was ostracised as the TRO and CCO consolidated power, which eventually led to the Silver Case murders.
Where is the 24th Ward located?
This is complete speculation on my part. To my recollection, the game never elaborates on where the 24th ward is located in Tokyo;
However, we can speculate about its location because Hinashiro, the main setting of the Syndrome games, is located in the outskirts of the Musashino district. During the Lunatics chapter, Tetsugoro Kusabi is driving on the road leading out of the 24th ward (located in Area B, in the north-east of the 24th ward. The game states he’s returning home, with the prequel comic clarifying that he just left the 24th ward police station. Implying that Tetsugoro possibly lives outside of the ward itself.) and runs into Ryo Kazan, coming from Hinashiro City.
Here’s a map of the Tokyo Districts:
That would mean that the 24th ward is either located in place of Koganei or Mitaka. Mitaka would be more likely, considering it borders directly with Suginami, one of the real-life 23 wards.
Again, I might be wrong and I might have missed some information within the game itself as per its location, but for now this is my best guess.
The map of the 24th Ward:
Unfortunately there is no complete map of the 24th Ward. Through the game, we only get vague glimpses of where the characters are going, possibly in an effort to further confuse the player.
The Game’s Manual shows a very vague outline of the map under its character relations chart, with a low-detail version on the left. It does not, however, list all the relevant locations or its segmented districts.
The Promotional Booklet has a higher resolution version of the map; however, it contains no location details and it seems to be different from the one used in the finished game. It does, however, properly list the location of each of the five segmented areas, making it easier to understand the general location of each of the game’s scenes.
Here’s a screencap of the manual’s map, including some of the majour locations in the game:
According to the Promotional Booklet and in-game information, Area A would be the center of the ward, surrounded by the circular highway, and it includes the International Environment Building (A1), the 24th ward police station (A3) and the Yukimura Group Snow Tower (A4).
Area B would be in the north-east, with Division SS street leading to the Yukimura Residence (B1), Division 12 street leading to Akira’s House (B2) and Division XX street leading to the Ronny Rockets club (B4); it also includes the road leading out of the ward and thowards Hinashiro.
Area C, in the south-east, has Camellia (Tsubaki) street leading to Fuyuki’s Apartment (C3), the Yamikumo Apartments (C3) where the Mikumo-77 survivor lives in apartment 102 and the Forensic Science Lab (C4) labelled as “Science Investigation Research Institute” on the map; Prig. Rider street leads to the apartment where Tomonori Furuya resides (C3). The Jack Hammer bar (C4) and the Harakiri Batting Center (C4) are also located in this area.
Area D is covers the west and south-west areas of the ward and has Babylon Street leading to the Waste Disposal Facility (D1) labelled as “Drain” on the map and to the Babylon Shopping Center (D4); Flower Track leads to the Gladiolous Art Studio (D2), Route 8 leads to the Kinjo Building (D3), and the Public Street and Industrial Way lead to the neighborhood where the Typhoon apartment complex (D4), the Prussian (D4), Apricot Square (D4) and the Mulholland Cigarette Shop (D4) are located. The Yukimura Warehouse (D2) and the Hitakatsu Switchyard (D2) are also in this area.
Lastly, Area E, situated at north-north-west, includes the Shelter Plaza (E2) which is located underground and is only accessible through an undeground railway from Area D4, the TV Tower (E2), the “Cauliflower” railroad satellite (E3) apparently located in the vicinity of Kurogane River and Route M4 leading to the Hospital (E4).