WORK IN PROGRESS!!
The game opens up with a basic overview of its setting.
The 24th special ward of Tokyo, which is segmented in five different areas (labelled A, B, C, D and E) is inhabited by about 100,000 people selected through public vote. While only 20% of the population of the ward is relatively wealthy, with most of the other citizens living in poverty, the game establishes that the most outstanding cause of separation within the classes is not caused by the difference in wealth, but rather by the ease of access to information, already hinting at the themes of propaganda the game will explore later on. The media through which propaganda is spread, reporting on the skyrocketing crime rates in the district, is news shows and communication intelligence networks.
At the beginning of the game, Mayor Kaoru Hachisuka has entered his fifth term of office, implying that he has held said position for about 20 years. (To my understanding, a Tokyo Prefecture/District Mayor’s mandate lasts four years.) Which as we will later find out, covers the entirety of the 24th ward’s existence.
The game’s translation contains a fatal flaw, often referring to the 24th ward as the “24 wards”. Keep in mind that through most of the game, the label “24 wards” actually refers to the singular 24th ward, and I will name it accordingly.
To learn more about this misnomer and the 24th ward’s general governmental structure you can read the following article:
The 24th Ward: An explanation
We are then introduced to the Heinous Crimes Unit, a division within the Metropolitan (Central) Police Department, an organization dedicated to the eradication of “Transmittable Crimes” (Hence the name, “TRANSMITTER”) led by Chief Special Agent Shinji Kotobuki, who made a name for himself with the “Silver Case.”
The following scene begins with Tetsugoro Kusabi (Age 44), a former Regional Special Agent during the “Silver Case” who also gained notoriety for arresting its perpetrator, Uehara Kamui, now a Special Agent within the Heinous Crimes Unit 2nd Division, driving his car on his way home.
Date: January 29th, 1999, Friday
Time: 11,32 PM
Location: Ward 24, Area B, Kusabi’s Car – Heading home
Kusabi’s drive home is interrupted when a criminal, holding a woman’s severed head in his hand, shoots at him through his windshield.
Said criminal is in fact Ryo Kazan, a returning character from Moonlight Syndrome. To learn more about his connection to The Silver Case, you can refer to the following article:
How does Moonlight Syndrome connect to the other games?
Having dodged the slug, Tetsugoro then contacts the Heinous Crimes Unit office, trying to get ahold of his partner, Sumio Kodai. He is told by Chizuru Hachisuka (a profiler working in the 1st division of the HCU, and daughter of the previously mentioned Mayor) that Kodai has already left the office; Tetsugoro then asks her to alert all nearby units that the criminal he encountered is fleeing thowards Area E3 (Therefore going westward from Area B).
Hachisuka claims to be able to pinpoint the criminal’s location, presumably through satellite data, again hinting at a theme of government surveillance & control.
The only police force in the vicinity is the Republic Secret Security unit, led by Daigo Natsume and part of the Public Safety faction.
The location of Ryo Kazan is finally pinpointed at the “Cauliflower” building, described in the game as a “Private Railroad Satellite” (Which I am assuming is an observatory for a private railroad; the prequel comic also refers to it as an observatory). The location is then trasmitted to Natsume by Hachisuka.
This scene opens with the title card for this chapter, a shot of the full moon: The title of the chapter, “Lunatics”, directly refers to people who are easily influenced by the lunar phases. It also acts as a reference to Moonlight Syndrome, a game which (in part) revolved around the theme of lunaticism and the storyline of which is concluded in this chapter.
The game then gives us more details about the first term of Mayor Hachisuka, and how the various department and police forces were structured under former TRO and CCO members. Read my previously mentioned article The 24th Ward: An explanation for details on how the Metropolitan Police Department and the Public Safety Department are organized; in short, the MPD (of which the Heinous Crimes Unit is a part of) is under the jurisdiction of the TRO faction and deals with criminal cases, while the PSD (of which Republic is a part of) is under the jurisdiction of the CCO faction and it is closer to military anti-terrorism unit.
Daigo Natsume, the commander of the Republic unit, was a former Regional Investigator and head of investigations regarding the “Silver Case”.
That is to say that HCU chief Shinji Kotobuki, HCU Special Agent Tetsugoro Kusabi and Republic commander Daigo Natsume were all part of the Regional police force before the formalization of the 24th ward’s structure, and all three of them partecipated in investigating the “Silver Case”, thus explaining how they are acquainted with one another.
Natsume then scouted Sakamoto, Inomata and the player character (Akira) for the Republic unit. The foundation of the Republic unit seems to be relatively recent, as the apprehension of serial murderer Ryo Kazan is apparently their first campaign.
NOTE: The player character of The Silver Case can be named by the player at the start of the game; However, Akira is considered its official name due to its usage in the game’s demo and soundtrack, thus I will refer to him as Akira going forward.
Date: January 30th, 1999, Saturday
Time: 12,15 AM
Location: Ward 24, Area B, Republic Railcar – Dispatch
*1 YUME (Dream)
*2 HANA (Flower)
*3 TSUKI (Moon)
*4 AI (Love)
*5 HIKARI (Light)
*6 YAMI (Darkness)
#25 WHITEOUT (PROLOGUE)