Release Date: August 15th 2005
Page count: 95
- About this book
- Character relationship chart
- Study article on Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon
- Alter Ego
- Where do the Heaven Smiles come from?
- Heaven Smile files
- Heaven Smile horoscope
- Pigeon letters
- Prototype of killer7
- The history of Ishizaka Corporation
- The mystery behind First Life Inc.
- Quotes from killer7
- Interview with Grasshopper Manufacture
- Original sound track pick-up review
- Interview with SUDA51
Hand in killer7 is the official handbook for the game. It is a huge expansion on the world of killer7, including character profiles, in-universe reports, a full timeline and so much more. It was penned by several GhM writers, including Ooka Masahi, Yuki Masahiro and Suda Goichi himself.
While it was only released in Japan, the book was translated by two different groups.
Deltahead Translations focused on the story-oriented sections of the book, while Scenery Recalled translated the staff interviews, the soundtrack review and the horoscope featurette.
Scans were provided by BigManJapanSC.
About this book
This segment, hosted by Iwazaru, is just an explanation of the book and how it’s meant to be read after finishing the game.
THE UNITED NATIONS PARTY
After the Second World War, the United Nations Party was founded by former members of the Liberal Party. Since its establishment, it has become Japan’s leading political party. Toru Fukushima is the party’s leader; he is a former member of the Liberal Party. Some members of the party are older men, like Hiroyasu Kurahashi and Shinya Akiba. The party also includes younger people, whose leader within the party is Kenjiro Matsuoka.
When Fukushima was killed, the party briefly fell into chaos. Fukushima was supposed to attend the Japan-U. S. meeting in the Kaku Building; in his place, the Liberal Party sent its members. Negotiations between the Liberal Party and the U. S. Government had concluded well before the meeting in the Kaku Building, so the meeting was intended to be a mere formality. Unexpectedly, the U.S. Government broke off negotiations; as a result, both sides ended up killing each other.
THE LIBERAL PARTY
The Liberal Party is the second most powerful political party in Japan. Ohta and Kuramoto (the men who attended the negotiations in the Kaku Building) are members of the Liberal Party, and Hiro Kasai works as an informant for the Liberal Party. Intent on destroying the U. N. Party, the Liberal Party wants to reclaim its lost place as the fore-running political party in Japan.
The Liberal Party desired an extension of the Asian Security Treaty, and there- fore kept its relationship with the U.S. Government in good condition. Oppositely, Toru Fukushima completely severed his relationship with the U.S. Government; he ended the security treaty in the interest of establishing Japan as a truly independent state.
When the Liberal Party learned about Fukushima’s annulment of the Asian Security Treaty, it sent Julia Kisugi to assassinate him. As well, Kisugi was instructed to retrieve the Yakumo. The Liberal Party wanted to reclaim control of the Japanese Government, to protect the Japanese people’s interests. It regarded Fukushima’s action as reckless. Since the Liberal Party desired a more complex relationship of support with the United States, it was only natural that they should try to assassinate the leader of their Japanese competition.
Kasai asked the Killer7 to eliminate Jean DePaul. He wanted the Japan/U.S. Government meeting in the Kaku Building to succeed, in order to strengthen the security treaty.
Fukushima, however, had known for years that the U.S. Government was plotting against Japan. He took his anti-U. S. position in preparation.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Since the foundation of the United States of America, many organizations and political parties struggled for power. Although history recognizes the United States of America’s government as a democratic republic, it is rumoured that a shadow government really runs the country.
THE U. S. GOVERNMENT
The U. S. Government’s cold attitude toward Japan resulted in a rupture in its relationship to Toru Fukushima. The Killer7 receives its missions from the U.S. Government, through Christopher Mills.
Jeffers and Dudley–the U. S. representatives at the meeting in the Kaku Building–were sent to the meeting in order to break off negotiations with Japan. They were expendable pawns, who were sent to end the negotiations by killing the Japanese representatives–and being killed themselves.
As a result, Japan was thrown into total chaos. Some wondered whether Japan’s disorder was the President and the U. S. Government’s intention from the start. However, the President’s delay in response was due to the prolonged settlement on the distribution of Japan’s land and natural resources, with European countries.
The true “test of Japan’s value” for the U. S. Government was nothing more than determining what benefit the U. S. would receive from Japan’s destruction. If the U. S. had received fewer concessions and benefits from Japan’s destruction, the Fireworks are likely to have been launched.
THE U. S. OPPOSITION PARTY
Behind the scenes, the U. S. Opposition Party is connected with Kun Lan’s EAST; it tries to help him crush the United States. The U. S. Opposition Party controls the U. S. Immigration Bureau.
THE INTERNATIONAL ETHICS COMMITTEE
The International Ethics Committee [IEC] is a peace-keeping organization that mediates in international conflict. The IEC intended to make the United States attack Japan. It sent Jean DePaul to Restaurant Fukushima with orders to eliminate Kisugi, to destroy Japan’s Liberal Party. (If Fukushima was allowed to live, Japan’s isolation would be maintained.) The rationale behind sending DePaul to the Kaku Building was similar: to break off the negotiation by killing members of Japan’s Liberal Party, who wanted to extend the security treaty. However, DePaul encountered MASK De Smith before he reached the meeting room; DePaul’s mission failed. His life was wasted, since the IEC’s desires were fulfilled without the need for their intervention.
The next objective of the International Ethics Committee is to colonize Japan with Russian and Asian populations. They have already occupied Hokkaido and Kyushu; now, they are arguing over concession of Honshu with the United States. In Singapore, the negotiations regarding the division of Japan continue.
THE YAKUMO CABINET POLICY
The Yakumo Cabinet Policy was created in 1953. It was the work of the group known as the Union 7, who were young members of the Liberal Party. The Yakumo Cabinet Policy (called “Yakumo” for short) addressed such subjects as “the ideal nation,” foreign policy, and other matters of nationalism and diplomacy. The policy was given to the Liberal Party’s chief secretary, after which it disappeared. The Union 7 was forced to disband, owing to internal conflict within the Liberal Party.
Julia Kisugi was hired by the Liberal Party and sent to the United States, to retrieve the Yakumo. She was hired as a secretary by Toru Fukushima, who she later killed. However, the Yakumo had been taken by Jean DePaul (a spy from the International Ethics Committee), who had taken work in Fukushima’s restaurant as an apprentice to the head chef.
The whereabouts of the Yakumo were unknown, after that. However, it was rumored that a young mail clerk in a small Texan town named Andrei Ulmeyda had found part of the Yakumo, somehow. Ulmeyda established a company called “First Life.” As his company grew, he employed most of the town’s residents. “First Life” developed the town and became much more than a simple business.
THE ASIAN SECURITY PROTOCOL
One of the primary causes of international conflict is the limited number of energy resources, in conjunction with different economic systems and environmental concerns.
In 1975, in Hakone, Japan, an international conference met to find solutions to energy security problems, specifically as they related to Asian countries. The Hakone Protocol contained three different possible routes:
 The Pipe Plan. This plan was advantageous to oil producing countries in the Middle East.
 The Civic Plan: This plan was advantageous for China and its allied coun- ries, all of whom had a high dependency on coal.
 The Massive Plan: This plan was advantageous for the United States and Europe, who desired oil concessions from the Middle East.
One of these three plans was adopted by the countries who attended and voted during the international conference. However, there was no formal announcement regarding which of the three plans was selected.
In 2003, the United Nations Army intervened on international conflicts and brought true peace to the entire world, for people of all races. The United Nations declared world peace. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The “United Nations” referred to here IS NOT THE U. N. PARTY. The U. N. Party is specifically Japanese, and specifically operates within the context of U. S./Japanese diplomacy. The United Nations, in this section, refers to the real-world global welfare organization.]
Global disarmament commenced. All members of the United Nations signed a formal agreement, dedicating their countries to a total abolition of weapons of mass destruction. The agreement stipulated that the disposal of the weapons of mass destruction must occur within plain view of the entire world’s population; this meant that undersea or underground detonations were not allowed. The United Nations decided that the missiles should be launched outside the Earth’s atmosphere, then intercepted by other missiles, thereby exploding all missiles at once.
These explosions lit up the night sky. Because of their resemblance, these explosions were called “Fireworks.” They were the most anticipated event in the history of the world. The International Photographic Mapping Office transmitted photographs of these explosions all over the world, so that anyone who missed the explosions could see proof. In April 2005, the Fireworks took place in the sky above Ibiza island. The sky over Japan was chosen, also, as a point of detonation.
All this is how history records the events. However, in reality, the “peace for people of all races” was imposed by the United Nations Army, and the World Peace Declaration was superficial. Oppositely, racial tensions increased under pressure from the United Nations.
INTERNATIONAL MASS-SCALE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
The United Nations feared that it could no longer control the international market, owing to the hastened development of means of distribution of materials. Therefore, it enacted greater restrictions on the air transportation industry.
Additionally, research institutes reported that an unknown virus was trans- ported via airplanes; this virus had the potential to spark a global epidemic. A decline in the use of airlines was inevitable. In order to replace air transportation, a network of “Intercontinental Expressways” was planned for construction.
After the construction of the Intercontinental Expressways, a next-generation distribution system was slated for construction, using the Intercontinental Expressways as their foundation. For its successful operation, a newly dis- covered power source would be used to move a a gigantic metal plate across the sea floor. The plate would have a base area of several kilometers. This next- generation distribution system was called the “Intercontinental Mass-Scale Transportation System.”
Construction of the new transportation system began in 2003; by 2005, forty percent of the project had been completed. As of the events of Killer7, construction continues. Many politicians became rich from under-the-table con- cessions granted to private corporations, who supplied materials for the large- scale construction.
As of 2005, the project had concluded its experimental phase. It was proven workable. However, nations still struggle between each other, over concessions promised at the beginning of the project, regarding the maintenance of the infrastructure.
In 1996, the International Photographic Mapping Office was created as an organ of the United Nations. Initially, the office was supposed to sort and dis- tribute aerial photographs for the United Nations Army. Several years later, however, the office was involved fully in controlling media and commercial images.
In 1998, the private use of the Internet was banned globally by the United Nations. Under the influence of such organizations as “Security Council,” “Economic and Social Council,” and “Human Rights Committee,” regulation on the uses of the Internet was reinforced. The restrictions were established to help protect national secrets, as well as individual information, and to protect against cyber-terrorism in the global market.
As a result, analog devices replaced digital devices to support the networks and other media.
However, even after 1998, a computer network still operates that supports hackers and devoted online gamers. Love Wilcox rose to celebrity status among the members of this underground subculture.
[ 1750 ]
New Southampton, Wineport: HARMAN DELTAHEAD was born. He was the first-born son in his family.
[ 1750 ]
Lhasa, Tibet’s capital: KUN LAN was born. From birth, he was the heir of the governor. He was born an adult.
[ 1753 ]
Kun Lan (at the age of three) became worshipped as the reincarnation of a demon. An underground organization recognized him as their leader.
[ 1758 ]
Harman Deltahead (at the age of eight) met a man who introduced himself as Harman’s neighbor. The man had an angelic smile.
[ 1768 ]
Harman Deltahead’s beloved Susan was murdered. Until this point, Harman had lived an ordinary American life. With his loss, he went mad. He first en- countered the REMNANT PSYCHES at the villa where Susan had been killed.
When Harman entered the villa, he saw a vision of six corpses and Susan, who was tied up. The neighbor with the angelic smile had guided him to the villa.
It was then that Harman Deltahead decided to change sides: from victim to killer.
[ 1772 ]
Harman Deltahead joined the JIM TOWNSEND SURVEY COMPANY. While the J. T. Survey Company outwardly portrayed itself as a census institute, its real work involved taking “contracts”–missions of assassination.
Harman entered the world of professional killers.
[ 1774 ]
Harman Deltahead left for a mission that brought him to the Union Hotel. On the rooftop, he met a man named DIMITRI, whose nickname was “Three Eyes.”
The neighbor with the angelic smile–Kun Lan–appeared in front of Harman Deltahead. Kun Lan became the medium through which “Three Eyes” spoke.
Harman and Kun Lan quickly became close friends. They met for tea regularly.
[ 1775 ]
Harman Deltahead killed Jim Townsend, head of the J. T. Survey Company. Harman was revered as one of the world’s best killers.
He formed the FIRST SMITH SYNDICATE and changed his name to “HARMAN SMITH.” Harman Smith was feared globally as one of the most horrific assassins. Dimitri was the first member of the First Smith Syndicate; he was Harman’s first victim, and the origin of Harman Smith’s “God Killer” powers.
Dimitri was believed by others to be Harman Smith’s bodyguard, and inspired fear equal to that inspired by Harman Smith.
This was the start of Harman’s multiple personalities.
[ 1778 ]
Harman Smith unexpectedly quit professional assassination. He disappeared from society and history.
Dimitri was rejected by the core persona. The core persona separated from Harman Smith and became Harman Deltahead, once more.
[ 1780 ]
Harman Deltahead founded Coburn Elementary School and became the school’s first principal. Secret underground organizations funded Harman Deltahead and Coburn. They wanted Coburn to specialize in educating individuals who would spread and cultivate capitalism.
[ 1789 ]
The first presidential primary election was held at Coburn Elementary School.
[ 1820 ]
The dead bodies of Harman Deltahead and Kun Lan were found at Coburn. They had been killed while playing chess.
[ 1942 ]
EMIR PARKREINER was born.
Dimitri disappeared from society and was not heard from again.
[ 1946 ]
In the political turmoil following Japan’s defeat in World War II, the LIBERAL PARTY proved itself so inept that it couldn’t pay for the rental of its own facilities. TORU FUKUSHIMA was working as an aide to a member of the Japanese Diet, when he was contacted by the U. N. PARTY.
Fukushima became a political “architect” for the U. N. Party.
[ 1948 ]
According to official records, Emir Parkreiner’s parents died in a car accident.
[ 1952 ]
Emir Parkreiner killed his parents and disappeared from society. At the time, he had been living with his parents, under the surveillance of the U. S. Government in an isolated state.
[ 1953 ]
The “UNION 7” wrote “the Yakumo Cabinet Policy” [YAKUMO]. The Union 7 was comprised of young Japanese political figures, who were members of the Liberal Party, though they stood apart from the internal conflict that threw the party into chaos.
The Yakumo was given to the Liberal Party’s chief secretary, but it vanished. The Union 7 was dissolved as a group. The following year, the U. N. Party overtook the Liberal Party in the political arena.
[ 1954 ]
The horrific crimes committed by the killer known as “THE BLOODY HEARTLAND” became serious problems to society.
[ 1955 ]
The Union 7 attended a secret meeting at the Union Hotel, which was called “the Yakumo Secret Meeting.” They were killed by a serial murderer, though the whole incident was hushed up. The affair was called “Killer7.”
On the rooftop of the Union Hotel, Harman Smith met a dying boy with three eyes. The boy was Emir Parkreiner.
Harman Deltahead and Kun Lan resurrected.
[ 1957 ]
The SECOND SMITH SYNDICATE was formed with seven personae. They were called “KILLER7”.
[ 1959 ]
CURTIS BLACKBURN was in his mid-teens. Though he became notorious among Seattle’s underground societies, he did not belong to a criminal organization. He worked for the government, and his work consisted of contracts from the U.S. Government.
[ 1960 ]
Japan and the United States signed a security treaty.
[NOTE: the text of this treaty may be read here: http://www.ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~worldjpn/documents/texts/docs/19600119.T1E.html ]
[ 1967 ]
HIRO KASAI met Harman Smith in Hakone, Japan; he had a mission for Harman.
Kasai wanted Harman to investigate the security of the votes of countries involved with the Asian Security Treaty. After his investigation, Harman promised Kasai that the treaty would be ratified, and gave Kasai the report of his investigation.
Harman Smith met the chairman of the countries who were members of the Asian Security Treaty. The treaty was ratified, and Japan became a member of the council. In front of Harman, the chairman committed suicide.
[ 1969 ]
TRAVIS BELL became the first victim of the Second Smith Syndicate.
[ 1973 ]
Harman Smith lost his chess game against Kun Lan.
As part of his loss, Harman promised to give Kun Lan control over the major cities of the west coast of the United States of America. Harman began the process by sending DAN SMITH to Curtis Blackburn in Seattle, to destroy the small gangs there and establish Blackburn’s control.
CHRISTOPHER MILLS, as a young boy, became Blackburn’s informant and entered the world of underground society.
[ 1975 ]
Blackburn ended his role as Dan Smith’s mentor. On a basketball court, Curtis shot Dan to death.
GARCIAN SMITH recovered Dan’s corpse, and he obtained the power to resurrect the dead.
[ 1978 ]
The Killer7 took a mission from the head of a Spanish organization that specialized in cleaning up the aftermath of accidents. They left for Spain. The target was the son of one of the organization’s workers: KESS BLOODYSUNDAY.
[ 1980 ]
KEVIN SMITH fought the pharmaceutical mafia in Miami, Florida. During the fight, Kevin killed the man he loved.
[ 1982 ]
In Madison Square Garden, , MASK DE SMITH fought a decisive battle against an army of prototype Heaven Smiles and “Mask Smiles.”
Kun Lan’s shadow began to creep over the Second Smith Syndicate.
[ 1987 ]
Using their connections within Seattle’s base for the nation’s Self-Defense Department, Curtis Blackburn and PEDRO MONTANA created a black market organ- trafficking route. They did this by manipulating the Immigration Department’s procedures.
[ December 1990 ]
In southern France, the Killer7 took on a mission to dissolve a secret meeting that was scheduled to be held at a first-class resort hotel. There, they con- fronted large numbers of “Rollout Heaven Smiles.”
The Killer7 decimated the Heaven Smiles, but an unknown woman appeared in front of them. She killed one persona after another; she nearly annihilated the Second Smith Syndicate. In the end, though, Harman Smith successfully cut her down.
The personae were so heavily damaged, it took Garcian Smith ten years to resurrect all of them. During this time, the activity of the Second Smith Syn- dicate was suspended.
SAMANTHA SITBON began serving Harman Smith. In the absence of the other per- sonae, she took work as a persona of the Killer7.
[ 1992 ]
HOLBERT, an FBI Special Agent, infiltrated Coburn Elementary School and was murdered.
[ 1998 ]
The world enjoyed its first year of total peace. The international community banned all air transportation, in the interest of suppressing terrorism. The analog network system rapidly developed.
[ 1999 ]
Samantha Smith–who was a temporary persona of Harman–killed JOHNNY GAGNON.
[ 2000 ]
Garcian Smith succeeded in resurrecting all of the fallen personae. The Second Smith Syndicate was back.
However, Dan Smith tried to kill Harman in a fit of lunacy. Harman was wounded mortally; he fell into a state of suspended animation. Samantha left her work as a killer-persona and began taking care of him.
[ 2002 ]
The Network of Intercontinental Expressways opened.
[ 2003 ]
Construction of the International Mass-Scale Transportation System began.
Radioactive waste and other materials were sent to an energy disposal facility, a dome structure built in the Indian Ocean. The international community’s ultimate goal was to eliminate all intercontinental missiles.
The number of terrorist attacks using “Heaven Smiles” increased.
[ 2010 ] —– ANGEL
Harman Smith returned. The battle in the “Celtic Building” occurred.
[ 2010 ] —– SUNSET
200 missiles launched toward Japan.
JULIA KISUGI was contracted by Christopher Mills to kill Toru Fukushima. At the restaurant Fukushima, Kisugi, JEAN DEPAUL, and the Killer7 met. DePaul was an agent for the International Ethics Committee. Kisugi killed Fukushima, but the location of the “Yakumo Cabinet Policy” was unknown.
Hiro Kasai informed Garcian Smith that Jean DePaul had infiltrated the Kaku Building, wherein the final secret meeting was held between the United States and Japan.
The Killer7 headed for the Kaku Building. There, they fought a spiritual battle with Hiroyasu Kurahashi and Shinya Akiba. Meanwhile, Kenjiro Matsuoka was chosen by Kun Lan as his messiah.
The missiles hit Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo: the four major cities in Japan. Japan was obliterated.
[ August 2010 ] —– CLOUDMAN
Andrei Ulmeyda announced on television that the amphitheater wherein Stacy Spangles was giving a concert would be blown up by Heaven Smiles. During his public declaration of the act of terrorism, Ulmeyda challenged Garcian Smith to “find him out.”
Garcian left for Texas. There, he witnessed Ulmeyda turn everything over to Clemence.
[ 2011 ] —– ENCOUNTER
Dan and Curtis had their final confrontation: between the master and the disciple, Dan brought Curtis to his end.
[ 2011 ] —– ALTER EGO
The comic editor of ZTT published “Handsome Men.” Each time an issue was published, the events of the comic book occurred in the real world.
The Second Smith Syndicate fought the Handsome Men, in order to stop the serial murders committed by the Handsome Men.
Love Wilcox enacted her vengeance toward the largest advertising company in the world–Eloctro & Line Inc.–the force that controlled the crimes and the comics’ stories, behind the scenes. The use of advertising as a means of propaganda and control was destroyed.
[ 2011 ] —– SMILE
Hiro Kasai, a member of the Liberal Party, fell from a building rooftop in front of Matsuken.
Garcian Smith recovered Emir Parkreiner’s memory.
The Second Smith Syndicate dissolved.
[ 2014 ] —– LION
The Bloody Heartland–Emir Parkreiner–was awake. He entered Battleship Island alone to end everything.
Deep underground, he encountered Matsuken. He killed the final Heaven Smile– “Last Shot”–who bore a striking resemblance to Kun Lan.
[ 2017 ]
The United Nations dissolved for the sake of global reform.
The world entered an age of total globalization. National barriers ceased to exist.
[ 2020 ]
Part of the “Yakumo Cabinet Policy” was made public. It became the subject of devout worship. [ 2050 ] A new type of terrorism appeared: “Heaven Tears.” The meaning of “terrorism” changed, again.
[ 2053 ]
The Third Smith Syndicate was formed to combat the “Heaven Tears” terrorism.
—– 100 YEARS PASS —–
[ 2115 ]
In Shanghai, the battle between Harman Smith and Kun Lan continues.
[ 2170 ] The final battle takes place in Detroit. Billions of “Final Smiles” fly to Detroit from the East.
OVERDRIVE MASK De Smith–the main persona of the Fifth Smith Syndicate– confronts the horde of “Final Smiles.”
[ 2171 ]
The chess game between Harman Smith and Kun Lan never ends, fearing HIS apparition…
Character relationship chart
Study article on Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon
[Editor’s Note: The following selection from “Hand in Killer7″is a news and re- search article written within the universe of Killer7. Think of it as a file you might have found in the game.]
“Study Article on Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon”
by Jack Foley
Neurologist Graham MacAlister’s body was found, twenty-three years after his disappearance from his professional and social circles. His death is a mystery.
The following article (his professional legacy) was publishedin the monthly magazine “Spreading the Truth” (August 1998).
I first met Harman Smith in 1975.
I had driven to Seattle to visit my old colleague, Doctor John Gibbon, who practiced clinical psychology in the area. When I rolled through downtown, it was already very late. I felt a premonition–something dark.
To complicate matters, my naturally bad sense of direction caused me to become lost in the city. I ended up in a back alley, and I met Harman Smith. He was in trouble; someone had stolen his car. (Later, I learned that the car belonged to Harman’s companion, Christopher Mills.)
When Harman and Mills saw my car crawling down the alley, they forced their way into the passenger and back seats. I should have panicked. I should have run from the car-jackers, but I didn’t. I allowed their presence. Maybe it’s because of my premonition–some dark fate I knew I could never escape.
I surely would have fled, had I known what was in their luggage: a stiff corpse.
They told me in the car that they had no-where to stay the night. I pitied them, and I let them stay in my hotel room. They removed the corpse from the bag, and told me that they needed to hide in my room for the night to avoid pursuers.
When I saw the body, my face palled. I boiled with self-loathing at my foolish invitation for them to stay the night. My recrimination quelled, though, after I saw their “ritual.” Curiosity and inquiry–how much human despair has grown from these tendencies?
The “ritual” concluded by Harman absorbing the corpse–into his own body! When Harman focused his mind, the corpse changed into thousands of small particles; Harman’s body then absorbed these particles. Harman’s middle-aged body then transformed, and he took on all of the physical features of the absent corpse! Harman more than resembled the man–he BECAME the man.
The man who he became–his name was Dan–insulted me a few times. Then, Dan turned into those small particles again, and Harman returned before my eyes.
I had witnessed a true phenomenon. In my excitement, I asked Harman for specific descriptions of his methods. I thought I had begun to annoy him with my questions. Instead of shutting me out, though, Harman smiled; he held up a hand to silence me. A normal person would have fled at the sight of the phenomenon, but my abnormal curiosity intrigued him.
The notes that he allowed me to take read as follows:
(1) He can only absorb corpses that meet unknown requirements for compatibility.
(2) When Harman’s consciousness recognizes that a corpse is compatible with Harman, the corpse transforms into thousands of small particles, which Harman’s body absorbs.
(3) Incredibly, the absorbed body exists within Harman–with its own personality completely intact!
(4) When a persona becomes manifested, Harman’s physical form changes completely, as it did when he transformed into the late Dan. Additionally, Harman’s mental qualities change, too, adopting the total personality associated with the body.
(5) In addition to Dan (the persona whose corpse had been absorbed in my presence), another persona exists inside Harman. That persona is named Garcian.
The situation bore similarities to Disassociative Identity Disorder, in which the patient completely changes his personality. For readers of this article who are unfamiliar with Disassociative Identity Disorder, I should explain that it is a severe mental problem. In it, the patient creates a new identity for himself; the new identity is severed consciously from the patient’s original identity. Through the new identity, the patient loses contact with the original identity’s perceptions, self-awareness, and memory.
The similarities do not mean that Harman’s condition is identical to Disassociative Identity Disorder, though. A patient with multiple personalities only manifests the new identities; Harman actually morphs into the other identity’s body. Needless to say, the creation of a physically new person in time and space is rare in any field of medicine.
Further, in most cases of Disassociative Identity Disorder, the multiple personalities are created when the patient believes them to exist outside of himself. A patient may have a personality named John and another named Eric; John and Eric believe that each exists in another body apart from each other. This is not so with Harman. In his case–or, rather, in THEIR case–the separation of the spirit creates a new body.
In most Disassociative Identity Disorder patients, the different identities (or personae) pile up inside the patient. They stack one on top of the one before, burying the original identity (or persona) at the bottom. In Harman Smith, the personae all exist parallel to each other; their identities and their bodies keep their individuality, yet they are bound to each other.
I call this the Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon.
The next day, I begged Harman to hire me as his private physician, even though I knew that he was a professional assassin working with the criminal underworld. Harman Smith granted my wish.
I never met with Dr. Gibbon. As a scholar, it has been my duty to document and understand the Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon. During my study of Harman Smith, I learned that he can absorb adult men–and, also, women and children. If Harman tries to absorb a body, and if his consciousness rejects it as incompatible, the personality becomes a phantom. I name the rejected personae “remnant psyches.” (I will describe the remnant psyches in detail, in a future essay.)
Writing all of this down is like drafting my own will; it is suicidal to betray Harman’s trust. The contract I signed bound me to remain silent about the Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon, except with certain people. The contract never stated my punishment for crossing Harman, but I am no fool. Harman Smith is a professional killer; I know what will happen.
Perhaps I am a slave to my greed for knowledge. Whatever the consequences, though, I could not neglect these phenomena, as a scientist. Future generations must receive some record of the strange power of Harman Smith.
I only want the public to know; as much as I can, I have revealed the truth.
The document printed above was found on Dr. MacAlister’s body, which was found hanging from a noose. The doctor disappeared from his social and professional circles in 1975, because he was regarded as a delinquent by the medical community. He fervently proposed a psychological theory thatwas fundamentally delusional.
In addition, an employee of the Union Hotel (where MacAlister stayed) confirmed that MacAlister showed exceptionally strange behavior. At times, he would shriek without reason; he showed symptoms of mental derangement.
For these reasons, the police concluded that MacAlister had committed suicide, impulsively, as a result of his mental illness. The document referred to in his article on the Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon, which described details of the so-called “remnant psyches,” was never found.
“Good night, child. It’s past your bedtime.”
(1) Born in New Southampton, Wineport, Harman Smith is of Irish descent. He is sixty years old and handicapped.
(2) He is the Deltaheads’ first born son.
(3) He is the leader of the world’s most powerful group of assassins, the Killer7.
(4) Because of his power, he is known as the “God-Killer.”
(5) He is the origin of the multiple personae.
(6) In his twenties, he worked as an agent for the Jim Townshend Survey Company. He has been an assassin ever since.
(7) His weapon is an armor-piercing rifle.
(8) He is better than Kun Lan at chess.
(9) In 2000, he was nearly killed by Dan Smith.
(10) In 2010, he was resuscitated.
(11) He is tied intimately to Coburn Elementary School.
KUN LAN: Terror from the East.
“Harman… the world won’t change. All it does is turn. Now, let’s dance.”
(1) Half Tibetan and half Chinese, his age is unknown.
(2) He is the son of a governor.
(3) He is an incarnation of the demon, Mara Papima.
(4) He became the leader of underground societies at the age of three.
(5) His power has made him known as “God’s Hand.”
(6) He studied at a prestigious American university.
(7) He lost his Tibetan citizenship when he was twenty-four years old.
(8) Using fake passports, he has moved through underground organizations all over the world.
(9) In the past, he worked as a taxicab driver in Japan.
(10) His objective is the destruction of nations, using billions of Heaven Smiles.
(11) Kun Lan is Harman’s most distant neighbor, closest observer, most sympathetic companion, and target.
GARCIAN SMITH: The man who killed the past.
“I feel something… like somebody’s calling out to me.”
(1) Garcian Smith was born in Miami, near the border with Mexico. He is thirty-three years old.
(2) His nickname is “Garcie.”
(3) He can see Heaven Smiles, using his powers of clairvoyance.
(4) His weapon is a handgun, with a silencer attached.
(5) He is not good at fighting; he is the weakest in battle.
(6) After recovering a body, he has to tap the button on the controller rapidly.
(7) He was “killed” by Harman in the past.
(8) Presently, he is Harman’s faithful servant.
(9) Garcian is a sweet man who would not hurt a fly.
(10) He is the most important personality in the story.
(11) He is “the third eye.”
(12) The Golden Gun rightfully belongs to him.
(13) He is also known as “the Bloody Heartland.”
(14) His birth name and identity is Emir Parkreiner.
DAN SMITH: A tyrant in a three-piece suit.
“I went and saw the Devil. Now it’s your turn.”
(1) Dan Smith was born in Detroit, Michigan. Of Irish descent, he is thirty-three years old.
(2) He is a tyrant–the true Hellion.
(3) His weapons are a revolver and the dreaded Demon Gun.
(4) He is best at eliminating the Duplicator Smiles with his Collateral Shot.
(5) He is a former agent of the Seattle Self-Defense Department.
(6) He and Mills have known each other for a long time.
(7) Curtis Blackburn was his mentor–and his mortal enemy.
(8) His room in the Union Hotel was #601.
KAEDE SMITH: She walks in a storm of blood.
(1) KAEDE Smith was born in Portland, Oregon. Of Japanese origin, she is twenty years old.
(2) Her nickname is “Barefoot.”
(3) She cuts her wrist to send out her “Bloody Shower.”
(4) Mizaru serves her.
(5) Her weapon is an automatic pistol, with a scope attached. She reloads slowly.
(6) She is a formidable fighter with kicks.
(7) Her brother is a member of the Liberal Party.
(8) She was killed by her own brother, who received his orders from Matsuken.
(9) Her body was recovered by Garcian.
(10) Her room in the Union Hotel was #404.
MASK DE SMITH: A professional wrestler, the strongest.
“Children are pure. They know who’s the strongest.”
(1) Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the masked man is thirty-eight years old.
(2) In MASK De Smith, Luchadore meets Lancashire: Mexican wrestling with Anglo-Irish tactics.
(3) He is very strong, even without weapons, using his German Suplex and Headbutt moves.
(4) His weapons are two grenade launchers that fire normal shells, Shock shells, and Focus shells.
(5) He is the most destructive member of the Killer7.
(6) His room in the Union Hotel was #306.
CON SMITH: Sound hunter, speed star.
(1) Of Chinese descent, Con Smith is blind at fourteen years old.
(2) He is known for his supersonic footwork.
(3) He has perfect hypersensitive hearing.
(4) His weapons are two automatic pistols.
(5) He is a big fan of the Handsome Men.
(6) He is very attached to Coyote Smith, and he hates Dan Smith.
(7) He whistles, when he is in a good mood.
(8) His room in the Union Hotel was #203.
COYOTE SMITH: The Hellion’s nemesis.
(1) Coyote Smith is Puerto Rican and twenty-eight years old.
(2) He is known as the Thief, and he is extremely athletic.
(3) He has the power known as “Deadly Jumping” for use in burglary.
(4) His weapon is a modified revolver.
(5) He loves to unlock heavy padlocks.
(6) In the past, he was killed by Dan Smith.
(7) His room in the Union Hotel was #502.
(8) He speaks in the dialect from Hiroshima.
KEVIN SMITH: The taciturn killer.
(1) Born in England, Kevin Smith is thirty years old.
(2) He wears sunglasses.
(3) His weapons are a large knife and smaller throwing knives.
(4) When he turns invisible, he can bypass security systems easily.
(5) He is taciturn.
(6) He hates heights and loves dark places.
(7) His eyesight is weak.
(8) His shoulders are sloped, and he sometimes has bad posture.
(9) In the dark, his eyes are supposed to shine. However, this has not been confirmed.
(10) His place in the Union Hotel is in the lobby.
SAMANTHA SITBON: Obedient, aggressively sexual, and cruel.
“Don’t worry about him. This gruff loves to play rough You wanna have a little fun, too…?”
(1) Samantha Sitbon is a college student.
(2) She takes care of Harman for three days out of the week, for scholarship aide.
(3) In reality, she molests Harman.
(4) Sometimes, she teases Harman.
(5) She is mentally deranged.
(6) When Harman is awake, she completely changes into a loyal servant.
(7) She appears in the Pigeon’s Letters.
(8) At the end, she obtains the name “SAMANTHA SMITH.”
“What’s sad is that we’ve gotten used to this. I mean our senses… it’s pathetic.”
(1) Born in Seattle, Christopher Mills is forty-nine years old and of Scotch descent.
(2) He is the Killer7’s informant.
(3) He is the connection between the U. S. Government and Killer7.
(4) He is the U. S. Government’s dog.
(5) He was Curtis Blackburn’s informant, when he was a boy.
(6) He and Dan Smith are old acquaintances, but their relationship is very bad.
(7) Mills is also an assassin, but his skills are terrible.
(8) He is in possession of the car covered in Ulmeyda’s blood.
“This just ain’t right. Is it? Is it right for time to march on like this?”
(1) Travis Bell was the first victim of the Second Smith Syndicate.
(2) On a hot, humid summer night, he tried to kill the Killer7. Instead, he died by their hands. He then became a Remnant Psyche.
(3) He recalls that the feeling of being killed was exhilerating and exciting.
(4) Now, he stalks both the Killer7 and underground society.
(5) He is obsessed with T-Shirts. His emotions and states of mind are always printed on his shirts.
(6) He has a wealth of information regarding underground society.
(7) His last words to the Killer7 are: “Die like a dog, and then laugh it off.”
“In the name of Harman…”
(1) “Master, it is I, Vincel Dill Boris VII, Iwazaruscof!”
(2) “We are in a tight spot!”
(3) “This is harsh/”
(4) “Ew! Major grossness.”
(5) “It’s wonderful!”
(7) “Very good…”
(8) “That won’t do.”
(9) “This is it!”
(10) “This is hot!”
(11) “I can feel it!”
(12) “In the name of Harman…”
(1) Kikazaru is Iwazaru’s retainer.
(2) His favorite things are the Soul-Shells, which the Master forgot.
(3) He crawls everywhere, to inform the Master of the Soul-Shells’ whereabouts.
(1) Mizaru is Iwazaru’s ex-wife.
(2) She is KAEDE’s servant.
(3) Her cue to appear is KAEDE’s blood shower.
(4) When she is called, she appears, shielding her eyes.
“Ah, welcome, my little loser. I don’t see you going places….”
(1) Yoon-Hyun was the Killer7’s first informant.
(2) He desires thick blood.
(3) He possesses the True Mask.
(4) He regards the Master as a loser.
(5) His most frequently repeated quotation is: “Tomorrow, it could be you.”
(6) The last advice he gives is: “Don’t count on the others.”
“I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. The imagination of a killer…”
(1) She always says, “Hello, Mr. Smith,” as her greeting.
(2) She is portrayed always as a freshly severed head.
(3) She is responsible for returning the rings.
(4) She loses her temper very easily.
(5) Her favorite hiding place is inside a dryer.
(6) After diving from the second floor of her home, mutilating a man by castration, loving chocolate sundaes in the South, using her father’s rifle to kill a young man who courted her, and spending time in an isolation room, Susie Sumner died the death of a killer.
(7) She frequently uses Internet emoticons.
(1) Kess Bloodysunday is a boy who lives in his nightmares.
(2) He is always lost.
(3) Kess is keenly aware of someone having suddenly disappeared.
(4) He only sees all white, in front of his eyes.
(5) The scenery of his nightmares often fades.
(6) He confessed: “When I grow up, I will become the President of the United States.”
(7) His fantasy is to go someday to ISZK-Land.
(8) A serial killer, he became a murdered killer.
(9) His final memories are of his mother, father, and the monster with three eyes.
(10) His final words are: “Who is the person taking my hand?”
(1) The Gate-Keeper is the guard of the Vinculum Gate.
(2) He will let a person challenge the demons beyond, if they give him enough Soul-Shells.
(3) If the person is not serious about challenging the demons, he will not let them pass.
(4) The Gate-Keeper is a fearsome man.
(1) The Mad Doctor can strengthen the Personae.
(2) He must be given blood, before he will help a person challenge the demonic forces.
(3) He uses a mysterious blood machine; it operates similarly to an espresso machine.
(4) Sometimes, the blood machine is out of order.
“At heaven’s command, we kill the unwanted. We must get rid of bad trees from their roots. I hope you are not one of them.”
(1) She lives in the innermost part of the Celtic Building.
(2) Her face has huge eyes, as in anime.
(3) She speaks viciously to Harman. She wears four faces on her back.
(4) The four faces are images of God’s face.
(5) God’s sense of humor is horrifying.
[These are four people who were attacked by Heaven Smiles, inside the Celtic Building.]
“My friends are all dead. They were all murdered!”
(1) The “Red Gunners” are a small group of organized criminals, whose base of operations is the Celtic building.
(2) They consist of two men and two women.
(3) They were killed when they ran into the Heaven Smiles.
JACO’S REPORT #01
I should start by saying that ‘envelope’ and ‘cassette tape’ are just words I use. That is to say, when I say ‘envelope,’ I’m not talking about an envelope made out of paper with a flap at the top. I mean something else, and you should know what that is. We often use this method of communicating, in my business.
With that out of the way, where should I start? Heaven Smiles.
Everyone knows that only Killer7 can exterminate the Heaven Smiles. Miss Jacob concludes so, and it’s no mere urban legend. I don’t know how the information on this leaked, but now the whole damn world knows about it.
My specialty? I make preparations and take measures against terrorism. Heaven Smiles are my mortal enemies. They’ve become such pests, the FBI and the police have even started hiring local kids, who hang out in odd places.
I’m an agent with the FBI. Yeah, I’m an old man, all right. You won’t get my name, but if you need to call me something, use the name “Jacob Checkbox.”
JACO’S REPORT #02
Had I the power, I would wipe out the Heaven Smiles every day of the year. Out of duty? Hardly. I would do it for the sheer pleasure of erasing them from the earth.
Eighteen of my men were slain three weeks ago. Three Special Forces units were eradicated–all of them dead. Yeah, I know: any human being who tries to pare down Heaven Smiles gets blown to pieces–but this just isn’t acceptable to me. Not at all.
Heaven Smiles… they’re horrible. Anonymous, infinite in number, and always showing up… everyone’s scared of them.
But what if you see a familiar face among them? A roommate, an old lover, someone you work with, ready to suicide-bomb along with the rest… wouldn’t that be more truly horrific?
“People were mere actors playing the role of politicians.”
(1) Toru Fukushima is 61 years old.
(2) He is the owner of Restaurant Fukushima, and also the head figure in the United Nations Party.
(3) As a young man, he dreamed of becoming a politician.
(4) He is one of the founding members of the Union 7.
(5) He helped create the Yakumo Cabinet Policy.
(6) The Yakumo has the power to change the world.
(7) Fukushima lived with both his vision of an ideal nation, and the knowledge that Japan would disappoint his vision.
(8) He escaped Japan to live in the United States.
(9) He also dreamed of becoming a tea master.
“There are more important things. Like finding out who you are.”
(1) Kenjiro Matsuoka was born in Hiroshima, Japan. Later, he moved to the state of Washington.
(2) His nickname is “Matsuken.”
(3) He is the new leader of the United Nations Party, after Toru Fukushima’s death.
(4) He was awoken to new ideals by Kun Lan.
(5) He believes in atoning blood with blood. He plays the role of executioner, to get revenge for his fallen countrymen.
(6) Emir must decide whether to kill Matsuken or to let him live.
(7) He is rumoured to have been KAEDE’s lover, in the past.
HIROYASU KURAHASHI and SHINYA AKIBA
“Japan’s not going down just yet. Not without a fight.”
(1) Akiba and Kurahashi are elderly executive members of the United Nations Party.
(2) They contributed to the effort to rebuild Japan, 61 years after the Second World War.
(3) They received their promotions within the party by killing their predecessors.
(4) They are close friends, and they are always seen together.
(5) They believe that Japan’s destruction is the result of hasty, young Japanese politicians.
(6) They are dirty old men.
(7) Their brains hurtle forth and explode.
(8) “Your tie is askew, partner.”
(9) They continue to live even after being killed by Matsuken.
(10) They don’t respect Matsuken until he shows some “goddamn guts.”
“From here, it’s all about enjoying myself. Sure you got the balls… for a shoot-out?”
(1) Julia Kisugi is 22 years old.
(2) She disguises herself as Toru Fukushima’s secretary.
(3) In reality, she is an assassin sent by the Liberal Party.
(4) Her objective is the Yakumo’s retrieval.
(5) Her preferred guns are two light, customized .45 pistols; using these guns, she enjoys shooting.
(6) Her true desire is to escape underground society.
(7) The triviality of her own death brought her a small amount of happiness.
(1) Jean DePaul is 23 years old.
(2) He disguises himself as an apprentice at Restaurant Fukushima.
(3) He was sent by the International Ethics Committee.
(4) His objective was to stop the Japan-US meeting.
(5) He is a real ladies’ man.
(6) He should watch for falling objects.
(7) Secretly, he admires MASK De Smith.
(8) He believes that professional wrestling (a theatrical art) is the strongest fighting style.
“Let’s get down to business.”
(1) Hiro Kasai is 52 years old.
(2) He is an informant for the Liberal Party.
(3) He is intimately familiar with the Japanese community.
(4) He works to negotiate between Japan and the U. S.
(5) In bondage gear, he dives from a rooftop.
“Mr. President: your assessment, sir…?”
(1) A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Spencer is an advisor for the United States.
(2) He calls the President of the United States, for a decision on whether or not to intercept the missiles launching toward Japan.
(3) After time ticks away, “Goodbye, Japan.”
KURAMOTO / OHTA and JEFFERS / DUDLEY
“Taking advantage of us, aren’t you?” –“So, you’ve finally revealed your true self. You dirt bag.” “Shut up, monkey!” –“I’ll take that as a threat to the states.”
(1) Two monkeys, two dogs: they sit through a tug-of-war meeting at the Mah-jongg table.
(2) Key pieces in the game are “Chi” and “Pon.”
(3) The dogs bark; the monkeys jabber. In the end, all shoot each other.
THREE YOUNG MEN
[These are the three young men who welcome MASK to Restaurant Fukushima.]
“Irashaiamase, welcome. How many in your party, sir?”
(1) They work as waiters.
(2) The basics of their work are summed up in the phrases “Irashaimase” (“Welcome”) and “Have a nice meal.”
JACO’S REPORT #03
The FBI’s intelligence department has been keen about its newest, latest project, called “The Simulation.” The Bureau set up an experimental business, seven years ago, and they began their research. The data from that research has resulted in the successful invention of their newest machine.
The machine is called “Miss Jacob.”
If we enter reliable data into the machine, Miss Jacob predicts the future, with a probability ratio of 1:315.5. When one of its predictions proves correct, the probability ratio of subsequent predictions decreases. To date, the standing best record for the machine’s predictions is forty-seven consecutive predictions of the HTA Company’s stock price.
For obvious reasons, the use of Miss Jacob is restricted to the power of the President.
The weakness in using Miss Jacob to counter the terrorist army of Heaven Smiles is that the Smiles are everywhere in the country. This results in more data than even this enormous system can be aware of.
Only a handful of people understand the import of this statement: “Currently, no national agency, bureau, or cabinet can offer a practicable solution to protect the United States against the suicide-bombing Heaven Smiles.”
JACO’S REPORT #04
Listen to the story of how my men were killed. Don’t mistake me for a grumbling sentimentalist, though. It’s just my way to tell a story in the order of its historical facts.
On the afternoon of 18 September 2004, Heaven Smiles appeared in a bank located in the downtown area of Seattle.
The FBI’s special forces were sent to the scene immediately; the incident occurred in one of the buildings under the FBI’s surveillance, so we knew about it as soon as it happened. Important government documents were kept in the bank’s innermost safe. We aren’t talking about data stored on a disc, either: I mean real ink-and-paper documents. I never learned their contents.
When the FBI arrived, one-third of the people in the bank had already turned into Heaven Smiles. They quickly started killing all the others. One-third of the armed security guards, too, had become Heaven Smiles.
When I got there, it had been almost an hour since the whole thing started. Right from the start, I knew there would be no survivors. Under my command, three units had infiltrated the bank. I waited and listened to their reports from a distance–and they had stopped communicating with me.
The final report on the incident states that there were twenty-nine explosions. After that… nothing. Only pure silence.
I decided to enter the building myself, to retrain the remaining teams.
Miss Jacob would have calculated that my action was a probability well within her predictive powers.
JACO’S REPORT #05
God, the scene inside that bank was grisly. The floor overflowed with blood and gore. You couldn’t even tell what part of the body most of the flesh had been, originally. I walked through it all, trying not to slip on a pool of blood, and I arrived at the bank’s safe. The vault’s door was half open. I sensed that someone–something–was inside.
I readied my M16 and walked into the safe.
I saw a table and two chairs in the middle of the vault, and two women sat there. I looked more closely at them: they were my wife and daughter… my thirty-seven year old wife, and my fourteen year old daughter, by God.
I tried to believe that I was hallucinating. I wanted to dream that I could return home, like every night, and sit down with them at the table in the dining room for supper.
But the vault was real, and so were my wife and daughter. My wife turned her face toward me and spoke. (I was too much in shock to know what she said.) Then, my daughter started to laugh. My wife echoed the laughter… they both laughed like crazy, endlessly. It started to pry away my last pieces of sanity.
I started firing. I shot the hell out of my wife and daughter. I fired and fired, until the M16 clicked, dry-firing, and I collapsed on the floor, frothing at the mouth.
JACO’S REPORT #06
The whole affair turned my soul into stone. I felt nothing. I couldn’t even cry. At their funeral, I just stood there, a husk.
After that, I started the job.
I took a huge risk, in the beginning. I hacked top level information out of Miss Jacob: the results of her calculations. I got more information this way that anyone with my rank and status ever could; obviously, this was a tremendous crime.
I was looking for someone to kill.
When it comes to revenge, no one murders because they actually dislike the victim. Yet… sometimes we hit so many walls, and we get pushed to our limits, that we scramble madly for some way of pushing back. (I should say, though, that no one gets to this point of desperation, unless he loses every- thing important in his life. Then, revenge is the only option.)
Miss Jacob predicted the last member of the anonymous Heaven Smiles, like some kind of damn oracle. My face started to burn.
JACO’S REPORT #07
I wasn’t given a name for that Heaven Smile, though. Until a specific identity could be brought to light, I named the final member of the Heaven Smiles “Last Smile.”
There was a catch, and a week of logging onto Miss Jacob passed before I figured it out. Forty-nine of Miss Jacob’s predictions must occur in reality, in consecutive order, as a condition for the “Last Smile” to become revealed. In this forty-nine link chain of events, the first prediction has a 1:315.5 chance of happening. If the first prediction is correct, then the second has a slightly higher probability of occurring. According to the patterns of cause- and-effect that determine the predictive power of Miss Jacob’s calculations, the chain reaction of events will result in the appearance of the “Last Smile.” As of now, forty-seven of Miss Jacob’s predictions have come true consecutively.
I know this is confusing. Let me put it this way: imagine that we have forty-nine dominoes set on their ends, in a row. Normally, if we flicked one of the dominoes on the end, all of them would fall over, each knocking down the one after it. However–imagine if there was a chance that any one of the dominoes could stop the chain reaction by NOT falling over. This is the state of affairs, with Miss Jacob’s predictions. Even if we reached the forty-eighth domino in the chain, there’s no guarantee that the forty-ninth domino would fall over.
According to Miss Jacob, then, the first event in the chain is called “SUNSET.” In the near future, two-hundred missiles will launch toward Japan; this is the trigger. However, there will be no “Fireworks.” Because of this, the second event in the chain will occur: Japan will be destroyed. From these events, the chain reaction leading to the “Final Smile” will ignite.
When I learned all of this, I felt helpless. I said to myself, “This won’t happen. It can’t happen.”
I almost laughed out loud, like one of those damn Heaven Smiles. I couldn’t believe Miss Jacob. I couldn’t help but hope that the predictions were wrong.
I resolved to set out after that man; I left to meet up with Ulmeyda.
“The name’s Aldrei Ulmeyda. I’m the man with the plan.”
(1) Born in Arkansas, Andrei Ulmeyda is a twenty-seven year old Texas Bronco.
(2) He wears his hair in an afro style.
(3) He is involved with the world’s largest corporation, a distribution company.
(4) He is the Chairman and Chief-Executive-Officer of the global organization, “First Life.”
(5) He possessed part of the Yakumo.
(6) He is a heavy risk taker.
“This… this blood. It tastes like Mr. Ulmeyda’s.”
(1) Gabriel Clemence is “today’s lucky man.”
(2) He returns alive from Ulmeyda’s “driving yourself to death” game.
(3) In the rain of blood, he feels Ulmeyda’s presence. He receives Ulmeyda’s blessing to bring Ulmeyda’s message to the next generation.
(1) The cult member is a fervent believer in Ulmeyda.
(2) He gives hints on how to progress through Ulmeyda City.
(3) He knows about the true spirit of fanaticism.
(4) He talks about Ulmeyda’s film autobiography.
MAN IN PHOTOGRAPH
[This man’s photograph appears on the wall of the diner.]
(1) He was killed for having hidden Ulmeyda figurine number 12.
“Well, we don’t get many black folk around here.”
(1) He is an old man at the entrance of the city’s interior.
(2) Everyday, he looks at Ulmeyda’s posters.
(3) He gives Garcian advice.
DRUG STORE EMPLOYEE
“I couldn’t care less about that disco freak.”
(1) The drug store employee carries her languid attitude with her to work.
(2) She observes that the afro hair style is outdated.
(3) A slave to tradition, she is a repressed woman.
“He sold the damn town!”
(1) The postal worker is a former co-worker of Ulmeyda.
(2) He believes that Ulmeyda is a con-artist.
(3) He wishes that he had gotten his hands on the Yakumo.
“Please, forgive me. I’ll tell you something, though…”
(1) He is a security guard for First Life, Inc.
(2) He stops suspicious-looking people from getting into First Life’s headquarters.
(3) He doesn’t know what First Life does, exactly.
“So, I ask you to forget what you witnessed here today.”
(1) General Lynch is a member of the U. S. Emergency Counter-measure Defense Department.
(2) He is the leader of the operation to capture Ulmeyda.
(3) He believed that he had captured Ulmeyda; instead, he was killed.
JACO’S REPORT #08
Miss Jacob is something else.
The event that was predicted to follow the holocaust called “SUNSET” was a phenomenal story about Ulmeyda–who is also called “Cloudman.”
Ulmeyda is the CEO of “First Life, Co.” None of their flyers, advertisements, or letterheads print an address for the central headquarters. The head office is supposedly situated in a building somewhere in Los Angeles, but it’s a “head office” in name only.
I investigated the location of the company, using one of my connections in the government. I still don’t know much about it. Is the company related to the mafia? Or does it simply have heavy protection? Either way, I’m prepared to deal with whatever comes.
I left my office to meet a guy I know–one of my old informants, from my time as a special agent. He gave me lots of ambiguous details, and, still, nothing concrete. But it was surreal… like I was seeing the predicted chain of events unfold, right in my living presence. Despite its ambiguity, ALL of the information given by my old informant matched the predictions made by Miss Jacob.
The incidents named “SUNSET” and Ulmeyda’s First Life Co. seem unrelated, but Ulmeyda has an indirect connection to Japan. He got something BIG from them… and it seems that each of the incidents flows into the next, despite immediate appearances.
All of this strange information played into my method of finding the “Last Smile.” I needed to verify the reliability of my method, using Miss Jacob’s predictions. I wanted to see Ulmeyda with my own eyes. I followed the path that had opened before me.
I was off to Intercity, Texas. That’s south by south-east.
JACO’S REPORT #09
Long before I met Ulmeyda, I entered this weird city. Still I had no clue how charismatic he is. He was calm, almost taciturn. He defied quite a number of my expectations.
Though I came to learn more about Ulmeyda, I started to discover more about my- self. I got a solid idea about what I was trying to do, following this path.
By the end of the visit, I had total faith in the predictive power of Miss Jacob. I have become Miss Jacob’s goddamn acolyte. Still, I can’t lie: I had to MAKE the events of Miss Jacob’s predictions, run in her internal simulations, into reality.
I needed to wrench the “Last Smile” from the future. I needed to kill him, in the 49th predicted event. This was all I had to live for. I cannot forgive them, any of them! Not even when they are dead! I want to rake every last one of them off the earth! I can’t stand their existence… I wouldn’t mind dying, if it meant killing them all, no–I wouldn’t mind. Hell, I actually WANTED to die.
No one can change the past; I could only move forward, make Miss Jacob’s predictions come true. Thankfully, I received guidance, to just that end.
And, following my received guidance, I was about to sell Ulmeyda his own death.
JACO’S REPORT #10
“Wow. This place is strange.”
Ulmeyda: “You think so?”
“I know why you made this place. You used the prototype plans.”
Ulmeyda: “Wait, what? Hold on just a second… prototype plans?”
“Don’t play dumb.”
Ulmeyda: “Well, so what, then?”
“I figured it out.”
Ulmeyda: “Figured out what?”
Ulmeyda: “The future!?”
“Yeah, it might not be reliable down to the last detail, but it’s information worth a million dollars. Interested?”
Ulmeyda: “Now, hold on again. Why are you?”
“Aren’t you concerned about the future, at all?”
Ulmeyda: “… maybe.”
“Well, guess what: I’m another man with a prototype plan.”
Ulmeyda: “Meaning what, exactly?”
“Let me explain it to you…”
JACO’S REPORT #11
First, Japan will sink. Japan’s destruction will be the signal flare in Asia that starts the ball rolling.
Then, a Pandora’s Box will have opened. Want to know why? The original plan that your prototype came from will have been taken out of Japan. Certain powerful people want that information, very badly. You, too, are no different, really–right? All you have is a copy of the plan… not the original.
The U. S. Government will get it, though. The government in this country has enormous power. No one can stand against it.
After the U. S. has its hands on it, they won’t need you anymore. “First Life” can’t exist without the U. S. Government. This company is just a factor in the simulation program–the program that constructs an ideal world, and dares the risks involved with overthrowing the current political arrangements.
The deadline for the simulation’s execution is fast approaching. What do you think will happen, then? You’re smart. You can guess well enough. The YAKUMO won’t be any use to you when you’re dead, will it?
JACO’S REPORT #12
“Draw a picture,” I said to Ulmeyda. I spoke with theatrical flair. “Any effort to escape is useless. You will be found and killed. However, if you make preparations that will make you the master of your own fate, you might be able to overcome your present circumstances.”
The cloud-grabber grinned. His eyes lit up as he said, “Killer7.”
What an impact that had on me. “Killer7” is the key to the next door, the next step in Miss Jacob’s predictive story.
“Talk all you want.”
(1) Born in Seattle, fifty-nine year old Curtis Blackburn is descended from English ancestors.
(2) One of his nicknames is “Whitehair.”
(3) He is a professional killer.
(4) He worked for the Seattle Self-Defense Department.
(5) He was Dan’s mentor.
(6) He is remembered most clearly on the basketball court, where he shot and killed Dan Smith.
(7) For fifteen years, he has hidden himself in bureaucratic government jobs.
(8) His main business is organ trafficking, though he will trade only girls.
(9) He is an old pervert.
(10) He fights Dan with a pigeon on his shoulder.
(1) Pedro Montana is a former agent of the Seattle Self-Defense Department.
(2) He betrayed both Dan Smith and Curtis Blackburn.
(3) Before he knows who is behind him, he tells Curtis that he doesn’t want to play doubles.
(4) First, his family was murdered; then…”
“Like a flower that blooms in the soil of our carnal and corrupt society, I shall administer retribution to straying vermin that graze this land. For I am the Chairman of the Educational Guidance Council, AYAME BLACKBURN!”
(1) Ayame Blackburn is sixteen years old.
(2) She is into cosplay.
(3) She moves at high speeds in the darkness.
(4) She fights using a machine gun.
(5) Curtis taught her how to kill.
(6) She was picked up at the Immigration Bureau offices.
(7) She is an orphan.
(1) Where the hell did she come from?
(2) She got high in the car.
(3) When the concerto that she and Curtis were listening to ended, she was killed by Curtis.
(4) She was used as a distraction.
GIRL AT IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE
(1) She was found at the Immigration Bureau.
(2) She witnessed the mass murder at the Immigration offices.
(3) She went face-to-face with Curtis’s gun.
(4) Later, she became the flower who bloomed at ISZK Land.
[She is the angel who gives Dan the Demon Gun.]
(1) She is an angel who lands in ISZK Land.
(2) She presents rewards for making it through the attractions.
(3) In one hand, she offers the Demon Gun; in the other, she offers a Soul-Shell.
JACO’S REPORT #13
Here’s how the next scenario was predicted to play out: a man associated with notorious underground activities, Curtis Blackburn, will be killed by an assassin. Who? None other than the hitman, Killer7.
I investigated Blackburn. He is a skilled killer, too; he worked for the government for fifteen years. After that, though, he disappeared, and that’s all anyone has known about him for the past six years.
During my investigation of Blackburn, I had a couple of “encounters.”
The first encounter: I had to deal with a squealer, who made a call to me personally at my FBI office. He knew about me–I don’t know how–so he took control of the conversation. I wanted to regard him as a lunatic, that he spoke nonsense. The nagging thing was, his conversation was filled with details that completed the puzzle left by the holes in Miss Jacob’s descriptions.
I couldn’t tell who it was, though; the voice was altered by some device, changing it beyond recognizability.
JACO’S REPORT #14
Caller: “He has ties with people in the Immigration Bureau. Hey, the Curtis Blackburn who I know is one evil son of a bitch. When he kills someone, he loves it–he really enjoys himself. But he’s changed his personality, lately.”
Me: “Changed? How?”
Caller: “I met a girl whose lungs had been taken by the Immigration Bureau. Unregistered immigrant girls are gathered in one place, and their organs are stolen. Why do you think they are stolen?”
Me: “The organs… they’re stolen to sell.”
Caller: “Exactly. As raw materiel… for the ‘Heaven Smiles’.”
Me: “Who wants them?”
Caller: “Listen up. The Opposition Party… there are people out there who want to use “Heaven Smiles” as weapons of mass destruction. Curtis started a business with those people in the Opposition Party, using his own special corporation, “Horizon.” You know, he’s got connections to the Department of the Interior. He can use the Immigration Bureau–any time he wants. He created the supply of fresh organs taken from kidnapped girls at the Bureau, and he’s selling them to the Opposition Party.”
Me: “‘Heaven Smiles’ as weapons of mass destruction? No way. That’s crazy– that’s just outrageous.”
Caller: “But listen–that girl whose lung was taken? She’s living with an artificial lung, given to her by Curtis. She makes a good living as a Taiwan- style masseuse. Seems that a lot of kids like her are out there.”
Me: “What do you think that means?”
Caller: “Who knows. Maybe Curtis is just getting tired of his old, sick pleasures. Or he’s completely reformed. Or he’s plotting something completely different from what anyone thinks. You know, that might be it–he’s been acting strangely. Think he might try to bring down everything he’s built up for himself? Hell if I know what’s going on in his mind.”
Me: “So what’s your place in this? Why are you telling me this?”
Caller: “Me? Hey, I’m just your average concerned citizen.”
JACO’S REPORT #15
Me: “What is this, some kind of sick joke?”
Caller: “Listen, a confrontation between Curtis and Killer7 is unavoidable at this point. They’re closely bound together. This fight will take place, even without your intervention.”
Me: “My intervention?”
Caller: “Come on, man. You’re probably just another pawn, who’s working behind the scenes to prepare circumstances according to the larger designs of someone whose existence isn’t even known to you.”
Me: “What is that supposed to mean?”
Caller: “Don’t you get it, you dipshit? You and I are part of the same gang! As long as we’re acting on the same stage, we should know about each other’s activities. The only difference between us is where we are in our careers. If you get close to Curtis now, he’ll kill you easily. I don’t care if you get yourself killed, personally, but there’s the fact that you’re with the FBI. If you die now, all the information you’ve collected will go public–and that could drag a lot of media attention. That can’t happen, or our plan will fall apart. So what the hell’s YOUR plan? You gonna get revenge on the ‘Heaven Smiles’? Well, good luck to that, but it’s time someone taught you a few things, and that someone’s me. You’re running around like a damn chicken with its head cut off–you need to take better care, and USE your head.”
Me: “You have an unpleasant attitude.”
Caller: “Chalk it up to the differences in our careers.”
JACO’S REPORT #16
So, here’s what happened in the second “encounter.”
It was Sunday. A young girl knocked on my door. She claimed to be a friend of my dead daughter. I don’t know what the relationship between them had been, but I didn’t even want to think about it. Parents and children move in different circles; just as there are parts of a parent’s world that a child doesn’t need to know about, there are parts of a child’s world that a parent doesn’t need to know about.
We talked for a while, small talk. You know… what my daughter was like when she was still alive, and things like that. This girl was really beautiful, but sometimes she made unusual expressions, licking her lips. When she got ready to leave, she started talking about her part time job–that’s when the weird expression completely covered her face. She said that she took care of an old man, Harman Smith. Her employer’s name was Garcian Smith.
I decided to try to persuade her to help me out. It was easy. She’s nothing but a greedy little girl–Samantha will do anything for money.
NOTE: This chapter of the book also includes a transcript of the Handsome Men theme song, which has not been translated.
“You better watch out! These Handsome Men are tough! Trust me, I know, ’cause I wrote ’em!”
(1) Trevor Pearlharbor is twenty-seven years old.
(2) He writes comic books.
(3) He has an artistic temperament.
(4) He is delicate and nervous.
(5) He misunderstood his relationship to the Handsome Men.
(6) Ultimately, he proves to be naive.
(7) He lives in a large villa in the Dominican Republic.
(8) He published only on the ZTT Comic label.
(9) He works for the advertising company, Electro and Line.
(10) A hole is scorched in his chest by the Handsome Beam.
“I’ll make sure justice is done. But in MY book, though.”
(1) Love Wilcox is sixteen years old.
(2) She is a high school student.
(3) She is an extreme sociopath.
(4) She plays Handsome Pink.
(5) She is a famous game scenario writer, in the online world.
(6) She greets Garcian with the name “Mr. Killer Garcian.”
(7) She creates scandals, using media.
(8) Her client is Electro and Line.
(9) Her plan is to avenge Trevor’s death.
(10) Her passion is inspiring and beautiful.
“Here, let me sing you a song for travelers.”
(1) He lives in the Dominican Republic.
(2) He sings a thought-provoking song.
(3) He is a Dominican, and he knows the sweet and bitter sides of life.
(4) The song he performs for Dan is a poem for travelers.
[“Oracle” describes the twins who appear in children’s forms.]
“You shall be keen, traveler.”
(1) The twins are 108 years old.
(2) In accordance with prophecy, they appeared in the image of two boys.
(3) The twins represent opposites: day and night, past and future, heavenly light and diabolical darkness.
(4) They are Mithra, the god of contract.
JACO’S REPORT #17
I took more precise measures, preparing each move in my investigation. I be- came totally absorbed in it. I quit acting independently, and I started using my subordinate agents. I went over the collected data and organized it all. I assembled the photographs, lined them up, and scrutinized each. I also wire- tapped suspicious locations. All hesitation inside me vanished completely.
I didn’t need to move around as much, like before. All the details I needed were with me, inside. The actual U. S. Government’s HQ, the Opposition Party’s HQ, governmental offices, state institutions, public places… They had all the information I needed. Each time I learned something new, I put more of the overall puzzle together.
JACO’S REPORT #18
I also recovered information on the Killer7’s past. I learned a few things that had been covered up, until now.
Also… about the Governor of the EAST. Blackburn’s dealings with the EAST were a big clue. When he was doing the U. S. Government’s dirty work, he was drawn to the Governor of the EAST. The Governor is the single largest threat to the United States. It’s generally accepted, after all, that the “Heaven Smiles” are created by the Governor of the EAST.
Though Blackburn respected the Governor, he would never have been brought to a state of adoration for him. Even if his reservation would make him look foolish, he would keep himself composed. This Blackburn… he’s a strange one, I’ll give him that.
JACO’S REPORT #19
The so-called “Smith Syndicate Incident” is filed with the number A-00001 in the Killer7-related data.
Whether by chance or by fate, the men and women who shared the last name “Smith” were gathered in a cheap hotel, in the south of France, and they were all murdered. It’s obvious who killed them: Emir Parkreiner, also known as “the Bloody Heartland.” He was a peerless murderer, who slew 300 people in the U.S. and Europe. Even though these murders happened fifteen years ago, Parkreiner still has not been apprehended.
JACO’S REPORT #20
The “Smith Syndicate Incident” is legendary, now. There are plenty of fictionalized accounts of it. And, as time has passed, we are now unsure exactly what is fact and what is fiction. By this point, even those who were there when it happened probably feel the same way.
Maybe the least trustworthy thing is reality. Doesn’t that seem right? In today’s world, I think that makes most sense. As far as I am concerned, fiction seems true and it dazzles my eyes.
JACO’S REPORT #21
Did you see the Handsome Men? My favorite is Handsome Pink. She is pretty “handsome” alright, even if she is young. I just can’t help myself; those thighs are something else. I was sitting at my desk in the FBI head office, and I lost myself in wild fantasies, tracing the line of her inner thigh with my eyes.
I use Samantha as my “alter ego.” She is the most important part of my plans. I got an edge on her, using the simple hypnotism we learn in the FBI training program–so I can use her to prompt Killer7 to open each door without fail.
It was around then that I noticed something important. Miss Jacob–she was a farce. Everything I had been doing had been designed and prepared for me by another man. Just like that guy over the phone had said: I was a pawn in a game, an actor on someone else’s stage.
(1) Emir Parkreiner was born on 22 November 1942, in Nevada.
(2) He died on 22 November 1952.
(3) His social security code is “EAGLE.”
(4) He was an ace, created by the Yakumo. [Here, the Yakumo is used to describe a political party, since there was once a Yakumo Cabinet in the government.]
(5) He is a killer, controlled by the government.
(6) When his Third Eye opens, he becomes the Bloody Heartland.
(7) He becomes Garcian Smith.
(8) He becomes crucial to the function of the Killer7.
YOUNG HARMAN SMITH
“Long journey, but it ends here, Garcian. No… I think it’s time I called you by your real name: Emir Parkreiner.”
(1) Young Harman Smith is found in the Union Hotel.
(2) He took Emir in on the rooftop.
(3) He provides protection to Emir.
(4) He works for the United States of America.
(5) He is Emir Parkreiner’s mentor.
(6) He is a voice coming out from the past.
(1) Dimitri Nightmare is the man sitting beside Harman.
(2) He is a shadow who enters into Harman.
(3) His true identity is a mystery.
(4) He is Harman’s bodyguard.
(5) He works behind the scenes.
“What’s a country? Who are the people? What are politicians?”
(1) Benjamin keane is sixty-nine years old.
(2) He wanted to become President of the United States.
(3) He enjoys playing Russian Roulette.
(4) He promises to tell Garcian Smith “how to hit on women with 100 percent success!”
(1) He is the real secretary of the Education Ministry.
(2) He was hung in the gymnasium.
(3) When fighting him, Garcian must pay attention to his crotch.
(4) Nightmare must be swung back and forth by being shot.
(5) He swings to the left, right, left, and right again without any blowing wind.
(1) Hiro Kasai is seen on top of a building.
(2) Matsuken stands beside Kasai.
(3) Kasai is cuffed, with attention paid to pierce his nipples.
(4) He dies after diving off the top of the building.
“Use your eyes to decipher how the system works.”
(1) She is the one who kills Mills; afterward, she is his successor.
(2) She describes herself as “a protector of this country.”
(1) Gary Wanderers is a taciturn successor of Samantha, in the save room.
(2) He is a silent butler.
(3) Fans of Samantha doubtlessly are disappointed by him.
(4) Still, he keeps quiet: this strange butler.
“I remember all the faces of our guests.”
(1) Edo MacAlister works at the reception desk of the Union Hotel.
(2) He is thirty-six years old.
JACO’S REPORT #22
Harman Smith was an agent who took investigation and assassination missions from the U. S. Government, when he was young. He is part of the Smith Syndicate–and the leader of the Killer7, who are his seven personae via the Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon.
You might want to know what sort of investigation he was doing. Well, it looks like his main gig was behind-the-scenes activity, relating to underground political movement.
Twenty-eight years ago, in Hakone, Japan, Harman Smith received a special kind of mission, to investigate the probability of some votes.
Harman received the mission from a man named Toru Fukushima. He is one of the members of the Union 7, who wrote the Yakumo Cabinet Policy. He is also an ‘architect,’ who worked as a line of communication between the U. N. Party and the U. S. Government, at the time of the Yakumo’s creation. He later became the head figure of the U. N. Party. Harman and Fukushima met for the first time, when Fukushima gave him his mission. Fukushima summoned Harman, through his connections with the U. S. Government–the U. N. Party was then a puppet government, under the U. S. Government.
An international conference was to be held in Hakone, to decide upon solutions to energy security problems in Asian regions. The conference was called the Asian Security Protocol Meeting. Rumour has it that there were three plans prepared for the meeting:
1: The Pipe Plan, mainly for supporting nations grouped in South Asia.
2: The Massive Plan, for the consultative nations at the conference, such as the European Union and the U.S. Government.
3: The Civic Plan, for the EAST.
Among these three plans, one plan was selected via votes from the participating countries. However, no official announcement came forth declaring which plans was selected.
The day before the meeting, Harman Smith had investigated each country’s intentions. He knew the way that everyone would vote. He used his own means to get this information.
Fukushima used Harman’s report to prearrange the behind-the-scenes negotiations before the meeting. He manipulated the votes of the attending countries. In other words, as I had encouraged Ulmeyda to do… Fukushima drew a picture: a picture that influenced the power structure of the coming thirty years. However, even then, Fukushima was not the mastermind behind it all.
At any rate… back then is when everything was decided. The history of the world became maligned.
JACO’S REPORT #23
In the decision of the meeting, twenty-eight years ago, Japan’s destruction was mentioned. So were the Heaven Smiles. And, of course, Killer7…
Why are the Killer7 able to kill the Heaven Smiles? Because it was decided, in the beginning, all that time ago. The balance of power in the concessions, twenty-eight years ago, determined it.
In Japan, an ambitious young man drew the picture. In the U. S., a morbid and nervous man cloaked in shadows did the same thing. Miss Jacob’s results are merely tracing the outlines of the pictures drawn in those scenarios prepared twenty-eight years ago.
However, the picture of the EAST is said to have been stolen by God… by Kun Lan.
Now, the expiration date is closing in. The maligning of history is reaching its farthest limits, and it’s going to explode.
What will happen next? Maybe no one can say. Predetermined balance and peace cannot exist.
JACO’S REPORT #24
The failure will involve the Killer7’s personae.
Also, the failure will extend to the Heaven Smiles… but this is the chance for victory that Kun Lan has been working toward. If the world is controlled according to artificiality, then the balance of power established by logic won’t fall apart. But if chaos breeds, then another providence could consume the current status quo.
In other words, the Killer7 needs the guidance of others. The guidance of LOTS of people. And I… I am one of them.
I am one of the pawns prepared by the government, to follow and to protect the king piece, the Killer7, and to be discarded for the sake of preserving the king. I was forced to play this game. I should clarify, though, that while I said “government,” the “government” is being manipulated, too. Manipulated by one single man…
In a sense, this man is a blood relative to the Killer7. A violent, blood- gorged, savage relationship arises between them. The Killer7 is the single unpredictable force, placed in this set of events controlled by logic and artificial automatonism. The Killer7’s winning chance, too, finds its power in the fact that it is totally unpredictable.
JACO’S REPORT #25
I finished all of the preparations, three days before the destruction of Japan.
I also prepared a tape, for Samantha. Killer7 is nothing but a robot, a machine, for killing until HE awakens from being the Killer7 and transforms himself. He merely follows orders, plays out the missions, given to him by Mills and the government. So, I got the idea of implanting data, deep within his unconscious mind.
One of the personae of the Killer7 will open an “envelope”–a package that doesn’t physically exist, but which when opened will make Garcian hear my voice. Motivation, hatred, hesitation, decisions… These are what I have already conveyed to him, through Samantha and the tapes and old Harman… but what I really wanted to tell him is this:
“Kill him. Kill the ‘Heaven Smile’.”
JACO’S REPORT #26
This is the last tape. I only want to tell the truth, here.
I’m tired of this maligned world. I’m off to kill Kun Lan myself.
The real Kun Lan… the one with a physical body, like a normal man, now lives in a special cell underground Atlanta, Georgia. He lives there, under the U. S. Government’s care. I heard that he is little more than a shadow of his former self, a senile old man. The government must have a good reason for keeping him around.
I can’t forgive him, though.
this is the last time, so,
with the voice of truth,
with my own voice,
I shall tell you,
who I am?
do you remember it?
The real me
“JACO’S REPORT” ORIGINAL TEXT WRITTEN BY MASAHI OOKA
THE BLOODY HEARTLAND
(1) The Bloody Heartland leaves the Union Hotel covered in blood.
(2) He has killed six.
(3) He is uncontrollable.
(4) He has lost his mind.
(5) He is the Smith Syndicate.
(6) He is a monster.
(7) His clothing is classy.
(8) He killed Kess Bloodysunday.
(9) His green eyes are the Devil’s eyes.
(10) On the rooftop, he received protection from Harman.
(11) He is awakened fully in LION.
(12) He is Garcian Smith.
(13) He is Killer7.
[This refers to the Harman Smith who is lying on the floor.]
(1) Harman Smith is a ward.
(2) He sleeps now in Garcian’s room.
(3) He was an old job for Emir.
(4) He has the power of absorption.
(5) He lives with Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon.
(6) He exists in the past, the present, and the future.
[This refers to the Kun Lan seen on Battleship Island.]
(1) Kun Lan is found on Battleship Island, in its deepest place.
(2) He is chased and finally cornered.
(3) “Master… Master…?”
Where do the Heaven Smiles come from?
[The following is another article, written within the fictional universe of “Hand-in-Killer7.”]
“Where Do the Heaven Smiles Come From?”
by Jack Foley
[The following article first appeared in the monthly magazine, “Spreading the Truth,” February 2003]
Since the beginning of 2003, the terrorist activities using a variety of Heaven Smiles has become a serious problem for society. Today, we know that Heaven Smiles are quite similar to human beings; we have learned as much from the examination of some of their corpses, though their true nature remains to be explained.
One day, a man who described himself as ‘a scientist’ contacted the editorial department of “Spreading the Truth.” He agreed to provide us the following interview, relating to the production of Heaven Smiles, on the condition of his anonymity. (For the sake of this publication, we will refer to him simply as “Mr. A.”) A few days after the phone call, Mr. A and I met in person and con- ducted the following interview:
Spreading the Truth [ST]: “Are you really involved with the production of Heaven Smiles?”
Mr. A [A]: “Not directly–indirectly, though, yes, I created them.”
A: “Heaven Smiles are born when the light from a certain man’s right hand shines on a human being. This is called ‘the Hand of God’.”
ST: “You mean to say that Heaven Smiles were originally human?”
A: “Yes, precisely. Most of them were converted by the Hand of God, but there are others whose bodies were bought through the underground organization of human trafficking.”
ST: “This ‘certain man’ mass produces Heaven Smiles?”
A: “Two other scientists and I have studied the light emanating from his right hand. We invented a system to produce Heaven Smiles. This system is put into practice by mass-producing Heaven Smiles in a factory, which is located in a country in Asia.”
ST: “Can you talk a little more about that?”
A: “In the beginning, only one type of Heaven Smile existed. But, as we altered the characteristics of the light from the Hand of God, we were able to create different types of Heaven Smiles. Additionally, we learned that it was possible to reshape them using machines. In this manner, we varied the possi- ble types of Heaven Smiles. When a man receives the light from the Hand of God, he experiences pure ecstasy. Heaven Smiles exist in a constant state of joy and pleasure. That’s why they smile. However, simultaneously, their con- sciousness is under the simple order: ‘One Heaven Smile must kill one human being.’ They kill using the bomb-organ inside their bodies, made with techno- logy, as their modus operandi.”
ST: “What do you mean ‘One Heaven Smile must kill one human being’?”
A: “It means that one Heaven Smile can only kill one human being, because in the process the Heaven Smile’s body is destroyed, too.”
ST: “Who is the ‘certain man’ you have alluded to?”
A: “He is the leader of our times. We scientists sympathised with him and followed his ideas for creating Heaven Smiles. Now, though, we can no longer cooperate with him. He has betrayed us. I have decided to talk to the press about his and our activities. I hope I can slow–maybe even stop–his plans this way.”
ST: “He betrayed you?”
A: “He promised us that he would perform a ‘secret technique’ on us to trans- form us into Heaven Smiles. That’s why we cooperated. It was a lie, though. We were only transformed… into ‘Potential Heaven Smiles’.”
ST: “Potential Heaven Smiles?”
A: “There’s no difference in our external appearance, but in our bodies the process of becoming a Heaven Smiles is in progress. We are no longer human. If the symptoms progress, we will be completely consumed by the process and become Heaven Smiles. In fact, my two former colleagues have already become Heaven Smiles. And… me too… hihihihihi! Oh, god, I can’t stop… hihihihi… laughing… hihihihi! A new age! Hahaha! I wanted to see… hihihahahahi… his name…!”
At this point in the interview, I became distressed to my limits. I left. I ran away without looking back, listening to his unearthly laughter. Immediately after that, I regretted having run. I should have stayed at least to learn the name of the mastermind. In retrospect, though, through the lens of rationality and reflection, I think that Mr. A was simply hoaxing me. He provided nothing in the way of proof. On the other hand… his face was tense, and his laughter was identical to that heard later on the television news. Since that time, I have been unable to contact Mr. A.
The truth is still hidden.
Heaven Smile Files
This chapter contains profiles for the various Heaven Smiles the player faces through the game.
Explode your life with your Heaven Smile horoscope!!
Here’s a change of pace: let’s make some predictions about our personalities and future! With a smile! Whether you want to or not! We’ve matched the 12 zodiac signs to the 12 types of Heaven Smiles they best suited, then ranked them. What kind of smile do YOU have? Find out in this thrilling feature! But its credibility is less than ZERO – so don’t take it personally. Think of it as a palate cleanser!
3/21-4/19: Bombhead Smile
4/20-5/20: Laser Smile
5/21-6/21: Rolling Smile
6/22-7/22: Timer Smile
7/23-8/22: Giant Smile
8/23-9/22: Backward Smile
9/23-10/23: Galatic Tomahawk Smile
10/24-11/22: Spiral Smile
11/23-12/21: Protector Smile
12/22-1/19: Heaven Smile
1/20-2/18: Camellia Smile
2/19-3/20: Micro Smile
09: Backward Smile
At No. 9 is the Backward Smile, the Smile for Virgo. Caught in a tight spot? Feeling cornered? Then bide your time, wait for just the right moment – and unleash a backhand blow! Time it right, and this sort of sneak attack can win you surprising results! Give it a try – you’ve got nothing to lose! You might even pull off an upset! Your lucky item is aurichalcum.
05: Laser Smile
At No. 5 is the Laser Smile, the Smile for Taurus. Throw that special someone one of your smouldering looks! They might ignore you; they might be repulsed; or you might be blown away – the possibilities are endless! But be sure to watch that wandering eye of yours! Your lucky item is moss.
01: Heaven’s Smile
#1 is the Heaven’s Smile, the Smile for Capricorn. Every little thing in life, you do with a smile on your face! Hold on to your dreams, and explosive results are sure to follow! Then be as dust on the wind, and travel the world. Stupendous sights are surely in your future! Your lucky item is an awl.
10: Galactic Tomahawk Smile
#10 is the Galactic Tomahawk Smile, the Smile for Libra. Spot an opportunity? Then don’t hesitate – throw yourself at it like a missile! Beware, though – there might be an ABM out there with your name on it! Your lucky item is a Geiger counter.
06: Rolling Smile
At #6, we have the Rolling Smile, the Smile for Gemini. Take the time to streeeetch your body – look around and get the lay of the land! You might expand your horizons! Watch out, though: don’t overextend yourself. Get carried away, and you might come to a bad end. Or throw up! Your lucky item is a plastic bag.
02: Camellia Smile
No. 2 is the Camellia Smile, the Smile for Aquarius. Your luck in love has skyrocketed! Put the tsuba [saliva] in “tsubaki” [camellia]: spit in the face of the opposite sex, and you’ll win instant results…not!* YEAH! In short: when it comes to love, you can’t hesitate – the important thing is to act! Your lucky item is mica.
[*Note: The word for “camellia” in Japanese, “tsubaki,” can also mean “spit.”]
11: Spiral Smile
#11 is the Spiral Smile, the Smile for Scorpio. Grown apart from that special someone? Track them down and throw a warm glance their way – act like you remember them! It might bring back fond memories and spark conversation, or it may dredge up past history best left forgotten. Who knows! Your lucky item is a broken music box.
07: Timer Smile
For #7, we have the Timer Smile, the Smile for Cancer. Feeling tied down by deadlines and time commitments? Act on impulse for once – and visit the beach! Sit on the sands, hug your knees, and take a good, long look at your life. You might just discover a whole new you! But don’t say we didn’t warn you! Your lucky item is a clock.
03: Micro Smile
#3 is the Micro Smile, the Smile for Pisces. Take care of your health, and you’ll start out every day long & strong! Micro or macro – size doesn’t matter when sheer spunk shoots out your every pore! It all comes down to your health! Your lucky item is turmeric.
12: Protector Smile
#12 is the Protector Smile, the Smile for Sagittarius. The world is filled with danger! So hide in your room, shut yourself away from society – guard yourself like grim death from being hurt!! A life of loneliness awaits! Your lucky item is a finger puppet.
08: Giant Smile
At #8 is the Giant Smile, the Smile for Leo! Watch yourself – stay focused! Or your attitude, your debts, your trivial misunderstandings with friends, your vague anxieties over the future, the unspoken pressure you feel from those around you – all of it! – just might blow up to gigantic proportions! It’s important to keep yourself in perspective. Your lucky item is a bobbin case.
04: Bombhead Smile
At #4 is the Bombhead Smile, the Smile for Aries. Change your hairstyle, and your luck just might take a turn for the better. We recommend a reverse mohawk – shave the center of your head! You’re sure to turn heads at school or work and become an instant sensation! Your lucky item is a wooden sword.
Name: Johnny Gagnon
Comments: All of his pigeons are named after heroines of the world’s most famous series of spy movies. Therefore, Johnny Gagnon himself is presumed to be British.
STILL ILL (Bianca)
It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, and many thanks for choosing me for the job. My name is Johnny Gagnon, otherwise known as Speedster. I get excited when I slit a guy’s. throat. I know that may be sick, but I do the best work in town.
This is a report on the job. I’m sure you’ll like what I have to say. I watched them like a hawk, so I think a hefty reward is in order!
There are 7 in the Smith Syndicate. Dan Smith, who uses a large caliber revolver. Kaede Smith, who uses a large automatic rifle. Con Smith, who uses 2 full auto pistols. Mask de Smith, who uses grenades. Kevin Smith, who uses knives. Coyote Smith, who uses a modified gun. Garcian Smith, who uses a small pistol.
They are an armed force that rivals a small army. You wouldn’t want to be on their bad side. In conclusion, it is in the interest of the United States to “keep” them around. There’s no telling when they might come in handy.
I’ll be contacting you again,
RUSHOLM RUFFIANS (Pussy)
Emir, we have a problem. A terrible thing has happened! I can hardly believe it, but the money is not in my account! I need your help. You got my last message didn’t you?
I trusted you… Now don’t let me down. Promise me! Wire me the money immediately. A hundred and twenty-five bucks is peanuts, I’m telling you!
The Smith Syndicate operates in strange ways.
Garcian Smith manages the other 6 personas, and mainly acts as a negotiator for work requests. Garcian never eliminates people himself. His role is to retrieve the bodies. Even if another persona is killed, it appears he is able to bring him back to life. Like a wizard, I tell you…
However, it is my hunch that somebody off-stage is calling the shots and controlling Garcian. There must be a hidden mastermind separate from the active team. And it’s likely that this mastermind assigns the jobs. Garcian is very loyal, and he values the organization. He controls the personas to keep the organization safe. He’s a middle manager, you see.
The members switch using the medium of television. But I have yet to determine what governs the switches.
The Smith Syndicate is composed of one sensible person and six freaks. I have never seen the personas interact with each other. Soon I expect to unmask the myth behind this strange group.
I’ll be contacting you again,
WELL I WONDER (Mary)
This is a warning, Emir.
Transfer $100 to my account. I’m absorbing a $25 loss. Final offer. Alright? Nothing terrible has happened yet. It’s time for you to send the money. Consider it a gift from me to you.
Surprisingly, the Smith syndicate has many talents. And I ain’t talking about cheap tricks like swallowing goldfish or cramming your head into a rubber glove. They’re on a whole other plane. I saw it with my own eyes. Heroes for our age!
Dan Smith is straight out of Japanime. Launching balls of light and shit! Yeah, you bet it blew my socks off. Heck, I wanted to shake his hand and ask for an autograph! But I decided to put my life first.
Kaede Smith spurts blood from her arms. What a sick sight! And then what did she do? She flattened a wall, right before my eyes. She must have taken out some kind of barrier. That’s what Kaede’s blood can do! Sometimes her arm sucks blood. That’s some stuff I didn’t need to see, either!
Mask de Smith is still a mystery, but I do know that he can do some sweet wrestling moves. He was a small-town pro wrestler who drew crowds to main events, but just before he made his debut in the New York scene, he mysteriously disappeared. This is common knowledge among fans.
The only thing for sure is that there’s more than meets the eye.
An update will follow.
MEAT IS MURDER (Plenty)
Continuing my report.
Kevin Smith never fails to amaze. You won’t believe this. But it’s the straight up truth. The sucker is a real-life invisible man. At first, even I didn’t believe it. This has gotta be a hoax, right? Well, shit. The guy’s for real.
And then Con Smith. What a pain-in-the-ass punk. I can never catch him. It blew my socks off. Nine times! When he speeds off, he disappears. That’s right. DIS-A-PPEARS! The Olympic records mean nothing with him running around.
Coyote Smith has a thing. A thing for being a crook. But he’s not like other thugs. He’s fit; he jumps like an animal. Incredible athleticism. Not to mention, he can pick any padlock. He must’ve picked this up as a method of survival in a tough neighborhood.
And then there’s Garcian Smith. I really haven’t seen him much. So everything I know is based on conjecture. Rumor has it he can spot the Heaven Smiles a mile away. This character is no joke, going up against monsters like that.
My investigation continues.
BACK TO THE OLD HOUSE (Helga)
To my dearest Emir,
The world is falling into chaos, as those ruled by a deep darkness increase in number. There is one group they fear… Have you heard of the Harman Assassins? I don’t want to call them on you. Consider setting up a payment plan.
I found the target of their first job. His name is Travis Bell. He disappeared 30 years ago. It’s no mistake he was murdered. Few people remember him, and nobody has said they were with him. It seems he got himself in some dangerous business.
I will follow the murderous trail, no doubt a bottomless pit. I can’t stop shaking, but I will put my life in line and find out.
I’ll be contacting you again,
HALF A PERSON (Bianca)
Once there was a boy. The boy’s mother didn’t keep her promise. So the boy screamed, “Buy it, or I’ll kill you, Mommy!” Because everyone knows liars, even if they’re your own parents, deserve capital punishment.
This is your last chance to pay up.
My sources tell me that people go “missing” all the time in this town. Some dash off in the night. Entire families disappear. It’s like a horror story. But the town has adapted. And with surprising alacrity, at that. “First Life” is a popular company. It’s very competitive. It’s not uncommon for people to quit.
You’d be surprised by the turnover. First Life was established three years ago. Only half of the original employees remain. The other half are recruits and new graduates. All the disappearances have made the hiring of new arrivals common.
There was another disappearance this week, at 201 Terry Street. I’ll have to look into it. I’ll cover the scoop in this town, and return to the assignment.
Update: I’ve learned of the circumstances surrounding her, but I still need more evidence.
I’ll be contacting you again,
RUBBER RING (Xenia)
I tend to be a little stubborn. Even so, you’ll probably forgive me. Of course you will, since you’re the one who hasn’t paid me! You’ll pay for every last dollar one way or another, I assure you!
I’ll crush your palpitating heart in the palm of my hand! I’ll bend your wings backward!
Her name is Susie Sumner. She’s a loose cannon with vicious criminal intent. She was apprehended under the national watch program, but killed several of the program directors. After requesting work from the Smith syndicate, she was eliminated.
The boy’s name is Kess Bloodysunday, and like his namesake, he was killed on Sunday. His criminal tendencies were such that even the Smith syndicate were reluctant to kill him at first. The boy was a remorseless killer. Born with murderous tendencies, and a latent talent to construct complex bombs.
The informant’s name is Yoon-Hyun. He’s the owner of the Union Hotel Group. He met an untimely death at the Union Hotel in Philadelphia. Many celebrities were at the reception, but nevertheless, there were few witnesses to the murder, and many of the facts don’t add up. Yet one thing is for sure: he was involved with the Smith syndicate. Rumor has it that an incident that happened at the hotel was swept conveniently under the rug.
The Remnant Psyches surrounding the Smith syndicate have come together, and every last one of them is a hard-boiled criminal. Members of the Smith syndicate are no ordinary killers. They’re superhuman monsters that consider psychos fair game.
I will contact you just one more time.
CEMETRY GATES (Solitaire)
I’m preparing to leave my house. There are six bullets in my trusty gun. Their purpose is to put you out of your misery. I sincerely wish that each and every one of them nails you squarely between the eyes.
And now I’m off to kill you.
Surprised? I asked Master Harman. Asked him to kill you. Emir, Harman is right here with me. The maid is with us, too. We’re all going on a little outing. A picnic with your name on it. This took all my resources. I bet you’re at school now. Which means, you’ll face the wrong end of my pistol in just moments. Wait for me in the principal’s office. This is the code. 
The lock is secured with a double code. You’ll need the second code to open the lock. Even I don’t know that code. It’s your job to find it.
Everything is ready. I’m delighted that I can finally meet you. Harman is laughing with me. Even the maid is laughing. What the?
What the hell are these guys doi…
Master is waiting for you at the hotel. We will kill this man for you.
Prototype of killer7
A collection of materials from earlier builds of the game.
The history of Ishizaka Corporation
“The History of Ishizaka Corporation”
–The Past and Future of ISZK Group–
by Jack Foley
[The following article first appeared in the monthly magazine, “Spreading the Truth,” May 2002]
The origins of the ISZK Group, AKA “Ishizaka Corporation,” was a corporation named “Ishizaka Electronics,” established September 1959 in Hoya-City, Tokyo. The founder is Taka Ishizaka, who saw the future trends of the communications industry. He abandoned his family business–a grocery store that specialized in dried foods–and staked all his fortune on his new electronics business. He was then fifty years old. The name “Taka Ishizaka” soon became known commonly all over the world.
The company’s main work at the time was the manufacture of wireless radio de- vices. The products were designed according to the ideals of Taka Ishizaka: “The radio and dried foods are the same on one point: they are both dry.” Ishizaka brand products became quite popular among radio aficionados, and they earned a high place in the industry.
Ishizaka Electronics did not relax after its first success, though. In the 1970’s, the business continued to expand its market to household appliances, amusement devices, and industrial machines, after it converted to a joint-stock corporation. The company was prepared to dominate the industry. As well, the company’s name changed from “Ishizaka Electronics” to “Ishizaka Corporation,” and each manufacturing department became a subsidiary company under the umbrella corporation named “Ishizaka.” This heralded the birth of the ISZK Group. The ISZK group rode on the crest of high economic growth, and it became an economics leader in both Japanese and global markets.
The 1980’s marked another turning point for the ISZK Group. The ISZK Group had manufactured hardware alone until the 1980’s, at which time it decided to manufacture software. Its debut was an experimental local cable channel, “ZaKa Broadcasting” which first aired in Chicago in 1981. (Later, the name was changed to “ZaKa TV,” in 1982.) At its inception, it was a simple local news station. Taka Ishizaka’s ideals prevailed, still: “The vital points of both news and dried foods is their ‘taste’.” According to these ideals, the ISZK Group adopted an extremely strict attitude toward the broadcasting of news, which didn’t discriminate between times and places for their news broadcasts. (This approach earned them several lawsuits.) The result was the broadcast of immediate, “tasty” scoops. Using this approach, ZaKa TV became one of the top television stations in the United States.
However, the history of the ISZK Group is not filled with success. Some failures exist, too. With meticulous care and preparation, the amusement park “ISZK Land” was opened in the United States in 2000. Although the park attracted a handful of devoted patrons, the number of paying visitors plateau- ed. Even now, the park is in financial straits. Many instances of kidnapping occurred in the park, which didn’t help circumstances. Beyond these circumstances, other failures exist, too.
In 2001, the ISZK Group bought a record label. The successful pop singer “Stacy Spangles” was signed to this record label. The ISZK Group bought the record label just to show its power as one of the world’s most powerful corp- orations.
The group’s founder, Taka Ishizaka, retired in 1988. With his retirement, he left everything to his son, Steve Ishizaka. Following this, Taka Ishizaka died in 1989, in Arashiyama, Kyoto, at the ge of ninety years old. Although he succeeded as an entrepreneur, all over the world, and his days of glory are well-known, his personal life was left mysterious. His final words upon his deathbed were: “Life and dry foods were always dry.” These enigmatic words remind us that part of him will always be a mystery to the rest of the world.
Currently, as analog technology replaces digital technology, people have taken increased interest in the ISZK products of the 1970’s. Given these market trends, ISZK Technologies now sells products from its past lines, such as tele- visions and tape recorders. This turn of events certainly marks a “return to beginnings.” Hereon out, the ISZK Group aims toward new goals; now, they take another great leap forward.
The mystery behind First Life, Inc.
“The Mystery Behind First Life, Inc.”
by Jack Foley
First published in the monthly publication, “Spreading the Truth,” September 2003
The trading company “First Life” is notorious in the corporate world. No one in the United States can not know of it. The company’s cradle is “InterCity,” in Texas. In InterCity, a mail clerk named Andrei Ulmeyda one day started a company, and he grew it into one of the largest corporations in the nation–all within the time span of a few months. He changed InterCity into a community for First Life, Inc.
First Life’s primary service is mail-order commerce. The company advertises itself using all media: television, radio, and newspaper. Now, many homes have merchandise from First Life, Inc., and the residents don’t even remember how it got there: it has become second nature to buy from First Life. The company’s business system uses a simple framework: “Keep ads within the covers of maga- zines all over the world, and keep selling the ads.” This maneuver received support by many people in need of information, on account of the crippled global systems of communication; the advantages for First Life were plenty, because the advertisements for First Life also met the world’s thirst for information, in the wake of the Internet’s official disbandment.
The company exploded, thanks to mergers with ISZK Group and other powerful corporations. One wonders, though, why these established corporations helped a fledgling nobody like First Life. The usual textbook answers–like “mutually beneficial mergers”–don’t satisfy my curiosity. How did a mere postal worker turn himself into a corporate success? Why did he pursue mail-order commerce? What were the company’s underlying principles? Too many mysteries exist for comfort.
However, I obtained an tip regarding the company’s success: “A text exists, and it is the reason for First Life’s success.” Naturally, I must protect my sources, but I can assure my readers that the source is reliable. The text was composed in a certain Asian country, and it is said to be a veritable how-to booklet for revolution. It is regarded as having the power to control human nature. Yet, the details are still unknown. However, if the average person were to use only a fragment of that text, he could establish a megacorporation easily–maybe even two. Its contents are regarded as outrageous and these claims sound. Ulmeyda accidentally discovered this text, while working in the post office. My hunt for more information on the text’s identity continues, and I shall submit a fuller report later.
I also heard a rumor about First Life that could weigh in as useful blackmail in the right hands. The work at the company’s headquarters, behind the big glass doors, involves the execution of experiments and tests using the human body as the specimen. For example, they might decide to test the ability of one of their work suits to withstand deep-sea pressure. They will actually make someone wear one of the work suits, submerge him deep into the sea, and then hold him there until the point of critical pressure has been reached. (Sometimes, they even surpass the point of critical pressure.) My information continues, saying that these experiments caused a horde of deaths behind the company’s walls. The corpses have been thus far concealed from public know- ledge.
Another tidbit: the work suit tested at deep-sea pressures was ordered by a large corporation that has a hefty contract in the current global construction: The International Mass-Scale Transit System. This might lead to a resolution of the mysteries behind the “mutually beneficial mergers.”
My information concludes that, soon, a new experiment will be conducted on the human body, within InterCity. The client for the product used in this experiment is a famous automobile company–and First Life took the assignment. Of course, I plan to go undercover to get the full scoop. I will publish another report on this matter, in the magazine’s next issue. Keep your eyes open.
[NOTE FROM THE EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT OF “SPREADING THE TRUTH: Jack Foley had an accident during his coverage of his latest assignment, and he died in August, 2003. This article is his last work. We remember him with respect, and we ex- press our sincerest condolences to his next of kin.]
Quotes from killer7
A collection of quotes from the game.
Hifumi Kono, director of Clock Tower and Steel Battalion
Masahiro Sakurai, director of the Kirby and Smash Bros. series, Fire Emblem fan
Shu Takumi, director and writer of the Ace Attorney series
Naoko Sato, writer of Siren and Siren 2
Eisin Sasaki, designer
Takumi Miyake, character designer
Ben Hibon, animation director and character designer for “Cloudman”
Shinsaku Ohara, translator
Hideki Kato, director of the PS2 port
Hiroyuki Kobayashi, producer
Akihiko Ishizaka, art director & background model designer
Satoshi Kawakami, main programmer/battle programmer
Masafumi Takada, sound director & score composition
Toshihiro Fujikawa, assistant director & battle plan
Kazuhisa Watanabe, system programmer/event programmer
Goichi Suda, director
WITH MR. SUDA, IT’S ALWAYS CHAOS!
– What was your first impression of killer7?
Hifumi Kono: I was just shocked. This was very different compared to the games Mr. Suda had made before, you see. Whether you’re making a “game-like game” because you like games, or you like games but are going ahead and making “a game that turns its back on games” – well, I think it depends upon the person, but in the case of Mr. Suda, it’s so far been the latter! In other words, I think he’s been racking his brain on how to break down this fixed concept we have of games that’s gotten calcified. But here, he hasn’t turned his back on games; he’s instead looking over his shoulder, so it was unexpected! With killer7, it’s like, he used the B button (cancel button) this time! (laughs) He refined the systems to a degree I didn’t expect, but I also feel he was hung up on the idea of Garcian’s corpse retrieval. I’m hesitant at the idea of including that sort of Wizardry-like system in this day and age. But it’s interesting to venture into that territory and involve an additional step in the process of reviving a character.
In a column on the official site, it was suggested that I referred Mr. Suda to Capcom, but that actually wasn’t the case. I talked about how “I have someone who’s like a mentor to me, and that’s Goichi Suda,” but ultimately, it was Mr. Mikami who played Mr. Suda’s games and thought, “I’d like to make a game with this person,” and killer7 was what was got off the ground as a result. Mr. Mikami and Mr. Suda, they have different approaches to creating a game, but I thought those different approaches would mesh. Plus, due to their positions in the game industry – or, rather, due to their pessimism toward the gaming industry, I think they’re close together in their mindsets – thinking about how to improve things.
During the time that killer7 was getting started, I had many conversations with Mr. Suda, but the framework for the basic story structure and such were solidly in place from the very early stages! However, since this game was going to be released from Capcom, I thought that people would be playing this who weren’t familiar with Suda’s past games, so I said, “I think it would be a good idea to explain about 80% of the game’s mysteries by the end”! …But it ended up being the exact opposite. (laughs) 80% still a mystery and just 20% explained. Mr. Suda, maybe you heard me wrong? (laughs) But creating a work that digested those hazy stories that lie within ourselves was the important thing, and revealing everything within the game itself would’ve just ended up in nonsense!
– What do you think of killer7‘s worldview and Goichi Suda’s creative style?
It’s something that came naturally from Mr. Suda, so I think it’s good, you know? He’s not putting on a front; he created this from the heart, and so that’s why you get those graphics and those characters, I think. I can’t stand people who put on subculture affectations or these pretty college girls who try so hard to be Ms. Weirdo – that sort of stuff turns me off. But with killer7, it’s the fabric of the game! When they play Suda’s games, people say that it’s like they were influenced by this movie or this book, but I think that while you certainly can sense those influences in crucial parts, it’s not like you can explain those things just by that. It wouldn’t really mean much if you spoke solely through that. With Mr. Suda, it’s always chaos! So it’s like it’s no wonder the game contents also end up as chaos, right? On the other hand, however, it’s not like you should necessarily take a deeper reading into things; it’s just fine, isn’t it, to simply relax and play with an attitude of “this is kinda interesting; I’m having fun”?
In the days when we were both still part of Human, Mr. Suda would talk to me about how “pro wrestling is like this, right?” and how, in his mind, “pro wrestling goes beyond the ring; you’re putting your entire way of life on display.” It struck me that Mr. Suda’s attitude toward gamemaking might be influenced by his own take on pro wrestling. I feel like they have a common denominator, you know?
On a note related to that attitude, Mr. Suda is a person who can just naturally embrace “negative emotions”! For example, when I talk with him at times when my job is going well, he’ll say something like, “Hifumi-chan, it looks like things are going well for you. Uhhh – you make me sick.” (laughs) So with killer7 and it coming together so well, I said, “Well, Mr. Suda, killer7 is fun – it makes me sick!” (laughs) It’s important that we have that sort of relationship where we can joke with each other good-naturedly like that, and I think that creators should be the type of people who, if they come in contact with a good work, they really grit their teeth. Plus, people who can embrace negative emotions understand the energy behind them and so are capable of infusing that into their work. Even more, normally, creators try to hide it, put this thin veil over it, but in Mr. Suda’s case, he puts it out there in a fairly raw state, you know? (laughs) You don’t see that sort of seething creator much in this day and age, so I think he’s a rare breed – old-school. But, just wait, Mr. Suda – next time, it’ll be your turn to grit your teeth!
Representative Director of Nude Maker Co. Ltd. Director involved with Clock Tower, Neko-Zamurai, Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan, and Steel Battalion. Worked with Suda during his days at Human.
The producer of this game, killer7, a man named Shinji Mikami, is, I feel, very good at grasping the true nature of things.
Osaka, Capcom headquarters. I got a chance to see Resident Evil 4 during development. Mr. Mikami had returned to the director’s chair; the version I saw was at about the point where the over-the-shoulder perspective had been established.
At that point, one of the issues about which Mr. Mikami and some of the staff were in slight disagreement was the “auto-aim.” In the traditional RE series, when enemies were present and you readied your gun, the hero would turn toward the enemy. I think that is the correct approach. There’s an enemy present, and you have your gun readied; that’s the first action you take when you want to attack the enemy, and it’s different from just having the gun out. Therefore, it’s good idea in that situation to facilitate firing. Since this system had traditionally been in Resident Evil, it was probably only natural to feel that it was a staple of the series and should of course be in the game. However, that auto-aim function had in fact not been implemented.
Broadly speaking, when the perspective was changed, Resident Evil 4 changed from a traditional “exploration” game to a “shooting” game. Therefore, I feel that this decision was correct. Particularly in the uproar in the development of a series, it’s only natural to lose this sort of objectivity.
So, what about killer7? As you know, it is also a shooting game. The Heaven Smiles, the enemies, have these tumorous weak points will can fell the enemy in a single hit if shot. Therefore, the player inevitably ends up aiming for those points when firing.
However, killer7 includes a system like the Auto Aim that was absent from Resident Evil 4. If you start in Normal Mode, you’re not simply turning to face the enemy; your sights are also lined right up with those tumors. Plainly put, it’s like giving a test where the answers are already checked. Except for the instakill bosses, it’s easy-peasy.
[Note: Sakurai is, naturally, referring to the Japanese version of the game, where the Critical Lock-on skill is automatically activated at the start for every character in Normal (or “Kantou”/”Daring Battle”) Mode.]
Does this suit the killer7 worldview? From a straightforward perspective, it doesn’t. If you’re going, “hey, check out this hard-boiled game,” “check out this cool atmosphere,” you’re not making child’s play, so it’s tough to avoid saying: you could at least make them aim the gun themselves!
But I think we should take a step back. Why did Mr. Mikami hire Mr. Suda in the first place? With a product like killer7, what appeals to the customers; for what are they paying? That much is completely clear: they want to enjoy a world created by Goichi Suda.
I think that perhaps the majority of the praise and excitement for killer7 are for its worldview, its script, and its atmosphere that really put the screws to the player. They’re not for the battles with the enemies. Perhaps it is an understanding of that very fact that led to a policy of not emphasizing such things as combat. Perhaps this demonstrates a real understanding of the true nature of things.
You can see parts in killer7‘s game system where things feel patched up, like something was done after the fact. This could be due to some fine-tuning of Mr. Suda’s systems on Mr. Mikami’s part. I imagine that perhaps it was the type of project where various specifications changed from the planning stages.
Therefore, speaking without fear of misunderstanding, could not something like the system used in The Silver Case be the ideal format with which to enjoy the world of Mr. Suda? That’s my feeling. The major takeaway here is that if the game’s charm lies in its world and text, then just get to the point and pare everything else away so that’s what can be enjoyed.
But naturally, I imagine that the idea that “adventure games don’t sell” was also included in Mr. Mikami’s parameters, and that’s quite a difficult problem. In any case, I appreciate that this product is finally on the shelves.
Game designer. Born in 1970. From Tokyo. Renowned as a designer of highly-accessible games with great depth. Best known for the Kirby & Smash Bros. series.
I GET THIS COMFORTABLE SHOCK, AS IF MY TWO-BIT PERSPECTIVE ON THE WORLD IS BEING UPENDED
– What was your first impression of killer7?
It was just like: I didn’t know whether to run away or fall in love! It was this intense, uncompromising work – a world that could come into existence only through this script, these visuals, this sound. That sense of a “total package” came through in a dazzling manner for me – it makes me jealous.
Suda’s work is always like this. It’s like that feeling that coils around your throat after drinking that last gulp of Calpis – with so many moments, they just pierce your soul; it’s like this wedge has been driven into you, and the feeling will stay with me forever. The gimp, suspended in bondage gear; the luchador, with his bullet headbutt; the big boss, knocked upside the face by Samantha; the old man’s pose when the dove alights on his shoulder; the young girl killer’s “headgear”; the airplane exploding above the collapsed hero; the sight of the hotel signboard piercing the ground before his eyes…maybe other games are mixed in there, but this one has also rammed a number of its own jagged wedges into my brain, and I’m just trembling with tears of joy.
– What if you had been writing the script, Mr. Takumi…?
PERSONA TURNS AGAINST PERSONA in: THE SMITH SERIAL MURDER CASE! A traitor in the syndicate!? Who commissioned the assassination of the killer7?! What was the past incident that ties together the eight personalities and robbed Harman of his ability to walk?! When not a single soul remains, the astonishing truth is finally unleashed into the dark! And, when Kun Lan eats, which hand does he use?! …Sorry. Wild Turkey’s whispering nonsense in my ear.
– Give me a message for Goichi Suda!
I’m personally speaking from the standpoint of writing the scripts for the Ace Attorney mystery games. What I always feel is that Mr. Suda and I maybe write from opposite standpoints. When I’m writing a script, how to get the player to “understand” it all is foremost on my mind. Put badly, I’m “forcing” the truth on the player. However, with Suda, it’s different. He may give clues, but interpretation is everything and is left up to the individual player. This approach is easy to criticize – like, “Hey; did something get left out here?” – but that might not be the case. It’s because he’s entrusting everything to the imagination of us players…because he’s trying to tell a complete story with our cooperation – that’s why it seems “incomplete.” Maybe he’s actually the pinnacle of “user-friendliness”…but, then again, maybe not. (laughs) In any case, when I play a Suda game, I get this comfortable shock, as if my two-bit perspective on the world is being upended. I’d be overjoyed if I continued to receive this shock in the future.
Director & planner. Joined Capcom in 1994. Part of the team for Gakkou no Kowai Uwasa: Hanako-san ga Kita!!, Dino Crisis, and Dino Crisis 2. Handled planning, scriptwriting, and directing for the Ace Attorney series.
To my dear Suda 51:
Pleased to meet you, Suda 51. Thank you so terribly much
for your long-, long-awaited killer7.The crazed laughter of the Heaven Smiles that will never leave my mind;the downpour of electronic text;
this lovable world of killer7, twisted like a bad trip –together with its
incomprehensibledistinctive, one-of-a-kind approach,it’s something else – something frightfully lethal.I find myself realizingthat I’ve been taken by this game…claimed in its body count.I’ll be in touch.
From Iwate Prefecture. SCEJ Studio Creative Team #1; Siren Team scriptwriter. Her newest work, Siren 2, eagerly awaited by all humanity, is currently in development, to the acclaim of all.
IN MY MIND, KILLER7 WAS A BREAKTHROUGH PIECE OF WORK FOR ME
– How did you come in contact with killer7?
I happened to see a help wanted ad for Grasshopper Manufacture (GHM) in a magazine. It was in my neighborhood, so I went ahead and sent an e-mail. I got a reply from Mr. Suda, and I went to see him in person. It seems he saw my personal website and called me in.
At first, I created demo reels for GHM – videos that introduced the company, “we make these types of games,” that sort of thing. Those got some recognition, and I made the killer7 trailer. Later, I made promo material and images for puzzle-solving events, stuff like that. The very first thing I made was the tape recorder that appears in “Smile”; that was okayed, and orders kept coming in after that – like “OK, the next thing is this and that.” The TV screen in Harman’s room and stuff was also like that. Once I was recognized by Mr. Suda, he let me do lots of stuff! But there was also this tension – “there’s no turning back now; I have to keep the quality up.”
– What did you reference in your design work?
The design of the Soul Shells was created from crabs, fish bones, and spiral shells. For gadgets, I’ve done stuff in the past in both Eastern and Western styles! So I was considering creating something that was in neither vein, and I suddenly thought, “The ocean!” – and so I made them in that shape. I made them like they were these bullets infused with spiritual energy, but I read the characters in the name as “tamashii dan.” When I showed it to Mr. Suda, he said, let’s make it “tamatama” [an alternate reading of the composite characters that’s a homophone for “testicles”], and I was impressed: “wow, I really am dealing with a pro.” I also did location scouting here and there, and showed up at traditional art exhibits and stuff – traditional beauty has this power that just endures. Going to the same space as those works, it was like I was soaking up the ambient quantum particles of the beauty there right into my veins. (Laughs)
– Mr. Sasaki, what is killer7 to you?
It’s something different from my TV and ad work. Like, with an ad for drinking water, the product has to be shown, right? But that’s not the case with a game. On the contrary: the image of Dan with his gun readied, the anime scenes, the images I created – everything from start to finish is the product. That made me happy! Even with looking at an ad I made, the customer’s paying money for the product I’m advertising, not anything I made. But with a game, the things I created are included in the product, you see. In that sense, in my mind, killer7 was a breakthrough piece of work for me. And I felt that, of course, was because I had a supporter like Mr. Suda.
Freelance designer. Born in 1969. Involved with magazines, advertising, posters, artist promo videos etc., and video production. A sales e-mail to GHM led to a spot on artwork design on killer7. His motto is: “life is a neverending location scout.”
[Note: Sasaki uses the “Eisin” rendition of his given name as opposed to “Eishin.” His website, newfrontierstudio.com, contains examples of his work for killer7.]
KAEDE WAS A STARK-NAKED WOMAN IN NOTHING BUT A COAT.
– How did you come in contact with killer7?
Takumi Miyake: It wasn’t anything dramatic; I was just introduced through an acquaintance! It was still really in its very early stages; there weren’t many people working on it at the time. I worked on character design for the project. The overall graphical direction itself was in place! There was a feeling it was going to be something like Mike Mignola (U.S comics artist of Hellboy etc.), with the shadows played up. But the character designs etc. weren’t clearly established; those took shape through discussions with Mr. Suda.
– What was your focus in the design work?
The direction of the game I could envision to an extent once I was shown the original documents. Before I started the actual work, I had drawn image boards and whatnot, and there were visual continuity sheets that I had drawn for a presentation to Capcom, and so that also set the stage. I myself am fond of hard-boiled worlds, so I think this went relatively smoothly. But, of course, it was basically fumbling and finding my way as I went, you know? I learned the direction in which Mr. Suda wanted to take the characters about when I delivered the final product. Mr. Suda, his reactions are muted – even when I turned in art, he didn’t comment much on the things he didn’t really like. However, when he liked something, his eyes would light up, you know? (laughs) It’s just – there were no clear “no”s. I was given free reign with the job.
– Can you give us some details on the creation of each character?
Dan, he was used just as he appeared in the rough sketches. Con, too – I drew him just off-the-cuff, and he got in. Kevin, at the stage where the battle system hadn’t been decided yet, I just put a knife in his hand. (laughs) Mask and Coyote were created to fulfill requests from Mr. Suda; Harman, too, I just touched up some visuals prepared by Grasshopper. Garcian didn’t take much time to finish, either. The one who was really tough was Kaede. I usually draw cool big-sister types, but Mr. Suda isn’t really into that, so I was worried about what accents to add. I make an effort as much as I can to get the backbone of a character across in a single illustration…
She ended up in that outfit to get across the idea of “how was she killed…?”. When I first drew her, Kaede was a stark-naked woman in nothing but a coat. I did it based on Mr. Suda’s ideas, but while I was drawing her in that vein, I started to grow fond of that idea, too! There was an ethical issue with that visual, so it ultimately got shelved, but I somehow understood the direction for the character, so this led to the “bloodsplattered dress” design. I also drew Kun Lan. At first, I drew him like where one hand was reptilian and his right hand was a left hand, but that ultimately didn’t work. He has expensive taste in clothing. He’s a celebrity, after all. (laughs)
– Who’s your favorite character?
I like Dan, of course. If I had to answer, “would you cheer for a heel or babyface?”, I’m the type who will cheer for the heel, hands down. (laughs) That roughness is part of his charm, you know? So I’m not really moved by a character like Garcian, who’s ultimately a babyface. Plus, Dan is a character I drew at a rather early stage, so he kind of served as a bellwether of the job for me. So he made a strong impression on me in that way, too.
– Mr. Miyake, what is killer7 to you?
Long ago, there was an era where Shonen Jump was focused on rom-com manga! Then Fist of the North Star arrived on the scene, and it took off. I’ve thought that gaming also needs something with that kind of impact and shock. killer7 packed that kind of impact. When we’ve thought about what a game should be, there’s this subconscious idea that it should be “something everyone, from kids to adults, can enjoy.” But we might not be in that era anymore. In this environment, I think a game like killer7 that stakes out a distinct perspective is important. Don’t the types of games you make also color your image as a developer? Developing a game with originality like killer7, even if you want to, isn’t really feasible, I think – but that’s why, looking from the outside in (as a person who’s participating in development only partially), I’m so jealous that they’re doing it. I want them to continue making games in this style.
Designer/illustrator. Born in 1967. From Okayama Prefecture. After working in game development (art direction etc.) for Sega Enterprises (currently: Sega) and Land Ho, began freelancing in 2002. Handled main character design for killer7.
Animation Director and Character Designer for “Cloudman”
IT WAS REALLY CRUCIAL FOR EACH CHARACTER TO BLEND NATURALLY INTO THIS OUTRAGEOUS STORY – FOR ME TO REALLY BRING THEM TO LIFE
[Note: This particular interview contains two Telephone-like layers of potential unreliability: the translation of Hibon’s words into Japanese, and my translation of the Japanese (back?) into English. Hibon is perhaps the only interviewee who might ever read this document, so my apologies if it reflects his original words imperfectly.]
– How did you come in contact with killer7?
Ben Hibon: I received an inivitation from Digital Frontier to create movies for a game title Mr. Suda was planning and producing – it all started there. Mr. Mikami was on the project as a producer, and I was familiar with his past work. At the start, I was shown killer7 concept art, character designs, and images of the game in motion in real time, and I gradually got an understanding of the game’s worldview and whatnot, and I came to realize what a wonderful project this would be for me.
– When you read the script to “Cloudman,” how did you feel at first?
Hibon: It was crazy! Just incredible! Really insane! The one-of-a-kind characters and turns the story took just hooked me right away. The composition of the cutscenes and the developments in the script were really original and unusual. Ulmeyda, the main character of “Cloudman,” had so many facets to his character showcased by a clever script, and you discovered so many different faces to him, and it just sucked me in. You think he’s so calm and collected and has such self-control, and he all of a sudden just lets loose and transforms into the stage’s final boss, you know? What more could you want from one character?! (laughs) Plus, to be given the privilege of designing characters in this wonderful, bizarre world…it really was a wonderful process!
– What were your foremost concerns during production?
The thing I was looking forward to most in this animation project was working with the extremely long conversations. I didn’t have any experience at all until then with anything similar, so for me, from a technical standpoint, it was rather a challenge worth taking. My concern was making sure all the characters’ unique personalities were communicated through their movements and manner of speaking. It took a considerable amount of time to bring their movements to life in just the right way. Particularly for the lip syncing, I tried to get it as close to perfect as possible – really fixated on detail. It was really crucial for each character to blend naturally into this outrageous story – for me to really bring them to life. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the ultimate visual design took shape and solidified around the image of the characters’ voices I had already gotten at the very start of production. I think they filled an extremely crucial role in production.
The design and direction were the same way; I think I found my own way, a new way of working that was completely different from what I’d done before, and I was able to enjoy it. For example, the photos of the sky used with the sky that appears in-game succeeded in producing this unearthly contrast between the real sky and the designed background. The biggest issue was that the player character could never be visible in any shot. That was actually the biggest challenge in drawing the continuity sheets for the animation. That was because with every line, the shot ended up having to be from a fixed angle. I had to think about how to show events from a number of angles, and in ways where you couldn’t see the player, and that took a lot of work.
The last scene was extremely interesting to actually produce. Particularly since Ulmeyda’s the true star of the game script. It really shows off his multifaceted character to the player from a variety of perspectives. The scene where he’s confessing that he’s been infected by the Heaven Smiles as he transforms – to me, that was the showstopper of “Cloudman,” so I calculated everything based on how this one theatrical moment could be brought to life perfectly, to be as dramatic as possible. Therefore, I crafted that crucial scene from a deliberately long series of takes. Then, after that, you’re immediately just swept up in the action, and the story heads to its climax…that’s how it went.
– What’s your personal take on the story of “Cloudman”?
Hibon: Hmmm…that’s a very difficult question! I think the story of “Cloudman” embodies popular faith, or rather conflict, in modern society. Ulmeyda as a character, he’s complicated, you know? He’s a modern evangelist who tries to get his message out through terrorism. Personally, I take “Cloudman” to be the adventure of one unconventional man who tried to make changes through obtaining total control. Unfortunately, Ulmeyda realizes his own shortcomings in the story’s endgame and ultimately meets death. Still, the development where the Clemence character carries on his message is sheer idealism. –The idea that, no matter what, a successor will always appear to carry on and bring a faint hope to the next generation really comes through in the animation.
– Ben, what is killer7 to you?
Hibon: killer7…should I say it’s just a heap of creative elements and ideas from a variety of genres in one project, mixed together in a good way? It’s just like Harman Smith having multiple personalities, you know? I think it’s completely hopeless to try to categorize killer7 as a single work in a single genre. I think that’s what makes the game so wonderful – I mean, that’s what makes it so fresh to everyone, and shocking, and just utterly thrilling all at once, you know? Working on killer7 was a truly stimulating experience – to the point where it shocked even me.
Translation: Naomi Ikoma
Video director. Born in Geneva. Works in video production for video game movies, commercials, and more. After serving as director for the London production office of Unit9, he currently works freelance. Known for: Full Moon Safari (2001), Awakens (2004/Tokyo Mode Gakuen), 4some (2005/PUMA). Produced animation sequences for killer7‘s “Cloudman.”
I PAID PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO TRANSLATING ACCURATELY, WITHOUT LOSING THE MEANING OF THE EXPRESSIONS OR WORDS
– What were your priorities in translating to English?
Shinsaku Ohara: I read Mr. Suda’s script and absolutely adored it – the lines, the phrasing, the content itself. However, the lines from the cast used a great many abstract, vague expressions. Some lines had double, even triple meanings. English is clear and straightforward, and it generally disdains unclear words and expressions, so I paid particular attention to translating accurately, without losing the meaning of the expressions or words.
– Were there any lines that made a particular impression on you?
Ohara: Benjamin Keane’s final words on “how to hit on women.” The subtitles say “As for how to hit on womenâ€”â€””, but the line he’s actually saying is “Women are all the same.”* It’s the type of line a middle-aged man fed up with life would say, and I thought it would leave an impression, so I got permission from Mr. Suda to put it in.
[* – Note: Oohara is referring here to the line Keane says immediately before blowing his brains out. Keane’s spoken dialogue is the same in the Japanese and English versions, but the Japanese-language subtitles portray him as committing suicide before making good on his promise to reveal his secret. As in: “As for how to hit on womenâ€”â€”” :bang:]
– Which lines gave you the most trouble in translating to English?
Ohara: The bit in the conversation in Restaurant Fukushima between Fukushima and Harman about “drawing pictures,” simply translated to English. That would have sounded really childish, though, so I racked my brain a bit trying to find an appropriate expression. Ultimately, I translated it as “architect,” a word that generally refers to a builder or designer of structures but which also refers to a key figure, a planner, a pioneer.
– How do you think the game will be received overseas?
Ohara: When it comes to America, players are surprisingly resistant to new things. Therefore, to be blunt, I don’t think killer7 is going to appeal to many players there. However, I don’t think there’s ever been a game like killer7 before. Its approach upends the very foundations of how we think about video games, and there’s so much about the production that holds players’ attention in a number of senses. I think its spirit of challenge will be highly-valued – how it transcends existing paradigms about games!
– Mr. Oohara, what is killer7 to you?
Ohara: This might be overstating things, but I think it’s a journey to finding one’s true self – finding the meaning of life. I think there are many people who lead their whole lives without ever discovering either. It might be an exaggeration, but I think that for humanity, how society views you is the only way to know your own worth. If your attitude toward others changes, the impression you make on them will change as well. I think the multiple personalities of killer7 are like that. Simply put, killer7 might very well be a tale of self-discovery. I feel that Garcian taught me that coming to know your true self is a truly terrifying experience.
Planner. Joined Capcom in 2000. Worked on Resident Evil 4, the Resident Evil remake, Devil May Cry, Steel Battalion, and Dino Crisis 2 and 3. Handled the English translation of killer7.
Director of the PS2 Port
DUE TO TIME LIMITATIONS, THERE CAME A POINT WHERE WE JUST HAD TO SAY, “THAT’S ALL WE CAN DO,” AND THAT WAS REGRETTABLE
– What are your thoughts now that development for the PS2 version is over?
Hideki Kato: Frankly, it was a difficult delivery. (laughs) We got started really, really early – PS2 development started when the GameCube production was ending* – but there were revisions to the GameCube version, so the PS2 version had to be revised, too, and the production ended up being rough going. But going to see it lined up on the store shelves after release, and seeing the “sold out” signs – that made me happy.
[* – This translation is indeed accurate, but given the comment below about “parallel development” and the gist of what Kato’s saying, I wonder if there wasn’t a kanji typo and Kato actually meant that PS2 development started when the GameCube production itself was starting, not ending.]
– What was your biggest concern during the PS2 version’s development?
Kato: The major challenge was the degree to which we could reproduce the GameCube’s unique look. The graphics use the GameCube’s specific internal effects in numerous places, but the PS2’s effects in that arena are limited. So how to approximate that look was the issue. The characters were what we concentrated on most during development. The characters, of course, are the focal point for your empathy, so if they look different than on the GameCube, the game ends up being different in that respect! So it was crucial for us to we match the original image as much as possible. We also worked hard on the fight with Akiba and Kurahashi, making adjustments to the attack timing and hit detection etc.
– What about the difference in load times between platforms?
Kato: It’s because of the differences in hardware specs.
The GameCube version loads data point by point via streaming, while the PS2 version loads data all at once. The PS2 has less memory, so it sometimes can’t load things in one go, and it’s set up so that it just unavoidably takes time to load. Parallel development with the GameCube version ended up really crunching our schedule, and I suppose that strain came out in the load times. That’s something I regret. We worked on the load times up until the very end. Due to time limitations, there came a point where we just had to say, “that’s all we can do,” and that was regrettable.
– Give me a message for Goichi Suda!
Kato: This game is an isekai that only Mr. Suda could create. Plus, I think that working together with Capcom enabled him to produce someting brand-new, that’s unlike anything Mr. Suda’s created before. I myself was affected in many ways…for better and for worse. (laughs) In any case, it was a game unlike any other.
Producer. Joined Capcom in 2002. Worked on PC games and localized titles such as Army Men and Grand Theft Auto II. Directed the PS2 version of killer7.
I THINK IT GOT TO LEAVE ITS NAME NOT IN THE SALES RECORDS, BUT IN THE HISTORY BOOKS
– What are your personal thoughts on killer7?
Hiroyuki Kobayashi: I can shoot straight in this book, so to be frank…I didn’t think it would sell, and of course it didn’t, but I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. (laughs bitterly) It’s a very idiosyncratic game, fiercely individualistic, and that didn’t translate into sales. But I had confidence in the quality of the product. And a not-inconsiderable number of people reacted to that quality! It was held in high esteem within Capcom, and its assessment outside…the response was positive from media and those in the industry. Therefore, I think it got to leave its name not in the sales records, but in the history books.
– What were your duties as producer of killer7?
Kobayashi: My foremost duty was to make sure we were able to do what Mr. Suda wanted to do whenever feasible. In creating the so-called “game” part, I weighed in on a number of issues in a manner that deferred to Mikami’s viewpoint. On the other hand, the script, production, and characters, I all left up to Mr. Suda. We got a lot of “boy, that’s typical for him” ideas from Mr. Suda. Ideas that wouldn’t have come from anyone else, I don’t think.
At times, he had some really out there ideas. For example, there was an effect where the screen cracked like glass when you took damage, but that made it difficult to see. It’s already a game for masochists. (laughs) So I had to say “let’s forget about this” three times before I finally got him to drop it. laughs) killer7 was a learning experience for me as a creator. Before, I had a rather formal approach to game creation, but from Mr. Suda’s example, I have a renewed appreciation for the idea that it’s okay to make games more my way, in a way that’s fun for me. That’s how, in Mr. Suda’s case, his vision of “I want to use these anime cutscenes for these scenes” came through loud and clear. Therefore, the game also was a learning experience for me in terms of how and where those anime cutscenes were used. I was able to put that to use in the game Sengoku Basara, with which I was involved.
– Mr. Kobayashi, what is killer7 to you?
Kobayashi: It’s a game that’s entirely original from what came before, and I suppose there won’t be another like it again – in terms of its content or in the time it took to create. That’s why I’d like people not to let this game pass them by, and if it resonates with them, I’d like them to recommend this game to others. With movies and books, if you enjoy them, you recommend them, right – “this is good”? I think killer7 is the type of game that makes you want to recommend it to people – so, by all means, do so!
Producer. Joined Capcom in 1995. Involved with the Resident Evil series, the Dino Crisis series, Devil May Cry, Sengoku Basara, and more. Also produced killer7.
Interview with Grasshopper Manufacture
Art Director/Background Model Designer
A quiet craftsman, this defensive midfielder for Grasshopper survived the PC Engine era. Faced with a demanding schedule with his back to the wall, he stayed strong and held the front line, and his distinguished service behind the scenes was what brought killer7 to fruition. He saw killer7 through to the very, very end – even through adjustments and revisions for the overseas release. Beneath his impassive demeanor lies a tough guy with a core of steel.
I KNEW WE’D BE PUSHING IT, BUT THE ONLY THING I COULD SAY WAS “WE’VE JUST GOT TO GET THIS DONE”
– Tell us about your connection to killer7.
Akihiko Ishizaka: The design concepts for killer7 started coming from Suda right about when Flower, Sun, and Rain wrapped up. It all started there. At the very beginning of development, we were brainstorming and whatnot together about the content of the game as we were working on other projects, but once we got a clear idea of the foundation, I became somewhat hands-off and left things to the other staff members. About half a year later, however, when it was time for the game to go gold, the stages still weren’t ready at all. I thought, “this is bad,” and so then I ended up getting deeply involved in the project.
So given those circumstances, my first job was to create the stages. They’re the backbone of a game, so you’ve just got to be constantly creating & destroying until they’re in good shape. Then, once the stages are finished and you place the enemies in, you’ve got to do it all over again if the game isn’t fun once you try to play it! The Celtic Building that appears in “Angel,” I had to remake that about three times. Ultimately, it comes down to whether the game’s fun or not. It’s inevitable that you’re going to have to redo stuff to make it fun – and you can’t complain about that process; you’ve got to take it as a given, is my opinion. There was also a stage I made that didn’t make it into the game (the Hawking Tower). That was a letdown, of course, but what can you do.
[Note: The Hawking Tower (“Hookin Tawaa”) is the location of the scenario described in the Hand in Killer7 CG comic shown in this video, starting at 7:54. The comic is described in the book as a depiction of a prototype for the “Encounter” scenario and a beta-version prototype of killer7 itself. In the comic, Garcian receives news that Horizon, a start-up firm run by Curtis, is amassing an army of Heaven Smiles. He and Mills head to Horizon’s headquarters, at the former site of a giant shopping mall. The action moves to the Hawking Tower (apparently part of Horizon’s headquarters – there are employees present), where Curtis and Dan have a showdown on the top floor. I don’t know if in talking about the Hawking Tower level being scrapped, Ishizaka is referring to the prototype being replaced with the in-game version of “Encounter” or if the tower was repurposed for another scenario that was eventually cut.
My translation of the tower’s name might not be what the creators intended, as “hookin” in Japanese can represent a number of names: Hawking, Hawkins, Hawken. As some have speculated that the tower seems based on Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower, “hookin” might also represent a Chinese name with which I am unfamiliar.]
I also had the job of managing the outsourced staff. Like I said just before, we were going through a process of creating and destroying, creating and destroying, and stress levels among the staff build up when that happens! I was used to it, but we had a lot of younger staff members, and I think it was a big shock for them when we had to do retakes. Anyhow, we didn’t have time, so I knew we’d be pushing it, but the only thing I could say was “we’ve just got to get this done”… This type of development process is tough if you aren’t sufficiently attached to the title. Usually, you can see the shape of the overall thing to some extent, but even when we couldn’t, we had to go ahead and envision it ourselves.
– What are your personal thoughts on killer7?
I’m personally inured to situations where I’m just thrown into a workplace and handed a tight schedule – it happened a lot when I was with Human. On the contrary: the only titles where I was firmly involved from the very start were The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain, so here, it was like I was finally getting another taste of that old familiar carnage. (laughs)
It was horrible, but there was also a joy in it. I’m basically a “nuts & bolts” man – I create the interface components, the background stuff that isn’t part of the scenery. This time, though, the programmers were using elements that are usually taken for granted in unexpected ways, and it was fun to see the screens in motion.
For the time being, I’ve been put in the position of art direction, but the moving text and what not was Suda’s work and stuff. He has lots of ideas, and they surprise me every time. Of course, he also has these impossible ideas that we couldn’t do no matter what, but… (laughs)
– Give me one complaint about Goichi Suda!
I’m known as “Mr. Ishi” around the company, but Suda’s getting into the habit now, too! Always adding “Mr. Ishi, Mr. Ishi” to everything. And now in killer7, there’s this “Ishizaka Land”… When I first heard the name, I said: “Huh?! That’s a joke, right?”, but I was told, “no, we’re actually going with it,” and was that a shock! There’s even this whole secret backstory to it they’re making up behind my back… When I meet with people from outside the company, I occasionally hear stuff like, “you’re a real character, aren’t you?!”, but that’s not true! (laughs) I just want an eventual break from being a public laughingstock. I’m honest and upfront about this, but what I say is just taken as mere grumbling – like, “there you go again, Mr. Ishi~“. (laughs bitterly)
– Mr. Ishizaka, what is killer7 to you?
It was a battle, naturally. A battle with the schedule, a battle of human relations, a battle with the clients, a battle with Suda…and after many battles, we finally arrived at this point. I hope our players enjoy the spoils.
Company director and visual supervisor/art director. Moved from Human Entertainment to AKI, then to Grasshopper Manufacture. Was Suda’s senpai in the Human days. Didn’t have a very deep association with Goichi Suda, but started to collaborate with him in earnest with Twilight Syndrome. When approached when Grasshopper was being founded, thought: “Do you want me to convert; are you soliciting donations?”.
Main Programmer/Battle Programmer
The unsung playmaker behind killer7‘s development. He managed the programmers and was a driving force behind the development workspace. Despite his spacey manner of speaking, he has a distinctive attention for detail in his work. An eyewitness to all of Suda’s creations, he is the man who best understands the Grasshopper ideology and Goichi Suda’s creative style.
IT FEELS LIKE I’M MORE OF A “PROGRAM PRODUCER” THAN A MAIN PROGRAMMER
Give us your personal thoughts on killer7.
Satoshi Kawakami: Wellll, it was tough creating seven people. Changing personalities and stuff took a lot of time and effort. I wonder how much easier it would’ve been if it had just been Killer1? The “press A (or circle) to move” format was decided from the early stages. When the project started up, I asked Suda, “How exactly are we moving forward?”, and two days later… Suda came to my place and blurted out: “I’ve decided one thing! …We’re pressing A to move.” (laughs) Then he announced: “And we’re never changing that.” Well, of course, I was against it at first. When I asked, “How are we supposed to get a handle on this?”, he said: “It’s a racing game. Think of the A button as the accelerator and the B button as the brake!”. He also explained a lot else to me, and sooner or later, I’d get the idea – or rather, he’d fool me into thinking I did. (laughs)
What aspect of the project gave you the most trouble, Mr. Kawakami?
From the programming side, it was important for me to understand the nature of the enemy characters. Zombies, for example, have a logic to them that’s easy to understand: they find a human and slooowly move toward them – because they have rules, to an extent. But Suda said, “don’t make them zombies.” He also said, “don’t make them human, either.” I had to think of them as special creatures, but there was a great deal of trial and error involved with that.
Then one day, Suda suddenly started drawing. It was a Heaven Smile that he was showing me, and he said, “See? When their eyes are wide open like that, doesn’t it look like they’re laughing?”. They were originally called “Hell” – and they looked like they were smiling, so the “Smile” was added for “Hell Smiles.” Then that was turned on its head, and they became Heaven Smiles.
As for the bosses’ atttack patterns, those were the products of the entire team of programmers – we were told that as long as we were faithful to the concepts Suda showed us initially, it didn’t matter what we did. For example, with Ayame, we were allowed to do anything, so long as she was “usually hidden in darkness and appeared when the light shone on her.” We were told by planning that “we’ve only got a running motion, do something with that,” so we just said, well, let’s have her running around, then. (laughs) That’s how it went.
What stood out programwise?
I have just one thing I want to talk about: the special effects for the Heaven Smiles. Their bodies, they’re all wavy at the edges. At first, the Heaven Smiles were transparent, and that waviness was the only clue that they were present. Over half the rendering load was spent on this effect, and programming it was just completely awful! I really poured my blood, sweat, and tears into it.
However, people began talking about how “it would be better if you saw less of the Heaven Smiles,” and a lot of people had the opinion that the hazy effect was unnecessary. The effect ended up becoming less and less apparent. So I got mad, and I secretly deleted the effect. But no one even noticed… So I got even madder! (laughs) Finally, I was asked to make the effect so that it wasn’t that noticeable, and enough of the effect remains where it’s like you can see it just a little. As the programmer, I’m naturally desperate to draw your attention to it! (laughs) So please check it out!
What was your role in the project, Mr. Kawakami?
I was given the title of “Main Programmer,” but I feel that strongly implies that I was supervising the other programmers! In short, my job is to sort out what Suda says and communicate it to the programmers. It feels like I’m more of a “program producer” than a main programmer. …But when it comes to Suda, it sometimes takes me a whole half a year before I finally figure out what he’s talking about! (laughs) I’d go to so much trouble to create something, and then he suddenly tells me, “that effect, you know we have to get rid of it!”, but when I’d ask him, “why are we getting rid of it?”, he’d just say, “you’ll know.” I wouldn’t have a choice, so I’d delete it, but after some time had passed and I went back to check that part again, it’d be an improvement. He has a good nose on him that way – he has a good gut instinct on the stuff that matters, I think.
Give me one complaint about Goichi Suda!
He’s basically a casual gamer. (laughs) Even when I had him try to do the counter-attacks in killer7, it went like: “When you see the flash of light, press the button.” “…I can’t do it!” “Do it now!” “…I can’t do it!” “Now!” “……I CAN’T DO IT! Fix this!” Don’t blame the game design for your own shortcomings, please. (laughs)
Company director and programming supervisor/programmer. Met Goichi Suda on Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special during his days at Human; later joined Grasshopper Manufacture through Polygon Magic. Main programmer and shot-caller who supervised overall work on the project.
Sound Director/Score Composition
This sonic artist always delivers high-quality compositions. A deadly-accurate cross machine, he serves as the game’s rhythm section, his work spinning its tale. He composes with Grasshopper’s distinctive style in mind and has a keen talent for creating bold, assured scores. A man who loves sound, he built killer7‘s soundtrack on the concept of “fun.”
IN CULINARY TERMS, THE MUSIC TO THE VINCULUM GATE IS CURRY!
– What was your first priority in this project?
Masafumi Takada: The first thing that concerned me soundwise wasn’t the content of the game itself – the action and whatnot – but whether or not the characters would be speaking. If it were a voiceless game like The Silver Case, then, of course, there’s a lot the music would have to express, but if there are voices, then the music can’t be at the forefront. So this game was a case of the latter. The compositions were created by myself and (Jun) Fukuda. I did the main composing, but he handled tracks like “Tecks Mecks,” from Intercity. All in all, counting the short bits, we created 150 tracks in total.
– How does the actual work process go?
The tracks are created, then they’re actually paired with the screens, and I have Suda listen and say whether he approves – that’s the basic process. Or there’s a request from Suda at the start to “have the track sound like this.” In killer7, I ultimately went for a rich variety of content. When I put it all together, I wanted people to think: “Is all of this really in one game?”. I packed it with a variety of tracks: rock, techno, jazz. The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain both had a distinctive core to their respective track selections, but for each scene in killer7, I chose a track where I thought, “wouldn’t it be interesting if this played here!”
– What direction did you take with the sound?
At first, I thought about making all the tracks ambient. There are traces of this in “Angel.” When we could see the overall shape [of the game], I ended up having to include some auditory climaxes, so I decided to make poppy tracks like the music at the Vinculum Gate (“Rave On”). (laughs) That track caters to very uncomplicated tastes, doesn’t it? In culinary terms, it’s curry! If you have an assortment of more subtly-flavored dishes, dishes that are delicately seasoned, and you plop down curry, people think, “well, of course the curry’s gonna taste good!” – that’s what ended up happening. The other, more nuanced compositions are being upstaged by the curry! I mean, I’m glad the curry’s getting eaten up, but I have somewhat mixed feelings.
The final track, “Reenact,” was the result of a request from Suda to use the track “Grasshopper” from Ride (an English band that was popular in the early ’90s). But that wasn’t really possible, so I tried to create a track that was kind of close to it. Man, that track just came out in a burst of energy – just banging on the guitar. I get these very specific instructions, but I also get these sloppy instructions like, “give it an overall avant-garde sound.” (laughs) But later, when there’d be a sense that I was out of ideas for compositions, a door would end up opening – Suda would bring in a huge bunch of these CDs he got God knows where for their jackets and be like, “here, listen to these.”
– Which track would you most like our readers to listen to?
In “Sunset,” there’s the scene where Fukushima is shot, right? I’d like for the readers to listen to the tracks around that event, including the music leading up to and following that scene. Up until the point where he’s shot, there’s this gradual uplift…it’s a little cliched, but it has a minimalist feel, and I tried to use a kind of interesting chord progression. It plays only once, though, so you have to pay attention when you listen. (laughs)
– Give me one complaint about Goichi Suda!
He’s late for the meetings we have in the studio! One time way back, he kept me waiting three hours! You gradually get to thinking, “Maybe I was mistaken…” (laughs) I wish he’d be a little more aware of that.
If I may praise my own colleagues, however, I have no complaints about the job itself. With The Silver Case, with Flower, Sun, and Rain, and with killer7, there were lots of compositions that never would have happened without the game. Given the twists and turns involved, my collaborations with Suda are interesting, and I really put my heart and soul into them.
– Mr. Takada, what is killer7 to you?
killer7 has a heavy story, but personally: in many ways, such as with the bits with Susie, it’s a game that makes you laugh. I’d like for players to play it in a carefree manner, not taking it so seriously. Think of it as an adventure. (laughs) Also, as for the soundtrack, there are cases where the arrangement is somewhat different from the music in-game, so keep that in mind as you listen.
Company director and head of sound/sound director. Met Goichi Suda in the Human days on Moonlight Syndrome; later joined Grasshopper Manufacture. Has received rave reviews for the quality of his compositions and is highly trusted by Goichi Suda, among other creators.
Assistant Director/Battle Plan
This shadow striker facilitates collaboration between various departments; his talents are sometimes called upon outside the workplace. At Grasshopper, Toshihiro Fujikawa plays the role of “greasing the gears.” When those gears are set in motion – there you find Fujikawa, the boy wonder.
THERE WERE TIMES WHEN WE WOULD GO TO SHOOT, AND WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE ANY SCRIPT
– What are your personal thoughts on killer7?
Toshihiro Fujikawa: There were release delays, and even when the Japanese version was finished, we had to start work on the overseas version, so there’s a feeling of “it’s finally over…that took so long…”. I’m really relieved now, all things considered.
– What was your biggest worry during development?
This game incorporated motion capture, and I did a lot of work on-site at the motion capture studio. It was a tough job, all in all. We were able to shoot the character movements right at the very start, but the problem was in the character cutscenes (polygonal movie scenes). It was nice that we were able to go to Capcom in Osaka for the capture work! It was nice – but like on the day of shooting, it wouldn’t have been determined what we would be shooting…things like that would happen. Every time the production did an about-face, we had to head back to Osaka for reshoots, and then sometimes in the end we’d be told that the content we shot wouldn’t even be used…it makes you sick to your stomach. I mean, really. There were times where we would go to shoot, and we didn’t even have any script. On those days, I’d get instructions from Suda over the phone in the morning at the hotel, instructions to “shoot like this,” and then we’d deal with shooting – it was like that. The actors would flip out, and the Canadian staff who came along would suddenly announce that they didn’t understand Japanese “at alllll” and hang around playing dumb. The assistant producer at Capcom didn’t find it funny, and when we’d go back, the designers would have some snide remarks for us. I got rid of my stress by buying a ton of shokugan food toys.
– What were you most proud of on this job?
Most of it was just odd jobs (laughs), but I did handle the placement of the enemy characters. I tried to make the game as easy to play as possible, but sometimes I placed the enemies just to be mean – I’d like to really get through to the players. killer7 is different from the games I’ve made previously – the game itself is of a different scope – so I think for many players, this was the first time they’ve been exposed to one of our games. So it makes me quite happy to be able to let these people know that games like this exist and brighten their day.
Give me one complaint about Goichi Suda!
Mr. Suda, he hates air conditioning. I can’t turn on the air conditioners when Mr. Suda is nearby. Because I had a desk on the same floor as him during development, I was just so hot. It made me less productive, so it was an unexpectedly important issue! After development on killer7 was over, I moved to another floor, so I’ve been able to enjoy more comfortable temperatures recently… But the other day, there was a seat reassignment, so I’ve ended up near Mr. Suda again. (laughs) Please let me put the air conditioning on!
Senior plannner. After working at Capcom as a programmer, joined ASCII. Took part in the development of The Silver Case. Joined Grasshopper Manufacture after leaving ASCII. In his Capcom days, worked under Shinji Mikami. Renowned among some for his resemblance to [Japanese comedian] Yoku Hata.
System Programmer/Event Programmer
This fantasista system programmer had a bird’s-eye view of the struggle of killer7. Beneath his quiet demeanor lies an evident passion for the worlds into which he flings himself. Has a machine-gun style of talking: once he gets going, it’s tough to get him to stop. Excels at work he enjoys. A pillar of Grasshopper’s technical prowess.
WITH OUR CREATIVE PROCESS, IT’S NOT AS IF THE PROJECT SPECIFICATIONS ARE SET IN STONE RIGHT FROM THE START
– What is your role at Grasshopper Manufacture, Mr. Watanabe?
Kazuhisa Watanabe: I’m more often asked whether or not something is possible programwise more than I am about game content. Even for killer7, I had conversations with Suda at the start of development like, “We want to do this with the background, is it possible?”. Those conversations laid the foundation for the game’s current graphics.
– What were the highlights of the game, programwise?
We ended up using a Nintendo Gamecube development tool called sysdolphin for the 3D models, but we couldn’t get it to do what we wanted with killer7 as-is; it took a lot of effort and ingenuity to get it working for our purposes. At first, there were plans to use self-shadowing, but it wasn’t practical given issues with the processing load and the rendering, so we didn’t implement it. For the primary rendering processing, we added processing that produced gradation effects in the backgrounds.
– What were your concerns during the project, Mr. Watanabe?
With our creative process, it’s not as if the project specifications are set in stone right from the start! You “create as you create” – in other words, it’s not uncommon for what you’re currently doing to suddenly go completely in the other direction during development. I personally leave some “blank space” as I work to allow me to make adjustments in response to various requests from the client and changes in circumstances. In short, it’s a defensive perimeter in case a table gets flipped along the way. (laughs) Therefore, at first, you have to confirm that “if I do this, I won’t be able to do anything else; is that gonna be OK?” – and you can’t set things in motion right away. There’s also the feeling that you have to recheck the “is that gonna be OK?” part before you start to work. (laughs)
– What are your personal feelings on killer7?
I feel like killer7 come across as different from Grasshopper’s previous games, but I think it’s fundamentally of a piece with them. I just feel like it would’ve been better if the development period had been a little shorter. I think with original games, there’s sometimes a process of creating and destroying and creating again, but it’s good to have an efficient way of sharing an engine… But I think that in a sea of samey games, we were able to create something that was distinctively ours. In the future, I’d like to continue creating games that really speak in some way to the players and stay in their hearts.
– Give me one complaint about Goichi Suda!
I guess it would have to be…the flurry of changes in the game design specifications. (laughs) Because even if you draw that defensive perimeter, there are situations where you’re just not going to be able to cope. Even if you show what you’ve done and are told “yeah, that looks good; OK”, about one week later, you’ll be told, “sorry! We got bored of that, so you need to change it” – that “if we got sick of it in one week, that’s proof that the players are going to be sick of it even sooner”… The players haven’t even gotten their hands on the game, so don’t talk to me about them being “sick of it”! (laughs)
Subsection head/programmer. Majored in physics in his college days. Became more and more enamored with computers and joined Human after graduation. Later joined Polygon Magic, then Grasshopper Manufacture. Mainly involved with rendering-related work on killer7. Contributed to the graphics on the technical side. According to Suda, is the “brains behind Grasshopper.”
Original Sound Track pick-up review
A review of select tracks from the killer7 soundtrack (61 tracks total) that made me say: “hey, now.” The tracks chosen ultimately reflect the author’s personal preferences, so keep that in mind as you read. These soundtrack gems bring the world of killer7 into sharper focus.
Text by Masahiro Yuki.
[Note: Masahiro Yuki is credited as a writer and designer on subsequent Grasshopper Manufacture projects, but he is not listed in the credits of killer7.]
02: A Fierce Good Fight
A continuation of the slow, solemn mood of the first track, “Setting Sun”; the transition in the middle to a fast beat is like a roller coaster. There’s also a sense of tension – like something sinister is approaching from the last car of the coaster. A pulse-pounding track.
The track that plays on the official homepage. A jazzy & beautiful tune that gives a glimpse of spine-chilling menace.
05: Shoot Speed
Vs. the Speed Smile. A hardcore punk battle track.
07: Election Plot
A murderer is at your heels, but for the longest time, he does nothing at all – he just keeps on following…
09: Russian Roulette
Let’s sit back, relax, and blow our brains out.
11: Department of Defence
After you finish listening to this track, the words appear:
14: 3rd Foundation
A sound that gets you grooving: sticky synth notes curl around a slapstick rhythm, joined by lazy, languorous synth tones along the way.
17: When the May Rain Comes
A piano piece that takes its time and conjures a simple yet expansive image.
Sluggish style in a trip hop vein that’s deftly-constructed yet thickly degenerate, with a dimwitted flavor slipping in and out of the mix.
23: Island Edge
Conjures the image of a shaman fervently offering prayers to an altar in the black of night.
26: Oh My Julia
NotHeartbreak. The previous track, “Errand Boy,” pumps up the energy that cascades directly into this track. The effect is gasoline splashed on the flames of the heart.
28: Angel’s Despair
The world, passport-size.
01: Rave On
The theme for the Vinculum Gate and a hot hit among players, though the composer himself has mixed feelings about this response. There’s no question its energy shakes up the soul of disco – even more so when paired with the next track, the similar “Visionary Community.”
03: Emigrant Song
What could be called a theme for Curtis. The dark-tinged dynamism of this track announces loud and clear that when that white-haired old pervert makes the scene, BAD THINGS FOLLOW. The song from the Immigration “Office.”
12: Tecks Mecks
Sets a mood that’s kinda stupidâ€”no, totally stupidâ€”but which fits the atmosphere of Intercity perfectly. The dry sound of the guitar really makes an impression.
Give this a laid-back listen and try to imagine a band of old Western men playing it in a laid-back way.
15: White Sugar
A vibrant, refreshing melody with a touch of gloom, as if shot through slantways with shades of blue. A premonition of clouds on the horizon, perhaps.
20: Elegant Petal
A Japanese flavor with an Oriental depth not contained by the land of the rising sun alone. Irrasshaimase, Ryoutei Fukushima.
23: Heroic Deeds
24: Heroic Verse
28: Ministry of Education
A requiem for the Killer7. Pipe organ scores a ceremony of awakening.
Finally: ATSUI NO O IPPATSU!
[Bonus Soundtrack Trivia: The theme that plays during the fight with Ayame Blackburn is titled “Sweet Blue Flag.” If you’re a fan of older-style crosswords, you know that “flag” is frequently cited as a synonym for “iris,” as the word features into the common name of many iris species. “Ayame” means “iris” in Japanese. This is from where all the talk of the “flower that bloomed at ISZK Land” comes.]
Interview with SUDA51
PUSHING PRESSURE POINTS
– Now that the game’s made it safely to market, what are your thoughts?
Goichi Suda: First, I’m thrilled that we made it to market in the first place. Second, I’m thrilled with the responses to the game itself, whether those responses are “it’s fun” or “it’s crap.” It’s tough when there’s no response to your work. A bit of time elapsed between when the masters were complete and the game’s release, so that makes the responses even more of a thrill for me, to be honest. Each and every voice and opinion is new and fresh to my ears.
– Was the response what you expected?
I had intended to create this project with no particular audience in mind, but the impression of the game as “for a particular audience” is fairly widespread. I myself was aiming for “a game that everyone could play,” so I was a little shocked. However, those words carry a variety of meanings. They encompass reasons such as “the game’s sensibilities didn’t agree with me” or “the characters weren’t to my liking,” of course, but thinking further, I feel they also reflect the position video games have in Japan’s entertainment industry! First, games are expensive, aren’t they? They’re not available at a price where you can just go ahead and buy them like that without any input from advance reviews, but on the other hand, you can’t rent them, either. [Note: Renting games in Japan has been effectively banned since the Famicom era by the Japanese Copyright Act.] I can’t see an answer to the issue of used games, either, from a rights perspective. Therefore, in the case of killer7, if you recommend it to others, you’re asking them to shoulder a responsibility of over 7,000 yen. That’s not something you can take lightly, so that prevents you from approaching a great number of people. So that might tie into the “for a particular audience” charge. There’s a question moving forward of what sort of games I should create for this kind of market. I gave this issue renewed thought during this project, and in that sense as well, it really means something that we were able to get this game on the shelves. I’m also hearing about customers for whom this was their first time playing a Grasshopper game and how they went on to buy The Silver Case and Flower, Sun and Rain because they liked killer7, and that makes me extremely happy.
– You said that you created this game for a wider audience, but you still included some challenging aspects in it, didn’t you?
I couldn’t have just simply made something for a mass-market audience; you absolutely need new ideas, and while the nature of those ideas will change with every game, my attitude is that I never want to leave them out.
– When it came to incorporating those “new ideas” into this game, was there anything on which you hesitated?
Basically, no. However, Mr. [Shinji] Mikami and I were very much concerned about the movement controls. Considering how we wanted to have a larger audience playing the game, there were naturally opinions that we should choose a control system that involved free movement, and while there were times when our hearts wavered, we of course remained steadfast and held true to our original concept. If you ask why we chose that control system, it’s because it’s an input system that allows players who like text-based games to play, too. I am, grandiosely speaking, close to fanatical about reaching out to this audience. We might have sacrificed a lot, but Mr. Mikami understood my feelings on this issue.
– What about the difficulty level? This is the first time in one of your games we’ve been able to choose the difficulty level, isn’t it?
That was determined from the very start, but not because this was a Capcom title. It was because it was thought there are definitely going to be some people playing who aren’t good at action games. But adjusting the difficulty levels was tough for us… We had no prior experience in this area, so do we adjust the game data? Do we provide multiple character movement patterns? We were coming from a position of absolute ignorance. Ultimately, the difficulty in the commercial release went way down. I think the initial version was pretty hard! I had Mr. Mikami play it, and I was told, “At this rate, no one will finish this!”. (puffing up chest) I mean, I’m really great at action games! So I end up making these super-difficult games when I try to tune them to my own skill level, I’m told…
– Mr. [Satoshi] Kawakami, the main programmer, said that “Mr. Suda is just a casual gamer,” though…
What!? What’re you talking about, Kawakami!! That’s just because Kawakami hasn’t seen my true power! In our days at Human, in the planning department, I was the absolute best at both Tekken and Virtua Fighter. I was #1, and Hifumi-chan [Hifumi Kouno] was #2. Oh, I get it! Long ago, in our Twilight Syndrome days, it took over an hour to burn a ROM. We all played Virtua Fighter during that time, and my Nina was the strongest…
– Nina? I thought it was Sarah or something…
That’s right, Sarah! So, I’d just murder Kawakami and that Indian-type character he was playing. So he resents that! I mean, even Super Mario Bros. 2 on the Disk System is a piece of cake for me! And also Out of This World… (Here, Suda reels off his history of playing fighting & action games for 10 minutes.)
– Anyhow, your point is that you adjusted the difficulty according to your own sensibilities and ended up making it hard.
That’s right! So I was taken aback! Kawakami and I, we thought that just having Deadly mode would be fine, but we were told the game wouldn’t reach a wide audience in that case. I’m an old-school gamer, at heart. I’m not a creator from the new era! And that’s huge – a question of life or death! We all missed the Playstation boom, everyone at Grasshopper, so what would you expect from us? Mr. Mikami taught me a lot, but to be honest, the gap between current-era sensibilities and my own just completely floored me!
– On the other hand, there were also opinions that it was too simple and that “the action didn’t feel necessary.”
I face a dilemma there. We envisioned adventure outweighing action in Normal mode and action outweighing adventure in Deadly mode. I once proposed to Mr. Mikami, “why don’t we name the modes ‘action-adventure game’ and ‘adventure-action game?’, but that was shot down. (laughs) However, action is at the heart of killer7, so that complicates our perspective. Since the killer7 project is also aimed at the overseas market, there’s the problem that if we cut down on the action, we wouldn’t come close to making enough sales – you’ve got one package for the three markets of North America, Europe, and Japan. Given this consideration, when we were brainstorming and planning out the system we would use, how to combine the action and the adventure became a long-term development problem. However, the overseas version wasn’t difficult enough at all, so Mr. Mikami and I secretly discussed the matter and fixed the difficulty. Mr. Kobayashi [one of the producers] found out, and he was mad at us afterward, but…
– In any case, you’re saying that you made killer7 with the intention of having lots of people play it, of course?
killer7 has a reputation for being hardcore rather than mass-market, doesn’t it? But, you know, in my mind, killer7 is a thoroughly mass-market product. It’s not hardcore, not at all. If I were trying to appeal to a hardcore audience, the game would be something completely different. It just doesn’t make sense to me at all.
– You can’t really express those strong tastes you hold so deeply if they turn off the mass market audience, can you? Isn’t that stressful for you?
…Ummm, frankly, I don’t know! I guess I don’t really have an intuitive grasp of the line between the mass market and the hardcore. However, no matter what the circumstances, I want to start by taking the player to another world that’s out of the ordinary – just like with a realistic fantasy world or RPG world! The kind of game where it’s, forget the divisions of “mass-market” or “hardcore,” let’s just go as far as we can, c’mon!
– Mention has been made during coverage that the particular “pressure points” that you find entertaining are different from others’ tastes.
Then I wouldn’t reach a mass audience, would I!? (laughs) …Well, it’s not like I don’t get it, but still. I mean, I’m aware of the “it’s always got to be fun” point! Ummmm, actually, maybe I’m not, I guess? But, it might just be how I’m wired, that maybe my pressure points are messed up? Like, they’re the type of pressure points where it hurts when you press ’em, but they’re effective – I don’t really know. (laughs)
– To change the subject, there’s a theory that killer7 was influenced by Kill Bill…?
What? Kill Bill? Are you serious?
– I think it’s due to elements like the anime interludes and the extreme sensibilities.
……Seriously?! They’re saying that?! We’ve been using anime segments since The Silver Case, and they’re asking which came first!… I like movies, of course, but I don’t hold games in such contempt that I would just blindly mimic them… But it was that way with Moonlight Syndrome, too. At the time, people were saying it was influenced by Evangelion, and in the face of the overwhelming media presence of a work with such a wide sphere of cultural influence, it doesn’t even matter if you deny or refute those charges, I suppose. I have no media influence, and I can’t vie on the same stage with those other creators, so I wish I had a means of defending myself here.
– Are you yourself thinking of expanding into other media, Mr. Suda?
If I’m hired to do so, I’ll do it, whether it’s novels or manga or movies. However, video games are, ultimately, my home. Even if I were to venture into other media, it would be to bring potential players to gaming. It’s like when Naoya Ogawa appears at Pride to drum up business for Hustle. (laughs) Or maybe Bull Nakano appearing in FMW to attract business to AJW… (laughs)
[Note: Naoya Ogawa is a professional wrestler; Bull Nakano is a professional wrestler and golfer. Price is a Japanese MMA promotion; Hustle, FMW, and AJW are all various Japanese wrestling promotions.]
HIROSHIMA DIALECT, SUNDANCE, AND A GIANT KUN LAN
– So now, I’d like to ask about specific game content. What kind of story was killer7 originally?
It was a story that followed Harman from younger days onward. His lover from his university days…her name was Susan, and she was killed. Harman becomes an assassin to find her killer, but eventually, he encounters the Smith Syndicate case, and he develops Multifoliate Personality Disorder. So that was the basis for the plot. Kun Lan also appears throughout, up to when Harman becomes an old man. He never ages or physically changes, though – and he is always Harman’s neighbor. To break it down, the events from the past to the present were divided into a four-layer plot construction, and the past incident with Susan and the present battle with Kun Lan would be progressing concurrently.
– So how did this change?
There were practical issues, such as with our schedule and resources, and we ended up having to cut and change things. Even with a story depicting just the battle with Kun Lan, which was the “surface” plot in the previous scenario, the game came to a considerable length. We thought about the total package, then extracted only the important parts and brushed them up. For example, the episodes that went into detail on the members of the killer7 had no bearing on the main parts of the story. There wasn’t any need to give them lines, either, so the narrative just focused basically on Harman and Garcian. …Though I really wanted to get into the relationship between Curtis and Dan. (laughs) But if we did that for every member, it definitely wouldn’t fit into one game! Actually, “Alter Ego” was also originally a much richer, larger scenario, and I wanted to include an episode about Coyote & stuff, too, but, well… With this game, I really learned the limits of the action-adventure genre. Because if it were a text-based game, I could just go on and on with writing.
– In the previous version of the plot, Coyote talked a lot in Hiroshima dialect, didn’t he?
[Note: The popular image of Hiroshima dialect is that it sounds “rougher” than standard Tokyo Japanese; it’s frequently associated with gangster characters in films.]
That he did! The other characters also talked a lot. (looks in the distance) It really is unfortunate, with Coyote. He died in the Kaku Building! He had this just super-cool death, and the motion capture was great. After that, he was replaced by Kevin and stuff. Yeah…it’s a shame.
– There were once also plans for the infamous Sundance (the character from The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain) to make an appearance, I hear.
The intention was for Sundance to be appearing continuously throughout the game. Harman would repeatedly go back to the past, and the trigger for that would be Sundance. He would show up here and there throughout the stages, and he would guide Harman to the past. He also played another vital supporting role. I wouldn’t get into, however, whether he’s the same Sundance from my previous games.
– Is there a connection between killer7 and your previous games?
There are cameo appearances. However, there are copyright issues involved, so I created them so that if you asked me if there were a direct connection between the games, I’d say “no.” In my head, I’m creating them in one big world, but the individual settings of the stories are completely different, so it’s not like these stories can be told in the same timeline.
– What were the episodes that were cut?
There was one were a giant Kun Lan showed up with an army and attacked Seattle. Then, Mask transformed into a fully-armed (giant-sized) version of himself, with missile launchers and everything, and ultimately fought to a draw* with Kun Lan’s army… I really wanted to include that episode, too.
[* – Note: The wording here, “aiuchi ni natta,” suggests that this draw may have been via the old “opponents strike each other at the same time and fall over simultaneously” anime trope. I thought that potential imagery was too notable to ignore.]
– By the way, Mr. Suda, you always seem to get pro wrestling content somewhere in your games – that’s becoming a hallmark of your work. Like, this time, you have a character in that vein named Mask show up.
I thought, I just had to include somewhere in the game a character in a mask double-wielding grenade launchers! So while I was thinking up the design for this character, he somewhere along the line evolved into a pro wrestler, a leading-man type.
– Is this a constant bad habit of yours?
No, it’s a good habit!
BEHIND THE PLOT
– I’d like to talk about the plot. Looking back at the entire game, which scenarios were the most difficult to create?
“Encounter” and “Smile”! “Encounter” was extremely difficult, because I had to conplete the story in the present day. Originally, it featured a dual plot structure, since the story is closely tied to events that happened in the past. I really had to put a lot on Travis’s shoulders so that the player could follow it, but it was still tough… For “Smile,” we meet a character in the hotel named “Harman Smith,” and there’s a scene where he makes a speech to Garcian, right? His lines there serve to sum up the overall story and bring everything together, so I was waiting for the right time to write them – because then, the killer7 in my mind would be over. So, I had to drop them only once the stage was properly set in the game. The difficulty in creating the scenario was in how I had to choose the right time to create it. For some reason, I felt like, “I don’t want to write this!”, and it lasted right up until just before the voice recording. It’s difficult to explain what I mean…
– The first scenario, “Angel,” it has the task of introducing the story, doesn’t it?
Yes, it does. It’s a prologue, or rather, it’s the part that explains the core of the game itself.
– The angel with the anime face, what is she?
A passing fancy of Kun Lan. The faces she has on her back are of Kun Lan. In other words, Kun Lan had transformed into the angel. It’s Kun Lan’s unique take on an American joke – a throwaway gag to make Harman laugh! But a joke from someone who’s close to a god is going to be sinister in nature – hence, the angel.
– Next, with “Sunset,” the story is set in motion in earnest.
Here, I wanted to depict a Japan that fights to be strong, pitiably destroys itself, and is reborn from its ashes! In a sense, Japan is at its limit – and that’s why I entrusted Matsuken with the task of representing the fighting Japanese.
– I’m jumping ahead here, but in “Lion,” you gave the player a choice as to whether Japan counterattacks, or if the counterattack fails. This is the first time multiple endings have appeared in a Suda game.
The game was going to be sold in the three major markets [Japan, North America, and Europe], so I thought that the details of how the plot developed were probably even more important than the plot’s conclusion. Since the conclusion comes last, it didn’t matter which way the details went.
– What’s the point of Kun Lan’s appearance in “Sunset”?
Matsuken is a the symbol of a nation, of a new Japan. Kun is a symbol of terrorism, and Harman is the will of the United States. It’s meant to illustrate the sword of terrorism being offered to a nation.
– Andrei Ulmeyda from “Cloudman” also turns into a Heaven Smile; was that also the work of Kun Lan?
No, in Ulmeyda’s case, he turned into a Heaven Smile of his own accord. As a revolutionary who had transcended the realm of the human, he wanted to end his life on his own terms by becoming a Heaven Smile. Ulmeyda is a man who can feel alive only when he takes a gun he knows is going to fire, points it at himself, and triumphantly pulls the trigger.
– Personally, this scenario really stuck with me. The last scene is Ulmeyda entrusting the next generation to Clemence, then fading away, right? I got the idea that perhaps this was an expression of how you were beginning to come to terms with passing the torch yourself…though I might be reading too much into it.
(flatly) Ahhh, that’s not what I meant. I didn’t make it to be that deep at all! The “live fast and dangerously” part certainly applies to me, though. (laughs) But I’m not thinking about a successor or anything. If I had to say, I’d venture that’s it’s important for me to keep on working. I’m the type of person who, if my successor appeared, I’d crush ‘im. (laughs)
– So you’d say you’re more like Curtis in “Encounter”?
Maybe! In any case, though, both Curtis and Ulmeyda are characters from my own mind, and so of course there’s a part of me in both of them – “that emotion” or “that sensibility,” I suppose.
– In your mind, what kind of character is Curtis?
The killer7 are assassins with superhuman powers. Curtis, on the other hand, is the most capable assassin in the human realm – that’s the general idea. So, I wanted to create this contrast of human vs. superhuman and depict the killer7 as in possession of overwhelming power.
– “Alter Ego” was another unique scenario.
I wanted to make a completely ridiculous scenario. Our assassins walking around a beautiful paradise beneath a clear blue sky… Texas was like that, too, but the killer7 are all basically indoor types, so that environment would be all the more suffocating for them. I thought that it’d be a shame if I didn’t force them outside or something into the fresh air. The staff was also always cooped up in the office without any breaks, so I had the fatherly idea that if they made a stage with nice scenery or something, it might serve as a distraction. (laughs)
– Speaking of the Handsome Men, do you like sentai shows or something, Mr. Suda?
I like tokusatsu as much as anyone, but my favorite is the Jumborg series. The designs are just terrific! Recently, they made Ultraman Tiga and Kamen Rider Ryuki, but in the original Ultraman series… (After this, Mr. Suda talks about his beloved tokusatsu for 20 minutes.) So in other words, in “Alter Ego,” I wanted to put on a fixed match. (laughs) I was obsessed at the time with chaban farcical skits.
– I was still surprised by that ending.
There’s a hidden backstory behind that where it’s actually Kun Lan playing a video game – playing and laughing it up in front of the TV. The game is themed on Street Fighter II, right? (laughs) “Alter Ego” is all throughout a Capcom tribute. The SF2 content was initially in the puzzles. All the locks around the stage required entering SF2 commands. Illustrations of characters doing Dragon Punches and Hadoukens and Sonic Booms were drawn near the entrances, and you had to enter the commands correctly to progress. This was rejected because you had to know the button inputs for the SF2 special moves beforehand, and it’d be hard to give out hints. In the production materials, Trevor is a big Capcom fan, and he’s wearing a SF2 shirt – and there’s SF2 gameplay content in the city of Dominica. The final game is also a SF2 knockoff. (laughs)
ON A JOURNEY
– Now we come to the mysterious “Smile.” How should we look at this story?
“Smile” is a tale that takes place between deaths. The interpretation of death is as you see. If you sort everything out chronologically, you can connect the dots with how the story develops – the classic introduction, development, twist, and conclusion – but the weight of the facts and the weight of the truth, as imparted by the weight of death, are completely different. In this world in which we live, it’s the truth that’s rare to reach. I mean… I wanted to make a story out of the “mundane” events of life that can happen every day. The story of “Smile” might be the epitome of that.
With everything in killer7, my concept was to “go with my instincts!”. Just like in our company’s name, “Manufacture,” we create games that could be said to be hand-crafted originals in every respect – the control system, the text, the game systems, the graphics, the sound – and the storytelling is no different. In this world, this realm, facts can be fabricated by human hands, but we can arrive at the truth only through our insight and drive, and that is the origin of what we call stories – that’s my conclusion. The fact is, a story created by committee and tailored to consumer preferences was never on the table for killer7.
– Then, what is the connection between Garcian, Harman, and Kun Lan?
Basically, Kun and Harman are embodiments of the confrontation between terrorism and the state. The threat that confronts all of us currently living, here in reality – how is its origin connected to these two, and where are these two headed in the future? Running in parallel with the story that traces our way back into the depths of Garcie’s mind, we have entwined the story of the relationship between these two, which reflects the external world itself, our modern age, and that intersection is how the contamination known as multifoliate personality occurred – that’s the connection.
– Ummmm, I don’t get it.
Hmmm…well, to put it simply, Harman is one of the personalities inside Garcie. In other words, Garcie is the main character. Also, Harman’s special power is to manifest the dead, right? Therefore, the bit about Garcie serving Harman is merely a hook.
– I see!
Well, that might be a lie.
– What!? Oh, come on!!
The chronology in this book is pretty straightforward and covers the basic facts. However, whether or not it is the truth should be viewed with suspicion. Once you’ve beaten the game, the real killer7 begins, and if the players connect it to their everyday lives, they’ll arrive at the truth. Just like terrorism, the tale of killer7 is a neverending battle.
– Finally, Mr. Suda, what sort of game is killer7 to you?
To me, game “development” – “kaihatsu” in Japanese – can be defined by breaking it down into the first part, “kai,” which stands for “kaitaku,” or “breaking new ground,” and the second part, “hatsu,” which stands for “hatsumei,” or “invention.” In its creation, killer7 was able to remain true to the full meaning of “development,” and that’s thanks to the guardianship of Mr. Mikami’s production work both up front and behind the scenes. We’ve been laying our foundation for game development at Grasshopper ever since The Silver Case, and with killer7, we were able to reach our peak – with our production style as well. And that’s all been thanks to the incredible talent of our staff. I make media appearances standing up here by my lonesome as the public face of our company, but ever since our days at Human, the trio of [Akihiko] Ishizaka, [Satoshi] Kawakami, and [Masafumi] Takada has been standing strong behind me in support, and it’s because of them that I’m able to stand out here as front man. That’s why we were able to attempt a title like killer7.
This is a game with a strange magnetism to it – even if the creators do say so themselves! It hasn’t reached its full potential with the greater public at all, but I have a hunch that just like The Silver Case, this is a game that will be championed by the players and media. Also, I look at the game itself as a big turning point for both myself and the company (Grasshopper Manufacture). The game getting a release overseas was also a momentous occasion for us. We think of all our fans all over the world looking forward to our next game, and it gives us on the staff a sense of fulfillment, and fuels the growth of our company. Expanding our horizons gets us closer to our ultimate goal of creating games on a continuing basis, so there’s not a single down side here.
I think I still have a long, continuing journey ahead of me as a game developer, but to compare it to The Lord of the Rings, I think I’m right about the point where Frodo meets Aragorn! (laughs) I feel like I’m finally on my way.
– I see. Well, thank you for giving us so much of your time!
We appreciate it!
– …Um, one last question. Do you have a sequel in mind?
(flatly) No way. This took two years; I’m tired out!
– Gotcha! Thank you very much for the interview!
President/director of Grasshopper Entertainment. After attempting many occupations (including undertaking), joined Human Entertainment. Later set out on his own to found Grasshopper Manufacture. Dropped The Silver Case, Flower, Sun, and Rain, and killer7. Production on his next game is already reaching its climax – and he has recently started a diet.