originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/162548...

I hope nobody was missing the most vicious family drama too much.

A labelled image of the characters screen, showing Kinzo, Krauss and Natsuhi and their daughter Jessica, Eva and Hideyoshi and their son George, Rudolf and Kyrie and their son Battler, Rosa and her daughter Maria, Dr. Nanjo and the five servants Genji, Shannon, Kanon, Gohda and Kumasawa.

So, last time. A mysterious letter from Beatrice the Witch. Tense negotiations. A riddle leading to a king’s ransom in gold. Family conflicts, family reconciliation. Even a marriage proposal. All this before even the first murder!

Comment from @alchymistryandcoldsteel:

It is certainly fanon that Maria may well be autistic and I think the coding is deliberate. Not sure what societal attitudes to autism were in 80s Japan but, as in the UK, I’d bet they weren’t great - again, the author was a social worker so may be drawing on real-life experience.

That makes sense. I guess they won’t really confirm/deny it here, since a formal diagnosis would be outside the scope of the plot.

So. George proposed to Shannon. The narration describes her ‘mixture of exaltation and uncertainty’.

She meets Gohda, who takes the chance to fob off his duties onto her. So she has to check the mansion and lock up. Not a good thing to do when there’s a witch on the prowl?

We get a few seconds of fully-animated golden butterfly! That must be important. Shannon remembers a story of Beatrice taking on butterfly form to prowl the mansion.

Then, there is a textless montage through all of the characters, starting and ending with the portrait of Beatrice, as the clock strikes three. The start of the second day is announced, as the time advances to 6am. The title of this chapter: “the sacrifices chosen by the key”. Well, that’s by no means ominous.

The chapter begins very slowly, with Genji and Kanon beginning their morning shift (and some notes on scheduling, because this author adores detail).

…sure enough, the narration describes how they’ll soon join up with Gohda. And then…

Kanon in the kitchen. The narration says “He tried to greet Gohda, who he had thought would be preparing the meal inside the kitchen, but Gohda was nowhere to be seen.”

Beatrice’s first victim?

Kanon assumes he overslept and, since the phone has broken, rushes off to wake him. But we cut to Natsuhi before we can find out if he’s dead.

Natsuhi, at least, has been fine. Because of Maria’s anti-magic charm? The game pokes at the possibility. Natsuhi remembers her promise and gets a mirror to give to Jessica. Hope it works!

Genji comes to see her. Is he about to announce Gohda’s death? He starts talking about the telephones, so probably not. But he does explain that Gohda is missing.

At that point Natsuhi turns round and finds someone has smeared blood on her doorknob. Rude.

Image of a doorknob with a red overlay. Text says “It was an unsettling sight, as if someone had dipped their fingers in a dark red liquid and clawed at the area around the doorknob.”

The game actually has a mild scare chord here. I’m more curious about why the keyhole is upside down. Natsuhi, at least, assumes a prank.

…and then it turns out Krauss is also missing.

I have to say, as far as murdering goes, Beatrice is making excellent choices so far!

She has also killed Rudolf (good), Kyrie (no! not her!) and Rosa (poor Maria). But left Eva alive? Come on, Beatrice.

OK, we don’t know they’re dead yet. The current theory is they’re somewhere outside, still discussing inheritance. Or perhaps even in Kinzo’s study.

Eva takes the opportunity to needle Natsuhi about her status in the family some more, and whether Kinzo will respond. To cool the situation, Genji gives Natsuhi the key to Kinzo’s study. Ooh… Kinzo definitely won’t like that.

Another cut, to the guesthouse. Maria wakes everyone up in her inimitable way. Kids to mansion.

And now we get to see what’s in the study…

It’s just Kinzo, alive, and as grouchy as ever. Natsuhi tries to persuade him to come join the others, with predictably zero success.

…but unexpectedly, Kinzo takes the opportunity to be nice to her, and say she’s an Ushiromiya at heart. …not sure I’d wish that on my worst enemy, but OK. With that confidence boost, she’s confident talking back to Eva. So that’s nice.

So Kinzo is accounted for, but Gohda, Krauss, Rudolf, Kyrie and Rosa remain missing. And so is Shannon, it turns out.

Kanon comes back, apparently finding something ‘odd’ about the rose garden storehouse. It turns out to be some kind of arcane blood sigil. Nice.

Image of a magic circle, with a cross patée and Hebrew writing. Text says “…Something that looked like a strange dark-red… liquid?”

The sigil is described as a cross ‘from somewhere around Europe’. I had a look on Wikipedia and apparently this kind of cross is known as a cross pattée. This particular style of cross pattée is associated with the German military decoration of the ‘Iron Cross’, which was painted on WW1 German planes. It was also used sometimes by the Teutonic Knights during the Crusades. In case you uh, care.

They resolve to paint over it before anyone else might see it. Which comes across as ‘narrative contrivance to get them to open the shed’. Maybe this is where they find the bodies? :(

Sounds like it. Genji comes to fetch the remaining adults.

Battler and Jessica in frame. Battler is saying “Let’s go check it out. It’s no fun if we’re the only ones left out, right? Ihihi!”

Oh dear. I think you’ll regret that, Battler.

The game really makes a big deal of building up the reveal, showing reaction shots first, putting as much dialogue as possible in the way - to the point that the tension becomes kind of silly.

Battler still calls his dad ‘the old bastard’ when finding his body. Harsh!

The music gets really dramatic. Except it’s kind of dance-y. It’s not really sad ‘oh shit everyone’s dead’ music. Someone has killed a significant fraction of the cast, and mutilated their faces after death.

Like, I don’t know how I’d react in this situation, but here it’s an awful lot of shouting and screaming and monologuing. I guess that’s just Battler.

George learns Shannon is among the dead :(

We get the full list. Time to make some ghoulish graphics!

The character screen, but I’ve edited red skulls over the faces of the dead characters and crossed out their names. The dead characters are Krauss, Rudolf, Kyrie, Rosa, Shannon and Gohda.

Six down, twelve to go!

If I hadn’t known this was a murder mystery going in, this would have been really quite alarming, since it seemed mostly to be a family drama so far.

I’d be a lot more chewed up about this if I didn’t know they come back later tbh.

The voice actors do a good job portraying the kids’ grief. :(

They resolve to leave the crime scene unmodified and put a different lock on it until the cops arrive. The narration points out how the criminal must have returned the key, and seemed to want the bodies to be found…

So I assume these murders are linked to the riddle somehow. The first line says:

On the first twilight, sacrifice the six chosen by the key.

Well, that sounds relevant. That means when night falls - second twilight - ‘those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close’. Almost all the romantic couples have gone, but there are a number of friend pairings as well as one remaining couple:

Since Battler is the principal narrator, we can expect him to survive. Who knows about the others? Let’s see what happens, I guess.

Eva, astonishingly, tries to work this angle to get in with Kinzo now she’s next in line in family hierarchy. She and Natsuhi go to inform him.

After they’re gone, Kumasawa comes in to announce more blood, now in the dining hall! On investigating, they conclude this is probably the scene of the murder.

And worse news, Genji can’t get the cops on the radio. They are, fittingly for a murder mystery, completely isolated.


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