Friday, 22 February 2013

The Tale Of A Bird That Couldn't Fly

So much for the bluebird of happiness.

Almost 5 years after the original release of 殻ノ少女, the story of Touko Kuchiki, a girl who wished to find her true self and ultimately to be free, finally comes to an end with the conclusion of 虚ノ少女. And yet, as if to reflect its title, the story has left me with a feeling of emptiness thanks to its abrupt and somewhat anticlimactic ending.

Since Innocent Grey insisted on pronouncing the names of both games as Kara no Shoujo, I will be referring to the second game as Kara no Shoujo 2 for the sake of clarity. With all things considered, the overarching story of the second game doesn't really have a very strong connection to its title. Indeed, the sole purpose of KnS 2 may very well be to bring closure on the fate of Touko. And by doing so, the game raises fresh questions that doubtless serve to pave the way for a sequel.

Thankfully (?) the rest of the game is nothing like this
Taking place two years after the original game, KnS 2 follows the private detective Reiji Tokisaka as he continues his search for Touko, who was kidnapped by the young writer and serial killer Shinji Mamiya. When a nurse is found dead in a grisly and bizarre manner, Reiji accepts the cocky superintendent Yaginuma's request to solve the case. He soon meets and enlists the help of Touji Aoki (from Cartagra) who provides him with useful information on the murder cases, as well as the whereabouts of Shinji.

Joining Reiji on his investigation is Tomoyuki Masaki, whom Reiji's sister Yukari saves from a suicide attempt. Sensing the link between Masaki and the cases, Reiji takes him in as an assistant to keep an eye on him. In the meantime, Yukari befriends her new classmate Yukiko Kayahara, a meek and mysterious girl who is troubled by recurring dreams of murders.

Masaki's true identify soon comes to light with the visit of his childhood friend Meguri Takamiya, who comes to Tokyo looking for Masaki's cousin and good friend Naori Kuroya. Reiji's investigation eventually leads him and Masaki back to the latter's hometown Hitogata, a secluded and traditional village in the snowy mountains of Toyama prefecture. Together with the hard-boiled Inspector Inui, they set out to confront and uncover dark secrets of the village once and for all.