Part 16: Kabukicho Prison
I certainly don't mind an opportunity to jump down a dark hole and just break stuff for a bit.
Minigame: Amala Pit, First to Second Kalpa
*: So. I'm pretty bad at this. Not gonna sugarcoat it. As Montegoraon mentioned, you can combo red obstacles for increasing amount of Macca; the reason I forgot is that I'm shit-awful at it and I treat the tunnel minigame as little else than a danger to my HP as I travel from point A to point B. :3
*: As you may or may not remember, this is the Law alignment theme from SMT1. Hearing it here is a bit unexpected, considering how gleeful Nocturne is about throwing our ideas about the law/chaos axis under the bus at every opportunity. It does make sense in the context of the Amala Labyrinth subquest though, as we may see later.
: ...Do you know what cause you serve? Do you realize which path your actions are leading you down...?
: You have been seduced by darkness, and now you are about to defy god's will. ZedPower, the one with a demon's body and a human heart, heed my warning!
: What I'm learning here makes me feel like my head is going to explode, but if it's the truth, then I'll be damned if I stop now. Besides, where was this god when... when all this bullshit started?
: In this land where demons of chaos dwell, the last of your humanity will eventually be lost. I pray that you return to your world and rid yourself of darkness, before it is too late... before god's vengeance strikes this cursed land...
*: The question here seems very important, but it's essentially for flavor, as it has no real mechanical effect; even if you agree to turn back you can still keep going, and if you say you'll keep going you're still far from being locked into anything.
> Will you light the Candelabrum of Eternity?
Huh, I seem to be short one Candelabrum.
Looks like I'm turning back anyway.
*: Technically we do have the Candelabrum of Sovereignty in our possession, but seeing as having it is what allows us to find the other Fiends in the first place, leaving it down here would not be a smart move. In any case, the shortcut back to the five-door room above the First Kalpa in on the other side of this barrier, so we outright have to retrace our steps. Fortunately, now that the switch is pulled, it's not a very long way to go. And it's two more opportunities to suck at the tunnel minigame! Huzzah.
We return to Ikebukuro, and I do the usual post-dungeon upkeep. All in all, after the healing costs, we made about 8000 Macca. As I enter the Cathedral of Shadows to register our crew...
: Under certain circumstances, death will appear and warp the laws of fusion. When this occurs, a Fiend -- a bearer of death -- will manifest itself. Though they are not good, they cannot be classified as evil, either. In the end, it is you who will decide their nature.
*: This is our fusion chart for the 7/8 Kagutsuchi phase. All of the fusions marked with a skull would result in Daisoujou... but Daisoujou is level 37, and we're four levels short. I have a few more fusions in mind, but either Zed's level is also too low, or I want the ingredients to get a bit stronger still.
We drop by the local junk shop as well. I pick up five Makajam Rocks (200 each, that's a ticket), and enough Poison/Stun/Charm/Stone/Mute cures to have at least ten of each, which earns us two more tickets.
So, what's next? We don't know where Kabukicho is exactly, but I'm sure those guards on the second exit to the Mantra HQ are in no position to stop us anymore, so that might be the way to go. And there should also be a Fiend nearby as well.
: My partner's already left... I let that human kid go to Kabukicho Prison... I just don't care anymore.
So, a tall building, and a highway. It's just like Kamala said. The next sucker can't be too far from here.
: I don't see why not.
: You should quit while you can! Something terrible's been seen around there lately... A ghost riding a motorcycle!! I don't think he's even licensed!!
: Well then, I should see about arresting him.
Lv18 Divine Archangel
The eight order of angels, the Archangels are footsoldiers (well, wingsoldiers) and messengers, primarily charged with fighting fallen angels and communicating God's will to mortals.
*: Dis knows Stone Gaze by now, so hitting their Death weakness goes a long way.
Cutscene + Boss battle: Fiend Hell Biker
: Bwah...! Wh... huh?
: Maybe you're asked twice about it for a reason.
: Aw man.
*: Welp, good thing Nicolas here is optional, because he's a bit of an asshole. He doesn't have the cruel tricks other Fiends have had so far, but he hits hard, he's equipped to shrug off the debuffs we've used to neuter the others, and his buff-removal skill does a bunch of damage. That last missed Stun Needle prevented me from healing Zed so there was a clear point of failure, but I feel that I don't really have a party all that suited to dealing with him either. We'll get back to him later. And besides, it's not like I really want to attempt the Second Kalpa right away.
So let's pretend none of this happened, shall we?
> The entrance is closed tight.
*: ...wait. Dead ends, everywhere. Haha, oh wow, Hell Biker isn't optional. Life is hilarious!
Welp, I didn't expect to beat him on the first try, so maybe I didn't give it my 100%. But now I gotta put my battle pants on for real. Let's do this.
Boss battle: Fiend Hell Biker Redux
*: Well hey, this took a few more tries, but here we are. The difference was that he kept wasting his icons on Hell Exhaust; by the time he managed to kill Koppa, he had already lost.
...Oh wow, I can't believe I didn't think of waiting until New Kagutsuchi to make use of Eligor's Dark Might. Whoops! Lesson learned, hopefully. :3
Fiend Hell Biker
Officially he was an ordinary motorcyclist whose hatred of the world and of himself was so strong that it turned him into a demon... but we all know where Atlus took their inspiration from. He's actually called "Hell's Angel" in the original Japanese. The dude absorbs force, and voids fire, death, expel and all ailments. Unlike Daisoujou, his fusable version actually retains all of those immunities.
*: Upon later verification and testing, it would seem you apparently can slip by Hell Biker if you decide not to fight him when asked if you're ready, though as far as I can tell it he has a chance to pull you into combat anyway (maybe the Kagutsushi phase has something to do with it). Either way he is in fact optional, to some degree.
In any case, he's out of our way now. Time to go back to Ikebukuro and get healed up.
: I wonder if he got into an accident... Maybe he just got a flat tire.
*: We reach the Fountain without incident. Before heading back, I take a quick detour through the Labyrinth of Amala. I won't venture into the Second Kalpa yet, but I want to hear what Kamala has to say, and I might as well unlock the shortcut while I'm down there.
: I don't think there are any Fiends around right now. So, it's safe to walk around!
*: Eligor learns Mudo on the way, which will make dealing with those Archangels on the surface even easier. They're only level 18, but all it takes is a lucky Hama to ruin our day.
Hmmm... Maybe just a peek.
Yikes, the place is taking a turn for the Silent Hill.
Yeah, maybe later.
*: We take the tunnel shortcut, which is pretty much the same as the tunnel between the first and second Kalpas, and end up back in the main shortcut room, now with one more door open. In any case, we return to Ikebukuro, and I save at the small terminal in the ground floor of the Mantra HQ, since it's closer to the path towards Kabukicho. Aaaand we're back on the road.
: It's a huge torture chamber!
*: Lots of red damage goop here, but Badb Catha's Liftoma protects us completely.
Ah, so that's how you get here.
: I should've bought a couple of Float Balls...
*: We run into several groups of Zhen down here, which isn't quite what I expected. They're dispatched easily enough, but if one gets a Toxic Sting off, it's a little annoying. Zed levels up, and Anathema would teach him Anti-Death, which grants resistance (not immunity) to Death effects. If we're at major risk of getting hit by one of those, we might as well just equip Anathema itself.
: Man that does not bode well for Isamu, especially if everyone's starved for Magatsuhi.
Atmosphere: Kabukicho Prison
: It just looks like some sort of run-down building to me, but the ambiance is spot-on.
: ...Huh? This is just a run-down building? You got that wrong. This is a prison!! Even though the Mantra fell, there's still loads of Manikins being held here.
*: Hmm, I did not remember there being a large terminal here. Welp, ain't gonna complain.
Lv28 Snake Naga
The Naga are a race of divine or semi-divine snake people from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Some of the more ancient traditions hold them to be unrepentant assholes, gleeful persecutors of all that live; however, they are sometimes seen as relatively kind nature spirits, presiding over springs, rivers and rain. Buddhists in particular see them as especially benevolent entities, and one of them is even counted among the Buddha's personal guardians.
*: These guys are fairly common encounters here, and we're not exactly swimming in sources of fire damage. Dis' Agilao is amazing for single targets, but when there are just too many of them, I use one of the Maragi Rocks I bought specifically for this purpose.
*: The doors in this hallway seem empty, but...
Voice: Save us... We're trapped in the mirage...
Voice: Mizuchi is holding us captive in his mirage... Someone save us!
A mirage, huh? This might be tricker than I expected.
: Gozu-Tennoh is gone. This prison now belongs to Mizuchi. ...I feel like torturing those Manikins in the mirage! I think I'll go do that right now. Heheheh...
This guy should grow a mustache just so he can twirl it.
> You need something to activate it.
Huh, can't get through there. That's strange. I don't think there was any other way in. I'll have to take another look around, this can't be all there is.
: C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! You better keep it up, or you'll be dead! You want me to stop? You REALLY want me to stop? ...Well, too bad!! Hyahahahahahahahahaha!!
Voice: Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!! Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow!!
: Hyahahahahahahahahaha!! Phew!! I think I'll let you off with that for today. I have this, so I can come and go into the mirage as I please. ...I'll be back!
: I like to think I'm not the kind of guy who looks forward to violence, in general. But...
: Every so often, correction is amply merited.
: Ha, I like the way you put it.
: Don't pretend you don't enjoy administering a well-deserved kick in the ass, though.
: Guilty as charged. Now let's get our correctin' on!
: Oh you're gonna get it now.
: I'm the local Amnesty International enforcer. We've had recent reports about multiple violations of Manikin rights. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?
: You're damn right it's me!
: ...I-I don't care! This is paradise for us ex-Mantra!
*: Dude's alone, so the battle ends predictably.
Alright, how does this... whoa!
How did I not guess this place would get even creepier?
*: It's not immediately obvious, but... we're standing on the ceiling. The layout of the mirage is identical to the real building's, except it's completely upside down.
*: It looks like the Manikins are shackled to the floor and forced to stand up, but because of the mirage's bizarre gravity, they're actually hanging upside down.
: Are we Manikins made just to feel pain!?
: I don't wanna be sucked dry of Magatsuhi! I don't wanna die!!
Someone's paying for this.
*: All the cells in here correspond to a generic empty room in the real world.
: The ex-Mantra demons have now turned this...
: Yo, I know already.
: I thought someone was talking to me...
So they can kinda hear me, but not see me.
Lv34 Snake Mizuchi
The Mizuchi are Japanese dragon or serpent deities, dwelling in rivers and controlling rain. They're generally seen as adversarial in nature, and it's best to restrict one's interactions with them to offering sacrifices to appease their enmity towards humans.
*: There are many minor Mizuchi in here, but we don't seem to run into the unique one in charge of the place.
Ha, that's one way of bypassing this barricade.
*: We're going down, but we actually reach the second floor. Because... upside down, right.
: ...... ......... ...Leave me alone.
*: A Raiju kills Nekomata with Shock, so I replace her with Incubus. Eligor also gets damn near murdered on account of his weakness, so I tag Chatterskull in. Incubus' Wing Buffet and high Magic stat come in especially handy, as the large groups of Raiju are weak to force damage. The Mana Aid skill he inherited from Bicorn is still delivering in spades as well.
: You know, we don't get along very well, but I gotta admit, you're more than pulling your weight today. Great work!
: I'm strong enough for a man, but made for a woman!
: What... exactly are you trying to say here?
: I... uh... don't... know?
: CUBUS GOT A BOYFRIEND!
: It's beautiful to behold, no matter how many times you see it. Love always finds a way!
: Not with that guy, it doesn't.
: I absolutely do NOT swing th-
: Aren't you still holding on to that paper heart?
: That's not... It isn't...!
: Don't tease the kids. Their affection will bloom in time.
: Hey guys, how about we go save some Manikins, huh?
: Excellent idea.
*: There are more empty and occupied cells around here, but the Manikins generally repeat the lamentations of their brethren.
We reach an intersection with another mirage wall on one side and a ladder on the other, and a hole in the floor/ceiling on the side.
Hmm! I choose the hole first.
It takes us to the third floor, in front of a closed shutter. There's an open corridor behind us though; one path leads to the ladder we could have taken, and the other...
: Hey, little dude. What are you even doing here?
: But, hee hee ho ho! This place is scary!
Lv28 Haunt Pisaca
The Pisaca are Hindu demons, haunting cities and eating the flesh of the living. They are also associated with possession and delayed-death curses à la Ringu.
*: There are more corridors blocked off by shutters on this floor, and a ladder going to the fourth floor.
> A Manikin is doing something. Will you talk to him?
: Hey, buddy! What are you doing?
: Nah, I'm not with those assholes. In fact I'm here to help.
: ............? Noooooooooooo! My spoon broke!
: Really now?
: It's your fault! I needed that spoon... Take responsibility! ...I know. How about you getting me another spoon?
: That's a tall order.
: The Collector Manikin should be around here somewhere. He has just about anything.
: Aw hell, he went and got himself caught after all.
: Find him and grab a spoon. You got that? You're responsible!
: Look, I'll go get your spoon, but it's because I want to help, not because I had anything to do with this.
: I saw him as I was being dragged here. ...He must be below.
So, from my current perspective, above.
*: The only two paths from here are this mirage wall here on the fourth floor, and the other back on the second. I'll start here.
*: Man that Dragon Eye is nasty here. It's fortunate Zed can still use Shock at will. She's not resistant to physical damage, but Retaliate is basically an extra-strong Counter, so it's best to use magic if she's not somehow disabled by an ailment. Tentarafoo does Mind-type damage to all foes, and has a chance to cause Panic.
*: Back to reality. There are a couple doors in here, but they lead to empty rooms; they must be Manikin cells in the mirage. We can take a ladder back to the third floor, but there's also a hole here that would take us to an area that was blocked off in the mirage.
Hello, what's this?
*: There's still a barricade here, but when we get back to the ceiling, it won't be a problem. From here, we can only take a ladder down.
*: We end up on the correct side of a shutter on the second floor. I'm sure this'll be important later.
: ...Bill...... ......1000... ............
> You couldn't hear the rest.
At least he's still alive.
*: We get to the mirage wall on this floor, and use it for the first time. This will allow us to take the ladder back to the new area of the third floor and go over that barricade.
...no, wait, that's the first hole we went through, so we can't get back there like this. Hmm! Maybe from the third floor itself, then.
Ah yes, there we are. Let's see if this gets us anywhere.
Hmm. I think I missed activating that box on our first time in here. I return to the fourth floor, leave the mirage, and drop down again.
Yup, I did miss it. After a bit more fiddling, it allows us to reach a ladder in the mirage that takes us to a new part of the second floor. This is about the time where Kikuri-Hime's healing juice runs low, so I tag her in to let her Mana Drain her reserves back up.
: Hey! Collector dude! It's me!
: ............? ...I know you! You're the demon I met in the Great Underpass...
: Couldn't resist the call of loot, eh? Say, did you happen to find a spoon on your trip? I know it's a strange question, but...
: ...Huh? A spoon? ............
: Another Manikin is trying to dig himself free, but he broke his old spoon and could use another.
: ...I see. ...Alright then. You did help me... with the Bill... *cough* I'll give you my spoon...
> You obtained the spoon.
: Thanks man.
: ...While you're at it, could you rescue me...?
: Aight, no sweat, I'm not here for sightseeing. I'll find a way to get you out.
I almost say "hang in there". Yikes.
*: Oooh, I get it. We'll get that spoon to the Manikin, he'll make a hole in the mirage, and we'll be able to use that hole from a real world empty room on the fourth floor to drop down to a northern section of the third floor that we haven't been able to access at all yet.
This whole place is really complex, but if you understand the relation between the mirage and the real world, it's not too hard to figure out. It almost straddles the line between cool challenge and pain in the ass, but there's no Kaiwan taunting you at every step, so it remains comfortably in the domain of the interesting mental exercise.
There's a neat distinction between the mirage and the real world too, in that there are more enemy groups composed of harder enemies in the mirage. In fact the Pretas never seem to show up in the mirage.
: Yo! Spoon delivery service!
: I'd be a right shitty spoon delivery service if I didn't have a spoon to deliver. Here!
: Whoa! This is one powerful spoon!
> The Manikin began digging.
: ...This is incredible. I dug the hole in a flash. Alright, I'm outta here. See ya!
> The Manikin jumped into the hole.
*: We leave the mirage again.
*: Yup, this is new.
: ...Dammit!! I was able to escape from my cell... But I need to defeat Mizuchi to escape from the mirage...
*: A Yaksini fight earns Zed, Incubus and Koppa a level. We'd learn Mamudo, but, eh, nah. Incubus learns Stun Claw, and Koppa gets Makatora (spend 10 MP to replenish an ally's MP by 10) and gives us an Attack Mirror, which is a one-shot item that casts Tetrakarn.
Voice: Mizuchi... is on the floor above... But......... in the mirage... ............
*: We open up a path to the rest of the fourth floor, giving us easy access to a mirage wall should we need it, and keep exploring.
So this takes us to the fifth floor for the first time. I could go to the mirage right away but I want to recon the place beforehand.
...aw hell, we haven't seen Isamu yet. Dammit!
*: We have a small terminal here, so I take the opportunity to drop a save.
*: More empty rooms here. Which means, cells.
> It's quiet now.
Voice: YOU CANNOT SEE ME! ...NOR CAN YOU LAY A FINGER ON ME FROM THERE! FOOL! TAKE THIS!
> You were knocked out of the room.
Alright then, nothing else stands in our way. Isamu, I'm coming.
*: We return to the mirage through the fourth floor, then make our way to the fifth floor again.
: Above... He's on the 5th floor...
They're all unconscious in there. Small blessings...
: Yeah, that's what I figured. This is ending soon, one way or another.
: Defeat him and save Futomimi, please!!
*: I remember Mizuchi having a nasty trick up its sleeve, but man I don't remember what it is. Welp, never mind then. I give Dis a Chakra Drop just in case, and step inside.
Boss battle: Snake Mizuchi
*: Whuh-oh. Okay, so, nasty multi-hit ice attack. I can deal with that. I make my way back to the boss room, ingest Wadatsumi to void ice damage, and summon Gui Xian and Arahabaki to absorb and repel the same. Let's try again.
Boss battle: Snake Mizuchi Redux
*: Well hey, no nasty trick then, just a shrinking gimmick. Interestingly, it's not just a neat visual effect; as the Mizuchi shrinks from taking damage, the ice spells it can use grow progressively weaker, from Mabufudyne at the beginning down to Bufu when near death. It's mostly a question of surviving the first few rounds long enough to knock the wind out of him. I was only worried when Zed got panicked, but that Sacred Water came in real handy. (Speaking of panic, Dis picking up Void Mind by random luck sure helped eat up icons.) And I'm glad to see Arahabaki inherited Momunofu's boss-annihilating power despite his lower strength. Shame about how ridiculous his attack animation looks, but he's got no joints, whatchagonnado.
*: Miasma is an upgraded ice Magatama, still spellcaster-oriented. However, unlike Wadatsumi, it's weak to fire, not electricity. It would teach us Wild Dance next, which has a chance to confuse an entire enemy group.
There are four chests in this room, but full K is not for a while yet and we have pressing business besides.
: ......You're...... ...a human...? No, a demon...?
: It's complicated.
: ...I see. You are the "Demi-fiend" I prophesied about. Very interesting.
*: Note that this is the only Manikin we've met who looks us directly in the eyes. He also does not twitch.
: It was my pleasure. Your people are having a rough time out there, I had to do something.
: My name is Futomimi. You may know it already, but I can see into the near future.
: Yeah... I must admit that's also why I came here.
: I've been waiting for you to come and save us, you who are both human and demon...
: Oh definitely.
: It seems he came to see me, but he was also caught.
: I had hoped we'd bust in here together, but he left on his own and I was... side-tracked. But you probably already know that.
: You should see him, then. I sense a strange energy in him. I am worried about the other Manikins, so I must be going. Thank you again for saving us. ...Now, if you'll excuse me.
Cutscene: Within yourself
He's just lucky someone left a terminal drum in there.