The Let's Play Archive

.hack (Series)

by DoubleNegative

Part 23: .hack Mutation - //Liminality Vol. 2 - In the Case of Yuki Aihara (ANIME WARNING)

//Liminality Vol. 2 "In the Case of Yuki Aihara"

Welcome back everyone! Last time, Kite fucked up. Badly. Now let's explore the ramifications of his fuck up. We're gonna do that by looking at Volume II of Liminality - In the Case of Yuki Aihara.

First a recap. Last time on Liminality: approximately dick-all happened. The main character, Mai, wandered around for 45 minutes while navel gazing pretty hard. She also got her arm grabbed by Junichiro Tokuoka quite a bit as well. While all that was going on, the two decided to work together to investigate why her boyfriend, Tomonari Kasumi, was in a coma.

Today's episode focuses on one character we never even met last time. Though she tried her damnedest to annoy us.

Oh and if you feel like skipping this entirely and just watching things unfold, I found someone on Youtube that uploaded all the Liminality episodes with spanish subtitles. If that sort of thing interests you, then have at it.

I strongly recommend against watching future episodes. The opening cutscenes for them have pretty major spoilers for each of the associated games!

With that said, let's kick it off!

Music: A Thousand and One Nights (Vol. 2 Opening)

Someone went through and painstakingly translated all the Japanese text on the screen. So no approximations by me this time!

: Yuki.

: Hm?

: Going somewhere?

: Yeah. Bye.

: What are you upset about?

: Nothing.

: Okay. Cut the crap.

: It gets to me that mom and dad were so opposed to it, but now that they're gonna be grandparents, Miho is their only topic. Forget about me.

: I gave up on acting to run the family business!

: Yeah, that's because otherwise you wouldn't have been able to get married.

: Wait!

: Give her a message for me that I won't be home for dinner tonight, would ya?

: Hey!

: Loser. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Show of hands. Who likes Yuki right now? Maybe we're just not seeing everything, but so far she's blown off her brother's wife who was trying to show concern, and has said some extremely hurtful thins to her brother who had to give up his life's ambition. She's a teenage girl that plays Internet Games all day and is on her way to meet with a middle aged guy in the city.

We're supposed to empathize with her. Oh and spoilers: over the course of the next half hour, she gets exactly zero character development. So at the end, she's still the same self-absorbed, selfish little girl she was at the start.

: I'm still in Tokyo. Yeah. Would it be a problem if I'm a bit late for our meeting? Mmm-hmm. There's a place I gotta go to. Gimme two hours! Thanks. Sorry.

: Ohh all right. Fine. In two hours! You know you owe me one for this! Uh-huh. Yeah right.

Our heroine, ladies and gents.

Now these two shots confuse me. They're taken about a second apart, and all she does is press a button. I have no idea why she made her phone jump forward 25 minutes, but knowing Yuki it was so she can yell at Tokuoka when he shows up on time, but by her watch is almost half an hour late. No, I don't like her. Whatever gave you that idea?

: *groan* Two hours bites!

Though seeing a movie is at least a good way to kill an hour and a half.

Look at the URL in the middle carefully!

: *cough*

A in C-Major *ding* noise starts playing out of nowhere.

Creepy Clown: Ahh, here you are!

Meanwhile in "The World"...

Back in reality...

: *gasp*

A fire alarm goes off.

: Yes, I'm certain. I really heard it!

: I'm sure you're right. Still. It's just hard to believe! Yes, of course I know the library has a search engine that is linked online to the network, but... It's important to try finding something on your end!

: Um... I'll try what I can.

: Here's what I think. If there is something in "The World," I suspect it was already in the previous version, "Fragment." And CC Corp put it out on the market never knowing that it was in it! If they had known, even they wouldn't have sold something that potentially dangerous to an unknowing public. If that's it, the "Fragment" developer is the guy to investigate. Maybe he's the key.

He reaches for his pack of cigarettes and puts one in his mouth. He goes to light it when...


: *static* Mr. Tokuoka are you there? Mr. Toku-- *cuts off*

: It cut off...

: Oh that's great. Now what?

Two things. One: this is Kite's fault. Entirely. He Data Drains Magus and Tokyo's harbor catches fire. Two: exactly what caused that explosion and the resulting fires to create those huge plumes of smoke? My best guess involves substations overloading and exploding, which is probably unsound. Feel free to post your own guesses.

Woman on Loudspeaker: Everyone please stay calm! We are investigating the situation.

Woman on Loudspeaker: We apologize, but for your safety, we ask that everyone please evacuate the building. Please follow staff directions calmly.

With no power to the entire complex, people are leaving in a massive surge. The inevitable happens and someone knocks Yuki over.

Man with Megaphone: Please don't run! Calm down!

Man with Megaphone: You cannot use the escalators! Please, take the stairs! Please, follow instructions!

What was the old Mitch Hedberg joke? Ahh, right.

Sorry for the convenience, indeed!

: A-in-C-Major... communication disruption, and now...

: No way. Can't be that.

: *sigh*

First Tokuoka sees that there's no service. So he tries to manually dial Yuki's cell.

: Out of range...

So naturally he next tries speed dial. With the same results. It's almost as if there's no cell service!

: Well then...

Back in the mall, apparently so many people entered the "broken" escalator that they're pressed all the way up against the closing shutter.

Woman with Megaphone: This way people! This way! Hurry!

Woman with Megaphone: Please proceed slowly without pushing!

Seeing all these people in the mall is giving me Dead Rising vibes.

This woman is staring at Yuki.

: Hey! That's the wrong way!

: I wouldn't go if I were you. There are far too many people that way. And besides, there's no way out if you go in that direction.

: Tell me, how do you know? Why are you so sure of yourself? Hm? Who are you?

: I just work here in the building. Up on the second floor. This way.

: Hey...

: Just my luck. We would've been able to get out without a problem if we'd been on the first or second floor.

: The automatic doors won't open if the power's out.

: We'll break it!

: That's thick reinforced glass. I don't know how strong it is, but I'm willing to bet it won't go that easy.

: Even if it is reinforced, the store windows on the first floor, and the second floor balcony windows, should be the regular household breakable kind, right?

She left her shoe on the ground.

Not that it matters, because Yuki's right. No power, no emergency exit. That is so not safe. This is a public mall and they don't have emergency exit doors that open without power? That's a lawsuit waiting to happen!

: Hey. It's not opening.

: You aren't having second thoughts, are you?

: Hmph. Not really.

: *chuckle* The others who went toward the escalator are hardly better off. It's nothing but complete chaos where they've gone. Way too many people crammed in at once. If their fear and anxiety pass the breaking point, mass hysteria is likely to erupt, and that's the last place where I want to be. Crushed within a freaked out mob.

: Same here. I don't want any part of it!

: In that case, we better come up with another escape plan.

: Maybe we're better off here. Can't we just wait it out?

: Sure. Why don't you just call for help on your cell phone?

: Oh! I forgot all about that!

: Oh...

: I don't think we can count on help from the outside.

: Huh?

: The computers upstairs are connected to the servers at the main office. But they went down just before the alarms went off. And considering that cell phones are now useless, I have a *grunt* feeling that it may not be something that's just happening here.

The woman motions for Yuki to come help.

: Huh?

: *gasp*

: This way, come on!

Search me why "The World" appeared and made Yuki freak out.

: Hmm?

: Lift the other side.

: Huh?

Yuki has the best dumbfounded expression.

: Hey, do you think the network is responsible for all this?

: Well, I guess you're not a complete idiot!

: Hey!

: Alright, let go.

Tokuoka is pretty athletic despite his apparent size and smoking habit.

And just around the corner is what he's looking for.

: *sigh*

: Damn.

: I don't want juice! Give me information dammit!

: Do you know a lot about the net?

: I only go online now and then. So I can't say I'm an expert. Why?

: Right before the whole thing happened, I saw a field from a game flash on the theater screen for a split second. It was weird.

A reminder that this is what Yuki saw. I, too, remember the field that was nothing but "The World" in giant serif font on a static-y backdrop.

: We're living in an age where streaming cinema is quite common.

: But don't you think that's strange?

No. I used my Netflix subscription quite a lot in 2010. Nothing strange about it.

: The name of the game that appeared is "The World" and there's rumors that it's infected by viruses and other stuff.

: Urban legends?

: No. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine went into a coma while playing the game.

: Is something burning?

: *sniff sniff*

: The idiots didn't even turn off the oven before they bailed out.

: Maybe we should hurry.

: Hm?

: Don't you know? The food court is on the first floor. Remember I said we could get out easily if we were on the first or second floor? As if things weren't bad enough, we've got a new problem. If more ovens were left on, it's just a matter of time before a fire breaks out.

: And on top of that...

: Stop there. I don't wanna know. I get it. We better get our butts out of here fast.

: Fine. Forget it. I won't say it then.

: Here it is, Harald. "The Epitaph of..."

: So he's the one.

*classical music ringtone*

: Now!

: If we pry open these doors, we can see what floor the elevator stopped on.

: Mm-hmm.

: Ready? Go!

: *whistle* Well, is anybody going down?

The pan falls for about three seconds before hitting bottom.

: Thank god I got through!

This is Kyo talking. We won't really meet her until later. Just keep in mind that she was Tomonari's other friend we "met" in Vol 1.

: Uh, how do you do? I'm Mai.

: We can do that later. Where's Yuki? Is she all right? I saw on the news that something awful is happening in Yokohama. Isn't she with you?

: I was in Tokyo researching something. Mr. Tokuoka is heading over there now. But I haven't been able to reach him on his cell phone! What do you mean, something awful?

: It's just coming in. I called you hoping to find out. But never mind! Please, will you keep trying to contact Mr. Tokuoka? I'll hunt down Yuki.

: Sure.

: The number you are trying to reach is either out of the coverage area or...




After I posted the Liminality Vol 1 update for Infection, there was some discussion in the thread about Japanese work ethic. Someone mentioned that because their mass transit was so reliable, if it ever broke down, all the riders were given a piece of paper that effectively says "Yes the subway really did break down. Please excuse this person for being tardy."

I wonder how many of those are gonna be given out after the crisis here is cleared up.

Male voice: Hey, did you hear? They say that Yokohama is under attack!

Other guy: Terrorists?

Male voice: Don't know. But it's been cut off from the rest of the country.

: Well, I'm sure you'll make up your own mind and decide what you want to do. But just sitting around isn't going to help you at all. If you want to die here, that's fine with me.

: What? For real? C'mon, it's that serious?

: That sure is the way I see it.

: But... but how? Why is this happening?

: Well, if we die here, we'll never be able to find the answer.

: This is too much to deal with. I'm going mental here.

: Up there.

: Let's say for the sake of argument, that a fire breaks out, the system malfunctions, or an air conditioner with a temper blows out hot air somewhere. That's when that will turn on. Now if a large amount of carbon dioxide is expelled, guess what?

: Can't breathe, suffocate.

: I'm not keen on that idea.

: But wait. What about all those people on the escalator?

: I guess the only thing we can do for them is pray.

: But that's so mean!

: Huh. Teacher's pet!

: Huh?

: An honor student, and everybody loves you. Oh you might use a swear word or two, nothing very dirty, but that's as far as you'd go. Neither bad nor good.

: Hey, that's not very...

: Well what the hell do you expect me to do? We'll be lucky if we get ourselves out alive!

: Oh, all we have to do is tell them about this escape route!

: Go ahead then. I'm not gonna stop you. But I'm leaving! Oh, just one more thing? The acrylic surrounding the escalator won't even crack.

: Acrylic?

The fire alarm goes off.

: No way then! I'm not turning my back on them!

The alarm ends. A long, silent moment passes between the two.

: Let go! Don't worry about me! Get out!

While Yuki is stunned from the slap, the woman tears off her other sleeve and creates a pair of "gloves" for Yuki too.

: Let's go. Hurry!

: Ready? Go!

: Hold tight and don't look down!

Mai takes out her phone and calls Kyo.

: Did you reach him?

: Not yet...

: I see.

: Um. Do you think I should go to Yokohama as well?

: No.

: But...

: I don't want to lose contact with you too, Mai.

: I'm sure they're both alright.

: Yeah.

Apparently they fell down and got knocked out.

: You alright?

The woman goes to move and winces in pain.

: My ankle. I think I sprained it.

: Hm?

: They're thick!

Yuki snatches her glasses away.

: Why don't you wear contacts?

: My eyes are sensitive.

: Do they get red?

: Mm-hmm.

: That's one more thing to worry about.

I can sympathize with Yuki on this. I tried contacts for a while two days. On the second day, in addition to turning my eyes red, the drops the place gave didn't lubricate them. So they eventually fell out onto the floor anyway. Went back to glasses after that.

: Wow...

: I guess the escape plan's a success.

: Guess this is the end of the world. What could have caused so much chaos?

: Second coming of Pluto's Kiss. Because when computers abandon us, then all hell breaks loose.

I imagine that they're trying for a moral here, but it's not exactly the time or place to stick one in. Furthermore, the dotHack universe is all about computers and shit. So why would the writer put in a moral about not being so reliant on them?

: Hey, where you going?

: Home. Oh, yeah. By the way? I lied. The wall of the escalator? It isn't acrylic. I just wanted to see your reaction, so I made the whole thing up. They're fine. They'll get out. Well, I think. Sorry, it was mean.

: Why did you...

: Aihara. That's your name?

: Yes, have we met somewhere before?

: Yeah, a while back at Miho's wedding. I recall that you weren't wearing those coke bottles, so I guess you couldn't see my face that well.

: Miho... are you a friend of hers?

: You could say that.

: That's why you decided to help me?

: Who knows? I hadn't planned on helping you. If it bothers you, just think of me as some woman you ran into. Hopefully, this will be the last time we run into each other. Because you remind me too much of what I used to be, and it's not a very pretty picture. It's not any of my business, but you should always wear glasses. (The subs on my version add "They look good on you.")

Jesus Christ, Yuki. If that's how bad your vision is, then it's not a case of "you should wear glasses because they look good on you" it's a case of "you should wear glasses so you're not legally blind."

: Damn.

: Yuki?

: You're Tokuoka?

: Oh thank god!

: Don't "thank god" me! You're over six hours late!

: I'm sorry, forgive me. But I had problems too, you know! Well, nevermind that. Have you been waiting here the whole time?

: I admit, I was tempted to go back home. But a lot happened! I mean a lot!

: What?

: That.

: Does this have anything to do with "The World"?

: Well, hopefully not. But it could be.

: And still virtually no one is aware of what's happening.

: Yes.

: Well, now that I'm aware, what do you think I should do?

: So then. Can I rely on your cooperation?

: Mm-hmm.

: Oh good.

Tokuoka's cell phone rings. So does Yuki's.

: Yeah, I'm fine!

: Hello?

: Yep, she's standing right next to me.

: Hi! Don't worry, everything's cool.

: It's Mai.

: I have Kyo on the line.

: She's on the phone. Yeah I know. Mm-hmm. I'm okay. So, how'd it go? Huh? Something named the "Epitaph of Twilight"?

: Huh?

: What the hell is that?

: Wait, I've heard of it! That's Kyo's territory, she might know it! (To Kyo now.) You recall what the background prototype of "The World" is based on? It was the Epitaph of Twilight, right? (And to Tokuoka again.) That's the one!

: By territory, you mean expert?

: That's right.

: All right! Hey, I think we just caught the enemy by the tail here.

: Wow, really?

: Yeah! Hope so!

: What? I'm confused. (To Kyo.) Did you catch that?

: Yes, I heard him.

: What does it mean?

: I need to speak to Mr. Tokuoka right now.

And... so ends Liminality Vol. 2! Was it everything you hoped it would be? Barring that, was it at least almost interesting? No? I thought not. They can't all be winners, but at least things are starting to take shape for Mai's team. Hopefully this at least helped you all better understand just how much Kite fucked up last time.

As for next time, the plot of Mutation is now obviously on hold. We've got some bonus content for the game to get through, so look forward to that in the near future! See y'all then!