Oh shit. This is feeling pretty bad: JJ and Tachibana split up and are running around the car park being pursued by Dragon Head goons, while Tachibana is reflecting on the fun times he’s had with JJ.
Which can only mean one thing.
And sure enough: he trips, encountering a Dragon Head goon, who shoots him, promising him he’ll get Death Scythe, too.
Meanwhile, JJ is hiding out, hearing the Dragon Head guys approaching, and he grabs his knife, thinking about the last time he used one.
Sure enough, the guys approach, and JJ kills the one who gets to the room he’s in. After all seems quiet, he’s feeling as apprehensive as I was at the start of this chapter about Tachibana, and he wanders down the corridor, wondering how come the lights are off again.
And holy fuck, jump scare extraordinaire.
Seriously, I was not expecting to see Ugajin, looking absolutely terrifying, but there you go… and as can be expected, Ugajin’s not playing around.
So, how I ended up here with Tachibana? An expected, but still bad end.
After a night of passion, JJ wakes up alone, feeling melancholy, Liz Phair’ s Fuck and Run style… only with more realising that he’s actually come to care about people in his life, and that since Azusa rocked up, and now that he and Andy the lovebird are gone, he’s all by himself… and he’s entirely unused to that.
Then he has a spidey sense that something is wrong.
Sure enough– and okay, it sounds far-fetched and coincidental, but in a game like this, I’m actually inclined to trust characters like JJ when their instincts tell them that something is up, given that so much of their understanding of the world is intuitive and reactionary– Tachibana is running upstairs, freaking the fuck out because Dragon Head are suddenly after them.
Can we all collectively say, “Oh, fuck,” ladies and gentlemen? Because that is what this is: shit has officially hit the fan, and Dragon Head do not mess around when they’re fucked off with someone.
They make their escape, and Tachibana admits there’s a price on his head, which probably has something to do with them icing all those drug people before the yaoitimes.
Tachibana is pretty sure this is connected to the people he was running from in Osaka– where he was before he hooked up with the host club drug dudes– who were basically the crime gang who took him in as an abandoned youngster. Again, similar to JJ’s situation, only with more mobsters and less jungle warfare, but roughly the same amount of sexual abuse and killing people.
Unlike JJ, though, Tachibana’s boss drugged him, which is pretty much where Tachibana’s distaste for drugs comes from. Because he’d had a problem with them, even though he unwillingly got into them, and as every addict who’s come out the other side knows, getting off drugs is majorly fucking nasty.
Also, Tachibana got roped into killing his boss… and then had a price put on his head for doing so: the expectation being that he was meant to have been cleaned up in that mess, too. But having the same sort of luck as JJ, he’s survived, and now there are mobsters after him.
Tachibana decides that the only way to deal with this is to go to Osaka and deal with the mobsters head on. And of course, he wants JJ to come with him.
…And while they’re discussing all this, a couple of Dragon Head goons, who are after the bounty, appear and decide they’re going to take them out. JJ and Tachibana deal with them, and then decide to high tail it to Epilogue Bar and see what Todo has to suggest they do.
Big problem, though: these sexy manbeasts are waiting for them. Not only are they Dragon Head people, they’re higher up Dragon Head people, which is very much Bad Fucking News for everyone.
They flee, only to pursed to the Black Market by Dragon Head mobsters. And of course they squabble on tactical solutions: JJ wants to move quietly and unseen, Tachibana wants to kill everyone in his path. Once again, I’m wondering how the hell Tachibana has managed to stay alive for as long as he has.
Anyway, they escape to an underground carpark, where JJ gives Tachibana a knife and asks if he knows how to use it. Tachibana gets annoyed, because he’s “the machine gun of Naniwa,” not some knife user, and JJ is very much “WTF?” because that combination of machismo and stupidity should not have allowed someone to survive as long as Tachibana has.
Maybe this is why I can’t get that invested in this ship: I can’t suspend disbelief here, because Tachibana seems too stupid to live, let alone hook up with JJ. And I’m also at the point where I feel like whatever choices I make, Tachibana is randomly going to do something collossally careless and dumb anyway, which will result in a Bad Ending for everyone.
They continue fighting, and JJ decides that he might as let Tachibana do whatever Tachibana’s gotta do. After all, the guy’s survived as long as he has without any common sense, right?
Just like he said he would, JJ goes down to the docks.
Interestingly enough, there actually is a Toyosu Docks in Japan, which used to be a shipyard, but was turned into a shopping centre complex in the 80s. We have something like that here called Docklands, where a former dock area was turned into a shopping centre and apartment complex, only unlike LalaPort, Docklands is a depressing and dull and looks vaguely threatening and like something out of a dystopian video game.
JJ is pissed off, and asks where the fuck Azusa is. Tachibana taunts him a little, telling him that he’s sold Azusa to Dragon Head, there’s some taunting and rage from both of them, and they both draw their weapons…
Interestingly enough, and this was something I wondered about last time he drew his gun: could this have been been the weapon that killed Azusa’s parents? JJ noted at the crime scene that the bullet holes were much larger than the ones his Beretta would have created, and in his following description it seems that the Walther P38 takes the same ammo as him… so however annoying and irksome and downright horrible this dude is, he’s probably not the Tono murderer. (Even though he’s just told JJ he’s sold Azusa to Dragon Head.)
There is a bit of a gun battle outside the warehouses at the docks, which then gets taken inside… more running around and shooting at each other, and we learn that Tachibana, irritating as he actually is, is also alarmingly competent.
When it looks like it’s all over, and only one is going to leave alive, we get a spanner in the works, in the form of a group of other dudes who rock up in search of Tachibana.
Turns out they’re former associates of his: Tachibana was working as a host and his buddies in the industry also had some raging drug problems, too. Shit hit the fan there, people wound up dead, and Tachibana was on the run and in some degree of hiding, like JJ, and he’s got these host dudes with heroin problems chasing him down, after having killed a whole lot of them, but having left their ring leader alive. Explains why Tachibana would rather have a hot knife plunged into him than to use smack, I guess… or not. I dunno. But what we do know is that Tachibana’s up to his neck in some seriously deep doo doo.
JJ feels a pang of sympathy for the dude: after all, he’s running from his past as well, and Tachibana shows a rare moment of remorse at getting JJ involved in the whole mess, and even apologises to him. And that is the pivotal moment where JJ realises that he no longer wants to kill Tachibana.
Tachibana then tells JJ that he’ll return Azusa to him, and is now weirdly coy about things with JJ, which suggests the blossoming of TRUE YAOI LOVE as every fangirl knows.
I wish I was more invested in Tachibana and JJ as a pairing, but I’m really not, though I’m curious to see what exactly happens.
They rock up at Epilogue, and Todo seems surprised that they’re there together. JJ seems surprised that Tachibana and Todo are familiar with one another (seriously, JJ, it’s not that much of a stretch) and it turns out that Todo helped out Tachibana in the past, too… something Tachibana wants to not talk about.
Tachibana asks where Azusa is, and Todo is evasive. JJ, meanwhile, is very much “WTF?” about Azusa being there, and, not, well., sold to Dragon Head, to which Tachibana admits that the whole thing with Azusa was a setup so JJ would want to fight him.
Turns out that Azusa has nicked off somewhere. Todo gave Azusa some connections and decided to allow him– something JJ never did– to choose his own fate, hoping he’s “returned to a respectable life.”
JJ has a moment of reflection about the whole thing, deciding that his time with Azusa has come to an end, and if Azusa decides to kill him later, well, he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it.
Tachibana, meanwhile, decides that he’s going to take out his old former host buddy turned crazed drug addict. JJ decides, when he realises that Todo is converned about Tachibana, that he’ll help Tachibana kick some host/drug addict butt, too.
They kick said butt, and Tachibana is faced with dealing with the leader of the group, his former buddy now gone mad with paranoia. Tachibana does, and they return back to the hideout, and have a bit of a discussion, JJ realising that he actually cares about Tachibana and knows how he feels, to a degree, having had to kill people whom he knew back in the jungle.
Tachibana is a total touchy feely type, and JJ finds himself comforting him… which of course leads to NSFW imagery. A little clue with this game: you’ll get this sort of lead-in piano music that sounds vaguely reminiscent of the love theme, and guess what that signifies? Yaoi times. It’s sort of like in Hadaka Shitsuji where Tomoaki makes that smile, and you just know something really fucked up is going to happen.
Anyway, they have sexytimes, and then it’s the end of the chapter, which is marked with “receiving items”– ie, adding the Skorpion and the Walther p38 that Tachibana uses to the gallery of goodies which is accessible from the main menu.
When you return to the main menu and click on “Extra”, there are three menus: “Graphic” gives you random CGs you’ve unlocked from playing the game; “Scene” gives you the sex scenes when you unlock them, and “Item” is your collection of “unlocked items”– predominantly the firearms used by the various characters in the game, but also random other items, which leads me to another point: some of the characters– namely the leaders of the factions– need to have their “underlings” unlocked/played through before you can get to them. In the “lone wolf” example, you have to “unlock” the stuff in Tachibana’s route before you can play for Todo’s route. And each character you “unlock” teaches you a little more about the settings and the storyline over all.
There’s another screen worth pointing out, which doesn’t really do much until you’re on a particular route, under “Status.”
This is a nice lil tally of where you stand with the dudes: when they’re dead, they’re crossed out, when you are on their route, bullet holes will appear in their picture… and when you’ve gotten their good ending, the portrait changes to them smiling.
Anyway, onto the wrap-up of Tachibana’s route, I guess…
So if it’s not bad enough that bothersome houseguest Tachibana just won’t piss off now that he’s all well and healed, and that he’s somehow mixed up with the drug trade and Dragon Head, JJ returns to the hideout to inform them of the impending move, only to hear a pained cry from Azusa.
And the door closed and locked with a security chain. JJ peeps inside, visibly worried about Azusa… who appears to be being raped by Tachibana.
And… this was basically where I was just like, “Okay, I don’t think I’m ever going to like this guy.”
There’s some conversation between them which is somewhat vague, including mentions of JJ, and we’re left wondering exactly how things got to this place while JJ was out chatting to the friendly neighbourhood information broker.
Tachibana then expresses something akin to rage with Azusa; that he’s been ruined as a hitman because of taking him on; it’s surreal to the point of making me wonder if there’s some jealousy on Tachibana’s part, of the JJ/Azusa relationship, even though it’s basically one gigantic train wreck. Envying those two is a bit like saying you really want a relationship like The Joker and Harley Quinn have. Most of the time, they don’t even like one another.
Seeing what he’s seen, JJ gets a flashback to the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Tiger of the Jungle, shooting through the chain on the door, and busting in. After a bit of an argument– apparently he’s promised Azusa something— the two have drawn weapons at one another, and JJ suddenly learns that Tachibana isn’t just all talk, that he’s quick.
JJ is just about to shoot Tachibana… only to be stopped by Azusa. And then attacked by Tachibana, who promptly leaves.
It’s Azusa, despite the state he’s in, who comes to JJ’s aid with a dampened towel, only JJ is furious, and slaps him away. Azusa’s clearly pissed off, and tells JJ that he’ll be stronger if he goes with Tachibana rather than stays with JJ, which only seems to cement what we know about Azusa being hopelessly clueless about the big bad world out there.
And then he… actually leaves. JJ’s stuck with his own thoughts, in a suddenly very empty hideout. And that’s when he admits to himself that he’d become attached to Azusa. And starts having flashbacks about Tiger of the Jungle. And starts thinking of himself as weak.
The next morning, JJ’s phone rings, and it’s [another player choice]. I went with “Tachibana” and after some phone conversation, Tachibana says to meet him down at the docks in the evening.
We then get a cutscene to Epilogue Bar, where Tachibana is asking Todo to keep an eye on Azusa. It makes sense that Tachibana knows the place, I guess, and that he might have some sort of relationship with The Professor, but Azusa is unimpressed with the whole situation. Todo very reluctantly agrees, and thus concludes this somewhat short chapter.