So, shit is hitting the fan. JJ’s at home with the dudes and one of the subordinates runs in, covered in blood.
Luka has been injured; he was seen getting pushed out of a car, and of course his attackers fled.
Kiryuu is understandably freaking the fuck out; Luka is in terrible shape, and it looks like Dragon Head have declared war on King Caesar.
Luka gets carried upstairs to his room, and medical assistance is sought. JJ stands guard over him; Kiryuu has gone to escort the doctor upstairs; pretty soon, the doctor’s there and setting up a makeshift operating theatre.
JJ feels a bit useless, until the doctor says they’re going to need a blood transfusion to save Luka. …turns out JJ has the same blood type as Luka, and is the only one who can assist; and Kiryuu is basically admitting, then and there, that he is really relying on JJ at the moment. JJ gets set up for the blood transfusion while the doctor removes bullets from Luka’s body… and then he slips back into unconsciousness and starts having Tiger related flashbacks.
And then we get another complication involving Tiger of the Jungle, and JJ: turns out that Tiger similarly saved JJ’s life with a blood transfusion years ago, too. According to him, he did it because JJ had taken a lot of time and effort to get trained up, but I think by now we all know better: every single one of the men in this game won’t admit that they actually care quite deeply about the people they care about– even if they’re treating them horribly at the same time. It’s so similar to what JJ did to Azusa… what Kiryuu did to JJ… hell, what just about everyone does to JJ.
JJ recovers in his room, and in the evening, Kiryuu comes to see him: it seems Luka is going to be okay, thanks to the doctor… and JJ. JJ’s genuinely happy that “even my tainted blood could save the life of another.”
Kiryuu seems a bit fidgety and nervous, for some reason, though given what he’s been through, I don’t think anyone’s expecting him to be behaving normally.
But Kiryuu’s crisis stems from the fact that he felt he couldn’t do anything for Luka. JJ offers him a drink, and even though Kiryuu normally only drinks beer, he starts chugging down JJ’s whiskey, and hoo boy, his face has gone all red and this is probably going to get awkward all over again.
Kiryuu is really beating himself up that he couldn’t save Luka. Eventually he explains that he’s in debt to the man, because Luka actually once saved his life, and starts giving his backstory: he was an investigator until some Mafia guys he was following caught up with him, and then Luka Bellini came in and offered him a job. And flirted with him. A lot. Luka basically asked for a punch on with Kiryuu, even offering to make the whole thing look above board… eventually, Kiryuu lost, but Luka had knocked him out… feeling a bit guilty about that, Luka took Kiryuu back to the King Caesar headquarters and allowed him to recover.
Luka helped him out, and Kiryuu got a sense of family… and warmth… and belonging… and one which fit nicely with his honour code too; and of course, there was Luka himself… which was how Kiryuu became a Kind Caesar member.
Just like JJ, Kiryuu had been a solitary person until King Caesar gave him a sense of family and cameraderie, too.
JJ hears all this… and reaches out to touch his hair, which makes Kiryuu go all cute and blushy, and decide he has to leave, but JJ wants to be real with him. He pulls him closer, and tries to get Kiryuu talk talk about their situation… and then admits that while he knows Kiryuu loves Luka, it makes him unreasonably jealous for some reason.
Kiryuu’s like, “But you should care about the Family, too!” and JJ is then like, “Pull back from this and look at what’s right in front of you, for god’s sake!” and then kisses him.
It’s unbearably sweet and adorable, and I think the first time JJ’s actually admitted that he has a thing for someone… you know, without too much weirdness or bizarre excuses.
JJ realises that he actually really wants Kiryuu, and not to just be a replacement for Luka, and Luka is all cute and blushy and everything, and Kiryuu is all conflicted because Luka is in the next room all injured and stuff, and JJ gets a bit more blunt and flirty.
They part ways, but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here, and, well, dammit, they’re adorable.
Next morning, they’re in Kiryuu’s quarters discussing a game plan for dealing with Dragon Head, whom they’re certain are going to be trying to move in on them while their boss is down.
Kiryuu sends the others out and tells JJ he has a special role. When the rest leave and JJ is standing there, Kiryuu explains their diabolical plan:
They’re faking Luka’s death to lead Dragon Head into a trap. Sending out a hearse to make it look like Luka’s body is going back to the Old Country, in order to draw out Dragon Head and confuse them, and I gotta admit, it’s a pretty good plan. The only problem with it is that the people who come down to verify Luka’s body… aren’t actually the top executives of Dragon Head as Kiryuu and JJ were expecting they’d be: it’s Uozumi instead. Still, he falls for the trap– the old bomb-in-a-coffin thing– and Dragon Head is down one executive.
Though trouble is brewing back home: Dragon Head have attacked King Caesar’s headquarters now, and JJ heads back to fight alongside them. Out the front, Wong and Ida are fighting the King Caesar guys, and inside, down in the basement, JJ meets up with Kiryuu, who has gone into autodrive mode; they’ve moved Luka down here, too, and the doctor is with them, and they’re watching what’s going on via closed circuit TVs.
Seems like Ugajin’s rocked up to cause hell.
Kiryuu’s worried, and regretfully says JJ will have to fight alongside the other guys now that Ice Gallows has appeared on the scene and made things a bit more complicated: he’s staying downstairs with Luka.
Then he stretches a hand out to JJ. And again, it’s unexpectedly sweet: he shakes JJ’s hand, but is squeezing it, like he can’t let go.
Kiryuu’s not sure if they’re both actually going to survive this, and it’s fraught with tension and drama, and just… yeah.
“Come back alive, JJ.”
OMFG. How can JJ not come back alive after this? Seriously?
Wong’s up the front, outside, and King Caesar are in some seriously deep shit right now. Paolo, Franco and Ishimatsu are working out what to do to get them out of their hair, and Ida and Wong are shooting up stuff, destroying the facade of the headquarters.
Franco sees the Dragon Head guys and charges out at Wong, only to get mowed down: the dude’s got a machine gun on him. Paolo and Ishimatsu are horrified at what they’ve just seen, unluckily for Wong, he’s out of ammo, too. But Paolo isn’t… nor is Ishimatsu.
Ida’s there, too, and then all of a sudden Ugajin starts running up behind them, freaking out about what Wong’s just done, telling him he should have fought smarter– “like this.” Taking Franco as a hostage, he threatens to shoot him is they don’t cease shooting at him and his guys.
Paolo is unimpressed: even though Franco is near death, he still thinks it’s a low move, though it does give Ugajin more time to taunt everyone. Eventually, Ishimatsu and Paolo put down their guns, and Ugajin calls in Wong and Ida to dispose of them.
JJ sneaks up behind them and takes Wong and Ida out, sending Ugajin into a complete panic… especially when he realises JJ’s got the M16 pointed at him.
Yeah, that’s not going to end well for Dragon Head, and the rest of them scatter the moment JJ kills Ugajin.
Kiryuu calls JJ and they talk about the situation, and it looks like it’s all sorted and everything can calm down… until JJ hears a gunshot from over the line and freaks out.
The game cuts to Kiryuu, who is fighting off Dragon Head guys who’ve snuck in, and Kiryuu is thinking about what JJ said about valuing his own life, and about how annoying JJ was, and how there is no way in hell he’s dying before JJ.
But… it’s not an enemy: it’s JJ returning!
JJ grabs Kiryuu in an embrace and strokes his hair, grateful that he’s still alive.
A few days later, Luka is on the mend, and he thanks JJ and Kiryuu for saving the family. He wishes to leave some of King Caesar’s territory under Kiryuu’s control, since Kiryuu was the one who saved them; Kiryuu is all “I don’t want this!” but Luka assures him that it’ll raise his status, having such responsibility.
Luka is about to make JJ an executive, but JJ intervenes. he talks about how King Caesar feels like a family… but how he’s ultimately not used to it and can;t really stay like this, and how things are getting less safe out there, and how he really needs to go back to being a “stray dog.” He tells the other executives, explaining that it’s not so much about leaving the family as going out to collect information to keep everyone safe.
Kiryuu is all, “No way, it’s not safe!” but Luka agrees to it, provided JJ doesn’t take any insane risks… and provided he watch over Kiryuu.
JJ goes to pack, and Kiryuu follows him up to his room, where they talk and… just can’t quit one another, even though they acknowledge this will probably be the last time they’re able to be together in this way, since meeting together in future is going to pose considerable risks. They make love, and afterwards Kiryuu falls asleep, and JJ sneaks off into the night.
The scene cuts to JJ taking down a target elsewhere, later in time, receiving instructions via an earpiece, and he then arrives at a cafe the next morning, where everyone’s reading about how it seems that Wanibuchi, the politician involved in mafia conflicts, appears to have been assassinated.
Kiryuu comes into the cafe and sits near him, leaving him a case full of cash, and they subtly arrange a date that evening.
JJ’s had to keep everything with Kiryuu very discreet, but it’s fairly clear that they still care about one another.
As I think absolute NO ONE is surprised at, Azusa does not take nicely to being left with Todo while JJ goes off to do Important Mafia Shit.
You can sort of understand it; he’s been treated like a child, he acts like one, JJ then gives him lessons in firearms and expects him to do grown up shit like assisting with killing a home invader, and all of a sudden, maybe he’s getting trusted to be mature with JJ. And then JJ ditches him like he’s a foster child he’s grown tired of.
To be fair to JJ, it’s all perfectly reasonable, but let’s think about Azusa’s point of view for a second: it’s abandonment that he’s had absolutely no lead-up to or control in. Again. Hopefully, Todo is going to be a more stable role model and provider for him, but still, at this point, Azusa doesn’t know that. And the poor kid is cracking it. He thought they were doing something adult and going to a bar. Instead, he’s getting transferred.
Todo is extremely nice about the whole thing, as Todo is, and points out that he’s sick and that he can’t really rely on JJ now that he’s no longer a child. Azusa is simultaneously crying and saying, “You’re scared of me, now, aren’t you?” to JJ, who is… not dealing well. He knocks Azusa out, catching him as he falls, and tells Todo he’s a handful. Todo’s all, “You haven’t been exactly easy, either,” to which JJ’s all, “Touche,” but he agrees to keep coming to the bar.
It’s… incredibly bittersweet.
Kiryuu’s there waiting for JJ, and advises him that when they get to King Caesar’s place, he’ll have his own room, which we can only hope is a bit nicer than the hideout after all of this. Kiryuu seems to think it is better than JJ deserves, anyway.
“…Don’t feel smug just because the boss likes you.”
Always the charmer, aren’t you, Kiryuu?
They drive through Dragon Palace to get stopped at a checkpoint– more nastiness from Kiryuu– though he has, at least, gotten JJ a fake ID.
They arrive at King Caesar’s place, and it’s already dusk, but Luka is entertaining some businesspeople– King Caesar runs legitimate business, imports and restaurants and stuff– and he excuses himself to personally greet JJ. Kiryuu is seriously pissy, especially when Luka talks about inviting JJ to join the family, and tells him that he’s going to be away on business, so to just let JJ settle in and rest up for a few days.
They go inside, and JJ runs into a couple of other King Caesar members, Paolo and Ishimatsu. They seem about as friendly as Kiryuu has been, taunting him about that incident five years ago. There’s a bit of snark, and then Kiryuu comes back to inform JJ that his room is ready, and takes him downstairs.
“I’m living here?” JJ thinks, but doesn’t say anything.
Kiryuu then punches JJ after insulting him a bit, and then calls a couple of mafia goons to hold him down while he continues with the punching.
And this was where I really started loathing Kiryuu, because it was such a completely shitty, underhanded thing to do. But then again, I’ve played Tachibana’s route and Ugajin’s route and both of them did particularly shitty and underhanded things as well, and both of those things involved rape.
I think what really gets me is that he bothers acting like he’s doing it for the sake of the “family,” asking JJ questions about loyalty and stuff, and then just punches the guy before giving him a moment to answer. Neither Ugajin (creepy predatory fucker) or Tachibana (shifty I-do-what-I-want fucker) tried to make out that what they were doing was for some sort of noble cause, or really use their position to do what they did. Whereas Kiryuu is pulling this out because he’s been trusted by Luka to just show him to his room and be decent, and he knows JJ has no idea wtf is going on, too.And then he’s dragged his underlings into it, too, solely because he has the authority to do so, which somehow just makes it a seriously, seriously low dog act.
Kiryuu beats him up and basically insults and attacks JJ’s character a bit more, and JJ just puts up with it, having the pride (or stupidity) to not break under him. It’s only when JJ goes to retaliate, and stops midway, and when Kiryuu asks why, that JJ says he’s not hitting his superior. That seems to be something for Kiryuu, who still doesn’t trust or like him, though. He also says that if JJ were to tell anyone what happened, no one would believe him, which again, somehow makes him a bigger prick than anyone else. I mean, Tachibana? Was basically childish and selfish. Ugajin was basically a sadist who gave no fucks. But this…? This whole “I can abuse my power and you’d better not tell anyone” thing really hits a sore point with me. Even JJ noted that it wasn’t even torture and had no purpose, it was just violence for its own sake.
Kiryuu then announces that he’s going upstairs for dinner with Luka, and asks his lackeys to take care of JJ’s injuries and escort him to his room.
JJ’s survived, but he’s miserable. No one trusts him, so he’s being treated like an apprentice, no one likes him, and it’s somehow lonelier being around other people when you don’t fit in than just being by yourself.
JJ starts to think he can do it, until his cohorts start squabbling about the ethos of the organisation and Luka’s leadership style. “Don’t say that in front of him– the pet tattles.”
Pet? Poor JJ hasn’t even seen Luka since he arrived!
JJ was literally on the verge of thinking these guys had some honor, but bitterly thinks they’re just like Dragon Head anyway, with their need for violence, and he isn’t giving two shits about their silly whinging and gossip.
JJ finally sees Luka about, though Kiryuu is with him. But JJ asks for a moment alone with him, while Kiryuu glares daggers at him, and tries to hurry Luka along, probably assuming JJ is going to talk about the unorthodox welcome party he got. Luka is chill and says that he wants to talk to JJ, too, and maybe it’s time JJ was introduced to everyone else. Kiryuu doesn’t seem pleased about this, either.
JJ asks what the politics are like within the organisation, and Luka knows exactly what he’s talking about, and says it’s really no big deal and that he is what he is, but King Caesar wouldn’t cease to exist if he died or something…
Cue Kiryuu getting concerned again.
Luka then tells both of them that he wants them to work together, which neither of them are enthralled about, but they go along with it anyway.
They then jump in Luka’s car– Kiryuu is miffed that JJ comes along– and go to their preferred dining establishment, a posh Italian restaurant owned and operated by one of their associates. Seems a whole heap of King Caesar are there and everyone’s drinking, and merriment is being had. JJ is uncomfortably the centre of attention a few times and feels a bit awkward. He winds up leaving early, walking home… he’s just not great in social situations… I don’t blame the guy.
A few days later, Kiryuu and JJ get The Job; they’ve got to go into a Dragon Head building and kill everyone. Kiryuu is typically “Do not question my authority!” and they go in.
The light is dim, and we learn that Kiryuu has an eerie sixth sense for being able to place– and then hit– enemies in darkness.
Gotta hand the guy some respect there, that’s pretty damned awesome.
He explains that in his previous job he was doing stuff like this, which makes JJ wonder what the hell he was previously doing. JJ thinks like me, “Yeah, he’s a jerk, but you’ve gotta admire his marksmanship.”
They’re about to leave when a car pulls up outside, and Kiryuu tells JJ to hold back.
And then in walks Ugajin.
JJ, who last saw that guy five years ago, asks who the hell he is. And Kiryuu’s all, “Dragon Head’s second-in-charge and probably the dude who fucked up your life five years ago, dude.”
Kiryuu explains that when Dragon Head was smaller, Ugajin helped them out on a lot of civil disputes with legal stuff, since he’s a lawyer and all…
They flee upstairs only to get chased by some more Dragon Head dudes, and JJ realises this mob are actually prepared, and slowly cornering them. Kiryuu sends JJ out as a decoy (again, so nice of him!) and they pop off some more Dragon Head dudes, and then Ugajin flips out a little and decides to leg it, and the remaining Dragon Head dudes retreat.
(This is the point where I’m thinking how easy it would be for JJ to shoot Kiryuu, and then return to King Caesar and say he was killed by Dragon Head– or just not return to King Caesar– and that honestly, if he did that, it would be understandable given what a prick Kiryuu’s been to him. I’m glad he doesn’t do that, but I couldn’t help but think that if he’d wanted to, he had all his ducks in a row there for that to be a possibility.)
Kiryuu is actually quite pleasant after this whole drama, though, and seems genuinely disgusted that Dragon Head used one of their dudes as bait to be hit by JJ so they could locate him… even though he all but did the same thing in making JJ play decoy.
Suddenly, something lands on the floor near them… and… holy shit it’s a grenade, run run run, guys… They jump out a window and land in a rubbish skip, and escape to the car, having a brief conversation. Funnily enough, JJ verbalises something similar to what I was thinking, only about what Kiryuu could have done with him, but Kiryuu’s all, “I considered it, but I prefer total victories.”
They return to Luka and the others at King Caesar’s place, and Luka is… a little bit evasive, though pleased they got the job done. Kiryuu is apologetic that they didn’t get Ugajin, but Luka points out that killing him would have resulted in retaliation, and that they’re trying to keep Dragon Head contained, rather than annihilate them completely.
It’s here where we get the impression that Luka isn’t really the fluffy dumb blond he sometimes comes across as… he’s just very easy going and social. Doesn’t mean he can’t be good at assessing threats and coming up with strategies.
Speaking of which, he casually tosses his mane and says, “Hey, Kiryuu, there’s something you haven’t reported on,” so chilled out that you almost find yourself feeling sorry for Kiryuu.
Kiryuu is confused, and then Luka takes a swipe at him.
Make no mistake, the dude can do those completely out-of-left-field attacks, just like Kiryuu pulled on JJ.
JJ is sort of standing there, watching in shock and confusion as Luka lays into Kiryuu, telling him that he asked everyone about JJ’s injuries, and that the story came out. Kiryuu tries this whole “I did it for the Family,” but Luka ain’t buying it. And it turns out that instead of implicating Kiryuu, his goons took the blame themselves for assaulting JJ. Kiryuu is standing there, in shock, feeling like a piece of crap. To his credit, rather than seeing his subordinates take the blame, Kiryuu coughs up to what he did.
JJ is then put in the incredibly awkward spot of having to confirm/deny what happened. Thanks, Kiryuu. He’d wanted to see the guy get his comeuppance, but now… he’s conflicted. Writing the whole thing off as a “prank” that “got out of hand,” he’s very casual about it. Kiryuu is freaking out to Luka, but Luka is all, “Dude, don’t apologise to me” about it.
“Show every aspect of your sincerity,” Luka tells him… and he kneels down in front of JJ.
Which sounds already a bit interesting, but then the guy admits it was all due to… jealousy. He doesn’t really elaborate on what he’s jealous of, by the way.
He’s on the floor, apologising and begging JJ to punch him. JJ is a bit uncomfortable now, but the other executives are telling JJ to hurry up and punch him so he can retain some pride and this whole humiliating chapter can be over.
One of the other executives, this dude named Franco, basically offers– and then punches– Kiryuu himself– and everyone else is all, “Dude, no.” JJ realises he’s been pushed into a corner and has to punch Kiryuu, which he does, and then Kiryuu asks if that’s adequate. JJ is like, “Yeah, I have no interest in punching someone who’s not going to fight back,” which is pretty much the best JJ burn ever.
Luka says that he had initially planned for a harsher punishment for Kiryuu, but since it appears that he and JJ are now starting to get along, that’ll be enough for now. He then proposes a celebration of their reconciliation… and then turns to Kiryuu and tells him to look after the injury he’s obtained from JJ.
Now, I think something is perfectly clear here, but it was something I realise my judgement is often clouded on: Luka and Kiryuu are a thing. See, I kind of wanted to believe that, because I have a bit of a weakness for those ships, as well, but I know that every time I’ve noticed subtext nodding to ships like that, nothing ever eventuates and I just get disappointed, so I kept telling myself that no, Kiryuu was just a loyal employee to The Family, that his love for Luka was perfectly platonic, and that his jealousy of JJ was as an associate, not as the object of Luka’s affections.
After this, though, I was sitting there like, “Okay, Yandere!Kiryuu makes a whole lot of sense.” Actually, it almost makes him sympathetic.
I’ve seen fandom arguments calling Ugajin “yandere,” and Kiryuu “tsudere,” but, no. Maybe Kiryuu isn’t being all yandere about JJ, but for fuck’s sake, he nearly killed JJ and did everything he could in order to get him to leave, because he was jealous of Luka’s attention towards JJ, which may have been strictly professional. (Ugajin, in comparison, is just an icy sadist with a lot of emotional baggage. But you didn’t see him, say, plotting to kill off anyone who even so much as looked at someone he was involved with.)
And Luka, for all intents and purposes, seems very much into Kiryuu in a way where he appears to get worried about him, where he seems to go easy on him, and where he seems to be very affectionate towards him, in a manner that he is not towards any of the other members of King Caesar. It’s actually a really, really adorable relationship. (Even the manga vaguely suggests that they’re together!)
The next couple of moments basically a) cemented my yandere!Kiryuu theory, b) made me scream because it’s not my imagination and Luka totally does seem to be into Kiryuu too, and c) made me hope like mad that there’d be a Kiryuu/JJ/Luka threesome somewhere in the game.
Luka then announces JJ’s initiation ritual is going to happen, which seems a bit random since he was just proposing a celebration, but hey, part of me is wondering just what sort of “initiation” this is going to be.
Okay, it’s the joining-the-family Mafia kind of initiation, without the burning pictures of saints.
JJ is remarkably chill about it: you join the Mafia, you join for life. Or, well, the rest of your life. If you’ve ever been locked into a time shares contract and thought that was hard to get out of? Mafia is a hell of a lot harder to get out of. JJ is like, “Hm, am I willing to give up my liberty and autonomy to join these guys? Yeah, whatever,” which just made me go, “Oh. Fucking. Kay.”
Your life, JJ, but that’s one hell of a decision.
Anyway, they clean up (they were rolling around in the rubbish, remember?) and the ritual begins. Kiryuu vouches for JJ, and suddenly everyone looks at him differently.
JJ swears to them, and they do this blood oath thing which would probably horrify most medical workers given the risks of blood transmitted diseases.
Luka then concludes the ritual, and introduces everyone to JJ, heading off for a business call, and there’s a bit of executive banter, and they head on over to Antonio’s restaurant to continue the party.
JJ gets told that Luka was a bit of a wild one back in the day, and that he even got himself locked up, and that it’s generally best not to mistake his friendliness for being complacent.
Luka eventually rocks up at the party, even though JJ is starting to feel a bit awkward, and the merriment continues.
I think I’m starting to see, from this illustration, why Kiryuu might be feeling a touch threatened by JJ’s arrival, if you know what I mean… Kiryuu is looking most unimpressed, to the side, while Luka is being a friendly partyboy and particularly welcoming towards JJ.
Poor Kiryuu. He’s been teased a bit by the other guys, and now, well, this is going on.
Luka talks a bit about his own history, and his love for Japan, and Japanese people, with a description which seems to describe Kiryuu perfectly. And then JJ sees it:
“I know that Kiryuu is yearning for Luka. And it’s probably not pleasant for him that Luka is getting close to me, a newcomer.”
Oh, ouch. Poor Kiryuu. And… poor JJ. It’s not really his fault that this is going on, and he’s stuck slap-bang in the middle of this.
They head home, and JJ goes to his room, and then there’s a knock on the door…
It’s one very pissy Kiryuu, who tells him to “Come” and escorts him to Luka’s quarters: Luka wants a word with him.
If you know what I mean.
At this point, I’m really feeling for Kiryuu now. It’s so obvious he has feelings for Luka, and that Luka has indulged him, and now… this? He’s been cast aside for the new guy? Not only that, but he actually had to deliver the new guy to Luka? That’s gotta hurt.
Luka asks about JJ’s relationship with Azusa, and when JJ says there wasn’t one, implies that possibly Todo might have hooked up with him, leaving JJ feeling a bit uncomfortable, though dismissing it with “Hey, if they wanna go for it, that’s their business” pretty much.
Luka quite obviously flirts with JJ, and then propositions him.
At this point, I’m like, “Who’s route am I on here, anyway?” and am just about falling over from all the stuff that I’m so used to seeing as mere subtext but which is completely blatant in this game. In this instance, I had JJ politely let him down, and he’s about to leave, when Luka kisses him on the lips and proposes they enjoy some champagne together.
JJ’s like, “Why not ask Kiryuu?” which doesn’t impress Luka at all, though they do finish off the champers, and then JJ heads back towards his room. On his way there, he goes past Kiryuu’s room, and ragged breathing behind the door that makes him investigate further: he thinks Kiryuu might have that terrible cold which Azusa had…
And he winds up seeing a whole new side of Kiryuu that he had not seen before, to put it lightly.
JJ’s sort of stuck: Kiryuu is very much distracted by what he’s doing, to the point where he doesn’t notice JJ. But JJ is mesmerised, unable to take his eyes off Kiryuu, well, being a wanker in an entirely different way to how he has been in the past.
And as much as I want to keep up with the joking, it’s kind of sad: he’s getting himself off precisely because he knows he’s lost Luka; he’s even talking about Luka while he’s at it. JJ is sort of stuck in a dilemma: he’s hearing and seeing something he really wasn’t meant to, and as he’s about to leave, the door creaks, and Kiryuu suddenly now knows that JJ has seen him. Holy secondhand embarrassment.
Kiryuu calls JJ in, and is suitably humiliated. JJ tries to reassure him, and it really doesn’t work, and Kiryuu is very much obviously distressed and still horny and just feeling kind of shit, and he asks JJ if he had sex with him when he went to Luka’s room.
JJ confronts him about his jealousy and asks him how much he loves Luka. It’s just painfully awkward with Kiryuu trying to deny it, but it being so bloody obvious that even JJ can see what’s going on.
Worse yet, Kiryuu is still aroused, and JJ feels guilty for interrupting him and leaving him hanging… and so he decides to take care of things for him. It’s sort of a subordinate service, I guess, he sees it as, which makes me wonder if that’s how JJ sees Kiryuu’s infatuation with Luka.
They have a brief chat afterwards, and the whole thing seems to have changed Kiryuu… he seems calmer and… nicer.
A week into JJ’s official family member status, and he sees Antonio, the restauranteur, hanging about near the headquarters. It seems he’s got some different food, and he mentions to JJ that he’s got a different supplier to Grosso Imports– ie, the King Caesar import company, and it also seems that he hasn’t told anyone about it.
Um, who else can see this ending badly for him?
Turns out that Antonio’s little secret involved buying from one of the competitors’ businesses: Dragon Head’s, and everyone is pissed off. But of an insult, really, when you’ve helped someone set themselves up and you get slapped in the face like that, huh?
PLUS, it seems that King Caesar has gone down a notch in the community reputation stakes, and that someone in the family is leaking information about their activities to Dragon Head. Kiryuu and Luka are out together when all this goes down, due to return the following day, and the rest of the executives decide that the situation needs to be sorted out tonight.
After trying to find their leak and not being able to, they pop into Antonio’s and ask for some munchies, though they’re suspicious at all the seafood dishes Antonio is serving up, since Grosso Imports don’t usually deal in that stuff.
And then Antonio admits he went through a different supplier. But he says he told JJ, and then saw Luka afterwards and that Luka was cool with it, and that it’s going to expand his variety in the restaurant, etc, etc, and it’s basically all good.
Except that it isn’t, really. Antonio gets a funny feeling about JJ, who doesn’t seem as receptive to his story and friendliness as the others are, and just before dawn breaks, slightly intoxicated, he leaves the restaurant to head home… only to be stopped by King Caesar, who are fully aware of where their traitor is now.
The guys confront Antonio, and he tries to dodge their accusations, until he realises he’s done for and pulls out a gun.
All of a sudden, Kiryuu and Luka show up; Luka is disappointed, but also a bit heartbroken; he’d actually put the wheels in motion to gift a second restaurant to Antonio, he saw him as family, etc, etc. Luka asks what they did to upset him; Antonio says he wanted independence, to run his restaurant his way, not King Caesar’s way, and that he was selling King Caesar information to fund his restaurant and to go independent.
Kiryuu isn’t buying it; whatever his reasons, Antonio screwed over King Caesar, and betrayed the family’s trust in him.
Antonio is executed, and Paolo reminds JJ that this is the world he’s living amongst now, and it’s all a bit awkward and sad for awhile, since they actually did like Antonio and it hurts that he was selling them out.
So, having played to one of the Tachibana Bad Ends and the Ugajin Good End, I figured to have a go with the third option: the King Caesar route. This is partly because a) I wanted some variety, and b) I realise that the higher-end routes haven’t been translated yet. And anyway, Kiryuu is sort of wonderful.
Anyway, this was Chapter Three, after JJ said “Yes” (accepted, hence the “A”) to the King Caesar request.
JJ gets a Godfather, this time, from The Professor, plus instructions to come back tomorrow night to meet the KC people, and steps out when it’s closing time, thinking about his predicament… about what taking the job, and the last five years means to him. Because things have been kind of nuts. And for the first time, so far, JJ suggests an alternative that he hadn’t followed: simply leaving Azusa with the police.
Then again, there seem to be about as many cops in this game as there are in Pulp Fiction. Which basically results in a universe where badass motherfuckers run around doing pretty much whatever they gotta do. (Closest thing to the cops we’ve seen so far is Dragon Head: they’re powerful, terrifying, they kill people, and you basically want to stay out of their view if you think there’s even the remotest chance you might piss them off. And they have their own hierarchial system and sort of follow the rules without questioning them.)
Anyway, what should happen w/hile JJ is thinking about his predicament? You guessed it: action!
Well, not much; a thug and some homeless people having a bit of a verbal argument. It’s not really up there with seeing Tachibana get shot of watching Ugajin and his crew deal with a couple of non-performing underlings, but hey.
Arriving on the scene, entirely unimpressed, comes this delightful fellow.
Remember Kiryuu from the first meeting five years ago? He was the hot-headed, entirely devoted to newly sworn-in King Caesar leader Luka Bellini, and he was already trying to manhandle Tachibana for wasting his boss’ time.
And we get the King Caesar music! I love it; it’s accordians and mandolins and violins, and it’s cute… but there’s also something a touch tragic about it. It actually reminds me of the Professor Layton music, and, well, I dunno, I found Professor Layton kind of weirdly heartbreaking and lonely, and found that the music really set that up.
Kiryuu has no time for these punks, and gives them a warning that they’re on KC turf, and draws his gun. Probably not a great idea to upset this guy.
He eventually does pull the trigger, to fire off a warning shot when the kids involved in the altercation starts asking about joining The Family. When they clear off, it’s just Kiryuu and JJ, looking at one another, before JJ decides he should piss off.
JJ heads back to the hideout, where Azusa is asleep, though he seems to be coming down with a cold. JJ makes him up some saline mineral water and tells him that it’s all for his benefit, because if he makes JJ sick, then that’s going to cause JJ issues.
(And this is actually where Chapter Three starts, oddly enough: the previous ones started earlier than this.)
JJ wakes up, checks on Azusa (who has a bit of a fever), looks after him a bit, and then heads out to meet King Caesar, all the while thinking that he and Azusa are verging on going their own separate ways, anyway.
JJ goes in, and Kiryuu, the King Caesar exec he was set up to meet, is sitting there, waiting for him, still wearing that look on his face that makes you want to say, “Well who pissed in your cornflakes, dude?” Kiryuu is so cold and just… efficient that he makes Ugajin look like an over-the-top bad guy with cheesy one-liners.
I’ll admit, seriously, when I first started playing Kiryuu’s route, I was initially very much, “He’s a hot lil number,” and he was so cold an lacking in anything even remotely relatable that I started being quite indifferent to him. And then stuff happened and I hated him. And then MORE stuff happened and I was shipping this nearly as much as I was about the Ugajin/JJ.
Kiryuu wants to get started, and JJ is having a few apprehensions about him, though Todo says he wouldn’t introduce JJ to unreliable people.
They get into Kiryuu’s car (seems they like Alfas) and head off. The tension is pretty nasty, so JJ tries making conversation, only to have Kiryuu basically treat him like dirt.
Like, seriously, what is this guy’s problem? JJ is doing you a favour here, sweetheart, and you’re being a little bitch to him when he hasn’t been at all unfair, mean, or even vaguely threatening.
JJ asks about the mission– a simple escort job while a deal is going down– and wonders why he’s needed. Kiryuu is fairly “What, you’re saying you can’t do this?” about it. He then admits this is a personal, not KC-related job, and JJ casually asks a little about the organisation, and blurts out that maybe Kiryuu’s boss mustn’t be that nice.
Kiryuu’s reaction is to pull a gun, while he’s driving, on JJ. JJ instinctively grabs his own, but… can we just say “Holy overreaction, Batman” here for a moment?
Kiryuu, it seems, is very protective of his boss, and does NOT like hearing him insulted. He also seems to dislike hitmen, which might explain his problem with JJ, but then again, he might just be sneery about hitmen because he knows that’s JJ’s deal.
JJ suggests that maybe it might be an idea if Kiryuu tried to at least cooperate with him otherwise the job’s probably going to be a mess, and Kiryuu very reluctantly agrees.
Turns out the job’s probably not going to go well, anyway, because Kiryuu basically has planned to massacre everyone at the site, and put JJ in charge of doing so. Lovely.
But the docks are quiet, except for a dashing blond who rocks up and drunkenly asks for a light.
JJ is just as snarky to “the drunk” as Kiryuu has been to him, but Luka is still fairly good natured about it, and eventually goes away. Good think JJ doesn’t have Kiryuu’s hair-trigger temper, or things might have really become a mess, right?
Anyway, Kiryuu calls JJ into the warehouse where a deal is being sorted, though it seems that Kiryuu has no time for the wares on sale. King Caesar don’t deal in the drug trade. Kiryuu kills the trader after insulting him, and an almighty gun battle breaks out. And even though Kiryuu has a revolver, and is up against dudes with machine guns, he seems to make a fair degree of mess before the dealer’s guys start getting near hitting them.
Kiryuu ducks out of the way to reload, and JJ is somewhat mesmerised by his accuracy and speed when ti comes to shooting bad guys. This was possibly the point where I really wanted to start shipping them; they’re almost psychic towards what one another needs to do during the gun battle, and it’s kind of glorious.
But JJ also sees it as a time to best Kiryuu by taking out more bad guys.
Yeah, I’d still ship that.
Anyway, something really unexpected happens: the cops actually show up. JJ wonders if it’s all been a setup, because who expects the cops to rock up in Dragon Head warehouses in the middle of the night unexpectedly. Talk about a spanner in the works, hey, these guys seemed to not exist. But they do and they’re here, and JJ and Kiryuu need to GTFO.
They make an escape as the cops and the drugs guys get caught up in a gunfire battle, and JJ is very much “Dude, WTF?” Kiryuu’s all, “Job’s over, go home,” and JJ is pissed, and Kiryuu sneers that everything went down as it was supposed to, and it’s really none of JJ’s business anyway.
One of the drug guys has escaped, too, and made his way over to Kiryuu, threatening him wildly. JJ wants to get the guy before Kiryuu does, and pops him off.
A cop then shows up, and JJ is inwardly freaking out, worried that if Kiryuu gets busted, there’s something else King Caesar are going to be pissed with him about, but Kiryuu walks off to talk to the cop and tells JJ to calm down. They exchange words, the cop tells him not to do this shit in future, and then they walk away from one another. JJ is a little bit stunned.
Kiryuu pays JJ, and JJ says if he expects him to work in jobs involving cops again, he’s out, even though Kiryuu doesn’t see it as much of a big deal. But he does, at least, compliment JJ on his skill; he’s almost actually nice. They drive back to Epilogue, because that’s the least Kiryuu can do, and then things hot up a bit…
On the way back, Kiryuu actually initiates conversation with JJ, even.
“You don’t serve any master, nor do you have any comrades to protect. Do you find that lonely?”
JJ hasn’t really thought about it, and, I dunno, JJ strikes me as a bit of an introvert anyway (INTP or ISTP would be my guess), though he says if he found the right someone to serve…
At this point, I am completely shipping them, because the subtext here is deafening. Make that ice queen melt, JJ!
They arrive back at Epilogue with an unexpected complication: Luka Bellini is waiting there for them.
Luka smashes Kiryuu, to which JJ, who hasn’t realised who Luka Bellini is, reacts to defend the man whom he was working for. He just thought Luka was that drunk at the docks coming in for more wine. Kiryuu, blood running down his face from Luka’s punch, actually defends Luka… and then introduces them.
Luka is impressed with JJ’s restraint, and is about to give Kiryuu some kind of tongue-lashing for going off on his own and risking his life and KC’s reputation. He chastises him, explaining that it’s just not on to get involved with cops and pull this shit, and poor Kiryuu is a little bit embarrassed.
Luka then orders coffee for them because at the end of the day, he’s still glad they got back safely.
They sit down in a booth, and Luka thanks JJ for protecting Kiryuu. Then he introduces himself as the KC boss, and says he and Todo go way back, and then he casually refers to JJ as Death Scythe.
JJ is a bit freaked out, but Luka means know harm: observing his skill earlier, he knew he’s made the right decision in getting him to do that job five years ago, and explains what happened on that night: the King Caesar executive who called JJ was captured an tortured and forced to give JJ inaccurate information… and the Tonos were executed because Dragon Head was interested in their wealth… and saving the guy who happened to be King Caesar’s intended target that evening due to his ties with them.
They then tell JJ that Azusa is a wanted man, too, and it’s something of a miracle that JJ’s managed to keep him hidden from Dragon Head for this long. And then, they say that the snafu five years ago was partially King Caesar’s fault anyway, so they can’t blame JJ, and that their executive, who succumbed to torture, betrayed them. Which is, IMHO, kind of disturbingly unfair (especially if you’ve played the Ugajin route and have some idea what might have happened to the guy) but the point is, JJ’s off the hook.
Interestingly enough, they look like this across the table: Luka friendly and serious, and Kiryuu death glaring JJ down big time.
Kiryuu’s expression certainly doesn’t take a turn for the more cheerful when Luka offers to take on JJ and in return, give him protection and somewhere to live. Actually, that’s putting it mildly: he cracks the shits, insults JJ, and then threatens him when JJ finally cracks.
It’s Todo who calms Kiryuu down, and JJ is still reeling from the offer itself, only he’s worried about Azusa, because he can’t just, you know, leave him there. Todo offers the perfect solution: he can stay with him. JJ agrees, thinking it might be best for Azusa if he were to live with Todo rather than with him, and that perhaps maybe Todo will explain that JJ didn’t actually kill his parents.
JJ leaves with his pay, and goes to the hideout via the black market. JJ stocks up on ammo, but then decides to buy a watch– with a quarter of his paycheque!– as a parting gift to Azusa.
When he gets in, Azusa is saying he’s feeling better, and is typically grumpy, and JJ gives him the parcel. There’s an overall sense of things about to change for the maudlin right now, and I’ve got to say, the music playing right now only adds to that.
Azusa is clearly unimpressed with the watch, and JJ is… actually a bit hurt at that. He punches Azusa in reaction, and thinks there’s really just no point in being nice to him… which only just adds to the whole air of melancholy.
JJ thinks about how he’s essentially dumping Azusa with Todo tomorrow, that Azusa is not going to react well, and that even though he doesn’t particularly like the kid, he can’t sleep too well when he thinks about the fact that he’s spending, at the moment, his very last night with Azusa.