Monday, April 23, 2018

VN Talk: Root Double: Before Crime * After Days - Part 3: √Current

As mentioned last week, this will be a short post. √Current covers the √After route from Natsuhiko's perspective so it mostly exists to give us new perspectives on previous scenes. It explains why Natsuhiko only spoke to Watase intermittently and clears up Watase's memory gaps (such as when he passes out) and some (but not all) of his hallucinations.

At the end of √Before, Natsuhiko accidentally links his mind with Watase's and "goes along for the ride" following the the destruction of Watase's memory, but the anti-radiation medicine is actually a psychic dampener, so every time Watase injects himself during √After Natsuhiko loses contact and goes to sleep.

This makes √Current fairly short since it's recap and Natsuhiko is unconscious for a lot of it, but it's also funny because Natsuhiko can't directly converse with anyone, other than sending the occasional telepathic thought to Watase, and he's not happy about being stuck in the mind of the terrorist who tried to kill him. One of the best lines in √After is when the voice in Watase's head starts protesting about what the hell he's doing and Watase starts talking back to it, thinking he's probably going crazy, and the scene is no less entertaining the second time around in √Current now that we know Natsuhiko's circumstances.

Because of the psychic link, Natsuhiko has a vested interest in keeping Watase alive, but Watase can't help being suspicious to everyone because of his unaccountable memory loss. To combat this, Natsuhiko "gifts" him with some plausible, but fake memories to make him seem more like an honest person. These end up being the memories that reveal Watase is not telling the 'truth" about what he was really doing when he went down to the basement or when he supposedly found Yuuri's body, because Natsuhiko doesn't consider how much other people might have known or would have been able to figure out.

Natsuhiko also ends up destroying new memories when Watase chases after his friends (Watase fully believes himself a rescue worker and wants to save them) and Natsuhiko doesn't want him to catch up to them, especially when it becomes apparent that Watase may begin recovering his original memories. The only thing that stops Natsuhiko from doing even more damage is that he eventually realizes that erasing memories physically harms the brain (rewriting does not) so he holds off on memory destruction after that.

It's good stuff, and when the duo finally end up back in Area N, Watase collapses and Natsuhiko begins to piece together everything he knows about the day's events thus far. √Before had mentioned seven urban legends about telepathy and its users, and over the course of the story all of them have been proven true, save for the last, which is that "monster-fied" telepaths, who have become that way through overuse of their powers, are stored in a secret location beneath this facility.

I was a little irritated that an urban legend (that I largely ignored during the √Before route) becomes the pivot on which the story turns to its final leg, but there you go. Natsuhiko realizes if that last legend is also true, they have one more thing to worry about and he's going to need Watase's help to end all this, though of course this is when Watase passed out at the end of √After.

Next week is √Double, and the conclusion to this mess!