Part 131: 10/27-10/28: Blaaaaackmaaaaail!!!
We now resume our coverage of the Phantom Thieves, the suspects for Mr. Okumura’s death and others. The police have designated the Phantom Thieves as the country’s most wanted fugitives… And have decided to reward anyone with information leading to the capture of the Phantom Thieves.
Thirty million!? Hold on, I need to make a phone call.
And considering the high amount, it shows how extraordinary the situation has become. Reward money will be supplied by the police and the families of the victims, further–
I hope you understand the situation you’re in. Even people who didn’t have an interest before will be on the lookout for the Phantom Thieves. And it’ll happen every day, even at school. …Why did this happen?
This isn’t about me. Well, how do I put this…? I’m sorry I didn’t realize it. It’s also my responsibility that this happened. All I can do now is give you shelter. Just don’t become desperate and do something reckless, all right?
I won’t sell you out. As long as you’re here, there’s nothing to worry about.
I feel bad about what we’ve done to the chief. I’m responsible too.
With this, the Phantom Thieves have become public enemy number one. ……. chuckle Exactly. …That will be when their curtain falls.
Why even have these scenes at this point? They’re all the same and we’re not learning anything new.
Akechi suggested they go to this school, right?
Oh hey, it’s Pallid Fella again.
It’ll probably be the end of us if we start sniffing around now.
But… 30 million yen, man. Just let me dream a little.
Music: So Boring
I had braced myself for this possibility…
Actually having a wanted notice out for us feels kinda weird…
I’m not sure we’re gonna get away this time.
Our backs are truly against the wall now.
Discussing it here won’t do us any good though. Let’s talk about it more in person.
And the reward’s thirty million yen? What is this, a comic book? Haha, it feels so unrealistic, I can’t help but laugh…
We’re finally being treated as actual criminals…
I’m positive now… Remember all of those what-ifs I mentioned before…? All of this was truly set up. How President Okumura ranked first, the fad before that, even Medjed… It was all to make the Phantom Thieves famous. On top of that, we were lured to target Okumura…
Yeah… The enemy likely planned to lay the blame on us from the start, after we gained popularity.
Then, what about everything we’ve done until now? Are the people whose hearts we changed and thought were corrupt actually not?
No. Because of Yusuke and I, the Madarame and Kaneshiro cases were coincidental… Wasn’t that the case with Kamoshida too? Considering what happened with the rankings, only the previous target would have been used to lure us…
What a cheap trick to use…
Cheap…? It’s nothing of the sort… There’s the fake Medjed and the site’s altercation. They might have even engineered the fad around us. So much time and effort has been put into this… President Okumura probably wasn’t their only target. Perhaps they intend to place all blame of past and future psychotic breakdowns on our group…
And there was that thing with Haru at the time. How’re we s’posed to ignore that, huh!?
That’s actually a really solid point, game! We couldn’t very well ignore that and to be honest we had little solid reason to, but let’s keep throwing blame at each other for this shit, sure!
…I’m sorry. This was all because I one-sidedly decided that my father was a criminal. All I could think about was my fiance. If I had only been able to cope with it more calmly…
It’s not Haru’s fault. I should’ve spoken up too when Principal Kobayakawa died…!
Ryuji takes his frustration out on the poor couch.
He also catches himself mid-”fuck.”
Ryuji! Taking out your frustration on things doesn’t help anyone!
Hey, what do you think, Maaku? …Why did we lose? What did we do wrong?
It’s probably because… we weren’t acting like ourselves.
…Agreed. At the time, we only cared about the opinion of the general public.
…And saving Haru.
Yeah… that really is it. I was… so caught up in making a name for ourselves. I’m such an idiot…! I became a Phantom Thief because I hated those same kinds of adults…!
Oh god, that’s certainly a sentence.
What the hell are you talking about, Haru? This was your first one. You don’t get to talk like that.
I’m so irritated with myself…!
I know that we’ve been set up, and that I was a complete idiot too. But still… it’s so damn frustrating! Of course I wanna do something about this…
Max Mittelman sells the hell out of this scene as Ryuji, for the record. I have some qualms with the way it’s written but it’s some top-notch voice work.
Yeah. We’ll be in deep water at this rate… However, we have no idea who we’re up against… and whether they’re an individual or an organization.
Furthermore, they must be in a position of power, or have powerful backers, if they can go so far.
Are we really a match for this…?
Should we… end this now?
I mean, things might get worse for everyone…
Hey, what should we do…?
Running away with our tails between our legs is exactly what they want…
Another questionable use of the word “aesthetics” when “ideals” would work fine, but whatever.
Absolutely not like this!
Looks like we’re settled on “what” we want to do. All that’s left is “how” we go about it…
Music: Beneath the Mask
Um… About me yellin’ earlier. Bein’ framed, and the added bounty… It all felt like such bullshit. I lost it… I’m sorry.
That’s nice. You gonna apologize to the couch you punched repeatedly?
…You too? It is confusin’. We’re wanted criminals now… Maybe I haven’t changed at all since that time we went up against Kamoshida… I wanted to be a phantom thief because I thought even someone like me could be a hero… It made me so happy to be depended on. Guess it all went straight to my head. I thought I could do anythin’ if it was for justice. But that’d make me no different from our targets… I called them shitbags, but I must be the shittiest of shitbags. I can’t even joke about it…
Maaku… Heh, you’re right. I can start by changin’ who I am now. Thanks, Maaku. I feel like I can think straight now. Oh… I scared Haru and Futaba, didn’t I… I’ll have to apologize to them soon. Seeya!
He wants us to gather at Leblanc tomorrow after school.
Who does he think he is, trying to boss us around like that!?
Tomorrow…? That’s sudden.
Yeah. We’re going to overcome this, together.
Regardless, I don’t want anyone disturbing our pace anymore. Let’s go about this calmly. Well, see you all tomorrow.
…We’ve reached a crucial moment. There’s no point fretting about it now though. Let’s just stay calm and wait for tomorrow.
I wouldn’t have expected anything less from you. I knew making you our leader was the right call.
We consulted a profiling expert for his analysis. He determined that “they’re either in their 20s to 30s, or in their 40s to 50s.”
That’s a wide fuckin’ net, and it’s still totally wrong!
They’re so far off the mark… Were they even trying?
Anon: lol this place went to shit
Anon: Oh how far they’ve fallen
Anon: This should make em show up
Anon: Is the admin an accomplice?
Only now does the government speak of taking countermeasures… but their actions are too little, too late! The government as it stands has been left behind the times. It is obsolete! If this is a ship that’s bound to a rotting dock and destined to sink, we might as well destroy is once.
I heard they’re splitting up to form a new party, so an election might come before the year’s end.
I’m gonna vote this time for sure! This man has my support.
You haven’t voted until now? That’s problematic as a member of society, you know…
Politics just never interested me before, but this politician seems pretty amazing. He’s passionate and thinks of the future. I mean, someone like that should be prime minister. I’m definitely voting for him.
Well, I suppose that makes sense since the other politicians seem so unreliable…
That’s a good question, but might I have a cup of coffee first?
It’s not too late to just kill this dude, you guys.
Please keep this short.
There’s a bounty for information in addition to the arrest warrant… Those are quite desperate measures.
The group goes quiet.
I’m referring to Sae-san’s actions. I assume all of you are at your wit’s end as well. She must be considerably vexed if she’s gone that far. Make headlines with the arrest warrant, then use incentives to get testimonies. It’s not a bad method.
The police have nothing on us. There’s no way they can make an arrest.
True. I’m the only one who’s ascertained your true identities. However, the groundwork for fabricating testimonies and concocting a culprit are underway.
We don’t care about that self-gratification. Get on with it.
I’ll be blunt.
Makoto says nothing.
Is this to prevent the investigation agency’s recklessness?
Still, there’s no need to change her heart just for that…
Indeed. It’s hard to believe that a single person can fabricate all that.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. What if I told you that those around her would turn a blind eye to false evidence?
The police!? Do a bad!? Noooooooooo!
It seems they’re more trusted than I thought. Their priority is settling the situation. They don’t care who the supposed culprit is.
They’re completely rotten!
My objective is to find the true culprit. That must be the case for all of you too. However, the current situation is extremely bad.
If worst comes to worst, someone unrelated will be set up as the culprit, huh…?
Our only solution to this is to make Sae-san come to her senses. If she’s in her right mind, she can stop this situation. Her sense of justice wouldn’t allow it.
So that’s why…
The truth will be covered up, and an innocent civilian’s life will be destroyed… I can’t allow such a thing to happen. My own ethics won’t stand for it.
I mean, I guess I can understand how you feel.
And changing Sae-san’s heart will be to protect her as well.
How do you mean?
If the true culprit were to learn that she’s responsible for the investigation… what would happen? I’m certain they’ll aim for her life. She’s the perfect target to place blame on the Phantom Thieves.
Makoto stares at her lap.
So how about it? Will you agree to my plan?
Even though you’re particular about being just, you’re willing to get your hands dirty?
It can’t be helped in order to ascertain the truth. There is also one more merit in changing Sae-san’s heart.
It will become a warning to not mess with us. They can’t go public if someone in the investigation has a change of heart. It’d show their corruption. All that’s left from there is for me to discover the identity of the true culprit.
What do you mean…?
You’re gonna tell us to announce our disbandment once the real culprit is arrested… aren’t you?
As expected from a Niijima. So, what do you say? I don’t think it’s a bad deal for either of us.
Makoto… what’s your take on all this?
…It’s a well-made plan. …It even takes putting an end to our team into consideration.
Im flattered to hear that.
Why are you willing to do all this, Akechi-kun? Why do you seek justice?
Yes. My contempt for such people drives my sense of justice. It isn’t some grand reason like society’s sake or some lofty ideal. It’s simply an absurd grudge… and extremely personal.
You know, doesn’t he remind you of us…?
Yeah… like how some disgusting adult pissed him off.
We’re similar, hm…? Maybe that’s why I thought that I could ask this of you all… Won’t you cooperate with me on the mission to change Sae-san’s heart?
…Thanks. I was actually rather worried there. This mission can’t succeed without your cooperation, after all.
The Phantom Thieves will be disbanded, and everything will work out… I pray it does.
I’m OK. I never brought it up until now… but the reason I joined the Phantom Thieves is…
How fortuitous… and fucked-up!
I’ve also known for quite some time that she has a Palace.
Why didn’t you tell us?
It was too selfish of a reason… Though, I was too scared to look any further into it on my own…
Why don’t we try going there now to scope the place out? A lot of this will be new to me, so I’d like to get myself accustomed to it too.
I see. That’s unfortunate.
Will you tell your sister about this?
Of course not. It’s just…
You seem awfully evasive today. Is something the matter?
I just can’t make time today.
Let’s call it a day then and resume this tomorrow.
I’m sorry, everyone.
Well, I guess that can’t be helped… Regardless, it all starts tomorrow. …I hope this goes well.
Music: Interrogation Room
The numbers are slowing down…
Not only that, Goro Akechi…? Then the Phantom Thieves targeted me as per his advice…? And he had already experienced the Metaverse by the time of the Okumura case? That can’t be… I mean, he never said a word… Although, his attitude did change suddenly around that time. Akechi-kun kept quiet about the most important details, and my own sister may be a Phantom Thief… If this is all true, I’m appalled as the commander of this operation. I alone was kept in the dark…
And if you were apprehended while falsely accused of those crimes, that villain would still be loose. That’s why you targeted me…? Not for your own preservation?
Well, it was kinda both, you see…
Believe you? I’m just considering it as a possibility. Then again, if you wanted to evade capture, triggering my change of heart wouldn’t guarantee anything. Your actions as Phantom Thieves would still be met with hostility.
If this villain does exist and is setting up your group… …I would be targeted next. …Did Makoto come up with that speculation?
Perhaps I’m overthinking things…
Maaku’s vision gets hazy once more…
You need to keep your focus!
But the look on your face isn’t one of defeat… Why is that…?
…I’m amazed. It seems you can still talk.
Oh, yeah. To be honest, that was like eighty hours of game and fourteen real-life months ago, so I kinda forgot.
Those words normally hint at the existence of a traitor… However, if your story till now is true… one reason can be concluded. It’s frustrating to admit, but at a certain point—no, most likely from the start—I was a mere puppet… …Someone set up only to bear responsibility later. Someone “intended” your arrest, and the minimal staff directly involved were in their pocket. And if that’s the case, true integrity would side with you…
Sae is slowly starting to accept the truth… I feel like my bond with Sae is growing deeper…
No, I’m jumping to conclusions. I don’t believe your story yet. There’s something I need to confirm with you…
What happened in the time between entering my Palace and your arrest? Tell me everything.