Plot Summary

Microsoft icon of a yellow warning sign with an exclamation point.Content warning: sexual assault, mild gore, abusive family dynamics, cannibalism

What is this game about, you ask?

To put it accurately yet crudely, our protagonist Sakiyama Youji, starts shitting meat monsters from his bum bum one day.

4shiki, BL Game Review - sweet pool

But what the fuck does it mean and how did we get here? Even though you learn the bulk of this info by playing through Tetsuo’s routes, we’ll work backwards and set the scene for this universe from the get-go just to make things a little easier on ourselves. Crack open your Bibles, bitches, because we have to visit the Old Testament God to understand this one.

So, in the world of sweet pool, there’s this weird pseudo-Christian cult called The Liberated that worships these things that look like piles of wriggling raw meat or entrails--in short, they’re gross. Turns out the sentient meat piles are people who were forsaken by God at the time He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. They have been cursed to be born in formless and inhospitable bodies--the nasty guro meat--and reproduce parasitically using human hosts.

Because this is a BL, the human hosts can only be male, so there are men walking around whose meat parasites turn them into Females and Males. To be clear, becoming "infected" doesn’t change the biology of the Hosts or anything, they’re just Males and Females in the context of meat monster reproduction.

There’s a whole slew of terminology for different meat things and some explanation for how you become a Host, but it doesn’t really matter for the plot, so we’re skipping it. What’s important to note is that someone can be a Host and not know, since Male Hosts can mate with human women and pass along their meat parasites to their kids.

Anyway, The Liberated are hell-bent on getting a perfect Female to mate with a perfect Male in order to birth a Purebreed, which is like the meat Messiah. Problem is that Females are super rare, so there’s a shit ton of Males walking around just waiting for a Female to make herself known. Females send out pheromones and also shit out what’s called Markmeat to alert Males that they’re single and ready to mingle. And so we’re back to where we started–our protagonist shitting meat monsters out of his bum bum one day.

Sakiyama Youji is a sickly high school student who’s been held back a year due to frequent hospitalization. I get the sense that he was kind of a loner before getting held back, but being the weird older guy who’s constantly absent really compounds that issue in the present. This isolation from his peers is reflected in our limited options of dudes with whom to hook up in the game.

Youji rides the train home from school while listening to music.

Our choices of men include Okinaga Zenya, unhinged third year yakuza son who’s got... issues, and Shironuma Tetsuo, mega hottie smarty pants tall boi, who are both Male Hosts; and then Mita Makoto, an annoying loser with orange hair who’s really the only person in his class who gives a shit about Youji before he starts menstruating meat. Makoto isn’t a Male, but still gets caught up in this whole meat monster mess because he is sensitive to Youji’s pheromones regardless.

As to be expected, we play most often from Youji’s point of view. It’s pretty obvious that Tetsuo is the guy with which Youji is supposed to end up on account of him having four of the six total endings for the game, so I hope you like him or you’re in for a bad time!

I only have eyes for Tetsuo, but this ain’t the worst rogues gallery I’ve seen.

The game begins on Youji’s first day back from the hospital, where he’s been since collapsing at his school’s opening ceremony back at the start of the academic year. Upon walking into class, we are immediately accosted greeted by Makoto, who drips creamsicle all over our fucking desk. Soon after, we get our first glimpse of Tetsuo. Youji notes that Tetsuo has a sweet smell (the pheromones), but reveals he’s actually super put off by him because Tetsuo seems to have a staring problem.

Later that day, Youji and Makoto go to head home and have to watch Zenya make an ass out of himself on the school gates before the Okinaga driver/butler/bodyguard Kitani comes to collect his mans. When Youji arrives home, he gets a call from his sister, Erika, who wants to know how he’s been feeling. We learn that Erika is married and due to give birth soon, and that Youji has decided to live alone despite the offer from Erika and his brother-in-law to move into their home. Calls or emails with Erika crop up throughout the game and serve to help Youji work through his awkward relationships with Tetsuo and Makoto.

He doesn’t tell Erika about Zenya, which is understandable since the levels of weirdness and harassment with which Youji has to put up from that corner would freak her the fuck out and have her calling the police instantly. Zenya is like dealing with that weird wolf or vampire kid in high school... you’re not telling your mom because where do you even fucking start? I think the very next day at school is when Zenya tries to psych Youji out by mutilating his tongue on a drink can, so yeah. Try explaining that one to your family.

Zenya sticks his tongue out, showing that he has cut his tongue on a metal can.

On the way to school the next morning, Youji nearly collapses on the train right before his stop, but is grabbed and supported by a stranger. He is soothed by the stranger’s heartbeat before the train arrives at his destination.

That same day, Youji learns that he’s been put on cleaning duty after school and is mortified that he ditched the day before without realizing. He’s dismayed to learn that he’s cleaning up with Tetsuo, and does his best to hurry on out of there. For some reason, Tetsuo feels compelled to touch Youji on the neck in the middle of doing chores.

Perturbed, Youji scurries off with Makoto to an offbrand fast food joint (it’s McDonald’s) and we’re forced to listen to Makoto recount a bunch of rumors–none of it interesting–including one about how Zenya disappears every day at 5pm when the school bells chime this particular song. Youji and I are sitting there like:

Youji escapes Makoto’s insufferable conversation and goes home. While he’s in the bath, he starts to think about cleaning duty with Tetsuo and feels out the spot where Tetsuo touched him earlier that day. Youji is shocked to find something slippery there, and pulls his hand away to discover that it’s blood. Convinced that Tetsuo must have seen the blood on his neck earlier, Youji realizes that the bath water has turned blood red as well.

Youji lies in a bathtub full of blood.

Although he’s freaked out like a normal person, Youji is overcome with inexplicable lust and starts jerking it in the literal bloodbath. Post-nut clarity reveals that Youji was just hallucinating… probably, since the water now looks completely normal.

After his masturbation session, Youji starts getting obscenely horny at inopportune times and feels incredible shame about it. Can’t say I blame him since he goes to Catholic school… not that I ever did, but I have a history of assimilating Christian shame into everything I do as a New English girl who went to 75 million churches with her family and friends growing up, so... been there buddy.

There’s a very funny scene–although I don’t think it’s supposed to be funny–where Youji gets so horny alone in the chem lab after school that he jerks it right there like a middle schooler… of course, Tetsuo catches him in the act. In fact, he starts crossing paths with Tetsuo all the time, despite doing everything in his power to avoid him.

Along with being horny, though, comes the time for Youji to start menstruating meat from his ass. What follows is Youji doing his best impression of Somethin’ from Flavor of Love for pretty much the remainder of the game:

We discover that the boys bathroom at Komanami Academy would be the ideal place to take a shit, since no one ever seems to fucking interrupt whatever weird stuff is doing down in there–not Youji shitting out meat and just leaving it on the floor, not Zenya coming in to play with the meat that Youji shit out and left on the floor, and not Tetsuo unconsensually touching Youji’s butthole to coax some meat to come out and plop on the floor. Somehow all of the above happens in the bathroom without interruption! How??? In my high school, a bitch got caught snorting oxy off the toilet seat on DAY ONE. I guess private school really is something else.

We periodically break from Youji’s POV to see what’s going on in the Okinaga household, and babes, is it the apotheosis of not good. Kitani doesn’t know anything about the meat monster worship, so he’s basically our POV character with the Okinagas as he tries to puzzle out wtf is up with his master and little master. Zenya’s daddy Kunihito, crazed ex-yakuza boss who physically and verbally abuses his son, is zealously affiliated with The Liberated and worships a big ass chunk of meat in his basement, which is supposed to be all that remains of the last Purebreed.

I guess Kunihito force fed Zenya some meat off this Purebreed meat chunk when he was a kid, which turned him into a defective Male instead of a perfect one. Every day at 5pm, his meat parasites fuck up his insides, causing him intense pain... turns out Makoto’s rumor about Zenya disppearing when the bells chime is true. The narrative purpose of all this is that we essentially find out what the hell is going on with Youji by learning about Zenya.

Defective or nah, Zenya is still a Male who wants nothing more than to get his hands on Youji, the only Female around these parts. He asks Kitanti to do some reconn on Youji in an unsettling scene where Kitani is forced to lick his guro eyeball. Just insert the Waka Flocka GIF again because what the actual fuck.

Kitanti prepares to lick Zenya's injured eyeball while Kristi the iguana chews on Zenya's hair.
As an aside, learning Zenya has a pet iguana named Kristi was truly a revelation. More on that later.

To test his hypothesis that Youji is a Female and that Tetsuo keeps hovering around him because he’s also a Male, Zenya kidnaps his two classmates and locks them in a shed with a staticy TV and incense that makes meat Hosts horny. Youji wakes up, sees Tetsuo, gets horny, touches Tetsuo on the face and kisses him. Tetsuo wakes up mid-kiss, flips Youji over, and gives him a lil handy--aw! 🥰

Youji touches Tetsuo's face while Tetsuo is unconscious.

A few hours later, Youji wakes up in the trash area outside of his apartment. It’s around this point in the game that, if you’ve been playing Zenya’s route, the next day he’ll promise to tell Youji everything about what’s going on with his body if Youji comes to his house. You’ll be given a choice to leave school with him. Agree to do so and you trigger the VLG ending.

VLG

Zenya pins Youji against the school shoe lockers.

Youji doesn’t want to miss a chance to figure out what’s been going on with him and agrees to leave with Zenya. On the car ride to his house, Zenya mocks Youji for being so trusting and knocks him out--Youji’s been had. Youji wakes up in the same TV shed as before, but this time he’s all tied up. Zenya does the bare minimum explanation of the meat monster situation and proceeds to serially rape Youji for a long periololically time. It’s basically a sex slave ending.

Youji loses his sense of reality, refuses to eat, and is forced to make “babies” with Zenya for long into the foreseeable future. Zenya seems similarly out of touch with his humanity, as in he’s very much a slave to making babies with Youji himself. We’re left to assume that Youji starves to death or something. It’s a harrowing ending to live through and you’d have to pay me money to play it again.

If you’re not balls deep in the Zenya route, then you get to progress further in the story. Zenya is big mad because he didn’t find out what he wanted to know about Tetsuo, so he’s even more pissed that Tetsuo is sniffing around his Female. Zenya lures Youji behind the school under the guise of telling him more about being a meat Host, but Tetsuo shows up before Zenya can escalate things.

What follows is a bunch of machismo shit that I wish I could say didn’t get my heart throbbing for Tetsuo, but it did so I just have to live with myself. The pissing contest between Zenya and Tetsuo is interrupted by the 5pm bells and Zenya is forced to run off as his meat parasites tear him a new one.

Tetsuo confronts Zenya for bothering Youji.

Now alone with Tetsuo, Youji initially feels relieved, but catches a vibe from Tetsuo that gets his anxiety levels up again instantly. He is right to panic because soon enough Tetsuo pushes Youji up against the wall and has his way with him.

The whole being Female and Male thing works in their favor and Youji is at least able to feel pleasure during the encounter, but I’m still not thrilled about it... I would have much preferred for Youji to be the one overcome by lust who starts initiating it (like back in the shed) and then regrets it later, as opposed to Tetsuo taking Youji as spoils of war after the most nothing fight at school. But this is a BL from 2008, so we unfortunately have to deal.

In the aftermath, Youji feels physically ill. He gets a text from his sister about how she gave birth and he manages to reply before collapsing on his bed. In an ironic inversion of Erika’s childbirth, Youji is up all night expelling meat from his asshole; his parasitic children are crawling all over the apartment in the few moments in which he regains consciousness. Giving birth is more than a good enough reason to be absent, so Youji skips school the next day.

That afternoon, Tetsuo comes a-knocking on Youji’s door, which prompts our protag to flip the fuck out at him--understandably--but he feels foolish when Tetsuo reveals that their chem teacher and maybe also homeroom teacher Kamiya forced him to pass long the homework for the day. Youji can’t help but laugh at the entire fucked up situation.

Youji feels well enough to go to school the next day, only to find campus in an uproar over the fact that Tetsuo punched Zenya’s lights out and got his ass suspended. We later learn that Zenya goaded Tetsuo by calling Youji a freak, so it’s all really very sweet. The roles are reversed and Kamiya forces Youji to bring Tetsuo the day’s homework. When he gets to the Shironuma residence, Youji is greeted warmly by Tetsuo’s mom, who promptly invites him to dinner. Unable to refuse her kind offer, Youji breaks bread with his mans that night.

Youji dines with Tetsuo and Tetsuo's mother.

Up until this point in the game, there are a few moments that break into Makoto’s perspective, which usually just hash out his angst over the fact that Youji won’t open up to him and accept his full friendship. The Tetsuo and Youji homework delivery situation pushes him over the edge--he’s offended that Kamiya picked Tetsuo to deliver Youji’s homework when Makoto is clearly the only guy in class who talks to Youji.

In general, Makoto just acts super bitchy about the fact that Youji and Tetsuo have been spending more time together. His inner turmoil escalates to an obscene degree even from his perspective, and he finally comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t like Youji, he like likes Youji. This bodes ill for our protagonist, who’s already struggling to avoid the advances of Tetsuo and Zenya.

Makoto stares longingly at Youjis apartment as he walks his dog.
Feast your eyes on all that angst.

Makoto wastes no time publicly embarrassing himself once he realizes he’s gay for Youji and throws a temper tantrum the next day when he sees our heroes talking to one another. Kamiya has to restrain Makoto from getting physical and both he and Tetsuo get in trouble. When Youji is called in to explain the situation to Kamiya, Youji learns that both his classmates vouched that he had nothing to do with the fight. Kamiya goes on to explain that Tetsuo is being forced to tutor Youji--who’s failing btw--as recompense for all the scuffles in which he’s been involved lately.

School lets out that day and it’s raining, but Youji doesn’t have an umbrella. Tetsuo, whose mom sent him to school prepared for the weather, approaches him to discuss when and where their tutoring sessions will be happening. Realizing that his lady love is unsheltered from the rain, Tetsuo walks Youji home with his umbrella. 🤭

When they arrive Youji instinctually grabs Tetsuo’s arm before he can walk off, but Youji doesn’t really have anything to say and stands there awkwardly. Tetsuo pulls Youji close and apologizes for treating him so roughly, alluding to the sex they had behind the school. It’s not much, but at least he’s somewhat remorseful.

Tetsuo apologizes to Youji outside of his apartment.

Later that evening, Youji gets another surprise knock on his door. He opens up to see Makoto dramatically standing in the rain sans umbrella looking very gloomy. Youji is deeply concerned and asks if Makoto wants to come in and use his shower or get a towel or something. Instead of reacting like a normal person, Makoto loses his mind, spouting all this crazy jealous shit.

Makoto manages to get himself under control, but still yammers on about “why can’t it be me” before running off without giving any explanation for what the hell just happened. Since Youji is surrounded by psychos at this point he’s just like okayyyy and goes back inside.

Makoto stands in Youji's doorway. He looks sad and is soaked from the rain.

Meanwhile, Zenya’s becoming progressively more unhinged himself. We flashback to Zenya prowling the halls of school after getting his ass beat by Tetsuo. Kamiya passes him by and quietly calls him defective before chuckling and walking off, meaning that the teacher’s been in on the meat cult shit the whole time!! Makoto may be wrong about a lot of shit, but he was onto something when he thought it was weird for Kamiya to ask Tetsuo to give Youji his homework and not him. Kamiya’s nasty ass has been orchestrating meetings between Youji and Tetsuo for the whole game.

Speaking of orchestrated meetups, Youji and Tetsuo have a tutoring session at Tetsuo’s house during which not a lot of studying gets done. They don’t fuck or anything, just share an intimate moment napping together, which I think is really fucking cute.

Tetsuo wakes from napping on Youji's shoulder.

The next day at school, Youji is greeted by Makoto along the same welcoming lines as the first day when he dripped creamsicle on our desk. He apologizes for making a scene at Youji’s house the other night and makes plans to rendezvous with Youji at the chem lab. Youji is glad to see Makoto back to his usual self, but is unsettled by the fact that Makoto isn’t smizing.

Despite some misgivings, Youji keeps his word and heads to the chem lab after school to meet Makoto. As he walks in the room, he’s grabbed from behind and pinned to the ground by a tweaked out Makoto holding a box cutter. He starts prattling on about Tetsuo and how Youji’s scent drove him crazy and now he wants Youji to himself.

Enraged that Youji isn’t saying anything, Makoto angrily demands that Youji choose between him and Tetsuo–if Youji remains still, that’s a yes for Tetsuo, if he nods that’s a yes for Makoto. If you’re playing through most of Tetsuo’s routes, you won’t be prompted to make a choice here and stay still by default, but you have the choice to nod your head if you’ve been playing through for Makoto, which triggers The Hunger ending.

The Hunger

Makoto attacks Youji with a box cutter.

In an attempt to appease the crazed Makoto, Youji tells him what he wants to hear and nods. However, Makoto is beyond appeasement since he’s already decided that Youji doesn’t like him, and thus Youji is injured and raped by his former friend.

You can definitely tell that I come from an era when rape was just a whatever commonplace happenstance in my BL media because I fucking gagged in the lead up to the sexual assault. Makoto says the funniest, one-sided shit before he gets to it, marveling at the fact that he can get an erection in response to another guy and going on about how he must really be gay. It wasn’t funny, but I have to say it was pretty funny. I’ve honestly replayed this ending once already just to hear the dialogue.

After assaulting Youji, Makoto is licking on Youji’s body and gets a taste for his flesh after nibbling on his open wounds (mmhmm, it’s going there). Makoto stabs Youji and starts to eat him alive, Markmeat and all. 🤢🤢

Makoto snacks on Youji’s body for an unknown period of time--probably not too long since Erika isn’t looking for her brother--and is just all around not present. 4shiki says he looks like a zombie and uh huh, yeah, that’s it.

Makoto sits slumped over with a dead look in his eyes. A bandage on his arm slips off to reveal a wound.

Cannibalizing Youji wasn’t enough to sate his hunger and he’s started to gnaw on his own arm to abate it. He’s really fucking sad and lonely now that Youji is gone and wants to hang out with him again. Fully cognizant that the reason he can’t see Youji is his own damn fault, he softly weeps before the credits roll. And once again, this game got me sitting there like okayyyy...

If you don’t nod in response to Makoto, the story continues. Makoto keeps babbling on by himself about how he’s a giant fucking dumb ass if Youji didn’t even consider him a normie friend on top of not reciprocating his lust love. Youji is way too out to lunch during this whole scene because his reasoning for not nodding is like a philosophical mediation on how he doesn’t know what “friends” are and I’m just like Youji, it’s really not the time, just say you’re friends even if you don’t want to go out wtf is wrong with you??

Anyway, like a lot of men so entitled that it causes brain damage, Makoto says he’s gonna murder-suicide because his love isn’t returned and raises the box cutter for attack. Youji mentally calls out for Tetsuo and prepares to die. Before Makoto can strike, Tetsuo is on his ass, getting Makoto off his man. Makoto blames Tetsuo for the whole situation before running away, my guess is looking like this:

After school, Youji and Tetsuo makeout to add insult to injury for little Makoto. Next day, Youji goes to school to find the place in an uproar yet again because Makoto attempted suicide the night before. Guilty, sad, and in desperate need to talk this shit out, Youji skips the rest of the day and heads to the hospital to visit his sister, who’s still recovering from giving birth. Like Youji, she’s frail, so labor was a pretty big health risk for her.

At the hospital, Erika fills Youji in on his own tragic backstory. Erika tells Youji through tears that he died in the car accident that killed their parents as children, but miraculously recovered. The bodies of their parents sustained a lot of physical trauma, but Youji was untouched save for a scar on his chest. During Youji’s recovery, Erika remembers him telling her that his dad’s body came apart in little pieces that fell into the hole in his chest. We’re left to infer that their father was a Host whose meat monsters healed Youji and turned him into a Host. Before leaving his sister, she shows him his nephew, named Yuuji--Yuu from her husband’s name and Ji from Youji. Very cute!

Youji goes to leave the hospital but thinks he spots Kamiya somewhere in the lobby. Remembering that Makoto is probably recovering from his suicide attempt in the same hospital, Youji asks staff to direct him to Makoto’s room. When he gets there, Makoto initially freaks out thinking that Youji is there to kick his ass, but he assures Makoto that he’s just there to have a heart to heart. Makoto apologizes for his actions and Youji apologizes for not being a better friend to Makoto. They leave agreeing to remain friends. The conversation is actually very sweet and made me warm up to Makoto ever so slightly.

Makoto cries as he apologizes to Youji, who has come to visit him in the hospital.
I do so love me a man in tears.

Uh oh--on his way out the hospital, Youji runs into Kamiya. His teacher is acting like an even bigger weirdo than usual and starts off their conversation talking about how he can’t keep covering for Youji. This makes no sense to Youji of course, so Kamiya decides to expose himself as being part of The Liberated and reveals some of the meat monster mating situation in an attempt to get Youji to come under the cult’s protection. In response, Youji gets the fuck outta there and heads to Tetsuo’s house for tutoring.

After a long day of talking about his feelings, Youji decides to keep up the momentum and talk to his boyfriend about his feels. He talks about how he used to think Tetsuo was weird as fuck, but doesn’t know quite how he feels anymore. When he asks how Tetsuo feels about him, he starts making out with Youji in response, and eventually tells him that he “found Youji first” and that he’s not letting anyone else have him for that reason. 😳😳

Tetsuo kisses Youji on the floor of his bedroom.

Our boys partake of some afternoon delight. The afterglow of sexy time is dimmed slightly by Youji’s need to pshit out a meat monster. In a moment as touching as it is fucking disgusteng, Tetsuo holds Youji’s legs apart and forces it out when Youji initially tries to hold it in out of embarrassment. Afterward, Tetsuo embraces Youji before helping him clean up the mess. While in Tetsuo’s embrace, Youji hears the thudding of his heart and realizes that Tetsuo was the stranger that helped him when he was sick on the train. On the way home that night, Youji is giddy with happiness and a sense of belonging.

Next day is Founding Day at Komanami Academy, so there’s no school. Youji is surprised to receive a text from Zenya to come to school anyway, so he can tell Youji everything. Although satisfied in his bond with Tetsuo, Youji can’t help but feel curious and heads out to meet Zenya.

When he gets to school, it’s absolutely covered in meat monsters but for some reason he doesn’t take that as a sign to fucking leave. Instead, Youji heads to the chem lab and Kunihito is there babbling about how he’s going to sacrifice Youji to his chunk of meat to restore him to his former glory. By this point, Youji couldn’t leave even if he wanted because he’s all tied up by the gross ass meat things!

Youji lies bound by meat monsters on the floor of the chem lab.

Kunihito calls Zenya out to kill Youji–he has his eyepatch off, his guro eyeball is exposed, and it really seems like he’s going to fucking do it. At the last second, Zenya turns on Kunihito, let’s out all his feelings about how this meat shit ruined his life, and stabs his father and his chunk of meat. When he’s done with that, Zenya turns to Youji and carries on like he’s going to kill him anyway. Our man Tetsuo bursts in to save the day yet again and Zenya asks him how hard it is to check his fucking email. Appears Zenya set up this whole thing to have a final showdown with the Female as prize.

Unshockingly, Tetsuo kicks Zenya’s ass but is stopped by Youji before he fully hulks out on Zenya and becomes a murderer. Taking advantage of the distraction, Zenya stabs Youji in the leg. Infuriated, Tetsuo pulls the knife out of Youji and stabs Zenya so badly that his guts fall out on the floor. The game shows it in great detail, but I’ll spare you here. After Youji and Tetsuo run off, Okinaga servant Kitani shows up and is horrified to find his master dead and young master dying. He comforts and calls Zenya by name before he passes away.

Zenya dies in Kitani's arms.

I’m not going to act like I didn’t cry for Zenya the first time around, but overall I’m pretty irritated that Zenya dies before he can explain that he was the one who killed his dad and that it’s explicitly his fault that Tetsuo gutted him because Youji tried to save his ass. Kitani would have probably still gone after Youji and Tetsuo either way, but maybe he would have thought about it a little if he didn’t think they killed his surrogate family in cold blood. Love ya, Zenya, but your final moments really ain’t it.

But back to our heros. Tetsuo grabs Youji and says that they’re going home. Unfortunately, there’s just too much sentient meat everywhere, blocking the exits, so Youji and Tetsuo are forced to escape to the roof.

On the way there, Youji starts to hear voices in his head and realizes it’s the meat people. They ask him to understand their suffering and give him the choice to reject his humanity and birth a Purebreed or to continue living with Tetsuo as a human. The answers you give to their series of questions here determines which of the Tetsuo endings you get.

On the roof, Youji and Tetsuo talk about their feelings for one another. No matter what ending you pick, the tone of the conversation reflects Tetsuo’s desire to just be with Youji and vice versa. Youji asks Tetsuo if the reason he liked him is just because he’s a Female and Tetsuo says yes--but only in the beginning. Tetsuo assures Youji that somewhere along the way he forgot about the instinctual reason he was going after Youji and just kept thinking about how he wanted to be with him--periodt.

Youji explains his initial bad impression of Tetsuo, how he thought he was staring at him because he had a problem with him. Like Tetsuo, along the way Youji began to feel differently, as though Tetsuo might be the only person who understands him. Tetsuo calls him by his first name and the two kiss.

Shadows of Youji and Tetsuo kissing cast on the surface of the roof.

Too bad Kitani bursts in to kill the mood. The choices you made on the way to the roof affect the direction of the conversation you have with Kitani, but either way Tetsuo ends up shot. This is where the four routes deviate. Fyi: the Miracles May ending doesn’t become available until you’ve played the Miracles May (Violin Version) route at least once. In the order of my playthrough:

Diving Deep

Tetsuo and Youji embrace on Youji's bed.

Tetsuo is incredibly badass and pulls the bullet from his own wound, shocking Kitani enough to give our heroes time to run off. Tetsuo and Youji escape the school to find Kitani’s car with the keys in the ignition. The two hop in and drive to Youji’s house, where they collapse on Youji’s bed in exhaustion, seemingly impervious to the meat monsters wriggling all over the apartment. In this ending, Youji hesitates when Tetsuo tries to initiate procreation sex, giving Kitani enough time to bust in and kill them both.

We end this route with Kitani and Kamiya, the latter of whom explains the full story of how Zenya came to be a defective Male Host. Kitani tries to glean more information from Kamiya about The Liberated and their overall goals, but Kamiya walks off before giving him any answers. He leaves with a very the South will rise again vibe...

Game dialogue screenshot that reads 'I will say this, however... We will be waiting. One day, a new dawn will rise.

... and I’m just sitting here wondering why the fuck Kamiya of all people gets to live.


Miracles May (Violin Ver.)

Tetsuo looks back and smiles at Youji as he leaves their apartment.

Kitani shoots both Youji and Tetsuo and they fall from the school roof into the pool below. As the two plunge into the water, Youji recalls the accident that took his parents’ lives, confirming that his father was a Host who sacrificed his life so Youji could live. Thinking that it’s his turn to save someone he loves, Youji holds Tetsuo close.

We do a bit of a time leap a few years in the future–Tetsuo and Youji live together, but it’s clear that Youji has been seriously altered from the fall into the pool. As 4shiki argues, he’s definitely exchanged his own humanity for Tetsuo’s well-being. Youji’s health is seriously failing on the day in question and he and Tetsuo discuss leaving the window open while Tetsuo goes to work. Tetsuo smiles brightly at Youji as he leaves for the day and Youji dies with the breeze from the window on his face and wishes for Tetsuo’s happiness on his mind.


The Red Road

Youji and Tetsuo embrace as meat monsters take over the whole room.

Like Diving Deep, this route begins with Tetsuo pulling the bullet from his wound and running off in Kitani’s car to Youji’s place. This time when the two collapse on the bed, Youji is ready to surrender his humanity to the meat people and create a Purebreed. Somehow the meat monsters in the apartment aren’t enough to turn them off and the two get down to business. They’re really feeling it this time and they feel themselves fusing together as they do it as the meat people celebrate.

Before they share a little death, they meditate on the meaning of forever and if it really exists. The two kiss and die, leaving behind their child. Kitani arrives at the apartment and is shocked to find only a kid laying there. When he picks the child up, it opens its eyes--they’re red, the mark of a Purebreed.


Miracles May

Youji and Tetsuo float in the pool together as they embrace.

Like Miracles May, this ending begins with our heroes being shot and plunging from the roof into the pool. Youji has the same flashbacks to the accident that killed his parents, but as he thinks it’s his turn to sacrifice himself, you’re given one last choice. Choose instinct and you continue to the Violin Version, choose reason and you proceed to the true ending. [Since writing this summary, I have learned that the Red Road ending may actually be the "true" ending, while Miracles May is the "grand" ending. However, Miracles May is the true ending in my eyes.]

Youji rebels--he wants to keep on living with Tetsuo. Before he fades from consciousness, he makes a wish to hear Tetsuo call him by his name one last time.

We then jump ahead in time and get the remainder of the story from Tetsuo’s perspective. Years after the events at Komanami, Tetsuo is fully recovered from his injuries but still suffers from amnesia--he has forgotten all about the meat procreation stuff and his time with Youji. All he knows about the day he fell from the school roof is that the Okinagas were found murdered in alleged gang-related activity and that his classmate--who he can’t remember--transferred away due to family obligations. Before he recounts this part of the story, Youji is described as his missing classmate, so it’s really ambiguous if Youji disappeared, died, or just moved away.

In the present day, Tetsuo is attending a local STEM college in hopes of having a successful career to pay his parents back for the emotional and financial burden he caused them with his hospitalization. He notes how his mother frequently comments on how drastically different he became since the accident. In an attempt to understand the person he once was, Tetsuo starts to deviate from his daily routine. One day, Tetsuo feels compelled to get off the train at Youji’s former train stop out of pure instinct--he has a feeling that he will find his other self by doing so.

On the train platform, he gets flashbacks to his time in high school, including vivid memories of Youji, which leads Tetsuo to say his name... one last time. After the credits roll--which everyone sits through on this ending even if you usually don’t because you’re too busy fucking crying--you’re blessed with one last CG of Youji, standing alone on the opposite side of the train platform. Then you cry harder.

Youji stands alone on a train platform opposite the viewer.

Game over.

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