finally started Taisho x Alice episode 1! I’m not sure how fast I can go through it, as I’m drafting my posts as I play the game. I’ve had my eyes on this series ever since I knew that the writer is the same as StS’s – so perhaps this game will be just as long ahaha. But in any case, I’m done with the prologue so here it is.
Before you realise it, you’re wandering in a pitch black world. You wonder where this is, as you keep walking, unable to find any exit. You have lost track of time. If you stop breathing and walking, perhaps all you’ll hear is the sound of your heart beating. You have no memory of who you are, or what you’re doing here. Feeling uneasy and lonely, you ask if anyone’s there. But there’s no answer. You decide to keep walking in hopes of an answer. Suddenly, it feels as if darkness grabs your feet. You instantly pull away, and flee. It isn’t long before you encounter a blonde boy. Thrilled to see another face, you leap at him and start asking if he knows anything. Unfortunately, he isn’t as thrilled as you are.
Boy: ……as if I would know. Just when you suddenly appeared, you push me down and steal my line. In fact, who are you? That aside, it’s painful and you’re heavy. Won’t you hurry up and move?
You: Hey, what is your name?
Boy: ……Umm, were you listening to me? Are you the type who doesn’t listen to others? Or are you the self-centred and abnormal type who acts without any consdieration for others, and insists on your own opinion to the point of deliberately ignoring me? Besides, don’t you know that you’re supposed to introduce yourself first before asking others for their name? Ahh, it’s suffocating!
You: I’m sorry! I was so happy to see you that I just……
Boy: ……haaa. Thank you for getting out of the way. It’s good to see that no matter how stupid and selfish you are, you don’t completely ignore others. Thanks to that I wasn’t crushed to death.
You explain that you don’t recall anything, that your existence feels so vague. The boy notes this with disinterest – to be honest he couldn’t care less. You accept this, before asking more about him and where you are.
Boy: You really aren’t discouraged. People call that optimistic, insensitive, or being unable to read between the lines.
You: You aren’t that honest yourself.
Boy: I don’t think there are that many people who are as honest and kind as me. After all, I’m purposely spending my time with such a rude and impudent person like you. If you don’t like it, you don’t need to talk to me.
You: I don’t hate it, that’s why I’m talking to you.
Boy: ………………are you a masochist?
As they converse some more, you come up with the bright idea of having him give you a name. He laments at how empty your head must be, but is reminded that you have amnesia so it’s probably a given. In any case, he refuses your suggestion since you’re complete strangers anyway. You ask him for his name once more, sensing that he’s been dodging the question since the start.
Boy: My name is……probably Alice.
Alice: Goodbye. Have a nice day. We shall never meet again!
You: I’m sorry for teasing you! Please! Don’t disappear!
Alice: I hate jokes. Look, I have goosebumps! If you ever say such absurb things, I shall never reply you, or look at you. I will treat you as non-existence. Like air. Wait, air is necessary. A stone on the curb!
Despite his continuously harsh response, you ask why he isn’t sure of his own name. Eventually, Alice explains that he doesn’t remember either. His situation is exactly like yours – except that he remembers the name “Alice”. Though he does find it weird for him to have a girl’s name. If you had not asked him for his name, he wouldn’t have had to call himself that. He decides to name you “Alice” too, since you both have no memories. In that case, it’s a possibility that you were acquainted and that it was your name. To avoid any confusion, he decides to use katakana, and you hiragana, in your names.
(For the review, I’m going to switch to third-person POV now. Even though the game refers to the heroine as “you”, I’m not used to writing in first-person POV. And the heroine shall be “Arisu”, while the boy will be “Alice”.)
When asked what they should do next, Alice shrugs and replies that he has no intention of doing anything. It’s just his gut feeling, but he doubts that they can escape. Arisu wants to do, citing that she just fled from the darkness. On that note, she realises why she can see him so clearly in the dark. The boy sarcastically compliments her minute improvement.
Arisu: Ah……h-hey! What about me? Can you properly see me!?
Alice: Deduct two points and it’s back to zero. As expected you’re stupid. I’m obviously talking to you because I can see you. Or what? Have I been doing one-man comedy till now? I like being alone, but I have no interest in talking to myself. By the way this is in advance but, I can’t see spirits either. Well, but since I’ve lost my memories, it’s a possibility that I was a pretty boy with spiritual powers. If you’re so concerned, see for yourself. Or are those eyes just there for decoration?
Arisu: Indeed……I have hands and legs.
He returns the topic back to her earlier comment, observing that it’s not logical if she feels targeted by the darkness but not him. Arisu agrees, but she still can’t help but feel that way – that if it engulfs her then her existence will disappear. Alice changes his question, asking if she knows why she has amnesia. She doesn’t. When asked if she wants to remember, she answers that she does.
Alice: Even if you’re no longer yourself?
Arisu is confused by his remark, prompting Alice to explain that the her now is a blank sheet. Recalling her memories would mean reawakening another self – who was shaped by her past experiences.
Alice: Do you think that you were a good person? You cannot deny the possibility that you may have been an evil person. Because you have no firm “memories” of yourself. If you try to recall those memories, do you in turn have the resolution to accept yourself, your past, and your sins?
She says that she does, causing Alice to wryly commend her.
Alice: But what if, even if you accept your past self, you don’t know if your past self is able to accept your new self. From now on what you will experience, accept, reject – what will you do if it denies your past self?
Arisu: …………what happens if I do deny myself?
Alice: It means that you will disappear. In other words, one of you will vanish.
Arisu: Is it the same as being swallowed by the darkness?
To be honest, she isn’t quite sure. But she can tell that he’s worried for her, much to his displeasure. She’s sure that he will be sad if she’s gone, and thinks that he’s kind. It’s as if he doesn’t wants her to disappear. Alice snidely remarks that her brain must be made up of flower fields or candy, it’s almost like jam that was destroyed by boiling it for too long. In response, Arisu casually wonders if has become candy since too much sugar was added.
While Alice insists that he isn’t concerned for her, Arisu thinks that it’s because he’s afraid of being alone then. If not – is he afraid of disappearing, of regaining his memories? He goes quiet, before laughing at how stupid she is. He has no memories, but he can tell that this isn’t reality. In that case, it must be a dream. So it’s not really darkness attacking her, but it just appears to be. Since this a dream, anything illogical can happen. Arisu starts to pinch herself in hopes of confirming this, and Alice gladly lends a hand. She cries out in pain – or so she thinks. He explains that the pain, and other senses felt in a dream works as the mind pieces it together based off our memories of them. So her method isn’t actually effective. And then again, they cannot confirm if this is a dream if they never wake up from it.
When asked why they cannot wake up, he laments at how she keeps relying on others without thinking for herself. Alice eventually hints that she doesn’t know who she is in her own dream. Yet a dream can be said to be the recreation of one’s memories. Arisu realises that she has lost sight of herself in reality – or she wishes to forget. He agrees, adding that she may be unconsciously desiring to return to nothingness if the darkness had attacked her. In the first place if this is a dream, who is real? Is it him or her who is having this dream? Once more, Alice questions if she wants to leave. Arisu affirms this, even if the real her doesn’t wish for it.
Alice is more than happy for her to leave, but Arisu doesn’t feel like leaving him be. It’s her own selfishness that’s making her want to stay with him. Despite his sharp complaints, Arisu offers to hold hands so that they don’t separate. He reacts aggressively, despising the fact that he’d have to waste energy and time on this. But since he notes that in exchange it will feel as those time is moving in this space with no sense of time. So he demands for her to walk slowly, to not take to wrong route and to rest when needed.
And so the both of them start walking in the darkness. Arisu expresses her gratitude in meeting him. It’s fun to talk with him and he stays with her despite what he says. He remains quiet, before muttering that his pacing is messed up with her. Eventually, they come across a large mirror that looks like crystal – or perhaps the opposite. She immediately wonders if this is the exit. Alice remarks that if it’s a fairytale, one would cross through to enter a world opposite of the original. If this is a nightmare, perhaps the world is a good one – and vice versa. He also wonders what will happen if the mirror is destroyed – not that he would do it, since he couldn’t care less and he doesn’t want to hurt himself. He also discusses about lucid dreams, so one might exert some influence.
Arisu desires to pass through the mirror in that case. As she stretches out her hand towards it, the mirror shines. What was once her reflection in the mirror, now shows something different. The left shows a man with ash-grey hair, and the right shows a man with a red hood. Strangely, both of them feel a sense of familiarity with the reflected worlds. The mirror ripples like waves when her fingers touch it. Before Arisu can act, Alice sternly warns her not to do anything rash. While he doesn’t want to go, she probably won’t let go of him and drag him in – almost like a double suicide which he didn’t agree to. So Alice first takes the chance to clearly ask which mirror Arisu will choose.