Enzai (冤罪?, lit. "False charge") is a Yaoi game made by the Japanese software house Langmaor, as well as the first yaoi (and shotacon) game released commercially in the United States, where the title was translated as Falsely Accused. The game is also the first the software company developed.
The story is set in post-revolutionary France in early 19th-century. Although the specific date is never given, Napoleon Bonaparte is still described as being in power. A character (see below) remarks that it is several years before the 20th anniversary of the French Revolution, placing the game's events in the years before 1809.
The protagonist is Guys, a young boy from a poor family, who gets caught for stealing candy from a Paris store. However, after being railroaded by a city detective named Guildias, Guys finds himself accused, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a man he never met.
From that point on, most Enzai takes place inside a dark, claustrophobic, dirty prison. In there, Guys experiences humiliation and torture of various kinds, much of it involving sexual acts such as rape and forcible sodomy.
The primary goal of the game is for the player (as Guys) to locate evidence and witnesses that can exonerate him of the murder, unveil the true killer, and get him released from prison. Secondary goals include learning the killer's true motives, finding out the backstory of the murder, keeping Guys both physically and psychologically healthy, and forming a romantic bond with other male NPCs in the prison.
Game interaction is extremely limited, as Enzai is a visual novel. Most of Enzai's gameplay consists of reading text and seeing stationary artwork, most of which is yaoi-themed.
Player input is limited to, at a few junctions in the story, the ability to choose one of two paths. However, these choices do not give the player the ability to truly affect the storyline. Some examples of the choices the player is given - open a box prior to an envelope, eat with one character or another, or randomly draw a lot to determine a prison work detail.
In order to obtain the "good" or "official" endings, the player must select the correct choices in a specific order. Therefore, it is rather difficult to get every ending and every scene without help. The nature of the gameplay, and the incomplete revelation of the aspects of the main conspiracy means the player doesn't find out the entire conspiracy until the players has found all endings and unlocked all the scenes.
How and why every main character that is a prisoner came to be there is revealed if the player finds all endings and unlocks all scenes. However, one difficulty in getting all the endings and unlocking all the scenes is that some choices always lead to instant death unless a specific scene was unlocked in gameplay. The players must then select what is usually instant death in order to get a certain ending.
While there are eleven endings, only seven of these are "official" endings that can be unlocked and re-experienced in the option menu. Only sex scenes can be re-experienced after being unlocked in the option menu. The player must play through the game over again in order to experience dialogue or dramatic scenes.
Thus, while the player technically guides the game, it is essentially a random process, and the player has little (if any) ability to affect the game's outcome without playing the game several times and using a trial and error process.
There are, in fact, two unrelated conspiracies—one with Durer, Bollanet, and most of the prisoners, and another involving Guys, Guildias, and his imprisonment. In the game, it appears that Durer is aware that Guys is innocent, and that Guildias is corrupt, and vice versa. Durer and Guildias thus are partners in the evil prison system.
The game has a number of possible endings:
- Several endings involve Guys being shot to death when he unsuccessfully attempts to escape from prison. In one of these endings, he is held by his lawyer, Lusca, as he dies; in the others, he dies alone, although he usually expresses satisfaction of having at least tried to gain freedom.
- Two endings involve Guys becoming the victim of Durer, a prison warden. In one, Guys (along with many other prisoners) is murdered by Durer as part of a conspiracy. In another, Guys gives up hope and resigns himself to being under Durer's control for the rest of his life.
- Many of the (happy) endings involve Guys proving his innocence, being released from prison, and becoming romantically linked with another character.
- There is a default ending if Guys is successfully released from prison, but does not form a romantic bond with another character.
With a few exceptions prior to and after Guys' imprisonment, or during his trial, the characters of Enzai are all fellow prisoners, guards, or other law enforcement officials. Nearly all the characters have mental problems or other severe personality disorders (see Legacy below).
During sex-related scenes, Guys tends to show signs of masochism and, no matter how degrading or painful his experience is, tends to always orgasm. At the beginning of the story, Guys claims to be heterosexual, but when he gets intimate with (or sexually abused by) other male characters, he becomes aroused and, in the first part of the story, seems highly embarrassed by this.
Additionally, Guys is a bottom (submissive) to practically all the potential male love interests. The only exceptions are Vallewida and Io, both cases where Guys tops (sexually penetrates). The only character with which Guys can have a balanced sexual relationship is Shion.
If successful (or lucky), the player uncovers the fact that almost all the prisoner characters are somehow connected to a larger conspiracy, and have apparently been arrested and thrown into prison to be permanently silenced.
There are two guards—A and B—that interact with Guys throughout the game. These guards are never named, nor are they important to the storyline.
There are also other random prisoners, A, B, and C that Guys interacts with. These prisoners fulfill any role required, so they can be friends, rapists, or background people, depending on the developing plot.
The protagonist and the player character, he has been convicted for a murder he did not commit, as part of a conspiracy he knows nothing about. Prior to the game's beginning, he is described as a street kid and part of a gang who is constantly committing minor crimes such as shoplifting.
The detective who arrests Guys and has him charged with murder. He regularly visits, tortures, and rapes Guys in the prison.
As the game progresses, Guildias is gradually revealed to suffer from a number of delusions, not to mention being an outright pedophile who framed Guys for murder because of a (false) fear that Guys witnessed him kidnapping another character, Myuca (see below).
Guildias is also the real killer of the man Guys has been accused of murdering. To win, Guys and his friends must uncover enough evidence both to link him with the murder and establish, absolutely, Guys' inability to have committed the murder. If this happens, Guildias apparently loses all control over his sanity in open court, and is dragged away in front of the judge and audience.
A sadistic prison warden who regularly rapes, humiliates, and tortures all of the prisoners, especially Guys and Vallewida. His father, Bollanet, is a highly-placed governmental official, which protects him from retribution - most of the prisoners under Durer's care end up dying under mysterious circumstances. He is introduced near the very beginning of the game; the first adult scene involves him performing a cavity search upon Guys.
In one ending, when Guys fails to stand up to Durer and other sadistic officials, he becomes Durer's "sex slave." In another, Guys - along with Vallewida and Evan - are all murdered by Durer to cover up a conspiracy. If the conspiracy is uncovered, Durer is (presumably) arrested with the others.
Durer's father and a governmental official, he performs sex acts on Guys and Vallewida during the game.
Bollanet can be exposed as the head of an extremely large conspiracy, in which, as an officer in the French army, he abused his position, apparently ordered innocents civilians killed, and stole wheat from the poor to smuggle and sell on the black market. Guildias and Durer aided him by arresting and, once in prison, killing any possible witness to his acts.
An unusually upbeat prisoner, Evan is revealed to be a highly successful journalist who, with the aid of an attorney friend, exposed much corruption in post-revolutionary France. Unlike most other prisoners, he has been sentenced to a relatively light prison term of a few years.
While Evan offers a number of reasons for his imprisonment, if the conspiracy is uncovered, it is revealed he was framed by Bollanet after he found out too much about his smuggling operations. For this knowledge, he has been marked for death.
Evan must be befriended by Guys to proceed in the game - his friendship is necessary to gain the attorney Lusca 's attention, and to gain logical deductions that help exonerate Guys. In one ending, he and Guys become lovers. In several others, he becomes lovers with another prisoner (see below).
In the ending where Evan and Guys become lovers, Evan decides to stay out of journalism for a while, instead working with Guys as a construction worker.
A violent young man, Jose was imprisoned for raping a nun. He is constantly trying to rape Guys, and the game is full of tricks and betrayals by which Jose tries to lure Guys into a compromising position. He is constantly accompanied by another prisoner, Io, whom he treats like a sex slave.
To win the game, it must be revealed that Jose was part of a street gang that aided the man Guys is accused of murdering. This man (Jared) was a private detective who was investigating Guildias for a kidnapping. Jose's "gang" affiliation strongly resembles that between Edogawa Rampo's Kogoro Akechi and his Boy Detective Club (which was in turn based on Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars).
Although he is illiterate, Jose has Jared's diary in his possession, and is willing to part with it...if Guys is willing to have sex with him. This diary is essential in proving that Guildias is the real killer and exonerating Guys.
In one ending, if Guys manages to avoid being forcibly raped by Jose (which is rather difficult), the two become lovers, and Jose decides to pursue a career as a private detective with Guys as his assistant.
A lawyer hired by Guys' family, primarily because he is an alcoholic and, as such, came cheap. Guys' family gave him enough money to visit Guys in prison 12 times, after which he feels no duty to help Guys anymore.
Although Lusca initially appears to be highly incompetent and uncaring, if Guys befriends Evan, it will be revealed that Lusca was once a highly respected and intelligent attorney who later turned to drink. Unless Guys gets this information, Lusca will lose interest in the case, and a bad ending will ensue.
It is then revealed that Lusca and Evan were once close friends who helped each other in their respective professions (it is strongly suggested that the two once had a homosexual relationship, but Evan broke it off to protect Lusca from any association with him). If reminded of this, Lusca will take Guys' case seriously and work on gathering evidence and witnesses.
It is possible for Guys to form a close relationship with Lusca (following two masturbation scenes). In one ending, Guys will be killed while trying to escape on New Year's Eve, but Lusca will be with him at his death and later vow to find justice. In another, after his exoneration, Guys will move in with Lusca and become his assistant and lover. Guys can only have sex with Lusca after he leaves prison.
A former soldier, Vallewida is a strange character who apparently has more than one personality, and seems unusually remorseful and resigned to his imprisonment. He also apparently suffers from amnesia, and cannot even remember the crime that sent him to prison. He is regularly raped and abused by both Durer and Bollanet.
Although Vallewida offers several excuses for his unusual behaviour (including an imaginary addiction to opium), if the conspiracy is revealed, it turns out that, while in the army, he witnessed Bollanet's smuggling operations, and has evidence that proves this, despite attempts by Bollanet to beat the information out of him. If the player uncovers these facts, the reason for Vallewida's depression and remorse become clear - although he was just following orders, he still feels guilty for helping Bollanet while serving under his command.
Vallewida has personality modes, although not all scenarios reveal them all:
- His "default," or usual, personality is extremely passive. In this mode, he appears to be a highly intellectual and religious person who spends much time reading in his cell. While in this state, he tends to be extremely friendly and polite, and often treats Guys in a sympathetic (and loving) manner.
- During certain circumstances, Vallewida goes into what Guys refers to as his "ghost mode." In this state, he is almost catatonic, and does not seem to be aware of where or who he is. He usually enters this state during and after being sexually abused and tortured by Durer or Bollanet. In this state, he is uncommunicative and highly masochistic, and does not resist Durer or Bollanet's treatment. While in this state, he sometimes speaks as if still in the army (post-traumatic stress).
- If a person he cares for is being harmed, Vallewida can become extremely protective and violent. When this happens, his personality becomes extremely cold and methodical, and he regains the ability to fight back. In this state, he is revealed to be a highly adept and dangerous swordsman. For example, in one possible scene, when three fellow prisoners try to rape Guys, he single-handedly beats them all up to save Guys.
For a "good" ending, Guys must befriend Vallewida enough to get his logical deduction and knowledge of sword wounds to prove his innocence. In one ending, he and Guys fall in love. After Guys is released, he leaves Paris and works at a small town grocery store until Vallewida comes back to him.
An easily-bullied, small, and young prisoner, Io is Jose's prison "slave," and as such, is constantly being abused. He will always follow Jose's orders, even when ordered to set Guys up to be raped, or in one possible scene, to have sex with Guys.
Despite his passive demeanor, it is revealed that Io is a murderer, and his insight is necessary for Guys' defense.
Evan constantly protects Io, often treating him like a "little brother".
Io is one of the few characters that has no involvement in either of the conspiracies, there is no ending where Guys and Io end up as partners, and the particulars of his crime and incarceration are never revealed.
Shion is a hidden character, and Guys only meets him after the default ending is unlocked. An orphan, he suffers from extreme guilt after he accidentally dropped a toolbox on a friend's head, killing him.
The ending in which Shion and Guys become lovers is a highly specific storyline, separate from all the others, which ends with the two opening a Paris restaurant. If this ending is reached, all the other characters are somehow (and unexplainedly) released from prison and pursue their own lives, often retaining earlier romantic relationships (e.g., Io stays with Jose, and Evan and Lusca apparently get back together). In this ending, all the characters have a "reunion" at Shion and Guys' restaurant.
Shion's character is hinted at in the other game scenarios. However, he is never seen, and Guys only refers to him as "a prisoner".
Shion is the only other character, besides Io, that is in no way involved in either of the conspiracies that are in the prison.
An apparently insane prisoner, Belbet 's name is not even established unless he appears in several scenes. In prison for several years, he has refused allow his hair to be cut. He claims to be royalty and the long-lost heir to the French throne. Although he appears extremely menacing, he tends to be gentle and enjoys chocolate. In one scene, he kisses Guys, although he claims this was simply an attempt to steal the chocolate Guys was eating at the time. In another possible scene, Durer will force Belbet to rape Guys (although chocolate is also involved, when Durer pours melted chocolate all over Guys, then sets Belbet loose on him).
No matter how the game unfolds, if Guys survives long enough to appeal his conviction the first time, guards will forcibly cut Belbet's hair and cleanse him, drastically changing his appearance. Also unavoidable (unless Guys is shot instead) - after Guys' first appeal, Belbet will be shot to death while trying to escape. In one scenario, Guys will witness Belbet's shooting and death.
It is also possible, in several scenarios, for Guys and Belbet to meet in the library after he has been cleaned, but before his death. If this happens, Belbet will give Guys a cryptic message: "Hide a leaf in the forest. Hide a corpse in a cemetery. Oh yes. A pig stinks. A fish stinks. And rotting cows and humans also stink. Make a hole in my guts, darling."
In several endings, it will be revealed that Belbet was faking his madness. When scenes with him are reviewed with this perspective in mind, it suggests that Belbet is attracted to Guys, but does not want to hurt him. In these endings, Belbet's former boss, a man called Jack Darling, was murdered by Bollanet after he uncovered the conspiracy. In these endings, Belbet's final message is a clue to find Darling's corpse, which in turn is used to convict Bollanet and Durer for murder, along with Bollanet's smuggling operations.
While he never appears (alive) in the game, Muca is a bishōnen who attracted the attention of Guys and other boys long before the game started. According to Guys, Muca looked so much like an attractive girl that he was attracted to him.
If Guys survives, it will be revealed that Guildias kidnapped Muca and dressed him like a girl. Guys saw Guildias with Muca, and Guildias (incorrectly) assumed that Guys recognized him. Afterwards, Muca's family hired the private detective Jared to find him. However, Guildias murdered Jared and framed Guys for the murder, thus covering his tracks and setting Enzai 's plot in motion.
In all scenarios, Guys will implore Lusca to try and find Muca before Guildias does anything to him. However, in the "default" good ending - the ending to scenarios in which Guys is exonerated, but fails to form any romantic ties - it will be revealed that Guildias strangled Muca to death. This ending is the only one that makes any mention of Muca; no other ending suggests that he was found before Guildias kills him.
Enzai has become popular and successful in Japan, spawning two OVAs, several Drama CD Collections, a novelization, an Official Fanbook, and a variety of fan collectibles (pin badges, phone cards, satchels, etc.). However, no uncensored version of the OVAs has ever been distributed.
Enzai has also become famous outside Japan, mostly due to its unusually dark and twisted atmosphere, deep and compelling plot, and surprisingly graphic scenes, as already mentioned. Enzai is the first girls-oriented video game depicting blood, rape, insanity, and abuse rather than the more standard romantic "shōjo" scenes.
Also to be noted as a quality in that game are the psychological details of the characters and of the situations. In the first half of the game, the player is led to have the feeling of despair and hopelessness; the feeling of not knowing what is going on even if everyone else seems to, but knowing only that the events cannot be helped. The authors manage to convey such an atmosphere with the constant repetition of similar scenes and phrases, nearly to the point of redundancy.
Another thing to be mentioned are the mental illnesses that the various characters suffer from. The various disorders afflicting Enzai's cast (mostly paraphilia such as pedophilia, S&M, bondage, voyeurism, urolagnia, but also non-sexual psychologial disorders, such as schizophrenia, madness derived from long periods of cell isolation, and apathy) are presented with a sense of realism.
Enzai is full of German imagery. The title itself is written in German (eine falsche Beschuldigung), and so are all the titles of the background music, although the story takes place in France.
- ↑ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2006-01-16/jast-usa-announces-first-boy%27s-love-pc-dating-game
- ↑ "Hentai Neko Review". The gothic feel is captivating and I lost no time getting absorbed into the stories... I was actually astounded when I realized that I had become completely engrossed in the plot... As for hentai scenes... the word "overabundance" comes to mind. I just get a little queasy when it comes to the ass-violation parts. I think that's one thing I will never get used to, no matter what genre a game or a hentai anime is. I must also impart a little warning: expect a chockful of blood and gore. This is a psychological thriller so there's plenty of S&M to assail your senses... [This game] feels so horribly wrong... [but is] done so magnificently right... I loved every inch of it. April 29, 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- ↑ "Yaoi Suki Review". This is NOT a game for the faint-hearted or easily squicked... this game is designed for the fangirls of the dirtiest sorts of minds. I can't stress enough that you won't enjoy this game unless you're into some serious BDSM, sadism/masochism, etc. March 5, 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- ↑ "Honest Gamers Review". It's an oppressive, immersive, and convincing setting. The typical yaoi (man-love) story is about gay detectives who have gay clients, or gay students at schools full of gay teachers, or various other scenarios that occur in perfectly normal settings except that everyone happens to be gay... In most yaoi games, the hero can take solace in the fact that everyone else is openly gay. Guys doesn't have that luxury. He still has to wrestle with the fact that he's different from his friends... [He] will [also] suffer many humiliating, painful, and cringe-inducing moments, often involving foreign objects and blood. October 1, 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- Langmaor's Official page (Japanese)
- JAST USA (Distributor's official site)
- Enzai OAV Official Page (Japanese)