Without a phone line he couldn't even access his home computer. And of course, calling all the girls he'd ever gone with and sobbing over how he was, "About to die, but I loved you the most," was out of the question.
Anyway, suddenly he realizes what's up.
It was obvious now why he wasn't able to dial in anymore. The government had managed to locate the line test number used by the DTT technician, the number used for the special phone with the counterfeit "Second ROM" he'd painstakingly built. They'd cut off all connections including this one.
Obvious and yet it took you five hours.
He says they can't have seen him hack in, because he is super awesome at hacking. Instead of thinking that maybe he's just not quite as good as he thinks, he decides there must be something else, and realizes the collar must record them.
I think it's the five hours that really screw this up. I remember it being a lot quicker in the manga, and the line getting cut shortly after he starts talking is suspicious.
He's confused that the collar hasn't just exploded yet, but whatever, he'll make them regret it.
He's carrying a pocketknife that was his uncle's, with a secret compartment for two vials of chemical that appear to make a bomb when connected. This seems really convenient, but he actually does a decent job of explaining it as something his uncle might have carried as a weird memento of his former mad bomber days. I think it'd be better to have just gone all the way and say he's prepared because he's always wanted to strike at the government so he carries the bare basics with him everywhere. Like guys who always have a survival knife just in case or something.
Yutaka had been hugging his knees and gazing at the ground. He looked up. His eyes were shining. "Did< you come up with something?" he asked. Shinji wasn't exactly sure why Yutaka's response ticked him off. It might have been the tone of his voice, or maybe the words. Shinji felt like saying, what the hell—here I am banging my head against the wall trying to come up with an escape plan and all you've been doing is sitting on your ass! You swore you were going to get back at them for Izumi Kanai, but you haven't done squat. You think this is a fast food restaurant where I'm working the register? You want some fries with that?
And here's where the pair becomes more interesting. Shinji doesn't seem to be an arrogant or impatient guy, so it's never mattered before that Yutaka isn't as good at him in particular ways, but now they're in a life or death situation and the lack of anyone to depend on is really taking its toll.
He doesn't lash out, though - he catches himself, recognizes that Yutaka is exhausted and stressed so of course he can't think of anything to contribute. And his own anger is probably a sign he is as well.
Shinji's still quite on the ball. He starts a conversation about a bug he notices on Yutaka, then pretends to brush it off. This is so that if Yutaka blurts anything out when he mentions they're bugged, it'll seem part of that conversation. Then he starts writing. The two carry parallel conversations, minor chatter about how the plan failed so they're giving up and looking for others while Shinji outlines what he's figured out about the collars. He's pretty sure there's no visuals of them, because even if there are satellites, they're under trees. Yutaka apologizes for screwing everything up by asking his plan and Shinji reassures him.
If comp worked we could have saved others but now we can only worry about saving ourselves.
All right with that?
Yutaka considered it and then wrote, Not looking for Shuya?
Right. Can't afford to worry about others anymore.
Which is understandable. Better to save yourself than no one at all. And this doesn't mean they're just cutting and running. Shinji's plan will create a window of opportunity for everyone, so it's not even like it's sacrificing the rest for their own chance, which is close to how Shogo's explained his plan.
I'd be interested to know what'd have happened if Shinji's plan had worked. Even if all the kids knew they could escape the games, Kazuo at least is just insane and would keep going, and after Mitsuko's bit with poor Takako, she might be more interested in the chance to kill people she resents than her own survival. I think she's probably go with escaping, but it's hard to say.
Anyway, Shinji explains that while he didn't do what he meant to, he did put a virus in all the backups, as well as the search engine itself. You know, maybe you'd have been done in time with your original plan if you hadn't done that kind of thing in the first place. Anyway, if they search anything or reference the backups...
It'll destroy all data and play "The Star Spangled Banner" on repeat. It'll drive em crazy.
Uh yeah okay but point is, it'll destroy their ability to keep track of or explode students. Unfortunately, it isn't in any of the standard files, so he's got to force them to get their backups. By blowing up the computer in the school.
Time to get gasoline and fertilizer! Then they'll construct a giant pulley (because they can't enter the area themselves) to move it over the school, then cut the line and it'll explode on contact. Then swim to freedom!
But I can't swim he looked at Shinji warily.
Shinji interrupted Yutaka's writing and wrote Full moon tonight. Use tide current. According to my calculations tide will carry us at 6-7 kph. If we swim fast it will take 20 min. to reach next island.
I can only assume that in Japan, "I can't swim" means "I am not a great swimmer" otherwise this doesn't seem to properly address the issue. They could probably grab a plank or something for Yutaka, though.
Shinji says he's pretty sure that the non-computer security is pretty shitty and mostly just for show, saying that the four ships, at least, aren't enough to cover the sea well. Plus, he's got an SOS radio, which he'll chuck into the sea away from them to distract the boats.
Shinji felt worn out from all the handwriting, which he didn't do very often.
Oh, Shinji, I know what you mean. He's also been cursing the lack of spellcheck periodically.
On to Chapter 44.
It's someone new again!
He was looking at himself with a mirror he held in his left hand, neatly arranging his pompadour with the comb in his right. Ever since the game began he might have been the only student in class, including the girls, who felt like he could afford to take good care of his hair. But that was only natural. Although he had a thuggish-looking face, he paid an inordinate amount of attention to his personal appearance, and although no one knew exactly why, this boy was known, or no, had been known until now as "Zulu," he was in any case…
Oh, right. That one.
It's Sho, the only one of Kazou's underlings to survive. He also doesn't have a very positive view of people, which is why he was suspicious enough to avoid meeting up with Kazuo.
Sho had always held the basic belief that betrayals happen all the time. That's how the world is. One could say that, compared to Mitsuru, who was just a good fighter, Sho, who'd seen more of the adult world as a result of going in and out of the gay bar his father ran ever since he was a kid, was more sophisticated.
Did you know Sho is queer? He is very queer.
Unlike in the manga, though, he doesn't seem to have a crush on Kazuo. Smart, Sho.
Sho's been stalking Kazuo this whole time. He's had a lot of practice.
(When he found a boy he liked, he could stalk him endlessly.)
It's because he's queer, see.
A talent to be sneaky—what do you mean sneaky, how dare you?—in all respects.
This makes me pretty sure that the weird chatting bits of narration are some translation issue and not a particular quirk. If an author was writing this in English, it'd be A talent to be sneaky—a description he'd have argued with—in all respects. because that's how we usually handle this.
Anyway, plan is, he'll let Kazuo kill everybody, then kill him. He's got a gun as well.
That way Sho wouldn't have to sully his hands in this game where you had to kill your classmates off one by one. It wasn't that he felt a strong moral objection to killing them, it was just that, he thought, I don't want to kill innocent kids, it's so vulgar. Kazuo's going to do the killing. I'm just going to stay behind him. He might be killing someone right in front of me, but it's not like I can interfere, that's too dangerous. And so at the very end, I'm going to kill him out of self-defense. I mean, if I don't kill him, he'll kill me. That was his line of thinking.
This line of thinking has so far marked all the weak-willed villains. The author really doesn't like moral cowardice. Note that his particular objection is framed rather prissily, because he's queer.
He also likes the Kazuo-stalking plan because he figures it's a lot less likely anyone else will run into him that way. Honestly, it's a pretty good plan, and it's not especially unethical. Kazuo doesn't torture people or anything, he takes them out as quickly as he can.
There's a quick recap of his stalking.
when Yumiko Kusaka and Yukiko Kitano began calling from the peak of the mountain with their megaphone he moved quickly and after making sure no one was responding to their call (now wasn't there another gunshot? Sho believed there was, urging Yumiko and Yukiko to hide. Wow, how wonderful, so there's a real humanitarian out there.
He was moved, but not enough to alter his plans)
The book's really presenting him in the most negative light it can. (Because he's queer.)
We discover that Kazuo did indeed go after the Kaori/Hirono shootout, though of course it was after the gang had left.
Kazuo's plan seemed simple, at least for now. Once he knew where someone was, he'd go there and
shoot away. Sho was exasperated by the merciless way he'd killed Yumiko Kusaka and Yukiko Kitano
(Kazuo, you have such a plain name but your actions are out of control. And yet my name sounds like a celebrity's, Sho Tsukioka, but I'm just a Plain Jane), but it was pointless to fret over these details.
The word choice here is really weird and I'm not sure what the objection is. That he's too enthusiastic about spraying bullets around?
Kazuo appeared to be resting quietly. He might have been sleeping.
On the other hand Sho couldn't sleep at all, but he felt he was strong in that department as well.
Naturally. Girls had more stamina than guys.
There were a bunch of epic wanks about this character in a manga or anime or something over if they were a gay guy or trans woman, because they'd said they wanted sex change surgery which is something that only trans women would want, which on the one hand is true, but on the other is missing the fact that Japan as a country doesn't seem to understand that.
Come to think of it, I wonder which pronoun Sho uses? Presumably a female one.
Anyway, he really wants a cigarette but can't because it'd give him away.
I am so pretty. On top of that, I'm so smart. It's inevitable I should be the winner of this game. Only the beautiful survive.
This is interrupted by Kazuo taking off again. He finds a toilet and heads in. Sho finds this hilarious.
But while he's suppressing giggles, he remembers they're right by a soon-to-be-forbidden area.
The elegant italic numerals on the women's watch indicated 4:57 p.m.
Because he's queer.
He checks his map but can't find the toilet on it, so he can't tell where exactly he is. But he figures Kazuo wouldn't make a mistake, so it's fine.
Still, it seems to be taking forever.
Just then a sudden wind blew by, opening the squeaky door. What brilliant timing. Sho's eyes opened wide. Inside the toilet a government-supplied water bottle was hanging from the ceiling as it swung in the wind. Kazuo had probably pierced it with a blade because there was a very thin stream of water trickling out, fluttering with the wind.
In the distance, he catches a flash of Kazuo's black coat making its way away at speed.
Then his collar explodes.
Over one hundred meters below, Kazuo Kiriyama didn't even look back as he glanced down at his watch.
Seven seconds past five.
And that's it for Sho.
I liked the manga version better, he was still a horrible gay stereotype there but at least there was a flashback to when he was sexually harassing someone for trying to sexually harass one of girls at the bar, and if you're going to nonconsensually grab straight guys' dicks, you could do it for worse reasons. Of course, the manga version, or at least the translation, did go out of its way to say he specifically got crushes on straight guys to really amp up the GAY PREDATOR thing.
Of course, this was written more than a decade ago, so I guess it gets into the "is no representation better than really terrible representation?" question.
21 students remaining
We're now at precisely half.
2 Keita Iijima
4 Toshinori Oda
5 Shogo Kawada: Looks older than the rest, has facial hair already, transferred in, scarred. Shotgun. Saves Shuya and kills Kyoichi. Doctor skills.
6 Kazuo Kiriyama: Awesome. A sociopath who decides to play the game by flipping a coin. Possesses several guns. Kill count: 7.
11 Hiroki Sugimura: Tall and knows martial arts. Seems tough but is actually shy, likes Chinese poetry. Shuya's friend. Close to Takako. Has a device that shows him when someone with a collar nearby, also armed with a staff. Searching for two girls, one of which was Takako.
12 Yutaka Seto: Class clown. Best friends with Shinji, joined up with him. Fork weapon. Had a crush on Izumi. Decides to take on the government.
13 Yuichiro Takiguchi
15 Shuya Nanahara: Main character? Minor but utterly harmless teenage rebelliousness. Popular with the girls. Killed Tatsumichi. Attempted to stop Hirono and Kaori's shootout, failed.
18 Tadakatsu Hatagami: jock, Shuya's friend when they were younger. 'Shuya had started playing electric guitar, which was considered an "unpatriotic" activity. Tadakatsu's mother was uptight about that sort of thing."
19 Shinji Mimura: Shuya's current friend. 'short hair and wore an intricately designed ring on his left ear', highly athletic, knows a lot of information, particularly about the outside world. Extremely cool under pressure. Best friends with Yutaka, joined up with him. Pistol weapon. Uncle probably part of the rebellion. Decides to take on the government.
1 Mizuho Inada: A friend of Megumi's.
2 Yukie Utsumi: class representative, braided hair, Haruka's volleyball teammate. The first one to speak after their abduction. Noriko's friend. Not playing, joined up with Haruka, sees Kazuhiko and Sakura's suicide.
8 Kayoko Kotohiki
9 Yuko Sakaki: Sees Shuya kill Tatsumichi and runs away unnoticed.
10 Hirono Shimizu: Part of Mitsuko's group. Tormented Megumi. Killed Kaori in a shootout, left Shuya alone.
11 Mitsuko Souma: Delinquent group leader. "Even though Mitsuko had the gorgeous looks of a pop idol, she always wore a strange, listless expression on her face." Has two knives, a pistol and a bowgun. Seems to have resented Takako. Kill count: 4. Hiroko knows she murdered Takako.
12 Haruka Tanizawa: Yukie's volleyball teammate, exceptionally tall. Not playing, joined up with Yuki.
15 Noriko Nakagawa: She has a crush on Shuya he's unaware of and Yoshitoki has a crush on her she may be unaware of. She's nice and likes literature. Suffering a leg injury. Currently severely ill.
16 Yuka Nakagawa: Yoshitoki says she's fat. Class clown.
17 Satomi Noda : "model student who wore wire-rimmed glasses which suited her calm, intelligent face"
19 Chisato Matsui: always quiet and withdrawn