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Time for a new character’s story. We can’t select Juro again at the moment, so this is the only path we have.

Chapter 2: Iori Fuyusaka 1

Music: Mornin’, Sunshine! (Mitsuhiro Kaneda)

I can’t believe I slept through my alarm…

Ah, the old “schoolgirl running to school with toast in her mouth.” Can’t beat the classics.

Those weird dreams won’t leave me alone. I’m losing beauty sleep!

Didn’t really need that panty shot, but okay. (I swear to god this game is good and relatively tame, y’all, I’m not trying to trick you)

Guess that’s a yes.

Um… Sorry…

Wait, are you—

The morning assembly!

First-year. Iori Fuyusaka. …… Might be worth looking into.

Music: Halcyon Days (Yoshimi Kudo)

Wait, this isn’t the same classroom as before…?

Good morning, sleepyhead.
You were sound asleep.
Class is over…?
The teacher kept giving you dirty looks.

You slept through the whole class. I’m Kisaragi. Tomi Kisaragi.
Ah… I’m Sawatari.

Fuyusaka-san, right? I heard the teacher trying to call on you.
Really? I didn’t notice… *sigh* I’ve barely even started my high school life… And this is how I make a first impression?

One thing I didn’t mention about the Thought Cloud is that as you flit between different thoughts the character will “think” the name of whatever thought you have selected out loud. It’s pretty funny.

(Miwa-chan’s my good friend. She’s gentle, kind… Loves talking about romance, even though she’s shy with boys.)

You too, Kisaragi-san.
Call me Usami! Weird nickname, but I’m used to it.
In that case, you can call me Iori.
It’s nice to be on a first-name basis. I’m Miwako.

Consider Tomi Kisaragi

(Usami-chan sits at the desk in front of mine. She has red glasses, braids, and seems a bit weird, honestly.)

Cold thing to say about someone you just met two minutes ago.

Your forehead is red.
Well, she *was* sleeping on the desk.
Oh, um… I kinda bumped into someone…

I wonder why.
Well, uh… The guy I ran into was kinda cute, so… Geez, I feel awkward just thinking about it.
Sounds like love at first sight!

It was a destined encounter… You two are meant to be!

All right, let’s slow down. If there’s anything I’ve learned from bad romcoms, it’s that one meet cute does not a destined pair of lovers make. Even if he did see your underwear!

Um… You think so? Maybe…

Consider Cute Guy


(What is this? My heart is racing… I wish I could have talked to him more. He wasn’t wearing our uniform, was he? Maybe he’s from a different school.)

Shall we walk home together? I’d love to hear more about this boy you met.
You’re welcome to join us, Usami-chan. There’s a new crêpe shop we could stop by.
Crêpes? Yeah, I’m down. Let’s do it!

Use Tomi Kisaragi on Tomi Kisaragi

Pfft. This is the most hilarious possible way to turn asking her about herself into something resembling gameplay.

Oh, uh… Y’know, nowhere special. Kinda far away, though.
Sorry, I have to ask. Usami-chan…

Gouto? Nah, not really. Why?
Well, he’s awfully popular here at school…
Seriously? That guy? Geez… So that’s how it is.
I saw you two talking in the hall earlier…
Yeah, uh… Don’t worry. He’s not my type.

I see!

Iori yawns.

You sure yawn a lot. Are you a night owl?
Not really. It’s just… I keep having strange dreams. They keep me up at night.
What kind of dreams?
It’s hard to remember the details, but… Last night…

This huge shadow started coming for me… And then I woke up.

How old *is* this place?

Don’t break the door.
I didn’t!

Consider Old Building

This school is so old, it still uses hanging lamps. You don’t see that every day.

Don’t worry about it! I had to see your smiling faces.
You know this girl?
Yes! She’s a good friend.
The three of us have known each other since grade school.
Natsuno-chan, this is Usami-chan.
Last name Kisaragi.

I wanna be in your class too.

Use Old Building on Natsuno Minami

They were working on a new building for this year… But I heard construction was delayed.
I think we’ll be moving to the new one next month.
Sure hope so. This place is a dump. I heard it was built during the war.
Whoa… That means it’s over forty years old.

What are you doing in someone else’s classroom? The teacher told you to prepare for the next class.
Yeah, I know.

You know that cat we were talking about? I saw it!

Yeah, yeah. I’m coming.

It has black fur with a white belly, right?

All the time.
No fair! I haven’t seen it yet. So it’s behind the science room, huh… That’s it! I’m gonna go looking!

The game actually makes you physically turn Iori around here to notice the cat, it’s pretty funny.

Consider Cute Guy

This is why I love video games, they let you do exciting and fantastical things like “Consider: Cute Guy.”

My heart starts racing. It’s like love at first sight. If I said that… Would he laugh at me?

Huh? Where’d it go?

Don’t act like you don’t know.

We have something here.

This isn’t like you.

This is a first for me too. You feel it, right?

Oh. Oh.

I want to pursue this with you. Please!
I dunno… It’s just—

I think as long as you love each other… It’s okay…

Waaaaaaaaaaaacky misunderstandings!

Music: In The Doldrums (Rikako Watanabe)

Amiguchi laughs.

That’s rich.
Sorry for the confusion. We were just talking about something…
Yeah. The strange dreams we’ve been having.

(Every day, I have strange dreams… They keep me up at night.)

Talk to Shu Amiguchi

So you guys know each other?
She sits in front of me in class.

Use Strange Dreams on Shu Amiguchi

It’s been a lot of crazy stuff. Different every time. I don’t even think they’re in chronological order… But they do seem related.

It’s like we’re seein’ the same stuff. The more he tells me, the more I think it all lines up. Makes ya think our dreams are connected.

I guess we do have that in common. We first met at that video rental joint, after all. Still, I can’t help but think it’s somethin’ else. Like, I dunno, telepathy? If not that, maybe it’s a vision of the future.

Whenever we dream this stuff, we should compare notes.

Well, actually… I’m more surprised to hear that’s all it was. ‘Cause I thought—

Yeah, yeah, we know what you thought. Keep it in your fanfics.

Hm, class is starting. We can talk more later.
Let’s go, Fuyusaka-san.

Time to return to the “Beginning of the End.”

Music: (LEUCINE) (Yoshimi Kudo)

The battle music in this game, besides being named largely after amino acids, are broken up into a few different segments. The first segment here plays until about 1:04, and is used for prebattle dialogue. Then the battle music plays until 4:48, where it’s interrupted by the victory music which isn’t relevant yet. All the battle tracks have their own versions of this, and I think it’s pretty neat.

Wait a second, she’s in Sentinel number fifteen!? Everything about this game is a lie!

Oh yeah… I got in this robot, and…

Fuyusaka-san… Everything you said came true…
…We got kaiju everywhere, right?
I think I prefer my kaiju to stay on the silver screen… Looks like there’s more on the way. Can you get your Sentinel up?
I’ll try, but… I think it might be broken in some places…
You’re in a 2nd-generation sentinel. It weighs around 2,200 tons. With that kind of weight, it can end up crushing its own components if it collapses.
This big robot looks so tough. Is it really that useless if it falls over…?

You keep talking about them like that. What are these D-forces?
Deimos. They’re the kaiju.
That’s them. They’re trying to reach the mainframe in the depths below. That’s why they attack every terminal that has a connection to it.
If they manage to reach the mainframe… this city will be wiped out.
But we can’t stay on the defensive forever. With so few of us, we could never sustain it. Instead, we have to rely on the terminal’s internal defenses. A specialized program. That puts up an impenetrable shield around the area. The D-forces would be completely locked out.
That’s gotta be the Aegis system Ms. Morimura was talking about. But… is it even safe to use?
We’re only using it to buy time.

Didn’t answer the question, four-eyes!

How do we activate it?
Whichever one of you is closest, move to the D-forces’ invasion point.
Invasion point…? You mean where all the kaiju are trying to get to?
Yes. The terminal sits directly below that point.

Okay, we move Iori to the terminal. Note that because we’re piloting giant honkin’ robits, we have to navigate via city streets because they’re the only avenue (heh) big enough for our fat asses.

That’s where you send the signal to the terminal 300 meters underground. Either of your access IDs should be capable of activating it.
And… that’ll fix it? That’s enough to get rid of all the kaiju?
No. It won’t be that simple.

It never is.

The defense systems have a long startup. We’ll need to buy enough time for Aegis to initialize. Until it activates, our mission is to keep the D-forces away from the terminal.
We’ll try.

Soooooo… yep. I called this a “strategy game” in the OP, but that’s a bit misleading. It’s actually more of a… tower defense? Of a sort?

Now, there’s a bunch of information on the screen I should probably explain before I forget but none of it is super relevant at the moment because near-everything is gonna die in one or two attacks. I’d prefer to wait until we have some freedom to actually engage with these systems, but I should really convey just what is happening here. So… let’s examine this screen.

Defense is in the top-left. That’s how much damage the terminal can take. Below that is our pilot’s HP and EP, which are exactly what you think they are: how much health we have and our resource for using attacks. We can also see the generation of each Sentinel next to those bars, but we only have 2nd-generations in the field at the moment.

In the top right is the city defense rating, a number that is utterly inscrutable to me and which I have no idea how to affect. I think this is what percentage of the map is on fire, but I don’t know what causes the map to be damaged, and I’ve never had it dip below even like 80% on a real mission.

On the bottom-right is our score, and MP, neither of which are important yet. In the bottom-center we can see an attack description. POW 150x8 means this attack hits 8 times with 150 power each time. WT is the “wait time,” meaning we have to wait 7 seconds after using this attack to take our next turn. There’s also “Back attack,” which just means our current attack will hit the back of the selected enemy and do 1.5 times as much damage. I have no idea how this works with attacks like this rocket launcher that shoot a projectile that then explodes, but whatever.

For the real missions I’ll record video of them so you can get a feel for what it’s like, but these tutorials are so dirt-simple I don’t really feel the need.

There’s only three groups of hostiles on this map and they go down quickly enough.

When we defeat them, though, they explode into orange bits. This won’t be important for a while, but I felt I should at least point it out.

It’s hard to see without motion, but once all the enemies are defeated, the terminal shoots out a circular wave with a neat distortion effect.

Are your sentinels still operational?
Mine’s doing okay.
I can still fight.

You’re in a Sentinel… You’re going to tell me who you are, now. I believe that’s Sentinel No. 12. Okino’s machine.
I’m Takatoshi Hijiyama. And this is *my* Sentinel.

I’ve come to save the human race. Leave this region to me.

Wow, look at the big britches on this one. Well la-di-da, guess we should just take a breath and rest easy if you’re here.

He cut off his comms… I’ve found his Sentinel’s location. But it’s a ways from your position.
He’s not gonna try taking them all on by himself… is he?
I’ll move to rendezvous. You two should keep going towards the next combat zone.

It’s this way. Follow me.

And so concludes that chapter of the tutorial.

Iori Fuyusaka is voiced by Allegra Clark. She’s known for roles like Boss in AI: The Somnium Files, as well as Dorothea and Shamir in Fire Emblem: Three Houses.