The main story of Holiday Star is over! It was all pretty emotional, wasn’t it? Now that we have it all in front of us I’d like to go over some things about what we just read. If you’re not interested, please continue on ahead to the last short stories and bonus materials. But unless you know the answer to this question, please let me break it down for you.
Who is The King? As of the end of The Day The Night Slept, you should know the answer.
I feel a need to go over this because I missed it all completely the first time. When I discovered this reveal some time later, I came to two of my closest friends to discuss it. One hadn’t figured it out, either. The other, who is now my wife, had figured it all out since she’s a fan of mysteries. Doing the LP and reading through things a second time, it all seems obvious. Moa has a perfect handling of all the evidence giving us visual and narrative and even musical cues, but I managed to miss it all the first time through, regardless. So don’t feel bad if you hadn’t figured it out. Neither had I.
The King is Nanaki Kazuaki.
The very first hint can be found in Kazuaki-kun’s name.
I feel like this is a tiny hint that is left for the Japanese audience, but is lost on us English-speakers completely, although I did note it for the LP the first time he appeared.
Nanaki’s name in Kanji is 七姫 一明. His first name, read “nanaki” 七姫 uses the kanji for the number seven (nana) 七 and the kanji for princess 姫 (ki). The “princess” comes from his breed, the button quail. In Japanese, it’s called a “princess quail“. I can’t decide which name is cuter.
I believe this is where The King maybe even subconsciously decided he was royalty. It seems like an obscure hint but imagine if we read the whole game being reminded of this every time he appears on screen.
In The Day The Night Slept, the moment the Professor appears on the screen, he’s already been stripped of his name, and the royal connotations that come with it.
In the end of the scene, Nageki returns to him what we know from BBL is his real name: Hitori, which means “alone”. Compared to the King being a thousand birds in one, Hitori is definitely alone. For the rest of the game the text diligently acknowledges him as “Hitori”, although the characters screw it up some as people often do.
Since Hitori is NOT Nanaki Kazuaki, he can’t be removed from this scandal. The appropriate evidence only makes sense if you consider the role he plays.
There are only a few things we learn about The King’s life in his stories:
- he was depressed
- he was a writer, perhaps a poet
- he had bright-coloured feathers
There’s a few things about his friend that come through although much of it could be delusion and based on his own depressed and self-loathy thinking combo’ed with his companion’s lies. Here are the parts that I believe are truth:
- he had dark feathers (compared to The Kings’)
- he was smart
These sure are traits attributed to another princess quail we know.
And what does Hitori do? Kazukaki-kun’s tale explicitly tells us that Hitori takes his room key, his wallet, and his ID while he’s lying on the floor dying of an overdose.
If this doesn’t seem like enough evidence, Moa put narrative and musical cues to tie these things in, too. She tells us The Kings’ story and then swings the camera over to where Yuuya is hunting for Hitori. Visual Novels don’t work well to making explicit parallels like they could in say, movies or comics, but they still are parallels. Imagine that The King’s tale is a piece of composition that sweeps at the end to guide our eye to Hitori. The King is upset because he was betrayed by someone, and one of our Hatoful Boyfriends just so happened to be locked away where he couldn’t hurt anyone. This move is so full of narrative exclamation points that I’m upset I didn’t notice it in the first place.
This part has a very significant audio cue, too. During the King’s tale, before Hitori appears, we have a soft, echoing tick-tock of a clock. This same sound is used for Hitori’s story book.
Hitori’s storybook is a hint, too. For each of the other birds, The King was able to drudge up their feelings and baggage, something that The King had no time for with Hitori. My guess is that he took out a picture book to tell his story and became so upset about his betrayal, it devolved into the scribbles and fury that you see there.
Hitori seems to know exactly what The King is on about.
There wasn’t much reason to think of this in BBL, when we found out that Nanaki Kazuaki was Hitori. Sure, people change their names and personas now and then. Shuu does it all the time! But in Holiday Star, Kazuaki-kun becomes a character, and Hitori’s backstory becomes much more gruesome. If he wanted to shoot Ryouta and take his liver, why wouldn’t he be capable of putting someone to sleep and stealing their identity?
I think the rest of Hitori’s story speaks for itself through The Day The Night Slept, BBL, and his romance route, if anything can speak for Hitori at all. What a mess he is. (I love it.)
The fascinating part, I think, is realizing the hints that Moa placed for us in this game already, particularly in going back through the New Years’ episode. We aren’t having a date with Hitori-Nanaki. We’re having a date with The King, the real Kazuaki-kun.
Kazuaki-kun is a poet.
Kazuaki-kun is depressed.
And Hitori is present, and his own self. This episode does NOT take place in the same world as most of Holiday Star, or Hatoful Boyfriend at all. Kazuaki-kun is alive, and Hitori is Hitori, all because
…Nageki is alive, too.
Nageki grew up into a fragile nerd dating girls years his junior, and Hitori grew up to be the fussy older brother he was always meant to be. There’s a little more on this in one of the shorts to come, but you can also read more on this route and the Nanaki/Hitori dynamic in Kazuaki-kun’s Book.
I wonder if Moa is going somewhere with this what-if AU, or if it’s just a narrative tool? There’s something really amazing in the way visual novels do this layered narrative that I’m just crazy about, but it’s important as a reader to not accept them all as truth. You might get a little distracted and not enjoy the ride, but that uncritical approach also makes it really easy to miss things like all of the hints we recieved in the New Years’ visit episode.
I have a few other questions about what took place here though. Like, why did The King get bad vibes from Nageki? Could he see the things in Nageki’s memory that even Nageki couldn’t, and know who he was to Hitori? Had he met Nageki before he died? Did Hitori tell him about Nageki?
I believe that my first time through Holiday Star I desperately wished that Hitori could have gotten more out of his proximity to Nageki, but in the end it appears that it was better for him not to have it. It’s more important for Hitori to let go, rather than to have more that would lead him to obsess over Nageki and his death, and by Hitori’s final scene, it seems that he’s finally ready to heal.
This is probably a better ending for Hitori than BBL was, and also for everyone else.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading! I hope I helped! There’s still a couple of bonuses left in Holiday Star, so stay tuned!