The True Story of Zero Escape (A Blogovision Submission)

The Blogovision stage stood empty before the massive crowd, a cacophony of voices filling the theater as everyone anxiously awaited the next act. A screen above the stage showed the live television feed. Currently the cameras were scanning the audience, capturing all of the nervous energy and anticipation for the next performance. A man with a mustache wearing a red hat stood next to what appeared to be his brother in the front row, each of them decked out in merchandise for opposing teams. They seemed in good spirits, though, gently teasing one another about the inevitable victory of their own team. A few rows behind them, a man in black armor with fiery red hair stood up and loudly declared his need to go to the bathroom, inciting groans from everyone else in his row as he began to make his way past them.

The feed changed then the feature the commentators for the show, an unlikely pair if one had ever been seen. One appeared to be a conventionally attractive woman with short hair and sharp eyes; when she spoke, a flirty wink went a long way towards keeping the attention of the audience. Her partner was no less charming, though, a spherical robot attached to an arm-like apparatus. Her mechanical voice lacked the varied inflections of her partner, but her dry wit kept the crowd rolling in their seats. The two exchanged some clever banter to burn up the last few minutes before the next act took the stage. Suddenly, all the lights went out save for one spotlight which stayed focused on center stage. A small humanoid creature with a white hat with red polkadots stepped into the light, his orange bowtie an effective – if a bit elementary – match with his snazzy blue coat.

“I hope you all are excited for our next performance!” said the creature, his raspy voice barely carried across the theater even by the microphone. “Our next performers come to us all the way from the world of Zero Escape, a world known for gruesome killings and incomprehensible time travel. What kind of show will they have for us tonight? Give them a round of applause and we’ll find out soon enough!”

The crowd erupted into a roar as the spotlight went out, leaving the stage in total darkness. When the light returned, a new person stood at center stage. Tall and lanky with a mop haircut and black leather jacket, he could have easily been mistaken for a boy band member rather than a competitor in an event as illustrious as Blogovision. He tossed his hair aside to reveal a pair of surprisingly soft eyes – they matched well with the brown trim on his otherwise black clothes. He waited for a few moments for the crowd’s cheers to die down. Once it was quiet, he carefully bent down to the microphone stand and raised it so that the mic was just beneath his face.

ZTD Junpei

“How’s everyone doing tonight?” he asked. The crowd roared. “My name is Junpei Tenmyouji, and-” But before he could finish, a voice from the crowd shouted angrily:

“Spoilers!” Junpei bashfully rubbed the back of his neck and gave a sheepish smile.

“Oh yeah, I, uh, I guess you’re right,” he replied. “Sorry if you haven’t played Virtue’s Last Reward yet, I guess. Anyway, my name is Junpei, and I’m one of the survivors of a murderous plot known as the Nonary Game. As Toad said a few moments ago, my world is one where danger lurks around every corner. We are defined by the legacy of an entity called Zero, who traps people together in games where murder and betrayal run rampant.” Junpei reached down beside his leg and picked up a bottle of water. He brought it to his lips and drank deep, then slung some water out of the bottle onto the front row of the crowd. A blonde woman sitting next to the man in the red hat was splashed directly on her ornate pink dress, but she giggled and cheered as Junpei continued to speak.

“But even though we’re well known for bloodshed and time skips, for countless timelines of death and despair, none of that is really what the world of Zero Escape is about. If I were to sing to you about those things, I wouldn’t be capturing the true essence of our story. It’s not about the schemes of a murderous madman. Hell, Zero II’s plan didn’t even make sense.” The heckler from before stood up again and cupped both of his hands around his mouth.

“His motives were complex!” Junpei shook his head and leaned back from the microphone, waving at someone offstage.

“Can we get this guy out of here?”

It took only a moment for a massive pig-like creature with a single massive eye in the center of its face to step out into the theater. It walked up to the heckler and scooped him up, then turned and walked him out of the room. The crowd turned in disgust as the flabby buttocks of the pig creature were exposed by its crude loincloth. With the heckler gone, Junpei leaned into the microphone again and cleared his throat.

Using the distraction to make his entrance, another man stepped onto the stage. He was young and handsome like Junpei, more stocky in build with short black hair and a furrowed brow. He wore a simple blue polo over dark khakis and carried with him an acoustic guitar. As Junpei continued speaking, the man began to play the opening notes of their song on his guitar.

“As I was saying – we’re known for murder and mayhem, but that’s not really what our story is about. So tonight, I want to sing about the true meaning of Zero Escape, about all of the trials and tribulations that I’ve been through over the course of [SPOILER REDACTED] years. It’s not the story of the Nonary Game, the Ambidex Game, or the Decision Game. It’s not the story of Zero. It’s not even the story of the world-ravaging disease or the actions humanity took to stop it.” It was at this moment that Junpei began to sing.

This is the story of a girl
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world
And while she looked so sad in photographs I absolutely love her
When she smiles!

Akane Kurashiki Smile

At that moment two banners unfurled on each side of the stage, revealing the portrait of a beautiful young woman with long brown hair. Junpei looked up at the portrait and kissed the tips of his two fingers, then holding them out towards the image of the woman’s face. From the crowd multiple swoons could be heard. Meanwhile, more people stepped onto the stage. A young girl with pink hair stood next to a white-haired man in a regal coat; a woman in a red sweater with matching red hair stood next to a small, smart-looking girl with short white hair and square glasses; two young boys stood side by side, one wearing a floppy hat with a drink on each side while the other appeared to be cosplaying as Yoko Taro. Everyone who had stepped onto the stage began to clap in rhythm to the music and encouraged the audience to do the same.

As everyone clapped, Junpei moved stage right and gave a friendly clap on the back to his guitarist, Sigma Klim. He urged the crowd to cheer and they obliged, Sigma nodding in acknowledgment but concentrating on his playing. As Junpei began to sing the beginning of the next verse, he moved all the way across the stage to stage left. Behind him, unnoticed, the woman in the pictures above the stage entered stage right behind him. Her smile was more beautiful than the photo, but when she saw that Junpei did not notice her and was moving to the other side, that gorgeous smile deflated into a dejected frown.

How many days in the year
She woke up with hope but only found tears

Suddenly, the two banners with the woman’s face erupted into flames. The woman swooned and collapsed onto the stage, her name finally revealed as everyone onstage but Junpei shouted her name.


Junpei, seemingly oblivious to what was happening, continued to sing.

And I can be so insincere
Making the promises never for real

As the others on stage helped Akane to her feet, the camera zoomed in on her face and displayed her visage on the screen for all to see. She looked exhausted, her face drawn and pale, sweat beading on her forehead. Junpei turned towards stage right and pointed directly at her as he sang the next part of the verse.

As long as she stands there waiting
Wearing the holes in the soles of her shoes
How many days disappear
You look in the mirror so how do you choose

Suddenly, everyone holding Akane jumped back as the woman burst into flames. The crowd gasped and cheered as the heat of the blast rolled over the audience. Meanwhile, everyone on stage struggled to put out the flames. The man in the regal jacket threw his coat over Akane and tried to pat out the fire but the blaze simply burned the coat away. The boy in the helmet ran off the stage and returned with a fire extinguisher, spraying foam all over the burning body until soon the flames were completely replaced with a column of foam. Junpei, oblivious, kept singing.

Your clothes never wear as well the next day
And your hair never falls in quite the same way
You never seem to run out of things to say

Akane Chainsaw

Suddenly from out of the foam, a woman burst forth – it was Akane! Somehow in the midst of the blaze she had done a complete costume change, now wearing a beige sweater over black leggings with a stylist leather belt. Her hair, previously worn down, was now in a ponytail off to one side. The other remarkable feat she’d accomplished was to whip out a rusty chainsaw. With a cold precision, she pulled the cord to start the chainsaw’s blade spinning. And as Junpei sang the next chorus, Akane set about hacking apart every single person on the stage.

This is the story of a girl
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world
And while she looked so sad in photographs I absolutely love her
When she smiles!

The carnage – staged as it was – was horrific to behold. Akane spared no one, not the blind man in the coat nor her fellow women nor even the children. With each swing of the chainsaw, prop limbs went flying from their carefully-concealed places in each performer’s costume. Blood packets were used to great effect – if a litte overdone. The red-haired woman flopped off of the side of the stage and bled onto the first row, the man in the green hat throwing his arms up in a panic and passing out on his brother’s shoulder. The girl with the glasses crawled towards Sigma, dragging herself with her one remaining arm, and looked up at him as she made her dying gasp. Sigma stared down at her, his face frozen in horror as he continued to play his guitar. As the time came for the bridge, all of the lights on the stage dimmed and hid the carnage beneath a veil of darkness. Only two figures remained in spotlights – Junpei and Akane. The singer turned towards the woman with a chainsaw and spoke to her through the bridge.

“Akane, I know I’ve put this off for far too long. But to fair, I looked for you for like 50 years and you never revealed yourself to me, even though I’m pretty sure you knew I was searching for you-”

Akane revved the chainsaw.

“But none of that matters now! What matters is that even though we’ve both changed, I’m still the same little boy who stood up for you all those years ago. And you’re that same little girl whose beautiful smile captured my heart from that moment on. I know we didn’t get any closer in the finale of our own game even though we’re the characters who have been in the series the longest, but…I want to fix that right now.”

As Sigma continued to play the bridge, Junpei bent down onto one knee and reached into the pocket of his leather jacket. Akane remained stone faced as Junpei removed an engagement ring, his hand trembling as his eyes never left the still-whirring chainsaw.

“Akane – no – Kanny. I’ve loved you since I was a child. Please…will you marry me?”

Akane looked at Junpei positioned on one knee and her cruel, blood-splattered face softened into a sad smile.

“Jumpy…go to Hell.”

With that, Akane raised her chainsaw high and began to bring it down in slow motion. As the bridge came to an end, Junpei began to sing in a panic.

Your clothes never wear as well the next day
And your hair never falls in quite the same way
You never seem to run out of things to saaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy

As the chainsaw came within an inch of his face, Akane stopped. Everything stopped. Sigma was no longer playing his guitar, his fingers now as frozen as his horrified expression. The chainsaw blade that had been spinning maliciously in an anxious hunger for flesh only a moment ago now stood still, the motor silent. Even the crowd did not make a noise, unsure of what exactly was taking place. After a few moments of silence, Junpei’s head turned to face the theater.

“Guys, I think I got the bad ending.”

The crowd erupted into laughter and cheers. On the screen above the stage, an ominous sound began to play as a counter began ticking down from nine towards zero. In those nine seconds, everyone on stage stood up, cleaned up the props around them, and exited off of the stage. Junpei returned to center and replaced his microphone on the stand. Once the counter hit zero, Sigma began to play the chorus one last time, and Junpei’s voice rang out.

This is the story of a girl
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world
And while she looked so sad and lonely there
I absolutely love her, when she smiles!

Junpei and Akane Kids

This time, as Akane stepped onto the stage and flames began to consume her portraits above, Junpei rushed towards her and caught her up in his arms. Akane reached up and gently touched the side of his face with her gloved hand. A smile danced on her lips as she looked upon Junpei, who leaned in for a kiss as the lights went out, bringing an end to the song. The crowd roared as the lights once again came up, all nine performers coming out onto the stage and waving proudly. They linked hands and took a bow together and then left the stage. A crew flooded the stage from the wings, preparing the theater for the next group to perform.

The song lyrics in this article come from the song Absolutely (The Story of a Girl) by the band Nine Days. Blogovision is a community event by Pix of Shoot the Rookie and Chris of Overthinker Y – if you enjoyed this post, be sure to go show them your support!

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