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for A Doll's Eyes

10/18/2022 c3 Guest
Fine story, but I don't like the way he treats Saki, for whatever reason he's got in his twisted mind, it doesn't justify sh*t. And this isn't because it's her, I'd be saying the same if it was any other woman in her shoes, in fact the saki character is indifferent to me
1/30/2022 c3 16Gossu
Very interesting read. My heart was pumping at certain points in the story which was breathtaking - literally. Can't really comment on much but I'm curious as to what'd happen in the future.
1/18/2022 c3 Guest
Ok, and what happens next? Is it abandoned? I can tell the concept really captured my interest. But why didn't you continue the story?
9/17/2021 c3 3mysticexarch
I binged this whole thing in a night. My sleep schedule was wrecked but it was well worth it.

This story reminds me a lot of "Unmade" by Sobu. I thought that story was gritty but this is a whole new level. I love that. You write the noir genre well and it's amazing how much a byronic character like Hachiman fits that mold. This scenario you've presented is an interesting one and I can see how the worldbuilding/characterization fits the change you've proposed.

The thing that gives me anxiety though is the fact that the story isn't tagged with romance. Is the intent to actually end up shipping them? Given the setup, that seems basically impossible but its
a teeth-chattering horror ride nonetheless. I just think that the grimness of the story has to have a purpose...with no payoff to build towards, it is just sadism. I'm not asking to spoil the ending, just giving me thoughts on it.

I love to hate evil characters, and root for unfairly hated good guys, and it seems you've dialed the Yukinoshitas up to eleven if my suspicions are correct. Haruno feels perfectly characterized and I think a lot of people have a much too sympathetic view of her, so thank you for that. Your description of her in the restaurant was downright chilling. And basically an antihero. Even so, he is even rougher on himself than in cannon. The way everyone treats him on the police force is giving strong Dexter vibes, only without the protag actually being a sociopathic degenerate (quite the opposite, indeed).

Another random thought: Iroha is much more palatable in this. No, I actually enjoy the scenes she is in. Her back and forths with Hachiman were easily the snappiest pieces of the dialogue. It makes me yearn for what Yukino and 8man would sound like in this universe, so here's hoping she isn't a damsel in distress for the entire story.

Sucks that the story hasn't been updated since last year. I hope that will prove a temporary state.
1/22/2021 c1 Fullmetal11791
Interesting premise for a story, and there's a lot i like about this opening chapter. Good setting, it's defintely got that gritty detective story feel, and i like how Iroha and Saki seem to be playing a more prominent role. They're two of my favorite characters so its always nice to see them getting some screen time.

I also originally liked the idea that someone from the service club was the victim of whatever happened in the forest. Yukinoshita is one of four characters mentioned in the story description, so i had assumed Yui had been the murder victim. Really thought that was interesting, and would have made a lot of sense as a driving motivator for Hachiman to start obsessing over solving crimes.

But from what ive gathered from this chapter, that isnt what happened. Instead, the three of them witnessed/experienced... something... that ended up destroying their club and friendships with each other.

I dont want to downplay the severity of the shock someone would have seeing a murder victim strung up in a tree in the middle of the woods. Thats obviously traumatic. But traumstic enough to detonate their friendship? Even if it was someone they knew, the answer is no. No in general for your average person, and doubly so for them. People tend to take comfort in their friends in the face of shared trauma, and even if they did have to go to therapy, or had nightmares about it, neither Yukinoshita nor Yuigahama, or even Hachiman are weak enough characters to let something like stumbling into a murder scene end their relationships with each other.

I also don't understand why Hachiman is solving crimes for free. Maybe its meant to be a parallel to his time in the service club, but really. If he's acting as a police consultant, he should be getting paid. Nothing wrong with accepting compensation for helping someone, especially if it lets you continue providing the basics of food/heat/shelter so you can continue helping. Hachi shouldn't have an ethical issue with it.

Going to keep reading, definitely interested, but im going to be pretty disappointed if this event in the woods isnt appropriately horrifying since it's what caused this spiral in our three main characters.
11/27/2020 c3 Calo Lee Candame
Good read, I really like the choice of Saki and Iroha for supporting Hachiman in this setting. Their personalities are a good fit for the mood.
11/12/2020 c2 7Napoleon1815
This is pretty neat dialogue! I gotta learn how to write like that too..
11/7/2020 c3 CMY187
(Part 4 of my review of Chapter 3)

“your life isn’t a Jack Reacher thriller”
Still haven’t seen that movie. Also, Tom Cruise is always better or at least more entertaining as a bad guy than a good guy in my opinion. Now I wonder what Hachiman thinks of The Last Samurai (2003).
“That’s more like it!”
Maybe Iroha has her reasons for driving like a maniac; to get something, even just a spark, out of Hachiman considering the state his life is in now.
“Yours happens to be one I value”
Hachiman, you just gained a lot of Approval points with Iroha.
“Before it all went up in flames”
Iroha’s gonna want to help catch the killer too, isn’t she? Something tells me that if she were to have the killer at her mercy, with no witnesses present, she wouldn’t just have him arrested; she may very well murder him herself.
“he replies uncomfortably”
Hachiman’s actions toward Yukino hurt Iroha too. However, she is currently working with and on good terms with him. How did it feel for her to meet him again years later and to start working with him on his investigations and cases?
“Her family’s not exactly known for their integrity”
I’m sure there are a lot of journalists who would kill to get a ‘hot scoop’ on crime, corruption or scandalous actions within the Yukinoshita family.
“This time, wholly genuine”
How does Iroha feel when he smiles at her like that?
“the best partner you could hope for”
She really is!
“After some more reckless driving”
…huh. Perhaps there is a pragmatic reason for Iroha driving like that. Anybody trying to tail her would be easy to spot.
Quoting The Kingdom (2007):
FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury: (referring to their Saudi Arabian police escort driving at about 150 miles an hour) ‘If somebody was tailing us, they’d stick out. Standard operation speed.’
“Their contrasting appearances”
I laughed again. It really is head-turning to see those two together.
“You’re a dream. Sometimes”
He just had to add that last word, didn’t he?
“goes wordless”
They are now both hunting the single most dangerous killer they have ever gone after. I wonder what this scene is like told from Iroha’s perspective.
“Apricots and lavender”
Saki and Iroha. A story in which they are at the forefront, with Yui and Yukino being no less important. And in a murder-mystery story. GOF, you wrote this story JUST for me, didn’t you?
“Wish I could ever tell what you’re thinking”
And why does she? Also, is Iroha in contact with Komachi?
“A tux?”
S03E03. He looks like a suicidal washed-out pianist.
“it must be Karl Marx’s worst nightmare”
I immediately read this in Max Payne’s voice. Alright, that’s it, GOF, how many times did you play the Max Payne games for this story?
“texted him the essentials the morning after”
She wastes no time, that one.
“for the first time, at the Yukinoshita’s own estate”
…why? Also, does Iroha intend to do some snooping around at the estate? I wouldn’t advise her to plant any bugs or cameras in the place. The Yukinoshitas are big-league people, and Iroha is already in Haruno’s radar.
“perhaps a tense one too”
Iroha and Hachiman have picked this gala of all of them to infiltrate it.
“with the eternal prompt of alcohol”
There is always somebody shooting their mouth off. (pause) Someone in the YK task force is going to drink heavily, aren’t they?
“At that point he wasnt too interested in talking”
She’s willing to sleep with men whom she dislikes and/or detests to help Hachiman with his cases. Hachiman, you cherish that one. Don’t ever let her go.
“just so you don’t conveniently forget”
She knows him too well.
“withering at the back of his wardrobe”
Now I’m imagining both Saki and Iroha making changes to Hachiman’s wardrobe contents.
“she had all the qualities of a ruthless businesswoman already”
And she was only in university at the time, and it’s been nine years since.
“Self-centred, manipulative”
(looks at Iroha) Huh.
“a perchance for saying what no one else wants to hear”
Haruno is a fascinating character.
“Never say this job doesn’t take you out of your comfort zone”
Quoting S01E01 of Psych:
Shawn Spencer: ‘I’ve got us the last job we will ever need.’
Burton Guster: ‘Shawn, you’ve had 57 jobs since you left high school.’
Shawn Spencer: ‘Yes, I have. And they were all fun. But this one takes the cake…look, Gus, all those jobs I took, I took those, because I wanted the experience, but then I mastered it, and I moved on. But this job has a little bit of everything!’
“suspiciously practiced”
Oh my God, I love Iroha. I love this character so much.
“Let’s hope this guy’s not one for asking questions”
If he is, ‘Ichiro’ could just be woefully incompetent as a computer technician.
“He doesn’t want to see her”
So just how much does it hurt for him to be in love with and to care for not just no less than four women, but to care for them as intensely as he does? It is honestly an absolute curse to Hachiman that he is not in love with just one person.
“what the world stands to lose if the killer gets what they want”
The YK Killer may be both eager and reluctant to murder Yukino.
“A chauffeur nods at him from the front seat”
Somehow, I don’t think Hayato spotted him by chance and chose to stop to speak to him. He knew Hachiman was going to be standing there.
“a person he used to hate”
Not anymore though. Hachiman’s mind has been consumed by the YK Killer now.
There is SO MUCH emotion in this one word. I love it.
“faker than a plastic silicon implant”
I love Hayato. Anyone who doesn’t needs to look at his character again. And in my opinion choosing to only ever view and write him as purely and wholly antagonistic is an insult to the potential that his character has. I’m going to love him in this story.
11/7/2020 c3 CMY187
(Part 3 of my review of Chapter 3)

“that they have the both of them”
If Hachiman and Kudou cannot work together, the entire task force may fall apart. Honestly, I hope the other members would be able to keep it going. Surely those two aren’t the only competent people around. Kudou and Sakiyama may have managed to close plenty of cases without Hachiman’s help, and as for the ones that Hachiman DID help them on, perhaps they could have solved those cases, just with more time and effort than if Hachiman wasn’t around. Still, for this particular case and killer, they’re going to need every bit of help they can get.
“fixing people to their desks like Medusa fixes their victims in stone”
Imagine being glared at by both Hachiman and Kudou. Also, there’s another noir-line.
“two main avenues we’ve gotta cover in this case”
Other people in the HQ WILL notice that more than a few officers and detectives are going over old case files.
“Both him and Hikigaya-san scowl”
I love this. Sakiyama may decide to turn in his badge and become a private investigator of his own firm, not that it would allow him to avoid doing paperwork.
“old CCTV from the streets outside”
The YK Killer must have intimate knowledge of those CCTV cameras.
“going anywhere near that woman”
Kudou just publicly stated that he is expressly forbidding Hachiman from approaching Yukino. And Hachiman of course immediately disobeys him. Typical Hachiman.
“All this at the mere notion he won’t be allowed near her”
Sakiyama is no dummy. He knows now.
“can’t help but think that will be best for everyone involved”
(looks at the last scene of the chapter) Goddammit, Hachiman, you really are your own worst enemy. Hopefully Iroha would have something up her sleeve. The problem is that Hachiman hasn’t told her about the restraining order, though Iroha may have learnt about it on her own. Hopefully.
“discuss or argue”
I imagined one of the older, veteran detectives becoming fed up and telling Kudou and Hachiman that the main reason they keep clashing is because they are exactly alike.
“he drawls, unimpressed”
I love Kudou so much. Hachiman NEEDS someone like that to keep him in check, and they BOTH know it.
“that piece of s-t will…a home without ever being caught”
Or he’ll leave Chiba and the police would have absolutely zero chance of catching him then.
“whatever hellhole they call a home”
I keep going back to what Edmund Kemper says to the two FBI agents in S02E05 of Mindhunter. The YK Killer is someone who has never been caught, and only been seen once, in nineteen years and seventy-four murders. Seventy-goddamn-four. I suspect that you did not choose the number of years and murders lightly, GOF, nor the number of victims per year.
“the thing I found most impressive about that rant”
He’s interrogating Hachiman right now. I love this. Hachiman is NOT a flawless, blameless person. In Oregairu he has Hiratsuka Shizuka. In this story he needs a more firm leash, and that is Inspector Kudou. After all, Hachiman is not a child or teenager in this story, and should not be treated as such.
“Must be hard to get a normal job with that on your record”
(looks at Iroha) …so how many misdemeanors or even felonies has she committed before and after she became a journalist? I suspect that there is a lot that Iroha has done that she hasn’t told Hachiman about. Iroha in most Oregairu fanfics is on Hachiman’s side. Imagine if she were written to be an antagonist or villain…
“If there are answers to be found, I don’t stop for anyone”
That right there is the best and worst thing about Hachiman. The Truth, no matter what. In my opinion Hachiman would be terrifying as a journalist. (looks at Spider Jerusalem) Yep.
“I kept begging and begging her to remember”
Season 2 of Hannibal.
“It didn’t even cross my mind”
The selfless thing to do would be to grit his teeth and stop pressuring her. Hachiman was not selfless. The events of that night had seized and gripped his mind, and have not released their hold on him even nine years later. And he chose it over his love for Yukino.
“They never took it to a court of law”
I wonder why. They easily could have. Why keep it under wraps? I doubt it was out of laziness.
“a detective needs objectivity above”
And what about you, Kudou? Are you being objective toward this case?
“Send me home, and see how that works out”
(looks at Hachiman now working with Iroha) Oh, no. Kudou, please call him back.
“For a fleeting heartbeat, something like pity crosses Kudou’s face”
Kudou sympathizes with Hachiman in his own way. But if he has to choose between Hachiman and the police department, what would he do?
“If things go as I hope”
No they won’t.
“The discomfort shifts over to Kudou’s side”
They’re interrogating each other. Oh my God, I love the dynamic and relationship between Hachiman and Kudou.
“A foxy smile pops into his head, which he pushes away”
This is such an anime moment and it made me laugh in all of the three times that I read it.
“before deciding against it…he settles for honesty”
Why do I get the feeling that if Hachiman were to go missing, die, or cut off contact with the Chiba Police, that Kudou would genuinely miss him?
“very well connected with people”
What people?
“She’s been calling on our ‘protections’ more and more of late”
I narrowed my eyes at this. Yukinoshita Haruno…she is deeply involved in all this somehow.
“Best way I can describe her is a snake in a dress”
Imagine such a person being your older sister. Jesus. What the hell happened to Haruno to make her the way she is now? How in the hell did her family raise her?
“the promise that his questions would remain unanswered for a long, long time”
If you want to fight the Yukinoshitas, you may have to make deals with people who are just as if not more powerful than they are. And now I’m thinking about the McMafia TV series.
“They’ll be buying up other companies soon”
Haruno is ruthless and cutthroat. No surprises there.
“curiously – the way you look at an animal in a zoo”
Seriously, every interaction between these two characters is pure gold. GOF, you’re a great writer.
“It’s a little underwhelming to find”
Did you love anyone when you were a teenager yourself, Kudou? Tell us about YOUR youth.
“their own opinion of who I am”
What does the YK Killer think of Hachiman?
“monotonous pride”
“Take it or leave it”
Hachiman is already turning to Iroha for help. She may not be the last person that he does it too. He’s finally chasing the YK Killer directly and trying to stop the monster from murdering Yukino in a month. He’ll use any and all measures at his disposal.
“in custody”
I suspect that Yukino wouldn’t be safe in police custody…
“No way we can trace the number”
There HAS to be someone who can…
“what our real priorities are”
The final episode of Season 3 of Narcos, in which a young DEA agent who at the start of the season was a carefree person who only saw his career as a ticket to an enjoyable life, fiercely protecting and refusing to abandon an innocent women and her two children whom cartel enforcers intend to murder.
“like a gun without ammunition”
Yet another noir line. Someone force a fedora hat onto Hachiman’s head! And write a story in which he is isekai’d to America in the 1920s!
“why hasn’t he called me?”
I imagined both Kudou and Sakiyama, after hours spent JUST trying to contact Yukino, stating that Hachiman is not going to take the news well.
(looks at Iroha) Hmm.
Mike Ehrmantraut: (to Gustavo Fring) ‘If I can’t find any trace of you before 1989, I seriously doubt Schrader can.’
“It shouldn’t be taking this long”
Why are the Yukinoshitas stone-walling the police?
“Definitely not for Chief Inspector Kudou”
I’m curious about Kudou’s case record. What is his most famous/successful case to date, like say the one that most people would refer to when speaking to or about him?
“still trawling through the info”
It’s tedious, mind-numbing work. A LOT of investigative work tends to be, and movies and TV shows tend to skip those portions.
“the can is being slowly crushed beneath his fingers”
I wonder if Iroha is concerned about Hachiman’s mental and emotional health. (looks at her having broken into his apartment) …she’s installed a camera in the place, hasn’t she? Now I know some might say that it is a serious breach of privacy and trust toward Hachiman, but…yeah, I wouldn’t put it past Iroha to do something like that.
“his phone”
…could Hachiman’s phone be bugged?
“intentionally obtrusive”
Haruno is a big problem and obstacle to this investigation. The police are being prevented from protecting someone who is being threatened by an intelligent and cunning psychopath. Why is that?
Right now, the theory I’m leaning on is that Haruno is trying to protect Yukino, has taken it upon herself to do so, and won’t allow or trust anybody to help her with it, least of all the police or Hachiman. It makes sense to me at least; Haruno learning that Yukino actually saw the killer and becoming paranoid about it, and also angry at Hachiman for repeatedly hurting Yukino with his non-stop attempts to get her to remember the details of that night…so she goes a little crazy when she sets out to protect her little sister.
Though that’s just my theory anyway. I agree with RAfan2421 that there is a possibility that Yukino may be just as obsessed with the YK Killer as Hachiman is if not more.
“Tell Kudou hes pathetic”
How many times has Kudou (rightfully) wanted to punch Hachiman in the stomach?
“if u don’t answer me in five seconds”
“no registered address. No car, no phone number, no nothing”
No way for anybody to make contact with Yukino except through her family. Which means that anybody who wants to locate/track her would have to approach the other Yukinoshitas. (looks at Hayato’s periodic meetings with Kudou in which Hayato asks if Kudou has any new leads regarding Yamanishi Koen) Yeah, the theory that this is all being done to protect her is becoming stronger to me.
Why not send her abroad? Well, that wouldn’t make Yukino any safer in my opinion. If the YK Killer is determined to silence her, borders won’t stop him.
Hayato is involved in this up to his neck. Strained relationship or not, he is working with/for Haruno, most likely for something that involves Yukino. And I suspect that we may be learning about it in Chapter 4.
Also, the YK Killer may be an avid reader of Chiba Hoshi. He may even be a close follower and/or fan of Iroha’s articles in particular.
Hachiman and Iroha frequently meet in secret to avoid unwanted attention from the police. I would be very wary of where they meet and who may be around at their meeting places. If I were them, I wouldn’t meet anywhere that is isolated or deserted. Best to hide in plain sight.
“He’s seething”
Methinks Hachiman has anger issues. Or mental issues. He has nightmares nearly every time he closes his eyes. He is OBSESSED with Yamanishi Koen. It’s all he can think about, though people like Saki and Iroha are able to distract him from it sometimes.
“as early as 2016”
What is their last known record of Yukinoshita Yukino? Did she study, work, travel or move anywhere?
“for the reminder they still exist”
He would probably be in an even worse state if not for Iroha and Saki. Hachiman needs help.
“hardly mentioned at all”
…you can bet that the killer hasn’t forgotten about Yukino. He’s probably been looking up and researching the Yukinoshita family online, perhaps even observing them directly. I suspect that Haruno may have hired people to photograph anyone and everyone nearby every time she or any of her family members are out in public.
If the YK Killer wants to murder Yukino, he has a hell of a task ahead of him. Yukino won’t be an easy target. And now he’s made it even harder on himself by alerting and taunting the police and Hachiman about it. Which means he is confident that he’ll succeed despite all the obstacles between him and Yukino.
For all Hachiman knows, Haruno and Hayato may BOTH have their own 9-year-old files on Yamanishi Koen. God damn it, who IS this guy? Who is the Yamanishi Koen killer who has murdered seventy-four people? This is all your fault, GOF!
Come to think of it, I would LOVE to follow a noir-story in which Hayato is a main character or even the protagonist, as in it is told mostly from his perspective. Him starting off a story, balancing personal problems and issues with the problems that are directly tied to the main plot, character development and relationships along the way, the whole lot.
“last acknowledgement of her online is in 2014”
So three years after what happened in the park.
“doing public charity work for Chiba University. All three of the Service Club had chosen the same place of study”
Interesting. Now I’m curious about their university years.
“the only one who stayed the course”
…something tells me that she is no less damaged by what happened than Yukino and Hachiman were. For all I know, Yui may have her own personal case file, just like Hachiman.
Now I’m imagining the social worker Yui speaking to friends and family of a deceased who apparently committed suicide.
“all desire to work had faded, leaving him miserable and directionless”
I felt sad when I read this. Haruno did that to him. Her. She is responsible. No one else.
“dropped out too, around six months later…no one seemed to know why. The Yukinoshitas never let on”
I narrowed my eyes at this. What happened to Yukino is one of the biggest mysteries of this story so far. Hachiman may not be able to even recognize her if he were to see her again.
“Komachi’s idea. Not a successful one”
She tried to help him by advising him to take a certain way. She failed.
“He already knows what he’ll find”
He still loves her after all these years.
“about the same time as their leaving, she’d changed degree to study for a job in social work”
“Her name appears on”
…I suddenly feel that Yui is in much more danger than Yukino, and that the Chiba police need to find her fast. Perhaps Yukino has also been occasionally looking up Yui online, or she may even be in contact with her. For all Hachiman knows, the cops may have already spoken to Yui and asked her to contact Yukino for them.
“whose life he might have ruined, had they not been separated”
By Haruno, no less. Looking at it, I can understand why she made her choice; there was no easy or ‘right’ one; both Hachiman and Yukino were going to get hurt no matter what.
Hm, in a way, Haruno herself is a protagonist-character in this story. I still love that Hayato got to be a POV-character.
“a series of robberies, all committed by a kleptomaniac with taste for high fashion”
I hate you, GOF.
“had attracted suspicion”
I cackled at this.
“been about to kick him out”
Charisma is not one of Hachiman’s best stats.
“warm and bittersweet…removed her hair of dye, turned it brown, made it longer than before”
They’re all grown up now. I wonder how Yui felt about Hachiman’s appearance.
“an old fr…and old schoolmate of mine”
Yui probably knew that Hachiman wouldn’t like her using the word. He certainly doesn’t like Saki or Iroha using it either.
“Her smile had been bright and agonized”
She is still beautiful to him, to a point that just looking at her causes him pain. Love hurts.
“What are you doing here, Hikki?”
…Yui isn’t stupid. She probably had an inkling of what Hachiman was doing there.
If somebody in this story were to type ‘Hikigaya Hachiman’ into a search bar, what would they find?
“images on a personal cutting room floor”
I love this line.
“It’s a good thing I don’t take Kudou’s orders seriously”
“the past two days would have been a complete waste”
Man, Hachiman would be NOWHERE without Iroha. Do anyone in the police suspect that he does NOT work alone and in fact has a partner? As far as most people know of Hachiman regarding his career as a personal investigator, he works alone. How many are aware that Iroha is his partner? Has Iroha told her family? What does her family think of murderers, serial killers and rapists?
This put an instant grin on my face. I want to know what inspired Wataru to create and design a character like Iroha.
“The shout echoes up from the parking spaces below”
I’m cackling now. Of COURSE she would do that.
‘the conclusions his neighbors would inevitably draw”
I wouldn’t be surprised if Iroha had explained away her presence and her approaching Hachiman’s apartment by claiming to be a prostitute and that he is merely a customer whose money she is happy to take. It’s scary how easy it is to believe what she is capable of, at least for me.
“affronts him with a grin dazzling even from below”
I’m still smiling. Ah, that grin. It is probably one of Hachiman’s most favorite things to look at. And Iroha obviously has WAY too much fun interacting with him. Just look at their practice date in the Season 2 OVA.
“she seems far too dressed up”
Iroha wanted to be heard and seen while meeting with Hachiman. Yeah, there’s no way Saki won’t learn of this assuming she doesn’t already know; that Hachiman and Iroha are working together.
…now I suspect that she is intensely jealous and envious of that.
“It almost injects real, genuine humor into his smile”
This line made me smile. Thank God Iroha is there for him, and I don’t mean his current career.
“without much surprise”
“she’d probably calculated it would give him a view of her cleavage”
Iroha is dangerous. And horrible.
“it’ll take a lot more than that. Will it now?”
Uh-oh. Hachiman, what have you just gotten yourself into?
“You’ve told me about Yamanishi Koen before”
…I imagined a scenario in which Saki says to Hachiman that he trusts Iroha more than he trusts her, then asking why.
Said it before; I firmly believe that in some ways, Saki is even more crazy than Hachiman. Let’s just say that when I listen to the song Live and Let Die from the Babylon anime soundtrack, it makes me think not of Hachiman but of Saki. It is far too easy to see her working as an undercover cop or agent.
“We. What? We’re finally confronting them”
…Saki is going to be deeply hurt, isn’t she? Seriously, Hachiman, why just Iroha? Why not her too? And why do I suddenly feel like it would be IROHA who’d be angry about Hachiman’s decision, perhaps even more so than Saki?
…Hachiman is setting himself up for a world of pain, isn’t he? And I’m not talking about the serial killer. It isn’t the YK Killer or Haruno; Hachiman’s worst enemy has been and will always be himself.
“Safe in the knowledge that Isshiki Iroha is one of those rare people he’ll never understand”
This made me tilt my head. To my knowledge, GOF, A Doll’s Eyes is your first time writing Iroha, and it has blown me away with how good it is.
“the kind someone doesn’t notice until it’s a moment too late”
Y’know, if Iroha were to become a serial killer, she may turn out to be very good at it.
“She spends a disturbing amount of attention admiring herself in the wing-mirror, and otherwise driving just over the speed limit in total disregard of safety”
…Oh-kay, so she’s not just sociopathic, she’s crazy. This is your partner, Hachiman.
“Not this time”
How many dates has she had? Man, Iroha is ruthless.
“How about we play a guessing game?”
She doesn’t seem to want to tell Hachiman about the guy. Probably because she knows that he loves her and that being given details wouldn’t sit well with him.
“They asked me out with a pick up line”
There’s no way that this is Hayato. For one thing, I don’t think Iroha would do that to Hachiman, at least not willingly; tricking him into suddenly reuniting with the guy. I suspect that the date was exactly who and what Iroha said he was, but Hayato intercepted her on her way to meet Hachiman at the gala. After all, in Chapter 2 Hayato was informed about Iroha by Haruno.
“I’ve heard worse”
I’ll bet she has. Iroha likely has to deal with a lot of morons in her line of work.
“swerving dangerously close to another car”
Goddammit, Iroha!
“your life isn’t a Jack Reacher thriller”
Still haven’t seen that
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(Part 2 of my review of Chapter 3)

“our parents weren’t around too much”
This makes me think that Mr and Mrs Kawasaki are better spouses than they are parents. (shrugs) Well, you can’t be equally good at everything.
“Being the oldest brought a lot of responsibility”
Quoting S01E04 of Hannibal:
Brian Zeller: ‘I’m glad we didn’t have guns in my house. Would have shot my sisters just to get them out of the bathroom.’
Beverly Katz: ‘I liked having a big family.’
Jimmy Price: ‘My parents gave me a gift, a twin. Who wouldn’t want two of me?’
Brian Zeller: (to Will) ‘Let me guess…only child.’
Will Graham: ‘Why do you say that?’
Brian Zeller: ‘Because family friction is usually a catalyst for personality development.’
Beverly Katz: ‘I was the oldest so…all the friction rolled downhill.’
Jack Crawford: ‘Yes, all the intention and responsibility is heaved on firstborn children. Prepares them for…success in the future.’
Beverly Katz: ‘My baby sister got away with murder. She had them all fooled.’
Jimmy Price: ‘I thought middles were the problem.’
Brian Zeller: ‘Middle’s the sweet spot.’
Will Graham: ‘Always trying to figure out where they fit in? They can be great…politicians.’ (pause) ‘Or lousy ones.’
“saying goodbye to living together was harder than I thought it would be. Much harder”
Saki now lives alone and doesn’t seem to do much other than her occupation as a landlady, at least as far as this story has shown. She seems…aimless. Lost. She may envy Hachiman and dearly wish to be a part of his life, romantically and professionally. I wouldn’t be surprised if in this story, Saki insists on working with Hachiman no matter what he may say.
“a sentiment with the distinct potential to cut deep”
Not distinct. Hachiman does not want to talk about Komachi. The changes in that relationship have affected him the most. His sister knows him better than anybody. If it had been Komachi who saw what Hachiman saw in the park that night in 2011, would the choices she would have made later be different from his?
“rubs his eyes with frustration”
He told himself moments earlier, after waking up, that he needs to get his head in the game and stay focused on the YK case. To him, Saki is a very big distraction.
“If anything, it’s a backhanded compliment”
I agree. He fears that if he allows her to take up a bigger space in his life, it would cause him to falter in the other spaces. I noticed however that Hachiman hasn’t dared to consider if in fact the opposite may occur; that she may make him stronger instead.
“fallen from that pedestal like a corpse sinking to the ocean floor”
Another noir-line. I’m smiling so much. At this point I should just make a list.
“A personal investigator, in his experience, needs to be cold and detached”
But there is no way he can be for this particular case, and Kudou, Sakiyama and especially the YK Killer know it.
“I’ve made that my specialty”
He did wake up half the block after all.
“I can’t handle you either, Hachiman”
We now know what effect Saki has on Hachiman. What effect does he have on her?
“I hate the way you pretend to be like this, when we both know full-well you’re not-”
In my opinion, what Hachiman says to her immediately after this only made me realize that Saki IS aware of what he does for a living, that he enjoys it to some degree, and still loves him regardless. THIS is the kind of person that she is drawn and attracted to and has grown to love and care for. I think that says a lot about Saki, honestly. What was she like as a young child? Why, how and when did she become a loner, or was she just always like that?
“You think you know me so well…why, exactly?”
I thought of Wedding Anniversary.
“What was my last case, Kawasaki?”
Heat – “I gotta hold on to my angst.” – Youtube video dated 3rd Nov 2011, uploaded by Owen Hewitt.
“I spent whole days of my life, years of my life, chasing down the worst people imaginable”
I wonder if Iroha has talked about Hachiman with her friends and/or family.
“a fair few beyond that”
Wait, what? Has Hachiman travelled outside of Chiba jurisdiction? If so, who did he work with, if any? Were there clients who hired him for cases that required him to travel?
“What do you think that says about me, Kawasaki?”
What do you think it says about Saki that she has been aware of that for some time already and still wants to with and around him?
“It’s not a burden I’d wish on anyone”
(looks at Iroha) Not true, Hachiman. That’s the one person you share that burden with despite not being romantically involved with her.
“the text is precisely what he needs”
Hachiman is an addict. Anyone with any sense can see that.
“HQ, now. The Inspector’s got a plan”
Sakiyama and Kudou are SUCH interesting characters. I really like the original characters in this story, including Kaori and Yasuo. Although Hayato steals every scene he is in, of course.
Hayato and Hachiman working together…you could write SO many different stories with that premise alone. Imagine being approached and spoken to by those two.
“Anything, Hachiman realizes, even the pursuit of his oldest and most relentless nightmare, seems better than thinking about Kawasaki Saki”
In my opinion, Saki can affect Hachiman in a way that the other three cannot. I don’t think I have ever seen or read a series like Oregairu in which all of the protagonist’s love interests are written like that.
“Chiba’s criminal investigation department”
I suspect that the Tokyo Metro police is even worse than this, and that Chiba is small fry/minor league compared to them. Makes me think of Peaky Blinders in which it is pointed out more than once that the events occurring in the UK in that time period are small compared to ones in the United States (the Wall Street Crash for example). I love stories like that where there is apparently something bigger going on in the background but the focus is on a smaller tale, like The Revenant (2015).
“In every pair of hands, it’s likely that there’ll be a cup of coffee”
In my opinion, any cop drinking MAX Coffee should be placed under suspicion. It is possible that the YK Killer may be a policeman.
“they’ll get through it together. And then the one after that”
I look forward to learning more about the task force assigned to the YK case. They only have one month. The clock is ticking.
“they all sense the need for something strong”
This may very well be the most difficult case they have worked in their lives. I don’t blame that one policeman for thinking that they don’t have a prayer of catching the killer.
“a day they hoped would never come”
This case is not important to only Hachiman. There is a lot riding on this for the Chiba Prefecture Police.
“from the bureau”
Bureau? And the Chiba police need its permission to prosecute suspects? Interesting. I’m guessing the Yukinoshitas probably have influence there.
“ordered everyone else to get some sleep”
They’re going to have to take shifts in my opinion; half rest while the other half work. Lots of coffee is going to be consumed. This case is going to take its toll on all of them. Though I suspect some of the task force would be having the time of their lives. After all, most of the time the murderer just turns out to be the spouse or lover.
“his exhaustive no-stone-unturned approach”
Kudou is diligent and steadfast. Reminds me of Yukino, actually.
“hastily assembled slideshow”
We know what this case means to Hachiman. What does it mean to Kudou? He clearly has a personal stake in this as well. He lost something because of it. Something precious that he cannot get back.
…maybe that’s why he and Hachiman dislike each other so much; they remind each other too much of themselves.
If/when this becomes public, I fear that the case may go federal due to the Yukinoshita family being threatened. Bet the killer would like that.
“mentioning details to spouses, or even close friends”
…nobody is beyond suspicion for Hachiman. Nobody.
“This person is real – accept it and move on”
They don’t have time to be reeling. They need to act, and fast.
“Nakatani Yasuo’s Interrogation”
Someone is going to have to talk to Yasuo again. Work him for every last and little detail of any and all contact he had with the YK Killer. Unless something happens to Yasuo while he is in custody…or he refuses to talk because his family are still out there where the killer can get to them.
“the Shark was wrapped up in this. Inseparably so”
The ‘suicides’ started in 2001. It’s been going on for 19 years. How old could the killer be now? What is the possible age group?
“will return to”
How? How does the killer intend to get Yukino back into the park?
Hachiman, Iroha and the police have to study the killer; how he could and could not find, stalk, study, observe and catch his victims, all without getting caught and leaving no evidence behind.
“This blackmailer is the genuine article”
How did the YK Killer first learn of Yasuo? In Osaka, perhaps?
“the media frenzy created by an article in the Chiba Hoshi”
Could the killer be a journalist or reporter?
“everyone’s favorite source for reliable journalism”
I cackled at this. Making Iroha a journalist in this story is pure genius. And here I thought that Yui would be perfect for that kind of work. I still do, by the way. But man, Iroha…she would just excel at whatever she puts her mind to, wouldn’t she? It helps that she is a terrible person.
“a groan from the room”
I LOVE that Iroha is a thorn in the side for the police.
“continued interest in the morbid has disrupted numerous cases before”
(looks at Hachiman) …gee, I wonder who could be responsible for that.
“the Zodiac Killer”
The Zodiac movie by David Fincher is terrifying. There are several moments where I realize I wasn’t breathing even in scenes involving crowded police stations. Fincher has a knack of doing that to you. The man is now actively involved in the Mindhunter TV series.
Sea of Trees, also known as the Suicide Forest. There are signs at the head of some trails that urge suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicidal prevention association. Perhaps Yamanishi Koen has something similar to those.
Hm…the killer may be a worker in suicide prevention.
“I was up-and-coming in the force when this story broke”
“Many of you will remember what happened”
This is a case that has spanned near two decades and grown cold only to grow hot again, this time with Hachiman thrown as a primary ingredient into the mix. I don’t blame Kudou at all for wanting to keep the guy at arm’s length.
“Once the initial excitement had died down”
Retrace your steps, but looking at everything with a new set of eyes. Insert the context of Hachiman, Yukino and Yui visiting the park and Yukino seeing the killer. In particular, look into the victim the Service Club encountered. What made the killer slip up and get himself seen after killing for ten years without being caught?
“in 2008, we decided to launch an investigation”
“infamous vein in his temple”
What does Kudou love? What does he hate?
“We found nothing. No evidence. No grounds for suspicion”
They will have to do a better job this time. And perhaps they may need help from beyond Hachiman, Iroha and the police force.
Dammit, GOF, stop making all your characters so interesting!
“the second major event in the case”
Yukino, in other words. She SAW the killer.
“clothes wrinkled and dead-fish pupils”
Imagine seeking someone in Chiba to investigate something for you, being referred to Hikigaya by the police themselves, and then meeting someone who looks like that.
“He really doesn’t know the effect he has”
I love so, so much that Hachiman in this story is a freaking legend. There’s no way that word of him has not spread beyond Chiba. I wouldn’t be surprised if outside parties would attempt to poach him to improve their own statistics and closed-case numbers. How many in the Chiba police feel that they should just give Hachiman a badge already? In my opinion, someone like Hachiman would make Detective in no time at all, but would struggle to make Lieutenant. (looks at The Wire) …then again, Hachiman would probably just remain an Officer due to refusing to play politics nor kiss up to anybody.
“palpably strained in each other’s presence”
I thought of Tywin and Tyrion Lannister.
“It’s essential”
The killer may know about Kudou too, perhaps from the first investigation. After all, it was launched in 2008, ran for two months, and turned up no evidence or signs of foul play at all.
“offering his friend all the support he can”
Sakiyama is right to want the police to work with Hachiman more frequently and closely, and Kudou is right to want to keep Hachiman at a distance and to only use him when absolutely necessary. The worst arguments are always the ones in which both sides are correct.
Jack Crawford: (to Beverly Katz) ‘How’s Will Graham?’ (Beverly attempts to speak) ‘Shut your mouth.’
“he stumbles over the name”
This is a room full of police investigators. People are going to know that Hachiman and Yukino have history and a relationship that went beyond that of two students in the same club.
“another girl called Yuigahama-san”
I imagined the more nosy/inquisitive policemen wondering out loud of the nature of Hachiman’s relationship with those two women.
“I won’t bore you with the details”
Details make all the difference in a business like this one.
“the only surviving witnesses to this killer”
Yui is in danger too. There is no way that she isn’t. The police need to contact her.
“his name was Kikuchi Itsuki. No one special. He lived alone. History of mental illnesses. The kind of person the Yamanishi Koen killer targets”
How does the killer choose his victims? What, to him, constitutes a life that many would see as conceivable that the person would voluntarily choose to end?
The killer is careful, methodical and precise. It will be very difficult to find any lead on him, let alone chase it down in the hope that it gets to something bigger.
“After the body was reported, and cut down”
What made her keep quiet?
“I, on the other hand, have had nine years”
…this story is not kind to Hachiman. He has spent those nine years hunting other murderers, sharpening and refining his investigative skills. And the killer for their part has spent those years getting better at what they do. It has all been leading up to this, and it starts at Chapter 1 of this story. A Doll’s Eyes is such an awesome story.
“Narcissists don’t hide their murders as well as they do”
In my opinion, the YK Killer IS a narcissist too, but the best/worst kind; the one in a thousand who is able to control, mitigate, channel, etc his narcissism and self-worship…except, perhaps, until now.
It is the killer who started all this, not Hachiman. He made the first move, sent a message to Hachiman and the police via Yasuo. He wanted them to know.
Will Graham: ‘All psychopaths are narcissists. They like to read about themselves.’

Hannibal Lecter: ‘Someone who already doubts their own identity can be more susceptible to manipulation. Dr Gideon is a psychopath. Psychopaths are narcissists. They rarely doubt who they are.’
“For them, killing is a bodily function”
Quoting S01E09 of Hannibal:
‘I could wave at a lady and smile, chew the fat with her in church, knowing I killed her husband. There is something beautiful about that ball of silence at a funeral. All those people around you, knowing that you made it happen.’
…hm. Check the funerals. Memorial services. Everyone and anyone who attended, who was present. Everyone. 74 victims, though…that’s too much for just one month’s worth of effort. THEY NEED HELP. They need more manpower and resources. But how the hell can they do it without word getting out? God DAMN it!
“they’re clever enough to be good at it…In other words, a genius”
I thought of Edmund Kemper. The man has an IQ of 145 and was known to be an extremely bright person. Had he not contacted the police and turned himself in, he could have gone uncaptured for who knows how long. The man befriended and spoke with policemen in bars, learning of how they work and how they think. He studied the people who looks for murderers like himself.
“An eerie silence falls over the room”
Someone who is smart, knowledgeable, careful, patient. Dammit. The worst part is that they may be smart enough to hide that. Hopefully the police would have a list of possible suspects soon. They would have to go through them fast. They can’t just wait for the killer to slip up, because I don’t think the YK Killer is the sort of person who does.
“They don’t intend to kill her just to silence a witness…the simple answer is me”
At some point, the YK Killer learned that the boy from the park that night in 2011, Hikigaya Hachiman, had become consumed by it and is chasing him with increasing obsession and tenacity. And it stirred something in him; something that caused him to go outside his M.O.
Hachiman may be the killer’s weakness. Man, I just got goosebumps. I’m getting Holmes-and-Moriaty vibes.
“he’d already figured it out”
It is because of Hachiman that the police may now finally, after so long, get a real shot at catching that monster. Perhaps the killer was let down that the investigation in 2008 was ended; it probably gave him a thrill to know that he was the target of a police manhunt. Maybe he missed that thrill, thought about it often, reminisced on it. And now, 12 years later, he has started a second manhunt against himself, this time with a one-month time limit.
In my opinion, there is no going back for the YK killer. Even if he succeeds in murdering Yukino, he may very well have to leave Chiba afterward because the Chiba police would NEVER stop hunting him. In a way, this may be the killer’s last bow and huzzah to Chiba. Which means this could be Hachiman and the police’s best and last chance to catch him.
“that left them with no choice”
Hachiman would have chased the YK Killer to the ends of the earth. If the killer had moved to the United States, Hachiman would have followed him there and set himself up as an investigator in the USA. Now I’m thinking of Rust Cohle and the Yellow King.
“laughs, the sound like a strangled animal”
I thought of Sima Yi.
“there’s a good chance we know the Yamanishi Koen killer personally”

“Before 2011, suicides were recorded at something like 2 to 3 a year…back up to 6. But generally, an upward trend”
An addiction. He cannot stop killing. Like Yasuo, the killer cannot and does not want to stop.
“he says drily”
I love Kudou.
“because it’s your job”
I smiled at this because it made me think of Stannis Baratheon. In a way, Kudou is quite similar to the guy. (looks at Yukino) Goddammit.
“Even when there’s not a scrap of self-belief in you”
It seems that Kudou knows that detective personally.
“is our plan to”
To be fair, DO they have a plan? One that is something other than just retreading old ground and doing exactly what they did 12 years ago?
“don’t you dare question whether there’s a point”
In my opinion, all four of them – Yui, Iroha, Saki and Yukino – would have smiled had they heard and saw him say that. (looks at Komachi) …hmm. What would her reaction be?
“if you joined the Chiba police for a reason, any reason at all”
Quoting LA Confidential (1997):
‘Why’d you become a cop?’
‘…I don’t remember.’
“voice controlled but strong”
Kudou himself said it to Sakiyama; he’s dealt with people like Hachiman before.
“He glares icily at the detective who’d spoken up”
People may whisper that the Inspector is only focusing on the YK Killer because of his own personal motivation/stake/grudge due to being involved in the failed first case, or because he is being strong-armed by the Yukinoshita family. Or both.
“that they have the both of them”
If Hachiman and Kudou cannot work together, the entire task force may fall apart. Honestly, I hope the other members would be able to keep it going. Surely those two aren’t the only competent people around. Kudou and Sakiyama may have
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Before I start this review, I feel I should let you know:
I’ll be putting all fanfic reviews on hold until after 28 December as I’ll be studying for upcoming exams. So this’ll be my last review to you until then.
Also, I read this chapter no less than three times before starting this review. Like I said; this is exactly my kind of story.

“Chapter 3 – Friends and Monsters”
Hannibal Lecter: ‘Will Graham is and will always be my friend.’

“isn’t too drunk upon returning to his apartment, but that doesn’t take long to remedy“
I immediately thought of Will Graham. Poor Hachiman must have a head-full of nightmares from all the horrific details of the cases he has worked. And yet this is a job he chose willingly and voluntarily; he pursued it relentlessly and forsook any other paths in life, even assisting in police cases without being paid. Is it any wonder that he now has a legendary reputation that extends beyond Chiba Prefecture? How many police departments in other prefectures wish to acquire his services?
“almost 2:30 AM…won’t get any sleep”
Hachiman must be in terrible shape considering his diet and lifestyle. All he needs to do is to start smoking and the noir-protagonist portrait would be complete.
“how the f-k we’re gonna play this”
Kudou wants to keep this ongoing investigation as close to the vest as possible, but the only way to keep a secret is if the total number of people who have it are one. Someone is going to talk. Heck, Hachiman has already talked about the YK Killer case to Iroha and she is actively assisting him with it. On the other hand, Iroha knows what is at stake and seems like someone who knows how to keep her mouth shut. It is a essential trait in manipulation, after all.
“only one to play this, and that’s his way”
The YK Killer must be enjoying this. He doesn’t murder for the public attention since he makes them look like suicides. Not this time; this time, he has announced to the police and to Hachiman of his intention to murder Yukino. He now wants other people to know that he exists and is actively taunting them. What changed, and why now?
In my opinion, the worst possible motive is that there IS no motive.
Will Graham: ‘You have no traceable motive. Which is why you are so hard to see. You are just…curious what I would do. Someone like me. Someone who thinks how I think. Wind him up and watch him go.’
“Half of the beer can disappears within minutes. His mind jumps from memory to memory and his heart from one suppressed guilt to the next like an adulterer between lovers”
I read this in Max Payne’s voice.
“tonight it just feels oppressive”
He is under attack, not just Yukino. He is afraid and does not want to be alone. At the same time, he pushed Saki away because he is afraid for her life. (looks at Iroha) Huh. Now there’s something for comparison; Hachiman not wanting to involve Saki yet choosing to have Iroha be his partner in this case.
“They want to provoke me”
I doubt that text messages are the only forms of communication that Hachiman would be receiving from the YK Killer before the time limit is up.
“few things Hachiman has buried deeper than the memories of his old friend…wrecked beyond all repair”
He is guilt-ridden by what he has done to her; proving to her, himself and to Yui that there is something that he cares about more than her, and would sacrifice her happiness as well as her emotional and mental well-being for.
At the same time, Yukino may also be guilt-ridden due to being unable to remember anything of what she saw of the serial killer, and the killer going on to claim many more victims afterward.
In my opinion, even if the YK Killer is stopped and Yukino’s life is saved, there is no going back to the way things were for Hachiman and Yukino. The damage is done and has left its scars on them both.
It’s why in my opinion any relationship that Hachiman may have with any of his four love interests is always at risk of being damaged or destroyed; Hachiman has something that he loves above all else, and it isn’t any of them. (looks at Iroha) …call me biased, but I think she is the one who would have the LEAST problem with him being like that. I’m worried that she may corrupt Hachiman to become even worse than he already is. Election-rigging is one thing, but breaking & entering, burglary, pickpocketing and blackmail? Well why not?
“How much time does a person waste in an average day?”
Yep, this is how our Hachiman thinks. I love this story.
“at the age of eighteen”
He’s been doing this for nine years. That is a long time. He and the rest of the former second-year students should be in their late twenties by now, and Hachiman has already seen enough terrible things to last a lifetime, yet the worst is yet to come. And rather than back away, he’s going to dive right in.
“He has to make them a player, an accessory, in his”
Force the killer to react to him instead of the other way around. I don’t know if any leads could be uncovered from the Chiba Police’s current investigative efforts. We can only hope they get lucky.
“74 corpses have been found there since 2001”
74 in 19 years…Jesus Christ. Someone like that has no intention of stopping.
“he’s clueless. Clueless as he’s always been”
He’s been obsessing over this for close to a decade. Does he have a list of suspects?
“laughing over the jokes they used to make”
Yui saw what appeared to be a suicide victim in that park. She later became a social worker. Her choice of career was not a coincidence.
“the rumors about the park. The stories of the Chiba suicide forest”
When did these rumors and stories come from, and when?
“the blind sputter of a torch…the overhanging tree”
The killer was nine years younger at the time. Maybe he was careless then. He certainly isn’t careless now.
“She hadn’t mentioned it in her witness statement; she doubted whether she’d seen it at all”
…why do I suddenly not trust Yukino? Maybe I am wrong and she indeed was sincere about being unable to help Hachiman. I hope.
“A question, toxic and infectious, that spread over his mind like a fungus”
Is it wrong that I grinned at this?
“Time and time again, when faced with a choice between…chosen the opposite”
It is so strange and yet makes so much sense that in the current point of his life, the two people whom Hachiman is closest to are Saki and Iroha. (looks at Komachi) …
“The eyes of a doll”
Why does he imagine them like that? For all he knows, the YK Killer may have a lover or even be married.
Quoting S02E05 of Mindhunter:
Edmund Kemper: ‘This person you’re after, he has an overwhelming fantasy life. Fantasies of what he’s done, what he wants to do. How he’s going to improve. These dreams will consume him. Soon, the real world won’t even compare.’
FBI Agent Bill Tench: ‘How do we catch a fantasy, Ed?’
Edmund Kemper: ‘You can’t, if he’s any good. You’ll never see it. He’ll live like any other person, have relationships, hold down a job.’
FBI Agent Holden Ford: ‘We know killers don’t have the tools to manage real life. They come from marginalized backgrounds, they break under the pressure of what they’ve done. They make mistakes.’
Edmund Kemper: (smiles) ‘It seems to me everything you know about serial killers has been gleaned from the ones who’ve been caught.’
“You still haven’t figured it out”
He’s spent years chasing this person, looking for pieces to the puzzle. Unfortunately, this person is smart and careful enough to give him and the police absolutely nothing…until now. They orchestrated this, forcing another serial killer from Osaka to commit rapes to draw Hachiman’s attention. Honestly, I think Hachiman should question Yasuo again.
“He needs to hear a noise other than the silence of the room…a loud and obnoxious metal record, and turn it up to full volume”
When I first read this, I immediately knew what was going to happen next and started laughing hard. Hachiman is SUCH a jerk.
“This is perfect for them”
If Iroha could get into Hachiman’s apartment (I wonder if anyone saw her and she had to bluff her way in or out of the building), the YK Killer can too. Hachiman is not safe. I suspect that the YK Killer has abducted his victims from their homes despite there being locks and alarms.
“He ignores the shouting”
I wonder if a subconscious part of him wanted to spend time with Saki.
“I have a spare key”
Ha! Saki could get in any time she wishes!
“his neighbor, furious”
I’m still laughing.
“Oh fu -f-k off…Just f-k off, whatever your name is”
How much fun did you have writing this scene, GOF?
“Kawasaki trying to placate it”
It may become common knowledge in the building that Saki and Hachiman have a relationship that goes beyond landlady and tenant. I hope it doesn’t get her into trouble. After all, she has brought him groceries, visited his apartment, and even stayed there overnight, made breakfast for him and left the next morning. I doubt she has done that for any of the other tenants, and she may have been seen by any number of other tenants in the course of any of the aforementioned actions. And Saki is no idiot; she probably knows that and doesn’t care.
“If you don’t open up right now”
She knows he must have a reason for doing what he did and is worried. She refuses to let him shut her out, and I doubt that Hachiman’s words to her in this chapter would keep her away for long.
“one of the few people he listens to, or trusts, or cares about”
And Saki knows it. (looks at Iroha) She knows too. I’m sure of it. Suspicious that she’s made no mention of Saki in this story so far. Does Iroha suspect that Hachiman and Saki are in a romantic relationship? Knowing her, if she had been, she probably would have broken into Saki’s apartment to find any evidence. Have I mentioned that Iroha is a horrible person? Now I’m imagining her ruthlessly sabotaging the career of one of her co-workers in retaliation to the person being mean or rude to her.
“That has to count for something”
And yet I have little doubt that he’d throw away what he has with her in order to solve the YK case. God damn it, Hachiman…
“He’s woken up half the block”
I love this so much.
“better have a good explanation”
Would Saki end up telling any of her tenants that Hachiman investigates and solves crimes for a living, for police and paying clients?
“a familiar face, prompts an overriding surge of relief”
Being alone in his apartment is bad for him. He’s afraid. Heck, he’s downright terrified. And why shouldn’t he be? He is being DIRECTLY targeted and taunted by an extremely dangerous serial killer who has never even come close to being caught.
I have to wonder…why didn’t the killer just murder Yukino, Yui and Hachiman that night in 2011? I suppose it would have been difficult if not possible to make their deaths look like suicide but he probably COULD have staged it to look like they killed each other.
“sees how drunk he is”
She probably was reminded of Hiratsuka-sensei. I wonder where Shizuka could be in this story.
“Not the eyes of a monster”
‘What did you expect? A monster?’ – 8MM (1999)
“the simple reaching out of a person who feels like they’re at the mercy of the current”
Hachiman is in immense pain. In my opinion, Saki is NOT going to just leave him alone.
“A friend who needs her help”
I wonder what happened to Saki after 2011. Ebina too. The event in the park that night affected all of them to some degree.
“helplessness is beginning to feel more like exhaustion”
He very recently worked a serial rape case and has now immediately leaped into another that has gripped him body and soul. Hachiman is NOT in a good place physically or mentally in this story.
“the things that keep him conscious”
Does Kudou have a wife and/or children?
“I’ve never seen you like this before”
My certainty that Saki won’t leave Hachiman alone or keep her distance from him is growing. She may even decide to contact Iroha to find out what has got Hachiman so riled up and agitated.
“whispers of comfort in the darkness”
What if she had not done this for him this night, guiding him back to bed and ensuring that he slept?
“The lavender smell in his nostrils, real or not, remains like the pronouncement of a dream”
GOF, have you been studying Noir-genre writing? My mind keeps going to The Wolf Among Us. Can’t wait for the sequel.
“to save Yukinoshita Yukino’s life”
In my opinion, the only person who can save Yukino is Yukino herself.
“The nightmare has distorted it beyond all recognition”
…I’m starting to see why Hachiman spends so many nights foregoing sleep. The poor guy is traumatized. He would rather see the horrors of the real world than the ones inside his own head. Kinda like an adult/grown-up version of Oregairu, now that I think of it.
“The binds are too tight”
The YK Killer may be skilled in tying knots.
“The voice is neither masculine nor feminine, and of a sickly texture like curdled milk”
This is how Hachiman hears the killer’s voice in his dreams. I wonder why it is like that for him.
“All these years you’ve been asking, begging to meet me again”
Hannibal Lecter: ‘A serenade.’
“the flesh is rotting and grotesque, the eyes black”
No. This is what Hachiman WANTS the YK Killer to look like, when he knows very well that the killer probably looks like anything but that.
“you’ve always known too. Who we are. Where we’re going”
…I’m annoyed now, GOF. Thrilled and annoyed. That’s a typical emotional reaction when you’re reading a well-executed mystery story.
“I’m your monster. Yours, now and forever”
Kenzo Tenma and Johann Liebert.
“for one or both of them”
…but not just the killer. Christ, please tell me this isn’t foreshadowing. I know there is little hope of a happy ending, but at least let it be a bittersweet one.
“Hachiman and the monster stare at the noose”
What is death to either of them? How do they see it, in others and in themselves?
“The trees of Yamanishi Koen”
That park is special to the killer for some reason. They probably know its secrets and hidden paths better than anybody. Hachiman may have explored the park himself over the past nine years. Currently, the Chiba Police are set to comb through the place AGAIN. I suspect that anything they do find there may be what the killer wants them to find.
“30 Days Remaining”
There is an active threat on the life of the second Yukinoshita daughter. No wonder Kudou wants to keep this under wraps. But I just KNOW word will get out sooner or later. So many officers and detectives reassigned to one case? There’s no way this is going to remain a secret and Kudou knows it.
“can’t remember the last time his curtains weren’t drawn”
How many hours or even days has he spent alone in his darkened apartment, mind and/or eyes pouring over what he has gathered about the YK Killer?
“Actual cooking”
Did Saki cook for her now-ex-husband?
Also, would Saki contact Komachi?
“Smelling anything other than beer or instant ramen is a small miracle”
I thought of Hayato meeting Haruno in a fancy, expensive restaurant. Come to think of it, are any of Hachiman’s past clients wealthy people? Hachiman is always able to pay his rent and has never fallen behind on it after all.
“Almost enough to dull their sting. Almost”
He was so vulnerable and clearly in great pain when he opened the door and hugged Saki. In my opinion, the drunkenness helped to make Hachiman more honest than he would be while sober.
“waking people up at 3 in the morning, waking Kawasaki up”
What was Saki thinking (or dreaming) of when she was awoken by Hachiman?
“from a different unknown number, but still local to Chiba”
There has GOT to be someone in Chiba who could get something out of those texts. A record, a location, ANYTHING.
“completely unbeknownst to her”
Are you 100 percent certain about that, Hachiman?
“I can’t have anymore nights like that. No more squandered time”
Quoting Munich (2005):
Carl: (to Avner) ‘I knew guys like you in the army. You do any terrifying thing you’re asked to do, but you have to do it running. You think you can outrun your fears, your doubts. The only thing that really scares you guys is stillness.’
“I have to be the person…That Yukinoshita Yukino needs me to be”
I thought of Hayato and Yukino in middle school. And now Hayato is working for the Yukinoshita family…and is in direct contact with Kudou himself.
“Was that really what drove him, all this time?”
Perhaps, or perhaps not. It remains to be seen; what truly drives him.
“Perhaps I should see this as a second chance”
He felt dead the previous night, but now he feels alive. Focus on the positives of recent and current events.
“maybe, just maybe, mistakes to set right”
Mike Ehrmantraut: ‘No…sorry, kid, that’s the one thing you can never do.’
“the way he’d held her last night”
When has anyone ever held Saki like that?
“At least say something”
She likely realized that he had been quietly looking at her.
“And then ‘I’m sorry’, with an ultra sincere”
They already converse like a married couple. Goddammit.
“we’ve all done stupid crap when we’re drunk”
Has Saki witnessed any of her family members being drunk? Taishi is now old enough to drink alcohol.
“that’s not something you need to apologise for”
Hachiman is comfortable with being loathed, disliked, despised or even hated. It’s being loved and cherished that causes him pain. (looks at Iroha jokingly rejecting non-flirtations and non-advances) Hmm.
“They were both loners in high school”
Being a loner made Saki strong, and at the same time it made her weak. Knowing Saki, she probably keeps to herself, which makes it all the more interesting to any onlooker that she often brings groceries to one particular tenant in her building.
“I don’t need anyone else. I’m better off alone”
Except he isn’t. He has Iroha to back him up and support him. Honestly, Hachiman would not have gotten very far in his current career without her, even with his own exceptional investigative skills. Iroha is someone who can walk in circles that he simply couldn’t.
“That’s not something I’d do out of obligation”
And Hachiman knows it too. He knows EXACTLY what her actions of helping him to bed and making breakfast for him mean. He just cannot bring himself to face it, especially with the YK Killer case at the forefront of his mind.
“Once again, he finds himself trying to ignore”
He is afraid that if he accepts and reciprocates her feelings, that it may overtake and overwhelm his other ‘love’; finding the killer that he has been chasing for so long.
“the most casual he’s ever seen her”
Why did she choose to dress like that on this day of all days?
“the hint of lavender”
Did…Saki put on PERFUME? Did Keika give her bad advice?
“cook a lot”
I thought of Yui’s awful baked cookies.
“…Flattery’s not gonna help”
Yes it is.
“no one’s gonna say it unless I do”
If Hachiman refuses to meet her halfway, what can Saki do? What indeed.
“why you acted like an idiot…Difficult subject?”
Why do I suddenly feel like Hachiman is being interrogated? Saki was probably unknowingly channeling her inner cop.
“I’m not having another innocent life caught up in this”
I am dead-certain of this; if Saki learns of the YK Killer case, she would do EVERYTHING she can to help with it. She may have heard of the numerous suicides in that park. Do any of the victims make her think of her siblings?
“surprising even himself”
Saki is one of very few people who could bring out a side of Hachiman that even he doesn’t fully realize that he has.
“You and Komachi used to seem more”
The big words here are ‘used to’.
“like Siamese twins than brother and sister”
Saki is not stupid, and Taishi is/was close to Komachi. I suspect that she knows that Komachi in truth is very similar to Hachiman in terms of personality.
“I miss them. Really badly, even now”
Talking to Hachiman about them may make her decide to contact her family.
“We’d still be living together if we had it my way”
Wait, what? That’s interesting.
“our parents weren’t around too much”
This makes me think that Mr and Mrs Kawasaki are better spouses than they are parents. (shrugs) Well, you can’t be equally good at
11/6/2020 c1 19RAfan2421
Well, you've certainly got more of a flair for mystery than romance. And I mean no disrespect with such a statement, it's merely an observation of the strength of your storytelling. Love and Coffee may remain the work that I most enjoyed, but from and objective standpoint this is likely your strongest work, at least of the ones that I have read.

That being said, a couple of things:
One, on Hayama and Iroha. There's something about their meeting with Hikigaya at the end of chapter three that doesn't quite make sense. You get the sense from the end of chapter two that Haruno and Hayama have a plan regarding Hachiman. On the flip side, you have Iroha trying to use Hayama for her own, and ultimately Hachiman's gain as well. But for Hayama to personally be Iroha's date, that felt a bit too obtrusive. And besides, Hayama using pickup lines is very much not in line with his character.

Of course, iroha could be lying about everything, but what does she stand to gain? Ultimately, her personal and professional interests align with Hachiman, so she stands to gain very little from deceiving him about Hayama in the first place.

Two, on Yukino. There's been plenty of discussion on Yukino's agency as a character, especially if she doesn't have Hachiman as a crutch. I think you tend to be criticized for making her too passive, whereas I take her character perhaps too far in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, she has, for all her faults, always held true to her ideals of what she believes is right. Of course, a murder is an entirely different beast compared to whatever inane requests the Service Club receives in canon, but then again, I can't help but wonder if maybe, at the end of the day, Yukino is more obsessed than Hachiman is. And so I'm curious why she was so reluctant to help Hachiman with his obsession. I guess this is less of a criticism and more of a difference in viewpoint.

As an aside stylistically, your attention to detail works wonders for mystery stories and less so for romantic ones. In mysteries, where every detail matters and comes together at the climax, every bit helps. In romance, where the details are only most important when it comes to the most important person, your birds eye view type storytelling makes the finale less...special if you will. I leave this here only to acknowledge that I skimmed Love at First Word and found it to be weaker than this work.

Thanks for writing.
11/6/2020 c3 TheOneAndOnly
Well, shit
11/5/2020 c3 TheMag1c1an
Wow. You're writing's incredible and it's a shame it doesn't get more attention. I look forward to the next chapter.
11/5/2020 c3 BlinDead
This story is detailed as much as a picture taken with 3000mp. camera, Splendid! I can literally see everything!
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