Originally posted on 3 April 2012
Source: Zero / Zero 2 Fanbook, page 36-41

Fatal Frame Fanbook: Fatal Frame Story Recap

♦Introduction: Himuro Mansion
Himuro Mansion
Miku's brother, Mafuyu, arrives at a large Japanese house in the mountains.
An acquaintance and benefactor of his, the writer Junsei Takamine, and his party came to this mansion to investigate and went missing.
There are many abominable incidents associated with this mansion.
An incident in which the Family Master, having gone mad, killed every single member of the family. An incident when a family who moved in afterwards were spirited away.
And recent incidents of strange deaths, in which bodies have mysteriously been found torn limb from limb.
Each of them seems to have some connection to this mansion.
Mafuyu enters the house, the inside of which is dilapidated, and it doesn't appear as though anyone has lived here in a long time.

Writer Takamine's shadow
Exiting into the hallway, Takamine passes by. Following him, Mafuyu heads into the living room.
When he picks up the dropped schedule notebook from the second floor of the living room, images flow through Mafuyu's head.
The writer, his assistant and editor - the party of three walking down this mansion's hallway. And following them, an ominous shadow...

Battle with a ghost
Mafuyu, having confirmed that Takamine and the others came here, is sneaked up on by a ghost.
Mafuyu readies the Camera Obscura.
The Camera Obscura has the power to seal ghosts away by capturing them in photos.

From inside the mirror...
Defeating the ghost, Mafuyu returns to the hallway.
From inside the mirror behind him, "something" attacks...

♦Night 1: Strangling Ritual
Chasing after her brother
Using the note her older brother has left as a clue after contact with him ceases, Miku arrives at Himuro Mansion.
There, she sees the Camera Obscura her brother should be carrying.
When she touches it, an ominous vision flashes through Miku's head. Many hands, reaching out and trying to grab at Mafuyu. Mafuyu running away. From amongst the hands, she can see the shadow of a woman in a white kimono. Mafuyu is chased right up against the wall...
Miku, having learned that something has happened to Mafuyu, sees the missing Takamine's party as she searches for her brother.

The Camera Obscura and the mysterious girl
A girl in a white kimono suddenly appears and points at the partition screen, as though wanting her to take a photo of it.
When Miku takes the picture, an image appears on it of a door on the other side of the screen.
The Camera Obscura has the power to photograph impossible things, and this girl leads Miku as though aiding her.

The ghost of Ogata, the editor who died by the Rope Curse
The editor, Ogata, died by having his limbs and neck torn off.
It was due to the curse of the woman in burial clothing, called "Kirie".
Both hands. Both feet. And the neck. When the rope marks appeared on all five of these places, the curse was complete.
Then, he wandered the mansion as a ghost, cursing all living people.
Ogata, now a ghost, clings to Miku.
Miku seals Ogata's ghost with the Camera Obscura, sucking it in with her spiritual power, and realises she can now use the camera's hidden abilities.

Breaking the Rope Curse
The writer's assistant, Tomoe Hirasaka, was given information by the voice of the girl in the white kimono, by which she learned how to break the rope curse, but her limbs were torn off by Kirie.
Takamine ascertains that he needs to find the five pieces of the broken Holy Mirror and restore it to break the curse, and goes about this with all of his might.
Miku obtains a piece of the mirror inside Narukami Shrine, where Takamine died.
Another ominous vision flashes through her head.
A mirror broken into five scattered pieces. And many people, collapsed all over the mansion...

Encounter with Kirie
Turning around, she sees Kirie slowly appearing from out of the large mirror in the shrine.
She takes a photo of Kirie using the Camera Obscura, but the picture is warped and has no effect.
Miku is cornered, and Kirie pursues her.
"Feel my pain..."
The moment Kirie grabs her arm, a vision flows through Miku's head, she is struck with overwhelming pain, and her vision goes black.

●The illusionary introduction
Miku, travelling through the mountain in the passenger seat of the car driven by her older brother, Mafuyu, watches the the depths of the forest pass by. Mafuyu, a fledgling editor, is heading for a rural area to research for an article about a case concerning strange deaths. So far in this case, three have gone missing from the village, after which their bodies were discovered with their limbs and head twisted off. Mafuyu's job is to link the incidents to the local legends which tell of spiriting aways.
It is late, and for no particular reason during the ride back Miku picks up the photos of those who have died, and as she does so suddenly notices something like ropes wound around their arms and legs. She has a bad feeling, but is tired from the long drive, and at some point falls asleep.

(Where am...?)
Miku stands in the entrance hall of a large Japanese mansion. There are three men's bodies collapsed facing the entrance. They look as though they died in anguish, appearing to have been trying to escape from something.
Entering through the entrance hall, she finds herself in a dark hallway in which ropes hang down, and a large mirror is set at the end. Two bodies are twisted around as though leaning against the hallway, dying while screaming. Turning the corner of the hallway and entering the large fireplace room, there are many people with their heads cut off.
Perhaps it's a dream, because none of the horrible things she sees seem real.

Going to the entrance via the hallway, she exits to where the large mirror is. Miku senses a presence behind her and turns. As she does so, it is not herself she sees standing in the mirror, but a woman in a white kimono. The woman slowly, slowly leans forwards out of the mirror.
(I've got to escape...!)
Miku, feeling frightened for the first time, hurries to the foyer. The hallway's appearance has completely changed. Countless hands are poking out of the walls, trying to grab at Miku. Even from behind the back of the woman chasing her, innumerable hands reach out. Miku, desperately trying to escape, arrives at the door, but it's tightly shut and won't budge. The woman in white leans over her, and Miku is swarmed by the hands.
Miku throws herself back. She screams --
Miku jumps up to find that the car has stopped, and Mafuyu is gone. She looks around her and through the windscreen, and sees Mafuyu walking powerlessly. Ahead of him is a large Japanese house... Getting out of the car she calls out "Mafuyu!", but there is no response. Grabbing the torch she jumps out of the car and runs after her brother. She crosses the bridge leading to the entrance, where she finds a camera lying on the ground.
"This is my mother's camera..."
She heads for the mansion's entrance, the doors having been left open by her brother. Suddenly, the doors begin to close slowly. Her foreboding feeling becomes more intense. Miku, camera in hand, runs after her brother, slipping through the gap between the shutting doors. It is the house she dreamt of. (summary version)

●Why the introduction was changed
Maybe it would have been fine for a film or novel, but it was too long. Also, since we wanted people to battle using the camera right away, the introduction is where Mafuyu is playable, to teach you how to use the camera.

●Concept of Night 1
With Night 1, we were aiming to make people imagine, by showing them the fates of those who had come to Himuro Mansion before, that this could maybe happen to to the protagonist and Mafuyu, too...

●Why the Ghost List was born
At first, we had a period of trial and error setting where ghosts appeared and how to find them. A person's shadow suddenly passing you by, someone vaguely behind you. Eventually, I thought it would be fun to take photos of things like that, storing the ghosts in photos, and the idea of having a collection of these was born.

●Long cutscene
The cutscene in which the editor appears was made cinematic to build up the fear without rushing it, so it was almost twice as long. We thought about summarising it in a shorter manner to aid the tempo of the game, so there was no time for Miku dropping and picking back up the Camera Obscura and things like that, and it was trimmed down.

♦Night 2: Demon Tag

Unending game of Demon Tag
The demon... you're the new demon...
Surrounding Miku, who has lost consciousness, are children.
Miku opens her eyes, and the children scatter and run away like baby spiders.
These are the ghosts of children who were spirited away here in the middle of a game of Demon Tag.
The children have been waiting for the demon to search for them in their suspended game, and choose Miku as the demon.
Chasing the child who runs away with the mirror piece Miku had obtained, a game of Demon Tag with the ghosts begins.

To the past
Miku had woken up in the Doll Room.
When she was caught by Kirie, Miku was transported back in time.
Some aspects of the mansion seem a little different, and the ghosts who appear are from an older time.
Miku is moving closer to the time when the heart of the incident occurred.
At the same time, the curse is progressing. Both hands, both feet. And the neck.
When the five rope marks are complete, Miku will be visited by the strangling ropes.
And now, rope marks show on Miku's wrists.

Mafuyu's whereabouts
She discovers a note left by Mafuyu in the Doll Room.
Due to the twist in time in the mansion, Mafuyu can't meet with Miku, but he is chasing after the cause of the mansion's curse.
Her brother vanishes into the Banned Path through the Demon Mouth.

The Blind Demon
The ghost of the Blind Demon wandering around the mansion attacks Miku.
To create the "demon" needed for the ritual to select the Rope Shrine Maiden, the woman wore the Blinding Mask, and even now she wanders the mansion.
Miku, the demon chasing the children, is chased by the ghost of the Blind Demon.
The overlapping games of Demon Tag expand.

The folklorist, Ryozo Munakata
The children who were spirited away while playing Demon Tag were Mikoto Munakata, the daughter of Ryozo Munakata, the folklorist researching Himuro Mansion's rituals, and her friends.
In order to investigate the mansion's rituals, Munakata moved there with his wife Yae and daughter Mikoto.
To open the Banned Path, leading to the Rope Altar where the ritual was performed, he realised that he needed the Blinding Mask.
That was the door Mafuyu vanished through.

The Camera Obscura and her mother's memories
Since the folklorist's wife, Yae, had come into possession of a strange camera brought home by Mikoto, it had been eating away at her mind.
In the photos taken around the mansion, things that shouldn't be there had begun to appear...
Due to that, she hanged herself by the neck from the sakura tree in the courtyard.
When Miku sees this vision, she recalls a memory.
Miku's mother, Miyuki, committed suicide in the same way by hanging herself by the neck from the tree in the garden of their house. The photos her mother left were the same, and like the ones in this mansion, impossible things appeared in them.
The Camera Obscura Miku's mother had originally came from this mansion.

Spiriting away and Mikoto's whereabouts
Mikoto, the demon in the game of Demon Tag, was attacked by the ghost of a man with long arms, and so ran away from the mansion. At that time, she picked up the Camera Obscura.
Having been found wandering around in the mountains and taken in, Mikoto lost all of her memories due to shock.
She forgot how she escaped alone, and everything that happened at Himuro Mansion.
Mikoto was taken in by the Hinasaki family. And then she gave birth to Miku's mother, passing down the Camera Obscura to her.

Kagome, Kagome
Obtaining the Blinding Mask, Miku goes to open the door in the Demon Mouth, when she hears the "Kagome, Kagome" song in her ear.
Surrounding her are the ghosts of children with blood flowing from their eyes, reaching out their hands to Miku.
These are the ghosts of children who were caught by the Blind Demon who took part in the Blind Demon ritual here in the Demon Mouth, who crushed their eyes. And then, when the song ends, the Blind Demon appears behind Miku.

Munakata's end
Miku seals away the Blind Demon. She opens the door with the Blinding Mask.
Then, when the door opens, she has a vision in which Munakata is attacked by ghosts, and dragged inside the doors.
Long ago, Munakata died when he opened these doors. What is inside...?
On the Banned Path, she finds his warped corpse.
Miku reaches out for the piece of the Holy Mirror gripped in his hand, and again Kirie appears.

The underground path filled with Malice
Running from Kirie, Miku runs deeper into the Banned Path, where in front of her she sees a large number of ghosts moving towards her.
The ghosts of the people who died when they were engulfed in the Malice from the Calamity had been sleeping in this underground path.
Trapped between the advancing ghosts, searching for an exit, and Kirie, Miku has nowhere to go as Kirie reaches out her hand.

●Why Night 2 is so long
The second night is the longest chapter of the whole game. Originally, the story was split into five chapters, but the producer thought that the overall game was too long and should be shortened to four chapters, so the story of the Munakata family and the story of the Blind Demon ritual were simplified into one, which is why it got so long (laughs).
Since the two were consolidated, many things were cut from various places. The relationship between Munakata's wife (Yae) and Miku isn't precisely explained, nor is why Mikoto suddenly got scared and ran away in the middle of the game of Demon Tag, and other things like that. Mikoto ran away alone from Himuro Mansion, and was discovered in the mountains with all of her memories gone. Actually, we had planned to use a cutscene that showed Mikoto escaping into the mountains and being discovered, but... In any case, the details are outlined in newspaper clippings.

●Mysteries of the memento Camera Obscura
Mikoto escaped from Himuro Mansion, and became Miku's grandmother - the Camera Obscura belonging to the Hinasaki family was brought along with Mikoto back then.

●The completed Camera Obscura
Since the Camera Obscura in Zero ~zero~ contains the Holy Mirror, it is complete, so its spirit power is strong. By using the spiritual power of its user, it has the maximum ghost-sealing effect. The user becomes sucked into the world of the ghosts, suffers from mental illness and dies. The Camera Obscura itself is a dangerous object. Incidentally, the camera that appears in Akai Chou doesn't have the Holy Mirror, so we created it as having been a weaker prototype.

●Continuing the game of Demon Tag
There is a meaning in Miku finding the children hidden around Himuro Mansion. Her grandmother, Mikoto, ran from Himuro Mansion midway through a game of Demon Tag, and her grandchild Miku ends up finding them. The continuing game of Demon Tag is resumed by her grandchild from another generation.

●Changes made to the Himuro Family Master's massacre scene...
There is a cutscene in which the Family Master slays the priests with his sword, but at first we planned to have that scene play out from the view of a girl watching from the beams above the Buddha Room, and Miku's viewpoint sync up with the girl's as she watched, ending when the Family Master finishes his slaughter and then notices the girl. We thought about putting it in, but the staff thought it would be really troublesome to create a long shot of the massacre scene, so it was removed. There was a scene during the final night in which Miku moves across the beams, but that was also deleted and wasn't even kept in some kind of subplot. Incidentally, we also planned on having the beams of the Buddha Room lead to a hidden passage to the Koto Room, where Miku would meet Kirie's mother, who hid her from the people of the Himuro family.

●Four severed heads, illuminated by a flash of lightning...
In the cutscene at the beginning of Night 3, there was a scene in which the heads of the priests that had been cut off by the Family Master were lined up on top of a shelf and could be seen only for a second by the light of the lightning. The scene was really popular amongst the staff, so me and some others wanted to make a wallpaper of it, but in terms of the content it was quite unpleasant and so it was deleted. We also changed the story when you have to search for the heads that were lined up on the shelf.

♦Night 3: Calamity
The mansion fills with ghosts
A vision flows through Miku's head.
Fragmented images of the ritual.
A man in a devil mask slaughtering priests. And a large number of people collapsed people...
Miku wakes up before the door in the Demon Mouth.
The mansion has become filled with ghosts.

The curse progresses to the final stage
Rope marks appear on both of Miku's feet. Next, the rope marks will progress to her neck, and the curse will be complete.

To the Banned Path again
Inside the Banned Path, the wall has collapsed and can't be passed.
Inside there, Miku sees her brother.
From Munakata's research documents, Miku learns that there is a different way down to the Rope Altar, and heads to the Moon Shrine.

In the Moon Shrine
Munakata's research mentions that the first Rope Shrine Maiden is enshrined in the Moon Shrine, but nothing is inside the small shrine there but a continuation of Munakata's writings.
Miku reads this research and learns that in order to open the Moon Well to get to the Rope Altar she will need the seals of the family priests.

The Himuro Family Master and priests
It is said that, due to madness, the family master massacred his entire family.
The family master cut off the heads of the rope priests.
In the places where the rope priests are entombed, Miku battles their ghosts.
They try to appeal for help about the cause of the ghosts filling the mansion.
The disaster called The Calamity occurred and caused all of this due to the failure of the Strangling Ritual.
This was said to be caused by Kirie, who was raised to become a Rope Shrine Maiden, having attachments to the world of the living.
If the cause of the Calamity cannot be completely sealed, an even greater disaster will occur...

Battling the Himuro Family Master
It is said that, due to madness, the family master massacred his entire family.
The family master apparently roamed the mansion while holding the heads, covered in blood, and finally committed suicide under the house's Shinto shrine in the Grand Hall.
Miku sees a large pool of blood in the Grand Hall. And then, the family master begins to attack...

The first Rope Shrine Maiden
Obtaining all of the seals, Miku descends into the Moon Well through the Moon Shrine.
There, she sees the mummy of a woman with no arms or legs enshrined in a small shrine.
It was the goshintai the folklorist had been searching for in the Moon Shrine, the first Rope Shrine Maiden, enshrined at the bottom of the Moon Well.
Exactly what kind of ritual was the Strangling Ritual...?
By the side of the mummy, Miku discovers a piece of the Holy Mirror.

At the bottom of the Moon Well
As Miku picks up the piece of the Holy Mirror, Kirie appears from the surface of the water at the bottom of the Moon Well.
The water's surface works just like a mirror...
Miku tries to escape, climbing back up out of the well. Kirie follows below her.
Just a little more and Kirie will catch up to her, and the curse will be complete... the moment she thinks this, Miku hears a voice whisper "Over here..." from above.
Looking up, she sees the girl in a white kimono reaching out her hand.
Miku clings onto that hand as though it is a rope, and her vision goes black.

To the Moon Well again
Again chased by Kirie who appears in the mirror, Miku descends into the Moon Well.
Inserting the hairpin before the mummy, the path to the Rope Altar opens.
There, Miku witnesses the events of the day of the Strangling Ritual.

On the Hell Bridge
A very long procession heads along the Hell Bridge, the sound of bells ringing out. Kirie is marched along by the priests. Miku hears her cry out from her heart, "I want to see him, just one more time!"

At the Rope Altar
Even now, the blood marks on the Rope Altar remain vivid.
There, Miku witnesses the Strangling Ritual.
Both arms, legs, and the neck are bound with ropes to a mechanism, which slowly pulls, until finally the limbs and head are torn off.
The extent of the ritual's brutality makes Miku shudder.

The Hell Gate
Passing under many torii gates, she arrives at a large underground cave.
There, the Hell Gate towers majestically above her.
It is only slightly open, and eerie moans along with Malice seems to seep out.
It appears as though each time there's an earthquake, the doors open a little more.
It is said that if the Hell Gate opens completely, this world and the Underworld will be joined, and all of the dead will return.
In order to seal this gate, the Himuro family used a maiden as a human sacrifice, repeating the Strangling Ritual over and over again.
Again, a vision of the ritual flashes through Miku's head.
Kirie is torn by her duty as the Rope Shrine Maiden and her feelings towards the person important to her.
Since a maiden who still had connections to the world of the living was used to create the ropes, the sealing of the gate failed.

♦Final Night: Kirie
The girl's message
A body left on the stone altar...
"Please... make it stop... stop me..." As the girl's voice begs, Miku awakens in the Koto Room.

The day of the ritual
It is the day the Strangling Ritual is to be performed.
Himuro Mansion is enveloped in an eerie silence.
Led by the girl, Miku discovers a hidden passage in the attic, and as she passes through it she peeps through a hole through which light spills, and sees a vision of a woman in the anteroom sobbing and saying, "I don't want to die..." It is Kirie before she heads to the Strangling Ritual.

Confinement Room
At the other end of the hidden passage is a confinement room that was strictly guarded.
Kirie was chosen as the Rope Shrine Maiden at the age of 7, after which she was raised here, bound by ropes.
Miku sees the girl who has led her this far tied to the torii gate in this room.
Miku realises that the girl is Kirie when she was a girl.
In Kirie's heart she wants to stop her rampage, and that is why the young Kirie has been leading Miku around.

Fragments of memories
In the Confinement Room, she picks up a piece of the Holy Mirror and an ornate hairpin.
When she touches the hairpin, the emotions held within it are conveyed to Miku.
Kirie and a young man who resembles Mafuyu are walking together in the garden, looking at the sakura tree.
The sakura tree is different from how it is now, overflowing with blossoms in full bloom.
The two exchange a sudden smile. It's a gentle recollection. A tender memory.
The memory cuts off midway through.
This must be the "cause of her worldly attachments" the priests spoke of.
The gate opened slightly, and the Malice expelled from it killed everyone it touched.
And then the Holy Mirror shattered into five pieces.

Reunion with Mafuyu
Miku reaches the stone monument where the Holy Mirror is to be placed, and Mafuyu appears.
However, his eyes are empty, as though he is possessed by something.
Miku calls out her brother's name. But Kirie appears behind his back, and absorbs him.
"Now, we'll be together... forever..."
By letting the young man get closer to her emotionally, Kirie got him killed. she was angered by these regrets, and this even further spurred on her madness.
Overlapping with Mafuyu, Kirie takes him in and smiles eerily.

The Holy Mirror's end
Miku tries to seal Kirie away using the Camera Obscura.
With divine protection from the Holy Mirror, it seems as though she can seal her.
However, when it seems as though only a little more is needed to seal her away, the Camera Obscura is overcome and breaks.
Kirie slowly chases after her. Miku is gripped by despair.
At that moment, she notices the girl appear and point to the broken camera.
Inside the broken camera is the final piece of the Holy Mirror.
This fragment was what gave the camera the power to seal ghosts.
With this fragment, the Holy Mirror is complete.

●The blood pool in the Grand Hall...
After killing all of the people in the mansion, the Family Master committed suicide in the Grand Hall. We had a scene planned where Miku follows the trail of blood to the Grand Hall, where she sees the family master slicing his stomach with a katana, but that, too, was cut at the producer's behest. He did want to leave the blood there, though. Maybe it would've been scarier had that scene been put in, but thinking about it now, it could've been overkill.

●The staff member who hated mummies...
When Miku descends below the Moon Shrine, she sees the enshrined mummy of the very first Rope Shrine Maiden, armless and legless. We initially planned that the mummies of past Rope Shrine Maidens would be lined up along the Baptismal Path, but the female member of staff who was working on it really hated mummies, so she seems to have endured it this much, but when she saw the document with specifics about the Baptismal Path she said, "I'm not making any more mummies!" and got angry, so in the end we dropped the idea (laughs).

●The person called "the koto-player"...
At the beginning of the final night, there is a scene in which Kirie points at a koto and Miku plays it. After release, people talked of "the person playing the koto", so it seems as though we didn't show the movements of playing the koto well enough. Sorry (laughs).

●The Strangling Ritual also had a scene cut from it...
In the Strangling Ritual cutscene, we made a scene in which she is pulled apart, and after that you see her body, now in pieces. It was quickly removed, though... By the way, when Miku enters the room Kirie's pulled apart body remained there, but that too was deleted...

●About the Strangling Ritual
For this game's final boss, we thought about the way in which a person would least like to die. We thought that would bring us to the scariest concept. We thought about it and came up with the Strangling Ritual. At first the producer said there was no way we would do it, because he had only seen it in the planning and thought there was no way we could show it... then he agreed. Well, in the end we made it.

●The Strangling Ritual and the pieces of the Holy Mirror
The way the Holy Mirror breaks into five pieces is linked to the way the four limbs and neck are torn off in the Strangling Ritual. The scary parts of Japanese horror are linked to what happened, their images overlapping. In other words, I think people should take notice of the deep connection there.