Hover over text with dotted underlines to see the Japanese.
Mio and Mayu have returned to their hometown, where they spent some years of their childhood.
This small mountain village will be submerged under a dam come the end of the summer break.
The two visit the place where they remember playing often.
This mountain stream is like a garden, a small opening in the dense greenery of the forest, the girls' secret place.
While watching Mayu, who has some difficulty walking, Mio is worried and calls out to her.
"Mayu, is your leg okay?"
"It hurts a little... but I'm fine."
The reflection of the languid sunlight streaming through the trees on the water; the slightly moist air. Nothing has changed since back then.
A single memory.
They had been playing by the stream as usual, and as they were late home the two hurried down the twilit mountain path home. The weak-bodied Mayu called out Mio's name while trying her utmost to catch up.
"If you don't hurry up, I'll go on without you!"
Mio runs ahead calling this out, occasionally turning to her sister.
A short scream, and the sound of something slipping...
She gets closer to the edge of the small cliff.
Her heart begins to beat faster as she slowly peeps over the edge.
Mio's eyes open wide...
If only I had waited for Mayu back then, we could still run together now...
Mio, who had been engrossed in the reminiscence, suddenly looks up and sees Mayu has vanished.
Mio desperately searches for her, and finds Mayu going deeper into the forest, led by a faintly glowing crimson butterfly.
Mio chases Mayu into the forest.
Mayu runs into the forest as though led by the butterfly.
From behind, unnoticed by her, she is overlaid with a girl in a white kimono.
"There they are!"
All around, men's voices call out.
Confused by the blending of reality and hallucination, the moment Mio puts her hand on Mayu's shoulder, images flash through her mind.
A girl hanging by the neck at the edge of a deep pit.
Twin sisters with their hands around each other's throats, looking this way.
A girl laughing madly amidst a sea of corpses.
And Mio's hands wrapped around Mayu's neck...
Mio quickly takes her hand off of Mayu, and stands alone on the path, which at some point became covered in fog.
Blown on the wind, she can hear singing. Peeking through the trees, she sees rows of lights.
Perhaps some kind of solemn festival is taking place?
Mio heads to where the the rows are gathered, walking as though guided. The undergrowth of the forest opens out, and she no longer senses the presences of the people from before - there is only Mayu, standing alone amidst a countless number of butterflies.
Hearing Mio's voice, Mayu slowly turns. The crimson butterflies flutter away as one.
"The Lost... Village..."
♦Chapter 1: The Lost Village
From the clearing where she saw the scenery of the ritual, she looks down to an unbroken view of the houses.
It appears to be a small settlement, the old houses constructed in rows.
It brings back memories of "The Lost Village", a place they had heard of when they were young.
Once, a village suddenly vanished from the forest on the night of a certain festival, and there was only one survivor. However, that one person had apparently lost all of their memories...
Since then, it has been rumoured that people have become trapped in that village.
Perhaps some time has passed, because the path the two are on is now shrouded in complete darkness, and she notices that time appears to somehow have stopped in this place.
Inside the village, surrounded by forest, countless faintly-glowing crimson butterflies flutter around...
They see a light inside the house at the village entrance. They move to go inside, but as soon as they do Mayu's body begins to tremble.
When Mio touches Mayu, the images Mayu is seeing flow through her.
A woman, going inside this house... the image ends there.
In this house, Mio picks up a contraption that resembles the so-called "Camera Obscura".
It can pick up images of "impossible things", and seal away wandering souls.
Once, a folklorist came here to investigate the festival, and was trying to photograph the place of the ritual that must never be seen, in order to reveal the object of worship and the root of their religion.
The two explore the house. Someone other than them is inside.
Moreover, it isn't just a normal person...
By picking up the fragmented pieces of the woman's notes, Mio learns that she came to Minakami Village - the so-called Lost Village - to search for her missing lover.
While reading one of those notes, the woman's ghost stands by her side.
The ghost of the woman, killed by the lover she came here to search for, attacks them. Mio readies the Camera Obscura in order to protect Mayu.
When she captures the ghost in a photograph, the woman's memories flow through her. She was strangled by the ghost of the lover she came here to search for, in this house...
When she regains her awareness, the woman has vanished. And so has Mayu.
Mio exits the room and sees Mayu leaving the house.
"I'm sorry, Mio, but I have to go!"
Mio doesn't know what to do, but she runs to Mayu.
While blaming herself about the bad feelings she has, Mio chases after Mayu.
Origins of the plot summary
This plot summary was given to Tsukiko Amano around halfway through development, as material to help her compose the image song. It only includes the things essential for the theme song, and as such the details focus on Mio and Mayu; the horror elements and featured characters are omitted.
Meaning of "Mayoiga"
The Mayoiga (Lost House) is also known as "the wonder of the mountains". It is a splendid manor in the mountains. People who lose their path arrive at the house, and it's said that anyone who leaves and takes an item from the house with them will be blessed.
Illusion in the introduction
I'll introduce a cutscene that was removed from the intro. In the game, Mayu enters the village alone, but in the initial scenario they went in together.
At some point while Mio and Mayu are returning from the mountain stream the fog gets thick, and they wander into a field of susuki grass. Standing there are what appear to be the shadows of many villagers, who gradually chase them. They end up at a cliff from which a rope dangles, and the chased pair try to climb it. Mio goes first, and Mayu with her bad foot tries her hardest to pull herself up, but when she finally does it wraps around her neck. Mio doesn't notice that they have been separated, but it's all an illusion, and when she realises this she returns to Mayu, who is caught on the rope. When Mayu is about to fall, the scene is overlapped with the memories of their childhood memories. In this scene, as well as having a link to the manner in which Sae died it also provides a hint to their ending.
Another scene was cut from the intro...
In the opening cutscene, there is a scene in which Mio chases Mayu, but before it was changed it was from not only Mio's viewpoint but the view of a villager chasing the escaping twins, and the two viewpoints gradually began to sync up. Eventually, he and the other villagers would catch Sae. Also, at the moment they made contact with Mayu as she was being chased, the fate of the twins and the conclusion they were heading towards would be made clear, but it was eventually omitted because we wanted to improve the tempo.
Also, since the twins' hometown will be submerged by a dam, at the start we had a narrated cutscene that would explain how they came here to play and created memories here, but we wanted people to be totally into the game from the beginning, so that too was deleted. The manual was used for that instead.
Miyako and Masumi
The woman who became trapped in the village and Masumi's resolution ends up with her being killed by the one she loves, which acts as a hint towards Mio and Mayu's own end. We wanted the woman and Masumi's ending to have people guess, "Maybe this will happen to Mio and Mayu..."
Secrets of Chapter 1
Initially, we had it so that Mio's sixth sense was weak and Mayu's was strong, and when you were with Mayu she would allow you to see ghosts, view events from the past and things like that. We set it up so that you would spend the whole game with her, but we realised that it wasn't really scary with Mayu there, so whenever possible we tried to change it so that Mayu wasn't with you. In Chapter 1, there's a scene where Mio grabs Mayu's hand and has a flashback, which is a remnant of that.
♦Chapter 2: Forbidden Ritual
Mio, chasing Mayu, heads outside. There, there are the ghosts of villagers wandering around, searching for Mio and Mayu.
"Why did you run...?"
"The ritual must continue..."
"The sacrifices have returned...
The village vanished on the day of the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, when the twins who were to be sacrificed ran away, which caused a disaster called The Repentance, and the village was enclosed in darkness. The village then vanished from the forest.
The villagers who chased those twins continue to search for them endlessly.
While trying to escape her pursuers, Mio follows Mayu.
She meets a white-haired boy who is imprisoned in the storehouse, Itsuki Tachibana.
"The festival is beginning... hurry and get out of the village. If you don't you will lose someone important to you."
Itsuki, who kindly gives Mio all sorts of advice, is the only person within the village who seems safe to talk to - he is quiet and subdued, and able to control the malice.
♦Chapter 3: The Repentance
Following Mayu, Mio enters a large mansion.
This house, the Kurosawa house, was the home of the muraosa (village chief).
"The Kusabi is coming..."
The ghosts of the villages cry out while trying to escape.
These people died here while trying to escape from The Repentance, and now run away eternally.
In the Kurosawa house's Great Hall, a flash of lightning illuminates the area, and in that moment the Great Hall is filled with corpses.
And then, in the centre of the sea of corpses, a single woman laughing madly.
That woman is the final Twin Shrine Maiden, Sae.
Sae and Yae were Twin Shrine Maidens raised for the purpose of being used as a sacrifice in the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual.
In the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, which must never be witnessed, the older twin kills the younger, and she is put into the Hellish Abyss, the entrance to the Underworld.
Yae and Sae loved each other so much that they tried to escape the village. Sae was captured, and Yae got away safely.
The time of the ritual approached. Sae, in despair from having been left behind by Yae, was killed at the hands of the villagers and thrown into the Abyss. Since the ritual was performed incorrectly it failed, and Darkness covered the village, sinking it into eternal night. During this, Yae returned from the Underworld through the Hellish Abyss, and slaughtered the villagers as she laughed.
In the mansion, Mio finds Mayu collapsed in a room with two doll stands stood together.
"Someone... kept calling to me... telling me to come back. I felt like I had to come... Mio, I'm scared. Let's stay together. Let's stay together forever... promise me."
"I promise. I won't go anywhere. We'll get out together."
When they pass through the Great Hall, where the massacre occurred, Mayu suddenly begins to run.
Mio follows Mayu, and sees her standing where Sae had stood as she laughed crazily.
The exact same place, the exact same pose...
There is no response. Her expression is backlit and can't be read.
As she gets closer, a cackle echoes in Mio's head.
Timidly peering at her face, the same meek smile as always appears on Mayu's face.
From that moment on, Mio senses that something within Mayu has changed.
♦Chapter 4: The Remaining
Mio and Mayu are together again, and put all of their energy into finding the exit, but they can't find a way out of the Kurosawa house.
During this, they learn that the Twin Ritual is "a ritual in which the older twin kills the younger".
Mio now understands the words of the ghosts so far who have kept saying that "the ritual must continue", and is enveloped in a sense of uneasiness, continuing along with Mayu.
She finally obtains the key to the exit, but Mayu becomes trapped alone in the confinement room.
Mio hurries to find the key.
"Wait! Don't leave me..."
"...I'll be right back."
"Didn't you promise!?"
Mayu is more vehement than she would usually be considered.
"Please... don't leave me again."
She recalls her childhood memories. If only, back then, she hadn't left her...
But like this, Mayu will remain trapped.
Mio shakes off Mayu, who is desperately trying to stop her, and goes to search for the key.
Between the two, something has decisively broken.
A ghost whose body is covered in ropes (the Kusabi) chases after Mio, who tries to leave the house to search for the key.
This is the huge ghost that killed the villagers along with Sae.
Itsuki has bad eyes?
After release, people were asking why Itsuki refers to Mio as Yae. They wondered whether it was a mistake, or Itsuki's eyes were bad, or something...
Mio and Yae are people in the same situation, but when Mio is walking along the mountain path alone in the introduction, she meets Yae crying at the entrance to the vanished village. At that time, Yae overlaps with Mio, trying to get back to the village.
About the doll stands
In the plot summary, two doll stands are mentioned, but having two doll stands lined up seemed to make the atmosphere too pleasant, so we only put in one. However, on that doll stand are two mebina dolls.
(Note: Hina dolls are put on display during Hinamatsuri on a doll stand (Hina-dan). The mebina (Empress) doll is usually also on display with an obina (Emperor) doll at the top, with other dolls below them depicting servants and the like. An example of this can be seen in the doll stand puzzle during Chapter 4, when the two twin dolls must be moved to the top. In this game, however, there are two mebina dolls, continuing the twins theme.)
In the plot summary, this chapter is titled "The Remaining", but since Chapter 6 focuses on the Remaining, Chapter 4 was renamed "Forbidden Ritual".
♦Chapter 5: The Kusabi
The ghost of Seijiro Makabe, the folklorist, is often seen.
(The place that mustn't be seen, the place...)
To photograph the place where the actual ritual was performed using the Camera Obscura, he searched for that place.
The Hellish Abyss was a place that was forbidden to be seen, and it was forbidden to speak of it.
Makabe, captivated by that place that mustn't be seen, was given information to that extent by the villagers.
He speculated about the information the villagers gave him. When the area of the Hellish Abyss was opened before the Crimson Sacrifice ritual, it was due to an old custom for the purpose of turning Outsiders into sokushinbutsu to serve as human sacrifices.
The Kusabi who chases Mio is the folklorist Makabe, who was made into a human pillar by the villagers.
Mio obtains the key and returns to the Kurosawa house.
Mayu is no longer inside the confinement room. All that is left is scrawl reading "mio run away by yourself".
Searching for Mayu, Mio sees Mayu crossing the midair corridor connecting the Tachibana and Kiryu houses and heading for the Tachibana house.
♦Chapter 6: Underground Passageway
The entrance to the Tachibana house is tightly shut.
From the Kiryu house, one of the houses connected as the Twin Houses, Mio enters the underground path called the Underground Passageway.
Taking a look around, it appears as though this path connects the village via an underground network.
The sad-sounding song she heard before entering the village flows through the Underground Passageway.
The song reverberates from inside the stone walls, the echo seeming to undulate.
It appears as though, from somewhere inside this passageway, a large crowd of villagers are gathered in some place and singing...
Also inside the passageway are wandering ghosts with their eyes and mouths sewn shut.
Their eyes were sewn shut so that they couldn't see the Hellish Abyss, their mouths sewn shut so they couldn't say anything about it.
The place that mustn't be seen - the place it's forbidden to speak of.
What kind of place could that be...? Inside Mio, her desire to quickly leave this village with Mayu grows stronger.
♦Chapter 7: Futagomori
Mio enters the Tachibana house. There, she chases what should be Mayu, but when she catches up with her she changes into Sae, covered in bloodstains.
"Yae... are you leaving me again?"
Sae's ghost chases her. The blood splatters on her look just like a butterfly torn in half.
She hides herself in a room, and hears a small voice from the other side of the door.
"Mio... open the door... please."
"Mayu, is that you...?"
Mio opens the door, and the bloody Sae stands there.
While confused whether it's Mayu or Sae, the game of tag continues throughout the sealed house.
At last she is cornered, and there's nowhere left to run...
The door slowly opens... and Mayu runs past Mio.
Her reserves until this point vanish, and the two's hearts suddenly connect.
She has already found her only clue to escaping the village.
Once, the now-sealed Underground Passageway was used to leave the village...
Following Itsuki's advice, the two head to the place where the passage can be opened.
In the plot summary, Chapter 5 is called "Kusabi", but in the finished game it was changed to "The Sacrifice". Since you're placed in a situation in which you have to leave Mayu by herself while you search for the key, the title was changed to an ominous one to make you worry about her.
Chased around by the Kusabi?
Initially, in Chapter 5, we had it so that Mio would have to run around the Kurosawa house searching for an exit while being chased by the Kusabi. She had the key to leave the house with her, but was thwarted by the Kusabi and couldn't really get out.
During development we thought about the player learning the secrets of the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual in Chapter 4 and finding out about the Kusabi ritual in Chapter 5, but since things about the Kusabi are explained in Chapter 4 we wanted Chapter 5 to focus on trying to free Mayu, who is trapped in the confinement room, and so we deleted the scenes in which the Kusabi appears. Since the Kusabi's touch causes instant death he isn't terribly popular, so maybe leaving him for the end was best.
The Kusabi is an old lady?
People who saw the Kusabi all called him the same thing - "Obaa-chan" (old lady). The fans, also, wrote on their questionnaires [that came with the game], "old lady". Of course, perhaps he looked like an old lady to them because his hair is long, and just taking a quick glance at him you'd think he looks like a woman, but he's male. Incidentally, the Kusabi is the folklorist Seijiro Makabe in his ghost form.
In the plot summary, Chapter 7 is called "The Underground Passageway", but in the finished game it was changed to "The Remaining". You can see that its subject was also changed. In the initial plans, as the title from the plot summary suggests, the mysteries surrounding the underground passage stretching out below Minakami Village were supposed to be cleared up, but the story of the doll at the Kiryu house kept expanding. Originally, we thought about having the doll's tale as a sidequest, so we didn't plan on having it as a requirement for beating the game. However, gradually we began to hear stories about the twin doll being scary, so we put more focus on that.
In the end, by including stories about twins other than Yae and Sae it made people better understand the emotions and suffering of other Remaining, so I think it was a good thing.
Written as "Futagomori"* in the plot summary. The meaning of "futagomori" is "two things wrapped up into one", and two chrysalises wrapped up into one in a single cocoon (a dupion). Mio and Mayu (Sae) search one of the houses, in which area Mayu becomes Sae, and speaks of wanting to "go back", so we used this title. However, people didn't seem to focus on this, so in the final game it was changed to "Sae".
*"Futa" meaning "pair" (and the first character in "twin"), "komori" meaning "secluded/confined" or "filled with".
Chitose's unforeseen popularity amongst the staff
The Tachibana house is depicted as being at the centre of Chapter 7, and it contains the story of Munakata, Itsuki and Chitose, but the Chitose character had a strangely high popularity amongst the staff, and there were people who would go, "Aww, how sad" when defeating her.
For me, having to open a closet without knowing which one she was in would make her a really scary ghost, so when going past a closet I thought people would be frightened. However, the staff would go to each and every one and open them all, trying to find her...
Though it shouldn't have been that way, I kept going and making it that way, thinking, "Well, that's fine, too."
Eventually, whether on the internet or in the questionnaires, Chitose is really popular, which is good.
When the staff were creating an original wallpaper of her, too, the seemed to do it with unusual enthusiasm, and managed to produce something quite wonderful.
♦Chapter 8: Trapped Mayu
At the roots of the big, rotted old tree on the outskirts of the village, towering over the cemetery, is a small cave that connects to the underground. The two escape through it while being pursued by the ghosts of the villagers.
When they get inside, the villagers no longer chase them.
Inside, crimson pinwheels surround them as though in a swarm, and there are lots of Jizo statues in rows.
This is the place where the Twin Shrine Maiden who was sacrificed and thrown into the Hellish Abyss was worshipped.
To open the door to the old passageway, which will allow them to escape the village, this altar needs four crests to be inserted into it.
Mayu's leg has reached its limit, and she collapses, falling into a deep sleep.
Mio gathers the village crests she needs.
In her sleep, Mayu mutters many things.
"Mio... whatever happens... I'll forgive you..."
Without thinking, Mio touches her sister's cheek, and enters Mayu's consciousness.
Mio descends deep, deep into the underground.
She is searching for Mayu.
The cave suddenly opens out. Before her, a hole opens up in the stone ground.
Surrounding it are priests with their faces covered with cloth.
It seems as though she is drawing closer to something that shouldn't be seen.
Mio gets closer to the man standing near the hole, staring into midair.
The man isn't covered with cloth, his eyes seeming to have been sewn.
Perhaps it's a dream - she doesn't feel frightened in the slightest.
"Where is my sister?"
The man, moving sluggishly, points into the hole.
Mio puts her hands on the edges of the hole, and slowly peeps inside.
It is overlaid with her memories of looking down over the edge of the cliff at her fallen sister...
Having gathered all of the crests, the door to the underground passage within Kureha Shrine is open.
Waking the sleeping Mayu, she musters the last of her strength and heads for the old passageway.
♦Chapter 9: The Sacrifice
While gently holding Mayu's hand, Mio heads up the path to Kureha Shrine.
The sound of taiko drums resounds. The festival is beginning.
As Mayu hurries to catch up to Mio, villagers gather on the path.
Mayu has already been caught by the villagers.
Mio barely manages to escape from them. The festival begins again, and the village is enveloped in a solemn air.
Long ago, one of the Twin Shrine Maidens escaped, and one was left behind.
The past is repeating itself.
"We'll be together forever. We promised..."
Mio steels herself and heads towards the festival.
Ahead of her is Sae, who faces her and speaks.
"I kept waiting."
"For so, so long..."
"You finally came..."
These words are Mayu asking for Mio's help, but also Sae talking about how she kept waiting for Yae.
Without Mio noticing, she is overlaid with Yae, who is heading towards the ritual.
After the village vanished from the forest, only Yae remained, having lost everything and regretting what she had done, and she wonders if by performing the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual she can fulfil her duty.
Yae accepts her duty of killing Sae, and Sae wants to die by Yae's hand.
The night of the Repentance plays out again in the way they wanted it.
Entering the underground passageway through the Kurosawa house, Mio arrives deep in the underground.
There she finds a large hole, priests with their faces hidden by cloth, and Mayu standing there.
In the plot summary, Chapter 8 was titled "Trapped Mayu", since from the start of the chapter Mayu is collapsed inside the Old Tree and falls into a dead sleep. However, the other staff members were of the opinion that it would be better to do it in a older style, so in the final game the title was changed to "Katawarezuki". The meaning of this is "half moon", an image which many of the things have while Mio is walking around alone outside, which I thought was interesting.
The two chapters were joined
In the plot summary, Chapter 9 and Final Chapter are separate, but in the actual game they've become one chapter, "Final Chapter: Crimson Butterfly". This was because some people were of the opinion that it was better not to break up the flow of the story.
By the way, after the fight with the Kusabi in Hard Mode, to convey to the player that "from here on, the story unfolds differently", we put in "Chapter Zero: Hellish Abyss".
The "Zero" character can also be read "koboreru", meaning "something previously invisible that becomes visible", so it can also be read as "Kobore no Koku" ("the chapter in which things become visible").
An added battle was originally planned, but...
The village is enveloped in the atmosphere of the festival beginning, and Mio heads to the deepest part of the Underground Passageway to save Mayu. This is the festival that failed due to Yae's escape, but maybe, if Yae returns to the village... Mio does it with this "if" in mind.
In the initial stages of the synopsis, Mio who goes to help, and Yae who wants to do the ritual, being to sync up. Because of this, Mio could go through the passage full of Veiled Priests and Mourners without being attacked... While thinking how strange it was, you would gradually progress further in, and suddenly the ending would play... is how we thought of it during development.
In the actual game, to bring it to a climax, we realised that there had to be a battle, and steadily incorporated fights. Due to her resentment towards Yae for running away, she attacks. These kinds of twists and turns happen right until the end.
The thing that was most altered...
In the plot summary, the two are possessed by Yae and Sae, who carry out the ritual, and Mio is carried away by the craze of the ritual and kills Mayu.
In the order the plot summary was written, the same way Sae wants to do the ritual, Mayu wants to be killed by Mio, deep down in her heart, but I didn't plan on that being revealed in a single playthrough.
However, in the Hellish Abyss ending, to show a deeper part of Mayu's heart, Mayu talks in a way that make her true feelings from the Crimson Butterfly ending clearer.