Oct. 10th, 2001 12:03 am
trapping_god: (This is the route)
[personal profile] trapping_god
[Bolded items are related to the main plot. Everything else is what develops Keima's character.]

Keima Katsuragi was a 7 year old boy that kept playing videogames and ignoring the happenings of the real world. Back then, he'd was content with any game genre. His preferred handheld console was the Gameboy. During an elementary school summer camp, he and his class went to Maijima Seaside Park. He was content with playing his games in the beach at first, but his teacher's constant pestering got him to stow away on a nearby docked ship to be left alone.

An earthquake shook. The ship drifted away from the beach into a nearby island. Rather than panicking, Keima wondered how his predicament happened. It was then that he noticed a girl his age was on the ship with him. Together, they looked for a way back to the island. They found a cave under where the ship crashed and decided to explore it. At that age, Keima was already shown to be reliable. His Gameboys were used for light. Because of the settings in some of his games, he had helpful facts about caves that helped them. Already then, he claimed to be satisfied without food as long as he had games to play. Still, they were just kids wandering around lost in a cave. They wouldn't have made any progress if it wasn't for the next event.

Suddenly, the power of Keima's Gameboys died and another earthquake hit. They ran, but Keima got knocked unconcious by falling debris. The girl just sat there, trying to wake Keima up. That's when she saw a horde of spirits coming out of a tunnel. When they saw the girl, they swarmed her; hoping to enter the gap of her heart if she had any. Among the spirits, there was one different from the rest. She offered to help the girl, but the girl will have to take the other spirit within her. The girl agreed. The spirit posessed her and bust her and Keima out of that cave. The other end led to some theater within their town.

10 years later, the real story began.

Keima was now 17 years old. At high school, he was called "otamegane"(short nickname for glasses otaku). He was always on his PFP, staying as detatched from the real world as possible. He called himself a resident of the game world. At some point in life, he started to focus on "gal games"(visual novels/dating sims). His goal now was to bring every game heroine to their happiest ending, thus "capturing" them. He called himself the "Capturing god". He was well known to the gaming community and often answered letters from them. Among one of the letters was a strange one asking for help to capture some girls. It seemed like a taunt to Keima; saying that he absolutely shouldn't press the reply button if it was impossible to help. Of course he pressed the button.

A demon named Elsee fell from the sky, grabbed him and said they should collect spirits. He wanted to refuse, but Elsee pointed out the guillotine collar around his neck. Should they fail to collect runaway spirits, the collars would cut off both Keima's and Elsee's heads.Keima had no choice but to go along with the demon.

The runaway spirits they were after are the spirits of evil people that escaped from hell. They search for gaps in the hearts of women and hide within them. If the spirits stay within a girl's heart long enough, they will gain more power and become more corporeal. They get to finally reincarnate after spending enough time and growing in someone. The gaps in the heart are caused by feelings of great dissatisfaction. They can be filled if the host of the heart feels fulfilled. The best way to close the gaps in hearts is love, according to Elsee. By closing the gaps, they force the spirit out of its host making it possible for Elsee to capture them.

The first spirit they encountered was in a track and field girl, Ayumi Takahara. At first, Keima wasn't confident at using his usual gaming methods in the real world. The entire time during the capture, he stressed on whether it was really working or not. He found results of his attempts ambiguous, but he had no other weapon than his gaming knowledge to capture the heart of a girl. He pushed through with great uncertainity, and succeeded. His demon partner, Elsee got to capture her first spirit. Ayumi had her memory erased after the runaway spirit was captured, something that would happen to all the future runaway spirit hosts as well. Keima felt a little bit of regret for her forgetting about him, but reasoned to himself that it was for the best. He wouldn't have to deal with her anymore and he was satisfied enough with his games.

Keima thought it was all over until he realized he still had the guillotine collar and Elsee appeared the next day in his class as a transfer student. One wasn't enough for the contract, he had to collect more spirits. Elsee insisted on sticking by him, being a transfer student in his class and pretending to be his little sister at home. He tried to reject her attempts to be a little sister because she didn't have the same setup as a little sister in a game. In the end, he resigned to her sticking by him anyway. From his second capture onwards, he decided to believe in his gaming tactics as they were his only weapon for capturing spirits. He quickly captured the heart of his second target, Mio Aoyama. He was able to figure out what he had to do for the capture once he truly understood her character. As he kept capturing runaway spirits, he got better at dealing with the real world each time.

Kanon Nakagawa's capture is the first time Keima and Elsee seeing a girl display an external effect to having an runaway spirit. Whenever Kanon would be insecure of her popularity, she would go invisible. It only gets worse the longer the runaway spirit stays within her. This was also Keima's first encounter with a target actively trying to get close to him. He learned how to use techniques from yandere girl routes to keep a distance until the right time to get close. Keima's neglect of Elsee led her into trying to impress him with her cooking skill. When everything went wrong and she got depressed, Keima for the first time did something he didn't have to outside a capture operation. He ate Elsee's failure of a cake despite hating sweets.

The next runaway spirit was in Shiori Shiomiya, a meek librarian who doesn't speak her mind at his school. His usual technique for dealing with such quiet girls is to read their inner thoughts in dialogue boxes, something that can only be done in games. After enough encounters, he began to understand her unspoken words through her expression. He got to know the real life equivalent of reading someone's inner thoughts. The next target was Kusunoki Kasuga. Kusunoki's runaway spirit was strong enough to manifest itself physically, but it was still influenced by its host's personality. It acted as Kusunoki's repressed feelings instead of being aware of itself.

An runaway spirit ran from another demon and escaped to Keima's school. This triggered Keima's first meeting with Hakua, the first devil he meets besides Elsee. Unlike Elsee, she was competent and understood the status of hell and how these captures work. While helping Hakua find the runaway spirit, Keima milked as much information about hell from her as he can. The runaway spirits were actually demons too, from old hell. Elsee and Hakua are part of the new demons that reformed hell. To prevent hell from reverting back to how it was, the new demons try to prevent the runaway spirits from reviving.
They eventually find the demon, but the demon jumped into the gap of Hakua's heart and took control of her. Since Keima was held hostage by Hakua, it was up to Elsee to fill the gap in her heart. Elsee and Hakua then teamed up to capture the spirit.

A day later, Hakua visited the Katsuragi household to ask for help on her report. To keep Keima cooperative, she promised to answer more of his questions about capturing spirits. She said that the contract will end for all the buddies when all the runaway spirits are captured. At the time, there were still about 60,000 spirits left.She also vaguely hinted that there's another method besides love for filling the gaps of hearts. From then on, she'd visit the Katsuragi household from time to time.

The next target was Chihiro Kosaka. Unlike the previous captures, she wasn't a stereotype at all. She had no strong characteristics or character quirks. She was just an average girl. In Keima's words, she's one of those girls in the background that the protagonist doesn't bother with at all. They also figure out she falls for good looking boys and confesses to them fairly often. She is also the first one to shoot back all of Keima's insults back at him. Off his high horse, he just sulked and ignored reality more than usual. He couldn't believe that he was arguing at an equal level with someone from reality. He would have kept it up and ignored the runaway spirit if it wasn't for Ayumi cheering him up. It was also from his talk with Ayumi that he realized that the memories of the girls he worked with before haven't been completely erased. Chihiro was also the first capture where Keima accidentally stumbled into the route to make her fall for him instead of planning for it. In the end, he considered the difficulty of all his captures and seriously thought about real humans for the first time.

A new substitute teacher, Jun Nagase, came to the school with a runaway spirit. As a teacher, she chased after Keima to get closer to him as student and teacher. Keima had to play keep away so the relationship doesn't settle on just teacher and student. When it came to gathering info, his homeroom teacher, Nikaido, found it strange that he was suddenly interested in Jun. Around this period, Elsee has been getting more and more recognition from the higher ups in hell for having caught so many runaway spirits in such a small amount of time. Elsee found another spirit in Tsukiyo Kujou. Early on, she shrunk to a doll's size because of the runaway spirit within her. For once, she caught on to Keima trying to trick her during the capture. Since he planned for her to realize eventually anyway, he just rushed to the conclusion. Something unexpected during the climax, though. Tsukiyo lost her balance and fell from the edge of the roof. Without thinking nor any prepared reassurance, Keima jumped after her to catch her. Thankfully, Elsee found them in time and caught them before they reached the ground.

This was another one of those times when Hakua visits the Katsuragi household. She challenged Keima to a game, so why not extract more information about hell from her? Besides love, anything that makes a person feel fulfilled is used to get runaway spirits from their hosts. Elsee told Keima to use love because it's one of the quickest ways to do it. It's not often used because love isn't a very reliable method, but Keima seems to have pulled it off somehow. When Hakua was leaving, Keima followed her outside and saw her buddy, Yukie Watanabe, for the first time. He was curious how Hakua's buddy deals with capturing runaway spirits, so he followed them to their home. During his visit, he figured out more mechanics about how hell works. In the end, he decided to stick to his usual style.

Minami Ikoma, a middle school student, was the next to have a spirit. Since he got the role of a senpai for this one, he hardly had any trouble. Keima got a bit sentimental in the end, feeling a bit forlorn about the end of the summer festival. One reason or another, Elsee somehow convinced Keima to tutor 3 of his previous targets how to perfect a test. Throughout the lessons, there were signs of the girls remembering a bit about Keima. Thanks to him, they got to make a light music club.

At the start of summer vacation, an old neighbor of his, the Ayukawas, visited his home. Though they were childhood friends, Keima barely remembered Tenri Ayukawa. Another devil was after her, so she wanted to get help from Keima. She had a split personality that tried not getting him involved though. Because of a misunderstanding, the other devil, Nora, thought that making Keima suffer would fill the gap in Tenri's heart. Nora's plan failed, and Keima's eccentricity scared her off. Tenri's other personality then enlisted Keima's help. Keima and Elsee thought the split personality was the runaway spirit, but she was a bit different. The split personality seemed to be looking after Tenri's well-being. They had to run away the next day, because Nora decided to kill Keima. They ran through a mysterious tunnel under a nearby theater. Keima discovered that Tenri was the girl he was with 10 years ago. At the end of the tunnel, they found the same beach and ship they were on 10 years ago. Keima and Tenri staged a spirit spirit capture on the ship to get Nora to stop chasing them. Being a fake capture, Keima felt guilt about having to kiss Tenri like that. She would be the first one to remembr Keima's kiss. A few days after, Tenri's family moved next door. The split personality was named Diana, and she revealed that she was a goddess that sealed up Old Hell. The seal was somehow removed that day, 10 years ago. The goddesses are powered by love, so if Keima were to show more love to Tenri, Diana would go closer to her full power. Having gotten such information, Keima got more confident in being able to fulfill the contract someday.

During the Obon festival, Keima's family went to visit Keima's grandparents in the countryside. When they found a runaway spirit on the loose at night, they went after it. After investigation, it turned out the runaway spirit belonged to Rieko Hinaga, the grandmother of the creepy kid, Airi. Since it was impossible for the runaway spirit to revive, Elsee was in charge of convincing the spirit to come out while Keima distracted the ghost and learned of her worries. After the capture, Keima gained a newfound respect for elders. The way they could live on with the deep loneliness of seeing everyone they know die ahead of them was admirable to him.

The next girl with a spirit they would meet is Sumire Uemoto. For once, everything went well for Keima. On the last day of summer vacation, Keima's plans of playing games all day long by Tenri, Hakua and Nora visiting him. From previous encounters, Keima has grown to trust Hakua when it comes to information. He told Hakua about goddesses, and they all decided to keep it a secret among them. Nora became the district chief demon of Keima's town thanks to a personnel shift. From the commotion, Keima grew to be thankful for Elsee's incompetence(since he could play his games with her around).

Nanaka Haibara was the next one they'd meet. It's during her capture where it's first shown that Keima would put aside his capture plans for the sake of winning a serious challenge in a game. It's also during her capture where Keima first feels defeat in a game, twice. He asked Tenri why the real is so insistent on staying unsatisfied. For Keima, it's a large step in caring for the real. It's also the first sign of him questioning if he really is satisfied with himself. He also got carried away in the end, cheering for Nanaka to win even though he'd get the desired result whether she won or not.

That night, Diana took over Tenri's body while she was asleep and went to Keima's. She discussed about the goddesses andhow the whole situation with Old Hell came about. Diana and her sisters were the ones to make the seal for Old Hell. They had to because Old Hell planned on disrupting the cycle of souls between the three realms and monopolize the souls all for themselves. Old Hell split into old and new factions, with the new devils being against the idea of monopolizing the souls. The new devils teamed up with the goddesses of Heaven to seal Old Hell. Diana explained all she knew to convince Keima to look for her sisters. Keima would be able to locate them if he finds that one of the girls he worked with before still remembers him. Keima refused the task at first because he already had trouble from just capturing runaway spirits. There is no way to reliably tell if there's a goddess. The only reason why he was slowly considering it is because he can get the goddesses to just seal up old hell again if he finds them all.

Keima and Elsee then finds that Yui Godou has the next runaway spirit. Everything was going as planned until the runaway spirit's power activated, switching Yui's and Keima's bodies. Keima was slowly getting influenced by the body. He began playing "otome games", dating sims for girls, and reacted more than usual to getting touched by a boy. Getting affected by something that much put him in yet another existential crisis. He wasn't supposed to be affectd by anything of the real, and yet he was getting too easily influenced by the body switch. He went to depression again until he met Mio by coincidence. Talking to Mio set him back on his feet and he was ready to capture Yui's heart as a girl.


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Katsuragi Keima

October 2001

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