written by Emma (haiiro-no-suiyoubi.tumblr.com)
Hello there! If you’ve heard of “Kagerou Project” or its anime adaptation “Mekakucity Actors” and want to check it out, this guide is going to be here to hold your hand through what you’ll need to know to join the fandom. This guide is not meant to be a compilation of facts about Kagerou Project, but a guide to those who don’t know where to start in the series and basically a roadmap through literally all of it. And most importantly, it will make sense to those who both have and haven’t watched Mekakucity Actors before reading this! Now, if at any time you get really confused and don’t feel like you can move on, you’re always welcome to send me a message on tumblr and I’ll try to help you out personally! I can’t guarantee that I’ll respond immediately (sleep, school, time zones, etc.) but I’ll certainly do my best to give you a good answer as soon as I see it. It would also help if you provide me some context with your questions, like where you are in the guide, so that I can decide if it’s something you’re supposed to be shown later.
And if you’re already a Kagepro fan, you can send this guide to any friends you would like to join the fandom! That’s why I’m writing this, after all. Also feel free to read this over and let me know if I missed something important, or got any facts wrong. Let’s begin!
(Disclaimer: I own only my own words here on this page, everything else belongs to their respective owners)
Brief Introduction to Vocaloid
If you’re here, trying to get into Kagerou Project, you probably already have a good understanding of what Vocaloid is, so feel free to skip this section if you’d like. However, I don’t want this to be confusing to anyone who might not know about it. Basically, Vocaloid is a Japanese software that allows music creators to make vocals for their songs without any actual singer needed to record with them. To create the software, the programmers bring in singers to a studio, and record a “voice bank” using their voice. The Japanese language only has a limited number of sounds to it, so once they create a voice bank of those sounds, they can put it into the program and those sounds can be used to create any lyrics that a Japanese producer would ever need. The voices are given “mascot characters”, such as Hatsune Miku or GUMI (you might have heard of these names before) and sold as virtual characters who will sing any song for you that you can create. Kagerou Project uses two different Vocaloids throughout all of its songs, those two being Hatsune Miku and IA.
So what is Kagerou Project?
Kagerou Project began as a series of Vocaloid songs written by a guy named Jin (sometimes known as Shizen no Teki P). While at first, the stories that the songs tell might not seem to be related through the plot or the characters, the more you learn, the more you’ll realize that everything in Kagerou Project is connected. After the first two songs, from there on, most of the songs came with official videos. The songs, videos, and official information from Jin were all that made KagePro for a while. But eventually, the series also moved on to manga and light novels, and even an anime.
The main story of Kagerou Project follows a group of characters who possess “eye powers,” which are like supernatural abilities that manifest through turning the owner’s eyes turning red during use. The story is told through many glimpses into the characters’ lives at different points in time, and usually focuses on a group of people known as the Mekakushi Dan, or “Blindfold Gang.”
How does Kagerou Project relate to Mekakucity Actors?
Mekakucity Actors is the anime adaptation of Kagerou Project. Since it came out over 2 years after Kagerou Project began, the fandom is referred to is overall as “Kagerou Project.”
Why should you get into Kagerou Project?
Well, there’s a lot of reasons! Do you like really good music? Do you want something with a large cast of fun characters? Are you interested in stories that are told non-linearly, and will surprise you with how the all come together in the end? Want something that will make you laugh, cry, and have you on the edge of your seat with cliffhangers? Because these are all things that KagePro has to offer.
"Wouldn’t it be easier to just watch Mekakucity Actors than go through all this other confusing stuff?”
Well it would certainly be “easier,” but I really recommend making Mekakucity Actors the last part of Kagepro that you view. There is a lot more to Kagerou Project than what appears in MCA, and you’ll be missing a lot of content. Not to mention, watching MCA has been confusing for many people who have no familiarity with Kagepro. If you do choose to go through this guide, I think eventually you’ll see there’s a pretty good reason for me saying that, I just can’t talk about it in this section as it would be a spoiler :P
"I have/haven’t seen Mekakucity Actors, should I still go about this guide the same way?"
Yep! If you haven’t seen MCA then that’s probably better, as this guide was written for people with no knowledge of anything Kagepro. However don’t worry if you watched the anime first, you’ll still be able to use the guide. Since I really don’t want to write a whole new guide for people who have already seen MCA you’ll just have to read and understand that a lot of the characters and their stories won’t be new to you, but you will get to see them expanded on in ways that aren’t shown in the anime. In fact, you’ll have one advantage of already being familiar with the characters, which might make it a bit easier in some ways :)
How I’m going to format this guide
Basically, a lot of the songs and videos that came out for Kagerou Project are kind of… all over the place? Because there are so many characters and stories, it is hard to order which videos you should watch first in a way that will make the most sense. I’ve tried to think of that for a long time, but in the end I always come back to the release order. So, if you follow this guide, you’ll be mostly watching the videos in the order that Jin released them in.To a newcomer, this might be a hard way to watch on their own, but luckily you have me to fill in all the blanks during this! :)
Overall I’ve tried to order the 4 media forms of Kagepro in a way that tells the most compelling story, trying my best to preserve certain plot twists to be revealed in (in my opinion) the most impacting ways. Since the 4 forms (songs, manga, novels, and anime) all tell the story in a different way, I’ll be navigating you through them kind of out of order. While there’s no “right” way to go through all of Kagepro, the order you’ll find here is simply my organization of it all in a way I hoped would make it the best experience for someone new :)
For each song, I will write a little background for you to read, introducing the backstories and characters, then you’ll watch the video, then come back and read another little blurb describing what just happened in the video. Don’t just scroll down to the link and watch it, or you might get confused! Also try not to read what I wrote below the link before you watch it, as it would probably be a spoiler for what you’re about to watch. One more important thing is that this guide is like, really really extensive and really long. If at any point you get sick of reading or just want to try continuing on your own, you are always welcome to do that and in fact it might be a good idea! Just take it one step at a time.
Ok time to actually start the guide! Here’s your first song:
Song #1: Jinzou Enemy (Artificial Enemy)
First, you should know that this song never got an official video to go along with it. However, the link I’ll post here has a video with it. This is a fanmade video created by a Japanese fan, and while it isn’t official, I think it does a great job matching the events of KagePro with the lyrics of the song. Secondly, this video has a lot going on in the background that might be confusing. You don’t have to understand most of it, that’s ok! Just get a sense about what the two main characters are kind of like, what they look like, etc.
This song is sung from the perspective of a character named Ene. Ene is a cyber-girl with a mysterious past. One day, she appeared in the computer of a boy named Kisaragi Shintaro and has been living there ever since. Shintaro is a shut-in, high school dropout after something traumatic happened to him in school (this event is hinted at in the video and will be revealed in a later song). Ene sings about how hard Shintaro’s life must be and how she wishes he would be able to escape his depression and rely on her to help him.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN_UJHwDFk0
Despite the title of this song being “Enemy”, and Ene maybe seeming like she’s trying to manipulate Shintaro, that’s not the case. Mostly what this video is getting at is that Ene and Shintaro are actually very similar people! The details of this will all be revealed later. In fact, I think you’ll be really surprised if you ever come back and watch this video at just how much foreshadowing it has to later events in KagePro.
Song #2: Mekakushi Code (Blindfold Code)
This is another song that doesn’t have an official video, so I’ll be linking a fanmade one that I like.
This song is sung from the perspective of a girl named Kido Tsubomi (Kido is her last name but that is what everyone calls her). Kido is the leader of a gang called the Mekakushi Dan, or “Blindfold Gang.” What makes this a special gang is that the members all have psychic abilities, known in Kagerou Project as “eye powers” (their eyes light up red when they use them). Their goal is to find other people with “eye powers” and gather them all in the gang. Other than people with eye powers, another condition for membership is just that those who learn about them have to join.
The first verse and chorus of this video is the most important part, as it shows the original 3 members of the Mekakushi Dan. Kido is the one with the purple iPod hoodie, “Seto” is another member with the green jumpsuit thing, and “Kano” is the third member with the dotted hoodie. These were the original 3 members of the Mekakushi Dan for a while, until they started getting more members. Every member that joins them throughout Kagerou Project is shown here, but since they’ll all later get their own stories, you don’t have to worry about them yet.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM-U279Z03c
Notice that the lyrics were kind of weird? Yeah, they are. Kido likes to portray herself and her life as “cool”. If you know what the word “Chuunibyou” means, that’s what Kido has. Despite being a “gang”, the Mekakushi Dan is really a nice group that just wants to understand more about their powers and help those who have them. As for what this “gang” does on a daily basis? Well they sure seem like secret agents who use codes and go on missions together. In reality, it’s more like they just hang out at their apartment together.
And maybe if you had a good eye, you spotted two characters in there that we met in the last song? If not, that’s ok too, they’re not the important part of this song.
Kido’s power is the ability to conceal herself and those around her, kind of like invisibility. Seto’s power is the ability to read minds, and he can also talk to animals. Kano’s power is “deception,” basically he can make himself look like whatever he wants when other people look at him. These three were the original members of the Mekakushi Dan, and have known each other since childhood. They were alone in the Dan for a few years until they got their first new member (we’ll meet her in a few songs), and then started getting more and more after that.
Song #3: Kagerou Daze (Heat-haze Daze)
This is the most popular song in Kagerou Project and is even where its name comes from. “Kagerou” means a haze of heat, which will be referenced in the song. It’s also the first in the series to have an official video to go with it!
The story here is pretty straightforward, so I’ll only outline the characters. The boy’s name, the singer of this song, is Amamiya Hibiya. The girl, the person he is singing to, is named Asahina Hiyori.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONyfbDPc7y0
Pretty straightforward. They were experiencing a time loop where one of them died each time. August 15th is a very important date to keep in mind in Kagerou Project, the day that these two experienced the time loop.
(Side note: There is a very popular animated version of this song that also exists. It’s awesome, and the artist later went on to make some of the official videos for Kagepro, but just keep in mind that the events you’ll see here aren’t canon. It is the artist’s take on the song as if it were on its own, and not part of a larger story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E57LEjf6pw)
Song #4: Headphone Actor
Headphone Actor is a tricky video/song to summarize, as there is still debate over its full meaning in the KagePro community. I’ll go with the parts that are pretty widely accepted and personally how I interpret the song.
The girl you’ll see in the video, for now we’ll call her “Actor.” The events in this song are metaphors. They didn’t really happen in the real world of Kagerou Project, so don’t be confused by that.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsc4LW-la-M
Did you catch that last part? Who was shown to be the voice in Actor’s headphones the whole time, as she describes it, her own voice? If you didn’t notice, I’ll just tell you: it was Ene. Headphone Actor is a metaphor hinting at the past life of Ene, the cyber-girl who sang the first song. That past will be further expanded on as we go on.
Song #5: Souzou Forest (Imagination Forest)
This song is also sometimes referred to as “Kuusou Forest,” as it was later re-released with this title and a re-released video with a few changes to it. I’ll be posting the original video here, since the re-done version does not have a release on Youtube with English subtitles. The differences don’t particularly affect the plot in any way.
The singer of this song is a girl named Kozakura Mary, who is ¾ human and ¼ medusa. Yes, medusa as in the snake monsters who will turn you to stone with eye contact. Mary has been living alone in a house in the forest for about 100 years, her aging slowed tremendously due to her medusa blood. This song will tell the story of Mary’s life, and a certain encounter that she had one day.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMWn6wBhaEA
You might not have realized that we’ve already seen this boy before, as his character design was later changed, but the boy who met Mary in this song was Seto, who we were introduced to in Mekakushi Code. He is Mekakushi Dan member #2, and after he gave away his original hoodie to Mary, he got a sort of frog-looking green jumpsuit thing that is what you’ll see him wearing 99% of the time.
Mary’s mother was killed by a gang of kids (I call them a “gang” but there’s no relation to the Mekakushi Dan) when Mary was a child after exerting herself too much to turn her attacker into stone. Mary, having seen firsthand the horror that her eye power could cause, decided to never leave her house so as not to hurt anyone.
Seto came across her in the forest after following the trail of her thoughts to find her house (remember his power is to read minds), and decided that he could help her deal with the terrible loneliness that he heard in her mind.
An unknown amount of time later, Seto came back with Kido, the leader of the Mekakushi Dan and singer of Mekakushi Code, to offer for Mary to come join them in the Mekakushi Dan, in their apartment (or “hideout” as they call it) in the city. She accepts, and becomes the 4th member of the Mekakushi Dan.
If you’re interested, the video for Kuusou Forest can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1aVyKsLh6g
You’ll see the few changes, and what Seto’s final character design looks like at the end there.
Song #6: Konoha no Sekai Jijou (Konoha’s State of the World)
The first song to specifically name the character in the title! As you might have guessed, this song is sung by a boy named Konoha. And for the first time so far, we’re going to revisit something we already saw happen, but from a different perspective.
Konoha is a boy with a strange body and no memories of how he came to be like that. Suffering from amnesia, he had been living in the city and became involved in the events of a certain August 15th. The last 20 seconds or so of the video will hint at the next events that we will see, as well as a few that we already have.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6K9gv487BQ
Yes, Konoha was there during the time loop where Hibiya and Hiyori repeatedly died. He figured out what was happening, but was unable to ever stop anything from happening. Konoha’s addition to the cast might seem a bit strange, as all I’m saying is “well, there was another guy here, but he didn’t really do anything.” But I promise, Konoha will become one of the most important characters in Kagerou Project.
Song #7: Toumei Answer (Invisible Answer)
I put this song here, not because this is the order that it came out, but because I don’t want you to forget about a character we met in the first song, Kisaragi Shintaro. Despite only showing up briefly so far, Shintaro is actually kind of the main character of Kagerou Project. That will be a lot more clear when we get to the manga. So far all we know about Shintaro really is that he is a depressed shut-in with a cyber girl living in his computer. This song is about Shintaro’s past, and what caused him to turn out how he did.
Shintaro is actually incredibly intelligent. While in high school, he would always get perfect scores on every test. This caused him to be bored with life, always irritable, and sometimes even wishing he could disappear. In his class, a girl sat next to him named Tateyama Ayano. Ayano, while not being the brightest girl, would always smile and try to cheer Shintaro up, like folding his tests into little paper cranes for him. Shintaro was mostly just annoyed by this behaviour.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIQqGdfdR8Y
Shintaro caught Ayano crying alone in the classroom one day, but didn’t say anything to her, as seeing her being sad was confusing to him. The next day, he got to class, and found out that she had jumped from the roof of the school and died. Forced to reflect on how something he didn’t understand could happen like this, he realized what a great person had been showing him affection this whole time, and that he had probably lost his only chance at happiness because he was too stubborn to realize that he wasn’t the only one with problems. Yeah. The grief and regret over this incident caused Shintaro to drop out of school and become a shut-in in his room for years.
Song #8: Kisaragi Attention
Now time for the opposite end of the Kisaragi spectrum! This song is sung by Kisaragi Momo, Shintaro’s younger sister and ultra-famous idol! The song will tell most of the story by itself, so I’ll let you get to it:
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk-wPp9Ru3I
No, Momo isn’t really just any super-popular idol. Her popularity and fame come from her own eye power that she has had since she was a child, the ability to attract people’s eyes. While Momo is a cheerful, happy girl, she started to lose it over all the attention she was constantly receiving and her inability to live a normal life. Until she ran into a certain somebody who offered help!
Momo met Kido, who recognized a fellow holder of an eye power, and brought her to the Mekakushi Dan hideout. They told Momo that it was possible to control her ability, and that she wasn’t alone in struggling with her power. Momo agreed to join them, and became Mekakushi Dan member #5.
Song #9: Children Record
A break from story songs! Children Record was written to be the “OP” of Kagerou Project. For those not familiar with that term, “OP” is usually used to refer to the theme songs for anime, or the opening sequence for each episode. This video will give glimpses at what we’ve already seen so far, and some of what’s to come ahead still. While you watch, try to remember the characters’ names, stories, and relations when you see them, if you want a bit of practice. But don’t forget that there will also be people in there that we haven’t met yet!
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvVOzmu1hP8
Children Record probably won’t tell you anything in particular, but it’s a nice OP and is good to maybe watch a few times if you want to get the characters in your head even more.
Song #10: Yobanashi Deceive (Night-Talk Deceive)
This is the last song before you should go read the manga. It’s another character song, and there’s no particular reason to put it after Children Record other than that I’m just ordering the songs in the release order that they came out in.
This song is sung by Kano, the third of the original Mekakushi Dan members. Kano will sing about his life with his power to deceive people, and what’s going on in his head.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98YWS7WuB0o
Yeah, things aren’t going too well for Kano. At the time of me writing this, the fandom is still theorizing about what larger implications this song might have on the story, and if there is a bigger truth behind Kano’s character, more than that he simply likes to lie.
Go read manga chapters 1-23
^ Do what that says! You can read the manga (called Kagerou Daze) here. Please don’t read chapter 24 or past though, there’s a spoiler that I don’t want you to learn about just now, I think that twist is best revealed in a later song :) Now go read!
Ok, did you read it? I wouldn’t recommend reading ahead until you’re caught up with it…
So, wow. You probably know where Ene and Konoha came from now. An antagonist has appeared, and after Chapter 18 well gosh, you might be freaking out. Let’s calm down with a nice song that comes from what we’ve just read in the manga.
Song #11: Yuukei Yesterday (Sunset Yesterday)
No backstory needed since you’ve already seen this in the manga.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVupc6DYKaI
Notice who Takane turned into at the end there. Now that we know that Headphone Actor was a video game, we can start to piece together the metaphor there. My personal theory is that it was symbolic of her realizing of her feelings for Haruka, wanting to tell him before it’s too late, and then dying herself, finding out that she had been an experiment the whole time. Since Takane really did seem to experience the events of Headphone Actor, it was likely an effect of whatever gas or poison that her teacher Kenjirou used to kill her.
Which is a good segue into some questions we should have now. What was up with their teacher? Why did Takane have to die? What’s the Kagerou Daze that Sensei was talking about opening up? What happened to Konoha and, well, what the heck happened in Chapter 18? Keep such questions in your mind and as we move on, more questions will be answered.
Where to next? The Light Novels! As of now, 5 LNs have been published. #2, #4, and #5 have been entirely translated by fans. #1 and #2 are basically the first two arcs of the manga, up until Takane’s transformation to Ene and her cyber-journey. But then things change after the Mekakushi Dan leaves the amusement park. Why is that? The reason is that the LNs and the manga take place in different timelines.
Having read the manga, you might only be vaguely familiar yet with the notion that there are significantly different timelines in Kagerou Project. We’ve seen time loops in the song Kagerou Daze, but the point of that song was that fate doesn’t change and that one of them always dies. Well, surprise! Yes, there are different timelines where things change in the series of events. Reasons for this will of course be explained (your best hint right now is chapter 18 of the manga). For more important information that you’ll need in the future, I’ll give you another song to listen to first:
Song #12: Shinigami Record (Death God Record)
One of the most important songs in Kagerou Project, this song is about the beginning of everything that happens in the whole story. Set hundreds of years ago, this is the story of Mary’s grandmother, Azami. Azami is a full medusa who has been alive since the beginning of Earth. There is no official video for this song, so I’ll use yet another fanmade video with subtitles.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ4zwXgTfeU
The young girl is not Mary, but Mary’s mother, Shion. The second world that Azami created is referred to as the Kagerou World or Heat Haze World. Yes, this was where Takane and Haruka’s teacher was trying to get to with his plans, and is a very important place which I will explain after you read the 4th novel.
Light Novel #3: “The Children Reason”
The first chapter of this novel is told from the perspective of Konoha, then it switches to Hibiya and Hiyori from the song Kagerou Daze for the second chapter. Read here (scroll down to the section for the third novel): http://azamis.tumblr.com/post/69593353678/ive-seen-a-lot-of-people-looking-for-english
Done? So there’s a lot to take in from this novel. Kenjirou, Momo’s current teacher and the one who killed Haruka and Takane was married to Hiyori’s (much) older sister. Her name was Tateyama Ayaka, and when they visited her grave, Kano was there and seemed to have also known her. And if you’re thinking “Wait, there was another character named Tateyama…” then good memory, there is another one indeed. We will get there soon.
The next important subject is when Kido describes the origins of her power. She “died” in the fire that her dad set on her house that also killed her sister, but Kido remembers being swallowed up by something. When she woke up, she was totally fine, and now had her eye power. Kido also mentions Kano and Seto having gone through similar situations, and Shintaro recalls Momo having also possibly “drowned” in the ocean as a kid.
I’ll take this time to just tell you what we know is canon about the eye powers. To get an eye power, two people must die together on August 15th. Remember the second world that Azami created in the song Shinigami Record? These criteria are how people are able to get to that world, and are “swallowed up” by her snakes. One person of the pair stays trapped in Azami’s world, and the other is returned to their world, with one of Azami’s snakes inside them, giving them both life and their powers. People who “die” but stay in Azami’s world do not leave corpses behind.
Kido and Momo’s deaths are mentioned in the novel. Seto is said to have also drowned. When he was a child, he was bullied frequently, but made friends with a dog. The bullies threw his dog into a river, and Seto jumped in to save him, both dying in the process. When Kano was a child, him and his mother were stabbed to death by robbers. Yes, they all died in the necessary pairs to get an eye power.
Now it makes sense why Takane and Haruka had to be killed for Kenjirou to open the Kagerou Daze. But why did he want to do that anyway? We’ll learn that soon enough.
The 4th novel will be describing the same day that the 3rd novel ended on, but from the perspective of what happened to Shintaro, Kido, Mary, and Konoha on that day. It will also tell Azami’s full story. But first, a song:
Song #13: Otsukimi Recital
This is the story of Momo and Hibiya traveling around the town, looking for Hiyori after the broken time loop during the 3rd novel. Momo tries to cheer Hibiya up, as the poor kid is pretty emotionally scarred now.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_JkZts0Pck
Light Novel #4: “The Missing Children”
This one is fully translated (except for the afterword)! Yay! You can read it here:
… ok, done? This is the story of the Mekakushi Dan coming to understand Azami and her other world, as well as what eye powers actually are.
What’s interesting is how Mary describes that her mother, even though we saw her die in Imagination Forest, did not leave behind a body. This is not just a random detail, but is telling of what happened in Imagination Forest that we were not shown. If you’re thinking “Oh! People who go to Azami’s world don’t leave behind bodies!”, then you are correct! After Shion (the mother) died from exerting herself too much to turn one of the boys to stone, the rest of the attackers actually killed Mary too. Since Shion is missing and Mary is still alive, yep, the particular day that this happened was on August 15th. The two went to the Heat Haze World, and Mary acquired an eye power… something else that hasn’t yet been revealed (but will be later in the guide of course)
Now we’re going to take a break before the 5th LN. Alright, so between the 4th novel and the next song, there is quite a bit of a time gap. Probably about a year (It’s a long explanation about why I think that), and we’re also going to see into the different timelines that I talked about earlier.
Song #14: Lost Time Memory
Ok, prepare yourself. This one is packed with things to absorb and you should probably watch it a few times to form an understanding of it.
This is Shintaro’s second song, his first being Invisible Answer, the story about the girl who killed himself that he feels like he could have saved. The video will show two different timelines and what happens to Shintaro in each of them. The first timeline is called “Route 01”, and is the continuation from the LNs, probably about a year later. You’ll see a little title on a hexagon that says “Route 01” at the beginning of this route, and the Shintaro wearing the red jacket will always be Route 01 Shintaro, the one we’ve been familiar with most of this time. After the first chorus, you’ll see another title that says “Route XX”. This is the timeline where Shintaro never met the Mekakushi Dan. You’ll see that there is a definite difference between the two different versions of him.
In the middle of the video, the two timelines will be shown kind of at the same time. Just remember that the black shirt Shintaro is Route XX, and the red coat Shintaro is the one we know from the LNs.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9wrDGfYCWA
… Yeah. Wow. I’ll explain what just happened. Route 01 is the LNs, right? The one where Konoha and Hibiya join the Dan. Shintaro spends a lot of fun times with the Mekakushi Dan, but still thinks about Ayano sometimes. Somewhere along the way, something happens to Konoha. He turns dark, gets a gun, and tries to kill himself. Shintaro tries to stop him and ends up being shot and killed himself.
Route XX Shintaro is the one who is never able to meet the Mekakushi Dan, move on from Ayano, or leave his room. He decides to live in his memories of her forever so that he’ll never forget her, and he can pretend like nothing ever happened. Ene tries to get in the way of this, knowing it will ruin Shintaro’s life forever, so he somehow kills her. Ene’s eye power is actually immortality so she’s probably fine, not that that is shown in the video. Now traumatized from even more guilt, Shintaro decides to end it all, and stabs himself in the neck with scissors, dying.
Although in different timelines, the two die at the same time, on the same day. Of course it’s not just any day, but August 15th. Therefore, they both go to the Heat Haze World and meet Azami. But someone else is there surprisingly. It’s Ayano! Route 01 Shintaro is able to face her for the first time in years, but Route XX Shintaro runs away out of fear and guilt. Route 01 Shintaro opens his eyes to reveal his own eye power (the origins of which are a mystery at this point), and Route XX Shintaro wakes up in his bed, alone again
Why are there different timelines at all?! Why is Ayano in the Heat Haze World with an eye power? What happened to Konoha? We’ll get to those explanations with the next two videos, I promise.
If Lost Time Memory is the song of asking more questions, the next song will be the song to answer some questions…
Song #15: Ayano no Koufuku Riron (Ayano’s Theory of Happiness)
Oh boy. So this is Ayano’s song, the girl who killed herself in the song Toumei Answer. We saw her again in the last song and now know somehow she got to the Heat Haze World and obtained an eye power. But we know nothing about her, really, other than that she was a cheerful girl on the outside, but clearly had something hurting her enough on the inside to want to end it all.
Take a deep breath, and watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p0iGKrLt54
… Are you crying? Because I still cry every time I rewatch this…
Ayano was the original founder of the Mekakushi Dan. Kido, Kano, and Seto were her adopted siblings. Her parents were scientists, researching the Heat Haze World and eye powers, which is why they picked up those three from the orphanage together, who had gained their eye powers in events where they lost their parents (except Seto who I believe was already an orphan). To cheer up these very depressed kids who think they’re monsters, she started a “secret agent organization” for them to play together. That’s what the Mekakushi Dan is.
Ayano’s mother died during a landslide in one of their investigations about Azami’s world, on a certain August 15th. Did you notice who her dad was? He’s Kenjirou, the teacher who killed Haruka and Takane to get to the other world. As Ayano describes, his tears “turned black, noticed by no one.” “Kenjirou” killed Haruka and Takane to try to get his dead wife back. Since she’s in the Daze, yes that does mean Kenjirou was the second person to die, and has an eye power of his own. His power is only known as the title of “clarifying eyes.” You may remember that name from the 4th novel and the discussion of the powers…
Ayano found Kenjirou’s notes about his murders of Haruka and Takane, Azami, and the Heat Haze World before he actually killed them, and also something very important about the power inside him. Kenjirou’s snake was taking over his body, trying to grant Kenjiro’s wish of seeing his wife again by any means necessary, including killing Haruka and Takane to get them eye powers for part of his plan.
“If I had those red eyes myself, could I save someone’s future?” Ayano learns from her father’s notes how to get an eye power, the way to do that being to die on August 15th. Ayano jumps to her death to enter Azami’s world and get an (unknown) eye power, but because she went alone, can not come back.
Before moving onto the next song I’d like to say that I swear I’m not trying to scar you emotionally…
Song #16: Outer Science
This is the dark Konoha that we saw in Lost Time Memory and the manga, he sings this song. He is referred to as “Kuroha” by the fandom, although that’s not an official name. This song takes place during Route XX, the route where Shintaro never joined the Mekakushi Dan. I’ll just…
Now watch… : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui4TXA9oFmg
Surprise! Everyone just died! Again! But they don’t stay dead. Remember how Azami had the power to create a whole other world with her medusa powers? Well her granddaughter, Mary, also has pretty nice medusa powers too. She can reset time with her powers to go back to the time when all of her friends are alive together. Now what happens in Chapter 18 probably makes more sense.
“But I thought Mary’s inherited power was the one that freezes people?” You’re right, it is. I won’t says “surprise!” anymore, but what happened is that Mary actually has more than one power. When she went to the Heat Haze World with her mother as a child, she was given another ability that we haven’t seen until now, known as “Combining Eyes,” also known as the “queen”. When her friends are murdered by Kuroha, Mary uses her ability to combine all the other powers and, very similarly to what Azami did in the song Shinigami Record, harnesses the medusa power to reset time to save everyone.
This is where the multiple timelines come from. Mary has been restarting time over and over again to save the Mekakushi Dan. And in one of these timelines, something different happens, and through a series of events, Shintaro comes to meet the Dan. Here’s what I think on that:
Think back to the end of the 4th novel. Ene and Ayano seem to still be in communication, and are working together to stop the “clarifying guy.” This refers to the Clarifying Eyes snake, who Kenjirou possesses, but uses Konoha’s body when it comes time to kill people. It’s very possible that Ene has been, in all of these timelines, trying to get Shintaro to come in contact with the Mekakushi Dan in hopes that either him or her can stop Kuroha from giving us the “bad end.” This seems to be what she is planning based on her email to Ayano. How they are emailing from one world to the next, I am not sure, but I assume we’ll find out.
One last note, if you’re wondering why the Kuroha here seems so different than what we saw of him in Lost Time Memory. That Kuroha seemed scared, and tried to kill himself. Because that route is the route from the LNs, it is theorized that the friendship the Konoha and Shintaro formed in the 4th novel is the beginning of Konoha being able to take control over his body again long enough to turn the gun on himself, to try to save Shintaro. Remember that Konoha already showed the desire to save his friend’s life even if it means his own death in the 4th novel when they fall off the cliff. Kuroha’s face after Shintaro takes the bullet and dies is not “yes! I killed more people!” It’s “… oh no, my friend!” :(
Light novel #5 “The Deceiving”
It’s time for the most recent light novel, The Deceiving! This one is told from the perspective of Kano and covers everything since his childhood. You can read it here, scroll down to the section for the 5th LN
There’s a lot to take in from this light novel too. Kano knew way more than we thought! Of course this now explains why he could scare Shintaro so much with that Ayano transformation at the end of the 3rd LN. Kano was helping Ayano’s efforts to stop the snake possessing their father, even going to school in her place (using his eye power) while she was out gathering information. And in the end, he even had to pose as her corpse to make it look like her death was a normal suicide :( All because he just wants to protect his remaining family from the snake, who threatens to kill them all.
The specifics of the snakes plan are also important. His goal is to gather all 12 of Azami’s snakes in the real world and create a new medusa. Of course, Ayano trapping herself in the Heat Haze World with one of the snakes completely ruins that plan. If only the snake had some way to reset time, hmm? Like maybe if he killed the only friends of someone who had the power to reset time…? :O You see what I’m getting at, I’m sure.
Read chapters 24+ of the manga
^^yep, you’re free to go back and catch up on the manga now! Sorry for the split, I just think the twist about the original Mekakushi trio being Ayano’s siblings is best revealed in her song. Have at it!
Go watch Mekakucity Actors
^do this! :) You can finally watch the anime! I have nothing to say for preparation, so just go for it now~
Alright, have you watched it?
Now you can probably tell why I saved this for last, right? MCA is the final time loop in Kagerou Project, and is clearly more directed towards people who have seen the other timelines. Now the ending itself might have you confused, to which I’ll say that you’re not alone in that. The fandom is still working on making complete sense on the ending, but there is still a lot we can see! Ayano has made it back from being trapped in the Heat Haze and gets to live a happy life with the others. And did you look at that line of people in the final episode, in the final scene? If you pay attention, you can see Hiyori and Haruka in there too, also very much still alive :)
To sum it up, the antagonist, the snake, could only exist if it had a wish to grant. But since Kenjirou’s wish couldn’t be granted in any timeline due to Ayano staying in the Heat Haze World with one of the needed snakes, the main snake would take Konoha’s body and use it to force Mary to reset time by killing all her friends. But when Shintaro came to get Ayano from the Heat Haze World (using his power to “remember” that Mary gave him in a previous timeline) and told her it was ok for her to come back now, Ayano was able to use her own power to convey her feelings to Mary to not go back in time. And it was successful! Mary uses her Queen abilities to take them to the Heat Haze World, where Kenjirou’s wish is granted by meeting Ayaka again. Kuroha (the snake) is then used by Konoha to grant his own wish, the wish of keeping his promise to save Hiyori. The snake is turned into a life force (as the other snakes have been this whole time for their “masters”) and made to bring Hiyori back to life,granting the final wish and causing him to disappear, possibly taking Konoha with him. I say “possibly” because we don’t really know what happens after that… yet!
Fear not, Kagepro isn’t over yet! We have other routes to finish up still, with the manga and LNs! Since there are more pieces to the giant puzzle called Kagepro, I’m sure we’ll get more answers to our many remaining questions. Finally, there’s one more song video that might shine the tiniest bit of light on something.
Song #17: Summertime Record
This is the ending theme for Kagerou Project, and shows the “good end” that we saw the anime end with. While this is the last part of my guide, like I said, there’s still more to go in Kagepro. And if you’re still confused, that’s a good sign that you’re in the Kagepro fandom, because you know what? We’re all still quite confused too.
Now watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM_oR4LMdbw
Haruka isn’t just Haruka, he seems to have physically combined with Konoha? His hair is lighter, his face has the Konoha design under his eye, and he seems to have all of Konoha’s memories of the Mekakushi Dan and the fun times they had together. So I don’t think we can say that Konoha is gone yet, but as for what happened to him, well we’ll just have to wait and see.
At the beginning of 2014, a box set called “Mekakucity Vs” was released, which contained all the Kagepro videos on blu-ray! Also included was a new PV for “Shounen Brave,” which is Seto’s song. However since Jin has asked that this video only be available to people who have purchased the box set (which you can do here, btw!) and for everyone to refrain from uploading it online, I won’t be linking to it in this guide. If you’d really like to see it, a simple google search will almost certainly suffice. But please consider buying something related to Kagerou Project if you can afford it, Jin is an incredibly hard worker and deserves to be rewarded for that! :)
"What do I do now?”
Suggestions: Go back and rewatch all the vids again until they all make sense (seriously, you’ll find so many new things)! Listen to the handful of other songs that are awesome but never got videos! Read the next manga chapters and LNs as they come out! Form theories about what’s going to be revealed next! Make Kagepro friends on tumblr and talk to them about your favorite characters and songs!
I’ve covered most of the canon information throughout the whole thing here, but there’s still other things you can learn! Here’s a good page for some of those things: http://en.dic.pixiv.net/a/Kagerou+Project
Thanks for reading! I hope I’ve helped, and hopefully you feel like Kagerou Project is a more accessible thing now. And again, my inbox is always open if you have questions, comments, or feedback. Hope to see you around the fandom!
(If you’ve enjoyed this guide or found it useful, I’d really appreciate if you shared it! It took quite a while to write and I’d like it to reach as many people as it can so that hopefully we can get even more KageBros to join our fandom :) Thanks for reading!)
written by Emma (haiiro-no-suiyoubi.tumblr.com)
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