Tomoaki loses his waiter job when he punches a drunk customer who molests his female friend Sayaka, who also works at as a waitress at the same restaurant. While unemployed, he stumbles upon an advertisement for a job offering 30 000 yen a day. It turns out that the owner of a grand estate is out of town but the butlers have been ordered to carry on their butler duties, which require them a master to serve. Tomoaki takes up the offer to become the master of the estate, temporarily receiving authority equivalent to that of the owner for a month, which he may use to order the butlers to do anything as he wish and even fire them at his will. The owner also granted him permission to tear down the estate if need be.
Hadaka Shitsuji: Background
What a grand social experiment for the upper class echelons with too much money to spend… or perhaps simply simple entertainment. Hadaka Shitsuji provides a stunning plot setting that perpetually reminds us that humans when granted authority are prone to abusing that authority, and those subjected to authority are more often than not obedient to authority regardless of how atrocious the acts. Recall that in the Milgram experiments, test subjects were given a button which they could press to give electric shocks to actors who would fake their reactions. Most did blindly as they were ordered. In Arisato’s route, sadistic Tomoaki would order other butlers to ‘prepare’ Arisato i.e. show him yaoi while he watches. In Ichinose’s route, Toudou meekly obeys orders to trample over the garden that is so precious to Ichinose. In this visual novel, the master’s word is law, as shown by the extent to which the butlers dedicate themselves to their master’s orders, even at the expense of what seems right.
The master himself has a fine character, given the backdrop he is introduced in, the prologue where he defends his female friend from a groping drunken customer. Unfortunately, even as he starts of well and kind, interacting with the butlers in the early start of the month, eventual changes in character occurs. Recall the Stanford prison experiment, when ordinary people are given roles of prison guards to look after prisoners, they grew used to using their authority over the prisoners even if they were initially hesistant. The same is depicted in Hadaka Shitsuji, where a averagely meek male protagonist who occasionally charms females into treating him to meals transforms into a sadistic master who toys with his albeit temporary butlers. His dark side for dominance and submission becomes completely unleased, and as expected as well, since the plot setting practically screams that this visual novel is going to be full of this theme of events. Stereotypical master-servant relationships where servant cannot defy orders. (Welcome to the N.H.K. Episode 4: When Yamazaki speaks of what users are looking for in eroge)
Hadaka Shitsuji: Gameplay
The game plays off with a minimap, on which scenarios play out depending on which area and character you choose to interact with. There is no locking of route into a character, so you have to choose one character to consistently interact with to get to an ending.
Hadaka Shitsuji: Kazuma Arisato
Arisato’s route was very confusing for me and I took a hard time getting into his route. It was diffcult deciding to be kind or mean towards him, but it turns out both methods of treatment lead to different Arisato endings, Light and True (or actually should be named DARK). Funny thing is Light endings are called Bad Ends in the game, but honestly I’ll prefer if they actually made them the True endings with more quality content (wink) and CGs. The main takeaway from this route: I guess autassassinophilia or attraction to near-death sex is a thing huh. How dark.
The thing is that I love Arisato’s character, perhaps cause deep-down I really relate with him in some way. We all might be wishing for some level of affection or to find a special someone to lavish love on us, but I’ll doubt that wanting to die is really true. Arisato loves saying those depressing things, but I really don’t think he means any of it. The sad things is the True ending made it into his character to lust for being on the brink of death, but at least with have the Light ending to show that he really could live a pretty happy life. I would personally love to have a bright kouhai like that. In the end, he quits being a butler footman, reunited with his real parents, and enrols in the same university as Tomoaki studying social sciences to become a professional caretaker. And they meet again!