Sin & Punishment Plot Summary, Part 2

Following on yesterday’s post, here’s Part 2, summarizing Star Successor…

Backstory

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor reveals that the Earth its predecessor took place on was just one of many. It turns out that a race of aliens use humans as soldiers in a war with other, extradimensional aliens from a place unhelpfully called “Outer Space”, and they keep the Earths as breeding grounds. Whenever an Earth’s technology becomes too advanced, or the humans refuse to fight, they raze the planet and start over. Presumably all the Earths are engineered to be identical, as their geography and languages are interchangeable.

Anyway, the Outer Spacers sent one of their own to Earth 4 in order to spy on it. Our alien overlords (from “Inner Space”, who call themselves “the creators”, or simply “gods” in the Japanese) send Isa Jo, the son of Saki and Airan from the first game, to eliminate the intruder. When Isa finally encounters the spy, however, he finds that it’s taken a human form, has amnesia, and seems harmless. As Isa is none too loyal to the creators (he resents their referring to themselves as gods, since he doesn’t believe in gods), he decides to ignore his mission and observe the spy, who he names “Kachi”, for a while.

The creators, furious at Isa’s defection, recruit an army from one of the other Earths, called the Nebulox (G5 in the Japanese) to hunt down and eliminate both Isa and Kachi. The Nebulox agree to do it in exchanged for increased rights for the humans on their native Earth. The Nebulox mostly consists of faceless goons who are the cannon fodder of the game, but they’re led by five extremely powerful and eccentric individuals.

Anyway, the game begins with the Nebulox shooting down Isa and Kachi’s ship above Earth 4, an Earth that was recently cleansed of native life and is being reformatted (or whatever one does to a ruined Earth to make it suitable for human habitation again).

Prologue

Isa and Kachi escape from their downed ship, running into the Nebulox’s soldiers and war machines for the first time. They’re forced to evade their own haywire security, and manage to exit just before the ship self-destructs. Unbeknownst to them, they’re being observed by Orion Tsang, the first of the Nebulox. The explosion knocks them into a ruined underground city, later revealed to be Fukuoka, Japan.

Stage 1 — Fukuoka

Isa is briefly knocked unconscious, but awakens in the streets of Fukuoka mostly intact. He looks around for Kachi and sees her impaled on a nearby spire — but she quickly twists herself free and instantly repairs the injury. (Remember, she’s not human.) Before the pair can decide what to do, Orion Tsang reveals himself and demands that Isa hand over Kachi. Isa pretends to do so, but at the last moment Kachi warps out of Tsang’s grasp, giving Isa an opening to shoot him. This doesn’t do anything, but it does give the pair an opening to escape.

Isa and Kachi begin threading their way through the streets and skyscrapers of Fukuoka, dodging both the Nebulox soldiers and the monstrous Keepers, bizarre creatures produced by the Earth itself in order to protect it from invaders. (Think the WEAPONs from Final Fantasy VII, only a lot smaller and a lot more numerous.) Eventually they run into Tsang again, who gets a real boss fight this time. After defeating him, it’s revealed to the player that the Tsang the heroes beat was just a puppet body, and the real one is literally a cyberbrain in a jar.

Isa and Kachi defeat another huge Keeper, then Isa discovers an intact database and uses it to search for a route off the planet. He discovers that if they take a special underwater route, they can reach a floating air fortress where a number of ships are docked, which they can commandeer and use to escape.

Stage 2 — Water Tunnel

Isa and Kachi work their way through the water tunnel. Contrary to Isa’s assurances that the place would be deserted, it’s infested with not just Nebulox soldiers but also hostile sea life. After defeating them, the duo enter an absolutely nonsensical furnace area and destroy the security system there. Afterwards, they have a supremely embarrassing conversation about what makes a human a human. Thankfully, this painfully cutesy moment is interrupted by the arrival of Nebulox member number two, Armin Ritter.

Isa fires at Ritter, who phases out to avoid the damage — but it turns out Isa was aiming at the damaged security system, which causes it to explode. Fortunately, no one is actually hurt by this explosion, and Isa, Kachi, and Ritter reconvene above the ocean’s surface. After a very cool boss battle which mimics the evolution of life in the seas (for some reason), Ritter admits defeat, and tells Isa that the Nebulox is holed up at a massive fortress near the planet’s energy hub — the volcanic Mt. Fuji. Ritter invites Isa to bring Kachi’s head to the fortress when he decides he’s had enough, and vanishes.

Isa more or less decides to ignore this and head for the floating fortress, as planned.

Stage 3 — Air Fortress

Isa and Kachi work their way through this very fun stage without much interference. At the end, they encounter Nebulox member number three, a cutesy young samurai girl named Hibari Yaju, who flirts adorably with Isa before trying to kill him. At the end of the fight, the entire fortress shakes, and Hibaru says that their battle woke up “the little guy” — an enormous Keeper being kept prisoner in the bowels of the fortress — and escapes, leaving Isa and Kachi to clean up the mess.

The final portion of the stage is a long running battle with the Horror Keeper, which mostly lurks in the background as you ascend a long shaft. After defeating it, it goes berserk and begins destroying the fortress. Kachi is forced to teleport herself and Isa away to save Isa from some falling rubble.

Stage 4 — Forest

While in transit, Isa decides that the whole ship thing is a lost cause at this point, and decides to take Armin Ritter up on his invitation to Mt. Fuji. However, the pair experience some kind of interference and end up in a dark, spooky forest inhabited by Ninja Keepers and ghosts. (This is actually a nice nod to the first S&P game, where Achi wouldn’t shut up about how unreliable and dangerous teleporting is.) Almost immediately, Kachi realizes that they’re in someone’s “dream” (however that works), and, upon hearing a laugh in the distance, the pair agrees to go see who it is and wake them up.

Isa and Kachi work their way through the forest, eventually destroying the supremely annoying Swamp Keeper and making their way to a Japanese-style building with a large reflective pool in front of it. After looking in the pool, Isa flashes back to his childhood, where Saki evidently went full Ruffian and demolished New York after all, just like Airan’s vision from the original game’s stage 2-3. This time, however, Airan assures the young Isa that he’s not doomed to become a monster like his father, and that if he can find his better half, he’ll be all right.

After the flashback, the pair are confronted by Nebulox member number 4, Ariana Shiami, who reveals that the forest was created by Isa’s conflicting memories and emotions. They fight, and Isa gets the better of it, dispelling the illusion and warping Isa and Kachi back to the real world.

Stage 5 — Highway

Isa and Kachi hijack a landspeeder and a chocobo-wannabe, respectively, and travel down the highway to Mt. Fuji, killing everything they see. No story whatsoever, except that a massive chimera-like Keeper takes a shine to them and offers to carry them the rest of the way.

Stage 6 — Mt. Fuji

Isa and Kachi invade the Nebulox’s base, dealing with a bunch of extremely irritating gimmick boss fights along the way, including a Keeper invulnerable to guns that can only be damaged by detaching train cars in its path, a massive battleship that’s very obviously a callback to the previous game’s stage 2-2, and an infant Keeper who keeps trying to dip your partner in the lava. (Long story.) After dealing with all of this, Isa and Kachi finally run into Commander Deco, the leader of the Nebulox and Isa’s old rival from back in their training days.

At first Deco is content to let his minions do the fighting, but then he summons a shadowy dragon, fills the room with mines, and starts fighting himself. After being defeated, he activates a machine that he says will force Kachi to revert to her real form. Isa tries to save her, but Deco tethers himself to Isa’s wrists and forces him to battle hand-to-hand. (It is the basis of all combat.) After beating him once again, Isa dives into the lava after the unconscious Kachi… only to emerge in a new combined form, similar to Saki’s Ruffian form from the first game. Isa realizes that Deco has retreated to the Nebulox’s orbital satellite and is going to try and destroy the Earth, so he flies into space to eliminate the Nebulox threat once and for all.

Stage 7 — Satellite

Isa pretty much trashes the satellite single-handedly.

In a scene straight from Gunstar Heroes, the five main Nebulox members stand on the bridge of the satellite, and Deco deploys them one at a time to beat Isa. Each of them takes on a crazy new form, but Isa beats them all — even Deco. After beating Deco, Deco detaches Kachi’s soul from the body and begins firing at it, forcing Isa to deflect Deco’s shots back at him before Kachi’s soul is destroyed (shades of the Earth Mimicry fight from the first game). Eventually Deco goes down, and Isa and Kachi return to Earth as conquering heroes.

Epilogue

In Isa and Kachi mode, there’s an additional scene after the end credits, where Kachi reveals to Isa that her memories are beginning to come back, and that her name, from long ago, is… Achi. Dun dun dun.

(The English dub makes it sound as though Kachi never had amnesia and was just faking it to earn Isa’s sympathy. This actually makes some sense from a characterization standpoint — Kachi was able to make Isa into the super-soldier she could never convince his father to be by appealing to his baser emotions. Honey/vinegar and all that. However, this isn’t present in the Japanese and thus is of dubious canonicity. I guess we’ll have to see where it goes in Sin & Punishment 3.)

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