This is the extended author’s note/possible discussion for “Jigen Bakudan”.
Anyway, I don’t normally have huge author’s notes, but there is so much more I know about this story than was written. Professional authors say you should always know more than you tell, but at the moment I want to share it. This all assumes, of course, that you have already read the story. If you haven’t, this will be a bunch of spoilers that don’t necessary make a lot of sense to you. ;) Likewise, if you have your own image of the future you might reconsider reading this, because I will explain in detail my own vision of the future in this world, and if you see anything in particular it’s bound to be disappointing, as such things generally are.
Firstly, the “realism” part. It turns out that Japanese gun control is amazingly strict. “Under no circumstances is a citizen permitted to own a handgun”, is one phrase I read. Seto would go to jail for having it, never mind actually having shot people with it. Yet in the show he has one, doesn’t he? And Mokuba’s gang in the manga has assault rifles. Seto is an unapologetic weapons smuggler, then. Merging what we know of YGO with what we know of the real world, Seto really is a criminal. I’m just stating that because it’s something I have a hard time understanding myself… I tend to assume characters I like are doing things technically legally and are basically good people. Not so here. :)
But aside from the marksmanship, Seto doesn’t do anything he hasn’t shown himself able to do in the series; the hacking, unarmed combat, and even knife throwing are canon. Granted, I didn’t go quite so far as to have him throw cards as weapons like he did in the show; I wanted some reality there. I would assume that he’s at least an above average marksman.
And now for the realistic consequences. Japan employs capital punishment, and in a situation like this, Seto had to know that that was one possible consequence. Even if it wasn’t, Japanese prisons are not known to be gentle or pleasant, and human rights have not historically been the primary concern of the police and judicial system. He wrote his confession outside of custody because confessions taken by police have a respectable record of being coerced or altered.
Seto is a control freak; his crime, his confession, and even his surrender and punishment were always going to be on his own terms. Thus his buying time with hostages; everything he had to do and wrap up he would have to do before he was in custody.
Who lived? Who died? Where was Otogi?
The two random students Seto shot died, obviously. The girl screaming in the corner was Miho because… well, why the hell not. :) I enjoy sticking her in as an NPC. I just never got to put her name in there. The other one was just nameless, as most of the side characters in YGO tend to be.
The teacher lived, although she wouldn’t have if not for the random act of heroism that was the student pulling her out of the doorway. The guy with the knife in his back lived, though he graced the hospital with his presence for a while.
Yuugi, Honda, Anzu, Ryou… they all lived. Seto lived as well, although he might not find that a good thing.
What about Jounouchi? Do you think he lived or died?
Oh, and Otogi, he was one of the “ten percent” of the class who ditched it when he started shooting. I seem to recall his desk being right by the door in the show. :)
That’s cruel… Did Jou live or die?
Impatient. ^^ Okay, I think he lived. I don’t think it was easy or pleasant, but I think he did.
What happened next?
Short version: Seto was arrested, Mokuba took over KaibaCorp, and everyone went on with their lives.
Long version: Seto was arrested, and there was a trial. Seto didn’t want one, really; his intent, since he could not kill himself, was to plead guilty to everything and go to prison for the rest of his life. However, Mokuba got him a lawyer who was not answerable to him, but to Mokuba and KaibaCorp, and was unfortunately for Seto very good at his job; with the help of a slightly unscrupulous psychiatrist, Seto was found not guilty of the murders by reason of insanity, and sentenced to a maximum security psychiatric facility until he reached legal adulthood at the age of twenty. He was found guilty of the extortion, weapons charges, and computer crimes he admitted to in his confession, but his time was to be served concurrently and the fact that he was so young and already declared mentally unstable got him sentenced lightly; his time would be served by the time he was released from for the murders. He was not charged with any other murder he admitted to, including Gozoboro’s, because there is a statute in the Japanese constitution that forbids charging a person with a crime if the only evidence is their confession, and he so thoroughly destroyed any other evidence that his lawyer made an issue of it.
His only real punishment ended up being confined to a psychiatric facility for a little less than four years. Honestly he would rather have gone to prison; four years of therapy was a much worse punishment than fifty years in prison, where he probably would have ended up king. Having to talk about his past and his feelings with an army of therapists who have a special interest in him for his visibility and obvious issues probably wouldn’t completely fix him, but after four years even he probably couldn’t help but come out changed, and probably for the better.
The first thing Mokuba did when taking over, before his place was even entirely legally secure, was divide almost Seto’s entire personal fortune between the families of the dead and the injured, paying all medical and burial costs, as well as smaller payments for mental pain and suffering for the other hostages. Ryou and Jounouchi would never have to work to support themselves, ever, and Honda and Anzu would be reasonably secure, along with the teacher and knife-boy. He also dedicated the next quarter’s profits from KaibaCorp to charity as societal restitution, and when he delivered on the promise he successfully saved the company from Seto’s “PR disaster”, and also secured his own place. Corporate life went on as it generally does, and once Seto put him in charge he took it in every way, refusing to bow to Seto’s wishes even and especially where their relationship was concerned; Seto wasn’t him to write him off and move on, and he refused. He visited Seto as often as he was allowed and worked with the psychiatrists; he is on the side of what was best for Seto, even more than he is on Seto’s side.
Because of Seto’s information, quite a few other people, within KaibaCorp and without, went to prison as well, including Isono. Mokuba got him an equally dedicated lawyer, however, and because most of the evidence was destroyed his sentence was nearly as light as Seto’s. Oddly enough, he understood that it was nothing personal and not really a betrayal; Seto was throwing anyone and everyone under the bus, including himself, to make sure Mokuba’s reputation was spotless. After getting out of prison, he would come and work for them again.
The guy who shoved his friend out of the way so he could get out – that friend later being knife-boy – was thereafter shunned as a selfish coward, and that followed him around until the end of high school, at least. He thoroughly hates Seto for that.
As of four years later and Seto returning to society, Jounouchi suffers no more than a bit of nerve damage in his arm and a giant ugly scar, and being as he is apparently psychologically indestructible, he bounced right back. He was cracking dumb jokes in the hospital, where he spent a solid month and about a dozen surgeries, and found the worst part of his stay to be the diet.
Anzu suffered the most psychologically. She grew severely depressed and angry, and still lived with her parents. She gave up on dancing and lost direction, and never really moved on, withdrawing from their friendship circle and basically everything else. The psychological damage was worse than the physical, and she usually walks without a noticeable limp, but four years was not enough time for her to stop wishing him dead.
Honda lost a lot of the use of his arm and almost all the use of his hand, which he very nearly lost entirely; an exit wound in the wrist is not pretty and basically obliterated the nerves he’d need to control it, not to mention the joint itself. He did move on and overcome it, without complaint or outwardly feeling sorry for himself, but unlike Jounouchi was not entirely the same. He comes off a little it quieter and more determined and is a little less forgiving than before.
Ryou was abandoned by the Ring and Bakura because a thief intent being unobtrusive and dangerous has no real use for a host in a wheelchair. That was ultimately probably a good thing for him, but he was still left seriously injured. He wasn’t completely paralyzed, and in the space of four years he was able to relearn to walk, slowly and for very short distances, and make use of his very limited feeling and mobility for basic tasks like dressing himself, but he is essentially wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. He did form a closer friendship with Yuugi, Jounouchi, and Honda out of it.
Yuugi suffered a broken jaw from the pistol-whipping but wasn’t otherwise injured. It took a while to get the pieces of the Puzzle back from the police and for him to rebuild it, but it did get done and they went on to stop Marik and Bakura (with a new host) and save the world, although somewhat more directly since Battle City didn’t take place. (“How YGO would have gone if Kaiba weren’t around” is all speculation and way too complicated to get into ^^; ) He feels the hurt of his friends deeply and honestly has a hard time forgiving Seto for what happened to Anzu and the fact that he couldn’t help her, no matter how much he wanted to. Ultimately he does, though, because…
Why did Seto do it?
He wasn’t being directly controlled – that would have been a lot simpler and a lot more obvious – but he was being nudged. In a way both Seto and Yuugi were right in that last conversation; he was being influenced, but everything he acted on had always been there, and even though Marik impaired his control and destabilized him, that insanity had always been there as well. He was resisting it, partially because of his own strong spirit and a hatred of being controlled, and partially because he really would rather see them suffer than simply kill them. He was a victim, although not an innocent one.
So that’s why Yuugi saved him?
Partly. Yuugi’s motivations were complicated. On the one hand, he wants to save people and he knew that, whatever Seto said, he wasn’t completely at fault; on the other hand, he was extremely pissed off. Stopping Seto from committing suicide was a reflection of both sides of that. Seto was trying to lose on his own terms and he fully consciously took that away from him. Seto, frankly, was not going to get off that easy; he saved him partially to keep him from dying needlessly, and partially to make sure he would face the consequences for his actions.
Why were there no shadow games?
I’ll be honest: it was because bringing in a shadow game would have completely ruined he sense of reality I was indulging in. I wanted the realistic consequences, not the magic consequences and the way that would supersede and gloss over the legal and psychological realities.
However, Yami wanted to. That was the delay that got Honda shot in the elbow: Yuugi had to fight with him because Yami wanted to shadow game him and would quite willingly have killed or seriously harmed him to save everyone and end the situation, while Yuugi had faith that Seto wasn’t evil and wanted to resolve it.
I won’t give an opinion as to whether Yuugi was right to have stopped him.
As for Yami no Bakura, I’m not sure he cared that much. Being only a spirit, it wasn’t like he was in actual danger, and if Seto had ignored him like he was supposed to and sent him out as a hostage it never would have mattered. I don’t know that he’d really want to do anything in front of so many people, including Yuugi… but just to make sure I had an excuse not to bring magic in, I ditched the Ring. There, shadow game problem solved. :)
So basically, in summary, I really didn’t want overt magic in the story, and what there was I wanted to be subtle, and I hope it looked natural enough to leave it out.
I’m not so sure about that fight between Seto and Bakura… :/
It’s just my personal opinion, but in thinking about it, I believe Seto could take Bakura in a fight.
They’re both good, of course. Seto is a trained martial artist (and has a sociopath’s natural fearlessness :) ), and Bakura-the-spirit learned how to fight the hard way and has had three thousand years to practice. However, the difference is Ryou. Ryou is not a fighter and has no training and only whatever practice Bakura puts him through by using his body. Seto is stronger and has the muscle memory to be faster and have better reflexes, whereas Bakura is manipulating a relatively weak and untrained body with his own, separate, memories.
However it happened, I think that’s about how it would go. It would be fast and decisive; if Bakura didn’t incapacitate or kill him with the first move, Seto would take him down with the second, or vise versa. It wouldn’t be a drawn out fight at all, that simply doesn’t suit either of them.
That’s just my opinion and justifications, though.
Oh, and yeah, I remember that tossing the Ring doesn’t necessarily get rid of Bakura… but I think once he realized Ryou had a broken back he’d have gone willingly. Thus he really was gone and poor Ryou wakes up scared and not really knowing what’s going on, just finding himself missing a chunk of memory and seriously injured. ( :c )
Thus ends my rambling. ^^; Of course, it’s all my own opinion, what I see, and I’m not really ever planning on writing a sequel, so if you’d rather picture Jounouchi dying tragically on the way to the hospital, or Seto rotting in prison haunted by his actions, or Yami no Yuugi hunting him down and giving him the shadow game he so richly deserves, go for it. Because I am infatuated with my own story like a true narcissist, I welcome all comments and will dutifully answer any questions. :D
Now, reflect upon how unquestioningly confident Seto was that he was in his right mind, and admire how unequivocally wrong he was.