Wonderful Everyday: Chapter 2 Impressions

Baxter's Tsundoku
9 min readJul 16, 2021

My journey through the monstrous visual novel Wonderful Everyday continues and boy oh boy, if chapter one (or part one of chapter one?) gave me a lot to chew on, then chapter two is a full-course meal. In no time at all, Wonderful Everyday has blown itself wide open from what I took as a thematically concise story to an impressively complex one connecting and riffing off of all sorts of ideas to make a something very dense and very cool.

So let’s jump right into it! My initial thoughts…part 2!

I’ve recently developed tinnitus. There is, and likely will forever be, a ringing in my ears, like a cross between a sine wave and a cicada’s cry. Though the cause is unknown, as frequently is the case with tinnitus, I think I got it from years with headphones on, constantly listening to music, watching movies and TV and Youtube videos. I think I got it from the internet.

In my previous post about Wonderful Everyday, I questioned how fiction and art informs who we are, how we present ourselves and see the world, but what I didn’t mention was how these ideas relate to the internet. On some level, it is a place all but made for expression and experimentation with identity. Everybody does it — we use each social media platform to present a different us. Instagram only shows us at our best and most interesting; Twitter makes us all out as comedians or socially hyper-aware. Communities and fandoms are built up as exclusive groups we splinter our time and interests between. Look a little deeper and see all of the fakery: people imitating celebrities or roleplaying as characters from other works. It is not totally uncommon on sites like Tumblr to see one person inhabiting several accounts, each taking on the role of another character, all interacting with each other. Other times you can find completely fabricated people used to disguise the truth.

I don’t want to imply this is necessarily a bad thing. It is frequently a wonderful and important tool in discovering more about oneself. We cannot be confined to a single character archetype; we are none of us a singular, consistent concept. But by splitting and exploring all of these avenues of thought, even ones we might not genuinely think or feel ourselves, we can learn a lot about the corners of complexity that comprise us. On top of that, it’s also just an exciting form of storytelling. Roleplay servers and threads promote creative expression in a uniquely online sense, where, to an outside viewer at least, fiction and reality blur. There are dangers there, of course — people make jokes or lies disguised as another that are confused for the truth. Narratives are pushed online that shape our understanding of something, only to later find out it was all false — but broadly I think the internet provides ways to learn about parts of us and humanity that never could have been known before.

Though besides these places, just as much a force of online identity experimentation, are the places that promote anonymity, where people so often seem to expel all of their worst thoughts, festering together in a looping cycle of hate.

Perhaps it is because of all of this that the internet has emerged as a frighteningly effective tool of radicalization, and not all of that is because of people. At least, not directly. Radicalization, fear-mongering, and hatred have become largely self-sufficient online. The Youtube algorithm, that mysterious force nobody fully understands, has evolved into a tool uniquely good at inundating people with radical conservative ideology. Sites like Facebook do all but nothing to stop extremist groups from congregating (though this has been changing recently). And places like 8chan share and revel in murder and suicide.

In Wonderful Everyday’s second chapter, there is a bot that is rumored to be able to predict the future — a sort of digital, AI Nostradamus — that sits quietly at the center of a growing mass paranoia consuming Yuki’s school. Eventually, we learn the truth of the bot: that it predicts nothing, but rather updates to display its “predictions” as soon as certain news stories break. It is little more than a cute prank. But without that knowledge, without that awareness of how it works, the bot acts as confirmation, proof that both something is happening beyond the scope of man, and that it is possible to know it. And if one can know it, then maybe one can be saved from it.

(As a side-note, the play into Nostradamus has a surprisingly interesting history behind it in Japan. A novel titled The Prophecies of Nostradamus, about the great predictor’s messages coming true and signaling the end of Japan, was released in the 70s, acting as a succulent metaphor for the sociopolitical fears surrounding the country at the time, but also becoming one of the driving starts of the Showa Occult Boom, whose influence can be felt all over Japanese media. Things like the Shin Megami Tensei series are very much a product of this!)

We also learn that this bot is a byproduct influenced by a splintered new religious cult. These cults are an almost unavoidable topic when looking at the contemporary Japanese landscape and the art created in the 1990s and 2000s. If you live in Japan for any period of time, you have definitely had at least one of them visit your home, trying to coax you into coming with them and find a purer happiness. These cults, like all cults, prey on the weak and desperate and lonely to empower those on top. They do everything they can to inundate people with new ideas and terminology, and are very focused on making every moment of one’s life related to the cult. That is how you make someone believe. That is how you turn fiction to reality.

And it is with these same principles that Takuji, who seems at the start to be a quiet, nervous kid, utilizes the web and the bot to take control of Yuki’s school. We learn that Takuji is, just like said bot, a result of the same religious cult. There is a self-perpetuating cycle of abuse and control here as he adopts the same techniques of confirmation bias and inundation, presenting himself as the one with answers and a way out. He is the way to be saved. He turns himself into everyone’s only hope for salvation.

But it is clear that Takuji is a lying hypocrite. Though he claims and postures at intellectual superiority, he is unable to genuinely argue his case when met with pushback except through theatrical showmanship and lies. He mocks a teacher for resulting to violence when challenged, and then immediately does just that. His views are narrow-minded, hollow, and easily disproven. Despite that, I’m almost certain I thought similar things when I was younger, even if only to a fraction of the level he does. A lot of the time, I think about how if my life were an inch different, I would have collapsed into thoughts like that and never have found a way out, how the internet could have so easily plunged me into dangerous conservatism.

At one point a drawing of an anime girl on a concrete wall is described as Takuji’s Nyarlathotep, a godly figure from HP Lovecraft’s Cthuhlu mythos that gathers followers, causing them to lose sight of the world. This amounts to only a few scant sentences here (doubtless to be brought back later) but the implications are strong. He is guided by fiction on fiction. Perhaps due to his isolation, the otaku media he consumes has taken over. He can’t understand the distinction between character and person, and can’t understand why we can’t live with the purity of archetypes. And when fiction (racist, conservative fiction no less) takes over, it all begins to collapse. It’s here that he begins to display a harsh misogyny, calling women “whores” and “bitches”. He is like the anime avatar conservative, and he is using fiction as an excuse and explanation for his actions and beliefs.

This sort of vile hatred is unfortunately all too common, especially online, as anybody with even the slightest interest in video games or anime can tell you. Using anime women as a tool of objectification and as twisted evidence that there is something wrong with modern society (often used in the same breath to claim that Japan is a sort of pure, conservative safe-haven), it also brings to mind the pick-up artist industry, which itself functions in a similar way to the radicalization online and the development of cults, this time explicitly centered around misogynist “proof” of masculinity. It always seems to come back to exploiting the confused, the lonely, the desperate for profit and fame.

And if the anime girl is Takuji’s Nyarlathotep, then he has become the school’s, guiding its students to making his planned out stories real. Fiction eats fiction eats fiction; the layers of abuse and control just keep growing.

One only has to look at more recent events developed post-Wonderful Everyday (but of course, being readied even back then) to see a horrible reflection of what occurs in the game: the rise of the alt-right and Qanon. Pizzagate, the insane proto-Qanon conspiracy that Hillary Clinton was operating a child sex trafficking ring under a pizza shop that culminated in a man walking into the restaurant with a gun and firing three shots, is a nightmarish counterpart to the second chapter — a violent result of the internet, abuse, control, and paranoia built up over Nostradamus-esque predictions (which, like Nostradamus, were mostly wrong) carefully designed to insert themselves into every inch of a person’s life. Following Qanon means to see Qanon in everything. Once you see it, there is no rest.

Pizzagate didn’t end with the violence, though. Arson has since been attempted on the restaurant, threats have been made. Recently those who don’t belong to the far right have begun bringing it back up. And I imagine as Wonderful Everyday continues, we will see the same. Things like these never finish in an instant — they pulsate and fester.

Eventually Yuki unravels the schemes and plots and, at the end, reveals them as if a detective in a story. She exposes how everything had been carefully orchestrated by Takuji, and he does not deny it. It was all faked, a carefully constructed story. Except, as we discover in the final moments, that it wasn’t. Somewhere in all of the fiction, something real happened. A strange, shadowy figure much like Nyarlathotep, keeps appearing before Yuki, speaking in a digital mess. The sky turns the color of blood. And as the credits roll, the moon opens its eye.

I’ve already gotten used to my tinnitus. In just a few weeks, it has stopped bothering me. I hardly notice it most of the time. But it’s there, inserting itself into everything I do, everything I think. A high pitched whine. I’ve since become hyper-aware of the cries machinery and technology make, unsure for a moment if they are all in my head or not. I think a lot about how hard it must be to not be able to ignore it, mask it, drown it out, to have the screaming only ever get louder and louder as your hearing gets worse and worse until it is all that is left. It sounds like a nightmare. It can happen so easily.

And that’s another part down! Sorry my thoughts are messy and all over the place…and that I didn’t talk about the actual game much, but that’s the kind of mood Wonderful Everyday inspires. So much to think about! So much to research! And so much that feels very very relevant to today.

I’m definitely excited to see where things go from here. Hopefully I’ll see you all again real soon.

Take it easy and keep it breezy, compadres!



Baxter's Tsundoku

cool dude with ‘tude writing for fun Twitter: @cosmicspooks