Disgaea 4 Complete+ is a remastered definitive edition of a 2011 released game and yet, its ‘False News’ Chapter 4 storyline has never been more culturally relevant than today.
This article contains spoilers to Chapter 4 of Disgaea 4 Complete+.
Despite being released several years prior to the term ‘Fake News’ becoming ingrained in our society, revisiting Disgaea 4 Complete+’s lead storyline feels surreally modern. One of those rare cases where light hearted art and satire becomes ice cold reality. NIS were clearly miles ahead of their time, lightyears away in fact. As playing Chapter 4 “Death Emizel’s Death” matches the current state of affairs in journalism and media almost beat for beat.
The character Death Emizel is the son of the President of the Netherworld in Disgaea 4 Complete+, and after being knocked out by aspiring ‘Final Boss’ Desco… A Netherworld newspaper prints out a story that he’d passed on. Emizel had fledged his whole existence and pride on being the aristocratic, royalty-like son of the Netherworld President. The youngster becomes even further mortified that a funeral service occurred with haste. He pledges to go to the Netherworld’s Information Bureau to fix what he believes will be a simple correction.
However, when Emizel arrives at the Information Bureau, security guards will not believe he is the real Emizel, despite literally standing right in front of them. They cite the newspaper story as truth, and that if he was really alive it would have been reported.
Instead they believe he is bringing shame to the ‘deceased’ Emizel by playing an ‘imposter’ so-to-speak. Their blind faith and loyalty in the word of ink suppresses even their own eyes. Reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, the word of ‘the corrupternment’ and their newspaper is absolute and unquestioned. Contrarian opinions are to be discarded into the scrap heap, thrown into the dumpster on the side of an alley.
Disheartened, Emizel can not reconcile what is happening to his entire identity. He is beside himself at the thought that ‘the corrupternment’ has cast him out as persona non grata. Worse, the fallen son begins to comprehend the idea that facts alone cannot overcome popular belief and dogma. His real physical presence cannot supersede the already printed false news of his reported death.
Netherworld False News no accident
Fenrich, a second-in-command to the game’s protagonist Valvatorez, reveals to him that he’d sent a blackmailing video to Emizel’s father… One of Emizel being knocked out and scattering away. Thus, it’s likely it was actually Emizel’s own father, the President of the Netherworld, that ordered the ‘false news’ of his death be published. All in an effort to avoid public embarrassment and scrutiny from the Netherworld at large. Though highly plausible, Emizel cannot accept the scenario of his father’s ultimate abandonment. Other characters like Fuka Kazumatsuri attempt to prod Emizel ever so gently to see the truth but to no avail.
The prodigal son feels if he can just talk to the Information Bureau’s Chief, the story will be corrected. That a return to his elite throne of hereditary prestige was still in grasp… Emizel was wrong.
The Information Bureau Chief reveals the unsympathetic truth to Emizel, his father had indeed ordered them to run the story. As such that it was the President of the Netherworld’s direct order to print the ‘False News’ story, they cannot withdraw it from the public sphere. Whether Emizel is alive or not is irrelevant to the larger picture of the Netherworld’s corrupternment agenda and image.
Disillusioned, Emizel decides to give in to Valvatorez’ earlier words about leaving behind the established regime… A regime that once worked tirelessly in his favor. Emizel is convinced to join Valvatorez’ rebellion against the corrupternment now that the system no longer includes him in it. The once noble reduced to civilian life.
Disclosure: A review copy of Disgaea 4 Complete+ for the PlayStation 4 was provided to The Natural Aristocrat / Live Game Deals courtesy of NIS America.
Be sure to check out Live Game Deals’ interview with Nippon Ichi Software President Sohei Niikawa on Disgaea!
LiveGameDeals.com is The Natural Aristocrat’s Gaming and Anime dedicated platform.