|Sōta Sarushiro||Image Gallery||Sprite Gallery|
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|But aren't prosecutors crazy scary or something? Constantly glaring at you and everything!|
Sōta Sarushiro was an employee of the Berry Big Circus who was accused of murdering Manosuke Naitō. Despite appearing to be a very shy and meek individual, he was actually a deeply calculating and bitter man who manipulated others in his quest for revenge.
Father's taste testerEdit
- Main article: The Inherited Turnabout
The man who would be known as Sōta Sarushiro was the son of the pastry chef Yutaka Kazami. When he was a small boy, he made a friend at school, whose father was Isaku Hyōdō, also known as Paul Holic. In December 2000, the fathers collaborated in a dessert-making contest run by the famous television chef Issei Tenkai. Hyōdō, being a sculptor by trade, lacked skill at making his desserts taste good but was able to create impressive designs, while Kazami was the opposite, but they worked together to cover each other's faults. Additionally, since his father began to suffer from ageusia, he would help Kazami by tasting his creations for him, though everyone else believed that he was just there to watch.
On the last day of the contest, Hyōdō betrayed Kazami. He made his own son stop Kazami's son from trying to help his father. Hyōdō's son, while crying and begging for forgiveness, bound his best friend's wrists and legs and went into Hyōdō's car with him. In the freezing cold, the car door froze over so that neither of them could escape.
The two boys would have eventually died, had it not been for the chance arrival of Ryōken Hōinbō, a blind professional assassin who just happened to be passing by at the time with his dog Kuro, who noticed the pair. Hōinbō saved the boys and took them to the Happy Family Home orphanage, as the trauma caused by their near-death experience left them unable to recall much from before their rescue. Meanwhile, Kazami killed Hyōdō in a rage and then fled the country, abandoning the search for his son, so that neither child had a relative to identify them. They eventually went by the names Sōta Sarushiro and Manosuke Naitō.
Terror at the orphanageEdit
- Main article: SS-5 Incident
Sarushiro would meet Hōinbō again seven years later, when the assassin was given the job of killing President Teikun Ō of Zheng Fa at the orphanage. Sarushiro watched Hōinbō and his victim as Ō played a recording from a doll of Borumosu and begged his killer for the chance to meet the son he had never met, Shimon Aizawa, but was refused this request. The subsequent attack caused a horn to be dislodged from the doll, which was needed in order to play back the recording. Hōinbō's employers - a body double of Teikun Ō, orphanage director Marī Miwa, and Chief Prosecutor Bansai Ichiyanagi - planned to betray and kill the assassin, but Sarushiro heard this and sought to repay Hōinbō for previously saving his own life. The boy did so by setting a fire in front of the orphanage to distract the traitors so that the assassin could escape. The two would go on to have a father/son-like relationship, with Sarushiro determined not to become "a weak person who could get murdered".
The three co-conspirators succeeded in replacing Ō with the body double and making the whole affair look like a kidnapping, with the sole known witness, Ryūji Kamei, being murdered. Sarushiro knew the truth, retrieved the horn, and drew a picture of the scene just moments before Ō's death. He showed the drawing to detective Dai-Long Lang during his investigation of what became known as the SS-5 Incident. Lang, knowing how the truth that their president was a fake would impact his home country of Zheng Fa, chose to hide it, though he ended up arresting Miwa for Kamei's murder. However, through Ichiyanagi's manipulations, Miwa was acquitted.
Afterwards, Miwa subjected Sarushiro to constant interrogations. At night, the boy would call out for his father, wondering why he never came to save him. Eventually, he ran away, leaving the horn behind, but was forced to hide from Ichiyanagi's henchmen in the years following Ō's assassination. Unable to have the police help him because they were under Ichiyanagi's control, Sarushiro lost all trust in other people, and felt he had no other option but to take matters into his own hands. He eventually joined the Berry Big Circus as a clown and trainee animal trainer under Regina Berry.
At some point, Sarushiro remembered the day that he had been tied up and locked in the car, but his memory was still muddled. He thought that Hyōdō was his father and Kazami was Naitō's father. He believed that Kazami was the one who had betrayed Hyōdō, as well as being the one who had killed "his" father. He fostered a secret desire to take revenge on Naitō, even while the two kept in touch, thinking that if Naitō hadn't stopped him and tied him up, "his" father wouldn't have been killed. He also plotted revenge against the three co-conspirators from the SS-5 Incident, though with the sheer amount of authority that all of them had, Sarushiro had to wait for a perfect opportunity to exact his vengeance.
Masterminding the gameEdit
Naitō and the body doubleEdit
- Main article: Turnabout Target
|Whoa! Don't try to pin that on me. Naitō killed him all on his own. Well, it ended up creating the perfect opportunity for me... It's funny how things work out!|
In March 2019, the body double came to the United States to give a speech to thank the Prosecutor's office for ridding Zheng Fa of the Cohdopian smuggling ring. Sarushiro saw his chance to eliminate one of the conspirators, as well as to set in motion the events that would allow him to get his revenge upon Naitō, who was working as one of the president's bodyguards. He hired an infamous assassin called Shelly de Killer to do the deed, but did not reveal to him that the target was an imposter. Two days before the speech, de Killer infiltrated the president's bodyguards to fulfill his contract. He attacked Naitō, injuring the bodyguard's neck in the process, but he soon found himself overpowered by the head bodyguard, Gai Tojiro, and forced to escape.
The Berry Big Circus performed regularly at a prison where Miwa had become warden. Sarushiro saw an opportunity to get rid of both Miwa and Naitō. Sarushiro subtly suggested to his friend that he should work with "Ō" to stage an assassination attempt in order to boost the president's abysmal ratings back in Zheng Fa. Sarushiro knew that Naitō would likely end up arrested if the fake assassination plot turned real. The security plans were changed so that only Tojiro and Naitō were in the immediate vicinity of the stage, as well as to account for Naitō's neck injury so that he could still pull off "his" plan.
When the speech and fake assassination attempt occurred, de Killer appeared again to try to kill the "president". He took Naitō hostage and forced him to let him and prosecutor Miles Edgeworth inside the president's plane. De Killer was unable to get "Ō" to leave his room, where he was safely locked, even after threatening Naitō's life. This was when the assassin realized that he had intentionally been given a false target (as the real Ō would have never acted so cowardly), and abandoned his contract. Eventually Edgeworth figured out what Naitō had done and had him arrested for the murder of Tojiro.
Saved by EdgeworthEdit
- Main article: The Imprisoned Turnabout
|But then, a turnabout of miraculous proportions! The genius prosecutor himself had come to my rescue! Well, doesn't it feel nice to be thanked by me, the one that you saved?|
Sarushiro kept in touch with both Hōinbō and Naitō by playing correspondence chess matches with them. At some point, he began secretly having them play each other, with each believing that he was playing against Sarushiro. For this purpose, Sarushiro would receive each letter and transcribe it into either English or braille before sending it to the unwitting opponent. Sarushiro used this to complete his plan to have Miwa kill Naitō.
By the time of Naitō's arrest, Hōinbō had been arrested and sent to Miwa's prison. The assassin's knowledge of Shimon Aizawa, which would blow the body double's cover, allowed him to start blackmailing Miwa. The warden also became paranoid due to his claim that he had outside agents who would try to kill her. After his arrest, Naitō was transferred to the detention center next to this prison to await his trial.
Sarushiro executed the next phase of his plan; he visited Naitō and gave him a chessboard containing a chisel. Miwa soon interrogated Naitō, believing that he was one of Hōinbō's cronies due to the correspondence chess letters, and opened the chessboard to find the chisel. Since Hōinbō had obtained chisels through his blackmailing of the prison warden, this caused Miwa's paranoia to reach a breaking point. She stabbed Naitō with Hōinbō's knife, killing him instantly.
Unfortunately for Sarushiro, Bansai Ichiyanagi, who had by now become the chair of the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee (P.I.C.), had his son Yumihiko and fellow committee member Hakari Mikagami take over the case from Edgeworth. They indicted Sarushiro for the murder, seeing as how he was apparently the only one with the opportunity to commit the deed due to having access to the prison as a performer for the Berry Big Circus. Despite this turn of events, Tateyuki Shigaraki became Sarushiro's lawyer, and Sarushiro also managed to convince Edgeworth to try to save him from this false charge. Edgeworth temporarily became Shigaraki's assistant, allowing him to eventually overcome Yumihiko and Mikagami to have Miwa indicted as the true culprit.
Abduction and murderEdit
|Truth be told, all I did was send some letters. I let Tsubasa in on Bansai's secrets, and let Bansai in on Tsubasa's secrets. And then, the two simply ended up trying to kill each other.|
In addition to the above plots, Sarushiro was also working to bring down Bansai. He anonymously communicated with both Tsubasa Kagome, Kamei's former girlfriend, and Bansai, telling each about the other's secrets. Via this method he was able to convince Kagome to take revenge on Bansai on April 4, 2019, while at the same time warning Bansai that Kagome was going to kill him. This ensured that one of them would kill the other.
If Bansai succeeded in killing Kagome, he had to be caught. To ensure that Edgeworth would take the case, Sarushiro decided to have one of the prosecutor's assistants, Kay Faraday, framed for the murder that was about to happen. He anonymously invited her to Gourd Lake, whereupon he drugged her with a powerful sleeping drug and planted a bug inside her Yatagarasu's Badge, which could be turned on or off remotely. Via a hot air balloon used for advertising the Berry Big Circus, Sarushiro flew Faraday to the roof of the Big Tower, the building where the P.I.C. was based. To Sarushiro's surprise, the body double was at the top of the tower, conversing with Mikagami. The fake president told Mikagami to leave and then fired at the balloon after she had done so, hitting the underside. Sarushiro responded by landing the balloon on top of the man, crushing him to death.
Sarushiro was now left with a very serious problem, as the body double's murder would distract attention from the other murder case he had set up. He took the imposter's gun and decided to hide the body inside a refrigerated warehouse that had been contracted out to the Berry Big Circus for storing the animals' food in order to throw off the time of death. The following night, Sarushiro looked for a place to dump the body, and came across a temporary film lot beside the Big Tower. There, he discovered that Shimon Aizawa, who had become a child actor, had accidentally started a fire, causing a large Borumosu head prop to fall. Sarushiro took this opportunity to plant the body in the film lot to frame Aizawa for the murder.
Kagome's body was soon discovered and Sarushiro's "pawns" once again acted just as he knew they would. Sarushiro was able to follow the entire investigation to make sure that Edgeworth would triumph over Bansai, and he saw Edgeworth resign as a prosecutor. The day after Sarushiro dumped the body double's corpse inside the film lot, Edgeworth appeared before the P.I.C. and succeeded in having Bansai indicted for the murder, with the help of his allies (including the unexpected aid of Mikagami). It was shortly after this that Penny Nichols and Shi-Long Lang discovered the body double's corpse and Edgeworth was thrust into yet another murder investigation.
- Main article: The Grand Turnabout
|Hm. So, it's come to this after all. You were always so full of confidence, Mr. Edgeworth. But, I rather like that, because now... I can rip that confidence to shreds.|
April 6 also happened to be the date of Miwa's trial for the murder of Manosuke Naitō. Knowing that Miwa and Bansai would continue to try to corrupt the process and that the presiding judge for the case was Mikagami, Aizawa's adoptive mother, Sarushiro decided to ensure a guilty verdict by kidnapping Aizawa and blackmailing the judge. Sarushiro drugged Aizawa at the Big Tower's waste disposal site and placed him in a box so that he would be taken to a garbage dump. Sarushiro then reclaimed the box from the dump and took it to the warehouse where he had stored the body double.
By the time Sarushiro made it to the District Court with Berry, however, he discovered that Bansai had also apparently kidnapped "Aizawa" and was blackmailing Mikagami into ensuring a not guilty verdict. Edgeworth, Faraday, Sarushiro, and Berry agreed to look for Aizawa, and the latter two went to the Sunshine Coliseum while Edgeworth and Faraday stayed outside the Big Tower to investigate. Edgeworth came across the freelance journalist Mikiko Hayami, who had seen where the kidnappers had gone. Sarushiro considered the fact that Hayami knew about the kidnapping, and quickly realized that Hayami was unwittingly intercepting the bug that he had implanted.
Edgeworth went on to find that Bansai's henchmen had actually kidnapped the wrong person, instead having captured Yumihiko, who was supposed to prosecute Miwa's trial. Sarushiro later called Edgeworth to taunt him, using a voice-changer to mask his voice, and turning off the bug so that the call would not be intercepted by Hayami. Edgeworth deduced from background noise in the call that the caller had been near Sunshine Coliseum, and this helped Faraday and Dick Gumshoe find Aizawa while Yumihiko went to prosecute Miwa's trial and confront his father. Through this trial, Bansai's authority over the SS-5 Incident case files was revoked, allowing Edgeworth to solve the case once and for all.
Armed with the truth behind the SS-5 Incident, Edgeworth went on to deduce Sarushiro's various manipulations and confronted the man. Sarushiro repeatedly foiled Edgeworth using all of the precautions that he had taken, and claimed that he had told Aizawa about the body double to make him exact his revenge. However, traces of lion lily pollen on the bottom of the balloon proved that he had murdered the body double, thus unraveling the entire web of manipulations. Sarushiro made to use the gun that he had stolen to attempt an escape, but de Killer appeared, determined to kill Sarushiro for lying to him about who the president was. Luckily for Sarushiro, Hōinbō suddenly appeared and asked de Killer to spare Sarushiro's life. De Killer agreed to call off his vendetta, and the manipulative Sarushiro was arrested for his crimes.
|Now, now, Kay. The person he's talking about now isn't Miles, but rather, Sōta himself. Clearly, he is not able to trust others. The desire to save someone other than himself is something he cannot even comprehend...|
Sarushiro put on the appearance of a shy and meek man who would faint when Edgeworth glared at him. He would often cover his eyes, ears, or mouth and acted as if he was an honest, if rather simple, person who missed his friend Naitō. Adding to his seemingly harmless appearance was his trick of occasionally having Money, the circus monkey, "control" his facial expressions and arms using Sarushiro's hair, like a puppet.
However, this was all a façade to hide the sort of person he truly was: a confident, manipulative, and scheming individual who was quick to mock and condescend others. He trusted no one, and felt that the legal system was too corrupt and incompetent to help him. Sarushiro would find and exploit what he perceived as emotional weaknesses in others to get them to do what he wanted. This manipulation extended to the circus animals; Sarushiro posed as an animal tamer who could not tame animals, but in reality, he could get them to adjust his appearance and even form a makeshift armrest. Sarushiro was also particularly prone to bouts of maniacal laughter upon dropping his "harmless" persona.
Sarushiro was unpredictable and missed no opportunity to get under the skin of others, including Faraday, Mikagami, Lang, and especially Edgeworth. He would accuse them of going after him without any evidence for their own personal satisfaction, just like Bansai. He believed that Edgeworth's efforts to save people were all an act to satisfy a petty desire to imitate his father, and went so far as to mimic Edgeworth's voice to mock him. Due to being alone and on the run for so long, Sarushiro could not understand that his opponents did not always have ulterior motives, and saw them as complicit in the corruption that they supposedly worked to fight against. When he found out that Kazami was his father, he grew to resent him, and was upset that they shared so many similarities.
Sarushiro's situation has many parallels with several other people, including Tsukasa Oyashiki, Yumihiko Ichiyanagi, Shimon Aizawa, Kay Faraday, and Miles Edgeworth; all felt the despair of losing their father figures and all, other than Edgeworth, grappled with the notion of either avenging their father figures or seeking revenge against them. Each of them had someone to help them and show them another way, but Sarushiro had no one. His obsession with revenge was a driving force behind Aizawa choosing not to exact his own revenge on Hōinbō. After Sarushiro's arrest, Edgeworth resolved to save people like him as a prosecutor, by fighting the contradictions in the law and ensuring that it would be on the people's side, instead of being abused for personal gain.
- His Japanese surname contains the kanji 猿 ("saru"), which means "monkey". Not only does he have a close relationship with Money the monkey, but, combined with his meek persona's habit of covering his eyes, ears, and mouth, this is a reference to the Three Wise Monkeys. His name also serves as a subtle hint for Japanese players, as in Turnabout Target, Shelly de Killer referred to his client as "a monkey person". "Shiro" could come from the Japanese word for "mastermind" (首謀者).
- His Japanese given name "Sōta" sounds phonetically similar to the affirmative phrase "そうだ" ("sou da"), meaning "that's right", which could be meant to evoke his image as a yes-man.
- His English name in the unofficial fan translation patch for Gyakuten Kenji 2 is "Simon Keyes", which is a play on "shy monkeys". This is referenced by Raymond Shields (Tateyuki Shigaraki) at one point when he unintentionally refers to him as "Shy Monkees" after almost forgetting his name. His given name could also be a reference to the children's game "Simon Says", a game in which one person makes others do as they say, much like Sarushiro's own ability to manipulate people.
The design on Sarushiro's shirt is that of Global Hero Onyankopon, who had previously appeared in Farewell, My Turnabout as a background character during that episode's introductory cutscene set during the Hero of Heroes Grand Prix. Interestingly, Bansai Ichiyanagi wears the mask of the series' villain (Zurvan, Ruler of Time) as a disguise during the black market auction.