Get out now if you hate spoilers† AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA InitiativeKotaro Uchikoshi’s latest mystery masterpiece, has a special treat that left fans scratching their heads at the end of the game. Who is Dahliaboot? What does it mean before? Mysteries always have discussions like this at the end, and fans argue about the truth behind the name.
It would be easy if Dahlia Boat were just a name, but it isn’t. It’s the code used to unlock the second half of the story during Ryuki’s Somnium at the start of the game. It asks, “Do you know the name of the perpetrator?” Entering “Dahlia Boat” will continue to Mizuki’s Route. Most confusing is the fact that Dahlia Boat is not the name of the culprit. Not even close.
It begs the question: Why Dahlia Boat? If it’s not the perpetrator’s name, why does it exist? Ryuki doesn’t even bring it up, except when he sings it in his Somnium. Tearer, the murder mastermind’s code name, doesn’t even mention the name “Dahlia Boat” in one go. Players can only get both sides of the name by reaching both ends in Ryuki’s route. One side will tell the player that the culprit’s real name is Dahlia. The other will say it’s Boot. You put that together to get Dahlia Boat.
Those who made it to the end of the game may know the “nil number” or “nil code” to unlock the secret ending. Many believe that Dahlia Boat is a similar code – a name just used to unlock the next part of the story and “break the seams of that world”.
Simulation is one of the main themes in AI Nirvana† Naix, the sect that believes the world is a simulation, strives to achieve ‘Moksha’. Moksha is the name of their state of enlightenment, which can only be found when they break the “seams” of the world and go beyond it.
Tokiko, the organization leader, explains to Ryuki the ‘bugs’ in this world, which correspond to these so-called ‘seams’. For example, the phenomenon Bernstein Bears where many mistakenly remember the wrong name of the popular children’s series. Also in the game they bring out the discrepancy between Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Liberty Island doesn’t exist, so why do people still think the Statue of Liberty is there? It all has to do with bugs in the game of our world.
Many have discussed the meaning behind “Dahlia Boat” and come to different conclusions. The most popular theory is the one about the world tearing at the seams. It creates a paradox. Ryuki shouldn’t know both “Dahlia” and “Boat” because Tearer offers the names in different timelines. So it’s something that exists, but shouldn’t.
“I believe it was to create a tear in the seams,” wrote one Redditor. “If [Ryuki] survived, at one point he would call him Dahlia Boat when all he would do was tell him his name is Boat, which would have the same effect as the zero number in the secret ending so he could reach Moksha.
However, since there is no “word from god” as to what it really means, others have their own interpretations.
“My theory is that it is related to the escape game’ (Zero Escape) that Uru liked to play on the computer. ‘Boot’ for the ship in 999, ‘Dahlia’ for the black dahlia Phi wears in her hair,’ suggested another person. For context, Mizuki found a reference to Zero Escape (another work by Uchikoshi) on Uru’s computer while researching under the institution where he was held as a child.
Dahlia Boat also translates to “HELPME FSEX” when decoded with ROT22 encryption code. It seems oddly intentional, given how it translates into a mostly readable sentence. “Help me” is easier, but “fsex” still confuses many decoders. Many interpret it as F for feminine, also called “female gender” added together. One Redditor pointed out that it could be related to a Oedipus complexas Uru really loved his adoptive mother.
So there is no consensus on who or what Dahlia Boat really is. What we do know is that it is used to refer to Uru Somezeki, the real Tearer, and it is a code that has a meaning beyond a name.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative is available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.