”Wash your necks and wait!” commands gamer who didn’t get the item he wanted.

Over the years, Japanese software developer Square Enix has created some of video gaming’s most diabolical antagonists, from Dragon Quest’s Dragonlord to Final Fantasy VII’s Sephiroth. Within the games, these evil-doers’ machinations are undone by heroic adventurers armed with enchanted weaponry and magical powers, but when a real-life villain appeared, Square Enix turned to more mundane, yet no less effective protectors.

On February 5, the Tokyo-based company received an email, sent to the contact address for one of the games it publishes, which read:

“Employees of Square Enix! Tomorrow I’m going to kill you. Wash your necks and wait!”

That last part might seem a little strange, but it’s actually a standard, if very old-school, death threat in Japanese. See, back in the feudal era, samurai were really into severed heads. If you were slain by an adversary, there was a chance your killer would chop off your head and present it to his lord as proof of his contributions on the battlefield, and just imagine how embarrassing it would be if your neck was dirty at the time.

Because of that, “wash your neck,” or some variation of it, basically means “I’m going to kill you.” But while that’d be fine dialogue before a boss battle in one of Square Enix’s video games, it’s not nearly as appropriate for real-world correspondence. After receiving the email, Square Enix tightened its office security measures and contacted the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Shinjuku Precinct (which has jurisdiction over the neighborhood where the company is headquartered). The police have since announced that their quest for justice has led to the arrest of a 25-year-old man who lives half-way across the country, in the town of Yoshinogawa in Tokushima Prefecture.

The man, who works in the nursing care industry and was taken into custody on March 29, has admitted to sending the email. So what’s his beef with Square Enix? Randomized loot boxes/gacha gameplay mechanics. “I used more than 200,000 yen [US$1,800] on a game, but I didn’t get the item I wanted,” he told investigators, “so I sent the email to take revenge.”

It’s not clear whether or not the man intended to follow through on his threat, but considering that he did not, in fact, show up at Square Enix’s offices the day after he sent the email, it seems like perhaps his intended revenge was limited to merely trying to frighten Square Enix’s employees. Even that is enough to get you in trouble with the law, however, and he now faces charges of criminal intimidation and forcible obstruction of business operations.

Sadly, this wasn’t the first threatening email Square Enix has recently received from disgruntled players. Since September of last year, the company has received more than 30 such messages, many of which include the phrase “I’m going to kill you/your staff,” and the police are continuing to look for their senders.

And oh, there’s no word as to what specific game the man who made the death threat had been playing, perhaps because “Our drop rates are so low you’ll want to murder us” isn’t the sort of marketing Square Enix wants.

Source: Livedoor News/Yomiuri Shimbun via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he didn’t get the gacha Final Fantasy keychain he wanted, but didn’t feel the need to kill anyone over it.