Barok van Zieks
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Barok van Zieks[3] was a legendary English prosecutor. He was known as the "Death God of the Old Bailey" due to the fact that all defendants that he had prosecuted would supposedly wind up dying in some way or another, regardless of their innocence or guilt. This "curse" eventually led to a five-year leave of absence.[4] Upon his return, he prosecuted trials against Ryūnosuke Naruhodō.

Background[edit | edit source]

First becoming an assistant prosecutor.

When Barok van Zieks first became a prosecutor, his brother, Klimt was already chief prosecutor. Barok was attacked by thugs multiple times for being the younger brother of a noble, high-ranking prosecutor. Once, he was attacked in the alleys of London late at night with a Japanese exchange student named Genshin Asōgi. Although the thugs were really after Genshin, the Japanese man saved Barok and they became good friends. But all that changed when he seemed to betray Barok by being convicted for supposedly being The Professor.

The Professor, who was believed to be Genshin at the time, used a huge hound dog to kill people of noble ranking. The fifth and final victim of the killings was Barok’s brother, Klimt van Zieks. Barok had suspected his brother to be The Professor, since Klimt wasn't acting like himself, and had a history of being damaged greatly when fellow nobles would use the public to only strengthen their position. The Professor's third victim was the chief justice at the time, whom prosecutor Hart Vortex took the place of. The victim had been Klimt's mentor and benefactor, so Barok discarded his suspicions of Klimt being The Professor, as he ‘knew his brother would never kill someone like that’. The Professor case had shook the whole of London, and the trial was held in secret under orders from the Queen to avoid war. Barok, who wanted revenge for the death of his brother, pleaded Vortex multiple times to be allowed to prosecute the case. Eventually, he was granted permission to prosecute Genshin, and Vortex provided him assistance in court. This was Barok’s first ever case, which he won by securing a guilty verdict for Genshin. He lost his second where his defendant was Seishirou Jigoku who smashed the witness stand trying to plead Genshin's innocence.

Barok lost his next case as a prosecutor after the defendant, Chalan Musgrave, threatened the jury into giving him a non guilty verdict. Three days later, he died after being crushed by a concrete block under a construction site. Since then, Barok was labelled as a Death Bringer. Following that trial, all of the not guilty defendants had died under mysterious circumstances. In response, the people of London spread the rumor that the Grim Reaper, the force said to be causing the deaths, was actually the ghost of Klimt van Zieks attached to Barok. It was said he was bringing down justice where his younger brother couldn't. Because of this ‘curse’, Barok was frequently attacked by underlings of victims of the Reaper. However, he was rarely defeated by them.

Encounters with Naruhodō[edit | edit source]

Return to the courtroom[edit | edit source]

The Death Bringer is back.

Main article: The Adventure of the Runaway Room

After a five year absence, van Zieks returned to prosecuting. He prosecuted Cosney Megundal, who was accused of murdering Mortar Milverton, against Japanese defense attorney Ryūnosuke Naruhodō. Despite pressing his case, van Zieks lost, and Megundal received an unjust acquittal due to forged evidence. However, Megundal was killed in a fire shortly afterward, provoking the Death Bringer curse once again.

A simple case[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Adventure of the Clouded Kokoro

Soon after Megundal's trial, van Zieks prosecuted Sōseki Natsume, who was accused of the attempted murder of Viridian Green. Van Zieks again faced off against Naruhodō in the trial. Although van Zieks lost this case as well, justice was served, as Joan Garrideb, one of the case's jurors, was revealed to have accidentally stabbed Green in the back. This makes Natsume the very first defendant of van Zieks to go free and live.

A simple case's aftermath[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Memoirs of the Clouded Kokoro

However, the following day, Sōseki Natsume was put on trial again, this time for the attempted murder of his fellow lodger, William Petenshy. Van Zieks prosecuted this case against Naruhodō, and again lost. In a shocking turn of events, it was revealed that Viridian Green was actually Petenshy's attempted murderer. But Petenshy wasn't innocent either as he actually killed Green's fiance, Duncan Ross, in an attempt to get a hidden treasure.

Lestrade's trial[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Adventure of the Unspeakable Story

About two months later, van Zieks prosecuted Gina Lestrade, who was accused of murdering Hatch Windibank. Again, van Zieks prosecuted against Naruhodō and lost, after it was revealed that Windibank was murdered by Robert Crogley. Here, it was revealed that Megundal's death was actually caused by a fake bailiff paid by Crogley.

Naruhodō's return, and prosecuting a friend[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Return of the Great Departed Soul

Six months after Lestrade's trial, van Zieks prosecuted another case against Naruhodō. The scientist and his own former fellow university student Benjamin Dobinbough was accused of murdering his volunteer, Elyder Meningen. The victim was also prosecuted by van Zieks a month prior, but he bribed the jury to get acquitted. The criminal organization the victim lead attacked van Zieks with guns, but he was not harmed. Once again, despite the assistance of his "Masked Disciple", van Zieks lost after it was revealed that a former grave robber named Enoch Drebber conspired with coroner Courtney Sithe to kill Meningen. It was then he sent Dobinbough back to Germany, so his believed to be ‘curse‘ wouldn't cause his death. After the trial, he decided to show Naruhodō and Susato the face beneath the Professor’s mask, Genshin Asōgi, to explain his hatred of the Japanese.

In the defendant's seat[edit | edit source]

Main articles: Twisted Karma and His Last Bow and The Resolve of Naruhodō Ryūnosuke

Some time later, Barok van Zieks found himself accused of murder. He was investigating Tobias Gregson to see whether or not his Grim Reaper curse was actually a conspiracy somehow connected to Gregson. Upon reading a note containing an address and meeting time from Detective Gregson's office, he found a room: ”Hugh Boone's" apartment located on Fresno Street just outside of London. But when Barok arrived at 5 pm and headed for the desk, he heard a ‘gunshot’ (later identified as firecrackers). It was then that three peddlers came in from the street, and mistook van Zieks as Gregson's killer. After "Boone" knocked over a board by the door, van Zieks found the detective's corpse. When someone went to find a patrolman, Barok picked up a gun on the ground without thinking; this ended with his arrest when the police arrived on the scene.

He initially rejected any attorneys that offered to help his case. Barok later came to trust Naruhodō after he shows him a photo that Gregson left on his table. The photo was taken back when Barok was still an assistant prosecutor and his brother was still alive. With Kazuma Asōgi prosecuting the secret trial, it was revealed that Gregson's killer was actually Seishirou Jigoku.

Eventually, the truth behind the Professor killings is revealed following Barok’s initial trial. He is visibly shaken when he learns that his brother, Klimt, really had been the true identity of the Professor (after Naruhodō suggested that Klimt’s confession of being the Professor was said to be Genshin's "final weapon"). But after discovering Klimt's will, it was revealed that Hart Vortex blackmailed him into killing three nobles, including the previous chief justice. It was also revealed that Barok's own Grime Reaper curse was indeed a conspiracy led by Vortex, who then ordered Gregson and Ann Sasha kill all the Not Guilty defendants. He also forced Watson, and later Sithe, to forge the autopsy records of those killed by the Reaper. Gregson and Watson only accepted these orders on the condition that Barok would not be held responsible for these ‘Reaper killings’. Vortex had chosen Barok to bear the weight of being the Grim Reaper, as he knew that the people of London would spread the rumor he created that the Reaper was actually his brother Klimt handing out justice to criminals who bribed their way to a 'not guilty' verdict. Vortex had taken advantage of Barok's strong attachment for his older brother, knowing that Barok would willingly accept the curse to feel as if his brother was by his side, even if it was only a rumor being spread around.

Barok van Zieks decided to let go of his brother’s ghost for good after these truths were revealed, and move on like his "foreign friend" told him to. He also invited Benjamin Dobinbough back to England and would give him a tour once he finished his work.

Personality[edit | edit source]


Van Zieks was most well known for the "curse" that befell everyone whom he prosecuted. At least some of the deaths were due to natural causes (according to Sherlock Holmes) or the machinations of others unrelated to van Zieks. Among his defendants, Sōseki Natsume, Gina Lestrade, and Benjamin Dobinbough are not known to have died shortly after their trials, all of whom had Ryūnosuke Naruhodō as their defense attorney.

Van Zieks's bench attitude was dominated by a contradictory mix of imperturbable refinement and theatrics. He was extremely unflappable, rarely showing any sign of distress until late in a trial, and even then his reactions were quite muted. Though interested more in finding the truth than his win record, he did not cut the defense any slack. He had a wry sense of humor and often used snark at the expense of the defense, their assistants, and any other witnesses he found bothersome. He became notably upset when someone he trusted betrayed him.[5] He did appear to have some sort of soft spot, as he personally ensured that a witness who had tampered with a crime scene to make an anniversary date kept his job.

Van Zieks often got away with outrageous actions at the bench, though this was tempered by a semblance of social grace. Aberrant behavior such as slamming the desk with his boot to object was frequently followed up by an apology for the behavior. Such apologies were obvious lip service as he did not make any actual effort to moderate his actions or mocking. Prominent among his bizarre bench behavior was his habit of bringing wine, though he only rarely actually drank the glasses that he poured. Instead, he smashed them wantonly to intimidate the defense and emphasize his points. When the court proceedings required van Zieks to change tacks, he would fling his bottle into the gallery behind him with little regard to whom it might hit. Over three cases that he prosecuted against Naruhodō, at least three bottles and 19 glasses were broken. Despite all this, the prosecution's bench and van Zieks's clothes would remain immaculate.

Genshin Asōgi's supposed betrayal of van Zieks deeply wounded him, causing the prosecutor to develop a resentment for all Japanese people. This was seen in his treatment of Naruhodō, never using his name in court as a sign of disrespect. Eventually, however, Naruhodō's attitude and dedication to the truth intrigued van Zieks. While the prosecutor has preference for prosecuting heinous crimes, he broke habit in order to have the opportunity to match up against Naruhodō once more. It appears van Zieks is something of a celebrity figure because many tabloids posted speculation columns on why he was taking on a seemingly ordinary case.

Van Zieks was rather more familiar with Sherlock Holmes and his stories than he was willing to openly admit, but he mistrusted the detective's tricky antics and inventions as far as courtroom proceedings went.

One of Barok's few weaknesses is his deceased brother, Klimt. He is always shown grabbing his badge during his damage animations and when talking about the Professor case. This has a different meaning, however, when it's revealed that the badge actually belonged to Klimt. During the final case of this second game, he was shown to be quite shaken while uncovering the mysteries behind the Professor, eventually leading to him screaming in shock when Naruhodō reveals that the actual serial killer was in fact his own brother instead of being his last victim like he thought.

Name[edit | edit source]

  • Van Zieks's name was at first conceived as "Prosecutor Rival", but this was quickly dropped due to it being too obvious. Shu Takumi has stated that there is an origin behind Barok's name, however he considers it too embarrassing to talk about.[6] His surname van Zieks may be a pun on the term banjikyūsu (万事休す) meaning "there is nothing more that can be done; it's all over". van Zieks by itself can also be translated to "of the sick" in Dutch, possibly if unintentionally referencing the Grim Reaper's emergence as a psychopomp during the Black Plague; such fits well with van Zieks' "god of death" persona.
  • Barok's first name is homonymous with Baroque, a style of European architecture, music, and art of the 17th and 18th centuries that followed mannerism and is characterized by ornate detail.

Development[edit | edit source]

  • Shu Takumi conceived of Barok Van Zieks as a prosecutor who could make sure that his defendants could not escape, even under a 19th-century jury trial setting. To fulfill this concept, Takumi came up with the "curse" and subsequent "god of death" persona.[7]
  • In order to make him seem more "English", van Zieks has a unique design for his speech bubbles that is blue and white, rather than the usual red and white.[6]
  • Kazuya Nuri incorporated themes of vampires, wolves and fallen angels in van Zieks's design to illustrate the theme of a god of death and an upper-class character.[8] The fallen angel theme is shown most explicitly in a cross-shaped scar across the bridge of his nose, as well as in a post-Nintendo Direct trailer of Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Bōken, which briefly depicts black wings behind van Zieks as he is introduced. Moreover, compared to other characters in the game, his movements are slower, emphasizing the refined upper-class theme.
    • Van Zieks's wine-flinging habit was likely inspired by a well-known scene in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night where Dracula throws a wine glass during a pre-battle monologue.
  • The animation of van Zieks performing a desk slam with his foot was originally conceived for Godot.[9]
  • In The Return of the Great Departed Soul, it's revealed that Barok picks the grapes from the vineyard for the wine he drinks, and he keeps the wine in barrels in his office. The glasses and bottles are made of the finest craftsman ship; they cry when Barok smashes then. The reason he does that is because of the frustration resulting from what Naruhodō says in court.
  • In the ending credits for the second game, it is revealed that Barok's prosecutor's badge is actually his brother's. Barok had left the courtroom five years prior as he was unable to bear the burden and pressure that came with being labelled as the Reaper.

References[edit | edit source]

Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Bōken characters
Kazuma Asōgi · Taketsuchi Auchi · Beppo · Nikomina Borschevic · Jezail Brett · Robert Crogley · Dmitri Demiglaski · Oscar Fairplay · Joan Garrideb · John Garrideb · Viridian Green · Tobias Gregson · Sherlock Holmes · Satoru Hosonaga · Seishirou Jigoku · Judge (British Empire) · Kuroppoi · Gina Lestrade · Cosney Megundal · Decargo Mieterman · Susato Mikotoba · Yūjin Mikotoba · Mortar Milverton · Ryūnosuke Naruhodō · Sōseki Natsume · Patrick O'Malley · Rola O'Malley · William Petenshy · Piroshko · Adam Redifast · Sanmon Sonohigurashi · Mitrov Stroganov · Nemmy Tinpillar · Tully Tinpillar · Koroumaru Uzukumaru · Taizou Uzukumaru · Barok van Zieks · Hart Vortex · Wagahai · Iris Watson · John Watson · Hatch Windibank
Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Kakugo characters
Mrs. Altamont · Genshin Asōgi · Kazuma Asōgi · Taketsuchi Auchi · Balmung · Harry Barricade · Jezail Brett · Maurice de Quilco · Marco di Gicho · Benjamin Dobinbough · Enoch Drebber · Oscar Fairplay · John Garrideb · Gotts · Maria Goulloyne · Viridian Green · Tobias Gregson · Sherlock Holmes · Satoru Hosonaga · Seishirou Jigoku · Judge (British Empire) · Gina Lestrade · Heita Mamemomi · Rumba Marmatch · Cosney Megundal · Elyder Meningen · Decargo Mieterman · Susato Mikotoba · Yūjin Mikotoba · Anna Mittlemont · Everyday Mittlemont · Haori Murasame · Ryūnosuke Naruhodō · Sōseki Natsume · William Petenshy · Duncan Ross · Connette Rozaic · Sandwich · Selden · Courtney Sithe · Mapotov Stroganov · Toby · Barok van Zieks · Klimt van Zieks · Venus · Queen Victoria · Hart Vortex · Wagahai · Iris Watson · John Watson · Hatch Windibank
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