The ''Arc the Lad'' series is Sony's answer to ''TacticsOgre'' and ''ShiningForce''. Its first game launched with the {{PlayStation}} in 1995. WorkingDesigns released a compilation of the first three games and a bonus arena-battling bonus disc in 2002. The last game in the series, ''End of Darkness'', was released in 2004 (2005 in the United States via Namco) and was an online-enabled action RPG rather than a strategy game.

The original Arc the Lad was a fun, albeit short T-RPG, which followed the adventures of a young lad called Arc Ricolne and his [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits six traveling companions]].

''Arc'' II, its direct sequel, follows the adventures of Elc, a bounty hunter who is the last survivor of a nation of [[ElementalPowers fire users]] slaughtered by Seyra, the country Arc hails from. Being longer, more complex, and infinitely DarkerAndEdgier than the previous episode, ''Arc'' 2 [[TrueArtIsAngsty has been lauded as the supreme game in the series]] and a legitimate contender for the title of "Game with the most {{Player Punch}}es thrown."

Two of the three other sequels (''Arc'' 3, which takes place a few decades after the end of ''Arc'' 2, and ''Arc 4'' , which takes place a thousand years after the original trilogy and [[VideoGame/ArcTheLadTwilightOfTheSpirits has its own page]]) are usually considered inferior but still-decent games, while most of the negative criticism directed towards the series falls upon ''End of Darkness''.

While the games were never released outside of Japan at first, Working Designs made a box set of the first three games along with ''Arc Arena'' for the PlayStation. It's quite pricey nowadays, but the fourth and fifth games ''did'' see standalone releases on the PlayStation2. A 26 episode anime ran from 1998-1999, based on ''Arc the Lad'' and ''Arc the Lad II'', animated by BeeTrain and directed by ItsuroKawasaki.

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!!This game series provides examples of:

* AerithAndBob: Most of the main cast's names are equally out-there, but important supporting characters such as Elena and Danny play it straight.
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Darc from ''Arc 4'' spent most of his life as a slave because of his [[HalfHumanHybrid obvious human lineage]]. This is actually what started his ambition to become the King of all Deimos.
* TheAnimeOfTheGame: 26 episodes long and based on ''Arc'' II.
* AncientConspiracy: The BigBad being an EldritchAbomination with MindControl powers, the ancient conspiracy was unavoidable, and the [[BigBad Dark One]] is ''good'' at this.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: The ending of ''Arc'' 1. (''Arc'' 2 shows exactly how it continues.)
* AngstComa: At the end of the [[spoiler: White House story arc]], Elc [[spoiler: ends up at the ground zero of an explosion which leave him half dead]]. While [[spoiler: {{Ku|ngFuWizard}}kuru]] manages to heal his physical wounds, he remains comatose as a result of [[spoiler: the guilt he feels from being unable to protect/avenge his tribe nor save Mariel from the White House]].
* AntiHero: Arc Ricolne is very pragmatic, and will do whatever it takes to defeat Romalia, and while he does not willingly target civilians, he shows little concern for collateral damage when he or one of his allies start to blow things up.
* ApocalypseHow: Scope: planetary. Severity: societal collapse. It happened 3000 years before the first game. [[spoiler: The reason ''Arc'' 2's ending isn't considered a downer ending is because this time it was only societal disruption]].
* AppliedPhlebotinum: The spirit stones are the Arc-verse's main source of energy and the reason behind [[TheEmpire Romalia]]'s wealth and power.
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: Usually only five characters are allowed on the battlefield at a time. ''Arc 1'' is the exception, as all playable characters participate in every fight.
* AssShove: In-game example in ''Twilight of Spirits'', whenever you have Delma in you party. So, you're in a fight, maybe you're in trouble, one of your characters is in critical condition, you'd really need a healing item... Then you remember that you put one in Delma's inventory. Try and guess where she pulls it from.
* AxCrazy: The Slasher, a monstrous serial killer who happens to be [[spoiler: Ginie, one of Elc's childhood friends]].
* BackFromTheBrink [[spoiler: ''Arc'' 3, 4 and 5]]
* BackToBackBadasses: Done by Arc and Elc, Shu and Tosh in ''Arc'' 2, and by Kharg and Darc in ''Arc'' 4
* {{Badass}}: The series is rife with them, as seen below.
** BadassAdorable: Choko.
* BadassCrew: This IS an EasternRPG series after all. Every new episode comes with a new BadassCrew, and ''Arc'' 2 even has '''two''' crews joining up
* BadassGrandpa: Gogen in the first trilogy, Camellia is a [[NeverMessWithGranny badass grandma]] in ''Arc'' 4
* BadassNormal: Tosh does not have the magical abilities of Arc, Gogen or Elc, but he still manages to do just as much damage with his {{Katana|sAreJustBetter}}.
* BadassPreacher: Iga, one of Arc's traveling companion, is a monk.
* LittleMissBadass: Choko again.
* BattleCouple: Arc and Kukuru, Elc & Lieza, Darc & Delma, Shante & Gruga, [[HoYay Tosh & Shu]].
* BelligerentSexualTension: Even a blind man could see that Lutz and Cheryl have this.
* BigfootSasquatchAndYeti: The Hemo-ji are this, with a heavy helping of UncannyValley thrown in. And your party members can be ''[[StandardStatusEffects turned into them by touch!]]''
* BittersweetEnding: ''Arc 2'' would be a DownerEnding in the vast majority of games, [[spoiler: being a PyrrhicVictory in which the only success Elc and the survivors of the party can claim is that they survived TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, and saved some portion of humanity as well. But this was better than anyone expected, and probably the best that humanity could hope to win.]]
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The bad guys are genocidal bastards, while Arc is a wanted terrorist by the second game. Keep in mind that this is not just propaganda: Arc Ricolne is very pragmatic, and will do [[IDidWhatIHadToDo whatever it takes]] to defeat Romalia, and while he does not willingly target civilians, he shows little concern for collateral damage when he or one of his allies start to blow things up.
* BloodyBowelsOfHell
* BreakTheCutie: If a character is cute, he or she will be broken.
* BullyingADragon: During the [[MoralEventHorizon slaughter of the Pyrenians]], Seyras soldiers and researcher find a young Elc who proceeds to burn half a dozen of them to a crisp. The survivors then decide that such a prodigy would make a very good guinea pig. Three guesses at what happens when he turns into an adult...
* BurnTheOrphanage: What eventually happens to [[spoiler:the White House]]. In fact, this "{{orphanage|OfFear}}" was so bad that even [[spoiler:slaughtering the children found in the playground]] does not qualifies as a MoralEventHorizon, considering [[spoiler: [[FateWorseThanDeath what had been done]] to them]].
* ButForMeItWasTuesday
--> '''Arc:''' "You... You're the one who killed my father!"
--> '''Ark Ghoul:''' "I have killed many, and your father may have been amongst them. But if I did slay him, his death was so unremarkable that I have no memory of it. But enough talk. It is time for YOUR ignominious end, boy."
* TheChessmaster: The BigBad of the series is good. Deep Blue good.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Unlucky Mariel, just... Mariel. [[spoiler: Elc promised to save her from the White House, but when he finally found her, she was turned into a monster and he had to fight her under the playground where they played when they were kids.]] This is a subversion since Elc quite obviously loves her and is more than ready to reciprocate her affection. [[spoiler: The problem is that he is still forced to kill her, while Gallarno watches him.]]
* TheChosenOne: {{Deconstructed|Trope}}. Arc was not chosen by the spirits; Yoshua, his father, contacted them and made a deal with them: they would give Arc control over the elements in order to use him as their proxy. The player is actually told about this before the first battle begins. What's interesting is that it foreshadows the many deconstructions of RPG cliché that will happen later.
* CombatMedic: Arc and Poco in the first two games, and Alec and Cheryl in the third.
* CompilationRerelease: ''Arc the Lad Collection'', natch.
* CorruptChurch: When the AncientConspiracy does not [[PathOfInspiration artificially create religions from scratch]], they put their puppets in charge of existing ones.
* CosmicKeystone: The five great spirit stones, plus the Ark, which makes six of them.
* CowardlyLion: Poco: in his case, the fear boost his survival instincts and turn a klutz into a badass MagicKnight.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Choko.
* CutscenePowerToTheMax: Mostly averted: characters who are powerful during cutscenes are powerful during gameplay, but you cannot use Arc or Gogen to blow up buildings when you control them.
* DaddyHadAGoodReasonForAbandoningYou: Yoshua, Arc's father, disappeared 10 years before the beginning of ''Arc'' 1. By the end of ''Arc'' 2, we learn that [[spoiler: the spirits granted him the power to time travel, in order to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong. He failed]].
* DarkerAndEdgier
* DarkMessiah: Arc. He's a genuine MessianicArchetype, but he has very little concern for collateral damage when fighting against the forces of Romalia and the Dark One. [[IDidWhatIHadToDo If civilians are killed when he blows up an enemy facility]], that's one thing he ''won't'' angst about.
** In Arc's defense, Romalia intentionally puts their doomsday devices in the middle of population centers, specifically to discredit their enemies. Civilian casualties are inevitable when fighting them.
* DefectorFromDecadence: Many exemples: not ''all'' Romalians are happy about the way their country is [[TheEmpire behaving]] and form a resistance movement of their own; Choko may be [[spoiler: a monster created to KillAllHumans]], this does not stop her from becoming [[strike: one of]] the greatest asset of the forces of good, and while Darc's Nakama may be composed of Deimos and monsters who hate or at least despise ordinary humans, [[spoiler: they still choose to side with them against the [[BigBad Dark One]].]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Since the BigBad is an EldritchAbomination, this is unavoidable. Yet, unlike most examples of this trope, [[BigBad The Dark One]] is not ''merely'' challenged by a [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits band of plucky heroes]]: it takes, during the course of four games [[spoiler: no less than ''five'' Badass Crews including one which fought against it three millennia before the first episode, the HeroicSacrifice of ''two'' messiahs, overpowered mechs, [[DefectorFromDecadence some of the world most powerful monsters he created who turned against him]], the elemental spirits completely exhausting their power, and over 4,000 years of struggle to finally -and barely- beat him, while civilization is completely wiped once and nearly destroyed twice]]: this one is not an easily beaten EldritchAbomination.
* DiscOneNuke: When the team from the first ''Arc the Lad'' show up during the second game, they are vastly more powerful than the other main characters and enemies. To avoid a GameBreaker situation, the plot makes sure you can only have one of them at a time in your team until much later in the game.
** If you have a solid knowledge of Synthesis (or a decent FAQ) your trip to Society Village can produce a lot of these in Arc 3.
* DisposableWoman: [[spoiler: Kharg's mother]]. Said to be a great warrior, she [[spoiler: gets killed without even having a chance to fight]].
* DoomedHometown: [[spoiler: Arc's hometown of Touvil is destroyed at the beginning of ''Arc'' 1.]] Elc's whole nation is slaughtered in the first minutes of ''Arc'' 2. Alec's hometown [[spoiler: Romalia's capital city]] is destroyed in the first cutscene of ''Arc'' 3. [[spoiler: Ironically, by the heroes of the previous episodes.]]
* DyingAsYourself In [[spoiler: her]] last moments, [[spoiler: [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Mariel]], whose mind was supposedly wiped by Gallarno's MindControlDevice, manages to regain conciousness because she [[ThePowerOfLove can't bear the thought of hurting Elc]] ]].
* EldritchAbomination: [[BigBad The Dark One.]]
* TheEmpire: Romalia is a Kingdom, but acts like a bona fide evil empire. It's actually a subversion since it has been a superpower for ten centuries, but became evil only one or two generations prior to the first game.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Sania is Millmana's princess, Kukuru, being Arc's betrothed, is technically Seyra's princess, Delma, being the Orcons' leader's sister might count as well.
* EverythingsBetterWithSamurai: Tosh.
* FantasticRacism: People from Holn are distrusted by the [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Game's expy of Switzerland]] because of their ability to communicate with monsters. In Twilight of the Spirits, Human and Deimos are locked into a cold war pretty close to heat up. Deimos are intelligent humanoid monsters... And also [[spoiler: technically fully human: they can have children with humans and were created by altering the genetic material of humans gifted with spiritual powers]]
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Every character and country seems to have an obvious Earth counterpart.
* FauxActionGirl: [[spoiler: Kharg's mother]], see DisposableWoman. In ''Arc'' 2, Kukuru seems to have become this, but she later proves that she still can kick an enormous amount of ass when she [[spoiler: manages to invert her DemonicPossession and takes control of the BigBad's body long enough to allow Arc to seal it again, while she is ''already dead'']].
* FloatingContinent: The flying castle, [[spoiler: last dungeon of most games in the series]].
* FromBadToWorse: Practically everything in Arc The Lad 2.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Working Design's infamous "Sucking Diek" page header in the manual. [[NotWhatItLooksLike It's actually talking about how to share Diekbeck's]] [[DontExplainTheJoke accrued experience points with the party.]]
* GuestStarPartyMember: Happens in ''Arc'' 4, in ''Arc'' 2 & 3, guest star party members are supposed to [[ChekhovsGunman become party members later]].
* GlobalAirship: The Silver Noah: acquired very early during the first game.
* AGodAmI: The BigBad sees himself that way. Then again, being an immortal EldritchAbomination gives you some credible reason to call yourself a god.
* GreenAesop: [[PlayingWithATrope Zig-zagged]] between this and a SpaceWhaleAesop: Overusing natural resources weakened the Guardian Spirits of the planet and modern lifestyle have made people complacent to the point of forgetting that the EldritchAbomination which nearly destroyed the world 3000 years prior is still alive and about to break free from its Spirits-powered prison: that's the {{Space Whale|Aesop}} part. On the other hand, during the course of the first two games, many subtle and not-so-subtle hints are dropped that overexerting natural resources is slowly but surely destroying the environment and that without change, Arc's World's modern civilization is doomed even without the [[BigBad Dark One]] readying itself for another genocidal rampage
* HeartbrokenBadass: After the events at the White House, [[spoiler: Elc becomes this.]]
* HeroicSacrifice: This is how [[spoiler: Arc's father met his end]], and later [[spoiler: Arc and Kukuru do it as well]].
* HeroWithBadPublicity: Arc ends the first game and begins the second as a wanted criminal, accused of both regicide (he was framed) and terrorism (for blowing up mind control devices disguised as landmarks and otherwise fighting against the Empire).
* HoldTheLine: Shows up twice in Arc 2, first when you have to buy Shu some time to plant bombs, and again around the end of the game when you have to distract an army of monsters [[spoiler:so The Resistance can safely infiltrate Romalia.]]
* HotBlooded: Kharg, in Twilight of the Spirits, sounds like this sometimes.
-->Kharg (landing a CriticalHit): DIE!!
-->Kharg: I know we can win!
-->[[RuleOfThree Kharg:]] Watch the wind-blade of fury!
* InevitableTournament: Done in each of the PlayStation trilogy episodes.
* InstantAwesomeJustAddNinja: Shu.
* InstrumentOfMurder: Poco's weapon of choice is a pair of cymbals.
* InsurmountableWaistHeightFence: Averted during battles, since characters can jump above almost anything when they are leveled enough, but played straight the rest of the time.
** This actually becomes an important thing to keep in mind in Arc 2, as there are a few treasure chests up on ledges or behind walls that become inaccessible if you don't jump up and grab 'em during battles.
* LaResistance: Comes in no less than three flavors in ''Arc'' 2: there are resistance movements in countries occupied by Romalia, their is a resistance In Romalia proper, made by Romalian who disagree with the imperialistic ways of their country, and Arc's team is a third independent and very [[GlobalAirship mobile]] resistance.
* LadyOfWar: Kukuru. Paulette and Delma from the fourth game might count as well.
* LastOfHisKind: Elc is the last living Pyrenian. Inverted in ''Twilight of the spirits'': [[spoiler: Darc and Kharg are the first Human/Deimos hybrids]] which is ironic since intelligent monsters where created [[spoiler: by using kids with spiritual powers like Elc]].
* LazyBackup: averted in the first game, where all your characters always take part in the fight. played straight in the other episodes: even when you have a dozen human characters and even more mons, they do not take part in the battle: sometimes justified when the characters try to infiltrate enemy facilities, but ''why'' would they no go all out when they openly attack the BigBad stronghold?
* LethalJokeCharacter: Poco is a musician. A ''cowardly'' musician who probably does not know how to handle a gun correctly. He is also the most deadly soldier of Seyra's army (Arc and Kukuru are not soldiers, Tosh is para-military).
* LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition: Ironically, this is the ONLY version of the PlayStation games to ever be sold outside Japan.
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: Inverted: Magic tends to be more useful early on, but physical attacks surpass them by the end of the games, when big bosses with tons of HP and great magical resistance appear.
* MacGuffinDeliveryService: Happens more than once through the series.
* MagicKnight: Every main character proves competent with weapons as well as with magic.
* [[KnightTemplar Magic Knight Templar]]: Arc and Elc tend to be quite extreme in their ways of dealing with evildoers (Most CG cutscenes of the second game show things getting blown up. Guess who's responsible?)
* [[KnightInSourArmor Magic Knight Templar in Sour Armor]]: what happens to Arc and Elc as they struggle against Romalia.
* MadScientist: Scientists in the Arc-verse do not seem to mind the fact that they are working for an EldritchAbomination and that their technology is used to commit several genocides: they even go as far as experimenting on themselves without any hesitation. The Academy of ''Arc'' 3 is a little more idealistic and ready to help mankind, but in the end, they do not fare much better.
** Although, the way the cabal treat [[MrFixit Vilmer]] it's fair to say that not all scientists are enthusiastic about promoting Romalia's imperialism
* MagicMusic: Poco, a proud member of the Palencia army's... drum corps.
* {{Magitek}}: Arc's world is close to the technology level of earth during the 90's, but the main source of energy are stones infused with the power of elemental spirits. [[TheEmpire Romalia]] uses mixes of genetic engineering and black magics to create its army of SuperSoldiers.
* MagneticHero: Arc. {{Lampshaded}} when he arrives to save Poco, and Poco comments afterward that, with Arc there to inspire him, he suddenly felt like he could fight with his cymbals, and so he did.
* TheManBehindTheCurtain: Gaidel, the King of Romalia is one of the only fully human antagonists of ''Arc'' 2 and has no supernatural power whatsoever. His lack of power other than political is an important plot point.
* MarathonBoss: Usually the last boss.
* MarathonLevel: Usually the last dungeon. Do you notice the pattern?
* MindControlDevice: In ''Arc'' 2, part of the AncientConspiracy consists of planting such devices ''everywhere''. One of the reason why Arc's TrueCompanions is called a terrorist group is because their basic strategy is to blow up such devices, even if [[IDidWhatIHadToDo they happen to be in the middle of a sprawling metropolis]]
* ModernStasis: The industrial revolution happened 1000 years prior to the first Arc the Lad, yet appart from a few gadgets used by the Romalian military, technology never went beyond the level of the late twentieth century
* NintendoHard: The games are pretty challenging for anyone who's not used to strategy [=RPGs=], and the difficulty curve shoots through the roof with the final bosses.
** Arc 2's final boss is so strong that about the only way to beat him without hours and hours of extra level grinding is with a Romancing stone equipped Choko.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Deimos and humans can have children, justified since [[spoiler: they were created from humans to begin with]].
* OneManArmy: Many characters follow this trope, and are usually GenreSavvy enough to include this into their plan. It is even {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in the second game of the series:
--> '''Shu''': "I know someone who's rowdy enough to hold off ten guards. He can be a decoy while I set the bombs."\\
'''Tosh''': "Who are you talking about?"\\
'''Shu''': "Uh, you, Tosh!"
* OldSaveBonus: ''Arc'' 1 was written with the intent of being able to import a clear data file into ''Arc'' 2. If you do, when the cast of the first game joins your party, they'll have all of their experience and equipment from the first game. ''Arc'' 3 also gives some benefits if you load an ''Arc'' 2 save at the final save point.
** End of Darkness also gives you a free character unlock [[spoiler: Lilia]] for having clear data from Twilight of the Spirits.
* OneGameForThePriceOfTwo: ''Arc'' 1 is essentially an extended prologue for ''Arc'' 2. The U.S. release, ''Arc The Lad Collection'', packages them both together and also throws ''Arc'' 3 in as well, so only the Japanese players had to buy them separately.
** Somewhat understandable in the case of Arc I and Arc II. The creators were originally intending to make it as a Playstation 1 launch title. Unfortunately, their ambitions grew beyond their resources (not to mention the amount of time available), so they split the project into two games. Arc I managed to make the Playstation launch, and Arc II came out later, and did the delay ever pay off.
* OptionalPartyMember: Several, Choko being the most well known example.
* OrphanageOfFear: the facility code-named White House: unlike most exemples of this trope, the kids are not openly mistreated by uncaring or sadistic by the people in charge (in fact, [[spoiler: one of its former managers, Vilmer is shown to be a descent, loving grandfather]]), but when the employees are pretty much on [[EldritchAbomination Cthulhu's]] payroll, you know that the facility hides very dark, horrific secrets.
* PathOfInspiration: Another strategy used by the AncientConspiracy. When they don't create a false religion from scratch to control the masses, they [[CorruptChurch take control of existing ones]].
* PeoplePuppets: This is [[CreepyChild Bebedora's]] shtick in 4- and she is ''frighteningly'' good at it.
* PerfectlyArrangedMarriage: Subverted: Before meeting him, Kukuru is not happy at all with the prospect of marrying Arc, and her rebellion against tradition is what starts the whole mess. By the end of the first game, she has fallen in love with Arc, but [[spoiler: they are now forced to become StarCrossedLovers because she has to stay in Seyra and maintain the weakening seal upon the Dark One while Arc keeps fighting Romalia all over the world]], and, by the end of the second game, [[spoiler: they can only be reunited in death]].
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Choko, and [[spoiler: The BigBad: he was an ordinary human at the very beginning, before becoming an EldritchAbomination able to end all life on the world by his mere presence]].
** Arc, Elc and Gogen also qualify.
* PollutedWasteland: the whole country of Zariban: once a very fertil land due to the fact that the Water Spirit dwelled there and one of the first places to be resettled by humans after the species was nearly wiped out during the first war against the [[BigBad Lord of the Dark Abyss]] 3000 years prior to Arc 1, by the time Arc arrives in the country for the first time, it has been reduced to a desert due to the excessive mining and processing of energy stones.
* PyrrhicVictory: [[spoiler:The ending of Arc The Lad 2. Lets have Elc explain it shall we?]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Elc''':]] [[spoiler: [[WasItReallyWorthIt It makes me wonder what we were fighting for. Arc died, and for what? So we could inherit this desolate and hopeless future? We didn't stop the world from ending, we survived it. And, now we are left with nothing.]]]]
* [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld Really 3,000 Years Old]]: Gogen may look like an old man, but he's still in good shape for a guy who spent 30 centuries watching the prison of an EldritchAbomination. Choko is one of [[spoiler: the original monsters born during the games' {{Backstory}} and is therefore as old as Gogen]]
* RebelliousPrincess: Sania and Kukuru are princesses and ''wanted terrorists''. You could hardly get more rebellious than that!
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Arc, Kukuru, Sania from the first two games, Kharg and Darc in ''Twilight of the Spirits'' (Kharg is still a prince despite the fact that his country abolished the monarchy, and Darc intended from the beginning to kill his way to the top)
* ScaryBlackMan: Gruga, a former freedom fighter who decided to never again his colossal strength except in sports tournaments, until his [[PapaWolf blind daughter]] was [[BerserkButton kidnapped]].
* SceneryGorn: The ending of Arc 2 gives us a nice view of Romalia, which was the epicenter of the [[BigBad Dark Ones]] attack on the planet. Oh yeah, and the [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon Sky Castle]] fell on it and exploded after you beat him.
* ScienceIsBad: Keep trying to make technological progress, even if you are well-intentioned, and you will eventually cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* SealedBadassInACan: Gogen is this and SealedGoodInACan. He ''willingly'' sealed himself with the BigBad 3000 years ago so he would still be around to fight again if the BigBad was released.
* SealedEvilInACan: The Dark One.
* SequelEscalation: The first game is quite short, takes place entirely on a relatively small continent with a total of seven party members. Arc 2 has you going all over the world, more than doubles the cast of characters, throws in a ton of side quests, and is crazy long.
* SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong: cruelly subverted in Arc 2 [[spoiler: Arc's dad gave his life to the spirits in order to time travel and do so. He failed]]
* SchizoTech (machinegun-toting, IED-tossing ninja terrorists fighting alongside medieval knights. It has to be seen to be believed.)
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: The first two episodes go waaaaaaaay down the cynical end, the third tries to be a little more idealistic, the fourth is again more cynical (but not as much as the second), the fifth tries again to be more idealistic. On the whole, the series remains mostly on the cynical side.
* SmugSnake: Galarno, one of Romalia's generals (who serves his country by being a [[FridgeLogic a mob boss and politician on another continent]]) is the worst offender.
* SolemnEndingTheme: The second episode credit music: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_kQtYux_9s To Tomorrow]].
* SpiritAdvisor: Arc is technically on the elemental spirits' payroll.
* SpritePolygonMix: ''Arc 3''.
* StreetSamurai: Tosh is a Samurai tossed in a SchizoTech universe
* SummonMagic: Chongara can summon supernatural beings, and Arc's power comes from his ability to summon guardian spirits.
** Theo's Cardish ability in ''Arc'' 3.
* SurprisinglyHappyEnding: The anime of the game keeps many of the dark moments, but the ending is ''far'' happier than the game's. [[spoiler:Arc and Kukuru live, and the Dark One is defeated without destroying the world.]]
* TakeOverTheWorld: Subverted: The BigBad does not want to control mankind: he already was in charge [[spoiler: before becoming an EldritchAbomination]], and [[spoiler: by controlling Romalia, he was once again the ruler of mankind at the beginning of Arc]]: the only problem is, this was '''not enough''' for him: wath he wanted was control over the whole planet, including the whole ecosystem, even if it meant [[AGodAmI remaking it from scratch]]
* ThereAreNoTherapists: The Arc series cast is even worse off than the Final Fantasy cast, which is saying a lot.
* TooLongDidntDub: Iga and Tosh's attacks.
* TwentyBearAsses: A lot of the job sidequests in both Arc 2 and 3 are this variety.
* UrbanFantasy: The game doesn't draw a great deal of attention to the universe's 20th century tech, but neither does it try to hide it.
* WhamEpisode: A ton of them, especially in the first two episodes, mostly here to show that things [[FromBadToWorse are getting worse]].
** Arrival at Saryu village: for the first time we are shown the devastating effects of the industrialization of Arc's World, with one of its most ancient human dwellings slowly dying from the pollution caused by the extraction and processing of energy stones. Then, out of the blue, [[spoiler: Romalia's airforce raze the village, send it's turned-into-monsters super-soldiers to finish the job and find the key to the water shrine]]: it's the first time Arc's team is facing [[TheEmpire Romalia]] directly, the first time Arc display some real anger and the first punch thrown at the player.
** The last trip to Seyria: [[spoiler: Andel fatally wounds Seyria's king, who confess that he is the one who sent Arc's father away in order to inherit the throne, Arc is framed for the King's murder, Seyria turns into a police state controlled by Andel.]] If this was not enough [[spoiler: just after finding the Ark, Arc & co have to give it up to Andel who uses Arc's mother and the other residents of Touvil's lives as [[ManipulativeBastard a bargaining chip]], the seal on the [[BigBad Dark One]] starts breaking down: Kukuru has to remain hidden in Touvil ruins to maintain what remains of the seal in place while the rest of Arc's group become wanted fugitive]]: [[CliffHanger The first episode ends here]]
** First scene of Arc 2: Elc's people get genocided by [[TheKingdom Seyria's]] military.
** End of the [[spoiler: White House story arc]]: Elc & co appear successful at first, [[spoiler: rescuing Mariel and finding the other orphans]], at which points [[spoiler: Gallarno turns all the orphans into monsters, forcing Elc & co to kill them, after which he entraps Elc and [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Mariel]], uses his MindControlDevice to forces the two to fight, nearly destroying Mariel mind in the process.]] When [[spoiler: she manages regain her consciousness because she [[PowerOfLove refuses to hurt Elc]], Gallarno uses a [[CrazyPrepared contingency plan]] and uses the bomb he had [[WhyAmITicking implanted in Mariel's body]], critically injuring Eld and leaving him nearly dead]].
* WeaponOfChoice: Played straight except in ''Arc'' 2, when characters have two or three weapons of choice.
* WorldOfBadass: Even the weakest, most cowardly member of the Seyran drum corps becomes a fearsome MagicKnight and OneManArmy when pushed to take a stand, while the ''real'' heroes and villains are outright [[PersonOfMassDestruction Persons Of Mass Destruction]]. It takes entire ''civilizations'' populated by people like these to defeat the BigBad.
* {{Wutai}}: Arc's country, Seyra, takes this role. High technology mixes with traditional samurais who protect its capital.
* YouNoTakeCandle: Chongara talks this way.

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