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Video Game: Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia
From left to right: Aurica, Lyner, Misha.

The Ar tonelico series consists of a trilogy of JRPGs for the PS2 (the first two games) and PS3 (the third game), developed by Gust Corporation of Japan, best known for their Atelier Series of video games, and localized in English by Nippon Ichi Software. The games (which are largely independent of each other in plot and characters) take place in a post-apocalyptic world of Ar Ciel, in which the ground was swallowed hundreds of years ago by a mysterious Sea of Death. Humanity clings to life only on Floating Continents surrounding three great towers, each of which serves as the setting for a game. Humanity's engineering ability has regressed to a Steam Punk level, and their only interface with the fantastic technology of the towers are the Reyvateils - an all-female race of artificial beings capable of singing songs to conjure Magic from Technology.

The first game, Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, originally titled Ar tonelico: Sekai no Owari de Utaitsudzukeru Shoujo (The Girl who Continues to Sing at the End of the World) takes place in and around the first tower, in the region of Sol Ciel. This is where the series gets its name: Ar tonelico is the name of that tower. The story starts in the city of Platina, during an outbreak of enemy creatures called Viruses. The protagonist, a Knight of Elemia named Lyner Barsett, goes to investigate with fellow knight Ayatane, and the tower administrator, Shurelia. Unfortunately, they rapidly discover that the Viruses are able to turn intangible, rendering normal defeat impossible. Shurelia therefore sends Lyner on a quest for the only thing that can help them: the Hymn Crystal Purger. Taking an airship, he travels down to the Wings of Horus, the Floating Continent that surrounds the tower. More accurately, he crashes thanks to an attack from a dragon, which complicates matters extremely.

In the process of searching for the crystal and a way to repair his airship, he meets and teams up with a number of people, including two Reyvateils. First is the shy Aurica, who healed his injuries after his crash. Second is the more outspoken Misha, actually his Forgotten Childhood Friend. But there's one problem - Misha looks much younger than she should be. Aside from those two are the wanderer Jack, the local church knight Radolf, and the airship grathmelder Krusche. As the story progresses, Lyner and his comrades not only try to find the Hymn Crystal and fix Lyner's airship, but discover the reason for Misha's youthful appearance, and the source of the recent Virus outbreak.

The first game also has a single-episode OVA adaptation, which focuses on Lyner's crash and desire to return to Platina. Due to time constraints, the details of the plot are largely condensed and simplified, with other elements left out entirely.

Tropes about the sequel, Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica can be found on its page. Ditto for Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel. Ciel nosurge, the first game in the Surge Concerto prequel series, has its own page too.

All the games have a number of drama CDs devoted to the heroine Reyvateils (and some other people besides). Some of the cast went on to have parts in the crossover game Cross Edge. There also exists a manga, set in Sol Ciel, titled Ar tonelico: Arpeggio.

Aside from Elemia-specific tropes, examples provided by the series as a whole can be found here, as well.

The Ar tonelico games and related media provide examples of:

  • Action Initiative: The games' main mechanic is that your back row is composed of a Glass Cannon Squishy Wizard that dies really easily, your front row is not and has to protect her. In exchange, while the rest of the party members have to follow a turn order, you can interrupt the action at any time to have your Squishy Wizard cast spells.
  • All There in the Manual: Much of the history of the world of Ar Ciel is explained in supplemental material that is only available in Japanese.
    • Yay for wikis. Also, a Genius Bonus as a lot of the technology in the series is blatantly based off computers.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Grathnode crystals increase a Reyvateil's power.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Not that this is a bad thing for going through Cosmospheres because it works like armor upgrades for Reyvateils.
  • Apocalypse How: Ar Tonelico just loves these.
    • The first age ends with a Class 4, with everything retreating to artificial Floating Continents.
    • The second age ends with a Class 1, that would have been Class 3 had Mir succeeded.
    • And the third age is about to end with a Class X unless you do something about it.
  • Artificial Human: Beta and Origin Reyvateils.
  • Artificial Limbs: Jack has a mechanical arm. With a gatling gun.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Or rather, awesome but suicidal. Lyner's final creation, the "Ar Tonelico??" is a pocket-sized version of the reactor that powers their third of the remaining world. It is meant to be used as a hand grenade. The typical gamer reaction is to expect it to be a regular Slap On The Wrist Nuke. Unfortunately, the game decides to turn logical on you all of a sudden, and using your pocket WMD results in exactly what the description suggests should happen: Your party, and presumably everything else in miles, is instantly decimated and you get a game over. Thus, Death By Genre Savvy for the player.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Krusche, Aurica's Skuwat costume.
  • Barrier Maiden: Misha and the rest of the Lune Clan were created to seal the source of the viruses by spending a good part of their lives singing Chronicle Key.
  • Berserk Button: Do not mess with Reyvateils around Lyner; he will beat your ass so badly his teammates will call him on it. Also averted by Lyner: despite the fact that according to his in-game character bio the two things he hates most are viruses and traitors instead of seeking revenge on Ayatane for what he's put Platina and various reyvateils through, he works to understand Ayatane's reasons and eventually causes Ayatane to see that the real way to help his mother is to help Lyner.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Justified. Technically speaking, a reyvateil can craft a song outside of her cosmosphere and without the aid of a hymn crystal but it's so difficult and happens so rarely that anyone who sees it happen will says it's impossible.
  • Big Bad: Mir, the "Mother Virus". All of the first game's conflict begins and ends with her.
  • Big Good: Shurelia, the tower administrator. She is Lyner's boss and his inspiration.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Having some knowledge of Hymmnos makes the Hymns that much better and show how they fit in the story, even hinting at things that haven't been revealed yet. Alternately, finding the lyrics online works just as well.
    • In a particularly nifty piece of foreshadowing that hints at a character's motives in Metafalica, the hymn EXEC_HARMONIUS/. from the first game has the word Metafalica in it repeatedly. In this instance and, so far, only in this instance, Metafalica means 'Song of Hope.' Given what Jakuri hopes to accomplish in the second game... Let's just say that the writers thought ahead.
  • Bishounen: A lot of the guys count, but Flute also counts under his hat and mask (he's very pretty).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The normal ending where you choose to never awaken Shurelia after she sings Suspend. The villain is sealed, the world is saved and the hero lives happily ever after with one of his love interests, except that Shurelia is effectively dead and song magic doesn't work anymore. That's without saying anything about the fact that everyone will die when the Planet dies in a few years.
    • Not to mention that the Second Tower suffers quite a bit of damage while Shurelia is asleep which would only get worse.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Third Generation Reyvateils get nifty song magic and all, but after coming into their powers, they have to take a substance called Diquility every three months just to continue living. This stuff is expensive and the Installation is equivalent to a first time.
    • Averted with Origin and Beta type Reyvateils, who get Stronger song magic and very extended lifespans (Betas have about 150 years and the Origins are over 700 years old each, implied to be immortal for as long as their tower exist).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Happens to either Aurica or Misha, depending on who you chose to sing Purger, when Mir invades their Cosmosphere. They recover.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Mir; created without emotions but developed them anyway only to be abused. Her first song, Harmonium, is called trash, and she's sealed away for trying to improve the lot of Reyvateils.
  • Broken Aesop: At one point Lyner defends Claire from two guys trying to harass her out of her job by beating the muscular one up. Claire is a bit unhappy, telling him that he shouldn't have solved it with violence. Later on Lyner learns the lesson that "violence is bad", and continues using his sword against his enemies. This is justified by the ending. Killing anything in one's way without thinking, as Lyner did earlier, nets you the Bad Ending because while the threat is averted the conditions that led to it still exist. The Good Ending doesn't require Sheathe Your Sword but a certain understanding and mercy.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Mir's treatment during the second age; one does not abuse a pure blood Beta type whose power is on the same scale as the Origins. Eventually she had enough.
    • Bigoted humans treatment of Reyvateils in general. These are a race that can magically nuke entire battlefields just for a start simply by singing and yet there's still plenty of humans who go out of their way to antagonize them and treat them like slaves for giggles. Luckily for them the Reyvateils are far too submissive to do anything about it... most of the time.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Shurelia, the administrator of the titular Babylonian tower, has No Sense of Direction, is a Dojikko and she likes bunnies.
  • Captain Crash: While Lyner isn't really at fault for what happened at the start of the game, a special mention should be made about his OVA incarnation. He crashes the same ship three times, on the same day.
  • Chainsaw Good: Krusche uses one.
  • Character Development: The whole point of the Cosmospheres, though characters aside from the Reyvateils get development, too.
  • Church Militant: That's some spear you got there, Radolf. "It's God's wrath!" Bishop Falss intended to use the Church as a military group to invade Platina, which he does.
  • Cliff Hanger: All of the "episodes" in Shurelia's Cosmosphere involve this except for the last one.
  • Combat Stilettos: Shurelia's Linkage costume takes the cake (granted, she avoids the practical problems by floating everywhere in it...) Misha's default costume and a few others have impractically tall shoes, too. Then again, this is a moot point because the Reyvateils don't actually DO any fighting aside from standing and singing magic.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The OVA cuts out a ton of the plot. Even Misha only appears briefly. Granted, for a game so long and involved, it's impossible to pack everything in there without turning it into a long series.
  • Conlang: Hymmnos. There are even different vocabulary words depending on region, and vastly different grammatical structures for Central Standard Note/Metafalss Note and New Testament of Pastalie Hymmnos. Yes, half of that page is dedicated to being a dictionary. A lot of thought was put into making the language.
  • Costume Porn: Each Revyateil has eight costumes.
  • Cutting Off The Branches: The second game rules out the bad and normal endings.
  • Data Crystal: The Hymn Crystals contain the information for songs.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Lyner's general goal in the true ending: Bring Ayatane to his way of thinking and then pacify Mir without killing her.
  • Detached Sleeves: The sleeves of Aurica's uniform are not attached to the main body.
  • Distressed Damsel: Every Reyvateil, at one point or another, and it's usually possession by Mir but Bourd kidnaps too.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Bourd is a man who considers Reyvateil expendable weapons and whose subordinates constantly abuse and berate them. He thought it was a good idea to use a strong Reyvanteil that he recently kidnapped as backup in a fight against her love interest. For extra irony points he did it to make sure Lyner felt the bitter sting of Misha betraying him. Yea, most everyone can predict what happened next.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Diving, Installing and most other interactions between the main characters and their harem of Reyvateils are played up as intimate affairs without the physical intimacy.
    • The Diquility installation can only be called "a PG-13 cherry popping sequence." There is an doujinshi that makes this reference in reverse context.
  • Dojikko: Shurelia will occasionally lose her balance when she fires off a spell, falling flat on her face.
  • Double Entendre: This scene where Lyner installs for Aurica. That's among many others.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Bourd and Bishop Falss, in their own ways. Both of them supposedly work for Mir and yet they have their own goals. Bourd's is even contrary to Mir's in purpose; subjugation of Reyvateils.
  • Dual Age Modes: Misha is has a child and adult forms.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • The reason the sea of death is there in the first place.
    • Also, dropping some of what little land there is down there.
    • Mir destroyed half of the land on one of the towers during her rebelion.
  • Emotionless Girl: Mir originally, which was what her creators wanted, but she grew out of it. Later, Bourd tried to find a way to make all Reyvateils into this.
  • The End of the World as We Know It:
    • It's happened twice in the past- the first being the Grathnode Inferia, the second when Reyvateils on Ar tonelico revolted against humans and destroyed about half of the floating continent as well as the civilization on it.
    • Part three extends this to all ends where Mir is not freed: Without her involvement in the second game, the Heart of Gaea wouldn't have reached the third tower (at least not in time), thus dooming the entire planet.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Ayatane's in things so his mother, Mir, can finally be happy. Though it should be noted that he's more like Love Makes You Evil than a real bad guy.
  • Evil Plan: Three villains acting more like convenient allies than a single group means there are three of these.
    • Mir wants to wipe out humanity to create a world just for Reyvateils because she believes that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
    • Bourd wants to continue the kind of research that's based on the 'Reyvateils are replacable dolls' idea and believes Mir to be its greatest fruit.
    • Bishop Falss, AKA Kyle Clancy wants to ressurrect Mir and take over Platina as the first step to taking over the world and returning it to the prosperity of the first age.
  • Hair Decorations: older Misha wears mini drums.
  • Facial Markings: Ayatane who is a Virus.
  • Faking the Dead: Bishop Falss, then known by his real name Kyle Clancy, faked suicide in order to flee Platina.
  • Fanservice: It's everywhere.
    • For starters, you can force every Reyvateil to fight wearing bath towels, pajamas, or a variety of other costumes. They will call you out on it once you get to a town, but expect them to be embarrassed and gushy while doing so.
    • The second game features taking baths to power up.
    • The third game takes it to a Logical Extreme: All the Reyvateils power up by stripping off their clothes. To top it all off, there are technically more than three, each with different personalities, clothes, and body types...sort of.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • In Elemia, Reyvateils are often treated as second class citizens, to the extent that Lyner is depicted as standing out for treating them like he would any normal human. Justified in the first game, since aside from the portion of Tenba that Bourd is running, most of the racism is aimed at Reyvateils without a partner, such as Claire. This makes sense, seeing as Reyvateils on the Wings of Horus had destroyed a good half of a continent when Mir rebelled.
    • Averted in the city of Platina. When The Church Attacks you can see how the knights fight without backup to give their Reyvateil partners time to rest and recover. Hilariously, the Church Knights that they were fighting act more like Tenba grunts than anything else.
    • Lyner defying this trop in regards to viruses, like Ayatane is pre-condition for the good ending.
    • Reversed in the third game, where Reyvateils from Clustania see humans as "impure" and do their best to Cleanse (wipe out) or Purify (brainwash) them. It helps that the main computer was hacked and had her personality changed into a genocidal maniac. The straight version is present in Raphael who thinks like Bourd.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry:
    • Older Misha only needs one stocking.
    • Finnel from the third game as well. Her stockings don't match.
  • Fictionary: Reyvateils (and occasionally humans) communicate with Ar tonelico in a warped creole of English, German and Sanskrit known as Hymmnos. However, among themselves they speak garden-variety Japanese (or English, if you're playing the dub.) Metafalss and Ar tonelico have different dialects of Hymmnos (or Hymnos in the English localization).
  • Fiery Redhead: Inverted with Krusche. The only time she EVER gets fired up at all is when she's talking about or involved with high-tech airships and getting to the top of the Tower. 99% of the rest of the time she's the incredibly laid-back, droll, Deadpan Snarker type.
  • Fix Fic:
    • Done in-game in Shurelia's Cosmosphere story at the request of Lyner, who Justifies it by (what else) "the original sucks!" Mir takes this very personally but then again she did infect the scenario in the first place because Lyner was 'playing next to her prison'.
    • The completion of all cosmosphere levels could be referred to as this. Cosmosphere levels, especially the lower ones, represent a reyvateil's issues, where they act out inner conflicts and have not been able to resolve them. The job of a cosmosphere diver is essentially to act as a Self-Insert Fic Marty Stu character, breaking the Reyvateil out of a hopeless cycle and encouraging them to reach a good ending.
  • Flanderization: Any part of a Reyvateil's problems/desires gets blown up to spectacular proportions in their Cosmosphere. Later levels don't even try to hide it via metaphor.
  • Floating Continent: The Wings of Horus, and Firefly Alley as a smaller example.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Lyner, how in the hell did you forget Misha? Would be justified since they were pretty young when they separated, never communicated again, and Lyner never heard of Misha until the start of the game. Except the same applies to Misha and she didn't forget. Lyner finally remembers after he gets the part needed for the ship. Misha doesn't hold it against him since he's been subsonsciously fulfilling his promise to her. As far as Misha is concerned, it's all good.
  • Gag Boobs:
    • "Misha, you grew tits!"
    • Shurelia would like to know if Lyner likes them big or small since she's stuck permanantly in-between.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Averted as Song magic is cast during various cut-scenes, with varying effects.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The first game had a glitch in which an item necessary to advance the plot could be acquired before activating a particular event that allows the player to progress. Though not necessarily game-breaking since it pertains to an end-game, extra-content boss, Ar Tonelico 2 had a boss that was virtually unbeatable because one of her moves would freeze the game and force a reset. The only way to prevent this was to beat her before she used it.
  • Genius Ditz: Lyner is definitely Book Dumb because he is repeatedly harassed about it throughout the game. He also mastered the basics of Grathmelding in less than a day and became the main source of everything the party uses throughout the game. By the third phase, the stuff he cooks up rivals or surpasses First Era technology, he is teaching Grathmelding to the one who created its basic principles centuries ago and his magnum opus is a pocket-sized version of the gigantic building-sized power reactor that powers their entire civilization.
  • Genre Shift: Cosmosphere's take a shift towards more Visual Novel-type stories. Usually, each level is an Out-of-Genre Experience.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The sheer amount of crap is astounding in the US release. (some other countries are more relaxed about things like sexuality, which explains it being 7+ in Europe and 12+ in Japan)
  • Girlish Pigtails: Young Misha to hightlight her childishness.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Aurica. Don't ask her to explain her reasoning; it only makes the names sound even worse.
  • Good Shepherd: One of Radolf's first lines is reminding those under his command to take care of their Reyvateil partners and his second apperance is coming to the defense of a Tenba reyvateil being abused by her partner. At all times he's polite and helpful.
  • Godiva Hair: Mir is naked and so her hair fills in.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Krusche wears them and never uses them.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Happens in Elemia, but you don't quite become aware of it until Metafalica. By Jakuri's own admission, the "Mir" inside Shurelia's corny Magical Girl love story was not an avatar, but rather the real one playing along with the game, which she herself had scripted. So, at the time Lyner was trekking through the tower to find a way to save ominous and terrifying Mother Virus Mir, Mir herself was content playing a video game with Shurelia. Bizarrely, it makes some sense in hindsight, as the two were friends and, most of her nefarious plots having failed completely, she wasn't doing anything at the moment. To top it off, the only remaining bit of bad blood Jakuri has against Lyner is completely unrelated to him stopping her century-long plans: She's angry about him rewriting the ending to her game.
  • Guide Dang It: Getting all the talk options with the Reyvateils, which have requirements ranging from making a certain item to going to certain places or talking to the other girls a certain number of times in a row. Made worse with the fact that a great deal of talks can be Lost Forever. Thankfully they can be aquired via multiple playthroughs. Otherwise, it would be impossible (not that all the topics are required to clear the game or the Cosmospheres).
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Third Generations Reyvateils start as humans which change at any time during their childhoods/puberty, and can interbreed with them. The children may be either human or Reyvateils. The Origins and Betas don't count because of being completely artificial life forms.
  • Haunted Technology: Infel lives on past her death via the Infel Phira server. Nenesha sort of counts, because of the integration of technology with Reyvateils' minds. Mir does something similar to Infel for a good portion of the first game, but she's not actually dead.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Ayatane and his mother Mir/Jakuri. Both of them are villains in the first game but join Lyner's circle of friends by the end.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Teru tribe would like to be this and Platina plays it straight until the end of the game.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The first game features a battle with a giant dragon while riding an airship. But then, all three games are based on floating continents (and/or a massive tower) due to the Sea of Death covering the world.
  • Homemade Inventions: As mentioned above, Lyner is the party's only real source of equipment, regardless of variety or technological complexity. Everything, including a pocket-version of the massive building-sized reactor built by ancient superadvanced technology that powers more than a third of the remaining civilization in the planet, is built by him, in a tent, from scraps.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against Bourd. Interestingly, if the player is leveled enough they can easily knock his HP down to zero, but Bourd will keep fighting anyway.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Elemia, has plenty of characters, especially in Tenba, who treat Reyvateils as easily replaceable property. When one can't get his Reyvateil partner to sing new magic because his physical abuse doesn't grant her any more Power of Love to make new songs, his teammate suggests getting a new one. Bourd's death instantly brings about an end to it because he was the one encouraging it and the president of the company was violently against it.
    • This is the reason for Mir's Kill All Humans and why her listed dislikes are humans. She gets over it thanks to Lyner who ironically is the only human that she still hates because he ruined her script.
  • I'm Melting: what happens to the Beta Reyvateils when they die, and also, what happens to any Beta or Origin that dares to leave the area effect of her Song Server.
  • 100% Adoration Rating: If the player asks around in Nemo during Phase 3 nearly everyone will tell you how much they love Bishop Radolf. The rest are admittedly jealous of him because they recognize how great he is. Being the head of a Saintly Church will do that for you.
  • Hypo Crite: Mir's plans to exterminate all humanity to create a Reyvateil only world would be the actions of a Well-Intentioned Extremist if her methods to do so wouldn't kill all the Reyvateils along with them in the process. Shurelia calls her out on this.
  • 100% Completion/Guide Dang It: Getting full completion on the Cosmospheres. Like the average Visual Novel, picking the wrong responses will have you kicked out and disliked by the Reyvateil. However, when attempting to see all of the dialogue (as is a requirement for one of the trophies in Qoga), many guides usually insist to DO EVERYTHING instead.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The English releases so far follow the pattern of Melody of (X).
    • The third game is named Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel, apparently to prevent people from thinking that they need to have played the first two, although it helps understand the overall story if they have.
  • Idiot Hero: Lyner.Mir discusses in broad strokes how much his idiocy pissed her off in the sequel, despite being the primary beneficiary of it. The real reason Mir resents him is that he wrote a fixit fic for Shurelia's cosmosphere due to not liking its sad original ending, giving the excuse that the story should have a happy ending because the real world had enough sadness already.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: The game makes a point of this. Killing Mir nets you a bad ending. The only good endings occur when (after being asked by Tastiella), the group goes out of their way to understand Mir's position and defeat her without killing her.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Misha; the Star Singer has a crappy life stuck singing for years on end in a dark room.
    • Shurelia also has her moments; her 'cosmosphere' is chosen specifically because she wants to experience 'normal' life.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Between the knight armor and cosplay outfits it would be faster to list who doesn't qualify
  • In Harm's Way: Jack: "I'm glad the world is peaceful and all but I need some excitement in my life."
  • Innocent Innuendo: Where do we start?!
    • The insertion of "Diquility," a substance in the form of a large crystal that must be inserted into a Third Generation Reyvateil every three months through a place called their "Installer Port." Croix must do this twice during the story (Lyner can do it once if he goes on Aurica's path), and it's always Their First Time. Aoto gets it the worst - none of the ally Reyvateils are Third Gen, but he does have to uninstall an item from a heroine, with similar results.
    • In fact, there's so much Innocent Innuendo that you can't really blame Lyner for being a literal Accidental Pervert. He always reacts like how you would expect a normal person to react, so the girls assume he's thinking something dirty... correctly.
      • Seriously, it's one gigantic scene of nothing but innuendo. It MUST be seen to be believed. Or heard. If you listen to the audio without looking at the video, you will feel like some sort of voyeur.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Misha's shinobi costume. There's a giant kunai.
  • Interspecies Romance: Human/Reyvateil romance is nothing anyone bats an eye at (they're fully capable of interbreeding), but there's also the human Krusche and the Teru Jack/Harmonica, at the end of Elemia.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Shurelia says something similar to this during the second level of her "Cosmosphere".
  • Invisible Backup Band: Whenever one of the Reyvateils sings.
  • Item Crafting: Grathmelding
  • Joshikousei: All the heroine Reyvateils have a school uniform costume.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Diving into a Reyvateil's Cosmosphere both helps them craft new song magic and is an excellent form of psychotherapy. Unfortunately, it can be hazardous to the diver's health.
  • Kill All Humans: Mir's goal. She's just doing it for her fellow Reyvateils' sake.
  • Kill 'em All: According to the myths, Sieryek, son of an El nemesys sovereign, killed the King of his own kingdom and some other ruling sovereigns which included his own father. However, he couldn't kill Princess Liarsha due to his love for her, instead telling her go free. In the end, the love that she had once shared with Sieryek turned to hatred and she eventually killed him and then herself immediately afterwards. Obviously, nobody survived.
  • Lady of War: When Shurelia joins combat she is both powerful and precise. Then she sings EXEC_SUSPEND/. and finally reveals what she looks like under that armor. When she eventually joins the party, she also begins to act more like her age. At least whatever age she looks like considering she's as old as the Tower itself.
  • Language of Magic: Hymmnos is a constructed language that is instantly comprehensible to any Reyvateil due to their connection to the Towers, and thus to the libraries that contain all the information about the language. Only a few non Reyvateils like Laude or Croix bother to learn it.
  • The Leader:
    • Leard is the governor of Platina and his conflict with Lyner is based on him wanting his son to succeed him when Lyner doesn't want to.
    • Over the course of the game, Lyner becomes this for his group. There is a point in the game where Lyner realizes that he has become the highest authority in Platina because Shurelia has been hacked by Mir and used by her to abduct Leard. Radolf discusses with Aurica that he isn't used to giving orders instead of taking them.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Averted with Aurica; although her creations look terrible, they taste good. [
    • [spoiler:Shurelia's]] look odd, but also taste great.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Diving into a Reyvateil's Cosmosphere (which involves playing through scenarios that are a cross between dating and psychotherapy) will result in the Reyvateil crafting powerful new songs which she can use in battle. In addition, to unlock new Cosmosphere levels, you must first invite them into your room at night and... have an intimate chat with them, with topics ranging from scenic observations to expressing jealousy.
  • Like a Son to Me: Inverted. Shurelia repeatedly tells Lyner that he reminds her of her father, probably due to Lyner's grathmelding genius & the fact that he's one of the few people to ever see the goddess as a person who needs help sometimes, just like anyone else.
  • Limit Break: In the first game, these can be activated after guarding a Reyvateil.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Reyvateils get costume changes, but, except for Croix out of Metafalica, who has a civilian set of clothes (with glasses), none of the other front-liners ever change clothes. While characters like Krusche or Amarie might get away with it, due to their "armor" essentially being bulletproof clothes, Leglius in particular is never seen outside of his full plate armor, which practically looks like its breastplate was made by welding the bow of a battleship to his chest.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: There are four playable female characters in this game and the only one with short hair is the tomboy mechnic and she had long hair pre-series when she was still a Girly Girl.
  • Long Title: The original titles are like this, and probably why the English releases are shortened.
  • Love Hurts: Lyner can get killed in the Cosmospheres, or kidnapped, or brainwashed. Yes, loving a Reyvateil can be painful.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The lower levels of the Cosmosphere do this to everyone. Justified in that the lower levels (starting at level 5) are said to be closer to the Reyvateil's subconscious/unconscious levels, meaning they're a lot less restrained in expressing their emotions and...ahem..."desires."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Ayatane, though he gets better.
  • Love Triangle: In all three games there is one between The Protagonist and two Reyvateils. In this game it is Lyner, Aurica and Misha.
  • Machine Worship: A far more benign version than usual, but everyone outright worships or at least acknowledges the Revytail Origins as gods.
  • Magic from Technology: Reyvateil songs are referred to as magic, but it's actually tapping into the shared power source of the local tower and forming it based on commands in Hymnos. Channeling this kind of energy is not something the human body is built for, so reyvateil/human hybrids (as in, basically every Reyvateil alive) tend to have very short lives even with life extending drugs.
  • The Magic Goes Away: During Elemia, the tower administrator Shurelia sings the hymn EXEC_SUSPEND/. and shuts down the magic-generating systems of Ar tonelico, putting herself and the antagonist into a coma and rendering all other Reyvateils near-powerless. Depending on the player's actions, the game may end at this point. If a player chooses to continue the game than the Tower starts up and The Magic Comes Back.
    • This becomes a critical issue in the sequel: The reason Frelia cannot maintain Metafalss is because suspending Ar tonelico forced her to start powering the continent-generating song magic purely from force of will.
  • Magical Girl:
    • One of Misha costumes is this; pink, frilly and magical.
    • Shurelia is one in her Binary Field with all the trappings-In the Name of the Moon, transformation sequence, Power of Love etc.
  • Magic Knight:
    • Misha would like to be this: "If I could fight while singing then I'd be killing two birds with one stone."
    • This trope isn't played straight until II with Cocona, a reyvateil who is also a front-line fighter.
  • Magic Music From Technology describes Song Magic.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Shurelia is the immortal tower adminstrator while Lyner is a human who will die of old age within half a century.
  • Meido: One of Shurelia's costumes.
  • Mental World: The Reyvateils' Cosmospheres are their minds as made comprehensible to humans diving in them.
  • Miko: One of Aurica's costumes.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Lyner searches for Hymn Crystals to save the world.
  • The Mole: Bishop Falss and Ayatane; the former infiltrated the Church and the later Platina
  • Momma's Boy: Ayatane. Everything he does is for his mother's sake (i.e Mir's), for better or worse
  • More Friends, More Benefits: Encouraged in the original - you could reached the deepest cosmosphere level with all three heroines and use their most powerful spells. You could also wind up sexually abused in the Cosmosphere more often than you might like if you're assiduous about keeping the Cosmosphere up to date (What are you doing with that electricity, Aurica?).
  • Multiple Endings: The games allow you to choose which Reyvateil you'd like to spend the rest of your life with, as well as having a few more endings on top of that.
  • Mundane Utility: In one of the radio dramas, the costume change is used as a quick way to change out of clothes.
  • Musical Theme Naming:
    • Harmonica and Flute are Teru Tribe Members.
    • Everything involving the technology. "Silver Horn," "Plasma Bell," "Symphonic Corridor". Justified in that it's Magic Music From Technology.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Both variations of Harmonious have soothing effects by design.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Krusche says she got into engineering to be closer to her boyfriend, Luke. However it's downplayed to the point that it might as well not exist. 1.) Luke is mentioned three times and one of them is in a bonus area. 2.) She was already "grathmelding missiles for fun" before she met him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Shurelia, nice job forcing Frelia to drop a lot of what arable land Metafalss had in the first place.
    • Lyner, nice job forcing Shurelia to wake up and thereby waking Mir up. She herself calls him on it. She's happy he did it but says it was the wrong decision.
  • No Sense of Direction: Shurelia, considering she finds herself lost easily in her own tower (on top of being over 700 years old), not to mention everywhere else.
  • Official Couple: Averted. Despite Misha, Aurica, Shurelia, Spica and Mir showing up in the second game, there are no hints as to which girl Lyner ends up with. However, it's known that Radolf married his old partner Fayma after the first game, who only appeared in one of the light novels, in one of the Drama CDs, and in the OVA.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Misha at least in the beginning because she de-aged herself.
    • Beta type Reyvateils age only till they get hot. Then they don't age at all and they live for about 150 years, so you do the math. There are some others better covered below by Really 700 Years Old.
  • One-Gender Race: Reyvateils, since something in the Y chromosome negates Reyvateil powers.
  • One-Winged Angel: Shadow Mir. They're just Mir's viruses/servants that she can summon. She can summon them as song magic in Metafalica.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: All There in the Manual Shurelia. See Replacement Goldfish
  • Organic Technology: Reyvateils. The Origins in particular, during high-level grathmelding, Shurelia will make comments about some of them. In one case, she'll comment about one product being "her brain."
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Mir is implied to be one, with the ability to be a major nuisance even when she's trapped in Ar Tonelico's equivalent of Cyberspace. She's as powerful as the Goddesses of the three towers. She's noted that she could definitely beat Shurelia in a fight simply because she knows all the latter's weaknesses. It helps that the former has a stronger up-front personality so she could simply bully the latter regardless.
  • Powers as Programs: The various Hymn Crystals grant songs to those who use them. The Hymns (the song sung) vary depending on the singer, but the effects do not.
  • Power of Love: The power of a Reyvateil's song is proportional to her "intensity of emotion". Blue Magic, for instance, is more powerful if the Reyvateil is in love with the person she's making it for.
  • Power of Rock: In addition to powering spells, songs are used at several points in the games to inspire the world's population.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    • Misha's "ability" to go from a pre- and post-prepubescent ages by adding/removing the Chronicle Key.
    • Everything about the Binary Field. It allows you to insert yourself into any story setting and do anything.
  • Promoted to Playable: Mir, between AT 1 and AT 2. Fans rejoiced.
  • Punny Name: You should be suspicious if your Bishop is named 'false'.
  • Random Encounters: The monster and viruses Lyner encounters appear out of nowhere.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Mir. Justified since it hasn't been cut for a few centuries.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Shurelia (Eoria), Frelia, and Tyria, as these three are the Origin Reyvateils, and thus, are as old as the towers they administrate. Shun's getting on in age too. Mir is also coming up on her four hundredth birthday - her life presumably extended by being locked in the Binary Field for a few of those centuries.
  • Rebel Prince: Lyner is the future ruler of Platina, although not if he has anything to say about it and he succeeds in every route except possibly Shurelia's.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mir, the "Mother Virus".
  • Red String of Fate: As an equipable accessory that raises DP gains after battle (the String of Binding, although supposedly raises the trust between a vanguard and the Reyvateil he's protecting at the moment). However, its effects still kick in, no matter who in the active party has it equipped. Lyner's ignorance to its meaning embarrassed Shurelia. His suggestion to use it to enhance Radolf and his "unity" freaked her out.
  • Refining Resources: Some grathmelding recipes involve a number of stages, particularly the airship parts. Fortunately, you can select the final item in the production chain, and the game will automatically walk you through the production of any intermediate items you don't currently have.
  • Retired Badass: Ayano used to be an adventurer but now she's content to run Tenba. She gives her old sword to Lyner.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Shurelia in the backstory, which is why she has that name instead of her original name.
  • Robot Girl: Mei Mei and Kanade are more obviously robot and thus artifical than the Reyvateils.
  • Rousseau Was Right: With perhaps one exception per game, everyone in the franchise is doing what they feel is best for the betterment of mankind (and Reyvateil-kind). On top of that, the final boss of each game performs a Heel-Face Turn, if they weren't doing what they felt was best in the first place.
  • Saintly Church: The Church of the Trio of Elemia. They are introduced as such and are consistently helpful through the game. There was a period where they attacked Platina and tried to raise Mir, but only because Falss mislead them into thinking they were calling The Trio.
  • Save Point: In places like dungeons and Inns.
  • School Swimsuit: One of Shurelia's costumes.
  • Serious Business:
    • Lyner's love for Funbun may equal his love for this world.
    • Mir takes the scripts that she writes a little bit too seriously. She can forgive humanity for all the pain they caused to her and Reyvateils in general but not Lyner's sin of ruining her script.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Krusche has this opinion of herself: "If I wore a dress, your (Lyner's) ass would be knocked out." However, she never changes out of her engineer clothes.
  • Short Tank: Krusche, although she doesn't get much sexual tension due to not being a Reyvateil, and hence, not a romantic option. (Something she lightly pouts about at one point, asking if Lyner'd be in love with her if she were a Reyvateil. She gets paired with Jack/Harmonica.)
  • Shout-Out: The end of Misha's and Aurica's Cosmospheres are from different games.
  • Shrinking Violet: Aurica is shy and lacking in self-confidence. This hinders her song magic and so she hasn't been assigned a partner before Lyner.
  • Sinister Minister: Bishop Falss inspires the Church to invade Platina and raise Mir.
  • Smug Snake: The majority of the villains and thus making it all the more fun to slap them around. Bishop Falss and Bourd Rade from the first game are egregious examples because they hoisted by their own petard.
  • Sound Stone: Hymn Crystals contain songs.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Spellings for names were changed between the Japanese and American releases.
  • Serial Escalation: Just how blatantly Fan Servicey can we get the Reyvateils into next time without pushing the T rating? The third game features stripping to power up and got an M rating in the US.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Each game steadily incorporates more 3D, and AT3 finally makes the leap.
  • Stocking Filler: Older Misha's standard and shinobi costumes include stockings.
  • Stripperific: Misha, Claire, Shurelia, Krusche, the president of Tenba... easily two-thirds or more of the female cast of the first game is dressed quite provocatively, with Aurica being the only one who's somewhat modestly dressed... and the player has the option of making her fight in nothing but a towel.
  • Stylistic Suck: Shurelia's "cosmosphere" is a story instead of delving into her psyche since she does not actually have a cosmosphere. In it, Lyner and Shurelia go through a cliche magical girl story with a completely different tone from the rest of the story. The parody nature becomes even more obvious in the second game, which has several similar events.
  • Take a Third Option: The true endings to all three games in the trilogy are fueled by this. The first one, for instance, is neither killing Mir nor allowing her to succeed but striking a balance.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: A Tropes Are Not Bad version. The language of Hymmnos places heavy emphasis on emotional states (and in fact has a grammar rule for them). This is needed for the Reyvateils to properly communicate their emotions to the tower and cast magic.
  • Their First Time: Misha and Lyner react to their first dive with shyness, awkwardness, and Misha saying it's her first time. Diving is not sex but the level of intimacy is the same.
  • Title Drop: Many of the hymns sung in the games say their title near the beginning or the end. Example, Chronicle Key and Implanta say their names within the first line of singing, and Sublimation says it's own in the chorus.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Misha in Elemia until she gets her adult form back because she looks like a young child with Girlish Pigtails.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lyner and Funbuns.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action:
    • The ladies of the first and second games have plenty of time to change clothes before attacking or getting attacked.
    • The ladies in the third game have plenty of time to take them off and pose during battle. Except in the one battle with time limit. Which is usually the only battle where each and every transformation sequence is shown in full length, just to taunt you.
  • Transformation Sequence:
    • Though not like a typical Magical Girl, the Reyvateils do change clothes for added power and the like.
    • The third game has the reverse: they take their clothes off for added power.
  • Translation Convention: According to the creators, neither English or Japanese exist in Ar Ciel, and instead, everyone communicates through a common language called "Shell".
  • 24-Hour Armor:
    • Lyner and Radolf never change out of their armor-plated outfits.
    • Croix does but Legilus does not.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Diving is consensual, but the Reyvateils aren't consciously aware of what goes on in their Cosmosphere. (Through dialogue, they reveal that they feel subtle effects as you clear their mental blocks by helping them overcome fears, grudges, jealousy, and the like.) In order to progress past a certain point, you have to force them to relive the most traumatic events in their lives which destabilizes their psyche irreversibly into a crisis from which only you can save them and give closure. There is nothing stopping you from leaving them at the brink of mental meltdown indefinitely.
  • Visible Silence: Almost every scene in the game has at least one character doing this.
  • Warrior Prince: Lyner is the son of the ruler of Platina but chooses to be a knight.
  • Warrior Therapist: Lyner. It's not just the Cosmospheres. As of the second game, Mir still doesn't know what hit her.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Welcome back Ayatane, the guy who was the reason why everything turns crazy in Phase 2.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Defied by Lyner. It's not that he can't win Leard's favor, it's that he's actively refusing to do it, and doing something that makes Leard happy with him is one of the few things that actively annoys Lyner. This makes sense, given that most of the things that make Leard praise Lyner in the early game aren't nice and Lyner may resent him for what happened to Misha. In the scene where Leard finally says he's So Proud of You, it's noteworthy that the other characters are far more excited about it than Lyner is. The extent of Lyner's Character Development is not rejecting Leard's feelings: even when Lyner asks Leard to help craft the hymn at the end of the game, it still feels as though Lyner is making the effort because Leard is his father. Their relationship is still rocky.
  • Wise Prince: Despite being the heir of Platina, Lyner rejects that power and prefers to be a common soldier. This may be because if he becomes Leard's heir, it will be his job to train Misha's daughter and continue the cycle of useless sacrifice, as well as tensions with Leard.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Misha and heights which is odd when you notice that (When you meet her) she lives in a man-made flying island just below a flying continent, all of which are one Creative Virus away from crashing down.
  • Widget Series: A textbook example of the trope, as the things it parodies are already a bit weird in Japan. In Americans this means the reactions tend to range from bemusement to astonishment to abhorrence.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Mir's first song, Harmonius, was meant to express her hope for the human race. However, since she was created with the hope of making an emotionless Reyvateil, it led to her being tortured and locked up. Nevermind that to be told "Your song's no good" would be an incredible insult all on its own, considering Reyvateils' songs are born out of their deep, heartfelt feelings. It's no wonder she started hating humans. It only got worse after that while connected to the tower, she is keenly aware of the Fantastic Racism against Reyvateils, and her inability to do anything else to stop it leads to her (understandable) declaration that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • The World Tree: The towers seem to be an analogue. There's also the fact that tonelico is toneriko, the Japanese word for ash tree, which Yggdrasil was in Norse mythology.
  • Wrench Wench: Krusche, the airship engineer.
  • Yandere:
    • Most of Mir's songs are like this - you could make a bit of a leap to say her role as the Big Bad of Elemia was a Yandere reaction to humanity. Harmonious Fusion doesn't contain any kind of Yandere-ness in its feelings (and arguably, in the lyrics eeither), and Colors is no more than an image song for her, illustrating the development of her feelings.
    • Almost every Reyvateil attempts to kill their partner at some point in their Cosmosphere. Aurica tries to kill Lyner and herself because of her self-loathing, jealousy, and fear of him abandoning her. Misha believes that Lyner's presence is complicating the struggle between her desire for freedom and her fate of becoming the seal for Mir.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: This game has one of the more elaborate (if still fairly obvious) fake endings out there, even going so far as including a credit roll after Shurelia's Heroic Sacrifice. You have the option of ending the game there and living happily with the girl you chose to be with at the start of the game's second act (which could be called a Non-Standard Game Over) but to continue on to the real end you have to choose to bring Shurelia back. On top of that, early in the third act you're given the choice of killing Mir and earning the bad end there, or going on a subquest that ends in Lyner deciding that he wants to save her, which is the game's true end.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Shurelia's Corsette and Monette costumes.

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alternative title(s): Ar Tonelico
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