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Video Game: Arcana Heart
This is not the cover of a dating sim.

Many years ago, the human world and the Elemental World coexisted peacefully, but were forcibly separated by a dimensional barrier. However, somewhere above Tokyo, there is someone actively working to break down the barrier and merge the two worlds once again, which could bring disastrous consequences to all of Earth. A handful of maidens have been given the power to communicate with elemental guardian spirits known as Arcana, which grant them the power to take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.

This is the tale of Arcana Heart, an all girls fighting game released in arcades and on the PlayStation 2. Apart from the roster of characters, this game's play mechanics are similar in some respects to Guilty Gear, with their emphasis on speed and combos, and the ability to take battles really high into the air. An updated version, entitled Arcana Heart FULL! addressed some character balancing issues (the regular and FULL! versions of each character are selectable in the home version).

There's also the sequel Arcana Heart 2, and its enhanced remake Suggoi! Arcana Heart 2. The latter got a PlayStation 2 port of questionable performance.

Arcana Heart 3 was released December 2009. It was ported to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was published by Arc System Works. The game is only available in North America through the PlayStation Network, while it received a disc release in Europe. The Japanese arcade version saw an Updated Re-release with Arcana Heart 3 Love MAX!!!!!, which is mostly about re-balancing issues and a cosmetic update. Love MAX!!!!! was ported to PS3 and PlayStation Vita with extra features such as an After Story scenario and Trial Mode. Another update, titled Arcana Heart 3: Love MAX SIX STARS!!!!!!, will be released for Japanese arcades in Winter 2014. It will feature a new character, Minori, and a new Arcana (the Arcana of Blood).

The series is developed by Examu but has had various publishers: AQ Interactive (1 & 2, JP), Atlus (1, NA), Arc System Works/Aksys Games (3, JP & NA), Zen United (3, EU), and NIS America (Love MAX!!!!!).

Stand-by Angel! FIGHT!

  • All Your Powers Combined: Mildred Avalon.
  • An Ice Person: Zenia Valov in Arcana Heart 2 uses the default Arcana of ice.
  • Animal Mecha: Two of the new Arcana in 3, Gottfried and Baldur are this. This is because they are artificially created Arcana, as is the boss Ragnarok.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: Mei-Fang, particularly in some of her winposes.
  • Ax-Crazy: Scharlachrot comes off as this.
  • Badass Longcoat: Zenia, again.
  • Battle Butler: Fiona Mayfield.
  • BFS: Fiona.
  • Big Bad: Mildred in the first game, and her older sibling, Angela Avalon in the second game. Interestingly, Mildred serves as Angela's Arcana when she debuted.
  • Big Fancy House: Petra's stage. Of course, considering she's The Ojou.
  • Black Magician Girl: Dorothy Albright in Arcana Heart 2.
  • Boobs of Steel: Mei-Fang, almost literally.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The main gimmick of Sorwat, Clarice's default Arcana.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Heart Aino.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: At least for the semi-boss of Story Mode.
  • Cool Big Sis: Akane Inuwaka.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Lilica.
  • Cute Witch: Yoriko. Shy and bookish, but she carries a mean skeletal Magic Wand.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Only in Yoriko's case. Her Arcana's element is evil, but she's really a good-natured witch (and friends with prankster half-demon Lilica, who is herself rather friendly and cheerful). Lieselotte, the Darkness Arcana holder, isn't so nice. In the sequel, Clarice di Lanza is a demonic nun and seems rather nice all around, and speaks with music tones.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Saki.
  • Disturbed Doves: One of Petra's winposes has her shoot one of her guns in the sky, and a flock of doves fly past her.
  • Dojikko: Heart tends to fall down in the opening in her stage.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Two of Konoha's super attacks, a normal super and her Critical Heart in 2.
    • Ditto for Akane.
  • Doppelgänger Spin : Lilica uses "afterimage" (i.e. extreme speed) style doppelgängers in two of her supers.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: (Obligatory German girl) Lieselotte practically defines this.
  • Elemental Powers: In addition to the characters' standard attacks, the Arcana grant additional powers to the Maidens, and can be used interchangeably by anyone (though the characters all have their own preferred default Arcana).
  • Empathic Weapon: Yoriko's staff, who is actually a very powerful demon transformed into a staff.
  • Enfante Terrible: Kira Daidouji, who already has world domination aspirations at the tender age of 11. Lieselotte's pretty damn creepy, too, the way she carries her sister's soul in the body of a legless puppet and all.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Zenia's default Arcana, "Almacia", the ice Arcana.
  • Evil Albino: Liesolette.
  • Extra Ore Dinary: Fiona's default Arcana, Orichalkos.
  • Extremity Extremist: Mostly on minor versions here. Saki and Akane mostly kick, and Zenia mostly punch. However, they also have one or two moves which involve their unused limbs.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Clarice, most of the time, unless she's not in a good mood.
  • Fanservice: In large quality and quantity, mainly in moe archetypes. Compared to other fighting series known for fanservice, mainly Dead or Alive, it's pretty tame.
  • Five-Man Band: Heart, Saki, Maori, Yoriko and Lilica: as seen in Heart's ending and their dialogues, they are all classmates and great friends among each other.
  • The Four Gods: Mei-Fang's moves.
  • Fragile Speedster: Lilica.
  • Genki Girl: Heart and Lilica.
  • A God Am I - Look at the Big Bad entry below.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The names of many of the Arcana attacks.
  • Green Thumb: Konoha's default Arcana, Moriomoto.
  • Guns Akimbo: Petra Johanna Lagerkvist in Arcana Heart 2.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Lilica is an half-demon, Konoha is part-dog, and Akane has fox ears that she's somewhat embarrassed about.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Surprisingly, Mike of all people demons is implied to do one in Yoriko's bad ending (first game), shielding Yoriko and Lilica from the energy of the spirit world long enough for them to escape.
  • Hero of Another Story: Everyone to each other in 3 because every single character ending is merely a short scene on how everyone is affected afterwards. And Elza's story ending takes place before the game even begins!
  • Humongous Mecha: Well not humongous per se, but the mech Catherine drives is fairly large (standing, it fills the vertical screen space)
    • Ragnarok, the final boss of Arcana Heart 3, is a true humongous mecha. Sort of. It's actually an oversized artificial Arcana.
  • Idiot Hero: Heart, whose dialogue reveals her to be unbelievely dumb.
  • Improbable Age: Kira has a Doctorate, a freaking Ph.D at the age of 11 years old. Catherine Kyoubashi one-ups her by getting her Ph.D at the age of 10 years old.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Maori (and her sisters) uses an armory full of tops and giant paper cranes.
  • Improbably Female Cast
  • Insufferable Genius: Kira. She's extremely intelligent, but also very arrogant and condescending.
  • Jack of All Stats: Heart.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mike, the self-proclaimed "demon king" sealed in Yoriko's staff. He's abrasive, boastful, and often callous (he's the one responsible for Yoriko's pact with the Death Arcana, which terrifies her)...but he's also intensely protective of Yoriko, and seems to cause her inconvenience only out of denseness.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Partinias' Ouranio Toxo. In the second game, Petra's Critical Heart.
  • Light Is Not Good: Mildred's an angel, so her attacks are light-based versions of the Arcana users' attacks.
  • Limit Break: The Arcana Blazes, which can only be used in Arcana Force mode. Critical Hearts in the second game also count.
  • Love Freak: Come on, her name is Heart Aino''.
  • Meido: Fiona.
  • Mighty Glacier: Kira is slow, because of her large blob, but deals a lot of damage with her grapple moves. Catherine, who was added in the second game, uses a mech instead.
    • Fiona might also count. She's extremely slow (she does wear pieces of plate mail armor and carry around a sword larger than she is), but has very high HP and defense ratings, her Arcana's defense oriented and she hits like a truck with that sword.
  • Miko: Maori (and her sisters).
  • Ninja: Konoha.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Elsa and Clarice from the sequel. Elsa plays this straight, but Clarice is kinda naughty.
  • The Ojou: Petra.
  • Panty Shot: Surprisingly, for a fighting game like this, it's almost completely averted. The sole exception being one of Petra's supers, with the appropriate Lampshade Hanging from Petra herself.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Not with a mask, but Kamui thinks that a ponytail is going to hide the fact that she is the Thousand Years Protector. This despite the fact that she carries a katana wherever she goes.
  • Pet the Dog: Mildred seems to be quite kind to Fiona. She even points out that part of her apocalpytic plan is actually intended to help Fiona (after all, Fiona being trapped in the spirit world won't matter when it's merged), and seems genuinely shocked and hurt when Fiona objects, regardless.
  • Petting Zoo People: Konoha is a dog girl ninja with the cutest little ears to match.
    • And Sugoi! Arcana Heart 2 adds a kick happy dog girl and a dog girl who is basically an expy of Nakoruru (complete with bird), mounted on a wolf with a staff. There.
  • Playboy Bunny: Catherine's outfit. Or perhaps, better said: Swimsuit + Bunny Ears.
    • Dorothy plays it straight in one of her special victory poses in 3.
  • Playing with Fire: Mei-Fang's default Arcana.
  • The Power of Love: Taken literally with Heart's default Arcana Partineas, the Arcana of Love that launches Energy Balls and huge beams of sheer whoopass.
  • Powers as Programs: The Arcana.
  • Rapunzel Hair - Yoriko, Kamui, Mildred, Weib, Scharlachrot, Petra, Clarice, Angelia, Saki, and Maori.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Kamui, being the "Thousand Years Protector", is protected by her Arcana so that she never ages physically.
  • Robot Girl / Anime Chinese Girl: Mei-Fang.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Saki and Heart, and maybe Lilica and Yoriko; others are by one's own interpretation.
  • Rollerblade Good: Lilica.
  • Samurai: Kamui.
  • Save Both Worlds
  • Secret Character: Fiona in the first game, Scharlachrot in the third.
  • School Swimsuit: Kira wears one all the time, with the occasional lab coat over it. Justified in that she fights while being waist-deep in a large blob that mimics her moves.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Zenia, if you either beat her with a good attack or if you have a close call victory with her.
  • Shout-Out: Scharlachrot has two. A number of fans have compared one of her attacks with the Omega Destroyer, while on the character select screen she may mutter "Anta baka?"
  • SNK Boss: Both Avalons. Parace from Sugoi! Arcana Heart 2 as well.
    • Parace comes back in the Score Attack Mode of the console port of Arcana Heart 3. Oh, Crap.
      • She's even worse in Arcana Heart 3 than in the second game.
    • Ragnarok in Arcana Heart 3 gets extra points for being a boss designed for an entirely different style of gameplay. And if time runs out, you can't continue.
  • Super Mode: Arcana Force mode. Can be activated once per round, and provides an additional Arcana-specific benefit.
  • The Stoic: Zenia doesn't talk much... most of the time.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Saki. Aloof most of the time, but after her ordeal was over, she was rather apologetic to Heart.
    • Also Zenia. Most of the time super serious, but goes very sweet in front of kids.
  • Take Over the World: Kira's ambition.
  • (Pre-)Teen Genius: Kira. Built her own ether-powered blob, and the ether-circuits used to power Mei-Fang. In the sequel, Catherine Kyohbashi is another one, having built the huge robot she controls by herself.
  • Time Stands Still: Anutpada (the time arcana)'s Limit Break.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe
  • Tokyo Tower: The backdrop for Lilica's stage in the first game.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Mildred believes that the merging of the two worlds she's attempting will start a new golden age where everything will be a lot better than it is now. The fact that millions of people will die in the ensuing dimensional turmoil? Acceptable losses.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Scharlachrot uses them. Lots of them.
  • Widget Series: All. Moe. Fighting. Game. The fact that it actually stands on its own merits....
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Petra's outfit. Long boots version.
    • Heart as well. Knee socks variant.

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