Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm is the third in the series of the "Iris" video role playing games, itself a subseries of the Atelier Series, produced by the GUST company in 2006. The game may or may not be a direct sequel to the previous games, all of whom feature a female alchemist named Iris in an important role. However, Grand Phantasm is the first that actually has Iris as a playable character.The story takes place around a city called Zey Meruze, that resembles Venice in that it is crisscrossed by water channels (with Fairies offering a gondolier service.) However, Meruze also has portals to other dimensions, called "Alterworlds" where, for some reason, humans can't stay for more than a short time (they eventually are magically transported out.) Iris (who in this game is still an amateur alchemist) and her friends Edge and Nell work as "raiders" for the Raiders Guild, an organization that performs tasks for people for a price. Usually these involve missions into the Alterworlds, but can also be as mundane as finding missing pets.The game basically follows Iris's team as they rise through the Guild's ranks. The real story however, involves a sealed book that Iris owns: and which contains an enormous power that can only be released by finding eight "gem-like fragments", so she looks for them. And if you're Genre Savvy, you can probably guess that it isn't going to be quite that simple...
Bonus Boss: Several, via Quests. One (generally considered the hardest boss in the game) isn't listed on the quest board, however. Finding him and getting the Luplus blades requires entering the right area in Ishtar during the final chapter. The Shadow Stalker is often considered That One Boss, since he'll divide, copying himself over and over and casting Meteor, but there's a strategy that makes him a piece of cake: wait until he divides into four, and then use the high level attack items. Thunder Rod especially fill the the Burst Gauge instantly, allowing the player to spam their most powerful techniques until the burst ends, at which point repeat until he's dead. He theoretically resists these items, but it doesn't really make much difference. Since there aren't really any other bosses in the game hard enough to require these items, the player will probably have picked up more than enough in the course of the game.
In a Subversion, Dakasus's crystal-sparkling Melty Spring Water is a powerful acid.
Cosplay: Some of the Beastmen wear animal costumes depending on their tribe. Also, the player characters have several costumes, though you can't see them wearing them (except the default ones that come with each class change.)
Cute Clumsy Girl: Pamela was apparently this in life. In a mission to discover how she died, it is revealed that she fell off a stool when trying to get something out of an upper cupboard shelf and landed on her head.
Impoverished Patrician: The sisters Yula and Nell. They're working to restore their family fortunes, turning them into The Rival over paying jobs until Yula blames their failures on Nell and abandons her sister, leaving Edge and Iris to take Nell in.
The Medic: One of Nell's Blades focuses on recovery and support. Certain accessories also grant healing and ailment-curing spells, allowing you to temporarily turn anyone into a medic as well.
Mood Whiplash: Most proeminent in Pamela's quest. Upon learning how Pamela died you find her diary apparently full of tears written by her mother... Then you discover how Pamela actually died and the music changes from dramatic to a very goofy one describing her death: she fell off a stool when she was trying to get something out of an upper cupboard shelf and landed on her head. Not even the heroes managed to keep a straight face after that.
Ms. Fanservice: There are a lot of attractive female characters in the game, most notably Eva, the Barkeeper.
Nell is probably the most blatant example. She's incredibly busty, sports Underboobs in some of her outfits, and wears a midriff-baring top and a short skirt in her standard outfit.
Mundane Made Awesome: The game's opening FMV, both the opening theme (Schwarzweiss/ Black And White) and the video itself, focus almost entirely on the antagonism between Edge and Ash, promoting as some epic rivalry and a major part of the plot. Epic rivalry my arse, the whole thing's just a mere jealous grudge Edge has, which is all only a very minor and barely noticeable part of the plot.
Also, the opening itself. Schwarzweiss is a far more intense and dramatic opening theme than the two others in the series, the actual game is easily the most laidback and non-epic installment of the trilogy.
Mythology Gag: Upon closer look, the "Alchemist Robe" item for Iris looks like the robe worn by the titular heroine of Atelier Marie...
The Napoleon: Don't try to say anything about Phenyl's height, even if you do it indirectly. Just look at what happened to Ewan and Funan.
Non-Linear Sequel: Iris was a famous alchemist in the first game, a child in the second, and a completely different character in the third.
Small Name, Big Ego: Apparently, Funan the Fisherman. He is bad at fishing and his words (which are supposed to be... poetic) hardly make sense, but that doesn't stop him from bragging in front of others.
To understand the full story (and avoid the Bittersweet Ending) you have to complete the Shadow Gem quest. It does not show up until the portal to the final dungeon (which you cannot return from) opens.
Visual Initiative Queue: Represented as a line of spread-out cards. Empty spots in the queue are face-down cards, while characters and enemies are face-up. Anyone who's defeated goes face-down, and some skills put cards in the queue to trigger (or repeat) the skill when they come up.