Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is the sixth installment of the Atelier series of role-playing games which were developed by Gust, and the first game from the series to make the journey across the Pacific from Japan. It is also the first game in the Atelier series to invert The Smurfette Principle, as this main character, who is traditionally female in the series, is male.In a World where alchemy exists, alchemists travel the land in search of new alchemic artifacts and Mana. The Mana are a race of beings who lend alchemists their power in order to craft stronger magical items.The story follows Klein Kiesling, a young alchemist, as he explores the world along with a group of friends he makes along the journey. Pretty standard RPG fare, narratively speaking.Released in Japan in 2004, North America in 2005 and Europe in 2006, the game received decent reviews, but many of the innovations (which include item fusion/synthesis) earlier adopted by the Atelier series had already been adapted by other games which were released in North America before this chapter was introduced.
This game provides examples of:
Alchemy Is Magic: Explicitly so. In this case, alchemists like Klein can magically decompose items and bits of scenery into raw elements, storing a wide variety of them for later recomposition into alchemical items. Over the course of the game you can collect various books on magic to loan to Yach and Veola so they can learn more about alchemy.
Area of Effect: Many attacks and skills. Arlin is notable in that nearly all of his attacks are single-target only, while everyone else has a different AoE for basic attacks and most skills.
Klein's basic attack has a circular area effect, and some of his skills grant an area effect to alchemical items.
Lita has more of a vertical (relative to the player) oval area on her attack, representing the wide sweep of her claws.
Delsus and Norn have a horizontal oval area for their projectile attacks (though Norn's is very small). Even Norn's "Turn 2 Candy" skill has a very small area of effect instead of being strictly single-target instant-kill.
Marietta has a similar horizontal oval area a little bigger than Norn's to represent the downward slash of her sword. Some of her skills give her sweeping or thrusting attacks for wider oval areas.
Artificial Human: Legendary beings created through alchemy, known as the "Daughters of Iris." Lita is the only surviving Daughter, while Arlin turns out to be Mull's attempt to create his own kind of artificial human using very different methods. Arlin does not appreciate the callous treatment of him and his now-dead "brothers" during Mull's experimentation.
Awesome, but Impractical: Delsus's Spirit Blast skill. Earned through a series of Fetch Quests, it does a phenomenal amount of either fire or ice damage, but costs 99 mana to cast (compared to his next most expensive skill, at 12 mana). That's likely most of his mana when you get it. It has its uses, especially as a high-damage panic button or against bosses, but even then watch out for elemental resistances.
Bag of Sharing: Normal items are shared, though averted with mana items as only Klein can conjure or use them.
Big Eater: Marietta, as a career warrior, believes that one should never pass up the opportunity for a meal as who knows when a fight is going to break out? Though Klein is rather daunted by what she appears to consider a small meal or snack.
Can't Catch Up: Marietta arrives with a serious dearth of skill points. She could be struggling to max out two skills while everyone else has only two skills not maxed. She more or less make up for this by being sturdy and hitting really hard with her normal attacks, though.
Cat Girl: Norn. You can also meet werecats in Poto's Forest once Norn joins the party, and they will offer to heal you or share an item out of solidarity and friendship. (The werecats you start seeing in the Land of Mana onwards are not so friendly.)
Chekhov's Gunman: Some seemingly minor supporting characters wind up directly aiding the party through the game. For example, Pamela the friendly ghost initially seems like a sort of comic relief character, but eventually helps you translate some writing in a ruin that she remembers from when she was alive.
Chick Magnet: Klein, who is willing to go to great lengths for someone he's only just met. Lita refuses to admit it, Veola is pretty forward about her interest, and even Blaire eventually declares that she's added Klein to her list of acceptable potential suitors (which for Blaire is roughly equivalent to yanking Klein over the counter and frenching him).
Lightning Bruiser: Arlin, fast, strong with physical and magic attacks also having good balance in Speed and Defense. No wonder he is a Crutch Character. Lita evolves into one as more of her skills unlock and level up, since she: shares Fast Attack with Arlin and her Dodge skill is nearly identical to his Block; she has an overall high Speed stat; her basic attack can hit large groups of enemies; and said attack only counts as half an action. It's pretty common late in the game for her to get three attacks in a row.
Squishy Wizard: Klein and Norn can both do serious damage, but have the worst Defense value of everyone.
Mighty Glacier: Marietta, she has excellent physical attacks, packs the highest HP of the group and she even has a healing spell. Her Speed is depressing, though.
Covers Always Lie: The cover bills Arlin as a main character, but he permanently leaves the party at the halfway point.
Crutch Character: Arlin who goes straight for a Game Breaker after he learns his Bull's Eyes. ability. With that tech, it makes the normally very long and hard final boss seems like nothing.
Despair Event Horizon: Lita attempted to kill herself after she woke up from her stasis, but was unable to. She spends the latter part of Veola's plot arc trying to pull Veola back across the horizon when she realizes that Veola is building what is basically a glorified assisted suicide machine
Distant Finale: Not very distant, really, but right after defeating the final boss there's a series of short scenes showing the characters immediately to a few weeks:
Arlin returns to flesh-and-blood after the flows of mana are restored to the world and wanders off somewhere with his Mana, Luplus.
Norn returns home to Zeldalia's place.
Marietta has been named the new head of the Alkavana Knights, and her brother Beggur is taking care of the rebuilding of Kavoc.
Delsus intends on continuing to wander but tells Marietta outright that if she wants him to stay with her instead, she just has to ask.
Lita continues traveling and adventuring with Klein.
Klein continues traveling and adventuring with Lita.
An Economy Is You: Zig-zagged. A lot of the stuff for sale is reasonable for non-adventurers to use - mostly food, clothing, jewels, and the like. You can even check reports on how the shop is doing, with popular opinion and customer numbers. However, about half the shops rely on you to help expand their inventories with stuff for you to use.
Eldritch Abomination: Amalgam. It looks like some kind of cross between a frilly fantasy airship and an undead insect made of dragon bones, with huge angel wings. An orb like a Growloon floats in its "mouth" and occasionally turns into some mis-proportioned predatory pixie creature (among other things) when using some of its skills.
Elemental Tiers: The first and weakest offensive Mana Item you're able to synthesize is the Bomb Ice (Ice). Then you get the Obake Bag (Dark), Flame (Fire), Thunder Rod (Lightning), and finally the strongest one is Dragon Gem, which is also fire-based.
Full-Contact Magic: With the right equipment it is entirely possible to make Klein's and Norn's attacks to hurt as much as Arlin's.
Get on the Boat: Rather early on, but it only carries you across a large river for an alternate path to Poto's Forest, as the main route is overlooked by Fort Galga which is at the moment full of bandits.
Global Currency Exception: A merchant in the Land of Mana only accepts pendelook items instead of money. Fortunately, pendelooks can be synthesized easily by Veola with materials found all in one location... but it's still pretty tedious, since you can only carry 9 of any item at a time and have to keep going back and forth if you want to buy much.
The Hidden Village accepts karikari nuts as currency. Overall much easier to replenish than pendelooks, since they spawn up to 3 at a time in the town of Arcose.
Healer Signs On Early: Klein is both the most effective healer and your main character, so he's there from go. The only other character with any healing ability (aside from tossing healing items) is Marietta, who doesn't join until somewhat late in the game.
Healing Checkpoint: Magically warded spots safe for people to set up camp without worrying about monsters. You step on one and enter a spacious tent, where you can chat with party members, save, and get healed by Popo.
Helpful Mook: Upon getting Norn, your first random encounter every time you visit Poto's Forest in the future is a werecat who offers healing or a food item. The same werecats reappear later in the Land of Mana and are decidedly less friendly.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted with Klein. He uses maces and staves, but in an even further aversion of the standard RPG hero archetype, he's not only a magic-user, but the party's main healer as well.
A Homeowner Is You: You're given a sizable apartment behind (and above) Norman's tavern, rented to you for free as Galgazits. There you can save, heal up, chat with the party, synthesize mana items with less drain on your Mana, and restore Lita's draining mana. The characters periodically head back home to rest and think after a major dungeon or plot event, and decide what to do next. You can't customize it at all, though.
Human Resources: Klein can break down a lot of things into raw elements for later alchemy - including enemies, when he strikes the killing blow with his basic attack. Yes, even human enemies. Any potential horror is completely ignored, leaving it to the player to decide on the creepiness of it all.
Norn's ability to turn enemies into snack foods with magic may also fall under this.
Humans Are Bastards: Avenberry's fall was due to human abuse of alchemy and the Mana. Specifically, some ancient alchemists forced several Mana into a new form, creating the "Mana of Beginnings and Ends," Amalgam. This disrupted the natural flows of mana in the world and put the Mana into decline, and destroyed Avenberry.
100% Completion: Lita holds a monster compendium to be filled out, and the item collector Lector gives Norn an item compendium. Lector gives you 100 gold for every new item you find, and themed sets of items unlock character profiles, sound galleries, music, and videos.
Idiot Hair: Klein is somewhere between this and Hair Antennae depending on the art - in his official art and character portrait it's like a pair of swept-back antennae; while his sprite in towns, combat, and the overworld has a much less pronounced cowlick.
Ineffectual Loner: Arlin, he's turned into a stone when he confronts Mull alone (hey, that rhymed!). And even then, he very nearly killed Mull himself, and probably would have succeeded if he hadn't run out of mana and "died."
Infinity+1 Sword: Generally averted. Some weapons and accessories are better than others, but the overall stat range from worst to best is very small. The most powerful gear is that which you can customize yourself by fusing mana crystals to get the desired stats and special abilities, and a few characters (Klein, Norn, and Marietta) start with their customizable weapons.
Instant Runes: Klein's "ELE EXTRACT" (Element Extraction) basic attack creates an instant magic circle where he hits, and any enemy he kills with the attack is turned into raw elements.
Item Amplifier: Klein has a skill called Power Item, which can be used on a specific item to enhance its effect. He also has other skills called Wide Item and Pass Item, which increase item range, horizontally and vertically respectively.
Item Caddy: Klein's main source of damage (or anything else, really) is mana items, which only he can create and use. Everyone can use regular store-bought (or synthesized) items, but they're not often as powerful as what Klein can conjure - especially if he uses the Power Item skill.
Item Crafting: It's an Atelier game, what do you expect? There are three main varieties:
Shop Synthesis, where you have to bring materials according to a shopkeeper's recipe. You can substitute other materials of the same general type to get a better version of the listed item, or to create a new, related recipe (such as substituting milk for goat milk to get a different kind of bread). The final item gets several traits such as "hard" or "sweet and sour" that influence its final review score, and better reviews make the shop do better. You can later make the same item using inferior ingredients but keep the old review score for more economical mass-production.
Klein can spend gathered elements to conjure mana items in the field, but only if he has at least one Mana for each element needed for the item in question. He can do this in or out of combat, and it's good to have a stock of prepared items to apply Klein's Item Amplifier skills during combat.
Mana crystal fusion and weapon customization, which has to be done at home base in Kavoc. Using a Mana with a mana stone results in a mana crystal with different stat boosts (such as Attack bonus, Defense bonus, Health regen, and so on), and those crystals can be further combined for greater bonuses and then fused to customizable weapons and accessories.
Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: What you can buy costs the same everywhere (when it shows up in more than one shop at all), and sells at only a couple shops for a pittance. You can sell gathered materials, but those also earn very little. The "recommended" easiest money exploit comes late in the game after you finally get the Flight power, so you can gather Comet Stones to make Comet Jewels to make Rings of Love, which sell at the Kavoc weapons shop for a comfortable profit. This notably comes after you've already made or bought everything you need but the most expensive gear in the shops, and is really most useful for preparing for the last parts of the game and buying up gear to round out Lector's item list.
Leaked Experience: Party members on the sidelines get half experience. It's easy to keep everyone around the same level as a result.
Level Grinding: The stat gains from any given level aren't particularly great. The real value in level grinding comes from more skill points, so you can level your skills and spells. Many go from merely "meh" to Awesome Yet Practical in just a few levels. A little into the game you can also "equip" Mana to characters, who can also level up - when they do, they grant you bonus points to specific skills.
Love at First Punch: Lita rescues Klein first, and then calls him a weakling for getting ambushed while traveling alone.
Love Triangle: Veola and Lita are, to varying degrees of subtlety, vying for Klein's attention. Lita has the advantage since she's always with him, and they even live together (with the rest of the party, admittedly), but she never really uses it (or even admits to it). Veola, meanwhile, is pretty blatant about her interest and is able to engage with Klein much more deeply on the subject of alchemy, but she sometimes comes off like she's doing it more to mess with Lita. Not that Klein is paying much attention, anyway...
Magikarp Power: Klein and Norn generally start out with little to no reliable means of dishing out good damage, but later on both have the highest damage potential given the right equipment and skills.
A lot of skills, until you level them up a few times. Norn's Illusion skill, for example, starts as a very weak, expensive single-target damage spell where she conjures an illusory ghost to attack a foe. Once you get it up to level 4 Norn conjures some kind of Eldritch Abomination that attacks a wide area and has a high chance of making enemies run away.
Magic Knight: Marietta, a sturdy swordswoman who also can throw around some healing and lightning magic.
Mana: Hoo-boy, this word gets a work-out. Principally, there are the race of spirits who enable alchemy, the Mana (capitalized); and the raw magic power that flows through the world, mana (not capitalized). There are also "Mana items" which are alchemically crafted with the aid of Mana; "mana stones" which are solidified mana; and "mana crystals" which you get when you have a Mana process a mana stone. Characters also have their own Mana Meter, which fits the trope more conventionally.
Money Spider: You do get money from creatures you kill, but not much. Nonhuman and unintelligent monsters sometimes have little more than pocket change. It's to encourage you to scrounge and take advantage of the item crafting system instead of just buying everything you need. The money drop rates are generally so low you never need run into Money for Nothing until very late.
News Travels Fast: The people of Kavoc always seem to know when you've killed any Growloons, even though you've probably decomposed them into raw elements in far-away dungeons where you're the first human to penetrate in centuries.
Nominal Importance: As in many RPGs, most NPCs have generic names, a few are named, while important and regularly-recurring characters (usually with their own side plots) are named and have portraits. The Alkavana Knights are in a weird middle ground where they have portraits but they're rarely used, and they all share the same sprite.
Non-Lethal K.O.: Unless the whole active party is knocked out, anyone defeated in combat will be up again at 1 hit point afterward. You can rotate out defeated characters for fresh ones in combat as well.
At one point in the story, Klein will get the option to either learn the skill Living Item or the ability to create Ether Bulb. You can get the other one later, though.
Norn's Illusion skill is gotten through solving the puzzle in Ka Luda's playground the second time, using the black pieces instead of white.
Delsus' Spirit Shot skill, gotten from completing an optional sidequest from the old man at Lake Forwell near the end of the game.
Lita's Pale Wing skill, gotten after a certain storyline event near the end of the game.
Now, Where Was I Going Again?: You can ask Popo at any time for a hint on your next objective. Usually it's helpful, sometimes not so much. He'll even keep track of active sidequests for you.
Only the Knowledgable/Worthy May Pass: Henmil's Gate, blocking the way to Avenberry. Opening it requires demonstrating sufficient knowledge and skill of alchemy to Iris's satisfaction. This amounts to acquiring the necessary Plot Coupons, which only could have been gotten by someone like Klein who is both well-learned in alchemy (knowledgable) and also powerful enough to control multiple Mana (worthy) which Klein is by virtue of being one of Iris's distant descendants.
Rapunzel Hair: Lita seems to have no problem with her long hair despite being a fighter that moves around a lot.
Random Drops: Nearly every enemy has some kind of randomly dropped item, and for many it's Organ Drops. Most also have both a common and rare type of drop.
Really 700 Years Old: Zeldalia to a T. The voicework makes this even better, since despite looking like she's twelve, she has the voice and mannerisms of a stately older woman.
Mull turns out to be rather older than he looks since he actually studied alchemy long ago with Klein's grandmother Daphne, and Zeldalia.
Relationship Values: Mana have a "Love" value, raised by giving gifts. If it's high, they can make extra mana items for free while synthesizing.
Resources Management Gameplay: Some of the elements are very rare or outright limited. The Time element is the worst offender, and you don't even learn it exists - aside from an empty gap in the elements chart - until Avenberry. Several high-level crafting materials appear only a few times in the game, so you have to be very careful about using them in item synthesis.
Reviving Enemy: Several enemies (such as the Lantern Jacks) have a "Guts" ability with a chance of reviving them with a little extra health upon death. As long as the Random Number God is on their side, they can keep reviving over and over.
Rewarding Vandalism: Presumably someone owns those barrels, crates, and potted plants that Klein keeps turning into spare elements. Or the barrels he keeps stealing stuff from.
Save Point: Large blue books with gold trim. The vast majority are found in camps where you can also heal up, but a handful are found on their own in the middle of dungeons. Before getting access to the home base in Kavoc, Klein stows his first save point book in Norman's tavern.
Poison, which does a small amount of damage each turn.
Paralysis, which works more like a damage debuff and lowers the damage the target deals instead of actually paralyzing someone.
Sleep, which makes the target skip turns until they wake up or are hurt.
Charm, which makes the target skip turns until it wears off, even if hurt (which is more like standard paralysis).
Knock Down, which leaves the character vulnerable to more damage until they can get back up, and also prevents the use of reaction skills like Feint, Counter, Dodge, and Block.
Super Mode: Aroma Material items transform some Manas into more powerful forms with different element affinities. For example, Uru the Mana of Fire (who uses Fire, Light, and Power elements at 1x, 2.5x, and 3x costs respectively) transforms into Grupt the Mana of Power (using Power and Fire elements at 1x and 1.5x costs respectively). You can remove an Aroma Material and apply it to another Mana.
Sweet Tooth: Lita. It's pretty much guaranteed that the first time you make a new food or drink item at a shop, either she'll weigh in on its sweetness or Delsus will make a snarky remark about how much he expects her to like it.
Take Your Time: Want to scour all the towns again for any new quest triggers or recipes? Go ahead. Want to stock up on every item you can find and synthesize everything else? Sure. Want to walk out of the final dungeon seconds before Mull completes his villainous scheme and go visit the bonus dungeon? No problem! There are many points where you plausibly should be hurrying along but there's no actual need to do so.
The Alcoholic: Delsus, not quite a heavy drinker, but he is the only go talks about getting some booze and dislikes any sweet drink.
The Leader: Beggur, of all people around. Every single person he has working for him in the Alkavana Knights follows him out of pure respect as shown in almost every conversation
Thriving Ghost Town: Towns like Kavoc and Arcose have easily 2000 people living in them, if the customer reports from the shops are to be believed. There might - might - be 100 NPCs with or without unique names in the game (setting aside enemies).
Title Drop: One of the final areas of the game is called Atelier Iris.
Too Awesome to Use: Several of the mana items. They take uncommon or limited elements, or can be substituted with a weaker item and one of Klein's skills. Elixir is a full restore but it needs the fairly rare Holy element to conjure, for example (and even the final boss fight isn't so hard you can't spend two of Klein's turns restoring health then mana to everyone). Or the Dragon Gem, the most powerful damage item, which requires the exceedingly rare (and only usable if you get Luplus, Arlin's Mana from the bonus dungeon) Time element.
Trailers Always Lie: That shot of Norn looking really mysterious and powerful? Nothing even remotely like that happens in the game itself.
Trailers Always Spoil: No, Virginia, those wings Lita sprouts in the opening movie are not merely symbolic.
Tsundere: Type B. Lita bounces rapidly back and forth between being sweet and perky to Klein or raging about what a jerk he is. She's very much soften up when her back story kicks in.
Marietta is a clear Type A for Delsus.
Trick Arrow: Delsus' skills, more or less justified as Delsus seems to change the "cartridges" of his crossbow before shooting.
Useless Useful Spell: Surprisingly averted. Nearly every skill is useful, just not very effective until you put points into them. Even the instant kill spells are useful - for example, Norn's "Turn2 Candy" spell. It has a respectable success rate on non-boss enemies, turning them into some kind of snack food. It's also usually the only way you can get those snack foods, which are useful for item synthesis in shops, especially at Blaire's bakery in Arcose.
Vendor Trash: Averted - nearly everything can be either used for item synthesis, equipped, or both. Any remaining items are Plot Coupons. Even low-quality versions of materials are still useful for mass-producing items. Use your rare or expensive high-quality materials to make the first of an item, put it on the shop menu, then produce a bunch of cheap ones and refuse to have the new version put on the menu. You get a pile of new, cheaply-made items using the more expensive version's stats.
Verbal Tic: Norn and her meow and nya for English and Japanese voiceovers respectively.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Lita and Veola, who start off just hating each other and never quite drop their rivalry over Klein.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: The transformation power. Klein acquires a potion that would let him turn into a small rabbit-like creature permanently, or only briefly if he just sniffs the fumes. The jump button is disabled, though you can still climb things and can fall a much greater distance. It's mostly used to pick up items hidden behind narrow passages, bars, or across ledges.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Norn can be quite a nasty surprise if you don't take her minions down quickly before they power her up. Fail to do so and within two turns she might take down anyone in your team in about two hits if you have average equipment. To add more spice, she will most likely put some of your team to sleep during the fight.
Warp Whistle: There are teleport points to a fairy's other-dimensional home scattered around the world, and from his place you can go to a set of about half a dozen towns and other important locations.
We Buy Anything: One shop in Kavoc will buy any random material you can find lying around, but for very low prices. Don't expect to make any fast cash off of the infinitely respawning materials like magi grass, green peppers, or well water in town. The weapon shop in Kavoc will also buy weapons and accessories.
We Sell Everything: Very averted. Every shop has a narrow, thematically-appropriate inventory selection, with up to 9 of each item available to buy at any time (and often far fewer). Some certain expensive items are never restocked once you buy them out, as well. Finally, some shops do expand their inventory, but only once you bring materials for the new recipes. Some of these crafted items only restock in the shop after you've crafted more yourself, as well.
We Help the Helpless: Lita and Klein as Galgazits for the town of Kavoc and the general environs - a Galgazit is basically an odd-jobber with a dash of Bounty Hunter, as they take on any tasks people can't do for themselves in exchange for whatever the townsfolk donate (including free rent on a place above the tavern). One of a Galgazit's standing duties is to eliminate monsters called Growloons wherever they appear, as while the Growloons are individually harmless they somehow spawn other monsters.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Beggur and the Alkavana Knights object to Klein's efforts to get into Avenberry as they're dedicated to keeping the ruins sealed up because of all the potential dangers inside - but they would also like to recruit Klein because his alchemy powers would be really useful for protecting people. There're no signs the Alkavana are actually tyrannical or monstrous, and for much of the game they're mostly just full of themselves. But Beggur is easily provoked and is being pushed further by Mull, so the Alkavana spend a lot of time alternately trying to press-gang or arrest Klein.
Mull. He truly thinks he can succeed where the alchemists of Avenberry failed, and wants to use alchemy for the betterment of humanity. It's just that, well... he's a ruthless bastard when it comes to achieving his goals, such as considering Mana just tools for human use.
You ALL Look Familiar: Palette Swap disguises it, but it's still very noticeable with the maid sprite, which covers two shopkeepers in Arcose and the nearby mine (one of whom is important to Blaire's side story), one in another shop in Kavoc, and some others that tend to pop up elsewhere.