Video Game: Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Despite a planet so vast...
and populated by countless number of people...
Why is it that I'm so alone?
This is dedicated to those that share the same feeling of isolation.
— Excerpt from the North American trailer of Fragile Dreams
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (フラジール ~さよなら月の廃墟~, Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo) is a third-person Action RPG/Adventure Game released on the Nintendo Wii and developed by Tri-Crescendo, the same team who made Eternal Sonata and had a hand with the Baten Kaitos games.The game tells the story of a young boy named Seto, possibly the Sole Survivor of a world where humanity has suddenly vanished, leaving its cities abandoned. After the old man who he had been staying with passes on, Seto is left completely alone, but upon reading a letter the old man has written for him, he decides to leave the safety of his home and venture to "the red tower to the east" in hopes of finding other survivors.During his journey, Seto meets an assortment of strange and eclectic characters: a capricious silver-haired girl called Ren; a motherly AI called a "Personal Frame" (PF); a roguish boy named Crow; an enigmatic ghost called Sai; a quiet spirit named Chiyo; the chicken-headed Item Merchant; and a bespectacled scientist called Shin.That's it, really. Fragile Dreams is marketed as an "atmospheric adventure" focusing on "human drama" and emotion. While it plays similarly to a Survival Horror game, it's not horror outright, instead settling for being eerie, sad, lonely, depressing and (rarely) disquieting, while also relying heavily on the player's ability to draw his or her own conclusions about why most things are the way they are.Heavy fan demand for a localization surfaced following the original release back in January 2009. Luckily, XSEED Games and Rising Star Games listened and released a North American and European version in March 2010, respectively, complete with original voices, reversible box art, and a mini-soundtrack bundled with Fragile Dreams. A rare manga adaptation has been released, following up on the events of the game. It has been translated and can be read here.
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon contains examples of:
American Kirby Is Hardcore: In addition to using deeper, mature voices for the younger characters in the localization, the American box art sports a vicious-looking Seto holding a golf club, whereas the original Japanese and European box arts show Seto and Ren holding hands over a watery background. Should you feel Japanophilic, XSEED included the latter art on the backside of the American game cover.
Though perhaps a little justified in that the localization was (poorly) marketed as some sort of post-apocalyptic adventure as opposed to a more emotional experience.
Apocalyptic Log: Objects, sketches, and short stories take the form of "Memory Items" for Seto to examine. Each Memory Item holds the last memories of its former owner, and offers the backstory and hints to the world and events leading up to the game.
Bilingual Bonus: While voices and game text can be taken in English, all the scenery and even the credits are in Japanese. The game helpfully translates the more important phrases (i.e. information that might prove valuable) when examined in first-person, but a vast majority remains the same as it would be in Japan. If you can read Japanese, you'll at least be able to read the vending machines and graffiti.
Cute Kitten: The game uses this to its full advantage, allowing Seto to play with or feed stray cats.
Cherry Tapping: It's completely possible to defeat the Final Boss with nothing but a broken stick. Quite hilarious when you think "Holy crap, a fifteen year old boy just beat down an insane thunder spirit with a broken stick."
Justified due to the mechanic of items breaking. That broken stick might be all you have left by the time you reach him.
Crapsack World: Possibly; Sai states the world was already at war before the Glass Cage was activated; it was the whole reason behind humanity saying "yes" to it in the first place.
Daylight Horror: Most of the game occurs at night (the game's symbol is the moon so day/night cycles are not quite respected). However, one setting places you in a hotel while the sun is shining, yet it's one of the scariest locations in the game.
Defanged Horrors: Most enemies in the game are simply creepy and scary rather than truly nightmarish or horrifying. Since Fragile Dreams places an emphasis on relationships and friendship, some may call this game "Silent Hill for children".
"Cats love this, but they cannot open it because they are cats."
Downer Ending, possibly Esoteric Happy Ending: The ending narration implies Seto is on his death bed or dying, and it's been many years following the game's events. He narrates he's alone again, hinting that Ren has died, and it's been countless summers since he met her. On the other hand, it's implied during the middle of the game a lot of people did indeed survive, and Seto and Ren head out to look for them together, so it's more likely a Bittersweet Ending.
Gainax Ending: Due to the ambiguity of Seto's ending narration, alongside implications that there are other survivors in the world, the game simply hints at a Sequel Hook.
Foreshadowing: The observatory at the beginning of the game has a library with several bookshelves that can be examined. These books include "Pirate Isle" (the book that Crow read) and several manuals on the Glass Cage project. This implies the man Seto lived with knew more than he was letting on when he told Seto to head for the Tokyo Tower in his letter.
Going through the Lunar Land amusement park with the special torch reveals secret messages written by Crow. In one message, instead of writing "I am Crow", he writes "I am H0053348". Looks like a serial number, doesn't it?
Gameplay and Story Segregation: For the most part, averted. The developers explicitly stated they were going for complete immersion. A lot of the Scrappy Mechanics are implemented because of this, like the breakable weapons and the inventory management. Possibly an extreme aversion, as some people have suggested the game is designed to be dreary and chore-like (the fetch quests, in particular) to mimic Seto's experience; since he's not having fun, you're not having fun. Discuss possible Fridge Brilliance.
Melancholy Moon, Weird Moon: The moon in the setting with the train tracks after leaving the subway tunnels appears much larger than the real one in other environments. Regardless, the moon is a prominent symbol in the game, highlighting the isolation and loneliness aspects as the player controls Seto walking through abandoned environments devoid of humans.
Mood Whiplash: Deaths in the game tend to come suddenly, then followed shortly by something fun or hopeful.
Nothing Is Scarier: It's a game that takes place after the apocalypse where you explore half-collapsed subways, an underground shopping mall, an abandoned theme park, a crumbling hotel, and an old laboratory of sketchy reputation. It's often pitch black and you need a flashlight to see where you're going. There aren't things trying to kill you in every room, but when you're approaching ghosts or a pack of hell hounds, you hear the ominous music before you see them.
Our Ghosts Are Different: The effects of the Glass Cage left behind "Thought Processes", the remaining thoughts of humans who died and left their residual emotions in the world, such as Chiyo and Sai. This is achieved through Big Sleep, with the various Memory Items hinting and outright implying its occurence following Glass Cage's first activation.
The Power of Friendship: Seto and everyone he comes across. It's the whole point of the game - Seto's looking for a companion. This creates a lot of heartwarming moments as well as Tear Jerkers when Seto is left alone again, time after time. Notably, the exceptions to this trope are Ren and Sai, and that's because it's instead...
Scenery Gorn and Porn: Manages both at once - "gorn" in areas like the deserted amusement park and subway station, "porn" such as the Aurora Borealis effects in the dim-lit sky seen on the hotel's rooftop.
Shout-Out: Possibly unintentional, but seriously, it's a robot named "Crow".
Also unintentional, but there are drawings of a monster on the walls in the underground mall that look like knock-offs of Pyramid Head. Later, a room full of drawings seem to be of characters from Taiko Drum Master, alongside Pikachu.
Spell My Name with an S: "Class Cage"? That doesn't make any sense unless you consider it's about cages formed by social classes, which has absolutely nothing to do with the story. The localization uses "Glass Cage", which in addition to making sense of the title (i.e., Fragile) also makes sense in that scientists were essentially trying to smash the restrictions of communication to sound and words, both of which were thought to be fundamentally limited like a cage.