Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
, often called Sora no Kiseki
or Legend of Heroes VI
, is a JRPG
released by Nihon Falcom
in the mid-2000s, first on the PC and then on the PSP. It is an entry into Falcom's line of "traditional" turn-based story-heavy JRPGs (as opposed to the action RPGs of the Ys
series), and kick-started what has become their flagship series, being the first entry in the overarching Kiseki series.
The story details the adventures of Estelle Bright and her adopted brother, Joshua. They set out to be a pair of "Bracers", wandering adventurer-types who do good around the kingdom of Liberl, following in the footsteps of Estelle's father Cassius. Soon after their adventure begins, however, they begin to get pulled into a series of events that could change the face of Liberl, not to mention answer certain questions about Joshua's past... even if they are answers Joshua might not want to hear.
The game is, in a word, gigantic. It was so large, in fact, that Falcom couldn't practically release it as one game; "Sora no Kiseki FC" (short for "First Chapter") was released in mid-2004, with the Second Chapter following nearly two years
later (it was so large as to require two UMDs when released on the PSP in 2007). This, naturally, led to some complaining
during SC's development, which was generally silenced when SC was released to nigh-rabid reviews.note
A year afterward, "Sora no Kiseki The Third" was released; it ended up being a bit of a Mission Pack Sequel
(since the main plot of the game wraps up nicely in SC), but it still develops a few of the other party members and deals with some of the dangling side-plot hooks nicely, and so is generally respected. It also sets up plot elements that have become important in every subsequent game. The series was so popular as to inspire an Intercontinuity Crossover
fighting game with Ys
, in the style of Marvel vs. Capcom
A side effect of the game's bifurcated nature is that this is one of the few JRPGs in which choice matters
. While the choices are not quite as sweeping as those in, say, Mass Effect
, since you can carry save files forward between games, choices you make in FC can affect quests and dialogue in SC. The games are also a bit more open-ended than most JRPGs, with lots
of Bracer sidequests available alongside the main storyline (and, in fact, neglecting these can leave you a bit weak for the showdowns which await you at the end of the second chapter).
Each of the three chapters technically tells their own story, although the second chapter follows directly
on from the first chapter (as in, it literally starts on the day after the end of the first) and if you dive right into SC you are likely to end up a bit lost and confused. There are sixteen playable characters over the course of all three games, plus dozens of other secondary characters.
Just like the case of Falcom's other great RPG series Ys
, the games have suffered greatly from No Export for You
, which is the primary reason why the series is massively popular in Japan, right up there with the Tales Series
and Shin Megami Tensei
(having sold over a million copies between the three chapters of the game
, two proper sequels
released in 2010 and 2011, both of which also sold like bonkers, an anime adaptation
which came out in late 2011 and with fan events still being held
six years after FC's release), but practically unheard of outside of it.
Do note, this page has a lot
of marked spoilers; this is because talking about most of the tropes related to the game requires talking about the revelations the game makes later in its narrative (particularly in the second chapter, which America sadly won't see until at least 2014), and some of these are legitimately amazing
and shouldn't be casually ruined. Highlight spoilers at your own risk
, and beware of spoilers on other sites, to boot.
Last but not least, the soundtrack for the series is awesome
, especially once you get into Second Chapter and The Third. Falcom's JDK Band
pretty much hit it out of the park again, and some of the songs included with the game have been hailed as among the best game themes ever, through vote
, on places like 2channel.
The first chapter was localized and released in March 2011 for the PSP
courtesy of XSEED Games
(who worked on Nihon Falcom
series previously). Due to the huge
script, expect large gaps between games, but hey, Slow Export For You
is better than No Export for You
At long last, XSEED announced that in 2014, Trails in the Sky SC would be released on PSN and Steam, with the translation done by Carpe Fulgur
The aforementioned sequel is Zero no Kiseki
, which follows a new set of protagonists a few years after the events of Trails
title was followed up by Ao no Kiseki
, which continues the Zero
story in the same way Trails SC
continued the Trails FC
story. The latest arc, which features some characters from the Liberl series, is Sen no Kiseki
This series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Pretty much all of the playable female characters are this (it's that kind of game), but even then Estelle, our protagonist, manages to stand out.
- Actually Four Mooks: Played straight with most of the random battles, where a single monster on the field map turns out to be one or more.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: That he does. Even at the end of the game, when you are explicitly saving the entire kingdom from a shattering cataclysm and pretty much everyone has acknowledged this, even major characters will still charge you for items.
- All-Powerful Bystander: Cassius Bright, he's the strongest Bracer in Liberl, an ex-Master Swordsman, a resident Mary Tzu, he managed to Curb Stomp the final boss of FC, the earth trembles when he spins his rod, second strongest character in the trilogy after Loewe according to the author, in fact he's so broken the Big Bad's plan is to set up a disaster in a different country so Cassius wouldn't disturb his plan. He is considered such a Memetic Badass that the primary villain of FC honestly believed that if Cassius hadn't left the army, his plan to launch a coup and militarize Liberl to deter their more powerful neighbors from considering invasion would not have been necessary. Interestingly, though, he doesn't see himself this way; as far as he's concerned, he's a gigantic fuckup who deserves to live the life of an outcast because of what he failed to do... namely, save his wife.
- Aloof Big Brother: Loewe to Joshua. They are not related but the dynamic is the same.
- Always Someone Better: Cassius, no matter how many great deeds Estelle has done to save the world, Cassius always managed to top everything that she and her party has done, then again we're talking about Cassius here...
- Amazon Chaser: The Ravens find Kloe's sudden transformation to Action Girl to be "so hot". They also feel this way about Estelle in SC, after she beats the snot out of them during the Grancel tournament in FC.
- Anachronism Stew: Applies somewhat, though as the series takes place only fifty years into the Orbal Revolution the setting is more analogous to the late 19th or early 20th century than modern times. There are automobile analogues, flying ships, guns and even laptops (well, briefcase-tops, Tita has one), but out of sixteen playable characters between the three chapters, only three use guns, with most of the other characters preferring melee weapons and the only other ranged user uses a crossbow. (Okay, Tita uses enough gun to count for an entire party, but still.)
- Ancient Conspiracy: Third, in particular, implies that Ouroboros has been around for a long time. It's also got a lot of Illuminati-esque trappings, with the small number of high-powered operatives and fingers in every pie. It's often called The Society for short.
- Anti-Grinding: Like many other Falcom games, every enemy you can fight has a level, and once you are at or above the level of the enemy, the XP reward for beating it starts going down until you eventually reach 1XP/enemy. However, the XP needed to gain a level tends to be much lower than in other Falcom games (Such as Ys), so it's still possible to gain a few levels over the course of the game even when everything only provides 1 XP.
- Art Shift: The cover art for 3rd is very different from the cover art for the previous games and the art used in the games themselves.
- Ascended Extra: Several popular NPCs in first two games become playable in the last installment. Kevin even becomes the main protagonist!
- Assassin Outclassin': Cassius first met Joshua when he tried to murder him and Cassius kicked his ass.
- The Atoner: Col. Richard in Third. Also, Cassius throughout most of the trilogy.
- Badass Army: The army of the Liberl Kingdom doesn't come across as this at first (that "gate music" doesn't help), but the special divisions like Special Ops and the Royal Guards manage to make an impact in FC, and the entire army steps up to the plate magnificently in SC.
- Badass Adorable: Renne and Tita. Estelle may also count as well.
- Badass Family: The Bright family. Enough said.
- Badass Longcoat: Loewe, in order to counter this Joshua relies on his Scarf of Asskicking. Olivier and Kevin wear these as well, Olivier having several over the course of the plot.
- Bag of Spilling: Slightly subverted in that while the characters lose all their items, their levels can be carried into the next game if the clear data of the previous game is present.
- Battle Couple: Estelle and Joshua basically define the trope, especially in the later parts of the story.
- BFS: Agate's Heavy Blade.
- The Big Guy: Zane and Agate share this role.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Joshua may look a bit girly, but he's called "The Black Fang" because he is that dangerous. He's usually a pretty chill, nice dude, but if you threaten to harm Estelle? Aidios help you. The mayor of Ruan learns this the hard way in FC, which even freaks Estelle out a little.
- Renne often comes across as sweet and cuddly, even after The Reveal about her. She's also the most emotionally disturbed member of the entire cast, with accompanying violence.
- This applies to Leonhardt, too, even when he's posing as "Lorence". He is capable of being disarmingly nice and polite, even when you're actively fighting him.
- Big Damn Heroes: FC's final chapter. The princess is rescued but a little girl has been taken hostage. Ohai, Schera, who we haven't seen since 1/4 of the way into the game.
- Big Eater: Estelle. In nearly every town/city you enter, she makes a comment about the food.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Imperial Family of Erebonia is implied to be one. Later games will prove this is not in fact the case, the representative example seen in this trilogy is just... quirky.
- Black Knight: There's one in Third. Anyone who played the last two games can guess that it's Loewe.
- Blood Knight: Walter in SC
- Bokukko: Josette. Estelle actually calls her this.
- Bonus Boss: Several in The 3rd.
- Book Ends: FC begins and ends with Joshua playing "The Whereabouts of Light" on his harmonica.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Weissman reveals he did this to Joshua.
- Breakout Character:
- Kevin becomes the main character of The Third; it might be said that the reason why it's called The Third and not Third Chapter was because Estelle and Joshua aren't really the main characters anymore.
- Loewe. Despite the fact that he died in SC, Falcom (sort of) brought him back in The Third. Then you have Vantage Master Portable where he and Renne become playable main characters instead of other party members. It's even worse in Alternative Saga in which he appears without any explanation despite being dead, though that turned out to be non-canonical. Loewe also got his own sidestory manga.
- Break the Cutie: Joshua, Renne, Kevin and Loewe's pasts are riddled with this, although the first three eventually recover due to the Power of Love and Loewe was recovering.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In one of the Star Door subquests in The Third, we see a meeting of Ouroboros leaders and their conversation regarding the events in Liberl and revealing that this is all just the beginning. After the meeting, Campanella laughs, before saying...
Campanella: By the way...I know I'm not one to talk, but...*looks at the player* I don't know who you are but can you please stop peeping?
- Brother-Sister Incest: Something that jams up the gears of some people who play the game. Estelle and Joshua aren't even remotely related by blood, and they first met as not-quite-teens, so they weren't so young that the Westermarck effect would kick in to prevent them falling for each other... but at the same time, they basically lived together as siblings for years and Cassius even formally adopted Joshua after the events at the start of the game, when he came to live with the Brights, so he has the last name Bright himself.
- The really hilarious part to all this is that a ton of incidental characters in the Rolent area are surprised this isn't happening at the start of FC and most people who they meet on their journey simply assume they're a young couple. Neanwhile, Estelle is oblivious and wonders what the hell everyone is going on about. This doesn't really become an issue until Joshua leaves to take his revenge, forcing Estelle to examine how she feels about him.
- Central Theme: Trails is unrepentant about wearing its theme on its sleeve, that theme essentially being: "No one person, no matter what they've done in the past, no matter what they've done with their lives, is completely beyond love and redemption. Any life can be given meaning so long as you're willing to reach out to a person." Joshua, Renne, Kevin, Olivier, and Loewe all have major story arcs about coming to terms with this, and Kloe, Scherazard, and Josette all face the concept to some degree as well.
- Cerebus Syndrome: YE. GODS. The game starts out light and idealistic at the start, takes a sudden nosedive at the end of FC, and proceeds to descend into near-Berserk-levels of darkness as SC goes along- even Estelle is feeling the strain by the end of the story.
- Char Clone: Lorence.
- Chekhov's Gun: Loewe's sword.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Almost too many to list; Professor Alba in FC is a great example, but nearly half the main cast has a secret or two... which is part of the reason so much of this page is spoiler-tagged.
- Chessmaster: Cassius Bright and Weissmann. Kevin has his share of manipulation as well.
- Chick Magnet: Joshua. Estelle does not find this particularly amusing.
- Church Militant: Kevin and Ries belong to the group within the Septian Church that serves this function.
- Climax Boss: Loewe in SC and Cassius and the Black Knight in Third.
- Colonel Badass: Alan, even though he technically stops being one after FC.
- Cool Big Sis: Scherazard to Estelle.
- Cool Old Guy / Battle Butler: Philip who used to be the captain of the Royal Guard.
- Corrupt Church: Averted with special mention, especially in comparison to the wider meta-genre. One of the most believable aspects of the setting is that the Septian Church is, by and large, a benevolent organization and doesn't really meddle with massive plots at all in FC or SC. Its clergymen clearly believe what they preach, are peaceful, benevolent presences in their towns (they even teach school for most people), and they even act as obvious allies to our heroes in FC when the Grancel Cathedral gives knowing shelter to Julia while she's a fugitive from Col. Richard's coup. Nearly all the characters are faithful to a greater or lesser degree, as well, with invocations to Eidos/Aidios relatively common in places you'd expect a real life person to invoke God. There's ultimately nothing sinister about the church in FC or SC. Third makes it a little more complicated, although in that case we're dealing more with the Church as a continent-wide organization and Kevin's place in it, with the general message being: "in an organization as large as this, and based on beliefs as fundamental as this, you are always going to have disagreements about how best to defend those beliefs".
- Cuteness Proximity: Anelace
- Cynicism Catalyst: Joshua lost his older sister during the destruction of his village, which led to his and Loewe's joining Ouroborus.
- Despair Event Horizon: Joshua crosses it once he realizes that he's been a pawn of Ouroboros all this time and that he could be a danger to everyone he loves. A large part of the second game is devoted to Estelle pulling him back from this.
- Determinator: Estelle will stop at nothing to save those whom she cares about.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: Interestingly played. When the game was originally in development as a single unit, it's clear that the ruins beneath Castle Grancel were going to be this; sure, you rescued the queen, beat Col. Richard and saved the kingdom but clearly not everything was answered and it would serve as what would in other games be the "big twist point" when the real villain was revealed and whatnot. Once the project got too big to contain in one game, though, it was chosen to be the actual final dungeon of FC, meaning it is and isn't a final dungeon; it's the end of FC, sure, but it's barely the beginning of the real story.
- Disney Death: Lucciola survive her fall from Axis Pillar, as revealed in Ao. The fortune teller in Michelam? It's her.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: You guys remember Professor Alba? He's that guy you keep bumping everywhere for Plucky Comic Relief conversations. HE IS THE BAD GUY.
- Dragged into Drag: Halfway through FC, Estelle and Joshua are tapped to help put on a play for a school festival. The production is a gender-flip of a well-known play about a love triangle competing for the heart of a princess. Joshua plays the princess (And looks disturbingly good in a dress).
- The Dragon: Schwarzritter serves this role to the Lord of Phantasma in The 3rd.
- Dual Wielding: How Joshua prefers to fight.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Joshua can ding this at times; his Japanese VA being female does not exactly help. Less prominent after he embraces his identity as the Black Fang.
- Dysfunction Junction: The game does manage to avoid treading into Wangst territory, but good grief, the party has some issues. When all is said and done, let's see: we have two nigh-superpowered Tyke Bomb assassins, one of whom constantly wrestles with the happiness he experienced with the Brights versus what he's done and is capable of doing and the other of whom is wrestling with a history of terrible abuse; an imperial prince who is utterly disgusted with his family and, by extension, himself; another, local princess who absolutely wants nothing to do with the responsibility thrust upon her; a woman who wants nothing more than to bury her past in alcohol; a man who is driven by the loss of his entire family and the guilt he feels over being unable to prevent it; a priest who has problems with his faith and serious doubts about his place in the world; a girl with a massive wannabe-hero complex; and an aristocrat-turned-sky-pirate who has rather serious entitlement issues. Estelle is lucky Tita and Zane are around in all three games, or she'd find she's the Only Sane Man among this cast of nutters.
- Easter Egg: A painting of the Gagharv from the previous Legend of Heroes sub-series appears in The 3rd.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Renne, good lord Renne. This is notably played for creepy factor later on.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors
- The Empire: Perhaps not too surprising for a Japanese RPG. Their being billed as fairly obvious villains and an external threat is not very surprising at all. The fact that, ultimately, you have to save them from full-scale slaughter alongside everyone else, however, may be rather more surprising!
- Enfante Terrible: Renne
- Escort Mission: Several times in the game you'll have helpless NPCs tagging along in battle. If they die, it's Game Over.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Kloe is a princess, Olivier is a prince...
- Dr. Russell is often described as "Dr. Wily gone good".
- Olivier is a guns-and-devices using, blond-pony-tailed, blue-eyed ladies man who happens to be royalty and uses the lechery partially as a coping mechanism. This draws a number of comparisons to a certain King of Figaro.
- Eyedscreen: Every S-craft has this.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Mostly averted, actually. The technology base of this setting is rather high, and you'll encounter quite a few firearms-wielding mooks, not to mention some bosses who pack heat of various kinds. We say "mostly", though, because while firearms are reasonably common in this setting.... as noted above, out of a grand total of sixteen people who can join the player party, only three of them actually use guns. This can get a little silly when the party charges down gun-armed mooks with swords, daggers, a crossbow and a staff and wins. Granted, your ranks can include some of the most dangerous assassins on the planet, but still.
- Feelies: The Limited Edition comes with a reversible poster/map, a bracer emblem pin, and the game's soundtrack.
- Fiery Redhead: Agate. Estelle may count too, though it's kinda hard to tell if she's a brunette or redhead; her hair color even seems to shift a little from between various depictions.
- First Girl Wins: Kloe and Josette never really stood a chance. Especially when the first girl is also the main character of the game.
- Fishing Minigame: At Valleria Shore in chapter 1.
- Fishing for Sole: The aforementioned Fishing Minigame can give you "Holey Boots" as a catch depending on your dialogue choices.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Estelle and Joshua, somewhat, as they're not actually related.
- Foreshadowing: Goddamned EVERYWHERE. The game absolutely loves to tease upcoming reveals and plot points; sometimes this is blatant, sometimes you'll barely notice them 'till later and you play through the game again. This is so prevalent that the director has gone on record as saying that there are things in the upcoming Ao no Kiseki that were foreshadowed back in FC.
- Especially evident in FC with the lead-up to the reveal of the Big Bad- Boy, Professor Alba, you certainly have a knack for wandering into dangerous areas without getting a scratch... Waitaminute--
- Four-Star Badass: Every general of the Liberl Kingdom Army qualifies.
- Funny Animal
- Gadgeteer Genius: Tita.
- Genki Girl: Estelle, Estelle, and... Estelle. Okay, maybe Tita a little, too, but everyone is eclipsed by the Monolith of Genki that is Estelle.
- Dorothy and Anelace count too
- Giant Dragon Scales Save Lives: In the end of SC, Estelle and Joshua fall from the Liberl Ark but are saved by Regnart. Whether this trope applies or not really depends on how much weight you put on the fact that he is, well, a magical dragon
- Glass Cannon: Tita. Until she busts out the Orbal Gear at least.
- Guide Dang It: Many examples, such as getting all recipes, netting the A-Rank for Bracer, etc. The last is particularly bad as you only have 2 BP worth of wiggle room. As there are hidden quests and secret BP conditions, it's effectively impossible to get the 380 required for the best Rank without using a guide.
- Handsome Lech: OLIVIER. Jesus Humphrey Bogart Christ, Olivier Lenheim. He makes Edgar Figaro look restrained. Most of it is an act. (Only most of it, though.)
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Scherazard. Aina combines this with Big Eater.
- Heroes "R" Us: The Bracers' Guild.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Loewe
- Hero of Another Story:
- A lot of the other bracers, particularly Team Kurt (Kurt, Carna, Grant and Anelace) come across this way. Kurt and Anelace join the party for a bit in SC, and Anelace is a somewhat more permanent fixture for Third. Cassius definitely comes across this way. Hell, half of Weissmann's plot in FC is to create a whole other crisis for Cassius to be the hero of so that he doesn't jam up the gears in Liberl.
- Also, this game takes its NPC dialogs seriously. If you take the time to Talk to Everyone as often as possible, you will find a lot of recurring NPCs all having their own stories going on in parallel to yours. It's quite fun really.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
- Agate and Tita have a dynamic like this, especially since Agate is pretty much the second most physically-imposing party member in the game, behind Zane.
- Also applies, after a fashion, to Renne and Pater Mater. One of the shortest characters in the game, who is already plenty dangerous enough by herself, protected by an at least semi-sentient robot the size of a building.
- Humongous Mecha: Pater Mater, which is a boss in SC and an S-Craft for Renne in 3rd. Another example is Reverie, the final boss of FC and several other examples show up as well.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Most of the healing items are food. In fact, the best healing items are food- right from the start, the 'Flowery Soda' item is cheaper and restores more health than the basic health balm.
- I Knew It: Almost everyone can figure out the Black Knight's identity, treated so in-universe as well.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Loewe and Joshua.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Most of the cast. Joshua and Estelle are by far the most sensibly-dressed, and the latter has a tendency to wear a bomber jacket with cut-off sleeves as everyday wear.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Gilbert, Gilbert, and Gilbert.
- Instant Sedation/Kiss of Death: Joshua's first kiss to Estelle is laced with sedative to keep her from following him.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Alternative Saga crosses Sora no Kiseki with Ys using the engine from Ys Seven and includes support characters from Gurumin, Zwei, Brandish, Legend of Heroes III and Zero no Kiseki.
- Interface Spoiler:
- Josette, Anelace and Kurt are all voiced when you face them in combat in FC, despite their compatriots not being voiced and despite them not joining the party proper. Three guesses as to what happens in SC, and the first two don't count.
- When Renne joins you as an NPC, you will probably notice that she somehow has a whooping 10202 HP. It all makes sense at the end of the chapter.
- It's All Upstairs from Here: Axis Pillar
- Kansai Regional Accent: Kevin's dialogue in Japanese.
- Killed Off for Real: Loewe and Weissmann
- Kirk Summation: Estelle delivers a great one to Colonel Richard in FC's last dungeon. Given Estelle's role in the party, this isn't surprising in some ways, although everyone else is amazed at her sudden, momentary eloquence.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: With FC being a good nine years old as of this edit and SC being seven, avoiding these has become fairly difficult as Falcom now assumes most interested people in Japan already know about all the major spoilers and revelations... and uses them in promotional material and whatnot, making them kind of hard to avoid if you're outside of Japan and following the news at all! (Places like The Other Wiki casually ruining the plot of all three games also doesn't help.) The biggest offender is probably Renne and her actual affiliation, motivations and alignment. One of the most prominent extant pieces of art for her (from Third) in various Western sources show her clearly rocking her Sinister Scythe, which will tip off anyone even remotely Genre Savvy that she's more than she appears to be. Natch for Alternative Saga, which shows off the above and Pater Mater, and the Animated Adaptation will be terrible about this as well (the aforementioned stuff is being used in promotional images). Never mind, uh, all the spoilers on this very page.
- Last Episode New Character: just about every new characters in The Third. But Ries and Lechter stand out from the rest, especially since there's no hint whatsoever about their existences and their roles in the next series is HUGE. But the others (Rufina, Ein, and Osborne) are mentioned several times during FC and SC.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Lorence wears a red colored version of the Special Ops outfit, and he is even stronger than his boss.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: For the final mission in FC and when you enter the Castle of Illusions(Phantasmagoria) in the 3rd. Justified, as there are Loads and Loads of Characters and quite a bit to do.
- Lolicon: Some players accuse Agate of being this, thanks to all that Ship Tease he gets with Tita. The rest of the cast agrees.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: GOOD GRAVY.
- MacGuffin: The Black Orbment in FC, Aureole in SC and the Arca of Recluse in Third.
- It's somewhat debatable whether these qualify since they all do come up again, explain some facet or facets of the plot or explain absolutely everything about The 3rd. The differing powers of the Sept-Terion also lead this trilogy to have a very different sort of story than the next games. Oh, and Ouroboros clearly wants all seven so presumably there's something that can only be done once they have them making them a continuing plot element.
- Magic from Technology: A cornerstone of the setting; "orbments" allow for all kinds of technological feats, from airships to cannons to computers to combat magic effects for our heroes, and are basically mechanical devices powered by Applied Phlebotinum.
- The Man Behind the Man: Weissmann behind almost everything in FC and SC. In a wider meta-series sense, The Master of Ouroboros is probably behind nearly everything going on in the series, with the exceptions of Third and Zero no Kiseki.
- Manipulative Bastard: Weissmann
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Clearly fits Joshua and Estelle (at least in FC).
- The Maze: A lot of dungeons are like this.
- Meaningful Name:
- Loewe's real name is "Leonhardt" which means "The determination of the lion", hence why he is called "Loewe" which means, of course, "lion" in German.
- Also present in the title, at least in the original Japanese. You see, the kanji used for "Sora no Kiseki" fairly clearly state "[Tracks/Wagon Trail/Path/etc.] of/in the Sky", but "Kiseki", as a spoken word, has another meaning: "miracle". The title can therefore be heard as "Miracle in the Sky" in addition to the written meaning. This gets extremely meaningful, both ways, during the second chapter. This gets especially crazy (awesome) with the vocal theme song to SC, "Silver Will, Golden Wings": every single time the word "kiseki" is said in that song, it can mean either "trail/path" or "miracle" and the song will still make perfect sense.
- Estelle's surname is Bright, everyone thinks she is as bright as the sun that shines through the darkness. She is even called the Sun Girl by Kevin in 3rd.
- Minor background NPC example: One of the merchants in the Bose market hall talks at length about porcelain. His name is "Meissen".
- Metal Slime: Shining Poms. The only things that can reliably kill them are certain S-Crafts and spells that have a chance of inflicting instant death. But killing one yields a lot of sepith.
- Mission Pack Sequel: The third chapter caught some flack on release over perceptions that it was, basically, this, since the plot had nicely wrapped up in the previous game. Opinions have shifted over time as concepts and characters first introduced in The 3rd continue to appear in every subsequent game.
- More Dakka: Who else but... Tita, of course.
- More Than Mind Control: Weissmann is an absolute master of this. It's how he was able to force Joshua to spy on the Bracers, it's a large part of the reason Joshua feels so guilty over what happened to Karen and it's one of the main impetuses for Joshua leaving the Brights at the end of FC, as the idea that Weissmann might still have such control over him and might force him to betray or even kill Estelle fills him with absolute, blinding terror.
- My Beloved Smother: Erika to Tita. Poor Agate has to suffer because of it.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: You defeat the Ring Guardian at the end of FC. This eventually allows the villains access to Aureole. More to the point, Weissmann's whole plan revolves largely around manipulating Estelle and company into doing this a lot.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Professor Alba, Olivier, Kevin and Lechter
- Obviously Evil: Played straight and subverted six ways from sundown at the same time. Unless you read these spoilers ahead of time, betcha didn't see Renne coming, did you? Or Professor Alba, for that matter?
- Odd Name Out: First Chapter, Second Chapter and...The Third?
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In SC The Legion members attack Grancel Castle, Philip moves forward and reveals himself to be the former commander of the Royal Guard, everyone prepares for a fight...and then the scene shift back to our heroes and we only see the aftermath.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The meeting of Ouroboros' leaders seen in The 3rd.
- Ominous Floating City: The Liberl Ark.
- One Game for the Price of Two: Accusations of this went flying around during SC's development (and we can most likely expect them to show up among American reviewers and new fans, too). In Japan this died down once people saw how mind-blowingly huge SC was and how it simply couldn't have been included in the original release. Remember, two UMDs for the PSP version, and it really makes use of that second UMD. Third, meanwhile, sparked rather different accusations.
- One-Winged Angel: Weissmann in SC and the Lord of Phantasma in Third
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Anyone who played first two games can figure out that the black knight in Third is supposed to be Loewe. Even the characters can see it.
- Plot-Induced Stupidity: A rare villain example: Considering who Weissmann is, you would think that he would take into account that Loewe's sword might be something worth keeping an eye on.
- Phantom Thief: Bleublanc. In fact, it's his title in Ouroboros.
- Point of No Return: Beginning the mission to rescue Princess Klaudia in FC, the core of The Liberl Ark in SC and the Castle of Phantasmagoria in Third.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Estelle and Joshua during FC, though Estelle is more red than pink.
- Purple Eyes: Surprisingly rather common.
- Olivier, Kloe (and her grandmother), Anelace and Loewe all have various shades of them, and aside from Loewe there's nothing particularly supernatural about any of them, and Loewe's "supernatural" abilities have nothing to do with his eyes.
- (Zero no Kiseki/SC spoilers):Renne may also have had violet eyes since that's what her father actually has, but we've never gotten any confirmation as to what her eye color was before her eyes were changed to gold. Interestingly, the "puppet" of her dad in SC was given golden eyes instead of purple, presumably to ensure they actually "looked" related.
- Randomly Drops: A ton of equipment in 3rd. Most of them aren't really the best equipment (in fact, all of them have multiple "levels", so you might find a weapon, then the same weapon except with more attack and a "+1" as an affix later), but there sure are a lot of them. Really painful for those who want a copy of every item.
- Red Baron:
- Loewe: The Sword Emperor
- Walter: The Lanky Wolf
- Lucciola: The Charming Bell
- Bleublanc: The Phantom Thief
- Joshua Astray: The Black Fang
- Renne: The Angel of Extermination
- Weissmann: The Faceless
- Kevin Graham: The Heresy Punisher note
- Cassius Bright: The Grand Chevalier note
- Philip Runall: The Sword Fox
- Scherazard: Silver Streak
- Agate: Heavy Sword
- Zane: The Immovable
- Redemption Equals Death: Loewe in SC.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Estelle (red) and Joshua (blue). Or Estelle and Kloe, respectively.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: A fair number, starting with the "Crop Munchers" Estelle and Joshua deal with in the FC prologue.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Joshua against Weissmann in SC.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something:Kloe and Olivier.
- Rule of Cool:
- The games do apply this principle to a few things. For example, if we're being remotely realistic, even briefly pulling the trigger on any of her weapons should result in Tita being knocked flat on her butt from the recoil, if not injured outrightnote . Tita looks awesome using them, though, so nobody cares a whit.
- Also, Legion members like Joshua, Renne and Loewe routinely engage in physical acts that are blatantly impossible (for example, Loewe leaping off the top of Castle Grancel without injury, though considering the clues present, it may have one of his shadows), although this is handwaved to some degree by what we see Orbal technology can accomplish and later material provides additional explanations for some examples
- Samus is a Girl: The Lord of Phantasma is a girl.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Joshua and Estelle, naturally.
- Scarf of Asskicking: Joshua picks up one of these in the second chapter.
- Serious Business: The Fishing Guild.
- Shadow Archetype: Joshua and Renne. Joshua even acknowledges this openly; to him, Renne represents everything he could have been had he not lost to Cassius and met the Brights. This is largely what fuels his ardent desire to help her; her behavior is so radically different from his own, but he could have been just like her - even fighting at her side! - had his life turned out even a little differently.
- One can't really help but suspect that Anelace's outfit was intentionally designed to resemble Adol's "classic" armor.
- In the English version, during the ending walkabout sequence in Grancel, one NPC is taking a picture of his daughter and says "Okay, say "fuzzy pickles"!"
- One of the treasure chests in Chapter 2, if you try to open it when it is empty, will say "Feed me, Seymour!".
- Single Phlebotinum Limit: Everything is powered by Sepith/Quartz. From lights to airships to combat magic.
- Sinister Scythe: Your first hint that Renne only looks cute and innocent.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism:
- The main story arc (in FC and SC) actually slides along the scale as it goes on. It starts off pretty light and idealistic, but then gets more and more cynical and dark until we're at almost Berserk levels of bastardity and cynicism, to the point that even Estelle begins to crack under the strain. Ultimately it swings back toward the idealist side of things in the grand finale, though. The title can be heard as "Miracle in the Sky" in Japanese for a reason, after all.
- The third chapter, meanwhile, works partially because it examines the concept of this and how we bury ourselves in our perceptions. It even uses Loewe and Cassius to hammer the point home.
- Sky Pirates
- Smug Snake: Most villains. The ones you should be afraid of are the ones who aren't this, at least when you initially meet them.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil
- The Southpaw: Remember kids, every swordsman that is left-handed is a Master Swordsman, just ask Loewe.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: One of Japan's most famous recent examples.
- Stripperiffic: Scherazard
- Student Council President: Jill. Lechter is revealed to be one in charge before Jill, during his time observing Liberl's situation from Jenis Royal Academy.
- Tarot Motifs: Enforcers' number and personality are based on the tarots. Like Renne (XV) is The Devil, or Campanella (0) is The Fool. Loewe is actually an odd one: he is obviously The Emperor (IV), but he's No. II, which is actually The High Priestess. Take a look on the meaning of The High Priestess. Loewe actually fits BOTH The Emperor and The High Priestess.
- Taken for Granite: Kind of. Weissmann was shot with a Salt Bolt that effectively worked like this, except transforming him to salt instead of stone. On his way out after retrieving some 'lost property' Campanella stopped to to break Weissmann's now-petrified body into pieces.
- Together in Death: Loewe and Karin.
- Token Mini-Moe: Tita and Renne. Renne's appearance is meant to be a Red Herring, however, and later on once she shows her true colors it's played to be as disturbing as possible.
- Tomboy: Estelle practically defines the trope, both as a young girl in the prologue and during the main game itself. Anelace and Josette also have elements of this. Josette resents this perception deep down, though, since she's only doing the kind of work she does because her family's fortune was ruined.
- Truth in Television: Joshua accurately describes the conditions of what happens to the citizens of a country that focuses on its military might — high taxes, weapon development, military conscription and others contrasted to a peaceful government focused on peace through diplomacy and trading.
- Tykebomb: Joshua in FC and SC. Hell, Renne counts too, for that matter. Or should it be "for that Pater"?
- Underestimating Badassery: In the final chapter in FC, when Estelle, Scherazard and Kloe rescue the Queen during the coup d'état, they encounter Lieutenant Lorence. Estelle, who defeated his team during the tournament, confidently states that even though he is strong, there is no way he can take the three of them all by himself. Estelle...you are so very, very wrong...
- Unwitting Pawn: The party becomes this to Weissmann in FC. Joshua, in particular, does not take it well.
- Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Several, across multiple chapters.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: The first boss of 3rd.
- Walking the Earth: The game is very "Ys-scale" about this. While you will, naturally, do some wandering about (Estelle and Joshua are "Bracers", or adventurers who openly wander about doin' good (with organized HQs in multiple towns even)), the game is confined to the Liberl Kingdom in terms of scope. This is partially because the crisis is local, and partially out of realism since wandering the planet, even with a conveyance, would take months.
- Wham Episode: The end of First Chapter. Joshua is the Black Fang of Ouroboros, he remembers the death of his family, he's been an unwitting mole since the opening text boxes of the game and is/was a pawn of Weissmann. He leaves Estelle behind so that he can... settle things. At the very end, Estelle sets off after him. This one left people spinning when the game was first released, and marked the point at which the main narrative started to get a lot darker. The effect was especially pronounced as Falcom had given no indication that the game was anything but a stand-alone title.
- Wham Line: "Allow me to clear away your confusion. *fingersnap*" Congratulations Joshua, you now remember your place and history as the Black Fang, Legion XIII of Ouroboros.
- "Legion Fifteen - The Angel of Exterminationnote - Renne." What. What.
- "Now, hurry and take off that disgusting mask of yours...Lord of Phantasma—No, RUFINA ARGENT!"
- Whip It Good: Scherazard
- Whip Sword: Ries uses one.
- The Worf Effect: Agate often falls victim for this trope. In FC, he seems to win against Lorence... but then we find out that was a just a mirror body-double. Played straight in SC, in that he gets beaten easily by Loewe. Then again, in his defense Loewe and Lorence are the same person.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Joshua pulls one to Loewe in SC.
Joshua: This soul that has been saved by sister, mended by professor, released by father, and right now is together with Estelle's...The heart of a Bracer and the skill of the Black Fang...with all of this combined, I challenge the Sword Emperor!!
Loewe: Karin is an exception! That kind of human isn't created easily! That's why—I have to test humans! To see if they can make up for the sins named "weakness" and "deceit"! And to see whether or not they are truly worthy of Karin's sacrifice!
Joshua: Then—I'll prove it! I who has lived by sacrificing my sister, I who am weak and a liar...by meeting Estelle, I have finally found my path! This path that has led me to where you are! Humans are not weak creatures...not as long as they have each other!
- Wrench Wench: Tita, naturally, though with rather less emphasis on the "wench"
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: One of the most epic and memorable in Japanese gaming history, at the end of FC. It seems like the plot is done, but aren't there a few things left over?... oh, by the way, Joshua: *fingersnap*. The fact that, back in 2004, Falcom gave no indication that the game had been split into two parts until after the credit roll, fueled the fire in Japan even harder.
- You Shall Not Pass
- You Should Know This Already: This is getting pretty bad in Japan, from the perspective of new fans in North America. The promotional material for the Trails Animated Adaptation shows Renne in a blatantly sinister pose with her scythe, and shows off Pater Mater, though not full-frame, and the announcement article for Ao no Kiseki spelled out "Olivier"'s proper name and title straight-out without any spoiler warning.