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Video Game: Odin Sphere

War will spread across the world.
The winning country will rule over the entire land.
That accursed cauldron served as a trigger.
It is cataclysm's womb, and it should not exist.

Odin Sphere is an Action RPG published by Atlus and developed by Vanillaware, released in the late end of the PlayStation 2's life cycle.

The game opens in an attic room, where a young girl named Alice is reading her grandfather's books, a series of stories about a magical world...

The nation of Valentine used to be a prosperous kingdom, until its greedy King held control over a magical relic called the "Crystallization Cauldron". He used it to conquer the nearby nations, but eventually lost control of it and watched as it destroyed his kingdom almost overnight.

Now, several other nations are fighting over the ownership of the Cauldron, and thus the world. The war is told through the separate viewpoints of five characters:

  • Gwendolyn, valkyrie and youngest daughter of Demon Lord Odin of Ragnanival, called "Odin's Witch" by the faeries. She yearns for her father's approval above all else.
  • Cornelius, the prince of Titania who gets transformed into a rabbit-like Pooka and must find a way to break the curse and stop the villain who has taken his place.
  • Mercedes, a fairy of Ringford who has to take over as Queen after her mother dies.
  • Oswald, the fearsome Shadow Knight who has a contract with the Queen Of The Dead for immense power in exchange for his soul.
  • Velvet, one of the last survivors of the kingdom of Valentine who tries to avert the disasters of the coming Armaggedon.

Aside from its multiple playable characters and connected story, Odin Sphere is notable for its high-quality 2D art, in an age when almost all new games are being displayed in three dimensions. Many, many of the tropes, characters and plot devices in this game are inspired heavily by Norse Mythology, and especially Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.

See also Muramasa The Demon Blade, Odin Sphere's Spiritual Successor.

This game provides examples of:

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  • Above the Influence: Gwendolyn's relationship with Oswald seems squicky as hell, until you play through his side of the story and find out that not only is Gwen not under a love spell, but Oswald, who didn't feel right about having her whammied into loving him, went balls-out questing for a way to avert the spell before discovering that the spell was never cast in the first place.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Psyphers are known to be the most powerful weapons in the Odin Sphere universe, being able to pierce through even dragon scales. If any of the main characters were using a normal weapon, it's doubtful they would have gotten as far as they did.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Goblins, former Pooka who became Goblins because they were Evil. They make their lives either by stealing or mugging. When King Valentine returns from the Netherworld, they go back to serving him.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Valkyries of Ragnanival, and the Inferno King's Vulcan soldiers.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Cornelius is transformed into a rabbit-like "Pooka" even during his opening prologue, later learning that it's (more or less) irreversible, and that the entire Pooka race share the same curse. Velvet receives the same fate during the Good Ending..
    • Mercedes encounters a talking frog early in her story, who was also once human. It's Ingway, who ticked off one of the Wise Men.
    • And of course, the "Frog" status effect, which can be cured (or caused) by a "Metamorphosis" potion. Which, ironically, comes with Collision Damage jumping attacks and poisonous touch built right in.
  • Character Development: The five main characters all learn and change because of their tribulations throughout the story. Probably the most impressive with Mercedes, who starts out as a weak and generally bratty little girl and turns into a bow-toting fighter well-worth being queen.
  • Chickification: Valkyries fear this more than death itself. They dread surviving their dangerous lifestyle long enough to be married off, since Ragnanival menfolk apparently tend to be sexist assholes. Given that Gwendolyn is so dutifully obedient, for all her spirit, she's very fortunate in that her husband absolutely refuses to treat her like an object, and is perfectly okay with her continuing to be a warrior.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The motivation behind the Pooka running a restaurant chain — they want to recollect all the old Valentine coins to break their curse. Only two Pooka survive to enjoy it, though the dead ones probably also get released from the curse post-mortem. This isn't a small thing, considering the Pooka curse not only makes one agelessly immortal while alive, but also ageless and indestructible when dead. Which means that if the curse wasn't broken, all of the Pooka would have spent eternity as forever-rotting corpses in a dreary graveyard world. But now they finally get to move on.
  • Gray and Grey Morality: None of the principle protagonists are evil, but many of them staunchly oppose one another for various reasons, and all of their assorted actions lead to The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Horror Hunger: The spell of Darkova seems to cause the user unsatiable, sadistic hunger. Both King Gallon and Ingway lament that the hunger is eating away at them.
  • If I Can't Have You:
    • After being beaten, Onyx considers keeping Gwendolyn eternally asleep because he knows he can't make her love him. He is stopped by Oswald.
    • Twisted but played straight by King Valentine to his daughter. He strangled her because she bore Odin's children. He couldn't bear the thought of her loving both her father and his enemy.
  • Lady of War: The valkyries are graceful females with armour allowing room for their wings. While they are primarily armed with spears, they function as slashing weapons.
  • Living Shadow: The Revenants in the mountain are huge walking shadows that sometimes materialize when they fight you. In the past they were Shadow Knights as well and wielders of the Belderiver, but now they've degraded into tormented wandering souls. Oswald turns into one of them if he tries to take on King Onyx in the Armageddon.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Odin and Gwendolyn will refer differently to each other (princess versus valkyrie, father versus king) in order to provoke different reactions. Any time Odin wants something from Gwendolyn, he'll play on her emotions, interchanging familial address with knighthood rank.
    • The Three Wise Men. Each is stationed as a powerful advisor for the three main kingdoms in Erion, and all are working to bring forth the coming of Armageddon.
  • Older than They Look: Cornelius and Velvet lived centuries after the Armaggedon in the True Ending and finally amassed every single Valentine coin. They break the Pooka curse on themselves, reverting back to humans, looking exactly the way the were before getting cursed. No one would think they are actually over a millenia old.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The faeries of Ringford (led by Elfaria, and her nephew Melvin), take the role of the "elf" race in this story. The fairies are mostly of the Wood Elf variety, secluded in their country, being expert bowmen and are in-tune with nature and Phozons.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: There are three dragons in the game: Hindel, a wise, future-seeing dragon who offered advice to the fairies and Velvet before being killed by Oswald as a demonstration of his Psypher's power; Belial, whose compassion to humans doomed him into being deceived by the Wise Men and being enslaved by their magic; and Wagner, the enormously angry King of Dragons who refuses to listen to reason until you beat the tar out of him first. And then there's Leventhan, the Last Dragon, one of the prophesied Five Disasters. As the game draws primarily upon western fairy tails and epics, the dragons follow the western prototype of reptilian appearance and breathing fire.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The only dwarves that are ever seen are all old, short, balding, bearded guys who universally love blacksmithing. Even the Lillipats — dwarves allied with the fairies, and forbidden to forge anything — remain largely the same.
  • Parental Favoritism: Early on, it becomes painfully obvious that Odin shows more love to Velvet (who resents him for very good reasons) than to his other children (who absolutely revere him). This still doesn't stop him from allowing her to be executed to save face in front of his vassals. Odin's not exactly Father of the Year. He eventually admits this and starts to regret it.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Pooka are rabbit-folk the size of dwarves but talk and walk like humans.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Four of the five main characters are princes, princesses and queens. Even Oswald turns out to be a long-lost prince of Titania, and Cornelius' cousin. Even the supporting cast gets in on this. The only royal who doesn't really do anything is King Edmund, who's just too old and feeble at this point (but still has killing his father after he transformed into the Darkova and ran amok as part of his backstory.)
  • Whip It Good: Velvet uses a double-ended weighted chain flail to fight.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: It is barely alluded to in the game itself, but Pooka do not age, and those who die that way become the ghouls hauling candlesticks around the Netherworld. Cornelius and Velvet wind up living for an extremely long time after the events of the game, and during the bonus ending, before they return to normal, Velvet explains why they shouldn't live forever.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Gwendolyn does literally go to hell to save Oswald, just as Mercedes does to save Brom. Likewise, Oswald goes to the hellish, fiery Volkenon to lift a curse from Gwendolyn. In fact, all main characters visit the Netherworld for one reason or another, whether to save somebody or the entire world.

  • Achilles' Heel: All of the heroes for their respective final boss fights. For example, King Gallon believes himself to be invincible, as only a person with Titanian royal blood and Odette's power over death can actually kill him. It happens to be Oswald.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: One of the ancient prophecies foretells that only two people survive the Armageddon to revive the world. Gwendolyn and Oswald. Velvet and Cornelius survive as well, but as Pooka...only to regain their human shape in the Good Ending.
  • Backstab Backfire: Skuldi begs Oswald to let him live after he has revealed Gwendolyn's location. Oswald turns around and seems to consider it, at which point Skuldi attempts to attack him from behind...only to get killed by the Shadow Knight. Oswald's thought process reveals he never intended to spare him, as he's too dangerous.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Like the Norse Ragnarok, the circumstances surrounding The End of the World as We Know It are already pre-ordained. This means that it doesn't matter how badass a given character is or how handily they win a given final boss fight; if they're not the person prophesied to stop that particular disaster, they will at best succeed only to drop dead, and at worst die failing to accomplish anything at all.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Gwendolyn does this twice: she swoops in to rescue Velvet from Brigan and her father's soldiers and later rescues Oswald from Odette's clutches.
    • Oswald repays the favor by saving falling Gwendolyn.
    • Cornelius infiltrates the Titanian sewers to save Velvet from mind-controlled Belial.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Pookas look exactly like rabbits, only they walk on two legs and can talk. We also have Napples, Carroteers, Habaneristos, Onionnes, and Turnies. No points for guessing what they're supposed to mean.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Velvet angrily calls Odin out on his banishing Gwendolyn from his kingdom for saving her from execution, which was all just to please him, saying if he really was relieved Velvet was alive, he wouldn't have punished Gwendolyn so.
    • Later, Ingway allies with Odette to attack Ragnanival and transforms himself into the Beast of Darkova for the express purpose of calling Odin out over the fact that, after Ingway caused the destruction of the entire country of Valentine in order to save Odin, Odin callously dismissed him with a "well done, traitor" and claimed the Cauldron without ever showing him an ounce of gratitude, affection, or regret over what happened.
  • Chekhov's Armory:
    • Defeating enemies releases "Phozons", which you collect to increase your weapon's attack power ... and the events of Armageddon are specifically triggered by King Valentine ordering the Cauldron to suck all the Phozons out of the entire world. During the game's good ending, after Armageddon has destroyed everything else, Velvet uses the Cauldron to break everyone's weapons down, releasing all the stored Phozon energy back into the world.
    • Fairies have two names, a given name and a True Name. All the true names are (like everything else) based on Norse mythology. The World Tree in the prophecy is Yggdrasil, Mercedes's true name.
    • Cornelius's uncle had been removed from the the throne by his grandfather for falling in love with and marrying a commoner girl. His name was Edgar, Oswald's father. Oswald has royal blood and Odette's power, allowing him to slay King Gallon.
    • One reason Wagner is so pissed off at humanity is because someone stole one of the dragon eggs. That was King Valentine and the dragon would hatch to become Leventhan, one of the disasters of the Armageddon.
  • Death Is Cheap: Zigzagged. Characters can and do die for real, but then again, the main cast keeps going into the Underworld to fight Odette and drag people (either dead or banished there while still alive) back (hell Oswald dies twice and comes back both times.) It isn't until Odette is Killed Off for Real and the Underworld is sealed off that death becomes absolutely permanent.
  • Dying as Yourself: Ingway after the Darkova is beaten, Belial when freed from a spell.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the bad ending, Kill 'em All everybody dies. In the good ending, Oswald and Gwendolyn earn their happy ending together, and Cornelius and Velvet survive as Pooka. In the best ending, Cornelius and Velvet become human again. The good ending requires the player to interpret a series of prophecies so that each of the five heroes fights during the Apocalypse in the correct order. Unfortunately, to get the best ending the player has to see every cutscene possible... including the Downer Ending cutscenes that spring from messing up the correct boss fight order. This means you have to fight through the Apocalypse at least four times total in order get the best ending.
  • End of an Age: Big time. And that's the good ending.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Engagement Challenge: Subverted. In order to get the ring from Wagner, Odin asked Oswald to slay the dragon for him since Odin made a blood pact with Wagner, and thus can't harm him. He offered a castle to Oswald at first, who wasn't interested until Odin offered his daughter Gwendolyn.
  • Everyone Is Related: To ridiculous amounts. Mercedes loves Ingway who is the twin brother of Velvet, and Gwendolyn is their half-sister who is married to Oswald, who was adopted by Mercedes's cousin and is secretly the long lost cousin of Velvet's lover Cornelius. Yeah, you'd be better off drawing a diagram.
  • Exact Words: Odin really tripped himself up when he tried to get the magic ring Titrel from the dragon Wagner, insisting that all he wanted Oswald to do was slay the dragon. After it was done, Oswald decided the ring would make a great wedding gift for his new wife and refused to hand it over, a nice play of Loophole Abuse. Oops!
  • Exposed to the Elements: At least four of the heroes climb the snow filled peaks of Winterhorn Ridge with their legs and arms exposed. Lampshaded in Velvet's book. Even her belly isn't covered. Then again, Warmer potions help keep the heroes warm.
  • Foregone Conclusion: When you first meet Mercedes, she's queen of the fairies. When you start playing as her, her beautiful mother tells her she's leaving for the war.
  • Götterdämmerung: By the end just about all magic, dragons, and fairies disappear from the world. The Aesir fall against the armies of the Netherworld and the Vanir are scorched by the Inferno King's march.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: An especially tragic example occurs to Ingway. He uses the Pooka Curse on Beldor in order to save Mercedes... which allows Beldor to stick around in an undead form after being killed. When Ingway turns himself into the Beast of Darkova, intending to stop the Cauldron and prevent Armageddon, Beldor is able to take control of him by magic and force him to attack Ringford instead.
  • Impossible Task:
    • Referenced by Gwendolyn; apparently, Odin gives these to people frequently, and Cornelius is just the latest unfortunate. However, he manages to succeed, with a little help from Gwendolyn.
    • Onyx tries to do this by asking Oswald to defeat Leventhan, as a way to indirectly Murder the Hypotenuse. Gwendolyn is not having it.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The story prior to Armageddon is spread throughout five books telling different parts of the story from the perspectives of five different characters. Trying to keep track of everything — such as who does what, what goes where, and when what happens — might have been extremely frustrating, especially if you're trying to figure out how the ring Titrel is passed from person to person or how each character pursues their agenda. It doesn't help that the game often jumps through hoops of And Now for Someone Completely Different. Thankfully, the game provides a cinematic theater organized into a comprehensive timeline to properly keep track of everything in a chronological order.
  • Kill 'em All:
    • In the bad ending, every playable character dies after they face one of the disasters, and Erion is completely destroyed.
    • In the good ending, Gwendolyn and Oswald survive to become the "crownless lords" that will revive the world, and so do the Pooka cursed Cornelius and Velvet, but everyone else dies.
  • Last Stand: Mercedes's battle against King Onyx. The forest is in ashes, Onyx feels gleefully destructive, but Mercedes decides she must be a queen to the very end and takes him down by herself.
    Mercedes:...I won't stop drawing my bow...
  • Lost Wedding Ring: Simple math — Oswald gives Gwendolyn the ring that her father wants very badly, and she wants her father's love. Oswald takes the news very badly.
  • Love at First Sight: Oswald seemed pretty taken with Gwendolyn the moment he first laid eyes on her while sneaking into Ragnanival. Granted, she did have her hair down and was wearing an evening gown at the time. Alternatively, that just got him to notice she existed, and see her as a woman rather than just an enemy solider. He probably also sympathized with her singular desire to make her father happy. But actually falling in love with her required losing his purpose in life, seeing a symbolic vision of her which gave him hope, and remembering a dragon's advice that "the bird" would be his destiny. Also the thought that Gwendolyn would love him, as Odin promised, since he was desperate for anyone to love him at that point.
  • Love Hurts: Love, the difficulties it brings and its consequences are a driving force behind the story. Many characters are motivated by romantic or familial love, and the Big Bad's horrible actions are the result of feeling betrayed by the daughter he loved greatly.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: King Valentine. His daughter falling in love with Odin and bearing his children (Velvet and Ingway), to him, meant that she didn't love him anymore and so he killed her with his bare hands. Overlaps with Love Makes You Evil as the main reason why he's an Omnicidal Maniac — he can't live with himself even after death knowing he killed her. But it's also strongly implied that enchanting the Valentine kingdom's coins made him a little crazy to begin with.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Almost everything done by the main characters to further their own agendas unwittingly ends up making the Apocalypse happen. In fact, just using Psyphers is slowly killing the world by disrupting the cycle of souls and new life. They are the Cauldron on a smaller scale. None of them know of the negative consequences their own actions result in. The only character that is fully knowledgeable on Armageddon and is actively attempting to stop it is Velvet.
  • No Man of Woman Born:
    • Onyx is doomed to be stopped by The World Tree. Since there's no known World Tree in Erion he therefore believes he's impossible to kill. Mercedes's true name is Yggdrasil, the name of the Norse mythology world tree, and to get the good ending you must have her kill him.
    • Because of an immortality curse that Odette cast on King Gallon, only someone with Odette's power can kill him. On top of that, it was prophesied that only someone of Titanian royal blood would kill him. Fortunately, it turns out that Oswald meets both criteria.
    • It is said that no man can defeat the six-eyed beast. In order to get the good ending, you must defeat it with Cornelius, who is no longer a man, but a Pooka.
  • Prophecy Twist: Quite a few, detailed in the No Man of Woman Born section. The vague wording of the prophecy of the Armageddon leads to many Prophetic Fallacies as well. Hindel, the future-seeing dragon, lampshades this and is something of a deconstruction. Because every hint of the future he gives always had twists, he stopped giving help.
  • Real After All: The whole game is just a series of stories read by Alice in the attic. Getting to the True end, she is saddened at how the story ended, then noticed the latest book's cover ornament looks like a Valentine coin. She takes it off and prays that the Pooka would find the coin until she reminded herself that it was only a story. After she leaves, a portal opens up to reveal Cornelius and Velvet coming out to retrieve the coin and leave a final book in its place. This heavily hints that the world Alice and her family lives in is actually the future after the Armageddon happened.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Odin, Ingway, Belial.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Each protagonist's arc crosses with another's at some point. They even face the same bosses and visit the same stages while the others are busy somewhere else. The in-game theater provides players with an exact timeline.
  • Snicket Warning Label: The sixth book is titled "Armageddon"; guess what happens.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Since love is a major theme, almost every single pair of lovers in the game.
    • Velvet and Cornelius love each other, but Velvet's kingdom has long been destroyed and Cornelius is a prince, meaning his father isn't particularly excited about their affair. Additionally, Ingway, Velvet's brother, is categorically opposed to her seeing that "oaf".
    • Mercedes eventually falls for Ingway, but the fact that he's a Death Seeker with really dangerous plans for himself and ends up becoming a Tragic Monster means their story doesn't end well.
    • In the backstory, Odin and princess Ariel of Valentine fell for each other without knowing their identities. Since their kingdoms were at war, the romance ended tragically.
  • Storybook Opening: Each character's chapter is a book Alice is reading.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Belial killing Urzur, who had been controlling him, just before he dies of his mortal wounds.
    • There's also the Action Bombs in the Inferno Cavern, whose dying explosion is typically a One-Hit Kill.
    • Many alternate Armageddon scenes have a dying Ingway backstabbing one of the Three Wise Men.
  • Together in Death: Odin and Griselda. The former literally embraces the latter's ghost in death, finding solace in that they will at least be reunited.
    • Ingway and Mercedes could possibly count, though Ingway dies before Mercedes discovers his body.
  • To Hell and Back: Every playable character visits the Netherworld at some point.
    • Gwendolyn visits it in the final stage, to free Oswald from Odette's clutches.
    • Cornelius is sent there in the beginning of the game so he wouldn't interfere in the Three Wise Men's plans. He escaped.
    • Mercedes descends there voluntarily to find Brom, a legendary swordsmith who had been banished there.
    • Oswald is sent there twice. The Halja take him when he's cursing Melvin's betrayal and when he's heartbroken by Gwendolyn's seeming rejection of his feelings.
    • Velvet goes down there with Skuldi to see King Gallon and learn more about the Psalms foretelling Armageddon.
    • Odin and the Three Wise Men know ways in and out of the Netherworld, causing Odette much annoyance, since she doesn't particularly like them.
    • King Valentine was imprisoned there for years after the destruction of his country, but manages to escape as a skeletal Pooka due to Cornelius's unwitting help.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Every (named) female Pooka has a name that begins with "M".
    • The Wise Men have names derived from the Norns: Urzur (Urd), Beldor (Verthandi, also known as Belldandy in Japan) and Skuldi (Skuld).
  • You Bastard: The bad ending.
    Myris: Whose wish was this? [...] This... this is a terrible ending...

  • 100% Completion: Doing everything right (completing all of the story chapters, watching all of the cutscenes, and eating all of the available foods) nets you a bonus scene where Velvet and Cornelius collect all of the Valentinian coins and undo the Pooka curse.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You have to use all the characters in the finale. All characters have slightly (Gwendolyn, Cornelius and Oswald handle fairly similarly overall) or greatly (Velvet and Mercedes handle quite differently than the others, including each other) different play styles.
  • Ass Kicks You: The Titanian Axe Guards do this as their jumping attack. It's also the fastest and hardest to dodge jumping attack.
  • Automatic Crossbows: The Tasla Psypher, later upgraded and renamed Riblam ("The Piercing One" in old dwarvish). Comes with homing Secondary Fire! At least Mercedes' crossbow is explicitly magical.
  • Boss Rush: The final chapter consists of challenging the five prophecied disasters that bring about the end of the world.
    • Boss Bonanza: Except for The Beast of Darkova (who still gets greatly upgraded with lots of new attacks) and Onyx (who just gets a stat upgrade), the rest of the bosses are all brand new.
  • Bullet Hell: Some bosses and enemies just love to clog the screen with projectiles, sometimes until the game suffers a severe amount of lag. Cornelius' fight with Belial probably takes the cake for this.
  • Camera Screw: Averted; the game features an amazingly informative on-screen minimap that'll show what isn't actually happening on-screen. Also, during boss fights the camera pulls back slightly.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Although there are no actual attacks of this nature, the "V" alchemy potion causes the player's next attack to inflict armor piercing damage in direct proportion to their HP, at the cost of reducing their HP to one afterwards.
    • The damage from the Variance potion is 5 times current HP minus 1, since that last point is used to keep you alive. Nice damage, but incredibly risky, even if you've got an Ancient Crystal to revive yourself in case you do get hit.
  • Charged Attack: Mercedes can fire a spray of homing shots with her bow. Velvet can also fire off her chain to attack enemies from a distance.
  • Colossus Climb: The final battles against The Cauldron and Leventhan to reach their respective weak points.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted; characters gradually lose HP if they don't use a "Cooler" potion in the volcano level or a "Warmer" potion in the snow level.
  • Damage Over Time: In addition to its set of Standard Status Effects, there are fire and ice levels which sap 1% of your character's HP at regular intervals unless you drink an appropriate curing potion beforehand (or have elemental protection equipped).
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying only returns you to the start of the level in which you died. Which is fortunate, considering how often it happens.
  • Degraded Boss: Inverted. The Hajla are usually fought as mid-bosses, but in Oswald's story two of them are fought as chapter-end bosses.
  • Evolving Weapon: The Psyphers grow more powerful the more Phozons they collect, increasing their attack power and acquiring new spells.
  • Experience Booster: You can buy a Spirit Gem from the very first merchant you encounter, after the first stage of the game. Equiping this item increases the experience that your Psypher Weapon gains when you absorb phozons. You don't need to have it equipped all of the time, so you can just swap it on whenever you're done killing a wave (or entire level) of enemies. It's also a handy part of the Phozon Farming Abuse trick, which involves using the Phozon Release skill to turn some of your "magic points" into free-floating phozons. Equip the Spirit Gem, release all of the phozons you're carrying, and then reabsorb the phozons. This restores your MP guage (though not to the same level as before), allowing you release and reabsorb all of your phozons again and again. Doing this often will grind up your Psypher Level, especially with the Gem.
  • Flunky Boss: Every. last. one of them, midbosses included, will summon other enemies for the player to fight. The Queen of the Dead in particular never seems to stop summoning them.
  • Forced Tutorial: The entire first story, Valkyrie, has tutorials spread around that are unskippable in your first playthrough. Thankfully, when you revisit previous areas or start the book over, you don't have to deal with them again.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Most prominently when you fight other main characters as part of one character's story; they're several dozen times more powerful than they would be at that point in time in their own story. This is painfully obvious when you're forced to fight Mercedes, who is one of the hardest PC-boss fights, but when you get to her book, she starts as the weakest of the five. Of course, "starts" is the keyword here.
  • Gameplay Grading: Except for boss battles, you are rated on how quickly you defeated enemies and how little damage you took, with higher rankings resulting in more treasure after the battle. Additionally, any points in excess of the given rank will be carried over and applied to the next battle's score.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Only a specific character can truly defeat a given disaster during Armageddon. Anyone else will simply die trying.
    • Even if Velvet defeats Beldor after falling into his trap, the other Wise Men will still overpower and capture her anyway.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Every character has a different fighting style, so the first chapter of each of their stories starts with a quick training mission to explain the controls.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Consuming food restores your health and gives you experience points for increasing your maximum health.
  • Immune to Flinching: Unlike the player, bosses (and some enemies) do not flinch or recoil when struck by the player's attacks. However, the "Painkiller" potion will protect the player from flinching and knockback, as well as the "Fire/Ice Spirits" potions, which will protect the player from up to three hits.
    • Technically, a lot of them can be made to flinch, but it takes a lot more work than your garden variety Mook.
  • In a Single Bound: Some of the Sub Bosses have Mario-like jumping ability. The mains aren't far off, although at least two of them are wholly or partially capable of flight.
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: Zigzagged, both killing enemies and clearing out stages will yield treasure chests that sometimes contain minor food items like milk and hot cross buns. With some of these areas it makes sense, like when you're fighting in the capital of Titania or Ragnanival, or on the Valentian battlegrounds where there's tons of soldiers running around everywhere, but then there's also the monster-infested Elrit Forest and the Volkenan Lava Pit where it's less likely to stay fresh. Once the player gets to the Netherworld, however, they quickly find that the only food items that get dropped are old and withered.
  • Item Crafting: Done for potions and recipes.
  • Kaizo Trap: Averted in boss fights. Even if the fight ends with the player and the boss taking each other out, the victory will still go to the player.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: The green Ooze enemies in Titania capital receive only Scratch Damage from melee strikes, a major problem for Cornelius. But they die quickly when hit with a "Napalm" potion, or Mercedes's crossbow. Blizzard potions, Oswald's Shadow form, and Velvet's homing chain will also One-Hit KO them as well.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: An unfortunate trade-off for wonderful hand-drawn art, but that doesn't make it any less annoying when it happens.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Occurs if an enemy attack knocks you to the ground. The "Painkiller" potion, which blocks knockback, unfortunately prevents this from kicking in.
  • New Game+: The player can "re-read" a character's book after completing it, playing through the story with the same levels and items they had when finishing it. For a more literal "re-reading", there's also the Archive Gallery, which allows you to skip all of the gameplay while enjoying all of the story from all five characers, piecing together how the different threads fit.
  • Nintendo Hard: As with all Atlus titles, this one is no exception. Enemies and projectiles flying off in multiple directions simultaneously can occasionally trigger a cascading disaster. For example, you can get dizzied by a laser beam, torched by wizard's flame, turned into a frog and then one-hit killed from above by a midboss's jumping attack. All within the span of ten seconds.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Glue Onyx to the spot with an "Ooze" potion to stop That One Attack.
  • Rare Candy: Eating food prepared in the Pooka restaurants not only provides experience towards a level-up (see Hyperactive Metabolism), but an immediate boost to the character's maximum HP.
  • Personal Space Invader: The green Ooze enemies in Titania capital. They also happen to be Onyx's weakness.
  • Sad Battle Music: For the Final Boss fight if the player is on the track to the Bad Ending.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The "King of the Underworld" in the final chapter. Destroying his three heads is not enough to kill him, but it does expose his heart to damage, at least until his heads regenerate.
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison, Flame, Freeze, and Frog.
  • Unwinnableby Mistake: During Chapter 2, try not to have a full bag when you get to the Forest of Elrit. The Alchemy system is introduced there, and there are things you'll need to pick up in order to move the game along. If your bags are full when the Tutorial begins, you won't be able to drop excess items to make space since it disables all but the Materials you pick up, effectively casting you into limbo unless you reset the game.
  • Useless Useful Spell: One potion leaves behind a toxic cloud that kills anything after a short delay, regardless of how much HP it has left. Unfortunately, this has a tendency not to work on boss enemies, but always on you. Sure, it kills slimes, but you've always got Napalm for doing that cheaper.
  • We Buy Anything: Including half-eaten, rotten fruit and bones left over from chicken or lamb.

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Three Wise Men's hideout in Titania Capital is evidently big enough for a huge serpent dragon to move in freely.
  • Bleak Level: While none of the levels are sunshine and rainbows, Netherworld Endelphia is a barren land with almost no lights, full of ghosts and really spooky monsters.
  • Dungeon Shop: Vendors can be found in certain levels on every stage. While some, like Titania, aren't too far-fetched, it's a wonder merchants wander around the peaks of Winterhorn Ridge or the lava pits of Volkenon. The Netherworld, however, actually has dead souls as vendors.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Pooka village is built underground, since the land of Valentine has turned into a battleground for the Aesir and the Vanir. Very few know how to find it, but the cooking is supreme! "It took a lot of work to get it all down here!"
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Fire Kingdom, home to the fire that existed before the birth of the world, which is also the source of life of the Fire People, whose true forms are made of animated lava.
  • Life Energy: Phozons are the source of life in Erion. Fairies are composed of Phozons and when they die, the Phozons return to the land to be used anew. Psyphers, utilizing their powers by absorbing Phozons are actually destructive because of that.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Horn Mountain of Winterhorn Ridge is a snowy mountain where ice elementals will try to freeze you and the low temperature slowly depletes your health if you lack a "Warmer" potion.
  • X Meets Y: A composite story; pretty much the entire plot is an amalgam of Der Ring des Nibelungen and Norse Mythology (especially the parts concerning Ragnarok).
    • And possibly a little bit of A Midsummer Night's Dream mixed in, what with the nation of fairies and one of the nations being named Titania.

  • All There in the Manual: Inverted. You're better off NOT reading at the very least Velvet's character profile in the manual, because the fact that she's secretly Odin's illegitimate daughter would have otherwise been quite a surprising twist the first time you play the game.
  • All There in the Script: The two Pooka who work in the restaurant and cafe are named Melelunch and Meliene, respectively. This information is only available in the art book.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The anime art direction is colorful, charming, and full of all sorts of cute-looking characters like the Pookah. The story, on the other hand, is very dark and grim. There's a lot of death and misery, there are some very convoluted politics at work between all the characters, there's very little humor to speak of, and the best ending is only barely bittersweet.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The translation is rife with careless errors (as opposed to Woolseyisms), making its lack of criticism a testament to the effort and quality behind the game's original script. They show up about every 5 to 10 lines, so here are just a few major ones in case you wondered how else the script fit together.
    • Odette actually has a very good reason to punish Psypher wielders, explaining, "You toy with the cycle of souls using that spear." It was scrambled into the very arbitrary, "You're risking your very soul by playing with that spear," with no further explanation.
    • Oswald's Moral Dissonance as a political assassin gets lost. "As you commanded, I have disposed of the Paladins in opposition." became "As you command. The Paladins who were in opposition have hidden themselves in secrecy." Hence his ominous exchange with a Paladin beforehand.
    • The above becomes unintentionally funny when combined with a later fudge- Oswald kills a villain with the justification, "I cannot allow someone as evil as you to continue to live..." Especially since he highlights his own lack of morals first. Originally he just said "You're too dangerous to let live".
    • Others are very random. A resigned Lilipat's line, "So the army we cobbled together was not enough after all," became "I suppose random assaults proved to be an effective strategy in this situation." It did not match any context, making it blurted out of nowhere.
    • The full scale of Ingway's manipulations near the end of the fifth book. "If the Halja come this way, I shall easily be able to sneak in," was "With the Halja headed this way, it should be easier for her to sneak in." Unknown to everyone, he had helped Mercedes save Brom from the Underworld during her story.
    • Had trouble looking for Troll Molars until late in the game? They switched the word "Trolls" with "Goblins" in your main hint.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Napples return from Princess Crown. A common misconception is they are also a reference to Napple Tale.
    • Lots and lots in regards to Norse Mythology. Aside from the more obvious things like Odin, the Valkyries, Nidhogg and Yggdrasil, there are also the locations in the game. Ragnanival-> Asgard; Ringford-> Vangard; Endelphia-> Utgard; Titania-> Midgard
  • Spiritual Successor: To Princess Crown, a 1997 Atlus title for the Sega Saturn developed by the dev team that went on to become Vanillaware. During development, Odin Sphere was even referred to as Princess Crown 2.

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Weapons and such switch hands as usual, but the game actually justifies it by having the characters shift said items to opposite hands when turning around.
  • An Axe to Grind: Several enemies, including Aesir warriors, Berserkers and Axe Knights.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Vulcans, in their transformed state. However, its worth noting that their sprites are crafted carefully to never show their crotches in this form. Their nipples appear to be covered by small spots of live magma (most of their bodies turn into hardened magma in their transformed state) so it's possible this trope is actually averted to some extent.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Vulcans and the Fairies of Ringford have their bellies exposed, among other things. The former can be justified as they are live in a land of flame and magma, and seem to be composed of lava themselves.
  • BFS:
    • Cornelius inverts this; his broadsword is reasonably sized for a human, but his Pooka body is way too small to wield it the way he does.
    • The Vulcans' Flaming Sword is at least half as big as their bodies.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism:
    • The mini-boss Vulcans and Onyx all appear to be of the same race, but while normal Vulcans grow horns, have their hair replaced by fire and become naked when they transform, Onyx changes into something somewhat akin to a Balrog.
    • Female fairies have colorful butterfly wings, while males have (possibly vestigial) wasp or housefly wings.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Normal Vulcans in their transformed state become completely naked.
  • Gainaxing: The Vulcans' assets seem to bounce while breathing.
    • And Velvet visibly bounces when crouching, getting up and running.
  • Game Face: All Vulcans have humanoid forms, but their real forms are fire spawned creatures with live fire generated from them. Normal Vulcans turn naked, grow horns and have their skin covered by magna, hardened and blackened. Onyx turns into a small Balrog.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Pretty much any female character, including the female enemies. The Vulcans have an especially narrow waist and large hips. Much like the male characters, the character design for the females is very exaggerated.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Vulcans in their true form are supposed to be lava elementals, but they do sports jiggly boobs. Also the female Geist seen in the Underworld are big-breasted. However, this is averted with the Pooka females.
  • Paying In Coins: The player can invoke this trope. You have to manually select the coins you want to pay with when buying things. The coins vary from the cheap Ragnanival Silver (worth 1G) to the rare and valuable Commemorative Coin (worth 20G). It's possible to buy expensive things and pay them with a truckload of Ragnan Silver.
    • This comes in handy when you reach the Pooka Village and find out that the restaurant and cafe only accept Valentinian coins (and require a specific type for each dish.)
  • Recurring Riff: "Odin Sphere's Theme" makes numerous appearances throughout the soundtrack, including the title theme, the world map/Final Boss theme and the Final Boss theme for the Bad Ending.
  • Scenery Porn: Absolutely gorgeous 2-D artwork. Some enemies like Belial and Darkova are also incredibly detailed and beautifully animated.
    • Scenery Gorn: During Armageddon. Perhaps the biggest example being the fight with King Gallon, where the player can watch Titania slowly crumble and sink into the sea in the background.
  • Single-Use Shield: The "Fire/Ice Spirits" potions surround the player with three rotating elemental spirits, which can absorb one strike each.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • In Velvet's chapter, several merchants comment on her outfit. One of the merchants in the snow level says something to the effect of, "You're up here on this mountain and you're dressed like that? You're tough! Buy a warming potion, will you?" The other mountain merchant wonders if the "half-naked chick" is just a hallucination.
    • The female fairies of Ringford also count, as they wear nothing by elbow-length gloves, knee-high boots, and bikinis to battle. In sharp contrast, the males wear full body armour.
    • The Vulcans, in their human forms; they're pretty much wearing vinyl thigh-highs and halter tops more boob window than shirt.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:
    • Fairies are humanoid and don't really require this, but even so Female Fairies have larger butterfly-like wings, while Male ones have small grasshopper-like wings that are too small to fly with.
    • Female Pooka's hoods are decorated and they wear aprons, while the male Pooka designs are simpler.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Male Fairies have purely decorative wings. Justified; Their wings are puny and they wear heavy plate armor. Female Fairies wear no armor and have bigger wings, so they can fly.

Ogre BattleCreator/AtlusOperation Darkness
NoxFantasy Video GamesOgre Battle
    Creator/VanillawareGrim Grimoire
Nayuta No KisekiAction RPGOtogi: Myth of Demons
Obs CurePlay Station 2 Okage

alternative title(s): Odin Sphere
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