"You'll go no further! For her sake, I will not fail!"
A turn-based strategy game from Nippon Ichi, creators of Disgaea and La Pucelle for the Playstation 2.When Marona was a child, her parents and their employee Ash were killed by demons. In desperation they used their magic and a plea to God to turn Ash into a Phantom, a type of ghost caught between Life and Death, to protect Marona as she grew up.Like her parents, Marona is a Chroma; she is able to summon the spirits of the dead and give them temporary physical forms by possessing inanimate objects. For this, the people in Marona's world think of her as The Possessed One who can kill them all, so naturally they go out of their way to insult and belittle her.Game mechanics aside, Marona's a rather sweet girl who loves everyone, and who seems cheerfully uncomprehending of the fear she provokes in others. Which means her neighbors have someone to protect them from the dark forces that killed her parents.Updated Rereleases were released for the Wii titled We Meet Again, with a new chapter called "Another Marona" and some new characters as well as a bonus art disc, for the collector's edition savvy, and for PSP titled Heroes of the Hermuda Triangle, as well as an MMORPG, Phantom Brave Online.
This game has examples of:
All of the Other Reindeer: Yes, they're that bad. Unlike many examples, though, they do eventually realize that Marona is their only hope for survival and that they should be nice to her, though. The fact that she eventually makes friends with an anthropomorphic shark in a Hawaiian T-Shirt who decides to beat up anyone who badmouths her helps.
And Then John Was a Zombie: Averted. After Sulphur kills her lover, Scarlet goes to the Netherworld to kill demons until she awakens her power. Marona and crew Time Travel back to prevent her from becoming a demon; but Scarlet still gains the Burgandy power.
For that matter, Marona is one of the few Nippon Ichi heroes who hasn't turned into a demon.
At a certain point, you are given the choice to open a bottle by the Putties. Doing so will release Laharl from it. Due to the world's lack of evil, he tries to appoint himself ruler and tries to make the protagonists his Vassels.
Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: Marona, Ash, and major enemies will teleport back to the field when thrown out, instead of being automatically defeated.
Also, any phantom who's currently taking their turn, and the final enemy on the field, no matter who it might be. (Also, the No O.B. special ability prevents tossing out.)
Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you create any humanoid who doesn't do a specific task and talk to them, they may randomly say how awesome a Phantom Brave Anime would be.
Break the Cutie: Marona shows hints of this as the story progresses, but it never goes further than that.
At least, not in this game.
In the Wii and PSP versions, Another Marona takes Marona not having Ash around to its logical conclusion.
Brick Joke: An unusual version: the final page of the original strategy guide says "Until we meet again...". Some years later, "We Meet Again" became the first Updated Re-release's subtitle.
Bullying a Dragon: Marona's affinity for phantoms causes her a lot of grief, but you'd think someone with the reputation for summoning an army of the undead would be the very last person you'd want to openly rip off after they completed a job for you.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Yep, Marona. Ash scolds her from time to time for constantly helping the ungrateful.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: take a closer inspection at Turn Order. If one of your patented strategies is to attack an enemy that will move first, there's a good chance that, even if that enemy is K.O.'ed, another enemy will take that turn.
That's only one of the ways the computer cheats. Enemy characters stay in play permanently during battle, while your summoned ghosts fade away after about three turns and can't be resummoned (granted that's part of the plot so I'll let it slide).
Also, until mastering a weapon, you seem to deal roughly 0-1 damage (except with magic, like the healer's Shock), meanwhile enemies deal 4-6 in early game. Meaning the tutorial battle is impossible for just Marona, and since much of the party can't be counted on as steady characters, you're kinda screwed with just Marona.
Subverted under "Protection" (which had you skipped the tutorial, you might miss). It seems though that virtually every enemy has this when attacked by most of the party besides the healer and Ash though.
Crapsaccharine World: The "cute" characters in the game are crippled, yelled at by angry villagers, are the angry villagers themselves, are harmless fools who get possessed by fragments of demonic souls...and that's not getting into the Putties, who are locked into cages or transported into circuses despite being fully sentient because, well, they can't talk. There's a thousand other things, and if not for the graphics and the music this would probably be a Crapsack World.
Deader than Dead: Marona can (and the enemies ''will''), by attacking the "body" of one of her phantoms, Soul Kill them. She can still reconstitute it by sacrificing an object (and with a certain item, make the soul stronger). It is implied by dialogue (the evil has lifted and peace fills the air) that this is the right thing to do with Baal when it joins the party after you defeat it as a Bonus Boss.
This can also happen on the maps themselves. Marona herself is immune from souldeath.
You know Solemn Vow, that passive skill that doubles Ash's Attack and Intelligence on his final turn? In the Japanese version, its name is Eccarlate and the description also add that it's the Water Dragon's power. Of course his DLC appearince in Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten changed it back to Eccarlate.
Dynamic Entry: Attaching the ability Big Bang to some characters leads for utter hilariousness as when they are summoned to the objects they cause an explosion around them, usually taking out a bunch of the enemies stupid enough to stand around the item you confine them in, or if such item is not available, the one you throw into the fray. People die.
And, if you use it on a certain map with a certain enemy enhancement by using a certain item, that character hits the levelCap.
Easter Egg: One of the possible randomly generated names for the anthropomorphic owls is Orly.
The Snakish Sword, which can be acquired only by doing something most people wouldn't think to do during the one-time-ever tutorial.
Eldritch Abomination: Sulphur. His mere presence causes numerous monsters to start appearing, and the closer he comes to reviving, the more of his monsters start appearing and he feeds on hatred and can use it to revive himself if somebody manages to kill him.
Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Subverted. Cauldron, the shark man gives Marona way more money than he promised, forms a fan club for her, and beats up anyone that bad mouths her.
Fake Ultimate Mook: The Manticore and Dragon Classes. The Manticore looks like a huge, fiery lion and the Dragon is, well, a dragon. But then, if you look at their stats, the Manticore cannot use any skills well at all other than physical magic (and it isn't even great at that), and the Dragon, while it's good, can only stay around for two turns before vanishing. (The maximum amount is 8 - most stay around for at least 4.)
The Dragon and the slime both seem intended to be meatshields instead, actually. It just so happens the dragon can also attack, trading some of the defense for offense. Of course, considering that any stat can be your 'main attack stat,' it's better to confine the soldier's skill that lets him hang around longer to the slime so IT gets two turns as well, and then just give it a pillar/devil rock as a weapon. May even be necessary to level Marona later, depending on your chosen technique.
The Fair Folk: Putties. It is later learned that they are not nearly as inhuman as most people think.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Marona can gain power and followers by killing beings and summoning their phantoms, and then absorbing them into herself, her servants, or even her weaponry. The plot completely ignores this in the Cutscenes.
During cut scenes, Ash can occasionally take on a physical form without the need for Marona to confine him (Often when he's protecting Marona or in front of friends). During gameplay, he's like every other phantom and requires Marona to confine him.
Also, we only ever see Ash referred to as Marona's Phantom; not the army of Player Mooks that Marona is capable of summoning in gameplay.
Yet another example: Marona is trying to accumulate enough Bordeaux to finally buy her island. You can get tons of it by completing missions and replaying old areas, and the actual payment received for your jobs pales in comparison. Still, don't expect any of it to go towards your life's dream.
Genre-Busting: There's really never been a strategy game quite like this before or since; the dependence on items already in the field to summon your allies is unique in itself, to say nothing of the dozen-or-so wrinkles that come from this such as the fact that anything can be used as a weapon, including other units or that anything (or anyone) can be merged.
Healing Shiv: The Mystic (a sort of half-healer, half-fighter class) has several unique abilities where he heals or buffs a friendly unit by punching them, even knocking them back a little. Acupressure?
Infinity+1 Sword: ANYTHING can be this; given Marona's ability to fuse items; however the Bragging Rights Reward would be the Divine Sword. There's roughly a 30% chance of you fighting a God at the bottom of a Random Dungeon. If you did 99 Dungeon levels in a row without ever exiting the dungeon, there is a 10-16% chance it will have a Divine Sword. You still need to be able to steal it and Confine it though.
Kansai Regional Accent: Cauldron the Hawaiian shirt wearing shark man speaks in a Kansai accent in the Japanese voice options. It's kinda weird.
Karma Houdini: Most of the NPCs who treat Marona terribly for most of the game get away with it by swapping to her side when it turns out only she has the power to defeat Sulphur, and their bad acts go free (though Marona prefers it that way). President Hogg is an exception to this rule, as at the end he atones by vowing to find a cure to Ill Girl Castille's handicap. Walnut also...atones properly.
Karma Meter: Exists, yet it's effect on the plot is almost nil. Killing your own characters will result in a build-up of "Dark Points" for these characters. Mostly bad for Player Mooks, too many and they'll go nuts and hurt your own characters in-between stages. (Neither Ash nor Marona are ever affected by this.) Full dark points actually grants the title "Blsphm" (sic) and the Dark Eboreus Ability (not the strongest ability or title, but still). Dark Points can be cured with cookies. No, really. The "Granny" class has a random chance of baking cookies for a character which reduces Dark Points.
Lethal Chef: Marona. While burning spaghetti is probably not as bad as most examples, it doesn't stop Ash from joking about it.
Lethal Joke Character: Even character classes that have horrible combat abilities across the board have their uses; Bottle Mails (literally walking bottles) don't fight well but have a very high chance of taking items to which they are confined away with them to Phantom Island, so if you need that item you're more likely to get it. Slimes are unimpressive except that they have 100% compatibility during fusion, allowing you to mix and mash abilities into one, then fuse the Slime into Marona or Ash. The Old Man's ability to randomly grant EXP can level up weapons without expending mana, and so on.
Level Grinding: It's Nippon Ichi. There are, however, ways to completely break the game and grind levels like crazy, such as creating a dungeon with a Failure title (enemies will be severely weakened and give no EXP or money, but the bonus EXP from binding Phantoms into objects in its levels will soon become ludicrous). You can also Level Drain any dead character you've brought a Changebook to; they'll gain bonus starting stats which greatly amplifies their successive stat gains each level.
If starting Another Marona from scratch, level grinding becomes a must. Another Marona is significantly shorter than its main-game counterpart. The Final Boss is the same level regardless. Do the math.
Also, with fusion, combining an object with the Failure title with an object with a much better title gives a much higher stat boost than if you combined two objects with the much better title (though this requires the final step of swapping out the Failure title with the much better title after fusion.)
To clarify: If an item is fused with an item with greater stats, the first item gains an increase proportional to the difference. The Failure title reduces all stats by 80%, thus making the difference much greater. After you're done fusing, removing the Failure title will remove the 80% reduction and boost all stats five-fold (or more if you put in a superior title).
Lost Forever: That Snakish sword in the tutorial? It's the only one. In the entire game.
There are several others like this. Anytime a boss appears with a unique weapon (especially if they are swords), they can be disarmed using certain attack techniques and their equipment stolen by certain phantoms. Another example are Eggs, which while not unique, are only found in extremely rare random dungeon types and/or a few specific story maps.
The Wii version's New Game+ allows you to obtain those items again if you missed them the first time, but because tutorial levels won't be available again during a New Game+, the Snakish sword will still be Lost Forever if you don't obtain it the first time you see it.
Of course, you don't need it. In fact, it is not very useful. All it really does is have a Snake Beater tech that's relatively good at the beginning of the game but is later outclassed. Actually, the fact that there is only one of it lessens its usefulness, as even if you fuse it to a better weapon, you can only ever have one unit who can use Snake Beater
Made of Evil: Sulphur, while we don't know what he is or where he came, he seems to be this since after he's defeated by Sprout, he feeds on Sprout's hatred and possess him, and even after Sprout's Heroic Sacrifice, he's able to come back.
Master of None: There's only one thing Soldiers are good at: staying power. They hang around on a map longer than any other class. You can add their ability to other characters via fusion, but it costs a ludicrous amount of mana to do so.
Somewhat subverted due to the Bonus Point system but; quite a few of the game's "helper" classes that assist you in Phantom Isle (Merchant, Dungeon Monk; to name a few) tend to suck when used in battle. The Merchant's speed is her only statistically redeeming quality while the Old Man and Granny's combat stats (what little there are) actually work against what little Skill specialties they have. The Dungeon Monk's main use is his "Return" ability to get out of Random Dungeons, and even then, you can simply fuse the ability to Marona.
Meaningful Name: There's a purple Scrabbit named "Murasaki" - Japanese for "purple". Also, the two characters who absolutely hate Marona the most are nuts - Filbert and Walnut.
Message in a Bottle: Marona gets some of her missions this way. The bottle-mail can also be recruited as a monster type if you stack objects high enough on your rooftop.
That only gets you one. You need to defeat 20 of them in a Weird dungeon setting to get more.
Necromancer: Marona goes without the skull fetishes most have; her phantoms are also tidier than most. There is a traditional one that create ghosts and zombies who is a mercenary leader in the plot.
Interestingly, Marona can summon Phantoms of...zombies and ghosts. They're...un-undead? No, that isn't right...
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Though not exactly heroic for most of the storyline, Walnut invokes this by using his Psycho Burgundy power on Marona while on the Island of Evil. That breaks the final shreds of the seal that bound Sulphur into the void.
Castille: trapped in Makai Kingdom as a servant of Zetta after a failed attempt to find Walnut's soul.
Walnut: Was not dead during the above search, but transported to the Soul Nomad universe. Dies in most of the story paths, so possibly dead now. Though it is worth noting that the endings of the main path seem only to differ mostly on what the main character is up to (and many of the endings are referenced in other ones), so he may be alive at the end of the main story no matter the ending. The Demon and Median paths on the other hand...
Marona: Sucked into the Disgaea 3 netherworld by Baal, has her Childish Innocence stolen. (Not physical rape, the mental aspect is actually removed.) Joins with Mao's group. But it's implied that Baal did not actually steal anything. So...
Both reappear in Disgaea4 and seem to be back to their old selves.
Sulphur: Sent back to Ivoire by Lujei Piche, who also sent Walnut to the Soul Nomad universe. Sulphur apparently dies permanently as a Bonus Boss; but the main characters are now paranoid that he will come back as they don't know that part.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Twice. Bijou (along with every other generic Werewolf in the game) is never seen in human form and is mostly portrayed as a one-man Goldfish Poop Gang. Despite this, he rarely is portrayed as evil until he is possessed.Raphael, meanwhile, is impersonated twice by Bijou (successfully). While nowhere ingame does it state that he is a werewolf, it is heavily hinted at along with this and his troops, the White Wolf Army.
Palette Swap: For minor PCs. Additionally, switching out Titles will change the color scheme of player characters. Even Ash and Marona can undergo a slight change, though not as drastic as sometimes having black or white hair like the generics do.
Petting Zoo People: There are weasel-men and shark-men, werewolves and, most prominently, humanoid owls. There's even a whole series of owl player characters; they tend to be slightly weaker than humans but faster and more agile.
Pretty in Mink: The witches wear dresses and hats trimmed with white fur.
Randomly Generated Loot: As with other N1 titles, it gives items random stats. Naturally, it also has a system for leveling them up; You have to go into randomly generated dungeons to level up the titles (adjectives you can equip to an item or character) and fuse two items to increase the level cap.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Storyline plot on how Sulphur is beaten. First Sprout attempted to absorb it and then killed himself, then the heroes fought it, then Walnut uses up his life force to pull himself and Sulphur into a portal into the abyss between worlds.
Also, there is a Golem on Frigidia Isle that Scarlet the Brave managed to Seal away. One of Marona's missions has them just checking on the seal; but she ends up just killing the thing.
Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Sprout attempted to do this, by filling himself with darkness and absorbing more and more of Sulphur's shadows. He couldn't stop it in the end, so committed suicide. Even that didn't kill Sulphur, but weakened it.
Spiteful A.I.: The enemies that spend their turns either throwing all the confine-able objects (and your phantoms) off the map or attempting to steal your own Weapons to use against you...or just throw them off the map.
Supporting Protagonist: While we may be controlling Ash outside of battle and the story is generally told from his point of view, the main focus is Marona.
Survival Mantra: "One day..." Marona keeps her sanity with those two words. That One Day....everything will be alright.
Taking You with Me: The "Parting Gift" support ability that damages all surrounding enemies (and objects) once a phantom's timer runs out and they leave the field.
Sprout attempts this by killing himself when Sulfur resurfaces through Sprout's body. Walnut also seals himself with Sulfur at the end.
Talking to Herself: Averted. While Flonne and Marona are voiced by the same actress and they do talk to each other, those are the only scenes that are not voiced.
Theme Naming: Most characters are named after colors, particularly wood hues. Many types of special magic are also named after colors; Marona's ability to use phantoms is "Chartreuse," Walnut uses "Psycho Burgundy," and so on.
The Undead: Phantoms have it pretty good compared to most undead. They are confined to either physical objects temporarily that Marona temporarily transmutes into a body or free-wandering on Marona's island, which is pleasant in itself; they can't feel strong sensations like hot or cold but other than that aren't in any pain. Curiously, there are ghosts and zombies in Marona's universe and Marona can make phantoms out of them too, but not the shadows of Sulphur.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: On Phantom Island, as Ash, you can stomp on Marona, your generic NPC characters, and any other character that appears. In the Wii Version, pressing the Z button allows you to beat up your characters, ranging from a strike to a giant swing throw. The kicker is that by beating the crap out of your own characters is that you gain experience from doing so. With the Changebook, you can use your NPCs to beat up on the main characters, KO them and level up.
Not to mention how "fusion" powers up your skills and items; and consumes one of the beings fused. An easy way to get a quick Title? Summon a cheap Phantom then banish it, and only it's Title will be left. You want to double your experience and mana absorbed when you kill enemies and to heal when you take a step? Summon a Slime (they have perfect efficiency with anything in fusion transfer), fuse a high-level item to give it some mana, Summon 50-100 of the beings you want to transfer the skill; fuse them into the slime, and then fuse the slime into the character you want the skill given to.
Marona's version of "Transmigration" is...messier than Disgaea. You have to let a Phantom's HP be taken to 0, then it's body needs to be destroyed. Then she can reconstitute it's spirit with into a special item.
Wave Motion Gun: You'd be surprised what counts as a wave motion gun when some of the items AND enemies have abilities that resemble a giant death beam when used. This includes dogs, some random plants and even attached abilities to characters.
Heck, by fusing abilities such as Balsa Bazooka into a character anything they can get their hands on (or their bare hands) can become one.
We Cannot Go On Without You: This makes sense, actually. Since Marona is basically using Summon Magic; and is a living human, if she dies and all of her summoned Phantoms die and/or run out of turns, game over. Phantoms cannot permanently die as long as she's around to put them back together.
Subverted in the Dungeon Creator: if you manage to win that battle inside the dungeons even if Marona is knocked out, she will be resurrected at the next level, but with 1HP.
With This Herring: Given the community she's surrounded by, Marona starts out empty handed, but can quickly earn her way into a Disc One Nuke with a little work. This trope comes into play literally if you decide to use a Fish as your weapon.
You Kill It, You Bought It: Hey, look over there! It's a Blacksmith! If I kill him, I'll be able to summon Blacksmith souls! .....yeah.
We Meet Again and Another Marona has examples of:
A God Am I: Carona is accompanied by a Funguy who claims to be God. He's really the Merchant of Death.
Alternate Universe: What if everyone just died? Another Marona itself is an Alternate Universe as it diverges from the main game prior to Marona's first job rather than continuing where the game left off. As such, she doesn't know any of the characters she meets at the beginning outside of the reputation they have built up.
Evil Twin: Part of Carona's training is having the new cast fight their old bodies; with the shadows of Sulphur confined within them.
Carona herself; the "Another Marona" is somewhat a subversion. A Marona who grew up without Ash; who became very, very dark. A continuous theme, though, is that "Marona is Marona." This is the same Marona as the heroine, who just had different things happen to her in her life.
Kill 'em All: The Expansion Pack epilogue in Phantom Brave: We Meet Again, "Another Marona" starts off in an Alternate Universe where instead of having to deal with the living, everyone except apparently Marona just keels over and dies. As Phantoms, they accept her a lot easier.
Lolicon: Carona accuses Ash of this; but it was made obvious previously that she's jealous of his loving relationship with Marona and very, very bitter. (Also, you really don't get more Chaste Hero than Ash.)
Laughably Evil: God Eryngi's feeble attempts to convince the main characters that he's God at the beginning of the storyline by shouting such phrases as "I'll curse you!" repeatedly and shouting that he's obviously God are actually rather hilarious, and the fact that he's an angry-looking bearded mushroom contribute to this effect. It doesn't last.
Love Redeems: Carona, at the end of the story, practically loses her Anti-Hero tendencies due to her friendship with Marona and Ash.
The Man Behind the Man: An interdimensional diabolist named "The Merchant Of Death" controls Sulphur with an evil artifact called the Magenta Core.
Omnicidal Maniac: The Merchant of Death doesn't care how many worlds he kills, as long as he gets another weapon to add to his growing collection.
Morality Chain: Carona is from a world where Ash didn't become a Phantom, and she was left all alone in a world that hated her when she was 5 years old. She's not as crazy as many, and she's still trying to save her world; but it takes a combination of this world's Marona and Ash to get her to open up.
New Game+: A new addition to the Wii version, characters from Another Marona can be carried over to the main storyline and vice versa. Of course, their affect on the actual plot is nil.
No Ontological Inertia: The Merchant of Death's curse that killed everyone on the planet is removed if he wills it or on his death.
Super Title 64 Advance: Played straight with the Japanese title of the game, which is simply Phantom Brave Wii.
Throw the Dog a Bone: After Carona goes home; back to her lonely island; she gets a letter from Castille's father asking for help; implying that she will be befriended by Castille in her world as well.
Worf Had The Flu: If how much stronger Sulphur is when he's fought as a Bonus Boss, he was definitely this when fought during the main story, implied that since everybody saw him coming this time, they got him before he regained all his strength.
Xanatos-Gambit: Carona is training Marona and crew to either kill the Merchant or else become his slaves; either way her Ivoire is saved. Marona convinces her to put more at risk.