The second SaGa game released on the PlayStation, SaGa Frontier 2 is markedly different from its predecessor. Set in the world of Sandail, the plotline is divided into two scenarios, revolving around the lives and adventures of two men:
Gustave XIII, heir to the throne of the Finney kingdom, is abruptly exiled at the tender age of seven after failing to manifest any Anima during the Firebrand Ceremony. His mother, Queen Sophie, attempts to defend him, only to be banished alongside him; his younger brother, Philippe, angrily blames him for tearing their family apart. Forced to live in the slums, Gustave grows up embittered, torn between half-believing the ignorant bile spewed by others and aching for a chance to prove them all wrong...
William Knights is an adventurer who was just out seeking his fortune, only to have his simple life turned upside down by sudden personal tragedy. Soon, he finds himself searching for the secrets of 'The Egg', a mysterious, soul-stealing entity. Wil's tale spans three generations of the Knights family line, as matters keep growing beyond the scope of anything they imagined...
The two scenarios are very distinct: Gustave's plot arc is filled with political intrigue, with several sequences that are pure Cutscenes start-to-finish, while Wil's tale starts out as a more personal affair that gradually expands over the years, as he and his family uncover more about the situation they've gotten embroiled in. Naturally, the two tales intertwine over the course of history...Late-Arrival Spoiler warning: Nothing Is the Same Anymore after the Wham Episode, and tropes related to the second half of the game will necessarily refer back to that event. Read with caution.
All There in the Manual: The Ultimania and Perfect Works books fill in a great deal of information about the world of Sandail, but they also spend quite a bit of time on the relationships between the characters, answering many questions left ambiguous in the game such as the relationship between Kelvin, Marie, Philippe III, and Gustaf.
An Axe to Grind: Few are the characters to actually wield with efficiency this weapon. Among them are Tyler (generation 1), Patrick (generation 1 and 2), Primiera and Meythia (both generation 3).
Anyone Can Die: Verges on Kill 'em All for the first generation, though that may not count since many of them die of old age. Even in the later generations, though, main characters can be killed off with almost no warning.
Badass Family: The Knight family definitely deserves a mention, as they span three generations worth of adventurers and heroes.
Badass Normal: Toyed with, as Everyone Is a Super, but magic is actually less effective than steel both in game terms and in-story. Gustave and the Egg are the only ones to realize this, and their steel soldiers completely curb stomp any army that gets in their way.
Aunt Nina is one of your stronger (and older) party members when she joins, thanks to her high Hit Points, high Life Points, and high mastery of the tree, stone and water animas. On top of that, she joins with useful spells, allowing your party to use them if they didn't learn them already. Also, she singlehandedly defeats two freaking dragons, and full heal your party afterwards, but such actions will cause her to lose her life.
Will Knights is playable again once he reachs his 80th. Sure, he will lose a tons of HP, but will keep his levels of mastery in weapons and anima, thus allowing him to not be completly overshadowed by the others party members, depending of how much you trained him of course.
Bag of Sharing: An NPC in Wil's hometown will allow you to switch inventories between teams, even ones who's never met and are separated by decades. You can also shared learned abilities across teams (and this is how you pick up one that would otherwise be Lost Forever).
Bag of Spilling: Variant: Wil Knights will lose half of his stats due to being an old geezer, though you can grind his stats back up.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Only a few characters are able to use their fists in battle. In-Universe, those who fight with their fists aren't really viewed in high regards, and thus only a few choosen ones decide to use their fists and legs in battle, whereas anyone can equip any weapons (which are more effective most of the time). Among them are, interestingly, a lot of women, such as Cordelia, Primiera, Meythia and Ginny Knights (though only Primiera has an affinity with this battle-style). On the side of males, you can count Rich Knights, Cielmer (who is the only character able to fuses his punches with anima energy), Tyler, Johan, Raymond, and finally Gustave himself (though he doesn't need his fists, thanks to his legendary sword).
BFS: Gustave's Sword, both in story and gameplay. A blacksmith considered the idea of such a weapon simply monstrous, and gameplay wise, it's one of the most powerful weapons in the game. Unfortunately, only Gustave and Gustaf get to use it.
To a lesser extent, the Cinderforge Sword, which is the most powerful weapon in the game that you get by defeating the Bonus Boss, and the sprite is even larger than Gustave's Sword. In a similar fashion to Gustave's Sword, it too is steel, so anyone who uses it is going to take a big hit to their ability to cast magic. And Gustaf can't equip it.
The Finney Royal Family is a downplayed example, with one king, three sons and a daughter. The patriarch exiles his firstborn son (Gustave XIII) and treats his second (Philippe) like crap. Gustave later kills the youngest just to see how far he could go in life (this is not portrayed as anything particularly evil in-game), and Philippe never forgives him for Daddy's neglect (which he believes that he caused). Later on, Philippe's son is murdered, and Philippe turns into a dragon using magic in an attempt to avenge him, leaving the Finney Kingdom effectively leaderless.
Cantal of Otto has over eighty children, and when he dies, his kingdom is divided among them. It rapidly becomes a political nonentity.
Black Mage: Some characters with high anima mastery (and often no weapon mastery) can be considered as such. This is the case of Narcisse (an experienced adventurer who even comes with the "Mage" battle style), Eleanor (who comes with an insanely high Fire anima mastery and the Fire Storm spell) and Roberto (who is the master of every anima except for stone).
Carry a Big Stick: Most spellcasters will prefer to use staff as their weapons, since most staffs enhances the maximum amount of spell points one character can have, and some of them even enhance spell regeneration (despite not being Quells). Also, few are the staffs which possess enough attack power to be really useful in combat (two of the most powerful ones are very hard to find, one being a very rare random drop, and the other can't be unlocked without grinding both staff and water masteries). Despite this, Wil Knights and his granddaughter, Ginny, are great staff users (though only Ginny will be able to wield one with great efficiency, since Wil will quickly lose his strenght, with his weapon point regeneration dropping from 2 to 1 right after meeting Labelle), and so is Patrick.
If your Weapon or Spell scores aren't sufficient to use a skill or cast a spell, you have the possibility to use said skill or spell, at the expense of your Life Points.
It's implied that the spells that aunt Nina used in order to save your party are the reasons for her death afterwards.
Changing of the Guard: The game lasts for three generations. The only one from the original generation who's left to fight against the Egg is Wil Knights himself, and he's not the main character when it happens.
Chekhov's Gun: Rich is first introduced as hired muscle on another digger's mission, and there's no indication that he's a particularly special party member. It isn't until the next mission that he's revealed to be Rich Knights, Wil's son and the second-generation Knights protagonist.
Clingy MacGuffin: The Egg always seems to come back and mess with people every so often. Hopefully, this time it's gone for good, as Gustaf used Gustave's steel sword to destroy it.
Combat Medic: Aunt Nina qualifies, as she joins your group with the Life Water spell, her unique role "Recover" boosts the healing effects of the spell, and she is far stronger than your others characters at this point of the game, thanks to her high HP count (and Life Points count) and high mastery of Anima.
Combination Attack: If you get it right, this you can get all the members of the part, AND THE ENEMIES, joining in.
Evil Power Vacuum: Gustave's death creates a rare Good Power Vacuum. Kelvin's death just exacerbates it further.
Faceof A Thug: Tyler sports a kind of mohawk/punk hair, and doesn't look like your average adventurer. At first, Wil thought that he was a thief. In the end, Tyler is an incredibly nice fellow, who will become one of Wil's best friend, and a longtime companion in his adventures.
Final Death: Happens when a character runs out of Life Points (though said points will recover if you manage to win the battle).
Fire-Forged Friends: On a grand scale! When the fake Gustave seizes Hahn Nova, forcing an alliance between every other power in the world to defeat him, David of Jade takes the opportunity to establish the terms of a worldwide peace treaty, which lasts for over fifty years.
Flaming Sword: This is the whole point of the Firebrand Ceremony: channeling one's Anima through it to make the blade flare up proves that you're a worthy ruler. This is taken very seriously.
Four-Star Badass: General Nebelstern. His army unit is the only one in the game to be able to move 3 squares away, and he's a pretty good fighter to boot.
Gambit Pileup: Pretty much the entire game after Gustave's death.
Gustave's steel items have insane levels of both physical and magical defense (with the downside of never being able to cast magic when you're equipped with it, but you hardly need to) and can do more damage than anything else; having steel troops in a battle pretty much guarantees victory. (It's also an In-Universe game breaker, as Gustave's use of steel gives him dominance over the other kingdoms.)
Some characters are very limited when it comes to weapon skills, since if they don't have an high enough Weapon Skill Regeneration (something which can't be enhanced in any way), they will quickly end up unable to perform more moves without sacrifying Life Points (something which can lead to their death - and by death, we don't mean exhaustion which can be cured with a resurrection spell). Hence, characters with a high Weapon Skill Regeneration's score are the best weapon users, and are essential in a team, since weapon arts will outclass anima arts more often than not (unless you level-grind your animas masteries like crazy, or you use the hidden Hybrid Arts), and are quite easy to combo with. Also, Weapon Skill Regeneration is closely tied to one's character age: the younger they are, the better their regeneration is. That's why characters like Gustave and Ginny are that powerful: they can deal damage like crazy and never get tired. And then, you have Diana, with a wooping regeneration score of 5 (the one and only character to possess such an high score), making her virtually the best fighter in the game. Too bad she's only usable in one occasion...
Equipment adds SP. After battles, if your SP fell below the total sum of SP added by your equipment, then your SP returns to that value. Hybrid Arts are powerful, allow you to also train anima levels, and work off of SP instead of WP. Use of Hybrid Arts in dungeons makes warriors stronger and lets them save WP for bosses. And since spells grow stronger as current SP decreases, mages can and should use their absolute biggest spell in every random battle.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Johan tells Gustave that "even in my weakened condition, I can still fight far better than you!" and Gustave agrees to leave the fight in his hands. Wait, what? Is he talking to the same Gustave? The most formidable user of Weapon Arts in the entire world? The king who goes monster-hunting in the middle of a pirate-ridden Vice City because he's bored?
Well, technically Johan is actually telling that to one of the others who is only really good at spell arts, it's just that Gustave decides to let him handle it anyway. Though it is rather annoying that we have to play as Johan, especially since he has low stats unless you play the scenario entitled 'Johan the Assassin' and visit several towns and do some grinding.
Johan IS dying, to be absolutely fair. In spite of that he does only a bit less damage than Gustave and far, far more than Ventarbre. What screws him over is low durability, but again, DYING. It'd be odd if he had awesome durability like Gustave given how he wears light armor AND is dead on his feet.
Also, the fact that Gustave isn't allowed to take the field in this battle, because it's quite likely that a player-controlled Gustave would be able to wipe out an endless line of monsters singlehandedly and he has to die to kick off the rest of the plot.
Gender Equals Breed: Cordelia (called Cody by Wil) is Wil's initial love interest and the mother of Wil's son, Rich. Depending on the player's choice, though, Cordelia can die, leaving Wil to marry Labelle instead. However, despite obviously not being Cordelia, Labelle still gives birth to the exact same son. This is probably done to avoid complicated story and game mechanics.
Government Conspiracy: The ties between the two stories are tenuous, and most of the lords don't have a clue what's really going on behind the scenes. Their senior advisers, however, do; they're the ones providing most of the support for the Knights heroes in the later part of the game.
Guide Dang It: Good luck finding the best items and/or unlocking the best abilities without a walkthrough:
Some items are very well hidden, and unless you happen to check the environment closely, you will never grab them in a normal playthrough. A notorious example is the trunk of a tree inside a tower while leading Eleanor's party: if you examine it, you will launch a boss battle, which will grant you a powerful Tree Quell at the end. The problem is that there isn't anything out of the ordinary with that trunk, and players will probably never try to press X on it. Same could be said about an another tree while leading Ginny's party. And let's not talk about the hidden Beast Lance inside the frozen Megalith, hidden by rooms of teleports which all look exactly the same...
Others are rare item drops, including from bosses!
It's almost impossible to unlock the Hybrid Arts without a guide, since it requires you to use both weapon and spell commands in the right order in a duel: it's the only way to unlock them, and players won't mix up these commands in duels, since they will prefer to use the right combinations of commands in order to unleash Arts, and absolutly no Arts beside the Hybrid ones require the player to mix both Weapon and Spell commands. Heck, you could do the entire game without ever knowing that they exist, if not for the "Tornado Blade" Art, gifted to you by Johan (which, ironically, is the only Hybrid Art which you can't unlock or use in duels).
Martial Arts do more damage when your WP is low and all spells do more damage when SP is low. This means that a large number of players try spells at full SP, see their poor damage, and dismiss them entirely, focusing on weapons instead. Or, alternatively, they use the dozen Ark Stones the game gives you just before boss fighters, making their mages or martial artists comparatively useless.
Heroic RROD: The lower your weapon or spell points are, the stronger your weapon skills and spells will get. However, if you happen to not have enough points to use a skill/spell, you will need to sacrifice Life Points, which will slowly but certainly lead to your characters's death.
Heroic Sacrifice: There are numerous occasions where one character will sacrify his life in order to save others:
The first example is without a doubt aunt Nina, who sacrifies herself in order to kill 2 dragons and revive her fallen nephew and companions.
Rich Knights, Wil's son, throws himself into a chasm in a Megalith clutching the Egg so that it can't harm others; of course the Egg comes back anyway.
Johan, ex-assassin, sacrifies his life in order to protect Gustave XIII, knowing full well that he wouldn't be able to survive, since he's slowly dying from poison anyway.
Cordelia, if you happen to use her in a specefic scenario.
The fight against the two dragons controlled by Alexei: the fight is unwinnable. Once the dragons beat the crap out of you, Nina will execute an Heroic Sacrifice and dispose of the dragons for you, on top of healing all of your party members back to their feets. However, if you happen to not take her into your team, keeping her in the sub-party, you will suffer a Game Over.
The fight against the bandits in the city of night, if you happen to have chosen Cordelia for the investigation. Even if you manage to beat them, new groups of bandits will show up and a new battle will take place, until Cordelia is finally defeated. This will lead to her death.
The "Tycoon Wil" scenario in which your only recourse is to survive long enough to run away from the Monster Megalith each time until you can trigger a cutscene.
Johan's last stand.
Hope Spot: Kelvin's victory at Salisbury shows everyone in Sandail that he's still got what it takes, but it's not enough to stop his alliance from breaking apart and the wars from starting up again.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Gustave goes looking for a way to discredit General Nebelstern in one scenario to weaken Wide's defenses. He fails; there isn't even a whisper of anything Gustave can use against him. However, this trait still works against the General: Gustave discredits one of Nebelstern's friends instead, on very flimsy grounds, and Nebelstern resigns in protest.
Infinity–1 Sword: Gustave's sword. Gustaf inherits Gustave's sword and Firebrand, an anotherInfinity–1 Sword (though this sword is less powerful than Gustave's sword, so Firebrand is in fact utterly useless to Gustaf, except for providing Fire Anima and balancing the negative effects of having a steel weapon equiped, since Firebrand remains a very powerful Quell, the only weapon actually to provide a bonus of +2 to SP Regen, which cancels the -2 SP Regen Malus of Gustave's sword). Actually, with his two weapons slots occupied, Gustaf can't equip the Infinity+1 Sword of the game, or any other weapons for that matter, which prevents him, an already powerful character in his own right, to achieve a Game Breaker status.
Not necessarily, as Gustaf is still an insanely powerful character and can still be trained to be an absolute beast of Sword Arts and certain Anima Arts.
Infinity+1 Sword: Cinderforge Sword and Seven-Star Blade (that last one requires the use of the Pocket Station in order to obtain it).
In Harm's Way: Gustave XIII easily gets bored with ruling after conquering half the world, which is why he keeps going out adventuring and kicking ass.
It's All My Fault: Wil laments this if he assigned Cordelia to the solo mission in 'Inflitrate! Alexei Gang', which inadvertently leads to her death.
Killed Off for Real: With the game taking place over 3 generations, some characters are fated to expire from old age, or illness, such as Narcisse and Kelvin. But not all of them will survive that long: Aunt Nina, potentially Cordelia, the other Wil, Johan and Gustave all bite the dust in rather dramatic circumstances.
Lamarck Was Right: Ginny inherited her grandfather's mastery of the wand and of the tree, water, rock and flame anima and her father's mastery of the sword. And she must thanks her mother for her impressiving Weapon Points regeneration of 4 (by the way, her mother had a regeneration of 5).
Logical Weakness: The Scorpion Assassins' ability allows them to hide by blending in with other people's Anima. Gustave can't sense Anima at all, so he can see Johan just fine.
Long Song, Short Scene: The amazing soundtrack was composed by Masashi Hamauzu, but sadly some songs are only heard once or twice, and there are cases where you can miss some songs very easily:
One of the most notable example is without a doubt Interludium, a song which is played only once in the entire game, during Ginny's birth. The scene in question only consists of 5 or 6 dialogue boxes, which take roughly 10 seconds or so to read, before cutting out to the scenario map, ending abruptly a 3:31 beautiful song.
The most wasted song of the game is definitly Rosenkranz, an incredibly beautiful piece of music, which can only be heard after you defeat the final boss (if you ever manage to defeat it). The worst part, though, is that the player will only hear about 30 seconds of the whole thing (1:56), before the song is brutally cut for narrating reasons. Please note that this song had a Piano version (for the Piano Collection Album : Rhapsody on a theme of SaGa Frontier 2), under the name "β 1", which is magistral.
The Freudenbezeigung (I, II, III and IV) songs are almost never heard in their entirety by the players: these are the battle ending songs, and in cases you don't level-up anything, the players will only hear the 4 first seconds before the game skip to exploration mode. Even if you happen to level-up some caracteristics, it's very easy to glance through these, and to end the battle. Unless players stop intentionnaly to hear the full rendition of the songs, most won't discover what lie after the first seconds.
Manie is a weird example. The song is the first one the players will hear during the credits of the game (if you ever reach the credits), but most players don't realise that this song is also the boss theme of the Tone Lord. For those who didn't play the game, the Tone Lord is a skippable boss in the last dungeon, and most players will never fight it: you need to sacrifice a character in your sub-party in order to duel it. Since you only have a limited number of characters you can sacrifice, and since it's more interesting to kill others Lords in order to weaken the final boss (especially the Stone Lord which can grant the final boss a spell which can petrify your whole party), most players never fight the Tone Lord, and no guide will advise otherwise.
Master Swordsman: Gustave is the most famous one, but anyone specializing in Sword-based Weapon Arts can also fit the bill. Diana is potentially the strongest swordswoman in the game, but she never takes part in any major fights.
Magic A Is Magic A: Anima cannot be channeled through metal, so most weapons are made of materials that can channel it, such as wood or rock. Since he can't use Anima anyway, Gustave forges a metal blade for himself, and it becomes his trademark.
Magic Knight: Most fighters are trained in using both Spell Arts and Weapon Arts, to a greater or lesser extent. The biggest exceptions are steel warriors, who go all-in on Weapon Arts (and completely overmatch magic users).
Gustaf is pretty much guaranteed to be this, as the wielder of both Firebrand (the ultimate Fire Quell) and Gustave's Sword (the most powerful steel weapon). He also can use all 6 types or anima with ease (something only a few others characters could achieve: Rich Knights, Cielmer, Ventarbre and Johan).
Marathon Boss: The Egg, full stop. See the entry about it under the trope page for more details.
Masashi Hamauzu: This is one of his most notable composition works. The soundtrack is also known for most of its track names being in Gratuitous German, Hamauzu himself having been born and raised in West Germany.
Master Of All: Ginny Knights, in theory; she is a preeminent master of both Anima arts (like her grandfather), and the sword (like her parents). She can be developed into a spellcaster, a Magic Knight, or even a Steel if you so choose, and she'll usually outmatch dedicated practitioners of any of these.
Never a Self-Made Woman: The Knights family gets a bad case of this. Cordelia (assuming she marries Wil Knights) and Diana are both exceptional fighters (in Diana's case, more than exceptional), but once they get pregnant, both retire from the battlefield, settle down and raise their children. Even when Wil Knights returns to the battlefield (with his granddaughter as the party leader!), neither his wife nor Diana is there with him. And while Ginny Knights is the party leader to the end, it's clear that this is because she's the descendant of Tycoon Wil.
Nintendo Hard: Partly because of the Guide Dang It nature of some elements of the game, the game itself can be very difficult and unforgiving. The last dungeon has a huge difficulty spike, and most players won't be prepared enough to fight against the final boss. This can lead to an Unwinnable by Mistake situation.
No Export for You: Sort of: you can earn items (and a mini-game) if you have the (Japan-only) Pockestation peripheral; however, if you do manage to get your hands on one, you can use it with the NTSC version of the game with no problem.
Non Standard Skill Learning: You can enter one-on-one battle mode and enter your commands manually (i.e. "Slash + Backslash = Cross Slash", rather than selecting the "Cross Slash" skill from your menu), triggering new skills that way.
One Steve Limit: Averted, there are multiple Gustaves and Philippes, and even two Williams!
Only Child Syndrome: The Knights family has one child per generation starting with Wil. Averted by the royal families, which usually have several children and complex inheritances.
Our Souls Are Different: Anima is viewed as a manifestation of the user's soul; thus, those who cannot visibly summon said energy are seen as hopelessly crippled spiritually, to the point where the very existence of their soul is questioned by the ignorant.
Playing with Fire: Every character (except Gustave) can use fire anima, but some of them stand out, thanks to their high fire affinity and spells they join with. Such characters are Narcisse and Eleanor. Eleanor stands out the most, thanks to her very high fire affinity (20, which is, by the game standarts, an insanely high score).
Red Shirt: Your generic units in the game's war battles. The fact that the other William uses this same sprite gives an early warning to his fate...
Resignations Not Accepted: The entire assassin's group Johan belongs to is engraved with a magical tattoo that would slowly poison them to death should they attempt to forsake the organization. Johan has one last stand attempting to keep monsters at bay while said poison is chipping away at his life points each turn.
Retired Badass: Most of the surviving previous-generation heroes in the second and third generation.
Rightful King Returns: The fake Gustave tries to play this trope to give him a foot in the door of the ongoing Succession Crisis, pretending to be an illegitimate grandson of Gustave. The actual heir to the Gustave family never claims the throne.
Rite of Passage: The Flame Ceremony. Gustave being unable to complete it kicks off his plot.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Philippe II is assassinated during his Firebrand ceremony, his father grabs the Firebrand in an attempt to use it on his son's murderers, and is transformed into a giant red dragon.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Averted, as you can trade inventory between parties, even ones that are not active for the present scenario (although you can only do it during some limited occasions); you can even equip abilities that other parties have learned.
Spell My Name with an "S": Narsus/Narcisse, Tylor/Tyler, Labelle/Lavelle, Meteor/Methya, Vantarber/Ventarbre, Flin/Flyn/Flynn. Gustaf in Ginny's era is an odd example since he's really Gustave XV - Marie and Kelvin's grandson, thus Gustave XIII's great-nephew.
Spider-Sense: Wil Knights is pretty good at guessing when something might go wrong. Twice, when he worked in a mine, he had an ominous feeling and guessed accurately that something wrong was going to happen (even lampshaded by a NPC, who said "Again ?!" during the second occasion). Also, Wil and all his descendants are able to feel the presence of the Egg.
Stuck Items: Gustave's sword is unequippable. Same thing for both weapon slots of Gustaf, which prevents him to use any other weapons other than swords (which makes his spear affinity completly useless...).
Succession Crisis: Three of them. The first occurs when Gustave XII dies, and Gustave XIII returns to Finney to overthrow his younger brother and claim the throne. The second happens when Gustave dies without an heir, leading to a period of global warfare. The third happens when Cantal dies; this one isn't a crisis because there's no heir, but because there's too many heirs, and the division of Otto wrecks the kingdom.
Supporting Leader: Gustave to Wil, though he's the hero of his own story as well. David, Count of Jade, to Ginny.
Taking You with Me: Rich again. Johan also tries to take as many monsters with him as possible as he is slowly dying from poison.
Tangled Family Tree: You need the artbooks to get the full picture of the Finney and Jade royal houses. Philippe of Jade is not Leslie's son, either by Kelvin or Gustave. He's actually the son of Kelvin and Marie, making him the heir to Finney as Gustave's nephew. Cantal of Otto also qualifies, having over eighty children by various wives and mistresses.
Tech Tree: The more awesome skills (and magic) are learned from other skills or a combination of abilities during one-on-one combat. You can also occasionally spark / learn new skills during regular combat, but you have to be pretty lucky. And then you have the Hybrid Arts...
Two Lines, No Waiting: Gustave's story and Wil's story are mostly separate, though Wil later receives backing from the senior advisers of the Gustave faction to go after the Egg. Gustave himself also takes the field alongside Wil's allies at one point.
Unwinnable by Mistake: Players can end up so unprepared in the final dungeon that they risk to not be able to defeat the final boss at all (and that's assuming they are able to defeat the Anima Lords before him), since once you begin the scenarii leading to the final dungeon, you can't go back to the world map, preventing you to access shops, inns, and opportunities to level-up. Indeed, leveling-up inside the final dungeon can be almost impossible if your characters are too weak, since some monsters can one-shot your characters with ease (even with good equipment), and others can take a long time to kill. In fact, it's highly recommanded to only fight the bosses, since fighting normal monsters sap your party's strenghts (you need a fully healed party in order to face some bosses without too much risks), and some of their attacks can diminish your Life Points (which are different from Health Points), a ressource which you can't restore in the final dungeon: using 1 Life Point restore all of your character's Health Points, but if said character reaches 0 Life Points, he will be considered dead, which mean he can't be resurrected, and if your main character happens to reach 0 Life Points, it's Game Over (please note that your main character has the lowest amount of Life Points of your whole party). So, unless you have a save allowing you to go back and train your party before heading out to the final dungeon, you will have no choice but to restart the entire game.
Warrior Prince: Gustave XIII, Charles of Jade, Philippe III, and Gustaf.
Weak, but Skilled: Gustave XIII, sort of. He can't use Anima, so instead he masters the use of steel weapons. Subverted in that, really, a Steel Soldier is usually far stronger than an Anima user, particularly when using Weapon Arts.
Won the War, Lost the Peace: Kelvin manages to outlast Cantal and claim Hahn Nova for himself, but two years after his victory, his alliance crumbles and the world descends into complete anarchy anyway.
You Shall Not Pass: The hardest battle in the game is surviving for eight turns against steel troops with an army full of Red Shirts. (In Wil's scenario, you find out that Gustaf eventually showed up to reinforce your side, but you never get to use him as a unit in that particular battle.)
Inverted: One of the early boss battles in Wil's scenarios is a group of slimes attempting to stop him from charging into the breach where they're infiltrating a mine (the battle ends instantly if you can get a party member past them).
Also, Johan the Assassin's last stand. He plants himself in front of the room Gustave is in and singlehandedly holds off an entire army, racking up a kill count in the hundreds before succumbing to the deadly poison he was infected with.