Video Game: Sands of Destruction

Clockwise from top left: Rhi'a, Morte, Naja, Toppy, Kyrie, Agan.

Sands of Destruction is a Nintendo DS game developed by Imageepoch and published by Sega. It was released in Japan in 2008 as World Destruction: Michibi Kareshi Ishi, with a North American release in January 12th, 2010. It was also adapted into an anime, Sands of Destruction, which aired in 2008 and similarly had a North American release in early 2010.

The setting is a fictional world, where animals and human-animal hybrids reign supreme, and humans are considered second-class citizens.

Meet the World Annihilation Front (World Destruction Committee in Japan and in Funimation's subtitled version). A human member of the Front is the main 'heroine', Morte Asherah, who has a nasty attitude, a massive sword and a goal of (what else) to destroy the world with the powers of something known as the "Destruct". Along the way, she picks up Kyrie Illunis, a mild-mannered human with the power to destroy the world, but has no desire to do so, and Taupy Toplan, a small bear creature on the scale of a teddy. (Just don't call him "bear.") Kyrie and Taupy, unlike Morte, have no desire to destroy the world, but they are guilty by association and hunted as part of the collective "World Annihilation Front."

The World Salvation Committee consists of one highly intellectual (but not necessarily intelligent) wolfman with an intense sense of honor and one dragon girl who is prone to spouting wings, horns, and a nasty-looking tail when she becomes enraged. Finally there is the guy in an awesome green longcoat.

This series has a Character Sheet right here. Read at your own risk for spoilers for those who haven't watch the anime, read the manga or played the game.(Now has its own Abridged Series! Brought to you by The World Parody Committee.)

Sands of Destruction provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Lacertus Rex.
  • Alternate Timeline: As Kyrie began researching the Destruct Code's history, he noted how it extends to the beginning of creation, when the gods were given a choice: either to allow humans to rule over beasts, or vice versa. The gods for that world gave that power to beasts, which gives an interesting perspective flip when you think about it.
  • And I Must Scream: possibly the people turned into sand
  • Ambition Is Evil: Subverted. Despite Pictis Rex's motive to hold the peace talks, he was actually very reasonable, and he would have helped end the conflicts between Beastmen and humans peacefully. Unfortunately, someone else had other ideas...
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: A weird case where the hardcore was too much for the demographic. If they kept the hardcore, it would have kept the general theme of the game. Why they didn't keep the hardcore for the American release is anyone's guess. See Executive Meddling for details.
  • Anyone Can Die: Up to and including Kyrie, but he revives.
  • Arc Words: Acta est fabula
  • The Ark: The very last setting houses the DNA of all creatures and plant life. It was stored so that in the event of the world being destroyed or suffering some other cataclysmal event, it could be recreated again.
  • Art Shift: The anime can get weird in some episodes, such as when Morte decides to throw Toppy at the warden in the third episode, it's shown in extremely minimalistic line art.
  • Ax-Crazy: The first lines out of Morte's mouth are about killing people and blowing up the naturally, the protagonist finds this really hot. Of course, Kyrie actually has a reason for agreeing with her, even if he doesn't know it.
    • It's even worse in the manga. In the game, she's never shown touching an innocent, and it can be inferred that all of the rumors about her are just Beastmen propaganda. In the manga, she blows up an entire city without batting an eye. This is enough to drive Kyrie away.
  • Badass Adorable: Taupy. He can (and will, if the price is right) kick your ass up and down the street with his bear hands, but just try resisting the urge to hug him.
  • Badass Longcoat: Agan WISHES he was one of these. Well, at least he's got a Nice Hat.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Subverted. Taupy is one of the strongest characters... Which, really, just means that the trope applies to your opponents.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Sure, some of the beastlords (Keyword some. Felis and Ursa Rex are all nice. Elephas Rex is also shown not to be that crazy, Pistris Rex just wants a better spot on the council) are downright evil, but the party is trying to destroy the world. They even wind up fighting God. Granted, said god is trying to get Kyrie to destroy the world, while Kyrie just wants to make a new one, but still.
  • Blessed with Suck: Kyrie has the power to turn everything (yes, everything) in a large area into sand.
  • Blood Knight: Morte is the only member of the Front who seems to enjoy fighting.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Kyrie and Morte, of sorts, when he first meets her in the Sky Gaol. She doesn't feel the same way he does for her at first... until he dies. Then he got better. In the ending, when they remake the world into a better place, the two share a kiss, and recite the words that creates the new world. The last scene shows the two of them side-by-side looking out at the blue ocean, with the delightful heart emotes over both their heads.
  • Catch Phrase: These are an actual gameplay feature. As you progress through the game, each playable character gains "Quips", which they can equip up to four of at a time. When a Quip is triggered (by things like taking damage, killing an enemy, or even just starting a battle), they provide a bonus of some sort to your characters.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Rhi'a, at times.
  • Covers Always Lie: The American box art makes it seem like Kyrie is the one out to destroy the world and Morte is some sort of pensive Macguffin Girl or Apocalypse Maiden. The reality is quite the opposite.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: The World Annihilation Front members are actually pretty affable folks for the most part, and apart from a few alarmists, most of the folks they encounter along the way don't have any problem with helping them even knowing who they are.
  • Death World: The game goes to great lengths to show just how fucked up everything is, and why the World Annihilation Front feels so justified in their goals.
  • Deus ex Machina When exactly did Kyrie get that Super Mode? It's implied that Crimson Sun merged with him when he was resurrected but isn't said outright and it only when a player goes to customize his moves or enters battle to an awesome new battle theme.
    • He got it when you resurrected him and he accepted his identity as the Destruct. Notice that in his profile, his race changes from 'Human' to 'Destruct' to reflect this.
    • Also quite literal with The Creator, which appears to be a machine.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Porcus Rex attempts to eat a child just because he ran into him.
  • Doomed Hometown: A variation of it happened to Barni, Kyrie's home village. The awakening of his Destruct power turned almost everything, including people, to sand.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: See all that stuff in Angst? What Angst?? Don't let it happen to you, or you might wipe all your friends off the map.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The four Primals.
  • Evil Plan: Lacertus Rex has one going. He runs the World Annihilation Front so he can gain power over the Destruct and become the creator of a new world.
  • Facial Composite Failure: The bounty posters of your group are naturally exaggerated caricatures, and seemingly can't even decide on what they want to caricature.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ridiculously straight with ferals to humans. Unfortunately, it's the kind of Narmy, cartoon-characterish racism instead of something a little more subtle. Probably a definite sign that the game you're playing wasn't intended for adults.
    • Exceptions going to Rana Rex right? Working children to death then using them as fertilizer is not cool.
    • And even though it's Morte's primary motivation for wanting to destroy the world, for every city where humans are openly bullied, it seems like there's another where they live more or less as equals. Morte's hometown even has a human chief with a laid-back feral population.
      • In the anime, at least. In the game, Morte just seems to want to destroy the world for the sake of it. The crappiness of it is just her best argument.
  • Fastball Special: Taupy's special finishing move was summoning Muffy, being picked up, spin for momentum and thrown at the enemies.
  • Flat Character: There's a reason she's called Morte. Lampshaded near the end. All the other characters are forced to undergo a flashback which tells their reason to go against the world, and she complains that nothing is happening to her.
  • Firing One-Handed: Rhi'a in the opening movie.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Serpens Rex. She pops up in the middle of the desert sandsea, traps you in a literal Mirror Universe, scatters the party, then hypnotizes Morte into fighting you.
  • A God Am I: Lacertus Rex tries to pull this off.
  • Going Through the Motions: Every time a character speaks, he/she display one gesture specific to him/herself, such as Agan fixing his hat or Rhi'a rocking back and forth on her heels. Every. Single. Time.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Morte kills Rajiv, the camera follows the rest of the party while they leave the room. It's implied that she took her time.
    • Semi-averted when Naja kills Kyrie. We see the silhouette, but Naja's claw is quite clearly going through Kyrie's chest.
  • Gratuitous Latin: It's everywhere in this game. The Arc Words are Latin for "the play is over." Nearly all of the Beastlords' titles combine the Latin words for their species followed by Rex (King). Even the last boss spouts several lines in Latin before finally dying.
  • The Gunslinger: Rhi'a.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Naja from the Salvation Committee. Despite being a reasonable person, some of his colleagues doesn't exactly refrain from showing their racism in regards to his parentage.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Naja. After he kills The Hero.
  • Honorable Elephant: Hospital administrator Elephas Rex refuses to turn away patients. It's because he's The Atoner.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Gender inverted by Taupy and Muffy.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In the original version, before the executives told the writers to tone it down, the beastmen didn't just rule over humans, they ate them.
  • Knife Nut: Kyrie
  • Larynx Dissonance: Taupy, as mentioned above, is an adorable teddy bear-like feral...with a gruff, badass voice.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Japanese boxart shows all the main characters lined up, facing the same direction as if they are a team, despite two of them being antagonistic. Naturally, Rhi'a and Naja make a Heel-Face Turn - or, given the Villain Protagonist nature of the game, perhaps that'd be a Face-Heel Turn.
  • Lethal Chef: Kyrie's special skills involve the use of food to attack. But also to heal.
  • Luck-Based Mission: What battles inevitably turn into, thanks to the combat system's method of giving you or your enemies another attack based on getting a critical hit. You can steamroll a boss in one playthrough, or just never get a turn in another.
  • Magikarp Power: Flurry attacks are rather weak (though accurate) at the beginning of the game when compared to blow attacks (more damage and less accurate, but this can easily be compensated for). However, once you reach lvl 20 (which isn't very far into the game, even without grinding, which is also fairly easy to do) you get the option of further improving all your attacks, giving them certain bonuses when doing so. Blow attacks can get some decent powerups from this, but flurry attacks get the option to chain which is more or less a Game Breaker.
  • Meaningful Name: Kyrie means 'Lord' in Greek, Morte means 'Death' in many Latin-derived languages.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: Muffy knew all along.
  • Mirror Universe: Literally, in the case of Serpens Rex's crazy mirror dimension.
  • Mood Whiplash: On paper, the story looks like pretty serious stuff, and the original draft by writer Masato Kato was apparently even darker and more violent. As it turns out, the higher-ups insisted on marketing the game to a younger demographic, and so they settled on the worst solution possible: keep the same basic story points, but pack each and every scene with lame, anime-cliche humor and have the game's position on the Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness go haywire.
  • More Dakka: Rhi'a if you chain her Flurry attacks, and Agan's Special Attack.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Morte Asherah, in account that "Morte" is the Portuguese word for "Death". Her nicknames "Scarlet Plague", "Beastslayer", and "Lady Death" also count. Kyrie ends up nicknamed "Destruct", but anyone who meets him immediately decides that it doesn't suit him at all.
  • Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: Taupy is a teddybear-sized bear with a gruff voice, a bandanna and an eyepatch who fights enemies with martial arts.
  • One-Winged Angel: All the beastlords pull this (the ones you fight, anyway).
    • The Creator does this after you defeat her human form.
  • Person of Mass Destruction
  • Petting Zoo People: Subverted in that most ferals look human. Played straight with the beastlords, as well as Crimson Sun (who is technically the embodiment of Light/Fire, but come on, he's a giant lion-man.)
    • However, it's implied that they do have a transformation form. (not just the beastlords, mind you)
  • Random Encounters
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As far as Beastlords go, Ursa Rex was evidently a fair and just ruler, who had no problem with humans.
  • Red-Headed Hero: This is Kyrie's battle form after he is resurrected.
  • The Savage South: Summer Continent appears to be an expy of Africa, complete with deserts and savannah. The biggest sign of civilization is the complex operated by Elephas Rex, and travelers who fail to take precautions usually collapse from heat exhaustion before they reach it.
  • Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness: The beastlords. We have Elephas Rex on one end, who will treat any and all patients who come to him, including Morte, down through Felis Rex, who is a nice guy, but still blackmails you into running errands for him, to Noctua Rex, who traps you in your memories and tries to kill you, but is trying to save the world, to the Jerkass Aqulia Rex down to Porcus Rex and Rana Rex, who eat random humans and use humans for fertilizer, respectively, and finally we have Lacertus Rex, who wants to use all of humanity as raw material for a new world where he is God.
  • Screw Destiny: Kyrie does not want to destroy the world. Just remake it into a better one.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Xenogears. Shares numerous staff members and some story and gameplay elements in common.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Intentionally invoked to make the game resemble Xenogears, as it was developed by the same people.
  • Standard Status Effects: Namely, Poison and Paralyze (Stun).
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Any healing points found inside the dungeon, after the party has traveled deep enough. Suspicious enough, due to the game allowing you to save anywhere.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kyrie, after being resurrected, in combat anyways. He's still a whiny bitch otherwise.
  • Transformation Sequence: All the beastlords before battle, as well as Rajiv's, Naja's, and Rhi'a's Special Attacks. And Kyrie at the start of each fight, after his awakening as the Destruct.
  • Verbal Tic: Taupy puts "bear-o" at the end of his sentences in the anime. When asked by Kyrie and Morte to stop, he says that he can't do it because it's an important part of his tribe's culture.
    • In the FUNimation English dub of the anime "Toppy" (as they spelled it in the credits) ends nearly all of his sentences with "kuma" which is the Japanese for "bear." At one point in the anime, you meet a friend of his (also a dwarf-bear) who ends all of his sentences with simply "bear."
  • Visual Initiative Queue
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Morte, a member of the World Annihilation Front, intends to "destroy this meaningless world."
  • Whip It Good: Agan
  • Wide Eyed Extremist: Kyrie would fit it the most since.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Looking closely at the events that lead to Kyrie's joining the Front, which began with the Front leader announcing this to the world, when Lacertus Rex reveals himself as the one in charge of the World Destruction Front, having done so jus to get his followers to bring him the Destruct and to use its power for the sake of creating a new world in his image, iyou realize that even if Morte hadn't managed to bust Kyrie out of Beastmen custody, he would have been ''more'' than capable of getting to Kyrie himself.

Alternative Title(s):

Sands Of Destruction