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Video Game: Sen No Kiseki
The latest arc in Falcom's long-running Legend of Heroes series of Eastern RPGs, Sen no Kiseki and its sequel Sen no Kiseki II are a game-changer for two reasons: the story moves to the Empire of Erebonia, whose conflicts have simmered in the background since Trails In The Sky, and the game itself is in 3D for the first time ever. The game stars Rean Schwarzer, a new student at the Thors Military Academy in the small college town of Trista, who finds himself placed into a special group, Class VII. There, he faces not only classes and tests but a student body fractured by the political divisions in Erebonia, a willful teacher with an unorthodox approach to education, and his own insecurity. And in the background, the rumor of war...

Sen no Kiseki is the 3rd arc in the series begun by Trails In The Sky and takes place in roughly the same timeframe as Zero No Kiseki and its sequel, Ao no Kiseki.

As the third arc in a series with a continuous narrative, expect spoilers for previous games

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The Thors student council, or rather Student Council President Towa, takes on many duties that should really be done by the teachers themselves.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Heimdallr is riddled with underground waterways dating back to the Middle Ages, including secret passages allowing one to cross between districts and occasionally pop up in unexpected locations.
  • Ace Custom: Scarlet and Vulcan pilot Spiegels, which are customized versions of the basic Draken, as do the currently nameless former Zephyrs. Scarlet uses a large sword, one Zephyr uses a lance and Vulcan and the remaining Zephyr use twin hammers
  • Action Girl: More or less the entire female cast, given how they're students or instructors at a military academy. The most standout examples are Laura, Fie, Angelica and Sara.
  • Academy of Adventure: Thors Military Academy is designed to educate the future leaders of the Imperial Army. The Headmaster is ex-military, at least one instructor is on detached duty, classes include all the standard subjects you'd expect of a high school plus combat skills and the use of Tactical Orbments, Class VII goes on Empire-wide field drips and one of the buildings on campus is constructed over ruins from the Middle Ages and is unsurprisingly haunted. It's also an Eldritch Location and the final dungeon
  • Adults Are Useless: Completely subverted, as Sara is ridiculously powerful, Neithardt is quite impressive for what we see and the entire faculty has no hesitation about engaging a squad of Panzersoldat on foot. Oh, and the Train Police put on a good showing every time they appear and most of the cast has a parent or elder sibling who is a highly effective leader of some kind or another. Class VII gets a lot done, but not because the adults couldn't handle things if they needed to. They are however deliberately giving Class VII space, as part of their training.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Sara likes doing this to Fie, who puts up with it but tells Sara how annoying she finds it. Laura's father also does this to her when they see each other again for the first time in months. Laura is more embarrassed that the gesture is seen by her classmates than by the gesture itself. Rean also does it to Alisa at one point, who doesn't comment on it until she's leaving the room, at which point she gives Rean a Significant Look.
  • Aggressive Categorism: Machias and Jusis both display this at first, unable to see past their anti-Noble and anti-Commoner prejudices respectively. To be fair, in Erebonia this isn't an uncommon attitude and both have reasons for holding it. Some clever maneuvering by Sara and time spent with Rean (who straddles the line between the classes) and the other members of Class VII helps them get over it.
  • All Myths Are True: The 'Myths and Legends of Erebonia' books you can find in Thors' library exist to hang a lampshade on this trope. When you see the final volume, it will mention several legends that the player knows to be true because they've recently fought and killed (for a given value of killed) those legends. Other myths the books mention serve as foreshadowing, playing the trope straight to one degree or another.
  • Always in Class One: A very obvious aversion, the protagonists were all specially placed in Class VII, which leaves a missing number between them and all the other classes. Class I and II are for the Nobles, III through V are for the Commoners. The lack of a Class VI just underscores how different the protagonists are meant to be. It also serves as a nice nod to the Arc Number for the franchise.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: If Alisa is the person whose dance event you saw, she'll start to give Rean one of these right before the ending.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Sen allows you to purchase missing volumes of Rose of the Red Moon from Micht's shop so if you missed finding an issue you can pay to make it up later and still get a Zemurian Stone at the end of the game. The Zemurian Stone Fragments also return from Ao, allowing you to get up to three ultimate weapons in your first playthrough and an infinite number once you're in New Game+, provided you're fine with lots of U-Material grinding.
  • Anti-Villain: If the story had started several years earlier and focused on Crow, the audience might well have been cheering for him and not Rean. Well, most of the time. He's fighting against The Empire for the freedom of his homeland, one of his subordinates also lost a home to Osborne's expansionist plans and one lost everything. He's also genuinely concerned for his subordinates and at one point or another comes to the rescue of all of them, even though doing so sometimes risks his cover. His friendship with Class VII is also genuine enough that his ARCUS resonates with the others before entering the Old Building for the final time. Yet he's still the Big Bad of Sen
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: When Orbal technology allows you to turn one arrow into a Spam Attack Wave Motion Gun, you would use a bow too.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The rallying cry of Osborne's reformist movement. He's not entirely wrong either.
  • Art Shift: The move to 3D allows for more dynamic cinematography than was possible with the sprites used in previous games.
  • Author Avatar: Sen reveals that Micht is the author of the Carnelia books so he wrote himself into his own story (translated as Matthias in XSEED's localization). This might explain why his character (and 'Carnelia') both die over the course of the story
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Don't underestimate the Thors school faculty. Or the top brass of the military. Or the best Bracers... Basically, if someone has a rank in this game, it's quite likely they earned it.
  • Badass Teacher: Thors is a military academy and most of the faculty are current or ex-military. It comes with the territory.
  • Bash Brothers: Laura and Fie become this after sorting through their differences.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Crow gets these sometimes. Also, Machias and Eliot whenever they meet Vita Clotilde and try not to act like the fanboys they are. Miriam also gets them on occasion.
  • Blade on a Stick: Gaius' spear is a conventional example while Vandyck's zanbatou is a BFS on a stick. But Ordine takes the cake with a double-ended glaive-on-a-stick that's probably ten meters long.
  • Boarding School: The students live just off campus in three dormitories. The Nobles get a big fancy one with servants, the Commoners get a rather less fancy one and Class VII has the least fancy of them all, at least at first.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Sen ends with Celine forcing Valimar to retreat against Rean's wishes, rather than continue a hopeless fight against a fully-powered God Knight and a pilot who knows how to use it. The remainder of Class VII engages Ordine from on foot to buy Rean time, despite having no hope of winning. Ordine draws its weapon back to strike and then the game ends...
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Radiant Medal is the reward in Sen for maxing out your Academic Rank and it's fittingly the best accessory in the game, giving big stat boosts and complete immunity to status conditions, status downs and AT Delay. It's also only possible to earn the necessary Rank after the final dungeon so it's literally only useful if you plan to play New Game Plus with item carryover but not level carryover.
  • Class Representative: Emma and Machias.
  • Call Back: Legram is full of references to the Eisenritter, a legendary group of warriors from 250 years ago. There is a prominent statue of Lianne Sandlot and some of her followers and her ghost is said to haunt Lohengrin Castle. Since Lianne is alive and well and going by the new name of Arianrhod fans ears perked up as soon as this was revealed. The game did not disappoint
    • The game also features a few purely musical examples. When watching maneuvers at Garelia Fortress, Steel Roar -Verge of Death- plays, a sidequest in Heimdallr requires the player to find a record of Amber Amour and Emma's solo in the concert is the ending theme 'I Swear' from SC.
  • The Cameo: Pikkard and Noi dolls are on sale in Celdic. A smaller PenPen doll can also be seen in Miriam's room, doubling as a callback to both Ao no Kiseki and Zwei II. And that's just the out-of-universe examples. Sen also features an inordinate amount of references to the Gagharv Trilogy, giving more fuel to the theory that the two series might occupy the same world
  • Chekhov's Classroom: The subjects everyone is cramming for at the beginning of Chapter 3 just happen to be the subjects you're going to be asked about during the interactive portion of the Midterm Exam. You can't see all of the events without Save Scumming but doing so will help you get a better overall score.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Literally, as the identity of the sniper who shot down the Imperial Liberation Front's ship is a major reveal during the Wham Episode at the end of the game. It's Crow, who also turns out to be the person who shot Osborne, as previously foreshadowed in Ao.
  • Civil War: What Olivier and his third way faction are trying to prevent.
  • Class Trip: What separates Class VII from the rest of the school: every month, they're sent on an educational trip to a different area of the Empire.
  • Cliff Hanger: The first game's ending, which arguably surpasses Trails in the Sky FC's.
  • Company Town: The Reinford Group owns a lot of the property in Roer as well as the largest stores. Since the town is technically also the seat of the Rogner family, they don't completely control the town but it's very obvious that Reinford dominates the landscape.
  • Continuity Nod: As with every other game in the series, these are all over the place, starting from the opening sequence making a nod to concurrent events in Ao plus a Call Forward to events that will happen shortly afterwards. The calendar system makes it very easy to date events in the previous arc since there are nods to just about every major incident.
    • When entering the Reinford Building, the camera lingers on models of the Lusitania from The 3rd and a limosine of the same model used by Dieter in Zero.
  • Cool Airship: Olivier managed to convince the ZCF and the Epstein Foundation to help him build a second Arseille, which he then customized extensively. Dubbed the Courageous, it isn't as fast as the original model but it's larger, more heavily armed and armored and is still faster than anything else Erebonia has. It's Class VII's transport, eventually.
    • Also, the Penthagruel, which is the flagship of the Noble Faction. It's built on the exact same scale of the Glorious and has similar stylings...
  • Cool Old Guy: Headmaster Vandyck (two meters tall, wields a BFS) and Claus (not even winded from fighting at four to one odds and able to diagnose problems with Rean's swordsmanship while doing it). Alisa's grandfather is also pretty cool, though not in a Badass way.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: At Thors, the Common-born students wear green uniforms and the Nobles wear white uniforms. Class VII has students from both groups and they all wear red uniforms.
  • Concert Climax: The climax actually occurs in between final preparations for a concert (the one Class VII is putting on) and the concert itself. Of course, this being Sen, it manages a Double Subversion. The subversion: The Concert technically follows the Climax. The subversion of the subversion: There's another hour of game left and the real climax is at Osborne's public address a week later.
  • Continuity Nod: All over the place; the game runs in parallel to Zero and Ao and Falcom took every opportunity to let players know what happens concurrently, such as having an NPC mention that he just came from Crossbell's Founding Day celebration, another discussing how construction on the tallest building in western Zemuria is nearing completion and so on. And of course, Thomas mentioning alchemy in connection with Crossbell's past, everything to do with Red Constellation, the end of Chapter 5, the Final Chapter...
  • Crapsack World: Erebonia has been presented as something like this since the first game. As with Crossbell, it's not as bad as it was made out to be (in both cases, our prior exposure has been through parties with reasons to accentuate the negative) but it's definitely a country with massive problems. For example, a feudal power structure which is only slowly granting more power to the Commoners... and the person behind those changes is Osborne. Tensions between classes have been simmering for years and are just waiting for a spark to turn things into a very nasty civil war. Lingering disputes with Calvard over the disposition of Crossbell, resentment from recently annexed countries and a new terrorist movement are only making things worse. To cap things off Ouroboros isn't just working behind the scenes, they're supporting both sides
  • Cross Over: The game's focus remains on Rean and his friends, but references are made to the Liberl and Crossbell games, and some characters from previous arcs in the series make cameo appearances.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The fights against Sara and Victor will end with your character(s) defeated, at best you might annoy them slightly. Of course, one is your combat instructor and the other is the best swordsman in the Empire so the result was something of a foregone conclusion. The fight against <C> in Heimdallr's catacombs will end after a few turns, though if it continued it would have become this.
    • Turned around at Legram when you have a match against the students, who don't even get the dignity of an actual battle before they're shown to be defeated by Class VII.
    • The Panzersoldats utterly and completely wreck the First Armored Division (the Imperial Guards no less), destroying even the most advanced of tanks with a single blow each.
    • Crow inflicts one of these on Rean while both are operating their respective God Knights, with Crow pointing out that he's had three years to learn how to pilot his machine while Rean has only had a few minutes.
  • Custom Uniform: As noted, Class VII gets red uniforms that set them apart from the other students.
    • Nonuniform Uniform: Each student in Class VII also slightly customizes their uniform over and above the color difference.
    • Angelica also has a custom uniform in the sense that she doesn't actually wear one, instead going around in her biking suit. Nobody really complains because she's the daughter of one of the most powerful families in Erebonia.
  • Darth Vader Clone: <C>, the leader of the Imperial Liberation Front.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Done twice. Miriam first becomes playable after you defeat her in a fight and in the previous school year, Angelica essentially punched Crow into becoming her friend.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Your friendly upperclassman and honorary Class VII member Crow is <C>, the terrorist leader responsible for most of the events of Sen. The popular radio idol Misty and the glamorous opera singer Vita are the same person and she's the mastermind who is pulling Crow's strings.
  • Door of Doom: The enormous door found at the beginning of the fourth level of the old school building, with a strange red design engraved on it and no obvious means of opening it. It contains a 'test' in the form of an enormous suit of Animated Armor with a really big sword. There's an even bigger and doomier door on the hidden seventh level and a still-bigger door beyond that which serves as the final trial, before it opens up to reveal Valimar
    • Another identical door is found in Lohengrin Castle. It's implied there are more still.
  • Dracolich: Zolo Agruga, important enough to make it into the opening movie and game trailers.
  • Driven to Suicide: A suicide in the past is responsible for Machias' hatred of Nobles and his father starting to work for Osborne.
  • Elaborate University High: Thors Military Academy. The elaborate angle probably can be explained by the fact that Zemuria doesn't really have higher education so Thors and similar schools are as advanced as it gets.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Loa Erebonius, the Ashen Power. It's an enormous, misshapen but vaguely humanoid clawed and winged monstrosity with parts of its body flickering in and out of existence. It's also described as being only a fragment of a greater power.
  • Eldritch Location: The ruins beneath the old school building change form as you progress through them. Quite a lot of the decorative elements seen in the ruins resemble designs from Phantasma. The entire structure appears to have been created to test anyone who would seek to awaken Valimar and there is an Eldritch Abomination lurking in the lowest level.
  • Elemental Powers: Because of the way Orbments work, all characters have two Slots restricted to one of the seven types of Quartz (and for the first time, a Slot restricted to a second element), giving them a natural inclination towards one element or another. Despite this, actual specialization is still largely a matter of player choice.
    • Earth Element: Machias (Primary) and Gaius and Miriam (Secondary)
    • Water Element: Laura (Primary) and Eliot and Crow (Secondary)
    • Fire Element: Alisa (Primary) and Rean, Laura, Emma and Sara (Secondary)
    • Wind Element: Gaius, Fie and Sara (Primary) and Jusis (Secondary)
    • Time Element: Rean and Crow (Primary) and Fie and Angelica (Secondary)
    • Space Element: Eliot, Jusis and Angelica (Primary) and Alisa (Secondary)
    • Mirage Element: Emma and Miriam (Primary) and Machias (Secondary)
  • Enemy Mine: Sharon is Legion IX of Ouroboros. She teams up with the faculty to fight off the Panzersoldats sent by the Noble Faction, even though her organization is behind the Nobles and their ultimate goals coincide right now... because even if she is a Legion, she's also Alisa's maid and wants to keep her safe. Whether this cooperation will last once all the stops are pulled out on Phantom Blaze is another matter...
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: The Prologue of Sen (after the flash-forward) is all about how the members of Class VII arrive at Thors on the first day of school and meet one another. This being Thors, their meeting involves literally being dropped into a dungeon and having to cooperate to make it out.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Alfin is adorable, beloved by all, and quite mischievous... as you would expect from that family.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Claire is thinking aloud about motives of the terrorists who attacked Reinford's factory, then suddenly realizes that the provincial soldiers haven't arrived, then has this reaction when she concludes that the incident at the factory must have been a distraction. Five seconds later, she's proven correct.
  • False Flag Operation: The Imperial Liberation Front pulls one of these by simultaneously attacking bases in Calvard and Erebonia in an attempt to start a war between the two powers while making it look like the other side was involved.
  • False Reassurance: During orientation, it becomes clear that Machias hates Nobles. When circumstances lead him to team up with Rean, Eliot and Gaius, he asks them if they're Commoners like himself. The latter two are. Not wanting to antagonize Machias, Rean claims that 'I'm like them, I don't have any fancy bloodline or anything like that'.This is technically true but conveniently avoids having to answer the actual question, which would require explaining that he is the adopted son of Baron Schwarzer of Ymir.
    • Machias doesn't notice the dodge but Eliot does, though he doesn't say anything about it. Rean at least feels bad about the lie and it does come back to bite him later.
  • Faking the Dead: You didn't really think the Imperial Liberation Front would be defeated that anti-climactically, did you? Of course not, but making everyone in-universe think that they were dead was all part of The Plan.
  • Fetch Quest: It wouldn't be a Kiseki game without lots of these, this time given to you as homework.
  • Fighting Your Friend: The once-a-month class tests start off as battles against robots but quickly turn into practice duels between members of Class VII.
  • Final Boss: Two in fact. Loa Erebonius is fought at the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and is effectively the last time you can use the regular combat system. However, after all is said and done the real final boss of Sen is Ordine, the Blue God Knight
  • Five-Bad Band
  • Foreign Exchange Student: Despite the purpose of the school being to train future officers, Thors accepts at least a few non-Erebonian students. Gaius is seen as one by most of the other students even though Nord is technically (a distant) part of the Empire. He sees himself as one too.
  • Full-Name Basis: Machias and Jusis tend to refer to each other by their full names until they start defrosting.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The new ARCUS model Tactical Orbment. It's an acronym for All-Round Communication and Unison System.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Ao no Kiseki ends with a timeskip and a description of events taking place in neighboring Erebonia. Sen starts months before that point. Thanks to what we saw in Ao we know that by the end of the game Garelia Fortress will be destroyed, war will be declared with Crossbell and the Empire will fall into a nasty civil war. Guess what happens?
    • Even extends to Sen II to an extent because Ao's ending also told us that Osborne's faction wins, even though Sen ends with the Noble Faction appearing to have an unbeatable upper hand..
  • Game Changer: Acknowledged in universe is the introduction of the Panzersoldat which is capable of curb stomping Erebonia's most advanced tanks, the backbone of the Imperial Army.
    • For a meta example, Falcom's president stated in a Dengeki interview shortly after Sen was released that the sequel would be one of these for the franchise.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: As usual, avoided as much as possible. At one point, Machias and Jusis' and later Laura and Fie's inability to get along even leads to the Tactical Link system breaking.
  • Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: Emma and Vita
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Emma and Machias both subvert this, particularly Emma who won a scholarship to Thors by acing a national exam, despite not having the advantages the Nobles get (access to extra tutoring, more leisure time and so on) and she manages to be the top performer on the Midterm Exam. Machias, who is equally dedicated but for different reasons, scores second.
  • Hate at First Sight: Given Erebonia's extremely strong class differences, it was practically inevitable that this should happen to Machias and Jusis when they met. One is the son of a champion of the faction that wants to overturn the current Noble-led political order, the other is a son of one of the Four Families and brother of the champion of the faction trying to maintain the status-quo.
  • Haunted Castle: Lohengrin Castle is popularly believed to be haunted by the ghost of Lianne Sandlot, who died under mysterious circumstances shortly after the end of the Lion War. When Class VII visits it, it is indeed apparently haunted by ghosts and animated suits of armor and weaponry. Not by Lianne though, which would have been difficult since she's not actually dead.
  • Hero of Another Story: Everyone assigned to Group B for the Field Exams gets to be the hero of a story the player only hears about after the fact. They always seem to get sent to locations the player has heard about in previous games (Palm and Saint Arc) or which are probably going to be important later (Brionia Island),
  • Hidden Depths: He doesn't get much of a chance to show them off in Sen but Patrick clearly does have some redeeming qualities buried beneath his jerkassery.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Micht's shop is the same one described in the Carnelia novels, just located in Trista instead of Heimdallr. Disguised as a curio shop, it's really a front for his business of selling information to Bracers and the like.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: You can't beat Sara in Chapter 2, you can't beat <C> in Chapter 4 and you definitely can't beat Victor in Chapter 5. Then, because the game wouldn't be complete without one more you can't beat Scarlet's Spiegel while on foot. All of these are justified by the plot.
  • Humongous Mecha: A series tradition. There are returning Overmuppets like the export-model Tri-Attacker and enhanced versions of previous machines such as the Zephyranthes (a refined Liore Gun-EZ). Then you have two new types of machines. The centerpiece of the games are the God Knights, machines from Erebonia's distant past. Rean is chosen as the Raiser of Valimar the Ash God Knight at the end of Sen while Crow is the Raiser of Ordine the Blue God Knight. There are also the Panzersoldat manufactured by Reinford's Fifth Division, with help from Ouroboros, which are implied to be based on the God Knights, using Ordine as a model
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Linde and Vivi are virtually indistinguishable aside from the fact that they have different hairstyles. The two occasionally adopt the same style in order to mess with people, like when Vivi takes advantage of this to pull a prank on Rean.
  • Idiot Ball: Emma doesn't realize she's holding it until the very end of the game but... if she had just listened to Abend Time once in the six months she was at Thors, she would have possessed absolutely vital information. The fact that she never saw Misty in that same period can be explained by the woman avoiding the one person who could identify her but never once listening to the radio program that everyone is talking about?
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Rean challenges Crow with the explicit intention of making him come back to Class VII. It doesn't work.
  • In Medias Res: Sen begins on 8/31/1204 as Class VII, Sara and Neithardt fight terrorists attacking Garelia Fortress. The next five Chapters are spent explaining how they got there.
  • The Inner Reveal: Lots of them (and extra lots if you include things the audience didn't explicitly know but could guess with high accuracy based on past games), including Alisa revealing what the 'R' in her last name is short for to the entire group and Emma revealing to Rean just how she's able to do some of the stunts she's performed over the course of the game. Some of these are limited to Bond Events while others occur during the normal plot.
  • Instant Expert: Played straight and then almost immediately subverted. While being chosen by a God Knight grants a Raiser the knowledge of how to operate one, that doesn't mean you'll know how to operate it well, as Crow points out that his three year head start gives him an overwhelming advantage over Rean (including the knowledge of how to use Ordine's Super Mode), just before he kicks Rean's ass.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: <C> drops his blade and appears to surrender after you fight him for the second time. Rean realizes very quickly that it's a ploy but <C> only needed that second's distraction to arrange his escape.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The regular Army and provincial forces tend to really resent it when the Train Police use their authority to intervene 'to ensure the safety of the transportation system'. Claire couldn't care less.
  • Knowledge Broker: Micht's real profession
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Class VII members get red uniforms while everyone else is divided by noble/commoner status into white and green respectively.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Played straight when Crow tosses Rean a sword so he can fight at his best, even asking him to bear with the fact that the Spiegel's sword isn't the equal of Rean's own sword but he doesn't have a Humongous Mecha sized katana available. Then subverted after Rean appears to win, when Crow activates Ordine's Super Mode, which Rean doesn't know how to activate on his own machine
  • Limited Wardrobe: The first game in the series to completely justify this is also the one to avert it. The members of Class VII obviously wear the same outfit because it's the uniform of Thors Military Academy. The leap to 3d also allowed Falcom to make alternate costumes so everyone has a few opportunities to change their clothes, moreso with DLC casual clothing.
  • Japanese School Club: It's a JRPG with a Military Academy setting so of course this is going to come up. Everyone in Class VII eventually joins one. Alisa (Lacrosse), Eliot (Music), Laura (Swimming), Machias (Chess), Jusis (Riding), Emma (Literature), Fie (Gardening) and Gaius (Art). Rean is volunteered into the 'help the Student Council President with her work' club, aka the Sidequest Club. Other clubs include Cooking, Fencing and Occult Studies. When Miriam joins Class VII, she technically joins the Cooking Club, though mostly so she can eat the food.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Count Caien is supporting the Imperial Liberation Front. In turn, Ouroboros is supporting everyone, as they've been aiding Osborne's Reformist Faction for some time and they're the real power behind the ILF. They also have at least one agent keeping an eye on both Class VII and the Reinford Group and they're providing resources and know-how to Reinford. The ultimate example would undoubtedly be Vita, who seems to be running this part of the Phantom Blaze Plan and who helped Crow obtain Ordine
  • Marathon Boss: Typically, each Chapter will end with one of these. Chapter 6 is particularly sadistic since you have to fight Vulcan and <C> back to back. Hope you saved some items and CP.
  • Meaningful Name: The Iron Breed are followers of the 'Prime Minister of Blood and Iron'.
  • Mega Corp.: The Reinford Group makes almost all of Erebonia's military hardware and almost all Orbment-related technology (like luxury limousines and passenger airliners), aside from goods made by Epstein or the ZCF and imported. The primary check on their power is the fact that the Sachsen Mines that provide the bulk of their raw material are owned by the royal family rather than the company or the local nobility.
    • Their Fifth Division is revealed in the Final Chapter to be a supporter of the Noble Faction and it's proxy the Imperial Liberation Front. By implication, it's also likely to be a satellite branch of Workshop Thirteen
  • Merchant City: Well, Merchant Town at any rate. Celdic is famous for its open-air market which attacts merchants from across Kreuzen Province and customers from across the Empire.
  • Military Academy: Thors is historically meant to train soldiers, but recently many graduates have worked in civilian fields instead.
  • Mind Screw: For anyone who played the Crossbell arc the appearance of Crow and Miriam at Garelia when they weren't there during the Cold Opening, since the last time something like this happened it was a sign that the Zeroth Treasure was involved. For that same reason, the bells at Lohengrin and Thors although Word of God says they're unrelated.
  • Minigame Zone: The Academy Festival during the final Chapter includes an equestrian obstacle course, a Blade tournament where you can challenge an otherwise unplayable opponent and whack-a-Michey.
  • Moment Killer: Patrick develops a fairly obvious crush on Elise. Rean seems to enjoy ruining any chance Patrick might get to act on that crush.
  • Multiple Endings: Well, sort of. There will be a special scene with whoever's dance event you saw, just before the end of the game. It doesn't affect the ending in any significant way but it's a nice touch.
  • Mysterious Backer: The Imperial Liberation Front is said to have one, which keeps it supplied with Mira and resources. It's heavily implied to be Count Caien of the Noble Faction, which is more or less confirmed in the epilogue but ultimately Ouroboros is behind them both, to the surprise of precisely nobody. The Overmuppets were a bit of a giveaway.
  • New Transfer Student: Wouldn't be a school story without one!
    • Specifically, two students transfer into Class VII over the course of the game. One is Crow, who is making up for missed work in his regular classes and the other is Miriam, who isn't actually eligible to attend Thors (she's too young) and only gets in because someone is pulling strings. Also, both of their stints in Class VII are meant to be temporary and both were well known to the player and characters before they appeared. All in all, it's almost a subversion of the usual trope.
  • Not So Different: Jusis and Rean, as quasi-outsiders in their own family, Jusis for being illegitimate and initially raised as a Commoner and Rean for being a Commoner adopted into a Noble family. On a similar note Jusis and Angelica, who both belong to one of the Four Families and call themselves the unworthy son/daugher of their respective fathers.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Actually, a scene that made an implied one of these from a previous game even more awesome, while still leaving it offscreen: The battle between the Jaeger King and the War God lasted three whole days.
  • Oh Crap: In-universe, the gate of Lohengrin Castle slamming shut behind the party and a strange barrier appearing, preventing them from leaving, just as they realize that the castle is well and truly haunted. Out of universe, everything about the castle reminds one of Phantasma in The 3rd and the barriers are virtually identical in both form and function. Also, the bell.
  • One Gender School: St. Astraea, a prestigious school for rich girls. Rean's younger sister Elise attends and is good friends with Alfin.
  • The Order: The Eisenritter, a group of knights from the Legram region who supported Prince Dreichels during the Lion War 250 years ago. The Arseid family are the descendants of one of the leaders of the group and watch over Lohengrin Castle, which was the headquarters of the order and the seat of Lianne Sandlot.
    • Also, while we don't know much in the way of details yet, the Witches seem to be a more covert order. Emma describes them as 'the opposite of the Church' and she clearly knows much more about what's going on than anybody else.
  • Parental Issues: A significant portion of the main cast has some form of family trouble or another. Of Class VII, the only student with a completely normal family life is Gaius. Rean is mostly happy but has some issues stemming from his adoption and all the other characters are missing at least one parent, have a poor relationship with a parent or a combination of both:
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Elise is a master of this, Alisa gets a few moments and every single time Olivier and Osborne are forced to interact with each other when other people are present, their conversations are riddled with this.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: At the start of the game, tensions between the aristocracy and the commoners are at an all-time high and Prime Minister Osborne is fanning the flames. Celdic features a lesser version of this, as people are unhappy about the new tax measures and people are just waiting for an excuse to snap.
  • The Power of Friendship: The ARCUS system weaponizes this through the Tactical Link feature.
  • Private Military Contractors: As with all the past games, you have regular mercenaries and you have Jaegers. For the first time, the series really shows the difference between the two by introducing members of the mercenary group Bugbear, who are not particularly impressive when compared to Jaegers we've seen. The two most prominent Jaeger groups in this game are The West Wind and The Red Constellation, continuing to develop the plot from The 3rd through Ao. Fie's adoptive father-figure was the head of the former group before his death.
  • Product Placement: An amusing in-universe example: As Alisa pokes around with the engine of a damaged vehicle, the logo of the Reinford Group is clearly visible on the side. This reinforces her dialogue during the scene (naturally Alisa Reinford knows a thing or two about Reinford-made products) and to foreshadow the next major plot development which is that the man staying at Lake Lacrima is her grandfather.
  • Quest Giver: Towa gives Rean all the non-hidden quests at Thors/in Trista as delegated Student Council work. Each Chapter also has one or two people filling this role while you're on field training.
  • R-Rated Opening: The game opens with Class VII attempting to stop a group of terrorists from capturing one of the Railway Cannons at Garelia Fortress and using it to start a war. The base is full of the corpses of the soldiers on duty by the time the party arrives and one character remarks on the scent of blood and gunpowder. Players of the previous games know that while Class VII will succeed here, the cannon they're trying to protect will ultimately be fired later and help start the very war they were trying to prevent.
  • Reality Ensues: Two very prominent examples at the end of the game: First, after Class VII manages to disable a Draken, Scarlet reminds them that she is in an armored machine many times their size and they are not, as her Spiegel effortlessly defeats the party, deflecting any attempt at damaging it in the process. Shortly afterwards, Rean piloting Valimar manages to disable Crow's Ordine... for about ten seconds, at which point Ordine stands up, transforms and Crow asks if a complete amateur like Rean really thought he could beat someone who had three years to learn how to operate a God Knight. Then he kicks Rean's ass.
  • Red Baron: A series tradition, continued here.
    • Lianne Sandlot: The Spear Saint aka Arianrhod
    • Dreichels Reise Arnor: The Lionheart Emperor
    • Yun Kafai the Sword Hermitnote 
    • Victor S Arseid: The Sword Artisan of Light
    • Red-haired Olaf Craig
    • One-Eyed Sechs Vandernote 
    • Professor Beatrix the Reviver.
    • Vita Clotilde/Misty: The Azure Abyss
    • Sara Valestin: Eclair
    • Miriam Orion: White Rabbit
    • Lechter Arundel: Scarecrow
    • Claire Liebert: Ice Maiden
    • Fie Claussell: The Fairie of the West Wind aka Sylphid
    • Sharon Kruger: The Liminalnote 
  • Red Herring: Lots of them, at least half of them aimed squarely at everyone who has played Zero/Ao and which would go over the heads of anyone who hasn't.
    • A big deal is made about Roer's Orbal Generator with lots of lingering shots and the main story concerns a terrorist organization... but nothing happens to the reactor at all and the real conflict happens elsewhere.
  • Relationship Values: You can choose to spend free time with party members and a few NPCs to gain their affection and trigger a special scene at the end of the game.
  • Rhythm Game: Swimming operates like this, with the player alternating the pressing of two buttons to make Rean swim faster, with the beats coming quicker as he speeds up.
  • Rich Bitch: Patrick Hyams is a male example. He's cut down to size by the even richer but slighly less bitchy Jusis. He does eventually display some redeeming qualities.
  • Running Gag: Rean being mistaken for Alisa's boyfriend by the people of Roer.
  • Scenery Porn: Nord Highlands are gorgeous and are treated as such in-universe as well.
  • School Swimsuit: There is a swimming club and associated minigame so these appear.
  • Sempai Kouhai: Class VII gets a lot of behind the scenes support and teasing from a group of second-year students, Towa and Crow in particular.
  • School Festival: Thors holds one every year. It's the setting for the final Chapter.
  • The Seven Mysteries: Being a school in a JRPG, of course Thors has them. Beryl asks you to investigate them for her. All have disappointingly mundane explanations, like the 'hole in the field containing a corpse' is just the place where students buried failing exams. Afterwards, Rean asks why she doesn't count the definitely mysterious Old Building as one of the seven mysteries. She implies that of course it's included... in the real seven mysteries of Thors...
  • Sequential Boss: Sen is in love with this trope and it happens at least once per Chapter.
  • Shadow Archetype: Patrick to Jusis. Both are privileged sons of the Four Families, are proud, are skilled with a sword and look down on Commoners. The difference is that one is a Jerkass with very few redeeming qualities and the other becomes a valued companion.
  • Ship Tease: Rean and Alisa get lots of moments of this. Chapter 6 also includes quite a bit of Rean/Towa teasing and some Laura/Fie teasing.
  • Shoot the Rope: Sara is unimpressed with Fie's cunning attempt to avoid the mandatory orientation.
  • Shout-Out: A trio of villains consisting of a short-haired male planner, a hulking man with a huge weapon and a stripperiffic female mage, Gideon, Vulcan and Scarlet or Guruda, Gadis and Bammy? For extra points, the Imperial Liberation Front's motto is written in Latin while Guruda and co were aligned with the Romun Empire.
    • The fake final boss in Sen is a massive one to the Gagharv Trilogy and one fans have been wondering whether Falcom would make ever since FC regarding whether there was a connection between Erebonia as the name of the Empire and Erebonius, the Spirit of Darkness in Cagesong's summon magic system
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: If you are even remotely Genre Savvy, you can tell a mile away that attempting to put on a performance act during the final Chapter of a Kiseki game (in a known Eldritch Location no less) is just asking for things to go spectacularly wrong. Fate obliges.
  • Sigil Spam: The Imperial Liberation Front leaders have the organization's logo somewhere on them: <C> has it on his helmet, Gideon has it on an armband, Scarlet has it tattooed onto her left shoulder and Vulcan has it on his shoulder armor.
  • Signature Team Transport: While it doesn't see much action in Sen, the Courageous is intended to serve this role for Class VII. It even shares their colors.
  • So Much for Stealth: Rean betrays his presence to Emma and Celine during an optional scene by stepping on a twig.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The ending song I Miss You is set to an upbeat tune which is totally at odds with the scenes that take place immediately beforehand. This is deliberate since the lyrics also don't match the tone either but are very appropriate to the situation and Falcom does all its music in-house so the song was 'made to order'.
  • Spell My Name with an S: As always.
    • Rean can cause a little trouble; it can be tempting to read his name as "Re-ahn", but the actual kana pronunciation is more like "Riin"; it rhymes with "lean", basically. It's clear what Falcom was going for, but the unconventional nature of the name catches some people.
    • Fie runs into the problem more seriously; looking at the given English spelling, you might think it's pronounced as in "oh, fie!" (rhyming with "pie") or, if you know a little kana, you might go "aha, it's pronounced 'Fi-eh', isn't it"? Nope and nope; the actual pronunciation is closest to "Fee", as in the sort you pay. This one actually does lead to debate as to how to best spell it, since going with "Fie" leads to new or casual fans consistently mispronouncing her name.
    • Place names don't escape, either; after five solid games of consistent spelling as "Erebonia" and "Zemuria" (when they do come up in English characters in the Japanese versions), all of a sudden Sen is very insistent about calling the two Elebonia and Zemlya, respectively. This one is likely to be ignored by any future Trails releases in English, as the place names were already established as the former in Sky FC's English release.
      • "Erebonia" was actually later corrected on Sen's promotional webpage... except the page URLs still have the "Elebonia" spelling. "Zemlya" persists throughout.
    • There's also a little debate as to whether the capital of Erebonia is Heimdall or Heimdallr, even in official sources. This gets bonus points for the fun of trying to stack three l/r sounds together in Japanese (which the kana doesn't even remotely do, leading to the debate).
    • A particularly funny one involved one of the organizations in the game, as its official badge graphic read "Train Militaly Police". This one was caught by even the Japanese fans the instant it went live on the website.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Aion Type-Alpha erases Garelia Fortress and its Railway Cannons from existence using one of these. The remains of the Fortress are seen in Sen II.
  • Super Mode: Rean has one that causes his hair to turn silver and his eyes to turn red. He's afraid of what it does to him but Victor helps him get over his fear and tap into the power more constructively. He tries to do this during the final battle (with everyone suspecting that doing so will kill him) but fortunately Valimar awakens and gives Rean a second option.
    • Then after their fight appears to end in a victory for Rean, Ordine stands up and Crow reveals that it possesses a Super Mode he wasn't using. It's implied that all the God Knights have one of these.
  • Take a Third Option: What Olivier is inspired to do after the events of the Liberl Arc, to the point that he plays the Thors Board of Directors like a lute in order to form Class VII, builds the Courageous and draws its crew from both the Nobles and the Commoners.
  • Tempting Fate: Practically everyone in the Empire shrugs off Crossbell's declaration of independence, frequently pointing out that while the city-state has enormous financial influence, it also has no military so they aren't a threat. This contributes to the sense of impending doom if you've played Ao and eventually it comes to bite the Empire in the ass when Aion Type-Alpha shows up to erase Garelia Fortress from existence, right on schedule.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: When Sara drops the students into the ruins during Class VII's special orientation, Rean leaps in front of Alisa to keep her from being hurt when she lands. He succeeds but in the process, Alisa lands on top of him with her chest right in his face. She is not amused.
  • Tron Lines: Ordine develops these when Crow releases the full power of the machine.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: While still using a turn-based format and the basic mechanics, the final battles of Sen with Rean piloting Valimar operate on a slightly different system where you'll find yourself needing to target specific parts of the opposing mecha, you have no Arts and counterattacking is Craft-based.
  • The Unfought: Just like FC and Zero, being the first game of an arc there are characters who will undoubtedly be seen in battle eventually but who aren't fought in Sen. This includes Sharon, Vita, Vulcan's Panzersoldat, the former Zephyr members and their Panzersoldats and probably Count Caien and Rufus Albarea
    • On the 'allies likely to fight with us but not yet seen' side we have Towa, Neithardt and Toval. The last has already been confirmed to appear in Sen II.
  • The Unreveal: Sen runs on this trope, starting with the fact that major elements in the Erebonia Arc were foreshadowed in Ao's ending so going in, everyone expected Sen to be a countdown to particular events. The game ended more or less exactly where Ao did so most of the unanswered questions from there remain unanswered. Does Osborne survive the assassination attempt? Uncertain. What does Ouroboros specifically want out of the Empire? Next game. How did Lianne Sandlot become the person we know today? Sorry, wait for the next game there too.. There are also plenty of unreveals from Sen's plot alone. Where does Rean's power come from? No answer. Emma promises to tell everyone what she knows about, well, everything. She doesn't get the chance to before the game ends, despite having about a week between promising to do so and everything going straight to hell. If you saw her dance scene, she'll apologize for this right before the game ends
  • Unreveal Angle: The camera is carefully positioned to not show who fires the shot that takes down the Imperial Liberation Front's airship because that becomes important later.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Some of the Nobles qualify.
  • Urban Segregation: Enforced for gameplay reasons in Heimdallr, where you can only visit (parts of) less than half of the city's various Districts. However, there's very little in-universe that prevents anyone from catching a tram from Ost to Garnier and walking around, or vice versa. About the only thing you can't do in the areas you're able to access is loiter around the Imperial Palace. The guards don't like it when you try doing that.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Territory of the Great Shadow aka the hidden seventh level of the Old Building which houses Valimar. Despite being the final dungeon, it's not the end of the game, which continues for another two hours or so afterwards with several more boss battles.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Sen is this for the franchise.
  • Villainous Rescue: Well, for a given value of villain considering who we're talking about but Arianrhod saving the party at Lohengrin Castle definitely counts.
    • Also, <C> regularly comes to the rescue of his subordinates.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Asked of Crow at the end of the game. He has to pause for a second before answering that yes, it was a lie. Rean still isn't buying it and believes that at least some of their friendship was genuine. One ass-kicking later and the game ends before anything more can come of this.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 5 is meant to be one, though it's a bit zig-zagged: Anyone who played Ao will know what has to happen i.e., the cannon can't fire on Crossbell because it's going to do that a few months later but they threw in another wham moment specifically to mess with people who already know that: Namely, the fact that Crow and Miriam are present, when they weren't in the Prologue sequence, which reminds one a great deal of the beginning and end of Zero and the explanation we got for that....
    • The end of Chapter 6 when the surviving Imperial Liberation Front leadership is apparently killed when their airship is shot down, followed by the revelation that Sharon really is a Ninja Maid... working for Ouroboros
    • And it just wouldn't be a Kiseki game if the Final Chapter wasn't a long string of these, starting with the ominous sound of a tolling bell (shades of Crossbell) and the barrier appearing around the Old Building, prior to the final dungeon and the 'Final Trial' at the end, then continuing with the inevitable destruction of Garelia Fortress, followed by the paired whams of Crow revealing that he is <C> and Vita revealing that she is the Second Pillar of Ouroboros, leading right into Osborne being shot, as per Ao, followed by the reveal that the Imperial Liberation Front has been working for the Noble Faction the entire time and possess a massive airship, which proceeds to drop mass-produced God Knights into Heimdallr which then tear up the place... and then Scarlet and Vulcan show up on Thors' doorstep in Panzersoldats of their own, Sharon reveals her secret to everyone, Rean awakens Valimar, Crow arrives in Ordine, the two fight and... Rean loses. Then the rest of Class VII pulls a You Shall Not Pass to buy time for Valimar to carry Rean away, leaving them to an uncertain fate. Cue credits. Easily the Whammiest Episode in a series full of Wham Episodes.
  • Where It All Began: The game begins and ends in Trista and the first dungeon is also the final dungeon
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Dorothy, the president of the Literature Club. She immediately latches on to the idea of Jusis and Machias as a couple and her writing for the Festival plays on that. When Machias' neighbors stop by the club room, they have absolutely no idea how to react to that.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: One of the annoying abilities possessed by the boss Nosferatu is its ability to steal the soul of a party member, taking them out of the battle and draining HP from them. You can force it to release the soul by beating the boss up for a bit. Loa Erebonius can also do this.
  • You Should Know This Already: It wouldn't be a Kiseki game if this wasn't in full force. The most obvious example is that 'Olivier' is really Prince Olivert, which Falcom hasn't even pretended should be a surprise to anyone for years.
    • Beyond that, the plot of the game basically runs on countdowns to events foreshadowed in Ao and major backstory events are very briefly alluded to on the assumption that the player already knows the details and their significance, like the significance of North Ambria and what it means when the three higher elements are activated in a region.
Zero No KisekiVideoGame/Kiseki SeriesNayuta No Kiseki
Zero No KisekiEastern RPGNayuta No Kiseki

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