Video Game / The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
aka: Legend Of Heroes Trails In The Sky

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Just a story about a girl, a guy, and the simple adventures they get into...

The Legend of Heroes: Trails In the Sky, often called Sora no Kiseki or Legend of Heroes VI, is a JRPG released by Nihon Falcom in the mid-2000s, first on the PC and then on the PSP. It is an entry into Falcom's line of "traditional" turn-based story-heavy JRPGs (as opposed to the action RPGs of the Ys series), and kick-started what has become their flagship series, being the first entry in the overarching Kiseki series.

The story details the adventures of Estelle Bright and her adopted brother, Joshua. They set out to be a pair of "Bracers", wandering adventurer-types who do good around the kingdom of Liberl, following in the footsteps of Estelle's father Cassius. Soon after their adventure begins, however, they begin to get pulled into a series of events that could change the face of Liberl, not to mention answer certain questions about Joshua's past... even if they are answers Joshua may not want brought to light.

The game is, in a word, gigantic. It was so large, in fact, that Falcom couldn't practically release it as one game; "Sora no Kiseki FC" (short for "First Chapter") was released in mid-2004, with the Second Chapter following nearly two years later (it was so large as to require two UMDs when released on the PSP in 2007). This, naturally, led to some complaining during SC's development, which was generally silenced when SC was released to nigh-rabid reviews. A year afterward, "Sora no Kiseki The 3rd" was released; it ended up being a bit of a Mission-Pack Sequel (since the main plot of the game wraps up nicely in SC), but it still develops a few of the other party members and deals with some of the dangling side-plot hooks nicely, and so is generally respected. It also sets up plot elements that have become important in every subsequent game. The series was so popular as to inspire an Intercontinuity Crossover fighting game with Ys, in the style of Marvel vs. Capcom.

A side effect of the game's bifurcated nature is that this is one of the few JRPGs in which choice matters. While the choices are not quite as sweeping as those in, say, Mass Effect, since you can carry save files forward between games, choices you make in FC can affect quests and dialogue in SC. The games are also a bit more open-ended than most JRPGs, with lots of Bracer sidequests available alongside the main storyline (and, in fact, neglecting these can leave you a bit weak for the showdowns which await you at the end of SC).

Each of the three chapters technically tells their own story, although the second chapter follows directly on from the first chapter (as in, it literally starts on the day after the end of the first) and if you dive right into SC you are likely to end up a bit lost and confused. There are sixteen playable characters over the course of all three games, plus dozens of other secondary characters.

Just like the case of Falcom's other great RPG series Ys, the games long suffered from No Export for You syndrome, which is the primary reason why the series is quite popular in Japan, comparable to the likes of the Tales Series and Shin Megami Tensei, but practically unheard of outside of it.

Do note, this page has a lot of marked spoilers; this is because talking about most of the tropes related to the game requires talking about the revelations the game makes later in its narrative (particularly in the second chapter).

The first chapter was localized and released in March 2011 for the PSP courtesy of XSEED Games (who worked on Nihon Falcom's Ys series previously). After several years, XSEED announced that late 2013 that Trails in the Sky SC would be released on PSN and Steam, with the translation done in cooperation with Carpe Fulgur; and after several other travails, SC finally got a release date of October 29, 2015. They have officially declared that they will bring over The 3rd in 2017.

The aforementioned sequel is Zero no Kiseki, which follows a new set of protagonists a few years after the events of Trails In the Sky. That title was followed up by Ao no Kiseki, which continues the Zero story in the same way Trails SC continued the Trails FC story. Following that is The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, which features some characters from the Liberl series.

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Pretty much all of the playable female characters are this (it's that kind of game), but even then Estelle, our protagonist, manages to stand out.
  • Actually Four Mooks: Played straight with most of the random battles, where a single monster on the field map turns out to be one or more.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: That he does. Even at the end of the game, when you are explicitly saving the entire kingdom from a shattering cataclysm and pretty much everyone has acknowledged this, even major characters will still charge you for items. Granted, the infinity-1 weapons are only sold to you at a price much much lower than your average luxury vehicle and only about 1000 times of the cheapest food you can buy in stores, they are probably marked down by A LOT.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Doors in The 3rd function this way for all the main cast, revealing the backstory of some characters, showing what others were doing off-camera and much hinting at things to come. This also extends to minor characters like Aina.
    • The 3rd as a whole could be seen as this for Kevin, graduating from major supporting character to protagonist.
  • All in a Row: Your party travels like this, which can actually be a nuisance when you have four people in it, since it takes a second or two for your party-members to follow the path you took, meaning a monster you dodged can still nail one of the tailing members of your party and draw you into battle.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: Cassius Bright, he's the strongest Bracer in Liberl, an ex-Master Swordsman, almost a resident Mary Tzu, he managed to Curb Stomp the final boss of FC, the earth trembles when he spins his rod, second strongest character in the trilogy after Loewe according to the author, in fact he's so broken the Big Bad's plan is to set up a disaster in a different country so Cassius wouldn't disturb his plan. He is considered such a Memetic Badass that the primary villain of FC honestly believed that if Cassius hadn't left the army, his plan to launch a coup and militarize Liberl to deter their more powerful neighbors from considering invasion would not have been necessary. Interestingly, though, he doesn't see himself this way; as far as he's concerned, he's a gigantic fuckup who deserves to live the life of an outcast because of what he failed to do... namely, save his wife.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Loewe to Joshua. They are not related but the dynamic is the same.
  • Always Someone Better: Cassius, no matter how many great deeds Estelle has done to save the world, Cassius always managed to top everything that she and her party has done, then again we're talking about Cassius here...
  • Amazon Chaser: The Ravens find Kloe's sudden transformation to Action Girl to be "so hot". They also feel this way about Estelle in SC, after she beats the snot out of them during the Grancel tournament in FC.
  • Anachronism Stew: Applies somewhat, though as the series takes place only fifty years into the Orbal Revolution the setting is more analogous to the late 19th or early 20th century than modern times. There are automobile analogues, flying ships, guns and even laptops (well, briefcase-tops, Tita has one), but out of sixteen playable characters between the three chapters, only three use guns, with most of the other characters preferring melee weapons and the only other ranged user uses a crossbow. (Okay, Tita uses enough gun to count for an entire party, but still.) Kind of justified in-universe, Orbal guns shoot out Orbal energy, not bullets, thus much less damaging to humans than Real Life guns. Specially made guns that shoot out projectiles are around, but not very common.(Also justified the infinite ammo) They do have Petroleum oil and gunpowder in-universe, but have stopped to develop due to the Orbal revolution.(So yeah, the Empire scrambling hundreds of petroleum fueled tanks with gun powder weapons really shows Osborne's conspiracy to take over Liberl).
    • Also played with, once you get Tita's S-Craft, the Satellite Cannon.(She uses her laptop to aim and shoot the cannon for starters)
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Third, in particular, implies that Ouroboros has been around for a long time. It's also got a lot of Illuminati-esque trappings, with the small number of high-powered operatives and fingers in every pie. It's often called The Society for short.
  • Another Dimension: The space where Aureole was sealed away for 1200 years, containing some rather creepy monsters. The four Towers exist simultaneously in the normal world and the other dimension and the latter is where all the machines that maintains the seal on Aureole are contained.
    • Also Phantasma is one of these that was created by Aureole.
  • Antidote Effect: Averted. Most such items heal multiple effects and restore some HP in the process, making them quite useful. Also, status effects can be extremely debilitating and item use has no charge time unlike Arts. Poison in particular was designed to avert this because it harms you after every turn and the turn you select an Art counts so healing yourself with an item is actually the safer option.
  • Anti-Grinding: Like many other Falcom games, every enemy you can fight has a level, and once you are at or above the level of the enemy, the XP reward for beating it starts going down until you eventually reach 1XP/enemy. However, the XP needed to gain a level tends to be much lower than in other Falcom games (Such as Ys), so it's still possible to gain a few levels over the course of the game even when everything only provides 1 XP.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Joshua: How did you know about this place, Colonel?
    • In one sidequest in SC, an NPC gives you one of these to use on another character. Remembering it will get you bonus BP.
  • Art Shift: The cover art for 3rd is very different from the cover art for the previous games and the art used in the games themselves.
  • Ascended Extra: Several popular NPCs in first two games become playable in the last installment. Kevin even becomes the main protagonist!
  • Assassin Outclassin': Cassius first met Joshua when he tried to murder him and Cassius kicked his ass. Cassius claimed that the fight was a lot closer than Joshua implied, though.
  • The Atoner: Col. Richard in Third. Also, Cassius throughout most of the trilogy.
  • Badass Army: The army of the Liberl Kingdom doesn't come across as this at first (that "gate music" doesn't help), but the special divisions like Special Ops and the Royal Guards manage to make an impact in FC, and the entire army steps up to the plate magnificently in SC.
  • Badass Adorable: Renne and Tita. Estelle may also count as well.
  • Badass Family: The Bright family. Enough said.
  • Badass Longcoat: Loewe, in order to counter this Joshua relies on his Scarf of Asskicking. Olivier and Kevin wear these as well, Olivier having several over the course of the plot.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: FC, on multiple levels. Not only does Richard's scheme have the desired side effect the hidden Bigger Bad wanted, as part of the cleanup from the main plot, Cassius takes an extended leave of absence from the Bracers and returns to the Army, so that he can help reorganize the military to make it stronger and a greater deterrent from foreign threats, which is ultimately what the Big Bad was trying to do with his scheme, so even though his plot failed, he still got what he wanted out of it.
  • Bag of Spilling: Slightly subverted in that while the characters lose all their items, their levels can be carried into the next game if the clear data of the previous game is present.
    • Justified in-universe. A new model Tactical Orbment makes your old Quartz useless in SC and the plot puts Estelle in a situation where she doesn't need to carry around her Mira and Sepith. You also start with statistically equivalent gear to the stuff you ended FC with and you retain all your Crafts so the characters haven't really 'lost' anything. The 3rd has a different justification for losing your things but reaches effectively the same result.
  • Ballroom Blitz: The opening of The 3rd involves a running battle amidst a fancy party, culminating on center stage.
  • Batman Gambit: Kevin and Cassius come up with a way to destroy the Stigma that allows Weissman to control Joshua, but it can only be triggered by Weissmann giving a specific order. They choose to set it to Weissmann ordering Joshua to kill Estelle, knowing that Weissmann would not be able to resist the opportunity to Kick the Dog.
  • Battle Couple: Estelle and Joshua basically define the trope, especially in the later parts of the story.
  • BFG: All of Tita's weapons, starting at the level of a portable mortar and working their way up. Carna briefly wields a pretty big gun in SC.
  • BFS: Agate's Heavy Blade and to a lesser extent Mueller's sword. However, the gigantic blades used by Stormbringer put theirs to shame.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Justified in the case of the Device Towers, which contain the machinery that keeps Liber Ark sealed away. The machinery and the Ark both reside in an alternate dimension and the four towers around Liberl are the 'anchors' connecting the two.
  • The Big Guy: Zane and Agate share this role.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Joshua may look a bit girly, but he's called "The Black Fang" because he is that dangerous. He's usually a pretty chill, nice dude, but if you threaten to harm Estelle? Aidios help you. The mayor of Ruan learns this the hard way in FC, which even freaks Estelle out a little.
    • Renne often comes across as sweet and cuddly, even after The Reveal about her. She's also the most emotionally disturbed member of the entire cast, with accompanying violence.
    • This applies to Leonhardt, too, even when he's posing as "Lorence". He is capable of being disarmingly nice and polite, even when you're actively fighting him.
  • BGM Override: Rescue Mission becomes the field and battle BGM (with no interruption) during the mission to rescue the hostages at Erbe Imperial Villa and later to rescue the Queen from Grancel Castle. Also reappears in the final dungeon of The 3rd when Castle of Illusions <Phantasmagoria> plays from the minute you enter the final dungeon to the minute your parties reach the end of their respective areas.
    • A non-story related example happens if a character drops to critical health or is defeated. The normally jaunty battle music is replaced with a more desperate remix.
  • Big Damn Heroes: FC's final chapter. The princess is rescued but a little girl has been taken hostage. Cue the arrival of Schera, who we haven't seen since a quarter of the way into the game.
    • SC raises the bar by having this happen with all your allies near the end of the game. After Weissmann injures Loewe and makes off with Joshua, a pair of TM Dragion units show up to menace your party. Cue a massive volley of fire from offscreen, followed by Professor Russell, your unused party members and the Capuas who distract the enemies while your party makes a break for it.
    • The 3rd manages to take the SC scene and crank it up even further as everyone storms Hell (sort of) to free Kevin and Ries...and Gilbert.
  • Big Eater: Estelle. In nearly every town/city you enter, she makes a comment about the food.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Imperial Family of Erebonia is implied to be one. Later games will prove this is not in fact the case, the representative example seen in this trilogy is just... quirky.
  • Bishie Sparkles: Olivier all the time, Joshua when crossdressing. Estelle occasionally does a female version of this when she's really excited. Sneakers may be involved.
  • Black Knight: Literally, the Dragon to the Lord of Phantasma in The 3rd is named Schwarzritter, wears badass armor and carries a huge sword. Oh, and he's a Phantasma recreation of Loewe, to absolutely nobody's surprise, in or out of universe.
  • Blood Knight: Walter in SC
  • Bokukko: Josette. Estelle actually calls her this.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Abyss in The 3rd is an optional twenty-floor dungeon filled with tough monsters and bosses, very nice treasure and the final Star Door.
  • Bookends: FC begins and ends with Joshua playing "The Whereabouts of Light" on his harmonica.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Weissman reveals he did this to Joshua.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: According to Renne, a proper tea party has "tea, crumpets, and explosions".
  • Breakout Character:
    • Kevin becomes the main character of The Third; it might be said that the reason why it's called The Third and not Third Chapter was because Estelle and Joshua aren't really the main characters anymore.
    • Loewe. Despite the fact that he died in SC, Falcom (sort of) brought him back in The Third. Then you have Vantage Master Portable where he and Renne become playable main characters instead of other party members. It's even worse in Alternative Saga in which he appears without any explanation despite being dead, though that turned out to be non-canonical. Loewe also got his own sidestory manga.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: During the Orbal Shutdown Phenomenon Carna borrows an 'antique' rifle from the Ruan weapon shop and uses it to great effect.
  • Break the Cutie: Joshua, Renne, Kevin and Loewe's pasts are riddled with this, although the first three eventually recover due to the Power of Love and Loewe was recovering.
  • Break Them by Talking: Professor Alba/Weissmann the Faceless utterly shatters Joshua at the end of the First Chapter.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In one of the Star Door subquests in The Third, we see a meeting of Ouroboros leaders and their conversation regarding the events in Liberl and revealing that this is all just the beginning. After the meeting, Campanella laughs, before saying...
    Campanella: By the way...I know I'm not one to talk, but...*looks at the player* I don't know who you are but can you please stop peeping?
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Something that jams up the gears of some people who play the game. Estelle and Joshua aren't even remotely related by blood (They're not even the same nationality - Joshua's Erebonian by birth), and they first met as not-quite-teens, so they weren't so young that the Westermarck effect would kick in to prevent them falling for each other... but at the same time, they basically lived together as siblings for years and Cassius even formally adopted Joshua after the events at the start of the game, when he came to live with the Brights, so he has the last name Bright himself.
    • The really hilarious part to all this is that a ton of incidental characters in the Rolent area are surprised this isn't happening at the start of FC and most people who they meet on their journey simply assume they're a young couple. Neanwhile, Estelle is oblivious and wonders what the hell everyone is going on about. This doesn't really become an issue until Joshua leaves to take his revenge, forcing Estelle to examine how she feels about him.
  • Central Theme: Trails is unrepentant about wearing its theme on its sleeve, that theme essentially being: "No one person, no matter what they've done in the past, no matter what they've done with their lives, is completely beyond love and redemption. Any life can be given meaning so long as you're willing to reach out to a person." Joshua, Renne, Kevin, Olivier, and Loewe all have major story arcs about coming to terms with this, and Kloe, Scherazard, and Josette all face the concept to some degree as well.
    • Another common theme explored is that the greatest "miracle" of all (note that an alternate translation for the Japanese title is Miracle in the Sky) is the simple joy of people working together to overcome hardships, and not even the ultimate power of the gods can change that, as Richard and Weissmann both found out.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: YE. GODS. The game starts out light and idealistic at the start, takes a sudden nosedive at the end of FC, and proceeds to descend into near-Berserk-levels of darkness as SC goes along- even Estelle is feeling the strain by the end of the story.
  • Char Clone: Lorence in First Chapter.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Loewe's sword is one that takes a game and a half before it's fired. For a closer example entirely within First Chapter, the mysterious black Orbment Estelle and Joshua recieve at the end of Chapter 1 plays a huge part in the conclusion of Chapter 2.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Almost too many to list; Professor Alba in FC is a great example, but nearly half the main cast has a secret or two... which is part of the reason so much of this page is spoiler-tagged.
  • Chessmaster: Cassius Bright and Weissmann. Kevin has his share of manipulation as well.
  • Chick Magnet: Joshua. Estelle does not find this particularly amusing.
  • Church Militant: Kevin and Ries belong to the group within the Septian Church that serves this function.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The cast is able to make the Arseille fly in The 3rd by exploiting the nature of Phantasma and this trope. Since most of the cast has been on the ship, their combined will is enough to make it fly... better than it's actually capable of in reality.
  • Classic Video Game "Screw You"s: SC can be bad for this. Its most egregious offences are:
    • A boss that constantly summons mooks that have healing spells (and which will frequently use it on said boss).
    • Enemies, and even some boss-enemies, that can summon additional copies of themselves. Said copies ALSO have the ability to summon more copies. There is no limit to this ability.
    • A boss with an S-craft (which she will use right off the bat, as well as periodically throughout the fight) that hits your entire party for significant damage and ALWAYS inflicts instant death, unless you're protected from it. Hope you packed some spare Skull Pendants!
    • A group of boss-mooks (encountered twice - once in a group of five and once with nearly a dozen) that love to spam a fairly powerful attack that hits all party members.
  • Climax Boss: Loewe in SC and Cassius and Schwarzritter in Third.
  • Colonel Badass: Alan, even though he technically stops being one after FC.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The lift that takes you to the battle with Loewe atop Axis Pillar is surrounded by red lights as a not so subtle clue that you're at the Point of No Return.
    • Also, in The 3rd certain enemies are color-coded as a hint that you really really shouldn't try using Arts on them.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: The Intelligence Division were mostly genuine patriots (albeit with rather gray methods) to begin with so they're given a chance at redemption in SC. They prove themselves more than worthy of it by stepping up to defend Grancel from an Ouroboros attack with Richard personally guarding the refuge of the Queen and Princess.
  • Containment Field: The Singularity of Origin serves as one of these. An Artifact placed inside one will be unable to affect the outside world in any way, so the Church uses them to store particularly dangerous ones such as the Demon Lance of Loa.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: In SC, bosses are usually resistant to Standard Status Effects, though not all of them are immune to status down effects, including some of the endgame bosses.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The lava-filled Phantasma recreation of Balstar Channel plays this straight. You'll only be harmed when you step on the lava directly, although the damage adds up very fast unless you equip special protective gear that reduces the damage. Ultimately justified via Fridge Brilliance as Phantasma is a virtual realm that was originally created in part to grant the wishes and fantasies of the people of Liber Ark so it makes sense that it would operate on video game logic.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Schera's favorite method of keeping Olivier in line is to threaten to take him drinking with Aina again. Bear in mind that compared to Scherazard, Aina is described as a bottomless hole...
  • Cool Big Sis: Scherazard to Estelle.
  • Cool Old Guy / Battle Butler: Philip who used to be the captain of the Royal Guard.
  • Corrupt Church: Averted with special mention, especially in comparison to the wider meta-genre. One of the most believable aspects of the setting is that the Septian Church is, by and large, a benevolent organization and doesn't really meddle with massive plots at all in FC or SC. Its clergymen clearly believe what they preach, are peaceful, benevolent presences in their towns (they even teach school for most people), and they even act as obvious allies to our heroes in FC when the Grancel Cathedral gives knowing shelter to Julia while she's a fugitive from Col. Richard's coup. Nearly all the characters are faithful to a greater or lesser degree, as well, with invocations to Eidos/Aidios relatively common in places you'd expect a real life person to invoke God. There's ultimately nothing sinister about the church in FC or SC. Third makes it a little more complicated, although in that case we're dealing more with the Church as a continent-wide organization and Kevin's place in it, with the general message being: "in an organization as large as this, and based on beliefs as fundamental as this, you are always going to have disagreements about how best to defend those beliefs".
  • Crosscast Role: The School Play in FC, where everybody plays the role of a member of the opposite gender. Jill admits that despite dressing it up with various justifications, she really did it because she thought it would be fun.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Kevin creates one of these for the Stigma that Weissmann implanted into Joshua, which will cause it to destroy itself if Weissmann says a particular phrase
  • Cuteness Proximity: Anelace
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Somehow, Zane and Joshua are able to duel and defeat Walter and Loewe, respectively, even though both can hold off the entire party in their boss fights. This is explained by the bosses being tired after their fights, but the same could be said of the heroes.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Joshua lost his older sister during the destruction of his village, which led to his and Loewe's joining Ouroboros.
  • Degraded Boss: The Special Ops soldiers are a ridiculously fast and strong Dual Boss when you first face them, but your party eventually becomes strong enough to treat them as mooks, to the point where it's possible to respawn a mob of them in the Erbe Villa.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Joshua crosses it once he realizes that he's been a pawn of Ouroboros all this time and that he could be a danger to everyone he loves. A large part of the second game is devoted to Estelle pulling him back from this.
  • Determinator: Estelle will stop at nothing to save those whom she cares about.
  • Difficulty Levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Nightmare difficulties.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Interestingly played. When the game was originally in development as a single unit, it's clear that the ruins beneath Castle Grancel were going to be this; sure, you rescued the queen, beat Col. Richard and saved the kingdom but clearly not everything was answered and it would serve as what would in other games be the "big twist point" when the real villain was revealed and whatnot. Once the project got too big to contain in one game, though, it was chosen to be the actual final dungeon of FC, meaning it is and isn't a final dungeon; it's the end of FC, sure, but it's barely the beginning of the real story.
  • Disney Death: Lucciola survive her fall from Axis Pillar, as revealed in Ao. The fortune teller in Michelam? It's her.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind:
    • You guys remember Professor Alba? He's that guy you keep bumping everywhere for Plucky Comic Relief conversations. HE IS THE BAD GUY.
    • The Ouroboros agent responsible for both sending the threatening letters to Grancel and masterminding Kanone's plot to rescue Richard? It's none other than Renne.
  • Dragged into Drag: Halfway through FC, Estelle and Joshua are tapped to help put on a play for a school festival. The production is a gender-flip of a well-known play about a love triangle competing for the heart of a princess. Joshua plays the princess (And looks disturbingly good in a dress). In the final chapter of FC, upon learning that the plan that the plan to sneak her into the Queen's quarters involves disguising her as a maid, Estelle cheerfully forces Joshua into a maid outfit as well (And again, he looks disturbingly good in it).
  • The Dragon: Schwarzritter serves this role to the Lord of Phantasma in The 3rd.
  • Drought Level of Doom: While some segments of the game will cut off access to Orbal Recharge Stations and shops, Joshua's raid of the bandit hideout in SC and Anelace's battle against the dummy Special Ops are notable for giving the new party a completely different and meager inventory compared to the main party.
  • Dual Wielding: How Joshua prefers to fight.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Joshua can ding this at times; his Japanese VA being female does not exactly help. Less prominent after he embraces his identity as the Black Fang.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The game does manage to avoid treading into Wangst territory, but good grief, the party has some issues. When all is said and done, let's see: we have two nigh-superpowered Tyke Bomb assassins, one of whom constantly wrestles with the happiness he experienced with the Brights versus what he's done and is capable of doing and the other of whom is wrestling with a history of terrible abuse; an imperial prince who is utterly disgusted with his family and, by extension, himself; another, local princess who absolutely wants nothing to do with the responsibility thrust upon her; a woman who wants nothing more than to bury her past in alcohol; a man who is driven by the loss of his entire family and the guilt he feels over being unable to prevent it; a priest who has problems with his faith and serious doubts about his place in the world; a girl with a massive wannabe-hero complex; and an aristocrat-turned-sky-pirate who has rather serious entitlement issues. Estelle is lucky Tita and Zane are around in all three games, or she'd find she's the Only Sane Man among this cast of nutters.
  • Easter Egg: A painting of the Gagharv from the previous Legend of Heroes sub-series appears in The 3rd, as does a complete novel series from the same trilogy. There are some hints that this may not be a coincidence.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Renne, good lord Renne.
  • Elemental Powers: Because of the way Orbments work, all characters except for Estelle and Renne have at least one slot restricted to one of the six (later seven) types of Quartz, giving them a natural inclination towards one element or another. Despite this, actual specialization is mostly a matter of player choice combined with line setups.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors
  • The Empire: Perhaps not too surprising for a Japanese RPG. Their being billed as fairly obvious villains and an external threat is not very surprising at all. The fact that, ultimately, you have to save them from full-scale slaughter alongside everyone else, however, may be rather more surprising!
  • Enfante Terrible: Renne
  • Epic Fail: Towards the end of SC, a secondary Ouroboros leader attacks the Jenis Academy in order to kidnap Princess Klaudia, who he had learned was attending the school under an alias. Said secondary leader forgets to first make sure that he knows what the princess looks like, and to check to see if she's even on campus at the time of the attack, thus leading him to grab the wrong girl while believing that she's somebody who isn't even in that part of the country at the time. When an Ouroboros Enforcer shows up after the hostages are rescued, he actually apologizes for the whole mess.
  • Escort Mission: Several times in the game you'll have helpless NPCs tagging along in battle. If they die, it's Game Over.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One ironclad rule in Ouroboros is that all members must join of their own free will. You'd think that this would hinder Weissman, given his usual method of operation, but this rule only applies to actual members, not their pawns.
  • Everyone Can See It: Estelle and Joshua's budding romance seems patently obvious to everyone except them.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Kloe is a princess, Olivier is a prince...
  • Evil All Along: Subverted with Olivier in Chapter 8 of SC, where he's revealed to be an Imperial Prince of Erebonia, leading an invasion against Liberl in their time of weakness. However, it turns out to have all been a ruse to delay the Empire's invasion and mess with Osborne's plans.
  • Expy:
    • Dr. Russell is often described as "Dr. Wily gone good".
    • Olivier is a guns-and-devices using, blond-pony-tailed, blue-eyed ladies man who happens to be royalty and uses the lechery partially as a coping mechanism. This draws a number of comparisons to a certain King of Figaro.
  • Eyedscreen: Every S-craft has this.
  • False Flag Operation: The village of Hamel was a small Erebonian community just across the border from Liberl. It ceased to exist during the Hundred Days War, officially due to a massive avalanche, but in truth, the entire population save for Joshua and Loewe had been massacred by Erebonian soldiers using Liberlian arms. The war hawk faction of the Empire used this as justification to start the war. After the war ended, the accusation of Liberlian aggression was withdrawn and the avalanche story was made up, while the Erebonian government quietly executed the parties responsible for ordering the attack. Liberl went along with this because even though they had pushed Erebonia's forces out of Liberl using the increased mobility granted by Liberl's airship fleet, they didn't have the manpower necessary to stop a second invasion if Erebonia decided to go all out.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Mostly averted, actually. The technology base of this setting is rather high, and you'll encounter quite a few firearms-wielding mooks, not to mention some bosses who pack heat of various kinds. We say "mostly", though, because while firearms are reasonably common in this setting.... as noted above, out of a grand total of sixteen people who can join the player party, only three of them actually use guns. This can get a little silly when the party charges down gun-armed mooks with swords, daggers, a crossbow and a staff and wins. Granted, your ranks can include some of the most dangerous assassins on the planet, but still. Well, also as mentioned above, these "Guns" are not really the same as Real Life counterpart, and are more like electronic stun guns.(Basically what Orbal energy mainly used for, as a fantasy counterpart of electrical energy.)
  • Feelies: The Limited Edition comes with a reversible poster/map, a bracer emblem pin, and the game's soundtrack.
  • Fiery Redhead: Agate. Estelle may count too, though it's kinda hard to tell if she's a brunette or redhead; her hair color even seems to shift a little from between various depictions.
  • First Girl Wins: Kloe and Josette never really stood a chance. Especially when the first girl is also the main character of the game.
  • Fishing Minigame: At Valleria Shore in Chapter 1 of FC. Expanded into a full gameplay mechanic in SC.
  • Fishing for Sole: The aforementioned Fishing Minigame in FC can give you "Holey Boots" as a catch depending on your dialogue choices.
  • Five-Bad Band: They make their appearance fairly early in SC, with a bonus Sixth Ranger to boot:
  • Floating Continent: Liber Ark, a sealed floating city from Ancient Zemuria era long abandoned by descendent of Liberl inhabiters, which serves as final dungeon.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Estelle and Joshua, somewhat, as they're not actually related.
  • Foreshadowing: Goddamned EVERYWHERE. The game absolutely loves to tease upcoming reveals and plot points; sometimes this is blatant, sometimes you'll barely notice them 'till later and you play through the game again. This is so prevalent that the director has gone on record as saying that there are things in the upcoming Ao no Kiseki that were foreshadowed back in FC.
    • Especially evident in FC with the lead-up to the reveal of the Big Bad- Boy, Professor Alba, you certainly have a knack for wandering into dangerous areas without getting a scratch... Waitaminute--
    • In fact, one thing introduced in FC the Carnelia books, source of so much foreshadowing continues to have payoffs six full games later in Sen no Kiseki II and more are probably waiting to happen.
  • Four-Star Badass: Every general of the Liberl Kingdom Army qualifies.
  • Funny Animal
  • Gambit Pileup: Towards the end of SC, the plot basically descends into a mess of inter-conflicting plots between *deep breath* the Bracer Guild, Liberl's army, Ouroboros, Cassius Bright, the war hawks of Erebonia, Joshua, the Septian church, and Olivier (yes, really).
  • The Game Never Stopped: In SC, during the prologue the Bracer training lodge is attacked by Jaegers just after Estelle and Anelace finish the training. After being kidnapped and left in the woods, making their way back to the lodge, finding the fort the enemy have taken over, and defeating the Jaeger forces... the Jaegers take off their helmets to reveal they were actually their instructors, although people who played the previous game could figure it out since they use the same weapons as the bracers from the Tournament Arc. The reason for the ruse was because the Bracer guild was on unfriendly terms with them anywhere outside of Liberl - and there only because Jaegers can't legally operate in Liberl.
  • Genki Girl: Estelle, Estelle, and... Estelle. Okay, maybe Dorothy, Tita and Anelace as well but everyone is eclipsed by the Monolith of Genki that is Estelle.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Both Cassius and Estelle deliver these in SC to Joshua and Renne respectively. You might even call them Bright Slaps.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: In the end of SC, Estelle and Joshua fall from Liber Ark but are saved by Regnart. Whether this trope applies or not really depends on how much weight you put on the fact that he is, well, a magical dragon
  • Glass Cannon: Tita. Until she busts out the Orbal Gear at least.
  • The Great Offscreen War: The Hundred Days War, which ended ten years before the start of the story proper, but played a key role in the backgrounds of many of the characters.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Many examples, such as getting all recipes, netting A-Rank in SC etc. The last is particularly bad as you only have 2 BP worth of wiggle room. As there are hidden quests and secret BP conditions, it's effectively impossible to get the 380 required for the best Rank without using a guide.
    • The Abyss Worms. You fight them twice and both times they show up in large groups. Dealing damage to any one of them causes it to retaliate on its next turn with "Earthquake", a powerful attack that hits all of your characters. Unfortunately, the game never indicates in any way that this attack is a counter-attack, so the player's natural indication is simply to hit the creatures with the largest Ao E attacks they have access to, thus ensuring a large number of Earthquakes in return. Unless the player happens to notice what's going on and changes their strategies accordingly, the worms are one of the hardest fights in the game and a total-party kill is not out of the question.
  • Handsome Lech: OLIVIER. Jesus Humphrey Bogart Christ, Olivier Lenheim. He makes Edgar Figaro look restrained. Most of it is an act. (Only most of it, though.)
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Scherazard. Aina combines this with Big Eater.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare difficulty, which multiplies enemy stats to insane heights note  without changing their Character Level.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: After defeating each of the Legions on top of the four towers in SC, the Gospels they have plugged into the towers shut off, and the Legions withdraw. The party thinks that this means that they're making progress, until the end of the chapter, when it turns out the Gospels shut down because they were finished with what they were doing, and the villain's plan continues to the next stage.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The Bracers' Guild.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Loewe
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • A lot of the other bracers, particularly Team Kurt (Kurt, Carna, Grant and Anelace) come across this way. Kurt and Anelace join the party for a bit in SC, and Anelace is a somewhat more permanent fixture for Third. Cassius definitely comes across this way. Hell, half of Weissmann's plot in FC is to create a whole other crisis for Cassius to be the hero of so that he doesn't jam up the gears in Liberl.
    • Also, this game takes its NPC dialogs seriously. If you take the time to Talk to Everyone as often as possible, you will find a lot of recurring NPCs all having their own stories going on in parallel to yours. It's quite fun really.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • Agate and Tita have a dynamic like this, especially since Agate is pretty much the second most physically-imposing party member in the game, behind Zane.
    • Also applies, after a fashion, to Renne and Pater Mater. One of the shortest characters in the game, who is already plenty dangerous enough by herself, protected by an at least semi-sentient robot the size of a building.
  • Humongous Mecha: Pater Mater, which is a boss in SC and an S-Craft for Renne in 3rd. Another example is Reverie, the final boss of FC and several other examples show up as well. These are examples of Lost Technology from 1200 years ago except for Pater Mater.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Most of the healing items are food. In fact, the best healing items are food- right from the start, the 'Flowery Soda' item is cheaper and restores more health than the basic health balm.
  • I Knew It: Almost everyone can figure out the Black Knight's identity, treated so in-universe as well.
  • I Let You Win:
    • Lorence holds back during both of his fights in FC. The first time is because Richard wants Estelle and Joshua to meet him in the castle so they can talk about Cassius. The second time is because Lorence wants to test Estelle's strength as a potential obstacle to Ouroboros.
    • In SC Chapter 8, despite the Enforcers establishing that the party wouldn't stand a chance against them in a Wolfpack Boss fight, they split up in the final chapter, which definitely gives the heroes a fighting chance. Weissmann states that he wanted the party to defeat the Enforcers one by one as an experiment and that stopping the party before they reach the Final Boss isn't a necessary part of the plan, especially when he's rightfully confident that he can beat them with the Aureole's power anyways.
    • During Loewe and Joshua's duel, Joshua exhausts himself disarming Loewe while the latter doesn't look that tired. The only reason Joshua "won" was because Loewe was satisfied with his answer during their duel dialogue.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Loewe and Joshua. Loewe's powers become less implausible when you realize that his sword is no ordinary weapon and he was trained by Arianrhod, who has had a long time to get really good at fighting
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Most of the cast. Joshua and Estelle are by far the most sensibly-dressed, and the latter has a tendency to wear a bomber jacket with cut-off sleeves as everyday wear.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Recited almost word-for-word when Anelace meets Tita.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Gilbert, Gilbert, and Gilbert.
  • Instant Sedation/Kiss of Death: Joshua's first kiss to Estelle is laced with sedative to keep her from following him.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Alternative Saga crosses Sora no Kiseki with Ys using the engine from Ys Seven and includes support characters from Gurumin, Zwei, Brandish, Legend of Heroes III and Zero no Kiseki.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Josette, Anelace and Kurt are all voiced when you face them in combat in FC, despite their compatriots not being voiced and despite them not joining the party proper. Three guesses as to what happens in SC, and the first two don't count.
    • When Renne joins you as an NPC, you will probably notice that she somehow has a whooping 10202 HP. It all makes sense at the end of the chapter.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Axis Pillar in SC
  • It's Personal: Each Enforcer has a personal conflict with various party members.
    • Downplayed with Bleublanc, who is obsessed with Kloe's beauty and considers Olivier a rival. However, his main goal is to see the beauty of humanity struggling against Ouroboros and attempt to steal their hope.
    • Walter was once a fellow Taito student with Zane, but adopted the Murderer's Fist and killed their master in a deathmatch, who refused to name him as the successor. While Zane doesn't hold a grudge for that match, which their master agreed to, he still wants to know exactly why the deathmatch happened in the first place and he also wants to use his Living Fist to defeat Walter's Murderer's Fist. Likewise, Walter is bothered by Ryuga's claim that Zane is more talented, but unconsciously holds back.
    • Estelle is concerned about Renne's status as an Ax-Crazy child soldier for Ouroboros. Likewise, Renne wants to kill her for leading Joshua away from Ouroboros and questioning her brutal way of life.
    • Schera and Luciola were once as close as siblings while working in Harvey's Circus, but the latter killed their ringmaster when he disbanded the troupe. However, Luciola was secretly concerned about leaving Schera behind and is happy when Schera survives both of their fights, proving that she can survive despite the abandonment.
    • Joshua and Loewe were both survivors of Hamel's massacre, leading them to join Ouroboros. While Joshua ends up leaving Ouroboros, Loewe stays in order to see if humanity can face disaster without becoming complacent and forgetting their grim pasts. Additionally, Joshua realizes that when he went into a Heroic B.S.O.D. after Hamel, he fits Loewe's description of a self-deluded human, motivating him to find an answer to Loewe's trial.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Kevin's dialogue in Japanese.
  • Karma Houdini: The worst any of the people involved in the coup in FC get hit with is a few months of prison time followed by dismissal from government service. If Olivier is in the party when they first encounter Duke Dunan in SC, he'll tell the man to stop whining about his luxurious house arrest - if he'd tried that stunt in Erebonia, he'd have already been executed.
  • Killed Off for Real: Loewe and Weissmann
  • Kirk Summation: Estelle delivers a great one to Colonel Richard in FC's last dungeon. Given Estelle's role in the party, this isn't surprising in some ways, although everyone else is amazed at her sudden, momentary eloquence.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: With FC being a good nine years old as of this edit and SC being seven, avoiding these has become fairly difficult as Falcom now assumes most interested people in Japan already know about all the major spoilers and revelations... and uses them in promotional material and whatnot, making them kind of hard to avoid if you're outside of Japan and following the news at all! (Places like The Other Wiki casually ruining the plot of all three games also doesn't help.) The biggest offender is probably Renne and her actual affiliation, motivations and alignment. One of the most prominent extant pieces of art for her (from Third) in various Western sources show her clearly rocking her Sinister Scythe, which will tip off anyone even remotely Genre Savvy that she's more than she appears to be. Natch for Alternative Saga, which shows off the above and Pater Mater, and the Animated Adaptation will be terrible about this as well (the aforementioned stuff is being used in promotional images). Never mind, uh, all the spoilers on this very page.
    • XSEED actually tries their damnedest to avoid these (all the way to only discussing one member of the villain group in SC at all on the promo website, which is less than even the Japanese site did), but it's an uphill battle.
    • Funnily enough, the original, circa-2004 PC version of FC in Japan ran into this problem when SC was announced: during FC's development and pre-release promo period, it was never revealed that there'd be a second part to the story, and all the material, including the box behaves as if it's going to be a one-off game in the same vein as the Gagharv games. Seeing SC sitting right next to it in a store, needless to say, rather ruins the surprise.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Just about all the new characters in The 3rd. But Ries and Lechter stand out from the rest, especially since there's no hint whatsoever about their existence and their roles in the next series are enormous. The others (Rufina, Ein, and Osborne) do come up a few times during FC and SC.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Lorence wears a red colored version of the Special Ops outfit, and he is even stronger than his boss.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One of the chest gags in SC pokes fun at how far behind schedule the US release was: If you can read this, please send help. We've been stuck on this game for years - Localization Team
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: For the final mission in FC and when you enter Phantasmagoria in the 3rd. Justified, as there are Loads and Loads of Characters and quite a bit to do.
  • Lolicon: Some players accuse Agate of being this, thanks to all that Ship Tease he gets with Tita. The rest of the cast agrees.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: GOOD GRAVY.
  • MacGuffin: The Black Orbment in FC, Aureole in SC and the Arca of Recluse in Third.
    • It's somewhat debatable whether these qualify since they all do come up again, explain some facet or facets of the plot or explain absolutely everything about The 3rd. The differing powers of the Sept-Terion also lead this trilogy to have a very different sort of story than the next games. Oh, and Ouroboros clearly wants all seven so presumably there's something that can only be done once they have them making them a continuing plot element.
  • Magic from Technology: A cornerstone of the setting; "orbments" allow for all kinds of technological feats, from airships to cannons to computers to combat magic effects for our heroes, and are basically mechanical devices powered by Applied Phlebotinum.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Weissmann behind almost everything in FC and SC. In a wider meta-series sense, The Master of Ouroboros is probably behind nearly everything going on in the series, with the exceptions of Third and Zero no Kiseki.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Weissmann and also Kevin
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Clearly fits Joshua and Estelle (at least in FC).
  • The Maze: A lot of dungeons are like this.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Loewe's real name is "Leonhardt" which means "The determination of the lion", hence why he is called "Loewe" which means, of course, "lion" in German.
    • Also present in the title, at least in the original Japanese. You see, the kanji used for "Sora no Kiseki" fairly clearly state "[Tracks/Wagon Trail/Path/etc.] of/in the Sky", but "Kiseki", as a spoken word, has another meaning: "miracle". The title can therefore be heard as "Miracle in the Sky" in addition to the written meaning. This gets extremely meaningful, both ways, during the second chapter. This gets especially crazy (awesome) with the vocal theme song to SC, "Silver Will, Golden Wings": every single time the word "kiseki" is said in that song, it can mean either "trail/path" or "miracle" and the song will still make perfect sense.
    • Estelle's surname is Bright, everyone thinks she is as bright as the sun that shines through the darkness. She is even called the Sun Girl by Kevin in 3rd.
    • Minor background NPC example: One of the merchants in the Bose market hall talks at length about porcelain. His name is "Meissen".
  • Metal Slime: Shining Poms. The only things that can reliably kill them are certain S-Crafts and spells that have a chance of inflicting instant death. But killing one yields a lot of sepith. In SC they can also give enough XP for an underleveled character to go up multiple levels after killing one.
  • Mini-Mecha: The smaller Archaisms along with most of Ouroboros' modern creations and the Orbal Gear.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The third chapter caught some flack on release over perceptions that it was, basically, this, since the plot had nicely wrapped up in the previous game. Opinions have shifted over time as concepts and characters first introduced in The 3rd continue to appear in every subsequent game.
  • Mistaken For Lesbian: When Anelace proposes to become Estelle's rival, she doesn't exactly make her intentions clear at first. Her vague wording causes Estelle (and the other bystanders) to think that she's proposing to become something else entirely to Estelle.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: A few, but none more obviously than the Crocodark, an enemy found in the Ruan region. It's a cross between a crocodile and a shark.
  • More Dakka: Who else but... Tita, of course.
  • More Than Mind Control: Weissmann is an absolute master of this. It's how he was able to force Joshua to spy on the Bracers, it's a large part of the reason Joshua feels so guilty over what happened to Karen and it's one of the main impetuses for Joshua leaving the Brights at the end of FC, as the idea that Weissmann might still have such control over him and might force him to betray or even kill Estelle fills him with absolute, blinding terror. SC reveals that his terror was entirely justified, though he's still called out on his manner of dealing with it.
  • My Beloved Smother: Erika to Tita. Poor Agate has to suffer because of it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: You defeat the Ring Guardian at the end of FC. This eventually allows the villains access to Aureole. More to the point, Weissmann's whole plan revolves largely around manipulating Estelle and company into doing this a lot.
  • Nobody Poops: In the first game at least, there are bathrooms in hotels with a bathtub, but no toilet.
  • No Endor Holocaust: At the end of SC, a floating island the size of a city drops out of the sky into Valleria Lake, which most of Liberl was built around. There is no mention of enormous waves wreaking havoc on the coastline.
  • Numerical Hard: The difficulty levels seem to do nothing other than multiply each enemy's stats, though STR, ATS, and SPD are multiplied higher than others.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Professor Alba, Olivier, Kevin and Lechter
  • Obviously Evil: Played straight and subverted six ways from sundown at the same time. Unless you read these spoilers ahead of time, betcha didn't see Renne coming, did you? Or Professor Alba, for that matter?
  • Odd Name Out: First Chapter, Second Chapter and...The Third?
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In SC The Legion members attack Grancel Castle, Philip moves forward and reveals himself to be the former commander of the Royal Guard, everyone prepares for a fight...and then the scene shift back to our heroes and we only see the aftermath.
    • Also, both Loewe and Rufina separately mention that they encountered the other several years ago in an incident that was resolved to their mutual satisfaction. Given the parties involved, the awesomeness is a given.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The meeting of Ouroboros' leadership seen in The 3rd.
  • Ominous Floating City: The Liberl Ark.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: Accusations of this went flying around during SC's development (and we can most likely expect them to show up among American reviewers and new fans, too). In Japan this died down once people saw how mind-blowingly huge SC was and how it simply couldn't have been included in the original release. Remember, two UMDs for the PSP version, and it really makes use of that second UMD. Third, meanwhile, sparked rather different accusations.
  • One-Winged Angel: Weissmann in SC and the Lord of Phantasma in Third
  • Overrated And Underleveled: You can have all kinds of highly ranked Bracers join the party, but their levels aren't that much higher than Estelle's. Justified because it's implied that they're holding back so Estelle and Joshua can pull their own weight.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Anyone who played first two games can figure out that the black knight in Third is supposed to be Loewe. Even the characters can see it.
  • Plot-Induced Stupidity: A rare villain example: Considering who Weissmann is, you would think that he would take into account that Loewe's sword might be something worth keeping an eye on.
  • Phantom Thief: Bleublanc. In fact, it's his title in Ouroboros.
  • Point of No Return: Beginning the mission to rescue Princess Klaudia in FC, entering the core of Liber Ark in SC and the Castle of Phantasmagoria in Third.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Estelle and Joshua during FC, though Estelle is more red than pink.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Ouroboros Enforcers generally act as this, particularly towards the end of SC, with each having a counterpart on the good guys' team:
  • Purple Eyes: Surprisingly rather common.
    • Olivier, Kloe (and her grandmother), Anelace and Loewe all have various shades of them, and aside from Loewe there's nothing particularly supernatural about any of them, and Loewe's "supernatural" abilities have nothing to do with his eyes.
    • (Zero no Kiseki/SC spoilers):Renne may also have had violet eyes since that's what her father actually has, but we've never gotten any confirmation as to what her eye color was before her eyes were changed to gold. Interestingly, the "puppet" of her dad in SC was given golden eyes instead of purple, presumably to ensure they actually "looked" related.
  • Randomly Drops: A ton of equipment in 3rd. Most of them aren't really the best equipment (in fact, all of them have multiple "levels", so you might find a weapon, then the same weapon except with more attack and a "+1" as an affix later), but there sure are a lot of them. Really painful for those who want a copy of every item.
  • Rank Up: In the three months between the end of FC and the second scene of the prologue of SC, Retired Colonel Cassius Bright becomes General Cassius Bright, Chief of Staff of the Liberl Army.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Loewe in SC.
  • Redemption Quest: Ex-Colonel Richard and the disgraced Intelligence Corps take the field against Ouroboros at the end of SC to redeem themselves for the crimes they committed in FC.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Estelle (red) and Joshua (blue). Or Estelle and Kloe, respectively.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A fair number, starting with the "Crop Munchers" Estelle and Joshua deal with in the FC prologue.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Joshua against Weissmann in SC.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:Kloe and Olivier.
  • Rule of Cool:
    • The games do apply this principle to a few things. For example, if we're being remotely realistic, even briefly pulling the trigger on any of her weapons should result in Tita being knocked flat on her butt from the recoil, if not injured outrightnote . Tita looks awesome using them, though, so nobody cares a whit.
    • Also, Legion members like Joshua, Renne and Loewe routinely engage in physical acts that are blatantly impossible (for example, Loewe leaping off the top of Grancel Castle without injury, though considering the clues present, it may have been one of his shadows), although this is handwaved to some degree by what we see Orbal technology can accomplish and later material provides additional explanations for some examples.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Lord of Phantasma is a girl.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Joshua and Estelle, naturally.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Joshua picks up one of these in the second chapter.
  • School Festival: Yes, Jenis has one!
  • Serious Business: The Fishing Guild. Also, Lt. Schwarz is serious business indeed to her fanclub. Make the slightest disparaging remark and you're likely to get choked.
  • Shadow Archetype: Joshua and Renne. Joshua even acknowledges this openly; to him, Renne represents everything he could have been had he not lost to Cassius and met the Brights. This is largely what fuels his ardent desire to help her; her behavior is so radically different from his own, but he could have been just like her - even fighting at her side! - had his life turned out even a little differently.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One can't really help but suspect that Anelace's outfit was intentionally designed to resemble Adol's "classic" armor.
    • In the English version, during the ending walkabout sequence in Grancel, one NPC is taking a picture of his daughter and says "Okay, say "fuzzy pickles"!"
    • One of the treasure chests in Chapter 2, if you try to open it when it is empty, will say "Feed me, Seymour!".
    • In The 3rd, when Kevin indicates that he wants to change his Dominion title the name suggestions include Black Arrow (which could be a nod to either the famous arrow of Bard from The Hobbit or the Robert Louis Stevenson book) and Blue Comet (a color-shifted reference to Char Aznable the Red Comet).
  • Single Phlebotinum Limit: Everything is powered by Sepith/Quartz. From lights to airships to combat magic.
  • Sinister Scythe: Your first hint that Renne only looks cute and innocent.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism:
    • The main story arc (in FC and SC) actually slides along the scale as it goes on. It starts off pretty light and idealistic, but then gets more and more cynical and dark until we're at almost Berserk levels of bastardity and cynicism, to the point that even Estelle begins to crack under the strain. Ultimately it swings back toward the idealist side of things in the grand finale, though. The title can be heard as "Miracle in the Sky" in Japanese for a reason, after all.
    • The third chapter, meanwhile, works partially because it examines the concept of this and how we bury ourselves in our perceptions. It even uses Loewe, Cassius and several figures from Kevin's past to hammer the point home.
  • Sky Pirates: The Capuas are a classic example.
  • Smug Snake: Most villains. The ones you should be afraid of are the ones who aren't this, at least when you initially meet them.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Capua Sky Bandits are... perhaps not evil-evil, but certainly criminals with a fair bit of what that entails, the proper villains of FC (the Liberl Royal Army Intelligence Division) are principled in their own way but willing to engage in acts that most people would consider "evil", and the overall villains (the Society of Ouroboros) are willing to routinely engage in acts of mass assault, property destruction, attempted and actual murder and whatnot in order to further their ends.
  • The Southpaw: Remember kids, every swordsman that is left-handed is a Master Swordsman, just ask Loewe.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: One of Japan's most famous recent examples.
  • Student Council President: Jill. Lechter is revealed to be the one in charge before Jill, during his time observing Liberl's situation from Jenis Royal Academy.
  • Tarot Motifs: Enforcers' number and personality are based on the tarots. Like Renne (XV) is The Devil, or Campanella (0) is The Fool. Joshua (XIII) was Death, Blueblanc (X) is The Wheel of Fortune, Walter (VIII) is Strength, and Luciola (VI) is The Lovers. Loewe is actually an odd one: he is obviously The Emperor (IV), but he's No. II, which is actually The High Priestess. Take a look on the meaning of The High Priestess. Loewe actually fits BOTH The Emperor and The High Priestess.
  • Taken for Granite: Kind of. Weissmann was shot with a Salt Bolt that effectively worked like this, except transforming him to salt instead of stone. On his way out after retrieving some 'lost property' Campanella stopped to to break Weissmann's now-petrified body into pieces.
  • There Are No Coincidences: The Erebonian Empire just happened to have spent years secretly developing steam powered tanks with gunpowder weapons, which would be utterly useless against orbal-powered tanks... and then Ouroboros summoning the Arc causes every orbment in Liberl to suddenly stop working. Olivier flat out states that there was no way anyone could have forseen a use for steam tanks unless they knew that there was a way to make orbments break down in large quantities... which means that Chancellor Osbourne of the Erebonian Empire is connected to Ouroboros and knew enough of their plans to start planning to take advantage of them years in advance.
  • Together in Death: Loewe and Karin.
  • Tomboy: Estelle practically defines the trope, both as a young girl in the prologue and during the main game itself. Anelace and Josette also have elements of this. Josette resents this perception deep down, though, since she's only doing the kind of work she does because her family's fortune was ruined.
  • Title Drop: An interesting variation. The English title "Trails in the Sky" is part of the lyrics to one of Olivier's songs, but it ultimately has little to do with the plot. However, the Japanese title "Sora no Kiseki" can also be translated to mean "Miracle in the Sky". The word "miracle" is dropped many times throughout FC and SC and the concept of miracles is central to the themes of the story.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Estelle and Kloe's relationship in a nutshell.
  • Truth in Television: Joshua accurately describes the conditions of what happens to the citizens of a country that focuses on its military might — high taxes, weapon development, military conscription and others contrasted to a peaceful government focused on peace through diplomacy and trading.
  • Tykebomb: Joshua in FC and SC. Hell, Renne counts too, for that matter. Or should it be "for that Pater"?
  • Underestimating Badassery: In the final chapter in FC, when Estelle, Scherazard and Kloe rescue the Queen during the coup d'état, they encounter Lieutenant Lorence. Estelle, who defeated his team during the tournament, confidently states that even though he is strong, there is no way he can take the three of them all by himself. Estelle...you are so very, very wrong...
  • Unwitting Pawn: The party becomes this to Weissmann in FC. Joshua, in particular, does not take it well.
    • ** Weissmann himself winds up becoming one. Right before his death he wonders whether the Master knew in advance that Weissmann's plan to evolve humanity using Aureole and the Ark would fail and that he was simply being tested and failed. He's right.
  • Vendor Trash: Monsters and even human enemies don't drop money, they drop sepith, small septium crystals. These can be exchanged for money at stores or used to purchase orbment upgrades and quartz crystals, but the only way to receive money directly in the game is to complete quests.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Sealed Area underneath Grancel Castle in FC, Axis Pillar in SC and the Castle of Illusions (aka Phantasmagoria) that is the heart of Phantasma in The 3rd.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: To put it simply, the party really sucks at capturing anyone they defeat. And when they finally manage to knock a villain (Kanone Amalthea) unconscious, they neglect to restrain her in any way or confiscate her weaponry/orbment to prevent her escape when she wakes up. And when she shows up again and gets knocked out again, they still just leave her unconscious without doing anything.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first boss of 3rd.
  • Walking the Earth: The game is very "Ys-scale" about this. While you will, naturally, do some wandering about (Estelle and Joshua are "Bracers", or adventurers who openly wander about doin' good (with organized HQs in multiple towns even)), the game is confined to the Liberl Kingdom in terms of scope. This is partially because the crisis is local, and partially out of realism since wandering the planet, even with a conveyance, would take months.
  • Wham Episode: The end of First Chapter. Joshua is the Black Fang of Ouroboros, he remembers the death of his family, he's been an unwitting mole since the opening text boxes of the game and is/was a pawn of Weissmann. He leaves Estelle behind so that he can... settle things. At the very end, Estelle sets off after him. This one left people spinning when the game was first released, and marked the point at which the main narrative started to get a lot darker. The effect was especially pronounced as Falcom had given no indication that the game was anything but a stand-alone title.
  • Wham Line: "Allow me to clear away your confusion. *fingersnap*" Congratulations Joshua, you now remember your place and history as the Black Fang, Legion XIII of Ouroboros.
    • "Legion Fifteen - The Angel of Exterminationnote  - Renne." What. What.
    • "I'm sorry but that's just not going to happen" Kevin revealing that A) He's present where he shouldn't be and more importantly B) he's not just a novice Grals Ritter.
    • "Now, hurry and take off that disgusting mask of yours...Lord of Phantasma—No, RUFINA ARGENT!"
  • Whip Sword: Ries uses one.
  • The Worf Effect: Agate often falls victim for this trope. In FC, he seems to win against Lorence... but then we find out that was a just a mirror body-double. Played straight in SC, in that he gets beaten easily by Loewe. Then again, in his defense Loewe and Lorence are the same person.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Joshua pulls one to Loewe in SC.
    Joshua: This soul that has been saved by sister, mended by professor, released by father, and right now is together with Estelle's...The heart of a Bracer and the skill of the Black Fang...with all of this combined, I challenge the Sword Emperor!!
    • And once again...
    Loewe: Karin is an exception! That kind of human isn't created easily! That's why—I have to test humans! To see if they can make up for the sins named "weakness" and "deceit"! And to see whether or not they are truly worthy of Karin's sacrifice!
    Joshua: Then—I'll prove it! I who has lived by sacrificing my sister, I who am weak and a liar...by meeting Estelle, I have finally found my path! This path that has led me to where you are! Humans are not weak creatures...not as long as they have each other!
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: One of the most epic and memorable in Japanese gaming history, at the end of FC. It seems like the plot is done, but aren't there a few things left over?... oh, by the way, Joshua: *fingersnap*. The fact that, back in 2004, Falcom gave no indication that the game had been split into two parts until after the credit roll, fueled the fire in Japan even harder.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Tita pulls this on Loewe when he's about to murder Agate.
  • You Should Know This Already: This is getting pretty bad in Japan, from the perspective of new fans in North America. The promotional material for the Trails Animated Adaptation shows Renne in a blatantly sinister pose with her scythe, and shows off Pater Mater, though not full-frame, and the announcement article for Ao no Kiseki spelled out "Olivier"'s proper name and title straight-out without any spoiler warning.

Alternative Title(s): Legend Of Heroes VI, Legend Of Heroes Trails In The Sky

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsInTheSky?from=VideoGame.LegendOfHeroesTrailsInTheSky