Video Game / The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
aka: Sen No Kiseki

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Following the Liberl arc in Nihon Falcom's long-running Legend of Heroes series of Eastern RPGs, Trails of Cold Steel and its sequel Trails of Cold Steel 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 full 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....

Trails of Cold Steel is the third arc in the series begun by Trails in the Sky and takes place in roughly the same time frame as Zero no Kiseki and its sequel, Ao no Kiseki. The first game in the arc was released on December 22, 2015, courtesy of XSEED Games under the title Trails of Cold Steel. XSEED brought over the second game on September 6, 2016. In December 2015 Falcom formally announced the development of a third game in the arc. There are also two audio dramas associated with the series, one for Trails of Cold Steel and one for Trails of Cold Steel II. Transcriptions of both can now be found at the official website for the second game.

As the third arc in a series with a continuous narrative, expect spoilers for previous games.
Please keep in mind also that this and associated subpages contain details for both the original game and Cold Steel II.


This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: In the original Cold Steel, level 99 is the maximum level for any character. Level 68 is generally the recommended level for fighting the final boss, and that's on Nightmare Mode. The are no optional bosses and therefore no practical need for anything close to level 99. Reach Level 80 or higher with Rean will grant you a bonus in Cold Steel II, but that's it. Furthermore, gained EXP is relative to your current level, so after a point, even fighting the toughest enemies will grant only a pittance of EXP. You can even things a bit by taking advantage of easy multipliers, but it's still a grind. Max level in Cold Steel II is 200. While you'll probably get well into the 150s if you play New Game Plus and maybe the 160s, there's not much point in going higher than that.
  • 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 Xeno and Leonidas, the Zephyr jagers. Scarlet uses a large sword, Xeno uses a lance, and Vulcan and Leonidas 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 an ex-Marshal, the school doctor was a field doctor, at least one instructor(for the military subjects) is on detached duty, classes include all the standard subjects you'd expect of a high school plus combat skills, strategic planning and tactics on the field and the use of Tactical Orbments, Class VII goes on Empire-wide field trips 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 Panzer Soldat on foot. Oh, and the Railway Military 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. In Cold Steel II, the characters regularly travel with one or more adults and express that they're quite happy to have the help of experienced and knowledgeable adults.
  • Aerith and Bob: The members of Class VII alone are mixed with normal sounding names like Emma, Alisa, and Elliot along with...Rean, Machias, Jusis and Fie.
  • 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 has a tendency to do it to any girl he's close to (Alisa, Towa, and Elise are all on the receiving end, much to their collective frustration).
  • 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.
  • Air Vent Escape: Used several times in Cold Steel II as a way of bypassing security or just accessing hidden treasure chests. Nobody in the party seems to have trouble fitting in the vents.
  • 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.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You end up briefly playing as Lloyd Bannings and Rixia Mao all of a sudden at one point in Cold Steel II.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Dress-up costumes are accessories are occasional rewards, findable treasures or purchasable items in both games. Much of the downloadable content is also costumes or accessories, including some that allow you to dress up in clothing of characters from previous installments in 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
    • Cold Steel allows you to purchase missing volumes of Red Moon Rose from Micht's shop so if you missed finding an issue you can pay to make it up later and still get a Zemurian Ore at the end of the game. The Zemurian Ore 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.
    • Cold Steel II allows the same sort of thing. It also provides many more easy opportunities to grind U-Material items, which is useful, since there's a lot more things they're good for. Also, once you get Beryl on the Courageous, she'll tell you where things stand in terms of compatibility with fellow members, which is essential for the character ending Trophies.
  • 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 Schoolhouse for the final time. Yet he's still the Big Bad of Cold Steel. By Cold Steel II, Rean would agree.
  • 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: Cold Steel 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.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: While there's no mention of that holiday being celebrated in Zemuria, Celdic is razed on December 24th, and Class VII goes after the responsible party on the 25th. The battle to liberate the capital takes place on the 31st.
  • A Taste of Power: An interesting take on this trope via In Medias Res. Instead of having abilities taken away, the prologue has you playing as the main party (and Instructor Sara) at around Lv 50 during a late chapter of the story, letting you go crazy with their Crafts and S-Crafts until it ends. It then cuts to a low-level Rean on his first day at Thors, but you know you'll have access to all those abilties later.
  • 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.
  • Authority in Name Only: Emma and Machias may be the Class VII President and Vice President, but whenever the class is in a situation where leadership is required, everyone looks to Rean.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Valimar's Spirit Path ability can take people anywhere in the country almost instantaneously, but after it's been used, Valimar is pretty much useless for the next day or so, making it's utility limited.
    • The Lost Arts are the only 5S ranked Arts in the game, and provide a 10% EXP bonus every time they're used. However, the quartz that contain them are only obtained by defeating powerful optional bosses that aren't practical to fight until late in the game, they can only be equipped in certain slots of an Orbment (and only after said slot has been upgraded to level 2), casting is very slow, even with a cast speed quartz in place, and they take 100% of the user's EP capacity to cast (unless an EP cut quartz has been equipped). As such, they generally aren't practical to use. But if a character with one equipped gets the Zero Arts combat bonus, they can be an instant game changer.
  • Background Music Override:
    • A portion of "Atrocious Raid" plays almost continuously throughout the sequence in Garrelia Fortress in Chapter 5 and doesn't stop until the final boss battle, save if you use one of the orbment charging stations to heal your party, and briefly before the first firing of the railway guns, which reveals that they start off with blanks.
    • In the final dungeon, the usual enemy battle music is forgone and, instead, "For Tomorrow" - the dungeon's BGM - continues to play straight up to the dungeon's end.
  • Badass Teacher: Thors is a military academy and most of the faculty are current or ex-military. It comes with the territory.
  • Badass Longcoat: Quite a few characters wear one in Trails of Cold Stel 2.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:Osbourne comes out on top in the end more powerful than ever having out played the Imperial Liberation Front, The Noble Alliance and Orobouros. He know also has Valimar as he newest weapon to use against his enemies. And all he did mostly was play dead for month while events unfolded.
  • Bag of Spilling: Rean loses most of his stuff and about 30 levels between games. Justified, as between games he ended up fleeing a losing battle and spent a month recovering from severe injuries taken during said battle. This, however, doesn't quite explain why the other characters join the party at about the same level as whatever Rean has at the time, even though they clearly haven't been idling. It also feels very odd that accomplished fighters such as Toval, Sara, etc., would be carrying around the same basic levels as your party. On the flipside, everybody retains their crafts from the original game, including S-Crafts, and they swiftly start gaining new abilities as well. Laura and Emma have even managed to gain new abilities prior to meeting back up the group.
  • Bash Brothers: Laura and Fie become this after sorting through their differences.
  • Battle Aura: One way to tell when someone's getting serious is if they put up a visible aura of power.
  • Battle Butler: Celestin, Patrick's servant, fights with martial arts. Sariffa, the Floralds' maid, packs two guns with her.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: In Chapter 6, Rean is supposed to meet up with Towa in the computer lab and, when he comes in, he discovers that she has fallen asleep at one of the desks. You can choose to let her sleep or poke her cheek to wake her up but, either way, Rean ultimately decides to let her sleep until she wakes up on her own. It happens again in Cold Steel II, but this time she wakes up almost right away, and laments that he always seems to find her this way.
  • Be Yourself: Valimar essentially tells Rean this in Cold Steel II, noting that there's little point in him trying to be someone or something that he's not.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rean's efforts to escape the Pentagruel with Princess Alfin falter when his Super Mode runs out while being cornered by Zephyr, Ouroboros and the ILF. Then the Courageous shows up, bearing Class VII, Sara, Toval, Claire, Sharon, Prince Olivert and Viscount Arseid. Olivert is quite thrilled with it all, expressing only that he wished their entrance could have been more dramatic by having an effect of flowing rose petals.
    • With the numerous amounts of this trope happening in both parts, the game might as well have renamed as Big Damn Heroes: The Series.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Crow gets these sometimes. Also, Machias and Elliot whenever they meet Vita Clotilde and try not to act like the fanboys they are. Millium also gets them on occasion. Patrick as well when trying to get Rean to come to the nobles' salon at the beginning of Chapter 2.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The War is over, Dukes Alberea and Cayenne have been brought to justice, and Elise and the Imperial Family are safe. But Crow is dead, Class VII is no more with its members all going their seperate ways and Osborne is more powerful than ever.
  • Black and Gray Morality: There's little to like about the Noble Alliance, who base their morality on an inherently discriminatory class system and whose actions include heavily taxing the citizenry for the benefit of the nobles, destabilizing the country in areas where the reformists hold sway, starting a civil war, hiring terrorists, Jaegers, and Ouroboros to help further their schemes, kidnapping the royal family, and levelling a town in order to punish them for not resisting the Imperial Army. However, while the Reformists seem to be the better bunch on the surface - particularly given how dedicated they are to equality for all (and the fact that they oppose the Noble Alliance's depredations) - they have plenty of skeletons in their own closet, especially given Chancellor Osbourne's tendency to annex neighbouring territories by force and intimidation, including Crossbell, Jurai, and a botched attempt to do the same to Liberl as well as his motivations to expand and centralize authority with little heed paid to those who are harmed by such actions.
  • Blade on a Stick: Gaius' spear is a conventional example while Vandyck's zanbatou is a BFS on a stick. However, 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: Cold Steel ends with Celine forcing Valimar to retreat against Rean's wishes, rather than continue a hopeless fight against a fully powered Divine 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...
  • Bookends: The first game begins with Class VII arriving in Trista by train. The second game ends with Class VII, sans Rean, heading into Trista station and departing to their disparate destinations, their time as a class now over.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Osborne is trying to break the power of the Four Great Houses on the grounds that their leaders are primarily concerned with maintaining the power and privileges of the aristocracy and disregarding the responsibilities that are supposed to come with them. But on the other side of the equation, the ILF who are backed by the Four Great Houses despise Osborne on the grounds that he doesn't care how many lives are ruined in the pursuit of his goals. Both sides are correct.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • The Radiant Medal is the reward in Cold Steel 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 generally only useful if you plan to play New Game Plus with item carryover but not level carryover. It also provides Rean with a lesser but still impressive accessory if you load a save file with that medal (Or rather, the Academic Rank that provides that medal) when starting the second game.
    • Outside of being able to view one extra optional bonding event (If one of the party members bonding is Rean) in the last chapter, the only reward for getting a level five link between any two party members is an upgraded version of the second link attack. Since it's impossible to get a level five link until shortly before the third (Far more powerful) link attack is gained automatically by story progression (In game 1. In the sequel, Burst is available the moment the party gains a fourth member, which is still well before level 5 links are available), most players won't use the Rush v2 attack very often.
    • In-Universe, the final boss of 2, Loa Lucifera tells Class VII and their supporters that defeating it won't give them any reward. They take it on anyway as a means to show they're True Companions who will rise to the challenge no matter what.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: At the end of the first game, Crow and the Noble Alliance succeed in defeating Class VII and Rean is involuntarily whisked away from the battlefield by Celine and Valimar. He discovers afterwards that the rest of Class VII scattered across the country to evade the Noble Alliance and pursue their own goals; the first segment of the game is, accordingly, Putting the Band Back Together.
  • 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 Cameo: Pikkard and Noi dolls are on sale in Celdic. A smaller PenPen doll can also be seen in Millium's room, doubling as a callback to both Ao no Kiseki and Zwei II. And that's just the out-of-universe examples. Cold Steel 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.
  • Can You Hear Me Now?: There's a sidequest that is actually named this in the penultimate chapter. It has the party running around Roer finding places with poor orbal reception. While the quest is successful if you find three dead zones, you get a bonus if you find all five.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: At one point Cold Steel II, Rean is talking various bosses during a truce period, and some of them change from casual outfits to their combat outfits between cuts during the conversation. Most obvious with Duvalie.
  • 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.
  • Chick Magnet: Rean.
  • Civil War: What Olivier and his third way faction are trying to prevent.
  • Clark Kenting: In a reversal of the normal application of this trope, Machias conceals his identity as the Imperial Governor's son by taking his glasses off.
  • 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.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The first game opens on one, with Rean screaming as the railway guns fire. Then it turns out in Chapter 5 that the guns were pre-loaded with blank charges to prevent accidents, and Class VII has ten more minutes to get to the guns while they're being reloaded with live ammunition.
    • 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 limousine of the same model used by Dieter in Zero.
    • When Olivert first appears to introduce himself to Class VII, it's to the fanfare that usually signalled his arrival in the Trails in the Sky games. He's even dressed up in his Lenheim self before switching to his royal outfit.
    • The game also features a few purely musical examples. When watching maneuvers at Garrelia 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. Olivert is the first one to sing along. Makes sense as he's from that game.
  • 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 Pantagruel, 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 Klaus (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, Commoner 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 Cold Steel, 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...
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): If you choose to do a study session with Crow in Chapter 3, he teaches Rean about CPR, and then suggests that CPR on a pretty girl is a gateway to "fireworks."
    Rean: Every time I think anything positive about you, you go and say something like that...
  • Crapsack World: Erebonia has been presented as something like this since the first game. As with Crossbell, it's not quite 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 one of the most troubled realms on the continent. For example:
    • The country still possesses a feudal power structure which is only slowly granting more power to the Commoners... and the person behind those changes is Osborne. And by "still", we mean that it's pretty clear that Erebonia is the only true autocratic monarchy left on Zemuria, with it being ringed by states that are more or less democratic, and all of them, including fellow major power Calvard, distrust Erebonia due to its autocratic nature.
    • Relatedly, tensions between the social classes have been simmering for years, decades really, 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 territories (and relatedly, the underlying sting of having been humiliated on the field of battle by tiny, independent Liberl) 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.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Alisa and Rean meet in the first game when Rean pauses in the middle of the street to take in the sights of Trista and Alisa walks into him.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The closing credits of Cold Steel II present a series of photographs giving hints into what the members of Class VII and certain other key characters are up to following the events of the game.
  • Crossover: 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 (Who according to the Battle Notes is level 49 at a time when the party is roughly level 15) and the other is the best swordsman in the Empire (Level 80 when the party is roughly level 50) so the result was something of a foregone conclusion. The fight against <C> (Level 60 when the party is roughly level 40) 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. Then Class VII has to fight their teacher, who puts up an actual fight.
    • The Panzer Soldats 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 Divine 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.
    • If you carry over your levels and equipment on New Game Plus, you can easily devastate Sara, even in Nightmare mode, by flashing her with Rean, Machias and Jusis's S-Breaks before she can even get a turn. So the game cheats by making it so that you can only reduce her HP to 1 and then she flashes your party with own S-Break for 49,999 damage each to annihilate them. If any of them had any sort of guard status up to protect against it, she'll just do it again.
    • Similarly, you can have Rean hold his own against Victor for a while if you keep healing, but eventually he will hit him for 49,999 damage and it's over.
    • At the end of the first Act of Cold Steel II, all of the most major players of allied forces of the Noble Alliance descend upon Ymir. Obviously things do not go well for our intrepid heroes. It ends with Rean agreeing to come the Noble Alliance's flagship airship for a meeting with the Noble Alliance's leader, Duke Cayenne.
  • Custom Uniform/Non-Uniform Uniform: Sort of. As noted, Class VII gets red uniforms that set them apart from the other students... except that these are basically just red-colored jackets or vests, and the actual design is pretty much the same as the standard Thors uniform. Everyone's outfit from the waist down is unique - while the girls all wear pleated skirts and the boys dark slacks, the color pattern on the skirts varies, as does the styling on the trousers. Footgear tends to be distinct from student to student as well.
    • Angelica also has a "custom uniform" in the sense that she doesn't actually bother wearing her Thors attire, instead going around in her biking suit. Nobody really complains because she's the daughter of one of the most powerful families in Erebonia.
    • George is another person who never wears his uniform, instead wearing a yellow jumpsuit that is far more practical when tinkering with orbal equipment. Since he appears to be the only orbal repairman in all of Trista, this may be justified.
  • Darth Vader Clone: <C>, the leader of the Imperial Liberation Front.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: All bosses get this, and in the sequel Giant Mooks get this treatment as well.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Done twice. Millium first becomes playable after you defeat her in a fight and in the previous school year, Angelica essentially punched Crow into becoming her friend.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Narses (a minor noble who appears towards the end of Cold Steel II as part of the fishing sidequest) has these and uses "words" such as "impudential," "stylacefully" and "idiosynculiar."
  • Distracted by the Sexy: If you choose the nighttime bonding event with Emma in chapter 3, Rean spends some time studying with her. However, he doesn't get much done because he finds himself distracted by her... large chest. He finally shakes himself out of it, makes an excuse, and they go back to studying.
    "However, because he suddenly found his mind...otherwise occupied, he wasn't able to retain much of what he learned."
  • 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 Cold Steel. 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.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Defeat bosses too quickly and you'll miss out on their monster logbook entries, so if you're going for the Trophy for maxing it out, you need to stall a few fights (or make sure to fight them with a good supply of Battle Scopes or a party member who has an analyze art or craft).
  • Downer Beginning: The second game, as it picks up where the first one's Cliffhanger left off. The prologue is even titled "The Depths of Despair".
  • Dracolich: Zolo Agruga, important enough to make it into the opening movie and game trailers.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: When trying to track down non-Class VII members of Thors Academy in the second half of Cold Steel II, the player is aided by the fact that despite a month having passed since Thors fell and the common-born students all being hunted by the rebels, they are all still wearing their school uniforms, even if they're currently living in rebel-held territory.
  • Driven to Suicide: A suicide in the past is responsible for Machias' hatred of Nobles and his father starting to work for Osborne.
  • Dropping the Bombshell: Sharon revealing that Alisa is a member of the Reinford household.
  • Dummied Out: Cold Steel I was supposed to include a visit to Ymir after the end of Chapter 6 after the events in Roer, but this was cut from the final game due to time and budgetary constraints (the plot elements of this visit were eventually covered in an audio CD - XSEED has translated the CD's text into English and posted it here). The files for Ymir still exist in the game's data, and are almost identical to the Ymir that eventually appeared in Cold Steel II.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Most of Class VII appears in the background of the game's earliest cutscenes, well before the player learns that they're Rean's future party-mates. You can see a few of them onboard the train Rean is riding and in the Trista train station.
  • 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. In II, it's topped by Loa Lucifera who tells the party that killing him would mean nothing to Class VII.
  • 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. In 'Cold Steel II, the entire interior at the end of the game transforms into the Reverie Corridor.
  • 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, Towa, Lloyd (Primary), Gaius, Millium and Altina (Secondary)
    • Water Element: Laura, Elise, Claire, Vita (Primary), Eliot, Crow and Towa (Secondary)
    • Fire Element: Alisa, Alfin (Primary), Rean, Laura, Emma, Sara and Lloyd (Secondary)
    • Wind Element: Gaius, Fie, Sara, Toval (Primary), Jusis and Rixia (Secondary)
    • Time Element: Rean, Crow, Sharon, Altina (Primary), Fie, Angelica and Elise (Secondary)
    • Space Element: Eliot, Jusis, Angelica (Primary), Alisa, Claire and Toval (Secondary)
    • Mirage Element: Emma, Millium, Rixia (Primary), Machias, Alfin, Sharon and Vita (Secondary)
  • Enemy Civil War: While it doesn't come to open battle, various members of the rebel army spend a lot of time jockeying for relative position in their organization even while they're busy waging war against the empire.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Rean gets Machias and Jusis to agree to a truce by framing their field exam as a competition with the other half of Class VII, and telling them that their squabbling is the reason Group B performed so poorly last time.
    • 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 the Phantasmal Blaze plan is another matter...
    • In Cold Steel II, the party learns that the Noble Alliance teamed up with the Calvard Republic to take over the watchtower in the Nord Highlands, even though Erebonia and the Republic are notorious for being mortal enemies.
    • When Duke Cayenne forces Prince Cedric to Awaken the Vermillion Knight (which promptly goes out of control), Vita and Crow help Class VII take it down.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • When jaegers sent by the rebels to capture Princess Alfin set half of Ymir on fire and start harming civilians, the Azure Abyss apologizes for their conduct, hypnotizes them into going back to base with a report that there's nothing interesting there... and then kidnaps the princess herself using less destructive methods.
    • When Duke Albarea razes Celdic, the rest of the rebels wash their hands of him and tell Class VII that they won't intervene if they try taking him down. Duvalie meanwhile really wanted to gut Duke Albarea right there and then if it wasn't for the fact that she was ordered to be a witness to the fall of Aurochs Fort.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: The Prologue of Cold Steel (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.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Despite it almost becoming expected, it never seems to fail to surprise the students of Class VII to learn that yet another respected and admired adult they meet attended Thors.
    Elliot: Did I hear that right?
    Jusis: You attended Thors as well, Your Majesty?
    Eugent: That I did. It's a longstanding tradition that the men of the Imperial family attend the academy. Olivert did in his younger years, and, Aidios willing, Cedric as well..
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Alfin is adorable, beloved by all, and quite mischievous... as you would expect from that family.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Chancellor Osborne vs the Imperial Liberation Frount. Osborne is every bit the tyrant they claim he is, but they're willing to obliterate Crossbell just to kill him.
  • Evolving Credits
    • In the original Cold Steel, when you first start up the game, it's just Rean riding alone in the train, with more people added on once you go on the field studies. By chapter 3, the train is now filled with everyone from Class VII until two more members join in chapter 5, who then appear on the train. In chapter 4, they all take their class jackets off because it's summer, which they put back on when summer is over in chapter 6. If you save the game and then reload in the brief period of time in the final chapter between clearing the old schoolhouse and performing the concert, the party will be shown wearing their concert outfits. The view through the windows of the train is the location that Rean's team is currently exploring in the current chapter's field exam.
    • This returns for Cold Steel II with Rean first alone in a snowy field, then with classmates/supporting adults on a balcony and Ymir, then eventually the wide group of classmates and supporters gathered in and around the footbath in Ymir. Later, when Rean is forced aboard the Alliance's flagship airship, the scene depicts Valimar and Ordine on the airship's deck. After that, the opener shifts to the party on the deck of the Courageous. From there, the view of the clouds from the deck varies depending on the time of the day of the story, generally either a blue sky or sunset clouds. During the segment after the party retakes Trista, however, it's a night sky. Then, following that, it's snowing. And when the party enters the final dungeon, Valimar is shown stationed outside it. Then, when you begin the Divertissement section, it shows Lloyd and Rixia from the center down standing outside a certain gate. Finally, following this segment, Class VII is gathered atop the rooftop of Thors on a sunny day.
  • Exact Words: When blatantly noble-hating Machias asks his classmates what their social rank is, Rean says that "there isn't a drop of noble blood in my veins". This is technically true, but glosses over the fact that while Rean is common-born, he's also the adopted son of a Baron, making him low-end nobility despite his lack of pedigree. Also, once Machias learns the full truth, he treats it essentially as if Rean had flat-out lied.
  • 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.
  • Exposed to the Elements: In Cold Steel II, all the girls in Class VII are wearing outfits that stop above the knees, in a game that takes place during December, and includes multiple visits to a town in the snow-covered mountains, and none of them complain about the cold. Laura and Emma are at least wearing open coats that go down to mid-calf over their skirts, but none of the others have anything below the bottom of their skirts/shorts other than their footgear. Fie is the worst example, wearing an open jacket, a midriff-baring top, and low-hanging short shorts. Rean and Gaius actually have a conversation about it if you view one of their bonding events. He says that he's used to dealing with the cold.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Compared to the first game where it covers six months, most of the second game covers only about a month and a few days. It then has a Time Skip three months later at March where the Epilogue Chapter takes place.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Downplayed - no one can tell the twins Linde and Vivi apart when one of them (usually Vivi) does her hair up like the other's typical style. However, there is a notable difference between the two - Linde has darker, brownish eyes, while Vivi's are bright yellow.
  • 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.
    • Towards the end of Cold Steel II, you learn that :the Imperial Liberation Front's nemesis, Chancellor Osborne, pulled the same stunt, having actually survived after Crow apparently shot him in the heart.
  • Fetch Quest: It wouldn't be a Kiseki game without lots of these, this time given to you as homework.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: In the epilogue of the second game, it's revealed that all of Class VII - save for Rean - have decided to go their separate ways and will not be returning to Thors for their second year. Alisa, Jusis, and Laura are following in their parents' footsteps, Elliot and Machias are transferring to different schools in Heimdallr, Gaius and Emma are returning to their home territories, Fie is headed off to find the remnants of Zephyr, and Millium and Sara are returning to their previous occupations. You get to play through their final days together as a class and go on one final adventure together. Upon completing the Bonus Dungeon, they declare Class VII officially disbanded. It's every bit the Tearjerker it sounds like.
  • 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 Cold Steel is Ordine, the Blue Divine Knight.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Laura and Fie, as well as Jusis and Machias (not that either of them would ever admit it). The senior-students also suggest Angelica and Crow are this, as they did not get along well when they first met.
  • Five-Bad Band: One per game. Cold Steel 1 has:
  • 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. Crow is another pseudo-foreign student, being from a region that had been annexed into the Empire less than a decade before.
  • Foreshadowing: Lots of course, but specific mention goes to a history lesson with Thomas. When Thomas asks Rean what the name of the band of knights of Lianne Sandlot, the correct answer would be the Eisenritter. The other two choices however, Stahlritter and Gralsritter, are also significant however because the second game reveals that you're going to fight the leader of the Stahlritter, Duvalie, and as for the latter, it's revealed that Thomas is part of the Gralsritter. These terms obviously have been around for quite some time, but the significance of it is another story.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Rean and Alisa briefly met each other when the Reinfords took a family vacation to Ymir nearly a decade before the events of the first game. Alisa got lost in the mountains and Rean guided her back to town. They don't recognize each other as the other party in that story until an optional bonding event in the second game.
  • For Science!: The head of RIT does research purely for the engineering challenges involved, caring nothing for what his clients might do with the fruits of his labors. This is how the Noble Alliance ended up with weapons systems that allowed them to launch an all-out civil war, and how Valimar got upgraded to be able to stand up to Crow's Divine Knight so that Rean could end the war.
  • 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. Cold Steel starts months before that point. Thanks to what we saw in Ao we know that by the end of the game Garrelia 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 Cold Steel II to an extent because Ao's ending also told us that Osborne's faction wins, even though Cold Steel ends with the Noble Faction appearing to have an unbeatable upper hand..
  • Game Changer: Acknowledged in universe is the introduction of the Panzer Soldat 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 Cold Steel was released that the sequel would be one of these for the franchise.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Instructor Sara is Famed In-Story as a Badass Teacher and the youngest ever Bracer to achieve A Rank status. Fittingly, when she joins the party at Garrelia Fortress she's exactly as Purposefully Overpowered as you'd expect. This also applies to Sharon in the second game. Being Legion of Ouroboros, her crafts are Purposefully Overpowered and she's considered the best of three temporary party members (the other two are Toval and Claire).
  • 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. Rean and Alisa's dispute doesn't break the Link system because they get over their issues before they end up in the same party. Jusis and Millium's link also doesn't break (despite Jusis' apparent distrust over her) partly because Millium doesn't aware that Jusis makes him irritated as opposed to what happened with Jusis-Machias and Fie-Laura and Millium joins after Jusis had his major Character Development months prior. Straighter examples of this trope are shown in several instances below:
    • The story makes a huge deal about how important and battle-changing combat links are but they hardly even make a difference during actual gameplay battles, especially during early and mid game. Though this is actually a bit justified in that the true power of the ARCUS only comes to the fore when they are all able to work in sync. You see a flash of it at the beginning of the game with the first boss, but it doesn't really come into play until you get Burst, which allows everyone to rush all opponents on the field in succession. As Rean sometimes says after winning a battle with it...
    Rean: This is our real power!
    • The story also makes a big deal about how much more powerful Laura and Fie are compare the rest but in gameplay, (barring overpowered skills like Rean's Arc Slash) they aren't too different from any of the other physical-based characters. To ameliorate this, Laura and Fie have their S-Craft without advancing the storyline.
      • Another problem then comes during the battle where you play as Fie and Laura vs Rean and Machias, which is arguably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, battle in the game, especially on the higher difficulties. This can also be justified since both the fight comes after Fie and Laura finished their duel.
    • In New Game Plus, if you carry your levels and equipment, you can easily one-shot most regular enemies throughout a good portion of the game and get out of most boss battles with barely a scratch, even on Nightmare Mode. The characters, however, will still act in the cutscenes as if they had engaged in battles which had pushed them to their limits.
  • Get Out: The girls dismiss Crow's idea of having them in bikinis for the School Festival with that statement.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The idea of an A-rank Bracer and an Ouroboros Enforcer living together under one roof, with both perfectly aware of who the other is, sounds almost like the set-up to a piece of in-universe sketch comedy. But it happens and it produces no shortage of amusing moments.
  • Go Look at the Distraction: In one of the sidequests which has Rean trying to bust Rex for selling candid photos, he corners him at the Old Schoolhouse. Rex then distracts Rean by asking what Alisa's doing in a swimsuit. Rean soon realizes he fell for the oldest trick in the book!
  • Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: Emma and Vita.
  • The Great Offscreen War: Numerous mentions are made to the War of the Lions, a major civil war that was fought 250 years before the events of the game and was ended by Emperor Dreichels, the founder of Thors Academy.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Class VII's heroic efforts to stop the firing of the railway guns of Garrelia Fortress are never publicly acknowledged, as the ILF's attack on the fortress was classified. And they also become moot when the entire fortress is completely destroyed two months later.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare difficulty is intended to be this if you choose it from the start. If you choose it on New Game+, however, you can carry all your levels and equipment, etc., from the first playthrough, which effectively makes it ridiculously easy throughout most of the game right up until around the end when your levels become comparable to those of the enemies again.
  • 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 on the entrance exam and ties Emma for first on the midterms.
  • 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.
  • I Have Your Wife: Duke Albarea tries to use the family of his political and/or military opponents as hostages on multiple occasions.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Lose the final battle of the game and it's game over, of course. Win the final battle, against Crow and his Ordine and he just gets back up, informs Rean that he's been operating a Divine Knight for three years, compared with Rean who just started, and crushes him good, forcing the ending of the game in which Rean has to flee in order to live for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II.
  • 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 (Parm and Saint-Arkh) or which are probably going to be important later (Byronia Island).
    • Toval, a Bracer who does a lot of off-screen string-pulling to bail Class VII out of trouble several times, at Sara's request. And one of the main characters in 'Carnelia' is based on him. Actually, most major non-villainous characters outside Class VII fall into this.
    • Inverted with Bleublanc, who's a major antagonist in earlier games but doesn't play a big role in Cold Steel, making him a villain of another story. He is however, the primary antagonist of the audio drama "Returning Home" and is back in Cold Steel II as Ouroboros' Enforcer No. X.
    • And from a more literal use of this trope, Rean is this in the Divertissment Chapter.
  • Hidden Depths: He doesn't get much of a chance to show them off in Cold Steel 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.
    • Fairly early on in Cold Steel II, you're tossed into a boss battle with two members of Fie's former jaeger corps, Zephyr. Both have around 90,000 HP and it's said before the battle that the party has about a "20% chance" of victory. You're allowed to whittle around a quarter of that before both use their S-Crafts. The battle ends automatically a few turns later and it's revealed that they were holding back. Later on, a fight against Jusis' brother Rufus is so hopeless that on the first playthrough the only way to survive the first art is to use a Master Quartz with auto-reflect or auto-revive capabilities. And if he ever drops below 50% health (which has to be done if you want to max out AP over the course of the game), he'll spam S-Crafts until the party drops.
      • There's another hopeless fight in between those two where you fight Duvalie and McBurn. To get the bonus AP, you have to defeat Duvalie. Duvalie herself isn't too terribly hard to beat if you do everything possible to max out your damage output and blow 200 CP S-Crafts, but McBurn will effortlessly wipe you out in no time.
  • How We Got Here: Most of the first game is a flashback before the events of the Garrelia Fortress.
  • HP to 1: The final boss of Cold Steel II, Loa Luciferia, has a move that can do this to everyone in the active battle party.
  • 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 Divine Knights, machines from Erebonia's distant past. Rean is chosen as the Awakener of Valimar the Ashen Knight at the end of Cold Steel while Crow is the Awakener of Ordine the Azure Knight. There are also the Panzer Soldat manufactured by Reinford's Fifth Division with help from Ouroboros, which are implied to be based on the Divine Knights using Ordine as a model.
  • Idea Bulb: An anime-style idea bulb will sometimes appear over a character's head when they get an idea, such as in Chapter 4 when Emma excuses her talking with her cat, Celine, as talking with a friend on her ARCUS unit. It also sometimes shows up when Rean answers a question in class.
  • 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? In Emma's defense, Vita put a curse upon herself so that information about her wouldn't be leaked to Emma, possibly in addition to Celine (confirmed by Celine). Until Vita deliberately deactivated the curse, Emma wouldn't think of listening to Abend Time at all. Not only had Emma never heard of Abend Time, Celine had not met Vita at all. Vita's curse also prevented people from recognizing her as Misty; Rean could tell only because of his latent powers let him pick up more info than others.
  • "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 Cold Steel and most of Cold Steel II, but it finally worked in front of the Red Divine Knight. However, Crow does a Heroic Sacrifice to let Rean get close enough to save the day, resulting in the former's death.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Elliot uses a variation on the Provincial Army when investigating a theft at the Celdic markets. Two merchants had their stalls robbed, Heinz who sold accessories and Marco who sold produce. Elliot asks the army if they had any leads on where Marco's stole bracelets were. The army corrects him that it was actually Heinz who had bracelets stolen... but if they were telling the truth about not having investigated, there's no way they could've know that...
  • In Medias Res: Cold Steel begins on 8/31/1204 as Class VII, Sara and Neithardt fight terrorists attacking Garrelia Fortress. The next five Chapters are spent explaining how they got there.
  • Internal 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 Divine Knight grants an Awakener 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.
    • Played straight with Instructor Nichthart in the sequel, who's able to pilot a Spiegel very effectively despite having no experience with one before. (His test fight against Rean is one of the tougher mech battles up to that point, to boot)
  • 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.
  • I Think You Broke Her: Millium delivered this line when Elliot changed into his Drill Sergeant mode, stating nobody was allowed to get out of the old school building until their concert rehearsal was finished.
    ''Emma: ...Fine... I suppose I'll just have to cast my shame to the wind and go through with it *grumble* *incoherent mumble* *blank stares*
    Rean: E-Emma?
    Millium: Oh no... I think we broke Emma!''
    • Another variant happens on the following day. After rigorous training, Crow suddenly announced the class had to prepare for an encore. An already exhausted Emma gave up and fell down on her knees.
    Millium: Ah! You killed her!
  • It's All About Me: A common factor among the Noble Faction
    • Duke Cayenne is obsessed with rehabilitating the reputation of his ancestor who led the losing faction in the War of the Lions, to the point where he starts another civil war so that he can win it.
    • Duke Albarea is obsessed with ensuring the ascendancy of Nobles in general and House Albarea in particular. His relationship with Jusis centers entirely around how his second son's conduct reflects on the reputation of the House. He also sees absolutely nothing wrong with doing immoral or outright illegal things to bring about his goals, and even when those actions cause his allies and the rest of his family to abandon him in disgust, he still can't understand that he did anything wrong and rants about how they all betrayed him.
    • General Le Guin wants to be a famous warrior, so she goes to war in the hopes of making a name for herself by defeating the greatest warriors on the other side.
    • McBurn doesn't care about the war one way or the other, all he wants is the opportunity to find and fight someone good enough to force him to go all out.
  • It's Always Spring: Despite most of the second game taking place during December, the locations that were visited in both games don't look like they've changed seasons. For example, the flowers in the Thors Academy garden are still in bloom on December 30th.
  • 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 Millium joins Class VII, she technically joins the Cooking Club, though mostly so she can eat the food. The fishing sidequest also more-or-less makes Rean an honorary member of the Fishing Club, which only has one other member anyway.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The regular and provincial armies tend to really resent it when the Railway Military Police use their authority to intervene 'to ensure the safety of the transportation system'. Claire couldn't care less (Especially since the provincial forces are involved in the incidents that she's trying to resolve most of the time).
  • Just Smile and Nod: In Cold Steel II, when Sara suggests that the final free day is a good day for the students of Class VII to "get some ooh-la-la," the other students mock her as being as "shining counterexample" of this, given the time that she spends alone in her room drinking. Gaius eventually suggests that the polite thing to do would be to just smile and nod, but they continue anyway, Fie suggesting that Sara should just find some cats to snuggle up with if she keeps setting her sights on men like Laura's dad (a famed swordsman known as the Radiant Blademaster.)
  • King Mook: All the Trial Chest bosses in the sequel.
  • Knowledge Broker: Micht's real profession.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: As Cold Steel II is virtually an Immediate Sequel to a game that ended on a Cliffhanger, all of the gigantic twists at the end of the first game are the basic foundation of the plot. In particular Valimar, whose existence alone is a big spoiler for the first game, is all over the opening movie, is one of the first things you see on starting the game proper and is central to an entire game mechanic. Crow and Vita being villains and the Noble Alliance taking over most of Erebonia and starting a civil war are more examples of huge reveals from the first game that are common knowledge in the second.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Class VII members get red uniforms, while everyone else is divided by noble/commoner status into white and green respectively.
  • Leaked Experience: Although you can switch in and out party members in a fight (there are 7 people you can bring in one party), you're only required to fight with four. Those who gets left behind in Courageous, however, don't gain one.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If Millium is in your party when you complete the sixth (and apparently final) floor, she'll complain that, "That can't be the end! That'd make this the worst-designed dungeon ever!" Also, the party in general comments about the wrongness of it being the final floor from go once you see on the elevator panel that it's the last location listed.
  • Lethal Chef: Played with. Every member of the party has some recipes that they're good at and some that they're terrible at. For example, Jusis can make an incredible herb chowder but can't make edible tomato sandwiches. This is important because there are three unofficial sidequests connected with cooking: Instructor Thomas and one of the upper-class dorm maids are looking for unique dishes (the maid the highest quality examples and Thomas the lowest quality ones), and will pay in items for every five examples provided, and in the last chapter, Margarita (herself an oblivious Lethal Chef) will provide a Master or Rare (if the Master Quartz was received in a previous playthrough) Quartz if you can present her with a notebook that shows all eighty (Twenty recipes times four levels of quality) dishes in it. Similar unofficial sidequests occur in the second game.
  • 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
    • Happens again in Cold Steel 2 with Angelica and her father Marquis Rogner with their Soldats. They go one-on-one while ordering their followers to not interfere. After a brief battle, Angelica wins and Marquis Rogner takes his loss surprisingly well and agrees to pull the Nortia Provincial Army out of the war.
  • 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, more so with DLC casual clothing and New Game+ bonuses.
  • Little Hero, Big War: While Class VII's actions are critical to every campaign they participate in in the war, it's made quite clear that the Imperial Army is doing the lion's share of the fighting. In many cases, the only reason Class VII is free to act is because the Army is pinning down the bulk of the rebel forces somewhere else.
  • Living with the Villain: Surprisingly common in Cold Steel:
    • The super-maid Sharon is actually an Ouroboros Enforcer, which theoretically places her in conflict with many of Class VII's allies, like Sara and the Intelligence Division, although this is ultimately a subversion as no conflict ever arises from it. This elevates to Go-Karting with Bowser once everyone realises who Sharon is.
    • Turns out that the terrorist "C" that Rean spends most of the game hunting down was actually living just across the hall from him.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: In the original Trails of Cold Steel, you have nine characters that are playable throughout most of the game (Rean, Elliot, Alisa, Laura, Fie, Jusis, Machias, Emma and Gaius), two that join temporarily in parts of the game that become playable in Chapter 5 (Millium and Crow) and two that are briefly playable (Sara and Angelica). Ten out of those eleven are playable in Cold Steel II and the game piles on a bevy of Promoted to Playable characters such that your playable team is larger than Final Fantasy VI, assuming you don't count that game's briefly playable moogles. At the end of the second game, there are 18 playable characters, 23 if you count the Phantasmal Mirror items that you transform your characters into other characters, generally antagonists.
  • Lost Forever: A recurring case in the whole Legend of Heroes series and Trails of Cold Steel is no different, there’s a mind boggling amount of side-quests and items that can be missed, the games expects the player to really take their time talking to everyone again and again as much as possible in order to trigger hidden events, and these are all situational, meaning that if you didn’t talk to X character before to trigger an event with character Y later then you can kiss goodbye to that side-quest.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Duke Cayenne 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 Phantasmal 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.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Poor Rean can't catch a break in the prologue. He gets a faceful of Alisa cleavage, and she proceeds to spend the better part of a MONTH pissed off at him. Her being a Type-A Tsundere doesn't help matters either.
  • Meaningful Name: The Ironbloods 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 (such as luxury limousines and passenger airliners), aside from goods made by Epstein Foundation 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 its 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. In fact, the final chapter reveals that a full 60% of Thors graduates do not go into the military after graduation, and roughly a quarter of those who do seek a military career do so in the Provincial Armies rather than the Imperial Army, despite Thors being an Imperial institution.
  • Mildly Military: None of the students at Thors really carry themselves as officers in training. The fact that, on average, three-fifths of their graduates don't actually become officers might have something to do with this.
  • Militaries Are Useless:
    • The Provincial Armies believe that their job is to help maintain their overlord's privileges rather than to help fulfill said overlord's responsibilities. As such, they see patrolling to clear monsters from the highways (Which is one of the few reasons why the Great Houses should need private military forces in areas which are in no danger of invasion) as busywork which they pass off to Class VII when they can, and ignore otherwise. The few times they bother to actually do anything, they deliberately make matters worse.
    • In the opening battle of the ILF's major offensive at the end of the first game, the defenders of Trista (Consisting of six teachers, ten students, and a maid) had a better showing for themselves than the entire 1st Armored Division of the Imperial Army.
    • Averted in the second game. Once the surprise of the initial assault wears off and the survivors get a feel for what the enemy's new weapon systems are capable of, the Imperial Army is far from incompetent.
  • Mind Screw: For anyone who played the Crossbell arc the appearance of Crow and Millium at Garrelia 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-Mishy.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Utility: Alisa's father once took a grain of Zemurian Ore, the rarest and most valuable substance in the world... and used it as an oscillator to make the world's most accurate pocketwatch for his wife.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The Cryptids in the second game can use certain high-level Arts with no charge time. This mainly serves to make sure they quickly wipe you if you take them on too early.
  • 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 Duke Cayenne 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 Millium, 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.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Rean spends a subchapter of Cold Steel II aboard the rebel flagship, where he spends most of his time being treated to meals and socializing with people who had been bosses over the past game and a half.
  • 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.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle
    • In Chapter 4, when everyone receives their field study assignments, Rean sees that he's been assigned to a group with Laura and Fie, who are currently conflicting, and suggests to Instructor Sara that he's being used again. Sara's only response is this.
    Rean: ...That innocent whistling isn't fooling anyone.
    • As Class VII is discussing what everyone is doing for the school festival, Jusis says that the horse-riding club is planning an event and although there's supposed to be no gambling, he's sure their "senior colleague" will find a way. At this, Crow gives one of these, and the text actually reads "*innocent whistle*".
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Considering how almost every member of the Noble Alliance has their own goals and ambitions and seem to spend almost all their time working at cross-purposes, it's actually kind of remarkable that they're able to be as big of a threat as they are. To whit: Duke Cayenne wants to redeem his disgraced ancestor and become The Man Behind the Man to the Royal Family; Duke Albarea is obsessed with usurping leadership of the Alliance at any cost; Vita Clotilde just wants to set up her duel between the Ashen and Azure Awakeners and continue the Phantasmal Blaze plan, which leads her to alternately helping, testing, and hindering Class VII; Rufus is The Mole; McBurn, Duvalie, and Bleublanc are nominally there to assist Vita, but mostly pursue their own interests (respectively finding a suitable combatant to fight, fulfilling the wishes of her master, and observing beauty as only Bleublanc does); Marquess Rogner isn't all that interested in what the Alliance is doing in the first place and quickly withdraws his aid after a showdown with his daughter; and Xeno and Leo are Only in It for the Money.
  • 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.
    • Another implied one: Sara holds the record for the youngest A-rank Bracer ever. Estelle reached A-rank before reaching seventeen by joining up at the earliest allowable age and playing a key role in resolving two national crises. Whatever Sara did to get promoted faster, it must have been really impressive.
  • 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.
    • Emma very visibly has this reaction on hearing Misty's voice over the radio for the first time.
    • Lloyd and Rixia have this expression when Rean starts bringing out the big guns: activating his Super Mode till it was interrupted by the sound of the device the former two were carrying, and Valimar.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: When you finally return to Garrelia Fortress and replay the section you play in the prologue, it's revealed that the railway guns' first shots are blanks to prevent firing accidents, giving Rean and the rest of Class VII a longer window to fight off the Imperial Liberation Front. Also, Millium is with you this time, and she provides exposition about who you're fighting that was missing in the prologue.
  • One-Gender School: St. Astraia, a prestigious school for rich girls. Rean's younger sister Elise attends and is good friends with Alfin.
  • One Last Field Trip: A more literal example than usual. At the end of Cold Steel II, with their time as a class together drawing to a close, Class VII gets one last free day to spend together and it goes like pretty much all of their other free days, starting with club activities and culminating with a final adventure into the Old Schoolhouse and a battle against Loa Luciferia.
  • One-Woman Wail: Anytime there's a mysterious place, you can bet Aria of the Saint will be playing in the background.
  • 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:
    • Missing Mom: Eliot, Laura, Machias and Jusis all lost mothers, mostly to illness.
    • Disappeared Dad: Alisa
    • Raised by Grandparents: Implied of Emma. Crow admits to this in the second game as well. Millium sees herself as having siblings, but no parents, and looks to Osborne as a grandparental substitute.
    • Parental Abandonment: And Fie doesn't even have that much. She was orphaned, adopted, orphaned again, and then everyone she knew abandoned her at her adoptive father's request, as he wanted her to have a chance at a life as something more than just a mercenary.
  • Party Scattering: Occurs between the first and second games. Accordingly, the first portion of the sequel involves Putting the Band Back Together.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Elise is a master of this, Alisa gets a few moments and every single time Olivert and Osborne are forced to interact with each other when other people are present, their conversations are riddled with this.
  • Pet the Dog: When Rean encounters some of Fie's ex-jaeger colleagues in a non-combat situation, they spend the time asking Rean how she's doing in school and doing a little Twerp Sweating (whether the player chose Fie for the optional dance scene in the previous game or not) on the side.
  • 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. Forging a strong link provides all sorts of benefits, such as the chance to automatically heal an ally when attacked, covering for another ally for reduced damage, or executing a finishing blow. However, characters that are feuding won't be able to form a link. It only works if they're friends, or at least are able to put aside their differences and find common ground.
  • 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 Zephyr 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 my major plot development which is that the man staying at Lake Lacrima is her grandfather.
  • Propaganda Machine: The rebels take over Erebonia's largest newspaper and start releasing press statements claiming that they are loyal subjects of the crown hard at work suppressing the rebellion, and that the loyalist troops resisting them are the real rebels.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: One of Class VII and the Courageous' goals is to bring back Crow who they all see as a friend and are hoping to graduate alongside them...while not mentioning how Crow is in fact the leader of the Imperial Liberation Front, a terrorist group which had already caused large amounts of damage, several casualties of Imperial military personnel and was complicit in both; a) nearly started a war between Erebonia and Calvard in Chapter 3, and b) attempting to hijack the railway guns in Chapter 5 to obliterate Crossbell, which not only had NOTHING to do with his and the rest of the ILF's grudge with Osborne, but was also hosting an INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE, which Towa was attending, and helping the Noble Alliance just to kill Chancellor Osborne. Which he then succeeded in doing near the end of Cold Steel, and thus kicking off the Civil War in the second game which Class VII and the Courageous were made TO PREVENT. Conversations with him in Cold Steel 2 clarify that he was NOT, manipulated or brainwashed in anyway, and did all of this on his own free will and shows very little in the way of regret or remorse for his actions.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The first half of Cold Steel II consists of reuniting Class VII (except for Crow) after they were scattered by the events in the finale of Cold Steel. Gathering some of the other students from Thors is a sidequest that lasts for a sizable part of the second half.
  • 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.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Class VII starts off as this.
  • R-Rated Opening: The game opens with Class VII attempting to stop a group of terrorists from capturing the Railway Guns at Garrelia 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 Divine Knight. Then he kicks Rean's ass.
    • In Chapter 3, despite finding and defeating the terrorists trying to start a False Flag Operation, Class VII alone can't prevent war breaking out, it takes someone with much more authority and connections than them to do so.
  • Red Baron: A series tradition, continued here.
    • Lianne Sandlot: The Spear Saint aka Arianrhod the Steel Maiden
    • Dreichels Reise Arnor: The Lionheart Emperor
    • Yun Kafai the Sword Hermit.note 
    • Victor S Arseid: The Radiant Blademaster
    • Red-haired Olaf Craig
    • One-Eyed Zechs Vander.note 
    • Professor Beatrix the Reviver.
    • Vita Clotilde/Misty: The Azure Abyss
    • Sara Valestin: Purple Lightning
    • Millium Orion: White Rabbit
    • Altina Orion: Black Rabbit
    • Lechter Arundel: Scarecrow
    • Claire Rievalt: Icy Maiden
    • Fie Claussell: The Fairie of the West Wind aka Sylphid
    • Sharon Kruger: The Liminalnote (The Severing Chains in XSEED's translation).
    • McBurn the Almighty Conflagration, aka the Blazing Demon
    • Duvalie the Swift
    • Rean Schwarzer: Ashen Chevalier
    • Crow Armbrust: Azure Chevalier
  • 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.
    • It's obvious once "Comrade G" introduces himself as Gideon that the ILF members' letter codenames are initials... and yet <C>'s identity still manages to be well-hidden because there just happens to be a ton of significant NPCs whose name start with C, most of whom would be plausible as villains.
  • 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 Hyarms is a male example. He's cut down to size by the even richer but slighly less bitchy Jusis. He eventually displays some redeeming qualities.
  • Running Gag: Rean being mistaken for Alisa's boyfriend by the people of Roer. Can implicitly turn into Everyone Can See It if the player chooses to focus on Alisa's bonding events.
  • Say My Name: The opening of the Japanese version of Cold Steel II has the other characters saying Rean's name repeatedly. It was determined this wouldn't work well for the English-language version, so it was changed to a selection of important lines from the previous game.
  • Scenery Porn: Nord Highlands are gorgeous and are treated as such in-universe as well. The greenery and flowers around Trista are pretty nice also and are often commented on.
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Duke Cayenne's real motivation behind founding the Noble Alliance. His ancestor, Emperor Orthos, was disgraced and deemed "The False Emperor." Cayenne wants to avenge his ancestor's defeat at the hands of Emperor Dreichels and become the real power behind the throne.
  • 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 Schoolhouse as one of the seven mysteries. She implies that of course it's included... in the real seven mysteries of Thors... In Cold Steel II, when the Reverie Corridor appears in the Old Schoolhouse, she tells Rean that he's fortunate to be one of the lucky few that gets to see the truth behind the 'eighth' of the academy's seven mysteries.
  • Sequential Boss: Cold Steel 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 Laura/Rean teasing.
    • Rean gets it with much of the cast do to Relationship values even some teachers.
  • 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 Cold Steel 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.
    • Duke Albarea has his family crest or tapestries bearing his family crest on the walls of his manor every ten feet or so.
  • Signature Team Transport: While it doesn't see much action in Cold Steel, 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 Cold Steel 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 Cold Steel's promotional webpage... except the page URLs still have the "Elebonia" spelling. "Zemlya" persists throughout.
      • What's even worse is that it's not impossible that Zemlya was always the intended spelling, but between a decade of "Zemuria" being previously used and Zemuria appearing prominently as a word in one official English release, it's likely the term won't be "corrected".
    • 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 Garrelia Fortress and its Railway Cannons from existence using one of these. The remains of the Fortress are seen in Cold Steel 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 Divine Knights have one of these.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The first game's opening spoils a couple of the game's more significant plot threads, such as Emma's link to Celine and, more notably, the existence of Valimar and the Divine Knights.
    • The second game's opening spoils where each of the party members is located (the first third of the game is spend finding them all), and Towa becoming captain of The Courageous. It also makes no attempt to hide a major Face–Heel Turn from the first game.
  • Spot the Imposter: At one point in Cold Steel II, Phantom Thief B kidnaps and impersonates a member of Class VII purely to see if Rean can figure out who he replaced.
  • Sweat Drop: This is seen quite often, pretty much whenever the characters are embarrassed or confused by something.
  • Tagline
    • "Rank means nothing. Skill means everything." - The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
    • "Peace is but a memory." - The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
  • 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 Garrelia 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.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In this game, an overkill requires you to land a killing blow that deals five times your opponent's remaining HP. It's only a 10% EXP bonus, but it can add up. Because of this, it sometimes makes sense to drag out the battle a bit to weaken the enemy enough to have a better chance of landing the overkill. Later on in the game, a great way to get overkills is to use the "Burst" link ability, which causes all of your characters to attack every target on the battlefield. What's great about it is that they will continue to strike even when the enemies are already K.O.ed, which counts as an automatic overkill. Applied correctly, you can easily land large multiple overkill bonuses, as well as other ones such as Vanquisher (40% EXP bonus for killing four or more enemies at once), Unscathed (20% bonus for taking no damage during the fight) and Swift and Sure (10% bonus for winning within three turns). The only catch is that you can only get a max of 9999 EXP per fight, though this restriction is abandoned in Cold Steel II.
  • There Is Only One Bed: During the first field exam, there are plenty of beds, but they're all in one room, which makes things awkward given that the party is of mixed genders (And Alisa is still getting over the whole Thanks for the Mammary incident).
  • This Is Reality: "Cold, cruel reality." This is the first thing that Celine tells Rean when he awakens at the beginning of Cold Steel II, wondering if he's dreaming.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Class VII somehow manages to go through an entire war without killing anybody. Whenever they fight human opponents, all they do is knock them out. Even in the Panzer Soldat battles, there's only one casualty, and that was because the Soldat in question self destructed with the pilot in it rather than just stop working. Monsters, archaisms and animals are slaughtered wholesale, however.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The announcement trailer for the localized version of the second game, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, totally spoils a couple of the most major plot points of the ending of the first Trails of Cold Steel. Definitely not something to watch if you have not completed the original game.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: In a variant, whenever Rean summons Valimar, everyone waits for Valimar to wake up and travel the distance (usually measured in miles) from where it was last left to Rean's current location and for Rean to get in before the fight resumes, despite the fact that Rean only does this when the party is cornered by opponents that they don't stand a chance against on foot.
  • Tron Lines: Ordine develops these when Crow releases the full power of the machine.
  • True Companions: Class VII steadily becomes this over the course of the two games.
  • TV Telephone Etiquette: Nobody seems to say "good-bye" talking on the ARCUS unit. For example, when Instructor Neithardt calls Rean in Chapter 4 to ask him to swing by the lounge, he simply repeats his request at the end of the conversation and then clicks off.
  • Twin Switch: Vivi loves doing this in order to prank people. Her twin sister Linde, usually the butt of Vivi's pranks, is much less supportive of the idea.
  • Two-Timer Date: This is rather amusingly averted in Cold Steel II. The final character events actually revolve around having Rean meet with a classmate (or Towa or Sara) in the Class VII dormitory once he's done with everything else he wants to do at Thors Academy and in Trista. You can have him agree to meet with any character with whom he has sufficient compatibility with and has shared a fateful moment with. If, however, you've already had him agree to meet with someone, he'll just say that he'll call to cancel to break his date with the person he already promised the meeting with. Doubles as an Anti-Frustration Feature, since the game allows to switch as many times as you want until you're satisfied with your choice, or even if you just want to see all the dialogue.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: What the Divertissment Chapter really is all about with the protagonists of the two series, Lloyd Bannings and Rean, fighting against each other.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: While still using a turn-based format and the basic mechanics, the final battles of Cold Steel and several battles in Cold Steel II 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 are seen in battle eventually but who aren't fought in Cold Steel. This includes Sharon, Vita, Vulcan's Panzer Soldat, the former Zephyr members and their Panzer Soldats, Duke Cayenne and Rufus Albarea. Those get resolved in Cold Steel II (except for Cayenne, who is never fought directly, and Played With with Vulcan as while you do fight him he uses a totally different Panzer Soldat to the one he had before), but that game notably introduces two new foes who the party never crosses blades with in General Le Guin and Brigadier General Bardias.
  • The Unreveal: Cold Steel runs on this trope, starting with the fact that major elements in the Erebonia Arc were foreshadowed in the ending of Ao so going in, everyone expected Cold Steel 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 Cold Steel'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.
  • The Unseen: Marquis Hyarms, despite being the head of one of the four great houses and, thus, one of the most important figures in the Noble Alliance, is never seen and is only mentioned a handful of times (mostly in relation to his son, Patrick). Notable in that all three other heads of the four great houses all play major roles in the story.
  • 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.
  • Vendor Trash: Like the rest of the series, monsters do not drop money, they drop sepith crystals. But along with the elemental sepith that can either be traded for cash or used as currency directly to make quartz or upgrade orbments, there is now a new type called the sepith mass, which is only useful as a trade good that can be exchanged for money, which makes it possible to grind for money without complicating any efforts to upgrade orbments.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Territory of the Great Shadow aka the hidden seventh level of the Old Schoolhouse 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.
    • Cold Steel II has the Infernal Palace. Again, it's technically not because the actual final dungeon is the Reverie Corridor, which the interior of the Old Schoolhouse transforms into. Even before this, there's still a side story and several additional scenes and quests before getting there.
    Millium: Okay, now THIS is a final dungeon...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In Cold Steel II, if you choose to turn down the request for the final quest, helping Anton meet back up with Sharon, the choice to refuse is labeled, "See ya, sucker."
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Cold Steel is this for the franchise.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Between the party's first fight with <C> in Chapter 4 and the second in Chapter 6, the party has gone up about 20 levels while <C> has only gained one. Unusually for this trope, this doesn't make winning the fight easy, it just makes it possible.
  • 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.
  • Violation of Common Sense: "Dodge-tanking", a special kind of strategy used against bosses and other enemies with high attack power. Instead of using high defense as with regular tanking, a character is buffed to 100% evasion by equipping orbments and accesories to 50% evasion, and then casting Insight (grants additional 50% evasion) on the character so, that way, whenever said character is attacked, they will automatically evade and counter. This is very often used with characters like Fie, which transforms her from a Fragile Speedster to a mob-control defender better than her Mighty Glacier counterpart Laura (and transforms the latter as well into another extremely powerful attacker).
  • Voice Grunting: The game has a lot of voice acting and there's plenty of Calling Your Attacks, but this doesn't stop this from being used a fair amount in battles, probably as a stylistic choice. Rean tends to do it a fair amount, particularly when using his Spirit Unification ("ogre power"). Angelica is another character that does it a fair bit.
  • 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.
  • Warmup Boss: Iglude Gahmr, the gargoyle. Unusually for this trope, it has two phases.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: The railway guns are incredibly powerful and can strike just about any point in Crossbell from their location in Garrelia Fortress, but their sheer size makes it virtually impossible to move them anywhere else, which means that the only thing the guns can be used for is to threaten/strike at Crossbell, a minor power which poses no military threat to Erebonia. The implications of this caused the man who designed them to resign from the Reinford Corporation after they were installed.
  • Wham Line:
    • One that gets dropped pretty casually in Chapter 5, after telling Sara you fought a "mechanical monster" near Legram.
    Sara: I'm familiar with the group that makes them. They go by the name 'Ouroboros'.
    • This exchange at the end of Chapter 6 is bound to make players go Oh Crap!
    Claire: Exactly how much involvement does your employer have in all this?
    Sharon: Heeheehee... might I ask to which of them you're referring?
    Claire: Let's go with both of them.
    • The final chapter has a long string of them, starting with this one. (Though the player is likely to have figured it out just before this line is said)
    Millium: It's part of my mission. The most important part, actually. If only I'd caught on a little sooner... But considering he managed to outwit Claire, Lechter and even Gramps... I suppose Crow's earned this victory.
    • Not too long after that one, we have this.
    Misty's Voice on the radio: But hearing a radio broadcast just isn't the same as seeing it unfold yourselves, is it? So how about I give you Thors students a special treat? [Voice suddenly turns more sinister] Just my way of saying thanks for the fun I had at the festival. [...] Resound, resound, O voice everlasting!
    • By two as-of-this-game unnamed characters, later revealed as Xeno and Leonidas soon after, revealing that Fie's old Jaeger corps, Zephyr, is still very much active... and working for the villains.
    Tall Man/Xeno: I wonder whose side our little princess'll take?
    Burly Man/Leonidas: That's for Fie to decide. The boss would've wanted it that way.
    • By Instructor Sara during the final battle:
    Sara: So you finally dropped the act, huh? Looks like you've even picked up a few tricks since our little dustup two years ago. But I guess I wouldn't expect anything less from Sharon Kreuger, Oroboros' Enforcer Number IX...
    • One right after the Final Boss, which shows just how outclassed Rean really is.
    Crow: You've been Piloting a Divine Knight for one day. I've been using mine for three years. Did you really think I wouldn't have a trump card to play?
    • This line from the second game is an odd example in that we don't get any indication of what it even means, or if McBurn was just trolling. But if he's being serious, it carries VERY ominous implications. (To put it in perspective, Rean has a Superpowered Evil Side and is only considered to be very slightly "unnatural")
    Rean: Exactly how much of you is "unnatural", anyway?
    McBurn: Me? [Dramatic zoom] All of me.
    • In the second game, Xeno reveals what he and his fellow jaeger corps have been doing:
    Xeno: Fie! The others in the corps are doing just fine! They're acting separately from us right now — to bring back the boss!
  • 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 Millium 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 Garrelia 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 Divine Knights into Heimdallr which then tear up the place... and then Scarlet and Vulcan show up on Thors' doorstep in Panzer Soldats 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.
    • When its all said and done in the Infernal Castle in Cold Steel II, you end the war by stopping the Vermilion Apocalypse and Duke Cayenne, Crow dies, Rufus Albarea was an Ironblood plant in the Noble Alliance, Chancellor Osborne is not dead, Osborne plans to invade Crossbell, and Osborne reveals himself to be Rean's real father.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Class VII is given until midnight to complete their Old Schoolhouse investigation. Unless most other instances, however, this is just a given deadline because if they were in there much longer, they wouldn't get enough sleep to be able to reasonably perform for the school festival. In fact, they end up emerging from the final trial at 12:20, but this is allowed to slide.
  • Where It All Began:
    • The first game begins and ends in Trista and the first dungeon is also the final dungeon
    • Played with in the series as a whole. Reclaiming Trista from the Noble Alliance isn't the final step in Class VII's quest to stop the war - that would be the capital Heimdallr - but it is the penultimate step, and what most of they and the Courageous's crew feel is their main goal in the conflict. In addition, the Bonus Dungeon in the Epilogue is in Trista (and it, too, is the first game's first dungeon, albeit with a rather significant makeover.
  • With Us or Against Us: Duke Cayenne believes that all Nobles should be part of the Noble faction by default, despite the fact that many members of the lesser nobility (Including Rean and Laura's fathers) disapprove of the goals and conduct of the Four Great Houses that lead said faction. He isn't above issuing open threats to try to convince said lesser nobles to align themselves with the Great Houses over the Imperial Government either.
  • Written by the Winners: Duke Cayenne's main motivation is his resentment over how one of his ancestors is remembered by history because of this trope.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Since Yaoi Genre's popularity is stated multiple times to grow amongst Erebonians, it's not surprising to see a bunch of them here. Particularly notable people are:
    • Dorothee, 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. In Cold Steel II, she pines away for her precious books, which she considers akin to treasure, and is on cloud nine when reunited with her library at Thors.
    • Alfin Reise Arnor, Celdic's twin sister of Imperial Family. She has no hesitation on supporting the idea of Rean and Crow being together or teasing Rean particularly on on the whole Boys' Love subject. She refers to the genre as "...the sort that fills young maidens' hearts with joy and heads with dreams.".
    • Elise Schwarzer, Rean's adoptive sister, was influenced by Alfin as consequence.
  • You Are Not Alone: In Cold Steel II, Rean really starts to feel the burden of being the Ashen Awakener and is reminded more than once that he's not alone; that he has the support of Class VII and everyone else he's come to know and appreciate at Thors Academy.
  • You Can Talk?: Rean's reaction after "meeting the conditions" before the battle against the Spiegel and being transported to an alternate dimension where he discovers that Emma's cat, Celine, can talk.
    Celine: Yes, yes, quite eloquently, too. But that's not important right now.
  • You Monster!: In Cold Steel II, the members of Class VII refer to Duke Cayenne variously as "monster" and "scum," first for using the Crown Prince Cedric to awaken the Vermillion Apocalypse, and then, when it's defeated, holding a sword to Prince Cedric's neck and trying to use him as a shield hostage to get away.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Sen No Kiseki

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsOfColdSteel?from=VideoGame.SenNoKiseki