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Videogame: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

King Krichevskoy, the mighty ruler of the Netherworld...
His long reign came to an abrupt end as the news of his death spread throughout the dark land.
Ambitious demons rose one after another to seize the opportunity, and thus began the age of turbulence and anarchy.
Two years later...

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is a Turn-Based Strategy game released by Nippon Ichi in 2003 for the PlayStation 2.

Disgaea details the misadventures of a demonic Evil Overlord (in-training!) called Laharl and his quest to succeed his deceased father as the undisputed ruler of the Netherworld. His main allies in this are his devious number-one vassal Etna, a bubble-headed angel named Flonne (who was originally sent to assassinate him) and an army of exploding penguins called Prinnies. Hilarity Ensues.

It was later ported to the PlayStation Portable as Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, which added several of the gameplay improvements from Disgaea 2 and a brand new Alternate Reality story called "Etna Mode" where Etna accidentally kills Laharl during the first chapter and decides to become the Overlord herself. It was also ported to the Nintendo DS as Disgaea DS, which removed most of the voice acting but added "Prinny Commentary" on most of the cutscenes. The game would eventually gain a direct sequel in the form of Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness

Disgaea has also received a short anime adaptation called Makai Senki Disgaea.

For more information on the characters themselves, check out the Disgaea Character Sheet.


This game provide examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The attacks Flonne and Etna use in Episode 2.
    Flonne: Prima Pretty Prippanica!
    Etna: Fryer Fire Frapparisque!
    Flonne: Berry Barrier Balidaire!
    Flonne: Durian Dragon Dranyago!
  • Affectionate Parody: Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!, of Sci-Fi B Movies and TV shows like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Commando Cody.
  • Allergic to Evil: Angel trainees like Flonne sicken and die in the Netherworld without a protective pendant.
  • Allergic to Love: Laharl has a big-time phobia for "happy feelings". One stage uses this against him and cuts his stats in half.
  • All There in the Manual: Mid Boss/Vyers is actually Laharl's father, which is never stated outright in the game. There are several scenes that make it pretty obvious, however.
    • Supposedly, the artbook confirms that it was actually Flonne who killed Laharl in the Kill Hoggmeiser ending. The game itself doesn't state it, but the background of the credits and the name of the song that plays appear to imply the opposite.
  • Alternate Universe: Etna Mode in the re-releases, natch. See What If? below.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Though none of the actual artwork changes, the voiceacting between English and Japanese gives very large differences in tone of character. Examples include Japanese Thursday being a oddly-cute sounding robot (voiced by a woman) while English Thursday is an instant Bad Ass (voiced by a man). It's then inverted when taking on the Alternate Overlord in Chapter 6 (Afternoon of Darkness); he sounds exactly the same from huge to small in Japanese; In English, he goes from a booming voice, to a multiple-helium-based voice.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Male Healers sometimes say "forgive me" while attacking.
    Flonne:"Oops, pardon me!"
  • Armies Are Evil: The EDF.
  • Armor of Invincibility: Baal's Super Robot Suit and Prinny Costume. The former gives an impressive boost to all stats, the latter specializes in massive boosts to HP, DEF and RES.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: the infamous equippable Horse Wiener scene:
    Aramis: The fists of a Dark Karate master... The legs of the fastest demon in the Netherworld... The brain of Mahogany, a famous sorcerer... The iron body of Hercules... And a horse wiener!
  • Arson Murder And Life Saving/Admiration: After defeating Maderas Laharl heavily chastises Etna for using him for her plans. Then, due to understanding the situation, forgives and promotes her for impressing him and taking out an enemy.
  • Artifact Title: Etna still calls the game by its original name, "Hour of Darkness," in the remake despite the remake's name being changed to "Afternoon of Darkness."
  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemies are willing to hit their allies if an attack will hit one of your units. This itself isn't so bad, except when they combine this mistake with making poor use of attacks that reposition targets, often as the first move in a series of attacks. Additionally, specialists will suicide charge their way into as many enemy units as possible, which contributes to Fake Difficulty in subduing them.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: When the dark assembly rejects one of your propositions, you can use the "Persuade by force" option and make the senators agree with you by beating them up.
  • Badass Normal: Jennifer is a potent fist user with better resilience than most stages of (demon) brawlers.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In the trailer for the anime (on the Disgaea 2 disc), Laharl catches the blade of a sword that looks to be the size of his castle with his bare hand. Mind you, said blade was also being swung by Tyrant Baal.
  • Batman Gambit:
    1. Seraph sending Flonne to assassinate Laharl's father, knowing he was already dead, but also trusting that she would stay with Laharl and redeem him, and
    2. Etna using Laharl as bait to get the better of a blackmailing vampire and then kicking his ass so hard, he begged to be her slave. Awesome.
  • Battleship Raid: Gargantua.
  • Benevolent Boss: The previous overlord was quite good to work for.
  • Berserk Button: Call Flonne and/or Etna flatchested. Just try it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Midway through Chapter 6, Laharl gets attacked by a super-powerful Alternate Overlord who is out to steal Laharl's place as King of the Netherworld. He promptly splits into ten copies of himself and hands Laharl and his crew their collective asses. His goof-off retainers arrive just in the nick of time to save him from death.
    • Played with because Laharl suspects that the retainers were hiding in the forest to ambush him but decided to help instead.
  • Big "NO!": Gordon pulls this when he's finally aware that he can't escape from the Netherworld, due to the spaceship that he arrived in being broken into several pieces.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the English localization, among the voice samples that were not dubbed was that of the Samurai and Ninja classes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The "normal" ending, gained upon beating the game after accidentally (or deliberately) killing someone in your party, is a huge downer. The "good" ending (beat the game without accidentally killing your own party members at all) is the one considered canon, however.
  • Bonus Boss: Baal, Priere, and Marjoly. Rozalin, Adell, and Zetta join them in the Updated Re-release.
  • Bonus Level Of Hell: Inverted...every level except for the last two takes place in the Netherworld.
  • Boobs of Steel: Jennifer, who's a straight up brawler, although the creatable girl brawlers are otherwise flat.
    • Becomes literally true when Jennifer becomes a modified cyborg. Indeed, when the characters imagine what she looks like, she is pictured with machine-gun boobs.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The first-level Fist ability, Triple Strike. 6 SP, first ability learned, knocks target back a square. Perfect for knocking Geo Symbols out of No Lift areas and Gatekeepers off the exit portal in Item World.
  • Breather Episode: Probably the reason for Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! and company getting introduced right after Chapter 8.
  • Bright Castle: The Overlord's Castle is a gothic version.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Etna Mode in the remakes, especially if you play it via New Game+. Enemy levels start in the 70s, the same as the end game enemies of the base game, but they rise very quickly, and in just a couple episodes you're going to be facing down Level 100+ enemies, and in the final episode, they're going to rise to Level 200+.
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! is the Trope Namer.
  • Celibate Hero: Laharl, though it seems to be more a matter of his relative youth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Flonne's pendant, specifically how it burns those with wicked hearts - note that Laharl is not burned by it when she gives it to him in the last chapter.
  • The Chessmaster: Seraph Lamington. Towards the end of the game, he shows just how intelligent he really is as the game reveals that many of the events in the story are essentially a intricate Batman Gambit to bring peace between Celestia and the Netherworld. Cunning enough to even use the plots of his treacherous renegade second in command to his advantage (and dispose of the traitor). Even his battle with Laharl was part of his plan (how well this works depends on the ending). A rare example of a non-evil chess master.
  • Chick Magnet: Laharl, at least in the light novels. He manages to attract Etna, Flonne, her sister Ozonne, and Gordon and Jennifer's daughter Jane.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Flonne. Lamington in the first game's manga also has some symptoms of this. "Vulcanus, what's wrong? Do you want to talk to my bonsai?"
  • Cool Gate: The gate in the hub allows you to access various parts of the netherworld.
  • Council of Angels
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Laharl can be very hard to take seriously at first, being a loudmouthed scrawny brat, but as is quickly revealed, he's more than powerful enough to take (and keep) the position of Overlord.
  • Cute Witch: Apparently, Laharl's mother was one of these.
    • Flonne could be considered one as well, though she's technically a trainee angel turned fallen angel. Laharl does mention that Flonne is like his mother; though he was referring to her talk of love and demeanor, they may be similar in other ways too.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Laharl blows up a space armada.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Lampshaded and Played for Laughs, of course.
  • Deal with the Devil: In an Etna mode chapter break, she offers to beat up bullies harassing a 7-year old kid, in exchange the kid's servitude as a prinny after he dies. Seeing as this is Etna, a nearby prinny immediately objects.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: At the end of the tutorial, you have five party members: Laharl, Etna and three Prinnies. After that, you have two sources of new party members: creating generic units in the Dark Assembly, and recruiting storyline bosses.
    • Also a game mechanic; You can recruit enemy monsters by tossing them into the base panel if your units still in it can beat them. A decent alternative to stealing if you don't feel like leveling up a Thief. However, as this doesn't work on humanoid enemies, you can't get any non-monster weapons this way. Seeing as the only way to get some of the more powerful weapons is to steal them, you're better off creating a Thief.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Laharl makes quite a bit of progress in this direction, but never completely stops being an arrogant brat.
  • Departure Means Death: Angel Trainees cannot survive in the Netherworld unaided for long periods of time. The fourth chapter centers around this when Volcanus steals Flonne's pendant that stabilized her.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Laharl believed that his father had died choking on a dark pretzel, but in reality King Krichevskoy perished fighting Baal.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game gets considerably harder after you meet the Earth Defense Force army.
  • Disc One Nuke: If by "disc one," you mean "the game proper." It's entirely possible to completely walk over the main game simply by using Laharl exclusively, building his sword skill and having him leveled well past the enemies, with occasional dips into Item World for Level Grinding and building up his items and specialists. Don't try this in the bonus content though.
    • Flonne can be this as well, with good planning. By assigning her the right pupils, she can basically be a Prism or Galaxy Mage long before you could ever hope to unlock such a class. See Magikarp Power below.
    • The Samurai class is the epitome of this. You can easily have it unlocked within the second hour of the game, and they are second only to Majin in terms of raw attack power. Not only that, but they are the easiest class to unlock with S in swords, spears, and axes. Arguably, the class is even more game breaking than Majin because of how easy they are to acquire, requiring only a level 10 female brawler and level 10 female warrior.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Seraph Lamington.
  • Double Entendre: Done by Laharl three times note , which is then lampshaded each time by Etna note 
    • Not to mention a large portion of Jennifer's dialogue.
  • Dual Meaning Chorus: The lyrics to "Red Moon" in chapter 8 first refer to the Prinnies being literally reborn... and then, repeated at the end, refer to Laharl being figuratively reborn by rediscovering love.
  • Dumb Is Good: Flonne.
  • DVD Commentary: Spoofed with the "Prinny Commentary" on the DS version, activated with a New Game+ (which means it can be unlocked from the first Mid-Boss fight).
  • Elemental Tiers: The various tiers of Dragon and Great Wyrm monster classes have many variants of skills that differ only in the element. For the Dragon class, each tiers learn different combinations of elemental skills, although only the weakest one learn any Wind. For the Great Wyrm class, the first tier learns Fire skills, the second one learns Wind, and the third Ice. The fourth and fifth are Non-Elemental, and the sixth and final tier learns Fire again.
  • Elite Tweak: The point of the bonus portion of the game (which is at least as big as the game proper) is to twink yourself to the max.
  • Enter Eponymous: The second chapter is titled "Enter Flonne".
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Laharl.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Petty theft from Laharl? That's beneath him. He plunders.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: "From now on, your name is Mid-boss!" Notably, everyone in the game calls him that after that scene, and his name in dialogue boxes changes as well. (At one point, he accidently calls himself mid-boss.) Though in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, when Laharl runs into him when storming Celestia, Laharl calls him the Dark Adonis, presumably on purpose.
  • Evil Laugh: Laharl.
  • Evil Versus Evil
  • Expy: Aside from having tighter pants and a much prettier face, Mid-Boss' sprite resembles a recolored Alan from La Pucelle.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Kurtis' family got killed and he personally holds Captain Gordon accountable for this, even though the latter wasn't involved in this in any way. As far as Kurtis is concerned, though, Gordon didn't do his job as a Defender of Earth and should be replaced.
  • Fanfare: "Anthem of Braves", for Captain Gordon and his crew.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Sea of Gehenna.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Celestia
  • Foreshadowing: When we first see Flonne, she says she wants to be like the flowers.
  • Forgiveness: Laharl unexpectedly forgives Etna for poisoning him in his sleep and using him as bait for her revenge against Maderas because it is what a true demon would do.
  • Fridge Logic: The in-universe Prinny commentator in the DS version makes it its job to lampshade every possible instance of it.
  • Fun Size: The trio is often drawn this way on promotional artwork.
  • Gainaxing: Jennifer's sprite has a very noticeable "bounce" to it as she walks. Also, whilst most characters stand still when it's not their turn, the Kit-Kat and Succubus monsters, well, don't.
    • It's even worse in the anime where the camera does a close-up of said bounce at least once per episode.
    • Marjoly also won't stand still when she's idle. Priere has similar treatment to Jennifer.
  • Gag Penis: And you can steal that sucker and equip it!
  • God Is Good: Plays out similarly to the Anti-Hero part of the description on the trope page... with tragic and awesome results.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Mid-Boss.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: Compare proportions of characters in-game and in cutscene portraits.
  • Gratuitous French: Mid-Boss loves using "moi" in place of "me".
  • Greek Chorus: The Prinny commentary in Disgaea DS.
  • Green Aesop: When Jennifer asks Laharl if he's really not planning to invade Earth, he replies, "Earth is that planet where humans foolishly pollute their own environment, right? Why would I be interested in that?" To further drive the point home, the Prinny commentary in the DS version adds, " Man, that's harsh. It's pretty much the end of it, if a demon says that about you."
    • Carter justifies invading the Netherworld because mankind needs a new home when Earth becomes uninhabitable. Laharl's response? "Clean up your own damn mess!" You can't get more direct than that.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The player character is a Card-Carrying Villain and none of the adversaries can claim to be completely good.
  • Guile Hero: Lamington.
  • Gun Fu: One of skills a character can learn from using guns is basically made of this.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Laharl and Captain Gordon, DEFENDER OF EARTH!!!, Laharl and Midboss, The Prism Rangers, Vulcanus... you know what? Just about every fight in the game.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Laharl, who at the beginning of the game spends two years taking a ten day nap! It was the result of being poisoned.
  • Hell Invades Heaven: This is what the last few levels are based around. You're the one controlling The Legions of Hell. It turns out to have been a part of a plan cooked up between the guy in charge of heaven and Laharl's father to make sure he ends up as a Noble Demon.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Jennifer.
  • Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: Etna loves doing this during most of her chapter previews, particularly the one for episode 6. Laharl and Vyers provide snark.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Played straight by Laharl for promotional images and cut-scenes. Being a humanoid character, however, the player can choose to equip him with any weapon. In fact, he's one of the few in the first Disgaea to be highly proficient with multiple weapons.note 
  • Hey, You!: How Laharl refers to Flonne for a whole chapter after meeting her. She rips him a new one for it later.
  • Hopeless Bossfight: 6-4 Writhing Shadow
  • Hub Level: Laharl's castle acts as your base of operations.
  • I Know Karate: Jennifer does. Hilariously, the Art Book even goes so far as to say that this makes her stronger than Gordon.
  • I Made Copies: In episode 5 Maderas sends a challege to Laharl to contend for overlordship on the back of an embarrassing photo. He threatens to scatter copies of said photo all across the Netherworld if Laharl does not comply.
  • Improbable Accessory Effect: And how.
  • Infinity–1 Sword
    • The top-tier Rank 40 weapons cannot be purchased in the shop or won from any stage. The only way to get them is to level a Legendary-rarity Rank 39 weapon to 100 and steal the Rank 40 weapon from the Item God at the bottom. Factor in the time to level the weapon up, the difficulty in descending that deep into high-rank items, and you'll be going through much of the game with the Rank 39s.
    • Class-wise, the Angel. 100% aptitude in all stats save for 110% Resistance, A-level skill with four weapon types and B-rank in a fifth, great base stats, and they naturally learn Heal spells up to Omega Heal, Espoir, and a tier of elemental spells up to Omega. They're unlocked much simpler than the Majin and can still kick a lot of ass until you unlock them.
  • Infinity+1 Sword:
    • The Rank 40 weapons, obscenely difficult to acquire as told above. Special mention to the Rank 40 sword Yoshitsuna, the strongest weapon in the game but very hard to get — the Rank 39 Cosmic Blade you need to level up to get it will have enemies hitting the 9999 level cap well before you reach the bottom, and the Item God you need to steal the Yoshitsuna from will be Level 9999 too, making it very, very hard to steal from.
    • The Majin. 110% aptitude in all stats, 120% at higher levels, S-rank skill with all weapons, and huge base stats. The catch is unlocking them requires five specific jobs all in the party at once at Level 200. Once you do unlock them, aside from reincarnating as mages to learn spells, there's little reason to not reincarnate your entire team as Majin.
  • Japanese Spirit:
  • Just One More Level: Laharl thinks a good evil plan would be making an addictive video game to rob kids of sleep.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Laharl the wannabe Evil Overlord vs. an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: At one point, Flonne steals Etna's role of providing a wildly inaccurate preview of the next episode.
    Etna: "Flonne, whatcha doing?"
    Flonne: Oh, hi Et...
    *Gunshots*
  • Knight, Knave and Squire: Laharl is the Knight, by Underworld standards at least, Etna the Knave and Flonne is the Squire.
  • Knight of Cerebus: As soon as General Carter shows up, the plot takes a turn for the serious.
  • Knight Templar: Vulcanus, living proof that Light Is Not Good.
  • Large Ham: Mid-Boss is one, as is Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!, who apparently has No Indoor Voice. Vulcanus counts, as well.
    • Laharl too counts! Bonus points for being voiced by Rita Repulsa in the English Dub.
    • Flonne is not amused for her display of love is beyond any doubt.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The Prism Rangers, Thursday, and Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!
  • Legacy Boss Battle: The game has Majory, the Big Bad of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Scouts and Thieves. They have mostly low stats and aptitudes and poor weapon skills outside of Guns. But in the Item World they shine. Scouts can use Dark Cannon to blast out-of-reach enemies from across the map and Geo Change to shift up troublesome Geo Panel set-ups, while Thieves can throw teammates farther than any other class to move them across the map quickly and they can use stealing items to grab rare and powerful equipment off of enemies for free.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Horse Wiener. Even Laharl is afraid of it, though justifiably. How would you block it, dood?
  • Living Weapon: Longinus, the sentient spear who teaches you about weapon skills and mastery.
  • Lord Error-Prone: Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! again.
  • Love Freak: Named for Flonne, who was very fond of talking about love and kindness, in contrast to Laharl and Etna, who are both demons and have no use for that stuff.
    • Or so they say.
  • Magikarp Power: Flonne again. She starts out really weak, but if you assign Mages and Skulls as apprentices to her, she can learn magic abilities that surpass just about any other character you can create.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Rare benevolent variation. King Krichevskoy dying from choking on a black pretzel was merely what the people were told; he actually died of wounds sustained in battle.
  • Master Of All: The Majin class from the first game. Very high stats all across the board, positive Aptitudes for all stats, very proficient with all weapons, and high mobility. There is no reason to use anything else when you have unlocked this class (though it requires a bit of a Guide Dang It). The subsequent games nerf this class severely, though. The second game reduces its mobility to the minimum, making it somewhat of a Mighty Glacier instead. The third and fourth games take it even further, giving it low aptitude above the low mobility, and no weapon proficiency, making the class require a lot of work to even be remotely playable.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: The girl mages wear frilly short dresses, almost like maid outfits.
  • Mood Whiplash: In Episode 7, you have to bring back Aramis' zombies (including the one with the Horse Weiner). Episode 8 is a Tear Jerker in which even the battle music is depressing. In Episode 9 we meet none other than CAPTAIN GORDON, DEFENDER OF THE EARTH! . (Yeah, it's just fun to say.)
  • Multiple Endings: At least eight endings not counting the general Game Over screen.
    • The Good Ending, which is canon: Laharl beats Lamington down, but stops before inflicting lethal damage since Flonne wouldn't want him to and begins to sacrifice himself to turn her back to normal. Mid Boss stops him and reveals it wasn't a permanent transformation, after which Celestia and the Netherworld begin making steps towards peace. Reguires you not triggering any other ending.
    • The Normal Ending: Laharl kills Lamington in a rage and then does sacrifice himself to turn Flonne back. Etna becomes the new Overlord and Laharl apparently shows up again... as a prinny. Requires one or more team kills.
    • Item God 2 ending: Laharl near fatally wounds Lamington and decides he is not ready to be Overlord yet, abdicating the throne to Etna and dedicating himself to Walking the Earth at least for the time being. Requires you to have defeated the Item God 2 at the bottom of a level 40 item.
    • Dark Assembly Ending: Laharl picks Flower Flonne and vanishes. Requires passing at least one hundred bills by force by the final level.
    • Flonne Tragedy Ending: Laharl decides to go through with killing Hoggmeiser but Flonne stops him with lethal force. Requires fifty team kills by the end of the third chapter and choosing to kill him.
    • Maderas Ending: Maderas is killed instead of recruiting as well as Flonne when she tries to stop it from happening. Laharl follows before too much time passes. Requires one hundred team kills by the end of the fifth chapter and choosing to kill him.
    • Human World Ending: Laharl takes a side trip before confronting the final boss and takes over the Earth instead. Requires unlocking the Human World map and defeating the last level.
    • Mid Boss ending: Without intending to Vyers defeats you in battle and decides to just run with it.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Passing bills in the Dark Assembly is not a simple matter of just winning a majority vote, you have to win by a margin greater than the mana cost of the bill you're trying to pass. For the larger bills this ranges from difficult to flat impossible, particularly as many have penalties that make normally neutral senators dislike the bill proposed and there's no way you can win by 1000+ votes. The only way to get a bill passed once it is voted against is to kill off the opposing senators. Unlocking all the optional areas and getting your party's power to the highest limit will require you to regularly mass murder senators in order to pass your bills by force.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Dark Assembly voting is done with a rapid-fire sequence of senators casting their votes as tallies for Yay and Nay at the top of the screen count up, and when voting is concluded the word "Rejected" or "Passed" appears in large black letters as the screen turns dark red or lights up in bright yellow depending on the result, appropriate music accompanying.
  • The Napoleon: Laharl, according to official sources, is about 4'3". The ridiculously oversized scarf he wears is an attempt on his part to mask this fact.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Parodied with Etna's implausible next episode previews at the end of each chapter. Except for the one for episode 9 which sounds just as implausible but turns out to be mostly correct.
  • Noble Demon: Laharl, after some character development, in the anime and in the canon ending. He's still a brat, though.
  • No Experience Points for Medic: You'll need to give them a bow or use the pupil system to level up.
  • Noob Bridge: If you've never played the game before, the first battle with Mid-Boss can be incredibly difficult because it's the first level where Geo Effects play a large role, as well as being the first level where you're supposed use the throwing mechanic. If you forget that you can toss your troops to the Geo Effects rather than trying to get there normally, most of your team will be dead before you get a second turn.
  • Noodle Incident: Episode 5 gives us the "embarrassing picture". All we ever know about the picture is Laharl's reaction to said picture and that it's something Flonne never expected Laharl to have done.
    • Just before that, Etna talks to Flonne about how some guy pissed her off so in response she "kicked him right there".
  • Norio Wakamoto: The DS version opens with a gloriously hammy "NIPPON ICHI SOFTOWEAHHH PUREZENTSU", and the rest of the narration just needs to be heard to be believed.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Vyers aka Mid-Boss. It's also spoofed when, after an incredibly serious scene where he chews out General Carter and informs him he's cruising for an Ironic Hell, he then congratulates himself for being awesome.
  • Obviously Evil: Parodied to hell and back with Vulcanus, once the party meets him, and even moreso with Prinny commentary on.
    Vulcanus: It reeks of evil.
    Prinny: So do you, dood.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Jennifer earned a PhD in every subject by age 10.
  • Only Sane Man: Lamington.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: Vyers The Dark Adonis Mid-Boss can touch Flonne's pendant (which harms evil) without being punished. He says that "the heavens wouldn't punish such a pure heart as mine". This is foreshadowing, as he is King Krichevskoi, and working with Seraph Lamington in a Batman Gambit (it depends on the actions of the player) to make his son a better person (or demon).
  • On the Next: Subversion; Etna's chapter intermission interludes have absolutely nothing to do with the following chapter ...most of the time.
  • Over Rated And Under Leveled: Kurtis pulls a Big Damn Heroes and joins your party... at level 50, at a point your party should be level 60 (150 is easy at this point if you try). This makes him pretty ineffective on the monsters you were "saved" from.
    • The scene actually spoofs itself - Kurtis's Big Damn Heroes moment is instantly undermined by his newfound status as a Prinny, and nearly gets laughed off the stage by the heroes before they finally accept his help.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling - Several. Which is a good thing, given the insanely high level cap. One level in particular is peppered with Succubi and Kit-Kats, and aside from one square at the far end of the map, everyone is invincible. So the trick becomes to lob the monsters onto one another, creating one much stronger femme fatale which can be trapped in the single vulnerable square and whittled down.
    • An even more effective one is in the Cave of Ordeals - though you have to be pretty high-leveled already just to make it there. There are no invincibility squares, but the entire map is covered in a "+50% EXP" Geo Effect, and the nine monsters on the map (already of a class that grants the highest experience per level) are arranged in a convenient 3x3 clump for efficient disposal. Happy slaying!
    • At the highest levels (mostly useful for embarking on a career of making maxed-out Divine Majins with 185,000 stored levels; not really that useful for regular play), Beauty of Evil. It can be cleared in 45 seconds if you're properly prepared, and in so doing, provides the highest XP-to-time ratio in the game. Since this is Disgaea, players have gotten BoE runs down to a mathematical formula for maxing out your characters as efficiently as possible.
    • The PSP and DS remeake gave us the Demonhall Mirror. Like Cave of Ordeals 3 this one had 9 Galactic Demons in a 3x3 formation. However it has 2 EXP +50 effect and the monsters are of higher levels and tiers. However you have to fight you way through Bonus Bosses such as Serra Winguard, The alt. Overlord, Laharl's dad's vassals and Adell and Rozalin before getting to the grinding first.
  • Pet Monstrosity: Episode 7 involves helping a kid find his pet zombie. Etna also kept zombies as pets when she was a child.
  • Picnic Episode: Episode 10.
  • Poke the Poodle: Vassal: Demons don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. It's custom.
    • Laharl's ideas on what to do after becoming the overlord, such as raining pepper on earth so people can't stop sneezing, or giving human kids an addicting video game to deprive them of their sleep.
  • Power Levels: "Oh, come on! Level 4000?"
  • The Power of Love: Subverted when a massive AU overlord decides to off Laharl and snatch his throne, Flonne claims that the Overlord can't win, as he lacks the enough Love (TM) to defeat them... just before she, Laharl and Etna get their asses massively handed to themselves.
    • The Power of Friendship: Towards the end of the game, a force field needs to be broken past, the happy-go-lucky Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! and his team are ready to go with this, Laharl and his crew (sans Flonne, who's even more enthusiastic than Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!) all sound like they're being made to go take Piano lessons or something. It works anyway.
    • Flonne actually has a special technique called "The Power of Love". It's a healing technique, to surrounding allies.
    • A very important point the game, the main plot actually revolves around this. Seraph Lamington and Laharl's father wanted to see if angels and demons can love each other and co-exist. The whole reason why Flonne was sent to the Netherworld was so she could develop a bond with Laharl and Etna. Then, Lamington pretends to kill Flonne to see the reaction that that bond has created; he almost ends up dead for it in the canon ending and did end up dead for it in the alternate ending.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Laharl's plot to rule the Netherworld in Disgaea eventually extends to Celestia and in a silly optional side-quest, the Human World. Possibly subverted, as Celestia did attack first, after all.
  • Rapid Fire Interrupting: Captain Gordon, DEFENDER OF EARTH!'s infamous interrupting Etna in the end of Episode 9. Which ends with...
    Etna: "Ha ha ha ha", MY ASS!! *gunshot, beating sounds*
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted. Cool blue-haired Laharl has an extremely short temper, while fiery red-haired Etna is calmer and (usually) more rational.
  • Regal Ringlets: The Archer unit has this hairstyle. Later incarnations would change to Mega Twintails.
  • The Rival: Kurtis. His initial class is explicitly stated as "Rival".
  • Robot Buddy: Thursday.
  • Rounded Characters: Each of the three main characters got a great spectrum of emotions, possesses a wide variety of personality traits that that can be categorized as virtues, flaws and idiosyncrasies, struggles with internal conflict, learns and grows from their experience, got backstories and motivations that reinforces their behavior. Even the masterminds behind the plot get their fair share of hidden depth as well.
  • Safety In Indifference: Demon Prince Laharl wakes up from a two-year sleep (more like coma) to find out that his father is dead and that he is now inheritor to the throne of Overlord. Angel Trainee Flonne tries to console him about his father's death, but he brushes it off like nothing, which horrifies her. Later, we learn that Laharl ignores his emotions—especially empathy and love—because of the pain of losing his mother when he was young.. Laharl actually cares a lot more than he lets on, but acts indifferent both because he hates the pain, and because he can't look weak as the Overlord.
  • Say My Name: All up and down the final chapters of the first, mostly by Captain Gordon, DEFENDER OF EARTH!:
    • Thursdaaaaaaaaaaaay!!
    • Jennifer!! Jenniferrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...!!!!
    • Kurtiiiiiiisssssssssss!!
    • Flonne! (Laharl and Etna both yell Flonne's name at least twice apiece in the scene leading up to the final battle. Laharl gets one more in the good ending)
    • Prince!! (Title, not name, but close enough. Etna, in the good and normal endings, when Laharl is going to sacrifice himself for Flonne.)
  • Scripted Battle: Etna plays with this by scripting the tutorial battle to make you lose, to show the player what NOT to do.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Lampshaded in the DS version: During the New Game+, the Prinny commentary stops during really emotional scenes, usually prefaced with something to the tune of "I'll shut up for awhile." It's back as soon as the dialogue turns goofy again.
    • At the end of chapter 13, Etna's 'next episode' preview is completely serious and accurately describes the upcoming event, instead of the goofy and wildly inaccurate scenarios she usually predict. The others find this utterly terrifying.
      • When you encounter Vyers at the entrance to Celestia, Laharl calls him "Dark Adonis" instead of "Mid-Boss" as usual, recognizing that the guy may be more than he seems.
  • Shout-Out / Reference Overdosed: Has its own page.
  • Smug Snake: Maderas.
  • Succession Crisis: The first half of the game.
  • Symbol Swearing: Thursday.
  • Take Me Instead: Laharl desperately tries to invoke this in the endings.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Seraph Lamington behind Archangel Vulcanus.
  • Theme Naming: Laharl, Etna, Lamington, Vulcanus, Vesuvius, Yasurl and Krichevskoy are all related to volcanoes (lahar, Mount Etna, Mount Lamington, the Roman fire god/Vulcano, Mount Vesuvius, Mount Yasur and Kliuchevskoi, respectively). Also the prinnies = plinian, a type of eruption.
  • This Is Unforgivable: Mid-Boss says this after Laharl gives him his new nickname.
    • Laharl after Etna's spell bounces off Flonne and burns up his hair.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The DS and PSP re-releases add the ultimate Hand (stealing item), the Dream Hand. Hand success rate is based on HIT, and the Awesome hand, the best usually, maybe ballparks at just over 100 HIT without specialists and is Legendary Rare. Dream Hands ballpark at over 1500 HIT, almost always ensuring a successful steal and making them excellent for grabbing Legendary Rare top-rank items otherwise very difficult to grab. The catch? They have a range of one, forcing the Thief to get right next to their target to use them, and you can only get a handful on each playthrough of the story.
  • Torpedo Tits: The Prinny commentary jokes that when Jennifer is kidnapped, this might have been done to her.
  • Transformation Sequence: Subversion - in the battle with the Prism Rangers, Etna shoots both Blue and Yellow into non lethal KOs, leaving Red to fend for himself.
  • Tsundere: Laharl comes pretty close to the textbook definition, when he finds Flonne's pendant, and when he follows her to Celestia.
    • Etna is is ridiculously Tsun to everyone but, if you read her diary, shows she has a pretty soft spot for the late King.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Laharl in the main ending of Etna mode. The shot that supposedly killed him just knocked him out for four episodes.
  • Unknown Rival: The sassy demon Vyers, whom the protagonists unflatteringly refer to as Mid-Boss.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Etna's On the Next monologues. Subverted in Chapter 9, when the (highly unlikely) introduction of Captain Gordon, Defender of the Earth plays out exactly as foretold, and then Chapter 14, when Etna's too disheartened to make up more tall tales.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Happens in the manga where Maderas becoming attracted to a beautiful woman, only for Etna to tell him that the woman is actually Vyers in drag!!!
  • Unwilling Roboticization: At one point, Jennifer is turned into a cyborg.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Everyone is a pawn of Sereph Lamington. The most awesome part of this was that said gambit involved a three link chain of Xanatos Suckers (Gordon to General Carter to Vulcanus to Lamington).
  • Updated Re-release: Afternoon of Darkness and DS are the same as Hour of Darkness, with some new features and entire new story with Etna.
  • Verbal Tic: Thursday's "BEEP BEEP BLIP BEEP", and the Prinny's "Dood".
  • Weird Moon: The red moon.
  • What If?: Etna Mode in the two updated re-releases — what if Etna accidentally killed Laharl while trying to wake him up? On the one hand this results in Vulcanus being killed without contacting the EDF and thus the war that consumes the second half of the game never occurs. On the other hand because it's Etna doing all the work, Laharl never undergoes the Character Development intended by Vyers and Lamington, and Flonne is probably going to head back to Celestia once Vulcanus is taken care of. So a bit of a mixed bag.
  • Winged Humanoid: Flonne, though outside of one of her attacks, in which they spread out and grow, she's never seen actually flying with them. Etna also has wings, and in Disgaea 2, demonstrates that they actually grow to 3 times their normal size to allow for flight. Official art and a cutscene in Disgaea 2 also reveal that Laharl has a pair under the cape — and they're absolutely tiny.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Laharl, Etna, and Flonne.
  • With Catlike Tread: When Flonne infiltrates Laharl's castle, she loudly provides sound effects.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Chapter 4, Maderas does this to Etna after she unwillingly betrayed Laharl. Fortunately, she foresaw this and her counter-plan was set into motion.
    • And near the finale, Lamington, as a reminder to the viewer that he truly is a badass, does this to Vulcanus by turning him into a flower as punishment for his sins (in Makai Senki Disgaea, he turned him into a frog) when Vulcanus gets a Villainous Breakdown upon finding out that he was an Unwitting Pawn and tries to kill him after he has served his purpose of bringing peace between Celestia, the human world, and the Netherworld. Serves that mad archangel right.
  • You Never Asked: For most of the game, Jennifer is relegated to being The Smart Guy, Fanservice, and cheering from the sidelines. Once she's Mind Controlled and uses her Kung Fu skills on the main cast, Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! asks her why she never told him about that before. He Never Asked.
    • Though this is no surprise to the player unless they never used her once she joins the party.

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