"Our enemy we love and for the tormented we pray. Grant us, the Beasts of Knowledge, the power to touch the spirit."
The Jade Cocoon series currently consists of two games that revolve around capturing Mons and having them fight for you. Characters were designed by Studio Ghibli artist Katsuya Kondo, who was also the animation director.The first game's premise has the protagonist Levant sent into the divine forest to find a cure for a deadly sleep-sickness brought to his village by locusts.The second game, set a century after the end of the first, has Idiot Hero Kahu attempting to cure himself of a nasty curse which threatens to consume his mind.
This game features examples of:
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: You're Syrus' only chance to cure the sleep sickness and prevent the village from being swallowed up by the forest, eh? You're still paying for equipment and supplies.
Clip Its Wings: Some minions have access to a 'Rend Wings' attack which is especially effective against flying monsters (there's also a 'Break Legs' attack which is more effective against monsters that are land-bound).
Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Riketz left so Levant's mother wouldn't have to suffer the cursed brandings. He also tries to find a cure, in the process becoming the catalyst for the entire plot of the story.
Dark Reprise: When Mahbu spins a monster's cocoon into silk, her prayer is a proud one that wishes the minion's return to the place of Elrihm. Ra, her successor in the Nagi Temple, instead asks if the minion will ever know good fortune, as it will never return to Elrihm.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If Levant loses all of his HP, his nifty magical earring kicks in and he's whisked away back to his village. The only penalty other than having to trek all the way back to where you were is a slight loss of XP that can be easily earned back by catching more minions.
Game-Breaking Bug: Save with any unpurified firefly cocoons and quit and when you reload the game their magical abilities are Lost Forever.
Can be turned into a Good Bad Bug with knowledge of how spells and elemental / non-elemental special attacks combine when merging. Unwanted elemental attacks can be removed by overwriting them with an attack of another element, and then remerging the resulting half-elemental with 'defanged' versions of the original until it's fully back to its old element. Unwanted non-elemental attacks can be removed in the same way, and unwanted spells don't matter because you have unlimited spell slots. Doing this allows you to create a minion with a full set of varied special attacks, and until the end of the Spider Forest you have full control of which minions you capture and manipulate.
Gender-Restricted Ability: Only women can perform the Ritual of Purification that turns firefly cocoons into white cocoons, calming the soul of the beast inside and allowing a cocoon master to summon it into battle. A man who attempts the same ritual will create a black cocoon, a thing of great evil that fills all it touches with despair.
Guide Dang It: There are 171 minions, two can only be acquired by MERGING four different minions per. There is no in-game hint on which four to use and the only hint they exist (besides the Interface Spoiler) is a rare tablet.
Once you receive the Moth Key, you are directed to complete the Moth Forest. What the game doesn't tell you is that there's two new minions to find in the Spider forest (and ONLY in the Spider Forest), the only time you can get them during the course of the main game.
Guns Are Worthless: You can use your weapon at any time and can upgrade to better ones but they are mostly useless after a while as your minions can deliver loads more damage than any weapon you'll get.
Heroic Sacrifice: Riketz attempting to purify a cocoon by himself was essentially this - he did not wish for his wife to endure the stress and cursed brandings caused by purifying cocoons, though he risked creating a black cocoon and corrupting his mind.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Both fights against Dream Man at the start of the game. Particularly cruel in the second battle in that you can easily defeat the Pataimel he throws out first, before he switches to his utterly unstoppable silver dragon Minion.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Dream Man is actually Riketz, Levant's father, who was corrupted when he attempted to purify a cocoon.
Lost Forever: Several minions are only accessible in the first four forests. After you complete the fourth, you lose access to the first four and with it all the minions contained there. Half of them can be found in the Eternal Forest, but the other half can't. Guess which half were more likely to have extra abilities or spells?
MacGuffin: The Calabas herb, at least at the start of the game - it isn't the MacGuffin for very long.
Point of No Return: Several, after triggering the cut scene where everyone in the city is turned to stone you can no longer buy supplies or get new minions. After completing the Moth Forest you can no longer access it or the forests before it. As well as after each Netherworld Forest.
Power at a Price: While Mahbu has the ability to purify cocoons and heal/merge minions for Levant, doing so results in markings called "cursed brandings" that conventionally appear on her lower arms, then her body, then her lower face, all of which she covers up.
Screw DestinyLevant's father leaves to prevent his wife from getting further cursed brandings.
Skippable Boss: In the Beetle forest, if you choose the left path as opposed to the right you completely skip the battle with Lui. If you do not complete the level (and speak with the Blue Cocoon Master), you can return and fight him. Otherwise, he will be gone the next time you return.
Suicidal Overconfidence: Minions will continue to run to attack you until you are massively overpowerful, then they will run away and cower.
Take Your Time : At several points of the game, everybody stresses how important it is to find the herb and save the day, however you can still get Mahbu to perform magic, buy armor/supplies, and speak to the Old Man even if everbody senses something bad is about to happen.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Tuturis, boss of the Ordeal of Fire, makes using minions of the appropriate element necessary for the first time in the game - his powerful Fire attacks will wreck anything but a strong Water minion.
Awesome, but Impractical: Fossa Magna and Ad Mumarnite. Fossa Magna will cut the target's HP to 1 regardless of how much HP they have but this move has very low accuracy and the kalma you need to merge with to get this attack also comes with Blind X, which makes Blind status even more effective. Ad Mumarnite is the game's instant death spell and can hit all three monsters on the field, but it has low accuracy, beasts can learn an ability to resist it, and the kalma that comes with this attack also has Larvalize, which eliminates your beast's ability to evolve.
The battle system of Jade Cocoon 2 is different from the one present in the first game, but one of the final boss fights has, in reference to the first game's gameplay, Levant switching back and forth with a water dragon minion, which is another Call Back to the first minion Levant receives in the first game. Makes sense since the boss is the Player Character from the first game.
The boss you fight immediately afterwards, Lilith, is a Barrier Change Boss, reminicient of Cushidra, the minion used by The Dream Man from the first game.
The challenges in the dark forests of both games, and the emotions they are themed around, mirror one another:
Water: Like Levant in the Moth Forest, Cure is burdened by solitude.
Fire: Wu and Koris both feel sorrow over the destruction of their villages.
Air: Gil and Kelmar are both jealous of the Chosen One, albeit for different reasons.
Earth: Cocona and Mahbu both dislike the responsibilities forced upon them.
Cherry Tapping: Killing a boss with a larval minion probably counts as this, though there's nothing stopping you from raising a terrifyingly powerful larval.
Contractual Immortality: Levant from the first game, having merged with Kemuel, a divine spirit. It is implied that he is over a century old.
Cool Old Guy: Wu. Wu also dabbles in a bit of Cherry Tapping; the hardest battle in the game, The Grand Slam, consists of Wu and his eight larval Mau minions. You're very likely to have your arse handed to you by a bunch of Ridiculously Cute Critters and a kind old man.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Lose all of your Shields in combat? No big deal. You're just kicked back to the village, minus your items. Losing your stuff is no big concern to anyone who uses the storehouse for important things like Eggs.
Double Entendre: The game's script is absolutely littered with these, usually involving the Sweet Knights or the Na Beasthunter. Nico is normally the one that calls attention to them.
One notable example is when Dr. Gil, when describing a woman he used to work with, says that he visited her house one evening and did not leave until the morning. The music stops for a beat while Nico says what the player is already thinking.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: Mahbu gives Kahu a pair of angel wings, symbolizing his role as Elrihm's champion. Levant, as the Chosen One of Darkness gets a pair of Purple dragon/demon wings post-transformation.
Hopeless Boss Fight: After touching the fairy cocoon, you're thrust into one of these. When you fight him again later, he's a pushover.
I Ate What?: Cure tricks Kahu into eating Ginui powder at one point (Ginui being a race of newt-like monsters that live in the water forest).
Idiot Hero: Kahu. His signature is a scrawling of his own face and an illegible scribble, for example, and he doesn't realise that there haven't been any cocoon masters in over 100 years.
Klingon Promotion: Defied. The Bug clan-leader tries to make Kahu the new leader after being defeated, but Kahu isn't interested and tells him to keep the job.
Large and in Charge: The beasthunter clan-leaders you can fight late-game are noticeably taller than Kahu and their subordinates.
Mix-and-Match Critters: The Tomakana line of beasts from the Na Genus, which appear to be a mix of swordfish, puffer-fish and manta ray. There's also a monster in the Ku genus which looks like a dog but with boar's tusks, a lobster's tail and a single horn on its forehead.
Nice Hat: Continuing the tradition of nice hats from the first game, Kahu wears a nice hat, as do the Sweet Knights. Arguably, the Beast Hunters' masks are nice hats.
Pinocchio Syndrome: Cure. She gets her wish after you defeat the final boss, but doesn't seem to remember he past life at all.
The Resenter: Dr. Gil otherwise respects Kahu and is very friendly to him, but in the final dungeon you have to fight a physical manifestation of his jealousy over the fact that the Forest chose Kahu to be the Chosen One over him.
Shout-Out: One of the sub-plots in the Fire Forest revolves around Nam being accused of stealing another beasthunter's cocoon. During one of the dialogues, the beasthunter will describe the stolen cocoon as his precious.
Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Highly averted. You have no idea (without looking it up) what any given Ogrevine might contain until you enter it, and if it happens to be a boss, you're thrust straight into the fight.
Fire minions have the strongest attacks; they can overwelm water minions but struggle against well defended earth types.
Earth minions have abilities that boost the capability of their allies; their good defences can stop fire minion's strong attacks, but their special defence is weak and can be pierced by air-types.
Air minions have attacks that weaken the enemy; they are most useful against earth-types, but water types have an innate resistance to most of their abilities.
Water minions provide healing for their allies; they also have good special defence but poor defence, making them useful for withstanding the attacks of air types, but quickly overwhelmed by fire types.