Visual Novel / Dies Irae

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It's a battle royale...to run away from really fast!

“Come, gather and bear witness to my opera, now in the making.” “Its script is the height of cliché, I am forced to admit. And yet…” “Its actors are of the finest fold; beyond exquisite.” “Thus, I believe you will find it enthralling."

A visual novel by the company Light (no, not that Light) that has had a colorful release history.

In Suwahara City, high school student Ren Fujii's relationship with his best friend Shirou Yusa comes to a crashing halt after an unfortunate incident. The fight that resulted lead to a two month hospitalization for Ren. In December 2006, Ren leaves the hospital hoping to live a new life...but that never happens.

In May of 1945, as the Red Army storms Berlin, a group of Nazi officers use the resulting bloodshed to complete a dark ritual to summon the Longinus Dreizehn Ordennote , superhuman harbingers of the world's demise. It wasn't known if the officers succeeded in their goal and the incident eventually faded into obscurity.

Sixty one years later, the Orden makes their appearance in Suwahara City. Despite Ren's desires for an ordinary life, he finds himself forced into a war against the Orden, drifting further away from what he once held dear. Like Shirou once said, "If you live in this town, you'll go mad sooner or later."

Originally intended to be a visual novel with only a single route, Dies Irae underwent some quick rewrites due to Executive Meddling after artwork posted during development lead to interest in characters who were not the main heroine.

On the surface, it's a regular supernatural/alternate history story with lots of Gratuitous German and Latin, but it gained favorable attention for its pure focus on Rule of Cool and a character driven plot.

In 2015, the creators of the game launched a crowdfunding campaign to create an anime pilot episode, and took in 100 million yen, over 300% of their original target goal.

After a leaked image hinted at an English Steam release earlier in the year, a Kickstarter campaign for an English localization of the Amantes amentes version of Dies Irae launched in December 2016. The visual novel was released in June 2nd, 2017. An 18+ patch will be released in 3 months afterwards. The anime was also confirmed for an eventual English release.

A mobile game spinoff titled Dies irae Pantheon was announced in August 2017, set for a release in Winter 2017, with the series producer hoping for an English localization.

The release history for this game follows:

  • Dies Irae: Also Sprach Zarathustra (2007) - Had routes for two heroines: Empathic Weapon Marie and Ren's Childhood Friend Kasumi. Due to hasty rewrites, certain key scenes were shortened and back story was left out.
  • Dies irae: Also sprach Zarathustra -die Wiederkunft- (2009) - This version fixed those story problems, added some new music and plot to make the whole story more enjoyable and coherent.
  • Dies irae ~Acta est Fabula~ (2009-12) - Added two additional routes for the Tsundere character Kei Sakurai, and the Emotionless Girl Rea Himuro and adding a somewhat vague ending that was filled out in a drama CD.
    • Dies irae Also sprach Zarathustra ~Acta est Fabula~ -Scharlachrot Grun- (2009-12) - Append disc for the Die Wiederkunft version, which adds the aforementioned two routes.
      • A download version was released in 2014.
      • An HD remaster of this version will be released in late September 2017 to commemorate the Anime adaptation. This remaster will not include contents from ~Amantes amentes~ version mentioned below.
  • Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~ (2012-17) - An All-ages release for the PSP which adds a boatload of new contents (CGs, routes, and animated scenes).
    • This version later saw release for the Windows version in August 2012, an Updated Re Release for Windows 10 in December 2015, and a port for Android devices in August 2015 (as a part of the above-mentioned crowdfunding). An iOS release is set for 2016.
    • A Japan-only HD remaster based on the Steam version will be released in late September 2017 to commemorate the Anime adaptation.
  • An English localization was released in June 2nd 2017 on Steam, based on and named after the ~Amentes amentes~ version. Due to cost problems, character routes are sold as DLCs while the Common Route can be purchased for free. The DLCs are packed the same way the first two versions was released originally.
    • Act I: Omnia Vincit Amor (based on Also Sprach Zarathustra), which contains the Marie and Kasumi routes.
    • Act II: Nihil Difficile Amanti (based on Acta Est Fabula), which contains the Kei and Rea routes.

This game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Two online back stories have been published as well as five Drama CD’s all documenting additional back-story that really explains quite a bit about a lot of the L.D.O. Such as how they all first met and Beatrice’s and Kai’s rebellion. Much of this content was later incorporated into the Amentes Amentes release as unlockable side-stories.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Karl Kraft does this in the introduction. Makes him all but untouchable except in one route.
  • Ax-Crazy: Every member of the Obsidian Round Table is a mass-murderer since it's practically a membership requirement by the time the main plot begins. Even Ren Fuji ends up slipping into this during his worst moments. However, even among such a cast, Wilhelm, Rusalka, Spinner, Trifa and Schreiber stand out by virtue of their utterly deranged mindsets.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The conclusion of Kei Sakurai's route. Though Ren Fujii, his friends and his Love Interest survive the events of the story and thwart Reinhardt's return, they fail to properly defeat him and Kasumi cuts a deal with Mercurius to bail them out. As a result, Ren, Shirou and Sakurai spend their adult lives hunting for and sealing Ahnenerbe, and steeling themselves for whenever the L.D.O will show up next. Meanwhile, Kasumi gets married and has a child who's implied to be the next Sonnenkind...
  • Badass Normal: Shirou, who in a few routes never gains any magical ability but still fights with the magically empowered L.D.O. and be taken as a serious threat.
    • Specifically, in Kasumi's route Wilhelm pulls out his Beri'ah ‘Der Rosenkavalier Schwarzwald’ and only succeeds in taking Shirou down with him.
  • Badass Preacher: Christof Lohengrin, alias Valeria Trifa, who packs quite a wallop and manages to take the spot as the Final Boss of Kasumi's Route. He also manages to more or less defeat Schreiber entirely just by abusing his ability to read other's emotions.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: This is essentially the primary gambit employed in Rea's route, culminating in Reinhard turning against Mercurius and fighting him to the death. Mercurius himself is blindsided by the events thanks to becoming overwhelmed with glee at Shirou and Ren's fistfight.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Despite being a group that the Schutzstaffel found too intense, the L.D.O. members are given significant characterization. It is revealed that the few that are not out and out evil and are mostly forced into their roles. Plenty even rebel in all the routes to do their own thing. Not for good reasons each time though. Beatrice and Valeria do everything for their loved ones while Wilhelm just wants a go at fighting Wolfgang/Ren/Shirou/anyone.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Reinhard, who cannot be happy unless he is fighting to stay alive, which is hard given that he is so powerful he needs to engineer the apocalypse to do so. As Ren eventually fights with him on even footing due to a Heroic Second Wind, his response is to laugh with joy as he cannot see any other way to live. Hell, for him 'taking it easy' and 'barely working' is being head of the Gestapo!
    • Karl Kraft can see into the future and as so goads Reinhard into his whole plan of re-creating the world so that he may see something he could not immediately predict the outcome of. His general actions as a member of the L.D.O. freak out all the other members except Reinhard. That's right, the L.D.O. is composed mostly of Complete Monsters or Blood Knights and even they feel Karl is too weird.
    • The acting commander of the L.D.O, Valerie Trifa, also counts. Although he does whatever he can to stop the return of Reinhard, his agenda beyond that is so utterly incomprehensible that Fuji all-but-outright labels him insane in Kasumi's and Kei's routes. Valerie Trifa is filled with such intense self-loathing that he wants to repent for his sins for all eternity...by repeating and sabotaging the Transmutation of Gold over and over again.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Tubal Cain. He only gets worse from there.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Kasumi has a mole on her breasts. This came in handy during Ren's battle with Spinne. Spinne entangled three women on his web, and Ren was able to find Kasumi using that fact
  • Deity of Human Origin: Anyone that reaches Atziluth becomes a God.
  • Double Entendre: Masada is fond of using those in the story, both in and out of context.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Shirou in the routes where he does acquire his Yetzirah. In Marie’s route, he acquires it while punching his way out of a monster that had supposedly killed and eaten him! Easily his Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • For the Evulz: Wolfgang. He sings nursery rhymes while he stabs people to death. Although killing people and drinking their souls gives your relic more power, Wolfgang was a serial killer before he was drafted into the L.D.O. Wilhem Ehrenburg also fits into this category, and it's his fight with Wolfgang that triggers the formation of the L.D.O.
  • Ghostapo: The Longinus Dreizehn Orden, or L.D.O., is this played dead straight. A unit made up of people who Took a Level in Badass at the very least.
  • God: Mercurius, though by all accounts, anyone on the Throne becomes this in effect.
    • God in Human Form: Karl Kraft and Caggliostro are this for Mercurius, essentially little more than images of him that he interacts with the world that exists in him through.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Half the cast.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Reinhard was this in spades back when he was in the Gestapo. When he cuts loose for the first time, Rusalka, a 200-something year old witch jaded by more or less everything mentally 404's, unable to believe something like him even exists.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Longinuslanze Testament, Reinhard's Holy Relic. It is the most powerful weapon on the entire series, having so many souls within it that it burns the soul and mind of anyone who even looks at it. Not only that, but it also has the powers of The Three Commanders: It erases anyone's existance with a strike, it always goes faster than the target and it can never miss. In the What If? sequel Kajiri Kamui Kagura, it becomes even more powerful, distorting space so it can hit the foe faster, and even ignoring the concept of distance.
  • I Reject Your Reality: The third level of Die Ewigkeit, Beri'ah, allows user to materialize their desires: for example, if a character desires to not be touched by anyone, his Beri'ah allows him to be always faster than his opponent. Atziluth is the same taken Up to Eleven, when the desire is so strong that it starts to change the entire world.
  • Light Is Not Good: Big Bad Reinhard is the only character with a white uniform, uses a golden holy lance and seems almost to give of golden light. He also starts the apocalypse for fun.
  • Magical Incantation: All characters use them for activating their Beri'ah and Atziluth. Some of them also use them for activating their Yetzirah.
  • Personality Powers: Justified with Beri'ah, since they're manifestation of their users' desires.
  • Magnetic Villain: Everyone is drawn to Reinhard due to his overwhelming power and charisma, with Ren describing him as having the kind of regal aura reserved for tales about ancient kings of legend.
  • Physical God: A greater part of the cast, but particularly Reinhard and Mercurius, the former of which more or less makes characters who could level a country or five with ease shit themselves with fear using an inkling of his full power. Mercurius manages to top this by having his weakest form of attack be tossing tens of thousands of stars, shrunk to the size of golf balls, as a god-rending hellfire barrage.
  • Purple Prose: And how
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Achieving "Atziluth" or Godhood makes you this, as it involves expanding the character in question's internal world until it is a massive universe of its own. Two Atziluths cannot coexist however (At least, not unless Marie is made the Throne God) , so two people with Atziluths activated will have to do battle for superiority.
  • Soul-Cutting Blade: Holy Relics can damage souls.
  • Soul Jar: Holy Relics grant their users supernatural abilities, including immortality, but they can be killed by (and only by) destroying it.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Reinhard when he shows up in Sakurai's route. He's at an inkling of his true power and the most damage the protagonists manage to inflict on him is slightly scratching one of his fingers, which was all he needed to block Sakurai using her and Beatrice's Beri'ah at the same time. He even lampshades that Mercurius said that the events of the Swastika opening would finally give him a challenge and expresses his utter disappointment.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Getting a relic seems to do this. Turning genuinely scary murderers and soldiers into super-powered Ghostapo members.
  • Talking To Yourself: Karl and Ren have the same voice actor.
    • Kei and Beatrice as well.
  • They Do: In Nihil Diffcile Amanti, which serves as the epilogue of Rea's route and the visual novel as a whole, Ren Fuji and Rea Himuro tie the knot while feeling the warmth of Marie's embrace.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Inverted emotionally with Reinhard, who only gets happier as it looks like he might lose. He had never had a problem fighting anyone before that due to his Story-Breaker Power status.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The obvious example aside with Shirou and Ren, given that the former put the latter in the hospital for months, Reinhard and Mercurius are more or less this though Reinhard eventually finds out that Mercurius' friendship with him is basically just a way to try and control his Apoptosis.

Acta Est Fabula (The Play is Over)

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VisualNovel/DiesIrae