Visual Novel: Magical Diary
Magical Diary: Horse Hall
is a Romance Game
with Life Sim
and Adventure Game
elements, released by Hanako Games
The Player Character
was an ordinary teenage girl until she discovered her inborn capacity for magic and was given The Choice: deny her power and keep her normal life, or embrace it and enroll at the Wizarding School
Iris Academy to learn how to control and use her magic. The game follows her through her first year at Iris Academy and her introduction into the world of magic - and all of the dangers that come with it.
A Wolf Hall
spin-off is currently being planned.
Magical Diary contains the following tropes:
- A Year and a Day: The accidental marriage is intended to last for this length of time.
- Accidental Marriage: More like accidental engagement, but due to the power of a promise the people involved have to go through with it.
- Adult Fear: Really sets in with the gradual mind-wiping of Wildseeds' families. Imagine your child went off to a boarding school. You dropped them off there, you could drive back, but you can't remember a damned thing about it. You can't recall anything specific about the place and, even worse, as time goes on, you have no want to visit or see them at all. Eventually, you can't really remember caring about your child at all and may, some day, forget about them altogether. And the magic community pretty much sees this as acceptable.
- Also the inverse situation: A child of a witch family is given a choice at 13 whether to keep their magic - and if they choose not to, they have to forget everything magical, including their parents and family. One momentary decision by your just-teenager child, and you'll never see them again, or if you do they won't remember you, and you won't be allowed to show you remember them.
- Animal Motifs: Deliberately invoked by the faculty of Iris Academy. All students are assigned a house when they enroll: "daring" Wolves, "elegant" Falcons or "eldritch" Toads for the boys, and "adventurous" Horses, "charming" Butterflies or "mysterious" Snakes for the girls. Bonus points for one of the Butterfly Hall residents having literal wings.
- Anything That Moves: Pastel.
- Aroused by Their Voice: Professor Grabiner, according to the PC.
- Possibly also Damien, depending on how you choose to phrase the love letter and whether or not you're just making things up. "Voice like melty butter," indeed.
- Asexuality: Virginia repeatedly insists she's not interested that way in anyone, male or female. Even if you manage to enter into a romantic relationship with her (which isn't easy), at the end it comes out that she'd really rather just cuddle.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Ellen is probably the smartest person at the school, and at one point defeats an exam without using any magic at all, just puzzling out an illusion. Professor Grabiner considers it cheating to complete a magical exam without using magic, though.
- Becoming the Mask: Probably the case with Damien, although it's hard to be entirely sure. Casting Spirit Sight and/or Empathy at plot-relevant moments proves that, if nothing else, he's definitely struggling with some very uncomfortable and conflicting feelings.
- Big Eater: Virginia. She sure can pack it in.
- Boarding School
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer / Eccentric Mentor: Professor Potsdam. Despite being the powerful headmistress at a prestigious Wizarding School she comes across more of a mature Granola Girl. Most of the time, anyway.
- Captain Ersatz: Professor Grabiner is very obviously fanon Snape.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Snake and Toad Hall students in general tend in this direction. Particular examples include Big Steve, Suki, and Balthasar.
- Companion Cube: Give Big Steve the bunny doll, and he names it "Mr. Hoppity" and is often seen talking to it. And writes letters to Mary Sue in Mr. Hoppity's name. It's unclear whether this is due to a dissonant personality disorder on Big Steve's part or if there's more to Mr. Hoppity than meets the eye. (With enough White Magic you can check whether or not there is any sort of spirit in the toy, and there doesn't seem to be, so it's probably just Big Steve.)
- Cool Big Bro: William to Virginia. And she adores him for it.
- Crapsaccharine World: It's such a pretty magical world, with freaky yet lovable characters, fairy wings, and Troubled, but Cute Bishōnen. Yet magical society is exceedingly totalitarian, its rules are enforced by Laser-Guided Amnesia, the students at Iris Academy have very few rights, and even then, the professors are not the ones who are the most dangerous to you.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Kyo towards Minnie.
- Crippling Overspecialization: If you don't at least take a look at all five magic types early on, you'll get detention or demerits. Also, not all dungeons can be solved by all kinds of magic, so someone who purely specializes in a single art is at risk of demerits.
- Dark Is Not Evil:
- On first glance, Snake and Toad Hall are assumed to be reservoirs of Always Chaotic Evil. However, as seen above, their students generally turn out to be harmless Cloudcuckoolanders - the dangerous students aren't so obvious.
- Black Magic, despite having a name full of negative connotations, deals mostly with enchanting magical items and is no more inherently evil than any other school.
- Deconstructed Trope: The romance with Damien is a deconstruction of the plot where Love Redeems the Troubled, but Cute villain. Damien's read that romance novel, and he's not only manipulating Mary Sue in the classic romance-novel sense, but he's manipulating the player's expectations of how this story goes to get what he wants, and everything he does before the Wham Episode is in fact pure fakery.
- Depraved Bisexual: Damien. If you don't romance him, he'll go after a freshman boy instead. On the other hand:
- Everyone Is Bi: Gender appears to be completely irrelevant when it comes to romance here; not only can characters be romanced either way but no one comments on this to indicate that it's at all unusual, and other NPCs date both genders as well. Most obvious with William, Damien, or Ellen if you pursue her.
- When Jacob's "fathers" are mentioned in Virginia's path, it comes up very casually and might not even be noticeable if one doesn't pay attention to his exact wording (as in, "my fathers" versus "our fathers").
- In fact, is a minor plot point. Mary catches Virginia and the Pastel complaining about how the new class is mostly girls, and how this means that Pastel will, essentially, have to go 'the other way'.
- Dying Declaration Of Hate/Dying Declaration of Love: Potentially one of either when Damien shows his true colors, depending on player choice.
- Exact Words: Playfully lampshaded by Damien during the May Day ball. The protagonist is under the impression that his earlier promise not to harm her is still in effect - until he bites her. As he points out, the terms of the promise mean that it actually only protected her for the one day. Fortunately, he doesn't actually intend to harm her and the bite was simply to mess with her... probably.
- Face-Heel Turn: From the perspective of magical society, the ending in which the protagonist loses her magic and escapes with Damien constitutes one. The truth of the situation is something much more complicated.
- Foreshadowing: If you manage to acquire certain amounts of magic points before the events, some of Ms. Potsdam's lectures can be considered foreshadowing at least for Damien's path, and possibly a few others'.
- Friendly Address Privileges/First Name Basis: One of the signs that Professor Grabiner is warming to the protagonist is that - at least when they're not around other people - he begins calling her by her first name, and gives her permission to call him something other than "sir."
- Gay Option: No Hanako Games title would be complete without this. In this case both Ellen and Virginia fulfill the role officially.
- The Grovel: The letters that Damien sends after things in his path go pear-shaped contain copious amounts of slightly unhinged groveling, promising anything you could possibly want from expensive presents all the way up to conquering the world for you if only you'll take him back.note
- Hello, Insert Name Here: The PC's name is chosen by the player (with "Mary Sue" as the default).
- I Have This Friend: Kyo talks about his problems with Minnie this way the first time he asks you about it in Gym Class.
- Ill Girl: Virginia was born prematurely and has some health problems as a result. William explains it to you when she gets sick about halfway through the year.
- Jerkass Has a Point: For all of Damien's flaws and problems, it's safer to listen to his warnings:
- Your first encounter with him in the gym, where he tells you to attend at least the first lecture of every class and not trust the professors? You need a minimum of one point in every colour to avoid getting detention after the first two weeks, and a minimum of ten to avoid being kept behind for summer school. And Potsdam definitely isn't telling you everything.
- His suggestion to study blue magic during Initiation week? Successfully using blue magic (which requires a total of thirty or more points in it) will get a whopping ten merits in the first exam - more than you can get from any other option.
- His warning not to use Spirit Sight during the Dark Dance? Doing so will turn you blind and cause Grabiner to give you detention and take ten demerits from you - twenty, if you'd mentioned the Dance to Grabiner prior to attending it.
- Him telling you that you might be in danger in the Academy - that you could lose your mind, or your life, or worse? If you get expelled, you will "lose your mind" by being brainwashed. As for your life and your soul, they are also in danger... from Damien!
- Loophole Abuse:
- Defied by Potsdam. She says that if trying to steal your soul isn't technically on the books as an expulsion-worthy offense, she'll make it one.
- However, used in one event to get out of a Magically Binding Contract. Virginia and Jacob promised to marry when they turn eighteen. They did not promise to marry each other.
- Sometimes there is a time limit or an opponent of some kind, but for the most part, the only rule for the exams is "find the exit". In one exam, Ellen uses her analytical skills to break through an illusion and find the exit, without even bothering with magic. Subverted in that she doesn't get any merits for it and Professor Grabiner basically equates it to cheating.
- The Lost Lenore: Professor Grabiner's attitude turns out to have been shaped significantly by the tragic and gruesome death of Violet, a promising wildseed witch who he fell in love with while they were both students.
- Love Martyr: The PC, on Damien's route. Everyone around her warns her away from him, but even after he betrays and nearly kills her, she'll keep forgiving him and coming back for more if you want to get his endings.
- Luck-Based Mission: Unless you enlist Big Steve's help, you only have a 1 in 100 chance of winning that bunny doll.
- Magic itself can be this as well. Each class in a type of magic raises that type by a random amount of points between 1 and 3, and you have a chance of failing that goes up with your stress level. If you wait until the last minute to level up a type of magic that you need for an exam, you'll have to hope that you get lucky with the numbers.
- Magically Binding Contract: The sworn promise of a witch or wizard is completely binding, with dire consequences if broken.
- Magitech: Utterly forbidden. Ellen tries to experiment and it nearly gets her expelled.
- Manipulative Bastard: Damien!
- Masquerade: Of the extra-strength variety based on some of the comments.
- May-December Romance: You have the option to send a romantic valentine to Professor Potsdam. If you do, she turns you down. Not because she's probably old enough to be your mother or because a relationship between a student and teacher would be wrong, but because she doesn't want students thinking they can buy scholastic merits. She does seem genuinely flattered by the interest, though.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Donald's problem.
- Mr. Fanservice:
- Must Have Caffeine: "Big Steve" Kenyon tends to be very irritable if he hasn't had his coffee.
- Non-Standard Game Over: The Divorce achievement in particular, which is difficult to reach but is probably the worst possible outcome for the player character.
- Obfuscating Stupidity : Professor Potsdam is a lot more devious than she first appears.
- Odd Couple: You have two roommates. Virginia is a Book Dumb junk-food-addict slob. Ellen is a quiet, studious neat freak who loves vegetables.
- This isn't quite Tomboy and Girly Girl since as Horses they're both somewhat tomboyish. Ellen is more girly, but not drastically. However, Pastel is extremely girly, and she and Virginia are apparently friends.
- Parody Sue: The default character name is Mary Sue. The creator was having a bit of fun there.
- Pastiche: Of Harry Potter Fan Fic. The setting is a Wizarding School where the students are assigned into animal-themed dorms based on personality traits, the protagonist is a teenager from an otherwise normal Muggle family who's now being introduced into a whole magical society on the other side of The Masquerade... there's even a Captain Ersatz of the common fangirl interpretation of Severus Snape in the person of Professor Grabiner. And, of course, the PC's default name is Mary Sue.
- Parental Abandonment and Parental Neglect: Combined with Adult Fear for bonus points: the Masquerade reinforcement causes your parents - and the parents of every other Wildseed to forget that their kids are magical. In some cases, the spell hits so hard that the adults in question actually forget so hard that, at best, they forget why they care about the kid...and Ellen suspects that this is what's happened to her family. She later has Potsdam make them forget her completely and elects to stay at the school over the summer; if you've become close friends with her or are pursuing her romantically, you can offer to let her stay at your home during the summer - otherwise, you never even find out about the situation. More, it's implied from the way Virginia tells you this, that this is considered completely normal and justified by the born-witches.
- Pronoun Trouble: Not all mages or magical creatures are male or female; some are asexual, hermaphroditic, have Bizarre Alien Sexes, or otherwise don't neatly fit into the human gender spectrum. Accordingly, Potsdam says that you should ask someone what they want to be called if you're not sure, and also mentions that mage society uses the gender-neutral Spivak pronoun system ("e" and "eir" for "he/she" and "his/hers," among others). It isn't a big deal in-game, however.
- Minnie uses the gender-neutral pronouns in a conversation with you if you're on the student council, in an attempt to conceal that she's asking for advice about her relationship with Kyo.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Potsdam appears to be this, while Grabiner comes across as a Jerk Ass. Actually, they trade off roles. Potsdam is enormously unwilling to do anything and prefers to let students get into dangerous situations unsupervised, while Grabiner takes his responsibilities to his students very seriously and can be quite helpful, provided the protagonist has gotten to know him well enough to think of asking him.
- Revenge: The raison d'etre of the Rose and Wasp . However, their involvement almost always leads to something the player will regret.
- Running Gag: "...Wait, is this going to be sex education!?"
- Save Scumming: Given the multiple dialogue options, multiple game paths, and random nature of magic skill gains, this is pretty much required. Given that you can literally save everywhere, to 80 slots, this is also practically a game feature.
- Scare 'Em Straight: Professor Grabiner's preferred method of dealing with students, on the basis that having them all terrified of him is preferable to letting them get themselves killed by being careless with their magic.
- Secret Character: As of the latest patch, Big Steve now has a partial romance path. Reaching it is much more difficult than any of the other characters.
- Shout-Out: The school play is The Small Place of Purchase of Frightening Things.
- Spirit World: The Other World.
- Squee: Grabiner's romantic ending concludes with the protagonist going back to her dorm room to, in her own words, "squeal like a schoolgirl."
- Stern Teacher: Professor Grabiner is a firm believer in scaring 'em straight. He comes down very hard on students in order to protect them by making sure they understand how dangerous magic can be, or - if that fails - by making them too scared of him to try anything too stupid on his watch.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Ellen starts to work on developing this on her route. It scares the crap out of the professors.
- It's possible to determine that the real issue is her use of electronics.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When asked if you are dating Donald:
- The Talk: Something of a Running Gag. Professor Potsdam will sometimes open a class sounding like she's about to lead into the talk, only for it to turn out to be something unrelated. She does eventually get round to it, kinda. Apparently there are no rules against any kind of love in Iris Academy, but no student is allowed to carry children.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Possible with Professor Grabiner, but must be approached carefully since he's not at all inclined to play along and answers any overtly romantic gestures in his direction with a bucket of demerits and no. Only at the very end of his path does he begin to show any definite signs of reciprocating.
- Troubled, but Cute: Damien. Donald to a lesser extent.
- Two-Teacher School: The only instructors we ever see are Professor Grabiner and Professor Potsdam. Word of God says there are more but they mostly teach the upper years.
- Two-Timer Date: Possible if you were on Virginia's path and then accepted a date with Damien.
- Urban Fantasy
- The Un Favourite: Ellen's comments to Donald, when the topic of sibling rivalry comes up, suggest that she either was this or at least feels like she's this. Coming to Iris Academy doesn't seem to have improved matters much - her family tells her not to come home for Thanksgiving. She eventually has Potsdam just make them forget her entirely.
- Villainous BSOD: Damien kind of loses it for a while after his feelings for the protagonist make him unable to go through with his evil scheme.
- Wizarding School
- What the Hell, Hero?: Happens very late into Damien's path if you try to appeal to Potsdam to let him back in for the May Ball. She not only refuses but very gently chews you out for even asking, pointing out that what he did might have been technically legal, but he still nearly killed you and he'd be expelled for that alone even if his deed isn't on the books as being expulsion-worthy (and if it isn't, she'll add it). On top of that, you realize - too late - that you just got told off in front of the entire school, and Virginia and Ellen very quickly find out. They are not happy to hear that you're even talking with Damien again after what he did to you, and refuse to listen to any justifications. They even kick you out of the room for good, only letting you back at night so you can sleep and their very justified fury carries all the way into the final exam - which they will deliberately throw unless you promise to break up with him right then and there. And breaking that promise deprives you of your magic - refusing to make it at all means that your entire Hall is so disgusted with you that the only option for you is to be moved to Snake Hall. "Perhaps the girls there will be more understanding of your choices."
- You can get this from Minnie too, if you successfully campaigned for treasurer and try to cast Empathy on her when she comes to you with a problem. Turns out that doing that kind of thing is considered a bit rude in magical culture.
- If you completely foul up an exam, Grabiner will pointedly ask just what the hell you thought you were doing, and remind you that the professors won't always be there to save your hide.
- You Didn't Ask: When trying to find a loophole in a Magically Binding Contract, nobody thinks to ask Ellen for help. It's first mentioned to her after a solution is worked out, and she (of course) saw it instantly.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Many of the characters have unusual hair colors. You can give your character one, too.
- Your Soul Is Mine: What Damien is trying to accomplish.