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Visual Novel: Tears to Tiara
From left to right: Rathty, Rhiannon, Arawn, Arthur, Llyr, Octavia and Morgan.
"Cutting off your own head won't solve anything."

In a fantasy world mixing Arthurian legend, Celtic Mythology, and Roman history, the "Holy Empire" has taken it upon itself to crush all resistance. Against them is the Demon Lord Arawn (in human form) who inadvertently becomes the leader of a tribe fighting for survival. As such, this is a tale of war, sacrifice and beautiful women.

Based off the PC Visual Novel by Leaf. Later re-released for the PlayStation 3 and the PSP with art and technical upgrades. The Anime aired in 2009 and is now available in North America by Sentai. A 3 volume manga was also made.

The sequel Tears to Tiara II Haou no Matsuei was released on Oct 31st, 2013.

This game was from the creators of To Heart, To Heart 2, and Utawarerumono. This has the most similarities to the latter.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Marriage: Arawn to his harem girls (though reduced to three in the anime). At least Hakuoro was just a Chick Magnet.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Or running through the woods like a dumbass.
  • Action Girl: Most of the named women characters are one, except the ones who were first seen residing in Avalon. Rhiannon gradually turns into one near the end of the anime series.
  • A-Cup Angst: Epona is especially conscious about her size to the point of being so embarrassed as to having to resort to a Love Potion just to bed Arawn. Yes, she even rambles about it during her H-scene. See Red String of Fate below.
  • A Father to His Men: Gaius.
  • All Myths Are True
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Given by Octavia to Lidia after she kills her.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Arawn and Arthur in the opening while eating an apple. Also Episode 2.
    • Another example is Octavia and Morgan, on a fairly regular basis.
  • Author Appeal: Ermin has more than twice the amount of H-scenes compared to any other girl in the visual novel, including Rhiannon. She's also the most childlike, which can be a little... awkward.
  • Badass Army: The Rubrum, also doubling as Elite Mooks.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Morgan. Rathty and Arthur as well.
  • Bash Brothers: Arthur and Arawn; previously, Pwyll and Arawn.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted by Gaius and Lidia, the former of whom is rugged yet a Worthy Opponent in the end; the latter is beautiful but... not so good. And then there's Lector, who is an angel and appropriately beautiful, but...
  • Berserk Button: The otherwise snarky Arawn hates it when people are willing to die or enslave themselves for immaterial concepts like chivalry and honor. This is likely due to how his creator/father Angel sacrificed himself to give humans a chance for freedom that, thanks to the Angels, the previous races of the world never had.
    • Arthur's gets pressed in episode 15 when he first sees Arawn as a white spirit, remembering it was one who killed his father in front of him when he was younger.
  • BFS: Gaius carries one.
  • Big Bad: The Angel Lector.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Arthur doesn't trust Arawn at first. Hard to blame him, since his first sight of Arawn is as a huge demon, right before he morphs into a human-sized figure, and thought that his sister Rhiannon was in trouble. And although Arawn actually saved her, he wasn't entirely sure of it at the time.
  • Big Brother Mentor: A rare case where the mentor is Arawn himself. Crosses over with Stealth Mentor since Arthur seems unaware of Arawn's plans to raise him as a worthy king.
  • Big Eater: Arthur, Morgan and Octavia. In one scene in the game, Arthur and Morgan both make themselves sick trying to out-eat Octavia, who just wants to eat in peace.
  • Big Good: Arawn, who, in a twist, is also The Hero.
  • Bleached Underpants
  • Bokukko: Rathty.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Arthur in episode 15.
  • Call Back: Arawn is known as the "Great Demon King", presumably because he's a Fallen Angel. Then a flashback reveals that while Arawn was "dying" the first time, Pwyll utters the words: "...My friend. My Great King.".
  • Canon Foreigner: Lidia, an Imperial general introduced only in the PS3 remake. Becomes a full Canon Immigrant come the anime.
  • Cavalier Consumption: The characters pass around an apple while swordfighting in the Title Sequence.
  • The Cavalry: Arthur brings some reinforcements with him in episode 18.
  • Cherubic Choir: The Song of Creation which Myrrdin uses to change the Ice Age into spring. Taliesin later uses it to stop a blizzard.
  • Colony Drop: The Dragons' Götterdämmerung happened when the Angels dropped the Earth's second moon on their city.
  • Complete Immortality: Angels don't appear to be capable of dying either due to age or violence. Myrrdin is the sole exception, which was through sacrificing his very being. Arawn was 'killed' in combat, but it just meant he had to spend a thousand years sleeping. Even as a fallen angel he claims he can't really 'die.'
  • Compressed Adaptation: The manga, being only 15 chapters long, axes entire parts of the story and quickly brushes over others, like Arawn and Myrddin's relationship or Arawn's past as an Angel.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Rathty is voiced by Greg Ayres in the Sentai English dub. Except Rathty's a girl all along.
  • Conspicuous CG: The revived skeletons in Episode 2.
  • Cool Old Guy: Ogam, hands down. He gets even cooler when he's revealed to be an ancient dragon.
  • Council of Angels: The Twelve Angels who are of the Knight Templar variety — all except Arawn, who's hated by his kin for advocating freedom for all the "lower" races.
  • Cute Bruiser: Rathty — Little elf, BIG hammer.
  • Dark Is Evil: You might think that with Light Is Not Good in play Dark Is Not Evil would accompany it. It doesn't: Unholy powers really are bad and while Arawn looks dark and forboding, he never displays any dark powers. As a matter of fact, the one sending out unkillable undead are the angels themselves.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Some extent to Octavia.
    • And Gaius's lieutenant, Decimus; though in the anime he's clearly ready to kill them (or die trying, anyway) after Gaius is mortally wounded, Decimus obeys his commander's final order: defect to Arawn's side and help him create a better world.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Arawn.
    • Contrast with Light Is Not Goodthe Holy Empire, though it's obviously corrupt from the start and thus not ever really light; they've got nothing on the Angels themselves, of course.
  • Dead All Along: The emperor is long dead. Lector just talks to him for shits and giggles and interprets the skeleton's silence however he pleases.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Arawn will sometimes lapse into these during less serious moments.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The holy element Electrum burns Arawn on contact (getting shot full of it was what killed him the first time). In-game, any equipment made of Electrum doesn't enhance the stats of any elves, dragons, or demons it is given to. In human hands, however, they're the most powerful things available at the store.
  • Depower: What happens to Arawn after High Priest Drwc resurrects him too early. As a result, the legendary Demon King is only slightly stronger than a normal human and actually hurts himself a little when he punches a skeleton so hard it shatters.
    • In the game he instead rips Drwc apart with a sweep of his hand as if his fingers were solid claws. Again, he has some minor complains about it afterwards.
  • The Fair Folk: Subverted. When the boat first lands on Albion, Ogam mentions that they best be careful because of the "Good Folk". They actually turn out to be very friendly. It also helps that they adore Arawn.
  • Fallen Angel: Arawn cast himself out of heaven in defiance of the other eleven angels who desperately wanted him to stay simply so there would be twelve. With his new freedom, he brought freedom of their own to humanity. His first and only act as a White Angel was to give a wreath to a young girl, which stripped his divine powers. He can forcibly regain them, but it hurts even more than it did to cast them away before.
  • Fan Translation: Released in December 2008, right around the time when the anime spinoff began airing.
  • Fastball Special: RATHTY MISSILE!
  • Final Speech: Combines with Almost Dead Guy during Gaius' last moments in the anime for an impressive amount of time; it would almost have been ludicrous had the character not been so badass that one could buy Gaius' willpower holding out long enough to make that speech.
  • Gainaxing: Morgan and Lyre.
  • Genki Girl: Morgan. The original game shows this a bit; the anime takes it Up to Eleven and adds a touch of Hard-Drinking Party Girl.
  • Genre Savvy: Rafty in the anime.
    "My mommy told me never to trust a man dressed all in black."
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Arawn does this to Arthur when they lost against the Rubrum.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: A bunch of them appear in Episode 4, and are reduced off-screen to crab hotpot.
  • Girl in a Box: Octavia
  • Glacier Waif: Rathty. Also a cute one.
  • God Is Good: Watos seems like a pretty nice guy, albeit one who is missing. It's heavily implied that he's responsible for Arawn falling to stop his mad kin, and is very much responsible for the holy light that blasts Merakis away and doesn't answer when Lector attempts to pray for his intervention.
  • Go Through Me: Rhiannon does this a few times to protect Arawn from Arthur.
  • Gratuitous English: "Apple Pie". When your city's name is a throwback to the fact that its orchard is full of apple trees, it only makes sense that this gets made... often.
  • Have You Seen My God?: Watos, the actual creator deity, vanished almost as soon as the universe was created and hasn't been seen since. The angels try to follow his will, but they haven't the faintest idea of what it actually is. They suck at knowing the right thing to do and as a result are vicious and keep destroying the dominant civilizations.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Taliesin is briefly a minor antagonist, but since the entire point is to recruit him and his tribe it's obvious that he's going to join them eventually.
  • Heroic Albino: Arawn
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Taliesin, who was in turn inspired by Myrrdin's own sacrifice.
  • Happily Ever After
  • Honest John: Epona, and Rusty's Split Personality Thraty.
  • Honor Before Reason: Many of the Gael Tribe, but Arthur takes it up a notch. When told to duel a wounded foe, he dislocates his own arm to even the field. Arawn frequently remarks that Arthur's stubborn insistence on rules and oaths can do more harm than good, especially when dealing with human lives.
    • In the game, there is a law that punishes adultery with a dislocated arm, so Arthur runs away with this and casually asks Morgan (who has declared herself married to Arawn) if her breasts get in her way when fighting before grabbing them just in time for Rhiannon to see the act.
  • Hot-Blooded: Arthur. A significant part of the plot revolves around the whole cast just trying to stop him from going overboard. Following Character Development though, he's definitely more matured and composed by the end of the series.
    • Morgan falls into this trope from time to time as well, and nearly gets them caught when she can't shut up while they're exploring Londinium for the first time.
  • Identical Descendant: Arthur looks like his ancestor Pwyll with a different outfit and hairstyle. Justified, as Arthur is a reincarnation of Pwyll.
    • The same can be said of Rhiannon, who looks like an adult Primula, Pwyll's human wife.
      • Not surprising, considering that in the very beginning of the game, she tells Arawn that her true name is Primula.
  • Idiot Hero: Arthur to some extent. Comes to a head when he throws Arawn's caution to the wind and leads reckless charge against the Rubrum, nearly losing all him men. This is frequently lampshaded in the game.
  • I Know Your True Name: Knowing the name of a spellcaster gives you complete control of them. Riannon is forced to give up her name to a priest early on and Arawn has to break the control before killing the priest. Riannon in turn figures out Arawn's own name and almost blurts it out, much to his irritation. However, apparently it wouldn't matter even if she did know since he's above the ability of a human to control.
    • I believe, that in the VN, while saving Rhiannon, Arawn mentions that the whole "true name" thing works only as long as you believe in that you should obey, and he's disappointed in her being stupid enough for this. And then he snaps her out. By hypnosis. In a matter of seconds. And then rips apart the one who threatened her (in the True Name Slave state she would die along with him) with his bare hand.
      • Arawn states very early in the game that "true name" control doesn't actually work on humans. It's implied this is due to his own sacrifice which gave them free will and broke heaven's control of them. It is very clear that the "true name" control works on everyone else as Arawn himself was taken control by Myrrdin when the latter uses his true name Lucifer.
  • Keystone Army: Upon defeating Gaius, the remnants of the Empire's forces sieging Avalon surrender immediately, at his dying request.
  • Lady of War: Octavia. Her self-proclaimed rival Lidia is more of an Ax-Crazy Knight Templar.
  • Large Ham: Morgan sometimes does this. One prominent example is in episode 16, after Ogam tells them not to move their forces towards Avalon for four days.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Arthur is worse off than Oboro in this, but at least he gets a clue quickly enough.
    • Morgan can be prone to these as well.
  • Lethal Chef: Subverted in the game. While Octavia and Morgan's cooking looks something like slop (they just ground up all the ingredients and threw them into a boiling pot), it actually tastes pretty good.
  • Light Is Not Good: Holy power is associated with purity, precision, belief and perfection, but when taken to extremes it also promotes blind faith, arrogance and self righteous zealotry. The Empire is strongly associated with holy powers, which makes its more moderate members like Gaius and Octavia uneasy. They're being led by Lector, one of the angels, all of whom have fallen into zealotry.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded the hell out of in one scene in the Visual Novel.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Merkadis
  • Loophole Abuse: In episode 16, Ogam tells Morgan not to move their forces for four days. She later visits Octavia in her tent, and laments the situation. Afterwards both say they can't move their forces, but then Morgan mentions that Ogam never mentioned anything about the two ladies themselves not being able to go, so they both sneak out and fight their way back towards Avalon.
  • Lovely Angels: Octavia and Morgan (or is that a Battle Couple?), Rathty and Llyr.
  • Manly Tears: Pwyll does this well. As does Arthur and Arawn.
  • Meaningful Name: Arthur. Really, given the setting and host of other meaningful names, what else could he have become?
  • Meido: Lymwris and Ermin.
  • Mighty Glacier: Rathty.
  • Million Mook March: The Golmes, to the extent that Taliesin first mistakes the army for terrain where the snow has receded, describing it as "70% black, 30% snow".
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: In Episode 25, Lector goes completely off his rocker after getting a cut on his cheek now that his "perfection" has been ruined by a human being. Doubles as Lector's Villainous Breakdown.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Rhiannon, after being forced to give up her true name.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Apparently, for Arawn, the idea that Llyr successfully milked a cow is more unlikely to come to mind than that he got her pregnant.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Llyr. It's written スィール (siiru) in katakana. Because she's, you know, a Seal Elf.
  • Noble Demon: Arawn plays this straight.
  • Not Quite Dead: Taliesin
  • Nothing Can Save Us Now: Taken to absurd levels after the defeat of Merkadis, where the gang is trapped inside the crumbling tower. After they give up on getting out, the ladies start asking Arawn to marry them when they get reincarnated. Cue Tailesin, very much alive and well, fresh out of his Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Played straight near the end of episode 18, when Gaius has reached the last barricade in Avalon. Many of the characters trapped inside are genuinely scared that they may very well be killed once the Empire's troops breach the last door.
  • Oh Crap: Several characters display this look at times, usually when someone they're fighting turns out to be stronger than they are (usually when fighting Arawn).
    • Arawn himself has this look in episode 6 after he finds a seemingly discarded seal pelt, and gives it to Rhiannon to help her start a fire. Then it turns out that it was actually a magical MacGuffin for Llyr, without which she can't go back to her homeland any longer.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Plays during every scene featuring The Emperor and White Angel.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Lidia's view of Octavia. Taken to... interesting levels.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Twelve Angels are responsible for the various Ages that end in near-total annihilation: when the dominant race of that Age fails to meet their incredibly high standards (as in keeping the races from developing enough such that they equal or even surpass the Angels in their "perfection"), they wipe them out and start over. The only good Angels are Myrrdin and his son Arawn/Lucifer, who would replace Myrrdin as the Twelfth Angel, and the latter would earn his kin's ire for believing in allowing the "inferior" races to develop.
    • Even their God Watos isn't on their side anymore (Merkadis is defeated by a prayer that invokes an powerful ray of light from the heavens, and Lector is pretty much doomed when Watos doesn't answer his pleas for help). It is also hinted that the Angels do not know the true will of Watos and that Arawn/Lucifer was specifically created by Watos to free the world from his kin's control before they find another reason to trigger apocalypse.
  • The Other Darrin: There was a massive re-casting effort between the PC and PS3 versions, replacing most of the original cast with a more high-profile one (which carried over to the anime) To wit:
    Morgan: Rie Tomigawa > Mai Nakahara
    Octavia: Kaoru Imai > Rie Tanaka
    Limwris: Ayaka Kimura > Ami Koshimizu
    Ermin: Mai Akizuki > Ai Shimizu
    Ogam: Gansezu > Yosuke Akimoto
    Epona: Yurika Hokuto > Kiyomi Asai
    Llyr: Yuka Takana > Kaori Nazuka
    Rathy: Yuka Misaki > Kana Ueda
    Tailesin: Rei Takatori > Tomohiro Tsuboi
    Gaius: Ken Akiresu > Kenji Hamada
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Ogam
  • Our Elves Are Better: More like different. House Elves, Seal Elves, Miner Elves, Merchant Elves, and others, each with their own (literal, except for Ermin) Hat. Also, unlike most elves, they lack the standard pointy ears.
    • Although note that Mine Elves represent the more typical fantasy depiction of dwarves, minus body hair and such. The one we meet is even money-hungry like Discworld dwarves.
  • Palette Swap
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Precursors: Before the Humans of the Iron Age, there were the Elves of the Bronze Age; before the Elves, there were the Giants of the Silver Age; before the Giants there were the Dragons of the Golden Age. All three previous Ages met a tragic end no thanks to the Angels.
  • Prestige Class: Musician, Paladin, Sage, Hunter, Seer, etc.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Happens to Arawn, who hated how the spirits were abusing their powers with the mortals living on Earth, and causing destruction of the various ages simply because they couldn't live up to the angel's standards of perfection.
  • Real-Time Strategy: The core gameplay mechanic of the game, or to be more specific, semi-RTS combined with JRPG.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Morgan (Red) and Octavia (Blue).
  • Red String of Fate: One of these is for sale at Epona's shop for 99999. It has a Love Potion effect that she uses to get Arawn to "marry" her.
    • Said red string becomes a Magic Feather, however, as Epona tied it to the wrong finger. The magic only kicks in when you tie it to your pinky.
  • Reincarnation: Pwyll as Arthur, and his wife Primula as Rhiannon.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Arawn, Arthur, Rhiannon and Taliesin believe in Authority Equals Asskicking.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Rathty — and it was also a twist in the game. Epona apparently knew, but apparently kept mum about it.
  • Satan Is Good: Arawn's true name is "Lucifer". The very beginning of the game shows a hint, as Rhiannon almost blurts his true name after figuring out that he is "Akaboshi" — the Japanese name of Venus as the "morning star". Lucifer is also known as "Light-Bearer" and is attributed to Venus
  • She's a Man in Japan: Both Animax Asia and Sentai dubs mistakenly call Rathty a boy.
  • She Is All Grown Up: We see an adult Primula, now Pwyll's wife, in a flashback in Episode 14.
  • Ship Tease: Taliesin and Epona.
  • Shout-Out: Epona sells red shoes at her shop, which she claims increases speed threefold. It bestows a Fragile Speedster effect on whoever wears them. In a double shout out to the story by Hans Christian Andersen, the AI takes control of whoever is wearing those pair of shoes in the PC version.
    • In Episode 14, they raid Arawn's tomb. Much insinuations ensue.
  • The Siege: Episodes 16-18 focuses on Gaius's attempt to take down Avalon.
  • Sixth Ranger: Taliesin.
  • The Slow Walk
  • Spiritual Successor: to Utawarerumono, except with an Arthurian feel.
  • Spoony Bard: Taliesin. It's even the name of his class. The prestige classes like Hunter, Seer, and Druid also qualify.
  • Stripperiffic: Morgan can't seem to wear anything but a tube-bra, sleeveless short jacket, and a loincloth that doesn't even try to hide her panties — even at a breakfast meeting.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Prevalent in the PS3 version.
    • The PC game has it too for every super move. All four of them.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Arawn feels this way. He later extends this by saying that humans are such idiots for obsessing over chivalry and honor at the expense of freedom — freedom he once sacrificed his own Angelhood for.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Done by Arawn, of all people. "I-it's not like I'm doing something effeminate like wallowing in nostalgia or anything!"
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Arthur in Episode 2. More like shouting it down.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Arthur faces this dilemma often. He's keen on upholding the laws of his tribe (which are not always good and tend to advocate death as solution to every problem), but he's also a good person. Other characters are more willing to bend the rules if they are to stay alive, and halfway through the series Arawn convinces him to follow his conscience.
  • Tranquil Fury: Arawn is quite an adept swordsman, and often moves calmly and coolly when in combat.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Octavia tries this out with Morgan in order to sneak the two of them into Avalon, which is under siege by the Empire. It would have worked were it not for the fact that the unit she associates herself with is a unit that had been sent back to the mainland long ago. They get to fight their way inside instead.
  • The Unfavorite: Arawn to the other Angels. Likewise he feels the same hatred to his kin, as evidenced by his own face in a mural on his tomb being scratched out.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Lidia. This is also notable in flashbacks where she and Octavia were friends she didn't have these.
  • Unwanted Harem: A lot of girls follow Arawn around, whether he wants them to or not.
  • Video Will: Arawn leaves one of these in a prison located inside Mt. Corus, and a thousand years later, Taliesin is led to it by a baby dragon.
  • War Is Hell: Ogam points it out to Arthur when the two meet after Arthur runs off for attacking Arawn while under Lector's mind control.
  • Warrior Monk: The Holy Empire employs Church Knights, Bishops, and Priests in combat, amongst others.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Bubulcus in episode 6, after falling into an ambush set up by Arawn and Arthur, cuts the suspension bridge he and his men are escaping on to prevent the Gael's from pursuing them. However, several of his men, as well as Octavia, are still on it when he finishes cutting it, causing some of them to fall to their deaths. Then he later has the gall to get angry at Octavia when she reports what happened to his superiors.
  • Worthy Opponent: Gaius; likely a Father to His Men as well.
    • Lydia and Octavia towards each other at the end of episode 11.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Gael characters in the English dub, but they keep slipping.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Taliesin spends his life running away from his prophesied fate as chief of Brigantes. In the end, he decides to embrace it in a Heroic Sacrifice... only to survive unscathed.
    • There's a little twist to this tale, as mentioned on the PC version of Taliesin's part of the ending: He is phropesied also to be killed by a terrible beast. He befriended a dragon cub.
  • You Killed My Father: In Episode 15, seeing Arawn use the power of Light reminded Arthur of the Angel who killed his father and calling himself "Arawn". In a fit of rage he tries to run him through even when Rhiannon gets in the way, forcing Arawn to shove her and take the sword to his gut. Only then does Arthur calm down and realize what he's done. He apparently forgot that Arawn was asleep for the last 1,000 years and couldn't possibly have killed his father. Then it turns out that he was brainwashed by the true killer — Lector.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Octavia.

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alternative title(s): Tears To Tiara
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