"Sometimes I wonder, if there is more to this game than everybody thinks there is. Like there is something bigger in all of us, just hidding out, watching us. Wouldn't you want to know?" —Alpha's trailer of the remake.
During its somewhat sloppy early stages, the series used a unique combination of sprites and hand-drawn graphics, while the voice acting was mostly done by the writers of the original RP, each one voicing his or her own character.The author has openly admitted he's had some heavy influence from .hack, Mega Man Battle Network, and ReBoot. References to Anime are also frequent, Dragon Ball Z being the most common—for example, the character of Zetto, fact which is frequently Lampshaded by other characters.After Niosi entered college, he had less time for the series (at first, the fourth 27-episode season was shortened to a handful of OVAs, then scrapped altogether). He continued it with smaller projects, such as the three-part Super Freakin' Parody Rangers, which features Expys of the characters Zetto and Ruri.However, on 11/11/11, a fully animated Continuity Reboot of TTA re-titled Terrain Of Magical Expertise was released, this time with the internet equivalent of an All-Star Cast, including LittleKuriboh among others.The remake features a unique style of animation reminiscent of video games like Battle Network or The World Ends with You, and it looks just that cool. Ten episodes, and seven shorts, have been released, which constitute the show's first season. The entire series can be found at Niosi's specially-designed webpage (via Blip TV, which also allows for viewing in HD). Most episodes (except for the Season Finale and the last short) can be seen on Niosi's homepage at Newgrounds, and he has finally begun uploading all the episodes (each split into two parts) and shorts on his YouTube page as a result of his partnership with Channel Frederator. His YouTube channel is also where promotional material for the series is usually uploaded.The remake, TOME, now has a tool for voting on Favorite Episodes
TvTOME Adventures (The Original) Provides examples of:
Author Stand-In: Almost all of the characters are based on "authors"—the creator of the series actually has two avatars, kirbopher15 and Zetto.
Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The D-Bug Dragon at the end of Season 2, although the good and bad guys don't so much join forces to stop it as they do just happen to both be trying to kill it for different reasons.
Badass Normal: Out of whom many consider to be the five most powerful players in the game, Nailock is the only one without any kind of game-breaking advantage; Alpha, Kirbopher and Gamecrazed were all influenced by powerful viruses, and Zetto is a Netking.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Nailock. He's off-the-wall, zany and doesn't seem all there at times, but he also defeated one of the main villains in record time, defeated the strongest of a group of the strongest players in the game, and is one of the only people to defeat Zetto.
When first facing Kirbopher15 in his transformed state, EXE knew he had the D-Bug virus within him, and planned to make it his own. He convinced the Webmaster to make an '1111' item so Kirb could trigger the state, and would only do so if confronting his accomplice Zetto, by letting the heroes go covert at the D-Bug Org. II base while keeping the other Netkings ignorant. Absorbing too much viruses while transformed, Kirb unleashes the D-bug, that seeks to fight the strongest fighter in TOME, and eventually makes its way to EXE's room, which had a stash of 10 virus fragments, and manages to control the dragon by fusing it to the Super Computer.
Evil Twin: The "Shadow Users" are (mostly) nonsentient copies of every user of the system.
Expy: Zetto is one of Vegeta. He even has his hairstyle!
The Faceless: Voltarius in late season 2 (The Voice beforehand), and an unnamed season 3 villain...though Anidoug was the villain of Season 3.
Hand-Hiding Sleeves: Alpha wears a shirt with sleeves that cover his hands. It falls under the "cute sleeves" variant, and, coupled with a scarf that occasionally covers his mouth, it is mostly used to emphasize his shy and unassuming personality.
Heroic Sacrifice: Season 4 was to have one of the Anubis Guild's members, Fauna, pull a Heel-Face Turn and sacrifice herself by overclocking her powers to destroy the barrier surrounding the stronghold so that the final assault could begin.
Specifically, a lot of the the Player Characters in the RP that TTA was based on had ice-related abilities. "Shoot an icicle" seems to be a common low-level attack which a lot of characters use though, even if they are not ice-based.
The Man Behind the Man: Had season 4 come to full fruition, it would've been revealed to be Darkeyesofanubis, who was responsible for the creation of the Kagemamoru Virus, the D-Bug Virus, and generally has masterminded the events of the series as a whole.
Also the climax of season 2: While Zetto was indeed Voltarius, the boss-man of the group, EXE was the one really in charge of the D. Bug (original and II) Organization.
One-Winged Angel: Zetto. Twice. Then there's Ravenfreak, Racoon, Sojojo and Simdragon. All have been subject to the Virus Frags at one point or another, and each has taken on a different form when they utilized one.
Transformation Trinket: Kirbopher15 goes superpowered anytime he cuts '1111'. The first time he did it when his EXP reached that number, and then used it again when facing Webmaster and his Deletion Beam (a collection of 1s and 0s), which he would later use to help Alpha beat Kagemamoru. In the second season, Webmaster gave Kirb a '1111' item that he could use in a pinch, but one time only. Kirb does so, but awakens the D-bug virus fully in the process.
Transformation Sequence: Zetto and Raccoon had these. Rockoon in the reboot also gets this when he merges with Kajet.
Welcome Episode: The first episode shows Alpha's first log-in, along with him meeting the other main characters. Oddly, Flamegirl first logged in that same day (August 23, 2020), but she's depicted as a veteran of TOME.
Anti-Villain: Demonking. He just wants the money to go back to school, okay?
April Fools' Day: Short 00: "The Tome Adventure". Actually a cartoon made In-Universe by Rockoon which contains many shout-outs to the original incarnation of TTA, including bringing back the voice actors for Alpha, Gamecrazed, and Nailock to parody their old characters.
Arch-Enemy: The TOME Short, Nylocke's Day off, invokes this trope when it introduces Nylocke's Villainous, Rival, the Sinister, Serpentine!
Art Shift: TOME uses a different art style for every situation.
The "character sprites" are used for walking through the landscape of TOME, and sometimes for fight scenes
TOME switches to using "talking avatars" when characters are speaking.
The art style switches to paper, and pencil sketches, during Flashbacks, or when a character is role playing.
Audio Commentary: Niosi is releasing episode commentaries on his website. In addition to himself, they feature LittleKuriboh (voice of Nylocke), ShadyVox (sound designer and the voice of Alpha), D-Mac Double (assistant voice director and the voice of Rockoon), Kajetokun (composer), Crikeydave, Foolyguy, Heilos (background artists), and Blizooka (script supervisor).
Break Up Make Up Scenario: This is an ongoing plot between Alpha, Kirbopher and Flamegirl. It started when they had an argument in Awaken the Beast, and it continued when they were shown to be avoiding each other in Minigame Madness, and Dragon Drama. The only part yet to happen yet is the part where they all make up.
Kirbopher. Who's very often the subject of the group's jokes, because he's easily provoked, often has an attitude/ overreacts to things, and because his friends like to tease him about his friendly rivalry with Alpha. Special mention goes to Nylocke, for while he calls his friends "Sir" or "Lady" in addition to their name, he dubs Kirb the unique title of "Squire", and even gets his name wrong in the first few episodes.
Skeight to Rockoon, who being agitated by his imitations of himself, and by the "funny" way Skeight talks makes constant jokes at Skeight's expense.
Call Back: The opening scene from "Awaken the Beast" is one to the beginning of the first episode.
Calling Your Attacks: (Lampshaded by Alpha in episode 1) "About how you find screaming at the top of your lungs to be an effective opening attack."
Lampshaded again in Episode 5 and justified (In Kirb's opinion) as giving the attack extra "oomph".
Casting Gag: In episode 2, a character who is identified primarily as the sister of another character is introduced. She is the sister of none other than (the Real Life) Kirbopher, Alison Fanelli - also known as Ellen from The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
Contest Winner Cameo: Auctioned on Ebay. These are sold to fans to promote the show in some of the episodes, The winners send Niosi their own character designs which he TOME-ifies into something that fits the show. They then get inserted into certain scenes to appear near some of the recurring characters. A couple cameos even have brief speaking lines.
Cooldown Hug: Flamegirl gives Alpha one to stop him using the Forbidden Power to kill Ravenfreak.
Early-Bird Cameo: Saturndiva, Whyti, Granda, T-Bones, and Elecscope all appear in Episode 1 during Nylocke's speech.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The earliest episodes (01, 02, and Short 01) all have this, to varying extents - Niosi took a lengthy break between episodes 02 and 03 to work on fundamentals, and it shows. Among the major differences:
In "You've Gotta Virus", Alpha, Nylocke, Gamecrazed, and Rockoon all sound different from how they would in later appearances, despite all being voiced by the same actors. Rockoon also acts quite differently, because Deven Mack began writing his own character's lines from "Hackers" onward.
The "talking avatars" were drawn more roughly; Niosi actually re-edited the episodes upon uploading them to Blip (and later YouTube) to insert the newer, more refined versions.
In "You've Gotta Virus", the battlegrid exists only along the vertical plane, has no "floor", and does not appear to have definite boundaries within the playing field; all of this was changed starting in "Mansion Midnight", and the notion that players can still affect the environment from within the battlegrid was also introduced.
The original version of "Mansion Midnight" re-introduced Kirbopher, Gamecrazed, and Nylocke by displaying their vital statistics; viewer complaints led Niosi to stop doing this from "Highest Form of Flattery" onward (using it only for initial appearances), and he even removed them from the Blip and YouTube re-uploads.
Everyone Can See It: Alpha and Flamegirl; even Flamey seems to be aware that Alpha likes her (though she halfheartedly denies this in the company of her friends), but Alpha appears genuinely uncertain about Flamey's feelings.
Extremely Short Timespan: Every episode so far takes place over the course of only one "session" of gameplay each. The shortest so far is "Mansion Midnight", which depicts about one hour (in a fifteen-minute episode).
Face Fault: Hilariously lampshaded by Kirbopher and Gamecrazed in Episode 2.
Gamecrazed: Why did you fall?
Kirbopher: I DON'T KNOW.
Facial Markings: Alpha. Tsuzuku and Shogun also have them. Zetto seems to also have one in the shape of a Z under his left eye.
Foreshadowing: TOME displays the "Forbidden Power"'s ability to physically harm players from episode 1.
The Gemini Tournament, formally introduced in "Awaken the Beast", is first foreshadowed several episodes prior in "Mansion Midnight". Where Asterob says, the Mansion was being used to test a tournament feature for "a bigger event coming up". In "Fraggedquest" players are also seen using the Mansion for tournaments.
Friendless Background: Alpha, most definitely, but there are also signs that this is true of Kirbopher, Gamecrazed, and Nylocke as well. Even Flamegirl, when she mentions her "friends", is usually talking about other players of TOME. This may be the reason that The Power of Friendship is such a key theme of the series.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: Nylocke is Sanguine, Kirbopher is Choleric, Flamegirl is Phlegmatic, and Gamecrazed is Melancholic. Alpha is Supine, a very rare type indeed for a protagonist.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In episode 08 if you pause at just the right time you can see a sprite of Demonking and his partner in the tier list for the quarter finals, foreshadowing his appearance toward the end of the episode. Several cameos appear in the tier list as well such as Red Meat, and Mace from Super Freakin' Parody Rangers. Episode 10 also has a whole bunch when The Forbidden Power possesses Zetto and the fight that follows.
George Lucas Altered Version: All existing episodes of TOME were uploaded to Blip at the end of July, 2013, converted from SWF format so that they could be shown in HD. However, the earliest episodes ("You've Gotta Virus", "Hackers", and "Mansion Midnight") also had the original talking avatars re-animated to match the newer versions, and certain lines were re-recorded to maintain continuity with later episodes.
Green Hill Zone: One of the three regions of TOME, ;Sanctuary. Because battles aren't allowed there (it's exclusively dedicated to social networking), it's been very scarce so far, appearing for the first time in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in "Dragon Drama".
Hub City: The region of ;Mechcity, first appearing in "Highest Form of Flattery". It places greater emphasis on social networking than ;Lavendera, and is a far more visually interesting and diverse setting.
In-Series Nickname: Of the five main characters, four are often referred to by derivatives of their usernames: Kirbopher is "Kirb", Gamecrazed is "GC", Nylocke is "Nye", and Flamegirl is "Flamey" to most, aside from Saturndiva, who calls her "Flames".
Nylocke addresses his friends as "Sir" or "Lady", except for Kirbopher, whom he always calls "Squire".
"Well, it's about time!" Used by Kirbopher, voiced by himself, in the episode just before he jumps Alpha, and used by Zetto, also voiced by Chris Niosi, in his debut in Episode 5. Bonus points that its used for both their respective Establishing Character Moment.
Doubling's line to Rockoon in the "Hackers" short ("I don't like this job, I don't like TOME, I don't like you") is echoed by Rockoon to Skeight in "Rockoon's Modern Strife" (paraphrased as "I didn't need him, I don't need friends, I don't need you"), maintaining the triplicate and even using the same editing and sound effects. It turns out that Skeight is really Doubling in disguise, meaning that Rockoon is effectively throwing his words back in his face - though without knowing it.
Item Get: Flamegirl, and Kirbopher have one of these moments when finding their respective pieces of the shadowguard idol, complete with fanfare, an item glow while they hold it to the audience, and a "FRAGMENT GET" prompt for their effort. Subverted with Gamecrazed however. When he gets his piece we only see him reach for it.
Part of the charm of it is that the original version of Kirbopher's character in TTA is based on Sword Kirby, who's an Expy of Link. For TTA fans it can be loosely, considered a Mythology Gag.
Kissing Discretion Shot: A scene in episode 7 is suggestive that Alpha and Flamegirl kiss, but it fades to white, and we don't see it happen.
Leitmotif: A number of characters and settings have one, unsurprising given the RPG Elements of the game.
Let's Duet: Judging by the animations Starlight Speedway the song that plays in the credits of episode 7, appears to be a duet between Alpha and Flamegirl. Although they got a different person to sing for Flamegirl, and the lyrics don't particularly mean anything.
Limited Animation: When walking around and talking, the characters are typically rendered as"sprites," or have character portraits.
Nylocke: I...I am Nylocke...Horrendously-violated dragon...With split ends. (thud)
Not Named In Closing Credits: Deven Mack, Jr., though he is listed as part of the crew for the episode "Awaken the Beast", is not credited as part of the cast for his appearance as Rockoon in the tag.
In an attempt to help preserve the shocking twist of The Reveal in "The Warring Demons", Chris Niosi is up until that episode credited under a pseudonym - Tony A. Campbell - as the voice of Zetto.
Notable Original Music: In contrast to the original TTA, which borrowed anime and video game music, TOME has an original soundtrack composed by Weston "Kajetokun" Durant - though most of the tracks were originally composed for a planned SNES-style RPG project that fell through. On December 18, 2013 (coincident with the first season finale), Niosi finally made the full soundtrack available on the show's Bandcamp page.
Oh Crap: Demon Alpha, when the forbidden power is deflected by Zetto, which causes him to lose the battle. Alpha has another one of these, in his regular form, when Zetto absorbs the forbidden power and corrupts HIM.
On the Next: Added to the YouTube uploads of the second part of each proper episode, these feature yet another version of the "Battle On" theme as background music, with the primary character of the coming episode doing the narration (Kirb narrates the "Mansion Midnight" teaser, Flamey narrates for "Highest Form of Flattery", etc).
One-Shot Character: Most of the villains are One Shot Characters, except for Rockoon who loves his hacking job, Demonking who is redeemed by Nylocke and appears again in a short later, another nameless character that appears in both "Awaken The Beast", and "Dragon Drama", and of course The Big Bad, D-Buggers.org, who leads the hackers.
One-Winged Angel: Rockoon in the reboot has the dubious honor of being the first antagonist to do this, thanks to his hacking of "The Shadow Guard Beast".
Police Are Useless: Minigame Madness reveals The moderators are unwilling to do anything to stop Alpha's virus powers hurting other players, as they don't think it's a "REAL Problem". That probably means they don't do anything about players hacking the game either. They will ban the occasional scammer though, but even that is ineffective as said scammer is known to have made multiple accounts.
Pyrrhic Victory: Nylocke lets Zetto win the gemini tournament's final match to teach him that winning isn't everything. This was after he pretty much absorbed all of Zetto's Ki energy, and was in a position to finish him off with his own Ki, making Zetto's win feel undeserved.
"Survive The Drama", the tune that plays as Zetto fights Demon Alpha in Mechcity, was rearranged with "THE VIRUS", the theme of the Forbidden Power, and became "Surive tHE VIRUS", the theme of Demon Zetto.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kirb's the red; Alpha's the blue (however, they are identified by the opposite colours in-game).
The shadow guard idol was drawn to look like the silver monkey in Legends of the Hidden Temple. The head attaches to the other pieces with a spike.
The scene in episode 4, where Rockoon mocks Nylocke for always being in character, was a reference toDOTDOTDOT, narrated by Deven Mack Jr. (voice of Rockoon) and animated by Mick Lauer (voice of the quest giver).
Nylocke's "Hoo!, ha!, parry!, dodge!, spin!, thrust!" in episode 5 is this to an episode of Looney Tunes called "Robin Hood Daffy".
Rockoon can be a shout out to Looney Tunes himself sometimes.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Elescope gets freaked out by Nylocke leaping at him... But is truly shocked when GC warps up behind him to chat.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Flamegirl and Kirbopher throw one at each other in episode 5, Flamegirl's is about how Kirb always hangs around them even though they piss him off and that he's more obsessed with Alpha then anyone. Kirb claims that all Flamegirl happens to be is Alpha's fangirl and takes everything in a video game (like fighting hackers) too seriously.
There Are No Police: Or in this case, admins and mods. The hackers seem to have been allowed to run amok with impunity, with only the Five-Man Band to stop them.
Finally averted with the "Minigame Madness" short, in which an (unnamed) admin or mod is seen taking reports from players (following up on the events of "Awaken the Beast"), and then banning a known troublemaker.
Tournament Arc: The Gemini Tournament, in which players must form pairs and fight alongside each other. The shown pairs are: Alpha/Flamegirl, T-Bones/Granda, an unnamed pair, Saturndiva/Whityl, Kirbopher/Archy, Raccoon/Skeight, Tsuzuku/Shogun, Zetto/Kizuna, Nylocke/Gamecrazed, Hyprelinx/Elescope, another unnamed pair, an unnamed character/Demonking, yet another unnamed pair, one last unnamed pair, Dustbunny/Neomutante, and Sniperwheel/Asterob.
As of Episode 08, Alpha/Flamegirl and Zetto/Kizuna are in the semifinals, while Nylocke/Gamecrazed, Demonking/partner, an unnamed pair (Parody Rangers expys), and Sniperwheel/Asterob are in the quarterfinals.
Alpha has a flatter, more deadpan affect to his voice in the first episode. In his subsequent appearances, he starts with a more delicate and tentative pattern, probably to help contrast with his Let's Get Dangerous moments and later, his Demonic Possession.
Could also count as Fridge Brilliance, since Alpha is shy and wasn't that open when he appeared in Episode 1.
Nylocke has a high-pitched and breathy voice at first, but starting in the second episode it has a deeper, booming timbre, which better portrays his No Indoor VoiceLarge Ham qualities.
Wall Jump: Demonstrated by Nylocke to reach the top of a building in ;Mechcity.
Xenafication: The end result of Niosi turning Flamegirl into an Action Girl in the remake. She's been upgraded from the sweet, and polite, damsel in distress she was in TTA, into a warrior with a no nonsense attitude in the remake!
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Nylocke and the Quest Giver; at the latter's insistence, anyone seeking a quest must also address him in this fashion. Both Flamegirl and Rockoon pull this off with aplomb.