Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Go To

  • The family portrait. Anton is a tall, blond, blue-eyed, fairly handsome young man. His brother is a dark-eyed, dark-haired, not-so-handsone midget. Did their mother had some fun outside the castle?

  • How exactly is Flora related to the Professor? From what I gather, he ended up adopting her at the end of Curious Village, but when they unmask her on the Molentary Express in Diabolical Box, they act like they hadn't seen her since, which is really the only thing that makes sense, since I kind of doubt the Professor would just ride off to solve another mystery and leave the other orphan he's supposed to provide for behind without any explanation.
    • The man did decide to ignore her when she was tied up and possibly starving in Dropstone. Ignoring a charge isn't beyond him imo. Still, I suppose since Flora did have some money, he could've hired some nanny to take care of her while he was away.
      • Ouch. Both points are very valid and unfortunately paint an image of the good Professor I'd really rather not have.
      • Look a little deeper. We're looking at a well-dressed, upper-crust professor of archeology - Layton probably has enough cash of his own lying around that he would have indeed hired a caretaker for Flora for the duration of their trip. As for not going to find her once he realized she was still in Dropstone, there was no way out of Folsense - the train wasn't running and they were surrounded by wilderness. Granted, he didn't seem especially concerned about her, but maybe he just figured that Don Paolo wasn't quite Ax-Crazy enough to kill the Tag Along Kid for no reason.
      • Layton's also a very British gentleman. He's not particularly known for his emotional outbursts, is he? He seems cool in any situation, and he was probably brought up to keep stronger displays of emotion to himself. Although he didn't show it, he was probably worried sick about Flora — but knowing that he couldn't go back to her with any speed, he just kept a Stiff Upper Lip until they could really do something.
      • If memory serves, the big reveal happened when Beluga and his nephew were with them. Layton could've asked them when the train would leave, or even insist they leave ASAP, but he didn't. I'd say he cared a bit less then you might think.
      • Flora wasn't tied up, she was locked in a barn. They could have just had Beluga make a call to Dropstone about her. Granted, that's not seen, but it could have happened off screen.
      • Still, even if they couldn't leave, you'd think he'd show at least a bit more concern, Stiff Upper Lip or no, given how there was no way to be certain where she was.
    • Advertisement:
    • It was the hallucinogenic gas. He was wrapped up in the hallucination, and, in the dreamy state of hallucination, all other worries seemed far away. Once he'd figured it out and Layton really realized what was going on, he probably made an immediate call to Dropstone to make sure Flora was OK.
    • On your question about their relationship, in Unwound Future, the character profiles say Flora is the professor's protégée.
    • As to why the professor goes to solve the mystery and is shocked to see Flora, I kind of assumed he enrolled her into a school or something and wasn't expecting her to skip it in order to follow him.
    • Isn't it mentioned in Spectre's Call that Layton has a housemaid called Rosa? It's possible that he thought she'd be fine with her, since there's absolutely no reason not to trust her. I doubt he'd take her away from all her friends at St. Mystere just to enroll her in a boarding school.
  • In the end it's revealed that this whole Folsense mess came about when Sophia left Anton in order to keep their unborn child safe. Fair enough, but one has to wonder why she didn't attempt to visit her lover when the child was old enough to be away from mommy for a few days. Also, while the excuse could be "Anton was crazy," why on Earth would someone use a fancy expensive box to carry a important letter? Far better to just send it in an ordinary envelope.
    • Sophia and Anton's relationship was so full of overtly romantic glib that I didn't find the box to be too contrived. Stupid, yes, but not implausible. Why Sophia didn't try to contact Anton earlier is a better question, and the only answer I have is that she was too much of a coward to try until at death's door.
    • She may have found out that weirdness was going on in Folsense and decided that to return there was to risk her own sanity, or thought that visiting Anton would be too painful for him if she was just going to leave again.
    • This troper believes that Sophia was too filled with guilt to go back. Think about it for a second, she left him heartbroken and miserable but only because she needed to get their child out of Folsense, but hell he didn't know that. It's almost like a teenager who ran away from home and in need of help but is too guilty to confront his/her parents. In addition, Sophia possibly didn't want to be caught in the same hallucination that Anton was in and so didn't go back. True they would have been together, but Sophia had enough sense to understand that they couldn't be truly happy in a world that wasn't real.
    • Advertisement:
    • The box was probably Anton's way of expressing his feelings. If you look back to the credits, you would see that the necklace that Sophia gave to Katia was a gift from Anton, and from the looks of it, that gift came right from the same box. Anton knew the significance of that box and had it furnished into something fancy-looking, probably to impress Sophia. Or I could be wrong and Anton is just a loony.
  • How can Sammy possibly be Beluga's nephew? Beluga doesn't have any siblings aside from Anton, and he doesn't even know that he's had kids. Now, I don't know if the term nephew can be applied to an in-law's son, but it doesn't look like Beluga's married, either.
    • According to Wikipedia, the children of your wife's siblings can be considered nieces/nephews. I guess even a guy like him would have a wife. For appearance's sake if nothing else.
    • Not only that, what if he was a cousin's son? Those can be considered nephews too.
      • The son of your cousin is your first cousin once removed.
    • According to some of Beluga's dialogue in Professor Layton's London Life, Sammy is his biological nephew. Whether or not events in that game are meant to be taken as canon is up for debate, but nevertheless, the mystery of their relationship endures.
      • Truly a puzzle worthy of Layton.
    • Well, IIRC, the family portrait in the museum only showed Beluga, Anton, and their dad, right? Since their mom isn't included, it's possible that they have a sister who wasn't included as well who could be Sammy's mother. Though this is Wild Mass Guessing on my part and possibly has some Unfortunate Implications in it.
      • Not necessarily Unfortunate Implications. The mom isn't in the portrait with the Duke and his sons; there could have been a separate portrait of the mom and one or more daughters. Maybe Sammy's mother was Beluga's sister, and when she left Folsense upon her marriage, she took that portrait with her. It's pure speculation, of course, but it's not implausible.
    • And of course, there's no law against calling some younger, distantly related family member nephew, even if it's not technically correct.
  • Wait, so Sophia did get a hold of the Elysian box at some point, and had it long enough to take out Anton's letter, read it, and replace it with one of her own. How come she didn't hallucinate and freak out like everyone else?
    • Well, there's a lot of possible explanations for this one. Maybe the gas is released only when the main container is opened, and Sophia somehow knew to look for the secret lock, though this doesn't make that much sense. Or maybe Sophia didn't know that it was the Elysian Box, and thus the box only played the occasional passive trick on her that could be chalked up to senility. Or maybe Sophia knew just how dangerous it could be and made only as little contact with the actual box as necessary.
    • I figured even if she knew about the box's curse, the personal significance behind the object made her confident an object sent by her lover wouldn't harm her.
    • They have super-intelligent robots, so why not gas masks?
    • Didn't she also solve "The Elysian Box"? There seem to be two ways to open the box; 1) Open it normally, and if you survive the hallucinogen, find nothing, or 2) Solve the riddle, open the secret compartment, and get the letter.
      • Yeah, given how the letter is in the bottom part of the box, I kind of assumed that she figured that out too.
    • My guess is that, since the "curse" only killed because the gas made people hallucinate they were dying, and they only hallucinate they were dying because they opened the box thinking about the curse, that she didn't know about any supposed curse. She probably got real high for a while, though.
  • So everyone in Folsense but Anton is a hallucination. The problem here is that supposedly the reason why the town looks the way it does is that Layton and co saw the pictures in the train station and thus imagined the town to look like it did fifty years ago, but then you get the people of the town giving accurate histories of the place. That would make more sense if it turned out that they were all Anton's hallucinations, because presumably Anton knows the history of his own town, but... I don't know, the end of the game just breaks my brain.
    • A Wizard Did It. Though it's a cop out, I always figured that the gas had to be at least somewhat magical, considering the other vastly impossible things it does, eg. suggest people into a deep coma, no adverse physical effects after having it mess with your brain for fifty years, internally consistent hallucinations among all who inhaled it... the later parts of the game did read at times like the gas had conjured up the ghosts of the people who died in Folsense or something.
    • Additionally, it's not like the gas has to make sense. Many people throughout the game mention that Folsense is indeed, cursed. I would suspect that the hallucinogenic gas discovered in the mine was exactly that, a magical / eldritch spell they found which consumed the entire town. Why doesn't Layton outright call it a magical spell? Well, he's a man of reasoning and science, that wouldn't be his first conclusion.
    • I thought that everybody, or almost everybody, was real, and just under the same hallucination. After all, the mailman is delivering letters to and from there, and even if he's hallucinating that he's receiving their letters, they're still hallucinations, and people would realize that something's up there. If one person can hallucinate that he's a vampire who's never aged a day, and people can hallucinate themselves to "death", then it's not hard to believe that a lot more people have hallucinated eternal youth, or maybe even hallucinated themselves into avoiding death.
      • Not to mention, someone had to be drinking all that tea.
      • That would explain how Layton and Beluga both were able to interact with the bellhop. Makes you wonder about the real ages of the children, though.
      • I've always thought they were zombie-like things, being kept alive by the gas.
      • Everyone was real, just 50 years older than they looked. One of the kids mentions that he's getting tired a lot.
      • Plus, one of the kids mentions that occasionally, when she looks at her father, he seems much older. Clearly, the illusion can temporarily fade; if she didn't exist, why would she be affected by the gas?
  • Does it bother anyone else how Don Paolo could fit in a Flora-sized suit? Or the fact that he was jumping up and down on couch cushions while IN that suit?
    • Of course! He's a Spy! This explains... well, just that, really.
    • You are not the only one who was bothered by that. Don Paolo as Flora was just plain cheating! But I should have expected as much from this series what with the town full of robots and the gas that makes everyone conveniently hallucinate the exact same thing! Really, this is what we should have seen.
  • At the end of Curious Village, you learn that everyone loves puzzles because they're all ridiculously human robots. So why does everyone in Diabolical Box — and presumably Last Time Travel and the additional sequels — also love puzzles? They can't use the same excuse this time!
    • Maybe they want to see if the Professor really is all that.
      • Unwound Future used this explanation quite a bit, actually.
    • They're all his hallucinations, he expected people to ask him puzzles since the last game, so they did. He really must be a puzzle master to think up all of those.
      • Impossible. The Molentary Express and Dropstone were hallucination-free, yet still packed with puzzles.
      • Professor Layton had mentioned he was famous for being a puzzle-lover at one point. People could've indirectly recognized him and asked him a puzzle. Or this is an AU of Europe where everyone loves puzzles, considering the amount of Anachronism Stew.
  • At least some, possibly all, of the people in Folsense were real, and none of them were fans of home maintenance? I can buy most people would never bother fixing up their homes if they magically stayed in good condition forever, but there should have at least been a few houses that were still in good shape once the illusion lifted, ones owned by people who realize that regularly maintaining their home is as much about keeping problems from cropping up as it is about fixing ones that appear. Or who just like doing handiwork, so the illusion they see never bothers hiding things that go wrong on their own house!
    • Maybe yes. But if the gas makes them see what they expect, someone expecting to always be fixing stuff — even stuff that isn't broken or in need of repair — is going to go around breaking stuff while 'fixing' things.
  • All the citizens of Folsense are hallucinations, yet they all somehow manage to give Professor and Luke accurate information regarding the history and happenings in the town...
    • They are obviously subconsciously deriving information from the environment. See examples of the 50 year old photographs; it's likely those actually existed in the room.
    • Not only that, but it is hinted through the events of the game about the hallucinations before it's revealed. The street lying in ruins, with a broken water pipe and rubbish heap? There were no pictures of that street in the station, so Layton and Luke are seeing it as it really is. The same for the mines and, later, the forest.
    • It is utterly impossible for an entire city to have the same hallucination to such a degree that they are able to function coherently. Differences must arise, and these contradictions lead to the inability to work together properly. Especially when Layton shows up.
      • You're right. It would be impossible to prevent contradictions. First, there's a game devoted to that >_>. But second, what's to say that such things didn't happen, and between the power of the gas and the power of the human mind, people simply rationalized it away or otherwise worked around the inconsistency, or even made the inconsistency part of the hallucination.
  • "Katia's mother died shortly after she was born, but Katia grew up strong and sweet, just the same," says Sophia in her letter to Anton. Does this bother anyone else? "Katia's mother" obviously refers to Anton and Sophia's daughter - the child for whom Sophia left Anton and all of Folsense to protect before she was even born — and she doesn't even bother to mention to her lover what she named their child? It seems like Sophia loved Katia more than she did her own daughter.
    • I have to agree. It looks to be the case. Maybe Katia's mother was a bit of a rebel and caused Sophia some, or a lot, of pain, especially when she was young, but Katia was always a sweet girl, so it was easier for Sophia to love her.
    • Alternately, maybe we didn't hear the entire letter because it wasn't plot-relevant? Sophia could've mentioned her daughter by name, maybe even wrote another paragraph or something, but it appears in the game as "Katia's mother" because it's the last ten minutes of the game and we don't need another character by this point.
    • Thinking back on it, maybe Sophia thought it would be simply too painful for Anton to know what his deceased daughter's name was and what she was like. She asked Katia to go to Folsense to make sure Anton understood her true reasons for leaving, so she might have felt better with talking about Katia in the letter instead of the young lady's mother since it was her hope that Anton would be able to meet Katia.
  • Okay, if half of Folsense leaves to form Dropstone, why the HELL did Anton have to stay? He's clearly nuts enough to impair any form of governing he'd be doing, and it would probably just be smarter to evacuate the entire town, declare it unfit for human life, and move everything to Dropstone. Ancestral home or no, it's irresponsible to let someone keep living in a castle full of hallucinogenic gas. Why couldn't Sophia have told Anton her suspicions, said "I'm pregnant and leaving because even if I'm wrong, I'm not taking that chance," and asked him to come with her?
    • Anton may be justified by something like Honor Before Reason; yeah, he doesn't have to stay (and really shouldn't have, for that matter), but he felt like he had to. As for why Sophia and the rest of the evacuees never tried to tell everyone else about their suspicions... Well, they were just that, suspicions, and they weren't really sure of the specifics. In the game, I believe even some of the Folsense residents know that "a few years ago" (really 50, of course, but they don't know that), a lot of people started getting sick (from the gas, obviously), but they didn't know that the gas was a hallucinogen too. They probably just thought whatever was making them sick would pass and things would go back to normal soon.
  • The ending scene with Layton and Luke riding the Molentary Express away from Folsense... without Anton and Katia. They're standing on a hill outside of Folsense's train station, happily waving goodbye. Then in the credits, we see Katia being reunited with some citizens of Dropstone, with Anton nearby. That's all well and fine, but, as seen from the background, they're still in Folsense. Why would all of the main characters of Dropstone ride the train all the way to Folsense just to be meet up with Anton and Katia? It would have made much more sense for Layton and Luke to take Anton and Katia back with them to Folsense, drop them off there, pick up Flora, and head back to London. Why would the professor and Luke not take the two back to Dropstone, where Katia's family is and where there is actually life and no hallucinogenic gas? It seems like staying in Non-Illusion Folsense would have been dangerous for Anton and Katia, what with the risks of living in any of the remaining dilapidated buildings, so what reason would that have to stay?
    • Let me ask you this; you live in a rural town, where you're so bored out of your mind you must make puzzles and trade them with random train passengers everyday to keep your sanity. Suddenly, two guys come back from this mythical place and tell this outlandish tale about how people lived in these ruins believing they were young due to some hallucinogenic gas from underground. Would you not drop everything that weekend and check that place out?
    • Well, at least the gas is gone now thanks to Anton's castle collapsing in the climax and plugging up the mines, so it's not like that part's an issue anymore. You have a point about all the dilapidated buildings, but given how everyone from Dropstone is seen meeting up with Katia and Anton in the credits, it's probable that they started repairing Folsense. Now whether or not they stayed there the whole time or actually went back to Dropstone to rest up in their actually functional homes every once in a while is another matter entirely...
  • How did Chelmey get away with his screwups on this case? He used department resources and came very close to making a false arrest for a murder that didn't happen. What's more, he should have known it didn't happen before leaving London. You can't have a murder investigation without a murder. You can't have a murder without evidence that somebody died. And unless the body is missing parts, the only people who have the authority to declare a body to be dead are trained medical professionals, a category to which police investigators and archaeologists do not belong. Since Schraeder wasn't dead, and a competent doctor would have known this, the biggest crime that he had knowledge of was that somebody wrecked a curtain to leave Schraeder's office without using the door, possibly in possession of an item which he had no solid proof of being there in the first place. Hardly serious enough to justify booking a trip on a luxury transport.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but this game takes place in Victorian England, no? Was medicine back then so advanced that they knew Schraeder wasn't dead? As far as we know, he banged the coffin lid as they were lowering it, after all doctors had proclaimed him deceased. Chelmey couldn't be blamed for that.
      • The games probably take place in the mid 20th century, so no.
      • The series takes place in a huge Anachronism Stew, but the main era is the modern day. Therefore, we can assume that medical professionals would be able to tell that Schraeder wasn't dead, and thus Chelmey had no reason to be on the train.
      • Completely theoretical here - but maybe Chelmey knew Schraeder wasn't dead? Attempted murder is still a crime, so he's still investigating a crime. It might make sense to him to keep it a secret so he can catch the would-be murderer. He assumes there was an assassin, so he wouldn't want them to know they failed in case they try to finish the job.
  • They board the Molentary Express in London and then travel for days before reaching Folsense — England simply isn't that big. By the second day you'd be in Scotland, unless you were traveling around in circles.
    • Well, the place they were going to was supposedly hidden, no? Would make sense if the train traveled on circles to an extent. Or perhaps it's just a really, really crappy train.
    • The Molentary Express is often called a 'cruise ship on rails.' Cruise ships often sail more slowly than necessary to let passengers enjoy the trip. Also, schizo tech means alternate reality. Alternate reality can possibly mean alternate geography.
  • Okay, so Layton and Luke see Folsense the way they do due to a combination of the gas and the photos at the train station. My question is, how do Katia and Mr. Beluga (and possibly Sammy by extension) see it? Katia and Beluga ought to know that the city is really 50 years older than it looks, so even if they don't know about the gas specifically, they should be able to "see though" the hallucination by virtue of what they know about Folsense's age. Minor, yes, but still something that just confuses me.
  • It's clearly stated that shortly after the special ore was discovered, people began dying of a mysterious illness. So people were dying to the hallucinogenic gas within days, but the surviving townsfolk (or just Anton, if you interpret it that every living person except him in the town was entirely a hallucination and didn't exist) managed to survive for 50 years afterwards with barely any ill physical effects? Sure, Anton was crazy, but he seemed quite physically fit for someone his age, what with the whole epic sword fight and everything.
    • Anton may be Hand Wave-able if we assume he walks around his castle a lot and practice-fences on occasion; even with the castle being right over the mine, he probably keeps himself in decent enough shape that he's generally pretty healthy. As for everyone else, they may have been able to build up some kind of immunity to the sickness-related parts of the gas, at least, though I've got no idea on any other side effects.
    • It's possible that the gas is only lethal in particularly high concentrations? In which case maybe only the miners who found the gas died, and possibly a few other people who died from the power of suggestion - which could have been enough to cause a mass panic and convince half the town to evacuate. Then after a while the gas diffused more evenly across the town, and the people who were left assumed the illness had passed (so they were no longer susceptible to dying via suggestion)
  • Why did Sophia get away with having an illegitimate child by her fiancée, Anton?
    • Why, or how? The why is that she didn't want to endanger her child with whatever it was that was getting people sick, so she left on the train to go to Dropstone and never went back. Anton never knew she was pregnant with his child, so he wouldn't exactly send someone after her. Lastly, since she seemed to be pretty wealthy when she was courting Anton judging by her style of dress, she probably had the monetary resources to get by as a single mother. Katia being "illegitimate" doesn't really affect anything considering she's not inheriting Anton's estate, she's just going out to go talk to him.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: