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Video Game / Alnam no Kiba

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Alnam no Kiba: Juuzoku Juuni Shinto Densetsu translation  is a Japanese video game developed by Right Stuff. It was first released as an RPG for the PC Engine in 1994. It was later remade as a visual novel for the PlayStation in 1996. Neither version of the game has been released outside Japan or translated.

The story takes place in a land ruled by the Pure Capital of Seito, in which humans coexist with twelve beast tribes. Beastmen are normally identical to humans but have the ability to transform into anthropomorphic animals forms. Beastmen are subject to intense discrimination from humans, being viewed as lesser and disposable. These lands have come under attack by strange creatures called shishimura. The government in Seito was content to not do much about the shishimura when they mostly attacked beastmen villages, but as the monsters have become more aggressive and numerous, reports from human villages have become more common. To combat this, the capital has called for each beast tribe to send a representative to act as defenders for the human cities.

Kenbu is a teenage beastman from the Shutsu Tribe who is training to be a warrior to avenge his parents who were killed by shishimura. His first experience in real combat goes wrong when his mentor Ouken is mortally injured protecting Kenbu from a shishimura's attack. Ouken was to be the representative for the Shutsu, and with him gone Kenbu volunteers to take his place. Filled with uncertainties about the relation between humans and beastmen, the origin of shishimura, and his own place in the world, Kenbu throws himself into his new duty to fight the shishimura.

The game later received a sequel on the PlayStation in 1997 called Alnam no Tsubasa.

Alnam no Kiba contains examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Ryousui of the dragon tribe doesn't meet the rest of the cast and join the party until close to the end of the game when there are only three dungeons left.
  • After the End: It's revealed late in the story that human civilization was destroyed after the sun vanished tens of thousands of years ago. The current world was rebuilt by the Great Ki Master Maham.
  • Always Night: The surface world appears to be in perpetual night, as it's said the sun vanished thousands of years ago. This is fixed in the game's ending, as Mariane becomes the new sun.
  • Animal Theme Naming: All the members of the beast tribes have names that include a reading of the kanji for their respective animal. To just list the main characters' names:
    • Kenbu (犬 ken dog)
    • Toei (兎 to rabbit)
    • Shakko (虎 ko tiger)
    • Tobari (鳥 tori bird)
    • Suzume (馬 me horse)
    • Hien (猿 en monkey)
    • Yougan (羊 you sheep; goat)
    • Taranda (蛇 da snake)
    • Basso (鼠 so mouse; rat)
    • Rancho (猪 cho boar)
    • Giyuu (牛 gyuu ox, cow)
    • Ryousui (龍 ryou dragon)
  • Animorphism: Beastmen normally look human but can transform at will into an anthropomorphic animal form.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Your party size is limited to three characters. You'll run into all sorts of excuses for characters to have to leave Kenbu's side or for the 12 main characters to split into groups, all so your party size never grows more than just Kenbu and two others.
  • Babies Ever After: Shakko and Taranda are shown in the end credit slides to have had a baby.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Hien. Not only is he the youngest of the beast tribe representatives at 16, but is short enough to clearly look the youngest. He often gets teased as being a child by his companions, much to his dismay.
  • Beast Man: People of the beast tribes can transform into humanoid animal forms.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Shakko and Taranda spend a lot of their time together bickering. Of course, they end up together at the end.
  • Benevolent Boss: Gousen, the general put in charge of the main characters, doesn't treat beastmen with prejudice and is generally reasonable and tries his best to help the protagonists. Even after he gets stripped of his job the main characters all continue to go to him for help and treat his mansion like a safe house.
  • The Big Guy: Giyuu is large and imposing, and is one of the most physically powerful party members.
  • Body Horror: After Kenbu and Toei save Meifang, a little girl taken by shishimura, it seems things will be alright. But when they come back to the village they find a new shishimura attacking. After dealing with it they find out to their horror that Meifang is dead; she had been implanted with a shishimura parasite that grew and torn from her back, ripping her body to pieces in the process.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Shakko, a brash swordsman.
  • Death by Childbirth: The Iwafunebito are designed such that they die upon the birth of their child, including the father. Hokuroku and Touban both hoped to avoid this by getting together with women of other species - human and beastman - but the result was that while they survived, the mothers' bodies couldn't handle it.
  • Eastern Zodiac: The animals that each of the main characters and their tribes can transform into correspond to the 12 animals of the Asian Zodiac. The tribes are even named directly after the readings of the kanji used to name each Zodiac animal.
    • Kenbu and the Shutsu Tribe: Dog
    • Toei and the Bou Tribe: Rabbit
    • Shakko and the In Tribe: Tiger
    • Tobari and the Yuu Tribe: Chicken (though judging by Tobari's transformation they turn into birds in general)
    • Suzume and the Go Tribe: Horse
    • Hien and the Mou Tribe: Monkey
    • Yougan and the Mi Tribe: Sheep
    • Taranda and the Shi Tribe: Snake
    • Basso and the Su Tribe: Rat
    • Rancho and the Gai Tribe: Boar
    • Giyuu and the Chuu Tribe: Ox
    • Ryousui and the Shin Tribe: Dragon
  • Egopolis: The three biggest cities after the capital - Gihou, Juukei, and Gousen - are named directly after the three generals that run them.
  • Elite Four: The Shitenkou, four Iwafunebito in who serve under the Left Emperor. A section of the game involves Kenbu needing to find each of their secluded temples to attain proof he met them. Unlike most examples of this trope, they're not hostile to Kenbu and his allies; instead, they become a valuable source of information.
  • Endless Daytime: It's never explicitly stated, but it's implied that the underground world is in perpetual daylight since the sun is actually Ki Master Maham emitting a massive ball of light, and he always hangs above a tower in the eastern edge of the world map.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Left and Right Emperors; Gaizu and Bantan. The two of them are the second-highest seats of power after Pure Empress Mariane. Unlike Mariane, the two of them are openly contemptful of beastmen and treat the main characters with hostility. After Mariane gets kidnapped by a shishimura the two of them take the chance to try and take power for themselves.
  • Family Man: Rancho is the only one of the beast tribe representatives that has a wife and kids. And he cares about his kids a lot judging by how excited he gets to see them, and he considers making a world where there's no shishimura to threaten them to be his primary motivation.
  • Fantastic Racism: Most humans treat those of the beast tribes as lesser beings. The beastmen aren't allowed to set foot in human villages or hunt for food outside designated areas. Humans often call them "the scorned ones" and treat them disgust and suspicion. The main characters are given special rights as part of their job to fight shishimura so they can enter human cities and use shops and inns. The shopkeepers and innkeepers often express disgust at having to do business with the protagonists, one innkeeper even goes as far as to say he burns the bedding the protagonists use to as not to get their filth on the other customers.
  • Fictional Currency: The game calls its money Romu.
  • Find the Cure!: One section of the story involves Suzume getting poisoned by a shishimura's venom and Kenbu, Taranda, and Toei go searching for a way to make a serum to cure her.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The PC Engine version of the game is infamously buggy, including having multiple ways to freeze the game or get stuck in an Unwinnable situation.
    • During the section of the game where you have Tobari and Taranda in your party, if the two of them get too high leveled before you meet Nangou the game will crash at the cutscene where you climb the cliff to his temple, making the game unwinnable.
    • During the prison escape sequence, at one point you're supposed to examine a shelf to get your equipment back. If you instead try to exit the room the game will freeze.
    • A late-game dungeon has an extra exit you can go through. Doing so will put you in a dead-end section of the world map. Entering back into the dungeon to try and continue will put you in a glitched up screen, at which point walking one step in any direction will freeze the game. Your only options are to reset to your last save or quickly open the menu and use the dungeon escape spell before taking any steps to return to the original non-glitched entrance.
    • After a certain cutscene plays out late in the game's second to last dungeon if instead of heading upstairs like you're supposed you instead go downstairs you'll find that the stairs to go back up no longer work, putting you in an unwinnable state.
    • At times the final boss will just not show up at the end of the final dungeon for no understood reason.
    • One of Taranda's spells freezes the game when you try to use it.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Kenbu and the other beast tribe representatives are perfectly willing to fulfill their duties of protecting human towns from shishimura attacks. Despite that, most humans they meet treat them with disdain just for being beastmen.
  • The High Queen: Pure Empress Mariane is the highest authority of the lands and is a beautiful young woman. She laments the racism that humans have for the beast tribes and treats the main characters with respect, using her position to keep the aristocrats hostile towards them in check.
  • Hollow World: Towards the end of the game the protagonists find out that the world they know is actually completely underground. They get teleported up onto the surface to fight against the source of shishimura.
  • Interspecies Romance: Two members of the Shitenkou - Hokuroku and Touban - got together with a Shi Tribe woman and a human woman hoping to get around the Iwafunebito's limitations on breeding. The result was that the mother's bodies gave out giving birth, and the heartbroken fathers left their children at the Shi and Chuu Tribe villages. It turns out that Taranda is the daughter of Hokuroku and a woman from the Shi Tribe.
  • Kilroy Was Here: Before heading into the final battle the team all write their names on a stone pillar along with the following message:
Seito Calendar Year 7777 - Here the Twelve Beast Tribe Apostles unite as one.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Party members are broadly split between physical and magical attackers. The game favors the latter a lot. By the end of the game, Ki attacks will do a lot more damage than physical attacks, and the Ki users will have healing and buffing spells as well. At end-game physical characters will be massively outclassed in usefulness.
  • Little Bit Beastly: At several points, Toei transforms just her ears into rabbit form to improve her hearing. She looks like a human with rabbit ears during that time.
  • Location Theme Naming: The Shitenkou's names all start with readings for the kanji for north, east, south, and west - Hokuroku, Touban, Nangou, and Seiron.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Rancho has eight kids; two sets of triplets and one set of twins.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Kenbu's mentor Ouken, who dies in the game's prologue protecting Kenbu from a shishimura's attack. This leaves Kenbu to step up and take Ouken's place as the village's representative, starting his adventure.
  • My Beloved Smother: Hien has a somewhat overbearing mother that he act differently around. Hien is very embarrassed at Kenbu seeing what she's like and how it acts with her.
  • The Quiet One: Giyuu is a man of few words. Sometimes conversations between the main characters go by without him saying anything.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Mariane is rumored to be over 1000, or even over 10000 years old. While her exact age is never confirmed, it's implied that she's indeed much older than a normal human could be. All the Iwafunebito would also count, as a long lifespan seems to be their main difference from humans. All of the Shitenkou are hundreds of years old but look to be in their 20s.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mariane and Gousen. Unlike most humans in the capital, the two of them treat the main characters fairly and with respect. The protagonists respond to this with continued loyalty to them after the Left and Right Emperors start making power plays against them.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Toei's fiance Horoto suffers from a vaguely defined terminal illness that leaves him bedridden. The only further elaboration is that a shishimura attack has something to do with him getting it.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: At one point Kenbu, Hien, and Yougan visit a town whose inhabitants are extraordinarily nice and hospitable, even to the beastman protagonists. They are under attack by shishimura and no one has the skills to fight them. Their attitude frustrates Hien, who believes you should be able to fight to save your own way of life; even if you're physically weak if you use your head you can figure something out. So he gathers the villagers and puts together a plan involving using sap extracted from the trees in the village to make a sticky line of the stuff around the village, which both traps the attacking shishimura and is set on fire to kill them all.
  • Vapor Wear: Taranda wears a dress with enough visible skin to make it clear she's wearing nothing underneath. This is confirmed in a late-game scene when Basso accidentally looks up her dress. Possibly justified, since legwear could get in the way of her snake transformation.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The main characters, and all beastmen in general, can shift into animal forms at will.
  • Was Once a Man: Late in the game Kenbu and Toei find out that tamtams, small animals raised for meat, were once humans that were forcible changed. It's implied that the shishimura may also have been humans that were forcibly altered and are being controlled against their wills. The ones behind the shishimura, Yorozu and her son Shiva, are also grotesque monsters and are implied to have once been regular humans.
  • Weapon Title: The Fang of Alnam the game is named after is a sword Kenbu receives just before the final battle.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Many of the characters have strange hair colors. This includes Tobari and Aika having green hair, Rancho and Koran having dark blue hair, and Ryousui and Mariane having light blue hair. All of the Shitenkou have multicolored hair, such as Seiron having pink hair with blue bangs.
  • You No Take Candle: Giyuu and many of the others of his village talk in broken Japanese.

Alternative Title(s): Fang Of Alnam