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The intrepid heroines of the "classic" Atelier games (that haven't come to North America yet). Clockwise from upper right: Lilie, Marie, Viorate, Elie, and Judie.

At first, anyone is incompetent. An invulnerable brave man, a famous alchemist, a cook to the Royal Household... and so on. But they wish the hope, the desire more than others. And they attained their long-cherised desire. You decide your desire, then there must be come true...
— Message displayed in 20th anniversary video created for the series, and also shown in the closing credits of Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World

The Atelier series is a series of RPGs developed by Gust Corporation of Japan, with some localized by Nippon Ichi. The franchise had been exclusive to Japan (with Atelier Marie, Elie, Lilie, Judie, and Viorate) until the release of the first game in the Iris trilogy in the United States in 2005. The series also possesses a brief manga depicting some Alternate Universe adventures between the first two heroines, brought to America courtesy of Tokyopop.

Based around the concept of the "atelier", or "artist's workshop", the main character in the games is usually an alchemist looking to be the greatest in her/his field. Item Crafting is a major component of every game in the series, as the player is tasked with finding ingredients and recipes to create new items/spells.

The earlier games are rather famous in Japan for being very different from other RPGs of the day, with the item crafting and single-city-interaction focus. These differences, however, kept them out of the Western eye during the 90s and early 2000s, and after a few not-as-great sequels and after the rest of the industry began to judiciously "borrow" certain gameplay elements from it, the series' fortunes fell somewhat. The PSX-era games are still fondly remembered in Japan, however, and were long held up as an example that the Japanese game industry is still capable of innovation - and even today, when very few other games really try to emulate the unique style of the franchise, they're an example of how the Japanese industry is a lot wider and more varied than it is sometimes given credit for.

Main Series:note 

  • Alchemist Marie & Elie: Two People's Atelier Wonderswan Color (2001 Japan only)
    Not to be confused with the compilation of the first two games under a similar name (Atelier Marie & Elie) on the Dreamcast, released in 2000
  • Helmina and Culus: Atelier Lilie Another Story PS2 (2001, Japan only)
  • Atelier Marie, Elie & Anise: Message on the Gentle Breeze GBA (2003, Japan only)
  • Atelier Liese: The Alchemist of Orde NDS (2007, Japan only)
  • Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island NDS (2009)
  • Atelier Lina: The Alchemist of Strahl NDS (2009, Japan only)
  • Atelier Elkrone: Dear for Otomate PSP (2012, Japan only)
    Elkrone is an odd-one-out as, unlike the other games, it's an Otome Dating Sim instead of an RPG, but it still has item crafting elements.
  • Atelier Questboard iOS/Android (2014, Japan only)
  • Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World PS4/PSVnote /Switch/PC (2018)
    A town-building game starring protagonists from previous Atelier titles
  • Atelier Online: Alchemist of Bressisle iOS/Android (2018, Japan only)

It's worth mentioning that the first two Salburg games, Marie in particular, have been re-released and re-made on more platforms than we can list here. Some of those platforms aren't even available outside Japan. Yeah, this series is more than merely popular there.

The Atelier games and related media provide examples of:

Please only include tropes that occur in multiple games or in games not available in the U.S. in this list. For specific game tropes, refer to the game pages.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Played with in various ways. It's treated more like a scientific pursuit in most of the games, though the process of alchemy itself is seldom explored. Various games feature alchemy schools, and a significant part of Atelier Elie's alchemy system is experimenting to make entirely new items.
  • Alpha Bitch: Brigitt from Atelier Viorate. But she's also Vitriolic Best Buds with the eponymous character.
  • Alternate Continuity: There are many different continuities, each of which is almost entirely independent from others (aside from a few characters who share names and appearances, though they are still different people).
    • Salburg comprises Marie, Elie, Lilie, Judie, and Viorate. Many characters appear in multiple games; the time period between the start of Atelier Lilie (chronologically the first) and Atelier Viorate is roughly 35 years.
    • Regallzine is where Atelier Iris and Atelier Iris 2 take place, with AI 2 being a prequel many years before AI 1. Strangely enough, Regallzine is the only named world in the entire series.
    • Atelier Iris 3, despite the name, is in its own continuity.
    • Mana Khemia 1 and 2 form another continuity, with both games centering on an academy. This would be the last of the continuities that feature mana.
    • Arland (Rorona, Totori, Meruru, Lulua) shares yet another one though Quest Board implies they could be in the same world as Salburg. Although that contradicts with the information given by one of the supplemental books on how the Traveler who brought the knowledge of machines to Arland hundreds of years ago was also the very first alchemist, and that they might actually be an alien who came from another planet.
    • The DS Trilogy (Lise, Annie, Lina) is in yet another, though Lina has no direct connections to the other two.
    • Dusk (Ayesha, Escha & Logy, Shallie) features a somewhat darker one. Alchemy almost destroyed the world at some point in the past (and at the outset of Ayesha, it still seems the world may be mortally injured and slowly dying), and there are multiple forms of alchemy, though only those with talent can use cauldrons.
    • Mysterious (Sophie, Firis, Lydie & Suelle), share one that is notable for alchemists having the ability to hear the voices of materials.
    • The Spin-Off game Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists is set in its own world, but it's visited (involuntarily) by characters from all of the above universes.
    • Atelier Ryza is also set in a new continuity.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the worldbuilding and lore is hidden away inside supplemental books released much later than the games themselves. For example, in the Arland official setting book, you get to know some facts that never got brought up in the games themselves, from mundane things like how Arls was founded, to outrageous facts like how Orthogalaxen might actually be a spaceship from another planet, Arlandians being the descendant of the crew of said spaceship, and how alchemy itself might be alien technology. They also had the world map for the entire Salburg and Gramnad series in the Salburg book, combining all the settings in the games into one solid world.
  • Ambiguously Christian: The characters in the Mysterious trilogy follow a monotheistic religion whose deity is called God, go to church to pray, and some NPCs are nuns. Whether the religion of the setting is Anime Catholicism or a Fantasy Counterpart Culture that happens to resemble it is unclear. Over the course of their travels, the characters of these games also encounter a few Physical Goddesses (who can be fought as Superbosses), but the religious implications of this aren't explored.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Some games, but especially in Atelier Viorate. The reason Viorate learns alchemy is so that she can build her own shop of wonders to drive visitors (and thus, economy) to Karotte Village, which is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Failure to get ~500 visitors within ~1000 days lead to Bad End where the village is abandoned. (This is easier than it sounds, really.)
  • Artificial Gill: The Air Drop, a recurring item in various games, is this trope in candy form. Taking the form of a hard mint or something akin to Mentos (depending on the game), it uses the power of alchemy to create oxygen in your mouth, letting you breathe underwater for as long as it lasts.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: This series is extremely guilty of this trope when it comes to naming the characters. Gust seems to fall into the same trap that certain companies like Sunrise do, in that they try to give all the characters Western-sounding names without really knowing what's properly Western. Atelier Annie has a few good examples, such as "Kilbert" (probably intended to be "Gilbert"), "Jalia" (possibly a correct name but more likely meant to be "Julia", eventually rendered as "Gillian"), and "Kraus" (the obvious problem in trying to transliterate "Claus", which is what the localization went with). Earlier games feature a few suspect names too - Atelier Elie prominently features a character who's name is officially written in-game as "Daglass McRain" when the "right" way to spell that is fairly obvious, especially if you're familiar with katakana at all.
  • Bag of Sharing: Explained in the context of Atelier Iris 2; Felt and Viese possess a pair of rings which essentially allow them to teleport items to each other, so that Viese can make things out of all the crazy stuff Felt finds in the larger world, while remaining safe in their hometown until the very end of the game. The other games avert this trope by simply never taking control of the protagonist away from the player and making characters who aren't in the current party inaccessible for equipment purposes. Arland plays with this by having Rorona "clamp" her container to Totori's.
    • Averted by Judie, which trashes your inventory when you switch to a new Atelier.
  • Bash Brothers: Viorate and Bartolomaus from Atelier Viorate. Their quarrelling is a combination attack that hits all enemies.
  • BFS: Kilbert of Atelier Annie uses an almost impossibly huge sword as his main weapon. Or at least, he tells people he can use it for the intimidation value, but he can't actually use it in real combat, and uses "standard" two-handers instead. Sterk of the Arland games uses Scots-style claymores that, while somewhat more realistic, are still quite long.
    • Bart, Viorate's brother in Atelier Viorate, works as a send-up of the concept. He also favors very large two-handed swords... and at the start of the game is hilariously inept with them, as they're too large and heavy to swing properly!
  • Boarding School: The main setting for Mana Khemia. The first few games also feature a school, but the protagonists don't live there (even if they can have friends that do.) The third game stars the woman who founded the school and details her adventures in getting it established.
  • Boring, but Practical: Most of the recipes you will learn are for common household items that are mostly useless on their own, at best being able to be sold or turned in for Fetch Quests. Their real use is to receive traits from raw materials and transfer them to items that wouldn't use the base ingredient as a component. For example, you may find a flower with a powerful attack-boosting trait that you'd want to have on a weapon, weapons don't have flowers as an ingredient. To transfer the trait from the flower to the weapon, you can use the flower to make some paper, then use the paper as fuel to make an ingot, and finally use the ingot to make the weapon. Thus, items with no use on their own prove to be vital for Item Crafting purposes, and you may end up chaining many syntheses to gather and combine all the traits you want onto one item.
  • Broken Bridge: In Atelier Viorate, you can't bypass certain obstacles on the field until you have the item needed to overcome it (explosives of varying grades to clear barricades— one of which is an Elven Dice, Air Drop to breathe underwater, living rope to climb tall cliffs, etc). You need reference books to be able to craft them. Which if you don't have, you can only buy in the next city. To go to the next city, you need to have the request-issuer mentioning it to you. Which requires that you reach certain level in alchemy.
  • Cat Girl: Norn from Atelier Iris and Nikki from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Unis are pretty much just chestnuts, and are even used to make chestnut dishes like mont blanc.
  • City Guards: They mistake Viorate for a Bomber Demon.
  • Costume Porn: Elaborate outfits are common in the series, with girl main characters more often than not having a Pimped-Out Dress as her main outfit.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits of these games tend to display artwork and scenes related to the game during the credits, particularly the later installments. If it's the end of a particular trilogy within the series, i.e. Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, then it will show material from all three games in the trilogy. And then there's Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World, which being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover celebrating the whole series features artwork and scenes from throughout the franchise, going back to the beginning before finally ending with the game itself and the Atelier 20th anniversary logo.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: The recurring character Pamela Ibis.
  • Cute Slime Mook: Punis - colorful slime monsters with eyes, a smiley face and rosy cheeks, who come in a variety of sizes and colorations (including metallic). They are only absent from the Dusk games.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • As a general rule, games with a guy as the protagonist tend to be more conflict-heavy (and the villain truly vile) than games with a girl as the protagonist. This basically equates to the Iris and Mana Khemia games, with Iris 2 being far and away the darkest of the entire lot and the darkest game of the franchise, and the first Mana Khemia running a close second in its last act.
    • The Dusk series has some of the darkest Atelier games, especially when compared to the very light-hearted Arland games that came right before and the Mysterious series that followed it. It's set in a world that's already been through one apocalyptic event and is facing a second imminent one, the color palette is less saturated, and there's a stronger emphasis on plot over the Slice of Life elements.
    • Atelier Ryza has Lent's violently abusive alcoholic father, and the last half of her game having a somewhat depressing air around the protagonists finding out the horrific reason why the mainland is messed up with the person responsible for it all had been Eaten Alive centuries earlier, on top of finding out that their island is days away from sinking into the ocean and killing everyone. The game also has a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Determinator: The series has had a number of these over the years, partially because of where it sits on the Sliding Scale.
    • The titular heroine of Atelier Elie. Consider: She overcomes a somewhat disadvantageous initial ranking in the academy, manage to run a business and maintain her academy standing at the same time, overcome vampires, sea dragons and potentially psychotic instructors standing in her way, all to thank the woman who saved her life - and she never, ever gives up on her dream, which is the theme behind the entire game. Heck, despite the soft music and narration, the very opening of the game has the message that you can't pursue your dreams if you give up!
    • Klein of Atelier Iris 1. What's that? Avenbury is sealed? We've got the Big Bad running around planning terrible things? The girl I've fallen in love with seems doomed to die if I stop the Big Bad? Said Big Bad is in fact unleashing a horrible beast borne of an alchemic experiment gone horribly wrong that will destroy every single thing I know, love and hold dear? The heck with all of that, I've got alchemy. Let's do this.
    • Felt of Iris 2. My home and dearly beloved are threatened with, well, nothingness? The world below is a festering pit of hate, war and recrimination? What I do, alchemy, is considered the art of the devil? The Big Bad is being manipulated by a sword like mine, but gone mad? Yeah, not a bit of that is going to stop me from setting every single one of those things right.
    • And then the titular heroine of Atelier Annie manages to poke fun at this idea. Annie isn't keen at all on having to do alchemy for years on an island her grandfather sent her to, until she finds a purpose to it all! One that she will never back down or waver from! That purpose? To win the alchemy contest and thus marry Prince Joel, thus allowing her to live the life of ceaseless, careless luxury she's always wanted and allowing her to never work again. Uh...
      • Of course, her hard work ends up influencing her no matter what ending you go for.
      • And then there's another character in the same game, a certain redhead who puts on a devil-may-care facade but may well have another purpose that she absolutely will not back down on, no matter what...
    • Meruru of the titular game is established early on as having a flighty personality, but she's absolutely determined to become an alchemist. And as time goes on, she becomes determined to help the citizens of her home, as well.
    • Suffice to say, every protagonist has this aspect to some extent. Putting everyone here would just mean putting all their stories here.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Eleore of the still-Japan-only Atelier Liese fits this trope to a T, to the point where he cultivates his ambiguous appearance in order to catch people off guard and confuse them about his intentions.
    • Funnily enough, the lead character of Atelier Annie is very much a Bifauxnen; most people's first reactions on seeing her was "That's supposed to be a girl?!" She gets this reaction quite a bit in-game too, much to her chagrin.
  • Dungeon Shop: That would be you (to varying degrees). Most obvious in Atelier Viorate, where you actually have some degree of control over the shop.
  • Early Game Hell: In the beginning portions of the games, you usually have only one Crutch Character who will deal most of your damage while everyone else only hits for single-digit damage unless they use an item, which will probably be made from low-quality materials and have limited uses. This ends once you start to unlock more recipes and craft better equipment.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Azure Azoth from Atelier Iris 2, and Sulpher from Mana Khemia.
  • Enemy Scan:
    • One of Witos' skills from Atelier Judie.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: In most games, levelling up only grants characters minor stat increases and the occasional new skill. In comparison, crafting better gear can result in an immediate, drastic increase in power, sometimes to the point of turning challenging encounters into cakewalk. This is not limited to equipment, but also includes consumable items: a well-crafted bomb can deal several times the damage of a weaker one. Veteran Atelier players can often be seen advising newbies not to worry about grinding levels, and to instead focus on making better items when they hit a roadblock.
  • Exposition Fairy: Hilariously enough, the series uses actual fairies for this purpose. You often get a single fairy in the early games who explains how fairies can be "rented" to help around the atelier; Atelier Iris 1 and Atelier Annie feature Popo and Pepe, respectively, who exist purely to explain game mechanics to the player.
  • Expy: The series usually avoids this, but in the case of Atelier Annie, when the new art for an older version of Liese Randel was released, any half-informed anime fan couldn't help but notice that she looks almost exactly like Signum from Lyrical Nanoha.
    • Liese Randel was in fact, an expy of Minakami Misao from Asura Cryin' (only with redder hair), in which the light novel illustration was done by Nao Watanuki (the same character designer of the Atelier games which feature Liese). Coincidentally(?), the anime adaptation of Asura Cryin' was done by Seven Arcs of Lyrical Nanoha' fame.
    • Also, while Gust has never come out and said it, a lot of people rather suspect that the "Salburg" of the classic games is based very heavily on the real life city of Salzburg.
  • Fantasy Gun Control:
    • A fairly odd case. "Explosive powder" is a very common and easy to make item, and the bombs you can make get rather powerful; cannon are also mentioned briefly in the Salburg games (only used by alchemists, mind you). The guards and armed forces of the various cities in the classic games never use even an arquebus, however. The later games go kind of all over the place with it and make it even weirder; on the one hand, Poe prominently uses a "magic" gun, but none of the soldiers in that game use firearms at all.
    • Atelier Rorona finally does away with this, as befits its setting; most of Cordelia's special attacks utilize her exquisitely-crafted pistol, and you do encounter enemies who are armed with guns. The other party members don't use guns simply due to a preference for other means of defending themselves.
      • Funnily enough, though, the trope then comes back after a fashion in the later Arland games; none of the party members in Totori or Meruru, outside of Cordelia, use guns (and Cory isn't even playable in Meruru) despite some of the enemies still wielding them.
    • The Mysterious series has gun users with pistols, though they tend to be weapons for specific individuals rather than commonplace.
    • Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings brings back a gunner with Suelle wielding Guns Akimbo simply because she saw it in a comic and thought it looked cool.
  • Fetch Quest: Poked at and lampshaded in Atelier Iris 3 wherein randomly generated quests that involve getting an item are directly labeled "Fetch". This is also part of the bread and butter of making money in classic Atelier games, with a twist: the items to be "fetched" are generally not available simply by punching Mooks. You have to gather the materials and then make the item in question. This is a key in both random cash quests as well as quests that advance the plot.
  • Fiery Redhead:
    • Liese Randel, of Atelier Liese and Atelier Annie. She's a bit calmer in Annie, but only a bit, and doesn't really take much crap from anyone and doesn't really take "no" for an answer. In her own game, she's even more forceful and is the hero to boot.
    • Noin from Atelier Iris 2 also fits the trope nearly to a T.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: How the eponymous character of Atelier Judie starts her adventure, due to a freak alchemy lab incident. Well, apparently nothing much changed between the 7th century and the 9th century.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Atelier Liese initially shipped with an absolutely stupefying number of fatal errors that would wipe your save data or cause the game to hard lock; while a corrected version was eventually shipped out (and produced for hopeful localization), the press had already taken the game and company to the cleaners over the issues, which were by far the most serious defects an Atelier game had ever seen.
  • Gratuitous German: Used a lot in the earlier Atelier games, since the setting is meant to be a version of Renaissance Germany; it's meant to be breaking Translation Convention since the characters seem to ostensibly speak German. This has essentially disappeared as of the Atelier Iris games.
    • Einzelkampf (mistranslated in Iris games as Ein Zecksclaw) is a recurring attack.
    • The opening theme song to Atelier Iris 3 starts with German.
    • Despite being based on Victorian Britain, Atelier Rorona has quite a bit of this, too.
    • Many items are given German names, though this doesn't always reflect in the localizations.
  • High Fantasy: Iris, Mana Khemia and the Mysterious series are all set in worlds of high magic, in contrast to the Low Fantasy of other series.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Happens in all three Iris games, with Arlin in the first game, Chaos and Ardgevald in the second and Ash in the third.
  • Improbable Weapon User: As the series has gotten older, a fair few of these, and their improbable weapons have shown up, some cooler than others. Examples:
    • Top credit currently goes to Gio of Atelier Rorona; a Cool Old Guy who uses a sword-cane for a weapon.
    • Kilbert's massive chunk of metal that passes for a sword in Atelier Annie.
    • The "Mechsword" in Atelier Iris 3.
    • Poe's crazy doomcannon in Atelier Iris 2. You'd think the recoil from that thing would knock him into the nearest hard surface every time.
    • And let us be honest: every single character in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis does it, to a greater or lesser degree. (Ever seen someone use a Bag of Holding as a weapon?)
      • Other highlights include a hammer with giant retractable flails for the head, a possessed teddy bear, a transforming cat, and a spaceship. One recurring character also uses what appears to be a cylindrical hunk of crystal attached to a hilt as a sword.
  • Item Crafting: A cornerstone of the series' design. It's well worth noting that Item Crafting in JRPGs, especially through use of "alchemy", became widespread after the release of Atelier Marie in 1997 which went on to casually sell a quarter-million units. Pretty much all modern JPRG crafting owes something to, or is directly a pared-down version of, the Atelier crafting system.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Many of the "freeform" early Ateliers have a character like this who can accompany the main character on out-of-town quests (as well as serve as a kind of love interest), with Enderk and Daglass in the earlier games and Marius in the more recent Atelier Liese.
    • Sterk from the Arland games is an examination of the concept; he wants to be a knight and serves as a love interest for Rorona but he was born in an age where knights are becoming a thing of the past. His multi-game character arc involves his coming to terms with this and looking at what it really means to be a "knight".
  • Large Ham: Vayne's dark-side's English VA in Mana Khemia deserves a special mention for this. Beggur of Iris 1 is also noted for this in the best way possible, especially in English.
  • Lady of War: A lot of supporting characters across various games. Kyrielich from Marie, Yurika from Elie (sort of), Katarina from Viorate, Fee from Iris 2...
  • Leitmotif: Hagel and Pamela, the two big recurring characters of the series, both have their own respective themes, with a different twist in each game. Pamela's is known as "Ghost Girl," while the title of Hagel's tends to vary from game to game, but nevertheless keeps the same basic sound.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: The three games of the Dusk trilogy each focus on a different aspect of this trio, which is reflected in the title:
    • Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (doesn't fit in English, but the Japanese title is closer to The Alchemist of the Dusk Land). The heroine is connected to the earth, as she was an herbalist before the game's events, and she mostly travels in a wagon (only getting a small hot air balloon later in the game, with limited options). The Final Boss is also connected to the earth, being a giant tree-like being named Yggdrasil who lives in a magical forest.
    • Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky has the protagonists quickly get not one, but two airships to travel, and their goal is to reach the Floating Ruins in the sky.
    • In Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea, Shallistera has a boat which she uses to sail the Dusk Sea (although it is a Sea of Sand). An important aspect of the plot is solving Stellard's water crisis.
  • Low Fantasy:
    • While the games are hardly gritty or cynical (just the opposite really), they are also generally low-blatant-magic, with a focus on creating items for your use to get things like "fire spells" and the like, are heavily dominated by humanity, and don't possess a scope that goes much beyond a single country or principality (in the earlier games this is part of the point; you're operating on a time limit so you don't have time to go Walking the Earth for whatever you need). One of the criticisms directed toward the Atelier Iris sub-series was that it tended very much away from the Low Fantasy roots of its predecessors, and Mana Khemia and the DS Atelier games (Liese and Annie) got credit for bringing the series back toward this; the dev team of Atelier Rorona openly stated that they intended to go back to this full-force with that game, which the Arland games did.
    • The truly great irony is that, in the original design document (as revealed in the Atelier Series Official Chronicle), the Salburg setting was going to be very dark, gritty fantasy in the vein of Berserk. The early visual concepts thrown around for Marie and crew didn't really line up with such a dark setting, however, and so the rough edges were filed off to turn it into the optimistic, hopeful concept seen in the final game. A few remnants of the old "dark" concept survive, though, such as the plague that struck Elie's hometown (though crucially, it was Marie who saved it).
  • Mana: In the Iris and Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis games, anyway. Also an important part of the plot in Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World.
  • Magical Girl: Poin of Atelier Liese wants to be this. How much she succeeds is open to debate, especially since she seems to fixate on poor Liese as a rival and "villain" (at least until Liese feeds her a sob-heavy version about why she ran away from home).
  • Mascot Mook: Puni, the resident Cute Slime Mooks, act as a mascot for the series, being seen in every continuity except for the Dusk subseries.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: Enforced upon the player by the game mechanics. While you may occasionally find a good weapon or item in a chest or for sale at a shop, it's not really practical or anywhere near optimal to outfit your entire party this way. In order to succeed, you'll have to learn how the Item Crafting mechanics work, go out and gather materials, then use alchemy to create the equipment and items you need. Since the protagonists are usually trying to become a master alchemist, it makes sense that the player has to become one as well.
  • Medieval European Fantasy:
    • A bit more Renaissance European Fantasy than straight medievalism, but for pretty much all of the games the trope fits. In the first five games, mankind has discovered gunpowder but hasn't yet mastered man-portable rifles; the Iris and Mana Khemia games tend to be a little Schizo Tech. Out of nineteen games, only the Arland games have really broken ranks on this.
    • Interestingly, while a lot of Japanese MEF features a rather higher standard of health compared to what actual medieval Europe was like, in the Atelier games this is actually justified in that, well, with practical science-based alchemy being so prevalent, the standard of medicine is quite a bit higher in this setting than it was in real life. This is even a quest in the first game (where you have to create a medicine to save a friend from a crippling disease) and a plot point in the second, where the protagonist of that game was saved from death's door by the medical skills of the previous game's protagonist.
      • Although it's also mentioned how doctors weren't widespread at all. People on far off villages could only use folk remedies and pray to the Goddess of Medicine that their illness would be cured. Alchemy and alchemists were not widespread at all.
  • Medieval Stasis:
    • Hilariously played with in various parts of the franchise. In the "classic" games from Elie on, this trope is generally averted because you, the player character, are often discovering new items that become popular and imitated later on and are thus a force for change and progress. (Generally). In Atelier Iris, things are in fact After the End and the world is slowly regaining the progress lost when Avenberry fell, and in Iris 2 the enforced stasis of both parts of the world is a large part of the problem and you, uh, inadvertently set up the catastrophe that precedes AI1.
    • Atelier Rorona then turns this on its head. Arland has well broken past any Medieval Stasis, and that's a large part of the problem; with so much new technology and progress, you have to prove the alchemy shop is worth keeping open at all.
  • Multiple Endings: The earlier, freeform Atelier games had lots of endings; Atelier Elie had thirteen of them. Mostly abandoned with the later games but Atelier Liese and Atelier Annie once again feature them. Atelier Rorona, as part of its "true back to the roots" design, was advertised as having thirty such endings (though whether this is true is up for debate). The other Arland games have similarly large ending counts.
  • Mundane Utility: Alchemy can be used for things as fantastic as making a Philosopher's Stone or the components needed to build an airship. However, it is quite often used for things like cooking or simple repair work, as well as making items which help to fight the monsters which plague alchemists when they're out gathering the ingredients to make said items.
  • Mythology Gag: Logy from Atelier Escha & Logy and Pamela Ibis from the Gramnad duology appear in Atelier Sophie.
  • Nintendo Hard: The third game of the series, Atelier Lilie, has a reputation for being hellishly difficult to complete with any kind of satisfactory ending without a lot of planning beforehand and knowledge of how the game works. The optional material in many of the latter games tends not to slouch, either.
  • No Antagonist: For the most part, a lot of the games are about the main character trying to prove themselves or reach some goal, with nobody actively trying to prevent them from reaching it. While some of the games do have something resembling an antognist, they tend to be a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that doesn't get revealed until much later in the game.
  • No Fourth Wall: Popo's amusing tutorials in Atelier Iris.
    • Also, during one scene in AI1, Norn the Catgirl gets frightened by all the monsters in the woods, and asks to sleep in the same bag as Klein. She thinks it's innocent, but Klein gets the entirely wrong idea and says "No way! The ESRB would go nuts!"
  • Oddball in the Series: The Iris and Mana Khemia series. Iris is High Fantasy and generally follows regular JRPG lines to a much greater extent than the rest of the series, while Mana Khemia is centered around an academy rather than an atelier, has a lot of the High Fantasy trappings of Iris, a nonhuman protagonist for the first game, and breaks from the usual title pattern.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Many of the title characters are only called by their nickname and will usually say their full names only when introducing themselves. note 
  • Pokémon Speak:
    • In the Arland trilogy the Chims do this.
    • Domesticated punis typically just say "Puni" or "Punipuni" when talking to them.
  • Rebellious Princess: Liese of Atelier Liese is this. Mildly out of the ordinary in that she's leaving home without permission in order to earn enough money to pay off her father's crushing debt.
    • While she seems to have canonically saved her family from ruin, she continues this sort of behavior in Atelier Annie, having apparently given her parents the flip to go participate in the Sera Island alchemy tournament. Despite outward appearances, though, her motives don't seem to be driven entirely by money this time...
  • Reluctant Monster: The "demons" portrayed in the manga version of Atelier Marie & Elie don't seem like such bad guys, most of the time.
  • Running Gag: Player characters often shout "Barrel!" whenever the player searches one. Yes, this dates all the way back to Marie. Some latter installments give you a Trophy for doing this a number of times.
    • You can spin a globe into the ceiling in Iris 3, which is a reference to Salburg globes you could break.
    • The Arland games have a running gag involving Sterk and his "scary face."
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Assiduously averted in the first five games (Marie to Viorate) as all of them maintained a more or less realistic technology level for their settings. Some of this began to creep into the games with the advent of the Iris sub-series, however (although it never got as bad as in EXA_PICO).
    • This is all poked fun at and lampshaded in Atelier Rorona, where a previously Renaissance-level civilization has discovered the ruins of a more advanced culture and is slowly integrating technology as it is understood. By and large they have so far advanced to the steam age and firearms are becoming increasingly common, but a few more advanced pieces of technology appear throughout town, like a computerized bulletin board, complete with touchscreen in the town square.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Both Ingrid and Helmina of the original series have this, in the form of heterochromatic eyes with one being gold; so does a significant portion of the population of their home city-state of Kentinnis, for that matter. It's a genetic quirk among the Kentinnisans; those without heterochromia tend to have straight-out golden eyes like Lilie does.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Pretty much every single entry into the franchise is deliberately slammed just about the entire way toward idealism. There is no problem that cannot be solved with the proper application of science, logic, and faith, and the life of your fellow man can always be made more pleasant. Even in the few games where the situation can look dark and grim, the protagonists do not lose hope because they know that the world can be made a better place, though the work of their own hands, however small. The games are relentlessly optimistic in tone - practically to the point of some accusing them of being rather too sweet.
  • Smug Snake: Many of the villains. (This makes punching their faces in highly satisfying.)
  • The Smurfette Principle: Inverted, the protagonists are usually female. However, the Atelier Iris Trilogy and the first Mana Khemia spin-off have male protagonists. This also can apply to Escha & Logy and Mana Khemia 2, which have male Deuteragonists.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • The literal version, as ノルディス, "Norudisu" of Atelier Elie and related works (such as the Atelier Marie & Elie manga that has been relased in the U.S.) suffers from the exact same problem as a certain other famous video game character who's name ends with "su". This is so bad and consensus is so nonexistant that even Tokyopop changed the spelling of his name between volumes of the manga (the only English medium the character has appeared in thus far) from "Nordith" to "Nordis"!
    • This problem exists for a whole bunch of other characters and places, particularly for ones who don't really have a game released in the United States yet. Is a support character in the first two games meant to be My or Myu? The first one is how Gust likes to spell it but it leads to certain grammar issues in text. Is the last name of the titular character of Atelier Lise Liese "Lander" or "Randel"? In the same game, is the region the game takes place in "Ordre", "Oldor", "Ordor", "Orudoru"? And so on and so on.
      • For some of the above examples, Atelier Annie eventually came down with "Randel" and "Orde", which work... along with Liese for the protagonist of Atelier "Lise", creating a little confusion as to what Annie's prequel should be called.
      • NISA is also proving to be a little inconsistent with names for characters from unreleased games in the "music DLC" for the latter Arland games - in the Meruru DLC, Liese is named back to Lise (and was "Lize" in the Totori music DLC!) and Lilie is "Lily".
    • Another particularly prominent example of this is ヘルミーナ of the Salburg-Gramnad series. Phonetically, it's "Herumina", and thus could be romanized as either "Hermina" or "Helmina". This is a particular bugbear, as both names are completely valid, real-world-extant given names, especially for the setting's cultural roots. The German-ness of the setting would lean very slightly toward "Helmina" (being the diminutive form of "Wilhelmina"), but especially since the character is from El Bador, rather than Salburg, it really can go either way. Gust themselves released a game titled "Hermina & Culus" in both kana and romanji, but the Atelier Marie & Elie manga consistently used "Helmina".
    • Viorate, being an especially awkward name, has been changed to Violet in Trinity Universe and Violette in Meruru DLC.
    • This is especially hilarious for the name of the principality in which the first three games (and the manga) take place in - ever since the beginning of the series, Gust Inc. has spelled it "Salburg" and even runs a website bearing that name. Given that the setting is meant to be vaguely like Renaissance Germany, however, the pronunciation in katakana features a "za" instead of a "sa"; ergo, the name of the city is rendered by Tokyopop, by NISA in the Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia mini-parody of Atelier Marie and by some fan translators as "Zarlburg". "Salburg" is the intended spelling, however, and this has been corrected with the English release of Atelier Marie Remake.
    • An important place in Atelier Elie and the main setting of Atelier Lilie, the city-state Kenntnis, is called Kentonis in the parody of Elie featured in Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia.
    • Taken to ridiculous levels in the first Mana Khemia, where the English localization sees half of the main cast's names either changed outright or rearranged. "Vain Aureolus" became "Vayne Aurelius", which is fine, and Roxis and Anna both have pretty understandable translations... but then you have "Philomel Hartung" becoming "Jessica Philomele", "Gunnar Damm" becoming "Flay Gunnar", and good GOD, poor Nikki! Her English name of "Nicole Mimi Tithel" is a bit odd, but in the original Japanese it was "Titil Mimi Nike Mele"!
  • Stripperific: The series tends to yo-yo on this a little. While the heroine of the original game, Marie, wore an outfit whose chest can best be described as "liberal", and several other heroines (Judie of her own game, Lita from Atelier Iris, and the Iris from Atelier Iris 3) all have somewhat revealing costumes, in general the rest of the heroines in the series tend to be very tastefully and possibly even conservatively dressed. The best examples are Elie and Viese from Atelier Elie and Atelier Iris 2 respectively; they're dressed in such a way that aside from their hands, the lowest you can see exposed skin is the neckline. And these are not low necklines.
  • Timed Mission: About half of the games have a fixed deadline (usually three or five years, in-game time) within which you must complete the overarching goal of the game in question. They may also provide smaller missions that must be completed within a couple months or so.
  • Translation Convention: Given the lengths to which the earlier games of the series attempt to evoke that "Renaissance Germany" feel, it's generally assumed that characters speak German or something similar in the context of the games. In many Salburg games, even parts of the interface are in German.
  • Troperiffic: The very first game of the series, Atelier Marie, has a lot of fun with this: the intro appears to be lifted directly from Record of Lodoss War, "Light And Darkness" and all, and seems to be setting up an incredibly cliched experience... then the game reminds you that 99% of the population of this world isn't a world-saving hero and just goes about their normal lives. And that you're one of these people. Cue title screen and the surprise of many 1997 gamers.
  • Unique Items: Atelier Iris has a few ultimate items. Each of them can only be made once, even through different playthroughs of the game.
  • Updated Re-release: Particularly egregious with Salburg games. Just how many Marie/Elie games are there?
  • Unwinnable by Design: The series is not particularly simplistic as it may appear, as it is incredibly easy to waste too much time or fail to understand that completing the games effectively require effective time micromanagement. To a newbie, this can make these games daunting as you're not just fighting enemies and grinding levels, but actively collecting ingredients for a large list of varying required items. It can be easy to not realize you've overspent your inventory and need something or fail to realize what you need to finish the game entirely, and only notice it a bit too late to do anything about it.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: Beginning with Iris 2.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Viorate and Brigitt from Atelier Viorate. Brigitt even has her own ending.

Alternative Title(s): Atelier Series, Atelier Judie The Alchemist Of Gramnad, Atelier Liese The Alchemist Of Orde, Atelier Marie The Alchemist Of Salburg, Atelier Violet The Alchemist Of Gramnad 2, Atelier Lilie The Alchemist Of Salburg 3