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Video Game / Grandia

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Grandia's main cast.

The first installment in the series of the same name, Grandia was developed by Game Arts and originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1997; however that version was never released in the West due to the system's poor sales and Sega of America CEO Bernie Stolar's attitude against 2D games. The game was ported to the Playstation two years later, and this version localized and released by SCEA in the US and by Ubisoft in Europe. In 2019, GungHo Online Entertainment, the owner of GameArts since 2005, brought the game to the Nintendo Switch in August, and PC via Steam in September. It remains the best-selling entry in the series.

It's the Age of Exploration, and aspiring adventurer/local pest Justin is itching to leave the mining town of Parm and pick up where his late father left off: Finding the ancient civilization of the Icarians. Along with his stalwart childhood friend Sue, the two teens perform enough favours around town to finally earn a seat on the steam liner destined for the great unknown.


Unfortunately for them, it happens to be the age of exploration as Brought to You by Disney. The adventurers' trade is heavily regulated, with every crook, shakedown artist, and bureaucrat in the western hemisphere barring access to the New World. There's also the Garlyle Forces, a private army originally established to make the frontier safe, but whose incredible technological advantage (no doubt due to their plunder of Icarian relics) has resulted in a suffocating security state. Which is quite handy for them in case their top General decides to... oh, lose his goddamn mind.

Being primarily aimed at children, the plot makes no efforts to be ground-breaking. Hot-Blooded protagonist with red hair and blue clothes? Check. Ancient civilization? Check. Save the girl? Take a guess. Tropes Are Not Bad, of course. Some enjoy the plot, as it makes interesting use of the Motifs of the "End of the World" (no, not that one) and adventurers, the protagonist is a great example of an aversion of The Chosen One, and the whole cast of characters is a textbook example of good Character Development in action. It also does an unusually good job of making the world seem like it's actually unexplored, whereas most RPGs have a map which rarely exceeds Baby Planet size.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The highest possible level is 99, when it's hard to go over level 40 without serious grinding. The same goes for weapon and magic skills: it's more than possible to reach maximum proficiency in all abilities well before the cap. note 
  • Accidental Pervert: Justin. He accidentally grabs a handful of Feena in Ghost Ship, and stumbles on Saki, Mio and Nana when they are changing clothes.
  • Action Mom: It's also stated that Lily, Justin's mother, was a pirate who first met his father when they clashed swords.
  • All in a Row: How the other party members follow Justin.
  • All Myths Are True: Justin's driving force for much of the game is his belief that Alent is a real place, and that he can get there somehow. He's right.
  • Ancient Astronauts: It turns out Icarians were space-faring people, and Alent was sent into orbit to avoid being destroyed by Gaia.
  • And Man Grew Proud: There are few cutscenes in the game, but most of them consist of Gaia ruining Angelo's collective shit.
  • Anti-Grinding: Not only do characters get less experience from fighting monsters as they level up, so do all the various weapon and magic skills, so after a while, you have to seek more powerful monsters if you want to level the skills up further.
  • Appease the Volcano God: At the town of Gumbo, the group stumbles upon a party that catapault Justin and Feena to be sacrificed to a dragon living in a volcano, as the dragon is stopping the volcano from erupting and causing the area to go cold. The party naturally kills the dragon so no one has to be sacrificed again.
  • Arc Words: "End of the World". Used as a physical location, a hypothetical event, and the name of the strongest spell in the game.
  • Armies Are Evil: Originally a security detachment for the Joule Foundation, the Garlyle Forces now control the excavations, hoard ancient technology, and even withhold the revelation about "The End of the World" being a myth.
  • Art Initiates Life: Liete's Magical Art spell.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: General Baal and his son Mullen.
  • An Axe to Grind: Justin and Milda use them.
  • Babies Ever After: In the ending, an older Sue goes to meet up with Justin and Feena after having not seen them in years- and finds they've gotten bizz-ay!
  • Bonus Boss: Lord's Ghost, Kung Fu Master and Leviathan.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Castle of Dreams, Soldier's Grave and Tower of Temptation.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Tower of Temptation is pure hell. The rewards are WORTH IT, though.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Justin is present in all of the game's battles.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The End of the World.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Final Boss: First form, heavy hitter. Second form, dispenses meangingless status effects.
  • Cognizant Limbs: About 90 % of the bosses have these.
  • Combat Tentacles: This is what General Baal is hiding under his cape.
  • Cool Ship: The Grandeur. Almost makes you sad to see it break in two then crash. Fortunately, Mullen has a duplicate airship of his own: the Lyonlot.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: What happens to Zil Padon at the hands of Gaia as well. Some of the side effects are unpredictable, fear inducing and make little sense and aren't explained, such as petrification and inter-dimensional anomalies.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: Thinking they've got Justin cornered, Nana, Saki & Mio pursue him into the engine cab of a runaway locomotive — only to find that Justin backtracked into the opposite car and decoupled the engine. Also, the brake lever is broken.
  • Disappeared Dad: Justin's father.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Dragon Cut (Ryuujinken, or "Dragon Circle Sword", in the original japanese version). Gadwin obliterates damn near everything on the first disc (barring a few enemies immune to the Explosion element), and near the end of the disc, Justin gets to learn it as well. Thanks to his much higher SP, Justin can make even better use of it, and Dragon Cut remains a powerful move well into the second disc.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One boss is a giant angler-type fish with a lure that looks like an attractive female. The lure's only attack is Attract, which seductively draws Justin up towards it... then turns into a giant mouth and takes a bite out of him. The "distracted" part comes from the fact that this can cancel Justin's action if he's charging up a special attack or spell.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hammers share the same weapon class as maces.
  • Drunk On The Darkside: General Baal, when he finally gets hold of Justin's Spirit Stone.
  • Duel Boss: Mullen demands proof of Justin's will in a one-on-one fight.
    • And the two fights against Gadwin.
  • Easing into the Adventure: Justin's first task is to win a scavenger hunt consisting of garbage around Parm. Funnily enough, the last item — the Wooden Sword — is dubbed the "Spirit Sword." This is the same name as Grandia's Infinity +1 Sword, which you acquire much later.
  • Eldritch Location: Warp Space, the former location of Laine village until Gaia's corruption forced the inhabitants to relocate. It starts off with buildings whose doors lead to completely arbitrary positions, and gets worse the deeper you go in.
  • The Empire: The Garlyle Forces.
  • Epic Flail: Share the same class with maces. Nana's yo-yo also turns into a truly Epic Flail as part of her ultimate attack ability.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Justin stumbles on the three sergeants just as one of them is asking about the password he himself needs at that exact moment.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The so-called "End of the World"—a wall that cuts the planet in two, which stretches up for miles into the sky. For most people, it literally is the end of world, unless you have an airship that can fly over it or you're like Justin and you climb over the damn thing.
  • Fight Woosh: Extreme closeup on the characters and opponents before changing to the battlefield screen.
  • First Town: The game begins in Parm, the Port Town where Justin and Sue lives.
  • Flawless Victory: Winning a battle without taking any damage and in a few moves will result in a different victory theme and a different victory quote boasting on how easy the fight was.
  • Flunky Boss: Orc King is accompanied by two mooks when you fight him.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: The "Café" in New Parm, that's only open at night, has female dancers, and forbids minors from entering. The localization actually goes out of its way to make this as blatantly obvious as it can, highlighting the presence of the word "Coffee" as much as possible, even to the point of changing the drunkard Jin into "Java" the coffee maniac.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Lily uses her serving tray as a discipline tool on Justin's head.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": An NPC in New Parm is all set to celebrate his own funeral. He sincerely believes you should be able to have fun at your own funeral.
  • Game Gourmet: While subsequent games did feature the occasional food item in their catalogs, this one actually has icons specifically to represent several different fruitslist: , meatslist: , and sweetslist:  each.
  • Game Mod: Has one. It is called Grandia Redux. Notable for more strategic plays, Level Grinding and being extremely Nintendo Hard.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: In the second half of the game, Sue's actions noticeably slow down during combat. This ties into her getting sick sometime before the Twin Towers area, with her sickness slowing her down.
  • Ghost Ship: Overlap with Ship Level. The adrift ship where the ship to New Parm leads Justin and company to.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Nana, Saki and Mio.
  • Good Morning, Crono: inverted: the story opens with its main villain, General Baal, awakening from a nightmare.
  • Gratuitous English: A lot of the battle chants in the PlayStation version, thanks to a very poor translation.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Technically, everyone but Justin is Guest-Star Party Member. A lot of the characters, like Gadwin, Guido, Milda, and even Sue have lives outside of Justin's quest that they need to go back to, and they will leave the party when their part in the story is over. It's not really a case of So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear, though, as everyone including Sue comes back to help Justin storm the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • Leen also shows up as a more traditional Guest-Star Party Member for a very brief stretch of the game, though as a non-combatant.
  • Guide Dang It!: Mana Eggs are the only way to teach characters magic and there are only just enough for every character who can learn magic to have every element. Combine this with the fact they are sellable AND the fact that you cannot return to many places after particular plot points AND that the eggs themselves are often well hidden...Suddenly, this becomes quite frustrating.
    • An enemy in the final dungeon will drop Mana Eggs quite frequently. Granted, you've been permanently cut off from all shops by that point in the game so they're completely useless, but you could get more than you would ever need...
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Mullen. It's a full stop Tomato Surprise when he starts speaking the Humanoid language, thus revealing his true nature.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The entirety of the Garlyle Forces before the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Milda always refers to her husband as Darlin. She's not affectionately calling him "darling," his name really is Darlin. His fellow wise men are the similar-sounding Dorlin and Derlin.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: First fight against Gadwin. You can only do 0 damage to him, and after a while he'll Dragon Cut you with 9999 damage for OHKO.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Feena is kidnapped by Baal to get the Spirit Stone from Justin and because she's an Icarian.
  • I Fell for Hours: Justin and Feena being catapulted into a volcano. They have enough time on their hands to trade barbs. This is scene is echoed in Grandia II between Ryudo and Skye.
  • I Got You Covered: The Garlyle Forces provide help during the final attack on Gaia.
  • Improbable Age: Pretty much the whole main cast, but Sue being only eight years old is the biggest offender.
    • Grandia at least tries to avert this trope by having the journey make Sue seriously ill due to sheer exhaustion and stress, a little shy of halfway into the story (when things are only just beginning to really get difficult for the heroes). She has to be sent back to Parm with the implication things could have become a lot worse, were it not for Justin and Feena sacrificing the safe way to the next continent in order to transport her home instantly. This is foreshadowed by her getting a stat-progression handicap that becomes noticeable around the time she should be getting ill.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Nana, whose primary weapon is a yo-yo. It can turn into a buzz saw the size of a small car, but still...
  • Incendiary Exponent: Justin's Lotus Cut and Feena's Flame Whip.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Feena and Leen's eyes are a matching brown in the Saturn character art, but both the PS1 art as well as the in-game portraits changed them to match their hair.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: No shortage of these. We have Typhoon Tower, the Twin Towers, the Tower of Doom, and the (optional) Tower of Temptation.
  • Kid Hero All Grown Up: The Distant Finale (shown from Sue's perspective) showcases a now-adult, beautiful and Proper Lady Sue meeting the married Justin and Feena as they return to Justin's hometown. We never see the couple, but we meet their entire LITTER of kids that look and act like them.
  • Knife Nut: Feena, Guido and Rapp.
  • Konami Code: During the Exact Eavesdropping moment described above, Saki mistakenly thinks the password is Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right. The correct password is a reshuffled version of the code, switching every instance of Up for Right, Down for Left and vice versa.
  • Last Disc Magic: "End of the World", Feena's ultimate ability and the strongest spell in the game. And good God, do you ever have to work for it.
  • Last of His Kind: Well, Last of Their Kind: Feena and Leen are the last of the Icarians.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Interestingly, the game sets out to defy it as much as possible. Over the course of the adventure, you will run into dozens of notable landmarks that stick out like a sore thumb, are uniquely designed, often move or even make sounds, and can be examined up close if you try to interact with them. They don't do anything, and are only here to make the world seem bigger and more lively than simply revolving around Justin's quest.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band:
    • Used as an indication that time has frozen.
    • Gradually happens while Justin climbs the End of the World and starts losing hope of reaching the top. Then the music returns to normal once Feena gives him some more motivation.
  • Level Grinding: Spells and attacks power up the more you use them, up to 99 times per element and weapon, per character.
  • Little Stowaway: Sue stows away on the ship Justin's on, and gets caught. Normally, the law of the sea requires that stowaways be tossed overboard in a barrel. However, since she's just a kid, they ultimately decide to be lenient and make her and Justin become apprentices sailors (since sailors can't be stowaways.)
  • Locomotive Level: Justin hijacks a Garlyle train while escaping Mullen's base.
  • Love at First Punch: How Justin's parents first met.
  • Magic Staff: There's a number of staves with magical effects you can find. They are considered clubs, so any character who uses staves can also use clubs and any character who uses clubs can also use maces.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Justin and Feena have no less than six kids in the future.
  • Mayincatec: The Icarians, though only with architecture, artwork and the occasional monster.
  • Meaningful Name: The Icarians. Icarian can be seen as an adjective referring to things relating to Icarus, a popular figure in Greek Mythology; this may be where the Icarian Sea gets its name, as it's the sea into which Icarus supposedly fell and drowned. The Icarians themselves are a race of winged humanoids who are laid low by hubris, but in this case it's the hubris of humans, rather than themselves, which results in their downfall.
  • Mini-Game: Deck swabbing aboard the ship to the New Continent.
  • Money for Nothing: Only at the very end of the game. By the time you're heading to the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, you will be permanently cut off from all shops. Yet, the enemies still drop gold...
  • Mood Whiplash:
  • Musical Assassin: Cactus Men enemies fight with guitars and one of their special moves is a guitar solo (that sadly, has no sound).
  • New Neo City: New Parm. Catchy name, but that's the only thing it has in common with its steampunk brethren. Not to mention the incredibly creepy music...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Nina, Saki and Mio hadn't destroyed Justin's credentials for no reason in the Sult Ruins, he would have been on much better terms with the Garlyle forces, allowing them to learn that he had the last Spirit Stone much sooner, and made it possible for them to get it from him much more easily, and therefore complete the current stage of their plan well before any heroes got strong enough to try to stop them.
  • Non-Linear Sequel: Of course, there's Grandia II, Grandia III, and Grandia Xtreme, but there's also Grandia: Parallel Trippers—a game for the Game Boy Color which stars a trio of kids who get pulled into the Grandia world and team up with Justin and his friends (and his enemies!) to Save Both Worlds. It never made it out of Japan.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Klepp King, who turns into the four-headed Serpent when confronted.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The men of Laine are walking talking cow people. Unlike the traditional depiction of this trope, however, they are defined by their extreme intelligence, due to their horns essentially functioning as extra brains.
  • Palette Swap: Almost all enemies and bosses have these.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • Grinding your water magic at the poison puddles of Mt. Typhoon or any place where you take damage on foot. This becomes extra effective if the area has a save point, allowing infinite restoration of MP.
    • Justin's Immortal Aura skill. It always gives you a lot of experience when used, and with the game's tendency to always have those handy healing save points nearby, you can easily grind all three of Justin's preferred weapons to max level.
    • Any place where the enemies come in groups of six is a very good place to train your magic levels using area effect spells. The Savannah once all the enemies have been 'Gaia-ifed' in particular is a favorite place for players that want to grind for Time Gate.
  • Pretty in Mink: It's not seen but a mink coat is one of the armors available, at least in the US translation.
  • Proud Merchant Race Guy: Guido and the rest of the Mogay. Their entire culture seems to revolve around making as much money as possible.
  • Rare Candy: There are various item that boost stats. And then there's Mana Eggs, which teach one specific element for spellcasting.
  • Retired Badass: Subverted(?) by Java, who insists that he's still an active adventurer. He's modeled from Don Quixote, complete with goofy-looking armor and lance. Played with in that while he's based on one of the most famous false heroes in literature, in-universe even Feena, an adventurer from the New World, has heard of the man, he's got whole locations named for him, and he's (evidently) every bit as tough as advertised given he lives in a monster-infested, abandoned mine outside of the Parm settlement
  • Sexy Dimorphism: Milda's village, where males are (barely) anthropomorphic cows and females are humanoids with pointy ears.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sue and pretty much the entire town of New Parm ships Justin and Feena. The former does it pretty much the moment the two met, and the latter after Justin saved her from an arranged marriage to Pakon.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: It's only after Sue and Gadwin leave your party that the story turns from a light-hearted romp around the world into a more serious "Save the World from the Eldritch Abomination!" deal.
  • Silence of Sadness: During Sue's departure, Justin, who is usually quite talkative, has nothing to say when Sue finally breaks down sobbing after Trying Not to Cry. He just stands there and watches sadly as Feena lets Sue cry into her chest. He does start to talk again soon afterwards, however.
  • This Cannot Be!: Said by Nana and later General Baal when defeated.
  • The Un Chosen One: Justin starts out as an ordinary boy who just wants to be an adventurer. Though he Jumped at the Call, and gains the powers of the "Spirits", he wasn't chosen; instead, he fought hard in order to be accepted.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Justin invokes this during the train escape from the Garlyle Forces. When he accidently breaks the train's brake lever, he comes up with a plan B by loading the firebox with coal, then lures the three Sergeants of the Garlyle forces onto the engine. He then uncouples the rest of the train from the engine, and the sergeants are trapped because they can't stop the train (no brake lever) and the train's going too fast for them to jump off.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Squid King. The main problem is that you only have extremely limited options for healing at that point in the game outside of Rah-Rah! Cheer, and it's unlikely that Sue has the SP to use it more than once or twice.
  • The Wall Around the World: An enormous wall about a mile high that divides an entire continent.
  • We Have Reserves: By triggering the golems, Baal knowingly brings the entire town of Zil Padon crashing down onto his own troops.
  • Weapon of Choice: All the characters can use at least two different weapon types in battle (ie. Justin can use Swords, Maces and Axes). The exceptions being Liete and Gadwin, who only use maces and swords, respectively.
  • Wedding Smashers: Early on Feena gets kidnapped and forced to marry the local master of the Adventurer's Guild, forcing Justin and Sue to rescue her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Defeating General Baal results in him... turning into a small snake-like creature and slithering away, never to be seen again.
  • When Trees Attack: Gaia is a giant bug/tree hybrid.
  • Womb Level:
    • The depths of Warp Space is made of flesh, with several tongues sticking out of the walls.
    • The final dungeon takes place inside Gaia.
  • You Are Not Alone: Guido snaps Justin from his Heroic BSoD by gathering all the past party members to encourage him, including those who should not be able to present themselves.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Entering the right password in an imperial fort requires hearing about it first, or Justin will just say he was pressing random buttons.