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Video Game / GrimGrimoire

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GrimGrimoire is a 2007 Real-Time Strategy game for PS2, brought to you by Vanillaware and Nippon Ichi.

It tells the tale of a magically-gifted child called Lillet Blan, who gains admission to a renowned Wizarding School called the Tower of Silver Star. There she meets an eclectic ensemble of students and teachers- the mysterious and bearded old headmaster, the sarcastic and Obviously Evil Sorcery teacher, and the cold but perceptive honour student, to name a few- and learns about the four schools of Glamour, Necromancy, Sorcery and Alchemy.

Everything is going swimmingly until the fifth day, when Lillet awakens to find that everyone is dead and that a sinister evil has been unleashed from within the school. Lillet is soon killed as well, but suddenly finds herself in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, thrust back to her very first day in school but retaining all the knowledge she learned in the meantime.

After taking the sensible approach of alerting her teachers, only for it to result in spectacular failure, Lillet realizes that her only chance of averting her fate and escaping the time loop is to do it all herself. Along the way, she'll delve into the history of the school and discover dark secrets about practically every member of the facility, including herself.

GrimGrimoire draws very obviously from the gameplay of the Atelier series and the premiseand aesthetics of Harry Potter. The major draw is the school full of weird characters who need the player's help in both the running of the school and their love lives.

On April 2022, Vanillaware and Nippon Ichi announced GrimGrimoire OnceMore, a HD remake containing new mechanics, rebalanced difficulty, a skill tree, high definition graphics, the option to fast forward battle sequences and cutscenes and a new voice cast. It was released on July 28, 2022 in Japan for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It came out internationally in April 2023, also for PlayStation 5.

This game provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Advocat, whose goal is ultimately to get people to sign away their souls in a Deal with the Devil, but who still genuinely seems to enjoy his friendship with Gammel Dore and the others at the school. He's actually on your side in every iteration, but he admits himself that it's purely because he can't get anyone's soul if they die first.
  • The Archmage: Calvaros and eventually Lillet who graduates after the time loop ends as she's learnt everything that her teachers know.
  • Artificial Human / Emotionless Girl: Amoretta the Homuculus. She's much younger than she looks.
  • Beast and Beauty: Subverted, in that the Beast does not love Beauty (even though this would break the spell), is somewhat of a nerd, and doesn't care what he looks like.
  • Body Horror: The chimeras.
  • Captain Ersatz: Half the cast look like they might have been stolen from Harry Potter. Played up in the localization, where many names were changed to make the inspirations blatant, such as Gammel Drask to Gammel Dore.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Of the super units, there's the Dragon and Chimera though these two units actually have significant reach with their attacks and can easily wipe out hordes of weak enemy units with their rapid-fire, area of effect attacks. On the mook side of things, there are the Phantoms, upgraded Imps and the mighty Demons who all need to navigate around the levels before taking it to the enemy up close.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Opalneria's punishment for Margarita, when the latter is caught trying to sneak into the former's chambers. Exactly what Opalneria does is never fully explained, but given that she's a necromancer (and that it reduces Margarita to a blubbering wreck), it's evidently terrifying.
  • Crippling Over Specialisation: Affects the Skullmage, whose role as chief killer of ethereal units is easily taken by other more versatile creatures.
  • Cute Witch: Lillet, of course!
    • ...who then becomes a Hot Witch in the epilogue.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Done literally with Advocat, subverted in that he's not one of the villains.
  • Deal with the Devil: Literally, many times. Hell is going to have to update its rules to avoid falling for Lillet's last deal.
    • Unless Hell is run by individuals like Advocat; in that case, they'll have a field day at every poor schmuck demon that actually falls for the trick.
    • Advocat's deal with Gammel is that he will "teach and assist" at the school for no pay; but should Gammel ask for a Deal with the Devil for his soul; he'll get it. Gammel never succumbed, even in timelines where he's about to be possessed by Grimlet.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Lillet successfully pulls this off in the end with Grimlet, making contract with him where her request is for him to embrace god, which devils can't do, and since neither of them can change the contract (Lillet made it a blank check offer), he gets sent back to hell for breaking it.
  • Dub Name Change: Gammel Drask (an alcoholic beverage in keeping with the themed names) became Gammel Dore (which should be obvious), and Margarita Frozen became Margarita Surprise.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Gammel Dore, a Captain Ersatz of the former Trope Namer. Subverted in that he's surprisingly incompetent for a supposed mentor figure. Adults Are Useless, after all.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Glamour → Necromancy → Sorcery → Alchemy → Glamour. This overlaps with Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors somewhat.
  • Elite Mook: Demons are pure footsoldier units, but they are VERY POWERFUL. They have the 3rd highest health rating in the game, being able to take more hits than the Morning Star and Charon (the super units for Glamour and Necromancy). While they can't deal nearly as much damage as the 4 super units, they can lay down a lot of punishment with their special abilities of double claw attack and a poisonous touch.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Inverted. Lillet threatens to sleep on the couch to keep Amoretta in line.
  • Foreshadowing: On the fourth Day 1, Advocat, while listing things that a high level demon could do for a contract, he mentions praying in a church as something they couldn't do.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Instructors:
    • The Optimist: Gammel Dore. By far the most friendly of the instructors, but seems remarkably naïve about most of the goings-on in the tower.
    • The Cynic: Advocat, to the point where he won't lift a finger to help anyone, even if their life is in danger, unless they make a literal Deal with the Devil with him.
    • The Pragmatist: Opalneria Rain. Definitely the most disciplined and straightforward of the instructors.
    • The Apathetic: Chartreuse Grande. Utterly engrossed in his alchemy experiments, to the exclusion of almost everything else.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The instructors again.
    • Sanguine: Advocat. Is outgoing, but other than that, embodies most of the negative aspects of this temperament. Most notably self-indulgent, lustful (to an extent), and also has a bit of a quick temper if you press the right buttons.
    • Choleric: Opalneria Rain. Ambitious, tactical, proud, easily angered, obsessive and passionate.
    • Phlegmatic: Gammel Dore. Patient, kind, forgiving, and a touch on the docile side.
    • Melancholic: Chartreuse Grande. Independent, organized, hardworking, and brooding.
  • Full-Name Basis: Advocat just...tastes Lillet Blan's full name every time he says it.
  • Gambit Pileup: There's a tonne of people and organizations all invested in what goes on at the Tower of the Silver Star, with spying, treachery, and secret pacts abound, and each trip the player makes around the "Groundhog Day" Loop adds at least one more gambit to the mix. They are all finally outgambitted by Lillet, of all people.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: There's no other explanation as to why devils can walk around as they please and have to leave humans to stop them.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Lillet seems to be cursed into repeating the same five days over and over again until she gets it right.
  • Guile Hero: Lillet
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Alchemy professor Chartreuse Grande, although it should be noted he's actually a normal human cursed into a half-beast form.
  • Head Pet: Surely, Margarita's familiar.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Made by several characters over the course of the game. Lillet's ultimate goal is to find a way to win without anyone having to do this.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Technically, Lillet and Amoretta don't do anything like kissing; but they do live together in the end. Snuggling in bed together is compared to one being "like a baby." Declarations of love can still be argued to be "sisterly." They never cross that ever so fine line of plausible deniability on the part of the writers.
    • Or perhaps not. After all, Lillet blushes furiously when making her first love declaration, and this journal entry makes it clear that her strong desire to protect Amoretta is a form of her love. Then there's the fact that she threatens to sleep on the couch if Amoretta doesn't do what she says, which is something people really only say to their lovers. Hmm.
  • Hold the Line: Mission five.
  • Hot for Student: Opalneria's relationship with Hiram.
  • Hot Ghost Girl: Lujei
  • Instant-Win Condition: Destroying enemy runes is the generic win condition, but you can also force an early win in the Hold the Line mission(s).
  • It's Up to You: Of course it is. You're the protagonist! (Hilariously, in subsequent loops, Lillet will blow off helping certain people because she's got bigger priorities.)
  • Justified Tutorial: Lillet's a new student, and it's her first day of school. Of course, on repeat sessions everyone expresses considerable surprise at how much Lillet already knows.
  • Karmic Death: All the bad guys, thanks to some particular cleverness on the part of Lillet.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Both Calvaros and Grimmlet. They show up, the cycle is going to get much more serious.
  • Large Ham: Advocat. And how.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Chimeras are massively destructive (and can actually out damage dragons since they have a higher attack rate) and move alarmingly fast, and ignore obstacles, but their HP gradually decreases. Also, while the game lists them as having close to the same HP as dragon, their defense is nowhere nearly as high so they die much more easily. Finally as alchemical creatures, chimeras get curb-stomped by dragons in a clash of the titans.
  • Logic Bomb: In a non-AI example, this is how Lillet wins against the villain. Turns out that wishing for the Devil you just sold your soul to to "Embrace God" is a great way to get rid of them and get your soul back.
  • Long-Range Fighter: The Morning Star and a fully upgraded Charon are unlike their fellow super units, the Dragon and Chimera, in that they're great at long range (capable of dealing amazing amounts of damage) but rather weak up close (their health is quite good so they can take a bit of punishment, but the Charon and Morning Star use limited amounts of ammunition so they can't keep rapid-fire their foes - especially with the Charon which uses passengers it's transporting as fuel for an Energy Ball).
    • For the mooks, the long-range specialists are the Fairies and Golems - Fairies are too frail to take hits until they get Astralize while Golems have a minimum range.
  • Mage Tower: The Tower of the Silver Star, again, which is stated to be the principal Wizarding School of the kingdom. It was originally the lair of Calvaros, making it a one-time Evil Tower of Ominousness as well.
  • Meaningful Name: You cannot help but suspect Margarita Surprise from the beginning.
    • It's less obvious in the Japanese version, where her last name is 'Frozen'.
  • Mighty Glacier: Dragons. By far the slowest units in the game- but by FAR the strongest (most units die in one or two attacks, unless they're astrals, but using the skull mage's astalize on the dragon can solve this) and by far the most durable. It takes an ARMY to bring down even one. Or a well placed sleep spell from a Grimalkin.
  • The Mole: Two of them, in Margarita and Bartido.
  • My Future Self and Me: Lillet gets to meet herself, it turns out it was her future self that stuck her in the time loop to correct all the disasters happening.
  • Necromancer: Opalneria. Also Lujei when she was alive. Also, Hiram is Opalneria's student which makes him an apprentice necromancer.
  • Not Playing Fair With Resources: Your opponents aren't restricted by silly things such as resource levels or build times—in fact, you can even catch them in the act of directly teleporting in more Mooks for them to use.
  • Older Than They Look: Opalneria. Gets even worse when she changes her appearance to a schoolgirl's to make things more "suitable" for her Hot for Student role.
  • Out of Time, Out of Mind
  • Playing with Fire: Sorcery units all have fire themes to them.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: Almost everyone except Lillet, especially the instructors, specializes in just one or two of the four types of magic, even though the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors means this makes them easy to defeat. Some stages limit your access to books of magic, forcing you into this role on occasion as well.
  • Queer Flowers: Amoretta's first meeting with Lillet seems to show her developing a "girl crush" on the heroine, even saying "I like your smile. Can I touch it?" with Lillet nervously letting her do so. It's explicitly established that Amoretta, her name meaning "little love," only lives because Lillet's love sustains her. Near the end game, they sort of wind up together, and they actually live together in the post-game epilogue.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Mostly Lillet and Gammel.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Over and over and over...
  • Shout-Out
    Surely: Miss... surely you don't expect to make it out alive, do you?
    Lillet: Of course I do, and don't call me Shirley.
  • Spanner in the Works: Nobody, not even the highest ranked Demon or the Archmage, counted on one humble transfer student blowing all of their plans to hell.
    • Crossover Example: Lujei Piche ends up sending the demon Sulfur, villain of Phantom Brave back to his world despite the sacrifices involved in banishing him, as revealed in her Cameo in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters.
  • Stable Time Loop: Lillet learns after all her efforts that she will be trapped in the room with the stone like the other, older Lillet unless the stone is destroyed. She also mentions that when she arrived the Lillet she met was an old woman so it's pretty obvious that it's an unbroken cycle.
  • Stealth Pun: The sorcery teacher is a devil. His name is Mr. Advocat. And he's constantly flip-flopping his allegiance based on his mood. Put the pieces together. He's a devil's advocate.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The only way to defeat Calvaros is to summon the arch-devil Grimlet, who takes his soul to hell. Of course, then you have to deal with Grimlet which is where things get difficult.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Amoretta, to devils
  • Talking Animal: Margarita's frog familiar, Surely; and Amoretta's familiar, a Grimalkin.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Advocat, who takes the Snape role with relish.
  • The Dark Arts: In this world, there's only one and that's sorcery which taps into the powers of Hell. Necromancy is actually a holy magic as is Glamour, with Alchemy being neutral in alignment.
  • Theme Naming: With three exceptions, every character is, for no apparent reason, named after an alcoholic beverage. Two in the Japanese version (Gammel Dore is Gammel Drask in Japan.)
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Lillet keeps getting more powerful versions of these, and they stay with her each reset.
  • Tsundere: Opalneria has been described as... passionate.
  • Vain Sorceress: Opalneria is way Older Than They Look, but she keeps using magic to look younger. By the end she loses her Old Maid status and ends up looking like a schoolgirl, to the disappointment of some. Although this is Informed Attractiveness since we never see her after she does it.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Dragons and Chimeras are all but unstoppable- unless you get a Grimalkin to cast Sleep on them. Oh dear.
  • Wild Card: Advocat. He is a devil who could exploit the situation to his benefit if he wanted to, but he knows he has very little to gain personally from the conflict and is content with simply observing the events. In the ending however, he's so impressed with Lillet's outsmarting of Grimlet that he personally backs her deal with him.
  • Wishplosion. An incredibly epic one. Lillet summons a massively powerful devil, which fulfils the Big Bad's contract with him, which gets rid of said Big Bad - and then Lillet drops a Logic Bomb on the demon, making a contract and then wishing for it to embrace God. The demon refuses and therefore suffers the consequences.
  • Wizarding School: The Tower of the Silver Star.
  • The Worf Effect: The teachers seem to serve one purpose, to have the unholy crap beaten out of them. Repeatedly.
  • Worker Unit: Elves/ghosts/imps/blobs.
  • Yandere: Lujei, Lujei, Lujei.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Mana, harvested from crystals.
  • Zerg Rush - On the first couple of days, you can just mass-manufacture your unit of choice and march them to the objective. Not so much on the later days, where your opponents tend to have a mix of unit types. Phantom swarms, for instance, go from awesome (when the AI tends to have little to counter them) to short-lived (when the AI gains Homunculi and alchemy area-of-effect attacks) to awesome again (when you figure out the subtle nuances of using other units to take out said Homunculi and area-of-effect defenses before sending in the crazy sword-swinging avenging ghosts soldiers).
    • Because the AI is Not Playing Fair With Resources, it LOVES to throw hordes of Imps to harass your base. You'll almost never do that back because by the time you get Imps you not only have better units to use en masse, you also have to contend with the aforementioned area-of-effect attacks. The exception can be seen in one of the Bonus Missions, specifically Video 28, The Queen and the Red Hood,in this LP.