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Book, Librarian, Star and City

May you find your book in this place.
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Library Of Ruina is a Deck Building Turn-Based Strategy RPG Simulation Game developed and published by South Korean independent video game studio ProjectMoon. It was released on Steam Early Access on May 15, 2020. The game is a direct sequel to Lobotomy Corporation and as such reveals important plot points about the game's main plot and ending.

The game's story takes the form of a Visual Novel. Roland, a below-grade Fixer, one day finds himself in the titular Library, and in the company of Angela. After a scuffle caused by Angela demanding to know how he was trespassing, she recruits him as an envoy to send out calling cards for guests. If they choose to accept, they must survive an Ordeal; if they win, they can take any book they want. If they lose, they will become a book in the Library.

The game's battle system takes the form of a Turn-Based duel, where every turn you get a random value for Speed that determines the order of actions. An energy system that you can spend in cards, and cards you can use to battle, each with different costs, effects and mix of offensive and defensive values.

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After enough actions, your emotion value rises and you can choose an Abnormality Page that gives the Librarian a special effect.

The game's main story has been fully released as of April 16th, 2021, with regular updates every Friday around 8-11pm KST (GMT+9) and an official full release planned for August 5th, 2021 following additional side content and quality-of-life updates. The game also has a novel tie-in, The Distortion Detective, which focuses on the "Distortion" phenomena in The City from a point of view of an Office. It is currently on hiatus and will be resumed after the full release of this game.

As mentioned before, this game is directly preceded by Lobotomy Corporation, and will be succeeded by Limbus Company.

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May you find your tropes in this place:

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  • Achievement Mockery: The achievement appropriately called "Whoopsie-daisy!", earned by entering a combat phase without slotting any Speed die for all librarians who can act.
    Your finger probably slipped for this one.
  • Action Bomb: Fighters in the Floor of History if they take the Footfalls Abnormality card.
  • Adult Fear: Roland lost his wife and unborn child to the Pianist Distortion, leaving him emotionally devastated, and some of his dialogue implies he feels personally responsible for it. Later on, it's revealed he took this much, MUCH worse than he initially lets on.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Sephirot from Lobotomy Corporation return, so we keep the mix of names, now with the addition of the very plainly named "Roland".
  • An Aesop: A simple, but timeless one: a Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse. No matter what happens to you in life, it is unacceptable to visit pain upon others to cure your own. Half of the major cast learns to express this moral in some way, with the climax of the story being Angela realizing how much damage she's caused and undoing it, while stating that she's doing so to end the Cycle of Revenge.
  • Affably Evil: All over the place: the nature of the setting means that almost everyone shown is, at the very least, incredibly ruthless and pragmatic, but plenty of them don't take this to mean they have to be rude about it. In the City, you end up with such things as cannibal killers, Ambiguously Human monsters, and brutal syndicate thugs who are nothing if not friendly, polite individuals.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Unlike Guest Invitations, Abnormality battles don't cost you anything if you lose, letting you try as many times as you want. Given that Abnormalities offer the game's biggest Puzzle Bosses compared to Guests, this is a welcome feature.
    • During The Realization Of Keter Floor, you do not reset to the beginning of the fight if you lose or quit out, only to the beginning of whichever phase you were on, due to each phase being a fair bit longer than normal for a Floor Realization.
  • April Fools' Day: In form of an announcement for an OVA about the Smoke War, that was said to involve R Corp, Ayin, and Benjamin.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • A lot of the people invited to the Library are just trying to get by in a Crapsack World, but some are prime examples of this.
      • Yun was the Operator of his Office, and sacrificed all of his members in the efforts of claiming books to make cash.
      • Jack and Pierre are two cooks from the Backstreet of District 23, with all that implies.
      • The Kurokumo Clan is a Syndicate and subsidiary to the Thumb which belongs to the "Five Fingers", very powerful Syndicates whom the Wings including even the Head can't even control properly.
      • The Index Proselytes sent to the Library are from the Index, another Finger such as the Thumb. The Index doesn't taxes its wards with money; instead, taxes come in the form of bizarre orders known as "prescripts", which must be followed at all costs. Those who do not follow the Prescript will face execution as it's considered Tax evasion.
      • Cane Office's president, Nemo is literally a money-grubbing Corrupt Corporate Executive, and is among one of the most blatantly greedy people you will meet in the game. He accepted Pluto's deal in taking W Corp's singularity so they can start a patent war and get their Singularity for their own use. However, per rule of the Yesterday's Promise, there's a very small line of text which states that Nemo must go raid the Library for him...and he still treats that as an opportunity to get money. Sure enough, the whole office gets decimated in there.
    • Out of the Library, there's also Thelma, the corrupt Director from Shi Association who was on his position mostly because of Argalia. After manipulating him into exhausting and decimating his own Section 2 through a slew of difficult tasks, Argalia orders the Smiling Faces, an Urban Nightmare-tier Syndicate consisting of inhuman abominations to flake him alive into 10,000 meat flakes as he throws sarcastic remarks against him.
  • Background Music Override: Some Guests will have their own background and theme replacing the Floor of your choosing's theme, as shown with Love Town's Tomerry, Philip, the 8 o'clock Circus' Emma and Noah, The Crying Children, the Red Mist, Xiao, and Yan. In the case of Tomerry and Emma/Noah, there are multiple enemies on-screen units, but defeating the strongest unit will restore the background music and background to its default state.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss:
    • The introduction for the Full Stop Office deals with a cult called the Church of Gears. It seems that the Church will be the ones fought, but the Office bursts in and kills everyone except the head, who's saved by Argalia/the Blue Reverberation and Pluto. The Full Stop Office is then forced by Argalia to enter the Library to escape him.
    • The Wedge Office might resemble a normal fight against Fixers just like before. However, the Office itself is just phase 1 and its considered a proper boss battle because of an incredibly powerful E.G.O. Phillip at the end.
    • Tiphereth's floor realization features you going up against the Magical Girl Abnormalities. But instead of Angela, it's Roland who wields the E.G.O.s of the floor, and from then on, he's the one who undergoes a Meltdown.
    • Xiao, the president of the Liu Association, was noticeably growing horns and scale at the end of her first reception, seemingly setting herself up to become a Distortion. Instead, the second phase of her last fight has her manifest a full E.G.O. instead.
  • Band of Brothers: As opposed to most Fixers in Offices which are often rife with betrayal and abandonment due to distant relationships between its Fixers and to maintain rationality in an occupation where death is a norm, most Syndicates have tight loyalties between members and are much less likely to betray their own circles. The Stray Dogs and the Thumb are prime examples of this.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Near the end of the game Angela's desire to become human finally gets fulfilled. However this is right when she learns from the Reverberation Ensemble that she is indirectly responsible for the Distortions that made Roland's life hell, and now due to her mortal body Roland can finally get the chance to kill her. If Angela kills Roland instead, she will terrorize the City using the Library and her newfound mortal body, but she is still bound inside the Library due to what she did, unable to get the freedom she wished for, and was finally slain by an unknown woman after 13 years. At the end, Angela will not get a happy ending from becoming a human.
    • In addition, the more human Angela becomes the more she realizes just how bad the means she used to do so, namely inviting guests to the Library and then subsequently killing them to turn them into books in order to gather light, are. By the time she's fully human she ends up having a Heel Realization when Roland calls her out for it, which can lead to a full Heel–Face Turn where she releases the booked Guests at the cost of her newfound humanity.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: There are no heroes here, only factions with varying degrees of morality and their own beliefs, goals, and motivations running around in the Wretched Hive known as the City, prominent ones including but not limited to:
    • The Wings, a group of megacorporations who tyrannically reign over the City and are led by the mysterious Head which rules all of the Districts of said City. These corporations aren't simply greedy or corrupt, they are Ax-Crazy, insane and bloodthirsty.
    • The Five Fingers, the most powerful, infamous and dangerous Syndicates in the City who completely dominate the Backstreets of the City's Districts in a cruel, callous manner with draconian rules, measures, and fees. They are so powerful that not even the Wings including the Head itself could easily insert their control and influence on them and their affairs.
    • The Reverberation Ensemble, a gang of Distortions led by a legendary but notorious and psychotic Color Fixer who seeks to overthrow both the Wings and major Syndicates such as the Fingers themselves, hoping to use the Library to turn the entire City into Distortions themselves. Compared to the aforementioned two, they have the most focus and relevance in the story as antagonists.
    • The residents of the Library that make up the main cast are forced to become Punch-Clock Villains against their own will, and the Library actively invites guests and instructs the Librarians to kill and turn into books to take them, and to eventually gain the "perfect book" for their director, Angela. Not to say that the Library itself is powered by Carmen herself, who has become a Genius Loci who can determine who dies inside the Library and who doesn't, and is the entity behind the Distortions, having become a truly apocalyptic threat.
  • Bishōnen Line: "Stabilized" Distortions tend to look much more humanoid than their initial forms, and are also quite a bit more powerful. This is seen with both Philip and Roland, who both start as monstrous and inhuman Distortions and assume a more powerful humanoid shape later.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After having a Heel Realization, Angela gives up on her quest to become human, separating herself from Carmen and freeing everyone she absorbed, with Roland letting go of his vengeance and keeping her safe while dealing with the revived Reverb Ensemble. However, this act of letting go of desires is seen as the final nail in the Library's coffin, and Enforcers of the Head arrive to move all of it to the Outskirts, despite everyone's best attempts at protecting it. Now stranded, Angela works to reopen the Library under a different operation, redirecting her vengeance at the Head itself for perpetuating the cycle, while Roland decides to write a book about all that he knows about the City. Meanwhile, a new Association is created to deal with the rising threats of Abnormalities and Distortions, as issued by the Purple Tear, leading up Project Moon's next game; currently titled Lobotomy Corporation Branch.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The game gives up its Grotesque Cute style completely when depicting violent or gory events in cutscenes since the cognition filter does not exist in this game. As a result, many disturbing images presented to the player are displayed in their full glory. This is especially obvious in Love Town, where the player can see cutscenes of Warp Train passengers mutilating and eating each other.
  • Bookends:
    • The story's first battle against the Rats took place in the Keter floor with only Roland. The story's Post-Final Boss battle against the Head took place in Keter, starting with Roland as the sole combatant (although Gebura and Binah will join in later).
    • Keter, the Floor of General Works is both the first floor available and the last floor to be realized.
    • Carmen and Ayin's research started in the Outskirts and progressed into the next phase because of a Head invasion. At the end of the game, a Head invasion expunges the whole Library back into the Outskirts.
    • The prose seen at the start of each chapter are excerpts from Yun Dong-ju's poems. Specifically, the Canard and Impurity chapters use the first and last sentences of "The Road".
  • Boss Rush:
    • To 100% complete a floor, you must face off against Angela (and later Roland), who goes berserk and goes into a Meltdown-esque freakout after being stood up to by said floor's Patron Librarian, using the E.G.O.s of every Abnormality faced on said floor without break, including an additional one not used until now.
    • The Reverberation Ensemble's fight is an interesting case. The nine distortions travel to one of the nine floors, and you have to fight all of them to face Argalia on the Keter floor, and you can't stop until it's done, as resting has the booked members released and you'll have to fight them again. What's more, there's warning that even starting the fight will be the Point of No Return.
    • The above is immediately followed by another... provided you meet certain conditions. After completing the Reception of the Black Silence, if you've completed every Floor Realization and choose to have Roland and Angela forgive each other, you're then immediately thrust into the Keter Realization, which is a five-stage fight with Carmen, which is then immediately followed by a battle against the Reverberation Ensemble Distorted, which is a series of three fights, with each fight having multiple members of the Ensemble, further distorted by the light released by Angela.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Some of the rewards from the End Game Boss Rush ( Black Silence, Kether 5th Abnormality pages, Kether EGO Pages, and Reverberation Ensemble Unique Combat Pages ) are all given after the last of these fights, With only one fight left where you can't use any of them.
  • Break Meter: Every character has a Stagger meter in addition to their Health meter, which acts as an equivalent of the Sanity Gauge in the prequel. If it's emptied, the character will be unable to act until the end of the next turn, and all resistences will be lowered to Fatal (damage is doubled). Attacks normally damage both the Health and Stagger meter, but characters have separate resistences/weaknesses for each: so, for example, a character might take half Health damage, but doubled Stagger damage.
  • But Thou Must!: A non-player example. Invitations are sent to people who are in a situation where they have to accept it. The invitees' reasoning for it vary. As it turns out, circumstances were manipulated so that the invitees are put into the situation where they have to accept the invitation.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: With a few exceptions, nearly every guest of the Library has their own short little subplot or connection to a larger picture arrives to do battle and dies shortly after.
  • Call-Back: Roland recalls seeing a "weird white light" that happened a while ago, which makes the true ending of Lobotomy Corporation canon, as this is a direct sequel.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Heavily exaggerated and Played for Horror. While the game doesn't outright state it, the City doesn't have any non-corporate governors. In fact, it's solely ruled by corporations known as Wings who basically run on fanatical capitalism; even the Head, supposedly being ruling authorities, are actually one such Corporation known as A Corp. It's not even a matter of pure greed; many of them seem to just make decisions that maximize bloodshed or violate all common sense either because they are integral for the Wing's survival, outright weirdness, malice or even any combination of the above. Standouts include former L Corp where the Manager deliberately gets his employees horribly killed by Abnormalities or W Corp forcing passengers of the Warp Train to suffer from a 2000 century torture only to undo them instantly. Commonfolks are thrown into backstreet slums that the Wings don't usually give a rat's ass about and everyone has to more or less, eat rats or kill other human beings to survive. Most people there actually have to earn enough money to go to metropolitan areas called Nests, where the Wings behind it can and will kick you out if you don't yield any produce or societal contribution.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally everything a group says foreshadows upcoming opponents.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: All over the place here. Along with the Flavor Text from Lobotomy Corporation hinting of the Crapsack World beyond the facility, most chapters mention characters who will show up later. For example, at the start of the game, the Rats talk about the Stray Dogs and the Fingers. They were also mention an entity heavily implied to be the Puppeteer, and the mangled corpse they collected was heavily implied to be a work from Pluto.
  • City of Adventure: For every deadly danger the City has to offer, there’s a proportionally great opportunity for talented and well-armed denizens to achieve fame and riches by eliminating these dangers or becoming one themselves.
  • City with No Name: The eponymous City itself, where the setting takes place. If it has a name, no one's bothered mentioning it.
  • Conducting the Carnage: According to the Purple Tear, the Distortions that make up the Reverberation Ensemble are based on orchestra placement;
    • Pluto/Yesterday's Promise is the pipe organ.
    • Eileen is the harp.
    • Tanya/L'heure de Loup is the voila.
    • Philip/The Crying Children are the cello.
    • Oswald is the clarinet.
    • The Musicians of Bremen's three heads, Doodle-Doo, Heehaw, and Woof, serve as the horn, tuba, and trombone.
    • Elena/Blood-red Night is the first violin.
    • Greta is the percussion.
    • Jae-heon/The Puppeteer is the second violin.
  • Crapsack World: While alluded to in Lobotomy Corporation, the world outside the facility is the main setting this time around, and it's... not great. To say it's not great is actually an understatement; in fact The City, as seen in game is pretty much hell on earth.
    • It says a lot that Hired Guns are about as common as retail workers, and basically everyone with a status is working for some paramilitary unit or a thuggish Syndicate.
    • The whole city is ruled and overran by corrupt corporations practicing fanatical capitalism called Wings; even The Head themselves are a corporation instead of a proper governing body. Most, if not all of the Wings are thoroughly corrupt and not simply for monetary reasons; it seemed like they were powered by an unholy combination of carnage, human suffering, outright weirdness and greed. If you do get enough money to go to a Nest (aka a Metropolitan area), the Wings will kick you back to the slums if you don't yield any form of produce.
    • Even in the Slums called Backstreets, Syndicates, consisting of well-organized, formally dressed Mafia groups and their more overtly thuggish associates roam around the Backstreets and tax its residents with hefty sums of cash or weird orders and will happily execute those who don't pay or follow these orders without a question. They are also more than willing to fight with each other to death and potentially affecting nearby residents. At the top of all Syndicates are the Five Fingers who are considered equal to the Wings in terms of power and influence.
    • The Seed of Light Golden Ending back in Lobotomy Corp was halted by Angela, creating a whole, new set of threats against The City itself; Distortions. These are recurring phenomena where people, sometimes even a collective, outright transform into half-Abnormalities who go around and wreak havoc, self-destruct, or even becoming shrewd manipulators who use their powers for nefarious purposes. As it turns out based on revelations later on in the game, it's implied Angela just slowed down the Distortion Phenomenon and limited its frequencies; if the Seed of Light were to be completely realized, then every other person would become distortions or came out wielding E.G.O.,, something that based on how many crazy lunatics are in the City, will most definitely end up in mass, uncontrolled chaos.
    • Just about every person coming to the library is either someone looking for their big break out of squalor, trying to make ends meet, just plain crazy or even being forcefully thrown into it.
    • The pre-combat story for The Rats shows us that harvesting human organs (referred to as 'Gut-Harvesting') is common enough to be a lucrative business. And that's just scraping the surface; Human Resources are really a thing in the City.
    • Perhaps the most interesting element of all of this hopelessness and inequality is the presence of something called "the disease of the mind", which is only alluded to briefly as the motivation for Ayin and Carmen's creation of the Seed of Light and a prevailing problem plaguing the citizens of this world. What is said disease? A species wide Lack of Empathy epidemic, which is slowly causing the human race to slide further into despair and self-destruction.
    • Double Subverted in terms of the Library. According to Roland, the Library is somehow better than being on the streets due to the fact that at the very least, they're inviting people to lose their lives, rather than having it taken away from them by force. However, later on, knowing the Library's combatants never lost a fight, Argalia and his fellow minions start using the Library as a glorified execution chamber and the authorities start to raid the place periodically with their elite agents. Even later still, it's revealed that the Will of the Library has been directly interfering with things behind the scenes to get people to accept the invitations and the Library abducts the Guest's physical bodies as soon as they set foot, making this Played Straight from the get-go.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: At the end of the game, while the Library is completely outmatched by the Agents of the Head, they still manage to hold out for a surprisingly long amount of time, all things considered. Zena is even surprised that they're still holding on, and ultimately, while the Library is still banished to the Outskirts, The Head fails to recover Binah.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A prevailing theme of the game is the destructive impulses of revenge, especially that it can lead to hurting innocents, when then themselves will descend to the unthinkable to carry out their revenge. It is only when Roland and Angela finally let go of their grudges that they can move on and have a happy ending.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed, since Lobotomy Corporation is a dark enough game with gruesome deaths all over the place and a Dystopian outside world mentioned in passing, although we don't really see how bad the outside world is. However in Library of Ruina, since that is now the main focus, we get to see it in its full glory...and just as expected, everything is wrong, goes completely wrong. Basically nobody seems to be in their right state of mind, corrupt, bloodthirsty and eccentric Megacorps and organized Mafia-style thugs who will kill for strange reasons rule over every square mile of the city, aspiring young men and women forced to enroll into paramilitary units, people transforming into Distortions and wrecking full-blown chaos...the list of horrors go on and on.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: No matter how a battle turns out, all your characters are automatically revived to full health at no cost. The only downside to losing a battle entirely (As in, exhausting all of the available teams allowed for the fight) is losing the book(s) wagered to initiate the fight.
  • Designated Victim: Most cards has featureless humans who are generally the victims of whatever attack is in the art. One example is Punishing Bird pecking someone, much to the victim's discomfort.
  • Disaster Dominoes:
    • Most of the guests you encounter never come out alive, or even come out with a body. Even the executives of well-equipped offices or Syndicates were puzzled about what actually happened to the Library's victims, despite what actually happened there is actually quite straightforward; you killed them inside the library and turned them into Combat Pages. This results in a quicksand scenario leading to all sorts of offices, syndicates and other entities getting killed and black-holed inside the library; several low level syndicates or associations go in and investigate the library and got a big chunk of their forces annihilated, stronger ones got blackmailed by Argalia or went to investigate only to get annihilated as well, and then the big guns, namely Wing employees, Finger thugs or high rank associations go raid it to cover up for their bosses, see what's happening there or are just forced to by superior orders, with the same fate as the rest before them.
    • Invoked by the Library itself during a specific arc that arches from Urban Plague to Star of the City, featuring a Grade 5 Fixer named Philip who joined his superiors, Salvador and Yuna in raiding the Library only for the latter two to be killed. Since Philip is a Cowardly Lion, he becomes the sole survivor and leads the sister office of his former office to their deaths, while manifesting an E.G.O.. The operator of that office managed to install an escape button onto him, allowing him to escape the Library...but he landed onto the 8 O' Clock Circus Distortion, where its ringmaster broke him down to the point that Pluto turned him into a Distortion using the "voice of a woman" (implied to be Carmen) and throws him into the Library only for the Library itself to let him escape, finally leading to the Liu Association invading it and get wholly decimated; not even its section head Xiao survived fighting inside the Library despite having been manifested an E.G.O. from the same voice Philip heard. The Library is most likely tampering with Philip's escape and releasing him from it just to bait out the association or paramilitary group trying to investigate him and get it decimated.
    • The Library itself is one of the many mishaps directly or indirectly triggered by Carmen sacrificing Enoch for a Cogito experiment and failing, alongside Carmen's suicide, the deaths of Ayin's employees (which he may or may not be involved in), the Head attacking Lobotomy Corporation, the Smoke War and Angela's creation.
  • Dismemberment Is Cheap: Losing a limb means absolutely nothing in the City, since they are easy to replace for its technology standards. An entity who suffered from an otherwise extreme injury in real life such as losing an eye or a whole limb can get a new one back for a cheap price, at least cheaper than firearms. In fact, often you have to deliberately get your body parts cut off and replace them with a prosthetic body part, and almost every combatant in the city had at least one of their body parts replaced, or the tattoos on their body aren't just for show. Some entities such as the Brotherhood of Iron or the Gaze Office even resemble cyborgs than someone who had their body parts replaced. It's justified too considering how most of the City's residents rely on jobs that require bloodshed for income, indicating that severe injuries are all but the inevitable. Getting body replacements not only increase the user's strength but also ensures otherwise crippling injuries can be easily mitigated.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect:
    • The Queen of Hatred's Hysteria Gauge will rise if she loses clashes or if she's attacked by characters that she's marked, and it'll fall if she wins clashes or if she attacks marked characters. If her Hysteria Gauge fills up then she'll transform, fully restoring her health and making her attacks much stronger, therefore players are encouraged to purposefully lose some clashes in order to manage her hysteria.
    • In the Little Red Hooded Mercenary battle, you HAVE to let her score the final blow against the wolf, otherwise she'll freak out and try to kill your entire party.
    • The Servant of Wrath battle is similar to Little Red, though instead of freaking out and turning on you, you just get a Non Standard Game Over in old versions of the game. In the current version the Hermit cannot be killed by anything but the Servant.
  • Downer Ending: Two after defeating the Black Silence:
    • If the player does not complete the Asiyah Realizations, as well as Hokma's, Angela will turn Roland into a book and turn all of the Sephirot into humans. They resist her once again, but failed and were all killed. The now human Angela expands the Library into the City, engulfing its southwestern quarters. Due to being human instead of a machine, however, the Library was demoted from an Impurity to a mere Star of the City and a Bookhunter Fixer kills her after 13 years, ending her "legacy" once and for all.
    • If the player does not complete the Briah Realizations as well as Binah's, Roland will kill Angela. Because Angela is now a human and she realizes the wrongs of her actions, Roland kills her, evaporating the whole Library. He returns back to the City and his former colleagues discusses how he started overdosing and taking shady businesses. His former friends and foes track him down and kill him, and his corpse, filled with their weapons, drifts alongside a gutter.
  • Dramatic Irony: Roland notes that the process for changing into a robot body from human is something that shouldn't be done at all. Not knowing the fact that his fellow Librarians are the former Sephirah from Lobotomy Corporation, who were robots there but somehow became flesh and blood in this game.
  • The Dreaded:
    • You (yes, you as in the player themselves) quickly become this in-universe because everyone knows you had never lost a fight canonically, and the Library itself seemingly engineers a series of events to get a bunch of high-end authority figures killed.
    • The Head, the enigmatic rulers of the City, are this from the very start. Their appearance as the Post-Final Boss shows that this is completely justified, as seen by how a mere two of their agents can very nearly curb-stomp the Library's best of the best.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Roland is the very first playable character unlocked. In the endgame, when Angela becomes human due to the Light, he reveals he was always planning on betraying her out of revenge for her causing the Distortion Phenomenon, and instead becomes a boss fight. In fact, if you fail to complete all nine Floor Realizations, he's the Final Boss.
     E to M 
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The titular Library, transformed from the remains of the former L Corp and is basically used by Angela to lure and kill people from the outside world for her own goals. Later on, it turns out that the Library itself is doing this for something seemingly separate from Angela...
      • It's even later revealed what the true nature of the Library is: It's Angela's E.G.O- and it turns out it wasn't so seperate....
      Zena: That, Angela, is because this Library is the shell of your mind and consciousness... or E.G.O, as you call it.
    • Abnormality Books, which are pocket dimensions that are completely different from everything else, yet fitting the theme of each monster, such as Bloodbath's stage being the inside of its tub, while Porcubus's is a garden of flowers and overdosed victims.
    • The Warp Train that became Love Town is also this, though for different reasons...and it turns out that isn't the first time this happened before. In fact, it's usual for Warp Trains to become Eldritch Locations.
  • Evil vs. Evil: A presiding theme of the game. You have the Villain Protagonist Angelanote  deliberately leading various guests to the Library to kill them and turn them into books, the various Fixers who vary morally but are not above doing horrible things in the Crapsack World. In addition, later in the game the Library gets the attentions of the Syndicate, criminal organizations who rule the lawless Backstreets, the Wings, corrupt corporations who willingly send their employees to die in the library for various reasons, and the Reverberation Ensemble, a group of Distortions led by an insane leader who takes interest in the library to overthrow the Head. Last but not least, while the exact details were not quite known, Carmen, who was portrayed as nothing short of a saint in Lobotomy Corporation, was revealed to be the source of all distortions, the true will of the Library who lures guests to their presumed demise and a master chessmaster, with testimonies from Librarians implying that something was horribly wrong with her from the get-go.
  • Evil Will Fail: Not evil in general (which is a facet of life in the City and won't be going down anytime soon), but the "Stars of the City" a.k.a. its most dangerous and terrifying entities that everyone is compelled to hunt down and slay for the sake of profit and the public's safety. It's said that no matter how bright a Star is, it will eventually fade, meaning that no matter how dangerous an entity is to the City, it will eventually be slain and forgotten. One such example is the Blood-Red Night who terrorized the City's northern and eastern sides and killed thousands before she was killed by Roland and Angelica. Angela, in her Downer Ending is downgraded into a mere Star instead of an Impurity due to being a human, and was eventually slain and forgotten like the Stars of the City before her after more than a decade's reign of terror.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Downplayed. Guns exist, but the Head has extremely strict gun control laws and gun manufacturing regulations, rendering firearms useless in most circumstances. While the Head supposedly made these regulations for ethical reasons, it's heavily implied that the laws are there to make sure that every killing in the City is as brutal and painful as they can be.
  • Final Boss: Multiple, if you failed to do all nine Floor Realizations.
    • The Black Silence, aka Roland, if you fail to do all nine Realizations or have Angela or Roland reject each other.
    • Keter Realization, and can only be accessed if you complete all nine Realizations and have Angela and Roland forgive each other. Its a battle between Angela and what initially appears to be a pre-Character Development version of herself, but eventually turns out to be none other than Carmen, the Voice of the Distortion.
    • The Reverb Ensemble Distorted, who act as the True Final Boss, and can only be fought if you complete all nine Realizations, have Angela and Roland forgive each other, and then clear the Keter Realization.
    • Agents of the Head, who serve as a Post-Final Boss after defeating the Reverb Ensemble.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • After dealing with Streetlight Office the first time, Roland tells Angela that Fixers usually avoid building innate relationships so they don't lose themselves when their teammates die in a job where armed conflict is inevitable, which implies that the Streetlight Office's practices simply weren't professional to begin with. After the second encounter, Lulu (who was the girlfriend of a Fixer that the Library had previously killed) storms the Library unprompted while clearly in a fit of rage and irrationality, getting the whole Office annihilated as well.
    • During the Kether Realization, the "Angela" fought there consistently has red eyes instead of the usual yellow. Of course, this isn't Angela but Carmen, who always had red eyes as seen during Lobotomy Corporation's day 48.
  • Foreshadowing: Many guests or factions which show up to the Library are mentioned far in advance. The Library itself was already mentioned in Lobotomy Corporation, during the Dusk of White Ordeal.
    • Day 30 in Lobotomy Corporation is a cutscene where Carmen tells A about her philosophy and that she wants to become "a person with a beautiful voice, like the wisest person in the world." In this game, Carmen became the beautiful voice that Distorts.
    • On day 47 of Lobotomy Corporation, Abel (one of A's many split personalities) warned the player character that they might not acheive anything meaningful upon getting through the Kether Meltdown trials. His warnings come true, for the half-baked Seed of Light only instigated more chaos in the city instead of solving any of the problems it was supposed to. Furthermore, it's implied that the Seed of Light will ultimately be integrated into the City and does not break its cycle of destruction.
    • As soon as you send out your first invitation to the Rats, they imply a strange man is going around and turning people's body parts into puppets, and the corpse they collected was heavily mangled to the point that it is unrecognizable, and it had an orange brand mark on it. That man is actually the Puppeteer, and the corpse is actually a result of Pluto/Yesterday's Promise's modus operandi.
    • Before the Rats arrive to the Library, Angela also tells Roland that she merely borrowed the power of invitations, and it wasn't fully hers. In reality, she borrowed the Invitation's power from Carmen, who is behind the creation of the Library itself by convincing Angela and the Library's machinations.
    • Early on, Roland discusses how a well-mannered, well-dressed person roaming around the backstreets are actually a red flag for someone who is extremely dangerous and/or just plain crazy. One will later realize that Roland is correct for the most part- the most dangerous thugs around the Backstreets such as Index or Thumb agents are very polite and well-dressed, and they could probably pass as Fixer offices if not for their obsession with brutal murders. This is in contrast to their subordinates such as the Kurokumo Clan or Stray Dogs who look like poorly dressed and threatening thugs. The fact that Roland fits this description is one of the first hints you have that there's more to him than meets the eye.
    • Among one of the earliest discussions between Roland and Hod has Hod telling him about how she snitched the Outskirts Lobotomy Corporation facility to the Head who responded by going full metal with an Arbiter, something that instantly struck Roland as being rather odd. He explains that the Head putting that much effort into squashing some random outskirts facility means that whatever was going on there was enough to really piss them off, but it's later established that the experimentation on abnormalities was something they did not particularly care about, since pretty much every corporation does equally messed up stuff in secret. Despite what we were led to believe back in Lobotomy Corporation that the Seed of Light directly attacks the Head, they (surprisingly) don't really do anything even when the Reverberation Ensemble was going to use the Library and turn everyone in the City into Distortions. It turns out that the main reason why the Head attacked was because the Eye foresaw the presence of Angela, who they view as a direct affront to their policies.
    • When the Dawn Office was about to take the request to raid the Library that results in its fixers being decimated by the Library's combatants and Philip escaping and being traumatized from what he saw, one of its Fixers, Yuna, suggested opening a party in Salvador's home if the operation was successful. This significantly bothers Philip and Salvador requests to talk with him when the raid was done. Unfortunately, both Salvador and Yuna died in the Library and Philip was left heavily grief-ridden by the loss of his mentor and his inability to explain matters with him, as well as Yuna's constantly bickering and condescending attitude towards him. When Oscar's escape button teleported him to the 8 O'Clock Circus, it turns out that Philip was thinking that Yuna was going to do something a lot more sinister. It's implied that he somehow believed that she was about to go to bed with Salvador and cheat on his wife and children. Oswald takes advantage of this to break him down and Pluto turns him into a new distortion; the Crying Children. After Philip was transformed, Oswald also tells Pluto that none of the illusions he uses to break Philip down were true, they were just delusions in Philip's mind, and thus Yuna's "party" is most likely just a regular celebration campaign.
    • Before the Dawn Office reception, Roland also mentions having been fought the Smoke War with Salvador and talks about him as if he knew him personally. When the Library starts driving Roland into an E.G.O. Meltdown in the Floor of Social Sciences, it was revealed that the Nest immigration office prevented him from moving into a Nest using this excuse. In reality, he was denied access to the Nest because he was involved with a deal where he asked a Fixer Office to smuggle Enkephalin to O-Corp without their knowledge. In the Floor of Philosophy Realization where the same thing occurs to Roland, a flashback also displays that Salvador was the person who enlightened him to the corruption of the City when he displayed Roland the source of L Corp's energy before Benjamin and Ayin took it over.
    • At Lobotomy Corporation's day 50 true ending, right before Angela is going to screw with Ayin's final plan, Gebura wonders if people might be able to develop their own E.G.O.s like her. Philip, when you encounter him a second time, successfully manages to produce his own E.G.O., and the results of that event turn him into a veritable One-Man Army.
    • Early on, Roland will tell Angela that he has a wife and an unborn child who was killed by an unknown incident that collapsed his house. While the game's major cutscenes don't actually reveal this, if Roland happens to be defeated in the first personal encounter against Argalia much, much later on in the game, Argalia will reveal that Roland married his sister Angelica, and she died because of the the Pianist incident.
    • Walter's page mentions that the higher ranked threats simply means that more people are willing to pay to eliminate them, regardless of danger. Despite Walter's assertion, however, higher leveled threats do generally correspond with more dangerous entities. Except for Angela, who is still classified as Impuritas Civitatis after expelling all the light she gathered, due to the Head seeing any sapient machine as a danger to the City as a whole.
    • Roland also tells Angela early on that he used to be a "Kickass Grade 1 Fixer" who was demoted to a Rank 9 because he only did intel. He uses this to explain how much he knows about the City and it's people, since his role is to serve as Angela's Mr. Exposition. As the story continues on, however, Roland keeps revealing a lot of information that even a Rank 1 Fixer shouldn't know, and begins producing connections with some rather important individuals, including a powerful Fixer named Salvador, and even the Color Fixers known as the Purple Tear and the Blue Reverberation. It also becomes increasingly clear that Roland has been a rather influential figure in the development of the setting, up to and including fighting in the Smoke War. Despite this, no one seems to recognize him. This discrepancy is later revealed to be due to Roland's personal choice of wearing a mask whenever he went out to work as a Fixer, which hid his identity from the average people. His connections come from being both a member of one of the best offices in the setting, and the husband to the Black Silence herself.
    • One of the scenes at the opening of the game features a Joker card peeling off to reveal Roland being tugged on strings like a marionette. During the final phase of the Floor of Natural Sciences Realization, Roland, under the influence of the Library, manifests the E.G.O. of an original abnormality, The Jester of Nihil, which is also based on the Joker card. The puppet strings also foreshadow his later animosity with Jae-Hoon.
    • In the Thumb Cartel gathering, Kalo comments on the legendary "Black Silence", a Color Fixer that decimated the Rumanos Cartel and has since disappeared. The implication is that the attack on the Rumanos Cartel was seemingly random, with the Black Silence's disappearance afterwards only adding to the mystery. We later get a more intimate view of this event, including meeting the Black Silence in person.
    • In the center left path of the Star of the City arc, Angela creates a simulation of the Red Mist in an attempt to gain her book so she can lure the Blue Reverberation back into the Library. Angela's method of creating this simulation is no different than sending an ordinary invitation to a guest, foreshadowing the fact that all of the guests fought in the Library are simulations. Their real selves are simply put into hibernation immediately upon entering the Library.
    • Before the Warp Cleanup Crew reception, the employees involved in the raid against the Library discuss about how the Love Town Mom Elena is actually the Blood-Red Night, a Star of the City-tier Distortion who was slain but revived for unknown reasons. In the Floor of Philosophy Realization, it turns out that Roland and Angelica were the ones who put her down the first time.
    • Before the Hana Association reception at the start of Impurity, their section 3 elites discuss about how the Head was doing literally nothing against the Library and the Reverb Ensemble despite the sheer magnitude of the havoc they create in L-Corp's former nest. It turns out that the Head doesn't really care about City-wrecking Distortions or individual threats as long as they are human because they are technically welcomed. The implication was since Angela was under the process of becoming human at that time, they decided not to interfere for the time being (and will no longer consider her an Impurity if she does become one, causing her to become a Star of the City instead), but as soon as Angela releases all the trapped guests and reverts into a machine, the Head steps in immediately in an attempt to exterminate her because they want a City with humans being humans.
    • While Carmen was considered nothing short of a straight-up paragon back in Lobotomy Corporation, there's hints added in this game that she's not as saintly as purported. While the sephirah have nothing but nice things to say about her, Roland repeatedly questions the validity of her assertions- in his own words, "no one is that nice all the time". It's implied that she was also responsible for various circumstances that led to people being distorted and/or booked, and a discussion between Angela and Hokma reveals that she's behind the Library's machinations. Sure enough, Roland is right - the Keter Floor Realization reveals that Carmen is more of a Dark Messiah figure, who willingly induces distortions in people to evolve humanity. The Seed of Light turning people into distortions is also intentional.
    • Back in Lobotomy Corporation, when Big Bird, an Abnormality that is an Allegorical Character to the Head alongside two other associated Abnormalities, enters the Gate of the Black Forest, the message "Big Bird, with its many eyes, decided to watch over the forest for intruders. For Big Bird's eyes could see very far, and see things we cannot see" will appear on the screen alongside a close-up on Big Bird. The same animation occurs after defeating Roland as Big Bird in the Floor of Philosophy Realization. At the game's epilogue, we hear from Zena, the Arbiter in charge of expunging the Library back into the Outskirts, that the Head has advanced precognitive technology that they use to spy on people.
      • In a similar tangent, the Black Forest Bird's story is about how the three birds heard of a terrible monster about to destroy the forest and accidentally became the monster themselves through a series of deadly and overbearing body modifications that led to the creation of the Apocalypse Bird that destroyed the forest. Despite the Head foreseeing the creation of Angela (which is a sapient machine, and thus a "monster" by their standards) through multiple wings and preemptively destroying the laboratory that would later spearhead her creation, their raid upon the laboratory created the exact conditions where Ayin would collaborate with multiple wings to create Angela, effectively unleashing the monster they swore to destroy.
    • During Angela's Downer Ending, she is re-classified as a Star of the City, no longer Impuritas Civitatis, despite having assimilated half of the City and releasing Abnormalities onto the Cityfolk. As its revealed before the final Reception, this is because she fulfilled her dream and truly became human, and thus the Head welcomed her presence into the City. Her action of letting go of her desires and staying as a machine, however, made her classified as Impuritas Civitatis, forcing the Head agents to get rid of the whole Library because an existence like that isn't welcomed in the City.
    • In The Distortion Detective, YuRIA's Workshop was heavily implied to be an E.G.O. taking the form of a portable building. At the end of the game, it's revealed that the structure forming the Library is actually Angela's E.G.O..
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: This is the Patron Librarians' opinion of Angela. While they all admit that she has indeed suffered a lot, none of them for a moment act like it justifies her stealing the Light and creating the Library. Much later on, Roland reveals he feels much the same way. He specifically calls out how ridiculous it is that she considers her misdeeds "compensation for her suffering".
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • It's in the gameplay itself. As the number and status of the people you kill on behalf for Angela increases, authorities will place you higher on an in-universe threat list. At one point, authorities will actually perceive you as a force of terror, and most basic fights will be replaced almost exclusively by invitations against the elite troops of Syndicates, Fixer Associations and Wings.
    • On a more individual character level: Philip, who starts as just another Fixer at the Dawn Office, who after a Trauma Conga Line, eventually manifests his own E.G.O., like Kali, and even becomes a Distortion whose scale of threat is comparable to that of the Pianist.
    • If Hokma's words before his floor realization were taken as granted, then Carmen absolutely qualifies. When she was still (actually) alive, she's just a backstreets preacher-turned scientist that is difficult to take seriously unless you pay attention to what she's preaching and get to know her in-person. But now, she's a literal omnipresent, invisible force capable of causing Distortions, manipulating and compromising the City's entities and baiting them into the Library to get them killed (or at least, frozen).
  • Genius Loci:
    • The titular Library was later revealed to display cognizance, capable of handing out invitations, seemingly monitoring the guests it has invited and showing them to Angela and Roland, deciding which guests can (or can't) escape it and triggering E.G.O. Meltdowns, all on its own volition. Even further on, it's revealed that Carmen herself is the one guiding the Library's Invitations, and beyond that, that the Library itself is Angela's E.G.O.
    • The City itself has a heartbeat and "will" that gets translated into Prescripts for the Index, and is implied to be a "god" born from it's inhabitants. It's also implied that the the failed Seed of Light has allowed either Carmen, Ayin or the Library itself to take control of the City's will somewhat for their own plans.
  • Gray-and-Black Morality: There are no heroes in this game. You have corrupt corporations, eccentric Mafia-esque Syndicates, insane Distortions, and the Library itself inviting people there to essentially die. Even Carmen, a person who wasn't portrayed as anything but a saint up to this point, was revealed to be the ultimate threat of the City that threatens its collapse instead of saving it as she intended, and if the Librarians' accounts of her were taken to be granted then something very suspicious is most likely being set up from the get-go.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The titular Library, where the game takes place. Or at least, that's the goal you're working towards.
  • Guns Are Worthless:
    • A justified and in-universe example, as both guns and bullets are heavily controlled and regulated, are very expensive and, as Roland stated and proven by Argalia, are not very effective against actually competent opponents. It would be cheaper to outfit an entire office with augmentations than with guns. It's subverted in the case of the Rabbit Team and the Heads themselves, however, since unlike the rest, they do possess unregulated and often highly lethal firearms, ensuring that they are the deadliest fighters out there.
    • Downplayed for the Thumb's Soldato and Capo. While they do use firearms and they are still heavily expensive and of mediocre quality, these Mafia enforcers have bayonets on their firearms, allowing them to fight at close range as well.
    • Using combat pages that utilize guns can be effective if used properly. Most of them have very powerful effects or do massive damage, but this is offset by the fact that they can only be used once per reception.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • Little Red-Hooded Mercenary fights alongside you during her Abnormality battle. Downplayed, in that she's almost as dangerous to your party as the Wolf, ESPECIALLY if you deny her the final blow.
    • In a similar manner, the Servant of Wrath fights alongside you against the Hermit of the Azure Forest, along with the Hermit's staff, during her Abnormality battle. If she falls in combat, it will automatically result in a Non Standard Game Over, and only she could deal the final blow to the Hermit.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Post-Final Boss battle against Enforcers of the Head (more specifically, Zena the Arbiter and Baral the Executioner Claw). Roland, Gebura, and Binah aren't exactly at their finest during this battle, they're left without any of the Library's keypage's or passives since Angela had released all of the Guests she booked by that point, and Zena and Baral are both seemingly unable to be damaged and staggerednote , leading to them both overpowering the Librarians with ease. As of a recent update, you can actually die in that fight despite it's placed after the credits, making it also a Kaizo Trap, although this is downplayed as you just start from the beginning of that fight immediately should you die.
  • Human Resources:
    • The books are made from visitors who manage to get invited to the library. The pages your librarians use to fight are also gotten from burning these books.
    • The Carnival are tailors who specialize in creating clothes made out of human flesh, with an E.G.O.-like effect where the armor they create grant the wearer properties of the person they killed and used to create the armor.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • If you are fighting an Abnormality or a boss, you will be notified of whatever attacks they will use, or their general behavior in their Passives list.
    • Gebura has a locked passive when you first obtain her. The passive will be unlocked after defeating the fake Red Mist, allowing Gebura to equip her core page.
    • At the final phase of the Black Silence's reception, he will use multiple passives based on the floor of General Work's Abnormalities. However, there is a 5th passive named "Leer". It's actually the ability from the final Abnormality of the game, Silent Girl, which is fought right after the Black Silence.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Cannibalism is a common thing in the Backstreets, though Roland states that it's taboo even there; it's actually the rich elites that indulge in human meat often. However, the cooks in Backstreet 23, obsessed with the "ultimate flavor", will gladly put people on the chopping block.
    • Throughout the game, you also meet The Carnival, The Sweepers and the Smiling Faces, all of them which are are fearsome, Ambiguously Human cannibals.
  • Kick the Dog: You will be doing it most of the time, usually friendly and easygoing young people desperately craving for a living in a Crapsack World where working for paramilitary units are nigh on mandatory for survival. Standouts early on include Finn, the Naïve Newcomer who gets killed because his boss sends him out to the Library to investigate, knowing very well what the outcome will be.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: You also put down pretty nasty people in the Library, like cannibals, the cronies of corrupt rich elites, and Finger thugs.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The trailer does not bother to hide the fact that the game takes place after the events of the True Ending of Lobotomy Corporation, and the game proper holds no punches in mentioning that the Sephirah used to be robots. The game's opening also shows Carmen fully, albeit with a censored face.
    • Among one of the earliest discussions with Hod (a Patron Librarian unlocked at Urban Myth) is about the Outskirts Arbiter raid spearheaded by the same person used to create Binah.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Floor of Language reception area appears to be a foundry with the floor below the reception stage being pure lava.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: While unbeknown to outsiders, this is how the Library manages to gather this many victims as the story progresses. It's just canonically, the combatants in the Library never lost a fight. Subverted in The Reveal before the Floor of Religion's realization fight begins where Hokma reveals that every guest that has entered the Library is instantly put to sleep by the Library and a simulation of them is created in their stead, ensuring that the Library always wins.
  • Marathon Level:
    • The Floor Realization battles against Angela and Roland needed to 100% complete a floor take the form of a Boss Rush based on all of the Abnormalities previously fought on said floor, plus one additional phase, with no opportunity to change teams in-between.
    • The fight against The Crying Children consists of a whopping 7 phases, with no opportunity to change teams in-between.
    • The reception of The Reverberation Ensemble is a grueling series of boss fights, one for each floor of the Library. That means ten fights, each with multiple phases. Thankfully one can save and change their team up inbetween each fight.
    • After the battle against The Reverberation Ensemble you face off against Roland, the Black Silence, which is already quite a long battle in of itself, but if you are going for the true ending you then will need to face the Keter Realization, aka Carmen, which consists of arguably the five hardest fights in the game, followed by a fight with The Reverberation Ensemble Distorted, and THEN followed by a final battle against the agents of The Head. Thankfully you can take breaks in between each of these fights, but you don't have the ability to burn books or enter old battles until the game is complete.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • The Five Fingers don't get along well and often start turf wars against each other over control of certain Backstreets, with the exception of during a Finger Bow Bell, where the Finger elites discuss affairs together.
    • Happens in L Corp's former Nest where the Thumb and Index troops, the Liu Association, R Corp, the Black Silence, the Blue Reverberation alongside his whole ensemble, Moses and Ezra (from The Distortion Detective) and a whole slew of Distortions are gathered and fighting each other at, to say nothing of the Library itself situated between the massive Nest war.
  • Melting-Pot Nomenclature: The City appears to be quite multicultural, with names of Guests and other characters hailing from many cultures and languages such as English (Valerie, Roland, Lowell), Korean (Gyeong-mi, Jae-heon, Lee Deok-gu), Japanese (Sayo, Gin, Tenma), Chinese (Chun, Mei, Xiao), European (Isadora, Nikolai, Tanya), and of course, fantastical (Katriel, Argalia).
  • Multiple Endings: Similar to Lobotomy Corporation, depending on how many Floor Realizations you've completed (as well as the answers you pick towards the end of the game) after the reception of The Black Silence.
    • Foreword: Fail to complete the Lower Layer and Hokma's Floor or chose to reject Roland. Angela proceeds to book Roland, turn all of the Sephirot into humans and kill them, and unleash the Abnormalities onto the City. Despite having finally achieved her humanity in the process, she never steps foot out of the Library. Over the course of 13 years, she continues to expand the Library, eventually conquering the southern part of the City, before a Fixer finally reaches her and kills her. Angela does not resist, and thanks the Fixer for freeing her when she's finally vanquished.
    • Prière pour aimer la douleur (lit.Praying to love pain): Fail to complete the Middle Layer and Binah's Floor or chose to reject Angela. With Angela's back turned to release the Light and everyone's she's booked, Roland takes the chance to behead her. With that, the Library fades away, killing everyone inside except for himself. News of the Black Silence's return spreads throughout the City, but Roland himself, left with no other purpose after having achieved his revenge, has basically given up on life, turning to drugs and alcohol and taking on dirty jobs to fill his void. A few days later, Roland's corpse is found in a gutter, stabbed by numerous weapons, as Astolfo sadly notes that this is the fate for someone consumed by vengeance.
    • That’s This, and This is That: Complete all nine Floor Realizations and have Angela and Roland forgive each other. Angela decides to let go of her thousand year sorrow and undo all that she's accomplished throughout the game, turning back into a machine in the process, while Roland lets go of his vendetta and forgives her for causing the Distortion phenomena. As Angela releases the Light she gathered, Carmen, taking her form, tries to stop her from releasing the Light, only to fall to Angela's growth and is separated from the Library. Meanwhile, the Reverberation Ensemble is revived and empowered thanks to said Light. Roland and the Librarians then face off against the Distorted Reverberation Ensemble while Angela deals with Carmen for the next seven days, with Roland saving Angela from disappearing at the last moment just before killing off Argalia for good as the former Blue Reverberation finally accepts him as family. Just then, the Head finally raids the Library, having seen Angela as too big of a threat to be allowed to enter the City. Despite everyone's best efforts, the Arbiter and Claw prove to be too much, and the Library is moved to the Outskirts as planned. Now stranded, Angela decides to redirect her anger at the Head, while Roland decides to write a book about the City with her help. After the credits, a new Tower has appeared, filled with Distortions, Abnormalities, and other monsters, with a new Association created under the recommendation of the Purple Tear, has been created to deal with it.
     N to Z 
  • Never My Fault:
    • Yun rationalizes sending Finn to his death as this, saying that since Finn is such an enthusiastic young man, he'll get killed and abused regardless of who takes him in.
    • Angela really likes to blame Ayin for the consequences of her actions, despite she could supposedly move on independently from trying to create death and suffering after the Seed of Light ending, no longer being forced or influenced to commit atrocities under Ayin's instructions.
  • Nintendo Hard: Downplayed. While the game can be tricky in certain intervals and its controls are fairly complex, Most of the Guide Dang It! liberally used during Lobotomy Corporation are non-existent as the enemy's speed dice perfectly telegraphs the cards they use, and for Puzzle Bosses, their behavior are usually listed in their passives, allowing the player to actually be prepared with specialized configurations against them. Fights are also significantly easier than those in Lobotomy Corporation, and the penalties of losing them are minimal to none.
  • Not Quite Dead: The guests who fall within the Library are put into an "eternal sleep." Whether or not they get awoken depends on Angela's success.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: The speed stat used to be this, since the bonus it granted to your dice rolls threw any sort of strategy out the window. This ended up being fixed in a later patch.
  • One Steve Limit: Played With. None of the Guests end up having the same name, but the preset name pool for Assistant Librarians means that it's entirely possible for your Librarians to have the same names as certain Guests, including Mika, Emma, Noah, Mei, and even Elena. Meanwhile, it's entirely possible for Assistant Librarians to be given the same name as each other, just like back in Lobotomy Corporation.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: As first revealed in The Distortion Detective, vampires in this setting are called Bloodfiends, and are characterized by a thirst for human blood, furtive nature and invariably having red eyes. They have been around since before the White Nights and Dark Days, and their power level ranges from Urban Myth-tier nuisances to Star of the City-level threats. A famed Bloodfiend mentioned many times through the story is Blood-red Night, a Star of the City who is a member of the Reverberation Ensemble and fought Roland and his wife before the events of the game.
  • Older Than They Look: Or Younger Than They Look, and sometimes even a Downplayed version of Really 700 Years Old. There are some characters in the game that literally look or sound like children but are actually grown men or women around their late 20s. While rare, there are also characters that look older than their actual age. This is largely justified considering how advanced body augmentations or prosthetics are, indicating that characters could look a lot younger than they actually are.
  • Point of No Return:
    • The Reverberation Ensemble's invitation is presented as this, given the ominousness of their selection button, the border turning blue, and the "books of the day" section being replaced with the group photo of the Ensemble. It comes at no surprise that the warning states that facing them means fighting on every single floor without stop, and you wont be able to send invitations or burn books until it's over or if you forfeit the fight.
    • The final battle against The Black Silence (aka Roland) also qualifies, with the game warning that the player, should they choose "Yes", will no longer be able to send invitations, battle Abnormalities, burn books, or realize floors beyond that point.
  • Private Military Contractors: Or Murder, Inc. in case of Syndicates. The City's harsh living conditions usually requires its denizens to go around and kill fellow human beings for a living. It's actually one of the more lucrative jobs out there unless you can earn a position in one of the Wings or other jobs inside the Nests, but it really depends on your income and the stability of your Wing.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Almost everyone who went to an office to become a Fixer aren't as despicable or horrifying as their jobs suggest. Many of them have lives, have strict moral codes or conducts, and are overall just people trying to survive in a world where people's lives don't really mean anything and cities can kick you out to the slums just because you have no work. They are usually just taking up arms because becoming a Hired Gun is actually one of the most lucrative and widespread jobs out there.
  • The Purge: In a similar vein as the movie with the same name as the trope, the 90 minutes from 3:13 AM each day in the Backstreets is known as the "Night of the Backstreets", where all crime is permitted and Sweepers arrive to kill and feast on people indiscriminately, with the implication being the Head sponsoring it to remove the homeless from the Backstreets. Usual law enforcement such as the Zwei or Backstreet neighbor watch squads are forced to back off during that time of the day, but inversely the criminals are forbidden from committing crimes in residential areas, so most people who are not homeless or happen to end up in the streets at midnight are relatively safe from it. If anyone tries to film the crimes that happened during this hour and present them as evidence against a certain group, the Head will deploy a Claw Executioner and kill the person who attempted to report the crime.
  • Red Herring: A recurring plot point of the game is a Warp Train that seemingly became dysfunctional and didn't arrive to the destination in 10 seconds as intended, driving its passengers insane so they attempt to kill each other or commit suicide but remain alive even if their bodies are heavily mutilated, and the train seemingly remained dysfunctional for 2,000 years and becomes hijacked by Reverberation Ensemble members sent in by Eileen. In reality, the train is not dysfunctional; it was working as intended, and the trains regularly mutate into Eldritch Locations where people go insane, but are then rendered normal upon reaching its destination when W Corp's Clean-Up Crew erases the passenger's memories. The Reverberation Ensemble members take advantage of this and vanish people into the Library to expose W Corp.
  • Red Riding Hood Replica: Just like the main game, this game includes the Abnormality known as Little Red Riding Hooded Mercenary is a twisted version of the classic fairytale, being, as her name suggests, a Mercenary. Her suppression is basically helping her to suppress the Wolf, but she needs to land the final hit or she will turn on you instantly, and she's just not strong enough to take the Wolf down on her own.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Anyone who played Lobotomy Corporation before will notice that Angela acts in a very hostile fashion against them, especially Day 20 and onwards. That's because you are actually playing as Ayin (aka X) in that game, and it was revealed here that on top of all the atrocities Ayin committed on your inner circle and subordinates, he also created Angela and abandoned her in a whim knowing that wasn't the Carmen he was looking for. Angela didn't forget this obviously, and the events of this game is what exactly happened at the end.
    • As soon as the prologue of the game, Roland will tell Angela that "an acquaintance of him" started to be able of jumping between dimensions after a Wing experimented on them. Said "acquaintance" is actually Iori, the Purple Tear, who was once experimented by a Wing and gained dimension-traveling powers as a result.
    • During Love Town, Nurse Elena and Jae-Hon's behavior makes a lot, more sense considering what they actually are. Notably, while the rest of the passengers in the Warp Train they were in are either anxious or rendered insane (which is actually perfectly normal), the duo were capable of retaining their sanity despite they supposedly don't know how the Trains work. Obviously they are lying; they already knew that the Trains sentence its passengers to a 2000 year torture and how W Corp's real singularity works. The doctor also mentions Eileen sending them in. That's actually the name of Argalia's left-hand, hinting that the Reverberation Ensemble was behind this. And last but not least, Jae-Hon reveals that Pluto also used his magic offscreen to render them unaffected by T Corp's singularity before he assumes his true form and wrecks havoc.
    • Oswald, when first met in Urban Plague, makes mention of a "Ms. Sun" who granted him the desire to open a circus filled with his "imaginary friends". In Lobotomy Corporation, one of the terms A (as Abram) used to refer to Carmen near the end of that game is "our sun", and she's always been referred to as a fiery and upbeat woman when she was still actually alive and before she succumbed to suicidal depression. Knowing all of this, it should be a dead giveaway that Carmen was instigating the Distortion Phenomenon amongst the City, something that is confirmed by Hokma much later on in the game.
    • Many of Roland's interactions throughout the game take on a sudden different light after the dual reveals near the end of the game that not only was Roland one of the most influential color fixers in the setting, The Black Silence, but that he knew everything about Angela from the start and he was only helping her so he could get the chance to kill her himself.
    • If one re-watches cutscenes from Lobotomy Corporation after completing this game, they will notice that Lobotomy is ridden with Unreliable Exposition because most of the dialogue or actions in that game (especially those from Angela) are actually non-organic events from Ayin's "script" to make sure Angela runs the facility like he would and forcibly trigger the Sephirot into breaking down. Ayin also has a very biased view on Carmen as some sort of saintly paragon like most Sephirot, but her actions in Library of Ruina point to her being more of an Ambiguously Evil Dark Messiah.
  • Rule of Escalating Threat: As noted below in Sliding Scale of Villain Threat, as the game goes on, the people you invite increase in danger as well; until they can hardly be called "human". The full list for those willing. Spoilers! 
  • Secret Art: Certain key pages have combat pages that can only be used by them, known as exclusive combat pages. Additionally, certain key pages can only be used by specific characters. Discounting the default Patron Librarian key pages, there are two exclusive key pages, one of these being unable to be removed from its respective character once obtained. The two exclusive Key Pages are Gebura's unique key page, the Red Mist, and Roland's unique key page, the Black Silence. Curiously, they're both Color Fixers.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • As it turns out, the major reason why the Head attacked Lobotomy Corporation back in the time it was an Outskirts lab had close to no relation from what Michelle told them about (which they actually condone), but because the Eye/Beholder believed that someone in that facility was going to make a sapient machine, something that actually triggers their worst berserk buttons. Unfortunately, this created the exact conditions where Ayin and Benjamin move back to the City and constructed Angela, effectively unleashing the monster they swore to prevent from surfacing.
    • Big Bird, Punishing Bird and Judgment Bird return in this game — the three were birds in a forest who heard of a monster about to encroach it, and seeks to do anything they could to prevent its emergence, including arbitrarily patrolling and killing its other inhabitants. Unfortunately, this led to them becoming the monster itself, known as the Apocalypse Bird that destroyed the whole forest and left it with nothing but the three Abnormalities that consisted of it.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with Angela deciding to rebuild the Library to combat the Head, while the Hana Association plans to create a specialized Association to deal with Distortions. The latter will specifically tie into Project Moon's next game, currently titled Lobotomy Corporation Branch.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: There's a level system similar to the Risk Levels from Lobotomy Corporation called the Threat Classes within the city, given to the entities of the City or threats roaming around it by the Hana Association. From lowest to highest, there's Canard, Urban Myth, Urban Legend, Urban Plague, Urban Nightmare, and Star of the City. Proper human threats such as very powerful Syndicates are only ranked up to Urban Legend, and the last three ranks: Plague, Nightmare and Star are only really given to supernatural threats that have bizarre powers and wreck havoc on a large scale. There's also a special rank called Impuritas Civitatis (Pollution/Impurity State) given out by the Heads of The World themselves for threats to the city as a whole. The levels are also the names of the chapters of each section. This is also played with, as according to Walter's page the higher ranked threats simply means that more people are willing to pay to eliminate them, regardless of danger. Despite Walter's assertion, however, higher leveled threats do generally correspond with more dangerous entities. Except for Angela, who is still classified as Impuritas Civitatis after expelling all the light she gathered, due to the Head seeing a machine who could let go of her desires as a danger to the City as a whole.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Usually, the Syndicates that the library confronts are trios consisting of two male entities and one female entity. Even if said group consists entirely of mechanical or heavily mutated abominations, there will often be that odd one out with a young woman or cute girl's voice.
  • Space Zone:
    • The Floor of Philosophy reception area appears to be a galaxy like area with stars and the moon shining above.
    • The stage where the Child of Galaxy's suppression takes place is also fittingly enough a galaxy-like area.
  • The Stinger: After the credits following the Golden Ending, we are given a Sequel Hook in the form of a Hana Association executive meeting discussing the fate of the Library and the possibility of creating a specialized Association to deal with Distortions, advocated for by none other than Iori, the Purple Tear herself. She further specifies that she wants to lead the new Association and that she would specially hire E.G.O. users to deal with a new tower found on the Outskirts, filled with Distortions, Abnormalities, and other monsters.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: While the main plot is pretty straightforward, the rich lore of the world that the Library inhabits, as well as the people that visit the Library itself, can be seen in the pages that you gather to fill the collection.
  • Suddenly Voiced: For Angela and the rest of the Sephirot, whom were previously unvoiced in Lobotomy Corporation.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Well, relative to the sheer bleakness of the previous game and the setting as a whole, but shockingly, despite the sheer amount of horror and heartbreak leading up to it, the game ends with only the villainous Reverb Ensemble dead. Though the Library is transferred to the outskirts, Angela and Roland have finally managed to put their trauma behind them and grow as individuals, all of the innocent victims the Library claimed have been revived (except for the aforementioned Reverb Ensemble), and the City finally begins taking steps to combat the threat of the Distortions.
  • The Syndicate: Syndicates are common organizations you will be confronting, and can range from typical street goons to extensive, well-structured mafia gangs. However, perhaps the most influential and infamous are the Five Fingers made up of several Syndicates who have as much authority as the Wings, and even them are unable to exert authority unto them.
  • Transhuman: Almost every combatant you encounter is one, and it's a perfectly justified example here. Because of the harsh conditions of the City, any form of biological augmentation, be it Artificial Limbs, Bio-Augmentation, Nano Tattoos, Badass Transplants or even whole body replacements are required to even reasonably participate in combat. They are also quite cheap, at least cheaper and more practical than firearms, and if they happen to get cut off or severed, they are easy to replace.
  • Terrible Trio: Most of the time, the core group members/leaders are a trio of crooks, fighters and otherwise dangerous individuals who enter the Library to do battle. Later on, some groups bring Mook backup to fill in the gaps, but the main targets with the unique combat passives will be the main trio.
  • Under the Sea: The Floor of Social Sciences reception area takes place seemingly underwater and on top of what appears to be a sunken ship with various cars adrift.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: The Shimmering passive used by boss-type encounters. Considering it lets you shuffle your hand into your deck, draw a full hand of cards back, and reduces their light cost to zero, such an ability would be a game-breaker in a players hands.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • The Library itself becomes this when later on, the more dangerous personnel in the game, such as Argalia, Elena or the Index have been sending their targets or subordinates into the Library. Argalia in particular, has been deliberately sending his victims to there, knowing that they will absolutely get killed.
      • It is later revealed that the above case is partially subverted. While the librarians themselves definitely were unwitting pawns, the library itself (or to be more specific: Carmen, the will behind the library) is the Man Behind the Man for many of the events going on outside the library as well as within, and the Reverberation Ensemble is presumably being exploited for goals unknown themselves.
  • Urban Legend: The namesake of one of the many threat levels within the City. It houses lucrative ordeals for Offices and Associations to resolve and are usually realistically manageable by veteran Fixers, unlike Plague and Nightmare cases which often involve supernatural elements.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Angela, whose interruption of the Seed of Light started the Distortion phenomenon and all the carnage which that led to in turn. A major part of her character is her refusal to accept responsibility for collateral damage since, as Roland's philosophy seems to justify, "This is this and that's that."
    • Furthermore, while no guests are actually Killed Off for Real in the Library by Angela's design, their incapacitations all lead to severe indirect consequences, such as Walter's disappearance causing the Stray Dogs to massacre Zwei South Section 6, or the Thumb's loss of its leadership to the Library causing all its soldiers in Nest L to be purged by the Index.
    • The Head themselves attacked Carmen's former laboratory over a decade ago not for reasons Michelle told them, but to prevent an upcoming event where Lobotomy Corporation would team up with multiple Wings to construct Angela. Unfortunately, they did not kill Ayin and Benjamin and created exactly the ideal conditions where they could create her right inside the City.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Key pages you equip physically alters what the librarian is wearing (and sometimes their body shape) to whom the page came from.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Several of the entities encountered in the game, such as Beta (The Carnival), Mi (Smiling Faces) or Gloria (Index Proxy) have surreal appearances and terrifying mannerisms that make them look like humanoid abominations. However, Beta and Gloria sound like young girls and Mi has the voice of a young woman.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You will be doing this almost all of the time, in a way that exceeds Lobotomy Corp in scale, since getting outsiders killed in combat is the gameplay itself, unlike the prequel where you have to try not to get your key Employees killed. This is further compounded by the fact that most combatants you invite to the Library and kill are people who can easily pass off as characters of their own regard, and often have their lives, ethics and stories to tell.
    • A standout occurs a lot later on in the game where R Corp's elite agents are dispatched to deal with the Library personally. One of the agents dispatched is Myo, the Rabbit Team captain who was a close friend of former L Corp. Since this is actually a character that everyone who played and completed the prequel will be familiar with, you will actually feel sorry for killing her, especially when using Gebura, since this means that the ego of the person who ended her was actually her friend and personal savior. Thankfully, it's revealed that Myo is just a clone that can be infinitely resurrected, but since R Corp already exhausted most of their fuel to clone liberally courtesy of the destruction of L Corp and dangers of procuring the Head's wrath, Myo and the other captain's days are numbered.
  • Wham Episode: The final chapter, Impuritas Civitatis, starts off with the confirmation that Roland is indeed the Black Silence after facing an old friend of his from the Hana Association. The chapter after that then has the long awaited duel with the Reverberation Ensemble, and ends with their defeat and Angela's claiming of a human body and the one true book. However, Roland betrays her to make her pay for instigating the White Days and Dark Nights, now that she's a human. After defeating him, you'll have to have completed all nine Floors to access the next chapter, where Angela and Roland forgive each other, with Angela giving up her human body and letting go of everything she's gathered, deciding to suffer Ret-Gone in the process. During said process, Carmen takes the form of Angela to convince her to keep the Light and Angela confronts her. The Reverberation Ensemble is also released and Distorted further thanks to the Light. However, Angela defeats Carmen, and Roland and the Librarians manage to kill the Reverberation Ensemble off permanently, with Argalia finally accepting him as his brother-in-law before dying. Both Carmen and the Reverberation Ensemble were defeated and Roland saved Angela from disappearing by pulling her out at the last second, but the Seed of Light has now emanated fully in the City. As a result, Angela is a machine again, and all the Light gathered has been lost, freeing the Guests who had been trapped in the first place. And then the Head sends some Agents (Specifically, Zena, an Arbiter, Luda, a Beholder and Baral, an Executioner of the Claw) into the Library, so as to expel it to the Outskirts, eliminate Angela and retrieve Garion's body. While Roland (with help from Binah and Gebura) does manage to hold out long enough to prevent the latter two, they are still unable to prevent the Library from being expelled into the Outskirts.
  • Wham Line:
    Jae-heon: It's not defective. This train is operating as intended.
    • "Angela, you can guess what I'm about to do, yeah?" After Angela becomes mortal and after Roland finds out it was Angela's light that created the Pianist that killed his wife.
  • Wham Shot: After the third time Philip was defeated as the Crying Children, he fled and destroyed V Corp's Nest. It's unclear where he went to for a long time, but when the Blue Reverberation threatens the Purple Tear with his whole ensemble, Phillip, now a full blown distortion can be seen alongside his tormentors. He's broken enough to join what was his enemy.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Apart from its ability to invite guests, the Library is nearly identical in function and scale to The Library of Babel in that most of its books are randomly arranged gibberish, and The Stinger reveals that it explicitly transforms into a tower following its expulsion from the City. Invitations are less a matter of gaining information the Library does not have than it is about sorting through literal mountains of junk and outright falsehood.
  • Womb Level: The Heart of Aspiration's Abnormality battle is one, where you'd have to battle a human heart accompanied by some sentient lungs.
  • Wretched Hive:
    • The Backstreets of the City are basically this, with Syndicates fighting each other to the death for turfs, the Five Fingers who are above even the Wings' reach go around and demand heavy taxes to their serfs (although the Index uses Prescripts as tax instead of monetary matters) and Sweepers rise up every day at late night to hunt down and eat whatever human beings who are unfortunate enough to walk around at that time, heavily contrasting the Nests which are standard sci-fi dystopias. Just how bad the situation is depends on the Wing, some only suffer limited degrees of violence and forbid cannibalism, while standouts like District 23 are rife with cannibals and gang violence, and that even the most mundane of people can actually backstab and loot your house for no reason.
    • Downplayed in terms of the Nests. While they are generally more comfortable places to live, the Wings might use its denizens for experiments, Syndicates might attempt to kill people in certain areas, and if the Wing behind it gets torn, it will go as bad as the Backstreets with Syndicates roaming around trying to tax or kill people, which can't be stopped until the Head appoints a new Wing on its place.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: A big chunk of the Guests that the Library fought against would translate into a protagonist or even a legendary hero in any other franchise...but this one. Sure they have hopes, they have dreams and some even manage to put a great effort for their last stands, but they all either ended up being booked, broken down, turned into Distortions, or any combination of the above. A few even valiantly manifest a proper E.G.O. for their last stand, but they still go down like the rest.
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