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These villagers here, they conspire to infuriate me!
Stan
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Ari was an ordinary boy, so ordinary that he blended in with the background. He and his family live in a small village called Tenel back in the middle of nowhere. However, the family's "normal" life is suddenly turned around on its head when his sister gets cursed by a ghost that causes her to speak completely in Pig-Latin. Not wanting their daughter to live the life of a comic relief girl (seriously, they actually say that), they turn to the spirit of a strange and mysterious bottle that Ari's father found one day. The spirit in the bottle agrees to help for a price: one of the other family members will have to play host to the entity in the bottle and do as he says. The entity in question is the Evil King Stanley Hihat Trinidad XIV... or Stan. After a quick competition to determine who has the best shadow, Ari is chosen to play host for Stan (and practically handed off by his family, poor sod) and Stan makes good on his word, turning Annie's (Ari's sister) shadow pink, just because he never said he wouldn't.

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...It gets weirder from there.

Okage: Shadow King is an Eastern RPG that was made by Zener Works in the early 2000's. It has gotten mixed reviews from those that have played it, having being somewhere between a good game to a mediocre one at best, with the eastern world generally having a very high opinion of it while the western world barely know it exists. Much of the game's design is reminiscent of Tim Burton's works (particularly The Nightmare Before Christmas), and it's implied that his works actually inspired most of the game's setup. It was re-released in 2016 as a PS2 classic on the PS4, as a result of its popularity in the east and cult classic status in the west.

There is also currently a fan-made radioplay in development. Progress can be tracked both on the Tumblr page and the website.

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Tropes associated with this work:

  • Action Girl: Ari's mom is hinted at being this in her childhood. Rosalyn and Linda also count.
  • Anti-Grinding: Enemies will eventually decrease in EXP gains as you level up until you only get 1 per enemy you encounter. Which can be annoying considering there's three overworld areas you'll have to go through multiple times, meaning encounters with enemies too low for you to do anything with are inevitable.
  • All in a Row: Ari's allies follow him around outside of towns, although they can get stuck behind walls or trap Ari in a corner.
  • Because Destiny Says So: In-universe. This is what Classification is. The entire town of Triste is people who either went against their Classifications and went rogue or people who were completely forgotten by the Classification system.
  • Beef Gate: You can enter the first area of Madril's Sewer at level 5, right after the Sewer Evil King fight and before proper event flags are triggered to let you explore the whole thing. It's advisable to not enter there until you're about level 12, otherwise the enemies can and will steamroll you.
  • Big Bad: Beiloune and his Classification system serve as the driving force of the game.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rosalyn when you first meet her, also counts as Dynamic Entry.
  • Blessed with Suck: Ari not being in the Classification system has the major advantage of not being subject to the false roles everyone's playing at Beiloune's whim, and everyone around him for an extended period of time breaks with their preordained roles as well. It also makes it relatively easy for Beiloune to nearly wipe him from memory and existence just by laying the right hints.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: While the translation is completely serviceable, the script is given a very literal translation without regard for loss of humor or cultural differences. This results in oddly dry dialog paired alongside the game's comical tone and characters, with the rare butchered metaphor thrown in for flavor. It definitely gives the game a unique feel.
  • Block Puzzle: Amusingly enough, the only one in the game is so astoundingly easy that Ari finishes it by himself in a cutscene without the player's help.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Addashi Desert has a few enemies like the Dragon, which often appear alone and do tons of damage per hit, even when you are properly leveled for the area.
  • But Thou Must!: Ari is so overshadowed that he rarely has a choice in the matter. An entire chapter is devoted to him speaking up to avert this standing created by Big Bad Beiloune.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Magic skills use a group "LP", but physical skills take off 5 or 10% of a character's HP per use, with Overdrive taking off 15% of Ari's HP.
  • Cat Up a Tree: One of Stan's first displays of his awesome power.
  • Chainsaw Good: Implied to be the true purpose of the so-called "Gear Sword", Ari's Infinity +1 Sword. It's appearance in the setting is justified as an experiment gone horribly wrong; its creator is now deaf and/or insane, and you have to find the tiny, tiny broken parts strewn across the world.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • The music box. Ari's mother gives it to him before he leaves on his adventure. Ari gives it to Marlene in Chapter 3 on the advice of his mother. The actual Marlene is trapped inside it, as revealed when leaving Triste.
    • The doll Ari's parents buy. They buy the doll before Ari leaves, though you can't see it, instead of giving him money for his adventure. Stan notices that Marlene doesn't have a soul after an attempt to possess her in the Aquatic Ruins. The Marlene you've been travelling with for 4 dungeons is actually a doll, which Ari's father comments on it being similar to the one they had earlier.
    • The Ringmaster. He drunkenly comments on how Ari's overshadowed just before Annie gets attacked by a ghost. He's left behind by his troupe in Tenel and sulks in the bar, where he gives Ari and Stan the "Map o' Evil Kings" that sets off the whole adventure. He was supposed to be an Evil King, but transferred his power to the Sewer Evil King and remained ordinary. He became forgotten under Classification and went to Triste, where he's Ari's only hope of returning to the normal world.
    • Everyone frequently notices, then promptly forgets about Ari in most conversations; Rosalyn, Stan, or Marlene tend to take center-stage. Beiloune is the only person to have Ari pointed out take a moment to consider him. He's the one behind the whole thing, and wonders immediately whether Ari will interrupt his plans. Cue Xanatos Speed Chess to get Ari to the back of the sewer.
  • Collector of the Strange: Kisling and Ari's Dad. You can overhear their conversations at several points in the game, and they always get stranger.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Stan tells Ari's parents that because Ari's his slave, they're going off to defeat the Evil Kings and conquer the world, bringing darkness and fear. Ari's parents are thrilled that their son is going off adventuring and hope it's a learning experience for him.
  • Cool Big Sis: Rosalyn to Ari and Annie.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Linda is a teen idol who frequently asks Ari/Stan for support for her singing, is actually really kind, and has a pair of bull horns on top of her head. Given she looks like a normal person aside from those, it's hard to see why she even has the horns to begin with. It's probably to put her apart as an Evil King, but she keeps them even after her defeat, and the whole Evil King business is almost unintentional on her part.
  • Deconstruction: Of role-playing games and classic fantasy tales. Beiloune set the world apart for Marlene as a way to have fun adventures in it. These adventures were determined by a person's Classification, and people who fell into certain Classifications had certain roles, and they would not deviate from these roles. Ari's status as a deviant throws the whole thing into question by showing just how dangerous the world is when someone throws the whole thing into predetermined roles without concern for others, particularly how destructive the ultimate fights between a hero and an Evil King would be. This status as a deviant also extends to everyone who comes into contact with him, as they begin going against their pre-assigned roles; for example Rosalyn and Stan were placed into Classification roles that would make them fight against each other in an "Ultimate Duel" but teaming up with Ari makes them more focused on finding and taking down Beiloune, and they don't really care about fighting each other once the Classification system is done away with.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: According to Linda, Big Bull, and Epros, anyway. Not that any of them were evil to begin with.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Rosalyn is a hero with a chip on her shoulder ever since Stan turned her shadow pink, and often has a fiery temper. Part of her character development is her warming up to the others, particularly Ari in her (self-imposed) quest to free him from Stan's influence.
  • Dialogue Tree: A staple of the series. Most will have an option for agreeing, sarcasm, or negative, and quite often what choice you pick changes your relationship status with whoever's involved at the time; select more for Stan, for example, and the fortune tellers will indicate he's your strongest relationship. They even have a big role in one of the later chapters, believe it or else.
    • Whatever you do, don't click the Visible Silence options for that part. Don't do it.
  • Difficulty Spike: Two.
    • You can get by the Sewer Evil King without much problem just through random encounters on the way to Madril. Once Rosalyn and Kisling join the party and you enter the Rumile Plains to Rashelo, enemy encounters take a jump in difficulty and you'll be spending a bit of time grinding just to prep for encounters in the Aquatic Ruins, not to mention just to keep Ari alive.
    • The second jump comes at the Addashi Desert. The previous bosses might be a piece of cake, but the Desert leads up to the back-to-back boss battles with Epros and the Vampire Evil King, as well as being one of the largest overworld areas.
  • Enemy Mine: Stan and Rosalyn both agree to a temporary truce while they focus on whiping out the fake Evil Kings to restore Stan's power, which benefits Rosalyn since it means he can undo the curse he placed on her shadow, as well as releasing his possession of Ari. Even after Beiloune restores Stan to his full power and true form, then forces the two to fight, they eventually snap out of it with Ari's help and unite against Beiloune. Stan even takes on his shadow form again to assist Ari one last time.
  • Evil Diva: Linda, but by accident.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Another part of the game's premise, with Stan trying to be the most evil of them all. He throws frequent hissy fits throughout the game relating to people not recognizing him as the True Evil King.
  • Extreme Doormat: Poor Ari. It's what makes him the perfect host for Stan. A whole chapter is devoted to him breaking out of this otherwise he'll vanish from reality.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Stan.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Flunky Boss: Every boss save the for the Final Boss has minions that fight with it.
  • Freudian Excuse: Beiloune seems to claim this as for why he introduced Classification and blocked off their world from the rest of the universe.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Ari is the only character throughout the entire game that is "Neutral" elemental typing, meaning he's neither strong nor weak against a particular element. His existence outside the Classification system makes this possible, as he's not placed into an assigned role.
    • Rosalyn starts out with much more HP than Ari even at the same level. By the time you get to Triste and the Addashi Desert, her HP increases are low enough that Ari comes out ahead. In her affection side-quest ending, Rosalyn notes she was trying to be a hero and played the part well-enough, but Ari's constant growth and determination have made her re-examine whether or not that made her truly better than anyone. It's a sign of her character development into someone who's more humble and fighting for the right reasons instead of her original Ice Queen status at the beginning.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Ari's grandmother will only say "Uh huh, uh huh, that's right honey" except at two points in the game. First, she gives him the starting item for the trading quest; giving it to the baker to complete the first part causes the baker to note she's this. Second, she's also the only one to remember Ari even existed when he fades from the rest of the world and will actively question where he's gone.
    • Kisling. An eccentric scientist who primarily speaks in Techno Babble and has an interest in toenail clipping, yet is surprisingly more perceptive than most characters give him credit for.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: An unusual case of a party member. Big Bull's whole arc is mostly padding and a way to have six party members. His Evil King arc comes with no real setup - he's just comes along looking for a fight, while you've met Linda (Teen Idol Evil King) a few times before, and even the Chairman Evil King has a decent-sized episode and build-up. And when he does enter the party, he's useful to have around but has no effect on the plot once his status as an Evil King is diminished. Compare everyone else you get, including Epros, a.k.a. the Phantom Evil King.
  • A God Am I: Beiloune's classification powers make him virtually a god in the setting.
  • Hate Sink: Julia. She tries to get Ari to ask her on a date despite having already been asked; she breaks up with Ari when Stan starts showing off around Tenel; and her Compatibility Quest ending has her berate Ari for being wishy-washy, gives him an item, and insults him again before leaving him in the dust and never speaking to him again. You'll likely be wondering why Ari had any feelings for her at all.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Three of the seven fake evil kings join you after knocking their power out of them.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Unlike most games of this nature, the player character has a default name (Ari in English, Ruka in the original Japanese), but you're still welcome to change it.
  • Heroic Mime: Ari. Unlike most examples, it's a canon part of his personality, and causes him no small degree of grief; he doesn't talk much, and when he does, people often ignore him anyway. This is because the setting runs off of Classification, which is a sort of magical index that contains everybody's purpose, personality, and destiny. Ari is the sole exception, existing completely out of Classification, meaning he's a walking hole in the magic that powers the everything in the land, which makes it difficult for people under its effects to even perceive him.
  • Hidden Depths: Nearly every major character, and even a few minor ones, are all hiding something.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Stan is either too lazy or doesn't get any respect, meaning Ari has to do most everything. Stan has a few abilities of his own, but even then Ari has to convince him to actually use it if he decides he may.
  • Improbable Weapon User: From books, to microphones to playing cards.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Ari. Where Rosalyn and Big Bull tend to physical attacks and Kisling, Linda, and Epros lean towards magic attacks, Ari's a pretty middle-of-the-road fighter with some decent support magic and a Neutral typing, meaning he won't ever be weak or strong against anything. Considering Ari must be in the party, this works out to a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, as it makes him increasingly versatile the more the game goes on where other characters start to be limited more and more by their elemental typing.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Rosalyn has a fiery temper, and frequently yells at Ari if he displays any incompetence or weak-mindedness. She does care about him, though, and otherwise is one of the nicest (not to mention most normal) of the party members you acquire.
    • The Bubble Evil King has this. Before his battle, he's a jerk. Defeat him and he's actually a pretty nice guy who, while still a bit of a blowhard, is much more jovial. Most Evil Kings could fall under this, really, considering three of them join your party after they're defeated.
  • Jumped at the Call: You can make Ari do this via the Dialogue Tree at multiple points. You can also make him snark or indicate he'd rather not do whatever he's asked.
  • Kid with the Leash: Inverted; Ari is owned by Stan.
  • Knight of Cerebus: After the Phantom Evil King shows up in Triste, threatening the Ringmaster and Ari, there are very few moments of comedy. A major sequence soon after is the discussion of what the rules of the setting itself mean, and many characters become very introspective and start revealing Hidden Depths.
  • Living MacGuffin:
    • Half the quest revolves around Marlene, who takes up the position of leader for two chapters. Beiloune is trying to find the real Marlene after she disappeared.
    • Ari lives outside the Classification system to the point where he isn't even suppose to exist, and anyone associated with him tends to break with their roles. This is the key to stopping Beiloune, as Ari's failure to comply allows Ari and his allies to go after him instead of simply playing their roles.
  • Living Shadow: Stan. Played completely straight until the end, which even then proves to still be accurate.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: One of the game's only drawbacks. It's not so much the length of the load times (anywhere from 3 to 15 seconds) as the frequency. Loading times even crop up between rooms within the same building - and not very big rooms, either.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Final Boss' defeat causes the entire final dungeon to collapse.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Beiloune separates the setting of the game from the rest of the world, all for his daughter. It's not helped when his daughter goes missing and the entire thing falls into chaos because he can't find her.
  • Magic Knight: Ari gains a fair amount of support magic to go with his elemental-based physical attacks. As a hero, Rosalyn fights with a rapier, is the strongest party member after Big Bull, and has a large supply of status and ice-based magic at her disposal.
  • Manchild: Stan's a 300+ year old Shadow Evil King, but throws more temper tantrums than any other character in the game. This only increases if you choose a Dialogue Tree answer where you snark at him or go against him.
  • Marathon Level:
    • Big Bull Evil King has the most HP of any boss in the game, and is triple what the last boss, the Chairman Evil King, has.
    • Deep Grave Pit. None of the puzzles are intensely complicated, but there's 9 floors total, and navigating each of the maze-like floors with no guides - since it's all one big room per floor and the map doesn't remove canals where you can't walk - can be frustrating. It's particularly jarring when the longest to that point, the Big Tree Hole, is 4 floors max.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter 5. Ari disappears and no one even knows he existed. He finds the Ringmaster, who gives him hope and a way to get out, and rejoins with Stan. Then the Phantom Evil King shows up and threatens both the Ringmaster and Ari. There is a series of comical and heartwarming reunions with your previous party members, then Beiloune drops the chamberlain act and "kills" the Marlene doll you've been traveling with for a while. It's all downhill from there.
  • Nintendo Hard: It is entirely possible to die in the first encounter of the game, which should set the tone of how difficult battles can be.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Ari's and Stan's encounter with the ghost in the Tenel church. Stan thinks the ghost is complying with serving him; the ghost is amused before attacking because it's "hungry".
  • Parasol of Pain: Most of Rosalyn's magic revolves around using her parasol as a sort of conductor.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Madril Sewer. You can't get beyond the first area until the story progresses a fair ways, meaning you're usually around level 30 when it opens up. The first area, however, contains an easy save point that also restores HP/MP, access to a Seaweed-type enemy that can almost count as a Metal Slime, and can be tackled at level 12 if you're careful. Which makes it a good place to gain a few levels between Rashelo and the Chairman Evil King.
  • Relationship Values: Your Compatibility determines what special gift/cutscene you earn near the end of Chapter 5. You can determine your compatibility anytime you want by talking to one of the fortune tellers who all react accordingly (Especially if it ends up being Stan.)
  • Rewatch Bonus: It's only on a second playthrough after finding out about the major twists that characters seemingly noticing and forgetting Ari makes sense; he's outside the Classification system that runs the entire game world and makes him an anomaly they can barely comprehend. It also makes Marlene the only one that seems to consistently interact with him, since she's the one the world was created for.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Epros, to the frustration of Stan.
    • And almost everyone else.
      Rosalyn: Cute, but uses cheesy metaphors.
    • He only slips up twice throughout the whole game, after his boss fight at the end.
      Epros: Damn Rhyming...
    • Implied to be enslaved by rhyming by classification until defeat, but plays along for most of his time in the party. After the final boss, Linda declares that she'll follow him anywhere, and he yells for her to go away.
  • Rule of Funny: Someone was obviously following this rule throughout the game's development.
  • Running Gag: Characters introducing themselves to another. With one exception, everyone either completely ignores or reacts strangely to Kisling and then proceeds to act like he isn't there for the rest of the scene.
    • Ari's grandmother: "Uh-huh, uh-huh, that's right honey." She will say that every time you talk to her except for two specific points.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Stan. Only in this case, it's a pretty pink bottle. With jewels and generally not-evil accents.
  • Serious Business: A sign of Stan's influence is turning a person's shadow a bright pink. Annie believes she's doomed to be a comic relief girl, and Rosalyn used to be the star of the Hero's University until her shadow was turned pink and everyone made fun of her.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Ringmaster. He was supposed to be an Evil King under Beiloune's classification, but instead gave it up to the current Sewer Evil King. He has zero qualms about giving up his copy of the Map o' Evil Kings - already a spanner by virtue of even knowing who and what they are and giving them out - to Ari, thus setting him off on the quest. And his giving up his Classification is what makes him disappear to the world and head off to Triste, where his knowledge of Ari's plight makes him the only one able to reverse Beiloune's attempt at erasing Ari.
  • Surprise Creepy: Take a look at the description. The game's initial premise is an extremely wacky widjet series, with one of the strangest cast of playable and non-playable characters you can find. Come chapter 5, however, it starts getting into surprisingly deep philosophical arguments about predestination and identity, and a huge deconstruction of typical RPG plots as to why they can get really, really, really screwed up.
  • Talk to Everyone: While most of it is just for kicks, it becomes mandatory in order to come back into existence.
  • The Butler Did It: Subverted. Beiloune is the Big Bad, and introduced as Marlene's butler, but he's actually her father.
  • The Hero: Rosalyn. It's an extremely rare instance where the Hero is not the main character.
  • The Stinger: At the end of the game, after the credits roll, you get a scene of Stan in his Shadow form in front of Ari's house and makes some comments that seem to set up a sequel.
  • Techno Babble: Kisling speaks in this normally. His first conversation boils down to "I study why ghosts exists" but it takes 5 whole pages of text to convey; Ari can comment "See the results of dictionary abuse?" as a response to it. Notably averted after the Wham Episode, when Kisling talks through things rather logically and much more straightforward.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Stan drops his comedic traits once Beiloune uses his powers of classification to restore his true form and forces him and Rosalyn to fight. Even after snapping out of it, he still ceases to be used for comedy.
  • Tsundere: Rosalyn, who shows her tsuntsun side to Stan and her deredere side to everyone else.
  • Uncanny Atmosphere: Highland Village, which turns out to be a feeding ground for the Vampire Evil King.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Ari's father is completely oblivious as to Stan's malicious nature. His response to Stan taking Ari as his subject in a quest to conquer the world is "Well, I think that's great!" Ari's mother has shades of this, too, as Ari leaving on this conquest is treated as him leaving for an adventure as they did in their youth.
    • Ari can have this himself if you choose to snark at things. One of the dialogue options during one of Rosalyn's and Stan's squabbles - where Rosalyn repeatedly threatens to kill him to dispel Stan back to his bottle - is him deciding to complain how he's hungry.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Beiloune is furious once Ari helps Stan and Rosalyn break free of his control, ranting and transforming into a giant monster.
  • Visible Silence: All. over. the place. Even in Ari's Dialogue Trees, the third option is always an ellipsis.
  • We Cannot Go On With Out You: One of the game's drawbacks is that you get a game over if Ari dies.
    • Could make sense, considering that Ari's inanimate body is of no use to Stan, since he can't move and continue the quest to get his power back. There's also a good chance that, if anyone else would volunteer to carry said body, they'd forget him somewhere, since Ari's ridiculously unmemorable.
    • It turns out that Ari, not Stan, is the one driving the party and keeping them from killing each other, because he's one of the rare Classifier-Immunes. If Ari dies, the Big Bad could instantly take over the other party members (and even Stan, as seen right before the final boss battle) and have them kill each other or something.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Marlene, at first.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 5 of the game. And how. The first half is such a punch in the face that the middle sequence is the characters having to sit down to digest the turn of events.
  • World of Ham: Stan's practically a manchild, Rosalyn's got a fiery temper, Kisling is a complete eccentric, Stan's butler James is half-impulsive half-romantic, Epros speaks almost solely in rhymes... The only two who really don't fall into this are Ari and Beiloune and even Beiloune turns into one by Chapter 5.
  • You All Look Familiar: This happens in one of the chapters. When Ari disappears from the world, everyone forgets about him and what they were doing, and the result ends up as some strange twist of future-happenings and if-we-never-met-you. It's a bit of a gut-puncher for the player.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Ari can see the forgotten town Triste in full because he doesn't fall under Classification. Even when Ari comes back to the normal world and brings along Rosalyn and the other companions, they can hardly even see the buildings. Rosalyn's compatibility quest ending, which takes place in Triste, has someone throw her Infinity +1 Sword at her from not too far away, and she's left wondering who threw it despite them being visible to Ari / the player.

Alternative Title(s): Okage

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