Seraphic Blue is a 2004 RPG made by Tempura and the Director's Cut was released in 2006, The Director's Cut has been translated in 2014 by eplipswich & kumada. There are 44 Chapters to the game. Since its release in 2004, it has been a highly popular game in Japan.
The game features a well-constructed and sophisticated CBS and CMS, complex narrative full of plot twists and a ton of cutscenes.
Seraphic Blue appears to be under heavy influence of 90s mainstream JRPGs (like so many RPG Maker games) but not without its own twist. Players follow the linear story told through cutscenes with occasional breaks wherein feature dungeon-crawling and combat. Cutscenes are usually long, so much so that some of them can last more than an hour. Sidequests are few and far between in this game. Estimated time from start to completion is 50-55 hours.
The story is long and complex, and touches on dark and serious subjects like nihilism, suicide, and war. The game offers an extensive in-game glossary which updates frequently as the story progresses. In addition to a Glossary, there is a recap function which allows you to recall events from earlier chapters and a destination option which will show the player where to go next or what to do if they come back from a long time away from the game and are lost. Abundant use of Kanji is one of the characteristics of Tempura's writing, which some find to be pretentious and hard to read (Japanese version only).
Combat mechanics and menus are custom-designed by Tempura and his team, not relying on RPG Maker 2000's default systems. Battles, especially boss battles, can be difficult and may require preparation and strategy. The game, nonetheless, is fairly well-balanced with a gradual learning curve and doesn't feel unfair.
Using an elemental ability or spell changes the field properties, this allows the player or enemy to use higher level magic and abilities. The Elements are divided into 5 categories (Fire/Water, Wind/Earth, Light/Dark, Sky, and Break) The first 3 can be removed by casting the opposing element or using higher level magic or abilities that require it. Sky and Break cannot be removed unless through using abilities that require it or magic and abilities that can use or dispel it.
This page contains massive spoilers to the game's story aside from the mechanics.
Provides Examples Of:
- Absurdly High Level Cap: This is a little known fact, but the level cap in Seraphic Blue is 216. In contrast, the final boss is beatable at around levels 120-140.
- Abusive Parents: Many of the parents in this game (of Doris, Vene, Syria, and Benedicta for example) treat their children as tools at best and hating them for even being born at worst. Luckily, there are some exceptions like Ewan and Syria. Ironically, this is a flaw that two of the villainous Kursk family doesn't have, since they unconditionally love Aisia even after she mutates into a Cancer Devil.
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: This game loves its acronyms. In the first half-hour alone, you'll see mention of the CMGC, OHG, DSHIS, and FESC, and it's not until much later that you find out what they stand for.
- Background Magic Field: Required to use higher level magic spells and sometime skills. Example: Having water on the field will allow the player to use the Life Rain skill.
- Big Bad: Ende is the Practitioner and leader of the Gaia Cancers, and he has the most active role in the story by antagonizing the party at every turn. Eventually, it turns out he and his human followers were secretly in communication with Er, the goddess of evil. It's revealed that she's the one directing them to stay one step ahead of Lake and Vene's party, which allows them to manipulate Vene into becoming the complete Seraphic Blue and unwittingly allowing Er to scale to her power. In the end, Er becomes Refuse Seraphic Blue, a being who will destroy Gaia in order to fulfill the desires of Gaia Cancers and all nihilists who despise life.
- Bittersweet Ending: After saving the world, most of the characters are able to move on with their lives. The exceptions are Margot and Donald, who commit suicide to atone for their crimes and Vene, who still suffers from suicidal depression. However, there's still a glimmer of hope that she'll slowly recover through counseling.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: This is played straight for most bosses. Played With in one boss that will actually sacrifice his immunity to poison for impossibly high defense stats while using All Green to stave off the poison for several turns.
- Crapsack World:
- Er and Gaia Cancers are damaging Gaia's Providence, which causes Sera-Human babies to transform into Devils. The Fezzite government's response to to send them to the surface, essentially creating two crapsack worlds for the price of one. While the Faction of Coexistence has reservations about this plan, the Faction of Dominance want to keep things this way due to Fantastic Racism.
- Many Fezzite parents have pretty much turned to nihilism and suicide over losing their children to DSHIS and government responses to it.
- The surface itself is more or less ruled by Roseburg Enterprise, an Evil, Inc. controlled by a power-hungry and sadistic Corrupt Corporate Executive. Who was in turn originally nothing more than a chosen representative and then a puppet of the Fezzite Internal Affairs Office in their effort to retain hegemony over the surface.
- Cryptic Conversation: Oh boy, this game has quite a few of them. However you don't even see the characters for the most part, it's just text on a black screen. Especially regarding Vene's past as she tries to recall events, she will often have these moments.
- Decon-Recon Switch: The final battle deconstructs the Enemy Within and Enemy Without tropes. Unlike many examples of these tropes, Vene didn't overcome the issues that caused the dark goddess to manifest in the first place. Despite slaying Er, Vene is so similar in mindset that she lacks the qualities needed to enact Gaia's Rebirth, causing Er to nearly win posthumously. This is somewhat reconstructed in the ending, where Vene can gradually attempt to recover from her depression without Er constantly talking her down.
- Disc-One Final Boss: In the game's first half, Ende is the one leading the plan to destroy Gaia, but he holds the Villain Ball and gives too much power to the Kursk family, who then betray him and take over the plan. Worse yet, they hand over the Big Bad status to their master Er because out of all of them, she has the most power to destroy Gaia.
- Do You Want to Haggle?: Inverted. When Ilyena hires Lake to eliminate some nearby devils, he tries to haggle down the reward so that she has enough money to support the orphanage.
- Dysfunction Junction: Almost every important character is insane, has a Dark and Troubled Past, or both.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Gaia Cancers are grotesque monstrosities that act as a festering infection on the planet itself.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Fire/Water, Wind/Earth, and Light/Dark. One can equip Physical Casts to assure a field element will appear every time a character equipped with it attacks or performs a skill; Sky and Break cannot be cancelled unless equipped with Anti-Break/Sky Physical Cast or use support magic to remove them. Said support magic can also remove Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Light, and Dark as well.
- Evil All Along: Kane Kursk, who is one of your party members for quite a significant time is revealed to be Six Year Commemorator, along with his parents.
- Evil, Inc.: Roseburg Enterprise, to the point where they formed an assassin's guild to remove their obstacles.
- Fantastic Racism: Georg thinks Sera-Humans see the Ground and Humans as trash and as dumping ground for Lucifers which helps him rally the surface dwellers into fighting in the War of Liberation. The Internal Affairs Office pretty much has this exact mindset despite being a minority of the population.
- Floating Continent: Fezzite after the Celestial Barrier is removed
- Gaia's Lament: In the sense of the name, cracks form and allow the Gaia Cancers to eat atop it being a large wound, it's a large wound and being infested with cancer...
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Downplayed, since not every human in the setting is evil. However, one of the lessons of the story is that ordinary humans and Sera-humans like Georg, Morgan, and Siegbert can potentially rival literal monsters like Ende and Er in depravity and causing misery. To put it into perspective, all three are responsible for Syria and Vene's misery to the point where Er was released from her imprisonment and willingly enabled the literal monsters for their own profit or amusement.
- Idiosyncratic Menu Labels: "Birth of Blue" for New Game, "Return to Blue" for Load and "Away from Blue" for Quit.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The cannibalistic Meat Maniacs gang in Chaos, which causes some Fridge Horror due to the fact that they drop the same sellable meat items that random encounters drop. Leona also mentions that humans eat Devil/Lucifer meat while being unaware that they were once Sera-Humans.
- Info Dump: And how, this game has entire episodes going into details of the world's setting to answer questions. Be prepared to spend over an hour for one episode alone trying to process what you are told.
- Intrepid Merchant: When Yangtze is trapped in a cave where the only way out is through a boss, she'll run into a conveniently placed merchant who is actually called "Useful Merchant" in the dialogue box.
- Interface Screw: 1-2 enemies do this, but they lock you out of all options except normal attack, and one instance is for a boss battle.
- Invisible to Normals Subverted: For Humans only due to the Celestial Barrier until its disappearance.
- Irony: Siegbert Ansbach, a Sera-human who is supposed to work towards saving the world, ends up jeopardizing Gaia when he conditions Vene into a depressed nihilist, causing her to lack the willpower to activate Gaia's Rebirth. Ende, a Gaia Cancer who is supposed to destroy the world, accidentally causes Vene to lose her memories, which later gives her the strength to save Gaia when she remembers her good times with Lake.
- It's Personal: Every antagonist has some connection to one or more heroes.
- Lansard killed Disastia who was a member of the Kursk family. This became the catalyst to their alliance with Ende.
- Ende was born from Benedicta Fezzite's Heroic BSoD during the Disastia war.
- Georg Roseburg is responsible for the death of Vene's past incarnation and he also has a grudge against Ewan and Lake for "stealing" Syria from him.
- Morgan condoned Siegbert's cruelty towards Vene and Ewan exposed their misdeeds, causing the politician to develop a grudge. He's also responsible for starting a coup against Minerva.
- Er is cooperating with the Kursk Family and Ende and is the one who manipulates Lake and Vene's destiny from shadows.
- Kill One, Others Get Stronger: Gaia Cancers fall under this rule, which means each time one dies, the total power of all of them stay constant and all the remaining cancers grow in power. This also applies to random encounters, since those often include lesser Gaia Cancers.
- Last Ditch Move: Lots of enemies use them. On the bright side, if at least one party member survives, even the unconscious members gain full experience.
- Leaked Experience: While some characters seem to join at set levels, once they join, they will gain full experience from all battles for the rest of the game. This applies even if the party has been split up for story reasons or if characters are knocked out at the end of battle.
- Mood Whiplash: Game has its moments of this
- Episode 18 A heartwarming reunion with Vene turns into Lake beating the crap out of Ewan after it is revealed that Ewan is his father and the years of neglect and abandonment kick in with Lake's rage for what he did.
- Nakige: While the game is depressing, it still counts as this rather than as an Utsuge because there are still a few uplifting moments (Lake reconciling with his father, Virginie becoming free of Georg, etc.) and a Bittersweet Ending.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted due to how often and gleefully the deceased villains cross the Moral Event Horizon.
- Nintendo Hard:
- Unless you use up a lot of sphere slots for speed or turn boosting gear, expect most enemies to take actions sooner and faster than your party, even those that look bigger and slower.
- In the mid to late game, enemies will also be more and more capable of knocking out party members (via high damage or instant death) and unleashing status hell on them.
- In later dungeons, it's easy to run out of supplement if you don't know the most efficient routes, especially if you're trying to hunt down every item.
- Noodle Incident: The Wigtown Disaster: A Sera-Human Doctor's child was diagnosed with DSHIS, the Doctor falsified the records and it lead to a powerful Lucifer forming upon Lucifer Mutation Symptom which resulted in the deaths of many of Wigtown. This lead to a massive reformation of the DLG Law which makes it so that government officials deign if one must be taken into quarantine
- "Not So Different" Remark: Nixon lampshades his initial reaction to Fezzite's child dumping policy is similar to the Kursk Family's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Nearly every villain qualifies as this, especially the Gaia Cancers who harm the planet just by existing and Er who was born from nihilists' desire of despising life. The only two who don't really qualify are Morgan Douglas and Siegbert Ansbach, but they're still willing to put the world at risk just to satisfy their ambitions or amuse themselves.
- Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Inverted. Vene, the main protagonist, is still struggling with nihilism in the ending while the other party members seem to have found far more peace of mind.
- Our Angels Are Different: They are former humans reborn into a second life cycle, their wings act as a 2nd brain, they are called Sera-Humans
- Our Demons Are Different: Devils are Sera-Humans born with DSHIS: Defective Sera-Human Infant Syndrome, the end stage of it is called Lucifer Mutation Symptom. There is also Tardive DSHIS which means Sera-Humans can get it years after their infancy. Also natural birth raises the rate of DSHIS significantly. The sole reason as to why they get DSHIS is that Sera-Humans go against Gaia's Providence (Natural Laws), because Sera-Humans have only existed for 60 years. The recent spike and higher rates of DSHIS around the time of the game's story are the result of Gaia Cancers affecting Gaia's Providence.
- Point of No Return: After beating Kane, the player is moved to the final room of the game, where they only have two tiles to move. They still have the option to save (though the game warns the player to use a different slot) and buy items before the Final Boss.
- Puzzle Boss: Some endgame bosses are designed specifically to counter strategies and equipment setups that got players through previous bosses.
- Read the Freaking Manual: The game has no tutorial and instead expects the player to read the HTM files included in the game folder.
- Running Gag: The fountain in the OHG's yard is always broken due to their tight budget so you will never see it actually flowing. Even one of the people in the OHG will mention this.
- Scale of Scientific Sins: Type 5: The very existence of Sera-Humans go against the cycle of Transmigration which is why Sera-Humans get Defective Sera-Human Infant Syndrome.
- Science Fantasy: Despite the game has some elements of fantasy, it also bears some Sci-fi stuff.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This game could rival LISA in terms of cynicism. Almost every playable character experienced a Dark and Troubled Past or faces extreme trauma in the present, the planet is slowly dying, Sera-Human children are at risk of mutating into Lucifers with no hope of salvation outside of a Mercy Kill, the villains are extremely sadistic and successful, and the Straw Nihilist side is presented as having a point. The ending ends up closer to the middle of the scale, with the protagonist still suffering from depression while slowly making a recovery.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Justified in the Gaia Cancer's case, thanks to Conservation of Ninjutsu.
- Status Buff: Clever (Boosts Magic Attack), Force (Boosts Attack), Protection (Boosts Defense), and Quick (Boosts Agility).
- Status Effects: Poison, Disease (Poison and also Reduces Attack/Defense and removes and prevents buffs from being cast), Stone, Paralysis, Slow, Blind, Forget, Confuse, and Melancholy (All stats reduced, all buffs removed and cannot be cast).
- Summoning Ritual: Ende and those who usurp his position each recite a chant before summoning a Gaia Cancer.
- Too Awesome to Use: God's Half Elixir: Revives and restores 50% HP and MP, God's Elixir: Revives and refills 1 character entirely, and Maria's Will: Fully revives and restores the party entirely. To a lesser extent, Clana (MP healing items) count as well because you can't buy them until late in the game. And even then, even the weakest Clana is quite expensive at 20,000 Dear.
- Total Party Kill: Get used to the fact that against some bosses, you will get a complete party wipe unless a certain field element is in play or you have to follow a certain method to fighting. The bosses love to exploit the elemental factors and will do it every chance they get.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Bosses from Chapter 3 tend to use cheap Total Party Kill abilities triggered by certain elements in the field. Without a guide, there is no way the player can foresaw this without dying first.
- Updated Re-release: Director's Cut and another is the Director's Cut Altered which allows you to choose a mode that changes the mechanics of gameplay and offers you a chance to fight the Gaia Cancers at any level and fight Disastia.
- Urban Segregation: Envy; Divided into the normal district and Chaos.