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Video Game / Shining Resonance

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The cover of the Updated Re-release, featuring Excella Noa Aura

Shining Resonance is an Action RPG installment of the Shining Series (yes, that series), published by Sega. Originally released in 2014 for the PlayStation 3 exclusively in Japan, it received an Updated Re-release in 2018 titled Shining Resonance Refrain, available internationally for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.

Yuma Ilvern has the soul of the Shining Dragon within himself. Dragons were long thought to be extinct, and because Yuma holds the ability to transform into one of the most powerful of their kind to ever live, he was taken as a captive of the Lombardian Empire. He is rescued by the princess of Astoria, Sonia, with the help of the Dragoneers, royal knights capable of using weapons imbued with the power of dragons. She pleads with Yuma to aid them in their fight to save their land from the Empire’s dominion. Typically timid, will Yuma find the courage to realize the strength he has within him?


  • A-Cup Angst:
    • One skit has Primula say she hopes she gets boobs like Sonia's, when she gets older, so she can get back at Rapple for making fun of her "pancakes".
    • It's downplayed in Excella's case. An early night scene reveal she's self-conscious about the fact that she has a semi-flat chest. But the event can only be viewed in Refrain Mode.
  • Actually Four Mooks: Most encounters against enemies in the field will be this, with the exception of minibosses. Occasionally, however, even they will come with a few Mooks as backup or even another miniboss, though those usually only show up in the Grimoire Dungeons or specific side-quests.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Georg has a strained working relationship with Zest because he resents the fact that Zest is the most compatible among the Sanguine Church to serve as Deus' vessel, an honor that he himself used to hold before Zest showed up. Made worse since Zest doesn't even care and isn't even among the Church's faithful, since he's convinced that he doesn't need Deus' power because he has yet to find anyone strong enough to challenge him with the power he currently has.
    • That changes after his encounter with Jinas. After seeing the ease with which Jinas parries his attacks, it becomes clear to Zest that Jinas' speed and swordsmanship are superior. But instead of being resentful, it incites his bloodlust now that he finally has an opponent he doesn't have to hold back with.
    • Agnum's talent for cartography is clearly surpassed by Marion's, as she was able to point out several discrepancies between his maps and the current terrain. It causes Agnum to drop what he's doing and conduct an immediate and thorough survey of the entire region, after which, he concedes she's right. So he tears up his map and takes her with him to make an all new one.
  • Ancestral Weapon: There is an Armonic (Temperion, the Dragon Scale Claw Sword) that has been passed down the Astorian royal bloodline, though Sonia is initially unable to use it.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Legend tells how, during Ragnarok, the High Elves fought alongside the Shining Dragon and the World Dragons to stop Deus from wrecking havoc on the world. Except it's later revealed that it was the High Elves who created Deus in order to extract and harness the World Dragons life energy without the Ancient Songs. But Deus eventually grew beyond their control and unleashed chaos, so the High Elves who sought atonement for their transgression fought to seal Deus away while the ones who still wanted to use Deus fought against them.
  • Apocalypse How: According to the Shining Dragon, before Ragnarok Deus used the natural energy of the planet to kick-start the "Catastrophe" in his bid to remake the world in his image. The world was engulfed in natural disasters that threatened to destroy everything, and monsters of all kinds came into existence to plague all living beings. Ragnarok itself was the direct response by the World Dragons and their allies to stop Deus.
  • Beef Gate: Zigzagged. The game tries to dissuade the player from venturing into specific areas before their designated plot events. But the game doesn't penalize you for trying. It's entirely possible for a lv.16 party to force their way past the lv.35 Manticor that guards the entrance to the desert, provided you're sufficiently prepared with lots of healing items, patience, and luck.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The game begins with the knights of Astoria infiltrating Gaelritz Prison, to rescue Yuma. Sonia leads the mission with assistance from Kirika.
    • Agnum saves Yuma during Op.3, by intercepting an attack from Jinas. It sparks a brief confrontation that ends in a stalemate. Jinas relents and withdraws.
    • Lestin gets one as well, by covering the group's escape after their first encounter with Zest. He and his archers keep Zest occupied to buy them time.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Yuma would have continued living a quiet life had the Empire not sought out his power.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Played with.
    • In the past it's indicated the elves were in fact better, as they were the ones closest to the dragons, were taught the Rune Songs that allowed them to communicate with dragons better and manipulate the natural/dragon energy of the world, and were the ones who originally received the Armonics. But then the Catastrophe happened thanks to Deus due to the high elves that created it because they wanted to control dragon energy without the Rune Songs and many elves sided with the dark god and the Dracomachina it created.
    • After Ragnarok and the dragons faded away, the elves apparently received a large portion of Humble Pie, as in the years since and into the present, humans have risen to become a dominant power that just as skilled militarily, can use magic as proficiently, and are just as worthy of the Armonics and can potentially learn to sing the Rune Songs as well. The elves of Wellant and the humans of Alfheim are even close allies and equals with each other with few signs of struggle and open contact with one another.
  • Child Soldiers: Ette le Sheila, a young boy known as "The Church's Killing Machine", and who wields the Divine Cannon.
  • Church Militant: Beowulf, the Sanguine Church's military order, whose members serve as the main antagonists for the game.
  • Create Your Own Villain: According to legend, the High Elves fought alongside the Shining Dragon and the World Dragons during Ragnarok, to restore peace to the world. What the people of Alfheim don't know is that the High Elves were responsible for Ragnarok, because they were the ones who created Deus.
  • Dating Sim: Each of the playable female characters is eligible for courting, which is how you unlock their character traits for the 'Bond' menu and it determines how they'll respond to Yuma during battle. They'll also grow increasingly affectionate towards Yuma according to the amount of time the player spends getting to know them.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Deus is actually the end result of the high elves research into harvesting and using the power of dragon energy without the aid of the ancient songs, being a massive Machina construct.
  • Developers' Desired Date: While Yuma can go through various side events with all the girl party members that end with them in love with him, Sonia and Kirika are the ones who openly show attraction to him in the main story itself.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Liselotte and Alfriede are capable of dimension-hopping, allowing them to cross over to Japan and acquire products to sell to the "Shining" world. This seems to be a Continuity Nod to Shining Wind and Shining Blade, which features protagonists who crossed over from Japan.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening theme is sung by Asami Seto (Sonia) and Saori Hayami (Kirika).
  • The Dragons Come Back: True dragons have been all but extinct for the past 1000 years ever since Ragnarok. However, The Empire has been able to create lesser dragons by using crystalized Dragon souls as a source, and Princess Excella herself is responsible for awakening the five Dracomachina of legend from their slumber.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Unapproachable Tower. It's visible from most areas of the game, and is said to never get closer, no matter how fast or far a person runs. It also qualifies as an Eldritch Location as it is geographically inconsistent, aside from never being visibly east of anything, such as being in the north, south, or west depending on where you are in the Ulde Desert and in the middle of the ocean to the south of Sharion Coast, which itself is far southeast of the desert. It's also the seat of Deus, and its unusual properties are likely the result of the Shining Dragon and the other World Dragons sealing Deus outside of time.
  • Evolving Music: The victory fanfare for battles gradually changes throughout the game, generally gaining a new element after a new character joins the party.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The remake's "Refrain Mode" adds Excella and Jinas to the party roster, which allows them to participate in events they shouldn't be present for, such as being able to date Excella while she's still allied with the Lombardian Empire, and both can fight themselves during their own boss battles. Little narrative justification is given, aside from a vague musing about a "wish" being fulfilled, and Excella asking Yuma in one of her events if it's right to "change the past". If you happen to get the Wheel of Fortune achievement, however, an explanation is given: Alfriede lets slip that she 'helped' Refrain Excella and Refrain Jinas, and that their wish to be with Yuma was so strong that it 'defied the logic of the world, and their wishes were granted.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Deus, a divine force that seeks to destroy the current world in order to build a new one. Being a Sealed Evil in a Can, however, it falls to the actions of Beowulf to free him. This is subverted when it turns out to have no will. The idea of using its destructive powers to conquer the world and purge the weak all belong to the Sanguine Church, as well as the high-elf faction that passed down their ideals to the church.
    • The Sanguine Church leadership is responsible for Georg being the Big Bad. Georg was raised by the church as part of a breeding program to create compatible vessels for Deus. He is likely expected to take over leadership of the church once he successfully fuses with Deus, though he technically still has to defer to the church until then and they can even charge him with heresy if they catch him disobeying their doctrine.
  • Great Offscreen War: All the player is allowed to see of Ragnarok is a mural of the event, along with narration explaining that the High Elves allied with the Shining Dragon and the World Dragons to seal away Deus. Since the event took place many centuries ago, the mural is one of the few remaining records of it.
  • Guide Dang It!: If the player is going for Kirika's route, at first the player may have some trouble getting Kirika's "date" events, even if the player picks the correct responses to raise Kirika's affection. There is an In-Universe explanation for this: it's because at first, Kirika still thinks of Yuma as the "Shining Dragon", and is thus placing him on a pedestal. In order for Kirika to see Yuma as a friend and potential loved one, you have to progress further in the story until the beginning of chapter 4, where story events will cause Kirika to see Yuma as his own person. Her date events will be available from there.
  • Harem Genre: Shining Resonance includes harem and dating aspects as a central part of its narrative and gameplay mechanics. Yuma bonds with his female party members by dating them, which unlocks their character traits and affects how they respond to him during battle. Achieving max affinity with any of them makes it possible to see their character ending upon beating the game. So Yuma's free to date as many of the girls as the player chooses, without consequence, to facilitate seeing them all.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Concerto tunings are special Armonics that each come with 5 Aspect slots, and each Concerto enhances the efficiency of a specific Aspect type. They're automatically unlocked once their user raises any of their primary Armonics to lv.30.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Three of the five World Dragons had this dynamic, those being the Earth, Sea and Sky Dragons respectively.
  • Leaked Experience: Averted unless a party member equips an Image Training Aspect. With one equipped, s/he will receive full level and Tuning experience when outside of battle, even when taken out of the party due to an event or a Grimoire.
  • Legendary Weapon: A set of them created by dragons, known as Armonics, exists throughout the world.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: The Shining and Dark Dragons were amongst the first dragons to be created and even amongst their World Dragon brethren were considered the most powerful dragons of all. Even the manifestations of their power in Yuma's and Georg's BFSes neatly contrast one another.
  • Love Confession: Each of the eligible females will confess their feelings for Yuma during their character ending, which is enabled by maxing Yuma's affinity with them.
  • Magic Music: High elves, such as party member Kirika, are capable of using Rune Songs to communicate with dragons. Excella, thanks to the experimentation of the Sanguine Church, can do the same.
    • In gameplay, most non-physical Forces are "cast" by party members playing briefly on their Armonic, with Yuma and Jinas being the only exceptions.
  • Meaningful Name: Deus, which not only is the Latin word for "God," but also serves as an acronym for Dragon Energy Utilization System, which accurately describes its purpose as planned by the High Elves.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: An unusual variant, as rather than being a combination of two weapons, the seven Armonics are a combination of a weapon and a musical instrument.
  • Nature Lovers: Applies collectively to the elves of Wellant, whom Lestin explains are all naturally attuned with nature. Each tries to preserve it it in their own way.
    • In a skit about Rinna and her flower shop, Lestin explains that her inherent love of nature is the reason she gathers seedlings, which she raises and sells from her shop. She'll also sell the player 1 flower per in-game day, if you have Yuma speak with her.
    • Lestin keeps track of rare butterfly species to help preserve their numbers and will even ask Yuma to gather some for him as a personal request. He assures Yuma that he intends to return them to the wild, unharmed, once they've been catalogued.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: At first, the Sanguine Church seems to support Excella and the Emperor's goals of stabilizing the empire and perform horrific experiments to harness dragon energy in service of that goal. Their real goal is to bring back Deus so that he can purge the weak and nonbelievers, allowing them to rule over the remains of the world. Additionally, Deus is revealed to be a machine with no will of its own, making it clear that the Sanguine Church's piety is a load of bull and that they ultimately see Deus as a weapon to enact the genocide of anyone outside their inner circle.
  • One-Man Army: Each wielder of an Armonic qualifies by default. Agnum and Lestin successfully defeat an entire legion of the Imperial army working together, and Kirika alone is able to distract the entire garrison of Gaeltriz Prison in the opening rescue sequence and is mentioned by the shocked guards to have defeated the 7th Legion on her own. Sonia is a knight of Astoria and considered one of the strongest to ever come from them even without an Armonic.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Armonics are sacred weapons which also function as musical instruments. Each was created from the body of the Shining Dragon and bestowed to his most devoted followers. An Armonic chooses its wielder by resonating when the one it deems worthy to possess it draws near, such as when Barmonium began resonating within the vault of the Imperial treasury when Marion was first brought to Astoria's Capitol.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Kirika actually devotes a whole event explaining to Yuma the exact intricacies of the dragons.
    • Dragons themselves are physical manifestations of nature, created when natural energy gathers together in sufficient amounts to create them. The more time that passes and the more energy that gathers together, the stronger and more intelligent the resulting dragon will become. The five World Dragons (Earth, Sky, Sea, Darkness, and Shining) were the first and most powerful of all, supposedly having been born before the world itself was. Ever since the battle with Deus during Ragnarok, however, no new dragons have been born naturally.
    • When a dragon depletes too much power or dies, it leaves behind a "Dragon Soul", a crystalized form of their power that contains their consciousness. The Empire has figured out a way to artificially create new dragons by using these Souls as a source.
    • The Dracomachina are created the exact same way as normal dragons, but instead of being born naturally were artificially created by Deus as his personal guard to fight the dragons and elves opposed to him. Unlike normal dragons, however, they do not become Dragon Souls in death and instead "power down", so to speak. In the present, only five Dracomachina are active (Trishula, Gae Bolg, Gungnir, Caliburn, and Dainsleif), all of which serve the Empire and Princess Excella specifically due to her using her Armonic to awaken them. Excella also implies there are yet other still-comatose Dracomachina, with it being said she was only "allowed" to awaken five of them.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The 'Wheel of Fortune' achievement. On Excella and Jinas' routes in Refrain Mode, you are given a 'Glass Slipper Sigil' and a 'Full Moon Sigil' respectively. You can use these sigils for Grimoire Dungeons. Don't. In order to get the achievement, you need to keep both until the very end of their routes, and then visit Alfriede. Very little indication is given that you need to do this beyond easily-forgotten messages saying not to let anything happen to the sigils, and the achievement description is far too vague for a player to be able to interpret its meaning on their own.
  • Promoted to Playable: Downplayed. Imperial Princess Excella and Dragonslayer Jinas were originally unplayable characters only available to be unlocked on a cleared saved file by doing their post-game Grimoire events, but can be played as in the “Refrain Mode” in Shining Resonance Refrain from the beginning.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The five Dracomachina are named after various legendary weapons.
  • Resist the Beast: Yuma pushing his limits too hard in his Shining Dragon state may cause him to lose control, and go berserk.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Sonia, the princess of Astoria, and Excella, from the Empire, are both princesses that take part in direct combat.
  • Schrödinger's Question: Who gave the music box to Yuma when he was injured in his Dragonshift form? As the player completes Kirika, Sonia, Rinna, Marion, and Excella's endings, each girl gets their own series of postgame events. Each series of postgame events reveals the chosen girl is the one who gave the music box to Yuma, and the song of the music box is unique to each girl.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Deus was sealed away by the dragons at the end of Ragnarok "beyond the flow of time", albeit after most of them had died in battle.
  • Sequel Hook: Several of the characters' endings qualify, but Excella's, in particular, stands out. After confessing their love for one another, Excella vows to return to the Lombardian Empire to clear her name and reclaim her rightful place on the throne. Yuma, naturally, says he's going with her, and Excella refers to him her knight, bringing her allusion to her favorite fairy tale full-circle. While this likely makes Excella's predictions of a Succession Crisis into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, she at long last has a reason to be hopeful for the future, after having it cruelly snatched away from her before.
  • Team Pet: Fromage, a "spirit of sound," and Rinna's companion.
  • Time Travel: Heavily implied in Refrain Mode as the In-Universe explanation for Refrain Excella and Refrain Jinas existing in the character's party. If you manage to get the 'Wheel of Fortune' achievement by NOT using Excella's Glass Slipper Sigil or Jinas' Full Moon Sigil until achieving both of their characters' endings and then visiting Alfriede, she will let slip that she 'helped' them, and that their 'wish' (mentioned the very first time you speak to either character) to be with Yuma was so strong that it 'defied the logic' of the world. In other words, both Refrain Excella and Refrain Jinas are from alternate timelines, explaining why they can fight themselves.
  • Title Drop: Yuma's weapon is the Dragon Resonator Vandelhorn, a sword that acts as a conductor for his inner power and allows him to transform into a Shining Dragon.
  • Trojan Veggies: Kirika (a grown woman, by the by) absolutely despises carrots. Agnum makes it a lifelong mission to get her to eat them somehow, resorting to cutting them up smaller and smaller. However, Kirika is extremely sensitive to the taste of carrot, and even magicks the extremely fine chopped carrot out of a plate of stew at one point.
  • War Is Hell: The Shining Dragon describes Ragnarok in such a manner.
    It was nothing like the heroic, glamorous wars of legend. The world we fought for came to ruin. Our champions, once so resolute, faltered and fell[...]The world lay dying, its throat already cut.
  • World-Healing Wave: The true power of the Last Song, the elusive and original Rune Song Jinas has sought throughout the game, is this, being capable of healing the lingering damage of the Catastrophe caused by Deus.