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Video Game / Summon Night

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Summon Night is a series of Strategy RPG games developed by Flight-Plan and distributed by Banpresto and Atlus. It is their second such series after Black/Matrix and is notably much Lighter and Softer along with being better known. The series also contains three out of the fournote  Flight-Plan games to get a North American release, although all three are action-RPG spin-offs rather than from the main series.

The franchise centers around a multi-faceted world where people called summoners can get a Guardian Entity from one of the many parallel worlds that reside near them, which grants these people special skills and abilities. The games apply some Dating Sim elements to them as well, with every in-game night being a talk with one of your chosen party members. Building enough affinity allows for an epilogue with that character, with multiple endings for virtually all the characters that join you whether you play as a boy or a girl.


The series celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 6th, 2010 and has a commemoration website. Unfortunately, the series is now effectively dead with the closing of its developer in August of 2010... until a new game finally got announced in July of 2012 for the PSP, alongside ports of all the previous main series titles.

The Summon Night series consists of:

Main Series

  • Summon Night (2000)
  • Summon Night 2 (2001)
  • Summon Night 3 (2003)
  • Summon Night 4 (2006)
  • Summon Night 5 (2013)
  • Summon Night 6: Lost Borders (2016)


Summon Night contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Starting in the second game, there's a huge in-game encyclopedia that unlocks entries as you progress through the game. It tells you more than you need to know about the setting. It's part Worldbuilding and part World Building Name Drop.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Coral is explicitly this, as a direct result of Schrödinger's Gun. When the Dragon Child is first met, the protagonist is asked by another character what the Dragon Child's sex is. The response options are "male", "female", and "I don't know". Coral is the result of choosing the third option. Gameplay and Story Integration keeps this up as Coral ignores sex restrictions on equipment and can be used in both the Undead Ship Captain and Dryad collaborative summons, which requires 4 male characters and 4 female characters respectively.
  • Anti-Grinding: Free battles grant less experience and money than story battles. Furthermore, Brave Clears impose a level ceiling meaning if you want to try for them, you can't level up too much.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You are limited to fielding eight units.
  • Back Stab: The Back Attack ability. There's also a Front Attack ability.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Morin, Kyle, Seilon, and so many more.
  • Bruce Lee Clone: Seilon. Complete with Funny Bruce Lee Noises.
  • Bonus Boss: The White Night Guardians from Summon Night EX-These can be found in the true final level of the Limitless Halls of Summon Night 4.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Limitless Halls.
  • Button Mashing: The fishing minigame. Turbo controller highly recommended for the Summon Night 3 version.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Played straight in story battles and is paired with We Cannot Go On Without You. Averted in non-plot battles.
  • Cap: Magic healing and damage is subject to this. In general, this number is four times the power of a summon's skill.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Summon Night 3, there are four possible students to be your companion. Each of them is dressed in the color matching the summonite corresponding to their summoning affinity.
  • Combination Attack: Certain summon attacks require a specific set of characters within a certain range of the summoner.
    • There is also a non-summon combination attack in Summon Night 4.
  • Crossover: Sort of. Unlike many RPG series, all the games in the main series take place in the same verse, but at different times and different places. The second and third games feature an extra story with characters from the previous game meeting with the characters of the current game, all aged accordingly. The fourth game overdoses on this, featuring many characters from all three previous games. Some of them even get big roles. The first four spin-off games, the three Craftsword Monogatari games and EX-These, also share the same universe but they don't get referenced as much. Thus, a more straight case would be the bonus bosses in the fourth game.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Most named enemy characters in story battles have this. It's a bit toned down in Summon Night 4, where most of them only have immunity to charm and possession effects and are just highly resistant to everything else.
  • Critical Hit: Determined by the difference in TEC between attacker and defender. This difference also determines physical hit/evade rate. Certain Status Effects will also modify the likelihood of getting a critical hit.
  • Chinese Girl: Mei-Mei and Xiao-Mei. They're both the same person.
  • Dating Sim: Elements of it are present, in particular the Relationship Values and the night conversations.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Reckless Summoning ability. It increases the power of a summon skill (and raises the cap as well), but there's a chance to shatter the summonite, rendering you without that summon for the rest of the battle (you can always make a new one and re-equip it after battle). It's available as part of the protagonist's Deadly Upgrade/Superpowered Evil Side in Summon Night 3 but is enemy exclusive in Summon Night 4.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: The protagonists of the first game. Interestingly, every game in the main series has at least one character from the Nameless World who has this happen to them. Summon Night 2 has Leonard, Summon Night 3 has Genji, and Summon Night 4 has Kentarou.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first Summon Night has four possible protagonists with similar stat growth to choose from, sort of averts Schrödinger's Player Character, its stat point system resembling that of the first Black/Matrix game, and starts in a world outside Lyndbaum. Later games would have two protagonists with different stat growth to choose from, follow Schrödinger's Player Character, a stat point system similar yet distinct from the Black/Matrix series, and stays in Lyndbaum.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Averted. Summon magics are aligned by their origin, except for those of the Nameless World. Nothing is weak to any particular origin, but all can be resisted either slightly or greatly. Creatures with a tie to a certain world have great resistance to summons of the same origin.
  • Enemy Summoner: Enemy summoners are finally capable of Western-style summoning in Summon Night 4.
  • Equipment Upgrade: You can streighten weapons at a workshop by having the right ingredients. ​
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Lampshaded and justified in Summon Night 3. When Sonolar asks Mei-Mei if she has any guns for sale, she responds by saying that she has an agreement with the residents of the Forgotten Island to not carry them. This is repealed when the residents see that the imperial forces have guns.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Expected due the whole summoning from other worlds thing. We have medieval fantasy Steampunk Lyndbaum, Mecha-World Loreilal, Jidaigeki Silturn (with Oni and Youkai), angel and demon populated Supureth, Maetropa, and of course, the Nameless World.
  • Funetik Aksent: Mechanical soldiers swap hiragana and katakana. Falzen does this as well.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Earlier versions of Summon Night 5 had two bugs that crashes the game:
    • The game would crash when you try to save the game. This was fixed.
    • The game would also freeze in the skill menu (only during the battle preparation) if you press the left or right buttons to change screens.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Scarrel and Corel ignoring gender restrictions on equipment, Falzen's immunity to possession (and to a lesser extent, also being able to ignore gender restrictions on equipment), the Dragon Child's Voluntary Shapeshifting, and Gian's Magical Eye ability.
    • Also, any character capable using fists or claws is capable of attacking unarmed. Everyone else is unable to make physical attacks nor use any wait stance.
  • Giant Mecha: Many of the high-end summons of Loreilal are this.
  • Gratuitous English: Each chapter has an English subtitle after the Japanese name.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Quite a few in story battles and a few side battles.
  • Guide Dang It!: Optional party members, Brave Clear requisites, Engage Ritual combinations, karma meter, special names for summons...
  • Half-Human Hybrid: A significant plot point in Summon Night 4. Also, the protagonist of that game is one.
  • Happiness in Slavery: See the Happiness in Slavery entry down on the Swordcraft Story page. It is prevalent in all the Summon Night games and touched upon in the games.
  • Hime Cut: Misumi. Not surprising given that she is a princess from Jidaigeki Expy Silturn.
  • Humans Are Bastards: As a result of Happiness in Slavery. Mentioned quite a bit by stray summons.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Whether intentional or unintentional, the summoning stones are called summonite. Get it?
  • Karma Meter: Requisite for certain optional characters and endings.
  • Lady of War: Azlier. She comes from a military family and is a squad captain of an imperial naval force.
  • Lethal Joke Summon: Denchi-Man in Summon Night 3, who as his name implies, is a battery. Sure, his animation is laughable and damage is pathetic. But he has a huge range and is the lowest cost paralysis inducing summon in the game. Then again, by the time you obtain this, you are most likely at the end of the game, where just about every enemy is immune to paralysis. It does makes subsequent playthroughs much easier as you can have Aldyria safely and easily lockdown most non-boss enemies early in the game.
  • Leaked Experience: Experience received is stored in a shared pool. Thus it's easy to level up characters without them participating in battle much. The easiest way to do this is to simply rack up experience with your core group, enter a free battle with the characters you want to level up, retreat, and level them up at the level up screen.
  • Lighter and Softer: If you look hard enough, it is possible to make an argument for the setting as a Crapsaccharine World. The Summon Night games are by far Flight-Plan's lightest and softest games. Note these games are also the only Flight-Plan developed games not to really feature religion.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Does a somewhat good attempt at averting it. Magic has 100% accuracy, great range, awesome control potential, not subject to height and facing, and more enemies have lower magic defense than physical defense. However, magic cannot generate a critical hit, is subject to a damage cap, can be resisted, and MP can rarely be replenished. Warriors, on the other hand, can get more attacks by tanking and using counterattack. And because they can continually deal good damage without worrying about MP, warriors are great for cleaning up any enemies that have been paralyzed by your casters. In the end, you'll definitely want to load up on casters, but warriors have their uses.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Especially throughout the series. Although the second game in itself could fit this trope.
  • Low-Level Advantage: Flight-Plan loves this in their Turn-Based Strategy games. To further the Anti-Grinding, "Brave Clear" requisites for story battles have a level cutoff.
    • Summon Night 4 introduced the Book of Rectification, which allows you to de-level your characters so you can re-spec them. So if you level grinded too much, you can still attempt a Brave Clear.
  • Luck Stat: Vague function and cannot be increased via level up. Most noticeably, it determines the proc rate of the Mana Shield wait stance.
  • Meido: Pommunit. Cunnon is a robotic version.
  • Mascot: Most of the recurring instant ally summons fall into this.
  • Master of None: Lucian. There are ways to make him less mediocre, but they are rather roundabout and still fail make him stand out. At best, he is capable but is left in a position that doesn't mesh easily with everyone else.
  • May–December Romance: Ribiel towards Lucian hinted when she tends to him and stays only by him despite others also suffering from the Soul Rot Disease caused by the black snow. Maybe considered paedophilia and/or Puppy Love. Ribiel is certainly older than Lucian in terms of chronological age, but is seemingly younger in terms of mental age.
  • Mecha-Mooks: All the summons from Loreilal.
  • Miko: Kaina.
  • Mini-Game: Plenty of them in each game, with prizes changing each chapter. The button mashing fishing minigame is present in every entry.
  • Multiple Endings: There are only a few endings concerning the overall plot, but loads of character-specific epilogues.
  • Mythology Gag: Summon Night 4 does this for the Summon Night series what Final Fantasy IX did for the Final Fantasy series. Summon Night 4 has the added bonus of sharing the setting with the earlier games. Unlike Final Fantasy IX, Summon Night 4 did turn out to be the last game in the main series... at least until Namco Bandai unexpectedly announced Summon Night 5.
    • In the first game, Wizell forges a powerful magic sword for the protagonist. He does the same in Summon Night 3.
  • New Game+: Many differences occur on a second playthrough, revealing more about the plot. A few endings require a second playthrough. Also, Summon Night 2 and Summon Night 3 have a gaiden where you play as the characters from the directly previous game.
  • Nintendo Hard: As expected of Flight-Plan. Summon Night 3 is notable for being a bit blatant about this due to fan complaints about one of Flight-Plan's earlier games, Black/Matrix 2, being too easy.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Kelma.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Subverted and discussed. Summoners call the Summon Creatures from their various home worlds, bonding them into magical servitude. The summoner can send them back (and often do) but should the summoner die or abandon the Summon Creature, they are stranded away from their home. Summon Creatures seeing this as a form of magical slavery is discussed several times throughout the series.
  • Non-Elemental: Summons related to the Nameless World are null aligned. They are not subject to origin resistances but are still affected by generic anti-magic abilities. It is far from being an Infinity +1 Element, though. Most of these summons are indirect support abilities that bring forth an object onto the battlefield. The few summons capable of directly attacking are inefficient in terms of power to MP cost. Also, in Summon Night 4, none of the null summons can be upgraded.
  • One Size Fits All: Played straight. Most noticeable between the diminutive fairy Marurur and the Yaffa.
  • Optional Party Member: Most fall into Guide Dang It! territory.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: The protagonists of the first game.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Summon Night universe has so many different kinds of dragons that Seilon (himself a kind of dragon) gives an Info Dump about all of them.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Played almost straight in the first Summon Night. Except for Hayato, all the other protagonists have very similar stat growths. Averted in subsequent games, where the male and female protagonists have different stat and ability growths.
  • Rare Candy: Food for your summons.
  • Relationship Values: As a character-based game, this determines the character-based part of the endings.
  • Road Cone: Mostly averted. The gaiden crossovers allow the player to choose the protagonist of the previous game while the current game's protagonist might be loaded from a clear save file or not be mentioned directly. Summon Night 4 doesn't mention the previous protagonists.
    • The materials outside the games play it straight. The Summon Night 4 Drama CD features the male protagonist and the ambiguous gender Dragon Child. The Summon Night 3 novel (受け継がれし炎) released in the wake of the game's re-release features the female protagonist and the machine-aligned student.
  • Robot Girl: The named Mechanical Dolls in Summon Night 4. The generic mechanical dolls in the series appear to be robot maids as well.
  • Robo Speak: Absett's lines consist almost exclusively of four kanji idioms with an occasional English conjunction thrown in.
  • Running Gag: Gomenasai wa...?
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Used when choosing a partner character. The games usually don't make it clear to you it's doing this. From the second game on, you also get to answer a more obvious question that determines whether the protagonist is a warrior or caster.
    • In Summon Night 3, this is also used to determine the which of the two sub-arcs you will follow. Naturally, it's not made obvious. After meeting the guardians for the first time, you are given the choice to speak with one of the four. Speaking with either Falzen or Ardylia will lead to the Hainel sub-arc and speaking to Yaffa or Kyuuma will lead to the Rikku sub-arc. The one you spoke to will be given a more sympathetic point of view within the chosen sub-arc.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Di-Erugo
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The inhabitants of Maetropa range from Little Bit Beastly to Beast Man. And there's also winged humanoids.
  • Squishy Wizard: Most summoners/casters are this. Most have surprisingly good magic defense and can tank magic attacks until the enemy runs out of MP.
  • Summon Magic: Seriously, it's in the title. All in-battle magic is based off this. As such, almost all are the Eastern variety, but a few can double as the Western variety. The latter requires a special ability, though. It's also how the protagonist ends up in Lyndbaum in the first game.
  • Status Buff: Possessions can grant the possessed units buffs.
  • Status-Buff Dispel: Exorcism abilities generally remove either possessions or Status Effects, but not both.