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Welcome to Crossbell.note 
The beginning of the second arc of the Trails Series after the Trails in the Sky trilogy, The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zeronote  moves the setting to the bright lights of the wealthy-but-corrupt city of Crossbell. Four rookie cops are enlisted to improve the police's reputation by joining a new division, called the Special Support Section. Of course, it doesn't stop there...

One of the game's unique points in comparison to the rest of Trails is its intense focus on Crossbell City as a setting. Unlike the other arcs in the series, which have the player bounce around a number of different cities across a country, Crossbell City is gigantic and makes up a substantial portion note  of the entire game. While you will eventually leave the city limits to travel to other parts of the wider Crossbell State, these all really serve as "suburbs" of the city and the focus is on Crossbell City itself, in all its grand, towering, corrupt, decadent glory. When combined with series staples like orbments (this series' equivalent of technology), it creates a fairly unique "Urban Fantasy in The '50s" atmosphere. The only really comparable games would be the Shin Megami Tensei games, and even then there's a lot of differences in tone and content.

The game got a sequel called The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azurenote , featuring the same characters and directly continuing the plot. Tropes for both Zero and Azure are listed here. Together, these two games form what is often referred to by fans as the "Crossbell Duology/Crossbell Arc"; this is the second arc in the Trails series, after the Trails in the Sky trilogy. The third arc is the The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel quadrilogy, whose first game was released in September 2013 (December 2015 internationally). In-between Azure and that game, the spin-off game The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails was released.

Trails from Zero was originally released on the PlayStation Portable on September 30th, 2010, and later came to the Play Station Vita on October 12th, 2012. A PC version for the Chinese markets came in 2011, with a version for Japan in 2013. As for Trails to Azure, it was originally released on the PlayStation Portable on September 29th, 2011, and later came to the Play Station Vita on June 12th, 2014. A PC version of Azure for the Chinese markets came in 2013, though it was never released in Japan. An Updated Re-release of both Zero and Azure for the PlayStation 4, alongside announcing an upcoming title to be set also in Erebonia, which ended up being The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie - effectively an epilogue to both the Cold Steel quadrilogy and the Crossbell duology. A Nintendo Switch version for Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, courtesy of Clouded Leopard Entertainment, came out in 2021. Nippon Ichi later ported the games for the Switch in Japan. They were released on August 31, 2023.

An English release by NIS (using a Fan Translation by the group Geofront) for the PS4, Switch and PC (via Steam) was announced, with Zero releasing on September 2022note , and Azure releasing on March 2023.note .

A Drama CD titled "Road to the Future" that serves as an Interquel between the end of Zero and the start of Azure has also been released. A subbed version has been released online.

Azure also has two released Drama CDs titled: "Titan Hotpot Tonight!" and "If Cecile Got Angry".

A prequel novel titled "Four Destinies" detailing the lives of the first four SSS members before the events of Zero is also released, but is only recently translated. Read the first chapter here.


This game contains examples of:

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     A - D 
  • Abandoned Laboratory: Any location the D∴G Cult has left behind is one of these by definition and that means that they tend to house various demons summoned by the Cult, as well as monsters that used to be human before Gnosis was used on them.
  • Abandoned Mine: There are two mines in Mainz, one of which has been shut down and can only be entered in the second game. It's the first area where you observe higher-dimensional phenomena at work in the form of the very first Cryptid.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap:
    • Zero has the Final Boss at level 45. The limit is 50. The Super Boss is at level 50. The SSS can reach that level after defeating it due to massive amounts of Experience Points gained, making the rest of the game a joke.
    • Azure has the Final Boss at level 120. The limit is 150. Even the Super Boss is only at level 130.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The Geofront complex is a high-tech combination of sewage treatment and recycling, power distribution and the location for all the cabling and many access terminals for the experimental Orbal Network. It's designed on a large scale to permit easy access, repair and expansion.
    • And it houses all the machines necessary to complete the alchemical circle encompassing the entire country, providing additional justification for all that space.
  • Achievement Mockery: In Zero, a chest in Sun Fort - Second Stratum taunts players who read the chest messages hoping for one.
    You know there's no achievement for reading all of these, right?
  • A-Cup Angst: Tio, Sully, and Shirley all have a bit of this.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • The remakes of Zero and Azure have cameo appearances of Juna and her family here and there, when they originally didn't exist as characters until Cold Steel III.
    • Similarly, the remake of Azure has Towa attending the West Zemurian Trade Conference as a minor staffer when she didn't exist as a character until Cold Steel I, because said game mentioned that she did attend the conference as a minor staffer.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • Bosses that have impede crafts will prioritize impeding your casters. This can be exploited if the impede craft isn't too damaging, though this behavior is harder to exploit if a character uses the Keeper Master Quartz, which makes the enemies' AI less predictable because it might prioritize attacking the Keeper user rather than the caster, unless you have the user cast instead.
    • The second-to-last boss, Mariabell, will teleport nearby party members to a corner of the battlefield if they get too close to her. If she's dragged to a corner, it's possible for her to teleport a party member right next to her, thus causing her AI to want to teleport them again. While this won't completely lock down her AI, it will force her to waste more turns teleporting party members rather than hurting them or summoning minions.
  • Ain't No Rule: In Chapter 2 of Zero, it's revealed someone, later revealed to be Jona, had hacked into the IBC's main terminal to send a message to the SSS. As the orbal net and hacking are still in the development stages and not completely widespread as of yet, both Mariabell and Jona point out that as there technically aren't any laws against hacking yet like in real life, so they technically can't arrest him.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Some of the ducts in the Geofront are large enough for grown adults to walk through. Definitely not true for air vents in buildings though.
  • All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: Toyed with, because while the entire staff of Heiyue does know martial arts and are as close to Chinese as it's possible to get in Zemuria, they're also all trained to fight because they're gangsters, not because they're Chinese. The rest of the Chinese-inspired characters in Crossbell don't play according to this trope.
  • All Just a Dream: In Zero, a chest message in Geofront A2 Sector 1 has this happen to the SSS.
    You're sucked into the chest and end up in a chest-based world with no way back. Decades go by, your memories of Crossbell fade, and as your life comes to an end, you take your final breath...only to wake up. It was all a dream!
  • Alternate Timeline: KeA essentially created one, with the original timeline completely overwritten aside from the (suppressed) memories of the people most directly affected by the manipulation.
  • Already Done for You: Shortly after meeting Sigmund Orlando for the first time in Azure, the SSS walks down the road a short distance and finds the mangled remains of the monsters they had taken a support request to eliminate, with the obvious implication being that the person who they just met had killed them all (That said, since the SSS didn't do the fighting, they don't get any reward). A dialog box even appears on the screen saying that the support request "has been abruptly terminated".
  • Amazon Brigade: The Stahlritter, Arianrhod's bodyguards.
  • Anachronism Stew: Applies a fair bit once again. While most of Crossbell is styled heavily on the 1930s-to-50s, there are still things like Lloyd's very modern-looking jacket, most of the Bracers insist on using melee weapons (so do Lloyd and Randy, for that matter, despite being police officers with access to government-issue firearms), and the beginnings of an internet being worked on in Crossbell (a technology that wouldn't really get serious use until the latter parts of The '60s in reality). Crossbell itself is also a bit of an anachronism in the wider setting, given how much higher the technology base is comparatively (but then, non-Crossbellans point out in-universe how disorienting they find modern Crossbell at times, so this is likely intentional on Falcom's part).
  • Amusement Park: Mishelam Wonderland, complete with ferris wheel, roller coaster, minigames galore, and its mascot character Mishy. Some of the developments outside the park proper are visited in Zero while the park itself becomes open to the player in Azure.
    • Amusement Park of Doom: Briefly becomes this in Azure when Campanella uses his powers to change Mishelam Wonderland into Fool's Wonderland, complete with creepy clown imagery and ghost monsters. It's all an illusion. Becomes this again when Pleroma Grass starts blooming among its grounds.
  • And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: One of the empty chest messages added to the English-language localization of Trails from Zero reads "Inside this chest, you find a shirt that reads 'I checked this chest twice and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.' You decide not to take it with you."
  • Angel Unaware: The Hayworths assume this to be the case when they hear from Colin that "a girl with purple hair just like Papa's" appeared to save his life, then vanished. They're, oh, about 25% right. Renne has been called an angel before, but of a rather different kind.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: You can buy or find some of the Great Success/Epic Failure cooking items that need to be exchanged as part of sidequests, in case you missed finding the recipe. Azure also provides a way to acquire a second Zemurian Stone (three in NG+) which isn't linked to finding fourteen books with very limited acquisition windows.
  • Anti-Grinding:
    • There is an achievement for beating Zero while remaining under a given level cap, which requires avoiding or fleeing from all non-scripted fights in the last three dungeons to achieve.
    • As with the other games in the Trails series, experience gained scales based on your own level relative to that of the enemies you're fighting. Fighting enemies more than about 3 or 4 levels below your own results in a pittance at best.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In Trails to Azure, you encounter jaegers from the Red Constellation, the same jaeger corp that Randy used to be a member of. It is possible for them to use War Cry, which Randy has, which sacrifices HP to gain power... and kill themselves because they didn't have enough HP left..note 
  • Art Shift: Although the sprites and world design remain the same, the characters got a very different art style this time. Just compare Estelle and Joshua's portraits in this game with their portraits from Trails in the Sky. A little justifiable in that they're older now, but still. Renne also got somewhat more redesigned than one would think. She looks a bit older, sure, but her hair, which was a kind of pale lavender in SC and was a little brighter in the 3rd, is now a violent shade of electric pink. Even more hilariously, she has her dad's hair.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Anton and Ricky, two popular NPCs from Trails in the Sky, have a fun cameo in Zero.
    • On a similar note, Armand and Ellie, the two lovebirds from Sky SC, are back in Azure.
    • Abbas, Mireille, Sully, and Michel are upgraded with portraits in Azure. The latter three are also integrated into main plot (in Zero, they're just parts of sidequests). Abbas, on the other hand...
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Final Boss of Zero Joachim dies due to a painful Super-Power Meltdown from ingesting Red Gnosis. Since he was a Mad Scientist who was part of the D∴G Cult and a colossal Hate Sink, it's unlikely anyone will shed any tears.
    • During the prologue of Azure a Drunk with Power Demon-transformed Ernest holds Hartmann as a hostage then zaps him unconscious when he tries to escape. Considering he was a corrupt politician who was actively conspiring with Ernest to return Crossbell to the Empire in return for power and a former patron of Paradise, meaning that he enjoyed raping little children, it's hard to feel too bad.
  • A Taste of Power: Subverted in Zero where it looks like this will be the case at the start, but the scene ends without any combat. Played straight in Azure when you start with Arios and Dudley in your party, many levels higher than Lloyd and Noel and with a set of extremely powerful Crafts and high-level Master Quartz.
  • Auction of Evil: Crossbell annually hosts a Schwarze Auction, where Revache and Co. auction off totally legitimately acquired art to the rich and powerful. The police can't do anything about it because Revache has very powerful friends in Crossbell's government (including the man hosting the event) and it's regularly attended by scores of legitimate tax-paying citizens. The centerpiece of the auction during the events of Zero is a new Rosenberg doll, which actually is a legitimate sale. Except that it's a cover story for the real 'item' being auctioned: A little girl named KeA. In a bit of a twist on the trope, this actually ends up being a big problem, because Revache is at least smart enough to stay the hell away from human trafficking, they have no idea how the hell they got KeA when they genuinely thought they were acquiring a doll, and Revache's backer in the Crossbell government is furious with them for appearing to flirt with trafficking, which signals the beginning of Revache unraveling.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Tio.
  • Ax-Crazy: Shirley, dear God Shirley.
  • Badass Family:
    • The Brights were already this, then they adopted Renne.
    • The Orlando family, who are the leaders of the Red Constellation jaeger corps. Very badass and very scary.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Befitting his role as chief enforcer of the local mob boss, Garcia Rossi, a.k.a. the Killing Bear, wears a nice suit when he's at a fancy party and when he's beating you within an inch of your life.
    • Dudley also wears a very nice suit, though he'll take the jacket off before using his S-Crafts to knock you into next week.
  • Bag of Spilling: If you import a Zero clear file to Azure, you won't keep the Infinity +1 Sword, armor, sepith, or money. It's even lampshaded in a chest message in West Crossbell Highway in Azure.
    You may be asking what happened to the SSS's leftover sepith in Trails from Zero. What, you think you can put KeA through college on a CPD salary?
  • Barely-Changed Dub Name:
    • A couple of food items have names with minor tweaks:
      • Superb dishes in Zero: Resurrect Fry, Crescent Soup, and Kill Nightmare were changed to Resurrection Fry, Crescent Moon Soup, and Nightmare Killer.
      • Peculiar dishes in Zero: Bombrice, Needle Pasta, and Adamas Solid were changed to Bombelet Rice, Pasta Needles, and Adamant Solid.
      • Normal dishes in Azure: Mix Gelato was changed to Mixed Gelato.
      • Peculiar dishes in Azure: Reflect Chocolate was changed to Reflective Chocolate.
    • Consumables with barely changed names:
      • In Zero: Bennet Special was changed to Bennet's Special.
      • In Azure: Cream Melon Bread and Last Hiking were changed to Melon Cream Bread and Last Viking.
    • Armor with barely changed names:
      • In Zero: the Powered Suit was changed to Power Suit.
      • In Azure: Rune Robe and Powered Suit Z were changed to Runic Robe and Power Suit Z.
    • Many shoes had their names written in the singular in the Japanese script but were pluralized in the localization:
      • In Zero: Fine Sandal, Grasshopper, Sprinter, Stamp Jumper, Stride Heel, Dual Guarder, and Ares Greave were changed to Fine Sandals, Grasshoppers, Sprinters, Stamp Jumpers, Stride Heels, Dual Guarders, and Ares Greaves.
      • In Azure: Spike Gear, Country Gear, Enamel Mule, Jumping Gear, Slender Heel, City Walker, Lumiere Sandal, Rigid Gear, Hyper Spike, Akashic Gear, Jupiter Tooth, Amadeus Heel, and Argem Star were changed to Spike Gears, Country Gears, Enamel Mules, Jumping Gears, Slender Heels, City Walkers, Lumiere Sandals, Rigid Gears, Hyper Spikes, Akashic Gears, Jupiter Teeth, Amadeus Heels, and Argem Stars.
    • Other shoes in Azure with minorly-tweaked names: Strega-Tough and Diva Goldia were changed to Tough Stregas and Divine Goldias.
    • A few accessories introduced in Zero had barely-changed names: Misty Stole, Passion Rouge, and Brave Badge were changed to Mystic Stole, Passionate Rouge, and Bravery Badge
    • One of Lloyd's weapons in Zero was pluralized from Take Prisoner to Take Prisoners.
    • A couple of Randy's weapons in Azure got minor tweaks: Hyper Steam and Denotic Abyss were changed to Hyper Stream and Deontic Abyss.
    • Many of Wazy's weapons were written in the singular in the Japanese script but were pluralized in the localization:
      • Both of his weapons in Zero, Metal Glove and Sonic Fist, were pluralized to Metal Gloves and Sonic Fists.
      • In Azure: Leather Fist, Metal Knuckle, Screwdriver, Black Thorn, Master Glove, Comet Fist, and Paradigm Claw were changed to Leather Fists, Metal Knuckles, Screwdrivers, Black Thorns, Master Gloves, Comet Fists, and Paradigm Claws.
    • Garcia's weapon Linen Glove was pluralized to Linen Gloves.
    • Lloyd's craft Accel Rush was changed to Axle Rush.
    • Lloyd's second support craft was changed from Quell Smash to Quelling Smash.
    • Elie's second support craft was changed from Call Surrender to Call to Surrender.
    • Randy's S-Craft Berserga was changed to Berserker.
    • Randy's first support craft was changed from Burn Divide to Burning Divider.
    • Noel's craft Smart Missile was changed to Smart Missiles.
    • Noel's S-Craft Armed Force was changed to Armed Forces.
    • Dudley's craft Judge Bullet was changed to Judgment Bullet.
    • Estelle's support craft was changed from Hope Swell to Swelling Hope.
    • Arts with barely changed names:
      • The earth art Adamas Guard was changed to Adamantine Guard.
      • The wind art Ragna Dorion was changed to Ragna Dorian.
      • The space art Innocent Arc was changed to Innocence Arc.
      • The mirage art Luna Craze was changed to Lunar Craze.
  • Barrier Warrior: Tio, a somewhat straighter example than Kevin because she's kinda frail and her normal attack is weak. When she's not protecting the team with Zero Field, she's also one of the best art users in the party. In Azure we also see Kevin extending his Grail Sphere barrier to an entire airship.
  • Battle Aura:
  • The Battle Didn't Count: There are multiple boss fights in Azure where the next effect on the plot is the same win or lose, though victory results in bonus DP.
    • The fight with Sigmund has him reveal that he was just playing for time, and the event the SSS theoretically could have stopped if he hadn't delayed them happens.
    • The fight with Arios reveals that the SSS was actually fighting a clone technique, and then the real one appears behind them and takes them all down with one hit.
  • Beach Episode: Done literally in Azure's Intermission as Mariabell provides most of the cast with an all-expenses-paid trip to Mishelam Wonderland for some much-needed time off. The trip includes a morning of exclusive access to the newly opened Lake Beach. Almost every staple of the trope either appears or is name-dropped.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: The D∴G Cult believe this to be true of belief in Aidios.
  • Beyond Redemption: The SSS consider Con Man Minneth to be beyond redeeming after he rips off medical supplies from St. Ursula Hospital while the beds are full of victims from the Red Constellation's attack, many of whom are in critical condition for no reason other than petty greed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: This game and its prequel series will have you second-guessing everybody's motives.
  • BFG: Randy and Shirley's weapons in Azure incorporate these.
  • BFS: Randy's Berserker in Azure incorporates one. Yin wields a large blade which is amusing, because underneath that outfit, Rixia is a fairly skinny girl. Arios's tachi is also rather long, and while it's technically a Big Fricking Chainsaw, the size of Shirley's weapon counts.Ernest's sword is fairly big and gets even bigger in his Demon and True Demon forms. And along the same lines, Demon Wald's sword is enormous.
  • Big Applesauce: While clearly not actually New York, Crossbell City as a setting takes a lot of obvious cues from the New York of the 1930s-to-50s in terms of fashion, design sense and culture.
  • Big Bad Friend: Arios was this to Guy until the latter figured things out. Then when Guy attempted to reason with Arios, Ian shot him in the back. Arios winds up becoming this to your party as well since he becomes friendly with you over the course of the first game (out of a sense of loyalty to Guy and his massive guilt complex) until you get too close to uncovering the same conspiracy that got Guy killed three years ago.... There is also Mariabell to Elie since the two were close friends before The Reveal.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Arios seems to have this as a hobby. Lampshaded by Randy, who suspects he does it on purpose.
    • Arios actually does it on purpose in some cases; he usually waits and sees if Lloyd and co. can solve the problem at hand by themselves. He only steps in if they bite off more than they can chew. This is likely due to the fact that Arios and Guy (Lloyd's brother) were close friends and worked as a team before Guy's death so Arios is looking out for Lloyd in Guy's place.
    • Absolutely everyone during the events of Crossbell's Longest Day.
    • Trails to Azure is full of too many of these to count.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The SSS and Cecile collectively let out a huge one when they hear that Arios has been named Crossbell's Secretary of Defense.
  • Bishie Sparkle: KeA gets these with some frequency. Other characters occasionally get in on the fun too.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of Azure, Lloyd and co. manage to save KeA and stop the Sept-Terrion of Zero from going on a rampage. However, Crossbell City is taken over by The Empire and Ouroboros gets away with everything and even manages to add Shirley and Mariabell into their ranks. Plus, Chancellor Giliath Osborne said empire, who is allied with Ouroborosnote , wins over the nobles of The Empire and gains nearly complete control of Erebonia, which can only mean trouble. Although it's implied in the final ending CG that Crossbell City will get liberated within a few years, the ending is hardly uplifting.
  • Blackmail:
    • One of the ways D∴G increased their influence and cash reserves at the same time, and a particularly disgusting example: kidnap children and force them into prostitution as well as using them in Gnosis experiments. Encourage the rich and famous to patronize Paradise, then blackmail them to keep their crime a secret. The Cult effectively controls Representative Hartmann in this way.
    • At one point in Azure, Cao tries to figure out Yin's identity under the mask for this purpose. However, by the time he has confirmation of Rixia's secret, everyone he could have threatened to reveal it to already knew it.
  • Blatant Lies: When asking for information on the Pleroma Grass, Bishop Eralda clearly knows more than he tells you and even the characters comment on it. Of course, the information is contained in scriptures that the general public isn't supposed to know about; you only learn more because someone else with access to those texts entrusts the SSS with the information.
  • Bland-Name Product: The orbal terminals in Crossbell run on the Skylight XDnote  operating system, an AOD Marathon 64note  processor, and ExactXnote  9.0c graphics.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In NISA's official localization of Azure, Towa's Early-Bird Cameo has her mistakenly say that Class IV is at Garrelia Fortress, when in actuality it's supposed to be Class VII. This error was quickly patched in the Steam version.
  • Blood Knight: The Red Constellation in general, but especially Sigmund and Shirley. Unlike other jaegers who are Only in It for the Money, they revel in bloodshed and fighting.
  • Bluff the Impostor: In one sidequest in Azure, the SSS is trying to determine which passenger on a train stole a ticket to Ored. When they've narrowed it down to the ones heading to that country (both of whom claim to be from there), Xin appears to lend a hand, asking one of the suspects which of three names belongs to Ored's famous hot spring. After the man picks one of the answers, Xin tells him that Ored doesn't have any hot springs, as anyone who lived there would know.
  • Bodyguard Babes: The Stahlritter, three ladies who serve as bodyguards to Arianrhod. Their prowess is comparable to Ouroboros Enforcers.
    • Bodyguarding a Badass: When your job is to protect Arianrhod, it's kind of a given. Well, they are more like students and soldiers to Arianrhod, she doesn't really need protection, just that they surround her and does the fighting for her since little people can even get pass them.
  • Body Horror: Blue Gnosis boosts the natural abilities of the human body but it also allows Joachim to control your actions. Red Gnosis, will transform you into a groteseque monster... and the resulting body is unstable.
  • Boom Stick: Tio's Orbal Staff, which shoots spreads of energy orbs and can transform into an energy cannon.
  • Boss Bonanza: The final dungeons of both games, naturally. The Moon Temple and Stargazer Tower in Azure also features four bosses each, including That One Boss.
  • Boss Rush: The second visit to Mishelam Wonderland in Azure begins with a string of fights against powered-up versions of previously fought Cryptids.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Some of the monster chest treasures become this by default because they are almost impossible to earn on a first playthrough due to the levels of the monsters in question. You can deliberately avoids this on a replay by choosing not to carry over certain things like levels or equipment, thus making it possible to actually get the chest treasures while making them much more useful.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The ending scene of Zero, right before closing credits, consists of the Special Support Section and KeA turning to directly face the screen. Randy gives a wink and a hand gesture, KeA waves, and everyone declares "Let's go!"
  • Breather Episode: The Intermission in both Zero and Azure is one of these.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Ernest especially but anyone using Gnosis in Zero qualifies as the person who created it specifically designed it to have this effect in addition to the usual properties.
  • Brick Joke: A bit of post-sidequest NPC dialogue in SC has a character thinking up names for kittens and musing that Kuro could be a shortening of Klaudia (it makes sense in Japanese, as her name in Japanese literally translates to Kurodia) as well as a reference to the kitten being black. In Zero, Lechter finds a black cat and calls it Kuro. Made Hilarious in Hindsight with the reveal of the title of the latest Kiseki game: Kuro no Kiseki.
  • Busman's Holiday: Intermission in Azure turns into this when optional quest prompts you to fight evil penguins.
  • Butterfly of Doom: As revealed in the finale of Azure, the cause of why KeA altered the timeline. Originally the SSS only met Estelle and Joshua in passing, they didn't get involved in the plot, and the SSS went after Joachim without them. As a result, Renne didn't follow, and she wasn't there to use Pater-Mater to rescue them from Joachim's demon form pulling a Taking You with Me. As a nod to this, when the SSS first start taking the major steps in diverging from their original fated end in helping Renne find Colin, he's wandered off during the festival chasing after a literal butterfly.
  • Cardboard Prison: Thanks to Crossbell's messed up political situation, the worst the police can do to foreign criminals is fine them and revoke their entrance visas for a few months. This results in a couple quests in Azure centering around some rich hooligans vacationing in Crossbell to raise hell, knowing that the authorities can't really punish them.
  • Cat Girl: The sensors on Tio's headband look remarkably like cat ears.
  • Call-Back:
    • Lots, to the previous trilogy. The Final Boss of Zero plays out the same way as that of Sky FC, with the party getting overpowered only to be saved by a last-minute intervention, and the boss's final phase essentially being a scripted Coup de Grâce. Chapter 2 (Day 2) of Azure is also loaded with these, since it's when so many familiar faces arrive in Crossbell. In short order, references are made to Julia's fan club, Renne and the Brights, R&A Research, the Non-Aggression Treaty and Axis Pillar.
    • Zero's intermission has a Sunday School guest teacher quest that plays out nearly identically to the one in the Sky arc, though with Lloyd explaining the CPD instead of the Bracer Guild (and the differences between the two). Once again you need to answer 10 questions correctly for maximum points, though the kids' questions are a lot more on-topic this time.
    • Halfway in the game Lloyd and a character he choose disguises themselves and Lloyd uses his dead family member (in his case brother) Guy's name just like what Estelle and Joshua did in Trails in the Sky.
    • The way Olivier appears in front of the party in Azure is basically this. To elaborate: he appeared out of nowhere and proceed to sing "Amber Amour" when two of Wald's lackeys were arguing. He did the same when two factions of the new mayor's supporters were arguing in SC.
  • Cargo Cult: The village where Wazy was born worshipped a deity who turned out to be an Artifact. Wazy was viewed as blessed because his partially-awakened Stigma allowed him to hear the 'Voice of God'.
  • The Cavalry: This happens at least once every Chapter.
  • Charity Ball: Azure features one of these as a sidequest where the SSS is asked to help with the preparations for one after Red Constellation wrecks the Entertainment and Waterfront Districts and the IBC Building. One of the female characters will be roped into the Miss Crossbell Contest after another entrant isn't able to participate. She can't actually win though.
  • Chaste Hero: Lloyd, although apparently it's in the blood.
    Lloyd: Guy... yeah, I have to admit, he really was either kind of unsociable, or just a bit dense. He took so long to realize what Cecile felt for him, too... sometimes I just wanted to kick him to drive it all into his skull!
    Tio: ... *kicks Lloyd*
  • Chilly Reception: All of Crossbell City to the newly formed SSS, including the rest of the police force. They're seen as 1) A rookie, a dilettante, a little girl and a washout respectively 2) Wannabe Bracers, 3) A glorified publicity stunt and 4) A laughingstock after their first mission. It takes quite a while before things get better.
  • City of Adventure: Considering that Falcom managed to squeeze as much content into Crossbell City as they did in the entire Kingdom of Liberl, it definitely counts.
  • City of Spies: Crossbell edges into this trope, given that the city is divided into factions that support Erebonia and Calvard and agents from both countries are active in the background, along with Wazy and Abbas keeping tabs on things for the Church and later Ries keeping tabs on the Church. During the final chapter, it's possible to find out that Reins, a reporter at CNS, is actually an R&A Research employee, meaning Liberl is spying on Crossbell too.
  • Combination Attack: Replacing the Chain Craft system from the previous trilogy are Combo Crafts, which are learned through the plot or sidequests and involve two characters performing a unique attack. They require 100 CP from each character but won't drain excess unlike S-Crafts (nor can they be used to S-Break) and they are extremely powerful.
  • Comm Links: The Enigma model of Tactical Orbment functions somewhat like this, although their range is limited by the reach of Crossbell's Orbal Network. Both the CSPD and the Bracers have been assigned the Enigma to test all its capabilities.
  • Company Cross References: Falcom has a habit of this.
    • To Ys:
      • Randy's Jukebox plays a jazz remix of "Tower of the Shadow of Death" from Ys I & II Chronicles.
      • The slots minigame has characters from Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen.
      • One chest message in Zero is "Wait a second, you're not Adol! WHERE AM I?!"
      • One chest message in Azure is "Quick, Adol! We have to get to the center of the Great Tree of Origins before—oh, wait. Sorry. Wrong tree.", which is a reference to Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana.
    • To the Gagharv Trilogy:
      • Elie's music box is Chris' from Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch, down to the tune it plays.
      • Lloyd's final S-Craft (Meteor Breaker) and Dudley's first S-Craft (Justice Hammer) are references to Gawaine from A Tear of Vermillion.
      • Again from A Tear of Vermillion, you can fight a soldier named Douglas as part of sidequests.
      • Azure's title screen song is titled "Aoki Shizuku" (lit. "Blue Tears"). The Japanese title of A Tear of Vermillion? "Akai Shizuku".
      • One chest message in Azure is "Holy crap! Is that a motherhecking GAGHARV reference???".
    • To other Falcom games:
      • You can decorate KeA's room with Penpen doll from Zwei II.
      • You can decorate Lloyd's room with the Tristan, also from Zwei II. In his room decoration event, he talks about airplanes like it existing in fantasy stories, even though they don't have them in Zemuria.
      • The Jack, Queen, and King cards used in the poker and blackjack minigames have characters from both Zwei games, Brandish, and Gurumin.
      • Arios is named after Areios, the protagonist of The Legend of Xanadu. While the English renderings of their names differ, they are the same in Japanese: アリオス (Ariosu). Both are even associated with wind: Arios (from this game)'s nickname in Japanese is Kaze no Kensei, while the Japanese name of The Legend of Xanadu is Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu, with kaze no meaning "of wind".
  • Condescending Compassion: The Bracer Guild doesn't have any hard feelings against the SSS despite the politics involved, indeed, they're happy to have some of their crushing workload taken off their shoulders, but it's with the air of letting the SSS have the jobs, and with the expectation they won't accomplish much.
  • Continuity Cameo: The Bobcat appears in the background at Crossbell's airport in Zero, in a sequence set up during Sun Door 1 from ''the 3rd''. It appears again in Azure and is part of a Support Request.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: Lechter arranges this to deflect suspicion from the fact that several individuals the Mafia would like a word with are hiding behind the curtains of his room.
  • Cool Airship:
    • The Red Constellation has a customized airship called the Beowulf.
    • Being a Dominion, Wazy has access to a Merkabah of his own and Kevin also arrives with his. The class gets retroactively more awesome with the reveal that they have optical camouflage, beam weaponry and Mode-S, which allows a Dominion to channel the power of their Stigma through the ship for massively increased effects. Kevin is able to extend his Grail Sphere barrier to protect the entire ship... and use the Stigma Cannon.
    • The two terrorist groups that attack Orchis Tower in Azure have advanced military-grade gunships designed by the premier manufacturers of their respective countries.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Tio occasionally threatens Jona with defeating him in Pom Pom Party with an absurdly large combo.
  • Cool Car:
    • The SSS gets one in Azure and the player can customize it with both aesthetic and functional parts. KeA gets giddy when she gets to ride in it for the first time.
    • Noel also has a pretty cool car she operates while working with the Crossbell Guardian Force. Some mention also has to be given to Dieter's limousine, which is a fancy looking car designed by the Reinford Company for VIPs, bulletproof armour plating and glass included.
    • Car Fu: Dieter is happy to use said limo as an improvised weapon while helping extricate the SSS from a tight spot. Noel then takes the Car Fu Crown by doing this with her armored car, forcing several other armored cars off the road near Zero's climax.
  • Cool Sword: Wald fights with a wooden sword wrapped with a length of chain. Yin's sword Yatagarasu and the sword Ernest uses, which gets progressively larger as he transforms multiple times.
  • Cool Mask: Arianrhod. Yin combines this with Badass Longcoat.
  • Cop Show: The heroes issue parking tickets as well as fight monsters.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: The International Bank of Crossbell, the single largest financial institution in Western Zemuria, was created centuries ago to bankroll the Crois family's alchemy experiments as they worked towards creating an artificial Sept-Terrion.
  • Cosmic Retcon:
    • KeA's rewriting of history to bring the SSS and the Brights together is one of these on a massive scale, undoing the 'original' ending of Zero and making the subsequent games possible. It also may explain the timeline discrepancy between when Estelle and Joshua arrived in Crossbell according to The 3rd (mid 1203) and Zero (early/mid 1204).
    • This was also the entire goal of the Azure-Zero Project, rewriting Crossbell's history in the hope that the result would be a more powerful and independent state.
  • Could This Happen to You?: One of the empty chest messages added to the English-language localization of Trails from Zero reads "An unassuming-looking, middle-aged scholar who turns out to be evil? In MY Trails game?! ...It's more likely than you think."
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: At one point the SSS is trying to find a criminal suspected of smuggling counterfeit goods into Crossbell. The clue to discovering which of several possible parties is the guilty one is to find the one who forgot to research their excuses properly, specifically by stating they've been to Mishelam Wonderland before... but it wasn't open yet the last time they claim to have visited Crossbell.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Kilika meets the SSS through one of these by deliberately crashing into a suspect they were pursuing.
  • Crapsack World: The premise of the arc. Crossbell State is a young country situated in what used to be a hotly disputed area between the much larger Erebonian Empire and the Republic of Calvard. Both nations still want that territory for themselves and take every opportunity to try to upstage the other, to the inevitable detriment of Crossbell itself. The city is internationally known as the "City of Sin" and is famous for its Schwarze Auction. The government is divided into factions. The Mafia has ties to major government figures so they can operate more or less with impunity and there's a second underworld group starting to engage in a shadow war with them at the start of the games, making everything worse. The downtown area experiences regular violence as its two resident gangs fight for dominance. The police who really care and try to do the right thing aren't allowed to make a difference to Crossbell's biggest problems because of the political situation. The people have basically given up on their government and its officers and have turned to the Bracers... and this is the situation Crossbell is in when the game starts and the idealistic Lloyd and company are assigned to the newly formed Special Support Section.
    • It gets worse, of course. First there's Joachim, a survivor of the demon-summoning, child-enslaving D∴G Cult who wants to unleash a Zombie Apocalypse on the city to further his research into Gnosis and the goals of his Cult. Then there's the people behind D∴G who have been using the city as a staging area for centuries to try to recreate the power of one of the Sept-Terrion... and then Ouroboros gets involved and everything really goes to hell.
    • Just to give you an idea how much the setting sucks, realize that Elie's parents divorcing due to Crossbell's factional tensions and leaving their young daughter alone with her grandfather is one of the least traumatic backstories and/or plot developments in the arc.
  • Crutch Character: At the start of Azure, Arios and Dudley are many many levels higher than Lloyd and Noel and they have high-level Master Quartz equipped while you have brand new ones. Arios can probably solo the entire first dungeon... which is why the plot deprives you of your crutch partway through, forcing Lloyd and Noel to go it alone for most of the dungeon.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Early in Azure, it's mentioned that Archbishop Eralda won't let the Gralsritter operate in Crossbell because of a decree was made in the aftermath of an undescribed incident involving a Gralsritter operation and a priest named Owen. Those who've played Trails in the Sky The 3rd will recognize Owen as a minor but significant character from Kevin's backstory: he was a Sinister Minister who hired jaegers to raid Kevin's orphanage to obtain the Artifact beneath it, and Kevin was later ordered to assassinate him. The implication is Owen had connections in Crossbell's church and they weren't happy with what occurred.
  • Cultural Posturing: Crossbell's unique political situation as a Puppet State to Erebonia and Calvard, and relative youth as a state (with the City celebrating it's 70th anniversary) has resulted in it being on the receiving end. Quite a few characters from abroad are quick to insult Crossbell and it's people due to it not being a real country like their's which were acknowledged by the Septian Church, or the youth of it's current government. Other are quick to lambast it for it's many problems with a few terrorists the SSS end up fighting outright claiming their home is 'a prideless city that whored itself out for prosperity'. It's made very clear that most native Crossbellans do not appreciate hearing this.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Arianrhod vs everyone in her first appearance. To add insult to injury, she only used her normal attack animation.
    • Before that, we have Tio defeating Campanella, in A FREAKING PUYO GAME.
    • The three Aion units versus the combined military forces of Erebonia and Calvard. It ends with two completely destroyed divisions and Garrelia Fortress getting Thanos-snapped into a perfectly spherical hole in the ground.
  • Curtain Camouflage: Your party hides from Mafia pursuit by ducking behind some heavy curtains. This really only works because the room you're hiding in belongs to someone the guards trust, he's covering for you and he arranges an additional distraction.
  • Cute and Psycho: Shirley is easy on the eyes and her introduction is cute (for a given value of cute) but you don't want to be there when she loses it.
  • Cuteness Overload: Collecting all of KeA's decorations in Azure results in a scene where she breaks all the girls in the SSS with how adorable she is in a penguin costume (one of said decorations).
  • Day of the Jackboot: Two in Azure.
    • First, Dieter immediately declaring independence upon the referendum supporting it, dissolving the diet, and styling himself President.
    • Second, Erebonia invading and conquering Crossbell as a result of Dieter provoking the major powers and Erebonia happening to be the first to recover from the chaos Dieter catalysed.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Lloyd's Burning Heart Craft which raises all stats for five turns. At the end of those turns, he takes damage and is inflicted with Faint, which can't be prevented even with a Grail Locket.
  • Death Trap and Deadly Game: Campanella lures the SSS to Jona's Hacker Cave, locks them inside with a large amount of explosives and tells them he'll unlock the door if you can beat him at Pom Pom Party in a best out of three match. He's a good enough sport to not only allow you to substitute a player but to actually let you out after he gets his ass handed to him.
  • Developers' Desired Date: Elie is clearly favored as Lloyd's Love Interest; they'd be an Official Couple if it weren't for the games implementing a system that lets the player choose who Lloyd ends up with.
  • Developer's Foresight: Using debug tools allows players to get chests when they're not able to, and the chest messages have snarky remarks.
    ...What? I'm not on the clock, so screw off. They don't pay me enough to make witty remarks to players using debug.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did you just stop an out-of-control homunculus carrying the combined power of three Sept-Terrions?
  • Digital Avatar: Players of Pom Pom Party have avatars similar to the actual appearance of the person. Similarly, during the hacking plotlines, the users are visually represented by an abstracted figure amid lines of code.
  • Disability Superpower: Since she is blind, Shizuku has developed her hearing to the point where she can identify both the identity and the number of people in her vicinity just by their footsteps.
  • Disconnected Side Area: There's a few chests visible in the open in Crossbell City that can only be reached through later dungeons, like the Geofront and Revache & Co. building.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon:
    • Zero has the Revache & Co. building, which is built up for much of the story and forms the climax of Chapter 4 as a long, multi-stage dungeon. But there's one more chapter...
    • The inner levels of Orchis Tower. Following a whirlwind tour of the plot-significant dungeons from the previous game (including a fight with That One Boss, a sign in previous games that you're getting close to the end), you fight to the obvious location where the people behind everything are controlling events, fight your way to the top... and then you realize that you've forgotten something. Namely, that giant tree that appears in the opening movie but hasn't appeared yet in the game...
  • Distant Finale: The last part of Azure's credits montage takes place about two years after the rest of the game.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind:
    • From Zero: You know Joachim Guenter? That easygoing, somewhat lazy doctor that perpetually pushes work off onto his subordinates so he can cut out of work and go fishing? Turns out he's a high priest of the D∴G Cult who is responsible for some of the series's most horrific atrocities and who was secretly perfecting the recipe for Gnosis in the hopes of awakening the Cult's dormant god.
    • And Azure has one of its own. Turns out that the one pulling the strings behind everything that's been happening in the Crossbell games, the mastermind behind the entire devilish plan that included the manipulation of multiple governments, terrorist organizations, and some of the most powerful people on the planet is none other than Ian Grimwood, the humble lawyer with a generous midriff who is affectionately known as "Mr. Beardy-Bear".
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Yin can create duplicates during battle. Fortunately they have less HP and fewer attacks than the original. Unfortunately, they still have the attack with the 90% chance of inflicting Death. Rixia manages to lose this ability when she joins you, both masked as Yin and as herself, probably because it would break the difficulty otherwise.
    • Duvalie also has this ability. In a departure from series tradition, her duplicates have more health than she does.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Trying to figure out whose side Lechter is really on can make your head spin and there's a certain amount of suspicion that even now we haven't seen all the levels of deception at work.
  • Dragged by the Collar: How the Seeker sisters persuade Lloyd to go on a date with the two of them during Crossbell's anniversary festivities.
  • Driving Question: In a departure from series tradition, Zero is the first game in the series to be the first game in an arc that doesn't end in a cliffhanger. However, Zero leaves you with three lingering questions: Who or what exactly is KeA, how did she arrive at the Schwarze Auction, and who really killed Guy Bannings?
  • Drugs Are Bad: In Zero. Once the distribution of Gnosis starts ramping up, it doesn't take long for Crossbell to descend into utter chaos. Everyone who uses the drug changes for the worse, and is eventually either abducted by the D∴G Cult or brainwashed into becoming an obedient pawn. When Joachim starts extolling the virtues of Gnosis after The Reveal, the SSS don't hesitate to call him a madman.
  • Dual Wielding: Lloyd does this with tonfas, Noel packs dual SMGs and Sigmund swings around a pair of enormous axes. Elie normally only uses a single pistol but can pull out a pair when using Divine Crusade.
  • Dub Name Change: A couple of these.
    • Sigmund's nickname was changed from Ogre Rosso to the Scarlet Ogre.
    • The minigame Pomtto was changed to Pom Pom Party.
    • Łazy Hemisphere was changed to Wazy Hemisphere. Łazy is a real Polish word, and the Ł is pronounced /w/... but nobody who isn't familiar with Polish would know that, so it got changed.
    • Mi-she was changed to Mishette.
    • Azure has a few peculiar food items with significantly changed names: Fish Arrow, Quattro-Tomato Pizza, Protect Sandwich, and Recovery Ice Cream were changed to Sardineedles, Quattro-Pomodoro Pizza, Warding Sandwich, and Bracing Ice Cream.
    • Consumables with changed names:
      • Introduced in Zero: Relaxing Gel was changed to Relaxant.
      • In Azure: Bennet Wonderful was changed to Bennet Supreme.
    • A few pieces of armor in Azure had their names changed: Titanium Armor, Saint Cloth, Clarity Dress, and Testament Cloth were changed to Chitin Armor, Saint's Garb, Quality Dress, and Testaments Garb.
    • A few shoes in Azure had their names changed: Knight Leg Guards and Glare Leg Guards were changed to Knight Greaves and Gray Greaves.
    • The various Purrfect pieces of equipment in Zero were originally Nyanderfulnote  instead.
      • In addition, the Nyanderful Ear had its name pluralized to Purrfect Ears.
    • A few accessories had their names changed:
      • Introduced in Zero: Sunny Pendulum, Star Pendulum, and Silence Blue were changed to Solar Pendulum, Stellar Pendulum, and Still Blue.
      • In Azure: Mishy Cap, Mishy Hand, and Mi-she Strap were changed to Mishy Hat, Mishy Paws, and Mishette Key Chain.
    • Elie's ultimate weapon in Azure was changed from X-Shear Ray to Exis Ray.
    • Randy's starting weapon in Azure was changed from All Impact to Mass Impact.
    • One of Wazy's weapons in Azure was changed from Bandit Glove to Banded Gloves.
    • Elie's craft Penetrator was changed to Triple Piercer.
    • Elie's first support craft was changed from Saint Bullet to Priestly Bullet.
    • Wazy's craft Weiss Card was changed to Wise Card.
    • Wazy's support crafts were changed from Draw Joker and Phantom Later to Wild Joker and Hasta Luego.
    • Arts with their names changed:
      • The earth arts Theia Titanis and Earth Glow were changed to Gaea Titanis and Earth Pulse.
      • The water arts Around Noah and End of World were changed to Genesis Flood and Eschaton.
      • The fire art Melty Rise was changed to Impassion.
      • The time art Shadow Apocryph was changed to Shadow Blade.
      • The space art Gold Heiro was changed to Golden Halo.
    • As a general rule, any name changes introduced in the Sky trilogy are carried over here; e.g., "Eidos" -> "Aidios", "orbal muppets" -> "archaisms".
  • Duel Boss: Lloyd convinces Noel to abandon Dieter's plan and join La Résistance after beating her in a one-on-one duel.
  • Dueling Hackers:
    • Tio and Jona versus Kitty. Since the Orbal Network that functions as a rudimentary internet also provides the power to the computers and those computers are running the International Bank of Crossbell, the simple solution of unplugging the machines either from the network or entirely isn't really an option.
    • In Azure, Tio and Jona versus Campanella.
  • Dungeon Town: In the final chapter of Zero, St. Ursula Hospital is occupied by brainwashed Revache members and their monsters, with the staff and patients held hostage, and plays like a traditional dungeon instead of an overworld region.
     E - M 
  • Elemental Absorption: A pair of Quartz (The Helios Orb and Selene Orb) allow a character to absorb all elemental attacks from either the basic four elements or the higher three.
  • Elemental Powers: Because of the way Orbments work, all characters except for Lloyd have at least one Slot restricted to one of the seven types of Quartz, giving them a natural inclination towards one element or another. Despite this, actual specialization is mostly a matter of player choice combined with line setups. The presence of Master Quartz in Azure (which take the place of the previously restricted central slot) let any character accumulate a lot of points in any of the seven Art families.
  • Elite Four: In Azure, Lloyd can go up against the Imperial Fishing Club's Elite Four: Sharkman the Ocean's Edge; Narses the Crazy Wave; Dragon Princess Kaguya; and Triton the Silver Orca. Defeating them allows Lloyd to challenge Lord Lakelord III as the Final Boss of the Fishing Duels.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: In the EN localization, Mei, a girl who lives in the East District with her bwother, Woy (Roy), speaks wike this.
  • Enemy Scan: Tio's Analyzer skill lets you see all stats and item drops, plus the enemy description and then it lowers DEF and ADF as a bonus. The Battle Scope item and Analyze spell perform the same task minus the debuffing. The Information Quartz provides a temporary version of this that doesn't result in a Monster Encyclopedia entry while the Dragon's Vision Quartz lets you get an Encyclopedia entry by killing that enemy while it's equipped.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Lloyd gets Rixia to admit to a large group of people (including her current employer) that it's obvious that what's most important to her is Arc en Ciel. This forces her to deal with that side of herself and convinces Cao to cancel her contract.
  • Ensign Newbie: Noel joins the SSS at the start of Azure and is technically a rookie to that group but seeing how she's already an officer in the CGF she's hardly a newbie. Played a bit closer to straight with Wazy since his prior occupations were running a bar and a gang.
  • Epic Fail: A new feature introduced into the cooking system is multiple outcomes. Depending on a variety of factors, you can produce what you were trying to cook, something better than you were trying for or epic failure. You're actually rewarded for getting all the 'bad' results since both games provide someone who wants the things. There's also results beyond epic failure, producing cat food, fishing bait and 'a failed cooking experiment serving as a warning to others'. There's also the extremely rare Epic Fail that produces U-Material. Somehow.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Shirley's introduction, when she bites Lloyd's ear and gropes Elie.
    • Her father gets his own such moment almost immediately afterwards.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In Azure, Chairman Hartmann and Ernest both respond to each other in this way. Hartmann calls Ernest insane for trying to bring about the will of the D∴G Cult and Joachim, and Ernest responds by saying that someone who frequented Paradise has no room to talk.
    • Later on, it's revealed that the only member of the conspiracy who doesn't mind that their plan is dependent on emotionally manipulating a traumatized child is Mariabell.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Happens ten minutes into Zero when all four main characters meet each other for the first time. It makes sense as the SSS was just formed and officially commissioned as the game began.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Joachim Guenter. The D∴G Cult believe that the Septian Church and belief in Aidios are holding humanity back. Their Gnosis experiments were intended to put humanity where it 'should' have been. Said experiments included summoning demons and creating drugs based on researching the demons, kidnapping children and testing the drugs on them to inevitably horrifying results and using some of the survivors as child prostitutes for blackmail purposes. Surprisingly though, manages to avoid the usual Science Is Bad aspect of the trope since it's clear they're an abberation... and ultimately revealed to be The Pawn in someone elses scheme.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Lloyd's innocent charm makes him popular with all the ladies - and some guys.
  • Evil All Along: Dieter, Mariabell and Arios. In the end even Ian is also evil...
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Mariabell Crois gains a new outfit after being her true colors are revealed. Overlaps a bit with Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains on the same character, since she is quite sensibly-dressed when seemingly allied with the heroes while her villain costume is quite skimpy.
    • Dieter, Noel, Arios, Sonya and the rest of C.G.F. wear white suits after Dieter revealed his 'plan'. After rejoining the party, Noel stops wearing white and goes back to her regular clothes.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Discussed with Lloyd and Noel during the prologue of Azure. While Revache was a horrible mafia outfit, they did keep some measure of order in the underworld. With them, and their backers in the diet removed thanks to the Cult incident at the end of Zero, this leaves room for new threats to come in and take their place. This is proven as soon as the next chapter, where Heiyue buys up several of Revache's former properties to extend it's own reach.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • In the backstory, at least. Ouroboros and the Cult of D∴G absolutely hate each other and take practically any opportunity to do harm to one another, much to the relief of anyone else in the know.
    • The Mob War between Revache and Heiyue in present-day Crossbell, although the latter is presented as A Lighter Shade of Black as they don't directly harm civilians if they can help it.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Renne's parents just happen to explain their side of the story of what happened to their missing and believed long-dead daughter in Lloyd's apartment while she is hiding in Lloyd's closet in order to avoid them. Though Lloyd did specifically ask them of it at that moment, likely because he knew Renne would be listening in, and as revealed in Azure, KeA changed history so that the SSS were closer to Renne so that they wouldn't be killed by Joachim, and this is likely a result of that as well.
  • Expositing the Masquerade: Some of the crazy things the SSS runs into have been known by the Bracers, the Church and/or higher ups in the CSPD for years. Once you start to run into it, they help explain things to you, to the extent of their own knowledge.
  • Exposition Cut: Used frequently to keep the characters from repeating things the player already knows. This is also used on occasion to avoid repeating things the player is presumed to already know, such as the main plot of the previous trilogy when Estelle and Joshua explain why they're in Crossbell.
  • Extremely Overdue Library Book: The SSS are given multiple quests involving tracking down late library books.
  • Failure Gambit: In Azure, the SSS catch wind that two separate terrorist groups from Erebonia and Calvard are likely to attack the West Zemuria Trade Conference to attempt to assassinate Osborne and President Rocksmith respectively. The Imperial and Republican representatives were aware of this, but had intentionally neglected to inform Crossbell's government in hopes of using their failure to prevent the attack as proof of their incompetence at managing themselves to further tighten their hold over the state.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Shirley cuts the chain holding up the massive chandelier above the Arc-en-Ciel stage, which falls and apparently kills Ilya, although she survives. She did it so she could get Rixia to fight her.
  • False Flag Operation:
    • Chapter 2 of Zero centers around a plan to make the assassination of Mayor MacDowell get blamed on the Calvard faction by stirring up fears of the legendary Calvardian assassin Yin. Which fails miserably because one of the first people the perpetrator tries to use to start spreading the story happens to be Yin's civilian identity.
    • Since Red Constellation had openly done a job for Osborne earlier in Azure, everyone assumed they were still working for him when they launched a terrorist attack that destroyed a good part of Crossbell City. This caused everyone to blame the Empire for their actions. But their true employer at that time was Dieter Crois, in order to cause outrage against the empire and make people more willing to back his independence referendum.
  • Fanservice: Some of the promotional material of the games tend towards the more sexier end of the spectrum. This is in contrast to the games themselves, as they are fairly tame in content.
  • Fell Asleep Crying: After Pater-Mater's Heroic Sacrifice, you can find the Brights in an inn in Mainz. Poor Renne is asleep on a bed on the upper floor, having cried herself to sleep, and if you try to speak to her the party will hear her calling out first for Pater-Mater, then for her mother and father.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: The player can invoke this by taking Lloyd and a character of your choice to the wheel in Mishelam Wonderland.
  • Fetch Quest: The volume of fetch quests the SSS is tasked with gets Lampshaded by Randy in chapter 2 of Zero:
    Randy: Work's work, but is it me, or does the SSS get saddled with a lot of fetch requests?
  • Fiery Cover-Up: Dieter and Mariabell arrange for this to happen to the IBC, at the hands of the Red Constellation.
  • Final Dungeon Preview: Zero starts with Lloyd and the team entering the underground tomb where the mastermind of the recent crimes in Crossbell is waiting, though said introduction actually occurred in an entirely different Alternate Timeline.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Lloyd has a nightmare in Azure, flashing back to the end of the final boss battle of Zero. Except that unlike what really happened, in his nightmare Estelle and Joshua aren't present, Renne doesn't arrive and Joachim's Taking You with Me succeeds...
  • Force-Field Door: A set of doors in the Revache building are guarded by both a physical door and an energy barrier, both of which have to be disabled before you can proceed.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • If you visit Mireille at Bellguard Gate during the last day of Chapter 4 in Zero, she mentions that CGF forces there had just received a shipment of a new high-end vitamin supplement from St. Ursula's Medical College. The vitamins are actually Gnosis, which leads to the Bellguard Gate forces being controlled by Joachim in the final chapter.
    • In his first appearance in Azure, Olivier mentions 'the Military Academy' and though it isn't named, he's referring to Thors, the setting for the immediate next game.
    • At the very beginning of Azure, Kevin mentions that the Gralsritter are forbidden from operating in Crossbell by order of Bishop Eralda. This is why Wazy is posing as a gang leader/bartender.
    • In a blink and you miss it moment, when visiting Orchis Tower, Mariabell, who had mostly been known as Elie's funny and helpful best friend up until that point, throws a nasty look at Ke A.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: East Street, where many immigrants from Calvard (or Calvard by way of the countries further east) live. It's not limited to that ethnic population though; the Bracers Guild and Fishing Guild are both set up there and the Seeker sisters live in an apartment within the district.
  • Full-Body Disguise: Yin's mask and all-concealing hooded coat which serves two purposes: First, to hide that 'Yin' is a Legacy Character and second, to hide that the current Yin is Rixia.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • When introducing the speakerphone function of the Enigma unit to Lloyd in Zero, Tio warns him not to overuse it as it consumes quite a bit more EP than usual. In-game, you use the Enigma units to cast Magic from Technology via Orbal Arts, which consumes EP.
    • Arios' ability to pull off Big Damn Heroes moments in Zero carries over to Azure when he's briefly playable and exactly as overpowered as you'd expect. On the enemy side of things, Arianrhod is just as nasty in gameplay as the reputation that precedes her.
    • The "Delivery Deception" quest in Azure occurs because the SSS chance upon a scam in progress, but Lloyd notes that the swindler is fleeing the state as they speak and they don't have much time. He's not kidding: if you don't immediately travel to his likely destination after you pinpoint it, the quest will fail.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: One scene in Zero features Lechter and Ganz facing off in a poker match using five-card draw rules, with wildcards in play. However, the only version of poker available to the player is a variant of Super Texas Hold 'Em, with no wildcards.
  • Geometric Magic: Alchemy is mentioned a fair amount in Zero and in Azure the subject of the books stored in Stargazer's Tower become important. It turns out that the Geofront complex is in fact a massive alchemical circle which is crucial to the plan to reawaken the power of Demiourgos.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Tio loves Mishy, the cat mascot of the local theme park, and keeps several dolls in her room. Virtually all of KeA's furniture accessories are plushies of some kind.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The attempt to recreate Demiourgos turned out a little too well...
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Dieter's attempt to make Crossbell independent ends up resulting in an Erebonian occupation, and it's implied it could just as easily have been a Calvardian occupation had the Republic managed to suppress their far-right terrorists more quickly.
  • Goofy Suit: One sidequest has Lloyd acting as a stand-in for the actor who wears the Mishy costume for a day. Tio spends the day wearing the Mishette costume, ready to kick Lloyd if he plays the role wrong.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Erebonia and, to a lesser extent, Calvard loom large over everything that's happening in Crossbell.
  • Guide Dang It!: As with Trails in the Sky, these games are absolutely loaded with it. Between getting max DP, collecting all the books/recipes, finding hidden quests and all those Quartz and other items with secret requirements, players will be uttering this a lot.
    • In addition to the more obvious choices that affect bond levels in Zero (who to bring to major events), every party member has an extra 15 points available by doing something in the story. Randy's requires certain choices in a quest, while Tio needs you to talk to a specific NPC at one point in Chapter 1, but Ellie's... is based on how many sidequests you complete in Chapter 2. Nothing in the game hints at this, aside from the fact the chapter coincides with her Character Development and conflict over staying with the SSS, so a player going for 100% completion will give her a big lead in bonding points without realizing. In addition, simply using a character's Combination Attack with Lloyd raises their bond level, meaning those going for a specific character's final event might have to forgo certain attacks.
    • One standout example in Zero should suffice to illustrate the depths of Guide Dang It! present in the games: In Chapter 4, there's a quest that takes you to Rosenberg Studio and is the only time you'll be allowed past the gate. It's a hidden quest so you have to talk to the right person to trigger it and you can't even do that unless you have almost all possible DP up until that point. Miss a couple of earlier hidden quests or fail a couple of bonus DP conditions and you'll never know this quest exists. You also need to clear this quest if you want to get the rewards for having a full Monster Encyclopedia from Rebecca and for the in-game Record.
    • Azure has a particularly fun one: A series of hidden quests that are all required for Lloyd to realize something during a story event (which gets you one of the Records) so if you miss finding even one of them, you're out of luck. Finding these quests requires you to go out of your way as the giver likes to hang out in places away from where the player is supposed to be at the time.
    • Annoyingly, there are several fights in the game that have extra conditions that must be satisfied in order to gain the most DP, such as finishing the fight within a specific timespan. Notably, this includes defeating several bosses that seem like Hopeless Boss Fights (and that the game treats that way, not even bothering to give the player an option to retry if they die and instead simply progressing with the story), including the first fights against Sigmund Orlando and Arios, as well as a particularly egregious case in the battle against Arianhod. Most of the time these conditions aren't even hinted at and since the DP is bonus DP, you'll never know that you missed it unless you look at a guide.
  • The Gunslinger: Elie, Dudley and Sergei all use handguns and the latter two include shotguns in their arsenal. Noel is More Dakka personified with an arsenal starting at the dual-SMG level.
  • Hacker Cave: Jona has a nice setup in the Geofront. The floor is, naturally, strewn with empty food and drink containers. Fortunately for the local pizza delivery boys, Jona has them leave his orders by the public entrances instead of making them go down there to deliver. It gets cleaned up by Campanella in Azure. With fire.
  • Haunted Castle:
    • The Moon Temple appears this way when you first visit it, being haunted by undead spirits and demons. Once you clear it out, it's actually quite pleasant. The Sun Fort also comes off this way, being a largely ruined and monster-infested structure. The D∴G Cult sets up shop in its depths, thus contributing to the atmosphere.
    • The Horror Coaster at Mishelam Wonderland is set up as one of these. Elie wonders if Mariabell had it made specifically to scare her.
  • Heal It With Fire: In a sign of Developer's Foresight, as of Zero, it is possible to 'heal' the Frozen status effect by hitting the victim with a fire-elemental attack. Potentially doubles as Worst Aid if accidentally done to you by the enemy. The reverse is also true as the water-elemental Tear spells cure the new status effect Burning.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason for Guy's death. Guy realized the plan to use the Sept-Terrion of Zero for Crossbell's independence and confronted Arios about it. Ian, who knew Guy would not join them, murdered Guy while Guy was busy trying to persuade Arios to stop the plan.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Both Lloyd and Randy try to pull this, but get interrupted.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Even moreso than in Trails in the Sky; Investigator Dudley, Arios MacLaine, Wazy Hemisphere and the Seeker sisters all definitely feel like this and many join the party for a bit. Natch for Estelle & Joshua, too. In fact, those two quite literally have another story going on in the background for a significant portion of the game, in the form of their search for Renne, which eventually intersects violently with the main plot. Interestingly, most of these characters also join the party in Trails to Azure, with Noel and Wazy acting as more or less permanent party members. The Brights (now including Renne) also reappear in Azure, and played major role in the Crossbell invasion.
    • Lechter and Kilika, Kevin and Ries, Olivier, the four Bracers of Crossbell, and Mireille are this in Azure.
  • Hero on Hiatus: The beginning of Azure is an example of this trope for the SSS, with Lloyd performing counter-terrorism work, Elie helping out her grandfather, Randy working with the CGF after the events of Zero and Tio back with the Epstein Foundation. Upon returning to Crossbell after the Prologue, Elie joins up again and Noel and Wazy become new members to bring the team up to four. Tio and Randy rejoin in due time, having finished the duties that were keeping them away.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: At the beginning of the game, many in the CPD, bracers, and general public see the SSS as a publicity stunt and cheap imitation of the bracers. Though their attitudes slowly change as the SSS solve major cases.
  • Host Club: Toyed with. Trinity doesn't function as one but Wazy moonlights as a host and is in much demand with Crossbell's ladies.
  • How We Got Here: Zero opens with Lloyd and the team entering the base where the Big Bad is located and prepare to put an end to it, with the story shifting back to the start of Lloyd's arrival in Crossbell and following the events leading up. However, it is revealed in Azure that the introduction was the lead-in to a Bad Future where the team was killed in the battle, causing KeA to have a Traumatic Superpower Awakening to move time back to the beginning. In the process, making alterations that would allow Estelle and Joshua, along with Renne to rescue them at the right moment.
  • Humongous Mecha: Pater-Mater returns in the climax of Zero and again in Azure. Workshop Thirteen has been busy producing more mechanical terrors for you to fight, chief among them the Aion Series, which can operate autonomously or be piloted by a human as needed.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: The commander of Bellguard Gate spends most of his time schmoozing, partying, and ass-kissing, and him actually bothering to do his job is a recipe for disaster, so Warrant Officer Mireille is the one who actually has to get things done.
  • Hypocrite: Osborne and Rocksmith complain about how inefficient and corrupt Crossbell's government is to try to gain further direct control over Crossbell's affairs, blatantly ignoring that the reason why Crossbell's government is so inefficient and vulnerable to corruption is its charter — which was drawn up that way, on purpose, by Erebonia and Calvard, for the specific reason of ensuring that its government would be unable to achieve anything of substance without their approval.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Most of the cast. Randy. Elie and Arios sport awesome coats and Yin takes this up to eleven with a coat consisting of multiple overlapping featherlike segments, Noel shows off Fashionable Asymmetry combined with a hat, Rixia in Azure sports a very fancy Chinese-style dress but the absolute master of this trope is Wazy with absolutely everything he wears, even the swimsuit.
  • Impossible Thief: Bleublanc managing to steal a statue requiring a team of people to move from City Hall without being seen would qualify on its own. The fact that he hid it in the Mayor's bedroom without anyone noticing makes it all the more amazing. Then he impersonates the official you return the statue to so he can compliment you on your work and give you a reward for your efforts.
  • Improvised Weapon: Lloyd and Garcia create some improvised armaments while in captivity and use them in their escape.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Present to varying degrees in Zero thanks to the rampant corruption and cronyism in Crossbell's elite circles. This even gets Played for Laughs in a sidequest in Bellguard Gate, where Warrant Officer Mirielle contacts the SSS in a desperate bid to find the keys to a prototype military truck that the base commander drove in and lost, resulting in said truck being stuck on the Erebonian border, at a time when Chancellor Osborne is looking for any excuse to annex Crossbell. Absolutely everyone seems aware that they're only cleaning up the base commander's mess, as there's no way he'll ever take any responsibility for his ineptitude. This incompetence is also what allows Joachim to freely traffic Gnosis within Bellguard Gate as a supposed "supplement" developed by Saint Ursula, as he knows full well that the base commander won't do any due diligence regarding his claims.
  • Inconsistent Spelling:
    • The game's star female nurse and Lloyd's surrogate sister was named "Cecil" in Falcom materials, which is the male version of the name. Notably, this even tripped up NISA who, when translating Trails of Cold Steel III, came across a reference to Cecil and referred to her using male pronouns by mistake. A subsequent patch corrected the error and changed her name to "Cecile", the feminine version of the name. NISA followed this up in their localizations of Zero and Azure by continuing to spell her name as Cecile.
    • Lechter receives another spelling change in Azure. First it's "Lechter Arundel" in The 3rd, "Lecter Arandor" on the official website, and finally "Lector Alandor" in the in-game picture viewer. The official English localization of Azure changes his name back to "Lechter Arundel" to be consistent with The 3rd.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: A required quest in Zero involves correctly identifying a counterfeit dealer from a group of suspects that came to Crossbell on a bus from Calvard. If you pick the correct suspect, the elderly woman, Lloyd identifies her as having lied about her last trip there: she claimed to have visited Mishelam Wonderland with her grandson three years before, even though it hadn't been built at the time. That, however, is not this. What is this is that after she continues trying to deny being involved in anything shady, eventually asking if he seriously thinks a kind elderly lady like herself would be heinous enough to pawn off counterfeit goods on unsuspecting people. Elie then tells her it's the final nail in the coffin, as they never mentioned anything about counterfeiting.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • As with FC and SC, your ultimate reward for completing the book collection quest is the strongest weapon for your character of choice. Azure has a bit of mercy on you by providing the means to acquire a second Zemurian Stone without having to collect all the books, which in turn lets you get two per playthrough if you're diligent and a third in New Game+ after you fight all the Super Bosses.
    • There's also character-exclusive Infinity+1 Armor for each SSS member in Zero and for everyone in Azure, plus gender-exclusive Infinity+1 Shoes. All of these can be synthesized and getting the item(s) necessary is much less of a Guide Dang It! than the Zemurian Stones are.
  • Inherent in the System: Many of the problems Crossbell City faces are the result of its unique political situation and the agendas of its neighbors. The city was made as an autonomous buffer state between two superpowers who are at each other's throats and each want to take the city for themselves due to its resources and strategic location. Due to this, many members of the diet are installed from Erebonia and Calvard to cater to the interests of the respective nations with the well-being, opinions, and livelihoods of the citizens treated as an afterthought, resulting in rampant corruption in law enforcement and government. Trying to deal with the problems created by this system plays a critical part in the SSS' journey, and also serves as the motivation of several antagonists.
  • Inner City School: Actually completely subverted, there's a running background story where a nun at Crossbell Cathedral is trying to get the youth of Downtown to attend Sunday School without much success. The big fancy church that also educates the children of the rich and powerful is open to everyone, the kids in question just aren't going. This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight since one of Downtown's two gangs is led by a high-ranking agent for the Church in disguise. When Ries arrives in Azure, she has somewhat better luck getting the kids to attend.
  • Insistent Terminology: Crossbell is an Autonomous State. It is not a nation. It's an important distinction — while the Crossbell Government has the power to manage its own affairs over its own citizens, it has limited authority over foreign nationals within its borders, and it is explicitly subservient to the nations that declared it an Autonomous State, who conspire together to keep Crossbell weak but prosperous so they can continue milking its tax revenue for themselves, while conspiring to claim the whole region for themselves.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Pater-Mater was already intelligent, but by the end of Zero it's grown enough that it is able to choose to ignore what Renne tells it to do in favor of doing what Renne really wants but is too scared of rejection to contemplate. In Azure, it even uses its newfound sentience to pull a Heroic Sacrifice in order to protect Renne.
  • Instant Costume Change: In Zero, Lloyd and a chosen companion crash the Schwarze Auction and when it becomes clear that something suspicious is happening, they begin searching the area along with Wazy. All of them are dressed up in fancy outfits suitable for the high-class party atmosphere of the auction. After they discover a mysterious girl in a trunk, KeA, an alarm sounds and a couple of guards appear and are quickly taken out by Wazy. He says they'll be caught if they stay any longer and Lloyd agrees. His sprite turns to KeA, gives a little spin, and he is instantly in his normal outfit. The second the cutscene ends, both of the others are as well.
  • Instant Runes: Falcom likes these in general but they took the opportunity to really go all out in these games. These appear during chants and in a couple of Arts, as well as in a number of Crafts and Combo Crafts.
  • Interface Screw: An unusual example of one happens early in Azure. The party is required to look at all the Support Requests under the guise of getting new members Noel and Wazy up to speed on how the SSS works and one of those requests is an optional monster hunt. You're forced to pass through the area where those monsters are, only to find that someone has already slaughtered them. The request then vanishes from the list as it only existed to set up this encounter. Yes, the game uses its own mechanics as foreshadowing.
  • Internal Reveal: The player is shown Yin's true identity at the end of Chapter 2 of Zero. The SSS don't find out until late into Azure.
  • The Internet: Crossbell has a rudimentary one in the form of the Orbal Network, installed and undergoing testing by the Epstein Foundation. Originally it was going to be tested in cooperation with Zeiss Central Factory in Liberl, but the IBC was able to offer more money and the convenience of Crossbell's existing Geofront system. The Network plays a minor role in the plot of Zero and a larger one in Azure, while being generally important because it's the reason your characters get cellphone Orbments.
    • Late in Azure, it's revealed that the Orbal Network (like so many other things in Crossbell) was developed for the sole purpose of turning the entirety of Crossbell State into an enormous alchemical circle to complete the ritual that will recreate one of the Sept-Terrion.
  • Intimate Lotion Application: In a bonding event during some downtime at a beach, Cecile requests that Lloyd apply sunscreen to her and two of his lady friends — Elie and Rixia. The request completely catches him and the girls off guard, causing a Big "WHAT?!" reaction. If the player agrees to it, they also get a choice on who to apply it first. No matter which girl is picked, it will trigger a Ship Tease scene where he'll get distracted by the chosen girl's body and fall silent, prompting the girls to comment on it and causing Lloyd to get all flustered.
  • Involuntary Group Split: Happens to the party in Azure's Prologue, forcing Lloyd and Noel to go on alone. Much later, you'll run into a Party Scattering situation that forces you to reassemble the entire team.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: At first, Cecile thinks KeA is actually Lloyd's daughter.
  • Item Crafting: A new feature in the Crossbell Arc is the ability to upgrade your weapons or create new items from raw materials. Weapons (and certain protective gear) can be upgraded through the use of U-Material and occasionally Sepith. Accessory upgrades/creation sometimes require Noodle Implements like fish.
  • Item Amplifier: The effect of the Master Quartz 'Moebius'. It increases the amount of restored HP/EP, increases the range at which you can use items and at max level, even makes the items possess an area of effect. Once you have a few Zeram Capsules, this becomes game-breakingly powerful.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Lloyd's reasoning for not using KeA's Power of Zero to rewrite the history of Crossbell.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Osborne and Rocksmith have a valid point when they bring up that Crossbell's government has had a number of grievous security failures in the recent past during the West Zemuria Trade Conference, even if they're only bringing them up as leverage to exploit Crossbell further.
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • The 1st Department of the Crossbell Police like to step in on all the interesting cases, to the annoyance of both the 2nd Department and the Special Support Section. This also exists between the Bracers Guild and the CSPD as a whole during the events of Zero. Both issues generally go away after the SSS proves themselves to the rest of the city and restore the faith of the people in their police.
    • Bishop Eralda does not like the Gralsritter, which forces their people to operate undercover, such as when Ries arrives in Azure, and is the reason why Wazy and Abbas have to hide by running a bar.
  • Karma Houdini: The worst thing that the CPD can do to criminals from Calvard or Erebonia is pull their visa and deport them, with no guarantee that their home government will do anything to punish them for their crimes.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: As in the original trilogy, they're the preferred weapon of Eight Leaves practitioners. Arios does pretty ridiculous damage with it. Of course, he's also twenty levels higher than you are with an amazing assortment of Crafts and a high-level Master Quartz.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Sully, who talks like a boy, dresses like a boy and has extremely short hair. Lloyd even mistakes her for a boy when they first meet. Sully is not amused.
  • Land of One City: Crossbell State does have some smaller towns and developments, but they're all just exurbs of Crossbell City. Justified in-universe by the political situation that led to its existence in the first place and the fact that it's so small that there isn't really room for a second city.
  • La Résistance: The SSS and the remnants of the CGF form the core of this after Erebonia occupies the country, with covert assistance from a number of characters from the previous trilogy.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Joachim is beaten to the point of Body Horror by a party including one of the victims of the cult he helped lead, then additionally fried by yet another survivor of the Gnosis experiments, using technology she can only operate because of those experiments.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Ilya says that there's no way that Arc en Ciel can cancel their performance, despite the threat of the assassin Yin. Troupe Leader Avan agrees that they all belong to the stage, heart and soul, despite them not all being quite as insa-...passionate as Ilya.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • Azure's promotional materials have oodles of these for Zero, especially concerning Rixia and her actual skills and place in the world. Magazine promotional articles have also openly spoil many plot elements from Trails in the Sky SC.
    • Double Subverted by Lechter. The promotional materials for Zero and Azure didn't shy about revealing his occupation and alignment; yet they keep their mouth shut when it comes to his relationship with Kloe (which is half of the reason for his existence in the first place).
    • It also generally is a Late-Arrival Spoiler for the original Sky series as a whole. A good number of major plot twists, as well as what happened to numerous characters, are casually mentioned.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point, an exasperated Lloyd tells Randy that no, Cecile wasn't Saying It With Hearts, in response to Randy putting those marks in his own speech when mimicking her.
  • Lighter and Softer: While this does not apply to Azure in general, given that it sticks to the Trails tradition of raising the stakes of the conflict compared to Zero, there are two aspects which are actually played less darkly compared to its predecessor:
    • The first is the trip to Mishelam Wonderland. In Zero, the visit is strictly work-related and the SSS have no time to really explore the park or its attractions. In Azure, they visit Mishelam again as part of a vacation, and this time they can take it easy and fully explore what the park has to offer. However, later revelations do make the context behind the trip a lot more sinister in hindsight.
    • The second is a more downplayed example which concerns the primary villains of each game. The D∴G Cult in Zero is portrayed as an unambiguously depraved enterprise responsible for some of the most horrific atrocities in the entire series, and Joachim himself turns out to be just as Ax-Crazy and fanatical once he reveals his true colors. However, while the villains of Azure were manipulating the cult for their own ends, and they do manage to succeed to a far greater degree than Joachim, many of them, such as Dieter Crois, Arios MacLaine and Ian Grimwood, are genuine WellIntentionedExtremists, and even Mariabell, who's the most unscrupulous and power-hungry of them, considers the SSS to be WorthyOpponents and seems to have a genuine soft spot for Elie in particular.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: As the game goes on in Azure, orbal arts start to greatly outlcass physical Crafts in terms of damage, making the ones with high ATS stats the best damage dealers in the game.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The fishing contests in Azure can become this, particularly the final match against Lakelord. There, victory is determined by three things: Whether you have a wide selection of bait and can remember which ones attract which fish, whether you triggered the conditions necessary to have a Royal Bait EX and the Aqua Ruler needed to use it and whether the RNG decides to play nice when you use a bait that can catch more than one kind of fish.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: When playing Poker at the casino, you can fold once per 'level' for a nominal loss of tokens and replay the hand. Since the game already runs on video game logic (to prevent Save Scumming your way to infinite Mira from the start of the game) this is understandable from a challenge perspective, even if real gambling doesn't work that way.
  • Mad Doctor: While Joachim is more a Mad Scientist Evilutionary Biologist in his goals, he hides in plain sight as a doctor.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: The Trails franchise is no stranger to poker matches being decided by royal flushes pitted against other high-value hands, but a scene in Zero takes it even further by having Lechter and Ganz's poker match conclude with Lechter's five-of-a-kind (even higher value than a royal flush, but only possible with wildcards) trumping Ganz's straight flush. Ganz does not take it well and has to be forcefully escorted out of the casino.
  • Magic Staff: The Orbal Staff is a high-tech version of this, based off the technology of the setting.
  • Make a Wish: The centerpiece of the Mirror Castle attraction at Mishelam Wonderland is a bell and a mirror. After you ring the bell, you look into the mirror while making a wish and it's believed your wish will come true. Lloyd can take a large number of characters with him and see what their wishes are. Sometimes, what they say they wished for isn't what they really wished for. Every wish winds up coming true, eventually.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Mariabell is The Chessmaster who either orchestrated or took advantage of everything that happened throughout the Crossbell duology for her own plans.
    • More broadly speaking, the Crois dynasty is revealed to be behind the creation of the D∴G cult in the first place, using them as an Unwitting Pawn in their plan to resurrect the Sept-Terrion of Mirage. Although it's also made clear that by the present day, they are far from closely allied. The cult has been operating independently of the Crois family's direction for ages now, and while Dieter and Mariabell do exploit the cult's research for their own ends, they don't lift a finger to protect them from the consequences of their reprehensible actions, with the small exception of Guy Bannings's murder giving Joachim more time to refine his Gnosis drug.
  • Marathon Boss: As per tradition in the series. In case you die in a phase, you can restart again from the beginning of that phase rather than having to replay the entire sequence.
  • Master Swordsman: Arios.
  • Matryoshka Object: In Zero, a chest in Ancient Battlefield has this message.
    Inside the chest you find a smaller chest. Inside that chest is an even smaller chest. Inside that is an even smaller chest. Inside that chest…
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A sidequest in Azure involves returning wrongly-delivered packages to their correct addresses. The last of these is a doll sent to a house in the Residential District that's been abandoned for years. The SSS is greeted by a young girl who claims the parcel is for her, and its contents turn out to be a doll that looks exactly like her. Imelda then arrives and reveals the house really is abandoned and she's using it as a storeroom, and when the SSS go to check on the girl, they find two identical dolls. Tio senses vague "spiritual energy" and the SSS (much to Elie's annoyance) wonder whether they encountered a ghost. But the dolls were Rosenberg-made and given the workshop's connection to Ouroboros, it's possible she could've been an advanced Archaism like Renne's fake parents or the Joshua dolls in the Sky games.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Randy is a rather... randy dude. Lampshaded in the name of the achievement you get for seeing his final bonding event in Azure, "Randy for Randy".
    • The clothing saleslady at the department store is named Prada.
    • The mining town is named Mainz (pronounced like "mine" with a "ts" appended onto it).
    • The lifeguard at the beach in Mishelam is named Wave.
    • Arianrhod's Stahlritter is a reference to the Eisenritter, a group of warriors who fought in a civil war in Erebonia 250 years ago. Arianrhod is in fact Lianne Sandlot, the leader of the Eisenritter who was supposed to have died under mysterious circumstances.
    • The Alcoholic in the Downtown District is named Bacchus.
    • Dieter is derived from the German for "ruler of the people". Guess who sets himself up as a dictator.
  • Merchant City: Crossbell is a trade hub between Erebonia and Calvard to the west and east and Liberl and Remiferia to the south and north. It's the capital and heart of Crossbell State and unlike its Liberlian equivalent of Bose, there is a thriving Black Market run by the Mafia. It's also the second-largest city in western Zemuria, after Erebonia's capital Heimdallr.
  • Metamorphosis:
    • The end result of Red Gnosis use is becoming a gigantic demonic creature. This turns out to have been foreshadowed in ''the 3rd'' with the strange substance Renne was made to take in Paradise and (sort of) by the boy who transformed into a demon that Kevin was forced to kill.
    • This also happens to Wald, who uses a new kind of Gnosis where the transformation was caused by Wald's will to gain more power, rather than as an inherent property of the drug itself.
  • Meteor Move: Garcia does this with his S-Craft Killing Drive.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Due to its status as a buffer state between two major powers, Crossbell isn't permitted to have a military large enough to be any real threat to either of them, which also means they don't have enough firepower to handle the problems that their military is supposed to be dealing with. Erebonia and Calvard use that (and the fact that some of the Guardians got caught up in the Gnosis incident of Zero) to try to get it replaced with garrisons from their own militaries.
  • Minigame Zone: In Zero, the casino in the Entertainment District offers fun with Company Cross References, three different games to play and a nice assortment of items you can purchase with your winnings. Evolution adds even more minigames scattered throughout Crossbell. Azure adds Mishelam Wonderland. Getting Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer is entirely possible in these games, even moreso when you include fishing.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In Zero, the SSS mediating a fight between two delinquent gangs leads to them unravelling a massive conspiracy involving The Mafia, an Auction of Evil, Crossbell's most prominent politicians, drugs and the remnants of a child-abusing, devil-worshipping cult.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In Zero, after Lloyd vehemently denies dating either Elie or Tio, Cecile assumes he's dating Randy instead and proclaims that he has her full support.
  • Mob War: A sizeable part of the plot of Zero is one going on between the Erebonian mafia operating out of Revache and Co and the Calvardian triad operating out of Heiyue Trading, Ltd. Heiyue ends up being portrayed more sympathetically, as all of their crimes are committed in the background against other criminals, while Revache is shown openly running protection rackets and the like against honest citizens.
  • More Dakka: Noel, who carries around dual SMGs, an assault rifle, an electromagnetic net caster and a rocket launcher. Her Blast Storm S-Craft gives Tita a run for her money. Then she calls in the fire support for her second S-Craft.
  • My Hero, Zero: Mariabell claims that since KeA's powers surpass that of the Sept-Terrion of Mirage, she should properly be called the Sept-Terrion of Zero instead.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: In Azure, a chest message in the Old Mine parodies this trope.
    My name is Inigo Chestoya. You opened my father. Prepare to die.
  • Mysterious Past: Randy and Wazy prior to their arrival in Crossbell and to a much lesser extent what Elie was doing abroad prior to the start of the games.

     N - R 
  • Natural Elements: While there are seven elements, the final three become subject to the same mechanics regarding elemental weaknesses and resistances only in some instances. It's also highly relevant to the plot when this happens. The Crois family was attempting to recreate the lost Sept-Terrion 'Demiourgos' which governed Mirage. What they got was the 'Sept-Terrion of Zero', all three higher elements in one. The work involved in creating that power led to the weirdness with the higher elements.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the penultimate chapter of Zero, the SSS takes a drug sample to Dr Guenter for analysis. Unfortunately, since the person they went to talk to was the mastermind, this served to warn him that the police were closing in, causing him to accelerate his plans and kick off the events of the final chapter.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Randy likes coming up with nicknames: Mademois-Elie, Tio Tot, KeDo, Jon-ster, Sulldier...
    • KeA does it as well; she at least has the excuse of being nine.
  • Noble Wolf: Zeit, a big badass wolf who chooses to hang out with the SSS, and whose true form is one of the Sacred Beasts tasked with watching over the Sept-Terrion.
  • Noisy Robots: The Angel Doll and Tildawn Doll enemies are visually indistinguishable from the Blade Angel and Tildawn enemies from the previous trilogy... except that it's noted in their flavor text that they emit obviously mechanical sounds when they move.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Zeit, to Tio
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The only members of the SSS who bother wearing uniforms are Lloyd and Noel, and Noel's is actually a CGF uniform, not a CSPD uniform.
  • Nostalgia Level: The SSS will fight monsters from the Sky trilogy in Revache's warehouse, due to the mob importing monsters from Liberl.
  • NOT!: One of the empty chest messages added in the English-language localization of Trails from Zero reads "Upon further inspection, you found a Zeram Capsule. ...Pfft. You wish."
  • Not Completely Useless: In case you didn't fully appreciate the value of an area-of-effect 50% AGL buff in Zero (shame on you!), you will in Azure where it's essential if you want to actually beat Arianrhod.
  • Not Me This Time: In Azure, when your party investigates the Geofront C Sector, they find mechanical monsters that spit fire, similar to the out-of-control cleaning robots they encountered in the sector where Jona was originally holing up and which he admitted to being responsible for. These, however, he insists that he isn't, that he's never even been there before.
  • Obviously Not Fine: After discussion of Gnosis causes Tio's memories of being held captive by the D∴G Cult to come flooding back, the others notice something's wrong as they leave for the bus. She insists she's fine even as she's noticeably pale and on the verge of collapsing.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Rixia and Walter fought offscreen prior to the events of Zero, a fight that ended in a draw. Renne speaks for the audience when she's impressed and wishes she could have seen that.
    • In Azure Chapter 3, Peter states that of the Fisherman's Guild members, he's the only one who has yet to beat one of the Elite Four of the Imperial Fishing Club, which means the other two members did manage to beat at least one of the Elite Four.
    • In the Chapter 3/4 transition, we have the fights between Rixia and Shirley and Abbas and Ashley versus Wald off-camera.
    • The reason why Guy Bannings was killed was because he figured out 90% of the details of the Crois' plan (basically everything except for Ian's involvement and the precise nature of their secret weapon) three years before they set anything in motion.
  • Ojou: Elie, of the Proper Lady subtype. She has the social standing based on her relationship to Crossbell's mayor and her household calls her by the title. Randy also calls her this before the SSS realizes the implications of her last name and keeps calling her that throughout the series in lieu of her name.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final bosses has several forms, each more over-the-top than the last.
    • Earnest does so as well.
    • And Wald
    • KeA or rather her power of Zero.
  • Online Alias: The hacker the IBC is looking for during the events of Zero goes by the alias of Kitty. Players were not entirely surprised to find out that this was Renne
  • Only One Name: Curiously, Mireille is never given a family name despite being promoted to portrait status in Azure.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: One of the empty chest phrases in Zero, for a chest that contained 200 of every type of sepith, reads "Is that All element sepith x200 in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"
  • Orphaned Etymology: When Jona insists to not being responsible for the fire-spitting robots in the Geofront C Sector, Randy comments "Your nose is growin', Jon-ster," even though the story of Pinocchio presumably doesn't exist the world of Zemuria.
  • Overranked Soldier: Noel is either a Master Sergeant or a Sergeant Major depending on how you translate her rank. Either way, at eighteen she is impossibly young for her age in the real-world and that's allowing for the fact that you can become a Bracer (non-military but at least as hazardous) at sixteen in Zemuria. Possibly justified by the CGF not technically being an army.
  • Parts Unknown: Sully and Wazy both start out as this, although it's only parts unknown to the audience and both characters are fully aware where they're from. In Sully's case, it's because her place of origin is a Continuity Nod and in Wazy's it's done deliberately to add to the aura of mystery he deliberately cultivates. All we ever learn about his origins are that they lie somewhere in 'eastern-central Zemuria'.
  • Personality Blood Types: The fortune-teller at Mishelam Wonderland askes Lloyd and his chosen partner for their blood type before answering questions, stating it's important to her method of divination.
  • Player Headquarters: The SSS Building contains the only terminal where you can file your reports and get quest completion rewards, along with containing everyone's rooms which provide free HP and EP healing. In Azure, the Cool Car actually serves as an even better example (and a mobile one at that) since you can rest in it to heal CP as well, once you've purchased the right part.
  • Playful Hacker: Jona and Tio both have elements of this, as does Renne although mixed with The Cracker.
  • Please Subscribe to Our Channel: A chest in Geofront B2 asks you to do this.
    While you're here, don't forget to like, comment, and chestscribe.
  • Point of No Return:
    • Walking into Marconi's secret vault in Zero functions as one of these, as afterwards you completely lose the ability to wander around freely. The game flat-out tells you this and to not proceed until you're sure you've done everything you want to.
    • Azure mostly avoids this. You're led to think walking into the very same room will lead to this, but it's just a long Plot Tunnel, and you end up with free access to almost all of Crossbell State once The Very Definitely Final Dungeon appears. In fact, short of starting the Final Boss, you're allowed to return to Crossbell at any time during the dungeon.
    • There are also a host of lesser points where doing something will cut off certain opportunities. For major things like Chapter or Day endings, you'll usually be warned ahead of time.
  • Police Are Useless: Between Crossbell's status as a buffer state, the political need to keep balance between the pro-Empire, pro-Republic, and anti-Both factions, and the fact that many of the major criminal groups have ties to one of those factions to allow them to bribe their way out of trouble (and the government's limited ability to arrest and hold foreign nationals), the police basically isn't allowed to be useful. This has resulted in the public putting more trust in the Bracers, who aren't hamstrung by the highly corrupt government, than in the police force. The SSS is basically a political boondoggle to have cops do Bracer work in the hopes of winning back public trust, a stunt that only really works because the SSS takes its duties seriously, even if the rest of the CPD considers them a joke.
  • Power Incontinence: Earnest suffers from this when he's transformed into a demon during the events of Azure's prologue. Fortunately, Kevin is there to save him.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Revache, despite it's many connections to Crossbell's government, stays clear from Human Trafficking and drug peddling, as both are considered too major offences to be able get leniency for, which even their backers would draw the line at defending them from. Their seeming involvement via unintentionally smuggling Ke A(when they thought they were selling a Rosenburg Doll) and peddling Gnosis ends up being key to them being finally put away.
  • Prank Call: This is referenced by one of the empty treasure chest messages added in the English-language localization of Trails to Azure, which asks "How often do you think Remiferian general goods stores get phone calls asking if they have Prince Albert in a can?"
  • Princess Curls: Mariabell sports a pair, befitting her social position.
  • Private Military Contractors: Jaeger corps, who are a cut above regular mercenaries. In the Crossbell games the most prominent group is the Red Constellation which is led by members of the Orlando family. Sigmund and Shirley come to Crossbell in Azure in part to get Randy back.
  • Professional Voice Dissonance: In Trails to Azure, one of the sidequests involves Lloyd filling in for the cat mascot character Mishy of Mishelam Wonderland when the normal actor is off sick for the morning, with Tio, a Mishy super-fan, self-inserting herself into the role of Mishy's sister Mishette. After the shift is over, the regular guy arrives for the afternoon and shocks them both, but especially Tio, by being a gruff, middle-aged, deep-voiced man. The second he gets into costume, he addresses the two in typical Mishy style and Lloyd comments that his voice sounded like it shifted three whole octaves, that there can be no doubt that he's the real Mishy.
  • The Promise: In Trails from Zero, Lloyd tells Tio that he will protect her just like Guy did, but she tells him that he doesn't have to be the same as Guy, that he should find his own path. Later, the two discuss the promise and Lloyd admits that he still hasn't figured out his path. Tio then tells him she has a request of her own: to take her to Mishelam Wonderland when everything is over. Stunned, he asks if that's really all, that she could even say "When I'm in trouble, always come to my rescue." She tells him that it's more than enough, that in order for it to come true, they'll have to resolve the crisis anyway.
  • Puppet State: To two rival nations simultaneously. Crossbell was originally a region continuously fought over by Calvard and Erebonia until it was turned into an ostensibly independent buffer state seventy years before the start of the story. Its constitution was drawn up by diplomats from Calvard and Erebonia with the interests of those nations in mind, without any thought for or input from the people actually living there. This is the root cause of many of Crossbell's problems.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Arios is an A-Rank Bracer who has declined an offer to be promoted to S-Rank. Given that the one S-Rank Bracer we know about in the series is Cassius Bright, it's entirely to be expected that Arios is just that powerful when he joins your party. Given the stats and crafts he has as a boss, it's clear he was holding back as a party member.
  • Push Polling: In Azure, President Dieter Crois starts a referendum (actually a non-legislative opinion poll) asking for citizen opinions on the topic of Crossbell independence. However, he never mentions the obstacles they would have to face to achieve independence, skewing results towards pro-independence because people don't understand the full consequences of this decision. He also hires the Red Constellation to start a False Flag Operation against Crossbell to further push the poll towards independence. While the poll isn't supposed to actually determine policy, Dieter has all other legislators secretly placed under house arrest, and then uses the results of the poll to make his forceful actions toward independence seem legitimate.
  • Quirky Town: Played for laughs in a scene in Azure. When a (justifiably) worried mother asks her daughter if she's seen anyone strange walking around the city lately, she says that she sees a lot of strange people and mentions several who stood out from the rest, then remarks that one of the SSS members who just left is pretty weird himself. For added points, the people she mentions (a young man who looks like he's on vacation and a nun carrying a mountain of bread) are known to the player.
  • Rail Enthusiast: There's a guy who can be found standing on Station Street just outside the train station all the time, gushing about trains whenever you talk with him. He is over the moon when Chancellor Giliath Osborne's crimson train, the Eisengraf, pays a visit for the Trade Conference in Azure.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Jona, Tio and Renne engage in this. Rather justified for the latter two since both are victims of Gnosis experimentation and are faster and smarter than normal humans.
  • Reality Warper: The Crois family was just trying to recreate Demiourgos' powers which influenced 'fate', what they got was Azure Demiourgos, capable of rewriting time and space as well.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: And so do Michel and Lechter (in both of his outfits).
  • Red Baron: These come up again, naturally.
    • Arianrhod, the Steel Maiden
    • Ines the Stout
    • Ennea the Sharp
    • Duvalie the Swift
    • Arios MacLaine, the Divine Blade of Wind
    • Ian "Grizzly Grim" Grimwoodnote 
    • Sergei "the Scrutinous" Lou
    • Kevin Graham, the Thousand-Hand Guardian
    • Wazy Hemisphere, the Sapphire Testament
    • Demiourgos, the Hollow Phantasm
    • KeA, the Divine Child and the Sept-Terrion of Zero
    • Zeit, the Divine Wolf
    • Garcia Rossi, the Killing Bear
    • Baldur Orlando, the War God
    • Randy Orlando, the Son of the War God and the Red Reaper
    • Sigmund Orlando, the Scarlet Ogrenote 
    • "Bloody" Shirley Orlando
    • Gareth the Blitz
    • Douglas the Demon
    • Ilya Platiere, the Fervent Dancer
    • Eugene, the Flaxen Prince
    • Theodor, the Silent Scion
    • Plie, the Mysterious Songstress
    • Cao Lee, the White Orchid Dragon
    • Rixia Mao, a.k.a. Yin, the Legendary Xiongshou
    • William Lakelord, the Fishing Emperor
    • Narses, the Crazy Wave
    • Sharkman, the Ocean's Edge
    • Kaguya, the Dragon Princess
    • Triton, the Silver Orca
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Overuse of the refined form of Gnosis leads to the user developing reddish eyes, as opposed to the gold eyes characteristic of the victims of earlier experiments.
  • Red Herring: Baldur Orlando is set up as an imposing figure, the strongest member of the strongest jaeger corps in western Zemuria, father to Randy and known as the War God. Azure reveals that he's been dead since around the time that Zero started.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Randy and Tio respectively, including hair colors.
  • Reformed Criminal: Wazy, one of the gang leaders in the Downtown District, ends up joining the SSS in Azure. This is deconstructed later, as the remaining downtown gang members are furious that he joined the cops, which serves as a Start of Darkness for Wald. It's later revealed that Wazy was an undercover Gralsritter operative and never really a "criminal" to begin with, though by that point the damage is already done.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Basically everything Lechter does when you first meet him. First, he openly admits to the SSS that he's an Erebonian agent and working with the guy whose party you're about to infiltrate. He also suggests that now that you know he's going to have to kill you (complete with musical sting). When the party begins, you see him fishing in his host's ornamental pond, then feeding his host's fish to his host's cat, who he's come up with a new name for. Later when all hell has broken loose, you're forced to take refuge in his room. When the guards show up, he then tells them he just saw something move behind the curtain... which turns out to be the cat but your party was also behind those curtains... then the Chapter ends with him beginning a conversation with a known agent of Calvard.
  • Relationship Values: In Zero, you can raise Lloyd Banning's affection with any of the other main playable characters: Elie, Tio or Randy, by having them accompany Lloyd during certain events or viewing certain optional scenes. You can view the current affection levels from the game's Records screen and having max affection with a particular character in the final chapter allows the viewing of an extra scene.
  • Religion of Evil: The D∴G Cult, which believes that Aidios is a lie spread by the Church and has been conducting rituals to bring about the revival of the 'True God <D>' discovered by the Cult's founder. These 'rituals' take the form of summoning demons and performing horrific medical experiments on children.
  • The Remnant: Joachim Guenter is a surviving member of the D∴G Cult, which got wiped out by the Bracers, the Crossbell police, and Ouroboros few years prior to the start of the game. Ouroboros' involvement in suppressing the Cult is in fact how they came to recruit Renne.
  • The Reveal:
    • Dr. Joachim Guenter, the lazy doctor who perpetually pushes his work on his juniors so he can skive off and go fishing, is actually a high priest of the D∴G Cult.
    • The Crois family are from an alchemist lineage that founded the D∴G cult, in order to recreate the lost Sept-Terrion, Demiourgos. They are also indirectly working with Ouroboros.
    • KeA is the "Sept-Terrion of Zero", which is artificially created to replace the lost Demiourgos (the "Sept-Terrion of Mirage").
    • The one that killed Guy is Ian Grimwood.
  • Roboteching: Aion Type-Beta has a scattering beam cannon whose shots can be bent to hit from unexpected angles. So do the Gralsritter's Merkabah airships.
  • Role-Reversal Boss: Wazy vs Wald in Azure Chapter 1 plays out like a Hopeless Boss Fight after an antagonist decides to stop holding back... except the one who stopped holding back is Wazy, and you're controlling him.
     S - Z 
  • Sadistic Choice: Dieter takes military action against Erebonia and Calvard in order to make Crossbell independent, but relies on KeA to maintain the power to keep the other nations in check. This means the SSS has to choose between KeA's mental health and Crossbell's independence, since taking away KeA's power will make Crossbell vulnerable to Erebonia and Calvard, who intend to retaliate against Dieter's actions. The SSS saves KeA in the end, leading to Erebonia annexing Crossbell.
  • Samus Is a Girl:
    • The stalker that you encounter in Zero who looks and talks like a boy? Yeah, she's not.
    • Yin is a girl.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Wazy sports one in Azure and he can literally kick a lot of ass.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The key characterization of a trio of minor villains in Azure called the High Bloods. They're Calvardian, and thanks to the CPD's limited ability to prosecute foreign nationals, the worst that can be done to them for their general hooliganism and Drives Like Crazy antics endangering lives is slap them with a fine. And as the sons of executives from the Verne Corporation, they can laugh off the fines and be back on the streets wreaking havoc again the next morning. The worst thing is that they're right. The most the CPD ever gets to do to them is suspend their driver's licenses for a month and impound their broken car.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Played straight and subverted. Playing this trope arrow-straight is Mariabell, who goes from a business suit to... yeow while subverting the trope is Rixia, who is much more sensibly dressed as Yin (dressing scantily is a necessity in her civilian persona as a professional dancer), who you have to fight. When she drops the disguise, she starts showing a lot more skin. The latter actually makes sense because the Yin costume both hides that 'Yin' is a Legacy Character and the identity of the current Yin. Once hiding her identity because pointless, she shifted to something that allowed freedom of movement.
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: Demiourgos apparently was aware of the Third Principle of Sentient Life, choosing to destroy itself rather than allow its misuse. Unfortunately, the people who relied on it for their power then spent the next 1200 years trying to recreate the thing through alchemy and succeeded.
  • Shout-Out: Shares one with the rest of the series here.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: It is almost unbelievable that Renne and Colin are siblings. Then again, Colin hasn't suffered from half a year of terrible physical and mental abuse and medical experimentation followed by half a decade being molded into a Tyke Bomb assassin.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: In Azure Chapter 4 Day 1, you take on a request from Armand and Ellie, who spend much of their time being lovey-dovey to each other to the point the SSS is embarrassed to be in their presence.
  • Signature Team Transport: The SSS gets one in Azure in the form of a car that the player can customize the hell out of. Being the only SSS member with a driver's license, Noel is usually the one operating it. She also has a separate armored car she uses as a member of the CGF. With guns. Lots of guns. In the Finale, the role was transferred to Wazy's Merkabah 9 as the car in question got impounded in Crossbell and was wrecked in the raid on Orchis Tower, rendering it unusable for the rest of the game.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Elie is a Proper Lady through and through and can get the SSS into meetings with the wealthiest and most powerful people in the city. When politeness fails, the handgun comes out.
  • Sinister Minister: Joachim is really a priest of the heretical D∴G Cult, possibly the last one remaining.
  • Sixth Ranger: A succession of characters fill this role in Zero, temporarily joining the fixed party of four at one or more points. Wazy and Noel each do this twice, Dudley and Yin do it once as do Estelle and Joshua in the final dungeon. Everyone but the Brights become permanent allies by the end of Azure, with Wazy and Noel being playable for almost the entire game.
  • Skinship Grope: Elie is the victim of this multiple times.
  • The Slacker: Throughout Zero, Sergei seems to make it his job to do as little actual work as possible while commanding the SSS. Thus, he spends most of his time in his office while Lloyd and the others do anything remotely difficult. Until circumstances demand action at the end of Zero and Azure, at which points we realize why Sergei is famous within the CSPD.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: Throughout a rather tense conversation between Sigmund and the SSS on the subject of the former trying to convince Randy to become the next leader of Red Constellation and more generally what the most feared mercenaries around are doing in Crossbell at a tense time, Shirley is stuffing her face with parfait and sometimes even talking with her mouth full.
  • Spoiled Brat:
    • Jona, who is completely full of himself. He's also nearly good enough to justify it.
    • Xin initially comes off as one of these, being the son of the head of Heiyue in Calvard, on a trip to Crossbell to familiarize him with the organization's newest area of operations. He initially acts the brat full force when the SSS escorts him around the city (Cao wanted Arios but he wasn't available) but Elie's diplomacy (politely ignoring his attempts to be KidAnova) wins him over. He soon reveals that his father did teach him some manners and he eventually starts acting like a perfect gentleman around KeA and Shizuku. He even helps out the SSS with a case, while increasing Heiyue's influence in the bargain.
  • Squishy Wizard: Tio's arts attacks are really powerful but her defense is abysmal.
  • Stat Sticks: Zero and Azure both introduce weapons that can inflict status effects without needing a Quartz. These can remain handy even when outclassed in STR, especially as they allow you to double up on inflicting these conditions and some have very nice effects indeed.
  • Status Effects: The same as in the previous series, plus Burning, which functions like Poison except that it hurts more and can intuitively be 'healed' by targeting the victim with a Water-based attack or the Water-based Tear spells.
  • Stock Costume Traits: Revache's rank and file are apparently traditionalists and have the fedoras to prove it.
  • Storming the Castle: The end of Zero, in which the party finally penetrates the depths of the Sun Fort. Done in epic style in Azure as well except replace 'The Castle' with 'Orchis Tower'.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Arianrhod who is by far the strongest character in the Kiseki series.
  • Stripperiffic: Ilya and Rixia, though it's given due to their job.
    • And even Rixia takes it up to eleven in her coat-less Yin outfit in Azure.
    • And then there's Mariabell's Evil Costume Switch.
    • Shirley. Just Shirley.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Large parts of Crossbell, courtesy of The Red Constellation, most prominently the IBC Building in full FMV.
    • Every cutscene involving the Aions tends to involve a lot of things blowing up.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Mariabell in the PSP release of Azure. The Evolution and Kai re-releases have all major characters voiced from the outset, however.
  • Summon Magic: The most powerful attack Arts in Azure visually function like this, summoning dragons, giants and even battleships. Tio can also do this with one of her Crafts, summoning Zeit as a one-shot Support Character.
  • Super Boss: Zero has one (found in a Bonus Dungeon) which is only available in New Game Plus. Azure has six, also exclusive to New Game+ though they don't come with bonus dungeons.
  • Superpower Meltdown: After taking Red Gnosis, Joachim transforms into a massive demonic figure. Once he's sufficiently wounded, he finds out the hard way that his new form is... unstable. Something rather similar happens to Ernest, except that Kevin was there to save him.
  • Super Serum: Blue Gnosis works like this, greatly increasing some ability of the user, such as intellect, speed, strength or even luck. It works by forming a connection between the user and Demiourgos, for the purpose of ultimately reviving the latter; the powers obtained by the Gnosis users was a side-effect.
  • Superweapon Surprise: Crossbell does not have an army, they have a small self-defense force which has its hands full dealing with less than a hundred mercenaries. A full army would roll right over the place and everyone knows it. Except that they also have Azure Demiourgos and the Aion series machines empowered by it which are on loan from Ouroboros. Erebonia stops snickering after Garellia Fortress becomes Garellia Crater.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In Chapter 3 of Azure, Randy breaks out his old BFG Berserker to wage a one-man war on the Red Constellation... and has to get it serviced before he heads out, as going into a warzone with a gun that hasn't been used in years isn't a great idea.
  • Survivor Guilt: Tio, who was the only survivor in a base of the D∴G cult where she was experimented on.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Azure introduces two, Randy's Berserker (Rifle and Sword) and Shirley's Testa-Rossa (Rifle, Chainsaw and Flamethrower).
  • Sword Beam: Arios's field action creates a huge wave of energy, overlapping with Razor Wind given his title.
  • Tagline
    • "Welcome to Crossbell." - Trails from Zero
    • "A hero's duty, a city's fate." - Trails to Azure
  • Take That, Audience!: If you neglect to do certain quests, talking to those associated with said quests later on will often result in learning that they were handled by the bracer guild or others in Crossbell instead, much to the chagrin of the Special Support Section, and by extension, the player.
  • Taking You with Me: Once it becomes apparent that he's going to die one way or the other, Joachim uses what strength he has left to trap the party so they'll go when he does.
  • Teaser Equipment: Everything sold at Imeldas and most of what is offered at Neinvalli exists to tease you; you won't have the Mira or necessary items to obtain those goods until much later.
  • Teen Genius: Jona, Tio and Renne. There is dark side to the latter two as their intellect is developed from horrific experiments by the D∴G cult.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Any time the Saber Vipers and Testaments work together in Zero is an exercise in this, starting with their teaming up to fight your party because you're getting in the way of their fight. Played more heroically later when they work together to fight off the Mafia and later the Gnosis-controlled CGF.
  • Tempting Fate: Wazy, you just had to dismiss the idea that the Railway Cannons would ever be fired at Crossbell, didn't you?
  • That One Case: The murder of Guy Bannings was never solved and continues to trouble his friends and family and it's a running plot thread in both games. Nielsen continues to work on the mystery in Azure. Zero doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but one of the two questions it leaves you with is this: Who truly killed Guy Bannings?
  • The City Narrows: Played straight and subverted at the same time. The warren of alleys between Central Square and the Entertainment District contains the headquarters of the Mafia and later, Red Constellation and is hinted to contain some of the seedier establishments but it also contains a rather pleasant jazz bar and an antique shop which sells some of the most expensive and useful items in the game.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The Orlandos, heads of the Red Constellation. They consider work as highly skilled mercenaries to be a fun activity for the whole family and one that can be enjoyed by children as young as nine.
  • Theme Naming: Various entities involved with the Sept-Terrion of Mirage and the attempts to re-create it are named after concepts from Gnosticism: Demiourgos, Gnosis, Pleroma Grass, the Aions.
  • There Should Be a Law: When the SSS first finds Jona's Hacker Cave in the Geo-Front, Tio states that networked computing is so new that laws concerning what you can and can't do with the network haven't even been drafted yet, much less passed, so the most they can charge him with is squatting on government property.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: In-universe example. This is the public's opinion of the SSS when the group is first formed. Everyone writes them off as police officers trying to rip off the success of the bracers, who are more popular with the public. Only when they manage to get some success under their belt does the public start respecting the group.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Lampshaded in a chest message in Zero in the Sun Fort.
    Hey, now that you're in the final stretch, you don't need to hoard all your rare consumables anymore. ...Right?
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The Special Support Section start out as nobodies with no respect from anybody. By the end of Zero, they've outsmarted a threat nobody else could stop.
    • Estelle and Joshua most certainly count too. They are now internationally known Bracers and Estelle getting closer to Cassius's level of combat skill now, given that she can use his S-Craft, Phoenix Wave. As for Joshua, he's at last made peace with the idea that his ferocious potential doesn't have to be used for murder and terror and can be used for good - meaning he's one of the most skilled Bracers living. He won't kill you, but that's the only break you'll get.
  • Totally Not a Criminal Front:
    • Both Revache and Co. and Heiyue have fronts as trading companies in Crossbell. Most people are fully aware they're actually mafia, but are too powerless, scared or corrupt to do anything about it.
    • Crimson & Co. is the creatively named front used by Red Constellation when they need a base of operations in a country. They sometimes even transact vaguely legitimate business. They open up an establishment in Crossbell in Azure.
  • The Tower: Stargazer Tower, a ruin from the Middle Ages. There’s also Orchis Tower, built by the descendants of the people who built Stargazer Tower, for much the same purpose.
  • Traffic Wardens: One sidequest has the SSS checking parking registrations and ticketing illegally parked vehicles.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Aion Type-Beta has both humanoid and flying configurations. The Aion Type-Alpha and Gamma do not but they do have a shooting mode.
  • Tsundere:
    • Tio and Mireille, towards Lloyd and Randy respectively.
    • In Azure, a chest message in the Wetlands acts like this.
      Oh, yeah? Well, I WANTED you to take that, so THERE!
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: Justified, due to the small size of the country the mayor of Crossbell City is also the head of Crossbell State.
  • Unblockable Attack: Azure Demiourgos' Spacetime Collapse. Absolutely nothing will prevent it from wiping out your entire party if it gets used.
  • Unobtanium: Zemurian Stones function this way, described as an ore with unusual properties. It was rare 1200 years ago when the Ancient Zemurians used it and it's rarer still in the present. They're used to synthesize the strongest weapons in both games.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Crois family's plans in Azure wouldn't have been possible if Archbishop Eralda had reported the Artifact that Lloyd and Noel found and informed him about in Zero to the Gralsritter and let them take it away, as is their job. But he let his personal dislike for that branch of the church to get in the way of his duty, and the result is continent-wide chaos and ultimately an Erebonian occupation.
  • Updated Re-release: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure Evolution, for PlayStation Vita. They add full voice acting for the main plot, rearranged music, enhanced graphics and a few extra sidequests, among other minor changes.
  • Urban Fantasy: Very much so; Crossbell is a big city, and much of it and its residents are styled on 1950's, especially the suits (sweet Aidios, the suits) and the cars (SWEET AIDIOS, THE CARS). This is a bit of a departure from the previous games, which were rather more Steampunk 19th century-ish than this. (Estelle and Joshua do express some surprise at the technology they find on display in Crossbell, though.) This also gives the game quite a different feel from the previous Trails games, since so much of it is focused on one city; while you do visit some of what basically make up the "suburbs" of Crossbell, the focus is on events in the city limits.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: invoked
    • One of the empty treasure chest messages added for the English-language localization of Zero parodies this by stating "Psst. I've heard if you interact with this chest 100 times while syncing your button presses perfectly to the BGM and having your entire party's levels be prime numbers, you'll unlock Arios as a permanent party member..."
    • Another of these, also in Zero, reads "Legends say that if you kill 777 Shining Poms and come back here...you will find this chest is still empty."
  • Urban Segregation: Played kinda straight in gameplay terms since there's no way they could either show the entire city or fit what they do show on a single map. The result is that the city is divided up into a whole lot of individual maps each representing a district of the city. In story terms, the usual elements of the trope are very much avoided. There is a distinctly poorer segment of town left behind by the pace of development and there is a posh district where the wealthiest citizens live but absolutely nothing prevents anyone from one part traveling to the other and hanging around, nor are the elite 'out of touch' or the Downtown inhabitants the poor or the scum of society. Several major characters live Downtown and others in the upper-class Residential District and they mingle frequently and even work together.
  • Villain Has a Point: Between Calvard and Erebonia helping themselves to a tenth of Crossbell's tax revenue each for the "privilege" of being a buffer state and their hamstringing Crossbell's ability to handle its own internal affairs, it's not hard to understand why a lot of the villains in Azure want Crossbell to be independent.
  • Vice City: Crossbell is presented as this during the events of the previous trilogy. It's not quite as bad as the reputation that preceeded it but considering that our primary point of reference was the little girl whose parents apparently sold her into sex slavery at the age of five, you can forgive players for taking a dim initial view of the place but it still has a powerful underworld with ties to City Hall, sharply divided politics and police that are generally perceived as useless. Oh, and it is still internationally known as the City of Sin.
  • Watching Troy Burn: An iconic scene where Arianrhod watches Crossbell burn during Red Constellation's attack.
  • Water Wake-up: Ice wakeup actually; Tio does this to Lloyd with a dialed down version of Diamond Dust at one point, if you have enough bonding points with her at that point.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Aion Type-Beta's energy propulsion system doubles as a melee weapon, as a lot of airships found out the hard way.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ian, Arios, and Dieter. The first two have lost their loved ones due to the political state of Crossbell City. They are trying to liberate Crossbell City from influence of neighboring countries, regardless of consequences.
  • Western Zodiac: A series of twelve extremely powerful Quartz found in Zero are named for the twelve constellations.
  • Wham Line: Azure delivers this which turns the entire duology on it's head. In the core of the Azure Tree, when the SSS confront Mariabell, they are bamboozled by the sheer ridiculousness of the Azure-Zero Project, which involves rewriting the history of Crossbell with KeA's power. Mariabell's response?
    Mariabell: (chuckles evilly) Ohoho... Is that what you think? How can you say that when you yourselves owe your lives to that very power?
  • Wham Shot: The first half of Chapter 4 in Azure seems like a Breather Episode, and ends with a short dungeon visit to help Jona find a new terminal, followed by Noel's heartfelt goodbye as she leaves the SSS. But then Jona finds something while searching some junk data, the screen cuts to static, and then we cut to a newspaper article stating Mayor Crois has unilaterally declared Crossbell an independent state and declared himself its first President without a formal election. This comes as a shock to nearly everyone in Crossbell, the SSS especially, and things quickly go From Bad to Worse.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Lloyd and an SSS member of your choice don fancy clothes to infiltrate a posh auction run by the Mafia. It's done less to fool anyone that might recognize them (it doesn't) but to make them look like they belong at the event.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!:
    • One of the effects of Blue Gnosis and one of the first noticed by the characters is that it can enhance 'luck'. A miner from Mainz makes an absurd amount of money this way, until his luck finally runs out when he comes across Lechter.
    • This is also hinted to be one of the powers of the original Demiourgos, before it was combined with elements of Space and Time manipulation to turn it into a Reality Warper. Since Gnosis forms a link between the user and Demiourgos, increased luck would be a natural byproduct.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The D∴G Cult, in two different ways.
    • At multiple lodges, the cult repeatedly experimented on children in order to perfect the formula for Gnosis. The vast majority of these children died.
    • They also operated "Paradise", a child brothel they used in order to gather blackmail material on powerful politicians who themselves would hurt children to get off.
  • Written by the Winners: Discussed towards the end of Azure regarding Dieter's actions and how similar actions were committed during the Calvardian revolution. According to Grace, the revolutionaries committed enough atrocities to fill a whole library. She even states they were responsible for a conspiracy similar to Dieter's False Flag Operation with Red Constellation raiding Crossbell. However, they still won in the end, so modern-day Calvardians consider the revolutionaries justified, and there's a good chance that if the SSS doesn't stop Dieter and his cohorts, future generations will glorify their actions in a similar manner.
  • You Bastard!: Played for laughs in Zero after inspecting the chest the Armored Hydras were guarding in Mainz Mountain Path.
    It is unbecoming for a law enforcer to be this greedy. You lose 15 DP.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In Zero: Renne technically can go home after the events of the game but she chooses not to, believing it best for all concerned if her parents don't learn what happened to their missing daughter over the past eight years, especially as she is wracked with guilt once she understands their side of the story. It isn't all bad, though, because she has a new home by the end of the game.
    • Azure reveals this to be the case for Wazy. How his Stigma appeared resulted in the people of his hometown considering him a 'godslayer' and banishing him. Lloyd invites him to consider Crossbell his second home near the end of the game if you see his special bond scene.
    • One side plot in Azure is that Randy's family wants him to come home, but he adamantly refuses. His special bond scene explains why he ran away from home in the first place.
  • "You!" Exclamation: One of the empty chest phrases in Zero reads "I came here from Liberl to hide from a bracer couple that kept looting my fri— YOU TWO!" which refers to the fact that Joshua and Estelle Bright, the protagonists of the previous arc (Trails in the Sky), are in your party.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • In Azure, the entire SSS save for Noel (who'd already rejoined the CGF) is subjected to this once Dieter unilaterally declares Crossbell's independence and commences an authoritarian takeover of the state. Right as they're reeling from the shock of it all, Arios takes KeA to Mishelam and lures the SSS there, following which he, Dieter and Mariabell reveal their true colors. Arios subsequently overpowers the SSS in battle and orders the newly-formed Crossbell Defense Force to arrest them. If it wasn't for the villains needing KeA's cooperation for their plans, they might have even killed the SSS outright.
    • Dieter gets this pulled on him two chapters later after the police retake Orchis Tower, with Mariabell, Arios and Grimwood abandoning him to set up shop in the Azure Tree.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Garcia of all people does this for Lloyd when they are escaping from prison together in Trails to Azure.
    • During the crisis at the end of Zero, Sergei and Dudley stay behind to buy time for the SSS to escape with KeA and Shizuku. The party then does this themselves, holding the line at the IBC against the controlled CGF forces attacking the city. Fortunately, multiple Big Damn Heroes prevent the scene from turning into a Last Stand.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Zero No Kiseki, The Legend Of Heroes Trails From Zero, The Legend Of Heroes Trails To Azure, The Legend Of Heroes Zero No Kiseki, Trails From Zero, Trails To Azure

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KeA's Penguin Costume

In "The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure," one of the decorations you can get for KeA's room is a Zwei II Penguin costume (a reference to the Nihon Falcom game Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection) which she can wear. If you obtain all her decorations, then you get a scene in which she puts it on. Lloyd declares that his heart can't take it, while Elie, Tio and Noel are overwhelmed and embrace KeA in a hug attack that causes Wazy to declare that there have been multiple victims and that the cause of death was a cuteness overload. It is said that the girls eventually regain their senses, but only after a while. Following this, an indefinite ban is placed on Penguin KeA for the sanity of everyone in the Special Support Section.

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