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Visual Novel / Area X

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Years into the future, humanity's technology has reached great advances, but at a cost: over time, they have also depleted their natural resources and rendered Earth a barren wasteland, forcing humans to retreat underground and build a new life for themselves there. However, a new hope exists for them in the form of Project Recovery—through the use of a time machine, attempts may now be made to travel to other dimensions and obtain their resources.

The Time Negotiator chosen is a 17-year-old girl named Elcia. What was initially meant to be a job taken purely for the money, though, ends up going awry when she arrives in a mysterious world known only as Area-X to her organization, strangely resembling a landscape she often sees in her dreams. From there, she begins to unravel the mysteries of her past, and discovers a secret that threatens all of the timelines...

Area-X is a Visual Novel/Otome Game produced by Zeiva Inc, and is the second entry in the Otome-X series as well as a prequel/spin-off to X-Note. Much like its predecessor, the story follows the heroine as she chooses a path—and, by association, a Love Interest—and attempts to solve the mystery behind her circumstances.

Warning: This page assumes that you have played X-Note. Unmarked spoilers ahead.

This game provides examples of:

  • After the End: The Future dimension takes place after humanity used up all its resources and rendered the earth a barren wasteland. The point of Project Recovery is to try and regain some of those lost resources by negotiating with other dimensions. The supposed Ice Age also takes place after the apocalypse, caused by Belph.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Certain routes' Good Ends are this. Specifically, Rexus, Livan, and Ferim's. Rexus's ends with Elcia committing a Heroic Sacrifice, and him then swearing to find and protect Essi as per her dying wish, while Livan's has Elcia and Livan both die to restore the timelines to normal, with the implication that they reunite in the Silver River. In Ferim's route, he dies in Elcia's place, reverting everything back to normal.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Belph likes to do this:
    • When Elcia and Belph are pondering how to distract the guards, Elcia suggests knocking them out, to which Belph replies that they shouldn't be promoting violence in video games.
    • One of the extra events in V2 involves Elcia finding a Mirage Fish fountain in the future and promptly walking away, despite Belph's curiosity about why it's different from the one in past timelines.
      Belph: "No, Elcia! How could you leave the mystery unsolved in a video game!? ELCIA!!!"
  • The Cameo: Every character from X-Note makes an appearance in Rexus's route. Except for Oure, who appears in Yuras's.
  • Changed My Jumper: Averted, as Elcia finds herself in different outfits in each dimension, but the trope is lampshaded by Belph, who comments that as confusing as it is, it's better than people thinking she's a cosplayer, right?
  • Chastity Couple: While technically a Dating Sim, there's very little outright romantic content, just like in X-Note.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Sort of. The heroine of the third entry in the series, Silent-X makes an appearance in this game as the bartender in Belph's route. Playing it in the Sky path will reveal that her name is Syrene.
  • Color-Coded Characters: As with X-Note, each character is designed according to a specific colour.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits of each route re-show the CG of that route, ending with the one exclusive to the post-credits scene. The exception is Ferim's route: in V1, his shows various CG not necessarily specific to his route and ends on the finale CG as Elcia doesn't have a post-credits scene with him; in V2, his shows new CG that are presumably of the new world that was created.
  • Doomed by Canon: Due to Rexus's route and X-Note being along the same continuity, there are a few cases of this:
    • Yuon's relationship with his father, in the Yuon-oriented version of Rexus's route. While Elcia does her best to help mend it, and the entire thing ends on a hopeful note, X-Note establishes that not only does Scid die not long after, but his and Yuon's relationship never got better.
    • Given Elcia's lack of appearance in X-Note and the reasons behind Rexus's devotion to Essi, it isn't too hard to predict that she dies at the end.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: According to Word of God, this was the purpose behind the Sea paths' Bittersweet Ending, as they give meaning to the Sky path's ending (which, while somewhat bittersweet, at least ends on a happy note for most characters).
  • Empathic Environment: At the end of Yuras's route, it finally stops snowing. Part of this is admittedly for plot convenience, as the snow was interfering with Elcia's ability to return home, but it also marks the end of Yuras's conflict and a brighter future.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The leader's decision to have the supposed 'present' labelled as Future. Seeing as how the leader is Rexus, and for him, this is the future, it makes sense for him. The Present may be called as such because while it's not his present, it's Essi's present.
    • Early on, Belph claims their leader is a gorilla. If you remember that, then the constant comparisons of Rexus to a gorilla are a dead giveaway as to his true identity.
    • The fact that when Elcia travels to different dimensions, her clothes change and she can speak the language. It's easy to take it as an Acceptable Break from Reality, but it's actually the major sign that there's some Body Surf going on.
    • Elcia's rare ability to be able to travel to multiple dimensions, which can initially be written off as necessary protagonist specialness. In reality, it's because someone similar to her exists in every dimension, due to the nature of Livan's wish, which allows her to always be able to Body Surf.
    • In Belph's route, one NPC will mention that jaguars could still exist in their time. Hence why jaguars are present in the so-called Ice Age.
    • Elcia will mention how history doesn't seem to always get things right, seeing as how they didn't properly capture the Ice Age. Of course, that's because it's not actually the Ice Age—not the one in the past, at least.
    • Quite a bit, regarding Ciera's role in the story:
      • Elcia will mention in Ciera's bio how she feels a natural affinity towards the woman. Apparently, she hasn't entirely forgotten about Ciera being her mother.
      • Why is Ciera good at cooking? Because she comes from the less primitive Middle Ages.
      • Ciera telling Yuras that she isn't his sister. On a first playthrough, it seems like she's referring to the fact that they're foster siblings, but in hindsight, she's likely referring to the fact that while she's possessing the body of Yuras's (foster) sister, her soul isn't the same as the one Yuras knew.
  • Guide Dang It!: Like its predecessor, getting the Good Ends of some routes are difficult if you don't know exactly what you're supposed to do. A safe bet is to examine things repeatedly, even if it seems pointless.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-Universe. Belph jokes to Elcia not to lose her Dimensional Watch, or "it's the END!"... which she then recalls as she does just that in Livan's route.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: One of the major clues to Rexus's identity that Elcia picks up on is that he knew she wanted to meet Loil for negotiation purposes, when she'd never alluded to such a thing.
  • Identical Stranger: There's one NPC you'll meet in every dimension. It's also revealed that there's apparently one of this trope for everyone, as time-traveling is really just Body Surf through them. Elcia, due to the nature of Livan's wish, has one in every dimension, hence why she's the ideal time-traveller.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • A lot of them in Belph's route. Expect to hear things along the lines of "That's my Elcia" or "It feels unnatural for you to be worrying about me/it's unlike you to worry about me" or "I'm sure you can handle anything even without me" from Belph early on in his route... and then again in his Bad End, under darker circumstances.
      • The first he tends to say whenever Elcia's putting up her usual facade, as an expected part of their interactions. He repeats it when she tells him that she's never believed him after he claims to have told her everything, both knowing that this is it for them.
      • The second he says after she expresses her relief over him being okay, considering recent events. In his Bad End, she asks him if he'll be all right, as he's selling his freedom to Trole, at which point he (roughly) repeats the line.
      • The third line comes when he leaves her to herself with a task, knowing she doesn't need his help. He says it again, after telling her that this is probably the last time they'll ever meet.
    • In the Sea and Sky paths, Belph comments that even if it's the end of the world, he feels like everything will be all right as long as it's Elcia. In Ferim's route, she reminds him of these words when he begins worrying about where her investigation is heading, as both are coming to predict her upcoming Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Similarly, in a bit of a meta example, in Belph's Bad End, the two have an exchange of "Besides, it's unlike you to worry about me" / "You are right", when Belph's making his Heroic Sacrifice. The same dialogue is said in Ferim's route, but with the speaking roles reversed as Elcia prepares to make her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Irony: As Elcia remarks on, despite Livan's wish to grant her a world where she could have all sorts of opportunities, she ended up in a place where none of those opportunities even existed anymore.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: "Area-X" was named such due to being a dimension that no one knows anything about.
  • Magical Accessory: The Silver Orb, a stone which can absorb Mana and copy the powers of Erthen's, and has done so for thousands of Erthen's.
  • Mana: According to Ciera, Mana exists in every living thing, and the Erthen (the natives of Sitnalta) can manipulate it.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Like with Ironic Echo, Belph has a few in his route.
      • Early on if you choose to go the Present, when Elcia asks how she can get into the ORZ Corporate buliding, Belph, being the extraordinarily helpful operator he is, says that she can do it with her "intelligence and beauty"! Later, when Trole asks how she escaped, she says with her "intelligence and beauty", of course.
      • Belph offered his hand to Elcia as a child, but she didn't take it. In his Good End, she finally does.
    • In Livan's route, Livan told Elcia as children that wherever she is, he would find her. In the epilogue, Elcia is in the Silver River (maybe), waiting for Livan. After all, wherever she is, he will find her.
  • Not Quite Dead: Certain characters appear to be killed, only to be revealed as alive in bonus scenes. Irina, however, is very much dead.
  • Omega Ending: Ferim's route is this, as you have to complete all the other endings to unlock his route.
  • Only One Name: Every character.
  • Running Gag:
    • That one thug-ish character who appears in every timeline and has some sort of odd appearance, stemming from some kind of mistake—and they said that it fits him!
    • The mystery of Mirage Fish and that one fountain, continuing over into X-Note.
    • In-Universe, Elcia explicitly asks if Rexus showing up where she is all the time is this for him.
  • Saved by Canon: It's a given that nothing will happen to Loil in Rexus's route, given X-Note.
  • Sequel Hook: In Yuras's route, Oure appears. Word of God confirms that it's the same Oure from X-Note, from after the events of the game (presumably his route), but leaves the nature of his appearance unclear for the sake of potentially clearing it up in the sequel.
  • Self-Deprecation: A meta example. One of the things Elcia can see on TV is an ad for another one of Zeiva's games, Dragon Essence, which asks the viewer to buy a million copies. Elcia's response is that the creator of that game must be crazy.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The root of the plot stems from Livan breaking the timelines, resulting in its current instability. Elcia has to correct them, one way or another—frequently by sacrificing herself. Ferim's job is to make sure that this happens.
  • Significant Anagram: Rearrange the letters of Elcia's name and replace the 'l' with an 'r' and you get Ciera.
  • Super Prototype: Elcia's dimensional watch is actually the original prototype watch that did not require a operator to choose which dimension a Time Negotiator travels to oversees the transfer. In the Sky path, Elcia does this freely to find out the truth behind Irina's death. Ferim's true identity, what Ciera is hiding from her and all the other mysteries plaguing her.
  • Theme Naming: Every character's name consists of five letters.
  • Time-Travel Romance: The main highlight of the game, though it's more that Elcia's traveling to different dimensions than timelines, specifically. And given how many time travelers there are and who's actually from what era, exactly who counts as this trope is debatable.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Subverted in Yuras's and Belph's routes, but Elcia will die no matter what in Rexus's and Livan's routes. In Livan's Good End, Livan'll join her. On a more positive note, everyone's existences are restored to normal in Ferim's route.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Some of Elcia's thoughts are omitted from the narration, though they're usually elaborated in her bio, which updates itself as the game goes on. Notably, though, in Rexus's route, she doesn't share that she's to sacrifice herself to save the timelines with the player, having figured it out a while before it's actually revealed (read: when she's going through with it).
    • In Livan's route, the flashback of Elcia crying for her mother not to leave, the woman's clothing are shadowed. In Ferim's route, where it's revealed that her mother is Ciera, they're shown properly.
    • In Rexus and Livan's route, the respective Love Interest omits the other one from the flashback of when Ciera brought them to the mountain, presumably to avoid spoilering the other route. Only in Ferim's route do you see the flashback in its entirety.
  • Updated Re Release: As of June 27, 2015, V2 has been released, fixing typos, implementing the chapter password system from X-Note and the extra gallery, adding a few extra events to Ferim's route, and changing the ending credits for Ferim's route with new CG. It also contains the side story Memory of Ice, focusing Ferim, Yuras, and Yuras's brother.
  • Where Are They Now: The revised credits for Ferim's route in V2 shows scenes of all the characters in what may be the newly created timeline.