However, boredom is the poison I dread the most - and my fate is to keep running from it."
TRianThology ~Sanmenkyō no Kuni no Alice~ (meaning "TRianThology ~Alice in the Land of the Three-Sided Mirror~") is a kinetic visual novel that follows the journey of a witch named Alice. The title capitalizes the initial letters of its three scenario writers: Romeo Tanaka, Ryuukishi07, Yuuto Tonokawa. It is commonly abbreviated as TRT.
One day, Alice, known as the Witch of Gutting, is overcome with boredom and threatens her friend Usagi with a bodily remodeling for her own amusement. Seeking to distract Alice, Usagi promptly presents three world fragments - crystal shards containing worlds and stories which Alice has not experienced before.
Going against Alice's penchant for gutting worlds by experiencing the most interesting parts first and discarding the rest, Usagi sets a rule for her: She is to visit the three worlds one at a time, letting them unfold, and experience them gradually, along with their savory details.
Thus, Alice sets off on her journey to the three worlds:
- In Country Girl, Alice finds herself spectating the story of middle/high-school students Mikihiko, Miya, Iyo and Keiko, a group of friends drifting apart, which Keiko makes a desperate attempt to stop, not even shying away from committing various crimes.
- Academy Love Adventure (It's Too Absurd For This Name): A high-school which students enroll in, in the hope of experiencing a sparkling youth. One of the students - Ibito - is handsome, cool, everything. Yet, he is not interested in the school rumor which brings boys and girls together, which is what most students are interested in. That, and he unwillingly attracts girls like a magnet.
- Vespio 2438: It is the year 2438 and man has advanced into space. Currently, humans are waging war against an intelligent and belligerent Humanoid Space Monkey Species - the Garlotte. Deployed on the eponymous planet, Falco, Violeta, Goro and Brad of the Fox Squad are trying to stay alive until the ceasefire agreement comes into force.
Unlike the original sound novel series When They Cry which 07th Expansion is famous for, TRT is officially labeled as a visual novel. It is an experimental work in many aspects, especially as far as its story structure, sound track and visual elements are concerned. It does seem to take place in the When They Cry verse, however, with Witches and Fragments as well as references to characters like the Witch Beatrice.
In 2016, prior to TRT's release, a manga titled Country Girl was released on the Seiga platform of Nico Nico Douga, and serves as an introduction to its eponymous world (which is one of the three worlds Usagi presents to Alice) in the visual novel. It was illustrated by Tatsuhiko and distributed by Square Enix. A scanlation of its first five chapters exists and was released by Crashed Tea Party. Official translations of both the visual novel and the manga have yet to be announced.
Now, Ms. Alice. The trope world awaits. Bon voyage~:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Numerous scenes in the Vespio 2438 world feature this - which makes a lot of sense.
- Aerith and Bob: The diplomats Keene and... Wolch.
- Alice Allusion: Where have we seen a girl named Alice, a rabbit and playing cards? A magic world where the main girl finds herself in... Hm.
- Amateur Sleuth: Iyo and Keiko, who decide to help people in their hometown with missing things. In the early days of their friendship, they proposed to establish a detective club with Mikihiko and Miya.
- Ambiguous Gender: Usagi and Ichou, who are associated with an animal and a plant respectively.
- Arc Number: Well, tri-ake a wild guess. (It's three because there are three authors, "TRianThology" includes a) the stem "tri" which is derived from the Ancient Greek and Latin words for "three" and b) "Three-Sided Mirror", there are three world shards Usagi presents to Alice, and she also visits them three times.)
- Also, four. TRT focuses on four worlds (three plus Alice's world, named ???), and in each of the other three worlds, there are four main characters.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Wolch's name, which is Wolch. This is downplayed for his international spelling (Wolch), which pales in comparison to the Japanese version Uruhho.
- Author Appeal: Have you read Umineko: When They Cry? We are talking about Ryukishi07's favorite Show Girl Skirts and Leotards of Power on Eiserne Jungfrau members and the Chiester Sisters. They found their way to TRT as well: Usagi and Ichou (who shares both the leotard and the boots with either Chiester).
- Furthermore, Alice dons what resembles a Bernkastel mini-dress.
- So Ryukishi likes short, thicker clothes covering the chest, and something skin-tight covering the midriff◊. In TRT, Alice◊ inherits that legacy.
- Bokukko: Yukari. May be caused by her gaming sessions in an online-game, where she chooses to hide her gender and use "boku," a rather unusual pronoun for girls. Also, Usagi... might be this.
- Cast of Snowflakes: You would be able to recognize most, if not all the characters just by looking at their faces. This is amplified by the fact that this work uses multiple and mixed art styles.
- Catchphrase: Alice's Bonboya~ which is a variation of the French "bon voyage."
- Chainmail Bikini: While subverted with Violeta's armor (which looks exactly the same as the male versions), Alice's fighter suit only has special armor protecting her chest, shoulders, neck and ankle areas. She is not completely exposed in the other areas, however - what covers those is a mere, er, powerful Samus Zero Suit. Whether or not this offers any protection at all against the log-sized arms of the Garlotte soldiers is questionable.
- Classy Cravat: Alice has one, and it's adorned with a gem. This fits her status as a witch and her rather fussy personality.
- Crash-Into Hello: Parodied. On a certain day, when Ibito makes jumps and sprints to school at an insane velocity, he can choose how to handle the turn around a block. Depending on his choice, he can bump into Hinako, making for a... very abrupt ending. Or you can pick the more careful option so you can subvert this trope and go on with the story.
- Color-Coded Characters:
- Cool Crown: Alice, along with an expensive-looking gem.
- Cute Little Fangs: Karen Saijouji sports this.
- Delinquent Hair: Green-haired psychopath Goro sports a green mohawk.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Yes. Ask the witch in the title image with the frills and sleeves and such.
- Empathic Environment: When Iyo decides to continue her search for a missing cat, but is unable to track it down, it starts raining. This is a heavy kick in the heart, considering that what Iyo also sees during her search are blood stains.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Vespio has them. A lot of them. Subverted in that the Garlotte race are described as threatening, huge, destructive and belligerent.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
- The title of the visual novel, along with its cover. TRT includes an anthology of three works, and has Alice floating in her own land (universe) with a proverbial mirror made of three parts. The cover art actually summarizes the story neatly.
- Vespio 2438 is about Vespio in the year 2438.
- Fuuka Takatori◊: Bernkastel from Umineko: When They Cry. Just as gloomy? Check. Blue hair, purple eyes? Check. Likes standing on the rooftop? Check. Large, deadly scythe? ...No. Instead of a scythe, she's got something else.
- Karen Saijouji◊: Excuse me - who is that over there with that blonde hair, blue eyes, the lace-braided bun, drills, the floral, red hair ornament, a conspicuous fang showing when she grins, and assertive personality? Beatrice from Umineko: When They Cry, at your service. Moreover, Karen is from a wealthy family.
- Miho Kuonji◊: An example not quite as blatant is Miho as Shannon from Umineko: When They Cry. Miho has similar hair, eyes and headwear, a warm personality and uses the same speech patterns. Furthermore, she is from a wealthy family.
- If you consider these six girls◊ in Academy Love Adventure as one group, they share their playful, boisterous behavior and identical clothes with the Seven Stakes of Purgatory from Umineko: When They Cry.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Alice may be a witch, but she knows how to wear non-symmetrically placed card motifs and socks that don't match. Also, on the horizontal plane: While Alice's sleeves are so long they cover her fingertips, her skirt is really short for a dress.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Keiko - Phlegmatic, Mikihiko - Sanguine, Miya - Choleric, Iyo - Melancholic.
- Giant Poofy Sleeves: 07th Expansion Witch Shoulders. In TRT, Alice and Usagi rock these.
- Girlish Pigtails: Alice, which suits her, given her young appearance and immaturity. Additionally, this might be a hint toward her true identity.
- Hand-Hiding Sleeves: These were even discussed in Higurashi and keep being relevant throughout many 07th Expansion works, including TRianThology: Usagi sports a pair. Then, Alice takes them to the next level.
- Idiot Hair: Oh my... Since Academy Love Adventure is a parody on the eroge genre, it really had to feature these:
- Karen (yes, the Beatrice expy), Hidaka, Miho, Hinako, Hinata, Yukina, Noriha all have them.
- Downplayed with Ibito's mini-ahoge, even though he is the main character.
- The only on-screen character (if you count Yukari's drooping lock as an ahoge as well) not to get an ahoge at all is Bernkastel, er, Fuuka◊.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Averted for Wolch. As long as no one tries to read his name out loud, no one will ever know that it is pronounced Uruhho.
- Latex Space Suit: Worn by many soldiers on Vespio, especially when they are not wearing their exo-armor. As far as Alice's suit is concerned, the makers cut down in the exo-armor department quite a bit, yes.
- Mega Twintails: Alice. She is the one who has these. Her big twintails are indeed quite large.
- Only One Name: Certainly not only one character is this. Usagi, Brad, Falco, Violeta, Goro, Ichou, Wolch, Ishizuka, ...
- Ordinary High-School Student: Subverted. Ibito claims to be one, but is described as having "all of his stats maxed out." Not to mention that when he is late, he chooses to jump to school.
- Parodied Trope: When Ibito goes on a walk with Hidaka, he meets a girl. Depending on how he interacts with her, an abrupt ending will tell you that they lived Happily Ever After. If Ibito gets away from her, it's only for a moment. Whether he wants it or not there are plenty of other girls who want him.
- Pimped-Out Dress: As expected from the witches in Ryukishi07's works, Alice got her attire from the master himself: A detached collar and a cravat (including a red gem pin to fix it). Then, the frilly and feathery ridges on her sleeves and skirt hem, and fitting thigh-high socks with matching red enamel shoes. And to top it all off, she wears a gem-adorned crown.
- Playing Card Motifs: A club (♣) and diamond (♦) are depicted on Usagi's sleeves, while Alice's dress has a heart (♥) and spade (♠) on it. Additionally, the trope's page mentions that a Queen of Hearts is likely to appear in an Alice Allusion (yes, look right at Alice's crown and heart-symbol on the dress). Then, it also mentions that the spade is associated with death. While she is highly lethal in a fight because she can just enter and leave worlds at her discretion, Alice comes disturbingly close to killing even herself.
- Powered Armor: Justified for the uniforms of the Fox Squad and other troops. Their exo-suits offer protection against large forces in combat, allow the wearer to move more swiftly and, most importantly, carry around and wield their massive anti-Garlotte rifles which they wouldn't stand a chance without - regular anti-personnel rifles and pistols won't even pierce the Garlotte's flesh, let alone kill them.
- Shout-Out: Yoshihito Kanamori makes an appearance as a stain in the shape of his face in the storage room Iyo and Keiko use as headquarters for their detective activities. Readers who are familiar with Episode 1 of Higanbana will remember that the only trace Yoshihito left behind after his confrontation with Meso-Meso-San was a similar stain on a bathroom stall wall.
- Unskippable Cutscene: In 3rd PLAY of Vespio 2438, Alice wakes up on her space ship before arriving at the Vespio Port. She notes that in the past, she would be overwhelmed by the breathtaking space scenery from her window, but currently, her arrival sequence makes her feel drained as if she is being made to sit through a mandatory cutscene. Justified in that Alice is indeed inside a game. Also, Truth in Television.
- Waistcoat of Style: Ibito◊ and Hidaka◊ wear these. Even though those are part of the male school uniform, Ibito and Hidaka being officially described as a stats-maxed-out-bishōjō-protagonist and Ikemen respectively supports this trope.
- White Bunny: Usagi is supposed to be this, especially with a name like that: "Usagi" means "rabbit" or "hare" in Japanese, and Usagi shares traits with (white) rabbits like the ears and red eye color and the name.
Congratulations! It's a Happy End!