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Odin Sphere is an Action RPG published by Atlus and developed by Vanillaware, released in the late end of the PlayStation 2's life cycle.

The game opens in an attic room, where a young girl named Alice is reading her grandfather's books, a series of stories about a magical world...

The nation of Valentine used to be a prosperous kingdom, until its greedy King held control over a magical relic called the "Crystallization Cauldron". He used it to conquer the nearby nations, but eventually lost control of it and watched as it destroyed his kingdom almost overnight.

Now, several other nations are fighting over the ownership of the Cauldron, and thus the world. The war is told through the separate viewpoints of five characters:

  • Gwendolyn, valkyrie and youngest daughter of Demon Lord Odin of Ragnanival, called "Odin's Witch" by the faeries. She yearns for her father's approval above all else.
  • Cornelius, the prince of Titania who gets transformed into a rabbit-like Pooka and must find a way to break the curse and stop the villain who has taken his place.
  • Mercedes, a fairy of Ringford who has to take over as Queen after her mother dies.
  • Oswald, the fearsome Shadow Knight who has a contract with the Queen Of The Dead for immense power in exchange for his soul.
  • Velvet, one of the last survivors of the kingdom of Valentine who tries to avert the disasters of the coming Armaggedon.

Aside from its multiple playable characters and connected story, Odin Sphere is notable for its high-quality 2D art (similar to Grim Grimoire, another Vanillaware game released that same year), in an age when almost all new games are being displayed in three dimensions. Many, many of the tropes, characters and plot devices in this game are inspired heavily by Norse Mythology, and especially Richard Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen.

See also Muramasa the Demon Blade, Odin Sphere's Spiritual Successor.

Examples of Odin Sphere include:
  • Above the Influence: Gwendolyn's relationship with Oswald seems squicky as hell, until you play through his side of the story and find out that not only is Gwen not under a love spell, but Oswald, who didn't feel right about having her whammied into loving him, went balls-out questing for a way to avert the spell before discovering that the spell was never cast in the first place.
    • Of course, no one tells Gwendolyn that Odin didn't cast the love spell on her. She finishes both her chapter and Oswald's thinking that her feelings are only caused by said spell, but accepts it anyway. Squick indeed.
      • Perhaps Oswald assumed that Odin hadn't told his daughter the same lie, or that Myris told her when he left them alone (whereas Myris might have thought Oswald told her when she left them alone)? Might be a case of Poor Communication Kills.
      • More simply, Oswald is still infested by the Belderiver's curse. The more Gwendolyn is likes him, the worse the inevitable will be. Not having a very high view of himself to begin with, he's just continuing the trend of treating himself as disposable, even in their relationship. Sure enough, their attachment causes bigger problems than either could have imagined.
        • Luckily, The Belderiver is destroyed during the Armageddon, freeing Oswald of its curse.
  • Achilles Heel: King Gallon believes himself to be invincible, as only a person with Titanian royal blood and Odette's power over death can actually kill him. It happens to be Oswald.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: One of the ancient prophecies foretells that only two people survive the Armageddon to revive the world. Gwendolyn and Oswald. Velvet and Cornelius survive as well, but as Pooka...
    • Only to regain their human shape in the Good Ending.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Everyone in the world hates Oswald for being the Shadow Knight.
  • All There in the Manual: Inverted. You're better off NOT reading at the very least Velvet's character profile in the manual, because the fact that she's secretly Odin's illegitimate daughter would have otherwise been quite a surprising twist the first time you play the game.
  • All There in the Script: The two Pooka who work in the restaurant and cafe are named Melelunch and Meliene, respectively. This information is only available in the art book.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Goblins, former Pooka who became Goblins because they were Evil.
  • Amazon Brigade: All Vulcans seen, Onyx aside, appear to be female. And all of them can fight.
  • An Axe to Grind: Several enemies, including Aesir warriors, Berserkers and Axe Knights.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: However, you do have to use all the characters in the finale. All characters have slightly (Gwendolyn, Cornelius and Oswald handle fairly similarly overall) or greatly (Velvet and Mercedes handle quite differently than the others, including each other) different play styles.
  • Anti-Hero: Oswald.
  • Apron Matron: Myris.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Oswald, both in personality and playing style.
  • Automatic Crossbows: The Tasla Psypher, later upgraded and renamed Riblam ("The Piercing One" in old dwarvish). Comes with homing Secondary Fire! At least Mercedes' crossbow is explicitly magical.
  • Backstab Backfire: Subverted when Oswald kills Skuldi, as Oswald never intended to spare him in the first place.
  • Baleful Polymorph
    • Cornelius is transformed into a rabbit-like "Pooka" even during his opening prologue, later learning that it's (more or less) irreversible, and that the entire Pooka race share the same curse. Velvet receives the same fate during the Good Ending..
    • Mercedes encounters a talking frog early in her story, who was also once human. It's Ingway, who ticked off one of the Wise Men.
    • And of course, the "Frog" status effect, which can be cured (or caused) by a "Metamorphosis" potion. Which, ironically, comes with Collision Damage jumping attacks and poisonous touch built right in.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Vulcans, in their transformed state. However, its worth noting that their sprites are crafted carefully to never show their crotches in this form. Their nipples appear to be covered by small spots of live magma (most of their bodies turn into hardened magma in their transformed state) so it's possible this trope is actually averted to some extent.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Velvet very much so. Also the female fairies of Ringford and the Vulcans.
  • Battle Ballgown
  • Because Destiny Says So: Like the Norse Ragnarok, the circumstances surrounding The End of the World as We Know It are already pre-ordained. This means that it doesn't matter how badass a given character is or how handily they win a given final boss fight; if they're not the person prophesied to stop that particular disaster, they will at best succeed only to drop dead, and at worst die failing to accomplish anything at all.
  • Berserk Button: Whatever his faults, Oswald tends to have a very direct and violent reaction to anyone he perceives as manipulating, using, or treating another person as an 'object'.
    • Cornelius when Velvet gets harmed. He had no qualm of beating the tar out of Mercedes when she shot down Velvet to get the Ring Titrel from her.
  • BFS: Cornelius inverts this; his broadsword is reasonably sized for a human, but his Pooka body is way too small to wield it the way he does.
  • Big Bad: King Valentine
  • Big Damn Heroes: Cornelius and Gwendolyn. Repeatedly.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The mini-boss Vulcans and Onyx all appear to be of the same race, but while normal Vulcans grow horns, have their hair replaced by fire and become naked when they transform, Onyx changes into something somewhat akin to a Balrog.
    • Also, female fairies have colorful butterfly wings, while males have (possibly vestigial) wasp or housefly wings.
  • Black Knight: Oswald, minus a helmet.
  • Blade on a Stick: Gwendolyn's spear. Sadly, not given a name like the other Psypher weapons.
  • Blessed with Suck: Oswald and his Belderiver.
  • Boss Rush: The final chapter consists of challenging the five prophecied disasters that bring about the end of the world.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Mercedes. She gets much better around the second half of her story.
  • Broken Aesop: Oswald fights to protect Gwendolyn's freedom when she's cursed to sleep until awoken by a kiss, citing that humans are not objects and have the right to be free. He's reluctant to wake her at first, knowing she'll be bound to love him against her own wishes if he does, but later he finds out that it was a bluff on Odin's part: the spell only makes her sleep. When he wakes Gwendolyn, she falls in love with him because of her own feelings-- but Oswald never tells her that, even knowing how loyal and faithful she is by nature. So it's not okay to use people, but apparently it's okay to lie to them to get them to do what you want.
    • As mentioned under Above the Influence and given Oswald's character, it's more likely a case of Poor Communication Kills. That is, he either assumed she already knew the truth, either because her father didn't tell her the same lie about a love spell before putting her to sleep, or assumed that after she woke up, Myris would have told her during one of the times he wasn't around. Leaving Myris to break the news instead of doing it himself makes sense, given that Gwendolyn saw him as an enemy and wasn't inclined to trust him. Myris, for her part, seems to have assumed that Oswald did tell Gwendolyn.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Pookas, in a literal example, but we also have Napples, Carroteers, Habernistos, Onionnes, and Turnies.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Velvet angrily calls Odin out on his banishing Gwendolyn from his kingdom for saving her from execution, which was all just to please him, saying if he really was relieved Velvet was alive, he wouldn't have punished Gwendolyn so.
  • Camera Screw: Averted; the game features an amazingly informative on-screen minimap that'll show what isn't actually happening on-screen. Also, during boss fights the camera pulls back slightly.
  • Cast From Hit Points: Although there are no actual attacks of this nature, the "V" alchemy potion causes the player's next attack to inflict armor piercing damage in direct proportion to their HP, at the cost of reducing their HP to one afterwards.
    • The damage from the Variance potion is 5 times current HP minus 1, since that last point is used to keep you alive. Nice damage, but incredibly risky, even if you've got an Ancient Crystal to revive yourself in case you do get hit.
  • Character Development: Probably the most impressive with Mercedes, who starts out as a weak and generally bratty little girl and turns into a bow-toting fighter well-worth being queen.
  • Charged Attack: Mercedes can fire a spray of homing shots with her bow. Velvet can also fire off her chain to attack enemies from a distance.
  • Chekhov's Armory
    • Defeating enemies releases "Phozons", which you collect to increase your weapon's attack power ... and the events of Armageddon are specifically triggered by King Valentine ordering the Cauldron to suck all the Phozons out of the entire world. During the game's good ending, after Armageddon has destroyed everything else, Velvet uses the Cauldron to break everyone's weapons down, releasing all the stored Phozon energy back into the world.
    • Fairies have two names, a given name and a True Name. All the true names are (like everything else) based on Norse mythology. The World Tree in the prophecy is Yggdrasil, Mercedes' true name.
    • Cornelius' uncle had been removed from the the throne by his grandfather for falling in love with and marrying a commoner girl. His name was Edgar, Oswald's father. Oswald has royal blood and Odette's power, allowing him to slay King Gallon.
    • One reason Wagner is so pissed off at humanity is because someone stole one of the dragon eggs this was King Valentine and the dragon would hatch to become Leventhan, one of the disasters of the Armageddon.
  • Chickification: Valkyries fear this more than death itself. They dread surviving their dangerous lifestyle long enough to be married off, since Ragnanival menfolk apparently tend to be sexist assholes. Given that Gwendolyn is so dutifully obedient, for all her spirit, she's very fortunate in that her husband absolutely refuses to treat her like an object, and is perfectly okay with her continuing to be a warrior.
  • Composite Character: More like a composite story; pretty much the entire plot is an amalgam of Der Ring Des Nibelungen and Norse Mythology (especially the parts concerning Ragnarok)
  • Colossus Climb: The final battles against The Cauldron and Leventhan to reach their respective weak points.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Averted; characters gradually lose HP if they don't use a "Cooler" potion in the volcano level or a "Warmer" potion in the snow level.
  • Damage Over Time: In addition to its set of Standard Status Effects, there are fire and ice levels which sap 1% of your character's HP at regular intervals unless you drink an appropriate curing potion beforehand (or have elemental protection equipped).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Oswald. Odin's title is 'Demon Lord' but he is more ambitious, ruthless and tricky than truly evil. Most of the game's true villains are still pretty dark, though.
    • Likewise Odette is not necessarily evil, but only doing her job to keep the world running.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Which is fortunate, considering how often it happens.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The dragon Wagner quickly repays one favor for each character who bested him in combat and spared him, to clean that slate. (Except Oswald, who was specifically sent up the mountain to kill him.)
  • The Dragon: Several, two of which (Belial and Leventhan) are actual dragons.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Generally the result of fighting a final boss with the wrong character, Because Destiny Says So.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the bad ending, Kill'Em All everybody dies. In the good ending, Oswald and Gwendolyn earn their happy ending together, and Cornelius and Velvet survive as Pooka. In the best ending, Cornelius and Velvet become human again.
    • The good ending requires the player to interpret a series of prophecies so that each of the five heroes fights during the Apocalypse in the correct order. Unfortunately, to get the best ending the player has to see every cutscene possible... including the Downer Ending cutscenes that spring from messing up the correct boss fight order. This means you have to fight through the Apocalypse about five times with the five heroes wrongfully matched against the five opponents to get the best ending.
  • End of an Age: Big time. And that's the good ending.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Engagement Challenge: Subverted. In order to get the ring from Wagner, Odin asked Oswald to slay the dragon for him since Odin made a blood pact with Wagner, and thus can't harm him. He offered a castle to Oswald at first, who wasn't interested until Odin offered his daughter Gwendolyn.
  • Epic Flail: Odin's Psypher, the Balor. Larger than any playable character.
  • Everyone Is Related: Oh good grief! Mercedes loves Ingway who is the twin brother of Velvet, and Gwendolyn is their half-sister who is married to Oswald, who was adopted by Mercedes' cousin and is secretly the long lost cousin of Velvet's lover Cornelius. Yeah, you'd be better off drawing a diagram.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Queen Odette of the Netherworld is a royal bitch who rules the place in cruelty and views anyone among the living, royals or otherwise, as inferior. But she detests the idea of letting the world be destroyed, and she wants to keep King Galleon secure, knowing how dangerous and vile he was when he was alive, and how he hasn't become otherwise even after death. Of course, she was also the one who made him an immortal corpse to torture him.
  • Everythings Better With Bunnies: Cornelius, as well as the Pooka in general.
  • Everything's Better With Badass Princesses: Used in some ways, averted in others. All three of the female PCs are princesses... but they are not useless.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Cornelius can't get very high with his initial jump, but his double jump involves spinning and covers a fair distance. Executed right, the spin can be turned into a deadly aerial spinning attack with his sword. You can control the direction he flies, and he stays aloft and spinning as long as he's hitting something.
  • Evil Chancellor: Every side has at least one.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Three Wise Men, a trio of wicked sorcerers who're behind many schemes of Erion.
  • Evolving Weapon: The Psyphers grow more powerful the more Phozons they collect, increasing their attack power and acquiring new spells.
  • Exact Words: Odin really tripped himself up when he tried to get the magic ring Titrel from the dragon Wagner, insisting that all he wanted Oswald to do was slay the dragon. After it was done, Oswald decided the ring would make a great wedding gift for his new wife and refused to hand it over, a nice play of Loophole Abuse. Oops!
  • Experience Booster: You can buy a Spirit Gem from the very first merchant you encounter, after the first stage of the game. Equiping this item increases the experience that your Psypher Weapon gains when you absorb phozons. You don't need to have it equipped all of the time, so you can just swap it on whenever you're done killing a wave (or entire level) of enemies. It's also a handy part of the Phozon Farming Abuse trick, which involves using the Phozon Release skill to turn some of your "magic points" into free-floating phozons. Equip the Spirit Gem, release all of the phozons you're carrying, and then reabsorb the phozons. This restores your MP guage (though not to the same level as before), allowing you release and reabsorb all of your phozons again and again. Doing this often will grind up your Psypher Level, especially with the Gem.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Lampshaded in the Stripperiffic Velvet's book.
  • Expy: A short guy with blond hair, a green hood and a glowing sword who loves spinning attacks? Is it just me, or does Cornelius look an awful lot like Link?
    • Let's not forget his turning into a rabbit-like creature upon entering the games closest equivalent to the Dark World.
    • Some thought the way Cornelius fought had a Zero vibe to it. At the very least, it could be the reason why his story felt like the easiest and how his fighting style felt natural.
    • There's also how Gwendolyn and Onyx resemble Saber and Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night, including Relationship Voice Actors.
  • Fan Disservice: Odette. OTOH, she's a pale gothic beauty with huge assets. She's also rotted away to a skeleton on parts of her body, and in the fight against her she can transform into a hideous, multilegged, spidery... spider thingy. That comes from under her skirt.
  • Flight: Gwendolyn's Valkyrie armor sports fully functional wings which allow her to reach impressive altitudes... story-wise. Gameplay-wise, this ability is mostly gliding; she can gain some altitude and turn around, but if you try both at once or lose too much speed, she's easily liable to drop. Mercedes, a fairy, can fly indefinitely (and is faster on the wing than on foot), but she can only reload, use items, and cast spells when she's on the ground.
  • Fetish Fuel Station Attendant: How about all five protagonists. This game caters to both the male and female gamer's fetishes.
  • Five Moves of Doom: It's perhaps unavoidable in a game with one weird potion for every letter of the alphabet, and you can brew all of them (eventually), but the game is made much easier by chaining together spells and items. For example, the Blizzard potion creates a blizzard which ices over all the enemies on the battlefield for an extended period of time, and also works on minibosses. There is a spell to double attack strength. There's other abilities which add together to turn most boss fights into easy stuff.
  • Flunky Boss: Every. last. one of them, midbosses included, will summon other enemies for the player to fight. The Queen of the Dead in particular never seems to stop summoning them.
  • Food Porn: Characters can collect over fifty different recipes, deliver them to the local Pooka restaurant/cafe and level up by gorging down all kinds of delicatessen food. Whereas a character's Psypher gauge can be leveled by simple grinding, the HP gauge can only be upgraded through eating. Players are encouraged to hunt for ingredients and unlock secret recipes for fattening up their characters' HP. What's more, each course receives a different animation for eating and diminishing, depending on the size and temperature of the food.
  • Forced Tutorial: The entire first story, Valkyrie, has tutorials spread around that are unskippable in your first playthrough. Thankfully, when you revisit previous areas or start the book over, you don't have to deal with them again.
  • Fragile Speedster: Velvet. After playing as Oswald, her speed is surprising. She also has the absolute worst attack strength, but her chains have the second-best range the game (including a long-distance homing strike), which helps her keep away from harm.
  • Freudian Excuse: Pulled off pretty well in Velvet and Ingway's differing reactions to being forced to abandon their mother to her death in order to save themselves from their insane grandfather.
    • King Valentine claims that he infused not only some of his magical power into the coins of his country, but also put all of his "virtuous spirit" into them as well. It was after this that his citizens noticed a change for the worse in him. And the interactive echo of his past self summoned by the coins gives the impression that his claims are true, and he might actually have been a nice guy, once. If this is true, one imagines that it was an accident on his part.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Aside from his relation to Odette and the Titanian Royal Family, there's another reason only Oswald can defeat Gallon; generic characters used against Gallon after killed by the overwhelming Halja forces he brings with him (Cornelius is eaten). The Halja would be unwilling to aid Gallon against Oswald; they're all too scared of him and the Belderiver!
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Normal Vulcans in their transformed state become completely naked.
  • Gainaxing: Velvet noticeably bounces every time she comes to a stop. Odette's huge assets also seem to expand and contract, and the Vulcans' assets seem to bounce while breathing.
  • Game Face: All Vulcans have humanoid forms, but their real forms are fire spawned creatures with live fire generated from them. Normal Vulcans turn naked, grow horns and have their skin covered by magna, hardened and blackened. Onyx turns into a small Balrog.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Most prominently when you fight other main characters as part of one character's story; they're several dozen times more powerful than they would be at that point in time in their own story.
    • This is painfully obvious when you're forced to fight Mercedes, who is one of the hardest PC-boss fights, but when you get to her book, she starts as the weakest of the five. Of course, "starts" is the keyword here.
  • Gameplay Grading: Except for boss battles, you are rated on how quickly you defeated enemies and how little damage you took, with higher rankings resulting in more treasure after the battle. Additionally, any points in excess of the given rank will be carried over and applied to the next battle's score.
  • Genius Bruiser: Demon Lord Odin, King of Ragnanival. Physically huge and powerful. Calculatingly smart and cunning. Wields an enormous Psypher morningstar. Knows a thousand spells.
  • Glass Cannon: Mercedes. Lowest HP growth, packs a mean crossbow. Also pretty agile, considering she can freely fly.
    • Too bad being forced to reload leaves a huge opening for attacks, specially against bosses, even the mid ones, thanks to their screen-crossing leaps.
      • Pop an Unlimited Power potion and you've got yourself a near-Game Breaker there. Or, just absorb some Phozons whenever you have the chance.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: The motivation behind the Pooka running a restaurant chain -- they want to recollect all the old Valentine coins to break their curse. Only two Pooka survive to enjoy it, though the dead ones probably also get released from the curse post-mortem. This isn't a small thing, considering the Pooka curse not only makes one agelessly immortal while alive, but also ageless and indestructible when dead. Which means that if the curse wasn't broken, all of the Pooka would have spent eternity as forever-rotting corpses in a dreary graveyard world. But now they finally get to move on.
  • Gotterdammerung: The nation of Valentine.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Only a specific character can truly defeat a given disaster during Armageddon. Anyone else will simply die trying.
    • Averted, however, when fighting other protagonists. For example, although Mercedes defeats Oswald in her book, Oswald's book avoids the battle entirely, although the composite nature of the story implies that it still took place.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Every character has a different fighting style, so the first chapter of each of their stories starts with a quick training mission to explain the controls.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Cornelius gets a Psypher broad sword, which given the shortness of his new Pooka body, is more of a greatsword for him. Sadly, we never learn if it has a name. Oswald also has the Belderiver, which appears to be a longsword.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Norio Wakamoto as a Shinigami Mook named Halja. Oh, he also gets to speak in sentences rather than just grunt when one claims Oswald's life in Gwendolyn's chapter.
    • Other notable voices includes Mamiko Noto, Fumihiko Tachiki and Tomokazu Seki.
    • Ayako Kawasumi as Gwendolyn and Tomokazu Seki as Onyx in their usual Relationship Voice Actor. Their characters are either each other's love interst or he has an unrequited love for her and refuses to take no for an answer; this game being the latter.
    • The English dub is basically a Bleach reunion (concerning the playable characters, at least). Gwendolyn is Soifon, Cornelius is Keigo, Mercedes is Orihime, Oswald is Uryu, and Velvet is Rukia.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Pooka village. "It took a lot of work to get it all down here!"
  • Horror Hunger: Ingway laments acquiring one after using the spell of Darkova to transform into the Demon Beast.
  • Humiliation Conga: Beldor suffers one following his defeat against Mercedes; He's turned into a Pooka by Ingway, stripped of his magic and humanity, imprisoned by Mercedes, forced to lead her to the Netherworld, and ultimately killed by a Halja in the Netherworld. Things improve for him a bit during Armageddon however, when he returns from the dead (undead Pooka seem capable of using magic) and enslaves Ingway.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Consuming food restores your health and gives you experience points for increasing your maximum health.
  • I Am Your Opponent
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: More or less King Valentine's justification for bringing about the end of the world. He wants to die and if the only way to do that is to take everyone else down with him, so be it.
  • Identical Grandson: Actually a major plot-point Velvet looking like her mother is why Odin favors her over his other daughters and, in the true ending, is what keeps King Valentine from killing her.
  • If I Can't Have You: After being beaten, Onyx considers doing this to Gwendolyn, but is stopped by Oswald.
    • Twisted but played straight by King Valentine to his daughter.
  • Ignored Epiphany: King Valentine has several of these. He even gets a What the Hell, Hero? speech from, of all people, King Odin. However, when Odin refuses to kill him to spare his agony, he goes right back to ending the world.
  • Immune to Flinching: Unlike the player, bosses (and some enemies) do not flinch or recoil when struck by the player's attacks. However, the "Painkiller" potion will protect the player from flinching and knockback, as well as the "Fire/Ice Spirits" potions, which will protect the player from up to three hits.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Pretty much any female character, including the female enemies. Much like the male characters, the character design for the females is very exaggerated.
  • Impossible Task: Referenced by Gwendolyn; apparently, Odin gives these to people frequently, and Cornelius is just the latest unfortunate. However, he manages to succeed, with a little help from Gwendolyn.
    • Onyx tries to do this with Oswald as a way to indirectly Murder the Hypotenuse. Gwendolyn is Not Having It.
  • In a Single Bound: Some of the Sub Bosses have Mario-like jumping ability. The mains aren't far off, although at least two of them are wholly or partially capable of flight.
  • Item Crafting: Done for potions and recipes.
  • Jack of All Stats: Gwendolyn, and Cornelius to a degree. Gwen is good with both ground and air combos, but Cornelius' ground combos seem worse than his aerial ones. His play style requires mastering his "jump and strike" strategies.
    • Cornelius's ground combos are the most awkward of the cast, but his air combos are good. Gwendolyn actually becomes closer to a Lightning Bruiser once you get the hang of using her gliding, and especially when she learns Shadow Ally.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Oswald. He only shows his nice side to people he truly trusts.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The story prior to Armageddon is spread throughout five books telling different parts of the story from the perspectives of five different characters. Trying to keep track of everything -- such as who does what, what goes where, and when what happens -- might have been extremely frustrating, especially if you're trying to figure out how the ring Titrel is passed from person to person or how each character pursues their agenda. It doesn't help that the game often jumps through hoops of And Now for Someone Completely Different. Thankfully, the game provides a cinematic theater organized into a comprehensive timeline to properly keep track of everything in a chronological order.
  • Just Shoot Em: There are many times in the story where King Valentine is speaking at length about his plans to bring about armageddon in front of someone who wants to prevent said armageddon and who can easily destroy him. However, said characters tend to be infuriatingly merciful towards the future destroyer of the world.
  • Kill'Em All: In the bad ending. Again in the good ending, with the exception of Gwendolyn, Oswald, Cornelius and Velvet.
  • Killer Rabbit: Leventhan, the Last Dragon, is an adorable baby dragon when you first battle him as Gwendolyn. A small flying target that can be hard to hit, and he's even wearing part of his eggshell on his head! Who also unleashes a Wave Motion Gun Breath Weapon after he Turns Red. Some may consider his adult form easier to beat, but Your Mileage May Vary, depending on how quickly you can identify and counter his attacks.
    • Cornelius the "Pooka Prince" may as well be a literal example given his (relative to his smaller Pooka body) magic sword and aerial Spin Attack.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: The green Ooze enemies in Titania capital receive only Scratch Damage from melee strikes, a major problem for Cornelius. But they die quickly when hit with a "Napalm" potion, or Mercedes's crossbow.
  • Kuudere: Oswald.
  • Lady of War: The valkyries in general, with Odin's daughters Griselda and Gwendolyn being the primary examples.
  • Large and In Charge: Odin, Brigan, Odette, and a few others; the midbosses can count, too.
  • Last Stand: Mercedes's battle against King Onyx. "...I won't stop drawing my bow..."
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Fire Kingdom, home to the fire that existed before the birth of the world, which is also the source of life of the Fire People, whose true forms are made of animated lava.
  • Les Yay: Despite being half-sisters, Gwendolyn and Velvet really have their moments. Overlaps with Foe Yay when they are confronting one another.
  • Life Energy: Phozons.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Oswald has the highest attack power, attack speed, HP growth and the fastest walking speed. However, his momentum means it takes time for him to slow down and he can't block -- instead, he gets a Super Mode which makes his attack power even better, but quickly depletes his POW gauge when he's not being struck by something.
  • Living Shadow: The Desecrators in the mountain. In the past they were Shadow Knights as well and wielders of the Belderiver. Oswald turns into one of them if he tries to take on King Onyx in the Armageddon.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: An unfortunate trade-off for wonderful hand-drawn art, but that doesn't make it any less annoying when it happens.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: Simple math -- Oswald gives Gwendolyn the ring that her father wants very badly, and she wants her father's love very badly. Oswald takes it... very badly.
  • Love At First Sight: Oswald seemed pretty taken with Gwendolyn the moment he first laid eyes on her while sneaking into Ragnanival. Granted, she did have her hair down and was wearing an evening gown at the time. Alternatively, that just got him to notice she existed, and see her as a woman rather than just an enemy solider. He probably also sympathized with her singular desire to make her father happy. But actually falling in love with her required losing his purpose in life, seeing a symbolic vision of her which gave him hope, and remembering a dragon's advice that "the bird" would be his destiny. Also the thought that Gwendolyn would love him, as Odin promised, since he was desperate for anyone to love him at that point.
  • Love Hurts: The entire plot.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: King Valentine. His daughter falling in love with Odin and bearing his children (Velvet and Ingway), to him, meant that she didn't love him anymore and so he killed her with his bare hands. Overlaps with Love Makes You Evil as the main reason why he's an Omnicidal Maniac -- he can't live with himself even after death knowing he killed her. But it's also strongly implied that enchanting the Valentine kingdom's coins made him a little crazy to begin with.
  • MacGuffin: The Cauldron and Titrel, the ring that controls it.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Possibly. Never explicitly said, but since most of Erion's Phozons, the source of magic and life, were "lost", it's a fair assumption that magic is much harder to cast After the End. Alternatively, Leventhan's body -- which had absorbed all of those phozons -- wasn't releasing its stolen phozons fast enough. Things might return to normal eventually.
    • Either way, the best ending has Gwendolyn losing her wings for good.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Odin and Gwendolyn will refer differently to each other (princess versus valkyrie, father versus king) in order to provoke different reactions. Any time Odin wants something from Gwendolyn, he'll play on her emotions, interchanging familial address with knighthood rank.
    • Moreso obvious, the Three Wise Men. Each is stationed as a powerful advisor for the three main kingdoms in Erion, and all are working to bring forth the coming of Armageddon.
  • Meaningful Name: Fimbulvetr, Nidhogg, Yggdrasil
    • King Edmund of Titania had a brother named Edgar. If you've read King Lear, this should sound familiar.
    • Leventhan seems to be a portmanteau of "Leviathan" and "Laevatein." The former is a giant snake (snake-like dragon, which also fills in nicely for Jormungandr) and the latter is a weapon that would burn the world (Leventhan's breath of destruction). Fridge Brilliance?
  • Mercy Invincibility: Occurs if an enemy attack knocks you to the ground. The "Painkiller" potion, which blocks Knockback, unfortunately prevents this from kicking in.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: A rare non Double Standard example with Gwendolyn and Mercedes. Both of them got their power from strong women in their lives (Gwendolyn from her sister, Mercedes from her mother).
  • New Game+: The player can "re-read" a character's book after completing it, playing through the story with the same levels and items they had when finishing it. For a more literal "re-reading", there's also the Archive Gallery, which allows you to skip all of the gameplay while enjoying all of the story from all five characers, piecing together how the different threads fit.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Almost everything done by the main characters to further their own agendas unwittingly ends up making the Apocalypse happen. In fact, just using Psyphers is slowly killing the world by disrupting the cycle of souls and new life. They are the Cauldron on a smaller scale. None of them know of the negative consequences their own actions result in. The only character that is fully knowledgeable on Armageddon and is actively attempting to stop it is Velvet.
  • Nintendo Hard: As with all Atlus titles, this one is no exception.
    • Ventures into Fake Difficulty. Often. Partly because every action your character takes is so damn lovingly rendered, it takes a second to recover from even a simple attack (yours or an enemy's). And just about every attack from enemies (and bosses) has Magic Priority over your own.
    • Enemies and projectiles flying off in multiple directions simultaneously can occasionally trigger a cascading disaster. For example, you can get dizzied by a laser beam, torched by wizard's flame, turned into a frog and then one-hit killed from above by a midboss's jumping attack. All within the span of ten seconds.
  • No Man of Woman Born: Onyx is doomed to be stopped by The World Tree. Since there's no known World Tree in Erion he therefore believes he's impossible to kill. Mercedes' true name is Yggdrasil, the name of the Norse mythology world tree, and to get the good ending you must have her kill him.
    • Likewise, because of an immortality curse that Odette cast on King Gallon, only someone with Odette's power can kill him. On top of that, it was prophesied that only someone of Titanian royal blood would kill him. Fortunately, it turns out that Oswald meets both criteria.
      • This, story-wise, was a very clever way to throw players off. The beast of Darkova is the one who can only be killed by Titanian royal blood, and the final book pits you against two of them: Igway turned into Darkova, and King Gallon, an undead Darkova. Some players didn't get the part about Odette's power, and fought Gallon with Cornelius. Doesn't help that the hints regarding Oswald's true lineage are very oblique.
    • It is said that no man can defeat the six-eyed beast -- in order to get the good ending, you must defeat it with Cornelius, who is no longer a man, but a Pooka.
  • Noble Demon: Odin and Onyx attempt to be this. Odin at least keep his word and help Cornelius when the latter survive to his test (bring back to him Brigan's horn)
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Vulcans in their true form are supposed to be lava elementals, but they do sports jiggly boobs. Also the female Geist seen in the Underworld are big-breasted. However, this is averted with the Pooka females.
  • Oh Crap: Admit it, you were thinking this when you first saw Belial.
    • And so did Urzur right before being chomped by a dying Belial.
  • Older Than They Look: Cornelius and Velvet lived centuries after the Armaggedon in the True Ending and finally amassed every single Valentine coin. They break the Pooka curse on themselves, reverting back to humans, looking exactly the way the were before getting cursed. No one would think they are actually over a millenia old.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: King Valentine, who is also the one of the few unsympathetic villains, not coincidentally.
  • One Hundred Percent Completion: Doing everything right (completing all of the story chapters, watching all of the cutscenes, and eating all of the available foods) nets you a bonus scene where Velvet and Cornelius collect all of the Valentinian coins and undo the Pooka curse.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Somewhat averted, with the faeries of Ringford (led by Elfaria, and her nephew Melvin), who take the role of the "elf" race in this story. They're not actually much better or worse than anyone else. However, they did have the most gender-equal country in the world, and -- with one exception -- just wanted to survive rather than conquer the world, which puts Ringford well ahead of just about every other major power.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: There are three dragons in the game: Hindel, a wise, future-seeing dragon who offered advice to the fairies and Velvet before being killed by Oswald as a demonstration of his Psypher's power; Belial, whose compassion to humans doomed him into being deceived by the Wise Men and being enslaved by their magic; and Wagner, the enormously angry King of Dragons who refuses to listen to reason until you beat the tar out of him first.
    • And then there's Leventhan, the Last Dragon, one of the prophesied Five Disasters.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The only dwarves that are ever seen are all old, short, balding, bearded guys who universally love blacksmithing. Even the Lillipats -- dwarves allied with the fairies, and forbidden to forge anything -- remain largely the same.
  • Parental Favoritism: Early on, it becomes painfully obvious that Odin shows more love to Velvet (who resents him for very good reasons) than to his other children (who absolutely revere him). This still doesn't stop him from allowing her to be executed to save face in front of his vassals. Odin's not exactly Father of the Year. He eventually admits this and starts to regret it.
    • Griselda might be acting as a perfect daughter for Odin by accident. Gwendolyn, however, struggles with meeting Odin's standards.
  • Personal Space Invader: The green Ooze enemies in Titania capital. They also happens to be Onyx's weakness.
  • Pettanko: Mercedes
  • Petting Zoo People: The Pooka are rabbit-folk. The Valkyrie have little wings on their heads as well as flying wings at their waists, but according to character sketch notes, those are just magical parts of their armor, like Odin's.
  • Prophecy Twist: Quite a few, detailed in the No Man of Woman Born section. The vague wording of the prophecy of the Armageddon leads to many Prophetic Fallacies as well.
    • Hindel, the future-seeing dragon, lampshades this and is something of a deconstruction. Because every hint of the future he gives always had twists, he stopped giving help.
  • Rare Candy: Eating food prepared in the Pooka restaurants not only provides experience towards a level-up (see Hyperactive Metabolism), but an immediate boost to the character's maximmum HP.
  • Real After All: The whole game is just a series of stories read by Alice in the attic. Getting to the True end, she is saddened at how the story ended, then noticed the latest book's cover ornament looks like a Valentine coin. She takes it off and prays that the Pooka would find the coin until she reminded herself that it was only a story. After she leaves, a portal opens up to reveal Cornelius and Velvet coming out to retrieve the coin and leave a final book in its place. This heavily hints that the world Alice and her family lives in is actually the future after the Armageddon happened.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mercedes, but it's a natural feature of being a fairy. However, Oswald has them despite being a human, presumably because he's the Shadow Knight. In his Shadow Form, one eye creepily disappears in the blackness while the other upgrades to a single Glowy Eye Of Doom.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Ayako Kawasumi is Gwendolyn while Mamiko Noto is Mercedes.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Glue Onyx to the spot with an "Ooze" potion to stop That One Attack.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Played straight with all of the royal characters, four of which are PCs, except for Cornelius' father, who is old and decrepit at the time of the story. Actually, all of the PCs are royals, but Oswald doesn't find out until the good ending.
    • And in the Backstory, Cornelius' father Edmund followed this trope as well, when he used the Psypher sword Cornelius now wields to defeat his father King Gallon -- smashing out all the teeth from all three mouths and then killing him -- when Gallon lost control over the power of Darkova and rampaged around his own city.
  • Scenery Porn: Absolutely gorgeous 2-D artwork. Not just scenery but some enemies like Belial and Darkova.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The "King of the Underworld" in the final chapter. Destroying his three heads is not enough to kill him, but it does expose his heart to damage, at least until his heads regenerate.
  • Shout-Out: The Napples return from Princess Crown. A common misconception is they are also a reference to Napple Tale.
    • For those with the memories, Velvet's charge attack will make you want to shout "Nebula Chain!"
    • Cornelius's aerial spinning attack with a glowing sword may evoke images of Zero.
  • Simultaneous Arcs
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Gwendolyn, after realizing that Oswald is actually a decent person on the inside.
  • Slave to PR: This is a cause of a lot of grief for Odin.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Horn Mountain of Winterhorn Ridge. Thankfully without any actual ice to slip or slide on.
  • Smite Me Oh Mighty Smiter: Ingway,if you choose Mercedes to fight him during Armageddon.
  • Snicket Warning Label: The sixth book is titled "Armageddon"; guess what happens.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Princess Crown, a 1997 Atlus title for the Sega Saturn developed by the dev team that went on to become Vanillaware. During development, Odin Sphere was even referred to as Princess Crown 2.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Brigan plans to turn Gwendolyn into his concubine. Onyx too.
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison, Flame, Freeze, and Frog.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Every single pair of lovers in the game. Some end better than others.
  • Storybook Opening: Each character's chapter is a book Alice is reading.
  • Straw Misogynist: The average male from Ragnanival is a sexist bastard, but Brigan really pushes the limits.
  • Stripperiffic: In Velvet's chapter, several merchants comment on her outfit. One of the merchants in the snow level says something to the effect of, "You're up here on this mountain and you're dressed like that? You're tough! Buy a warming potion, will you?"
    • The other mountain merchant wonders if the "half-naked chick" is just a hallucination.
    • The female fairies of Ringford also count, as they wear nothing by elbow-length gloves, knee-high boots, and bikinis to battle.
  • Super Mode: Oswald's Shadow Form, which he can assume at any time. As mentioned, however, it depletes his POW in a hurry even when he's stock still (which is why the Power Stone and Unlimited Power potions are so important to him), and it also prevents him from casting spells or using items (so power up first). Further, Shadow Knights who abuse the black sword's power too much die and become Revenants, the miserable phantoms that haunt Horn Mountain in Winterhorn Ridge.
  • Taking You with Me Belial killing Urzur, who had been controlling him, just before he dies of his mortal wounds.
    • There's also the Action Bombs in the Inferno Cavern, whose dying explosion is typically a One-Hit Kill.
    • And many alternate Armageddon scenes where a dying Ingway backstabs one of the Three Wise Men.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Done rather well; Fairies are humanoid and don't really require this, but even so Female Fairies have larger butterfly-like wings, while Male ones have small grasshopper-like wings that are too small to fly with.
  • The Starscream: General Brigan.
  • Ted Baxter: Lord Brigan. He constantly boasts about his power and his loyalty to king Odin. However, he is defeated five times in all throughout the game by just about every main character. Mercedes is the only one not to defeat him, arguably because the two don't even meet. Gwendolyn defeats him twice, though, living and undead.
  • Together in Death: Possibly Mercedes and Ingway.
    • More obviously, Odin and Griselda. The former literally embraces the latter's ghost in death, finding solace in that they will at least be reunited.
  • To Hell and Back: Every playable character visits the Netherworld at some point, but also Odin (who does this regularly), Brom, the Three Wise Men and King Valentine.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Mercedes.
  • Tragic Hero: Ingway, who has a tendency to not think out his decisions before making them.
  • Tragic Monster: Belial, as well as Ingway.
  • Theme Naming: Every (named) female Pooka has a name that begins with "M," with one exception: Velvet, at the end of the game. The Wise Men also have names derived from the Norns: Urzur (Urd), Beldor (Verthandi, also known as Belldandy in Japan) and Skuldi (Skuld).
  • The Unfavorite: Gwendolyn considers herself and Griselda to be examples in comparison to Velvet, and she herself may have been less favored than even Griselda.
  • Useless Useful Spell: One potion leaves behind a toxic cloud that kills anything after a short delay, regardless of how much HP it has left. Unfortunately, this has a tendency not to work on boss enemies, but always on you. Sure, it kills slimes, but you've always got Napalm for doing that cheaper.
  • We Buy Anything: Including half-eaten, rotten fruit and bones left over from chicken or lamb.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Where to start? Gwendolyn is the most blatant example, but Oswald counts too. And let's not forget the strong implication that the main reason Ingway let the Cauldron run amok, destroying his entire country, wasn't just to save Odin, but also to earn his love.
  • Whip It Good: Velvet's Psypher chain, the Graveryl. With it, she's practically Spiderwoman.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Oswald, a heroic example. Also Onyx, who is not.
  • White Prince: Cornelius.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: It is barely alluded to in the game itself, but Pooka do not age, and those who die that way become the ghouls hauling candlesticks around the Netherworld. Cornelius and Velvet wind up living for an extremely long time after the events of the game, and during the bonus ending, before they return to normal, Velvet explains why they shouldn't live forever.
  • Wings Do Nothing: For Male Fairies. Justified; Male Fairies have puny wings and wear heavy plate armor. Female Fairies wear no armor and have bigger wings, so they can fly.
  • With This Herring: Averted, when you consider the fact that, before they begin their adventures, each hero is given a Psypher, the deadliest and most powerful kind of weapon in their world. None of them are even new Psyphers, but were instead already used in battle and therefore empowered with many, many Phozons (though for you, each one begins at level 1).
  • You Are Worth Hell: Gwendolyn does literally go to hell to save Oswald, just as Mercedes does to save Brom. Likewise, Oswald goes to the hellish, fiery Volkenon to lift a curse from Gwendolyn. In fact, all main characters visit the Netherworld for one reason or another, whether to save somebody or the entire world.
  • You Bastard: The bad ending.

 Myris: Whose wish was this? [...] This... this is a terrible ending...