Waifu Wednesday: Viese Blanchimont

With Viese having such an important role in Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, it’s only fitting that we give her a bit of time in the spotlight.

While she may not get out and about quite as much as male protagonist Felt does, she’s the only one who can do “proper” alchemy with actual ingredients; she’s the only one who can make pacts with the Mana spirits; and, ultimately, it’s her alchemy skills that allow Felt and company to stand a fighting chance in the game’s final battle.

And, this being a Gust game, she is, of course, cute. Let’s take a closer look at this charming young alchemist.

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny begins as Viese is being invested as a “full-fledged alchemist”. It appears that she’s completed her studies, and is now encouraged to make use of her skills and her workshop in the city of Noir to help the people as she sees fit — something she’s keen to get started on.

The position Viese is in at the start of the game is a strong contrast to that of pre-Iris Atelier protagonists in that she doesn’t really have to “prove herself”; she’s already there. She doesn’t have a tight deadline to demonstrate her skills or be out on her arse; she doesn’t have people trying to oust her for being in the way; in fact, she’s pretty well-liked and respected by everyone around her.

Despite the strong position she’s in at the start of the game, she remains charmingly humble, even self-deprecating at times. When people praise her alchemy skills and how the items she creates help the people around her, she’s always quick to put down her own accomplishments and skills and remind everyone that she’s “still just starting out”.

That said, it’s clear she’s happy being something of a community hub. People come to her for advice and helpful items, she’s friends with all the local Mana spirits — particularly the adorable pair who run the shop that adjoins her workshop — and she’s always keen to help out however she can, even when it’s a problem with no immediately apparent solution. Like, say, significant chunks of the land of Eden disappearing with no apparent explanation.

Despite her humbleness, it’s very apparent that she’s a skilled and formidable alchemist, able to turn her hand to pretty much anything she sets her mind to — so long as she has the appropriate ingredients. Throughout the game, she synthesises a wide variety of items that are enormously helpful for Felt’s adventures on the surface of Belkhyde and, much as in Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana’s climax, ultimately manages to produce the “Ruby Prism” — the Atelier series’ take on the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Viese knows all along that she wouldn’t be able to accomplish all this without the support of her friends, however. It’s obvious that she’s become smitten with Felt since the pair grew up together as orphans, but she also respects his skills. Her passing of one of the “Share Rings” to him during the game’s opening is a symbol not only of love, but also of an understanding that they’ll be able to help one another out — in mechanical terms, the Share Rings allow Viese and Felt to share knowledge and items with one another, even when they’re far apart.

That’s not all, though. A major plot point in Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is how alchemy in itself isn’t “good” or “bad”, but it can be turned to either end depending on the intentions of the alchemist making use of it. Viese is visibly distressed any time she makes an item with a potentially dangerous or violent purpose, but the people she knows are quick to reassure her that by that very reaction, it’s obvious she’s not going to use any such items for evil. As it becomes clear that her alchemy powers are formidable enough to make a Ruby Prism, these reassurances are things that she finds increasingly important.

For the vast majority of Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, Viese remains in the sealed-off land of Eden while Felt explores the dangerous lands of Belkhyde. This means that Viese remains at level 1 for most of the game — though towards the conclusion, she does join the party as an active member. And she’s nowhere near as useless as you might think, even when starting out; by this stage of the game, the equipment and items you’re able to create more than make up for her statistical shortcomings as a result of her low level. That and she levels up super-fast as the rest of the party is battling high-level foes!

She has some really interesting skills, too. She has a few dedicated healing skills, but is also able to learn similar skills to Klein, protagonist of Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. That means she potentially has the option to increase the power of items she uses or even make them “living” — causing them to trigger automatically when a party member’s hit points reach 50% or lower. This latter mechanic returns frequently in the later Atelier games — it’s absolutely essential to beating the late-game content in the Arland subseries, for example, though there it’s a trait attached to items rather than a skill an alchemist uses.

Design-wise, Viese is fairly close to the early Atelier protagonists — bearing a particular resemblance to Elie from the second Salburg game thanks to her distinctive hat (a series trademark) and use of oranges, reds, browns and creams in her overall clothing colour scheme. She also follows the series convention of its female protagonists being unabashedly feminine in attitude; she’s kind and gentle, she’s not afraid to cry when she’s upset, and she does a fine line in irresistible pouting when absolutely necessary.

Now how was poor old Noin ever supposed to compete against that in Felt’s eyes?

More about Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny

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