Tag Archives: Atelier Arland

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Royal Responsibilities

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We’ve previously seen how the other games in the Arland series have tended towards being “coming of age” stories; Rorona learned how to respect the balance between tradition and modernity while learning to believe in herself, while Totori endured a more gruelling journey to adulthood than most!

With Meruru’s inherent position of privilege at the outset of the story, she’s obviously coming to her adolescence from a rather different starting point than her two predecessors did. But she’s still got plenty to learn about herself, the things she believes in, the things important to her and, of course, her place in the big, wide world.

Will she grow into the role of a “proper” princess by the time she hits twenty years old? Of course not, she’s got far too much work to be getting on with between now and then…

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Meruru, Warrior Princess

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As we’ve seen numerous times in the previous installments of the Atelier series, being a successful alchemist isn’t just about holing yourself up in your workshop for months at a time; sometimes you have to take to the field and get some practical experience.

In Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arlandthose excursions outside of the protagonist’s home base occupy something of a middle ground between the relatively short excursions of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, and the grand adventure which unfolded over the course of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of ArlandMeruru never strays that far from home — but she does have important things to accomplish wherever she goes.

Let’s take a look at what life in the field is like for our tomboyish princess — and how she makes use of her alchemical talents to defend herself when things get rough.

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Waifu Wednesday: Hanna Olses

Many installments in the Atelier series involve getting to know the shopkeepers of the realm as friends and confidants, not just people who sell you stuff.

After all, a good alchemist always needs plenty of ingredients — and if you have a good buddy happy to slip you a few freebies now and again, then everyone’s a winner, right? Particularly if your alchemy is making life better for the kingdom as a whole.

Such is the relationship between the titular princess from Atelier Meruru and her good friend Hanna, the latter of whom lives a fruitful life alternating between picking any old crap up off the side of the road, and selling said crap to any passing mug.

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Building a Legacy

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland concludes what was the original Arland trilogy for PlayStation 3 with another twist on the formula that makes it a very distinct game from its predecessors.

Blending elements of the game structure from both Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland and Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arlandit was a fitting conclusion to the series — at least until Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland put in a surprise appearance, anyway, but that’s a story for another day.

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’ll take a look at these things Atelier Meruru has in common with its predecessors — and how it manages to stand out as its own distinctive experience through its own additions to the formula. Let’s jump in!

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Waifu Wednesday: Keina Swaya

Every self-respecting princess needs a good maid to tend to her needs — even when the princess in question is as determined to do things her own way as Merurulince Rede Arls is.

In such situations, it pays for the maid in question to have a longstanding relationship with the princess in question, as that means the princess might actually listen to the maid at those times when she finds herself frustrated enough to accidentally call a parent a “poopyhead” to their face.

Keina knows how to handle Meruru, in other words. And witnessing their relationship with one another is one of the most heartwarming parts of Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland.

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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 7: Atelier Totori – The Adventurer of Arland

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Despite being a direct sequel to Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, Atelier Totori has a markedly different atmosphere to it.

This is put across in a variety of different ways. The main protagonist is a much quieter, gentler sort of person than the rather noisy Rorona; the overall narrative is melancholy in contrast to the relative “franticness” of Rorona’s tale; and this change in mood is very much reflected by the soundtrack.

Once again primarily composed by Ken Nakagawa, with additional contributions from Kazuki Yanagawa, the score to Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland brings back some classic themes as well as introducing a variety of new ones. We’ve already heard several variations on “Following the Footsteps” when we looked at the game’s worldbuilding… so let’s pick out a few more favourites and have a listen!

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Waifu Wednesday: Merurulince Rede Arls

It’s not until next week that we’re starting to explore Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland in earnest, but it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the game with a celebration of its protagonist!

Merurulince Rede Arls, better known simply as Meruru, is the princess of the tiny kingdom of Arls. But this girl is not your average fantasy fiction “stand around looking pretty but being quiet” sort of princess. Nope; Meruru is a thoroughly modern young lady who likes to Get Things Done, and absolutely will not stand for petty inconveniences like her father’s disapproval getting in her way.

She’s a delightful leading lady for a fondly regarded installment in the series as a whole, and a joy to be around. Let’s take a closer look at who she is and where she came from.

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Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland – A Journey to Adulthood

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Most of the Atelier games that unfold over a clearly defined time period are “coming of age” stories, where the protagonist comes to understand the sort of person they really are, and the place they have in the world.

This is especially apparent in Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, a game whose broader scale and scope than its immediate predecessor makes it ripe for exploring its lead character’s growing sense of maturity, responsibility and self-confidence.

Totori grows up a great deal over the course of her journey — so let’s take a look at some of the trials and tribulations she has to face along her path. Spoilers ahead!

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Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland – Beyond the City Walls

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One interesting thing about the way the Arland subseries of Atelier develops over time is how its scale gradually increases.

In Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arlandthe action is primarily confined to the city of Arland and its surrounding environs. In Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arlandwe get the opportunity to explore the Arland region in much greater detail, coming to understand a lot more about the context of various locations. And, as we’ll see when we come to Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, the series then actually moves on to a whole other setting with connections to Arland, rather than unfolding in Arland itself..

Atelier Totori in particular brought about a very strong sense of worldbuilding and narrative context, and of the protagonist being just one tiny little part of a wide variety of events that would continue to unfold with or without her involvement. Let’s take a closer look at how the game achieves that feel.

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Waifu Wednesday: Melvia Siebel

Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland has some wonderful female characters in its cast — each of whom supports the titular heroine in various ways.

One of the most comforting presences early in Totori’s new life as an adventurer on the roads of the Arland region is Melvia Siebel, a character whom we’re led to believe has been a presence in the Helmold family’s life pretty much forever.

Everyone loves a good onee-chan, don’t they? So let’s take some time to celebrate one of the strongest, most badass onee-chans you’ll ever encounter.

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