Tag Archives: Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 8: Atelier Meruru – The Apprentice of Arland

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After the rather melancholy tone of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland’s soundtrack, Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland returns to a rather more joyful feel.

There’s a sense of adventure to the music, for sure, since Meruru’s quest takes her quite far afield from her home town, but there’s also a sense of triumph; of overcoming odds. Meruru’s story, particularly in its latter hours, is one of triumph over adversity, and of growth. Not just personal growth, either; also the literal, measurable growth of the kingdom of Arls as a direct result of Meruru’s efforts.

This time around, Ken Nakagawa is joined by frequent collaborators Kazuki Yanagawa and Daisuke Achiwa for a solid and diverse soundtrack that is one of the catchiest in the series. Turn up the volume and let’s listen to some selected highlights.

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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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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – A Princess’ Work is Never Done

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As Princess Merurulince Rede Arls faces down the formidable task of expanding the tiny little hamlet that is Arls kingdom into a bustling city of 30,000 residents in the space of three years, she clearly has a lot of work ahead of her.

More to the point, she has a lot of different types of work ahead of her, too, meaning she’ll need to carefully balance her time between cooking up alchemical creations in her workshop and heading out into the field to listen to the requests of the people, slap down the local monster populations and generally go rather above and beyond the expectations of someone of her social standing.

She loves every minute, though, and you’ll be right there alongside her as she takes on her many and varied challenges. In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we take a look at how Meruru crafts items, and how that helps her long-term objective of developing the kingdom.

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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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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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Waifu Wednesday: Filly

One of the nice things about the Atelier subseries whose installments unfold in the same setting over the course of several years is that we get to see characters grow and change.

An interesting example of this is Filly, sister of Esty. She’s completely off-screen in Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arlandputs in her first public appearance in Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland and really comes into her own throughout Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland. (At the time of writing, I don’t know if she appears in Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her show up.)

Let’s take a closer look at this character and her role in the ongoing saga of Arland.

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