Gust has always been good at beautiful girls — one might argue the Atelier series has made it its primary selling point over the years. And, of course, Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is full of them.
A personal highlight for me on my journey through the game was Noin, one of the first characters that male protagonist Felt encounters upon his arrival in the strange “other world” of Belkhyde, and pretty much a fixture in the party for the entire game’s duration.
There’s a shocking lack of fanart of her on the Internet — even Rule 34 let me down — so I feel obliged to show her some love right here, right now. Let’s do it!
I reviewed this visual novel over at Nintendo Life — please go support my work over there, then join me back here to delve into the narrative in more detail!
SeaBed from Paleontology Soft is a kinetic novel that first released in 2015. It was localised for PC two years later, much to the delight of Western yuri fans, and in early 2020, it got released on Nintendo Switch, too.
It is, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolutely masterful work of fiction. It’s peaceful and calming yet melancholy, and the evocative, descriptive writing gives the whole experience a pleasantly mature feeling that is a far cry from noisy, chaotic anime hijinks. Not that there’s anything wrong with noisy, chaotic anime hijinks, mind, but sometimes you just want a bit of quiet contemplation to mull over.
So let’s mull it over together, because there’s a lot to talk about. There are likely to be some spoilers ahead, but I’ll try and keep major ones to a minimum, because you should experience this for yourself!
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is something of an outlier in the Atelier series as a whole, as we’ve already talked about.
Rather than adopting the established structure of “struggling alchemist works in a workshop to craft items, also there are adventures” it inverts this format to “struggling adventurer explores to discover mysteries of alchemy, also there is crafting”.
This change of structural focus gives the narrative scope to be a much more epic affair than many of the other games in the series — but at the same time it doesn’t abandon one of the series’ core principles. Let’s take a closer look.
One of the issues people have with Final Fantasy II is that its progression system can make it a little tricky to determine what “level” you are.
This means it can be quite easy to go into a new situation either woefully underpowered or vastly overpowered — though let’s be honest about this, the latter option has always been part of the fun of role-playing games, hasn’t it?
At this point, an encounter in Leviathan’s stomach on the way to track down the Ultima Tome would seem to confirm that yes, indeed, we have taken the latter option. Oh well. No turning back now!
One of the my favourite characters in Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is Veola, the seemingly rather standoffish owner of the magic shop in Kavoc.
Veola’s sidequest is technically optional, but like most of the “shopkeeper quests” throughout Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, it’s hard not to get swept along in the soap opera of her life — and how she relates to the other people around her, including protagonist Klein, his party members, bartender Norman and numerous others.
So let’s take a closer look at this rather closed-off young woman and figure her out a bit. Some spoilers ahead!
With the Atelier MegaFeature well under way, it’s probably about time we took a look at some of the wonderful female characters in the series for Waifu Wednesday, isn’t it?
And where better to begin than with Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana’smain female protagonist, Lita Blanchimont? While Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana eschews the series’ traditional focus on a playable female protagonist, Lita nonetheless plays a very important role in the game’s main narrative, and is one of several ways we come to understand some of the broader lore of the Atelier Iris series.
Let’s take a closer look, then. There may be some mild spoilers ahead!