Arcana Heart

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
This is not the cover of a dating sim.

Many years ago, the human world and the Elemental World coexisted peacefully, but were forcibly separated by a dimensional barrier. However, somewhere above Tokyo, there is someone actively working to break down the barrier and merge the two worlds once again, which could bring disastrous consequences to all of Earth. A handful of maidens have been given the power to communicate with elemental guardian spirits known as Arcana, which grant them the power to take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.

This is the tale of Arcana Heart, an all-girls fighting game released in arcades and on the PlayStation 2. Apart from the roster of characters, this game's play mechanics are similar in some respects to Guilty Gear, with their emphasis on speed and combos, and the ability to take battles really high into the air. An updated version, entitled Arcana Heart FULL! addressed some character balancing issues (the regular and FULL! versions of each character are selectable in the home version).

There's also the sequel Arcana Heart 2, and its enhanced remake Suggoi! Arcana Heart 2. The latter got a Playstation 2 port of... questionable performance.

Arcana Heart 3 was released December 2009. And it will be ported to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 by Winter. And the one doing the port will be... Arc System Works. Confirmed for a Playstation Network release in the US, and a disc release in Europe.

The series is developed by Examu but has had various publishers: AQ Interactive (1 & 2, JP), Atlus (1, NA), Arc System Works/Aksys Games (3, JP & NA), and Zen United (3, EU).

Stand-by Angel! TROPE!
  • Humongous Mecha - Well...not humongous per se, but the mech Catherine drives is fairly large (standing, it fills the vertical screen space)
    • Ragnarok, the final boss of Arcana Heart 3, is a true humongous mecha... sort of. It's actually an oversized artificial arcana.
  • Idiot Hero: Heart, whose dialogue reveals her to be unspeakably dumb.
  • Improbable Age: Kira has a Doctorate, a freaking Ph.D at the age of 11 years old. Catherine Kyoubashi one-ups her by getting her Ph.D at the age of 10 years old!
  • Improbable Weapon User - Maori (and her sisters) uses an armory full of tops and giant paper cranes.
  • Fundamentally Female Cast
  • Insufferable Genius - Kira Daidohji. She's extremely intelligent, but also very arrogant and condescending.
  • Jack of All Stats - Heart
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Mike, the self-proclaimed "demon king" sealed in Yoriko's staff. He's abrasive, boastful, and often callous (he's the one responsible for Yoriko's pact with the Death arcana, which terrifies her)...but he's also intensely protective of Yoriko, and seems to cause her inconvenience only out of denseness.
  • Kamehame Hadoken - Partinias' Ouranio Toxo. In the second game, Petra's Critical Heart.
  • Light Is Not Good - Mildred's an angel, so her attacks are light-based versions of the Arcana users' attacks.
  • Limit Break - The Arcana Blazes, which can only be used in Arcana Force mode. Critical Hearts in the second game also count.
  • Love Freak - Heart
  • Meido - Fiona
  • Mighty Glacier - Kira (well, her giant blob, anyway). The second game also adds Catherine (or, rather, the mech she controls).
    • Fiona might also count. She's extremely slow (she does wear pieces of PLATE MAIL ARMOR and carry around a sword larger than she is), but has very high HP and defense ratings, her Arcana's defense oriented and she hits like a truck with that sword.
  • Miko - Maori Kasuga (+ her sisters)
  • Ninja - Konoha
  • Nuns Are Mikos - Elsa and Clarice from the sequel game. Elsa plays this straight, but Clarice is kinda naughty.
  • The Ojou - Petra
  • Panty Shot - One of Petra's supers invokes this, as Petra herself lampshades
  • Paper-Thin Disguise - Not with a mask, but Kamui thinks that a ponytail is going to hide the fact that she is the Thousand Years Protector... despite carrying a katana wherever she goes.
  • Pet the Dog - Mildred seems to be quite kind to Fiona. She even points out that part of her apocalpytic plan is actually intended to help Fiona (after all, Fiona being trapped in the spirit world won't matter when it's merged), and seems genuinely shocked and hurt when Fiona objects, regardless.
  • Petting Zoo People - Konoha is a dog-girl ninja with the cutest little ears to match.
  • Playboy Bunny (Catherine's outfit. Or perhaps, better said: Swimsuit + Bunny Ears)
  • Playing with Fire - Mei-Fang's default Arcana
  • The Power of Love - Taken literally with Heart's default Arcana Partineas, the Arcana of Love that launches Energy Balls and huge beams of sheer whoopass.
  • Powers as Programs - the Arcana
  • Princess Curls - Petra
  • Rapunzel Hair - Yoriko, Kamui, Mildred, Weib, Scharlachrot, Petra, Clarice, Angelia, Saki, and Maori.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old - Kamui, being the "Thousand Years Protector", is protected by her Arcana so that she never ages physically.
  • Robot Girl / Anime Chinese Girl - Mei-Fang
  • Rollerblade Good - Lilica
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship - Saki and Heart, and maybe Lilica and Yoriko; others are by ones own interpretation
  • Samurai - Kamui
  • Save Both Worlds
  • School Swimsuit - Kira wears one all the time, with the occasional lab coat over it. Justified in that she fights while being waist-deep in a large slime that mimics her moves.
  • Secret Character - Fiona in the first Arcana Heart, Scharlachrot in the third.
  • Shout-Out - Scharlachrot has two. A number of fans have compared one of her attacks with the Omega Destroyer, while on the character select screen she may mutter "Anta baka?"
  • Slipknot Ponytail - Zenia, if you either beat her with a good attack or if you have a close call victory with her.
  • SNK Boss - Both Avalons. Parace from Sugoi! Arcana Heart 2 as well.
    • Parace comes back in the Score Attack Mode of the console port of Arcana Heart 3. Oh Crap.
      • She's even worse on Arcana Heart 3 than in the second game.
    • Ragnarok in Arcana Heart 3 gets extra points for being a boss designed for an entirely different style of gameplay. And if time runs out, you can't continue.
  • The Stoic - Zenia doesn't talk much... most of the time.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality - Saki. Aloof most of the time, but after her ordeal was over, she was rather apologetic to Heart.
    • Also Zenia. Most of the time super serious, but goes very sweet in front of kids.
  • Super Mode - Arcana Force mode. Can be activated once per round, and provides an additional arcana-specific benefit.
  • Take Over the World - Kira's ambition.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo - Saki, a young lady whose family studied in England, and who appears to have gotten her character design inspiration from Chikane of Kannazuki no Miko.
    • Kamui could also count.
  • (Pre-)Teen Genius - Kira. Built her own ether-powered blob, and the ether-circuits used to power Mei-Fang. In the sequel, Catherine Kyohbashi is another one, having built the huge robot she controls by herself.
  • Time Stands Still - Anutpada (the time arcana)'s Limit Break.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe
  • Tokyo Tower - The backdrop for Lilica's stage in the first game.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means - Mildred believes that the merging of the two worlds she's attempting will start a new golden age where everything will be a lot better than it is now. The fact that millions of people will die in the ensuing dimensional turmoil? Acceptable losses.
  • Variable-Length Chain - Scharlachrot uses them. Lots of them.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl - Zenia (ties her hair short), Lieselotte (more like White Haired Creepy Girl)
  • Widget Series - All. Moe. Fighting. Game. The fact that it actually stands on its own merits....
  • Zettai Ryouiki - Petra's outfit. Long boots version.
    • Heart as well. Knee socks variant.

Break Down!