Baten Kaitos

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The heroes of Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (counter-clockwise from the bottom: Kalas, Mizuti, Lyude, Xelha, Gibari and Savyna)


Cast light upon the darkened earth,
Save those lost in despair,
O Mighty Ocean,
Guide as we journey through
The darkest pit of night


Baten Kaitos is a...memorably named JRPG for the Nintendo GameCube, developed by Monolith Soft.

The basic story? Thousands of years ago, an apocalyptic global war between man and gods took place. The men won, of course, and dismembered their fallen opponent. However, as a consequence of the terrible carnage and forbidden magics used in the conflict, the ocean dried up, the god-like Whale vanished, and the world was nearly consumed by poisonous miasma. A tribe of shaman-like magicians called the Children of the Earth managed to save humanity by using the body parts of the dead god to raise several continents into the sky, where they've remained ever since.

Flash forward a few millennia. A young Anti-Hero named Kalas is searching for the murderer of his grandfather and brother with the help of his "Guardian Spirit" (essentially a stand-in for the player himself, which allows the characters to break the fourth wall without breaking character) when he runs into a Mysterious Waif named Xelha, who's trying to stop the agents of the Alfard Empire from uncovering five "End Magnus", which, if gathered together, will allow the evil god destroyed so long ago to be resurrected. Seeing as how the current Emperor Geldoblame is not a nice man, this would be A Bad Thing (TM). Conveniently, the Emperor's men are the same guys who did the dirty deed to Kalas's family, so the two teens have an excuse to band together and hurt lots of people. Joining them are a buff fisherman named Gibari, an idealistic Alfard ambassador named Lyude, a cold-hearted mercenary named Savyna, and the bizarre, mysterious, and powerful Great Mizuti. Together, they sally forth to battle the forces of evil and whatnot. This is fairly typical stuff, as any fan of the genre knows.

So what makes the game interesting? Well, for starters, there's the visual appeal. The graphics remain among the best on the Gamecube, but it's more than that -- the game has a visual style which is very interesting. Unlike most media which have used the "floating continent" schtick, the world of Baten Kaitos is more than just a few chunks of otherwise-normal firmament suspended in the air. The architecture and costumes of the world offer unique "local flavor" without clear parallels in other worlds -- the land of Diadem, for example, has buildings made out of dark purple clouds which are very striking, and other towns and dungeons are similarly cool-looking. Furthermore, the characters have interesting designs, enhanced by their "Wings of the Heart", which appear during battle and some cutscenes. (It was implied in the first game that humans evolved wings out of necessity from living on islands floating in mid-air, but this was retconned in the prequel, where people are seen using them before the legendary war.) These aren't just stereotypical angel wings, either -- Xelha has wings like a fairy, Gibari uses the fins of a flying fish, and Savyna has peacock plumage. The wings change the way the characters move and fight, allowing for unique and flashy special attacks. And then there's the soundtracks of both games, which are often collectively considered Motoi Sakuraba's finest work.

The gameplay is also worth noting. In the world of Baten Kaitos, cards called "Magnus" are all-important, as they can be used to store the "essences" of objects, or even intangible things like memories and exhaustion. They're used for both battle (where the player draws them from a deck and plays them for attack, defense, and healing) and puzzle-solving (where the player uses them to transport vital materials). They even age over real time, with food rotting, plants growing, and coins increasing in value.

The game was followed up with a prequel -- Baten Kaitos Origins -- two years later. This game takes place twenty years before the first and stars a young Alfard soldier named Sagi, his magical puppet sidekick Guillo, and the daughter of an Alfard nobleman, Milliarde (or Milly). The game is far superior to the first in almost every respect -- navigation through the world is quicker and easier, the battle system has been simplified and sped up without losing its complexity or strategic elements, the voice acting is vastly improved, and the story expands upon the original exponentially. With all these improvements, the fact that it retconned away quite a few of the plot points from the first game can probably be forgiven. Sadly, the game was released four months before the Wii came out (being the final original game for the system outside of Japan), so it received almost no press or consumer attention either in Japan or the West.

Over the years, both the games have gotten some recognition as excellent RPGs for a system that didn't have too many. Dig up a used copy and your gaming dollars will be well spent.

But for the love of God, remember to turn off the voices on the first one. Talk about phoning it in. [1] If you do want to hear the voices (Rockin' Narm Charm!) make sure to set the audio settings to surround sound, otherwise everybody will sound like they're talking through a cardboard tube (which was supposed to simulate the feeling that you're really listening in from another world, but ended up sounding like poor audio quality).

Now with a character sheet!

A third installment for the Nintendo DS appeared on a list of games in production, but it never got past the early stages of production and was officially canceled. Sadly, the future of the series looked bleak until June 2011, when Monolith Soft placed a picture on their website as a teaser for a new project. Due to being attributed to Baten Kaitos co-designer Yasuyuki Honne and bearing a striking resemblance to Diadem particularly with the events of the first game's ending as well as rumors circulating about Monolith's upcoming 3DS and Wii U titles, fans have taken it as a sign of the long-awaited third game and are eagerly awaiting official confirmation.

Tropes used in Baten Kaitos include:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: In the Imperial Fortress, you can walk in on a soldier who's having some alone time.
  • Alien Blood: While no character actually has this (as far as can be told), its used as a metaphor for Kalas's Artificial Human stats making his "magnus"/soul unnoticeable to a mystic.
  • All Myths Are True: Partially subverted as the War of the Gods in the legend turned out to be the war among humans with too much power and the evil gods who started the war according to the legend were actually good guys trying to stop it. Played straight in Origins, where the gossip magazines Milly dismisses as "each shadier than the last" all describe things players of the first will know are true.
  • And I Must Scream: So the pieces of Malpercio are still alive after all these years, and they retain who they once were. And the lion's share are placed in magnus and sealed within the islands. If you were fond of Seph and co., you might want to stop thinking about this now.
    • To a lesser degree, there's the trap that Sagi got caught in while escaping Tarazed. He says something afterward about how he was conscious the whole time. He had to listen to his two best friends arguing about which of them would die for him, and he couldn't do anything about it.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The Post Final Boss of Eternal Wings; despite having a mountain of HP, he has weaker attacks than most regular enemies and no defensive capacities whatsoever. And if you know the One-Hit Kill trick (use a Spirit Attack magnus), well!
    • Quaestor Verus, despite being a tricky Puzzle Boss, goes down in a few good hits once you expose his weakness. His death is somewhat anticlimactic too unless you jumped through a few hoops in the story...
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Died to a boss? Not only can you restart from the beginning of the fight (no five minute cutscene every time the Godcraft slaughters you), but you can also modify your decks and character order, read up on EX Combos, etc.
  • The Artifact: While the quality normally isn't high enough to make out, in a direct rip from the disc reveals the book in the opening gives the title as "Endless Wings and the Lost Sea", the title of the game during its first reveal. Said intro also shows a few scenes with noticeable differences from how they occur in-game.
  • Auto Revive: Cross Pendants in the second game.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: The members of Malpercio, who despite making a Deal with the Devil for power, are just five people desperate to stop Wiseman. Sagi probably qualifies as well, seeing as how he's got a chunk of Marno in his heart.
  • Big No: In the opening movie.
    • Celsica, when Rambari is fatally wounded.
    • Milly, when Guillo sacrifices itself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Origins; Verus and Wiseman are both dead and Tarazed was destroyed, but Baelheit and Guillo are dead, Geldoblame has taken over The Empire, and Sagi and Milly themselves are (probably) Doomed by Canon.
  • Black and Black Morality: In Origins, Wiseman is clearly evil, but so is his main enemy, the Dark Brethren.
  • Black and White Morality: The first game.
  • Block Puzzle: Damn you, Tower of Zosma!
  • Body Horror: Geldoblame.
    • Take a look at some of the enemies in Tarazed's core...Yeesh.
    • Verus-Wiseman, a hideous chimera monster.
  • Bonus Boss: Several for various character quests in the first game,
    • Several in Origins that serve to wrap up plot threads, as well as the Coliseum bosses.
  • Bonus Dungeon
  • Boss Remix: Both games contain boss remixes of the regular battle theme "The True Mirror."
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Collecting all the magnus in both games is extremely difficult but utterly pointless.
    • The reward for completing the Pac-Man sidequest in Origins, permanent critical hits, is obtained by feeding Pac-Man every quest magnus in the game. By the time you get it, there's nothing left to do.
  • Broken Bridge
  • But Thou Must!: Picking the right answers allows you to battle more efficiently, but there are no plot alterations.
    • Though it's played straight in one scene in Origins where you are actually forced into making a deal with the devil the Dark Brethren for power.
    • In a later scene, picking the wrong answer results in a Nonstandard Game Over. Poor Sagi...
  • Camera Screw: The Labyrinth of Duhr, where the camera changes angles based upon how you enter a room, making an otherwise simple maze a nightmare to navigate.
  • Caramelldansen Vid
  • Chaos Architecture
  • Character Development: Every party member gets a dose.
  • Character Level: played with. Your characters gain Experience Points as normal, but - in a twist more like God of War - you essentially have to trade them in for levels later by praying at Save Points. Origins reverts to the more standard JRPG setup.
  • The Chosen One: The spiriters. Somewhat deconstructed in that while spiriters are said to be able to "sway the fate of the world" and held in high regards, this does not mean swaying is for the better as Kalas in the first half of Eternal Wings and Baelheit in Origins demonstrate.
  • Cliff Hanger: Origins ends on a recursive one: A wounded, mentally ill Geldoblame staggers back to Mintaka and is greeted by the senate, who elect him in desperation. Cue Start of Darkness. Anyone who's played the first game knows how that ends.
  • Climax Boss: Lots of 'em -- the most notable ones are definitely the Angel of Darkness in the first game and the Godcraft in the second.
  • Collapsing Lair: Cor Hydrae is sucked into a dimensional rift after Malpercio is defeated.
    • Tarazed breaks apart and falls out of the sky after the Final Boss is killed.
  • Combos (The battle systems are completely different in the two games, but in both the object is to play long chains of cards to rack up percentage-based damage bonuses.)
  • Continuity Nod: The description for the Power Helmet in Orgins mentions grains of rice stuck to it, refrencing the helmets use in the uncooked rice->rice recipe in EWatLO
  • Cool Mask: The Children of the Earth all wear unique masks.
  • Crazy Prepared: The royal family of Wazn.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Sadly averted with every single child in Eternal Wings. The actors don't even try to disguise their age. Thankfully played straight with Origins.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first one has its share of darkness, the prequel arguably outdoes it. The plot begins with our hero being sent on an assassination mission, the majority of the plot involves failing at preventing the villain's plans of promachination, meanwhile experiencing the creation of the series' Big Bad, after perfectly noble people make a pact with evil in order to gain revenge. Perhaps most brutal of all, after seeing Sagi's mother be forcibly stripped of her wings, it is revealed that the guardian spirit (the player) is not just a benevolent spirit like in Eternal Wings, but rather is a part of Malpercio. This is shortly followed by Sagi essentially being brutally murdered by his best friend, a character who will later sacrifice themselves for him. For the final note, the ending is a downer, with the Empire twisting into the force of evil that it is in Eternal Wings.
  • Darkest Hour: After the Lava Caves in Eternal Wings, Geldoblame is dead, Lady Melodia and Kalas have the End Magnus, Xelha is locked up in the Imperial Fortress, the Guardian Spirit is disowned by Kalas, and the rest of the party is trapped in four dimensional cracks.
    • In the prequel, the second round of speeches flashes quickly between Gena losing her wings, revealing that Sagi is houses one of Malpercio's afterlings, flashing to seeing the death of Ven and company, revealing that the player has been a part of Malpercio all along, fighting Guillo and watching Sagi get murdered by it, and then locking Sagi up in Tarazed where he needs to face the connection between him and Malpercio.
  • Dark Reprise: A slow, ominous version of the Mintaka theme in Eternal Wings is played over The Stinger in Origins.
  • Demoted to Extra: Bizarrely, the entire island of Mira is demoted to extra in Origins; it's only mentioned in conversation a couple of times, and only becomes plot-relevant when Sagi and Milly elope there in the end.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: An example in the first game; the description of the Cursed Grimoire enemy: An old evil book made more evil with evil power. Great evil power dwelled evilly in this strong, evil book, but now, it's really, really evil.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Geldoblame in Eternal Wings.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: The Lava Caves in Eternal Wings, and later the Imperial Fortress.
  • Disc One Nuke: If you know a few EX Combos, the first disc of Origins gets quite a bit easier.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Milly's 'Secret Queen' and 'Secret Queen II' combos, which are hard to set up but deal out tremendous damage with only one or two cards.
  • Difficulty Spike: In Origins, disc two is much harder than disc one.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Everybody has some kind of past issue or insecurity.
  • Disney Death: Xelha, as last of the Ice Queens sacrifices herself to release the Ocean after defeating Malpercio and the continents return to the surface. Shortly before the credits roll, Xelha emerges from her pendant alive and well. Apparently, the Great Whale brought her back.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Someone has been playing both the main characters and The Empire to get their hands on the end Magnus. As it turns out, that character is... the sugary sweet ex-damsel-in-distress Melodia?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When trading with Inca Rose, she says you seem like the type with "a nice magnus package" and that she'll show you hers if you show her yours. Upon canceling a trade, she'll remark that you didn't last long enough, and she'll treat you real nice next time.
  • Double Entendre: In Origins, when Lolo glomps Sagi after he agrees to find pieces of the Celestial Tree for her, he stammers incoherently "I'll...get wood. (Beat.) At the tree! Tree wood!"
  • Dreaming of Things to Come ( Essentially what causes Xelha to set out in her journey and put the story in motion in the first game. Partially subverted as that event was actually happening while she was having a dream about it. Ironically, her having that dream is mentioned at the end of the game after all important events are finished.)
  • Dual Boss: Giacomo, Ayme, and Folon in the first, and Valara, Hughes, and Nasca in the second.
  • Duel Boss: Sagi vs. Baelheit.
    • Xelha and Mizuti get Duel Boss fights in the first game (Mizuti's is optional, Xelha's is not). The fights have a completely different battle system, though.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Subverted and eventually justified in the first game; Kalas initially refuses to rescue Xelha from Rodolfo's mansion, but when he runs into a door he can't open, he has to double back and find her.
  • Easily Forgiven: Melodia. Even after all she did, Kalas still puts himself in extraordinary danger to pull her out of Malpercio. That being said, she was at least partially possessed throughout the game.
    • The Angel of Darkness is forgiven almost immediately after The Reveal, and the party thinks very little of what he did to them. Even the Guardian Spirit forgives him, at least enough to bond with him again.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Taken to extremes in the first game -- using two attacks with conflicting elements in the same combo caused them to cancel each other out.
  • Empty Shell: In Origins, it's shown that removing the wings of the heart can turn a person into this.
  • Equipment Spoiler: You can find knuckle attacks before Savyna shows up and start getting swords again just before Kalas comes back.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Geldoblame, Kalas post-Face Heel Turn, Baelheit.
  • Evil Laugh: Several of the villains. Actually, most of the villains.
  • Evolving Weapon: Most Magnus change over real time.
  • Evil All Along: Kalas, although he has a Heel Face Turn.
    • Quaestor Verus in Origins.
  • Facial Composite Failure: In Origins, the protagonists find that The Empire has put up these kinds of posters around Pherkad. The descriptions on the posters accuse Guillo of kidnapping children, Milly of rampant kleptomania, and Sagi of marriage fraud. Their reactions are priceless.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Sagi, when you let the mysterious stranger you find in the Emperor's room walk free, it might behoove you to notice the fact that the Emperor is dead.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Malpercio, cursed god of evil, ravager of the world, Big Bad of the first game, is named after a hill.
  • Fake Difficulty: The first game did not allow you to reap the benefits of leveling up until you used a blue save flower to visit a church and "reflect upon your experience." In practice, this meant that you had to exit the dungeons and return to town to reap the benefits of everyday leveling so you could stand a chance against the boss fight at the end. Origins returned to the more standard JRPG setup.
    • Eternal Wings also lacked a way to discard unwanted magnus from your hand. This meant that it was possible for a characters hand to end up filled with armor and finisher magnus with no magnus that could initiate a combo, resulting in a situation where they were incapable of attacking until they managed to draw a few weapon magnus. In a tough fight, this could mean the difference between winning or losing.
      • In addition, discarded cards were not added back to the deck. When the deck for a character ran out, that character wasted a turn reshuffling their deck. Less irritating than it sounds, though, as this also applied to the enemies.
  • Five-Bad Band: The Machina Vanguard from Baten Kaitos Origins.
  • Five-Man Band: The playable characters in the first game.
  • Fetch Quest
  • Fight Like a Card Player
  • Finishing Move: First game only, super moves automatically end all combos even if you could play more cards.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: This is the only way to make money in the first game, besides selling your old useless crap, which is worth next to nothing anyway.
  • Floating Continent: Five of 'em!
  • Foreshadowing: Xelha jokes she always wanted a Guardian Spirit of her own and Kalas suggests you hop into her for a bit. That's what happens during Kalas's evil stint.
  • Freaky Friday Flip: In Origins, you can do this with certain Greythornes, provided you have some saltwater.
  • Gambit Roulette: Wiseman / Verus's scheme in the second game.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Averted throughout the games as you, as the guardian spirit, occasionally answer questions asked by the characters using a menu. At a few key moments in the second game, you see the menu while a character is talking to their own, different spirit, and the game answers automatically for that spirit. Also, near the end of the game, Sagi is caught in a trap that incapacitates his heart, and as such you aren't allowed to select any options, despite being given the menu. Played straight in the fact that many of the storyline facts about magnus don't seem to bleed over. For example, living beings can't be put into magnus, or they'll die. This is an important plot point, but it's hard to remember when you're hitting enemies with live Roosters from your deck, or how so many of the magnus evolutions use it (Plants grow and meat gets maggots).
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: More in the first game than the second.
    • Debatable. Wiseman's return after killing Verus had about as much foreshadowing and build up as Geldoblame's return. It was more feasible, but still really out of left field.
  • Global Currency
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: Greythorns, including Xelha's cute pet Meemai, turn out to be the great whale, the god of this universe.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Sagi qualifies. Baelheit tried to make aritificial spiriters by bonding pieces of Malpercio to human hearts. Baelheit must have been impressed when Sagi, one of the subjects bonded with a piece of Malpercio, trashed all his machina arma and kicked his ass.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: End Magnus, first game.
    • Collecting all the magnus in both games, an extraordinarily difficult and frustrating task.
  • Guide Dang It: The Outer Dimension has mutually exclusive Lost Forever items (do perfect on the minigame for one item, but you have to do badly to get into a fight against an exclusive monster with a unique drop and photo). No where is it hinted you need to choose to restart the minigame (which can't be done manually, you have to fail, which is actually rather hard) to get both.
    • The EX Combos in Origins are virtually mandatory to survive the later levels without insane grinding, and the game gives no hints as to what they are. However, this does encourage fiddling around with the battle system, so it's not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Way overdone in the second game. Storywise, all the bosses (with a handful of exceptions) are pretty much invulnerable until about two-thirds of the way through the game, so you fight them essentially just to give the player something to do. Of course, when you do start winning fights, it's all the more satisfying.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: In the first game, an NPC will give Kalas a brief rundown on the various facets of the battle system if you ask him to. Averted in Origins, where the battle system is left to the player to figure out.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: The guardian spirit's name, chosen by the player, appears in the text but not the spoken dialogue. More prominent in the first game, where there was always a pause in the dialog. The English version of the second game removes the option to play as a female spirit, and instead uses masculine pronouns.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Guillo and Rambari in the second game.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Anuenue, much more in the second game.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Literally. In Eternal Wings, Kalas starts sizzling and steaming like bacon in a pan when Xelha uses the Ocean Mirror on him.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Trail of Souls and the Outer Dimension the party stumbles into when they get lost in it very much qualify.
  • Ice Palace: Kaffaljidhma in the first game.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Just about everyone in this world has Impossibly Cool Clothes. The playable cast, the other major characters, the minor characters...even the NPCs without names or portraits. It must be normal in this world.
  • Infallible Babble
  • Infinity-1 Sword: In both games, all characters will get their second-strongest Finishing Move/Special attack after completing their Sidequest.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: In both games, all characters [3] will obtain their strongest weapon by doing their Sidequest near the end of the game:
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Egregious. The characters have wings, fences that don't cover from ceiling to floor shouldn't even be a part of society. And yet you still have to solve jumping and bridge puzzles.
    • Eventually lampshaded in Origins, where Sagi remarks he could jump over a boulder blocking the path but is angrily dissuaded by a nearby NPC.
    • Origins justifies this; people's hearts were once powerful enough to let them fly, but the power of heart has atrophied so much since then that wings are only good for brief periods of time.
  • Item Crafting: In the first game; often stacks. Gets totally ridiculous at some levels, like the work required just to create a single fourth-level elemental "Yell"--use the appropriate item on the enemy followed by the appropriate first-level yell twice to create a level 2 yell, do this three times so you have at least three level 2 yells, then use a different item followed by the level 2 yell three times to create a level 3 yell, you have to do this at least four times because that's how many times you're going to have to use the yell following yet another type of item to create the level 4 yell. Oh, and after time, the Yells decay back down to the lower levels.
    • Also was in Origins, but you mixed your Quest Magnus instead of Battle Magnus.
  • Jiggle Physics: Geldoblame's One-Winged Angel form. It will make you want to claw your eyes out.
    • In Origins, a few of the (thankfully female) shopkeepers have jiggle physics. They aren't particularly well-implemented; it looks like their chests are made of Jello.
  • Karmic Death: Verus gets devoured by his own machina.
  • Kill'Em All: The fate of Seph and his companions at the blades of Guillo.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Both games, but it's much more notable in the first, where you examine every square inch of every building looking for stuff.
  • Lazy Backup: Eternal Wings is a particularly irritating example.
  • Level Grinding: Although the levels themselves aren't as important as the Randomly Drops, you end up doing a lot of it anyway.
  • Limit Break: In Origins, once you reach a specific class level, maxing out your MP meter gives you the option to perform an MP Burst, which gives you infinite MP for the duration of the combo you're executing, then shuts the meter off for a few turns.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: In the first game, defeating Malpercio causes Cor Hydrae to collapse in on itself, the Taintclouds to disperse, and the islands to return to earth.
    • In Origins, defeating the final boss causes Tarazed to implode and fall from the sky.
  • Lost Forever: Quite a few cards in the first game. Plus, you have to take pictures of every single enemy in the game, including bosses, for 100% Completion, some of which appear only at specific times.
    • And don't forget party members either. For example, there is exactly one battle in which Mizuti fights without her mask on; taking a photo of her in this state is considered unique from a photo of her regular, masked state.
    • This was pointedly averted in the second game...well, almost. Only 1 Field Guide entry could be Lost Forever thanks to the Coliseum, and only 3 Quest Magnus (and of these, 2 of them practically had their owner say "this will be Lost Forever soon"). The one Quest Magnus that did not was only required for one sidequest...and you'd probably be using a guide for that anyway.
  • Low Level Advantage: Leveling up in blocks of 10 gives better stats boosts than otherwise. Class up items, if used when first found, will often force their user to add outdated and or conflicting Magnus to their deck to keep it full if you don't grind for Randomly Drops.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Sort of; due to the card-battling system, you're always at the mercy of the luck of the draw. Less so in Origins, where the Guardian Spirit can actually stack the deck in your favor, and used cards are shuffled right back into the deck.
    • Xelha and Mizuti's Duel Boss battles are pure luck; you are shown a card of a certain element and given seven face-down cards to pick from. If you pick a card of the same element, you damage the boss. If you pick a card of a different element, you take damage. Even more luck based if you are going for 100% completion and need to take a picture of the boss.
    • Theres's also the boss fight against Fadroh, which is this because of his goddamn Orb of Magical Offense, which not only allows him to act twice per turn, but buffs up his damage from a relatively tame 400-500 per half-blocked combo to a ridiculous 900-1200 per fully blocked combo, twice per turn. The kicker is that there is absolutely no specific event that triggers the use of the Orb of Magical Offense; if he draws it, he'll use it and absolutely murder you. Either he uses it and you die horribly, or he doesn't and you win after a while.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Sort of; after the first battle with Giacomo and his gang, Giacomo reveals that Georg, Kalas' grandfather, is Giacomo's father. However, Kalas and Giacomo aren't related at all.
    • Origins heavily implies Verus is Sagi's father if you do a certain sidequest.
  • MacGuffin: End Magnus in the first game and arguably Malpercio's afterlings in the second game.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Played with in the first game. It turns out that no matter which side gains all the End Magnus, they'd all end up in Melodia's hands due to Kalas being a traitor and Geldoblame being her pawn.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Melodia in the first game. The second game has two - Verus and, if you remembered to go back in time and kill him, Wiseman.
  • Meaningful Name: "Baten Kaitos" is the traditional name of the star Zeta Ceti, which in Arabic means "The belly of the whale," the center of the constellation Cetus. Incidentally, all the towns in the games are also named after stars, albeit relatively obscure ones.
    • Not all of the locations. All of the Anuenue locations are Hawaiian words, and the town Reverence in Mira is just sort of randomly pulled out of nowhere.
    • Mintaka, capital of Alfard, being the name of a star is indeed helpful, but not necessarily to this fandom.
    • Xelha, in Yucatec Maya; may or may not be of the prophetic variety. Kalas, meanwhile, is a romanized version of the Japanese karasu, which means raven. Ravens are associated with omens; Geldoblame gave Kalas the name after Georg explained that he was a failed prototype.
    • Daimon, the guardian spirit serving Baelheit in BKO, is named after the "daimon" (most commonly spelled "daemon") beings in Classical mythology, some of which were ordered by Zeus to become guardian spirits to mortal beings: "The daimon of venerated heroes, were localized by the construction of shrines, so as not to restlessly wander, and were believed to confer protection and good fortune on those offering their respects."
  • Money for Nothing: In the second game, you get loads of money...but there's hardly anything to use it for. You only ever need about forty or fifty attack magnus, there's no consumable items, and all the best specials and weapons are found in treasure chests or are boss drops. The only thing money's good for is upgrading weapons and armor.
  • Money Spider: Second game only.
  • Monster Arena: The Coliseum, second game only.
  • Mood Whiplash: The end of Origins.
  • Most Gamers Are Male: Apparently 8-4 and NoA believed this when translating the second game as the option to play a female character was removed entirely.
  • Musical Nod: In Origins the final boss's theme is an orchestral version of the first game's battle theme.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Angel of Darkness.
    • Wiseman.
    • The Dark Brethren.
  • The Needless: This is part of why Wiseman wants to turn everyone into Magnus in Origins.
  • Nice Hat: And how.
  • Nintendo Hard: Origins hits this once the second disc rolls around.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Tarazed, a continent sized airship full of people that explodes and falls out of the sky. The fate of the people onboard is never hinted at.
  • No Export for You: Origins was never released in Europe.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: At one point in Origins, picking the wrong answer nets you one of these. The implications for Sagi aren't pretty.
  • No Periods, Period: Melodia gets her first period in the ending of the first game.
    • Actually, it is in a flashback at the end of the first game. It has also been interpreted by some fans as the bleeding usually expected after losing one's virginity (on girls, of course); they also say that Geldoblame was the one guilty for that one. Such a nasty interpretation, indeed.
  • Not So Different: Promagnation vs. promachination in the second game. Both campaigns are at the opposite ends of the spectrum but they both end up demanding people to give up essential parts of themselves (body for promagnation and hearts for promachination) in order to supposedly ascend to superior beings and will not take no for an answer.
  • Now Where Was I Going Again?: Party members' journals, second game only.
  • Offstage Villainy: You hear a lot about the Dark Brethren in Origins, but the only thing they do onscreen is grant Seph and co. their power. However, considering the damage that Seph and co. AKA Malpercio ended up causing, this may have been their intention all along.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Cor Hydrae, the first game's example of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • One-Hit Kill: Bombs in the second game, which kill pretty much anything, but have a chance of misfiring and killing you instead.
  • One-Winged Angel
  • One-Woman Wail: The Final Boss theme in Origins. Listen carefully and you can hear screaming and crying during the quieter parts of the song. Yeesh.
  • Overly Long Name: The full name of the game itself, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.
    • And this was later outdone by the prequel. The original Japanese name of Baten Kaitos Origins is translated as Baten Kaitos II: Beginning of the Wings and the Heir of the Gods.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: Savyna is supposed to be an absolute terror on the battlefield, but joins much weaker than the rest of the party.
    • In addition to this, she executes her combos at a much higher speed than the other characters. This is a Bad Thing because it gives you less time to choose cards to extend her combo, especially since you'll be used to the pace of the other characters.
  • Party Scattering: After Kalas reveals he was Evil All Along the party is reduced to just Xelha, who has to rescue them all. With the exception of Kalas they come back fairly quickly.
  • Physical God: Gods from the legend are actually humans who became too reliant on their powers of hearts and ended up waging the war that destroyed most of the world.
    • With that in mind, Kalas post Face Heel Turn, Wiseman, and the members of Malpercio could probably all qualify.
  • Player Tic: Origins lampshades this, where other Guardian Spirits select their dialog from the same style of option box as you do; naturally, just like you, their pointers do not sit still.
  • The Player Is the Most Important Resource: In both games, the player is the protagonist's "Guardian Spirit", a being from another dimesion said to grant incredible power. Both games milk this for all it is worth, using it for some very powerful plot twists.
  • Playing the Player: Most players will conclude that the first game's blatant cutscenes about the possibility of a spy in the party are a Red Herring. Genre Savvy players might take it a step further and conclude there really is a spy precisely because it seems like so much of a Red Herring, albeit with a twist such as the spy being forced to spy against his or her will. Nobody will conclude the spy is not only real and utterly unrepentant, but the main character.
  • Poison Mushroom: Certain items in the first game were used to inflict status ailments on enemies. If you used them to defend, you could get that same status ailment.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Bet you weren't expecting Geldoblame to suddenly pop up out of the earth during the ending, huh?
  • Power Gives You Wings: Kalas always has his wings out after his Face Heel Turn.
  • Power Trio: The player characters in Origins.
  • Precision F-Strike: Sagi has this to say to Shanath after the latter ripped Gena's wings off, which shows how royally pissed Sagi is.

Sagi: Go to hell, you son of a bitch! You hurt my mother!

  • Pretty in Mink: A mink coat is sealed into a card as armor (and protects against cold attacks).
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted... just not in the normal way. The Guardian Spirit can have its sex selected at the start of both games, but as the GS is you (thus you never see the GS), and the text doesn't use a single pronoun for you. All it does is change the color of the save file (blue for male, pinkish-red for female). Origins is the same... In Japan. The English version, for whatever reason, gives you a fixed gender.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Post Final Boss from Eternal Wings; while he can be defeated normally, it's much quicker to just string together a chain of attacks long enough to make a Spirit Attack appear, as using one will end the battle immediately.
    • Quaestor Verus from Origins; if even one of his flunkies is still alive, it'll shield him from damage. Nothing like assembling The Apotheosis just to have him revive one right before Sagi's turn comes up.
  • Pronoun Trouble: The gender based pronouns for the Guardian Spirit do not appear in the non-Japanese versions. As a result, there is absolutely no impact to their gender in the English version, as no one uses third person pronouns for the GS either.
  • Random Encounters: Averted. All enemies can be seen on the overworld.
  • Randomly Drops: Ye gods. The second game is rather tame with this, with each enemy having no more than two droppable items. The first one, however, can have as many as TEN per enemy. And there's a few enemies that drops an item that can be Lost Forever if the player doesn't pick it up before leaving the dungeon it's in.
  • Real Time: Sort of. It's obviously not real time, and there are definite skips, but the magnus that change form must be mentioned. Items can change in a matter of a few seconds (the fortunes) or take as long as two real-time weeks to appear (Splendid Hair, which Shampoo turns into after 336 hours--and which does nothing within the game, but does unlock the sound test).
  • Recurring Boss: Giacomo in both games -- he's a serious villain in the first game, but seems to have started out as an Unknown Rival in the prequel.
  • Retcon: While it does somewhat explain the Alfard Empire's Start of Darkness, Origins creates quite a few awkward continuity issues for Eternal Wings, ranging from Malpercio being evil in the first place to Savyna's hair color.
    • The first issue could be explained by the pact with the dark brethren. Their bodies could have slowly been corrupted while sealed inside the end magnus, and the Malpercio seen in the first game is explicitly stated by Melodia to be a fusion of five separate gods.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The greythornes, very much so.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: This idea is enforced by the government schools of Alfard.
  • Scenery Porn: Oh yes. The graphics for towns, dungeons, and overworlds look more like fantasy landscape paintings than video game backdrops.
  • Sidequest
  • Science Is Bad: Sort of. A subplot in the second game is the conflict between machina and The Power of Friendship. Compromising evidently does not occur to either side. Both played straight and subverted in the sequel as it also shows what happens if people become too reliant on their hearts. It never quite reaches a level where you could call it An Aesop, though.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In the first game, the End magnus. In the second game, Malpercio's afterlings are sealed inside human hosts.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Origins removed most of the luck and a lot of the Fake Difficulty from the first game, then got a lot harder to compensate.
  • Sequential Boss: The final boss of the second game. Notably, this is the only boss in the entire game that fights like this, discounting the Coliseum.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In Origins, once Sagi unlocks Marno's power, you can travel back to Atria and stop Wiseman from escaping. Doing so unlocks the True Final Boss.
  • Shoot the Medic First: If you want to nail the Holoholobird, put it to sleep and tackle its chicks -- they can replenish 2000 HP.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: If you don't kill Wiseman in Origins, then Seph's story becomes one of these.
  • Shout-Out: One dungeon is modeled almost perfectly after The Tower of Druaga, complete with slimes and tools. And 8-bit graphics and sound.
    • There's also one Magnus that looks suspiciously like KOS-MOS.
      • And one of the bosses in the first game is called Gnosis.
    • In Origins, Guillo comments on an unconscious soldier after a cutscene, where Gibari throws a barrel at him.
    • There are also several Pac-Man magnus; in the first game, it can be crafted out of various items, while in Origins...well...
    • The names of Xelha's bodyguards, Gram and Leon, are references to the Chrono series; the Japanese name of those games' Sword of Plot Advancement / Infinity+1 Sword, the Masamune, is "Grandleon".
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Sagi's response to most villains.
  • Smug Snake: Just about every significant bad guy in Origins, except Baelheit; especially the arma users and Wiseman.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: When Kalas briefly leaves the party, this character takes everything in their deck with them. Can lead to the previously mentioned Lost Forever if they have one of the defensive auras in their deck and it changes form twice before you get them back.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: Not so much his speech as his actions. Lyude is clearly very sophisticated--were he a Heel, he'd be Wicked Cultured--and his finishing moves are all named after musical terms. Crescendo, for example, involves using suppression fire to get in close to the enemy and start kicking the shit out of it in close combat, while Sforzando has him merely repeatedly smashing the opponent with the gun.
  • Space Whale: It created the oceans.
  • Spider Tank: The Iron Beetle boss fights.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Chrono Cross - both games share several staff members including the same art director and writer, both sport the same unique visual style, and both have vaguely similar battle systems which place emphasis on multi-hit combos, customizable command sets, and elemental affinity.
  • Spoiler Opening: Do not watch the opening movie of the first game if you want to enjoy the plot.
  • Sprite Polygon Mix
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison, confusion, headache, sleep, paralysis, burning, frozen, and instant death.
    • Origins had stun, poison, burning, frozen, sleeping, blindness, and knockdown.
  • Start of Darkness: The Stinger of Origins serves as one for Geldoblame, the Disc One Final Boss of the original, and Giacomo, whose obsession with power comes from his inability to defeat Sagi.
  • The Stinger: See above.
  • Summation Gathering: Part of an early quest in Origins, when Sagi's investigating a series of terrorist bombings.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Say goodbye to your wings! Hope nobody needed them for anything.
  • Theme Naming: Kalas and Sagi are both named after birds. Kalas's name is a romanized version of 'karasu,' which is the Japanese word for raven, while Sagi's is the Japanese word for heron.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The source of the Wham! Episode in Origins: Sagi is a successful malideiter.
  • Torture Cellar: After The Reveal of the first Man Behind the Man in Origins, if you go back to Verus's house, you can enter the room that the Mook claimed was where Verus met with his guardian spirit. It ain't pretty.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Azha in Origins; despite how happy it seems when you first visit it, you later learn that the townspeople are being worked to death by The Empire and are currently harboring a terrorist.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Verus, second game.
    • A villainous example in Shanath, given how he was spying on Baelheit for Verus.
  • True Companions: In both games, your party will end up like this. This is part of Melodia's plan in Eternal Wings.
  • True Final Boss: Origins has Verus-Wiseman, which is accessible by finding and killing Wiseman on the Battlefields of Atria.
  • Unwinnable By Mistake: Two remarkably similar cases, one in each game: in the first, the player can use a Red Flower (where they can save but not level up) on board the imperial airship, which can't be left until That One Boss (well, those three bosses) is beaten. In Origins, the Holoholobird attacks just after a disc change which included a save prompt. In both of these cases, underleveled or underequipped characters without a spare save file will be unable to defeat the bosses and continue on.
  • Useless Item: A number of quest magnus have no purpose except to be registered in the gathering and make you wonder which of your limited blank magnus to keep.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted in the case of Spirit Attack finishers; at maximum power, they're almost twice as powerful as the most powerful 'normal' finisher available.
    • Played straight with status ailment cards; pretty much anything that isn't immune to them isn't worth using them on.
  • Vaporware: A sequel for the Nintendo DS was announced, but never materialized. Years later it was confirmed to have been canceled.
  • Voice of the Legion: Mizuti in the first game, Guillo in the second.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Cor Hydrae in Eternal Wings, Tarazed in Origins.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can choose to kill Nasca, Heughes, and Valara after defeating them in Origins. Sparing them opens up extra cutscenes where they help Sagi and Milly escape Tarazed as it falls from the sky.
  • Villains Never Lie: Averted, Kalas instantly dismisses Giacomo's claim he's the son of Kalas's "grandfather", even though it turns out to be true (An NPC will mention George had a son named Giacomo casually).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Guillo and Milly in Origins develop into these.
  • The War Sequence: The Battlefields of Atria.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: Giacomo, in both games.
    • The Holoholobird is a mid-game example; it's the point where Origins leaves 'rather challenging' and dives headfirst into Nintendo Hard territory.
  • Wasted Song: The world map themes in both games, stunningly beautiful songs which you'll probably hear the first five or ten seconds of unless you purposefully wait around.
  • We Buy Anything: Averted, anything not meant to be sold as its primary purpose sells for less than a dozen gold while photos sell for 1000s, and you flat out can't sell some items.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Baelheit wants to prevent people from relying too much on their powers of hearts so that they may not wage war with the said power again. However, he does so by using machina to conquer all other islands and forcibly taking off people's wings of hearts, which bring unhealthy side effects such as concussion and inability to feel and taste. He is willing to go as far as blowing up all islands, which used the power of hearts to float, when his attempt to machinate those islands fails. Ironically, Baelheit is exactly like Wiseman.
  • Wham! Episode: The Lava Caves in the first and the election speeches in the second.
  • Wham! Line: Several, chief among them being Kalas' line, which changes the context of the entire game up to that point:

Kalas: It's me. I worked together with Melodia.

  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The battle system normally awards extra damage for straights (plus extra if it uses a 9) and sets of multiple same number cards, simply calling them "x straight (with 9)" and "x cards" on the bonus result screen. However, in the endgame, once you can play 9 cards a turn, completing a 9 straight lists your bonus as "Final straight sunrise/sunset".
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Scenery Porn + a hefty dose of crack = the island of Mira.
    • The whole game, really. The world once was whole, with gods ruling the land and the Whale ruling the ocean. However, an evil god rebelled against the other gods, massacred them, and swallowed the ocean, killing the great Whale. The men killed the evil god, but the blood of the dead gods tainted the world beyond recovery, so the men used the body parts of the dead god to send continents into the sky. The design team was definitely on something.
  • What the Hell, Player?: If you select the wrong answers to dialogue options, Kalas and Sagi will call you out on it.
  • Winged Humanoid: Yup.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The first game uses its unusal setting device to invoke this in the player. Normally The Mole would have no chance what-so-ever of being the main character, purely because the story couldn't continue otherwise. Too bad Kalas is only the main character, not the Point of View one.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Melodia's scheme in Eternal Wings. And it would have worked too, if Xelha hadn't been Crazy Prepared.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Averted: Opposing elements being paired together lowers the total damage. Played straight in Origins; several EX Combos involve pairing opposing elements like light and dark together.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Partially subverted in that it's Kalas, the main character, who does this to his guardian spirit, the player, after his plan to resurrect Malpercio succeeds. Fortunately, Xelha becomes the new holder for the guardian spirit.
    • In Origins, Verus does this to Geldoblame after The Reveal.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The collective populace of Azha feels this way about the Mourning Mistral.
  1. This was because the voice acting was recorded in Japan, with the few English-speaking voice actors they had on-hand. Fans of Metal Wolf Chaos or Shenmue may recognize some of the actors as a result.
  2. This is actually Milly's strongest special attack, since she has no Level 4 SA.
  3. Except Xelha, Mizuti and Lyude. The former two because they attack with chains of the same spells with varying itensity, the latter because he actually obtains his InfinityMinusOneGun instead.
  4. With the exception of Mizuti, whose Broken Bird actually blocks instant death completely, but still confers Confusion like her Skull Birdie.