"There is, of course, more than one universe. In one such world, in the corner of a backwater galaxy, humans rule over a senseless planet. However, that's about as important as a speck of dust in this pluralistic cosmos. Well, here in the netherworld, things work in the same way. I wanted to tell him that... But he had enough problems with my prophecy already..."
"Disperse, loyal battle monkeys! Do my bidding and BUST A CAP!"
Continuing the tradition of wacky Turn-Based Strategy RPGs started by Disgaea and Phantom Brave, Nippon Ichi Software released Makai Kingdom in 2005. It's the story of 'Badass Freakin' Overlord' Zetta, who accidentally destroys his own Netherworld by torching a Cosmic Keystone called the Sacred Tome. In order to save himself, he seals himself inside the book before it's completely ruined. Reduced to a sentient tome with no home, no resources and no body, Zetta is forced to enlist the help of his fellow Overlords in a bid to get his netherworld back.
- Anti-Gravity Clothing: Then again, most of the characters featuring this are practically forces of nature themselves. Presumably gravity is hiding in a corner to avoid attracting attention.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Slash his throat! Eat his eyes!! STEAL HIS SHOES!!!"
- Art Shift: The begining and ending of the game features a different pool of sprites for the characters, they're highly detailed and proportinal to their offcial art, very different from how they appear in the main game, looking like something straight out of Odin Sphere.
- Ascended Meme: Zetta's nickname for Alex, "Asshat".
- Awesome but Impractical: Balloon weapons. They use the game's easiest-to-increase stat (SP) to attack, but fling the character using it out-of-bounds just for using it once; that's ignoring the fact that using their special attacks take SP away, thus making them weaker with every use. And if the enemies use Balloon attacks, they level their friends up upon being thrown Out-Of-Bounds.
- The Hammer weapons also count. Not only are they the weakest weapon types in the game, but if an allied character takes a hit from an enemy hammer, it DECREASES THEIR LEVEL BY ONE as well as getting rid of any experience they have have acquired during the battle. Of course, PlayerMooks using Hammers on enemies don't have this effect.
- Most of the Warrior-type classes can learn special skills for use when they don't have a weapon in their hands. Most of these are ironically Multi-target skills, too. Unfortunately, no unit in the game, Generic or Unique, has the stat growth needed to rock such a style unless max Reincarnation levels are achieved; and if one can achieve max levels, then why would you be using Unarmed skills at all?
- Ax Crazy: Dryzen.
- Badass Boast: Combined with What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? with Zetta's threats against the corn people.
"I, the mighty Overlord Zetta, do not fear corn, kettle or otherwise!"
- Battle Butler: The thunder god Raiden is Alexander's right-hand man. You face him three times during the game: once during the intro, and again at the end of chapters 4 and 6.
- Bishonen Line: The larger overlords like Babylon and Valvolga condense themselves into humanoid form before fighting. They don't get any more powerful from this though.
- Bland-Name Product/Shout-Out: Gear Metal LEX.
- Bonus Boss: Like all Nippon Ichi games by this point, it's Baal (plus Castille and the Disgaea crew). Zetta even Breaks The Fourth Wall by calling him out, knowing the trend.
- This is also the first appearance of Asagi.
"Sacred Tome? More like... sucky... dumb... thing!"
"Evil is actually in my job description."
- If this isn't a one-off gag (probably not, since Zetta was being rather blunt here), then this line applies to all Overlords.
- Chew Toy: Asagi, who debuted in this game and has been wandering around the Nippon Ichi-verse ever since.
- Cognizant Limbs: Spoofed. The demon lord Valvoga is made up of three parts: the four-armed Ambiguously Gay Micky, the Manipulative Bastard Ophelia and the Ax Crazy Dryzen, but they function as one person in battle.
- Combat Medic: A playable class, one of the Soldier classes, functioning as a healer with gun proficiency. Healers are also surprisingly powerful in this game if you put a syringe into their hands.
- Cool Starship: The battleship Yoshitsuna, piloted by Bonus Boss Prinny Baal, which can be yours if you can defeat it.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Zetta, even in book form, is still the most powerful overlord in the cosmos. In his appearances as a Bonus Boss in later games, as well as in one cutscene here, he still has the power to obliterate things with tremendously powerful eye beams. He does not use this power in this game's gameplay, however.
- Decoy Protagonist: Played with. While Zetta is indisputably the main character of the game's storyline, the player never directly controls him (save in one fight where you get A Taste of Power). This is even lampshaded in one of the random lines your troops can say, when they point out that the real main character is whichever random soldier the player has chosen to control.
- Defeat Means Friendship: How all the optional characters join your team.
- Dirty Coward: King Drake III.
- The Ditz: Trenia. Zetta wakes up early in one chapter to find that Trenia has set him on fire and is using it to roast a marshmallow.
- Drill Tank: Driller-G tanks function like this.
- Epic Flail: The final skill of the weapon class known as "Hammer" swings the entire map around.
- Even Evil Has Standards: See Moral Event Horizon in the YMMV section.
- Evil Laugh: Zetta is big on this trope. He's very good at it too, even as a book.
- Evilly Affable: Most of the overlords except Seedle, for a certain value of 'evil'. Dryzen is probably the most prominent example.
- Eye Beams:
- Game-Breaking Bug: Characters can sometimes get stuck in vehicles and facilities with no way of getting them out. Death is often one of the triggers, but not always. It's unfortunately very random and the only way around it is to reload a previous save.
- Genre Busting: The game is a weird mixture of Disgaea and Phantom Brave, revolving around summoning allies in the middle of the battlefield but less dependent on objects already on the field. There's nothing exactly like it (then again, there was nothing exactly like Phantom Brave either).
- The game's original Japanese name is Phantom Kingdom, making the Phantom Brave connection more obvious.
- God Was My Co-Pilot: Turns out that "The One", an entity responsible for helping the Balance Between Good and Evil is really Ophelia... Although this might have been a gag. Also, Trenia was the original spirit of the Sacred Tome.
- Healing Shiv: Syringes and pies allow you to heal allies with "attacks".
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Zetta makes no bones about letting others know that he's the strongest, and does so constantly. At one point, he actually was, until he blew up everything.
- How Dare You Die on Me!: A rare pre-mortem example: after Zetta is cursed to die in two days, Alexander confronts Zetta with these words, furious at the prospect of losing his rival... And then tries to beat the curse to the punch. This comes, naturally, with a huge dose of Ho Yay.
- Inner Monologue: Zetta does this a lot, one time Pram even calls him out on it.
- Joke Character: King Drake upon recruiting him. His poor Aptitudes prevent him from properly using three out of the four weapons he's good with, and the one weapon type he CAN properly use happens to be the weakest in the game. Just stack him full of shoes and use him to throw people around. That's as useful as he's gonna get.
- Large Ham: King Drake the Third. Zetta is a distant second-place.
- Leitmotif: Each of the Overlords has their own theme music. When their Netherworld is selected at the beginning of each chapter, the music changes, as well.
- Lethal Joke Character: Believe it or not, corn men are among the most deadly unit types in the game.
- Like a Badass Out of Hell: Seedle is the ruler of the afterlife. How did he come by this position? He was a human warrior who died, went there, and in Zetta's words, "kicked so much ass that they made him the boss."
- Love Makes You Crazy: Salome.
- Love Martyr: Again, Salome.
- Market-Based Title: The fully English name Phantom Kingdom got renamed to the partially Gratuitous Japanese name Makai Kingdom when it was ported to Europe and North America. It was likely a marketing move to emphasise the connection to the better known Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (which it shares more thematically) over Phantom Brave (which it shares more mechanically), though it depends on Viewers Are Geniuses to catch the Bilingual Bonus.
- Mistaken for Gay: Drake.
- Mythology Gag: Being a Spiritual Successor to Phantom Brave, there's the "Confine" ability. It doesn't work the same way here, with Zetta being literally confined to The Sacred Tome. More notable is when Trenia returns to The Sacred Tome, she says out "Confine".
- This is also how Zetta gets Player Mooks in the game mechanics; by Perma-confining their Phantoms to the leftover rubble.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Zetta does this to his entire netherworld. Oops.
- Noble Demon: Most of the demons, really.
- No Indoor Voice: Dryzen, so very much.
- Obligatory Swearing: The champion of The Multiverse by a long shot, even though it holds the same teen rating as the others, the localization is riffled with: Bitch, Slut, Asshat and etc.
- One-Winged Angel:
- Valvolga's regular form --a multi-armed demon, an angel head and a dragon skull mashed together into one being-- is intended to be evocative of this trope, which is why he's often referred to as "The Last Boss" (of other games).
Subverted by King Drake's... *snicker* true form...
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Alexander, God of Destruction, won't allow anyone to defeat Zetta except him. Apparently, their personal feud is at a stalemate, and he's waiting for the perfect opportunity to even the score. Zetta couldn't care less.
- Oracular Urchin: Pram and Trenia. Later, it turns out that Pram doesn't have the power of precognition after all. She was just reading from the Sacred Tome, which recorded the entire past, present and future, the whole time. Also, the Sacred Tome, or rather spirit of it, is actually Trenia, which explains her own power of precognition.
- Percussive Maintenance: The wrench skill Tech Bash repairs vehicles.
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor:
- Plant People: Apple Kids, Corn Men, pumpkin heads and carrots.
- Player Mooks: Notably, this game is almost all Player Mooks. It's not until the postgame that you recruit anyone else.
- Prescience Is Predictable
- Randomly Generated Levels: Some storyline levels contain portions that change every time you enter them, but those created through the Sacred Tome are almost fully randomized.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: See Moral Event Horizon in the YMMV section. When even demons (Overlords at that) are disgusted with you for doing it, you know you're a bastard.
- Reality Writing Book: Zetta becomes a type III book.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: According to King Drake, he and Zetta only met about 10,000 years ago, so imagine how old they must be.
- Recurring Boss: Raiden. Other than Alexander and Salome, he's the only true "boss" you fight during the normal quest.
- Restart At Level One: Notably subverted; Zetta may be a book, but he's still the highest-level overlord in the multiverse... He's just not playable.
- However, Zetta's original body, formerly possessed by Baal, rejoins the party at Level 1.
- Rewriting Reality: Literally. The Sacred Tome creates whatever is written down in it, but takes the Mana of whoever wrote it down to fuel the creation. Overlord-level demons can create entire Netherworlds and just get a little tired, but the mook-level demons you control get killed by the backlash of creating anything. Note that, gameplay wise, this is implemented. Unless your character is leveled enough to survive the backlash of creating something, they will lose their body. However, this is a great way to get them to reincarnate if their initial item for creation didn't have any stars.
- Schizo-Tech: None of the Netherworlds appear to be very advanced technologically, but the demons fight with all kinds of futuristic weapons - guns, tanks, UFOs...
- Screw Destiny: Attempted; backfires spectacularly.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Zetta. Parodied.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: This is how the game is started. The Sacred Tome reveals that Zetta's stupidity will doom the Netherworld. Insulted, Zetta burns the book, destroying everything and proving the prophecy right.
- Shout-Out: Like all good Nippon Ichi games, there's plenty: "I didn't know we had an overlord. I thought we were an autonomous collective." springs to mind...
- Shovel Strike: Shovels are among the less weird weapons in this game.
- Sissy Villain: Micky.
- Smug Snake: Zetta, even though he started out as a Heroic Comedic Sociopath. King Drake III definitely falls into this trope, combining it with Dirty Coward.
- Snot Bubble: Babylon.
- Spiritual Successor: As evidenced by its domestic name Phantom Kingdom, it's this to Phantom Brave.
- Stable Time Loop: The battle against Babylon.
- Super Robot: The aptly named Robosuit is a Bonus Boss that you gain control of after defeating it. Comes with Rocket Punch and a V-shaped laser Chest Blaster.
- Tank Goodness: Gear Metal LEX.
- A Taste of Power: Zetta starts the game in humanoid form at level 2000 and with a host of very powerful Sword techniques. After that, however...
- This Is a Drill: Massive drills make great weapons, though they do reduce your movement range.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: "Who's the Overlord now, bitch?!"
- Tome of Fate: The Sacred Tome.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Zetta forgot about the book that bound together the fabric of his very universe. And then he set it on fire. He also didn't pay that much attention to how he became Overlord the first time.
- The game will lampshade this in one of the Nonstandard Game Over Zetta can go challenge Salome in her prime. Upon defeating her, he starts losing his powers as Salome was the source of his power. A hint pops up saying what you did wrong to get the game over, which effectively states "Be careful what you wish for because you may end up feeling stupid afterwards."
- The Underworld: Seedle is its overlord.
- Useless Useful Spell: The game's two Magic-using classes (the Witch and Sorcerer obviously) gain access to spells meant to weaken the stats of enemy units; which in theory should make them the opposite of a Healer. However, the spells will never work on enemy units whether you are overleveled or underleveled. However, they WILL work on your own forces half of the time, which is actually useful when grinding for Weapon Mastery; as you can attack your own teammates to gain Weapon Mastery while also being unable to accidentally kill them if you're extremely strong.
- Victory Is Boring: In Alex's ending, where he kills Zetta and then wallows in boredom as Zetta was the only one that offered a challenge to him.
- Visible Silence: Lampshaded by Alex.
"Ellipses are for chumps-- say something!"
- Wasted Song: Devil's Descent, Valvoga's theme, only plays twice, during its introduction and as the Bonus Boss music against him.
- Weapons Kitchen Sink: Everything from swords to drums to wrenches to balloons can be used as a weapon.
- We Cannot Go on Without You: Justified. Zetta is the Book that controls the nearby reality. If he dies, the dimension collapses. In fact, if he gets hurt, everyone gets hurt. You can actually manipulate this, too; while injuring Zetta will cause you to be unable to summon any more units, you can quickly heal or buff your entire team by tossing the appropriate spells at him, so long as you're prepared to deal with the enemies getting the same effects.
- "Who The Hell Writes This Crap?": Asked Zetta.
- Widget Series: As usual with Nippon Ichi games.
- World of Ham: Good Overlords. Even by the standards of other Nippon Ichi games, this is a hammy game. Every single one of the dub actors go completely overboard with lines, screaming out their Badass Boasts and war cries before each fight... and even when there isn't a scrap going on, everybody seems to be taking bites out of the scenery. Crispin Freeman and Jamieson Price masticate an entire set between them.
- X Meets Y: This game is almost exactly a fusion between Phantom Brave and Disgaea.
- Yandere: Salome, especially in the final chapter.
- Plus the Badass Freakin' Overlord's Daughter