I can’t explain why I love the Ar Tonelico series. On paper, it shouldn’t work. There’s nothing about the story, the battle system, or even the art that hasn’t been done already by a traditional Japanese RPG, or even a Visual Novel. When you look at the box art above for all three games, what do you see? Typical JRPG fodder. To me, I see….LOVE.
Before I go any further, let me give you a BRIEF rundown of the synopsis of all three games. In the distant future, mankind fucks up the world so bad that the remnants of humanity are forced to live on 3 towers that hover well above the Earth’s surface. These towers are administrated by Reyvateils, girls that can harness song energy to power up magical attacks that can blow up some shit (Sort of like Nanoha on her period). The relationship between the Reyvateils and the humans differs between the three towers, ranging from worship, to outright discrimination. How so? Ooooh, you’re just gonna have to play the games and find out.
They certainly aren’t lacking in the art department. The AT characters are some of the best illustrated I’ve ever seen, and I never tire of looking at them. They’re just so…fun! And HAPPY!
Still, the Ar Tonelico (abbreviated to AT from now on) series is a favorite of mine. It’s like Jeremy Clarkson’s views on Alfa Romeos. He contends that Alfa Romeos are the heart and soul of the automotive industry, and I can see where he gets that. AT and the rest of the JRPGs coming out of GUST are the heart and soul of the JRPG. While Square has their infinitely good pedigree when it comes to JRPG’s, Capcom with their Breath of series, Namco Bandai with their Tales series, Atlus with their MegaTen games….the GUST games, specifically the AT games, have the JRPG’s heart and soul. Let me give you an example.
I promise you, you didn’t just watch a porn. It’s moments like this that remind me that this game wasn’t made by a zaibatsu that was trying to make money over every little detail, these games was made by GUST, and they put every bit of love they could into every moment. Sometimes….too much love. Like Lyner did to Aurica. With a life-extending agent.
No really, the reyvateils in AT2 level up by taking baths with each other. With crystals, bath salts, and conversations!
These games have a certain je ne sais quoi about them. Maybe it’s the music?
You’re probably wondering what language they’re singing. At first listen, it sounds like Celtic chanting doesn’t it? Good guess, but you’d be wrong. For their AT games, GUST came up with a brand new language called Hymnos. They made up their own language. For their songs. Holy shit. That’s some deep love right there. This is what the Reyvateils sing during battles and during cutscenes.
So let’s go over what we know so far. The AT games have borderline porn, awesome art, and crazy-involved music. Like I said before, this sounds like a recipe for disaster. But….you’d be wrong. These games are full of love. Not the typical love you’d find between a fat person and a chocolate bar, but…
Seriously, play these games for yourself. These AT games are full of “love” moments that I can’t divulge here without spoiling each game. Really.
The Ar Tonelico games are property of GUST, NIS America, and Tecmo Koei. Yes, I actually have these games. I just can’t find them.