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You might want to sit down for this one. Are you sitting? OK? Good.
First, the basics: Eien no Filena (Eternal Filena) is a series of Light Novels that ran from 1985 to 1994 and was later adapted into an RPG for the Super Famicom in 1995... in Japan. It was never released overseas. And if you're wondering why, simply read on...
Filena is a girl living in the empire of Devis. However, she has been raised as a boy nearly all her life by her adoptive grandfather/master Zenna, specifically so that she can compete in the brutal Battles the Empire holds. She is one of the Clechia caste--slaves and second-rate citizens in the empire--and battling is probably the better life, considering the alternative is probably being a concubine. Sound normal so far? Keep going.
Right before her battle debut, Filena is given a concubine named Lila to make her potentially last hours more pleasurable. After beating around the bush a little, Filena finally reveals her secret to Lila. Lila is only moderately perturbed, and, after Filena wins her first battle, moves into Filena's house and becomes her "wife."
Things start going pear-shaped after Filena is forced to, in succession, kill a man the Battle Writer claims is her brother (hint: He's not) and her master, Zenna. Her not-brother had a wife and child, who now have it in for her. And her master hands her a mystic pendant, which contains a video file explaining that Filena is the heir to a long-lost sea kingdom. Then, naturally, Filena and Lila go on the run, tailing the Battle Writer, the dead man's wife, and, eventually, many more as they become embroiled in the rebellion against the Empire.
And to top it all off, the entire time, Filena's "disguise" becomes increasingly more transparent while never actually losing its effectiveness. Even with a name like "Filena." Even with Lila--who knows Filena's secret from the very start, and becomes yet ever more insistant on calling Filena her "husband..."
Yes, it's that kind of series.
Although never released in the US, a fan translation patch for the game is available.
This game contains examples of:
- Anyone Can Die
- Action Girl: If a female character is named, the chance that they kick ass is 1.
- Blood Sport: The Battles that take place in the Colosseum.
- Broken Bridge: "I can't let you past this checkpoint without proof! I can't let you into the mine without proof! I can't let you up a level without proof!" Not exactly subtle, are they?
- Crapsack World: 1) Life sucks for Clechia, 2) Imperials are stuck-up snobs, and 3) Clechia smell bad. Got it? No? Don't worry, because you're going to hear about it plenty more.
- Dirty Old Man: Via his "playboy powers," he can see through Filena's disguise.
- Disney Death: Nest: "Didn't I tell you I just can't up and die now...?"
- The Evil Empire: Devis, natch.
- Evilutionary Biologist
- Fairy Battle: If ever you can only do 1 damage to an enemy and all their attacks miss, yep, it's one of these. The Birthless Life doesn't have any battling, just a battle screen and talking.
- Fan Translation: One coupled with a Let's Play, as a matter of fact.
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Incarnation of Hatred.
- Guest Star Party Member: Everyone who isn't Filena or Lila and later Hunter, the dog drops in and out like flies!
- Les Yay: Is Lila in love with Filena herself, or herself as viewed through her male persona?
- Marshmallow Hell: How Laris eventually realizes Filena's true sex.
- Obviously Evil: The resident Omniscient Council of Vagueness, the Black Devils.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Fis.
- Pregnant Badass: Amanela is a variant, being a "Just-Gave-Birth" badass instead.
- Recurring Boss: The Black Devils.
- Recursive Crossdressing: Filena is a woman dressing as a man who has to dress as a woman to pass as one of the Meemez sect.
- Religion of Evil
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Lila and Filena. Lila even says she loves Filena, and they do end up ruling a kingdom together, but they never really explain whether Filena loves Lila back, or if her feelings are just platonic.
- Schizo-Tech: Things they have in Devis: Teleporters, computers (personal and otherwise), video recording software, Ray Guns. Things they apparently lack: Indoor plumbing, cars, air fresheners.
- Secret Legacy: Filena, you're the heir to Filosera!
- Lila, you're also a Filoseran!
- So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: It helps if you've played through the game before so you know who to steal gear off of, except for Amanela, who automatically gives you hers.
- Strangely Effective Disguise: With her flowing blonde hair and breasts, one wonders how Filena's managed to keep it up for so long.
- Sweet Polly Oliver
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: To the letter, as Laris can't figure out why he gets "those feelings" when he looks at Filena.
- Tragic Monster: Fis, in a way.
- True Companions: Filena's first "true" party: "Yes, we're all friends!" Too bad Nest vanishes for a good long while and Milika gets killed.
- Tyke Bomb: Filena herself, in a fashion. Fis as well, though that's by virtue of being de-tyked.
- You All Look Familiar: Who's the guy you need to find for your quest? The one with the unique sprite, obviously!
- Widget Series: A gladiator woman who is not very good at looking like a man and her concubine rebel against an evil empire!