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Despite a planet so vast...This is dedicated to those that share the same feeling of isolation.
and populated by countless number of people...
Why is it that I'm so alone?
—Excerpt from the North American trailer of Fragile Dreams
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (フラジール ~さよなら月の廃墟~, Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo) is a third-person Action RPG/Adventure Game developed by Tri-Crescendo, the same team who made Eternal Sonata and had a hand with the Baten Kaitos games. Released on the Nintendo Wii, the story tells of an After the End scenario, where the world's population has vanished and their cities have been abandoned. The Player Character Seto has just buried the old man he's been living with, and upon reading a letter from him encouraging Seto to go seek out other survivors, he packs up and heads to the "red tower to the east." During his journey, he finds a silver-haired girl named Ren, the motherly Personal Frame (PF), the mischievous Crow, an enigmatic ghost named Sai, a quiet spirit named Chiyo, the recurring chicken-head-wearing Item Merchant and the Mad Scientist Shin.
That's practically it, really - Fragile Dreams is marketed as an "atmospheric adventure," focusing on "human drama" and emotion. While it plays similarly to a Survival Horror game, it's not horror outright, instead settling for being eerie, sad, lonely, depressing and (rarely) disquieting, while also relying heavily on the player's ability to draw his or her own conclusions about why most things are they way they are.
Heavy fan demand for a localization surfaced following the original release back in January 2009. Luckily, XSEED Games and Rising Star Games listened and released a North American and European version in March 2010, respectively, complete with original voices, reversible box art, and a mini-soundtrack bundled with Fragile Dreams. A rare manga adaptation has been released, following up on the events of the game. It has been translated and can be read here.
Fragile Dreams contains examples of:
- American Kirby Is Hardcore - In addition to using deeper, mature voices for the younger characters in the localization, the American box art sports a vicious-looking Seto holding a golf club, whereas the original Japanese and European box arts show Seto and Ren holding hands over a watery background. Should you feel Japanophilic, XSEED included the latter art on the backside of the American game cover.
- Though perhaps a little justified in that the localization was (poorly) marketed as some sort of post-apocalyptic adventure as opposed to a more emotional experience.
- After the End
- Apocalypse How - Backstory suggests it was a Class 1 mixed with a Class 3a. But don't worry, You Are Not Alone... in a good way, fortunately.
- Apocalyptic Log - Objects, sketches, and short stories take the form of "Memory Items" for Seto to examine. Each Memory Item holds the last memories of its former owner, and offers the backstory and hints to the world and events leading up to the game.
- Apocalypse Maiden - Sai was the "catalyst" during the first use of the Glass Cage. Shin intends to use Ren as the new "catalyst".
- Bilingual Bonus - While voices and game text can be taken in English, all the scenery and even the credits are in Japanese. While the game helpfully translates the more important phrases (i.e. information that might prove valuable) when examined in first-person, a vast majority remains the same as it would be in Japan. If you can read Japanese, you'll at least be able to read the vending machines and graffiti.
- Bishounen - Crow, and arguably Shin
- Cats Are Mean - Heavily inverted: cats are sweet, playful creatures; dogs, on the other hand, are universally feral and vicious, if not outright demonic.
- Cute Kitten - The game uses this to its full advantage, allowing Seto to play with or feed the stray cats.
- Cherry Tapping - It's completely possible to defeat the final boss with nothing but a broken stick. quite hilarious when you think "holy crap a fifteen year old boy just beat down an insane thunder spirit with a broken stick"
- Crapsack World - Possibly: Sai states the world was already at war before the Glass Cage was activated; it was the whole reason behind humanity saying "yes" to the whole thing in the first place.
- Cute Ghost Girl - Sai's an attractive girl with a killer figure.
- Little Chiyo in a kimono says "hello".
- Defanged Horrors: Most of the enemies in the game are just creepy and scarey rather than truly nightmarish or horrifying. With emphasis on relationships and friendship, some call it Silent Hill for children.
- Department of Redundancy Department - The description for the cat food item: "Cats love this, but they cannot open it because they are cats."
- Doing It for the Art: A lot of attention has been paid to the details: all the posters look real (the graphics and the words on them all make sense), and even the throwaway details are cared for. For example, there's a maintenance chart in the boiler room in the early Sinister Subway level, and all the details are filled out: the workers' names, dates, etc. The graphic is never used again.
- Downer Ending, possibly even Esoteric Happy Ending: The ending narration implies Seto is on his death bed or dying, and it's been many years following the game's events. He narrates he's alone again, hinting that Ren has died, and it's been countless summers since he met her.
- On the other hand, a lot of people survived, and at the end of the game, Seto and Ren head out to look for them together, so it's more likely a Bittersweet Ending.
- Gainax Ending: Due to the ambiguity of the ending, alongside implications that there are other survivors in the world, the game simply hints at a Sequel Hook.
- First Kiss
- Foreshadowing: The observatory at the beginning of the game has a library with several bookshelves that can be examined. The books on the shelf include Pirate Isle (the book that Crow read) and several manuals on the Glass Cage project. This also implies that the man Seto lived with knew more than he was letting on when told him to go to Tokyo Tower. Commence Wild Mass Guessing.
- Going through Lunar Land with the special torch reveals secret messages written by Crow. In one message, instead of writing "I am Crow", he writes "I am H0053348". Looks like a serial number, doesn't it?
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: For the most part, averted: the developers have explicitly stated they were going for complete immersion. A lot of the Scrappy Mechanics are implemented because of this, like the breakable weapons and the inventory management. Possibly an extreme aversion, as some people have suggested that the game is designed to be dreary and chore-like (the fetch quests, in particular) to mimic Seto's experience; since he's not having fun, you're not having fun. Discuss possible Fridge Brilliance.
- Giant Mole Rat From Nowhere: One of the bosses; how a mole grew to gigantic proportions is never explained nor hinted at.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: (Seto is Ichigo Kurosaki and Lelouch, Ren is Tenten, Sai is Aigis and Kallen Kozuki, Crow is Toshiro Hitsugaya, Personal Frame is Para-Medic, and Chiyo is Chibi Trunks.
- Idiots Cannot Catch Colds: One of Crow's taunts when he steals Seto's locket.
- It May Help You on Your Quest: The blue stone in Seto's locket is practically useless. Word of God states it's a "high efficiency crystal computer" that enables Seto to see ghosts and spirits.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Partially subverted: while it's one of the fastest and strongest one-handed weapons available, the Scrappy Mechanic kicks in.
- The Last Man Heard a Knock: and he went outside.
- Lampshade Hanging:
Whenever there is something on the ground, a gathering of fireflies just above it will signal its position to you.
Why would fireflies be attracted to it?
Indeed. Well... maybe... it is because... it is summer? Perhaps?
- Late Arrival Spoiler: Ren's name isn't revealed until the very end of the game - she's simply referred to as "the silver-haired girl" - yet most discussions about the game refer to her by her name (including this page...oops). To be fair, it has no bearing on the plot, and her name is given in the character section of the instruction booklet.
- Life Imitates Art: Compare the game's abandoned locations with the similarly abandoned, left-to-rot Real Life locations in rural Japan.
- Light Is Not Good: Shin. Oh, and the Aurora Borealis appearing in the sky? A very, very bad sign.
- Lonely Piano Piece: Consistent with the running theme, save for the odd vocal and battle themes the soundtrack consists of nothing but.
- Loving a Shadow: The Merchant collects and scrounges around for anything shiny so his "princess" can smile again. Unfortunately, the "princess" died in her cradle; the sad part is the Merchant doesn't even realize this even when Seto wants to tell the truth. If it wasn't for Sai, the Merchant might've killed the boy on the spot.
- Melancholy Moon, Weird Moon - The moon in the setting with the train tracks appears a lot larger than the real one in other environments. Regardless, the moon is a prominent symbol in the game, highlighting the isolation and loneliness aspects as the player controls Seto walking through abandoned environments devoid of humans.
- Mouthy Kid: Crow, although he's actually a nice guy.
- Mysterious Waif: Both Ren and Sai
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The effects of the Glass Cage left behind "Thought Processes", the remaining thoughts of humans who died and left their residual emotions in the world, such as Chiyo and Sai. This is achieved through Big Sleep, with the various Memory Items hinting and outright implying its occurence following Glass Cage's first activation.
- The Power of Friendship: Seto and everyone he comes across, basically. It's the whole point of the game: Seto's looking for a companion. This creates a lot of heartwarming moments as well as Tear Jerkers when Seto is left alone again, time after time. Notably, the exceptions to this trope are Ren and Sai, and that's because it's instead...
- The Power of Love
- Psycho Electro: Shin is a major aversion: while he does have Shock and Awe and is the Big Bad, he's a very calm and collected person, and never seems particularly insane except for his irritation with vocal communication (which he mainly uses to deflect questions about his actions). He only freaks out during his Motive Rant, and Sai makes him Heel Face Turn in the middle of it following her declaration of love.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: PF and Crow
- Robotic Reveal: When Seto discovers Crow's true nature as a sentient robot.
- Sad Battle Music: The final boss theme
- Scenery Gorn and Porn: Manages both at once: "gorn" in areas like the deserted amusement park and subway station, "porn" such as the Aurora Borealis effects in the dim-lit sky.
- Settings: Includes, but is not limited to:
- Shout-Out: Possibly unintentional, but seriously, it's a robot named "Crow".
- Spell My Name with an "S": "Class Cage"? That doesn't make any sense unless you consider it's about cages formed by social classes, which has absolutely nothing to do with the story. The localization uses "Glass Cage", which in addition to making sense of the title (i.e., Fragile) also makes sense in that the scientists were essentially trying to smash the restriction of communication to sound and words, both of which were thought to be fundamentally limited like a cage.
- Talking Appliance Sidekick: PF
- Tokyo Tower: What kicks off the main plot
- When Trees Attack: Another of the bosses
- Word of God: An interview with the creator months after the Japanese release revealed there are two Shins: one is an AI copy of the real Shin, to which he is Seto's grandfather.
- Shrug of God: However, the creator himself isn't entirely sure about a few things, either.
- X Meets Y: Life After People meets Silent Hill