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Crossing the bridge between dreams and reality - Let's Play Eternal Sonata!


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 5-1: Return to Ritardando

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Polka and co. climbed up a mountain and then went through a magma-filled cave (running into Dolce again along the way); they then encountered Fugue in Agogo Forest and sent him packing. Let’s see where everyone has ended up since:


Chapter 5 is pretty short, but a lot happens in it. This update in particular is pretty big and, as previously mentioned, I had to split it into two parts.


click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music


*Suddenly, Falsetto cries out:*



*Meanwhile, in Ritardando...*



Beat: “Retto!”
*He hops down the ladder as Frederic also enters the scene.*
Frederic: “What a relief. I’m glad to see that you all got back here safely.”
*Allegretto winces.*
Beat: “What is it, Retto? Did someone get hurt or something on your way here?”


*Meanwhile, back in Baroque...*



*Jazz thinks to himself for a long moment, then begins walking towards Baroque Castle as we return to the hideout.*


♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Frederic: “She must have been struggling with her conscience for a long time because of what she was doing.”
Beat: “What about the others? Where are they?”
Allegretto: “Viola went home to set her goats free. After that, she’s gonna head for Salsa’s house. We weren’t sure, but we thought you’d probably all be heading over to Salsa’s place.”
Frederic: “And what about Jazz and Falsetto?”
Allegretto: “Well, actually...”


Frederic: “She’s gone missing?”
Allegretto: “Yeah. I mean, we tried looking for her all over the place. But she’s just nowhere to be found. I dunno. Maybe she feels like she’s somehow responsible for Claves’s death.”
*The music fades out here.*
Beat: “Poor Falsetto.”
Allegretto: “Anyway, when we couldn’t find her, Jazz headed for Baroque Castle. He said he needed to talk to someone there.”


Allegretto: “Who’s Prince Crescendo?”
Beat: “Oh, we were fished out of the water by a ship from Baroque. It was this really cool ship, and guess who the captain was? The prince of Baroque himself!”



Not to mention the Mirror Dimension, and having to climb a mountain, and going through a magma-filled cave, and fighting off some jerk with a katana and a monocle…

Beat: “Isn’t that right, Frederic?”
Frederic: “Yes. And after the fighting, the Prince entrusted us with a message he wanted us to deliver to Jazz.”
Allegretto: “I never would’ve figured Jazz was the type to have a prince for a friend. But, hey, at least this clears up one thing, I guess we know where we’re headed to next.”



*Allegretto is visibly flustered but tries to act otherwise:*
Allegretto: “Well, of course. She’s a friend!”
Frederic: “Polka said that she wanted to make a quick stop in Tenuto, so that she could look in on her mother.”
Allegretto: “Okay, then that means we’re gonna have to go there and bring her back.”
Beat: “Hold on a minute, Retto. We all agreed that we were gonna meet back here in Ritardando. Don’t worry, she’ll show up here before too long. So, instead, why don’t we give Frederic a tour of the town while we wait for everyone else to show up?”
*Allegretto pats Beat’s shoulders instead of responding, and moves to climb up the ladder anyway.*


Allegretto: “I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about! Fine, you want a tour guide, then you got one!”


Teenagers, amirite?


♪♪~ The Mediocrity Sought Out by Everyone

Anyway, we have control now, so let’s not waste any time seeing the sights. It’s been quite a while since the last time we were in Ritardando; there’s bound to be at least one or two new things to look at.


That’s, great? You do you, pal.


“Actually, he’s not from this town. He’s just a drifter who showed up one day.”
“No matter what you ask him, he says the same thing. He’s really an odd duck. A while ago I saw him mumbling as he headed off in the direction of that cave.”

Really now? That’s interesting. I will file this information away in my head and proceed to not follow up on it for a very long time.


That would explain why there aren’t many people out in the streets at the moment, but we’ll worry about that later.


Have fun with that? Sure, have fun with that.


Now, if you’ll recall the last time we were here, the owner of the bakery would chase us out every time we tried to enter…


But now that she’s distracted by whatever’s happening at the church, we can just waltz right on in! Uh, pun unintended.

Allegretto: “Hey, there’s a mushroom growing in the bread basket. Did it sprout from the mushroom bread? Yuck!”


Allegretto: “Hey! It’s fresh bread! Or not.”


And just like that we have two more Score Pieces! Speaking of which...


I would love to, kid.


Worrywart Horn: “That’s not a bad rhythm. If you just keep going like that…. Oh, sorry! I don’t mean to act like a know-it-all.”

Playing our first Score Piece with him nets us a B-rank and a Star Cookie, but we can do better than that:

“A session? I-I’ll do my best.”



Worrywart Horn: “Wow! That was totally awesome! Oh, sorry, I got a bit carried away there.”

Using Score Piece #3 results in an A-rank and the Cherry EZI, an accessory that increases the wearer’s DEF by a single point. Not especially helpful, but it’s one more piece for the collection. Now then, let’s go see what’s happening at the church.


Mellotron enthusiast


click to watch the next two cutscenes

*The three of them climb the stairs to investigate as the music fades out.*
Allegretto: “Huh? Did something happen?”


Hey, it’s Mustache Man from the first update! With a noticeably different voice than his first appearance! Just don’t think about it too much, it’s fine.

Allegretto: “What? Underneath it? Does the church have a basement?”
Mustache: “Ritardando used to get attacked by pirates all the time. They built an underground shelter so they’d have someplace to hide in case it happened.”
Frederic: “Oh, I see.”


Woman: “Oh, how creepy. The shelter must be infested with some sort of strange creatures. After all, it hasn’t been used in ages!”


There’s a visual joke here that doesn’t come across in screenshots – the camera creeps closer to Mustache’s face and the lighting turns all green and sickly…


But then he physically pushes the camera away and the lighting returns to normal. It’s actually pretty funny if you watch it in motion, for all two of you that watch the videos I post along with each update.

Allegretto: “Yeah, right, give me a break already. I’m sure it’s no big deal. It’s probably just some rats scratching around or something.”



Beat: “Huh? Uh-oh!”
Baker lady: “I know them! These are the brats who’ve been stealing my bread!”
Mustache: “What?! You’re a couple of petty thieves?!”
Allegretto: “No, wait. There was a reason we were….”


Woman: “I agree with her. That’s right. Since you’ve done nothing but go around causing trouble for this city, you need to make up for it somehow.”
Mustache: “You’re used to dangerous jobs like this.”
*Allegretto and Beat start whispering to each other:*
Allegretto: “This doesn’t look good.”


Allegretto: “Yeah, you’re right. That’s a good idea.”
Baker lady: “Well? What’s it going to be?”
Allegretto: All right, all right! Calm down! We’ll check it out, just hold on for one minute.”
Beat: “It’s a good thing Polka’s not here, huh? She’d have definitely found out about all the bad things we’ve been doing.”



Beat: “Ow!”
*The three of them head inside as the music fades out.*


*Suddenly, the door opens behind them, and a familiar voice says:*
“There you are, Allegretto! How are you doing?”


Allegretto: “Hey, Salsa! You sound the same as always.”
Viola: “When I asked Salsa where everyone was, she said that you were all heading for Ritardando. So we came to join you.”
Beat: “But then how did you know that we were in here?”
Viola: “Easy. We saw you just as you were going inside.”
Frederic: “Well, in that case perhaps you could all help us out a little bit.”
Viola: “Help you? With what? What are you guys trying to do?”
Beat: “We’re supposed to get rid of the ghosts underneath this place. Hmph! It’s pretty stupid.”


*Salsa should not have said this, because:*


*It just gave Allegretto an idea.*
Viola: “Aah. So that’s why there were so many people standing around outside the church.”


Beat: “Huh? Where’re you going now, Retto?”
Allegretto: “Well with this many talented people helping out, you don’t really need me, do you?”
Beat: “That’s not fair Retto. You can’t push all the work on us and then just leave!”
Salsa: “Ah! I know what it is! He’s scared of ghosts, so he’s running away!”
*Allegretto can’t quite keep the sarcasm out of his voice as he replies:*


Allegretto: “See ya, Beat. And hey, good luck!”
Viola: “Hey, wait!”
March: “Excuse me, Allegretto, but what are you going to do now?”
Allegretto: “Once you guys finish up here, we’ll be getting on the first ship headed for Baroque tomorrow morning. They opened up the shipping lanes now that the pirates have stopped attacking ships.”


Allegretto: “Don’t be late! See you.”
Salsa: “Hey! That’s so not fair!”
*He leaves, and we cut to outside the church:*


♪♪~ The Mediocrity Sought Out by Everyone


We regain control here, but there isn’t much to see before we head off to Tenuto:


“Oh, how terrifying. My wife’s so terrifying.”

Just this dude, who I’m pretty sure is the old man from way earlier in the trading quest…


And a steadfast refusal to help the others in favor of going off to hang out with Polka. I’ll just walk us down to the beach real quick…


*The music fades out as he picks something up off the ground.*


Allegretto: “Guess it must have washed up on shore. I’m not much of a rock collector, but it really is strange looking. Maybe I’ll show it off to Salsa later.”
*He pockets the stone.*


*Meanwhile, back in the church...*


Beat: “Stupid Retto.”
Frederic: “Let’s just concentrate on what we need to do and get going.”
Viola: “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s get this over with.”
Frederic: “Oh, by the way, are you planning on joining our endeavor, March?”


Salsa: “Bringing her along with us is much safer than leaving her in Agogo Forest alone.”
Beat: “Well, it’s good to have you along. At least you’re a lot more reliable than Retto. I can’t believe he took off and left the work to us.”


Maybe, but somehow I doubt it.


♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

Anyway, for this section and this section only, we’re in control of Beat while navigating the field! I wish you got to do that more often, or had the ability to choose who you ran around the game world as, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget to program that functionality for so many different party members. Speaking of which…


March has joined the party! She’s the opposite of Salsa in many ways, having lower ATK and SPD but higher MAG and DEF (the latter being helped by March’s ability to wear medium armor). She has very low HP, making the Lace Veil particularly useful for her. We’ll go over her fighting style and specials in more depth later; for now we have some other things to take care of.


“I’m counting on you guys!”
“Now stop whining and get going!”

You might initially think that we’re prevented from leaving the church until after we deal with the “ghost” situation (I know I assumed that my first time through the game), but that isn’t the case at all! In fact, there’s a couple things we can only do while we’re running around as Beat; we won’t get the chance to do them afterwards. But before that, let’s see what the crowd has to say:


Woman: “Make sure not to hurt yourselves.”
Mustache: “You’re doing a favor for the town, right? Well, you’d better go check it out.”
Man: “Go clobber that ghost already, will ya?”


“No doubt there’s plenty of danger down there!”

Indeed, but first let’s return to the hideout to initiate the next stage of the trading quest:


Beat: “What’s the matter?”
*The two of them head to the sewer hideout.*


Beat: “She’s got a really bad fever!”
Ad: “What are we gonna do? We’ve got no money to buy medicine with.”
Phony: “She’s been like this for so long! She’s not gonna die or anything, right? Right?!”


Sym: “What?! But do you have money? Do you think you can do it without Retto?”
Beat: “Hey, I’m not a little kid. I have some money of my own. Just leave it to me!”
Phony: “Beat! Promise you’ll bring some medicine, okay?”
Beat: “Don’t worry! You guys just relax and try to stay calm.”


Not for long! But let’s see what else the kids have to say before we head to the pharmacy.


Ad: “Isn’t there anything we can do? We’ll do anything!”


Sym: “But she isn’t getting any better.”
“If we had more money, do you think we could have called a doctor?”


Phony: “Just a little longer, and we’ll get some medicine. Come on, Lib! Don’t give up!”


Don’t worry Lib, we’ll be back soon.

Say, out of curiosity, do y’all remember that chest we couldn’t open back in Chapter 1 because a couple of mice were hanging out on top of it?


Well those mice aren’t around anymore, leaving us free to grab Beat’s new costume!


And it’s an adorable schoolboy uniform! We’ll leave it on for a while as we do other things. Now then, to the pharmacy!


Store Clerk: “Cold medicine? I’m terribly sorry, but someone just bought our last one.”
Beat: “S-sold out?!”
Store Clerk: “However, we do have mineral powder. It costs less and it’s a cure-all for any illness. The demand for other medicines has shrunk, so we don’t carry them much anymore.”
Beat: “I don’t want to use mineral powder. Who was it that bought the cold medicine?”
Store Clerk: “The woman who lives across the street says mineral powder is bad for her complexion, so she bought the last cold medicine.”
Beat: “The person in the house across the street? Thanks a lot!”


Alright, it’s off to this person’s house! (It’s the one next to the bakery.)


“Cold medicine? I actually just bought some. Hmm. I don’t mind giving it up, but I’d been waiting so long to get it. Oh, that’s a nice ring. I wouldn’t mind exchanging my medicine for that ring.”
Beat: “Fine by me! I’ll trade you this for the cold medicine!”
*Handed over Power Ring*
“What a pretty ring. It looks good on me!”




Beat: “That’s kind of scary. Anyway, better hurry back to the sewers!”

Indeed! ‘Scuse me while I do that real quick.


Ad: “Beat!”
Phony: “Quick, hurry! Give her the medicine!”
*quick fade to black*


Sym: “Her face is looking better.”
Beat: “It looks like it’s working.”
Ad: “That was close!”
Beat: “She’ll be fine after she gets some sleep.”


Ad: “It’s okay! Since Retto’s not around, you must have a lot of things to do, right?”
Sym: “I’m so glad we had you around, Beat. If it had just been us, we wouldn’t have known what to do.”
Phony: “Thank you, Beat!”
Beat: “I’ll come back again. And then we’ll all eat some fresh-baked honey bread together.”
Sym: “Hey, Beat! Here, I found this. It might come in handy sometime, so take it with you.”


Beat: “Okay, back to the church! I’ve got to figure out who that creepy voice belongs to!”

Thanks, Sym! This increases the wearer’s MAG by 10% and is going straight on Salsa.


Alas, a typo has reared its ugly head. But I think it’s literally the only one in the game we’ve encountered so far? That plus the mistaken line attribution back in Lament are the only two grammatical errors I can think of, anyway. That’s a pretty good track record for a game of this size!


Eh, maybe later. There are ghosts to investigate!


Sym: “Oh, yeah. It wasn’t just God. You helped, too.”


Phony: “Thank you!”

We’re almost done with the trading sidequest; there’s just one more step that we’ll have to complete a little later. For now, how about we go shopping to celebrate Lib’s recovery?


Mellotron enthusiast

Hot dang that’s a lot of cash! Having a photographer in the shop plus selling off A-rank photos of Fugue and some monsters from Wah Lava Cave results in a very tidy profit for us. Speaking of the photographer, he has different quotes he’ll say based on the quality of the photos you sell him. Here’s what he has to say about our A-rank photos in ascending order of praise:

“Wow. This is very good.”
“Wow. This is first rate.”
“This is magnificent! It depicts the serenity of the moment perfectly!”

Kind of a leap for that last one, eh? Anyway, let’s spend of our hard-earned funds on some new stuff!



Just the one new weapon for Beat, which we’ll go ahead and buy; he also gets a Battle Shirt. I also buy a Leather Guard for Viola, which reduces the chance of being inflicted with a new status effect I’ll cover later. As for consumables, Diamond Clovers are now for sale for 350G apiece; I buy a small stack of them along with a few other things. That covers everything we can do in Ritardando for the time being, meaning it’s time to head back inside the church and finally investigate this “ghost” business.


♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

As always, the priest will heal the party if you talk to him. Thanks, minister!




♪♪~ Underground for Underhand

Hey, it’s this track again! Been a while since we’ve heard it.




Okay, let’s see if we can find these ghosts the townspeople were on about.


Immediately we come to a fork. Let’s go to the right first.



Ignoring the weird creature for the moment (and the dead-end room it’s guarding), we find an opening in the passage…


Leading to a crystal-filled cavern and what looks like old mine-cart tracks.



I guess in addition to the underground shelter, these caverns used to be mined for their crystals at one point, although it seems like it’s been a long time since the mine has been in operation.


Further down we find the third Score Piece of the update, bringing our collection up to 19. And even further down…


♪♪~ The Mediocrity Sought Out by Everyone

Huh! I bet Allegretto will be surprised when he learns about this.


We also find a new sword for him. Too bad he isn’t here to use it!


Back in the catacombs, we take the left path at the fork this time.


There’s no getting around this thing; we’re going to have to fight it.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield in the catacombs is quite large, and aside from the pools of light emanating from the torches is mostly in darkness; the enemies here also tend to spawn pretty far away from you. Beat and Viola don’t really care about that since they can just shoot at monsters from afar, but it’s a good idea to give one of your melee characters the Speed Shoes to help them get around quicker.




We’ve seen some strange monster designs before this point, but the church catacombs are where the enemies start looking really weird. I mean, how would you describe the Ruby Eye/Orange Float pictured above? Giant horned hovercraft-hamsters?? It’s absolutely absurd and I love it.

Anyway, the two monsters are palette-swaps of each other; Ruby Eyes are the dark form, and Orange Floats the light form. They have nearly-identical movesets: a standard headbutt; Overrun, a ram attack they can use to mow down one or multiple characters in a line from practically anywhere on the battlefield (with a chance of knockdown); Cannon Shell/Explosion, which launches two bombs from the monsters’… exhaust ports (??) and produce a small AoE explosion; and the Ruby Eye-exclusive Cheer, which heals an enemy a fair amount. Orange Floats have higher strength and defense, making them the more dangerous opponent; they also sometimes drop Lion’s Manes, while Ruby Eyes drop Goddess Bouquets.


While we’re here, let’s look at March’s fighting style. She uses Moon Rings (as opposed to Salsa’s Sun Rings), and she’s even better at building Echoes than Salsa is, since her attacks add up to seven hits per combo, the highest of any character in the game. She’s also the only character that starts out with four specials; let’s look at those, too.



First up is Aurora Curtain, her first dark special, which is kind of the inverse of Shadow Silhouette; it hits three times for very little damage, and puts up a barrier around March and any other characters nearby that greatly reduces the damage they take from a single attack. Only lasting for a single hit before disappearing might make it seem worthless, but there’s a hidden bonus – if multiple characters with the barrier get caught in an AoE, only the primary target’s barrier will break; the other characters’ barrier will stay intact until they become the main target of an attack. This plus the sheer effectiveness of the barrier – it’s not uncommon for the targeted character to take 0 damage from an attack – makes it very worthwhile.


Next is her other dark special, Eclipse Gaze. This is technically a long-distance attack, but it hits targets in a horizontal line in front of March. If you line up your positioning correctly you can hit multiple enemies, or even the same enemy twice (although the latter is trickier to pull off).



This is March’s first light special, Super Nova. It’s her primary Echo-building move; each individual hit doesn’t deal much damage, but it hits twelve times, one of the higher hit-counts in the game. She can also hit other enemies besides the primary target, but they have to be really close to manage that. I didn’t get a good chance to use her other light special in this first area, but rest assured we’ll take a look at it later in the dungeon.


Moving on at last, we come to the next area, which is a straight shot without any branching paths.




The further along we go into the catacombs, the more worn down and abandoned the underground shelter becomes. It’s a pretty cool effect.


Soon we come to the end of the shelter; we’re about to dive headlong into the caverns proper.

*Meanwhile, at Forte Castle...*


click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music

Waltz: “And to think, we almost killed that girl. We’re lucky that Fugue and Tuba were so incompetent at their assignments. Or maybe I should say they performed their jobs perfectly.”


Rondo: “If we’re to get a hold of them, we’ll need to find some way to lure the girl to us.”
Waltz: “In any case, it appears she can use magic, which means that she doesn’t have very much time left to live.”


♪♪~ Strategy

Rondo: “Understood.”


Well that’s not good; now we have a trained assassin on our heels, and nobody in the party even knows that she exists, much less that she’s the one who killed Claves.


♪♪~ Underground for Underhand

But, for the moment, we still have some ghosts to deal with.


Mellotron enthusiast

Only one way to go for now, with more hovercraft-hamsters to fight.


The battlefield in the cavern section of the catacombs is a little smaller but still pretty big, and it’s mostly in the light save for a ring of shadow at the top. There are also a couple rocks in the way to mess with your positioning. The enemies are the same for the moment, but thanks to the lighting situation you’re more likely to fight Orange Floats instead of Ruby Eyes, and they also come in bigger groups.


Soon after that we come to a fork in the path; let’s go northwest first.


This leads to, uh… these things?? Let’s just fight them.



These space narwhals are Vieges; they move around slowly but their basic ramming/stabbing attack comes out pretty fast. Aside from that, they also like using Blow Vortex on you, which can cause a certain status effect I swear I’m getting to, gosh unguarded. They technically have two additional moves – Power Blaze, which increases their damage output on their next turn, and Blurred Breath, a long-distance attack that can pierce multiple characters in a line – but strangely they never seemed to use them on me, not that I’m complaining about it. They sometimes drop Dragon Scales.



Anyway, once we clear out the space narwhals we can pick up this new weapon for Frederic; the HP boost effect was added for the PS3 port, and it also increases ATK slightly more than in the Xbox 360 release. We’re not quite done with this area, though, because we happen to be standing in the exact place mentioned in the Pirate’s Paper 2 we picked up from our rematch with Dolce:


Let’s take a look at these pillars and see what we can find.



Reading the pillars left-to-right, bottom-to-top gets this message:

“Oh, Lord. Oh, heavenly Lord.
Please hear my prayer.
As I kneel before thee,
please hear this prayer.
If you do hear my prayer,
please banish the blue light.”

Kind of an odd message, but that’s all we need to do to trigger the next part of this sidequest, although we can’t actually complete this stage right now.


However, if we go back out of the catacombs to the church…


♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

We can get a hint as to where the next stage of the quest takes place by investigating this pew.



“Dolce’s skin is so smooth it makes me jealous!”

The “wine buddies” bit is the most relevant part of the message, and I will leave it up to the reader to ponder where we might complete the next part of the quest. Again, you don’t have to read this message, but it doesn’t appear unless you read the messages on the pillars, so it sort of acts as a soft confirmation that you’re good to go.

I think this is a good place to stop for now; I'll pick up with the rest of the update tomorrow. See y'all then!

Next time: The rest of the catacombs, and other things


Round and round I go
Staff member

Store Clerk: “Cold medicine? I’m terribly sorry, but someone just bought our last one.”
Beat: “S-sold out?!”
Store Clerk: “However, we do have mineral powder. It costs less and it’s a cure-all for any illness. The demand for other medicines has shrunk, so we don’t carry them much anymore.”
Beat: “I don’t want to use mineral powder. Who was it that bought the cold medicine?”
Store Clerk: “The woman who lives across the street says mineral powder is bad for her complexion, so she bought the last cold medicine.”
Beat: “The person in the house across the street? Thanks a lot!”
HIPAA violation!


To answer the question from the last page, yes I enjoy the updates, but also have found them large. If I'm going to read this thread I have to leave the tab open for several minutes so everything can load before I read it, and there are times (certainly in the morning before work) where I just can't fit that in. I always catch up eventually though!

Also Hovercraft Hamsters is A+.


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 5-2: The Church Catacombs

Hello and welcome back to Chopin and Friends! Last time Frederic and Beat reunited with Allegretto in Ritardando, only to immediately get roped into investigating some mysterious noises underneath Mandolin Church. Allegretto then bailed to go hang out with Polka, leaving everyone else (including March!) to do the dirty work. We now return to said dirty work in progress:


Back at the fork we previously reached, we’ll go northeast this time.



Onward we go, deeper and deeper into the crystal caverns.


Soon after entering the area we find a replacement Power Ring. You can use this one to trade for the Cold Medicine if you want, but that would require even more backtracking and I’m not about that life if I don’t have to be.



While we’re trekking through the place, I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about Party Level 4, which we reached last time after defeating Fugue.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

For starters, our available Tactical Time has been reduced to 1 second, giving us barely any time to think at all about a given turn before it starts; it’s at this point that you’ll have to do a lot of strategizing on the fly. However, to compensate, our maximum Item Set points have been increased to 30, giving us more wiggle room with regards to item load-outs.

Additionally, two new features have been added to our arsenal: Harmony Chains and counterattacks. Let’s look at them in order.


When you use a special attack with 24 or 32 Echoes built up, you now have the chance to launch an additional special after the first one ends. A message saying “Harmony Chain!” will pop up on screen (seen here) and a special sound will occur, and the timing is pretty generous, so you can start mashing the special button while your first attack is still going off if you aren’t confident about your timing. The Echo Meter will be consumed after each special in the Harmony Chain, so it can be helpful (but not strictly necessary) to use a healing move (if applicable) or a special that only hits a few times first, so that the second special can build up Echoes to get a head start on using another Chain.


It should also be noted that if you only have one special equipped to your light or dark slot, you can’t initiate a Harmony Chain with that character unless the lighting changes during the attack – for example, if Frederic only had Coup de Grace equipped, he couldn’t have done this Harmony Chain unless getting hit caused the Orange Float’s shadow to cover him, letting him use Coup de Jarnac (or what have you). Some specials also seem to act as “finishers” and immediately end the Harmony Chain if it deals enough damage to defeat the enemy; they generally seem to be single-hit specials, or specials with unique properties like Shadow Silhouette/Aurora Curtain.

Now then, counterattacks.


Sometimes, instead of the normal guard prompt, a special counterattack prompt (pictured here) will appear when an enemy attacks you. If you press the attack button, not the guard button, during the window this prompt appears…


Several things happen: the attack fails, the enemy’s turn immediately ends and it automatically gets knocked down, and the character who successfully countered gets two seconds to retaliate. During this pseudo-turn, you can attack, use items, and flee the battle, but you can’t use specials. Once the counterattack ends, the turn order will continue as normal. Counters are quite useful if you can manage them, but they’re tough to do since you have to learn to react to a new prompt after spending so long being used to normal guarding. If you feel like you can’t manage the timing, you can just press the guard button as normal.


If you were wondering why the Viege seemed to be inflicted with Stop, that’s because it was, courtesy of March’s other light special, Full Moon Bind. It only hits once, deals a small-to-moderate chunk of damage, and doesn’t have a great track record of working, but it’s immensely useful if the effect does land. It even works on bosses, although they have a higher resistance to it.


♪♪~ Well Done

Frederic: “*chuckles*”

Oh, excellent, Frederic learned a new special! Instead of waiting until later to look at it, how about we just do that now?



Orzel Bialy is the light version of Piu Grave, but much more powerful; hits three times, can catch other enemies in the ending blast, etc. A cool difference is that the ending blast comes with a little harp flourish and some feathers that fall from the sky afterwards. It’s a nice touch!


Okay, back to the caverns. Continuing northeast will lead to the next area, but we want to go northwest across these mine-cart tracks first.


This leads to another fork, and there are items at both ends so it doesn’t especially matter which one you go down first.



I really like how the treasure chests are presented in this area; it reminds me of the unique item pedestals you’d see in a Castlevania game like Symphony of the Night or Harmony of Dissonance.


Back to the previous fork, going northeast this time.




While I’m here, have some Action Shots of Beat’s schoolboy costume.



Continuing onwards into the next area, we come to another fork.


You would think there’d be a chest here, but… there isn’t! Won’t say no to the exp, though.




Going northeast instead, we come to a wide-open area teeming with enemies just offs-screen.


Up in the northeast corner is the last chest of the dungeon.



Going straight north lets us continue onward. I find myself wondering about the pattern on the wall there – we’ve seen it scattered around throughout the dungeon, and it kind of reminds me of constellations or old star charts. Just another little aesthetic detail that I appreciate.


Mellotron enthusiast


Moving on, we’ve at last reached the end of the catacombs; some quick party adjustment on my part and we’ll waste no time getting to the bottom of this “ghost”.


click to watch the cutscene and boss fight

♪♪~ Rapid Fire


I mean, it might not be a ghost, but it’s definitely still spooky! Not every day you see a floating landmass with a face and arms.

Viola: “So this is what’s been living down here.”
Salsa: “What? That’s it? If it’s not a ghost, then it’s no problem at all.”



♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

boss time!


Boss: Root Lurker
HP: 315,790 (Xbox 360)/347,500 (PS3)
Exp: 40,000 (Xbox 360)/24,700 (PS3)
Gold: 800
This game’s enemy designs sure are weird, huh: Oh you don’t know the half of it.


Viola: “Hey, I’m over here! Come on!”

Root Lurker can best be described as “real dang annoying.” It has noticeably more HP than previous bosses up to this point, can get around the battlefield very quickly, and likes playing keep-away more often than not.




The boss has an even split of single- and multi-target attacks; Deep Bite falls under the former category, hitting one character three times for moderate damage unguarded. Its normal attacks alternate between hitting you with its hands and ramming you with the landmass part of its body.


By far its most dangerous attack is Trip to Pain, being essentially a beefed-up version of the hover-hamsters’ Overrun attack. It likes to turn around and attack characters from behind right afterwards too, making it especially troublesome.



Beat: “How’s it going? See ya!”

You really want to take advantage of Harmony Chains in this fight to take off large chunks of Root Lurker’s HP, otherwise the fight will drag on for longer than it needs to.



It’s also a good idea to bring along at least one ranged character so you don’t have to worry as much about the boss zooming all over the place. The Thunder Stir we got from Death Crow back in Chapter 3 is giving Viola a permanent Shining Body status – otherwise I could mark it with Hawk Eye to make the fight even faster – but the additional movement speed increase is very helpful for positioning, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.


March is along primarily for Echo-building and Aurora Curtain, although I try to attack more with her when I can.


Be careful of this attack – it only affects a single target but can inflict a status effect called Passive on them, preventing the affected character from being able to counterattack. The guard timing is tricky, too; I think the only reason Viola didn’t get hit with Passive here is because she’s wearing the Leather Guard, which increases resistance to it.




It can be a tricky fight, but thanks to Viola’s archery and judicious use of Harmony Chains we’ve almost won. Speaking of Harmony Chains, how about you close the battle out, Beat?




Beat: “Too easy!”

Indeed. Thanks, Beat!


♪♪~ Well Done

Beat: “Great! That was perfect!”

We get a fair amount of exp and a new weapon for Jazz out of the fight; not a bad deal, I think.

*Later that night, in Tenuto Village...*


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Yep, we really do cut straight here after the victory screen. I guess since the “ghost” was dealt with we don’t need to worry about it anymore.


♪♪~ Reflect the Sky, Bloom the Life

“That’s a lot of trouble to go to this late at night. I think she’s probably at home.”
“Polka’s house? It’s on the way to the flower field, across the bridge.”
“Polka is a very kind young lady.”

Thanks for the directions, ma’am, but I don’t think it’ll hurt to poke around just a little bit.


“One clears the head, while the other warms the heart. Give it a try the next time you find something weighing on your mind.”
“You’re looking for Polka? Have you checked to see if she’s at home?”

I’m getting to it! I just need to be thorough is all.


Allegretto will say the same thing if you check the other houses in the village, so no need to do that.


One day we’ll be able to return to Heaven’s Mirror Forest, but alas today is not that day.


Good to see that the ol’ mill wheel is still reliable. Let’s head across the bridge now…


Solfège: “What brings you to our village at this time of the night?”
Allegretto: “Um, hello. I’m looking for a girl named Polka.”
Solfège: “I see. So then you’re one of the people that Polka has been traveling with?”
Allegretto: “Huh? But how did you…?”


Allegretto: “Nice to meet you, ma’am. I’m Allegretto.”
Solfège: “I know it must be inconvenient for you sometimes, but please look after my little girl.”
Allegretto: “Oh, no. She’s the one who looks after us! But you don’t have to worry. I’ll make sure that Polka stays safe.”
Solfège: “Oh, my. Well, it’s nice to know I can count on you, Allegretto. My Polka hasn’t always had an easy life, but I think that traveling with all of you has made her very happy.”
Allegretto: “Um, excuse me but….”


Solfège: “Yes. But Polka’s illness is a little bit different from that of other magic users.”
Allegretto: “What do you mean?”


Allegretto: “Astras? You mean those things in the fairy tales?”
Solfège: “Yes, many believe them to be the stuff of fairy tales. But astras are quite real. We all hold a jewel within our hearts.”
Allegretto: “What does that have to do with Polka?”


Solfège: “Because of it, she must live her life chained to a tragic fate. And someday, she will sacrifice her life to protect the one she holds dear.”
Allegretto: “Sacrifice her life?! There’s no way I’d let her do something like that!”
Solfège: “I don’t wish to lose her, either. But I don’t think we can fight fate.”


Solfège: “Thank you, Allegretto.”


This scene is new to the PS3 port; in the original game it doesn’t happen at all, and you would instead head directly to the flower field after arriving in Tenuto Village. I will leave it up to the reader to ponder why this might be an important addition.


Solfège: “Polka is out in the flower field enjoying the breeze.”



Good to see you too, Hanako!


Okay, time to go check in with Polka.


Mellotron enthusiast

click to watch the rest of the update (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music


Allegretto: “Hey. I came to get you, Polka.”
Polka: “Oh, thank you. Where’re the others?”
Allegretto: “Aw, don’t worry about those guys. I left ‘em with a really important job to do back in Ritardando. We’re gonna be heading off to Baroque on the first ship that sails tomorrow morning.”



Allegretto: “So this is what my town looks like from far away, huh?”
Polka: “Yes.”


Polka: “Oh?”
Allegretto: “Yeah, when you’re down there it’s all cluttered and noisy. And the streets are dirty. The reality isn’t nearly as peaceful.”
Polka: “Oh, I see.”


Polka: “It’s strange, I seem to remember the view being much more beautiful when I was younger. Even though there weren’t nearly as many lights then as there are now.”
Allegretto: “Oh? Really? Hmm….”
*He thinks to himself for a bit.*
Allegretto: “Oh yeah. Of course. I know why it used to look prettier.”
Polka: “You do?”
Allegretto: “Take a look at the sky.”
*He points upward.*
Polka: “Oh!”


Allegretto: “As the town got brighter and you could see fewer and fewer stars, maybe that’s when the view started to get a little less beautiful.”
Polka: “The stars. Yes, you’re right. I think that must be what it is.”
Allegretto: “Hey, by the way, Polka….”


♪♪~ From Tomorrow On...

Polka: “I’m fine. I enjoy myself so much when I’m with all of you, sometimes I even forget I have this illness. You know, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and if I couldn’t use magic, I don’t think I would have ever felt this desire to go out and help other people like this.”


*short pause*
Allegretto: “You really think so?”
Polka: “I know so. That’s why I’m so grateful to have been given these powers.”
*Allegretto doesn’t answer.*
Polka: “What’s the matter?”


Polka: “What?”
Allegretto: “Ya know, don’t be afraid to speak up about the things you want to do and the places you want to see.”
Polka: “But I’m fine, Allegretto. Being able to travel around with all of you, that’s enough for me.”



Allegretto: “I’m sorry, I just….”
Polka: “No. It’s okay.”


Polka: “I’m so sorry.”
Allegretto: “What for?”


*The music ends, and we get a quick fade-to-black as time passes.*


*Polka suddenly stands up.*



*There’s an incredibly brief flash of what is possibly a subconscious vision being seen by Allegretto:*


*He bolts upright in a panic.*
Allegretto: “No! Wait, Polka! Don’t!”
Polka: “What’s the matter, Allegretto? You look so shaken. Did you think I’d really jump off?”



Allegretto: “Polka, I….”
*There’s an awkward silence for a bit.*


Polka: “Please. Let it go all the way to the sea.”
*She chucks the stone off the cliff.*


Allegretto: “What did you throw?”
Polka: “My special treasure. It’s just a rock with a strange shape, but it’s the perfect thing to take my place, don’t you think?”
Allegretto: “Oh. It was just a rock? That was your treasure? Actually, that reminds me. I found a rock with a weird shape today, at the shore by Ritardando.”



Polka: “Huh?!”
Allegretto: “Keep it. Hold on to this one in place of the one you threw away.”
*He puts it in her hand.*
Allegretto: “Besides, I’m sure this one is much more unusual. Look how weird the shape is.”


*Allegretto does not notice Polka’s bewilderment:*


*He starts to walk away.*


*He heads off.*
Polka: “What does this mean? Could it really just be a coincidence?”


♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Polka: “No. This is definitely the exact same one. It’s been mine forever, there’s no way I could be wrong about it. The weight, the feel, everything is identical. But that means that Allegretto somehow picked it up on the beach before I threw it away.”


Polka: “And now Allegretto’s given me a rock that has the same exact shape. Does that mean…?”
*She thinks for a bit.*
Polka: “A treasure that I received from someone I loved.”




♪♪~ Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 9 No. 2 (recommended listening)

“This is a work composed around 1830, when Chopin was twenty years old. In November of this year, the November Uprising took place in Warsaw, and Chopin left the country just before the chaos.”



“But many of his family members and friends remained in the chaos of Warsaw.”


“He must have been frustrated by his inability to do so.”


“From this composition, we feel something that conjures an image of Chopin’s heart as peaceful and fulfilled.”


“Konstancja attended the same music school as Chopin and was training to become a singer.”


“The two of them suddenly grew close just before Chopin left Warsaw.”


“Konstancja’s voice blended with Chopin’s piano and reverberated through the concert hall. It must have given Chopin a feeling of connection to Konstancja, as well as a dream-like experience that he never wanted to end.”


“But if we look inside his heart, he was just a normal twenty year old young man.”



Next time: Returning to Baroque.


Mellotron enthusiast
Glossary of Musical Terms

Nocturne – A musical composition inspired by, or evocative of, the night. Usually written for solo piano, but instrumentation doesn’t especially matter as long as the mood is properly conveyed. Chopin didn’t invent the nocturne, but like so many genres of piano music he helped popularize it.

Horn – A brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a complicated coil with a flared bell. Sometimes it’s colloquially called the French horn, which has more to do with the instrument’s manufacturing history than a specific country of origin.

Harmony – Boiled down to the simplest definition, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches or chords. How exactly one goes about doing that differs depending on the musical culture one grows up in, but in Western music harmony is typically vertically oriented. Here’s an example from Chopin’s nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1; the notes in the treble clef (the top line) are the melody, and all the stuff below that is the harmony.

Orzel Bialy – Not a musical term, but still a neat reference. “Orzel Bialy,” when translated from Polish, means “White Eagle.” Guess what’s on the Polish coat of arms?


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Here's March!


Fun fact: In the English dub of this game, Salsa and March share the same voice actor.


Mellotron enthusiast
Update coming tomorrow. Until then, some more music:

Chopin - Nocturne in B Flat Minor, Op. 9 No. 1
Nocturne in B Major, Op. 9 No. 3

These are the other two nocturnes in the set of three that Chopin published as his Op. 9; No. 2 is definitely the most famous out of both this set and all the nocturnes he wrote, but No. 1 is my personal favorite of his. Chopin published 18 nocturnes in his lifetime, mostly in sets of two, aside from a couple sets of three early in his career.

Debussy - La cathédrale engloutie
John Field - Nocturne No. 3 in A Flat Major

"La cathédrale engloutie" comes from Debussy's first book of preludes published in 1910; it's one of my favorite pieces of his, and also one of my favorite pieces of music in general. Interestingly, the English progressive rock band Renaissance used extended quotations from the piece as bookends for their song At the Harbour, from their 1973 album Ashes Are Burning. They also released the song as a standalone single without the quotations, but I prefer the full version.

John Field was an Irish composer, teacher, and pianist from the 19th century; he is widely credited as being the inventor of the nocturne as a musical genre. Like Chopin, Field also published 18 nocturnes in his lifetime, and the latter would go on to influence the former, along with many other composers.
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Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 5-3: Return to Baroque

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Frederic and co. dealt with a “ghost” problem in the Mandolin Church catacombs, while Allegretto and Polka had a heart-to-heart in Tenuto Village. It is now the next day as the group sails back to Baroque:


click to watch the next series of cutscenes

♪♪~ No music


*Allegretto spots Polka on the deck and waves over to her:*
Allegretto: “Hey! Polka!”


*The two of them chat inaudibly for a bit.*
Frederic: “Well, what have we here? I see the two of you have become awfully friendly all of a sudden.”
*They break off from their conversation, embarrassed.*
Allegretto: “What? I don’t know what you’re talking about?”
Viola: “I see. I guess sticking us with all the dirty work in Ritardando worked out pretty well for you.”
Polka: “What does she mean, ‘all the dirty work?’”


Frederic: “Yes, of course. You know, he does have a point there.”
Viola: “I suppose. I for one plan on joining up with Andantino.”
Allegretto: “Yeah. I want to help Jazz fight, too. I don’t care if Crescendo is a prince, I think Baroque’s being really irresponsible about all this.”
Polka: “But Prince Crescendo is only doing what he thinks will avoid a dangerous war.”
Viola: “Well, that might be a noble idea and all, but wishful thinking isn’t gonna help the people who are suffering from the effects of mineral powder.”
Allegretto: “Exactly! Hey, you never know though, Jazz might have already been able to work out something by talking with the prince.”
*Polka turns to watch the sea, and says quietly to herself:*


Frederic: “Polka?”
Polka: “Sometimes it can be hard to do something that’ll help other people, can’t it? I mean, how are you supposed to know that what you do will make a difference?”
*Frederic ponders this for a bit before responding:*


Frederic: “What could it all mean?”
*We fast forward to sometime later at Baroque Castle:*


*Transition to inside the castle, in one of the drawing rooms:*



Beat: “What are you talking about, Viola? That’s not true. You’re in third place!”
Salsa: “He’s right, you know. Third place is a bronze medal! Not bad at all!”


Viola: “You can’t tell me that deserves a bronze medal!”
Beat: “No! We didn’t mean it like that. Salsa, come on, say something to her.”
Salsa: “Yeah, Beat’s right. Without you, old lady, we wouldn’t….”
Viola: “What?!”
Beat: “Hey!”
Salsa: “Oh. Oops.”


*Viola is not impressed.*
Viola: “Since when do you two get along so well with each other? Well, whatever. Anyway, I’ll play again later if I’m in the mood.”
*She gets up and waves at them as she leaves the room.*


Beat: “Now she got mad and left.”
Salsa: “What about you? You could have lost a few, too. If she keeps getting bronze medals the whole time, the old lady might decide not to play with us.”
*Beat sighs.*
Beat: “It’s already been a whole week since we arrived in Baroque. I’m so bored. What in the world could Jazz and the captain possibly be talking about anyway?”


*Meanwhile, in Prince Crescendo’s chambers...*


*No response.*
Jazz: “If we don’t eliminate the source of the powder, we can never hope to resolve this.”


Crescendo: “A desire to surpass your adversary. And as long as both sides feel that way, this clash will just continue on indefinitely. It’s simply not worth it. By putting so much effort into a never-ending battle, we all lose sight of the things that really matter. Eventually, the reason for the conflict is forgotten, replaced by the challenge of battle.”


Crescendo: “You may still think you are fighting against your opponent, but at some point, it’s no longer about who wins or loses. It’s a power struggle. A childish fight between adults who should know better. It’s just embarrassing.”
Jazz: “Listen. When you eliminate all the other possibilities, you cannot escape the truth that remains. No matter how difficult it may be to accept.”


Jazz: “Looking back, I let myself believe what I wanted to be true, without realizing it. I know that my weakness was the very thing that led to her death. Maybe, in some way, I was trying to make up for a lack of faith in myself, by believing in Claves. Is what you’re doing any different? Crescendo, please, I don’t want to watch you make the same mistake that I did.”


Jazz: “Huh?”
Crescendo: “I realized it a long time ago.”


♪♪~ Repeated Tide

(I don’t often highlight the cutscene music, but I think this track in particular is really good.)

Jazz: “What? A spy! Who is it?!”
*Crescendo stands up instead of answering.*
Crescendo: “Jazz, my friend, could you please give me some time alone, to think? I want to find the best answer.”
*Jazz hesitates, but then acquiesces and leaves the room.*


Crescendo: “It doesn’t matter to me, whose side you’re really on. In fact, if there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that the things you’ve said to me are absolutely true.”


Crescendo: “I assumed you were assigned the role of preventing Baroque, and me, from attacking Forte first. An attack from Baroque would be a problem for Forte, so Count Waltz sent you to me as insurance. But from a different perspective, it also means that right now we have the power to defeat Forte. The more you rejected the notion of war, the more my suspicions were confirmed.”


Crescendo: “There are absolutely no arguments that I can use against you. Once I realized that, I could no longer see aiding Andantino as a just course of action. No. A rebellion no longer serves us any purpose. To avert this war, we have to find a new solution.”


*Over in one corner of the room...*



*The music ends, and we transition to the side garden near the audience chamber.*


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click here to watch the next two cutscenes

Polka: “Yes. I tend to take them too seriously.”
Viola: “Okay, then I’ll teach you a good one. Hold your fingers out like this.”
Polka: “Like this?”
Viola: “Yeah. This charm works really well, and it’s easy to do, too.”
Polka: “Great, what do I do?”


Viola: “If you do that, the charm’s supposed to make them fall in love with you, too. Easy, huh?”
Polka: “That’s it? Really?”
Viola: “Really. And you can see the results right away. Hey, how about giving it a try next time you see Allegretto?”
Polka: “Oh Viola, please. Don’t tease me like that.”
*Flustered, Polka runs off just as Jazz enters the garden:*


Viola: “Well, Jazz? Is your meeting thing finally over?”
Jazz: “Not yet. It’s an important decision. I don’t think it’s something he can decide on quite that easily. He’s going to think about it alone. It seems like it’s going to take him a little while. So let’s spend the day exploring Baroque Castle tomorrow, alright?”



Viola: “Maybe I should patent it.”
Jazz: “Don’t joke around with her too much, Viola.”
Viola: “Don’t worry about it. Of course the charm won’t work. I was just trying to give her a little courage. Watching those two together is making me crazy.”
Jazz: “Well, don’t go overboard.”
*They smile at each other, and Jazz turns and starts to leave. As he nears the door, Viola says to herself:*
Viola: “I’m the one who really needs courage.”


♪♪~ When We Are Together

*Jazz turns back.*
Jazz: “What about you?”


Viola: “What?”




*Arco looks up from a nearby bush and squeaks at her.*


*Jazz shakes his head and leaves the garden.*
Viola: “Claves, then Falsetto….”


*The music fades out as the scene transitions back to the drawing room:*


Beat: “Oh! Hey, Viola. Are you here ‘cause you want to play some more?”
Salsa: “Wow, this is certainly a surprise.”
Beat: “Yeah, I figured you’d got mad and left, Viola. You know, because you kept losing to us all the time.”
Viola: “It’s okay. I kind of realized something. Bronze medals suit me. Besides today’s the last day we’ll be able to relax. Jazz just told me we’re heading out tomorrow.”


Salsa: “Whoa, she’s scaring me.”
Beat: “Me, too. Maybe she’s got some kind of super-secret strategy worked out. I’m starting to get nervous.”


*Beat and Salsa look at each other in confusion as the scene ends. The next day...*



Sounds like a good idea… but we gotta unpack that last cutscene – the one between Viola and Jazz – a little bit first.

I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, it’s actually remarkably subtle in parts? The facial animation in particular does a lot of heavy lifting to get the point of the scene across beyond what the voice actors are doing. And speaking of voice actors, they’re doing a good job too, Viola’s especially. If you watch the video for this cutscene, you’ll notice that she doesn’t sound defeated once she’s returned to the drawing room; she sounds like she’s made up her mind to move on from whatever feelings she’s developed for Jazz, and honestly, good for her.

On the other hand, this whole subplot feels both underdeveloped and unnecessary. Viola and Jazz have barely had what, like, three scenes together including this one? I get the sense that the developers wanted to develop this subplot further but didn’t have the time or budget to do so, kind of like Claves’s whole deal. But I’m not sure I’d really want them to even if they did, honestly! There’s already a love triangle going on between Jazz, Claves, and Falsetto, we don’t need it to be a love square.

Anyway, that stuff is all behind us now. Let’s take another look around Baroque now that we’re no longer trapped in the Cutscene Dimension!


Mellotron enthusiast

♪♪~ White Mirror

“However, on public court day, citizens of all ages may enter the castle. On those days, we’re a bit more tense than usual as we have to make sure no criminals sneak in with the other people.”
“The King describes the public court as a way to help the citizens understand the government, to make it more accessible. When working for the sake of His Majesty’s high ideals, we will gladly put forth any amount of extra effort.”


“Of noble birth and gentle heart, yet very courageous. The Prince undoubtedly inherited his father’s characteristics.”

He’s wicked good with a mace, if nothing else.


“Fry! Grill! Poach! Fry! Grill! Poach!”

Still doin’ squats in the cold, I see. As long as it works out for you I guess!


“Well, I won’t leave! I’m just going to sit here until public court is held!”

Yeah good luck with that. Incidentally, this is a casual reminder to American readers to please remember to vote!


“Maybe I should go into business myself!”


“Though he’s only standing in for the King, when the leader of a nation has such an expression, it only worries the ministers and citizens.”
“I’m probably overreacting. There’s probably nothing to worry about. As long as Prince Crescendo is here, this nation has a bright future.”


“I’m so tired. I wish she’d leave me alone.”
“It’s so annoying with my little sister around all the time.”


“So I tried to cheer her up by telling her what happened to me that day. But she just got mad and told me I shouldn’t be up that late. Isn’t that mean? I was up because I was waiting for her!”
“I wish I could grow up fast!”

Trust me kid, you really don’t.


Remember this kid from Chapter 4? We have considerably more Score Pieces now than we did back then; let’s see if one of them gets us a good session result.



Lonesome Loco: “What a kind and gentle sound. It’s making me sleepy. Hm? Am I seeing things? I can see Mom waving to me from over there.”

Success! Using Score Piece 15, we get what’s probably a creepy short story reference and a new accessory; the Sky Blue Brooch gives the wearer permanent Air Body, which can be useful when fighting enemies that cast big shadows.


Remember this woman for later. Like, way later.


“Well, they started up the ferries along Fusion River again.”
“Ritardando is a nice town, but the taxes are just so high there.”

Believe you me, we know all about those taxes.


“’Never knowing when my life may end, a man like me could never make you happy. Please forget about me.’ Heh, heh, it’s perfect!”
“Baroque sailors are so cool. I wish I could be one.”

Dude, there’s nothing preventing you from stopping the weirdly-specific cosplay you’re doing and just, like, enlisting.


“Still, I can tell he’s obsessed with that medicine.”
“When he talks, he gets this strange look in his eyes. I’m scared he’s changing. I’m scared I won’t be able to stop him. I’m scared our friendship is changing.”
“I’m a coward.”

That’s a rough situation to be in. I hope you two work things out!


“Twinkle, twinkle. Twinkle, twinkle like little stars!”

That is extremely extravagant if it’s true. You can just paint the road tiles blue!


“Maybe there are too many pedestrians. Maybe I’ll remove some of them.”
“The nice thing about oil painting is that you can easily repaint things.”


“Maybe I’ll try adding some honey.”
“They say herbal tea is good when you’re cold, so I got some from my friend. But is this really drinkable? It looks disgusting. Maybe my friend is pulling my leg.”
“Now, let’s see, what should I do about this?”

I think maybe your friend gave you something else on accident. If the tea is 100% kale, that’s… that’s just kale.


Allegretto: “Oh, it’s a cat. Don’t scare me like that, kitty.”

Dang, I wish I could pet the cat. There’s probably a twitter account for petting animals in video games, come to think of it.


“Oh, Ritardando’s a harbor town? Now that you mention it, I heard that a ferry has resumed between here and a town in Forte. Would that be Ritardando?”
“Maybe someday I’ll have a chance to visit Ritardando. I hope you’ll show me around if I do.”

No thanks! We’re kind of busy trying to stop a nefarious plot here.


If Beat and Salsa are anything to go by, you should definitely play cards. At least one of you should clean house!

And since we’re right nearby the merchant, let’s do some shopping.



The Jade Falcon’s movement speed increase will be quite helpful for some larger battlefields coming up in the future, while the Sabertooth carries a chance of poisoning whoever Beat’s attacking. The other weapons aren’t anything special, aside from one that, just, ugh, I’ll get to it later. As for armor, I buy the Midnight Shell for Viola and three Crystal Suits for Beat, March, and Jazz; turns out I was wrong way back in Chapter 3 in thinking that he only wore heavy armor. Uh, whoops!


“I’d like to play with kids from another town.”


“I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to make roast beef! I’ll cook it a little rare and seal in the juices! I’ll keep the spices to just salt and pepper and draw out the natural flavor of the meat!”

That sounds delicious. And now I’m hungry…


“I hear the food at the Ensemble is something else! And you can see how well they take care of the way the place looks. Some couples even have their weddings there. Those of us who live here rarely get to stay there, though.”


“And it’s all thanks to the Baroque military patrolling Fusion River.”
“The first thing that comes to mind when I think of goods from Ritardando is Tenuto’s flowers. Not many flowers grow in Baroque, probably because of the cold. So, when I was a child, they had me run to the harbor to buy flowers whenever we had guests. Ritardando’s fish are great, too.”
“We used to have trade with Forte, but that ended when Waltz became Count.”

Some interesting tidbits there, and also some blatant erasure of our work stopping those pirates. I guess the Baroque authorities were too embarrassed to let two children, a terminally ill teenager, and a dying pianist take the credit for single-handedly driving Dolce’s crew off. But anyway, let’s keep going further down the street.


Mellotron enthusiast

March: “I think that’s a priest.”
Salsa: “What’s a priest? Is it warm? Does it taste good?!”
March: “Oh, Salsa, don’t be so silly. It’s disrespectful.”
Polka: “Shall we listen to him for a little?”
Allegretto: “What? Do we have to?”
Salsa: “I just want some hot soup.”


Priest: “Only the faithful can see the truth. Pure deeds nurture the heart, while evil deeds cloud it. Walk toward the light. The light from the heart will guide the wayward soul. The first step may be the most difficult, but a bright future surely awaits between the sky and the sea.”
Polka: “Between the sky and the sea….”


March: “There’s no priest in our village. It’s an honor to meet you. Your words were very moving.”
Priest: “It seems you have an interest in learning about the light.”
March: “Yes! I would like to hear more about the light.”


Priest: “You will feel the light more strongly there, and you may even be able to touch its source.”
March: “Really?”
*She turns to the rest of the party.*
March: “We have time now, don’t we? If so, I’d really like to see that temple. What about everyone else? Wouldn’t you all like to see Aria Temple?”
Salsa: “March! You can’t just tell everyone what to do! Being selfish like that will disrupt our teamwork!”
Frederic: “Oh, I think it’s all right.”


Pretty sure this line is supposed to be Salsa’s, since everybody turned to look at her and it doesn’t make sense for Frederic to have said it. So I was mistaken and there are two mislabeled textboxes, but I’m pretty sure that’s the last one. I really hope it is anyway, otherwise I’m going to look like more and more of an idiot as the thread goes on. =V

Polka: “Yes, let’s go take a look. Okay, Allegretto?”
Allegretto: “The legend of the astra, huh? Yeah, I guess we can’t miss out on that.”


Thanks for the helpful directions, minister. We were heading south anyway, might as well keep going.


“An alpaca print is always good. Hmm, but lately capybara is popular.”
“By the way, what is a capybara anyway?”

Well, you see...


“It’s very beautiful. You should see it at least once.”
“Travelers enjoy it when I tell them about this. They like to tell their friends about it when they go home.”


“It’s always snowing in Baroque, but the amount that falls changes with the seasons. Hey! Don’t laugh! We still have seasons!”


I can imagine!


“But mine’s prettier! I’ll make it even better!”

That’s the spirit.


“See! Jump! Fly! Jump! Fly!”



This window is gonna kill somebody, I swear. But enough about that, let’s leave Baroque and head into Celesta Forest.




♪♪~ The Boundary Between Snow and Ice

It’s very pretty, I’ll give it that.


No time to waste, we’re off to Aria Temple!


Allegretto: “Yeah, we are.”


Merchant: “I heard that some guy at the castle doing magic research borrowed it from the Prince.”
*Allegretto turns to the group.*
Allegretto: “What should we do? Head back to the castle?”

Sure seems like we gotta, huh? I think instead of doing that right now, I'm going to call this update here; I'll post the rest of the sudden errand-running we have to do tomorrow.

Next time: Gotta go get that key I guess!


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 5-4: Key-hunting and Bar Fighting

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time the entire party (minus Falsetto, who is still missing) returned to Baroque to wait while Prince Crescendo decides whether or not to carry on fighting against Forte. In the meantime, the party received a tip from a local priest to visit Aria Temple, which may shed some light on the whole deal with astras. They need the key to the place first, though, and we now resume our quest to find it in Baroque Castle:


♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

Attendant: “The Prince performs his duty with outstanding devotion. I send periodic reports to the king, who’s out of the country for medical treatment. I’m sure he’s pleased and relieved when he receives them.”


Allegretto: “Better not.”

Probably for the best.


“The enemy is often right under your nose! I mustn’t let down my guard!”
“All’s well! Nothing to report!”

Y’all know how I feel about these guards’ helmets at this point.


“The fate of this nation rests on the Prince’s shoulders. I wish he’d take that a little more seriously.”

Still a jerk, I see.


“Baroque and Forte. Unrequited love between enemies, kept apart by fate. Oh! Do you think maybe it’s you?”

I absolutely do not, and in fact if you’ll excuse me I really must be going.


“Watching people enjoy themselves playing games brings back memories of those days.”
“I return home to visit on my days off. But my brother and sister have already started working, too, so we don’t get to see each other often.”

I can relate. Having a bunch of siblings who all have their own lives makes it tough for everybody to get together.


That’s everything on the first floor. There’s less updated dialogue in the castle than in the city, a fact I am thankful for.


“All right, I’ll read your fortune. But just this once. In your future, I see… oh! What’s this? One of my tarot cards is missing.”
“Where could that card have gone?”

Couldn’t say, alas. Let’s check that room next to Serenade’s.


Shallow Sweet: “What’s that? You wish to hear my score piece? Hah hah hah! A man as beautiful and elegant as myself does not simply perform on demand. However, it is my duty as a noble to listen to the pleas of the unwashed masses. Let your heart dance to my melody like a maiden entranced by a bird’s song!”

My dude, you’re not even the only person in Baroque with that outfit, you aren’t that big a deal. =V


Shallow Sweet: “Stop! Your insensitive sound inhibits me from expressing subtle nuances, like that of trees rustling in the wind.”

Playing Score Piece #3 gives us a B-rank and a Poison Whitecap, but we can do better:

“Let us once again produce a sound as fleeting and beautiful as a winter’s flower! As usual, I entrust the background performance to you.”



Shallow Sweet: “Hah hah hah hah hah! Marvelous! Only I, second in beauty to Prince Crescendo himself, could play music of such caliber! My melodies open the door to a world of magic that no other can reach!”

That’s more like it. The EZI Pajamas are strange; they’re a unique piece of armor that anyone can equip…


But it doesn’t actually increase the wearer’s DEF at all; in fact, they actually seem to decrease the stat by a different amount depending on who’s going to equip it. Hooray?? Anyway, let’s go see Serenade.


Serenade: “There is nothing for me to say. It is all up to Prince Crescendo.”

If you say so.


“As a maid, it’s my job to take care of all the rooms in the castle. I just want him to let me clean it. It’s not like I want to go in there.”
“But recently, I found a way to get him to let me inside the laboratory. Want to know what it is? I make him mad on purpose. You can tell just by looking at him that he has a lot of pride, you know? So, I make use of that. If I carefully goad him on, he gets hysterical and does just what I want.”
“For a scientist, he’s actually pretty simple-minded.”

Wow, remind me not to upset you ever. Let’s just go into the lab.


That is a very fancy cauldron they’ve got there. I wonder…


Yeah, that. Something tells me we’ll never find out, and also that it’s probably better we don’t.


Allegretto: “’Regarding what is generally called the ‘heart.’ In legends and in mythology, the inner feelings of humans are often referred to as a glowing jewel….’”

There’s a glowing flask next to the bookshelf that we can check:

Allegretto: “Ow! Hot, hot! Hey, there’s something floating in this flask.”


Nice! This increases the wearer’s DEF by 6 points. That obtained, let’s talk to the magic researcher and ask about that key.


Magic Researcher: “Don’t be absurd! This key is very precious. It was entrusted to me by the Prince himself so I could research the temple and its magic. I’m not going to just hand it over to some random strangers! And the reason you want to go there is just to take a look around?! You’ve got to be joking!”
Allegretto: “Oh, come on. We’ll bring it right back. Just because you’re studying it doesn’t mean no one else should go in there. It’s not like it’s going to get used up. Come on. You’re acting like a kid who grabs all the strawberries off a birthday cake. How immature.”
Magic Researcher: “W-w-what did you call me?! I’m not immature! All right, then! I’ll lend you the Aria Temple Key! What do you think of that, huh?!”
Allegretto: “Great!”


Allegretto: “Test us?”
Magic Researcher: “Yes. In situations like this, I think a test is necessary to determine your worthiness to have the key.”
Allegretto: “I don’t know.”
Magic Researcher: “Oh, come on. It won’t take long.”
Allegretto: “Well, okay. So, what do you want us to do?”


Magic Researcher: “It used to be in the castle library, but….”

There’s a bit of a branching path at this point. If you don’t have the Spell Book from the trading quest, you have to run all the way to pretty much the end of Celesta Forest and grab one from a chest there, then bring it all the way back here to trade it for the key. You can get the Spell Book before you talk to the Magic Researcher, which cuts out a little bit of the backtracking, but it’s still annoying.

However, since we already have a Spell Book…


*Handed over Spell Book*
Magic Researcher: “Oh! Yes, that’s it! Thank you! Now I won’t get fired!”
Allegretto: “Fired?”
Magic Researcher: “Oh, uh, nothing. Anyway, you’ve passed the test. Congratulations.”




And that’s the end of the first trading quest! The reward isn’t exactly getting the Aria Temple Key early, but instead getting to keep the Spell Book we find in Celesta Forest; it’s a very useful accessory, so I have no complaints there. As for the second trading quest, we won’t be able to start it for quite a while yet; in the meantime, let’s finish talking to people in the castle before we head back to Celesta Forest.


Mellotron enthusiast

“But if all you do is complain and tell them unhappy things, they wilt. Many things affect them.”
“By living each day to its fullest, we can make sure that the flowers in our hearts get the nutrition they need, too.”

I think Mort Garson would agree with you.


Lots of imports, I would imagine.


“I’m my father’s son, you know? There’s no way I’m going to be able to dance.”

“I don’t want to do this anymore!”

Wish I could help, but I’m also a terrible dancer.


Must be a hell of a view.


White Coat: “No, it was nothing special. I just shot at some fleeing rabbits.”


“You need a mind that stands strong before any threat. And you must follow strict discipline. Only those who possess all of these traits can be accepted as a knight.”
“We proudly perform our duty standing guard.”


“’The graceful golden moon, the fierce silver stars. Silver and gold collide, illuminating the night sky.’ Whatever could it mean, I wonder?”
“Books are wonderful things. Through them, our forefathers pass on knowledge to us.”



Crescendo: “…”

He’ll be standing here a while yet, I’m sure. That’s everything in the castle, time to head back to Celesta Forest.


♪♪~ White Mirror

Actually, you know what? Before we do, let’s stop at the tavern real quick, I’m kind of parched. Parched for treasure, that is.



“Hic! I can’t stand her!”

I’m telling y’all, please see a marriage counselor!



“Delicious! This scallop cream chowder is the best. I can’t get enough of it!”

Stop making me hungry, game!


Other guy: “Burp! I’m stuffed!”



“Whatcha doin’? Whatcha doin’?”

Backing far away from you… this is a good time to go down into the wine cellar.


Mellotron enthusiast

Employee: “Geez! You scared me! What do you want?”

Remember that message we read on the pew back in Mandolin Church? This is where it comes into play.


You have to pick the third option to proceed here, otherwise the conversation just ends. But if you do that…

Employee: “Yeah, that’s right! She’s getting wrinkly.”
*From offscreen:*
“Who’s getting wrinkly? Hmm?”
*The screen shakes, and in walks...*



click here to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ Seize the Artifact for Tallness

Dolce: “You’re going to get it for that later!”
*The screen shakes again.*
Employee: “Aaah!”
Allegretto: “So, this is that pirate, huh.”
Dolce: “My, my. Famous, am I? It’s my beauty, I know.”
Salsa: “Nobody said anything like that. And only old ladies worry about that, anyway.”
Dolce: “Little girl….”


boss fight time!


♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

Boss: Captain Dolce, 1st and 2nd Lieutenant (second rematch)
HP: 500,000 (Xbox 360)/317,000 (PS3)
Exp: 85,000 (Xbox 360)/12,870 (PS3)
Wait, then where did Dolce get the hat she’s wearing now: Didn’t you know? A pirate captain always has a backup hat.


Dolce: “Oh, I’ll be gentle with you.”


Allegretto: “Don’t take all day!”

This battle is both tougher and easier than the two previous times we’ve fought Dolce up to this point; she has higher stats, of course, but we have a much bigger pool of characters to choose from this go-around. I decide to bring along Allegretto and Jazz since they’re both underleveled – Allegretto is at 25 and poor Jazz has been stuck at 23 for two chapters.

As for equipment load-outs, Salsa has the Lace Veil (+5% max HP) and Pocket Watch (more time gained from combos), Allegretto has the Brisingamen (+8 DEF) and Recovery Gloves (10% HP regen per turn), and Jazz has the Speed Shoes (increased movement speed) and Power Ring (+10% ATK). Allegretto is also still wearing the Hellstriker for permanent Burst, which will pair very nicely with Shadow Silhouette.


The battlefield is entirely unique to this fight; it’s about average in size, with two circles of light in the top-right and bottom-left corners. This is great for Salsa, since she doesn’t have to wear the Dark Brooch to have reliable access to Shadow Silhouette.

The Herebra weapon that we got from Root Lurker provides a big ATK increase but also puts Jazz into a permanent Passive status while wearing it. I’m not especially upset about this, because counterattacking is hard enough to do consistently under normal circumstances, never mind against a boss. That said, I’ll try to put in some practice with other characters in order to show it off more, because it feels really good to pull one off.


Bass here just made a big mistake taking on Allegretto by himself; why yes I did just one-round him. Burst is a great tool if you use it properly – it’s very high-risk/high-reward.


Hey, excuse you, I’m trying to talk strategy here! Once again Dolce’s moveset hasn’t changed, but it’s a good thing I managed to block that all the same; if I hadn’t, and if Dolce happened to land a critical hit, Dead Man’s Tale could have almost dropped him to KO from full health.



Allegretto takes Guitar out of commission soon after, and Salsa kindly powers everyone up. Now to build up a full Echo Meter…




Allegretto: “Float adrift into boundaries of nothingness!”

Hell yes look at that damage! To be more precise, Allegretto did exactly 215,905 points of damage in one turn. Burst + Shadow Silhouette does not play around.



Jazz and Dolce both get in one last shot, and now it’s time to end things. Bring us home, Allegretto.


Thanks, Allegretto!


♪♪~ Well Done

Allegretto: “We’re as tough as they come!”

Unlike the first rematch with Dolce back in Wah Lava Cave, you don’t have to fight her right this instant; you can actually wait until Chapter 6 if you want. It’s a good option if you find yourself having trouble with the fight and want to come back with stronger characters. As for that item we just got, the Werewolf Choker is one of the best accessories in the game; it doubles the amount of Echoes a character generates with each hit. So if, say, Jazz were to wear it, he would build four Echoes with each sword swing. This is, uh, pretty good.


♪♪~ White Mirror

Salsa: “This must be the pirates’ treasure! Let’s open it!”


This is another very good accessory; it increases the wearer’s DEF by 10%, which is great on anyone. And finally, if you check the barrels behind Allegretto after the fight:

Allegretto: “There’s something in between the barrels.”


You’ll find another Score Piece! You can only find it if you defeat Dolce here, so if you don’t do the whole pillar thing in Mandolin Church you miss out on the Score Piece and the other goodies as well. I think I’ll call this update here; we’ll go to Aria Temple next time. See you then!

Next time: Aria Temple and the end of Chapter 5!
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Mellotron enthusiast
Glossary of Musical Terms

Aria – A self-contained piece for one singer, with or without accompaniment (either instrumental or orchestral). Originally the term just referred to any particularly expressive melody (not even necessarily performed by a singer); the aria evolved over time to become an important part of opera, where it was often used to carry the emotional weight of the story as opposed to the recitative, which was closer to speech and used to move the plot forward. Nowadays you sometimes see concert arias that aren’t connected to an opera or other work, but are designed to be standalone.

Celesta – A keyboard instrument similar in appearance to an upright piano, but with a drastically different sound. Its timbre is sort of similar to that of a glockenspiel, but softer and more subtle. You’ve almost certainly heard one in Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite, but it’s seen notable use from other composers every now and then, like in Béla Bartók’s piece ”Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta”.


Mellotron enthusiast
Update coming... later today! Probably in an hour or so. Until then, a couple more pieces:

Chopin - Two Nocturnes, Op. 37
Lili Boulanger - Nocturne

It's been a while since I've posted a Lili Boulanger piece - not since the very first update, actually. The Nocturne is one of her earliest pieces; she would have been 17 or 18 when she wrote it.


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 5-5: The Frozen Temple

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time we got sent off on an errand to find the key to Aria Temple so we could actually get in the place. Now that we have that, let’s be on our way.


♪♪~ White Mirror

First I need to make a quick pit stop at the merchant in Baroque, and also complain about some technical issues surrounding this update.

So, I usually record a given chapter in chunks that roughly correspond to each update (or sometimes pair of updates). While I was recording the chunk for this update in particular, I thought that I could find a free copy of the Gold Baton in Aria Temple, but it turns out I was getting it confused with a separate weapon you find there. No big deal, I could just buy it after the dungeon, because Burst is a pretty good thing to have on a weapon – except no, because this merchant’s inventory changes in Chapter 6 and you can’t buy the Gold Baton there anymore, nor does it show up anywhere else.

Okay, that’s kind of annoying, but I can just reload an earlier save and catch back up to where I stopped offscreen. Only, while the footage was rendering my capture software crashed for reasons I’m still not really clear on, causing the footage to be corrupted. So now I had to catch back up to the start of Chapter 6 and rerecord this update; this is why I didn’t post a new update for a while after finishing Chapter 4.

Moral of the story: if you’re making an LP, always keep backup saves! (Oh, note also that in the original game the Gold Baton just increased Frederic’s max HP by 5%; this was swapped out for the Burst effect for the PS3 port.)


♪♪~ The Boundary Between Snow and Ice

I love this track. It doesn’t feature an actual celesta, alas, but it does have something else – the instrument you hear right at the start and then throughout is a series of specially tuned cymbals called crotales (also sometimes called antique cymbals). This is the only time in the entire soundtrack that crotales are used, and it sounds great, especially when the clarinet joins in. The whole tune gives me a big Christmas vibe, without being in-your-face about it like a lot of the stuff you hear in stores around the holidays.

That out of the way, let’s finally go through Celesta Forest. I should mention that the merchant is still hanging out on the other side of the bridge when you first reenter the area after getting the Aria Temple Key, but he disappears after you leave this screen. It’s important that you talk to him before doing so, because he hands you a new Score Piece, but only after getting the key. I would show this, but it’s in the footage I lost, and the earliest save I had was after I had already gotten it.


Celesta Forest isn’t a very large area; besides the entrance there’s the West Side (which we’re in now), Middle, and East Side. I’ll deal with that enemy in a second, after I head down this side path for one of the few treasure chests in the forest.


Score! This parasol has the wonderful extra effect of increasing the active party’s Exp gain by 5%, which will help lower-level characters catch up to the rest of the party a little faster. This effect originally belonged to one of Viola’s weapons (more on that later this update), but it was moved to this one instead for the PS3 port.

That grabbed, let’s go give that space-narwhal what for.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield for Celesta Forest is quite large, and right now it’s mostly in the light except for small areas of shadow here and there (although this will change later on). The Flamea there doesn’t stand much of a chance – enemies in this first area only appear as solitary opponents – but that does at least let me show off the Plasma Chains special that Jazz learned way back in Chapter 3.



It’s an incredibly situational special – it hits twice, but the second hit, the one that does all the damage, goes directly behind Jazz. Since leaving yourself open to attacks from behind is always a bad idea in this game, it can be tough to make proper use of this special without actively creating the best possible setup for it. That being said, I’ll try and see if I can get a good shot of it in action in future updates.


♪♪~ Well Done

Polka: “I can do it!”

Ah, excellent! More on this in a minute.



Moving on, we continue down the path; there’s a little side path that you’d think would lead to another item, but it does not. The view is nice, though.


Soon after we reach the middle of the forest, guarded by some flying fish. Been a hot minute since we’ve seen one of those, hasn’t it?


The battlefield is noticeably darker in this section of the forest, and enemies now come in pairs. Speaking of which, let’s look at these monsters a bit.



Flameas act much like the Viege from a couple updates ago, only they’re more likely to use Power Blaze to increase their attack power on their next turn. Chill Vortex, meanwhile, is pretty easy to guard against, but it can cause Passive if you get hit by it, so uh, try not to. Annoyingly, they don’t drop any items.




However, in the dark Flameas transform into White Pearls, which are much more dangerous. Azure Ram and Tidal Gore* both carry chances of knockdown, and the latter hits characters on either side of the monster; they also have higher defenses in this form. To somewhat compensate for this, occasionally White Pearls will drop a Celestial Hourglass.

*This would be a sweet potential band name, by the way. Probably some flavor of black metal if I had to guess.


There’s a treasure chest around this bend, but first we need to head down a side path off to the right…


To grab a new weapon for Salsa. No frills with this one, just a straight ATK boost.


There’s that chest I was talking about, but it’s guarded by a new enemy. Not a big deal, I’ll just circle around behind it and grab the chest first, then use the easy ambush to catch it unawares.


Accessory acquired! Putting this on a high-MAG character like Polka or Frederic will let them absolutely wreck monsters with their specials, or you can do what I like to do and put it on a lower-MAG character to make their damage more respectable; in this case I immediately give it to Salsa.



Soon after grabbing the Spell Book we reach the East Side of the forest. Aria Temple is just around the corner!


Following the pattern of the previous areas, the battlefield is now almost entirely in shadow, and enemies appear in groups of three, including these new ones, the Anathema.



They’re much like previous Maledictor-type enemies, alternating between whacking you with their staff up close or blasting you with spells from a distance. Overall they aren’t too big an issue if you know what you’re doing. Incidentally, in the original game this would be the last Maledictor-type enemy we would come across, but there are some new types in the PS3 port – more on that like, way later. Oh, and sometimes they drop Sock Incenses.



This is Polka’s new light special, and it’s pretty cool! Roundel shoots out a circle of energy blasts around her, making it great for crowd control, especially at higher Echo counts.


”Hey that would make a pretty good desktop background” count: 16


Well, here we are – let’s head on in.
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Mellotron enthusiast

click here to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music


*A shadow moves up to the entrance of Aria Temple; soon after, the sound of a key opening a lock is heard, and the shadow disappears.*


Beat: “Really? Where? I didn’t see anyone going anywhere, Polka.”
Allegretto: “Yeah. I really doubt that there is anyone around here.”
Polka: “Are you sure? Hm, I could have sworn…. It looked like it was a woman.”




Maybe we’ll run into whoever it was once we’re inside. Only one way to find out!


Beat: “Hey, you’re right. It’s open.”
Allegretto: “I wonder if the person Polka saw opened it. Anyway, let’s go inside.”
*He pushes the door open.*


♪♪~ Grim Purpose

Wow, this room is tiny – I guess it’s more of a lobby for whatever that glowing circle is in front of us.

Forgive the pun, but this track is very cool. There’s so much going on here I’m not sure where to start – the wordless women’s chorus punctuating and supporting the melody? The heavy use of harpsichord throughout, including some sweet runs? The subtle background organ? The strings puttin’ in work? It’s all great. One of the best tracks in the game, in my opinion.


Ah, so it’s a teleporter, and the rest of the temple is above us. Let’s go on up, then.


The teleport animation is pretty neat – Allegretto’s character model gets squished as the light flashes.


This is another one of my favorite dungeons in the game; it’s got a cool visual design and great music, and unlike most other places you actually have to solve some puzzles to get at most of the treasure in here, and the treasure is quite worth it. Let’s get started!


We’ll come back to the central room just ahead of us later on…


First we want to turn down this northwest hallway and immediately run into a new enemy.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield for Aria Temple is much smaller than the forest outside, and it has a weird lighting situation going on, as you can see. There are also three of these crystal things scattered throughout to complicate positioning.



Sorbies are the most common enemy in the temple. Their attacks are relatively week, but they come out pretty fast; however, once you get the rhythm of their attacks down you can pretty consistently guard against them. They like to end their turn by using Circular, an attack wherein they smack you with their tails. They also technically have an attack called Hole Shot that’s similar to the hover-hamsters’ Overrun, but it’s incredibly rare to see it; most of the time a Sorbie will just manually close the distance on a target. Annoyingly, they don’t drop any items.



In the dark, Sorbies will transform into Ice Melodies, the last bat-type enemy we’ll be seeing in the game. They’re considerably weaker than their light counterparts, and tend to beeline straight for the light if you aren’t already surrounding them because of this. Of the two attacks shown here, Sonic Killer is the one to worry about, since it can inflict Slow if unguarded. The Ice Melody technically has another attack called Constant Shine to put a character in Shining Body status, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen it. They sometimes drop Diamond Clovers.


Moving on from that, we come to the central gimmick of this dungeon, at least where treasure is concerned. Most of the items here are either guarded by enemies or in an inaccessible location; defeating certain enemies causes these items to teleport to a new location. In the case of this chest…


It gets moved to this room at the end of the corridor we’re in.


No big deal, we’ll just defeat the other enemy and keep going.


Sweet, some new armor for Jazz. (The enemy that was guarding the chest will automatically rush you when you get near it, so be ready for that.)


That obtained, we’ll head northeast from there, past this chest we can’t quite reach yet.


The corridor leads to a room at the far north end of this floor of the temple. That ice you see next to us is too slippery to walk across on this side; we’d have to circle all the way around the eastern side of the temple to move across the ice from that way.


Up ahead are the stairs to the next floor, but we don’t want to climb them just yet. Instead we’ll defeat the Sorbie hiding behind the pillar in the top right of the screenshot.


This moves the chest we passed earlier near some stairs just in front of the ice. Looks like we’ll have to circle around after all.



We’ll be back for this chest later; for now we’ll defeat this Sorbie and be on our way.


Ooh, a new weapon for Jazz. Alas, this one puts him into permanent Slow status while it’s equipped; for whatever reason a fair few of Jazz’s weapons put him into negative status effects, I guess to balance out how high his ATK is compared to everyone else’s. I’ll just hold onto this for now and keep using the Herebra.


Going back to this room we passed by on our way to the Rib Crusher chest, we want to defeat these two enemies next.


Doing that moves the caged chest we just passed over to where we are, which is pretty convenient.



This is a pretty good weapon for Frederic, I must say; the permanent Darkness Body will keep him from healing anyone, but we can work around that. This weapon’s attack power was also slightly boosted for the PS3 port. As it stands right now, though, I’ll keep the Gold Baton equipped for the moment.
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Mellotron enthusiast

That obtained, we’ll head up the stairs to the next floor…


But only to grab this item. The Bubbly Hat increases the wearer’s SPD by 10%, an improvement over the Feathered Hat’s 5% increase. Now we’ll head back downstairs…


And into the central room we passed by back when we first entered the temple. Those magenta circles on the ground are kind of a vague hint at what we need to do here, namely: defeat the enemies standing on (or flying above) those circles.



♪♪~ Well Done

Viola: “Hey, this is nothin’!”
Salsa: “All I really want is to be taller.”

While I’m in the process of doing that, Viola and Salsa both learn new specials! I didn’t get a chance to use them in Aria Temple, so I’ll have to wait until later to show them off. It should also be noted that Salsa originally learned Deadly Orbit at level 25.


♪♪~ Grim Purpose

Anyway, once you defeat all the enemies on the magenta circles, this chain drops down, allowing us to climb up to the next floor of the temple.



We find ourselves in the Gallery of Heaven, and in front of more enemies standing on magenta circles. But this time we want to defeat all the enemies not standing on the circles.


Once we do that, a chest warps in from… somewhere, and inside…


Is this! The Recovery Orb grants the wearer 20% max HP regen per turn, greatly improving their survivability. Before we leave the room through the northern exit, we want to go ahead and defeat the enemies standing on the circles now; the ice on the floor ensures we can’t reenter the room unless we backtrack to the previous floor and climb the rope again, and there’s a chest on this floor we can’t open until we defeat every enemy on the floor.



Icicle Eaters are the last new mouse-type enemy in the game, and they aren’t much more of a problem than previous incarnations. I guess Icicle Drop can be tricky if you don’t block it, but it’s so rare you might not see it the entire time you’re in the temple. Their tails project an aura of light, but attacking them from the side handily sidesteps that issue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Icicle Eaters sometimes drop Mouse Metronomes.


Jazz: “Winning takes discipline!”

Ah, nice! I’ll talk about this later, as well. Jazz originally learned this special at level 55, but the level requirement was switched around with another special for the PS3 port; more on that probably towards the end of the game.


After clearing out the room we just came from, we’re presented with a choice of directions to go in. We’ll head southeast first.



Doing that and turning around the bend brings us face to face with a Sorbie.



Defeating it moves the chest it was guarding to the open room we just passed. If we had come around from the opposite end and defeated the other enemy guarding the item, the chest would have instead been moved behind those bars, and we’d have to exit and reenter the floor to reset its position. Thankfully we did not do that!

This weapon increases Beat’s critical hit rate, which is just dandy. That obtained, we’ll go ahead and defeat the Icicle Eaters in this room, then go back and defeat the other Sorbie that was guarding this chest.



From there we’ll go back to the intersection we started at and head southwest, defeating the enemies in this room.


Allegretto: “I’m ready to take on the world!”

And in the process of doing that, Allegretto learns a new special! Man, lotta good levels this update.



Anyway, with all the enemies on this floor dealt with, we can finally claim our prize: a Burst weapon for Viola. This is exactly as wonderful as it sounds – Viola with Burst can chew through just about any enemy like they’re not even there, and since she has to be out of harm’s way to make the most of her archery skills you don’t even have to worry about the DEF decrease for the most part. Consider this a last resort option if we’re having a lot of trouble against a certain enemy or boss.

(In the original game, the Imperial Bow was instead called the Imperial Guard, and increased the active party’s exp gain by 5%; for the PS3 port this effect was moved over to Polka’s Snow White weapon.)



Returning to the north end of the temple and climbing the stairs, we come across this chest. The Tundra Vest increases the wearer’s resistance to Slow; I put it on Polka.





One uneventful series of corridors later, we’ve reached the top of the temple. Before we investigate the central room, let’s go over our equipment. Polka has the Pocket Watch and Recovery Orb, to help with Echo-building and enable her to go longer without having to use an item to heal herself; Jazz has the Speed Shoes to help him get around and the Werewolf Choker for even more Echoes. The third character’s setup doesn’t especially matter for reasons that will soon become clear. Now then…


Mellotron enthusiast

click here to watch the cutscene (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music

Beat: “See? I told you you were just seeing things.”
Polka: “But I’m sure I saw someone. She was right there, going in the entrance.”
*Suddenly, from offscreen:*



♪♪~ Pressure

Beat: “Hey, she was right. There really is someone her besides us.”
Allegretto: “Yeah. I guess this is who Polka saw at the entrance earlier.”
Polka: “I don’t know. She doesn’t seem like the same person to me.”
*Rondo interrupts their musings:*


Rondo: “If you all do precisely as I say, I won’t harm the rest of you. Understand?”
*Suddenly, the music stops as, from the bottom of the stairs, someone calls out:*



Polka: “Falsetto!”
Falsetto: “Hi, guys. I’m sorry I worried all of you.”


♪♪~ Pyroxene of the Heart

Falsetto: “I’ll only just become more and more bitter, and she’ll always have a smile on her face. That was all I could think about and before I knew it, I had run away.”


*Rondo turns to face her.*
Falsetto: “One way…. One possible way of standing on equal footing with Claves. Even now, after she’s gone on to the great unknown.”


*The music stops.*
Falsetto: “I am not… going to run anymore!”


♪♪~ Pressure

*She takes a few steps forward.*
Rondo: “Perhaps we should’ve had you ferret out information about Andantino.”


*She holds out a hand to Falsetto.*
Rondo: “Think about it. Andantino’s leader is about to die. No one will ever find out that you’re a spy.”
*She has a good laugh at that, as everyone else looks on.*
Falsetto: “It’s because of despicable people like you that tragedies like what happened to Claves occur in the first place. It’s unforgivable. The way people like you can use and discard feelings without so much as a second thought!”


♪♪~ I Bet My Belief


climactic boss time! (recommended viewing)


Boss: Rondo
HP: 467,980
Exp: 77,000 (Xbox 360)/32,000 (PS3)
Gold: 1,200
So are those swords or like, oversized kunai: I’m leaning towards kunai given the decorations on her outfit, but the important part is that they’re large and pointy and she will not hesitate to use them.


Rondo: “So, all of the lost sheep have flocked together.”


Falsetto: “I promise you I will not be defeated!”

Much like the second battle against Tuba making Beat’s presence in the party mandatory, here Falsetto will put herself at the head of the party, forcing out whoever’s in the third position. The game also does you a solid here and increases her level from whatever it was at the end of Chapter 3 to level 29, ensuring she isn’t a liability.


Rondo has one key advantage over you, and that is overwhelming speed. She is by far the fasting-moving opponent in the game, able to cross the battlefield extremely quickly – here she ran over to Polka in less than a second. She’ll also frequently get two turns in a row against all but the fastest or most overleveled party.



All of Rondo’s attacks also come out very quickly, giving you hardly any time to guard against them, and she also seems to mix up her attacks more often than other bosses up to this point, keeping you on your toes. Her attacks overall deal less damage than you’ve come to expect from bosses, but that only helps so much when she assaults you so relentlessly.

As for the attack pictured above, Bombardment is one of her more dangerous moves, a three-hit combo followed by a wall of ice that shoots out in a horizontal line in front of her; this ice wall carries a chance of knockdown if the attack is unguarded.


Grand Venom is the least threatening move in her arsenal, being merely a single hit that inflicts Slow if unguarded. You might be tempted to bring along a couple Chance Feathers to cure the status, but Slow wears off after a few turns, and you’ll have worse things to deal with in this fight.




Falsetto: “Anything that gets in my way is going down!”

If you managed to get Falsetto to level 25 before finishing Chapter 3, you have access to Shadow Beam for this fight, and it’s a pretty good special to have! It only hits once, but it has a chance of knockdown and at higher Echo counts dishes out pretty respectable damage, assuming you use it first in a Harmony Chain.



Fer de Lance is a two-hit attack that has an even higher chance of knockdown than Bombardment; not something you want to get hit by if you can help it.


Finally, Hell Eruption is Rondo’s deadliest attack; it hits everyone in range and can inflict Stop if unguarded. It’s a good idea to bring a couple of Time Feathers into the battle just in case, because being unable to do literally anything for the first half of a turn is hell in a fight against a speed demon like Rondo.


This shot isn’t really relevant to the strategy discussion, I just think it looks rad as hell. You go, Falsetto!




Polka: “Here, let me help you!”

That was very helpful indeed, Polka! A cool thing about Harmony Chains is that if you use a healing move first and then an offensive special, you get the full power of the Echo Meter with both.


Sometimes – but not as often as you’d think – Rondo will run around and attack your characters from behind, which is not great since even her basic attacks are quite fast. Of course, that’s what Polka is here for; with the Recovery Orb and Earth Heal she can keep the party alive single-handedly for quite a while.




Jazz: “Burn away to nothing!”

In my first recording of this update it was Falsetto who dealt the final blow, but here it’s Jazz who finishes the battle. Fitting either way, I think.


♪♪~ Well Done

Jazz: “Excellent. Very well done!”

Thanks to having some unintentional practice, I was able to handle this fight pretty well – a refreshing change of pace from largely getting tossed around by bosses in the previous chapter. The Heart Pendant increases the wearer’s max HP by 10%, which I’m sure March will appreciate.
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Mellotron enthusiast

click to watch the rest of the update

♪♪~ No music

Falsetto: “Jazz….”


*He walks forward and raises his hand, and a soft slapping sound is heard as the camera cuts away.*


♪♪~ Repeated Tide





*Fade to black; some time later...*


♪♪~ No music

Allegretto: “Is this the legend of the light of Aria?! ...I can’t make heads or tails of it.”
Falsetto: “It looks like it must be really ancient.”
March: “Pardon me, do you mind if I take a look?”
*She gives the writing a quick once-over.*
March: “Hmm, I see.”
Beat: “You can read this, March?!”


That’s kind of a hilarious thing to just casually drop in the middle of a conversation. Anyway:


“Only light from the heart can truly illuminate the darkness.
If those without hearts run rampant, this world will become a land
of everlasting darkness.

The light from the heart is the very spark of life. Therefore, when
darkness overwhelms, the heart that illuminates the darkness must
give its life and all will be reborn.”

Viola: “It’s kind of abstract.”


We’ll have to wait until later to find out, because the chapter ends here. This small scene, where we actually read the legend of the astra, is new to the PS3 port – meaning that the entire reason for the party’s visit to Aria Temple isn’t present in the original game. There, the game simply cuts to Chapter 6 directly after Jazz and Falsetto embrace. It’s a small change, but a welcome one.

Anyway, I hope you’ll all join me as we see what wacky shenanigans Frederic and co. get up to in Chapter 6. See you then!

Next time: The start of Chapter 6!


Mellotron enthusiast
It's funny you say that, I actually bought Legend of Mana from the PSN store last week! It might be a while before I play it, but I'm curious to see what you mean.

In the meantime, art!


Rondo sure does love kunai, huh? Weird choice of fashion accessory, but I admire the commitment.


And here's some art of the exterior of Aria Temple. One of the cooler visual designs for a place in the game, I think.