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 is a video game series of tactical role-playing games created and developed by Nippon Ichi. The series debuted in Japan on January 30,  , with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, later re-released as Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and Disgaea DS. One of Nippon Ichi's most popular franchises, it has branched off into both a manga and light novel series, as well as an anime. The Disgaea games take place in a fictional universe called the Netherworld and are known for their uncommon RPG elements, such as complex gameplay, extremely high maximum stats and humorous dialogue. Main characters in the series often include cynical, power-hungry antiheroes forced to fight alongside heroic foil, much to their disdain. Games in the Disgaea series have been critically acclaimed and received multiple awards.


Common elements

Gameplay

Each Disgaea game consists of a number of missions that the player undertakes from a central hub. In the hub, the player can manage equipment and team members, heal their party, and other functions. When the player is prepared, they can then travel to the next available mission as well as replay any mission they have already completed. Missions are usually arranged in a number of chapters with cutscenes before and after to advance the plot.

Each mission requires the player to complete an objective, typically defeating all the enemy forces. The mission takes place on an isometric grid-based board with spaces at various heights. The player and the computer alternate turns. During the player's turn, they can summon members of their party from a starting point, up to a maximum number. Each characters once on the board can move and then perform an action, including melee attacks and special abilities. Once a character has performed an action, they may no longer move that turn. The player can move as many characters as desired and plan their actions at a time, then issuing an "Execute" command to carry out those actions. If the player has characters that can still move and perform actions at this time, they can do so, otherwise, they will end their turn. The computer opponents then perform their actions. When the player successfully completes a mission, they are given bonus items based on their overall bonus score, which is earned through combo attacks and other features of the game.

The player can arrange to have allies next to each other to fight a foe with a chance to launch a combo attack, which can do more damage and boost the mission's scoring meter. Players can also have characters lift and throw other characters or objects on the level for various effects: for example, a character can throw another character to an empty space as to allow that second character to move farther than if on foot, or certain monsters called Prinnies can be thrown at others to cause explosive damage. It is possible for characters to pick up a character that is already carrying another character, and so forth, allowing for one character to move within a single turn to the far side of the map. However, any character that is still carrying another character at the end of the turn will take damage.

Across some boards are glowing colored spaces and special objects called "Geo Symbols". When these are placed on a colored field, they impart a bonus or penalty to all battle participants on the same colored field; such bonuses can also stack if multiple Geo Symbols are on the same field. A character can destroy a Geo Symbol which will cause all the field spaces it affects to cause some damage to the characters on them as they turn to another color determined by the destroyed Geo Symbol. It is possible to arrange a chain of these effects, each chain increasing the amount of damaged earned and increasing the bonus score for the mission. As with characters, Geo Symbols can also be lifted and thrown as to affect the board's bonuses.

In addition to maintaining their party at the central hub, the player can recruit new characters to the party based on experience each character earned in battle, or, with enough experience, attempt to alter the features of the central hub, such as having better weapon or armor at the stores. This itself involves convincing creatures to agree to such changes, and it is possible to initiate combat in the same manner as the missions to convince the creature to see otherwise. There is also an Item World gateway; here, the player can select any item in the party's inventory and enter it. The Item World for an item is randomly generated but depends on a number of factors based on the item itself such as its rarity or power. By descending through the Item World, each level similar to one of the main missions featuring a random map and a number of creatures as well as an exit portal to the next level, the player can improve the abilities of the item as well as free Guardians that live in the item. These Guardians impart certain benefits to the item, such as increased in attack or defense values, and once they are freed, they can be moved between items freely.

The game can be played through multiple times, as each game features multiple endings. However, each time, the player's party, with all characters, items, and abilities, are carried over. This allows the player to develop extremely powerful characters, approaching the maximum character level of 9999 through repeated playthroughs.

Setting

All Disgaea games take place mostly in the "Netherworld", a parallel universe inhabited by demons where moral values are reversed from those of humans. Multiple Netherworlds exist, each with their own Overlord. Other areas include the human world, shown to possess a futuristic level of technology in Hour of Darkness, and "Celestia", a heavenly realm inhabited by angels. Rather than being purely good or purely evil, inhabitants of the Netherworld and Celestia possess human-like qualities, but are swayed far more towards either moral extreme.

Recurring characters

  • is the son of King Krichevskoy, who plans on becoming overlord after his father's death. He is incredibly arrogant, and he always tries to prove that he is the strongest demon in the Netherworld. He becomes physically sick when hearing optimistic sayings, especially "love", and when he sees women with sexy bodies.


  • Etna is the leader of the Prinny squad, and one of the few vassals who remain in the Overlord's Castle after King Krichevskoy's death. She serves Laharl, though in a very sarcastic and insincere manner. She is very abusive toward the Prinny Squad, often using excessive violence and fear to keep them in line. In the Etna Story we discover Etna made a promise to the King to watchover Laharal and make him into a great overlord.


  • is an Angel Trainee sent on a mission to assassinate Overlord Krichevskoy. After learning that her target is already deceased, she becomes determined to follow Laharl and determine if demons truly are incapable of love. She is very innocent and naive, though she is deeply devoted to Seraph Lamington and the concept of spreading love to others. She is obsessed with tokusatsu series.


  • Baal is a legendary overlord that appears as a recurring boss through out the different games. Known as the Lord of Terror, he is a collection of evil souls that can transfer into other bodies when defeated. He often appears in a towering, monstrous form, in the form of an extremely strong Prinny, known as the "Uber Prinny", and in the form of an Eringa, a mushroom shaped monster.


  • The Prism Rangers are a troupe of gag characters heavily inspired by the protagonists of the Super Sentai/Power Rangers universes. Each of the members are named after the colors of the rainbow with the word Prism preceding it, with their leader being "Prism Red." The Prism Rangers tend to be portrayed as weak, having been taken down in one shot or being unable to do the slightest bit of damage to their opponent.


  • Priere is the main character of La Pucelle: Tactics. She appears in the Disgaea series as an overlord of the Alternate Netherworld.


  • Marjoly is the antagonist of the Marl Kingdom series. She is a malevolent and very conceited witch, who rules in Beauty Castle. She also appears in the game Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure as the main antagonist.


  • Asagi is a character meant to be the main character in a future Nippon Ichi title, though it is rumored to have been scrapped. She constantly attempts to become the star of other games. She is voiced by Chiwa Saito.


  • Vyers, the Dark Adonis (aka Mid-Boss) A Demon with a moral value to act like a gentleman before anything else. When first meeting with Laharl to introduce himself, Laharl deemed him unworthy of a real title, and instead calls him "Mid-Boss". In the Vault Castle there is even a Statue of Vyers that can predict a bad omen if given a coin.


  • a mascot character for the artist and character designer of the series, Takehito Harada. She makes various appearances throughout the series. She is typically portrayed as a petite, blue-haired girl with red eyes, wearing a red ribbon, a white dress, white stockings, and sometimes glasses. She is often accompanied by a stuffed rabbit named "Usagi-san" and a stuffed shark named "Same-san."


Prinnies

Prinny
 are common servants and enemies in the series. They resemble small pouch-wearing penguins with disproportionately small bat wings and two peg legs for feet. Their personalities are upbeat, and they frequently use the word "dood" (as an interjection - they constantly end their sentences with "-ssu" in the Japanese dialogue). Prinnies use machetes as their primary weapons, and occasionally bombs taken from their pouches. They can also summon a gigantic energy beam from a skull, known as the "Pringer Beam". There are five basic ranks of prinnies, each being a different color. The ranks are similar to a hierarchy starting with Privates, and continuing onto Captains, Generals, Kings, and Gods. The Prinny God also acts as the leader of Prinny land.


They are created when a human who has led a worthless life or committed a mortal sin in life dies, leading to the soul being sewn into the body of a Prinny. After being reborn, they serve as maids and domestic servants in Celestia, where their good deeds lead to their reincarnation, or as servants and slaves (and sometimes Cannon-fauter) in the Netherworld, where they obtain money towards their reincarnation, often under lords who treat them horribly for little pay. Prinnies explode when thrown due to the human soul being unstable, and thus, a jostling, such as being tossed, will cause them to do as such. Prinnies are also mass produced with demon souls, which leaves them stable.

Media

Games

Merchandise

Nippon Ichi Software's online store sells various merchandise such as several different Prinny plushies, and in Japan Nippon Ichi has released several pieces of Prinny merchandise and has used kigurumi of the characters to promote the release of Prinny: Can I Really be the Hero? in Akihabaramarker. Additionally four Prinny avatars for the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Home were also released for sale, modeled after the different unique Prinnies in the original Disgaea.

Development

The gameplay mechanic of throwing characters was developed as a "strong and unique" aspect of gameplay that would attract players. New gameplay ideas were added to each game until the "majority of staffers" were "not sure" whether they were necessary, hence its complexity.

Reception

The Disgaea series has been received positively by reviewers, particularly praising the amount of content, solid battle system and humor while criticizing the large learning curve and dated graphics. The highest score was received by Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness for PSP, at a score of 87% at Gamerankings and Metacritic. Disgaea 3 for Playstation 3 received the lowest average score of the series, about 78% at Gamerankings and Metacritic, with reviewers citing its dated PlayStation 2-quality graphics, despite praise for improved gameplay and story over its predecessors.

Prinnies have been described as one of the most notable characters in the Disgaea series, and the mascots of the series. In a preview of the upcoming game starting the character in PlayStation: The Official Magazine, Chris Hudak asked "What better sign that you've warmed the cold hearts of videogamers worldwide than to have your own beloved, signature character?", additionally comparing in great detail the Prinny to fellow video game mascots Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Dragon Quest's Slime. PSX Extreme described them as "one of the most recognizable – and curiously lovable – characters" in the Disgaea series. They are featured strongly in Nippon Ichi's marketing, such as the annual Tipsy Prinny press events. The third event, held in the Zebulon Bar San Franciscomarker on June 5 2008, featured green prinnies suspended from every banister and light fitting.

References



  1. Takehito, Harada (2008), World of Disgaea, Volume 2. Broccoli Books. p. 100. ISBN 1-597-41152-3
  2. "PlayStation: The Official Magazine Holiday Gift Guide '08," PlayStation: The Official Magazine 13 (Holiday 2008): 37.
  3. 開催期間:2008年11月20日(木) ~ 2009年1月11日(月・祝) (in Japanese). Nippon Ichi Software. Retrieved on 2008-12-10.
  4. Famitsu Staff (2008-12-17). PlayStation Homeに『鉄拳』や『ソウルキャリバー』のラウンジが新登場 (in Japanese). Famitsu. Retrieved on 2008-12-17
  5. Staff (September 2003). "Two role-playing games offer a passport to strange new worlds". The Sacramento Bee: TK36
  6. Chris Hudak, "Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?: I feel Prinny, oh so Prinny," PlayStation: The Official Magazine 13 (Holiday 2008): 26.
  7. Dutka, Ben (2008-12-15). PSP Previews: Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?. PSX Extreme. Retrieved on 2008-12-23



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