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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland (Japanese: メルルのアトリエ~アーランドの錬金術士3~, Meruru no Atorie ~Ārando no Renkinjutsushi 3~) is the 13th game in the main Atelier series. It was released for PlayStation 3 on June 23, 2011 in Japan, on May 22, 2012 in North America and on May 25, 2012 in Europe.

The game got an enhanced port for PlayStation Vita, titled Atelier Meruru Plus: The Apprentice of Arland, which was released in 2013. A port of the PlayStation Vita version (Atelier Meruru ~The Apprentice of Arland~ DX) was later released in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows.

Atelier Meruru is the direct sequel to Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland and is the third game in the Arland series. Contrary to the previous Arland games, Atelier Meruru is set in the kindgom of Arls rather than Arland. It features many new and recurring characters and an updated battle system.

PlotEdit

"Arls Kingdom - this tiny nation is located far to the northwest of the Arland Republic. Compared to Arland, with its highly developed machinery and alchemy, Arls is rather quaint, but with unlimited potential for prosperity. Gio, leader of Arland, proposes to Lord Dessier, King of Arls and Gio's longtime friend, that Arls joins the Arland Republic. But there are many tasks to be completed before their goal can be realized. In order to minimize criticism from opposing parties, Arls begins a development project to increase the kingdom's influence. To begin, they decide to dispatch a number of skilled adventurers to Arls from Arland. Among the delegation is the alchemist Totori Helmold. Meruru, princess of Arls, soon encounters Totori, and alchemy, for the first time. Impressed by Totori's alchemic abilities, Meruru forces her way into becoming Totori's apprentice with aspirations of becoming an alchemist in her own right"
— Story extract from the official website

During the events of Atelier Totori, Gio, the ruler of the Arland Republic, was visiting his old friend Dessier, king of Arls, a small rural kingdom far from the republic of Arland. It was then when Gio proposed Dessier to merge with Arland. The merging plan, however, didn't start until one year after Totori's adventure came to an end.

Unlike Arland, Arls doesn't utilize alchemy or see its widespread practice. Because of this, Arland decide to send a skilled alchemist to Arls. This alchemist happens to be Totooria Helmold, who opens a small workshop on the outskirts of town. Princess Merurulince Rede Arls (which pays no attention to Arls' politics and often sneaks out of the castle) soon meets Totori and start taking up a new interest in alchemy. Meruru often visits "Miss Totori" to learn more about alchemy. During the game's prologue, Totori will send Meruru and her best friend Keina Swaya to gather alchemy ingredients to a nearby forest. While out, Keina is attacked by a group of carrot bunnies. After their victory, the girls return to Arls.

As they approach town, Meruru is confronted by the castle's royal butler Rufus Falken. Rufus makes Meruru return to the castle, and she's forced to confront her father. Angry that she's escaped the castle yet again and even left town, Lord Dessier refuses to listen to her dream of becoming an alchemist. He insists that she must perform her royal duties as a princess, and that they must prepare for the merging with Arland in five years. Meruru disagrees, and the two argue. She eventually storms out of the throne room, frustrated. She is still determined to become an alchemist, much to her father's chagrin. 

Meruru goes to Totori's workshop to bring the gathered ingredients from the forest and to also inform her of the bad news. Although Meruru wishes to be an alchemist and considers herself Totori's apprentice, Totori reminds her that she will be unable to become an alchemist without her father's blessing. Meruru vows to stay in the workshop until her father agrees to let her become an alchemist. 

Meruru mentions that her father is concerned about her royal duty to Arls. Totori decides that she'll go and talk to Meruru's father. She ensures Meruru that speaking to Lord Dessier and Rufus will give her some ideas of how to fulfill her duties, and possibly convince them that Meruru should be an alchemist. Although skeptical, Meruru gives in to the idea, and Totori goes to the castle. A short time later, Totori returns to the workshop after speaking to Lord Dessier. She tells Meruru that her father has summoned her and to return to the castle immediately. Upon her return, Meruru is confronted by Rufus. He has found a way for Meruru to not only perform her royal duties, but to also include her love of alchemy. Rufus explains that through developing the kingdom and helping its people with the power of alchemy, she will be fufilling her royal duties. Rufus hands Meruru her first "task", which is to deliver a Plain Pie to a soldier in Moyori Forest. Although she doesn't quite understand, she goes with her gut and heads straight to the workshop.

After synthesizing the pie and delivering it to the soldier in Moyori Forest, she returns to the castle to inform Rufus of a job well done. Rufus compliments her on completing the task, but also reminds her that she has yet to talk to her father. When Meruru speaks to her father, she is pleased to hear that he realizes how serious she is about alchemy. He even gives her a blessing to practice alchemy, under the condition that alchemy should be used to develop the Kingdom. If Arls' population fails to reach 30,000 people in three years time, Meruru will have failed her royal duty and will be forced to quit alchemy. If she succeeds, then she will be allowed to continue practicing alchemy.

GameplayEdit

Atelier Meruru introduces the Cost Turn Battle System, where a character's speed and the "wait" (abbreviated as WT in-game) assigned to individual actions influence how soon a character's next turn will come. Turn order is displayed in a queue of 16 spaces.

The Assist System has also been adjusted around two of Meruru's skills, Power Item and Potentialize. After two offensive assists, Meruru may use an item again with a more powerful effect. After a Power Item use, a Coordinated Attack is possible, a special assist attack involving both of Meruru's companions at once, further allowing a follow-up from Meruru of a third item use even more powerful than a Power Item.

Specials now change depending on whether they finish off an enemy; specials that finish off enemies are accompanied by character-dependant musical themes and flashier, more elaborate animations.

Also, during synthesis, two traits may now combine to form more powerful or multi-faceted traits at the expense of being disallowed a choice between the two (unless those traits are applied to the item multiple times) and being relatively costly

CharactersEdit

Main article: List of Characters in Atelier Meruru

Playable CharactersEdit

The princess of Arls and Totori's apprentice. Cheerful and optimistic, but usually acts without thinking. She wants to become an alchemist and take the lead on developing her country.
Now a famous adventurer and alchemist, Totori is sent to Arls by Arland to help with the development. She says what she thinks without thinking on the consequences.

She was the protagonist in Atelier Totori.

Totori's alchemy teacher. She's also Arland's most famous alchemist. After drinking a failed potion of youth, she was turned into a child and lost her alchemy-related memories. Her personality, however, remained mostly the same. She was originally the alchemist that was sent to Arls.

She was the protagonist in Atelier Rorona and also appeared in Atelier Totori.

Meruru's childhood friend, caretaker and maid at the clastle. She's mature and has a very good luck.
The castle gatekeeper, brother to Rufus and friend to Meruru and Keina. He admires his older brother and his only goal is to be like him.
And adventurer from Arland and Totori's best friend, Mimi comes to Arls following Totori's steps. Although she's now more experienced and mature, her true personality comes out when talking to or about Totori.

She previously appeared in Atelier Totori.

Totori's childhood friend and fellow adventurer, who is also Sterk's apprentice. After Totori left for Arls, he started working with Mimi, but eventually comes to Arls.

He previously appeared in Atelier Totori.

A former knight of the Arland Kingdom, Sterk has lived as a self-proclaimed knight since its dissolution. He helps out the adventurers while he search for the former king, Gio.

He previously appeared in Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori.

Formerly Arland's guild receptionist, she left her job to become an official investigator for the Republic. She also acts as Gio's chaperone.

She previously appeared in Atelier Rorona.

Head of the Arland Republic and master swordman. He wanders the world without an specific objective. After coming to Arls, he temporarly sets his base of operations there.

He previously appeared in Atelier Rorona.

The official butler of Arls Kingdom. Very intelligent, he has been managing the kingdom's political issues since a young age. He's also Meruru's instructor, and feared by many (included the princess) for his severity. He never shows his emotions and always talks in a calm manner.

In the original PS3 version, he's only playable as paid DLC.

Shoopkeeper and Meruru's friend. She doesn't fret over tiny details.

In the original PS3 version, she's only playable as paid DLC.

A ghost that manages a wholesale store. She likes to tease her customers, but she usually fails in scaring them.

She previously appeared in Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori. In the original PS3 version, she's only playable as paid DLC.

Non-Playable CharactersEdit

The king of Arls and Meruru's overprotective father. Old friend of Gio, whom he has shared a number of adventures in the past. Being the political affairs handled by Rufus, his public appearances are at a minumum, but he's still popular among his people.
Arland's guild receptionist, transferred to Arls along with Totori. She used to get really nervous around strangers, but she can now control her phobia after years on the job.

She previously appeared in Atelier Totori.

A blacksmith from Arland that moves to Arls to help with the development of the kingdom, providing weapons and armor to Meruru.

He previously appeared in Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori.

Rorona's alchemist teacher. She's the responsible of the potion of youth that turned Rorona into a child and is trying to find a way to reverse its effects. For that, she leaves Rorona into Totori's care in Arls.

She previously appeared in Atelier Rorona.

A carriage driver from the same town as Totori and Gino. He has to do many trips between Arland and Arls to bring all the adventurers.

He previously appeared in Atelier Totori.

Homunculi created by Astrid with the purpose of aiding Rorona with her alchemy. With Rorona turned into a child, their main task is to look after her, but after arriving in Arls they also start helping Meruru. They have started to show some emotions.

They previously appeared in Atelier Rorona.

Tiny sized versions of the Homs that were created by Rorona as assistants for Totori. They currently aid Pamela in her store.

They previously appeared in Atelier Totori.

Development Edit

Downloadable Content[1] Edit

A total of 5 downloadable elements (DLC) were released for the original PlayStation 3 version of the game. Further releases of the game (Atelier Meruru Plus and Atelier Meruru DX) included all the DLC.

Name Release date Type Cost Contents
Meruru Mix Pack Japan July 6, 2011
America May 29, 2012
Europe May 30, 2012
Music ¥315
$2.99
€2.99
Adds over 200 tracks from previous Atelier games to use with the "Change BGM" feature.
Makina Domain Japan July 28, 2011
America June 19, 2012
Europe June 20, 2012
Location Free Adds the dungeon Makina Domain, available only in New Game+ (not before Year 4 starts).
Hanna Japan July 28, 2011
America June 5, 2012
Europe June 6, 2012
Playable character ¥524
$3.99
€3.99
Hanna becomes playable after an event when Rorona has joined the party (not before Year 2 starts).
Pamela Japan July 28, 2011
America June 12, 2012
Europe June 13, 2012
Playable character ¥524
$3.99
€3.99
Pamela becomes playable after an event when Rorona has joined the party (not before Year 2 starts).
Rufus Japan July 28, 2011
America May 29, 2012
Europe May 30, 2012
Playable character ¥524
$3.99
€3.99
Rufus becomes playable after an event when Rorona has joined the party (not before Year 2 starts).

Atelier Meruru PlusEdit

As with its predecessor Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, an enchanced version of the game was released for PlayStation Vita under the name Atelier Meruru Plus: The Alchemist of Arland 3 (メルルのアトリエPlus ~アーランドの錬金術士3~). The game includes all the DLC for the Playstation 3 version, a new Dressing Room feature where the player can change the appearance of Meruru, Totori ,and Rorona, and various gameplay and mechanics changes from the Playstation 3 game. The "About Time" ending was originally exclusive to Atelier Meruru Plus, but was later added for the Japanese Playstation 3 version in a downloadable patch (Patch ver 2.02).

If the player possesses a Atelier Totori Plus save data, they can unlock a special costume and accessory for the Dressing Room and obtain the strongest weapon for Totori at the start of the game.

Atelier Meruru Plus is available in "standard edition", "Premium Box/Limited edition", and downloadable form for Japan and Asian regions.

Downloadable ContentEdit

The first press edition of Atelier Meruru Plus came with a download code for an in-game accessory and outfit. There was also exclusive outfits for Famitsu and Dengeki.

The PlayStation Store lists the following DLC:

Name Release date Type Cost Contents
Dusk Series BGM Pack[2] Japan April 2, 2013 Music Free Escha's route workshop and battle theme from Atelier Escha & Logy (called "A15" and "Newest Atelier work" in game) to use with the "Change BGM" feature. Included with the game in the other regions.
Mushroom Princess Swimsuit & Small Straw Hat[3] America October 1, 2013 Costume $2.99 Swimsuit and hat for Meruru.

Premium BoxEdit

A limited edition of the game, called Atelier Meruru Plus: The Alchemist of Arland 3 Premium Box (ルルのアトリエPlus ~アーランドの錬金術士3~プレミアムボックス) was released for Japan and Asian regions. It contains the game, a "mini crystal paperweight", and a Atelier Meruru Plus custom skin shell for Playstation Vita.

Atelier Meruru DX Edit

On July 10th, 2018 a port of Atelier Meruru Plus for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, titled Atelier Meruru DX, was announced. It was released on September 20th, 2018 in Japan and on December 4th, 2018 for the rest of the world. A PC Steam version became available the same day as the international release. The game can be purchased individually or as part of a pack (Atelier Arland series Deluxe Pack) containing the DX versions of Atelier Rorona, Atelier Totori and Atelier Meruru.

The game includes two new events that connect with the extra year in Atelier Rorona Plus. These scenes, titled "Neo-Prologue - Future Potential" and "Neo-Finale - Goodbye for Now", take place before and after that extra year, respectively. They can be viewed anytime in the movie gallery inside the "Extra" feature from the main menu.

Additionally, the end credits have a scene teasing Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland.

Other MediaEdit

Manga adaption Edit

The game was adapted into a two volume comic series with the same name as the game by Hideyu Tohgarashi and published by Kadokawa Shoten . During it's run, the manga covers major kingdom developments such as Arls National Mine, Hart Outpost, Yuvel and the fight against Airshatter. Several character-focused stories were also included such as Ending - Mimi, Ending - Rorona, and Ending - Keina. While the manga ends with the Admission Ceremony rather than one of the Endings, there is a bonus chapter based on the hotspring event and ending.

Referencing the newspaper feature in the game, nearly every chapter ends with a news report about Meruru's progress.

GalleryEdit

References Edit

  1. Atelier Meruru Add-Ons section in the US, UK and Japan PlayStation Store. store.playstation.com
  2. Dusk Series BGM Pack in the Japanese PlayStation Store. store.playstation.com
  3. Mushroom Princess Swimsuit & Small Straw Hat in the US PlayStation Store. store.playstation.com

External links Edit

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