Arc the Lad

Arc the Lad (アークザラッド, Ākuzaraddo) is a series of video games created by Toshiro Tsuchida.[1] The series began with the release of Arc the Lad in 1995. Arc the Lad uses a tactical role-playing battle system, which all games except Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, follow. Each of the games feature recurring characters and locations.

Arc the Lad
Arc the Lad logo.png
Genre(s)Tactical role-playing
ARC Entertainment
Cattle Call
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Working Designs
Creator(s)Toshiro Tsuchida[1]
Platform(s)PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, PlayStation 2, Android, iOS
First releaseArc the Lad
June 30, 1995
Latest releaseArc the Lad R
August 22, 2018

Though the series enjoyed huge success in Japan, leading to an anime adaptation of Arc the Lad II in 1999, alongside several manga and a novelization, Western sales are low due to the obscurity of the series. The first three Arc the Lad games were not released outside of Japan until the Arc the Lad Collection was released by Working Designs in 2002, which was followed by Twilight of the Spirits in 2003 and End of Darkness in 2005.


Timeline of release years
1995Arc the Lad
1996Arc the Lad II
1997Arc Arena: Monster Tournament
1999Arc the Lad III
2002Arc the Lad Collection
Arc the Lad: Kijin Fukkatsu
2003Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
2004Arc the Lad: End of Darkness
2018Arc the Lad R

Arc the Lad was developed by G-Craft and published by SCEI in Japan on June 30, 1995. The game features tactical role-playing game battle elements, which would become a staple for the series.[2] Arc the Lad introduces several characters that appear in all three games in the collection. Arc, the lead, is a boy from the small town of Touvil who is fated to fight corruption. Characters like Kukuru, Iga, Poco, Tosh, and Chongara also make future appearances.

Arc the Lad II, developed by ARC Entertainment and published by SCEI, was released in Japan on November 1, 1996, and was re-released twice. This game continues to use the tactical battles, featuring much more complex statistics than its predecessor, a more interactive world map and a longer game length.[2] A new feature are the guilds, which allow the player to take jobs as side quests. The characters of Arc the Lad reappear alongside new ones. Elc, a young hunter, joins the fight against the corrupt government. He and his fellow hunter Shu meet up with several other characters involved in the mess, including Arc and his friends, and bring Andel and his followers down.

Arc the Lad: Monster Game with Casino Game, developed by ARC Entertainment and published by SCEI, was released in Japan on July 31, 1997, and was re-released twice,[3] first as part of Arc the Lad Collection (where it was known as Arc Arena: Monster Tournament), and again when it was released on the Japanese PlayStation Store as a PSone Classic on December 12, 2007.[4]

Arc the Lad III, the final Arc game for the PlayStation, was released on October 28, 1999. It was the only game in the collection to feature two discs. Similarly to the first two, this Arc game uses tactical battles and basic RPG elements.[2] The explorable maps of Arc II return. However, unlike the first two, the game is strictly job-driven; the story only progresses as the player takes and completes jobs from the guilds. This game introduces Alec and Lutz, two small-town boys looking to become great Hunters and who battle a new, corrupt entity known as the Academy. Characters from previous games make cameo appearances and occasionally fight alongside Alec.

In the US, Working Designs published Arc the Lad I, II, III and Monster Tournament as part of a compilation of Arc games (Arc the Lad Collection) on April 18, 2002 in North America. The collection as a whole received mainly positive reception.[5]

Arc the Lad: Kijin Fukkatsu (アークザラッド: 機神復活 (Arc the Lad: Resurrection of the Machine God) is a Wonderswan Color game developed by Bandai and released in 2002 in Japan.[6] Set after the main series, this game features similar combat and gameplay to the previous installments. Elc, from Arc the Lad II, returns as the main character as he discovers a girl sent from the past to his time because of a hostile robot takeover. Finia, the girl, Elc, and several of his friends return once again to save humanity.[7]

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits was the first PlayStation 2 game in the Arc series. It was developed by Cattle Call, published by SCEI and was released in Japan on March 20, 2003 and in North America on June 25 of the same year by SCEA. This was also the only Arc game to date to come out in Europe, released by SCEE the following year. Set 1,000 years after Arc the Lad 3, Twilight of the Spirits follows a pair of twins named Kharg and Darc who set out on a journey to collect five magical stones for their own ambitions, all while trying to take down a corrupt empire who longs for those very same stones and a mysterious girl. The battle system in this installment allows characters to move freely in circular ranges across fields during their turns as opposed to the grid-based fields of its predecessors.

Arc the Lad: End of Darkness is the second Arc game to be released on the PS2. Developed by Cattle Call and published by SCEI, the game was released in Japan on November 3, 2004. Namco then published the game for its North American release.[8] Taking place five years after Twilight of the Spirits, End of Darkness follows an exorcist named Edda who becomes a hunter and has to defeat a group of monsters called Malademons, who can only be destroyed with his exorcist powers. This game does not follow the tactical style of the previous games, instead using action RPG combat.

Arc the Lad R (アークザラッドR) is the latest Arc game, released on August 25, 2018 for iOS and Android. Developed by ForwardWorks, Arc the Lad R takes place 10 years after the events of Arc the Lad II and retcons the series past Arc 3. The game follows two protagonists named Haruto and Mizuha, who attempt to stop the Divine Beasts, monsters which threaten the world as they currently try to rebuild from the events of the Great Disaster caused during the ending of Arc the Lad II.[9]


When the Arc games were originally released in Japan years before a North American release, SCEA hardly considered bringing them to the U.S., thinking that the role-playing video game market was not an important one.[10] Working Designs, then known in the U.S. for publishing RPGs, actually tried to license Arc the Lad, but Sony of America turned them down. Years later, SCEA came under new management, and with the popularity of other RPGs like Final Fantasy VII, Working Designs was able to publish all three games at once with the Japanese release of Arc the Lad III.[10]

Arc the Lad Collection was released in 2002 and boasted four separate games--Arc the Lad I, II, III and Monster Arena, a side-game that allows players to take captured monsters from Arc the Lad II and use them in combat. The collection also featured a making-of CD, DualShock controller thumb pads, a memory card holder, character standees, a hardcover instruction booklet, and a glossy box (omake box) to hold it all.[11]


Each of the Arc games has received decent reception. Arc the Lad Collection has an 80.77% on GameRankings.[5] The compilation is often praised for its ambitious packaging and game content, which could last over 150 hours.[12] When the collection was released, the first two games' graphics seemed a bit outdated,[12] although some critics find the graphics acceptable. Critics mostly agree that the take on tactical battles was refreshing because the battles are generally fast-paced.[12] Although the first game in the series is much shorter than the other two, it is believed to be only a prologue to the second game.[11][12]

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits received similar reviews. It has a 75% on[13] Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, the second Arc game for the PS2, is generally rated much lower than the other games, receiving a 57% on[14]


Arc the Lad
Promotional image distributed by Bee Train
GenreAction, Fantasy, Science fiction
Anime television series
Directed byItsuro Kawasaki
Written byAkemi Omode
Music byMichiru Oshima
StudioBee Train
Licensed by
Original networkWOWOW
English network
Original run April 5, 1999 October 11, 1999
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Arc the Lad 2
Written byKaoru Fujinaga
Published byEnix
MagazineMonthly Shōnen Gyaguou
Original runJune 1997April 1999
Arc the Lad 2 Honoo no Eruku
Written byHideaki Nishikawa
Published byEnix
MagazineMonthly Shōnen Gangan
Original run19982001
Light novel
Arc the Lad 2 Honoo no Eruku Sevenfold Stories
Written byHideaki Nishikawa
Published byEnix
MagazineMonthly Gangan Wing
PublishedAugust 2000
  Anime and manga portal

The Arc the Lad anime adaptation was produced by Bee Train and directed by Itsuro Kawasaki. The series ran on Japan's WOWOW satellite network for 26 episodes from April 5, 1999, to October 11, 1999[15] as part of the Anime Complex omnibus series. A North American release was produced by ADV Films and aired on the Anime Network.


The story follows the story of Arc the Lad II, the second game in the video game series. The world is also similar to the game, full of technology, but with magic and beasts as well. An evil corporation secretly controls this world and produces powerful monstrous (sometimes human) creations called chimera. Elc gets caught up in this mess when he rescues a young female beast tamer from the corporation. Her name is Lieza. Together with Shu and the rest of their companions, they fight to save a corrupt world.

Episode listEdit

#TitleOriginal air date
1"The Boy With a Flame"April 5, 1999 (1999-04-05)
2"Beginning of the Destiny"April 12, 1999 (1999-04-12)
3"Feeling in the Rain"April 19, 1999 (1999-04-19)
4"Pale Goddess"April 26, 1999 (1999-04-26)
5"The Criminals"May 3, 1999 (1999-05-03)
6"Beyond the Sound of Waves"May 10, 1999 (1999-05-10)
7"Ancient Guardian"May 17, 1999 (1999-05-17)
8"Runaway"May 24, 1999 (1999-05-24)
9"Friend Who Was Left Behind"May 31, 1999 (1999-05-31)
10"The Crusade With No Name"June 7, 1999 (1999-06-07)
11"Lonely Brave Man"June 14, 1999 (1999-06-14)
12"White House"June 21, 1999 (1999-06-21)
13"Smiling Holy Mother"June 28, 1999 (1999-06-28)
14"Shrine Maiden of the Spirit"July 5, 1999 (1999-07-05)
15"Blaze has Stood"July 12, 1999 (1999-07-12)
16"Reconquer"July 19, 1999 (1999-07-19)
17"Scarlet Castle"July 26, 1999 (1999-07-26)
18"Chimera Tower"August 2, 1999 (1999-08-02)
19"Confrontation of Two Great Men"August 23, 1999 (1999-08-23)
20"Meet Again"August 30, 1999 (1999-08-30)
21"The Place Where the Truth Is"September 6, 1999 (1999-09-06)
22"Hiding in the Shadows"September 13, 1999 (1999-09-13)
23"Frozen Eyes"September 20, 1999 (1999-09-20)
24"Quickening of the Darkness"September 27, 1999 (1999-09-27)
25"Holy Arc"October 4, 1999 (1999-10-04)
26"Shining Boy"October 11, 1999 (1999-10-11)


The opening theme for the anime series was Arc the Lad Main Theme by Masahiro Andoh. Two ending themes were sung by NiNa: Happy Tomorrow (episodes 01-12, 26) and Rest in Peace (episodes 13-26).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Dengeki PlayStation Editorial, LogicGate, ed. (March 2007). Front Mission World Historica - Report of Conflicts 1970-2121 (in Japanese). MediaWorks. ISBN 4-8402-3663-1.
  2. ^ a b c Thom Moyles (2002). "Arc theLad Collection at GameCritic". Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  3. ^ "Arc Arena for PS". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 5, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  4. ^ "アーク ザ ラッド® モンスターゲーム with カジノゲーム". Sony. 2007-12-12. Retrieved May 14, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Arc the Lad Collection at GameRankings". 2002. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "Kijin Fukkatsu at RETROBASE.NET". 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  7. ^ "Anime Digital News". 2002. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  8. ^ Christian Nutt (2005). "Arc the Lad EoD preview". Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  9. ^ Sato (2018). "Arc the Lad R Announced For Smartphones, Takes Place 10 Years After Arc the Lad II". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  10. ^ a b David Smith (2001). "Arc the Lad Collection preview". Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Mickey Shannon (2003). "Arc the Lad Collection review". Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  12. ^ a b c d "Arc the Lad Collection review". 2003. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  13. ^ "Twilight Spirits at". 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  14. ^ "End of Darkness at". 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  15. ^ それ以外の作品 [Other works] (in Japanese). Bee Train. Retrieved August 6, 2011.

External linksEdit