One of the most recent entries of the Alchemy series (and one of the last on the PS2), Mana Khemia, follows the adventures of a workshop (basically a study group) of students as they go through a school that for all intents is Hogwarts. The problem is that while the main characters are going on their little adventures and trying to learn to be the best Alchemists that they can be, they also have one of the most insane rivals I have ever seen in almost any media.
The bad guy’s name is Tony, and he introduces himself to the characters by telling them that they are going to join his workshop and become his minions/slaves for the next couple of years. Their reaction of both politely turning him down and running away to save their lives is rather understandable, given most of the events that happen later and given the fact that it is more of a demand then anything.
Later, during one assignment when he asks another student in his workshop to battle the group to hold them up so he can be the first to gather an item for an assignment. Nothing really that surprising as this is the kind of the thing that a normal school bully would do, also I guess that he could use that time to gather better items for a higher grade in the class. He then burns down the tree where the item needed to complete the assignment is gathered.
Yup, instead of just slowing down the people who are in close second to the gather spot he decides the correct course of action is to simply destroy the entire area and make sure that no one can ever get that one ingredient ever again. Also, I believe that I failed to mention that he isn’t even in the class that this is for and he is a full grade higher than is required to even take the class. As a matter of fact the only person that is in the grade the event was designed for in his workshop is the person who was used to slow the main characters, so technically he is even taking the education of friends away from them.
Later, during the school festival that everyone else is enjoying, he tricks your group into entering a combat competition. While a school sponsored event that consists of student beat the snot out of each other even sounds odd as I am writing it, it is best to remember that this is also a school for a future profession that expects battles with rather difficult monsters to gather the base items needed for a healing potion or tooth paste.
The part where the “trick” comes into place is that he managed to kidnap one of the main characters, and at this point in the game the core/only healer in the group, and threatens to kill her unless the other workshop throws the fight. So from making an entire grade below him fail to spite one person for deciding to not be his minion/slave and jumping directly to out and out murder. Yeah, his actions kind of seem to be a little over the top. Oh, and I should probably point out that the school both doesn’t care about his this/encourages it because I guess in the world of alchemy it is cool to just be a dick to everyone and then poison their drinking water for no real reason.
The characters do go and save their classmate, and the person who was holding her says that they had no intention of killing her. OK, I guess the game has a Teen rating, and not everyone in the other workshops is totally insane. Although while she is leaving she does mention that she didn’t really know what she was doing while mixing the sleeping potion and the kidnapped character may die or never wake up. While she does end up being perfectly fine, WHY ARE PEOPLE SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO THIS SCHOOL?!?
So killing them doesn’t really work, and they are better than his entire workshop at fighting. What is an insane and entirely dangerous youth to do? The answer basically comes in the way of him trying to screw directly with their grades and random assignments. That is right; Tony can’t give the group anything and wants to make sure that they fail at everything, even lunch.
Although the grade that he decides to mess with is more extra credit than anything else, so if his plan is to work you can kiss that plus at the end of your A grade goodbye rivals! Guess who isn’t going to be a valedictorian?!? Them!
So after all that time, and all of the failures Tony kind of loses it. All of his mannerisms start getting really erratic and oddly some of his animations in the game even change. Before we had murder and destruction of dreams on the list, what is he planning this time?
Oddly nothing. Everything basically boils back down to a text book rivalry. When the school hosts a trivia/fishing contest he challenges the main character to both of the events (Although when he gets close to losing he does try to kill an old man, who proceeds to beat him so badly you don’t see him for weeks). Either he has forgotten why he once attempted to murder these people, or something in his brain popped causing him to turn into a normal human being.
That is it too. After that he simply graduates. He was always a year ahead of the main cast of characters and he simply leaves the school. No lasting pranks, no sneaking back in to kill characters in the middle of the night, the closest that anyone gets is in the last dungeon there is a flash back to him and the characters kind of agree that he was a dick. Anti-climatic doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. I was kind of hoping during the credits it would show him making a potion that caused only pain and suffering for people who disagreed with him, but instead there was nothing.
Strangely the game ended up reflecting more of real life that way.