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In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Pandora's Box in PAL regions), Layton receives a letter from his mentor, Dr. Schrader, in which Schrader says that he had acquired the legendary Elysian Box that is said to kill all who open it. Though Layton gets a bad feeling and rushes to his mentor's aid, Schrader is already dead and the box is missing. The only clue is a ticket for the mysterious Molentary Express, so Layton and Luke decide to take a trip with no known destination.
Please place series-spanning tropes on the main Professor Layton page.
- Abusive Parents: Duke Herzen chose his own greed instead of the happiness of his family. His obsession actually is the starting point of the events in the second game.
- Actually Not a Vampire
- Alice and Bob: By now the series has its own cast of 4-5 no-name characters for practically every hypothetical puzzle situation, the most prominent one being the brown-haired mustachioed, Mario-ish looking man. Their names are finally revealed in the 3rd to last puzzle, Colin's Grade.
- All for Nothing: When Luke acquires the hamster, it opens the hamster minigame in which he has to exercise the pudgy little beast until he's "fit and sassy!" (in the hamster's words). The end credits and the hamster's profile show that the hamster has been returned to his rightful owner, the Molentary Express cook, and is once again overfed.
- Artifact of Death: The Elysian Box, but only if you really do expect it to kill you
- Bishonen: My, but isn't younger, hallucinated Anton pretty!
- Badass Longcoat: Young Anton's coat definitely qualifies even leading many to think that he's a vampire probably because of that collar.
- Cool Train: The Molentary Express, described as like a cruise ship on rails.
- Dances and Balls/Dance of Romance: Anton and Sophia, as shown in flashbacks and the painting in the room where Layton and Luke stay at Herzen Mansion.
- Possibly Fridge Brilliance after the events of Unwound Future, where you get to find out the real reason.
- Died Happily Ever After: Sophia is very happy to see Anton and Katia getting along. Happy enough to smile serenely down from the heavens, in fact.
- Dug Too Deep: The hallucinogenic gas that the miners tapped into under Folsense.
- Everything's Better with Cows: Poor Flora, left to hang out in a barn while the Professor and Luke head off to Folsense with a disguised Don Paolo! At least the cows were friendly?
- Evil Overlooker: See the box art. Technically, he isn't evil, though.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Don Paolo exits the story pursued by Inspector Chelmey following his unmasking. In the closing credits, the chase is still going on.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: At the climax.
- Feelies: A Molentary Express ticket is included in the instruction booklet. It's also a copy of one of the in-game puzzles. The feelie's not required to solve said puzzle, but it can help to have an object to physically manipulate rather than trying to picture it in your head.
- Flanderization: While being a gentleman was an overarching theme of Curious Village, Layton can't go three lines without spouting some gentleman nonsense in Diabolical Box; it's even one of his catchphrases when he gets a puzzle right.
- Foreshadowing: The town name of Folsense. (If one has knowledge of French, the name comes out as faux-sense, which essentially means 'False Sense', which makes sense when you realize that the inhabitants of the town are mere illusions brought about by a hallucinogenic gas leak!)
- There's also one to a plot point in the next game. While in Folsense, a bouncer outside a restaurant tells Layton that he has to take off his hat if he wants to enter because of the dress code. Layton refuses to, stating that a true gentleman never removes his hat. It seems Layton has the wrong idea since, normally, people would say gentleman is required to take his hat off while indoors. However, players who play the sequel, Unwound/Lost Future, find out that this is just what he says as to not raise questions about the real reason, which is revealed in flashbacks in that game.
- Frictionless Ice: Three puzzles near the end of the game.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Near the end of the game, Layton refuses to leave the Herzen castle until he's uncovered the truth behind Dr. Schrader's death and the Elysian Box. Absolutely nothing prevents you from strolling right through the front doors and going back to solve any puzzles you may have missed along the way.
- Genre Savvy: Chelmey. When he comes to a conclusion on who stole the MacGuffin/Plot Coupon, he tells his assistant to round up the suspects for a Summation Gathering. Said assistant wonders why he doesn't simply arrest the guy, to which Chelmey shouts that unmasking the villain publicly is what detectives live for.
- More likely Wrong Genre Savvy; he acts like he's in a detective story, which he is - but he thinks he's the hero and Layton is The Amateur That Gets In The Way.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Chelmey adopting a "Don't ask, don't tell" stance concerning Luke's "apprenticeship". The ending also comes down with a case of Never Say Pregnant, ignoring the fact that Katia's grandparents never married. (Anton specifically says in the flashback that they're betrothed, and Sophia's unlockable profile identifies her as his fiancee and the mother of his child.)
- Not to mention Ilyana, a woman who works at a cabaret, flirting with various characters, particularly Luke. She also makes special mention of Mr. Beluga visiting her to "unwind".
- Identical Grandson: Katia and her grandmother, Sophia. The only notable difference between them is Katia's eyes, which she clearly inherited from Anton. It's the sight of them that makes him realize she's telling the truth.
- Ill Girl: Flora skips a great deal of the actual investigation in Folsense, staying in the hotel room because she doesn't feel well. Layton naturally expresses concern, and tells her to rest if she needs it. Of course, it turns out that "Flora" is really a disguised Don Paolo, and is using all the sick time to do his own searching for the Elysian Box.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Beluga; for all his bluster towards his employees, he shows at several points in the game to be capable of compassion. He seems mournful remembering that it had been a year since Sophia passed away, and Sam mentions that Beluga had a soft spot for his older brother, whom he left behind. In the closing credits, he is shown to be very happy to see Anton again.
- Latex Perfection: Don Paolo is somehow able to impersonate Flora without arousing suspicion.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Anton challenges Layton to a duel, and being the good sport that he is, gives Layton a free choice of the swords on the wall. It's actually a trick as all the swords are Ornamental Weapons; Layton figures out that the clue Anton gives about a "true warrior" keeping his sword in hand means to grab a sword off a nearby suit of armor.
- Meaningful Name: See Foreshadowing above.
- Mister Muffykins: On the Molentary Express, Rich Bitch Babette throws a tantrum because her precious little boy Tom is missing. She demands that Layton, Luke, and Chelmey all search for him, but thanks to her misleading Insistent Terminology, it's some time before they realize they're looking not for a child but for a dog.
- Mushroom Samba: The glitzy, modern town of Folsense is a shared hallucination induced by gas emanating from the gold mine.
- Pet Interface: If you beat the hamster minigame, he points out hint coins for you.
- Point of No Return: Averted from a gameplay perspective; see Gameplay and Story Segregation above. The endgame doesn't start until you talk to Katia. You can't visit Dropstone or the Molentary Express again once you do, though.
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma:
Wurtzer: How she [Granny Riddleton] does it is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma-stuffed mystery. Or, y'know, a mystendrum.
- Say My Name: Anton, during the duel. "LAAAAYTON!"
- Saying Too Much: Flora correctly describes the design on the Elysian Box, which she should never have seen before, proving that she's Don Paolo.
- Scenery Porn: The village of Folsense, and even more so the castle interior.
- Shared Mass Hallucination
- Shout-Out: In the very first cutscene, we see the Triforce in the rose Flora is wearing.
- Slippy Slidey Ice Puzzles: Crossing the frozen lake to reach the Duke's castle requires solving puzzles in which you slide a miniature Professor around a sort of maze.
- Spot of Tea: Not only does the good professor go on at length throughout the series about his love for a good tea, but in Diabolical Box, it turns into a gameplay mechanic.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Anton and Sophia.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
Layton: "We're looking for information about the Elysian Box."
- Take a Third Option: You have three holes, and have two corks that you must use to completely block off the odor of garlic. Where do they go? In your nose.
- Title Drop: The last and most difficult bonus puzzle is called the "Diabolical Box".
- Trial and Error Gameplay: Making the various tea recipes. Figuring out what to give to people involves logic, but is simple to figure out if you have the recipes.
- Villainous Breakdown: Anton does not take the news that his beloved Sophia has passed away very well.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Don Paolo dresses up as Flora for a good portion of the game.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Anton
- Wild Mass Guessing: In the second-to-last cutscene, the Molentary Express is shown pulling out of Folsence Station. Luke waves out the train window to Anton and Katia... who are standing on a hill... Did Layton and Luke really leave them behind, by themselves, in the dilapidated, run-down town with no connection to society? Surely it would not have been any trouble to drop them of in Dropstone when picking up Flora. During the credits, we do see all of Katia's servants from Dropstone arriving to renovate the town, so it's possible they're not alone after all.
- Yandere: Anton actively tries to kill Layton after misunderstanding the situation and thinking the Professor stole "his Sophia". Justified in that the last fifty years left him lonely and in great despair.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Katia has purple hair, as did her grandmother Sophia.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: The town of Folsense is a massive hallucination caused by the hallucinogenic gas in the town's mine. The Elysian Box has elements of the gas in it, as otherwise it really is just a box, and it only kills people because they're expecting it to. Dr. Schrader is implied to have survived because he didn't really believe it would kill him.
- The box has no effect on Luke and Layton because they are already hallucinating.