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Shikigami no Shiro (roughly translated as Castle of Spirits; known as Castle of Shikigami in the West) is a series of Bullet Hell Shoot Em Ups developed by Alfa System. The overarching plot involves a mysterious castle in the country of Alcaland, which has been the subject of many "missing persons" cases. A handful of psychic soldiers have converged on the location to conduct their own investigations of the incident, each for his/her own reasons.
The Shikigami series uses the following tropes:
- Badass Baritone: Munchausen. Holy crap, Munchausen!!.
- Bad Export for You: The first two games got completely screwed in their US localization, the first one released as "Mobile Light Force 2" (the sequel to a game that had nothing to do with Shikigami no Shiro) with all the story elements cut out, and the second game suffering from one of the most infamously bad video game translation jobs of all time. Thankfully, the third game turned out alright.
- Barrier Warrior: Nigi and Nagino
- Battle Butler: Munchausen
- Berserk Button: Do NOT call Fumiko an "old maid".
- Blind Idiot Translation: The second game is filled with very odd examples of Engrish.
- Blade on a Stick: Batu's cross-shaped spear.
- Bullet Hell
- Canon Foreigner: Reika (SnS 3) originally comes from an old Laserdisc game known as Time Gal.
- Nigi Gorgeous Blue was originally from Gunparade March.
- Charged Attack: Batu's Shikigami attacks.
- Comforting the Widow: Kohtaro had a woman with whom he made a Childhood Marriage Promise, but who is now hospitalized. Sayo falls in love with Kohtaro. In the third game, that ex becomes the Big Bad. Or seemingly so, until you realize that all the bosses in the third game are illusions and not the real people.
- Covers Always Lie: The "Mobile Light Force 2" US cover of the first game features a trio of gunslinging Charlie's Angels lookalikes that appear absolutely nowhere in the game. It's also the exact same cover as the first Mobile Light Force game (which is actually Gunbird. It's all rather confusing.)
- Cloudcuckoolander: Reika is certainly..."out there".
- Cute Ghost Girl: Sayo.
- Eldritch Abomination: What "Tsukiko" (actually an illusion) turns out to be in Sn S III.
- Fedora of Asskicking: Gennojo wears one.
- Flanderization: In-Universe. Kohtaro's story mode in Shikigami No Shiro III involves the uneasy grounds of Kohtaro's and Sayo's partnership, with the underlying tension of undisclosed feelings; Sayo being a Tsundere (while also feeling guilty about this) with Kohtaro constaly apologizing. Come Dramatic Change Mode, many story modes where Kohtaro is one of the two selected characters involve this dynamic in a rather one-dimensional way that varies from scenario to scenario (ie, Sayo is turned into a Clingy Jealous Girl in some, in others, Kohtaro is almost completely Oblivious to Love, etc).
- Gameplay Grading
- Head Pet: Nagino's bunny.
- The Hero: Officially, Kohtaro Kuga, though Reika and Nagino are more prominent on the third game's cover art.
- Hot Witch: Fumiko, complete with Robe and Wizard Hat.
- Kill Sat: Fumiko and Munchausen have Shikigami attacks that rain down lasers from above that leave behind Spheres of Destruction.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Munchausen. When you can see his eyes, RUN.
Munchausen: "I shall educate you. Prepare yourself."
- McNinja: Roger
- Medium Awareness: Yukari, the fourth boss of the second game and first boss of the third.
- Reika too, but only because she's been displaced from her game of origin. She still thinks she's in an FMV game.
- Hell, everyone. Pretty much everyone makes a remark at some point that shows they know they're in a video game. For example, in the third game, Fumiko openly mocks Yukari for getting excited about being back for the third game while she doesn't appear to realize that she's been demoted from Stage 4 to Stage 1.
- Nerd Glasses: Munchausen's specs.
- Nintendo Hard: Yeah, pretty much.
- No Fourth Wall: The third game, in which everyone seems to know that they're in a video game.
- Parrot Pet Position: Nigi's cat.
- Physical God: Gennojo and Kagachi.
- Pinball Scoring
- Power Nullifier: Shikou (second boss, third game) shoots arrows that temporarily seal normal fire during his second attack phase.
- Psychic Powers
- Punctuated for Emphasis: From the third game:
Yukari: Yukari Horiguchi! Yu-ka-ri!
- Rank Inflation
- Shout-Out: Both Fumiko and Sayo resemble Marisa and Reimu of Touhou.
- Smart Bomb: Nearly every character has this in some form. Reika's allows her to momentarily freeze time.
- Smoking Is Cool: Gennojo
- Space Is an Ocean: of space.
- The Stoic: Emilio
- Stun Guns: Shikou, the second boss of Shikigami III, uses arrows that prevent your character from firing if they connect.
- Time Police: Reika. Again, a callback to her Time Gal roots.
- Turns Red: Mini-bosses and stage bosses alike have at least three attack patterns, depending on how much HP they have remaining.
- Tyke Bomb: Nagino
- The Vamp: Fumiko. According to the manual, she's said to be as evil, if not more so, than the game's Big Bad.
- although Shikigami attacks can still be used