Time and Eternity
|Time and Eternity|
North American cover art
Time and Eternity (Japanese: Toki to Eien ~Toki Towa~ (時と永遠〜トキトワ〜), sometimes called Toki to Towa) is an animated role-playing game for the PlayStation 3. It uses 3D models for backgrounds and hand-drawn 2D sprites for characters and enemies. The story is centered on a princess, Toki, and her alter ego, Towa. The theme of "time" plays an important role, and is also utilized in the game's action-oriented battle system.
The game begins on the eve of Princess Toki’s wedding to her knight fiancé, Zack. After meeting up in their marital home the two are interrupted by Toki’s friends; the energetic young Enda, the wealthy noble Reijo and their clumsy wedding planner Wedi. After Reijo teases Zack about his obvious intention to have sex with Toki, Toki mentions that she had snuck out of the palace some time ago to visit the psychic, Makimona, who told her there would be a murder at her wedding, though the girls dismiss it as superstitious nonsense.
The following day Zack is killed protecting Toki from a group of assassins who raid the ceremony but Toki drives the remaining attackers away when she undergoes a strange shift in personality. She then casts a spell which sends her and Zack back in time to six months before the wedding in order to prevent the attack, though the spell has an unusual affect on the previously deceased Zack who instead possesses Toki’s pet dragon, Drake.
After quizzing Makimona about the cause of the attack, Makimona reveals that she is in fact a fraud, and her prediction about an attack on the wedding was a blind guess. Confused, Toki and Drake (Zack) return home to consult their friends, and Toki reveals the source of her power. She is in fact a ‘Dual Soul’ (Two souls within the same body) and periodically transforms into Towa, the alternate, more aggressive Toki from the wedding raid. She also possesses time magic, a secret art known only by those of the royal bloodline.
Enda escorts Towa to a back alley where assassins are said to hide out in hopes of interrogating them about their wedding raid plans. They meet and battle Ricardo who reveals that he is an assassin-fan and not a true assassin. He does however agree to infiltrate the assassins’ main headquarters in hope of wooing Towa, whom he instantly falls in love with.
Toki/Towa battle assassins on variety of island camps, but each foe reveals no plans to attack the wedding. Out of ideas, they catch up with Ricardo at the assassin HQ and question him. Angered at Toki/Towa’s interference in their affairs, the robotic assassin leader known as ‘Roboboss’ declares a raid on Toki’s wedding out of pure rage.
Realising they are now responsible for the attack on their own wedding, Toki/Towa and Drake eliminate Roboboss which causes the assassins’ guild to disband, thus changing their fate. Ricardo proposes to Towa who rejects him claiming that she only loves Zack. Ricardo then turns his attention to Enda who, to everyone’s surprise, also rejects him even though he is clearly her ‘type’.
Returning to the day of the wedding, the ceremony proceeds but is attacked again, this time by the undead. Zack (now human again) is killed by a poltergeist and in the chaos Toki is stabbed by her friend Reijo. Toki casts her time spell again before she can succumb to her wound and travels back to three months before the wedding. She arrives in a haunted forest and stumbles across a secret meeting between Reijo and Makimona, overhearing part of a conversation regarding an attack on the wedding.
Afterwards, Toki/Towa questions Makimona regarding Reijo’s plans and, after earning her trust, they learn that Reijo has a secret past and that she serves a powerful dragon named Netherdrake who has the ability to grant wishes. Reijo intervenes and confesses that she was an orphan raised into poverty, and her wealth was a wish granted by Netherdrake in exchange for favours, and when she asked him for another wish; Toki’s happy marriage, he later demanded that which she cherished most in return; Toki’s life, and threatened to control Reijo’s body should she refuse.
Makimona reveals that she and Reijo were working on a plan to exempt her from her contract with Netherdrake but Toki’s intrusion of their meeting ruined their only chance. Toki realises that her meddling with the timeline has doomed them yet again, and so with no other options available, she, Drake and Reijo attempt to reason with Netherdrake himself.
Netherdrake claims his contract with Reijo is legally binding with no escape clause. Drake intervenes, claiming that because he can control Reijo, Toki will die regardless of Reijo’s choice. Drake then threatens to expose his corrupt bargaining unless he frees Reijo, which prompts a reaction in Netherdrake. After a magical stand-off with Toki, Netherdrake yields and releases Reijo from her contract, thus saving the wedding.
Returning to the present and the wedding ceremony, Zack feels something is still not right. Moments later, a magically possessed Makimona attacks the wedding, but Toki and Zack are saved by Wedi who absorbs Makimona’s powerful magic attack by summoning a golem. Before Makimona can counterattack, Toki casts her time magic spell again and returns to one month before the wedding. There they find Wedi is waiting for them since her ‘fairy friend’ (a magical apparition of a tiny bird) has explained Toki’s predicament to her, but she has no idea how to summon a golem.
Rather than attacking Makimona directly, Toki and Drake agree that their changing of the timeline is what is indirectly causing the attacks on the wedding. They are advised by Sanders; Towa’s magical sentient hourglass, that they are trapped in the Moebius Loop; a phenomenon which causes history to repeat itself regardless of past events, and that it is also the source of time magic power.
Toki questions her grandmother, Eva; a time magic master, about the Moebius Loop effect. She reveals that this has happened before to a princess in the past, and she was only able to have a happy marriage by obtaining a set of artifacts known as the Something Four (something old, new, borrowed and blue) which are guarded by the guardian spirits in the four kingdoms of heaven, and that only Makimona can get them inside.
Makimona, who is still on friendly terms with Toki/Towa, grants them access to the four kingdoms of heaven whilst Wedi makes a perilous journey alone into Horror Forest in hopes of befriending a golem to save Toki in the future. After completing a series of tests set by the guardian spirits, Toki/Towa successfully obtain the Something Four, though Makimona becomes increasing jealous, wanting the artifacts for herself despite being single, and therefore having no use for them.
Wedi succeeds in befriending a golem, naming him Lemmy, and regroups with Toki/Towa. Makimona, however, tricks Toki/Towa and steals the Something Four from her, ignoring the party’s pleas for help in preventing the attack on the wedding. Makimona, unable to use the Something Four for their true purpose due to her impure heart, uses them to amplify her normally weak magic a thousand fold and becomes insane with power.
Fearing Makimona will attack the wedding as normal, Toki/Towa engages her in battle and, after an intense fight, emerges victorious. An apologetic and exhausted Makimona attempts to return the Something Four to Toki/Towa, however they are accidentally dropped from the bridge when she attempts to hands them over. Saddened, and fearing they will now never break the Moebius Loop, Toki/Towa and Drake return home, only to find their friends waiting for them, including Makimona, with newly custom-made Something Four gifts.
Empowered by the love of their friends, Toki/Towa and Drake return to their own time, but are attacked a fourth time during the wedding ceremony; this time by Sanders the magical hourglass, who casts a spell at Toki. To everyone’s surprise, the spell is nullified by the new power of the fake Something Four, which causes Sanders to shatter and change into an ageless, genderless, humanoid form.
Sanders reveals he is actually Moebius; the cause of the time loop, and announces a plan to feed on Toki’s and Towa’s memories to boost his own powers enough to allow him to live a mortal life of luxury after an eternity of confinement. Toki/Towa follows Moebius throughout the timeline, battling his possessed forms of Makimona, Netherdrake and Roboboss before challenging him in dragon form, though they are unable to cause any significant damage to him and are trapped in a time one year before the wedding.
Moebius reveals that Toki was chosen as his victim to punish her for her infidelity, because she cannot legally marry Zack due to the fact that she is already married to Towa. The two made a vow ‘to love one-another ‘til death do us part’ when they were children, and so killing them both is the only fair way to grant Zack a future, though Zack would likely die in the attempt on their lives anyway. Moebius takes Toki’s and Towa’s memories though they still manage to recall their love for Zack. Eva travels back in time to stop Toki and Towa making the vow to each other, causing Moebius to change his plans.
Moebius agrees to grant one persona a happy marriage, though the other must disappear forever. After a final showdown results in a failure to kill the immortal being, Zack (Drake) is forced to choose who he will marry, and who must disappear. Moebius disappears along with one of the personas, and Zack begins his relationship anew with the other since her memories never return. The two then successfully marry in a year surrounded by friends, and agree to name their first daughter after the persona that disappeared.
If the player is playing the New Game + option and is able to balance their love for Toki and Towa evenly, both Toki and Towa survive Moebius' attempt on their lives and begin their three-way relationship anew with Zack. Both Toki and Towa are shown at the wedding, and he vows to live a long, happy life with them, though it is unclear how such a ceremony was made possible. The game makes no clear definition of which of the three possible endings is the 'true ending', and so with no direct sequel in development it is up to the player to decide which route is canon.
Battle is based on use of different skills, which the player character learns as she progresses through the game. Enemies use skills to fight as well. Throughout the game, the player switches between controlling Toki and her alter ego Towa. The switch happens on each level-up or upon using certain items. Toki and Towa have different skills: Toki is skilled at long-ranged attacks, while Towa is better at close-range fighting. The battles take place in real-time.
- Toki (トキ)
- Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa (Japanese); Kira Buckland (English)
- A princess who has inherited magical powers, including the ability to possess past versions of herself. 16 years old.
- Towa (トワ)
- Voiced by: Eri Kitamura (Japanese); Cristina Vee (English)
- Toki's aggressive alter ego. Her transforms from pink to blonde when she is in control. Whilst she appears to be the same age as Toki, her maturity suggests she is possibly older.
- Zack (Player) (主人公 Shujinkō)
- Voiced by: Tsubasa Yonaga (Japanese); Lucien Dodge (English)
- Toki's fiancee. After he was assassinated, his soul entered the body of Toki's pet dragon, Drake (ドレイク). 18 years old. He adores Toki, but loves the idea of getting her out of her clothes even more.
- Enda (エンダ)
- Reijo (レージョ)
- Voiced by: Yukana (Japanese); Sarah Anne Williams (English)
- A wealthy, elegant yet eccentric young lady who is a childhood friend of Toki's. 16 years old.
- Wedi (ウェディ U~edi)
- Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (Japanese); Christine Marie Cabanos (English)
- Toki's friend and wedding planner. 16 years old. She is kind yet incredibly clumsy.
- Makimona (マキモナ)
- Voiced by: Aya Endou (Japanese); Julie Ann Taylor (English)
- A fortune teller who predicted the attack on the main character's wedding. Very much a Jill-of-all-trades, she'll try any and all jobs in order to get by in life but puts the same, minimal level of effort into each one. Ultimately, she only gets by due to her good looks.
- Ricardo (ビコード Bikodo)
- Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese); Kevin Delaney (English)
- The head of the assassin's guild fanclub, who believes he holds some sway with real assassins and is very much a ladies-man, which is possibly why he has his own misguided entourage.
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Development and Release History
In January 2012, the game was announced in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. At that time, it had been in the planning stage for two years, and was 45 percent complete. Toki to Eien ~Toki Towa~ differs somewhat from many JRPGs by having a female protagonist, and by only having one playable character instead of a party. Producer Kei Hirono said that "We wanted to break the mold and step away from the current trend of male hero...to have a female hero playable character who is strong." As for only having one player character, Kei said that this is both to highlight the uniqueness of the character switching mechanic, as well as to reduce animation work. Another key difference from usual JRPG fare is that Toki to Eien ~Toki Towa~ eschews the epic "save the world" type storyline for the more personally relatable experience of marriage. Interestingly, Kei himself was getting married at the same time that the game was in development.
A standard edition and a limited edition were released in Japan on October 11, 2012. The limited edition includes a 48-page artwork booklet, a soundtrack and drama CD, eleven custom PlayStation 3 themes, and a special storage box.
Speaking at the 2012 Taiwan Comic convention, Namco Bandai's Kei Hirono confirmed plans to released the game in English. In late December, a trademark application confirmed the English version's title to be Time and Eternity.
On February 21, 2013, NIS America revealed that they would release Time and Eternity in North America on July 16 and Europe on June 28 in regular and limited edition. While some English versions of JRPGs alter the content, such as changing character names or plot details, Kei Hirono has said that "Aside from the language, it’s going to be the same as the Japanese version." The English version will also give players the option of either Japanese or English voices.
Time and Eternity has been mostly panned by critics and currently maintains a 42/100 average rating on Metacritic, pooling reviews from 39 separate online sources. Elliot Gay, associate editor of Japanator, gave the game a very negative review, heavily criticizing the characters, animation, plot, and gameplay. IGN gave it a 5.6, praising its unique combat system and character progression, but criticizing its dating simulator elements, technical issues, and repetition.
Not all reviews of the game were negative; Famitsu gave the game a 32 out of 40 rating. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku highly praised it, saying, "if you like JRPGs, this one is a must-play", though he did note the animation's "lack of polish".
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- Romano, Sal (2012-01-17). "Imageepoch announces new PS3 RPG - Gematsu". Gematsu. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- Spencer (2013-03-08). "Talking About Time And Eternity, Blue Dragons, And Marriage". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- Valdes, Giancarlo (2013-02-24). "Forget saving the world: In Time and Eternity, you have to save your marriage (preview)". GamesBeat. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
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- Sal Romano (2012-08-12). "Toki to Towa set for English release". Gematsu. Retrieved 2012-08-12.
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- NIS America (2013-02-21). "TIME AND ETERNITY HITS NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE THIS SUMMER!" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- "Time And Eternity Limited Edition Package Includes Hardcover Art Book - Siliconera". 22 May 2013.
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- Ingenito, Vince (10 July 2013). "Time and Eternity Review".
- Eisenbeis, Richard (2012-10-19). "Grind? What Grind? Tokitowa's Just Fun to Play". Retrieved 2013-03-06.