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Warning: This post is image-heavy.
Blaze Union is the prequel to Yggdra Union. It was released for the PSP in 2010. Tobe Sunaho returned to create new card art, whereas freelance illustrator Kousaki Rui was hired as the character designer and primary artist. The game inherits the same basic systems of Yggdra Union, with a few significant changes to suit the multi-path story, as well as revisions to the game balance.
Start at the beginning of Yggdra Union, rewind three years, and head northwest. It is now the year 1487, and this is the Bronquian Empire.
It turns out that the rest of the continent’s so-called golden era was a dark age for the Empire, which was facing its twilight after a long period of decline. Traditionally, Bronquia has been ruled by the descendants of the demon dragon Brongaa, but the bloodline has grown weak in the recent generations of emperors and finally died out. The current Emperor is the very last of the imperial family, obtaining his powers via a contract with Brongaa, and is heirless, distrusted, and generally hapless when it comes to government. His heavy taxes and military drafts have earned him a lot of dislike from the people.
The country’s nobles oppress their citizens and turn a blind eye to their plight; greedy merchants prey on the poor and take what little they have to call their own. Banditry runs rampant, and most of the military either can’t or won’t put a stop to it. Every kind of injustice has a stranglehold on the Bronquian people.
In a city called Tiera which is the trade capital of the nation, three young vigilantes try to find a way to stand up against the oppression and protect the people of the slums. For their leader Garlot, this is a very personal battle, and he has significant doubts as to whether his and his friends’ methods can create real, permanent change.
After Garlot’s first real victory against a small-time villain, he is contacted by a progressive noble named Velleman. This man offers to hire Garlot’s party as his own private soldiers, seeking firepower for his personal campaign of political change.
When Garlot accepts, his destiny will be set in motion irrevocably—and as the captain of the growing army Gram Blaze, he will amass the power and support that he needs to save the country from destroying itself.
Blaze Union is a coming-of-age story of quite a different flavor from Yggdra Union. It’s a narrative about the bonds between friends, about surviving, about fighting prejudice and standing up for what you believe in. It’s the story behind Gulcasa’s coup d’état, and it’s the story of one terribly battered kid flipping tables over injustice.
Garlot is the protagonist, captain of Gram Blaze. Passionate, hot-tempered, and reckless; also extremely kind and gentle, and prone to empathizing with even his enemies. Very sensitive. Categorically incapable of abandoning anyone in need, and not very good at hiding his emotions. Heavily shaped by years of brutal abuse at the hands of his father. Loves his friends more than anything. Likes grilled food; hates milk.
Siskier is Garlot’s childhood friend and is in charge of the scout division. Very cheerful and energetic; makes friends easily. Helped to raise Garlot, is always supportive of him, and has feelings for him—which he doesn’t seem to really understand. Tends to wear very little due to a dislike of constricting clothing. Loves scarves and sweets, has a deep distrust of nobles.
Jenon is Garlot and Siskier’s other childhood friend. Tries to put on airs as a suave ladies’ man, which would be a lot more convincing if he were ever successful (he never is). The only one of the childhood friends with an education. He’s the army’s first tactician, and does not deal very well with being replaced. Likes milk. Hates Nessiah and makes it a point to pick fights with him a lot.
Medoute is a traveling warrior who winds up staying with Garlot and company after giving them harsh advice and witnessing them following it, against her expectations. She has traveled the world by boat and is very knowledgeable, but tends to misjudge how easily Garlot bruises. Always calm, rational, and in charge. Has a tendency to lecture. Likes practical things.
Aegina is a young noble girl being targeted by a mysterious organization called the Blessed Papal Army. Well-mannered and rather quiet, but is a force to be reckoned with when angered. Has a great deal of respect for Garlot, and gets along well with Siskier. Loves mushrooms; loathes Fantasinia for reasons she won’t discuss.
Nessiah is a hermit rumored to be a prophet, and is hired to become Gram Blaze’s new strategist. Quickly becomes very close with Garlot. Very polite, intelligent, and even sweet; can get a little underhanded at times. Champion long-distance grudge holder. Often serves as the group’s voice of reason. Blind, but copes using magic. Likes Garlot, books, and bananas.
Eimi is a homeless little girl traveling the country in search of a big brother she’s never met. At the beginning of the game she is rescued by Garlot and Siskier, and doesn’t run into them again for a while. Usually very chipper; dependable and tireless. Quite attached to Garlot and Nessiah. Loves cute things; hates ageists, which is unfortunate as she has to deal with a lot of them.
Leon is a knight in the Imperial Army who was demoted from the emperor’s personal guard to the post of border patrol captain after a certain incident. Distrustful, grouchy, loudmouthed, violent, and quick to pick a fight. Also rather easily hurt. Comes to see Garlot as his rival. Surprisingly bashful underneath all that bluster. Loves apples; is protective of his sister Elena.
Velleman is the heroes’ boss, a nobleman with the rank of Landgrave. He’s both very ambitious and very progressive, and has made a lot of enemies. Usually acts as mission control, but occasionally accompanies the group on their objectives. Tends to butt heads with Garlot over the latter’s incurable habit of ignoring orders in favor of going to save people.
Thortie / Soltier is the current Emperor. Hated and feared by the populace; very, very bad at his job. Knows it. Tends to be rather laid-back and take things in stride, but his demeanor is totally different on the battlefield. Slowly becomes curious about Garlot due to sensing something special about him.
Lapis is Thortie’s head bodyguard and confidante, serving both as his brakes and his right arm. Very devoted to him. Unfortunately, her life is rather full of headaches as she gets dragged along for the ride when he’s feeling whimsical.
Blaze Union is played very similarly to Yggdra Union, and uses the same essential system with only one major change: Rather than being one linear story, Blaze Union has two full chapters where you must choose a handful of battlefields out of a long list. Your choices determine which allies you recruit, which cards you obtain, and which items (and item trades) you have access to. And towards the end of the game, the final chapter will be determined from one of three branching scenarios based on your mission choices.
As with Yggdra Union, this game includes an unlockable Extra Contents section with which you can measure how close you are to 100% completion. There is one character, and one card, that cannot be obtained without (Japanese-version) Yggdra Union save data on your memory card.
Blaze Union Official Documents Book – Features illustrations, creator commentary, background settings, and an interview with the game staff.