The core of this theory concerns the identity and origins of one of the members of Almata. After establishing this character’s true identity I attempt to expand the theory by examining other characters for potential connections.
The Truth Behind Melchior
My first clue to this theory came during the 30 second PV Falcom released two months ago. During the villain fly-thru one of the characters struck me as off. The character we would come to know as Melchior seemed different from the others in a deep, fundamental way; it was not so much a question of looks but of design, that Melchior seemed to be designed with different principles in mind in a way that I found difficult to express. This bothered me for quite a while — until it hit me — Melchior actually was fundamentally different: he was a character originally designed during a different era of Trails visual design; he was someone we had seen before.
It was then that I realized — Melchior is actually Cross from Star Door 15.
The visual similarities are overwhelming. The best image I’ve found to demonstrate them comes from one of the promotional images Falcom released (which can be found on Melchior’s wiki page as “Melchior – Promotional Screenshot 1 (Kuro).jpg”. When we compare it to the image of Cross from Star Door 15, several similarities are apparent. Both share the same short, unkempt, spiky hairstyle; both have identical shapes to their faces and even their ears; both share very similar clothing (undershirts with low necklines worn beneath other clothing). Even the green of Melchior’s hair evokes the color used for Cross (though we shouldn’t given this much weight as evidence given that Quatre’s hair color doesn’t evoke his Star Door 15 version in the same way).
The circumstantial evidence behind the connection is also strong. Falcom’s promotional material lists Melchior’s age as 21 — four years older than Renne — which fits nicely with Cross’s status as the oldest of the children at Paradise. Melchior’s seemingly unnatural skills and abilities can be at least partially explained by exposure to Gnosis. His personality could also be explained by the abuse he suffered at Paradise (also, depending on how we interpret Renne’s interactions with her mental image of Cross, he might have been suffering from a breakdown of his own). On top of all of this, we can also add that Falcom frequently creates villains with deep personal connections with its heroes; having Quatre (and possibly Renne) confront Cross would create the kind of conflict that Falcom seems to relish.
Etta and Adje
If we accept that Falcom intends to explore the story of Quatre and Cross in Kuro, it seems only natural that the other two children from Star Door 15 might enter the story in some way as well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the fanbase might well be upset if Falcom decided to use Quatre and Cross while simply ignoring the fate of Etta and Adje. Could they too be part of the Kuro cast? Let’s consider what we know about the two of them in comparison to the female cast of appropriate age.
- Appearance: Short hair with twintails sprouting from the sides of her head; hair parts on her left, with bangs that sweep to her right
- Personality: precocious, brimming with curiosity, jokes and giggles a lot
- Age: seems young, though older than Quatre; possibly around Renne’s age
- Appearance: Long hair that parts down the middle, bangs fall to the sides
- Personality: described as polite and mature, seems old for her age
- Age: difficult to guess due to her personality; probably older than Etta and Renne due to her more feminine shape, but definitely younger than Cross
Now that we’ve established what to look for, let’s consider the female cast members with ages between Quatre and Melchior.
Odette (Age 16; Renne – 1):
Odette has some surprising similarities to Etta, starting with her name: Etta could easily be short for Odette. Moreover, Odette also has twintails, though hers are of a very different nature to Etta’s (falling down rather than coming out to the sides). Her personality (from what we can tell) seems to be a plausible fit for Etta as well: like Etta, Odette seems outgoing and jokey.
On the other hand, there are significant problems with her candidacy as well. We have no evidence of any unnatural intelligence or abilities of the sort we see from Renne, Tio, or Quatre. Most importantly, it seems highly implausible that Renne could spend extended periods of time in close proximity to an “Etta” without picking up on something.
Agnes Claudel (Age 16; Renne – 1):
Nope. No. No way. This isn’t her role in the story.
Ashen Lu (Age 17; Same as Renne):
Also no. There’s no way the cult is kidnapping the granddaughter of a Heiyue elder.
Nina Fenly (Age 18; Renne + 1):
The most notable thing about Nina is how little we really know about her. Her personality seems like a big mystery so far: my first guess would be that she is the good girl / idol type (in keeping with Adje), but there is little actual evidence to support that. In fact, Etta seems the character more likely to be drawn to acting as a vocation. Similarly, her hairstyle could be used to support either character: long hair would favor Adje, but the way her hair is parted is closer to Etta. Her name is another open ended piece of evidence: as an actress, “Nina Fenly” could be a stage name. Also, like Odette, Nina doesn’t seem to have had any effects of Gnosis (but again, what do we really know?).
Verdict: No evidence in support, but we really don’t know enough to judge.
Olympia (Age 19; Renne + 2):
Olympia is an interesting candidate for only one reason: like Renne, she can (apparently) control an orbal doll. While this might be a compelling point of evidence in another character, Olympia’s extreme visual dissimilarity to both Adje and Etta makes her highly implausible. Moreover, her mechanistic personality also seems a poor fit.
As an aside, my current (wild and implausible) theory about Olympia is that she is the product of a failed attempt at connecting to a doll. Like the some of the people who tried to connect to Pater-Mater before Renne, she may have been left comatose or brain-dead. If this is true, “Olympia” might not be a girl puppeteering a doll, but rather the doll puppeteering a girl (explaining her personality, or lack thereof).
Verdict: Whatever she is, she’s unlikely to be Etta or Adje.
Risette Twinings (Age 20; Renne + 3):
When I first started thinking about potential Etta and Adje candidates I didn’t give Risette much consideration; like many fans, I was partial to the android theory. However, the more I consider things, the more plausible an Adje candidate Risette becomes. For a start, Risette’s personality seems to fit well with Adje; they are both polite, mature people who give off a reserved aura. Risette’s unnatural physical abilities might also be (partially) explained by Gnosis exposure. Her appearance cuts both ways, she does have Adje’s long hair, but instead of a part down the middle, Risette’s bangs fall straight down above her eyes.
Verdict: …Maybe. While Risette does have interesting similarities with Adje, the (small) difference in their hairstyles gives me a lot of pause. With Quatre and Melchior/Cross, Falcom chose to create an extreme visual similarity between their younger and older counterparts; that similarity is nowhere near as strong with Risette.
Still, I think she is the most plausible candidate of the characters I’ve examined. If she is Adje, her character and role in the story would be far more clear than it is now. She would have deep connections to both Quatre and Melchior (could the organization Melchior belonged to before Almata be MTSC?). Previously, her whole ‘maid’ thing had led me to not take her seriously as a character, but I’m now starting to see new possibilities.
Since making the connection between Cross and Melchior, I find myself growing more and more interested in what happens in Kuro. The presence of both Quatre and Cross all but guarantees that the events at Paradise will be a major factor in Kuro’s story. How many secrets are going to be exposed as Van and company dig behind the scenes, and what will become of Calvard as a result? The mystery of potential Adje and Etta candidates only adds to the suspense. At this point, I’m expecting an explosive plot (and probably some actual explosives from Melchior as well).
I’d like to take this opportunity to propose an English title for Kuro: Trails Out of Darkness. Of the titles I’ve seen so far, I think this one would do the best job of capturing the darkness/dawn duality inherent in Kuro.
Addendum 2 (THE MOST IMPORTANT PREDICTION):
Since it has been a year since Hajimari/Reverie, we should get an answer to our most burning question: boy or girl.
I hereby predict Olivier and Schera have had a girl, and they will have named her Ariel after Olivier’s mother.