Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer RPG for Game Boy Advance
FAQ Version 0.4 written by Shachihoko

* Table of Contents *

I. Introduction
   A. About this FAQ
      1. Copyright
      2. Purpose
      3. Format and language notes
      4. Revision history
   B. About Angelic Layer for GBA
II. General
   A. Game system
      1. Overview and game structure
      2. Control scheme
      3. Menus
         a. Status screen
         b. Items/Defense screen
         c. Module screen
   B. Angelic Fight!
      1. The Rhythm Combination system
      2. Phases of combat
   C. Module data (to come)
III. Walkthrough: Advanced Story mode (to come)
IV. My Angel Story mode
   A. Creating an Angel
   B. My Angel Story overview/walkthrough
   C. Linked play (Taisen mode)
V. Conclusion


* I. Introduction *
* I.A. About this FAQ *
* I.A.1. Copyright *

     This document is written by and copyright 2002 Timothy Miller, a.k.a.
Shachihoko. It may only be used for personal reference regarding the Angelic
Layer video game for Game Boy Advance; information may NOT be taken from this
FAQ for use in any other document without the specific written permission of
the author.
     This FAQ has been submitted to GameFAQs.com <http://www.gamefaqs.com/>
for posting and archival purposes. This document may not be reposted elsewhere
unless it has been submitted by the author for such posting, in which case
this section will be updated to reflect the new permissions.
     The author may be contacted at this e-mail address: <trmiller@bcpl.net>


* I.A.2. Purpose *

     Now that the legal stuff is out of the way, welcome to my FAQ for the
Angelic Layer RPG for Game Boy Advance. This document is meant to serve as a
guide to players who are getting stuck along the way - since the game is only
in Japanese (and likely to remain so), there's likely to be a language barrier
for some people, but it's possible to play and enjoy the game without
necessarily understanding everything that's being said.
     Please note that this FAQ is *not* a translation guide; I will explain
in English what happens during the walkthrough, but I'm not going to translate
every line of text that you'll see. I assume that if you've imported the game
or are playing a Japanese ROM, you have some ability to read and understand
Japanese text; if you can't tell hiragana from katakana, then you're going to
be stuck beyond my ability to assist you.
     I'd also like to think that the existence of a reasonably full FAQ will
encourage people to actually buy the game and support the creators, instead of
sticking with emulators and illegally-dumped ROM images. The Game Boy Advance
doesn't have a region lock-out, and the Angelic Layer game is readily
available in Japan or through import stores in other countries; beyond that,
it's a great game based on a truly kick-ass series, so let's show our support!
If you're really unsure about buying the game, *then* go ahead and try it
through an emulator, but if you decide you like it enough to keep, please buy
a legitimate copy.


* I.A.3. Format and language notes *

     As stated above, I assume that the reader of this FAQ has some
familiarity with the Japanese language - at minimum, the ability to read
hiragana and katakana (the phonetic scripts) and understand some frequently-
used words and grammatical forms. If you know kanji, all the better. However,
if you can't read any Japanese at all, I'll try to tell you enough that you
can navigate through the game without needing a full translation.
     When typing Japanese words, I tend to use a variation on the Hepburn
system; long vowels in Japanese will be represented by a romanization of the
hiragana used (example: "Ohayou gozaimasu"). In the case of loanwords written
in katakana, I'll render them back into the original English when the original
word is recognizable.
     In talking about menus and option screens, I'll generally use the
English equivalents of the Japanese words which appear in the game; these will
be explained in the appropriate overview sections.
     Character names will follow the traditional Japanese order, with the
family name preceding the given name. However, after a character's initial
appearance in the game, I'll use their given name when I know it.


* I.A.4. Revision history *

Version 0.4: The initial version to be posted on GameFAQs.com.
- Outline for the completed FAQ is established, may be fleshed out as needed
- Game overview is complete in this version
- Game system and combat system explained
- My Angel Story overview complete
(posted 6/04/02)


* I.B. About Angelic Layer for GBA *

     _Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer: Misaki to Yume no Tenshitachi_, first
released in Japan on December 14, 2001, is officially classified as a
"fighting/raising role-playing game" for Game Boy Advance. The game follows
the principle storyline of the anime TV series _Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer_,
which in turn was based on the _Angelic Layer_ manga written/drawn by CLAMP
and published by Kadokawa Shoten.
     In all of its incarnations, _Angelic Layer_ is the story of a young girl
named Suzuhara Misaki, who has come to Tokyo from her grandparents' home in
Wakayama. After getting lost in Tokyo Station, Misaki wanders outside and sees
a fight being shown on a giant TV screen on the side of a building - a fight,
it turns out, between two dolls (called Angels), each controlled by a human
being (or Deus) in the game which is known as Angelic Layer. Fascinated by
what she's just seen, Misaki is quickly drawn into the world of Angelic Layer,
becoming a skilled Deus herself as she guides her Angel, Hikaru, through the
battles that they face.

     In English, the full title of the GBA game is "Mobile Angel Angelic
Layer: Misaki and the Dream Angels". If you've seen the Angelic Layer anime
(fansubbed or otherwise), then you're probably somewhat familiar with the
storyline already. The game focuses very closely on Misaki's progress through
the Angelic Layer tournaments, leaving out quite a few events from the anime
which don't tie in directly to the tournaments themselves - there's very
little room for variation, which may be a bad thing in some players' eyes.
There's a little bit of flexibility, but the eventual outcome - if you get
that far - will be the same. It's still fun to play through and get there,
though. ^_^
     When you first play Angelic Layer for GBA, your only option will be
"Advanced Story," which follows the anime storyline as described above. After
you finish Advanced Story, there'll be two other options at the title screen:
"My Angel Story," in which you can create your own Angel and play against
every other Deus in the game as you like, on Layers of your choosing, and
"Taisen" or battle mode, which lets you pit your own Angel against a human
opponent. Taisen mode is, in a sense, the heart of Angelic Layer on Game Boy
Advance - bringing the game from the anime to life.
     (Now, if only there were a GameCube version. ^^)

     The combat system used in _Angelic Layer_ takes a little bit of getting
used to. Rather than implementing an arcade-style fighting game engine (along
the lines of Street Fighter), Angelic Fights are handled through a system
which combines strategic elements with something vaguely comparable to Dance
Dance Revolution, called the Rhythm Combination system. The combat system is
explained at greater length in the appropriate section of this FAQ, but I'll
comment here that this system is actually perfect for Angelic Layer - it fits
within an RPG better than a Street Fighter-style engine would, gives the non-
arcade gamers a fighting chance, and captures the (possible) feel of a Deus
concentrating on controlling her Angel's movements.


* II. General *
* II.A. Game system *
* II.A.1. Overview and game structure *

     The Angelic Layer game for GBA divides pretty smoothly into two parts:
walking around (called "Local Area" mode in the manual) and combat, or Angelic
Fights. The nice thing about Angelic Layer is that you don't have to worry
about random encounters; every "fight" is recognizable before you get there.
Earning experience and leveling up isn't a big issue, either - you go up a
level after each of the primary Angelic Fights in the game.
     Local Area mode takes place in an isometric view; however, for some
reason or other your movement is confined to the same diagonals. It looks
neat, but makes movement a little tricky to get used to. Fortunately, there's
an option in the menu to toggle the movement mode - you can either push the D-
pad diagonally (a little harder than it sounds) or you can "rotate" the D-pad
45 degrees, so that you push straight up/down/left/right but Misaki moves on
the corresponding diagonal.
     You'll probably find that Local Area mode consists mostly of finding the
right person to talk to and/or the right doorway to go through in order to
trigger the next event. However, there are also quite a few occasions when the
game goes into cut-scenes (sometimes lengthy) in which control is taken out of
your hands while the story moves along. There's no way to skip past these cut-
scenes; all you can do is proceed through the dialogue by pressing the A
button, and follow as much of the conversation as you can in the meantime.
(Most of the conversations correspond with dialogue from the anime series; if
you're familiar with the anime then you should have an easy time keeping track
of what's happening.)
     You *will* reach a point where you want (and need) to do more than
simply navigate from one event to the next; among other things, you'll want to
go to the store counters in the Piffle Princess and the tournament arena in
order to buy items and modules for your Angel, as well as seeking out practice
matches (also at Piffle Princess).


* II.A.2. Control scheme *

Local Area mode:
D-pad - Movement
A or L - Talk (and advance through conversation/messages)
Start - Opens the menu window
B, R, Select - not used in Local Area mode

Menu screens:
D-pad - Moves cursor
A button - Select/confirm a selection
B button - Cancel; closes menu window from main menu
L button - Return to previous menu
(Note: Menu-specific commands are described in the next section with the
relevant menus.)

Angelic Fights:
D-pad - Moves cursor (Movement and module selection phases)
A button - Confirm selection
B button - Cancel
Start - Shows information about a module (Module selection phase)
(* Also see the Angelic Fight section of the FAQ.)


* II.A.3. Menus *

     Pressing the Start button while you're in Local Area mode opens the main
menu, which contains four options throughout most of the game.

"Tenshi" (Angel)
     Opens the Angel menu screen; appears after you have Hikaru.
"Seebu" (Save)
     Saves the game. (Note: There's only one save slot.)
"Sousa" (Search)
     Toggles between exact and rotated movement schemes.
"Hinto" (Hint)
     Gives you a nudge in the right direction ... in Japanese, of course.

     When you select "Sousa," two D-pad graphics appear. The one with arrows
pointing in the cardinal directions is for what I call "rotated" movement; if
you press up, Misaki will actually go up/right on the screen, and so forth.
The D-pad with arrows pointing diagonally is for "exact" movement - you'll
need to push the D-pad so that it registers a diagonal direction, but Misaki
will move in the same direction you're pressing. (Personally, I find the
rotated movement scheme easier to handle.)

     You'll be spending a lot more time in the Angel menu screen, though.
When you select "Tenshi" from the main menu, you'll get to wait through a
short animation as the Angel set-up stage powers up and Hikaru appears over
it. You can then select from one of the following options:

"Suteetasu o Miru" (Status)
     Shows Hikaru's current stats (and Misaki's).
"Aitemu/Bougu no soubi" (Items/Defense equipment)
     Lets you equip Hikaru with accessories and defensive items that you've
bought. (You can equip up to three Items (accessories) and one 'bougu' or
defensive material at a time; each has its effects on Hikaru's stats.)
"Mojuuru sentaku" (Module management)
     This is where you'll equip Hikaru with the techniques she'll be able to
use in Angelic Fights. (Hikaru starts out with several modules already
"loaded" and a few others available to work with if you so desire, but the
default setup will be good enough to get you through the first few matches.)


* II.A.3.a. Status screen *

     The Status screen displays the following information, from the top down.
(Note that the labels for "Physical" and "Concentration" are in English;
everything else is in Japanese.)

Angel name (it'll say "Hikaru" throughout Advanced Story mode)

Misaki: (Misaki's experience level)
Physical (Hikaru's current HP maximum)
Concentration (Misaki's/Hikaru's "concentration"; will probably stay at 020)
Hand attack         Defense        Evasion
Leg attack               Hit            Potential
Angel Point (how many Angel Points you've earned, the "money" you use)

And here's what those statistics mean:
Hand attack - Effectiveness of upper-body attacks carry
Leg attack - Effectiveness of lower-body attacks
Defense - Overall defense
Hit - How likely you are to connect with an attack
Evasion - Dodging success rate
Potential - Critical hit potential


* II.A.3.b. Items/Defense screen *

     The Items/Defense screen is divided into three major areas. The right
side of the screen displays your Angel's statistics, using the same kanji as
in the Status screen; on the left is a window which displays your currently-
equipped defensive material and accessories, with a menu beneath that to
choose whether you want to change defensive material ("bougi") or accessories
"Aitemu").
     After selecting from that menu, you go to the equip screen. Again, the
window on the right shows your current stats; if any stats will change if the
selected item is equipped (when it isn't), then the changes will be displayed
in this window. (Note that not all items affect the numerical statistics on
this screen.) On the left is the list of items or defensive material you own.
     CONTROL NOTE: Pressing the B button in the item-equip screens will *un-
equip* the last equipped item! To return to the main Items/Defense screen,
press the L shoulder button.


* II.A.3.c. Module screen *

     This is the most complicated and most important of the menu sub-screens;
get used to the layout, because you're probably going to spend more time here
than in any other menu.
     The left side of the screen shows the list of modules which you *own*;
you get new modules either by earning them from defeated opponents, or buying
them from one of the Angelic Layer shops. Any module which is currently
equipped is marked by a star next to the rank letter; unequipped modules are
displayed in gray text, rather than black. Below the module list is a small
window (in Japanese) which initially explains what the buttons do, but shifts
to displaying module info (Concentration points used and a technique
description) when you first move the cursor/highlight.
     The right side of the screen is the list of currently-equipped modules.
You have a total of twelve module slots; different modules use from one to
four slots, depending on their rank.

Controls for the Module screen:
D-pad: Moves the cursor/highlight in the left window.
A: Equips the currently-highlighted module in the first available slot(s).
B: Un-equips the currently-highlighted module.
R + D-pad: Scrolls the list of equipped modules/slots.
L button: Returns to the main Angel menu screen.
Start: Switches to a full-screen module description (with animation and stats)

     When you're equipping your Angel with new modules, you'll probably want
to either check the animation to see what the moves do, or (preferably) try
them out in practice matches at Piffle Princess, where the results won't count
against you as heavily as they do in the official tournament. Be advised,
though, that the animation doesn't make all of the effects of a move clear -
the sample animation for each move only shows what Hikaru does, not what it
does to your opponent if successful. Some moves knock your opponent down or
back; other techniques may fling the other Angel around to reverse your
relative positions.


* II.B. Angelic Fight! *
* II.B.1. The Rhythm Combination system *

     Angelic Fights, which are pretty much the heart of Angelic Layer, are
handled in the GBA game through a unique combat engine, combining turn-based
one-on-one strategy with the "Rhythm Combination" input system. The easiest
description of the Rhythm Combination system is to compare it to Dance Dance
Revolution: a series of button presses will scroll along the input gauge,
requiring you to enter the indicated commands with precise timing - if you
mess up, then your Angel won't perform the technique you're entering. It's
actually a good simulation of how an Angel would really be controlled,
requiring you to focus on what you're doing in order to carry out each
technique.
     There are two types of Rhythm Combination input in this game: during
your attack turn, you need to push the indicated directions on the D-pad and
the A and B buttons for your Angel to perform the attacks you've selected.
When you're on your defensive turn, the input gauge will show bars of
different lengths for your opponent's moves; it's up to you to choose how
you'll defend against each attack - without knowing what that attack is. To
make things even more complicated, you only have two (or at most, three)
defenses per turn: blocking, evasion, and (if equipped) counter-moves.


* II.B.2. Phases of combat *

     An Angelic Fight lasts for a specified number of rounds, representing
the "real" time limit which is depicted in the anime. Each round is divided
into offensive and defensive turns - you *always* get the first offensive
turn, even though you may not be able to get close enough to your opponent to
do anything with it - and further divided into a series of phases for
movement, technique selection, input, and execution. The phases are explained
in the manual, but if you got a used copy of the game with no manual - or if
you can't read Japanese, which is perhaps more likely ^^; - I'll explain each
of the phases here, along with the control scheme used during each phase.
(Note that while I give the phase names in English, they're displayed in
Japanese in the game.)
     When an Angelic Fight begins, the view shifts from the isometric Local
Area screen to a view of the Layer itself, which is depicted as a horizontal
grid three squares wide (top to bottom) and six or ten squares in length,
depending on the size of the Layer you're fighting on. The Layer tables at
Piffle Princess are considerably smaller than the tournament Layers - which
can make for some fast victories, if you've equipped moves which will let you
score a quick layer-out against your opponent.

+ Entry Angel +
This isn't actually a combat "phase," just the beginning of the match. Hikaru
(or your own Angel, if you're in My Angel Story) and your opponent's Angel are
thrown into the Layer area, where they come on-line and land on their feet,
facing each other with four empty squares between you (once the view shifts to
the Layer grid, at least). On the smaller Layers in Piffle Princess, this
places you and your opponent at opposite edges of the Layer; the tournament
Layers are large enough to give you some room at your back.

+ Attack Turn: Movement +
Your turn begins by moving your Angel to the location you want to attack from;
squares within your movement range (usually two spaces) are highlighted in
white, with a white box for a cursor.

Controls:
D-pad - Moves cursor
A button - Selects the current square to move to.

Note that if you were knocked down by your opponent's last attack, you don't
get a movement phase. This phase is also when you regain a few Concentration
points, if you have any to recover.

+ Attack Turn: Technique Selection +
After you move, a menu will come up with the attack modules your Angel is
equipped with. They're listed in the same order as you 'installed' them in the
Module Selection menu. At the beginning of the game, you can perform up to
three techniques per turn; as you progress through the tournament, the combo
limit goes up to four, then five. In addition, each technique uses a number of
Concentration points - those are deducted from your Concentration gauge at the
end of the selection phase, whether or not you succeed during the input phase.

Controls: 
D-pad: Move cursor (up/down), scroll across Layer (left/right)
A button: Add the selected module to the moves for this turn
B button: Delete the last module from the move list for this turn
L button: End selection phase

+ Attack Turn: Rhythm Gauge Input +
This is the "tricky" part. Once the Rhythm Gauge comes up, green bars
'punctuated' with triangles and letters will begin scrolling across its
length, from right to left; you need to enter the indicated commands as they
pass through the input mark (the yellow rectangle towards the left end), using
the D-pad and the A and B buttons. For each move you successfully enter,
"Correct!" will appear as the bar finishes passing, but an incorrect or
mistimed entry will get an "Incorrect!" (both words in English).

+ Attack Turn: Resolution +
Based on your success and/or failure during the input phase, the attacks you
selected are carried out, along with your opponent defends against them.
However, if a failed move was setting up for a later combo, the remaining
moves in the combo may not come out. For example, if you were going to do a
foot stamp on a downed opponent and the knockdown move failed, then the foot
stamp won't come out either.
If this phase ends with your opponent knocked off the edge of the Layer or
their Physical gauge depleted, then the fight ends with your victory.

+ Defense Turn: Opponent's Movement +
If your opponent's Angel was on their feet when your attack turn finished,
they move at this point, as well as recovering a few Concentration points.

+ Defense Turn: Rhythm Gauge Input +
The Input Gauge will display a series of one or more red bars, representing
your opponent's moves. It's up to you to decide how to defend yourself:

A button - Guard
B button - Escape
R button - Counter *

Guarding yourself against an attack will ensure that you're not subject to
being knocked back or down, and is the most certain defense - you might take
partial damage, but you won't take the full effect. Trying to escape or dodge
an attack *may* succeed at taking you completely out of harm's way, but if it
doesn't work then you'll take full damage and effects.
That leaves countering. Countermoves aren't available until you acquire and
equip at least one counter move, indicated by the Roman letters CTR at the
beginning of the module name; a counter can only be used if you have enough
Concentration points left to perform the maneuver.
And with that said: I've never gotten a counter to work.

+ Defense Turn: Resolution +
The results of your opponent's attack and your defense are played out. After
this phase, if you're still on the Layer, there's time remaining, and your
Physical gauge hasn't been emptied, the next round starts from your Attack
Turn Movement phase once again.


* II.C. Module data *

(Coming soon!)


* III. Walkthrough: Advanced Story mode *

(Coming soon!)


* IV. My Angel Story mode *
* IV.A. Creating an Angel *

     After you finish playing through the Advanced Story mode, the My Angel
Story and Taisen (battle) options will be unlocked on the title menu. When you
select My Angel Story for the first time, Icchan will "talk" to you (dialogue
boxes on an otherwise blank black screen) and guide you through the process of
creating your very own Angel.
     I'll write the full sequence out when I next start My Angel Story from
the beginning, but it's pretty self-explanatory for the most part - you pick
your Angel's head/hair style and overall color scheme, enter a name and an
entry line, and set the parameters for your Angel. However, it's the
parameters which need the most explanation, so let me cover those here.
     As Icchan explains, there are three pairs of "opposing" parameters which
affect your Angel's statistics. The first pair is weight: a light Angel will
be faster, more agile, and (possibly) more accurate, while a heavy Angel will
have greater strength and staying power. Second you have "combat type,"
whether your focus is on offensive or defensive power; finally, you have to
decide whether your Angel is focused more on upper-body or lower-body
strength.
     The parameter setting screen shows your Angel design on the right, with
two windows on the left. The upper window shows your Angel's stats; beneath
those are the three parameter pairs. Each pair is shown at opposing ends of a
'meter' with five notches.
     (Weight:)    Light  OOOOO Heavy
     (Combat:)    Attack OOOOO Defense
     (Emphasis:)  Hand   OOOOO Foot


* IV.B. My Angel Story overview/walkthrough *

     After setting up your Angel to your liking, the scene fades in on Misaki
and Shuuko as they enter the Piffle Princess ... and immediately get swarmed
by the fans. Misaki justifiably freaks out; fortunately for mother and
daughter, Icchan shows up to distract the crowd ("Icchan nyoro yo! Nyoro nyoro
nyoro nyoro ...") and Oujirou beckons Misaki and Shuuko into the training room
so that they can sneak out through the back.
     The scene cuts to the tournament stadium, where Icchan catches up with
you. After some discussion, Icchan pulls his rank within the Angelic Layer
Company and offers you the tournament Layer to practice on. Control will
return to you when Misaki, Shuuko, Icchan, and Oujirou are in the waiting
area. Talking to Shuuko or Oujirou will lead to an Angelic Fight with their
respective Angels (if you select "Hai" when asked if you want to fight), with
the addition that you can choose the kind of Layer you fight on.

The Layers to choose from are:
- Normal: A plain Layer, no landscape per se
- Gake  : Rocky pillars
- Umi   : The beach setting where you fought Shirahime
- Fune  : The ship
- Haikyo: The castle area
- Sougen: The grass field where you fought Wizard

     When you try to leave the waiting area (to the arena corridors) after
fighting (and winning against?) both Wizard and Athena, another cut scene will
start as all of Misaki's friends and rivals from the tournament show up,
saying they'd like to play against Misaki again ... when *that* cut scene
ends, every opponent you fought in Advanced Story mode will be somewhere in
the tournament arena, waiting for you to walk up, talk to them, and challenge
them to an Angelic Fight.
     At this point, you will be in full free play/level up mode, able to
challenge any opponent you like in the setting of your choice (on full-sized
Layers only); you can also leave the arena to go back home, to Piffle Princess
(the training room will work normally, with a set of three opponents for you
to fight as you choose), or to Eriol Gakuen and walk around. You can also buy
items at Piffle Princess or in the arena cafeteria; since you're getting ten
Angel Points for every win, you *can* use this opportunity to collect all of
the accessories, materials, and modules which you didn't buy during Advanced
Story mode.
     Or you could just take advantage of the chance to fight any opponent on
any Layer you choose. ^_^


* IV.C. Linked play (Taisen mode) *

     I know nothing practical about Taisen mode at this time, except that
when you select Taisen mode from the title menu, you appear in the training
center at Piffle Princess. Talking to the attendant at the counter initiates
the search for your opponent, but I haven't had the opportunity to link
against anyone with this mode yet.


* V. Conclusion *

     That's all for this version of my Angelic Layer FAQ. Future versions
will contain the beginnings of the Advanced Story walkthrough and the module
list; however, since I'm generally busy with school-related matters, it's
likely to be a while before I can finish the FAQ completely. I'll be working
on it as time and inclination permit.
     Comments may be e-mailed to me at <trmiller@bcpl.net>; however, I would
like to discourage contributions for the time being. As this is my first full-
fledged FAQ, and I have a pretty good handle on the entire game, I'd like to
go ahead and work on it myself for a while. Yes, it's probably going to take
some time; if you have a specific question, e-mail me and I'll answer as best
I can, and if it's a good question then I'll find some way to incorporate it
into my FAQ.