Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is the thirteenth game in the JRPG Atelier franchise. Developed by Gust Co. Ltd. and released for Playstation 3 in Japan on 23 June 2011, the game follows “Meruru” (Merurulince Rede Arls), who is a princess of the small kingdom Arls to the northwest of the larger Arland Republic. It is the final game in the Arland Alchemist trilogy series and reprises the previous titular protagonists, Rorona and Totori, in supporting roles. Meruru’s father has agreed to merge his kingdom with the larger and more prestigious Arland. Meruru is allowed to study alchemy as an apprentice of Totori, provided she develops the status of Arls by expanding its population in preparation for the merger.
For the week ending 26 June 2011, Atelier Meruru topped the Japanese software sales charts, selling 82,585 copies. However, within a month of its release the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) revoked its original A (for All Ages) rating. CERO claimed that the documentation received from Gust did not fully represent the game’s content, and Gust was forced to halt further shipments while a re-rating process occurred. In-game material including a scene in which characters are represented in a hot spring, various cleavage shots, and a camera scroll function allowing the player to view characters’ underwear led to CERO rating the game B (Ages 12+). No changes were made to the game itself, however the “sexual” content descriptor was added to its packaging. Atelier Meruru was published by NIS America in the United States on 29 May 2012, and rated T (Teen) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, citing fantasy violence, mild language, partial nudity, suggestive themes, and use of alcohol. – Liam Grealy