For those who have not completed games in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, this page contains spoilers regarding the plot. Discretion is advised.
- "The Monado... I hope I can figure out the secret of its power one day."
- – Shulk
The Monado (English dub: /moˈnɑːdoʊ/) is a mythical sword in Xenoblade Chronicles. The reasons of its existence and powers are the core of the story. It is said to be the weapon used by Bionis in its war with Mechonis.
The Monado is a powerful energy blade that can manipulate the ether around it, and by doing so, change the material and immaterial shape of the world. One's ability to control the Monado depends on the strength of will of its user; most Homs who try to use the sword cannot control it. At the beginning of the game, the Monado cannot harm any of the people of Bionis.
The Monado grants its elected wielder the power of foresight. It is said that this is possible because all of the ether in the world is calculable in its changes. This allows the user to see where every ether particle is, was, and will be.
The Monado emits a particular ether wavelength in its ground state that attracts Telethia. Also, the Monado can be counteracted by opposing particles to that of the Monado.
All of the seers must touch the Monado to receive their divination powers.
Prior to Xenoblade Chronicles
14 years before the game, a group of Homs explorers left Colony 9 in search of the fabled sword, said to have been wielded as a blade of light by the Bionis itself. Their travels took them to Valak Mountain, where they disappeared. After them went Dickson, who found the bodies of the research team in the Sealed Tower, next to the Monado. He took the weapon along with the only survivor, who would grow up to be Shulk.
One year before the events of the game, the first known Homs wielder of the Monado, Dunban, was able to exercise limited control of the sword and use it as a weapon against the Mechon at the Battle of Sword Valley. In doing so, he was able to thwart an attack against Colony 9. Due to sheer discipline and strength, he could wield the blade, even though he could not fully control it. Dunban unwittingly sacrificed the use of his right arm for victory in the battle against the Mechon.
Shulk dedicated his entire life to solving the secrets of the Monado and thus is not only able to wield the blade without problems, but also able to unlock its great power. Shulk experiences this great power for the first time when he sees the future while holding the Monado in his laboratory. However, he learns that he has no control over what he sees, so he does not know he was granted foresight at the beginning.
When the Mechon attack Colony 9, during the second round of the story battle event at Central Plaza, Dunban joins Shulk and Reyn wielding the Monado. During the third story event battle, Dunban, not yet recovered from his injuries, tries to use again the Monado. When the Monado flies out of Dunban's hand, Shulk picks up the Monado. At this point, he gains the ability to predict the future, although not by choice. Thanks to the Monado's foresight, Shulk avoids getting killed. However, he is unable to damage Metal Face in any way with the Monado, which leaves him helpless against the Faced Mechon when he kills Fiora.
Shulk and Reyn decide to avenge Fiora and set out for Colony 6. While in Tephra Cave, Shulk has a vision of the Arachno Queen killing Reyn. The prediction proves true when Shulk and Reyn fall into the Arachno Queen's Nest. Shulk unlocks another Monado ability, Monado Shield, allowing him to change the future that the Monado had predicted. After this event, Shulk is able to use the foresight in all battles, and is also subsequently able to use Monado Shield to defend against enemy arts. This prescience becomes a principal topic of the game.
While looking for ether crystals alone in Makna Forest, Shulk is attacked by strange monsters. When he tries to confront them, however, he is unable to face them, as they can read his thoughts. However, a Homs by the name of Alvis manages to control the Monado and unlock another of its powers. He explains that the Monado does not control its power, but its user does.
When the party follows Sorean to Prison Island, they meet a giant by the name of Zanza, who was also locked away by the same forefathers. He claims to be the creator of the Monado, and offers to remove the shackles that prevent the Monado from harming the beings of Bionis if he is released. Shulk agrees, and even though Zanza is apparently killed by Metal Face, the Monado is released, transforming into the Monado II in the process, and Shulk can finally harm Faced Mechon. However, he can also hear the voice of Zanza through the blade for the first time.
The leader of Mechonis, Egil, uses the Apocrypha Generator, that is located in the Central Factory from Galahad Fortress, to revert the Monado to its inert state. Even after the battle ends, Shulk still cannot use the Monado. He finally forces it to awaken, but the use of the Monado is taxing to him.
When the party slays Yaldabaoth, Egil explains that Zanza inhabits the beings of Bionis in order to live, and his soul dwells in the Monado. He tells the story of Arglas, and how Zanza used his body to wage war against Mechonis. After the battle, he was incarcerated in Prison Island and the Monado was sealed in Ose Tower, now called the Sealed Tower. After the story is told, Dickson appears and shoots Shulk with his rifle. Zanza leaves Shulk's body while also revealing that the Monado is the weapon of destruction as well as the holder of Zanza's soul. After this revelation, Meyneth comes out from Fiora's body and uses her Monado (the symbol which appears on Fiora's chest) to battle Zanza. When Zanza defeats Meyneth, he takes Meyneth's Monado. With it, Zanza no longer needs to inhabit a living being to survive. However, Zanza did not realise that there was another Monado; Shulk's Monado.
When the party slays Zanza for the last time, a light connects the three Monados. After this, a voice is heard: Alvis, who says he is the Monado. He explains that Shulk is a god now because he has found his Monado, and that he can decide the fate of all the universe.
Shulk can activate the Monado's Arts by selecting the large icon in the center of the screen when it is fully charged. He then has access to the various Arts the Monado can perform. Each Art is unlocked at various points in the game, with only Buster and Enchant being available initially. In the beginning, the Monado arts can only reach level 4. After the events on Prison Island, all of the Arts can reach level 10.
- Buster: powerful attack with a larger blade. Deals double damage to Mechon and Machina.
- Enchant: strengthens the weapons of the party. Allows normal weapons to damage Mechon.
- Shield: generates a barrier that protects the party from enemy talent arts of the same level or lower.
- Speed: gives the target a greater chance to dodge physical attacks.
- Purge: ranged ether blast that inflicts Aura Seal and nullifies Spike effects.
- Armour: reduces physical and ether damage taken. Percentage (30%-75%) depends on this Art's level.
- Cyclone: damages all enemies around the user and inflicts topple on enemies suffering from break.
- Eater: strips away enemy buffs and causes bleed damage in a frontal cone.
- Shooter: 8 hit combo, large damage with each shot.
- Brave: strength up and ether up buffs.
- Fear: inflicts strength down and ether down debuffs to the party
- Recover: heals a fairly large amount of health.
In Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The Monado is Shulk's weapon as a Blade in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It can be used by Rex, Nia, Mòrag and Zeke, each one of them with their own arts, including a variation of Monado Shield for Rex and Zeke. Shulk himself can use Purge, Cyclone and Buster as his Specials and Enchant and Speed as his Battle Skills.
- Buster: causes damage to the enemies in front of him and inflicts Blowdown.
- Eater: causes damage to the enemies in front of him and reduces Blade affinity.
- Jail: shackles Blades.
- Cyclone: causes damage to all enemies and inflicts Blowdown.
- Armor: creates a barrier that surrounds himself and his allies which reduces the time for Blade Combos and increases defensive capabilities.
In the Super Smash Bros. series
Shulk is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He uses the Monado (in its first form) in battle, and when it is activated in battle, Shulk's features and abilities change. The game adds two Monado Arts that are not in Xenoblade Chronicles; Jump (翔, lit. "soar"), which gives Shulk higher jumps, a higher-height Air Slash and lower defense, and Smash (撃, lit. "attack/strike"), which gives Shulk stronger knockback/launching power but at the cost of lower damage output and launching resistance.
- When Dunban wields the Monado, it has an Attack of 200 - 280. In addition, during the Battle of Sword Valley it has Physical Defence 80, Ether Defence 90, and an Unbeatable 100% gem. Dunban also uses Monado Buster in a perpendicular manner as opposed to a straight line when Shulk uses it.
- When Shulk reaches level 90, the Monado's minimum and maximum Attack values both reach the maximum of 999. At this point Attack Stability gems will have no effect unless paired with an Attack Plus gem.
- In early builds, the game was named after this mythical sword as Monado: Beginning of the World. In January 2010, the game was renamed to Xenoblade.
- The powers of the Monado are similar to those of the Zohar, an object that was present in both Xenogears and Xenosaga. The explanation Alvis gives about the origin of the Monado suggest that he has similar capabilities as a Zohar. In addition, the red color and the appearance of the Monado resembles the "Weltall-Id", which becomes the titular Xenogears.
- In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, during the two boss fights against Malos at the Cliffs of Morytha, he wields a dark Monado that uses four of the Monado arts: Buster, Armour, Cyclone, and Eater. He also uses an art called "Monado Jail", extremely similar to Monado Purge; however, Monado Enchant, Monado Shield, and Monado Speed are not used.
- In various cutscenes, the Japanese Kanji symbol displayed in the Monado says what it is capable of killing. When Shulk begins the game, the Monado displays the symbol for "Machine". When Zanza is freed on Prison Island and Shulk gets the Monado II, it says "Person". During the final battle, when Zanza looks at Shulk's Monado III and says "That symbol...", it is because the symbol displayed at that moment says "God".
- Despite the game's lore saying the Monado cannot harm anything born of Bionis, in gameplay it has no difficulty harming any of the monsters that inhabit Bionis. However, when the player is attacked by High Entia in Alcamoth, Shulk's attacks will bounce off their bodies.
- Each art of the Monado shows a different color of the blade of light when used.
- Buster: Blue
- Enchant: Violet
- Shield: Yellow
- Speed: Light blue
- Purge: Green
- Armour: Orange
- Cyclone: White
- Eater: Black
- According to Shulk, the Monado cannot cut people. However, it does not apply in the Super Smash Bros. games where it can damage the human fighters.
- The name Monado is likely derived from Gnosticism, in which the Monad is the Supreme Being, the highest god that created lesser gods or divine entities. Gnostic references have been a recurring theme throughout Tetsuya Takahashi's works, including Xenogears and Xenosaga.
- The Gnostic concept in turn was inspired by Greek philosophy. Pythagoreans called the first thing that came into existence "monad", which begat the dyad, which begat numbers, points, lines, etc. It meant the first being or the totality of all beings.