|“||Beside me lay a great, maneating beast: 'Trico'.||”|
Trico (トリコ, Toriko) is the name of the griffin-like beast in The Last Guardian and the deuteragonist of the game. It looks like a combination of a dog, bird, and a cat. The mysterious masked knights searching for the Boy are no match for its power and ferocity. The boy will need to take care of Trico, both by feeding it mysterious barrels and removing spears from its hide.
Trico is a large, hybridized beast with the face of a dog, the ears, body and tail of a cat, and the beak, wings, feathers of a bird. It also sports a pair of horns on its head. Its feathers are a grayish blue with darker feathers on its tail, wings, and nose, while having lighter feathers on its face. The beast's eyes change colors depending on its mood.
Trico's appearance also changes over time. At the beginning, its wings are in tatters, and the horns are broken. By the end of the game, the wings are fully healed and its horns are about a foot long and slightly curved forwards.
Trico first appears in the cave with the boy, unconscious and wounded. After the Boy cares for the creature, the two start to bond and Trico follows the Boy around.
As the two make their way through the Nest, Trico defends the boy from enemies large and small and helps him access areas and cover ground very quickly. Trico's bond becomes so strong that the beast would protect the Boy from seemingly anything.
It is discovered that Trico is one of many other beasts like itself and was once enslaved to an entity called the Master of the Valley, who controls the beasts and uses them to kidnap human children to sustain its own immortality. However, the Master's control over this creature was broken when Trico was hit by lightning after stealing the Boy. Fearing the power of the now independent beast, the Knights chained Trico up in the cave, hoping it would die from the wounds it sustained from the lightning and the long fall. However, Trico regurgitated the boy, who helped the beast recover and escape.
The two gain entrance to the Master's citadel tower. While Trico holds off a large pack of Armored Tricos, the boy destroys the Master. Badly wounded, Trico decides nonetheless that it is now time that the Boy returned to his village. Upon returning the Boy home, Trico leaves for its own safety, leaving the Boy to tell the story of their extraordinary adventure.
In the final cutscene, it is revealed that Trico not only survived its agonizing wounds but has gone on to sire a young Trico of its own, raising it in the cave where the whole adventure began. It still seems to remember the Boy fondly when it hears the call of the Boy's (now a man) mirror.
Trico behaves much like a typical domesticated dog. At first, Trico does not trust the Boy, even swiping him into a cave wall when the Boy tries to remove spears from its body. However, after receiving food and care from the Boy, the beast trusts him enough to follow him around. As time goes on, Trico even seeks affection in the form of being fed or being petted, which calms it down after a battle. Trico will also bestow affection on the Boy, rubbing its head against him and nuzzling while making loving whines. Once Trico becomes fully bonded, the beast will protect the Boy without a thought to its own personal safety, even taking on a pack of Armored Tricos without hesitation.
Trico is a creature one would do best not to make an enemy of. When the Boy is endangered or it perceives a threat, Trico goes into a bloodthirsty rage, destroying said threat with vigor. Even if Trico is outmatched, the beast will still throw itself into the fray, fighting until either killed or knocked unconscious.
It is possible that Trico is a younger or less experienced beast, while quite effective against Knights, is easily overpowered by Armored Tricos, even in one-on-one encounters. It is also shown to be rather clumsy as, when kidnapping the Boy in his sleep, the beast gets its head stuck in a window and knocks over a pot, alerting the village to its presence.
This also is supported by how the Boy pronounces the creature's name (in spite of the subtitles reading "Trico"): "Toriko". This name has the suffix "-ko", which can refer to a child or a baby.
The first-ever screenshot for the game (and the only screenshot of the game released for well over two years) depicted a giant length of chain running into a hole in the ground. In the game's first trailer, the creature on the end of the chain was revealed to be Trico.
Powers and abilities
- Chimeran physiology: Trico can best be described as a chimera, a creature composed of several different animals. This gives the beast the abilities of all the species it embodies: the strength of a dog, the agility of a cat, and the flight of a bird.
- Enhanced strength: Because of its massive size, Trico is incredibly strong, capable of destroying stone structures and smashing groups of enemies with relative ease.
- Enhanced agility: Trico can climb and leap great distances that would be impossible for any other animal. This is embodied by its cat-like traits.
- Flight: Initially, Trico cannot fly because of the wounds that it has sustained, the wings having been badly hurt by lightning and fall damage. However, when its wings are fully healed, Trico can fly great distances and is able to achieve altitude to soar above the clouds. Even when the beast's wings are still healing, it can glide with them for a short period of time.
- Enhanced durability and healing: Trico can take massive amounts of damage. Swords do not affect the beast, spears only slow it down, and even serious wounds sustained by Armored Tricos, long falls, or being struck by lightning can be shrugged off in a short amount of time. Trico also seems to heal very fast, as it does not bleed very much from spear wounds and can quickly get up from even life-threatening wounds.
- Prehensile tail: Trico's tail acts as an extra limb. The creature mainly uses this ability to assist the Boy while its four feet are in use. While unable to grab the Boy using its tail, the beast can quickly position it to act like a rope to climb up/down.
- Enhanced senses: Thanks to its dog-like attributes, Trico has incredible senses of smell and hearing.
- Eyeshine: The color of Trico's eyes change depending on its mood. The huge eyes shine pink when aggressive or angry, glow white when excited or interested, are yellow when it sees a barrel, and when its eyes are dark green, Trico is calm and friendly. Its pupils will contract greatly when the creature is satisfied when being fed a barrel, closely resembling a more human eye.
- Electricity generation: Early in the game, the boy finds a mysterious mirror. Upon seeing the symbol produced by the mirror, Trico can fire a continuous bolt of electricity from its tail at the mirror's target, useful for destroying obstacles and enemies. However, when the mirror is lost, so is this ability. When the ability is regained later in the game, Trico now fires a built-up pulse of explosive lightning. Trico's tail can fire electricity even when severed from his body. This ability is not directly controlled by Trico.
- The Boy: First and foremost, Trico will do whatever it takes to protect the Boy, even if that means recklessly throwing itself in harm's way or against an overpowering enemy. While the beast has always survived, it nearly dies several times.
- Talismans: These huge, hexagonal stained glass panes evoke a strange, insurmountable fear in Trico-beasts. When the talismans come within Trico's eyesight, Trico's animal instincts become apparent, and the creature is unable to do anything but fearfully back away unless the offending pane is destroyed. These objects come in the form of small shields carried by Knights that they will aim against the animal, or as larger stationary ones, mounted on trolleys or suspended by chains. Most often they can be knocked over, broken by throwing a stone, or destroyed with Trico's ranged tail attack (when available).
- Armored Tricos: As powerful as Trico is, the beast stands little chance against even one of its own kind. While it fights bravely, it is always overwhelmed.
- Small spaces: Trico's size is not always an advantage, and the well-meaning beast has trouble squeezing into tight spots (although not from lack of trying). At one point, Trico valiantly attempts to squeeze into a mine tunnel, which causes the walls to collapse around it and the Boy.
Effects on gameplay
The gameplay of The Last Guardian stems around using Trico's natural instinct to the player's benefit in order to traverse the environment and solve puzzles. Trico reacts based on its surroundings and mood and cannot be controlled directly.
Examples of using Trico's animal instinct includes:
- When injured by spears, Trico's mobility is reduced or prevented, and the boy must pull them out in order for it to move.
- When encountered by the armor suits, Trico will become aggressive, destroying them, but, afterward, the boy must pet it to calm the beast down.
- The boy can feed barrels of food to Trico in order to keep the creature happy and to lure it to places it does not want to immediately go, such as jumping into a pool of knee-deep (to Trico) water.
- Standing on an upper ledge, getting Trico's attention, then jumping to demonstrate will motivate Trico to jump up to the ledge.
- After the boy gains Trico's trust, Trico will follow the Boy around and even follow his commands.
- Trico will occasionally defecate anywhere when left alone for a long period of time.
- Like a cat, Trico proves hesitant to jump into bodies of deep water.
Meaning of name
"Toriko" is the Japanese word for "prisoner", possibly given during the initial predicament. "Toriko" is also a combination of the Japanese words "tori" (bird) and "neko" (cat), and also has the suffix "-ko", which can refer to a child or a baby. Finally, Project Trico was the name for the game's working title, which is a combination of "Tri" and "Ico". This could be referring to the game itself, which is Team Ico's third release.