Music: The Protomen Tropes
This page is dedicated to tropes used in The Protomen
's songs, as well as those featured in their live performances. Unmarked Spoilers Abound
. You've been warned.
Act I: Hope Rides Alone
The first act was created to specifically avoid sounding "pristine and perfect", according to the band. As such, the music sounds slightly grainy and distorted.
Track 1: Hope Rides Alone
In the year 200X, Dr. Wily rules the Earth with his army of evil robots. Nobody is left who remembers how he took control or how long it's been, and nobody dares oppose him - except for Dr. Light, an eccentric genius, who for 12 years labors to create a machine to save mankind - Protoman. Protoman challenges Dr. Wily's minions, but fails and is killed as an impassive crowd looks on.
Track 2: Funeral For A Son
Protoman's broken body is carried away by Wily's minions, and the crowd builds a monument to him, enshrining his helmet (the only piece of him left), but otherwise forgetting him and returning to their lives of slavery. With Protoman gone, Dr. Light comes to realize that he was more than a machine - he was a living, feeling being, a son
, whom he had sent to die in vain. In anger, he ransacks his laboratory, but in doing so instead finds himself constructing a new robot in his anger and despair. And so Megaman is born.
Track 3: Unrest In The House Of Light
Years later, Dr. Light realizes that the people still whisper of Protoman, and fears that Megaman will be inspired to take up his brother's mantle. Dr. Light tells Megaman his brother's story, and the lesson he has learned from it - mankind cannot be saved because it is unwilling to stand for itself. He orders Megaman not to follow the same path.
- Because I Said So: His explanation as to why Megaman should not try to fight.
- La Résistance: Averted. Since Protoman, there has been no one who has tried to fight against Dr. Wily.
- Timeskip: Several years pass between Funeral For A Son and Unrest In The House Of Light.
Track 4: The Will of One
Megaman laments that the people deserve freedom after all, and tells Dr. Light that he'll never know whether mankind can be made free unless he tries. After a visit to the grave of Protoman, he decides that he will fight the fight his brother fought. Visiting Protoman's grave, he finds the words "Hope Rides Alone" scrawled across it "in some angry hand", and is inspired to avenge his brother. As he rushes through the city streets, public loudspeakers begin chanting orders to submit as a crowd grows and follows Megaman to Wily's fortress.
- Calling the Old Man Out: "Do not say 'This is how it has to be...' you do no better than the fools of this burning city!"
- Canned Orders Over Loudspeaker
- "I Want" Song: Coupled with an I Am Becoming Song; Megaman wants to leave Light's lab to find the truth, and fight Wily like his brother, so he does.
- Ironic Echo: Dr. Light's words from Unrest In The House Of Light.
- Grave Marking Scene: Megaman does what any good protagonist does: He visits the shrine made to the one who fell before him. The words 'Hope Rides Alone' are carved in to the statue by Dr. Light.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: HOPE RIDES ALONE! Not a particularly heroic example, but the phrase does give the drive to storm the Fortress.
- "The fight of PROTOMAAAAAAAN!"
- Take Up My Sword: The reason Megaman has chosen to fight. He feels Protoman deserves his fight to finish. "And as I live, there is no evil that will stand! And I will finish what was started, the fight of PROTOMAN!"
- Triumphant Reprise: To try to keep the rebellion in check, the chorus of telescreens begins chanting "We have control/We keep you safe/We are your hope." Undeterred, the riot begins chanting the exact same phrase, drowning them out.
Track 5: Vengeance
At the Fortress, Megaman sees an army standing before him, as a figure watches from the shadows. Single-handedly, Megaman fights his way through the robot army and challenges the shadowy figure, who speaks in a voice that is horribly familiar to the crowd.
- Beige Prose: Megaman dispenses with poetry and gets right to destroying the army.
- Bring It: "All you wounded...Those of you who can... Pick yourselves off the ground! Hurry back! Tell your leader you'll need more men!"
- Determinator: The entire song is almost completely comprised of Megaman screaming for the army to come and get some while he blasts them away with insane strength.
- Foreshadowing: "The shadow/It covers your face/But your eyes shine/Just like mine..."
- Hot-Blooded: Megaman, if only for this song.
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Said often enough that he was in fact Tempting Fate.
- Oh Crap: Megaman has one at the very end of the song, when he learns of the truth.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Megaman's entire thought process. And he does a damned good job of it.
- Wham Line: In the booklet:
Just before the shot rang out, the blast that would end this battle, the commander stepped out of the shadows and into the light. This was a face Megaman had seen before, in visions and dreams. This was not the face of evil.
This was the face of a Hero. The face of a Son. The face of his Brother. This was Protoman.
Track 6: The Stand (Man or Machine)
The figure is revealed as Protoman, who is now working for Dr. Wily. Megaman struggles to come to grips with Protoman's Face-Heel Turn
as Dr. Light explains that he had lied about Protoman's death to spare him the truth. Protoman stands before Megaman and speaks of why he has chosen to serve Dr. Wily - the human race, he says, doesn't deserve freedom unless it's willing to fight for itself, and attempts (vainly) to goad the crowd into fighting him.
- Anti-Villain: Protoman tries to goad the townspeople in to fighting, so that he may be proven wrong. He almost breaks down in tears when he is unsuccessful.
- Awful Truth: Dr. Light admits that he knowingly lied about the fate of Protoman, which was to make a...
- Face-Heel Turn: Due to Protoman's belief that people who do not save themselves don't deserve to be saved.
- Broken Pedestal: Megaman discovering that Protoman, who he has admired and idolized, has turned against humanity.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Protoman does this through his own army near the end of the song, if for no other reason than to show how awesome he is.
- Heroic Bystander: An Averted Trope. No one does anything to help Megaman, no matter how much Protoman tries to push them.
- Not So Different: "I've been here before, I've stood where you stand. They called me their hero. The hero of man."
- The Reveal: Protoman is alive and is now The Dragon.
- Villain Song: Subverted in that he desperately wishes he was wrong, but has seen nothing to prove otherwise.
Track 7: The Sons Of Fate
Megaman and Protoman argue in battle whether humanity is worth saving, with Megaman slowly worn down. As he begins to realize that humanity will not fight for itself, the crowd continues urging him to kill Protoman, and he acquiesces, mortally wounding him. As his brother whispers his Famous Last Words
- "A hero is just a man who knows he's free" - the crowd assures Megaman that he had no choice and he shouldn't cry for him. Appalled by the experience, Megaman tells the crowd "You are the dead" and turns his back on them, leaving the city behind. As when Protoman first "died"
, the crowd chants "We are the dead" - but this time, as punishment for even thinking
of rebellion, Dr. Wily orders his robots to slaughter them all.
Track 8: Due Vendetta
An "epilogue" consisting solely of the shouted names of characters from the Mega Man
games. Was actually the first song the band recorded.
- And Now For Something Completely Different
- Chiptune: They feature prominently in this song.
- Evil Laugh
- Foreshadowing: "SNIPER JOE!"
- Game Over: The final words spoken in the album.
- Last Note Nightmare: In the extended version, "Fade to Phil", the chiptune music continues for some time. Then distortions and sounds come in, and it's creepy. Then the sounds get louder, and turn into what has been described as sounding like dial-up internet throwing up. And the chiptunes are still going in the background.
- Then it fades into dead static completely...
- Theme Tune Roll Call: Essentially the point of the song. All the Robot Masters from the first two games are named, as are Wily, Light, a Sniper Joe, Rush Jet, and Megaman.
- In live performances Panther switches it up, sometimes adding "Proto" and "Roll".
Act II: The Father of Death:
Abandoning the heavy synth of the first album, The Protomen chose a more 80s inspired album in light of its prequel status.
Track 1: Intermission
The actual track is a short instrumental, but the story is of Dr. Light's girlfriend, Emily, reading a letter he sent to her. The letter explains Tom's regret of letting his partner Albert convince him to modify the machines they built, that the newest one looks like a "lifeless steel man" and that the newest designs have been further modified to carry weapons. He says he will attempt to convince Albert to abandon the project before he puts the city in danger.
Track 2: The Good Doctor
Thirty years before the birth of Protoman, Drs. Light and Wily are partners. It is revealed that Dr. Thomas Light's father died while working in the mines. Light decides to study robotics, hoping that it will end the suffering in the hellish condition of the mines. Wily has been his partner in this endeavor, providing invaluable assistance in the research - but as the project nears fruition, Light discovers with horror that Wily has designed the robots to carry and use weapons, and fears that Wily's motives are less than benevolent. On the night that the machines are to be activated, Light confronts Wily, who insists that the machines they've created will give them the power to rule the world and change it for the better. Light denounces Wily's theories, even Wily's hopes for profit and power based on their inventions, instead espousing the strength of human character. It is revealed that he has another reason to build these machines: His girlfriend, Emily Stanton, who works hard in the factory. Realizing that it's too late to change course, Light reluctantly switches on the machines.
Track 3: Father of Death
Light is wracked with guilt, believing that man will be destroyed by the inventions he created to spare suffering from Emily and those like her. Emily has gone to Light's apartment to deliver a letter to him; however, she finds Wily there, ransacking the apartment. Wily offers to take her away, but Emily refuses. He pleads his case, that Light will soon be a broken man, but Emily denounces that as well. She knows that Light will never give up, never give in. She is then murdered by Wily, who orders the Sniper robot Light built to slit her throat. Dr. Light walks in just seconds after the assassin leaves, and just seconds before the police arrive to arrest him for Emily's murder.
- Car Cushion: How Dr. Light escapes the police, breaking his arm in the process. Fanon states that it's Wily's car.
- Chekhov's Gun: Emily's letter to Thomas, which isn't heard of again until the very end, when he reads it before his impending doom and strengthens his will to continue the fight against Wily.
- Cyber Cyclops: The sniper robot.
- Determinator: Emily. She rebukes Wily and flat-out informs him that Light's a better man. Wily takes that information rather poorly.
- Final Speech: Emily's last words. Though a better candidate may be her letter to Light.
- Historical In-Joke: On the Father of Death wanted poster, Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War for the Lincoln Administration, vows to bring Emily's murderer to justice.
- If I Can't Have You: Though he doesn't actually say it, this is part of the motive for Dr. Wily's murder of Emily.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Emily.
- Made of Iron: Dr. Light breaks his arm from the fall... and apparently walks it off, as it's not brought up again.
- Music Box Intervals: The beginning of the song and after Emily is killed have a music box playing.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Light does this during the first part of the song.
- Slashed Throat: Emily dies this way.
- Super Window Jump: Light does this to escape the police, apparently missing the fire escape. Wily, on the other hand, opened the window to escape.
Track 4: The Hounds
Wily has convinced the world that Light was responsible for the murder with Light's own invention. Light is hunted down, while Wily continues to destroy Light's good name. He knows it is too late to admit he was the murderer, deciding that Light must be destroyed in the public eye. Wily switches on his massive broadcast system and bombards the masses with misinformation, while the manhunt for Light continues.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When the press demands to know the name of the murdered girl, Wily just responds "Doesn't matter."
- But He Sounds Handsome: Wily, while framing Doctor Light for the murder he committed, remarks that Light was a "smart man" for using a robot to kill Emily.
- Evil Laugh: Averted; while he does his fair share of Evil Gloating, he never once laughs.
- Ignored Epiphany: In the latter part of the song he contemplates undoing what he's done—for about two lines, casting the possibility aside immediately.
- Large Ham: Wily is clearly enjoying pinning the blame on Light. In live versions it's even more over-the-top.
- Moral Event Horizon: Wily discusses this in-universe.
If there ever was a time, if there ever was a chance, to undo what I've done and wash the bloodstains from my hands, it has passed and been forgotten.
- Out, Damned Spot!: Subverted by Wily, who mentions the basics of the trope almost verbatim.
- Stupid Sexy Wily: Just look at the comments this song gets on YouTube.
- Vetinari Job Security: Wily is counting on the invaluable nature of machines to make his rule absolute.
- Villain Song: In grand tradition, it's a ridiculously catchy, upbeat song.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Played With- Wily asks the reporters the rhetorical question "What kind of man builds a machine to kill a girl," referring to Light... but it was Wily who killed Emily.
- There are also villainous implications there, given the subtext. Wily seems to be implying that a real man would have killed her himself; he notes Light is a "smart man" for using a machine.
Track 5: The State Vs. Thomas Light
Dr. Light is apprehended at Emily's grave, and is waiting for his fate to be decided. His sorrow is great, and the bloodthirstiness of the crowd has not heartened his spirits. He laments that the trial has become about persecuting Dr. Light, rather than the death of Emily. Hoping and praying that he will meet her soon in death, he knows nothing but guilt and sorrow. He stands before the court, knowing the verdict... and all but refusing to believe it when the court pronounces him innocent.
Track 6: Give Us The Rope
Dr. Wily's smear campaign has worked. The miners have formed a lynch mob, intending to deliver the justice they feel the courts failed to provide. The police escort Light quickly out of town, but the mob gains ground surprisingly fast. Light gets on the first train out of the city, watching the skyline he helped build fade into the distance, as Dr. Wily's face on the telescreens continues to tear down his legacy.
- Angry Mob Song: Played with in that Light has been found innocent, and they still want to kill him.
- Beige Prose: The crowd's demands are remarkably straightforward.
- Creepy Monotone: The crowd's vocals are toneless shouting, in contrast to the music backing them.
- Crowd Song: Just go to one of their shows. The whole freaking audience plays the part of the lynch mob.
- Get It Over With: Dr. Light, again. Notice that you only hear the miners. Not once does Light bother to protest.
Track 7: How The World Fell Under Darkness
With Light gone, and the people having lost their faith in the government, Wily has taken over, and no one tries to stop him. He rebuilds the mining town into a steel plated heaven. From his crystalline tower at the center of the city, Wily's propaganda broadcasts 24/7, filling every channel. His single telescreen atop the tower, visible from almost any point in the city, is supplemented over time with thousands more across the metropolis. A generation is born and grows to adulthood in this new utopia, not even knowing the hardships their parents faced. It comes with a price though, and that is that Wily's presence is everywhere. People speak in hushed tones of an assassin with a single red eye - a being they call "Light's Monster". Everyone remains content and silent. Except for one rebellious youth. His name is Joe.
- Act Break: By means of a Time Skip.
- It's interesting that, to this point, an instrumental track represents a Time Skip.
- Call Forward: The very first sentence of Hope Rides Alone reads "No one was left who could remember how it had happened...how the world had fallen under darkness..."
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Wily's robot workers tear down much of the city and rebuild it in this style to placate his new subjects.
- Reflected in the music slowly turning more electronic until the strings have stopped and the electronic rhythm dominates the song. Subsequently, the second half of the album is largely synth based, leading back to how synth based the first album was.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Starting here, and ending at The Fall, the tracks have a recurring heartbeat sound.
- No Dialogue Episode: The entire seventh track is an instrumental.
Track 8: Breaking Out
Joe is tired of the silent oppression of the city and yearns to leave. After a heartfelt bit to a girl in a bar, he makes his way to his old home to get his father's motorcyle. Kicking it into motion, he rides to the outskirts of the city, past all the modern marvels Wily has constructed. When he comes to a stop, a figure steps out of the shadows, Thomas Light. Before Light can speak, another figure emerges from behind Joe, the one eyed sniper robot that killed Emily.
Track 9: Keep Quiet
Joe confronts the one eyed sniper robot and tells it he's not afraid to die, calling it out to fight him. Despite the robot easily overpowering him in physical combat, Joe pulls the robot's gun from its holster and shoots it, after which Dr. Light steps out of the shadows and deals the killing blow to it. Joe dons the robot's helmet as the two flee to an abandoned warehouse...
- Badass Grandpa: Dr. Light hits the edge of this for killing the Sniper.
- Badass Boast: Essentially the entire song is this: it consists of Joe facing down "Light's Monster", the single being that's been keeping the entire city terrified into submission, and telling it that that's not gonna work on him, and demanding that it put its own life on the line if it wants to take him down. Then he kills it. (Well, he shoots it and then lets Dr. Light administer the killing blow.)
- Badass Normal: Joe, as described above and below.
- Call Forward: Retroactively.
Joe: You're going to have to do better than fear! You're going to have to step out of the shadows and fight! *later* So come on...come on, step into the light!
Megaman: Step forward...step into the light!
Joe: I will not be told where to stand... not by man or machine...
- Dark Reprise: The robot sings its own synthesized version of the chorus at the end, repeating "This city... She's been dead... For years now..."
- Fate Worse than Death: "They say, this city, she's been dead for years now... so death is not something that scares me. There's worse things than death here."
- This becomes a Dark Reprise at the end of the song, as the robot begins chanting the first line of that chorus repeatedly.
- Improvised Weapon: Joe finds a pipe to use against the Sniper. It...doesn't help much.
- Karmic Death: The Sniper killed Emily by slashing her throat. It's killed in the same manner.
- Machine Monotone: If we take the singing at the end to be the Sniper.
- Oh Crap: Joe's initial reaction to the Sniper.
- Slashed Throat: Here, the Sniper dies this way.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Light says this to Joe right before he kills the Sniper.
- From the notes: "I built this. It's mine to destroy."
Track 10: Light Up The Night
Dr. Light and Joe hatch their plan - armed with a satchel full of explosives, Joe will ride his motorcycle into Dr. Wily's tower at the center of the city and destroy the broadcast tower which feeds Wily's propaganda to the telescreens across the city. With his source of power cut off and the people left to think for themselves, Light will then sneak into the city and kill Wily himself. Wearing the slain robot's helmet, Joe sets off on his fateful ride...
Track 11: The Fall
Joe ascends the tower with the broadcast signal, triumph in every note. As he reaches the roof, he sets the bomb, but it explodes too early for him to get away; Joe is flung off the roof and falls to his death. The tower is destroyed—and, one by one, the telescreens across the city explode. And yet, even as the broadcast tower collapses, Dr. Wily's voice continues to boom from the loudspeakers.
- Action Bomb: Joe ended up being this, albeit accidentally.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Joe's destruction of the tower ends up being this.
- Foregone Conclusion: Subverted; if you listened to Act I, you would think the plan would outright fail, as Wily has control during that time and this is the prequel. But Light and Joe's scheme works, and the tower and telescreens are destroyed. It's then Double Subverted as even though it worked, it doesn't change anything.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Here, it flatlines.
- It's All Upstairs From Here: The tower has no elevator, so Joe climbs up countless flights of stairs.
- Last Note Nightmare: The entire piece is filled with an air of hope and imminent triumph which just plain deflates at the very end.
- Made of Explodium: Joe's motorcycle. Unless it had a bomb attached to it, too.
- Mythology Gag: Joe's disguise as the Sniper makes him "Sniper Joe".
- Negated Moment of Awesome: The music falling down and dying at the end musically portrays Joe's heroics as one of these.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Specifically, the Control Tower. The liner notes have this leading to some Impressive Pyrotechnics as the telescreens across the city explode shortly thereafter.
- Senseless Sacrifice: It didn't work.
- Unwitting Pawn: Light and Joe's act of rebellion played right into Wily's hands, giving him an excuse to declare martial law and accelerate his accumulation of power.
Track 12: Here Comes The Arm
With a sense of horror, Light realizes that there are multiple broadcast signals and that Joe died for nothing. With the recent explosions, Wily rolls out an army of Snipers, declaring the city under martial law. Light can feel the arm of the law coming for him, and he is ready to face it. It is then that he reads the letter from Emily he received over twenty years ago but never had the courage to read. It says that she loves him, and that the world needs him. Light grimly asks Joe to tell Emily to wait for him: He has work to do. The construction of Protoman has begun.
- Dark Reprise: Inverted; the music echoes Hope Rides Alone, but (at least during and after Emily's letter) this song is much more hopeful.
- Dead Man Writing: Emily.
- Determinator: Dr. Light: "Joe, when you see Emily, tell her to wait for me, 'cause I still have work to do."
- Face Death with Dignity: Dr. Light's initial plan ("So I will stand here with my shoulders squared and tall, when the whistle comes not falter, when the crash comes I will fall."), before finding Emily's letter and invoking the trope below.
- Final Speech: Emily's letter.
- Foregone Conclusion: The hopefulness of the ending is screwed up when the viewer realizes what's going to happen next...
- He's Back: The latter half of the song, for Light.
- Kick the Dog: A band member revealed that Wily later called the Sniper robots "Joe", like in the games, for an extra jab at Light.
- Leitmotif: The piano segment behind Emily's vocals are the same as the opening acoustic guitar lick of Hope Rides Alone.
- Made of Iron: The robot army, which Light compares to a speeding locomotive that would barely notice him as it ran him over.
- Mood Whiplash: From "Breaking Out" to "The Fall", the music and lyrics have been triumphant and glorious, but then Joe failed.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Subverted; Dr. Light was counting on, and Joe was willing to bet his life that Dr. Wily's broadcast tower fit this trope, but Wily clearly knew better.
- Oh Crap: Light, when he realizes that Wily was expecting him to attack.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Light's reaction to realizing the robot army is approaching him. "Oh God, oh God... here comes the arm."
- Visionary Villain: Wily, of course.