Video Game: Katamari Damacy
"My, the Earth certainly is full of things."
The King of All Cosmos gets drunk one night, and on a drunken bender accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky. The following morning, he assigns his son, the Prince, to make new stars by collecting random objects from the Earth to be turned into stars. The Prince
, who had been treated rather badly by his father up to now, does this by running the objects over with a big sticky ball that makes bigger and bigger clumps of objects as it collects them. The Prince starts by collecting ants and thumbtacks, and eventually moves on to whales, jumbo jets, office towers, and sports stadiums...
The game was popular enough to garner two sequels, Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy
("Everyone Loves Katamari Damacy", released in the States as We ♥ Katamari
) and Boku no Watashi no Katamari Damacy
for the PSP ("My My Katamari Damacy", released in the States as Me and My Katamari
). A third sequel, Beautiful Katamari
, has been released for the Xbox 360, and had been planned for the Wii but ran into some problems concerning the controller. A fourth game, Katamari Forever
in Japan) has been released for the PS3
, the first Katamari game in high-definition. There is also i Love Katamari
, a Katamari game for the iPhone
and iPod Touch
, which is a lot shorter than the other games, but has all the essentials. A version was also made in 2012 for the Playstation Vita titled Touch My Katamari
is a delightfully addictive acid trip that only the Japanese
could have created. The controls are essentially an extended form of tank-based movement using both analog sticks and take a while to get used to, but the game is brightly coloured and fun, and, for the concerned parent, nonviolent—although you are
rolling up people, most of whom scream. It's great at a party. Recreational drugs optional... and, really, they'd be redundant.
In September of 2012, a Webcomic
based on the series was launched on Shifty Look
, titled simply Katamari
This series has a character sheet
Provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Sort of. Both kanji in 塊魂 (Katamari Damacy) have near-identical right-hand radicals; to a casual observer, the entire kanji appear almost identical.
- Aerith and Bob: The Cousins' names. Ichigo and Marcy; Shikao and Nickel; Foomin and Dipp...
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with in Katamari Forever with the RoboKing.
- Amazing Technicolor Population : Ironically, given how brightly he dresses, the King has grey skin. Cousin Opeo, meanwhile, has blue skin. The colorful clothes everyone wears also invokes this, mainly since that's the easist way to tell most of them apart. (Aside from the Cousins with more distinctive shapes...)
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Presents, which you can equip in all sorts of combinations. In a nice touch, most presents look different depending on which character/cousin you're playing as.
- By extension, the cousins themselves probably count as this, seeing as they all play the same.
- Anti-Poop Socking : Starting with We ♥ Katamari, the King will tell the player to "play in moderation" to avoid getting bored. The credits song also tells the player to stop playing and go outside.
- Ass Shove: Referenced in the thermometer item description: "Used to measure your temperature. Put this in your mouth, armpit, or..."
- Big "NO!": "Students? Studying at school? Noooooooooooooooo!!!" - The King Of All Cosmos
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Certain cousins fall into this. For instance, TV lover Shikao shifted his face around just so he could watch scary movies out of the corner of his eye.
- Black Bead Eyes: The Prince and his cousins.
- Blatant Burglar: Lampshaded in We ♥ Katamari. The description for "Burglar" in the collection of items you have rolled up is "He wants to be stealthy, but he looks so obvious."
- Body Horror: In the original, cousin Opeo has a gaping hole in his stomach.
- Bowdlerization: The English version of the first game omits the detail that the King was drunk when he broke the stars.
- The Cameo: Various characters from The Idolmaster sing the Beautiful Katamari song "Unity" (Danketsu). They basically give quick self-introductions, argue over who gets to be the leader, and sing the choruses together.
- That actually works both ways, since the main theme on The iDOLM@STER 2 is Unity.
- Camp Straight: In the original version, The King. The Japanese dialogue is written to give him a feminine speech pattern, and you can hear it in his voice when he sings A Song for the King of Kings at the end of We ♥ Katamari. The sequel shows he genuinely fell in love with the Queen, so...
- Charged Attack: The aptly-named Charge N' Roll technique. Use it carefully, however - it's all too easy to slam into a much larger object and lose items off your katamari.
- Cloudcuckooland: Nobody will notice your Katamari until it grows big enough, and even then, the inhabitants of each level really like odd arrangements of their items...
- Convection Schmonvection: The Prince doesn't seem to mind rolling around katamaris that are currently on fire, and at one point the entire solar system is rolled into the sun without any harm.
- Department of Redundancy Department: One of the songs on the Katamari Damacy soundtrack is entitled "The Wonderful Stars Walk is Wonderful".
- Destructive Saviour: You (as the Prince) are restoring the night sky, but at what cost? THE ENTIRE WORLD?
- Disney Owns This Trope: The core gameplay mechanics of Katamari Damacy are protected by US Patent 7,402,104, so don't expect to see too many clone games.
- Did You Just Roll Up Cthulhu: You can roll up a kraken, several giant-sized superheroes, angels, mermaids, the Royal Family including the King himself...
- Doom Doors: The sound the RoboKing makes in a Katamari Forever cutscene.
- Downloadable Content: The "Lock and Key" system was used for Beautiful Katamari. Fans were not pleased, as the DLC levels taken together totalled only about 300k of data. This made it fairly obvious that the content already shipped with the game and there was no reason not to include those levels in the game disc. Also you must download them to unlock certain achievements.
- DLC returned for Touch My Katamari in a better fashion. That said, the extra levels are free downloads, and even after downloading them, you have to find "Fan Damacys" in the game to unlock them. OR You can pony up the cash, buy a bunch of Fan Damacys on the PSN and unlock 'em right away. You can also purchase music, which also costs music but isn't required to clear the game.
- Earworm: The entire soundtrack. Na na na na na na na na na...
- Easy Amnesia: The King in Katamari Forever, after getting hit in the head by a meteor.
- Ermine Cape Effect: Is the King's Royal Cape not the most elegant shade of pink?
- Esperanto, the Universal Language: We are brushing up on Our skills.
- Evolving Title Screen: We Love Katamari has a title screen that changes if you manage to roll up 1,000,000 roses.
- Excuse Plot: The King went on a drunken bender and destroyed all of the stars. Are you a bad enough Prince to roll up enough things to restore them?
- Fanservice: What the plot of We Love Katamari basically amounts to—The King of All Cosmos & co. have gained a huge amount of fans (the entire world, actually) since the events of the first game, and all the stages after the tutorial involve fulfilling their requests.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Mobile items that are just barely big enough for you to pick up will go flying the first time you hit them before you can roll them up. Combine a large number of such items with a charged roll...
- Franchise Zombie: Keita Takahashi only reluctantly agreed to help with We Love Katamari, and had nothing to with any of the other games past it.
- Fungus Humongous: Mushrooms of all sizes can be rolled up. The largest covering a quarter of an island.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Supposedly you're on Earth with the addition of the fictional Sunflower Continent. However, the first two games in the series seem to point away from this outside of the credits of the first and a bonus level on the second. The largest level in Katamari Damacy ends with the prince inside of a bounded, bowl-shaped ocean while We ♥ Katamari's has you literally rolling over the surface of the whole world without any of the traditional continents in sight. Also, the Sunflower Continent doesn't show up in either games' Roll Up Countries stages. Beautiful Katamari was the first to finally put the two together, with the Sunflower Continent somewhere south of Japan.
- Garnishing the Story:
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A small sampling here.
- God: And you can roll Her (?) up in We ♥ Katamari.
- Happily Married: The King and Queen seem to be. They're frequently shown dancing together in the intros.
- Happy Ending Override: A mild example between the first two games: At the end of Katamari Damacy, the King announces that the sky is complete, but We ♥ Katamari reveals that actually only the stars immediately around Earth were restored, and there's still a lot of work to do.
- Heroic Mime: Prince and his Cousins. Well, some shriek if you pick them up in single player, but...
- In We ♥ Katamari and all games afterward, most Cousins' roll-up chattering consists of repeating their names or parts of them over and over again.
- This trope is also played straight in cutscenes and in conversations with the King, as neither the Prince nor the Cousins are heard speaking, but the King sometimes responds to them, making it clear that they can speak - it's just that the player can't hear it.
- Hollywood Atlas: Once you get big enough to roll out into the world in later games, you'll notice that countries are represented by stereotypical trappings and tourist locales. In the original games' credits, you can roll up the entire world as well.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Not the Prince himself, but in We ♥ Katamari, there is a mission where you have to help a Sumo Wrestler bulk up for his match. After you reach a certain point, you can pick up people, who scream before slowly vanishing into the Sumo Wrestler's body...
- Important Haircut: The King suffered one, as depicted in his flashbacks.
- In Love with Your Carnage: You!
- It Runs in the Family: The Prince's large collection of cousins, who combine all sorts of strange shapes and behaviors in addition to rolling katamari themselves. Inasmuch as a group like this can have a normal one, it's suggesed that the Queen Of All Cosmos is the "sane" one.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: See Love Hurts, below.
- Kawaisa: The Prince and all his Cousins. With how many there are, each with their own distinctive look and Presents, there's bound to be at least one that gets you going "Awwww..."
- King of All Cosmos: Trope Namer.
- Lampshade Hanging: In Katamari Forever, the RoboKing openly wonders about the physics of turning katamaris into stars.
- Leitmotif: Many items have distinct sounds associated with rolling them up (and some have sounds for crashing into them before you're large enough to collect them). After a short time playing, you'll come to recognize when you've rolled up a particular item by sound alone.
- Level One Music Represents: "Katamari On The Rocks" is possibly the best-known song of the franchise, appearing in all games either in original form or as a Recurring Riff in other songs.
- Living Statue: It's amazing how many of the inanimate objects can move — and flee in terror when you try to roll them up.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Each game introduces several new Cousins/Second Cousins/Distant Cousins... you get the idea. From We ♥ Katamari on, all of the cousins are playable after you've collected them, letting you give the Prince a break (and subsequently roll him up).
- Looming Silhouette of Rage: The King at the game over screen, should you fail an objective.
- If he's not shooting lasers at you.
- Or hurling meteors at you.
- Love Hurts: "Tough love" indeed. In any game, your father will mock you angrily for failing the level.
- In We ♥ Katamari he fires lasers at you.
- In Beautiful Katamari he tries to crush you with billiard balls.
- In Katamari Forever he throws bouncing meteors at you. If you like, you can try to dodge them for as long as possible, and the game will keep score. You can even get a trophy for reaching a certain score.
- Lucky Charms Title: We ♥ Katamari, read as We ♥ Katamari.
- Meaningful Name: Several of the cousins have these, like the strawberry-shaped Ichigo, soup-bowl-headed Miso, cheerful and innocent June...
- Also the game's name. "Katamari" means a "lump" or "mass" and "Damacy" is a corruption of "Damashii/Tamashii" for "soul." So an interpretation is "a mass of souls" or, in essence, "a mass of objects (rolled up into a Katamari ball)"
- The meaning in this case is more akin to something like "team spirit", so it's more like "an undying love of lumbing things together."
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The Cowbear.
- Mundane Utility: One We ♥ Katamari level requires the player to clean up a messy bedroom. With the Katamari.
- Mushroom Man: One of the Prince's second cousins, Kinoko, looks like a mushroom with arms and legs but no face.
- Naked People Are Funny: Lalala: SHE'S NAKED!
- No Fourth Wall: The entire premise of the second game is that the first was so popular that the King sends the Prince out to make more katamari for the fans.
- Old Save Bonus: All the planets and constellations from Katamari Damacy can be collected in We ♥ Katamari by transferring them from the save file. Unfortunately, the first game was never released in PAL regions, so players in those countries can never collect all the items.
- Painting the Medium: The King of All Cosmos loves doing this.
- Pandering to the Base: We ♥ Katamari, literally, which involves fulfilling requests from in-universe Katamari fans.
- Parental Bonus: The items and their animations are often rather... interesting.
- The descriptions of the items you've rolled up in the Collection screen are notably absurd. The King's descriptions for all the countries you roll up in Comet level in We ♥ Katamari in particular have jokes that would go over even adults' heads.
- Playable Menu: The save game select screen uses the in-game controls, and while the Level/Character/Operation select systems (Select Meadow, Space Mushroom, etc.) do not, they are playable in their own way.
- Pokémon Speak: A lot of the Cousins' dialogue when being rolled up falls under this. Naturally, this becomes Lost in Translation for the Cousins who went through name changes between regions.
- Popular Saying But: Love makes the world go round... But manners keep you from getting motion sickness.
- Put on a Bus: Out of all the many Cousins, only a handful made it into Touch My Katamari, only one found in each level. note The King's official Twitter explained the others were on 'vacation'.
- Puzzle Platformer: At smaller sizes, the levels have ramps, bridges, and vertically-moving platforms (all built out of the same "ordinary" objects as the rest of the environment) that the player must carefully navigate to get to certain secret items.
- The classification becomes more obvious with the introduction of the ability to jump.
- Randomly Drops: There are some items that only occasionally appear on select levels... 100% Completion is something only for the truly dedicated.
- Recurring Riff:
- The famous riff from "Katamari On the Rocks" reappears in many other songs on the soundtrack.
- Most if not all of the lyrical songs in the games include some variation on the Japanese verb "katamaru" (which describes the game's featured action).
- Royal "We": The King always speaks like this.
- Taken to its limit in Me and My Katamari, where (in a loading screen) the King breaks the fourth wall and says that the game should've been called "Us and Our Katamari."
- Rule of Cute
- Say It with Hearts: The King does this quite a lot.
- Schmuck Bait: The hearts in Katamari Forever temporarily attract all nearby items to the Katamari. Good for increasing your diameter. Not so good in the Cow/Bear and Hot/Cold levels.
- Sentai: Jumboman, in all colors and sizes.
- Royal Cousin Kuro also loves Sentai, and is known for striking poses.
- Shout-Out: The LCD screen on Mag's face sometimes has a Pac-Man display.
- In the We ♥ Katamari collection screen, the King describes Pakistan thus: "There's a city here called Harappa. But there aren't any rapping dogs."
- In We ♥ Katamari, black-haired, white-clad ghosts can be seen emerging from wells in some levels - an obvious reference to Ring.
- In one level, a Venus flytrap can be seen sticking out of a duct stuck in the ground, referencing the Piranha Plants from the Mario series.
- An arcade game machine plays the Pac-Man theme when rolled up.
- In Beautiful Katamari, the Cool Planet stage has many Xbox 360 consoles and controllers in the house and around the pool, including a collection of controllers arranged that spell out "360".
- Whenever Michiru Hoshino says "I feel the cosmos!" she is paraphrasing Saint Seiya, another series that plays off the Zodiac.
- Katamari on the Swing SEXY SYNTHESIZER ALL ABOUT NAMCO mix incorporates sound effects and jingles from Pac-Man, Galaga, and other classic Namco arcade games into its melody.
- The Slacker: Goro the Slacker from Touch My Katamari.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Any relaxing, soothing background music becomes this as your Katamari becomes large enough to start absorbing people and buildings.
- Stylistic Suck: The cutscenes in the first game.
- Suddenly Voiced: The King, whose dialog had up until now been vocalized through record scratches outside of a single spoken line in the final flashback, sings a song for the player (in Japanese, of course) during the credits of We ♥ Katamari.
- Sugar Bowl
- The Tetris Effect: Play too long and you'll start calculating in your head how to roll up your surroundings. Na na na na na na na na...
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The optional sequence in the ending of the second, where the Prince tries to return to his home while the King rolls up everyone else into a katamari.
- Unstable Equilibrium: In the multiplayer modes, whoever builds their katamari even slightly bigger has the immediate advantage. Both players are capable of a charge attack to knock stuff off the other katamari, but the bigger one can throw his weight around much easier. After enough of a size gap, the bigger player can actually suck up the other player into his katamari as if he were an object. The smaller guy can technically break free after a while, but the game is as good as lost at this point.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Why is it that no one notices a giant clump of rubbish rolling around until it's big enough to "collect" them? Or winged whales balancing on top of skyscrapers, grand pianos abandoned in the middle of the road, circles of dancing squid in the street, wrestling superheroes, volcano Gods, Buddhas, dancing vending machines, an elephant with afro'd musicians playing jazz on top of it, a hot air balloon dropping things, circles of dancing dead squid in the street, or a parking garage spinning on its own turntable?
- Interestingly, only one of the Hoshinos (the son) notices the King of All Cosmos while they're flying to Top Shell Island. He's understandably surprised, and everyone else thinks he's crazy.
- Uranus Is Showing: In the "Uranus" level of Beautiful Katamari, naturally. The King makes a few (completely unintentional) Uranus puns, and follows with "Why are you sniggering?" to the player character's (unheard) response.
- Verbal Tic: In the English version, the King always speaks in Royal We, and has a habit of sticking weird adjectives into his sentences.
- Although by the time We ♥ Katamari rolls around, the King is apparently learning Esperanto, though still rendered in the record scratches of the previous game. In the Japanese version, he is learning English. "Very Very Nice game..."
- In the first game, he greets you at every level with a different language, including Esperanto.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's surprisingly soothing to hear living beings scream upon being rolled up. And nothing can quite beat the sadistic glee of rolling up something that was smacking you around mere minutes earlier (especially if it actively chased after your Katamari and knocked several precious objects out of it, repeatedly).
- Vocal Dissonance: The King has a rather campy voice that you wouldn't expect to come from somebody with such an intimidating face.
- Wacky Racing: The F1 level in We ♥ Katamari gives the Prince and his cousins different bizarrely-shaped vehicles to ride in while they steer their self-rolling Katamari around a racetrack.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The King is rather stingy with praise throughout the entire series.
- In Katamari Forever, he will only congratulate you for getting a score of 100/100 (or 120, if you do everything perfectly). A score of 99 or lower is treated as mediocre.
- This was also the relationship the young King and the Emperor had in the flashback reel of We ♥ Katamari.
- What the Hell, Dad?
- Wholesome Crossdresser: None of the male cousins even blink at wearing a bikini. On the flip side, none of the girls ever mind wearing a mustache. Or any of the other Presents that one might associate with one gender over another.
- Widget Series: It's a game whose goal is to roll the contents of the entire game world into a ball. Try explaining that to people.
- To be fair, the contents of the entire world are already in a ball, when you think about it.
- The World Is Just Awesome: Usually reserved for larger, longer stages, such as Make the Moon or Bird & Elephant. And yes, you CAN roll up the world in the end credits of the first game.
- X Meets Y: Bubbles, an early 1980s arcade game by Williams, meets Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, or any other late-1990s brightly-colored 3D collect-fest.
- Your Size May Vary: While the Prince's height is given as 5cm, he and the other cousins can appear in various places in various sizes. Lampshaded in-game via their roll-up profiles, which never specify their exact height.
- The King's roll-up profile states that he can change his size whenever he pleases, "depending on (his) mood and atmospheric conditions," so presumably the Prince and the Cousins also have that ability.