Kiki Kai Kai
(奇々怪界) is a relatively obscure arcade game made by Taito
in 1986 in Japan. It features a young Miko
named Sayo who has to save the Seven Lucky Gods
and the boat they were in from various odd creatures out to kill you
with Rapid-fire Ofuda and a Gohei. It was re-released in Taito Legends 2
Come 1993, a SNES game featuring little Sayo-chan
and Manuke, a leaf-throwing Tanuki is released in the west as Pocky and Rocky
The whole series has 5 games in total:
- Kiki Kai Kai (Arcade, 1986)
- Kiki Kai Kai Doutou Hen (Famicom Disk System, 1987), an obscure Metroidvania-ish remake of the first game. First game to feature Miki, a green version of Sayo.
- Kiki Kai Kai: Nazo no Kuro Manto / Pocky & Rocky (SNES, 1992 in Japan, 1993 in the west) First game released in the west and first Co-op game of the series. Sayo is Pocky, Manuke is Rocky. Developed & published by Natsume.
- Kiki Kai Kai Tsukiyozoushi / Pocky & Rocky 2 (SNES, 1994) This game features changable sidekicks instead of two equal characters. Also developed & published by Natsume.
- Kiki Kai Kai Advance / Pocky & Rocky with Becky (GBA, 2001) (Kind of a) Remake of the First game. Developed by Altron, but still published by Natsume in the U.S.; Miki is renamed to Becky to keep the naming scheme.
The series also have a Spiritual Successor
with Heavenly Guardian
, which is the result of the developers losing the license after Taito was bought out by Square Enix
Tropes used in the series:
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: Averted with the original Pocky & Rocky (though the box design was almost completely different from the in-game design). Sure enough, however, by 1994 the Western box art for Pocky & Rocky 2 has the characters looking less cute and much angrier.
- Badass Adorable: Sayo.
- The Cameo: Sayo herself appears in many other Taito games. As a boss in the NES port of Rainbow Islands, as the designated Miko for any of the Taito-made Jinsei Game ports, a whole Kiki Kai Kai themed level set with a Sayo-form Manuke included in Bubble Symphony, as a selectable character in Pop N Pop and Space Invaders '95 and, most recently, as a DLC character for Elevator Action Deluxe.
- Clothing Damage: Sayo/Pocky's health meter in Pocky & Rocky 2. Her clothes are tattered (but not to Fanservice levels) when she has one hit left, and she can collect armor (or bunny ears [?!]) for an extra hit. If you're familiar with the health system of the first Ghosts 'n Goblins game made by Capcom, then you should know the full story!
- Cultural Translation:
- In Pocky & Rocky 2, all of the names were changed to Western ones, references to Japanese folklore are changed (Momotarou became "Captain Peach", for example), Pocky's Ofuda and Gohei are called "magic cards" and a "magic wand", and the kanji on said cards are replaced with hearts (though the giant kanji in Bomber Bob's throw attack was left intact). It's still a relatively minor example, as the hearts were the only visual change and everything still looks and feels very Japanese.
- The youkai were renamed "Gorgonzola Goblins" (!) in the intro for Pocky & Rocky.
- Cute 'em Up: The game looks like an anime where everyone is super deformed.
- Difficulty By Region: Kiki Kai Kai Advance had One-Hit-Point Wonder characters and no save system. Its North American version, Pocky & Rocky With Becky, gave two hit points to the characters and added a password system.
- Dub Name Change: Everyone.
- Expy: Sayo Yuuki and Reimu Hakurei were originally expies of Sayo/Pocky, the former came from a game which was released on the arcades by Taito and was apparently named after her model, the latter was closer in appearence in the early games of her series which was made by one guy who was a fan of Darius Gaiden, which was made by Taito.
- In fact, that guy (ZUN), worked for Taito before becoming indie later.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Manuke/Rocky, the last boss of the original, no less, allies with Sayo/Pocky after getting attacked by some bigger demons than him in Pocky & Rocky. He genuinely becomes Sayo/Pocky's friend after this game.
- Fusion Dance: The Magic in Pocky & Rocky 2 seems to be a Power Booster type, except for Scarecrow and Ottobot, whom Pocky just rides.
- Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: In Pocky & Rocky 2.
- Karakasa: The recurring umbrella enemies named Kasabee, playing off the Eyelid Pull Taunt. (In Pocky & Rocky, their name was translated as Umby.)
- Mascot Mook: The Puka Pukas, which are cute ghost wisps.
- Miko: Sayo/Pocky and Miki/Becky
- Nintendo Hard: The games have the typical high difficulty of the genre.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: The original.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Impy to Pocky in Pocky & Rocky 2.
- Palette Swap: Miki/Becky is essentially a green version of Sayo/Pocky.
- Paper Talisman: Sayo/Pocky uses them as ranged weapons.
- Spread Shot: In Pocky & Rocky, collecting blue orbs gives you an Initial Burst.
- In Pocky & Rocky 2, Sayo/Pocky's first power orb gives you a Spray Burst.
- In Pocky & Rocky With Becky, Initial Burst is Miki/Becky's power.
- Youkai: By the metric ton!
- Zigzag Paper Tassel: Sayo/Pocky uses an ōnusa as a weapon. She also makes a point of waving it over the shrine before she leaves at the start of the game.