Released at Halloween of 1997 in the US, Parappa the Rapper is a PlayStation rhythm game. The main point of the game is to follow the adventures of a rapping puppy named Parappa who attempts to improve himself in order to impress the girl he had a crush on. How does he do this? By rapping his way to glory, of course!The game works like this: Every stage has one character who raps a song and ask you to perform certain tasks, like kicking, punching, turning, signaling, flowing, selling, etc. in time with the music. You hit a button at the right moment as indicated on a bar at the top of the screen. Effectively, it's a video game version of Simon. Do well and you'll make it through the song; do too badly and you'd have to try again.But, the rap twist is that during gameplay, Parappa can deviate heavily from the "teacher", creating his own twisted yet awesome string of button mashes and random sentences, and still score points. In fact, by creating original lines that are synchronized with the rhythm and beat of the teacher's lines, the player can access freestyle-mode, which allows the player to go Ax-Crazy on the controller, make Parappa look like a superhero doped on crack, and get better endings.It is a very short and simple game, but the unique premise and the unbelievably catchy songs made it an instant cult classic. The game is still highly regarded today, with a 88% on Gamerankings.Parappa produced a spinoff in 1999 called Um Jammer Lammy, which is essentially the same thing, but with more songs and a girl in a garage rock band called MilkCan. A sequel was released on the PlayStation 2 which once more focused on Parappa (but with cameos from the MilkCan members), but was widely considered to be inferior.PaRappa has appeared in other media as well. There is also an Anime of the Game, but it only lasted two seasons. Before the anime debuted, the game's illustrator had created a series of comic books that are decidedly more true to the game than the anime. The anime can be viewed on YouTube. You can view the comics here, or you can be purchase a meatspace copy here or here.On April 26, 2012, Parappa was announced as a playable inclusion in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.Pretty much every Rhythm Game created, from Dance Dance Revolution to Guitar Hero to beatmania, owes at least a little to Parappa, if only for starting things off.
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Both Parappa and Um Jammer Lammy examples
Aerith and Bob: Characters with some rather out-there names (such as PaRappa, Ma-San, and Chop Chop) exist alongside more reasonably-named people (such as Katy, Sunny, and Joe).
Ambiguous Gender: It is unknown who Jet Baby's gender is. In PaRappa 1, "The Jet Baby Theme Song" refers to the song's title character as a "she", but when Parappa and his friends walk out of the movie theater, they refer to said character as a "he".
Call Back: Each of the games starts with the characters watching a movie (usually involving "Jet Baby") with the same weird monster. Then, before the first level starts, they go to "Chunky Burger." In UJL, they even take the exact same dialogue for the bully characters who come in as when they did in the first game.
The bully characters say the same first dialogue lines in Parappa 2, during a cameo appearance at the start of Chapter 5.
Creator Cameo: Rodney Greenblat, the character designer of the series, has off-and-on cameo appearances throughout the games, most noticeably as a television reporter in PaRappa 2, but also as the basis for the name of "Rodney State" where the characters live, and the singer of the "Jet Baby" song at the beginning of PaRappa 1. Also, in a bonus scene from Um Jammer Lammy, Ma-San is typing a letter to "Mr. Matsuura" (Masaya Matsuura is one of the game's creators).
Downloadable Content: The PSP rerelease of Parappa has downloadable alternate versions of the original 5 songs, while Um Jammer Lammy was released for download on the PlayStation Store.
Dub Name Change: Sometimes averted (Teriyaki Yoko, Ma-San), sometimes played straight (Takoyama-san/Hairdresser Octopus, Niwatori-sensei/Cheap Cheap). The "dub" part is questionable, though...
Egopolis: Parappa Town is inexplicably named after... take a guess.
In a Creator Cameo version, Parappa Town is in "Rodney State," after Rodney Greenblat.
Feather Fingers: Mostly averted. Nearly all PaRappa characters have humanlike hands regardless of species, including frogs, octopi, and even plants. Interestingly, Cheap Cheap Chicken is one of the few characters, if not the only character, with appendages appropriate for her species, but she seems to be able to manipulate objects just as easily as any human-handed Funny Animal.
Split Screen: Happens in UmJammer Lammy, when Lammy tries hard to fly a plane with Captain Fussenpepper in Stage 4; and in PaRappa 2, when both Parappa and Guru Ant are grown big for the final time, while you can see Ma-san getting bored (which doubles as a Funny Background Event), as long as you don't mess up.
Vague Age: The main cast tends to look and act somewhat childlike, yet Parappa is apparently old enough to drive.
Variable Mix: When you start screwing up, so does the music.
Widget Series: Parappa may be a little nuts, even by Japanese standards, but Um Jammer Lammy dives nose-first into full-blown widget territory.
Parappa- only examples
Actor Allusion: At the start of Vs. Mode matches in the second game, Boxy Boy will quote Hairdresser Octopus for no real reason. Both characters are voiced by Freedom Bremner.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In PaRappa 2's rap song "Noodles Can't Be Beat", when Parappa and Colonel Noodle rap about how foods can be in worldly cuisines (while going through quick costume changes to represent each culture of cuisine):
Noodle: Chinese, Italian, Thai or Jamaican... Parappa: Mexican, Egyptian, English, Korean... Noodle: Anything goes, even Hawaiian. Parappa: Anything goes, even Alaskan.
Ascended Extra: General Potter only had non-speaking role as Sunny's father in the first game. But in the sequel, he plays a key role in the story.
Boss Rush: The first game's fifth involves engaging the four mentors from the other songs in a rap battle in order to get to the toilet. The sixth level in Parappa 2 had a similar premise, with you facing off with the five mentors in a 16-bit video game.
Clumsy Copyright Censorship: In the PSP release, PJ Berri and Katy Kat's order of "a chocolate frosty" at the burger restaurant becomes "a chocolate ...", possibly because of trademark issues with the Wendy's Frosty.
Evil Costume Switch: Colonel Noodle in PaRappa 2. After failing to turn all the burgers into noodles in Stage 1, he moves away during the news report in the intro to Stage 2, and now switches to dark costume in the intro to Stages 4 and 7. During the rap battle with Parappa, while they are still convincing each other about which food is better, Noodle suddenly raps that noodles "taste better than water" before water pours down at Noodle on cue, washing his plate off of him along with his glasses and his noodle afro hat; and he is now fully convinced that other foods taste better, resulting in a Good Costume Switch back to normal in Stage 8.
Expy: Instructor Moosesha in Parappa 2 is an Expy of her sister, Inspector Mooselini, from the first game, who is neither mentioned by name nor shown.
Foreshadowing: In Parappa 2, if Parappa messes up a segment, Beard Burger Master's son is seen laughing from a corner with a strange machine. The machine is the Noodlizer, and it's revealed later that BBM's son is Colonel Noodle.
Friend to All Children: Discussed by Rodney Greenblat in his "The Jet Baby Theme Song": "When Jet Baby loves, / She loves all of the children."
Frothy Mugs of Water: Only in the U.S. version of PaRappa 2, Stage 1, even though Beard Burger Master's voice says, "You better get in line!" his lips say, "Taste better than wine!", which was in the Japanese and European versions.
Justified in Stage 7, in any version of PaRappa 2, when Colonel Noodle raps, "Noodles are the best, no doubt, can't deny, taste better than water, but don't ask me why," in a nod to his father's "Taste better than wine" lyric (Japan/Europe version only), before water pours down at Noodle on cue.
Interestingly, in one of the RodneyFun comics, Parappa mentions wanting to "have many babies" with Sunny.
I Want to Be a Real Man: After an incident in the sequel's prologue leads to Sunny calling PaRappa a baby, he spends the whole game trying to act mature. Sunny eventually tells him that he only needs to try his best.
It's a Wonderful Failure: Fail stage 5 of the original, and it's heavily implied that Parappa poops in his pants, symbolized by a video of a rocket blasting off.
Kirk Summation: The entire 7th level of PaRappa 2 was about Parappa trying to convince Colonel Noodle that there are many excellent foods in the world that would be lost if he turned everything into noodles.
Pursuing Parental Perils: We learn in the intro to Stage 7 of PaRappa 2 that Beard Burger Master became so obsessed with burgers and their research that he would compel his son Colonel Noodle to eat burgers daily along with everyone else, including Noodle's mother, who became so obsessed with burgers that she turned into one. Even worse was that Noodle had become destined to become a burger shop owner like his dad from the day he was born. We're assuming that Beard Burger Master died being obsessed with burger research, and after Noodle ate some pasta and noodles because he loved noodles more than burgers, he decided to start on noodle research and do to the citizens of Parappa Town what his burger-obsessed father did to him years ago: compel them to eat noodles daily until the day he would die, which is very dangerous indeed!
Real Song Theme Tune: In the intro to the fourth stage right after the "I gotta believe" part, when the announcer is announcing Cheap Cheap's cooking show, a snippet of "Tijuana Taxi" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (played in a slightly slower tempo) can be heard.
Shrink Ray: The unmodified de-noodlizer in PaRappa 2 can shrink or enlarge characters (including Parappa) when a certain character presses the button on its remote control, even with help from the Guru Ant, of course.
Something Else Also Rises: A poop example in Stage 5 of the first game. If you fail the song, it shows a live-action clip of a rocket blasting off, as a clever and humorous visual representation of PaRappa crapping his pants.
Word of Gay: Rodney Greenblat confirmed this for Hairdresser Octopus.
Um Jammer Lammy-only examples
All-Natural Snake Oil: In a non-greenwashing example, but the same principle, Joe Chin markets his laptop computer as being "Theft-proof". This is true, because it's the size of a whole room!
All There in the Manual: In the JPN/EUR version, when the (fake) credits roll when Lammy ends up in Hell, it lists the names of each instructor. Due to the cutscene being re-animated for the American version, there is no way to know most of the instructors' names unless you read the manual.
Balloon Belly: This was actually a plot point in Um Jammer Lammy. After level 2, Lammy eats so much pizza she's Mistaken for Pregnant by a nurse caterpillar with a vomiting problem who thinks Lammy is in labor. Lammy digests the pizza after being dragged into the maternity ward, so the nurse realizes that Lammy wasn't pregnant, but she insists that Lammy should rock the babies to sleep.
Banana Peel: Lammy dies and gets sent to Hell this way in European/Japanese versions. She gets out though.
Bonus Feature Failure: For whatever reason, Ma-San's little personal movies after the credits, as well as those viewed through Parappa's storyline, have a seriously choppy framerate and subpar sound mixing, presumably to fit them on the disc without sacrificing the overall picture quality for all the FM Vs. It's enough to make you think your disc is defective until you see that they're the same way in the PSN Store's downloadable version.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you fail Stage 6, Teriyaki Yoko will break out of the ground and order you to start over, saying Lammy should be banned from every game, to she will ask if she means the one she's already in as well.
In addition, at the start of the original version, when she sees she has died and gone to Hell, Lammy will say that means the game is over, and comment on how stupid that is.
In this concept art for early Lammies,◊ one of them looks like a jogger and several of them look a bit like poodles. Then they found the right one...almost.
Chainsaw Good: The fifth stage has Lammy and Paul Chuck carving a guitar with a chainsaw to Rock-A-Billy.
Continuity Nod: In the first level, Lammy is late for her own concert and is desperately trying to think of a good excuse; specifically, having a Potty Emergency when everyone in line for the bathroom wants to out-rap her. Which she then immediately dismisses.
Cranial Eruption: Fussenpepper gets one every time he is hit on the head with the loose circuit board in the Stage 4 cutscene. It doesn't happen during gameplay however.
Dreaming of Things to Come: In the song of Stage 1's Dream Sequence, "I Am a Master, and You", Chop Chop Master Onion raps about fire, a baby, a plane, the "necessary [wood-chopping] skills to build a guitar", and hell/a tropical island, which is what Lammy will have to undergo in the following stages.
False Teeth Tomfoolery: In the intro to Stage 5 ("You Said Anything, Didn't Ya?"), Captain Fussenpepper takes out his false teeth, called the "Wah-Wah" Effecter, and tells Lammy to put it to use on her next journey; and at once she obliges.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the Japan and Europe versions of Stage 6, right before Lammy slips on a Banana Peel, there's a close-up of the peel that, if you look REAL close and REAL fast, has a sticker label on it that says "NaNaOn-Sha", which is the name of Masaya Matsuura's game developer.
Funny Answering Machine: "Hiii. This is Lammy? I can't come to the phone right now, b-b-b-because the MilkCan l-l-live show is coming up real soon, and I'm not really ready for it, b-b-but Katy, Ma-san and I have spent our last time in the studio, and my solo's not really the way I want it to be, so I kept practicing and it turned out to be okay! Anyways, leave your name and a b-b-brief message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible, okay? Bye-bye!"
Furry Confusion: Not seen in-game, but the credits song "Keep Your Head Up" has Katy sing about taking the dog for a walk at one point...
Hypocritical Humor: In one cinema before PaRappa's Stage 4, an ad for Joe Chin's Foundation for Natural Preservation is shown. Immediately after this ad comes an ad for Joe Chin's Brand Chains, one of which, combined with a chainsaw, is able to chop down whole trees (even though Paul Chuck sings "NEVER USE JOE CHIN'S CHAINS FOR THEM" in both versions of "Power Off, Power On!").
I'll Kill You!: Parodied in the Japan/Europe version of Stage 6, when Teriyaki Yoko picks up Lammy's new guitar and threatens to kill her, believing her to be Rammy (see Instrument of Murder):
Impact Silhouette: In the U.S. version of Stage 6 ("Vital Idol"), Lammy gets catapulted from the guitar store and flown away until she lands in an island's jungle, leaving a Lammy-shaped hole in the ground.
Instrument of Murder: Teriyaki Yoko attempts this in the Japan/Europe version of Stage 6 by picking up Lammy's guitar and threatening to kill her, believing her to be Rammy, before hearing that Lammy has already died and promising to bring her back on the condition that Lammy "play right". In the U.S. version, however, Yoko makes no death threat, though she does pick up the guitar and point it at Lammy for no reason while the latter explains how she ended up on this island.
Medium Awareness: If you screw up on Teriyaki Yoko's level on Um Jammer Lammy, she'll say "Start all over! You should be banned from every game," and Lammy will respond, "From every game?? Even this one?????" Same goes for Parappa's screw-up on said level, when Parappa responds, "But... but.... but.... ha......"
New Game+: Beating the game's seven levels unlocks the option to play with Parappa, either separately or co-op with Lammy.
Playing the Heart Strings: Both played straight briefly and parodied in the original version of Stage 6: first, when Lammy is killed in a Banana Peel accident and her black-and-white soul Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence... sort of; and then, when Lammy laments her own death in hell, "Parappa's End Roll in G Minor" plays briefly during the fake end credits... right before Jack Smash appears and stops the credits before taking her away to Teriyaki Yoko. (The full version of the sad-string song can be heard in the original soundtrack, though.)
Precision F-Strike: Barely subverted. If you fail level 3 as Lammy (or in one of the team modes), she will say "Fudge!"
Visual Pun: In the 3rd level you are literally "Rocking" a baby to sleep.
Violation of Common Sense: Need to put out a burning building? Play the hose like a guitar! Need to put hundreds of babies to sleep? Play one of them like a guitar! Flying a plane? Play the steering wheel like a guitar! Cutting down a tree? Play the chainsaw like a... take a guess!
X-Ray Sparks: These show up when you do poorly on Teriyaki Yoko's stage and get electrified. Even the little frog face on Parappa's hat seems to be affected. Also, Lammy and Rammy's hearts can be seen through their ribcages if you look closely.
In one of the flashbacks in the Stage 7 cutscene, Lammy got this when plugging in electrical equipment and being electrocuted by it.
Fantastic Voyage Plot: In one episode ("Did You Say You Didn't Sleep?!"), Parappa's friend PJ gets infected by a virus, which causes him to grow into a giant every time he eats. This causes Parappa and his friends to get absorbed into his body and get rid of the virus in order to turn him back to normal.
Lethal Chef: Sunny Funny in second book, nearly literally around the end (keep reading). When Sunny forgets to buy the ingredients she needs, she decides to improvise. Needless to say, none of Sunny's guests would touch it. (Except for PJ) As for the dessert, well... FlamingDynamiteStrawberryOnionCake, anyone?
No Smoking: Averted. Both PaRappa's dad and Mr. Prince Fleaswallow are seen smoking on separate occasions.