Video Game: PaRappa the Rapper

"I gotta believe!"
— PaRappa's motto

Released in December 1996 in Japan and Halloween of 1997 in the US, PaRappa the Rapper is a Rhythm Game for the PlayStation.

The game follows the (mis)adventures of a rapping puppy named PaRappa who attempts to improve himself in order to impress Sunny Funny, the girl he has a crush on, despite being intimidated by the presence of Joe Chin, a rich and narcissistic dog who is also trying to woo Sunny. How does he win Sunny's heart? 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 learning karate, learning how to drive, selling things at a flea market, 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. It's not only seen as the first definitive modern Rhythm Game, but probably the most influential. Pretty much every Rhythm Game created since, from Dance Dance Revolution to Guitar Hero to beatmania, owes at least a little to PaRappa, if only for starting things off. The game is still highly regarded today, with a 88% on GameRankings.

A sequel named PaRappa the Rapper 2 was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2001, which once more focused on PaRappa (but with cameos from the MilkCan members), but was widely considered to be inferior, or at least less memorable. PaRappa also produced a spinoff in 1999 called UmJammer Lammy, which spawned an album called Make It Sweet!.

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, Rodney Greenblat, 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 Play Station All Stars Battle Royale.


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     Both PaRappa and UmJammer 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).
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
  • 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".
  • Arc Words: In UmJammer Lammy, Lammy constantly remembers what Chop Chop Master Onion told her: "Dojo, casino, it's all in the mind."
    • "I GOTTA BELIEVE!", the catchphrase of (who else?) PaRappa himself.
  • Animal Gender Bender: The first PaRappa game features a female moose with antlers, as well as the sequel.
    • It's even weirder in UmJammer Lammy, which not only features a female lamb with horns, but also a female ram. You'll see the what's weird about it if you Google "Ram".
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Only in PaRappa Town can an onion teach you kung-fu, or a dog date a flower.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Katy Kat's usual outfit features this.
  • Big Eater: PJ Berri.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Too give you a good idea of how interesting PaRappa Town's architecture is, the game's illustrator is an abstract artist.
  • 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 Stage 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 UmJammer Lammy, Ma-San is typing a letter to "Mr. Matsuura" (Masaya Matsuura is one of the game's creators).
  • Dance Party Ending: As a game about music, this goes without saying. The two Parappa games have Parappa rapping with MC King Mushi Mushi about his heroic actions. The goal of Lammy is to get to the concert that comprises the ending.
  • Downloadable Content: The PSP rerelease of PaRappa has downloadable alternate versions of the original 5 songs, while UmJammer 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.
  • 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.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Averted. All the insect characters have two sets of arms.
  • Furry Fandom: Being set in a world populated by Funny Animals, this was inevitable.
    • It became even more inevitable with the arrival of Lammy.
  • Iconic Outfit/Nice Hat: PaRappa's beanie hat, which he never takes off. What PaRappa looks like underneath his hat is such a such a popular topic, that an entire WMG has been dedicated to the question.
  • Inexplicably Tailless: Despite being animals, only Katy has a tail showing; And there are moments when even HER tail is missing!
  • Informed Species: The title character is not readily identifiable as a dog.
    • Lammy doesn't even resemble a lamb. Name one person who knew she was a lamb/sheep without being told.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Joe Chin has this.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Every time you fail a level.
  • Limited Social Circle: Notable aversion, but then play straight. Katy's band members Lammy and Ma-san, have never met Katy's other friends. But by the second game they have evidently formed a single social circle close enough to walk into each other's houses without asking.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Actually, it was more like, "Lions and Tigers and Humans and Inanimate Objects... Oh, My!"
  • No Fair Cheating: Pausing a level would make it much easier to time your button presses; the games close this loophole by forcing a level restart if you try it.
  • Older Than They Look: PaRappa and his friends have child-like appearances, but Word of God says that they're probably teens.
  • Paper People: There's about one character in the game who isn't in this style. Everyone else is paper-thin.
  • Rule 34: PaRappa and Sunny's sex life seems to be a pretty popular topic...
  • Serious Business: The inhabitants of PaRappa Town sure do seem to be into rapping.
    • Lampshaded at the beginning of UmJammer Lammy; Lammy's excuse for being late to her concert was that people wanted to rap for the bathroom, and she only plays guitar. People, please leave the rapping to Pa Rappa!
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game: The entire game can be described as a rhythmic version of Simon.
  • 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.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Used for stylistic purposes. See Paper People.
  • 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 UmJammer Lammy dives nose-first into full-blown widget territory.

     PaRappa- only examples 
  • 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.
    • Same with Papa PaRappa.
  • Award Bait Song: "Come a Long Way" from the second game might count.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Prince Fleaswallow, which is only made clear if you actually listen to his lyrics. He seems to have a god complex, be on the run from the police, only cares about money, and is implied to also be a thief.
  • Boastful Rap: the endings to both games, unusually it is a professional rapper boasting about PaRappa.. In addition, half of the second game's third and seventh raps are each this.
  • 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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you fail Stage 1 of PaRappa 2, Beard Burger Master will say, "Oh man, that was bad. And what is with this noodle thing??" (presumably referring to the noodle pattern that appears around the screen and covers the background in Bad and Awful modes respectively). PaRappa then sighs, "I always screw up at the beginning..."
  • Carrying a Cake: Poor, poor PaRappa. Though it's probably just as well—Sunny might have found the design a little offensive.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: In the PSP release, PJ Berri and Katy Kat's orders of "a vanilla and a chocolate frosty", respectively, at the burger restaurant mute the word "frosty", possibly because of trademark issues with the Wendy's Frosty.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: "I ain't got no time for nobody."
  • Don't Try This at Home: In the 5th stage of the second game, this text is shown in brackets at the beginning section of the level. For the record, the activity shown is hairdressing, though it's about as extreme as that can be.
  • Downloadable Content: The PSP rerelease of the first game has downloadable alternate versions of the original 5 songs.
  • Ears as Hair: Rare plant variation. Apparently, Sunny Funny's petals are her "hair". They can even be styled into an afro somehow.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Colonel Noodles 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, Noodles suddenly raps that noodles "taste better than water" before water pours down at Noodles 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.
  • Fake Difficulty: Provided by the original game's cumbersome timing window. This game also debuted before the advent of TVs with extensive video and audio pre-processing, and hence it has no lag adjustment options. Good luck playing it on a modern TV.
  • 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 Noodles 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.
  • G-Rated Sex: There was an entire level in the sequel where PaRappa practices "Romantic Karate". With his friend P.J. Berri. Good thing Sunny didn't find out.....
  • Heel-Face Turn: Colonel Noodles.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man/Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: PaRappa and Guru Ant alternate between growing and shrinking in the second game's third level.
  • Insect Gender Bender: Guru Ant is almost definitely male, based on his Barry White-esque voice.
  • Interspecies Romance: PaRappa's a dog who has a crush on a flower named Sunny. An animal is in love with a plant. According to Word of God, PaRappa could actually have children with Sunny. God only knows what their kids would look like.note 
    —Rodney Alan Greenblat
    • 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 Noodles that there are many excellent foods in the world that would be lost if he turned everything into noodles.
  • Level One Music Represents: In the 'PSP' rerelease of the game, most levels get one or two downloadable remixes. Stage 1 gets five.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded:
    Hairdresser Octopus: "Hey, take that stupid hat off. What does it look like in there?"
    PaRappa: "Aaa, I'm not sure myself."
  • Logic Bomb: In Prince Fleaswallow's rap, he says "I've been working here [at the flea market] since my mama was a baby". Think about that.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Word of God states that PaRappa, a dog, and Sunny, a flower, are sexually compatible, and could conceive a child.
  • Nostalgia Level: Of sorts. Stage 5 of PaRappa 2 prominently features MilkCan of UmJammer Lammy, who play the background music.
  • Old Master: Chop Chop Master Onion.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: To an extent in the sequel. Bad guy Colonel Noodles wanted to transform everything just to satisfy his undying love for noodles.
  • Potty Emergency: First game, level 5 "Full Tank". A That One Boss moment, though technically it's four. Turns into (implied) Potty Failure if you fail the level. Albeit... strangely (and humorously too).
  • 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 Noodles to eat burgers daily along with everyone else, including Noodles' 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 Noodles 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!
  • Rap the Curse Out Of Him: PaRappa fixes Hairdresser Octopus's obesstion with taking people hostage to give them giant afros by beating him in a rap while also helping him snip, cut, trim, dye, and perm.
  • 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.
  • Retraux: The sixth level in PaRappa 2 is a 16 -bit video game game. Or if you're doing badly, 8-bit. Or if you're doing REALLY badly, a freaking Atari 2600 on an Oscillascope display.
    • Subverted if you're doing awesomely, which is in the 32 or 64-bit style.
  • Rich Bitch: Joe Chin.
  • Saving the World with Art: The premise of the second game: Colonel Noodles is turning everything in the world into noodles, and it's up to PaRappa to deliver a Kirk Summation in the form of a rap battle.
  • 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.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Cheap Cheap has a stereotypical British voice, but is still a pretty great rapper.
  • Sunny Sunflower Disposition: Sunny Funny. Bright and cheerful, and also wanting adoration.
  • The Television Talks Back: There was an entire level in PaRappa the Rapper like this. A subversion, as Cheap Cheap's literally right next to him. (The "television" is actually a frame she kept around herself, for some reason. This is revealed only if you're in "cool" mode, if you were doing badly and when the level ends. (This is lampshaded by PaRappa asking her how she got out of the TV.)
  • Token Human: The first game was originally going to feature one named Pony Pony.
  • Transformation Ray: The Noodlizer, a Ray Gun that can turn anything into noodles, including burgers, guitar strings, and even noodles.
  • Updated Re-release: The first PaRappa the Rapper game got a rerelease on the PSP.

     Anime-only examples 

     Rodney Fun Comic Collection-only examples 
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Happens to PJ in the first book.
  • 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... Flaming Dynamite Strawberry Onion Cake, anyone?
  • No Smoking: Averted. Both PaRappa's dad and Mr. Prince Fleaswallow are seen smoking on separate occasions.
  • Those Two Guys: The squirrel and the rabbit in the second book.



Alternative Title(s):

Parappa The Rapper