Video Game: Rakugaki Showtime

Rakugaki Showtime is a Japan-only wacky Fighting Game by Treasure, released for the PlayStation in 1999. It tells the story of a few doodles drawn to life by the God Hand (not that one) for the purpose of defeating a group of evil doodles... also drawn to life by the God Hand, who is merely staging this epic battle for its own amusement. (Sounds vaguely like Super Smash Bros.'s Master Hand, doesn't it?)

The gameplay can be described as Power Stone meets Super Dodge Ball - the two-dimensional fighters move around on a 3D plane and can attack each other at will, but will spend most of their time picking up whatever they can and throwing it at their enemies. Gameplay is fast and frantic, the visuals are amusing, and the story is simple enough to be understood with little knowledge of Japanese.

This game provides example of:

  • Acrofatic: Mamu is easily the bulkiest character in the game. Doesn't stop her from running and jumping only slightly worse than most other characters.
  • Action Girl: Sasami, Marina, Lilo, and Mamu.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: A lone, nearly-dead Zako can chose to stop fighting and start begging for mercy.
  • Art Initiates Life
  • Art Shift: Yukiwo is briefly show in a traditional anime-style in the intro cutscene.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The God Hand has a child's voice that could easily belong to either gender.
  • BFS: Excalibur's schtick. His sword is so large he can't even throw items... and doesn't need to.
  • Big Bad: Daddy ...except he's just another pawn in God Hand's game.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The God Hand grants the doodles their freedom after getting thoroughly trashed by them.
    • A bit earlier than that, Daddy will send Zakos to help you in the battle against the God Hand right after you beat him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The game will increase or decrease difficulty based on your performance.
  • Excuse Plot: Within the context of the game - the doodles fight each other on rather flimsy pretenses and stop fighting when they no longer have to.
  • Evil Knockoff: The God Hand sketches grey-scale fighters to assist him, which can include the player's character, even if they're playing as the (normally unfought) four starter characters.
  • Fighting Game
  • Final Exam Boss: The God Hand can create grey-scale copies of other fighters in the game. Including the four starting characters that can't be fought otherwise.
  • Flunky Boss: The God Hand.
  • Fragile Speedster: Pii-tan and Hayate can outrun nearly everyone else, but have lower health.
  • The Goomba: Zakos. You shouldn't be expecting much when their name has just about the same meaning as "small fry" in Japanese.
  • Guest Fighter: Marina from Mischief Makers.
  • Happy Fun Ball: The Smiley Ball. God help you if you underestimate its power.
  • Heli Critter: Ultra Johnnys can somehow transform their bodies into helicopter blades, allowing them to fly around as a head and feet. John MK-2 can do it too, and that makes even less sense, since at least Ultra Johnnys are robots.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: John Mk-2's charge Smiley Ball move is to kick said smiley ball so it bounces off walls in random directions, dealing high damage if it hits.
  • Joke Character: The Zako is about as useful as you'd expect The Goomba to be. What's worse is that John Calibur can do everything it can do better.
    • Cannon Zako is more of a gimmick than anything else. Sure, it has projectiles, but they're weak, and it comes at the cost of no melee or throwing, meaning absolutely no Limit Break (Ex Calibur at least has strong melee). The only other thing it has is a auto-counter. Not to mention that a Zako wearing washing machine armor isn't very intimidating.
  • Large Ham: Daddy.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Lilo is a little girl who's normally about as powerful as a Zako. But if she grabs a charged Smiley Ball, she can change into Mamu, as close to a Boss in Mook Clothing as this game gets, for about a minute.
    • Ultra Johnny is a weaker version of John Mk-2, similar to how Zako is a weaker version of standard John Calibur. Unlike Zakos, however, Ultra Johnny is still of use even if John Mk-2 is unlocked, since his charged Smiley Ball attack is potentially the strongest attack in the game.
  • Limit Break: By grabbing a charged Smiley Ball (which is charged as it hits fighters), fighters can execute a strong attack, unique to each character. Notably, two characters (Cannon Zako and Ex Calibur) can't actually perform these due to not being able to grab and throw items.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The God Hand stages the entire plot to amuse itself.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Nearly every character has some aspect of them that makes them play very differently from the others.
  • Mighty Glacier: Mamu hits like a truck, but has below-average speed and is the biggest target in the game.
  • Mooks: The comically inept Zako, and the slightly more imposing Ultra Johnny(s).
  • Nintendo Hard: The game itself is not hard to beat - but to beat the game on hard mode, you not only have to be good enough to get to hard mode, but good enough to stay there. (See Dynamic Difficulty above)
  • Personal Space Invader: Lilo can cling to an enemy and slowly drain their health until she is shook off. Her heart projectiles, as well as Mamu's kisses, are similar, but they only slow down fighters.
  • Power-Up Magnet: Lilo and Esper Dog can manually attract items to themselves.
  • Psychic Powers: Esper Dog.
  • The Rival: John Calibur / John Mk-2.
  • Shows Damage: How close a character is to dying can be seen by how red-colored their outline is.
  • Time-Limit Boss: For some reason, the God Hand must be beat in about 270 seconds. A bit surprising, since every other fight had no timer.
  • True Final Boss: After defeating Daddy, the God Hand will move to erase him - provoking your character to pick a fight.
  • Video Game Flight: Chosuke and Daddy are given mostly unrestricted flight, but can't jump normally.
  • Widget Series: Probably the only fighting game where the strongest weapon is, not huge missiles, but smiley faces. And that's not even considering the fighters themselves.
  • Zerg Rush: The main reason the Zako, Cannon Zako, and Ultra Johnny fights can be tough is that any battle with them includes at least two more fighting at the same time (Zakos/Cannon Zakos) or as backup (Ultra Johnnys).
    • In the John Calibur/John Mk-2 fights, there can be up to six enemies on the opposing side. Even for simple enemies, that's a little absurd.