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Karaoke Box

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Hori: What kind of plots can you base around karaoke?
Nozaki: Senpai...In shoujo manga, karaoke parties are parties where everyone can make lots of noise. And it's a chance to showcase appealing gaps in the characters' personalities! A quiet girl who knows all the words to a song! A flashy guy who only sings enka! A delinquent who falls asleep as soon as it's dark!!

A popular pastime in Japan (and as noted later, much of The Far East of Asia), karaoke is the group activity of singing popular songs into a microphone, accompanied by a recording of the song from which the original vocals have been removed, and helped by lyrics displayed on a television. The singer is typically graded by the karaoke program (and by onlookers) for his or her ability to match the original song. The activity has spread from Japan to many other nations, and home equipment and song versions are readily available. note 

For people who don't own the equipment or want to sing karaoke as part of a fun night out, a karaoke box is an establishment that rents private rooms with karaoke equipment on the basis of short time intervals. Food and drink can be ordered and delivered to the room. Often they are part of a karaoke bar. Many karaoke boxes offer the option of nomi-houdai which translates to "all you can drink" and is the exact opposite of "responsible drinking", as it involves you drinking as much alcohol as possible in two or three hours to make the most of your yen.

Patrons of a karaoke box need only worry about embarrassing themselves in front of their closest friends rather than in front of a bar full of strangers.

For the unfortunates who have missed the last train home (or young folks traveling on a shoestring budget), a karaoke box is an acceptable and inexpensive place to spend the night, as many are open 24 hours, charge a minimal hourly rate, are nicely sound-insulated, and have staff who keep the place safe and really don't care whether you sing, drink, or sleep.

Compare Karaoke Bonding Scene, where two characters do a karaoke performance that hints at their relationship.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Two cases from Case Closed were set in karaoke boxes:
    • In the Lex Band Vocalist Murder Case, Sonoko pulls some strings and manages to get herself, Ran, and Conan a chance to go to karaoke with her latest Celeb Crush and his band. Said crush proceeds to insult his two bandmates and manager by requesting insulting songs and making them perform them before dying after eating a poisoned onigiri from catering.
    • The evocatively named Karaoke Box Murder Case sees Ran and Sonoko take a classmate to one to celebrate his discharge from the hospital. The party is interrupted when a man in a private room is found bludgeoned to death. Complicating matters is that the murder weapon isn't found, despite the security camera footage showing that nobody left the building since the time the murder took place. It turns out the culprit beat the man to death with a sock full of coins, then fed all the coins to one of the vending machines.
    • Both cases feature Ran and Sonoko performing adorable friendship duets, with Karaoke Box coupling them singing one of the anime's OPs and Conan stunning everyone silent with his awful singing.
  • The ending theme for Grand Blue takes place in a karaoke box, with Iori and Kohei singing the theme (evidently from an in-universe anime) as a duet while Shinji and Ryuujirou cheer them on.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, in which the protagonist uses her time-resetting abilities to do karaoke for ten hours straight.
  • In Hanamaru Kindergarten, Tsuchida's first open attempt to confess his feelings to Yamamoto-sensei takes place while they're both fairly drunk in a karaoke booth. Unfortunately for him, she's so Oblivious to Love that she misinterprets it as a dramatic rendering of a line from a manga she likes. (He got the line from there, but that's beside the point.)
  • In Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu, Bocchi and her friends visit a karaoke box early on, and while there, Bocchi runs into her old friend Kai by chance.
  • The third Kiss×Sis OVA starts with the sisters and Keita in a karaoke booth, with the goal of countering his depression. To that end, they also wear Sexy Santa Dresses. (The first song turns out to be the opening theme.) It's also the setting for the rest of the OVA.
  • A chapter of Kochikame has Ryotsu singing (very loudly) trying to get the highest score. He gets a good score first, but decreases in subsequent singing with his loud voice and tampering with the box.
  • Lucky Star's endings are the four main characters singing in a karaoke box. Konata hogs the microphone most of the time but the others all get turns and mix it up with some non-anime related songs. This makes a surprise appearance when Lucky Channel's hostess and ex-idol singer Akira first gets a promised concert appearance. As it turns out, this means the producer reserved a karaoke box for her and a camcorder to record it. For most of one song. Akira grimly - and competently enough to demonstrate the show actually is underutilizing her - sings through it despite the lack of any live audience and the constant interruptions.
  • My-HiME has one in Episode 16 for the party of the newly-formed Hime Sentai. Mai is quite excited about it, but is disappointed to have to go last (interestingly enough, Natsuki and Nao, who hate singing and their costumes, and sing badly have to go first). At the end of the series, Mai sings the opening song in the newly-formed Karaoke club.
  • No box, but two of the sound stages in Lyrical Nanoha (The one set in a pool and the one set during the Hanami Festival) had karaoke sets which some of the characters used to belt out their Image Songs.
  • In Midori Days, Seiji and Ayase end up in somewhat intimate circumstances in a karaoke booth, but Seiji scares her off by being too aggressive.
  • This is discussed and invoked in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, where Nozaki, Hori, and Sakura go to a karaoke box for reference, since Nozaki wants to incorporate a karaoke plot in his manga. They wind up running into Mikoshiba and Kashima, who are trying to hide the fact that Kashima can't sing from Hori. Of course, the five of them end up in one room.
  • In Persona 5: The Animation, the Phantom Thieves go to the karaoke box a bit more often than in the game, since it's more discreet than talking about Phantom Thief business in public. For example, they meet there when discussing the hacker known as Alibaba's request.
  • In the second season of Sasami: Magical Girls Club, Washu and Daimon take Itoki to a karaoke bar to try and pump her for information on the Magical Girls Camp the girls have been invited to, but instead she just sings the opening and ending themes and gets drunk.
  • In one chapter of Sgt. Frog, Keroro, Giroro, and Tamama visit one of these, once again mistaking an Earth past-time for a military training exercise. They end up challenging Natsumi (who is there with some friends) to a sing-off.
  • Star Driver has Takuto in later episodes take a part time job in one. The one that Keito's aunt owns and operates apparently, and Keito works in and, alternatively, goofs off in. Later, the heroic trio visit it during Wako's birthday and the guys end up the victim of a Grand Theft Me.
  • In episode 9 Symphogear, Hibiki, Miku and Tsubasa end up going to one during their day together. Tsubasa, a well known Idol Singer, surprises both of Hibiki and Miku when she choosing to sing an enka-style song for them.
  • Tenchi Muyo! - Happens in the Alternate Universe series, Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo. In Pretty Sammy, Chihiro Kawai (Sasami and Tenchi's mother) is a karaoke addict.
  • An early episode of Ultra Maniac involves the characters going to a karaoke bar and singing snippets of the opening and ending themes as duets. Singable lyrics were written for the dub. Nina, a transfer from the Magic Kingdom, sings a song from Doraemon, since it's the only one she knows.
  • Wandering Son has a few instances of the kids going to a Karaoke Box.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lorne from Angel ran the Caritas, a karaoke bar, and often featured both demon extras and series regulars singing karaoke (generally badly).
  • The whole of the Inside No. 9 episode "Empty Orchestra" is set in an office party in such a box, with characters singing thematically appropriate songs while the non-singers conduct affairs, backstab & bully each other, and try to figure out which one of them is getting made redundant...

  • The 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize to Daisuke Inoue "for inventing karaoke, thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other." Inoue-san actually showed up to receive his prize in person and included a rendition of "I'd like to teach the world to sing" in his acceptance speech. This became a major media event in Japan, as although karaoke is still very popular in Asia, nobody had quite realized who had invented it.

    Video Games 
  • This is the heroines' base camp and the players' homepage in I=MGCM. You can watch the four (out of twelve) heroines you choose sitting in the karaoke box, chatting with each other.
  • Persona 3: A karaoke box is one of the ways to raise your courage stat. In the game's bad ending, everyone gathers at the karaoke box to celebrate the end of the school year. It's the bad ending because the world ends ten seconds after the Fade Out, not because it involves karaoke.
  • Persona 5: Early in the game, the Phantom Thieves meet in a karaoke box to discuss what to do about Kaneshiro, since it's a place where they can go without looking suspicious or risk being overheard by anyone.
  • Takeshi's Challenge has a karaoke box where you have to sing an enka song well enough to do two encores, then provoke a Bar Brawl.
  • JoySound is a series of Karaoke games released only in Japan. The PSN downloadable versions are notable to be region-locked so tightly that even Japanese PS3s with a Japanese PSN account won't run the game if it's not connected to a Japanese ISP.
  • The Yakuza series has a rhythm minigame based around this, where Kiryu and other playable characters can visit a karaoke box and sing various songs, complete with an Imagine Spot (or depending on the song, just sit and cheer along to the song). You can also visit with certain other characters, and bring hostesses there on dates.
  • Sleeping Dogs has karaoke rooms in the back of some clubs, similar to Yakuza. The main difference is that the Rhythm Game is simpler and the music is licensed (and in English).

    Visual Novels 
  • The protagonist and title character of Melody go on an outing to a karaoke bar, and waste no time renting a box. They take a bet on whether the protagonist can sing a song that he hasnít heard in a while while getting all the lyrics right, while the protagonist discovers Melody's singing talent.
  • In the Tokimeki Memorial series, the Karaoke Box is one of the mainstay date locations. One of the Bad Endings of Tokimeki Memorial 2 also takes place there, as the player and his two friends are venting their frustration of not getting a girlfriend after their three years of high school, by singing a karaoke.
  • Princess Evangile: In Marika's route, it's revealed that she's actually quite fond of singing, especially at Karaoke bars. In one of her first dates with Masaya, they both end up visiting a Karaoke bar that she frequents near the city train station, and she shows just how talented she is at singing.

  • In El Goonish Shive, the main cast have a karaoke contest as part of Grace's birthday party. Ellen uses this to demonstrate the effect her Second Life dreams had on her, and express her feelings for Nanase.
  • This tends to happen a lot in Hang In There Kogasa San as singing karaoke is one of the artist's favourite hobbies.

    Web Original 
  • SCP-024-JP from the Japanese branch of the SCP Foundation is a set of coin lockers that act as karaoke boxes. The user can input the desired usage duration and room properties, including location (which the room will replicate).

    Western Animation