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Ao Oni (Blue Demon) is a Japanese indie horror game for PC, created using RPG Maker XP in 2007. It follows the adventure of four teenagers who go into a supposedly haunted abandoned mansion in order to investigate it, only to end up trapped with the titular Ao Oni, who they must now escape from.

Gameplay consists of walking around the house and solving puzzles to advance. At regular intervals, the Oni will pop out and you have to find a place to hide in order to escape it.

Keep in mind that different revisions of the game may have significant differences in the plot.

While rather simplistic, Ao Oni was one of several games to codify the Explorer Horror genre, and has inspired a large number of fangames that feature either the same cast or an original cast of characters, typically with a new and unique Oni with its own gimmick.

The game can be downloaded for free here. In December 2016, Ao Oni 2 was released for Android, and Ao Oni 3 followed a year later; the original has been ported to this platform as well. There is also an Ao Oni Online.

A two-volume novel adaptation appeared 2013. A theatrical film version followed in 2014, the trailer for which you can see here. A second movie unrelated to the first, Ao Oni 2.0, was released in 2015. There's also a Black Comedy anime shorts adaptation by Studio DEEN, Aooni the Blue Monster, which aired during the summer 2016 anime season.

A full-length anime, Ao Oni the Animation, came out in the fall 2016 anime season, featuring a new plot and characters, with a movie following in 2017.

Not to be confused with a 2001 Bungie game Oni, nor the trope Red Oni, Blue Oni.

Ao Oni provides examples of:

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  • Agent Scully: Hiroshi to some degree. This is demonstrated most in the third version; even after being chased around by the oni, when he catches up with everyone else and gets asked what's happening, he suggests it's some sort of Halloween costume. The oni disproves that theory, prompting a later dream where Hiroshi imagines he was right after all.
  • All Just a Dream: Used for both the Scary Surprise Party and a Catapult Nightmare in the fifth version's ending.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In version 1, there's a point where the player switches over to Kazuya.
  • Antagonist Title: The game is literally named "Blue Demon" in Japanese. Of which there are many included, especially in later versions.
  • Anyone Can Die: Depending on the version. Sometimes Hiroshi might get to save everyone; other times, not so much.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The character portraits in early versions are drawn in markedly different styles. Takeshi's in particular stands out.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: There are closets in a couple of rooms. You can escape the oni by hiding in one of them. But if the oni is in the same room as you, going in one will land you an automatic Game Over (your hiding spot is no good when the oni sees you go in). Good luck trying to hide in one without the oni catching you!
  • Behind the Black: The oni seems to like hiding behind text boxes to enter a room unnoticed.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In 1, only Hiroshi, Megumi, and Kazuya manage to escape.
    • In version 5, Hiroshi leads his friends to safety, but another group enters the mansion...
    • In version 6, Hiroshi ultimately escapes, but couldn't save anyone, making for a Downer Ending.
  • Book Ends: Two examples in Version 5's ending: Takeshi has a nightmare about being found in the cabinet he first hid inside, and a new group of victims enter the house.
  • Bookcase Passage: Frequently.
  • Broken Bridge: Most of the mansion's doors are locked at the start, forcing Hiroshi to explore and solve puzzles in order to progress.
  • Cat Scare:
    • One of the first events in every game involves Hiroshi hearing a strange crash and going to investigate. It's just a broken plate.
    • Subverted in version 6. At one point, the player is in a room when something breaks offscreen, only to see a cat flee the room after knocking over a picture frame. Then Double Subverted, seconds later, a monster with More Teeth than the Osmond Family and Black Eyes of Evil runs out from behind a bookcase toward the player.
  • Color-Coded Characters: In the later games, Takeshi, Mika, and Takuro have blond, brunette, and red hair respectively, while Hiroshi has silver-white hair. Makes it easy to tell them apart.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Oni's Dark Blue color allows you to see it the millisecond it enters the room.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: In Version 1, this happens near the end of the game: Kazuya escapes, but goes back looking for Hiroshi.
  • Creepy Basement: The key location in all of the versions.
  • Cue the Rain: As you move deeper into the manor, you will eventually hear it raining outside.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Depending on the version. Everyone or nobody in the group dies. Markedly in version 5 where no one dies... But a new group enters the building. Whereas everyone but Hiroshi dies in 6.
  • Darker and Edgier: Aside from removing the more confusing and misleading puzzles, version 6 amped up the horror elements compared to the previous one, changing the attic from just another location to get puzzle pieces into an Eldritch Location, including the gut-punching Scary Surprise Party scene, and sequentially killing off the other characters one by one.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In version 6, Hiroshi finds Takuro after apparently being killed by the Oni, in the Oni prison room, having appeared out of nowhere. Hiroshi brings them along and as to be expected, Takuro was an Oni in disguise.
  • Difficulty by Region: In version 5, there is a Japan-specific cipher puzzle which many non-Japanese players find almost impossible, even with the usage of a guide. Often times, this is the spot where players gave up on the game altogether.
  • Driven to Suicide: Takeshi, in version 6. He is extremely sad and guilt-ridden after convincing everyone to go into the mansion, only for most of them to get eaten, killed, or worse.
  • Drop-In Nemesis: Guess who.
  • Dwindling Party: In some versions, including 1, 3, and 6.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The original version puts more detail into the Excuse Plot with a longer opening sequence. While the main character is still named Hiroshi, he's now a dark-haired underclassman who, along with the silver-haired Kazuya, gets forced to visit the mansion by a gang of four older students. Takuro leads this gang, and the other members include Mika's precursor Megumi, a brown-haired Takeshi counterpart, and a gray-haired boy who would eventually become Hiroshi in later versions. There are no character portraits.
    • The oni suffers heavily from Artificial Stupidity in the original game, having a harder time navigating around obstacles. By the same token, certain objects can be walked right through.
  • Easter Egg: In the later versions, these can be accessed by entering different codes for Hiroshi's name.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The monster can devour a rope ladder without blinking an eye.
  • Face–Monster Turn: The other three students turn into Oni after dying in version 6, and are just as dangerous as the regular Oni.
  • Fan Sequel: The fangame Ao Oni S is specifically set after version 5's ending. There's also Siro Oni, Hakkyo Oni, HetaOni, and Crom Oni, each with, respectively, a Two Headed Oni, a Bleeding Screamer Oni, a sort of Alien-like Oni, and a Red Oni.
  • Four Is Death: In most versions, it's a group of four students who enter the manor.
  • A Friend in Need: Most strongly seen in the first version, where Hiroshi is constantly searching for his friend Kazuya, and Kazuya ultimately saves him in the end.

  • Gang of Bullies: Takuro and his friends act like this in version 1.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used in conjunction with Shadow Discretion Shot for one death: after seeing a shadow pass by a screen door, attempting to enter five times will let Hiroshi actually go in, while the 'camera' stays out in the hallway.
  • Grand Theft Me:
    • In version 6, this is what happens to Takeshi, Mika, and Takuro after they die.
    • Quite possibly part of the reason Takeshi kills himself in the middle part of the game, to prevent the Onis from doing this to him. It doesn't work.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the puzzles reach Moon Logic levels.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Despite the title of the game translating to "Blue Demon", the titular monster is more of a purple color than a blue color.
  • Haunted House: You think?
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Hiroshi, though only in version 6.20 on. Also somewhat downplayed, since you don't talk to the others very often. Especially after they turn into Oni.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: A LOT of items and puzzles...
  • Hope Spot: Hiroshi manages to find a ladder leading up to an escape route in the well, and goes to bring Takuro along. The Oni promptly chews up the ladder and kills Takuro when they try to escape.
  • Initiation Ceremony: In the original game, Takuro and his gang force Hiroshi and Kazuya to visit the mansion as part of one of these.
  • It's All My Fault: Takeshi blames himself for convincing the others to visit the mansion in the first place.
  • Jump Scare:
    • The cutscene when you're trapped in the jail could count. But if you really want a Jump Scare, hide in a closet with the monster in the room. At the end of the game, you get one of these with a horrifying sound to boot.
    • Some puzzles take you to a different screen to solve them. During one such instance, you'll make two moves in the puzzle before it freezes... and the monster is suddenly walking straight towards the screen. And yes, he's Right Behind You when you return to the normal map. Needless to say, it's a tad unnerving.
  • Kaizo Trap: If you don't run from the mansion after escaping, the Oni will chase after you outside! Version 6 has Oni Takuro chase Hiroshi down.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The monster will, at times, use the text boxes to its advantage. In version 6, not even the status screen is safe! The South Park spoof Lampshades this when Takeshi screams at you for talking to him, because he knows the Ao Oni's been using the text boxes to pop up behind its victims.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: While splitting up in the first place is involuntary, when Hiroshi actually finds his friends, they rarely agree to stick together.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Oni is surprisingly speedy and being touched once spells game over.
  • Lovable Coward:
    • Takeshi and Mika, but mostly Takeshi. He is found hiding in wardrobes twice throughout the whole game, and is the only person having doubts about going to the mansion in the first place.
    • The original version has Kazuya, who's simply terrified at being dragged to the mansion by Takuro and his bullies.
  • Meta Twist:
    • For many versions, Mika was protected by plot armor by hiding in a room that the oni casually ignores. In version 6, she is Killed Off for Real in the same room.
    • Same logic goes to the infamous jail cell scene. Most versions have the Oni helpless to go in and furiously shaking the bars before leaving, since getting in the cell is an instant safe zone. It will still do this in Version 3, but before that your safety isn't guaranteed. Go into the jail cell upon discovering it, and watch your game over screen pop up because you didn't lock it (and to be fair you don't have the key yet).
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: One puzzle requires you to stick a lightbulb onto a doll and turn that lightbulb on.
  • Morphic Resonance: In Version 6, after your friends die, they turn into monsters that look exactly like the original monster, except they retain the hair and hairstyle they had as humans.
  • Musical Spoiler:
    • The chase music loops, and lasts around 10-15 seconds. It usually takes one full loop of the music to time-out the Oni and end a chase sequence. Therefore, the best strategy is to get to a room with several obstacles, and run around them until the music has to restart, then exit.
    • The fact that there is no chase music for Version 5's climactic chase should really clue you in that the chase never ends.
  • Nintendo Hard: The puzzles are often quite complex or convoluted, which isn't helped by the Oni constantly stalking you and being very difficult to shake off once it's got you in its sights. Needless to say, prepare to die a lot.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: In most versions, there is an early scene where you can walk past the clouded-glass door of the bathroom in time to see a large shadow pass by, with some very heavy breathing. Activating the door several times results in Hiroshi entering, but the camera staying outside. All we see is a smattering of blood on the glass before the game cuts out.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In version 6, there's no music except for when a monster appears, which is a repeating Scare Chord. Also, at some points, the player has to hide in an empty wardrobe in the bedrooms; the screen goes black and the music is silenced. The only thing you can hear is the door opening when the monster enters to find you, then the door closing once it leaves. Even worse, in some cases, the monster will appear in the room just before you enter the wardrobe, thus causing a Game Over. Another way the monster messes with you is in very rare occasions the monster even pretends to leave, sounding the door, but then when you leave your hiding spot it's still in the room.
  • Off with His Head!: Takuro dies this way in version 3.0, via surprise head chomp.
  • Once an Episode: Every version of the game is different, but a few things happen in all of them.
  • One-Hit Kill: Getting caught by the Oni is an instant Game Over.
  • Oni: The eponymous monster, who pursues Hiroshi and his friends throughout the game. When each of your friends get caught, they're transformed into more Oni, and several more deformed versions of the original Oni are found in a jail cell near the end of the game.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: The protagonists.
  • Plotline Death: If someone's gonna die, it's usually gonna be like this.
  • "Psycho" Strings: The music played when chased.
  • Red Herring: There is a puzzle that requires you to use a doll's head. At first glance, it seems like a sliding puzzle since you can move a piece but it turns out to be irrelevant.
  • Retraux: The game is frequently noted for its similarity to Clock Tower (1995).
  • Room Full of Crazy: In 6. It doesn't appear until you hide in the cupboard there, though.
  • Scary Surprise Party: In early versions, this trope is cruelly subverted. The hero, Hiroshi, is suddenly attacked by the monster that has been chasing him and murdering all his friends, only for the Oni's head to pop off, revealing that it was a guy in a suit all along and that the whole ordeal was just a setup for a surprise birthday party. Pity that this turns out to be just a dream, and his friends really are dead.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After finding the hanging rope ladder, your hero can potentially pull this, leading to a Bad Ending.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Appears in some games; apparently, the oni sees in Predator type of vision.
  • Shout-Out: Right below, once you reach the part where Takeshi gets killed South Park Style, they copy off of Gantz and its Buddhist Mission alien speech.
  • Silliness Switch: If you enter "SOUTHPARK" as your name, the character sprites are drawn in South Park style and the dialogue is changed to incorporate catchphrases from the show. "Oh my god, they killed Mika! You bastard!"
  • The Smurfette Principle: Only one girl ever enters the mansion, whether it's Mika or Megumi.
  • Sole Survivor: Hiroshi can end up as this.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The monster is good at this. Especially when it's got text boxes to hide behind.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In the movie, the Oni can speak full Japanese.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Hiding in a closet to avoid the monster sounds like standard horror faire... except standard horror games usually doesn't account for the monster seeing the player jump into the closet. Here, The Guards Are NOT Crazy: closet-diving with the Oni still in the room ends just as well as you'd think it would.
    • The lighter runs out of fuel after Hiroshi uses for the first half of the game. Hiroshi has to obtain more to use it for the second half.
  • Surreal Horror: The monster that chases you has a Barbie Doll Anatomy body and a giant head. The "Psycho" Strings and the fact that it immediately guns for you are what makes it really scary.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: In 3, Takuro chastises Takeshi and Mika for arguing and tells them this.
  • Timed Mission: Most encounters with the monster involve running away while a hidden timer counts down. Entering TIMER as Hiroshi's name enables the player to see this clock.
  • Twisted Ankle: Takuro, in version 6. He hides in a closet, and gives you an important item; later on, you will come to collect him, but the monster ate the rope ladder you need to escape and chases you and Takuro. Then Takuro trips over and is eaten/killed/whatever you call it...
  • Vague Age: The main characters are consistently either middle-school students or high-school students, but what year they're in is never stated, putting them in the 13-15 and 15-18 age ranges. The only characters whose ages are definite are Hiroshi and Kazuya in Version 1; they're explicitly referred to as high-school freshmen (i.e. they must be 15 going on 16).
  • Was Once a Man: In version 6, Hiroshi's friends come back as monsters after they're killed off one by one. You can tell them apart from the original monster by their hairstyles.