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Video Game / Deemo

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Never left without saying goodbye.
Deemo is a Rhythm Game developed for Android and iOS devices by Rayark, the same developer behind the rhythm games Cytus and VOEZ. Essentially, Deemo is a column-free touchscreen version of beatmania, with an emphasis on piano notes. Currently, there are more than sixty songs available to play in three difficulties for each song, distributed over twelve collections.

The titular character is a speechless black figure who lives inside a tower, passing his time by playing his piano, which is situated on an enormous tree stump. One day, an amnesiac little girl falls from a window in the ceiling just above Deemo's piano. Intent on helping her return to where she came from, Deemo makes the tree stump grow into a tree again through his piano playing, hopefully tall enough to reach the high window.

On Android, a part of the story and songs are available for free (with included timer and ads for some songs), and several song packs require in-app purchases. On iOS, once you've purchased the game songs required by the storyline are free, but other song packs are only available as in-app purchases. The game was also released for the PS Vita, as a slightly different version titled Deemo: The Last Recital and has several exclusive songs, along with the cutscenes now being animated, and an epilogue story being added into the game.

A Nintendo Switch port was released on September 21, 2017 in Japan, and September 28, 2017 in North America. This port later received an update to support the Toy-Con Piano from the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit.

A 3D remake with added exploration and puzzle elements, Deemo -Reborn-, was released for the PlayStation 4 in November, 2019, Windows PC (via Steam) in September, 2020, and Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android devices on December, 2020. This version is VR compatible on the former two systems, adding a point-and-click feel to the exploration. View the trailer here.

A sequel, Deemo II, was released on January 13, 2022. You can watch the teaser trailer here.

A manga written by Junichi Fujisaku and drawn by Haruki Niwa titled DEEMO - Prelude was serialized on Ichijinsha's Monthly Comic ZERO-SUM since March 27, 2021.

An Animated Adaptation, Deemo: Memorial Keys, was released theatrically in Japan on February 25, 2022.

Deemo provides examples of:

  • Adventures in Comaland: Near the end, it's revealed that the girl was in a coma the whole time. She's able to wake up because everything is grown to full height.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • By mid-game the music adds to the tree's height very slowly. After progressing the game to a certain point, the tree blooms with glowing fruits every so often. Gathering them adds to the tree's growth without playing any music.
    • 3.0 adds Light Orbs that appear sooner and can each be tapped for 65 cm of growth each or for 10% of the staircase construction once you reach that point. Also, Light Orbs will accumulate in rooms that haven't been unlocked yet, up to the maximum of three, essentially giving you a sizable amount of free growth once you unlock the room.
  • Art Shift: Across different collections, the per-song art varies wildly. Justified, as various artists were involved in the development of the game.
  • Bookends:
    • During the "Growing" cutscene the Little Girl is seen reaching for fruit dangling from the growing tree. In "Leaves" the Masked Lady reaches out to the same tree to catch a falling leaf and crush it to bits.
    • The game has two sets of rolling credits. Both of them conclude with the list of Rayark developers, and the phrase "and You" to include the player.
    • The end of the "Bloom" cutscene ends with a framed picture of the Little Girl sitting on a piano while a man whose face is obscured plays. The man is her brother, who died saving her. The epilogue cutscene ends with the Little Girl sitting at the piano alone, playing music for the cat doll that was a gift from her brother on the day he died. A Wham Line immediately follows.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Hans' last act while he was alive was to push Alice away from an oncoming, out-of-control bus, and dies upon impact. As Deemo, he does everything he can to make sure that the Little Girl, Alice's mental image, is able to wake up from her coma and live the life that was taken from him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Little Girl is able to escape being trapped in Alice's mindscape, allowing the latter to heal and wake up from her coma in the real world. However, this means that Deemo is gone forever, and the realization of her older brother's death hits Alice hard. On the other hand, DLC material, ‘The Forgotten Hourglass’, revealed that despite how saddened Alice was regarding her brother’s death she was able to move passed her brother’s death and build a new life for her own by becoming an accomplished pianist like her brother.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Downplayed. Playing the same song again gives you less tree growth than playing it for the first time. You'll quickly be reduced to minimal tree growth per song unless you buy the DLC song packs.
  • Convenient Coma: As of the 2.0 update, it's confirmed that the events of the game take place while Alice is in a coma after her and her brother Hans were hit by a truck.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The stuffed cat. Hans had bought it for Alice just before the traffic accident killed him.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Cherry Blossoms appear in certain parts of the story, especially in the Little Girl's dialogue. Also featured in the song Sakura No Iro Yumenote . The music seems to be a romantic, wistful tune unless you know cherry blossoms represent death as well as life, because the flowers die so quickly.
  • Cool Big Bro: Deemo is rather nice for a creepy humanoid, and his relationship with the Little Girl is Like Brother and Sister. Justified, as Deemo is the living embodiment of what little Alice remembers of Hans, her deceased brother.
  • Continuity Nod: Mandoras, an adorable type of plant creature from Rayark's mini-game, Mandora, can be seen in the artwork for the songs "Pilot", and "Vivere La Vita".
  • Cosplay: Sometimes the little girl and Deemo do this on various pre-song art, even bordering on Costume Porn at times.
  • Creepily Long Arms: Deemo has very long arms by human standards.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: In addition to Creepily Long Arms, Deemo has very long fingers.
  • Crossover: With Brave Frontier, where Deemo and the girl are a unit in the game.
    • In return, Deemo added Collection 6, which is 3 songs themed around Brave Frontier complete with original character art from the corresponding game. This collection has since expanded to feature other collaborations in addition to the original three songs.
    • The Little Girl, Deemo and Masked Lady also appeared in Rayark's Sdorica for a month long event which featured songs from this game. Some Sdorica songs made it into Deemo around the same time.
  • Curtains Match the Window: The little girl's brown hair match her brown eyes.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite his creepy appearance and inability to speak, Deemo is actually a nice guy who looks after the Little Girl like a older brother figure. Fitting, since he's Alice's mental image of her deceased older brother.
  • Disappears into Light: Deemo/Hans fades into light after sending Alice back to reality, symbolizing that he's gone forever.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The song Suspenseful Third Day, complete with rolling credits.
  • Disturbing Statistic: 121.518549 and 25.040854, seemingly random numbers found within Deemo's castle by the girl, is actually the coordinates for National Taiwan University Hospital. Considering the game's calm yet eerie atmosphere, this spawns many Epileptic Trees.
  • Engrish: Lots of it in the character dialogue and songs.
  • Evolving Title Screen: Not the title, but this is the case for the pre-music art for Fluquor and Sakura Iro no Yume. It seems simple enough until you replay the song after beating the game, and clear the song with a full combo. Where Deemo once stood will be replaced by Hans when the song finishes and show the player's the results of their play. This is made more tear-jerking that you will always see this whenever you cleared Fluquor in full combo Suspenseful Third Day also gets different artwork under the same conditions, though it features the Masked Lady rather than Hans.
  • Final Boss: There are a number of Lvl 10 songs, but in terms of storyline, Magnolia and Entrance in Volume 1 are the most significant.
    • Volume 2 as of the 2.0 update has Anima and Myosotis, but especially Myosotis. It's the only song in the game so far to have a difficulty level of eleven.
      • Forgotten Hourglass's last unlockable song and the song that replaces Fluquor on the 4th playthrough, Marigold, has a difficulty of 12 which is, as of the 3.0 update, the highest level song in the game.
  • Flower Motif: Oh so many contained in the music and the related artwork. The flowers often carry significant meanings.
    • Music collections the player hasn't unlocked yet are surrounded by thorns. The same rule applies to a certain door in the game.
    • Nine Point Eight: The lyrics include a laundry list of flowers with significant meanings, also depicted on the cover art. In order they are calla lily (death), carnation (fascination), daisy (innocence), chysanthemum (platonic love), kalanchoe (poisonous houseplant that kills by affecting the heart), lisianthus ("dissolution flower"), cream rose ("thinking of you"), stargazer (sympathy), and iris (loyalty).
    • YUBIKIRI-GENMAN: The cover art has a background of yellow chrysanthemums, symbolic of platonic love rather than romantic love.
    • Pulses: The lyrics often refer to the stargazer, a flower signifying sympathy.
    • Magnolia: The flower's common meaning is "love of nature. " Fitting, since you unlock the song by growing the tree high enough to complete the first part of the game.
    • Legacy: Unlocking the song requires looking in a vase containing a Japanese Andromeda, whose meaning includes things like danger, sacrifice, or dying together. The same flower features prominently in the song artwork.
    • Sakura No Iro Yume: As detailed in the entry for cherry blossoms.
    • Myosotis: Appropriate to the endgame, myosotis is the Latin name for the flower "Forget-Me-Not".
    • Marigold: The last song from the Forgotten Hourglass collection. One of its meanings is "Grief and despair of the loss of love", fitting the lyrics of said song which talk of longing and the grief of living past a loved one's death.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One of the Little Girl's idle quotes if you click on her in the piano room mentions something about "playing doctor" (though in a platonic way), with her being the patient. Then the story reveals later on that the girl, named Alice, was hit by a speeding truck and is being treated in the hospital during the events of the game.
    • The Masked Lady is flanked by bonsai trees when the Little Girl first meets her. Later, the tree mysteriously stops growing, no matter how much music you play.
    • Both the Little Girl and Masked Lady wear white clothes and black gloves, but the Masked Lady's feet are never shown, either in the game proper, or in song artwork. This gives her a ghost-like appearance. Makes sense, since she's the part of the Alice who wants to die so she can stay with her brother.
    • During the game, the Little Girl encounters disturbing items: a random wheel, broken glass, and a dirty stuffed cat doll. They're all physical reminders of the traffic accident that killed her brother and put her in the hospital.
    • The pre-song art for the song "Pulses" shows the little girl hooked up to a heart monitor and IV with lines running through a hole in her heart to Deemo to bring him to life. Later you find out Deemo is actually the Little Girl's dead brother, and she's been recovering in the hospital from injuries she got in a traffic accident during the whole game.
    • The song art for Legacy depicts Deemo and Little Girl together in the midst of shards of broken glass and a wheel, similar to things she finds earlier in the game that refer to the traffic accident.
    • The flowers in the art for "Magnolia" are open; in the art for Myosotis they're wilting. It represents how the Little Girl is the part of Alice who wants to wake up from her coma and live, while the Masked Lady is the part of Alice who wants to die and stay with her dead brother.
    • When the Little Girl looks out the window, she notes that it's too foggy to see anything. When she wakes up as Alice, she is able to see the city from the hospital window, signifying she returned from Deemo's world.
    • The only lyrics for the song "Run Go Run", which can be found in the same room where she finds items related to the traffic accident that killed her brother, is "Oh my god, I'm losing control!" It's implied that this is what the driver said when a bus went out of control and killed Hans.
    • The art for the song "Walking by the sea" has the Little Girl lying in bed, surrounded by the sea and looking rather longingly at it. It refers to how Alice is in her coma, while the world keeps passing her by. The Little Girl is the part of Alice who wants to wake up and live.
    • In the "Leaves" cutscene, the Masked Lady catches a leaf from the piano tree and crushes it to pieces. This is because she doesn't want the Little Girl to leave and make Deemo/Hans disappear forever.
    • "Nine Point Eight" is about a woman who commits suicide to join her dead lover. This refers to the Masked Lady, the part of Alice who wants to stay in her coma and die so she could rejoin Hans in the afterlife.
    • "I hate to tell you" is about a person who has bad news to deliver, but can't bring themselves to say it. Sure enough, the Little Girl (and the player) learns that Deemo is actually the representation of Hans, who died to protect his younger sister, Alice, from an oncoming bus. When Alice wakes up in the real world and realizes this, she breaks down crying.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Seen on the art cover of the song I hate to tell you, which fits the song's somber mood.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Forgotten Hourglass DLC allows unlocking of Extra charts for 10 songs. Myosotis, on the hard difficulty, is rated 11, while Marigold is rated 12 on the hardest difficulty.
  • Hearing Voices: Some of the dialogue from the little girl after growing the tree to 10m implies this. They're likely the voices of the doctors and nurses taking care of her in the hospital.
  • Hell Is That Noise: If you keep clicking on the open window in the attic after the tree reaches a certain height, it will play static noise and eventually what sounds like a beeping heart monitor.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hans pushes Alice out of the way of the oncoming truck. Alice is only injured as a result, while Hans takes the full brunt and dies from it. As Deemo, he does it again by helping the Little Girl escape, allowing Alice to wake up from her coma in the real world, despite knowing that this will erase his existence forever.
  • Hidden Track: Some of the songs require the player to explore the castle and click at things before they are unlocked.
  • Interface Spoiler: While most songs are careful with this, some song artwork does show Deemo's true identity. Though the only songs that explicitly show this are in collections only unlocked after already having beaten the main story, certain other songs like Morning Drops and Snowflakes have caused many players to question who exactly that person in the picture is.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: It's implied the Little Girl has this to a degree.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Almost EVERY song with vocals in Collection 1 save for ones that already sound creepy. Most noticeable in Nine Point Eight, a love song about flowers. And the singer following her cremated lover by committing suicide by jumping. "9.8" refers to acceleration due to gravity, 9.8 meters per second squared.
    • "Delicate flesh decomposes off my rotten bones / And softly merge into the sky"
  • Magic Music: Before the Little Girl drops in, Deemo's piano is situated on a dead tree stump. Playing music causes the stump to grow into a tree again. As the game continues, the tree grows ever so slightly, progressing the story when it reaches certain heights. Eventually the tree surrounds the piano, which is fine since it opens up rooms where you find other ones.
  • Microtransactions: The mobile version has them in the form of $5 song packs that have 4 or 5 songs each. Averted with the Switch version, which has a higher initial price tag, but includes all the paid content at no extra cost.
  • Mind Screw: When first revealed in Deemo 2.0, the Masked Lady looks like the Little Girl/Alice, playing the trope straight. But it's later subverted with Deemo ~Last Recital~ revealing that the Masked Lady is Celia, a manifestation of Alice who remembers what happened to her brother Hans and is in denial over it, and has been trying to stop Alice from leaving because if she does so, Deemo, the mental image of their brother, would disappear and Celia doesn't want to be separated from Hans.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are only three characters in this game: The Little Girl/Alice, Deemo/Hans, Alice's older brother, and the Masked LadyCelia, the side of Alice that denies Hans's death.
  • Mysterious Mist: When you're in the attic, the Little Girl mentions seeing fog outside the window.
  • No Antagonist: The closest you can get to an antagonist in this game is the Masked Lady/Celia, who is really just a Broken Bird.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: The cutscenes have no dialogue, despite there being characters who can speak.
  • No Mouth:
    • Deemo. Later averted when he reveals his true identity as Hans, the Little Girl's dead older brother.
    • Played with the Masked Lady. Her mask does have a mouth, but it's unusable. Until she takes it off...
  • No Name Given: The Little Girl, as well as the Masked Lady living with Deemo.
    • Both get a name in the 2.0 update: Alice. They're actually the same person. Subverted with the PS Vita port, where the Masked Lady is officially named Celia.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: In volume 2, both Anima and Myosotis can be considered a boss song at level 10 and 11 respectively. Many people managed to score higher on Myosotis than Anima despite Myosotis being level 11. This is because Myosotis is only really hard during the dubstep part that starts 2/3 of the way through the song, while Anima is a nightmare from start to finish.
  • Noodle People: Deemo.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Little Girl's parents aren't shown anywhere in the game at all. The novel confirms they're dead..
    • You can find more hints of this in-game if you played the DLC. The pictures you collect around the castle plus the artworks for the songs show that Alice's brother was her sole caretaker, doing all the works a parent would do for their child such as feeding, bathing, taking her to school, playing with her, and then putting her to bed, etc.
  • Pinky Swear: The little girl and Deemo do this on the art cover of the song YUBIKIRI-GENMAN. Becomes Harsher in Hindsight once you learn of their relationship in real life.
  • Rearrange the Song: Saika, Sanctity and Entrance, from Cytus, have each been given a new arrangement in Deemo.
    • Meanwhile, Cytus songs added in 1.5.0 are their original versions, with added piano sounds.
  • Post-End Game Content: The song Myosotis and the Shattered Memories song pack are only available after completing the rest of the game.
  • Rule of Three: Deemo saves Little Girl three different times by catching her. He first catches her when she falls through the window, and again when the Little Girl loses her balance climbing a stack of books. The third time actually happens before the story begins, when (as Hans, her brother) he saves her from a runaway truck.
  • Silent Protagonist: Deemo. Averted at the end of the game.
  • The Speechless: Deemo. Averted at the end of the game. With a Wham Line, no less.
  • Sole Survivor: Alice's parents are dead, meaning that her only caretaker was her older brother Hans, only to suddenly lose him in a traffic accident that killed Hans instantly. The same accident put Alice in a coma, where her mind split into the Little Girl, who wanted to live, and the Masked Lady/Celia, who wanted to die so she could stay with Hans. The Masked Lady/Celia tries everything she could to make the Little Girl stay in Alice's mindscape so Deemo, Hans' mental image, wouldn't disappear, but finally relents in the end when Deemo manages to convince her that it's for the best. When Alice finally wakes up, the full implications of Hans' death hits her, and she breaks down sobbing in her hospital room.
  • Updated Re-release: Deemo ~The Last Recital~ for the Vita. In addition to exclusive tracks not found on the mobile versions, it also includes multiplayer modes and an expanded story supplanted by new anime cutscenes with voice acting.
  • Wham Line: So you've grown the tree to 50m, finished building the steps, and you play one final song as a sendoff. Then, at the end, "Goodbye, my beloved sister Alice" pops onto the screen without warning. It's only downhill from there.
    • The 2.0 update adds a second one: "To the lovely, lonely stranger and my dearest brother, Hans."
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The Forgotten Hourglass DLC has additional scenes and CG's and includes the fate of Alice after the ending of Deemo. She took the same path as Hans and becomes a pianist in the future.
  • White Mask of Doom: The Masked Lady seems to have one of these.