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aka: Do Don Pachi

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Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do! Do DON Pachi!
— Title Screen, DoDonPachi

The DonPachi series (also known as the DoDonPachi series, after the second game) is a series of Bullet Hell Shoot Em Ups by CAVE. It is by far one of Cave's most iconic game franchises, with DoDonPachi being one of the earliest Bullet Hell titles.

At first glance, it appears to be yet another game about flying a ship and blasting alien/robotic invaders, but many dark secrets lie beneath the surface. Art design for the first three games is done by "Joker" Junya Inoue.

Gameplay-wise, the games are known for giving the player access to regular gunfire as well as a powerful laser beam that deals concentrated damage but which slows down the player's craft, making them less mobile but also giving them better dodging precision. The games' scoring systems usually revolve around maintaining an unbroken string of enemy kills, with point bonuses getting higher the longer the player's chain is. Finally, the games are infamous for not only their thick bullet patterns, but also having brutally hard True Final Bosses, with Hibachi in DoDonPachi being the Trope Codifier for the trope in the shoot-em-up genre.

The series spans seven games:

  • DonPachi (ArcadeHardware  / Sega Saturn / PlayStation, 1995)
  • DoDonPachi (ArcadeHardware  / Saturn / PlayStation, 1997)
    • DoDonPachi Campaign Version (Arcade, 1997) — An Arrange Mode of DoDonPachi, see below
  • DoDonPachi II: Bee Storm (ArcadeHardware , 2001) — Developed by Taiwanese company IGS with no involvement from Cave; published by Capcom. A proof of concept game for the Polygame Master PCB; essentially a rehash of DDP - despite this, it is still considered canon by Cave despite fans saying Cave did the opposite.
  • DoDonPachi Blissful Death / DoDonPachi DaiOuJou / DoDonPachi III [DEATH Label] (ArcadeHardware  / PlayStation 2 / Xbox 360, 2002) note 
    • DoDonPachi DaiOuJou Black Label EXTRA (Xbox 360, 2009)
    • DoDonPachi DaiOuJou Tamashii (Arcade, 2010, China only) — A China-region release of DOJ with an "easy mode" running on different hardware.
    • DoDonPachi Blissful Death (iOS, 2012)
    • DoDonPachi DaiOuJou Re:incarnation (Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, upcoming for December 7, 2023) — As part of the M2 ShotTriggers lineup. It includes the original version, Black Label and the previously unreleased DoDonPachi III international version.
  • DoDonPachi Resurrection / DoDonPachi: DaiFukkatsu (ArcadeHardware , 2008; JP Xbox 360, 2010; iOS and Android, 2010; EU Xbox 360, 2011; Windows (via Steam), 2016; Nintendo Switch, 2021)
    • DoDonPachi: DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label (Arcade, 2010; Xbox 360 port released on February 3, 2011 [Two versions: As add-on in form of DLC, or as stand-alone game with an exclusive Arrange Mode, which basically is a crossover of DaiFukkatsu and Ketsui.])
  • DoDonPachi Maximum (Windows Phone 7 / iOS, 2012)
  • DoDonPachi True Death / DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou (ArcadeHardware , Spring 2012)
    • DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou Kan (Xbox 360, Spring 2013)
    • DoDonPachi Ichimen Banchou (iOS, December 2015, 3-stages-only remake of SaiDaiOuJou.) note 
    • DoDonPachi True Death: Exa Label (ArcadeHardware , 2020)

DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou is currently the last game in the series.

The series is not to be confused with that spiky orange guy from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.

The DonPachi series provides examples of the following:

  • 1-Up:
    • Like many other shmups, you gain an extra life at point-based thresholds. By default, you can only do this twice per game, or once in DonPachi.
    • Every game has a hidden 1-up token, usually requiring you to destroy a particular target in Stage 3 or 4 without using bombs.
  • Actor Allusion: If you happen to play as Hikari in SaiDaiOuJou and was able to get to Hibachi's True Final Boss form, then you may have been able to spoil the entire second half of Puella Magi Madoka Magica inversely and straight. Go figure.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Hard to tell without a human translation, but Perfect☆ developed her speech patterns and behavior entirely on her own. The Element Daughters based on the original three Element Dolls are also this.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Hina (Hibachi/Inbachi) in SaiDaiOuJou.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Ichimen Banchou is a free-to-play mobile game with microtransactions.
  • Alternate Continuity: SaiDaiOuJou is not set in the same continuity as the rest of the series.
  • Anime Theme Song: SaiDaiOuJou has "Hoshikuzu Garandou" sung by Aya Hirano as the opening theme and the Zwei song "Heading For Tomorrow" as the ending theme.
  • Announcer Chatter: DonPachi features a noticably enthusastic announcer that commentates excitedly as the game progresses. A lower-pitched version of his voice clips are used in Dai Ou Jou.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In dai ou jou's 2nd loop, the chain meter decreases more slowly to compensate for the increased difficulty.
  • Arc Words: "Shinu ga yoi"note  in DaiOuJou. This gets echoed in SaiDaiOuJou by Inbachi during her final pattern.
  • Arrange Mode: In spades.
    • DoDonPachi has the "Campaign" or "Blue Label" version, which is considered to be a precursor to DaiOuJou, due to increased difficulty, and a prototype of the Hyper system that would appear in DaiOuJou.
    • DoDonPachi DaiOuJou has the "Black Label" arrange, which decreases the difficulty of the first loop, but increases the second loop's difficulty in exchange. Furthermore, the player is asked if they want to do a one- or two-loop game; choosing a one-loop game results in Hibachi appearing at the end of that one loop. It also fixes a few bugs that main programmer Tsukeni Ikeda had problems with.
    • The PlayStation 2 port of DaiOuJou has the "Death Label", a Boss Rush mode which pits you against all of the bosses at second loop difficulty In a row with maximum firepower and a full Hyper meter per boss. And then it pits you against two Hibachis (at reduced power). If you somehow make it, you get a second loop... With one life, no continues, and bomb-immune bosses. Oh, and you still fight the Hibachis at the end, but at full power. It's so hard, it took seven and a half years to beat.
    • The Xbox 360 port of DaiOuJou also introduced the X-Mode, An 1-loop mode where the Hyper system can cancel bulletsnote , and each bullet canceled applies one point to the hit chain.
    • The Re:incarnation edition of DaiOuJou features three arrange modes, each based around a specific Elemental Doll. All of them have only one loop and Koryuu's second form and Hibachi are always faced at the end. Mode-specific details:
      • Arrange S (Shotia) gives the player a narrow-range shot that is always in Hyper and no laser (holding down the shot button merely rapid-fires the shot) or bombs. Firing at an enemy that can sustain more than one hit's worth of damage builds up a Rinne gauge, which rapidly depletes when not firing continuously at the same enemy; if the enemy is destroyed when the gauge is full, it will release large star items. There is no hit combo system in this game, so bees instead award points based on how many big stars have been obtained by destroying enemies with a full Rinne gauge. To make up for the lack of bombs, you gain an extra life after destroying each midboss or boss, up to 20.
      • Arrange L (Leinyan) is closer to the original experience, featuring the combo system and the more traditional shot and laser, and swaps out the Rinne gauge for a Tensei gauge that similarly fills up when firing the laser at the same enemy continously. Destroying an enemy with the Tensei gauge at full cancels all bullets on-screen and adds cancelled bullets to your combo (similar to DoDonPachi Resurrection BLACK LABEL). Getting hit with bombs will automatically fire a bomb, and getting hit with a Hyper will automatically activate Hyper (which takes precedence over bombs). You gain an extra life after defeating each boss.
      • Arrange EX (Exy) is similar to Arrange L, but features second-loop bullet patterns and the more lenient combo timer of the second loop. Like Arrange S, you get extra lives from defeating midbosses and bosses.
    • DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu Black Label, despite bearing the title of an Updated Re-release, is more of a mix of this and a Gaiden Game. Programmed by S. Yagawa of Battle Garegga fame, this mode adds in a Red Mode that bears resemblance to the rank system often seen in his games, and allows you to shoot both the shot options and laser at the same time. It also introduces a harder True Final Boss form of Hibachi in Zatsuza Unlock Requirements .
    • DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu Black Label which adds in the Tiger Schwert and Ketsui's chips (which go up to '10'), a remixed version of its soundtrack by Virt, and even DOOM as the True Final Boss.
    • DaiFukkatsu's iPhone port has the Phone mode, which has the "Slaughter" and "Menace" Super Modes. The "Menace" mode is activated by grazing bullets, and builds up multiplier for a maximum of x1000, which is cashed in by a hyper, and activates the "Slaughter" mode. The "Slaughter" mode increases ship firepower and makes enemies drop stars, but also rapidly decreases the multiplier. This mode also allows you to play as Hibachi by beating the game on one credit and defeating hernote .
    • DaiFukkatsu's port for the Xbox 360, titled "Resurrection", also includes a few arrange modes of its own:
      • Arrange A (ver L) gives you the Type-A ship from DaiOuJou with increased option sets note , and switches up the Hyper System into the medal-based system featured in DaiOuJou. This mode is actually a sequel to DaiOuJou Death Label, complete with stage end pictures from DaiOuJou, and a Golden Ending where Leinyan stops Exy from altering the past, preventing the Stable Time Loop from DaiFukkatsu from happening.
      • Arrange B is played one stage at a time, where, after the stage is cleared, the next playthrough will be more or less difficult, but enemies give out more points. The combo counter has been removed, and bee icons now change the "Grid" of the screen. While a "Grid" is active, Enemy patterns change, and their corresponding rank increases as wellnote .
      • DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu Version 1.51 has the Hyper counter function as a Rank system, with the counter increasing by one every time a Hyper is activated. At Hyper Rank 7, normal enemies use their harder Ura loop bullet patterns for the remainder of the stage, and at Hyper Rank 9, bosses do the same. In addition, the bomb and Hyper systems are now the same button (Hypers take priority), collecting a bomb item now completely replenishes bomb stock and puts you in Maximum mode, and aerial star value is multiplied by the HIT count. Lastly, the conditions for reaching the True Final Boss are much, much easier here than the other modes, as all the player needs to do is reach Hyper Rank 9 in two of five stages and nothing more.
    • DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou's 360 mode has you control Saya, who has an energy meter instead of typical Video-Game Lives. Her special Shot-Laser consumes energy, getting hit activates her autobomb, which also costs energy, and she has no extra lives, so it's game over if you don't have energy to spare, but you can regenerate it by collecting aerial stars while in Hyper mode. The EXA Label version of this mode imposes a persistent Damage Over Time effect to bring it in line with arcade-level difficulty.
      • EXA Label has EXA Mode, which massively overhauls the game to something resembling a score attack mode, emphasizing risk and reward in its scoring system. Among these changes, grazing bullets now charges your Hyper meter, and Hyper Shot now cancels bullets akin to DaiFukkatsu. In addition, the Rank cap is now 100 as opposed to 50, Rank also varies wildly with player action, and bombs are now a more strategic resource with the MAXIMUM bonus removed and cancelled bullets creating aerial stars. Overall, EXA-Label is a love child of DOJ X-Mode and DFK Arrange A's Hyper Systems combined with DFK Black Label's Dynamic Difficulty.
  • Art Shift: The art direction for the first three games was done by "Joker" Junya Inoue, the art for DaiFukkatsu was done by Kouji Ogata, and the art for SaiDaiOuJou was done by Nagi Ryou.
  • Ascended Meme: The infamous 'full extent of the jam' text from DoDonPachi's original legal warning was later placed in Mushihime-sama's legal warning for its Steam re-release.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: AI from DaiFukkatsu is sometimes portrayed this way in official artwork, stomping around Tokyo, being (futilely) attacked by the DonPachi ships, and crushing one in her hand.
  • Award-Bait Song: Heading For Tomorrow, the ending theme from SaiDaiOuJou.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In DoDonPachi and DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou, firing a laser bomb at the boss when its health is in the critical red part of the gauge will raise the hit combo by a large amount (moreso than laser bombing when its health is in the yellow). The increased combo can increase your end-of-stage bonus and it looks cool to bomb the boss as a Finishing Move, however this also means you start the next stage (if any) with one less bomb, and the games feature a Maximum bonus that awards points per frame, with the bonus increasing the more excess bombs you've collected, so bombing will end that Maximum bonus, negatively impacting your score in the long run. As such, this technique is only to be used as a last resort (e.g. to avoid being killed by a difficult pattern)
  • Balance Buff: Traditionally, dropping a Smart Bomb destroys your combo, whether it's at 10 hit or 10,000 hit. In SaiDaiOuJou, manually firing a bomb now only reduces your combo by 30%, although an auto-bomb (if you choose to enable auto-bomb) will still remove the entire combo.
  • Battleship Raid: "Wow! Look at the size of that battleship! Keep your finger on the trigger, rookie!" And they only get more powerful from there.
  • Beam-O-War: The counter-laser mechanic that was introduced in DaiFukkatsu and has been present in every DoDonPachi release since. You can block enemy lasers with your own laser.
  • Bee Afraid: Embodied in the form of Hibachi. Reinstated by Zatsuza. Reinforced by Hibachi's theme song from DaiOuJou, in which the background guitar sounds like a swarm of bees buzzing.
  • Beehive Barrier: The incarnation of Kouryuu in SaiDaiOuJou uses these in its boss fight.
  • Big Bad:
    • There is no particular Big Bad in DonPachi, unless you count Taisabachi, the true final boss.
    • Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena is this in DoDonPachi, when he reveals that he orchestrated you destroying the lost fleet of the DonPachi Corps.
    • Hibachi itself is the main villain of DaiOuJou, being the leader of the mechanized hordes looking to eradicate humanity: the cause of the Blissful Death Wars.
    • Colonel Godwin Longhena (Schwarlitz's descendant) and Next EXY form a Big Bad Duumvirate in Dai-Fukkatsu.
    • In SaiDaiOuJou, Hina, a.k.a. Hibachi/Inbachi, fulfills a very similar role to that of the Hibachi in DaiOuJou in that she wishes to eradicate humanity and make way for the "evolution" that is her and the Element Dolls.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Emphasis on "Bitter" in DonPachi, where the pilot has finally joined the DonPachi Squadron, but only after destroying countless numbers of his comrades, who all willingly gave their lives up via aerial assaults as part of his training.
    • In the 2nd-loop ending of DoDonPachi, it's revealed that in killing his own allies, Colonel Longhena, and his special forces, the player character ironically solved the problems of overpopulation, environmental pollution, and the arms race. As to whether this was what Longhena wanted or something that just so happened to be as a result of his orders, not even the protagonist knows.
  • Boss Game: DaiOuJou DEATH Label, which comes with the PS2 port of DaiOuJou.
  • Boss-Only Level: In Ichimanbanchou, several levels you can unlock and Hibachi for EX 1-3 are this.
  • Boss Warning Siren:
    • "You are approaching the target of attack. The mission starts now! Are you ready?" in DoDonPachi.
    • "Watch out! Watch out!" ("WARNING: Huge battle machine is approaching. Control system is changed into proximity battle mode.") in DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou.
    • "An unidentified battleship/unprecedented tremendous force is approaching!" ("Impact.") in DoDonPachi: DaiFukkatsu.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Beating Hibachi (or any variant) in any game. Admittedly, it's well-earned bragging rights. In the mobile ports of DaiFukkatsu, you even get it as a playable character once you beat the entire game on one credit and defeat it.
  • Breaking Old Trends: For the Re:incarnation version in particular:
    • It is the first M2 ShotTriggers port not to feature a "custom" mode that can alter the game beyond the original ROMs' specifications (such as boosted shot power, auto-bomb, starting on the 2nd loop, and hitbox size reduction).
    • It is the first M2STG port to lack score and Arcade Challenge gadgets in vertical orientation.
    • Its Arcade Challenge mode is the first one to have an optional fail condition other than getting hit. In this case, there is a setting that forces a retry if you miss a bee, and another that forces a retry if you break your hit combo or again miss a beenote .
  • Bullet Hell: DoDonPachi is widely considered the Trope Codifier for the entire genre. DonPachi was more of an "in-between" game, with the Trope Maker having been Toaplan's Batsugun.note 
    • "Do" is the onomatopoeia for guns firing in Japanese. That intro narration is Bullet Hell.
    • Serial Escalation: See the last bullet wave in the above Black Label Hibachi video.
    • Hibachi's DaiOuJou incarnation has fewer bullets, but teaches us why we should thank god for slow bullets.
    • Then there is Hibachi Arrange A which somehow manages to one up Zatsuza.
  • Canon Welding: With Ketsui:
    • In DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL's Arrange Mode, what seems to be a plotless crossover with Ketsui at first turns out to be a simulation for the pilots of Ketsui, making it a Stealth Prequel.
    • Maximum explains that the enemies fought throughout the former series were developed by EVAC Industry.
  • Cantata: "Longhena Cantata". Colonel Longhener/Longhena's theme, played during the boss battle between him and Golden Disaster. It's also one of the video game's leitmotifs and an One-Woman Wail.
  • Cap: DaiFukkatsu has a score cap that could be easily reached by more skilled players. Version 1.5 of DaiFukkatsu corrects this by adding more digits.
  • Chinese Girl: Leinyan from DaiOuJou and her evil countepart in DaiFukkatsu, Ray'n.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The three main types of ships are Red (straight-forward shot), Green (turning shot), and Blue (wide shot). This extends to the playable characters of SaiDaiOuJou as well.
  • Combos: The essence of the series' scoring systems.
  • Continuity Nod: DaiFukkatsu is the only direct sequel in the series; the backstory consists of the code of the Elemental Dolls (the protagonists of DaiOuJou) performing a Face–Heel Turn and going back in time to 2008. Colonel Godwin Longhena, the descendant of Schwarlitz Longhena from the original DoDonPachi, turns out to be responsible for the events of the whole series. Kind of.
  • Creepy Doll: The Element Dolls themselves are life-sized versions of these. One piece of artwork also shows Shotia laying in a pile of them.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Some shot types in the series suffer from this.
    • In DaiOuJou, Type A with Leinyan (A-L) and Type B with Shotia (B-S). The former has amazing boss performance but its extremely narrow shot raises the difficulty of many stage portions significantly, while with the latter, even though it has the biggest spread shot of the game and the highest number of bombs, it suffers from a severe reduction of speed and damage when holding fire, turning high HP enemies into a nightmare, and god help you if ever Die on a stage portion with A-L/boss fight with B-S.
  • Crossover: DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label Arrange incorporates many elements from another Cave shooter, Ketsui, complete with the cover art being a big throwback to that game. It even has the True Final Boss of Ketsui, Evaccaneer DOOM. It can be seen in this trailer.
  • Darker and Edgier: Series-wise, DaiOuJou, but when compared to other Bullet Hell games, the series is this.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The storyline of the series, at the very least, is a deconstruction of many typical scrolling shoot-em-up plots.
  • Degraded Boss: Kouryuu appears in DoDonPachi II as the first enemy you encounter in the game, but it's with none of their additional attacks, and it goes down very quickly. It regains its proper status in DaiOuJou.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: While the whole game can be counted as one by Bullet Hell standards, Exy in DaiOuJou has the lowest bomb count of the three Dolls, but gets both Shotia's regular shot and Leinyan's laser shot, and only loses one power level of each upon death instead of one of one shot type and all of the other.
    • In Dai-Fukkatsu, Power Style also qualifies. You can't bomb (except you do get one auto-bomb upon picking up a bomb item) and the shot is still slightly weaker than Strong Style even in Boost Mode, but Power Style also builds up Hypers the fastest and any bullets cancelled by your Hyper while in Boost Mode also charge up your next Hyper. Play your cards right and you can have a Hyper ready basically anytime you want.
  • Difficulty by Region:
    • For DonPachi
      • The Hong Kong version of DonPachi is insanely difficult (much more difficult than the Japanese version), in part due to a larger player hitbox, and doesn't have cutscenes. The HK version wasn't completed for 26 years...until December 2021, when a European superplayer, "Plasmo" finally completed it.
      • The Korean version is mostly the same as the Japanese version, except the first boss was made slightly easier and the text is in Korean.
      • The American version is much easier than any other version of the game, since in this version the difficulty is lowered significantly and the bombs get restored after every stage, which doesn't happen in any other version of the game. In this version, the text is also in English.
    • DoDonPachi dai ou jou:
      • The cancelled international release of dai ou jou, titled DoDonPachi III, features some adjustments to make the game easier. Some of these adjustments would be adapted for dai ou jou Black Label.
      • The Chinese version of the game, DoDonPachi dai ou jou Tamashii, features an Easy difficulty not found in previous arcade versions of the game.
  • Difficulty Levels:
    • DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label features a variant of this: Bomb Style is the "normal" mode of the game, granting you a standard bomb stock and standard firepower. Power Style is the "hard" mode, granting you a very limited bomb stock in exchange for two different firepower modes, and forcing you onto the hidden paths and bosses of Stages 2 through 5. Finally, Strong Style is the Harder Than Hard mode; it's Bomb Style with more firepower, but it features devilish base difficulty, is the only way to unlock the True Final Boss, and gives you a Content Warning informing you that the mode is for advanced players only. (It's not kidding.)
    • The pattern continues in Saidaioujou, where Shot mode is designed for survivability, Laser mode is designed for a more challenging experience, and Expert mode combines the advantages of Shot and Laser mode but also brings up the difficulty to "play at your own risk" levels.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Apparently Inverted in SaiDaiOuJou. The swimsuit costume makes enemy attacks more intense.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: SaiDaiOuJou has Hoshikuzu Garandou, the opening theme sung by Aya Hirano, who plays the Xbox 360 exclusive character Saya.
  • DonPachi Squadron, Rock Out!: The DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label soundtrack as well as its Arranged Mode variant, which takes that album up to eleven. Here's the normal Boss theme from Arranged Mode.
  • Double-Meaning Title: A subtle example in SaiDaiOuJou's logo; the kanji in the red circle (kan/完) can both mean 'complete' (referring to the game being a more improved version of DaiOuJou) and 'end' (referring to the game being the Grand Finale for the series as a whole). Doubles as a Justified Title for the same reason.
  • Downer Ending: The DonPachi series is known for it dark endings, I'm afraid...
    • At the end of the first loop in DonPachi, the horrible truth is revealed to the player that the pilot has been fighting comrades the whole time (and apparently knew it). At the end of the game, take a moment of silence for the thousands of your fellow soldiers you've killed.
    • While not precisely the end of the game, the ending of the first loop of DoDonPachi is perhaps even more chilling because you are tricked by your commander, Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena, into believing that the invading enemy force are mechanized aliens, and you don't know that they're really your comrades until your commander reveals this upon you unlocking the second loop. It's even worse if you don't fulfill the requirements to get to the second loop, as that means the pilot will forever be left in the dark as to who he was fighting and why.
    • In two of the three endings for DaiOuJou, expect the ending to leave you either sad or scared. Shotia's ending is the sad one; her memory is deleted bit by bit by a virus until the last memories in her are of her human days; she smiles fondly of them as they go too, and she dies. Exy's ending, on the other hand, is horrifying: she goes crazy and chokes her operator to death while crying blood, then goes and does things leading to DaiFukkatsu.
    • DaiFukkatsu 's ending is perhaps the worst of all. Not only is your mothership destroyed by Colonel Godwin Longhena and the Golden Disaster (though you do kill Longhena and destroy Golden Disaster and Hibachi), but it's revealed that in an attempt to stop the events of DaiOuJou, Next Exy already caused the events of DaiOuJou in a Stable Time Loop, rendering the events of DaiFukkatsu completely pointless.
      • This is subverted with Leinyan's ending in DaiOuJou; she is cruelly pulled away from her human pilot who she has fallen in love with and deactivated, being sent off for research. But later she escapes with the help of cyberspace and reunites with her pilot.
      • Leinyan is also involved in the Golden Ending of Dai-Fukkatsu, where she stops Exy from causing the events of DaiOuJou and prevents Longhena's plan from ever reaching fruition in the process.
  • Dual Boss: DaiOuJou Death Label finishes the boss rush with two Hibachis.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The BLACK Label version of DaiFukkatsu. When an on-screen bar (called the "reddo" (烈怒) gauge) fills up to a certain level, the number of bullets fired by enemies will increase. Watch the above BLACK Label Hibachi to really see exactly how completely insane this can get.
    • And not raising the gauge will nerf your combos and points, making the difference between survival and scoring very clear.
    • SaiDaiOuJou has a visible numeric rank meter at the top-center of the screen.
  • Dubstep: SaiDaiOuJous boss theme, "Taiji", is infamous for a twelve-second dubstep segment.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In DonPachi, there are no special requirements to access the second loop. It's also comparatively light on the bullets compared to later games and, along with DoDonPachi, doesn't have the Elemental Dolls that over half of the series is known for.
    • dai ou jou is the first CAVE game to get a Black Label revision, and compared to later games' Black Label versions, it doesn't change a whole lot, mainly just doing some rebalancing tweaks. By 2010 CAVE standards, it's more like a "Version 1.5" release.
  • Easier Than Easy: The PS2 version of DaiOuJou has a secret No Bullets option. It is exactly as it sounds.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In Ichimen Bancho, when you pick easy mode, the Bancho saids "Hmph, just a Mook!". However, playing easy mode is mandatory for unlocking further stages by achieving 80% Clear & No Miss.
  • Energy Weapon: An enemy attack in DaiFukkatsu.
  • Every 10,000 Points: DonPachi has a single extend at 2 million points; the other games will give out extra lives at two different score boundaries displayed on the title screen, which can be adjusted.
  • Expy: AI from DaiFukkatsu is about one dye job and outfit change from being Hatsune Miku. She also resembles Yuriko Omega.
    • Saya from SaiDaiOuJou has a lot to do in common with Yuriko Omega. Right down to her backstory and confrontation with Hina.
  • Fake Difficulty: In the original "White Label" version of dai ou jou, when you start the second loop all of your spare lives are taken away in an effort to get you off the arcade machine.
  • Fan Disservice: The cover of DaiOuJou Black Label EXTRA, as seen on this page. Shotia, Leinyan, EXY and Piper, all heavily damaged, and Shotia is bleeding from one damaged eye.
  • Final Boss: Taisabachi/Colonel Bee in DonPachi, The Final Demonic Weapon in DoDonPachi, Kōryū (or Kouryuu) in DaiOuJou, Golden Disaster in Dai-Fukkatsu, and Neo Kōryū in SaiDaiOuJou.
  • Flash of Pain: For the bosses, as well as slightly tougher fodder enemies when shot.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Kōryū's boss music in Daioujou. See here
  • The Four Gods/Four Is Death: The boss names in DaiOuJou. In order: Suzaku, Byakko, Genbu, Seiryū, and Kōryū. Hibachi comes immediately after Kōryū, as it is Hibachi's containment unit.
  • Framing Device: In Maximum, the premise is that you're a visitor at EVAC's headquarters and get to try out a "Maximum Bullet Simulator" that simulates past battles, i.e. levels from previous games in the series.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Stage 1 of DaiOuJou is a large Chinatown in Space.
  • Game-Breaking Bug
    • Arrange A in the 360 and Windows versions of DaiFukkatsu can crash if the player holds down the shot and full-auto buttons, then while doing that tries to change normal/boost mode and trigger Hyper Counter at the same time.
    • Also in Arrange A on the 360 port, the game uses lots of intentional slowdown to assist the player, much like in other CAVE games. In the Windows port, however, there is no slowdown whatsoever.
      • It turns out that the supposed intentional slowdown likely didn't even exist on the Xbox 360 version either - when Degica looked into it, they found out that the amount of slowdown varied between 360 consoles, with some having significantly less slowdown than others. In other words, all of the slowdown in Arrange A appears to be hardware-based. So when you run the same code (more or less) that had hardware slowdown on an Xbox 360 using a significantly better system...
    • SaiDaiOuJou on 360 has the problem of not only input lag, but inconsistent input lag.
  • Game Mod: DoDonPachi Arrange, an unofficial arrange mode in which bombs retain combo rather than break it and cause the player's score to continously increase at a rate proportional to their current combo.note  Also, the boss music is replaced with an unused spy-esque track.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: At the end of DaiOuJou, Exy dives into the enemy information system and is able to shut it down, but goes insane; choking her ship's pilot to death and then slaughtering the incoming search party.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Shotia's ending in DaiOuJou: her memories are deleted one by one until her first memories - where she lived as a human - remain.
  • Golden Ending: DaiFukkatsu Arrange A's ending has Leinyan stop Next Exy from causing the events of DaiOuJou, preemptively stopping Longhena's "glorious world" from being achieved. Appropriately, the achievement in the Xbox 360 port for beating the second loop is called "Humanity's Triumph".
  • Golden Snitch: SaiDaiOuJou features an extreme example, with virtually all of the scoring coming at the ends of stages 3 and 5 due to an infamous overflow bug.
  • Good All Along: In DoDonPachi, the enemy fleet you fight against turns out to be the good guys, as they were trying to stop Colonel Longhena's genocide of humanity. By following Longhena's orders, you removed the major obstacle to his goal.
  • Grand Finale: SaiDaiOuJou is not just this for the franchise, but is also CAVE's last big shmup. The cover gives this quite a bit of emphasis too; the kanji used in the red circle in the title (完) can mean both 'complete' and 'end'.
  • Gratuitous English: In DonPachi, despite the announcer's fluent English, much English text in the game was clearly inserted by someone who didn't really understand certain... vagaries (like the curious hyphenation found a couple of times in the ending). Perhaps someone should cross-check the credits with that of Zero Wing....
    Copyright statement: WARNING: This game is for use in <country> only. Sales, export, or operation outside this country may be construed as copyright and trademark infringement and is strictly prohibited. Violator and subject to severe penalties and will be prosecutedt to the full extent of the jam!
    Boss Alert: WARNING: This is not similation. Get ready to destoroy the enemy. Target for the weak points of f**kin' machine. Do your best you have ever done.
    • The announcers of DoDonPachi and DaiOuJou also speak in English, in DaiFukkatsu, the announcer speaks in Japanese.
    • In the trailer for DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label's Arrange mode: "JUST A COUPLE MORE SHOTS desu"
    • In SaiDaiOuJou: "Hyper System: Standby!" and "Hyper System: Ready!"
  • Guest Fighter: Maximum, in addition to the RSF-4D from DaiOuJou and Delta Sword from DoDonPachi and DaiFukkatsu as the "Type-A" and "Laser" type fighters respectively, it also has Ketsui's Tiger Schwert as the "Lock-On" type, Akai Katana 's Orchid as the "Bomb" type, and Uotaro from Puzzle Uo Poko as the "Variable" type
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: Don't you dare choose not to play the second loop in DaiOuJou when prompted, or you'll be given the same ending you get when completing the first loop without meeting the requirements for the second loop!
  • Hard Mode Filler: Many games in the series require you to unlock and clear the second loop just to face the True Final Boss (and the Golden Ending). DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL and SaiDaiOuJou are exceptions, being one-loop affairs where you face the TFB at the end of the only loop if certain conditions are met.
  • Harder Than Hard: Strong Style in DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label. It grants your ship immense the cost of making the enemies ALSO powerful.
    DANGER: This style is customized for advanced players. Proceed only if you have prepared yourself.''
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The games have relatively small hitboxes compared to the ship sizes. There's an odd example with the Type-B Helicopter (or Biaxe, as it's called in Dai-Fukkatsu); in Donpachi the hitboxes are on the large side and Type-B's extends pretty from the main rotor to a ways down the tail). In Dodonpachi, the hitbox is noticeably smaller and is actually moved back a bit so that it's located behind the main rotor in the thin segment of the tail fuselage between the main rotor and the tailfin (much like how the later Ketsui's hitboxes are not centered on the main rotor but placed behind them).
  • Humans Are Ungrateful Bastards: Put this in perspective: all of the pilots are not human, forced to work for a shady organization, and ordered to initiate a genocide as a training exercise that makes up an entire arc in DonPachi.
  • Image Song: For DaiFukkatsu, DoDonPachi Dai Ondo, as well as its official remix.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Does the enemy really need that many Mooks and bullets just to take down one pilot? Considering what the pilot is a part of, yes!
  • Incendiary Exponent: "Hibachi" means "Fire Bee"... and indeed, Hibachi is often on fire when it fights.
  • Interspecies Romance: In Leinyan's ending in DaiOuJou, said Element Doll realizes she has feelings for her pilot. Even when she is cruelly dragged away from him and deactivated, it STILL doesn't stop her from coming back to him.
  • Joshikousei: AI from DaiFukkatasu.
  • Kill All Humans: Apparently the motive of the enemies throughout the series.
  • Killer Robot: Most of the enemies in the series are this. Hibachi is the most killer of them all.
  • Klingon Promotion: Becoming a One-Man Army in DonPachi and DoDonPachi involves mowing down your own comrades. In DoDonPachi, it's implied that the Pilot is promoted after taking down Longhena.
  • Knight Templar: Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena, and his descendant, Godwin.
  • Leitmotif: Since DaiOuJou, Hibachi's had an extremely fast-paced drum 'n bass boss theme.
    • "Longhena Cantata" is Colonel Longhener/Longhena's theme, played during the boss battle with him and Golden Disaster.
  • Lighter and Softer: Maximum. No deconstructive plots, no traumatizing endings, the plot consists entirely of you visiting EVAC Industry and being invited to try out a Bullet Hell simulator. The ending is just a thinly-veiled Author Avatar of Tsuneki Ikeda boasting about how badass CAVE is as a game developer.
  • Logical Extreme: Of the Bullet Hell genre itself, which it created. For comparison, let's have Touhou Project: in that series, you normally have to go through the game once to get to the ending, and then go through Extra Mode (and you can't continue on Extra Mode). DonPachi takes that, and decides you have to go through the game twice, with the second as Extra Mode, while normally beating every boss in the game on one life, and then beating the True Final Boss (which would be best described as Extra++ Mode). There are fans who are dedicated enough to do exactly that.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: In DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL's Ketsui arrange mode, when you start the game you hear Virt's arrangement of "DOOMSDAY", the ship select theme from Ketsui...for all of five seconds, as there are no other ships to select (only the Tiger Schwert) unlike in the other modes so the game immediately goes to the intro cutscene.
  • Lucky Charms Title: Perfect☆ from DaiFukkatsu.
  • Macro Game:
    • Arrange B in DaiFukkatsu has you powering up enemies over successive playthroughs so that they become bigger sources of points.
    • Ichimenbanchou is effectively the opposite of Arrange B, starting you off with a piss-weak ship that you level up over successive playthroughs with coins that you pick up in-game.
  • Man Behind the Man: In DaiFukkatsu, the entirety of the plot is revealed: exploiting their desire for revenge, Colonel Godwin Longhena manipulated the Element Dolls/Daughters into exterminating the human race, convinced of its intrinsic imperfection and aiming towards rebuilding it according to his idea of flawlessness (an attempt already foiled centuries before by the first DonPachi Squadron). Said ambitions come to an abrupt halt with the destruction of the ultimate fighting machine Hibachi.)
    • It's implied in SaiDaiOujou that someone similar to Longhena caused Hina/Hibachi to try to convert everything to machines and is responsible for the Inbachi personality.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Schwarlitz Longhena from DoDonPachi. Also his descendant Godwin Longhena from Dai-Fukkatsu.
  • Market-Based Title: The overseas version of DoDonPachi dai ou jou was released as DoDonPachi III.
  • Meaningful Name: Shotia from DaiOuJou is the shot type. Leinyan, whose name can also be pronounced Ray-nyan, is the beam (or "ray") type, and her DaiFukkatsu form is named Ray 'n. Exy is good at both shots and lasers but has fewer bombs compared to the others, making her suited for expert players.
  • Megamix Game: Maximum simulates levels from previous DoDonPachi games, as well as one from Ketsui.
  • Meido: Again, Perfect☆ from DaiFukkatsu, complete with a serving tray.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: Taken to an illogical extreme with Hibachi as a little girl in SaiDaiOuJou.
    Hibachi Hina: (while firing) Dodododododododo-do~!
  • Mood Whiplash: Originally, DoDonPachi's style is not far removed from cliched old-school shoot-em-ups, and only its endings suggest any darker turn. DaiOuJou suddenly takes a Darker and Edgier turn with endings that include and are not limited to: the Element Dolls either dying (alas, poor Shotia) or rebelling against their masters. Special mention goes to Exy, who chokes her pilot to death while bawling tears of blood. Then DaiFukkatsu comes around, and it is extremely humorous / fanservice-y due to the transforming robot girls, complete with white pantsu. Then it goes right back to Dark and Edgy with its ending, showing that the entire battle was pretty much a waste, the player's victory only having set the events of DaiOuJou up in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Multiple Endings: Each game typically has at least three: one for completing the first loop without fulfilling the requirements for the second, one for completing both loops but not unlocking the True Final Boss, and one for completing said boss.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Taisabachi (Colonel Bee), the boss you fight before Hibachi in DaiFukkatsu, had its name changed in DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label to "Supreme Weapon of Extreme Hellish Annihilation - Golden Disaster." However, people prefer to separate DonPachi's Taisabachi from Golden Disaster in DaiFukkatsu by using the different names.
    • Hibachi's full name is "Kyokusatsu Heiki - Hibachi," (極殺兵器) "Supreme Killing Weapon - Hibachi."
    • In case you didn't get the hint that the special PS2 Boss Rush mode of dai ou jou is for experts ONLY, it is called "DEATH LABEL".
  • Nerf: In DaiFukkatsu Stage 5 on the Nintendo Switch port, the laser cannons at the start of the stage don't give as much combo as in earlier versions of the game.
  • Nested Story Reveal: In Resurrection BLACK LABEL's Ketsui arrange mode, the ending reveals that the events of the game were a simulation "based on an ancient battle" (likely the events of DFK) for the pilots in Ketsui.
  • Nintendo Hard: Seen as the face of challenging Bullet Hell games. The unforgiving enemy chaining system doesn't help matters; a single wrong move can break your chain (that you are expected to maintain throughout the entirety of each stage) and continuing after running out of lives will cost you millions of points.
    • Oh, and you will be reduced to only one life upon starting the second loop in DaiOuJou... but whenever you complete a stage and/or pick up the hidden 1-Up in Stage 4, you will be granted extra lives!
  • No-Damage Run: In order to unlock stages in Ichimen Bancho, one has to achieve No Miss & 80% Clear, each can be done separately, and even though the game records "No Bomb, No Hit" attempts, it isn't mandatory to avoid using bombs. Although in Black difficulty, it disallows you from using bombs, making "No Bomb, No Hit" requirement mandatory.
  • Nostalgia Level: The final stage of DaiOuJou has you revisiting the first stage of DoDonPachi as well as a Legacy Boss Rush against the bosses from DoDonPachi.
  • No Fair Cheating: In DaiFukkatsu's mobile ports, you can unlock Hibachi by either defeating it in a one-credit run, or by inputting a cheat code. However, using the cheat code causes Hibachi to lock back up upon exiting the game, while defeating it makes the unlock permanent.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Stage 5 of Maximum, a replica of Stage 5 of DaiFukkatsu, is called The Dividing Road of Fate... however, "Dividing Road of Fate" is the title of the theme to the second stages of DaiFukkatsu and Maximum. The actual track played in Maximum Stage 5 is "The Battle Was Just 'To Continue That Future'", also the Stage 5 theme in DaiFukkatsu.
  • Nostalgia Level
    • Level 5 of DaiOuJou looks like a Darker and Edgier version of level 1 from DoDonPachi and the bosses of levels 3, 4, and 5 (Kakou, Raikou and Rankou) appear.
    • In DaiFukkatsu, bosses from both DoDonPachi and DaiOuJou can appear as midbosses, depending on how well the player is doing. If they do, a slightly different version of the BGM that includes a lietmotif from a song from DaiOuJou is played instead of the regular version.
    • Maximum is a Nostalgia Game, consisting of stages from past DoDonPachi games as well as Ketsui:
      • Stage 1 (2008 Tokyo): DaiFukkatsu Stage 1
      • Stage 2 (Battle City): DaiOuJou Stage 2
      • Stage 3 (Defensive Line): Ketsui Stage 4
      • Stage 4 (Fortress): DaiOuJou Stage 4
      • Stage 5 (Dividing Road of Fate): DaiFukkatsu Stage 5 except with Shooty replaced with Golden Disaster, the first of DaiFukkatsu's True Final Bosses, followed by Hibachi if certain conditions are met.
  • Not Completely Useless: From a scoring standpoint, bombs are this in DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL. Normally, in DaiFukkatsu, bombs reset your combo, and since a skilled player can reach four- or five-digit combos by the end of the stage, firing a bomb wastes so much of that effort. However, in BLACK LABEL, firing a bomb briefly brings your Red Gauge to maximum. Since the combo reset doesn't trigger until after the bomb animation ends, firing a bomb right as you kill a boss can be useful for reaping the big boss defeat stars (which are dropped only if the Red Gauge is maxed out) if your gauge isn't at maximum when you're about to kill it.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In DaiFukkatsu version 1.0, there was a safe spot in one of Hibachi's patterns, and the score could be easily capped by an experienced player. Version 1.5 fixed both.
  • 1-Up: In addition to the point-based extends, they appear in item form in stage 3 of DoDonPachi, stage 4 of DaiOuJou, and stage 3 in DaiFukkatsu by destroying a relatively large enemy in the center of the screen without using bombs.
  • One-Woman Wail: Longhena Cantata.
  • The Only One: In DaiOuJou, the two available ships are the only ships that could be constructed in order to fight against the threat.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Shotia from DaiOuJou and her counterpart Shooty from DaiFukkatsu.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The cover art for DaiOuJou and SaiDaiOuJou.
  • Pinball Scoring: And comboing. Each successive game raises the bar for combos, from triple-digits in DoDonPachi to the ten thousands in DaiFukkatsu. The current world record for DaiFukkatsu Arrange A is currently set at 21 Trillion.
  • Point of No Continues:
    • Unlike the original DoDonPachi (where you had to reach the second loop before continuing), DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou does not allow you to continue even after reaching the second loop!note 
    • You can't continue anymore once you reach the second loop's final stage in DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou BLACK LABEL; should you lose all your lives at this point, your game will be over instantly and for real even if there are credits available!note 
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: Defeated bosses get covered by a series of small explosions before exploding violently.
  • Power-Up: DaiFukkatsu does away with them altogether, but if you select Power Style, you can use a stronger version of your shots, at the cost of speed.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Bullets are often colored hot pink and light blue. Hibachi incarnations, however, have their bullets and Beam Spam all colored dark purple.
    • In SaiDaiOuJou: Hina/Hibachi has a turquoise/blue motif. The alternate true final boss, Inbachi, has dark red & purple.
  • The Present Day: DaiFukkatsu, released in 2008, is explicitly set in 2008, albeit in an alternate timeline.
  • Recurring Boss: Many of the bosses and sub-bosses from DoDonPachi continue to return in later games of the series, especially in SaiDaiOuJou. And, of course, Hibachi keeps on coming back.
    • The most notable non-final boss example is the boss of Stage 1: Suzaku. A large gunship with rocket-propelled twin cannons, it has constantly showed up in every DDP game in the first stage. Its original incarnation in Dodonpachi, its darker, grittier rebuild in Daioujou, the return of its original design in Dai-Fukkatsu as a mid-boss, and its Sai-Daioujou incarnation with a fitting paint job of vermilion red, as fits with the meaning of its name, "Vermilion Bird."
  • Recurring Riff: In DaiFukkatsu, the first stage's theme gets a reprisal in the final stage, and again in the ending after the second loop. The intro is also a remix of DaiOuJou's first stage intro.
  • Reprise Medley: Inbachi's theme (Tenshi) is a remix of all other True Final Bosses in the series.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Especially in DaiFukkatsu, the Element Daughters behave like Genki Girl magical girls and A.I. is confirmed to have white pantsu. Seriously, what does a transforming Robot Girl need pantsu for?!?
  • Robot Girl: The Element Dolls from DaiOuJou, the precursors to the transforming mecha girls of DaiFukkatsu mentioned below.
  • Robot War: The overall plot of the series.
  • Route Boss: In Resurrection, each stage has two different midbosses depending on whether you fulfilled certain conditions in the previous stage or in the case of Stage 1, before the route split. The A-route midboss is an a boss original to this game, while the B-route midboss is one of the bosses from the original DoDonPachi. Subverted if playing the Version 1.51 or Arrange B variants of the game, or DoDonPachi Resurrection BLACK LABEL using Power Style, in which case you will always play the B-routes.
  • Score Multiplier: In DaiFukkatsu, there is one applied based on your current hit counter, up to x7 at 10,000 hits or more. In DaiFukkatsu Ver. 1.5, you need to have a full Hyper gauge but not be in Hyper mode to use it, furthermore if your combo gauge empties while your Hyper gauge is full your combo will reset to 0 instead of just rapidly decreasing. In DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL, you need to build the Red gauge high enough to activate Red Mode in order to get the multiplier.
  • Secret Character: A first for the series. Clearing the hidden 2nd loop of DoDonPachi Resurrection (the Daifukkatsu port to iOS) unlocks... Hibachi! While only playable in iPhone Mode, Hibachi is easily the most powerful of the 4 ships. On top of having the strongest lasers, it can even shoot 360 degrees of pixel death like its boss incarnation.
    • You also get the ability to play as Saya after buying her in the story in SaiDaiOuJou.
  • Secret Level: Maximum has a hidden level that can be accessed by unlocking Stage 5-E, then setting the difficulty to Easy and tapping on where Stage 5-E would be. It's a Brutal Bonus Level that pits you against stages and bosses from Ketsui and Espgaluda II, culminating in a showdown against Evaccaneer DOOM.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each successive game one-ups its predecessor in many different aspects: overall bullet density, your ship's firepower, scoring, combos, and the difficulty of the bosses, especially the True Final Bosses. This has gotten to the point where pro players sometimes actually enable autobomb on SaiDaiOuJou, and did not try to do scoring runs on the hardest difficulty right away.
  • Serial Escalation: To anyone who thought Hibachi's DaiFukkatsu incarnation couldn't be any harder, meet the BLACK Label one. Cave also added a more powerful variation called Zatsuza, a golden variant which replaces Hibachi if the player manages to defeat Golden Disaster with no deaths and using Strong style.
    • You know DaiOuJou DEATH Label down below? If you beat it once, you get the chance to do it again, but with only one life, no continues, all the bosses immune to bombs... and your laser bomb actually healing the boss! At the end of the video, you see what is called the "True Hibachi -Custom-." In the first run, you fight two Hibachis; however, they're toned down individually compared to the original. In the second loop, they are both at full power.
  • Sexbot: Hard to tell without a human translation, but some of the Element Dolls/Daughters were originally designed to serve humans and help them feel more comfortable. Some of them also have features, such as white pantsu, that purely-military robots are... let us say... unlikely to need.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In DaiFukkatsu, Next EXY, following the events of Dai Ou Jou, goes back in time to destroy DonPachi Corps and prevent the Blissful Death Wars from happening. In doing so, however, she ends up causing them. You cleaning up after her mess merely leads to the events of Dai Ou Jou.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scoreboard of DonPachi spell out "Toaplan 4 Ever" if you read the first letter of each default scorer. Toaplan was a big developer of shmups and Cave is formed in majority by formers employee of Toaplan.
    • From the same game, after beating the 2nd loop, a small cutscene show Pipiru (Toaplan's mascot, mostly know for it's appearance in the ending of the arcade Zero Wing.) holding on one of the ships before dropping into the water.
    • The Japanese names of DaiOuJou's music tracks are puns on various shmup developers (although some of these employ Alternate Character Reading):
      • "Mukei" (霧警 - select theme) stands for NMK.
      • "Tōa" (東亞 - Stage 1 theme) stands for Toaplan.
      • "Takimi" (焚身 - boss theme) stands for Takumi.
      • "Toreja" (獲者 - stage clear theme) stands for Treasure.
      • "Saikyō" (彩虹 - Stage 2 theme) stands for Psikyo.
      • "Seibu" (凄舞 - Stage 3 theme) stands for Seibu Kaihatsu.
      • "Sakusetsu" (錯節 - Stage 4 theme) stands for Success.
      • "Taidō" (胎慟 - Stage 5 theme) stands for Taito.
      • "Raijin" (頼尽 - Game Over theme) stands for Raizing.
      • "Awaremu" (哀夢 - name entry theme) stands for Irem.
  • Signature Line: "Just a couple more shots!" Used in almost every series game to indicate that a boss's Life Meter is almost empty.
  • Smart Bomb: Notable for being usable in two different ways: turning all bullets into score items, or powering a very big laser.
    • However, it will reset your combo meter, except in rare circumstances:
      • DaiFukkatsu Arrange A: Does nothing to combo.
      • DaiFukkatsu Arrange B: There's no combo meter. If anything, the game encourages bombing for score, with the bombs you can get as often as every 5-10 seconds.
      • DaiFukkatsu ver. 1.51: Not only does nothing to combo, it can also hit lasers for large sums of points depending on your current combo.
      • SaiDaiOuJou: If you have autocbomb enabled, autobombing will erase your entire bomb stock, on top of nuking your combo. However, if you bomb manually, you'll only lose 30% of your combo.
    • In DoDonPachi II, you are given a choice between a conventional bomb with typical bomb stock, or a laser bomb that's charged up with grazing bullets.
    • In DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL, if you disable autobomb, your bombs will double as extra Hyper stocks. Using a Hyper from your stock will cancel bullets, but won't reset combo.
    • In Maximum, the bomb is the laser bomb from the mobile arrange modes for DaiFukkatsu, and is charged up by shooting enemies. It won't reset combo; if anything, it will inflate your combo, especially if red enemies are present. However, there is a bomus for clearing a stage without bombing, and two out of the three bonuses are needed to unlock harder-tier stages.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: Heading For Tomorrow, the ending theme of SaiDaiOuJou.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Apparently attempted in the iPhone version of Daifukkatsu. The biggest example is the True Final Boss theme, "Battle for the Last", which is way more cheerful than a track for a barrage-spewing flaming bee of death should be.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Even official materials have been inconsistent across installments with respect to hyphenations in the romaji titles: "DonPachi", "DoDonPachi", "DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou", "Do-Don-Pachi Dai-Fukkatsu", and "DoDonPachi Saidaioujou". As a result, fans writing about the games tend to be even more inconsistent.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Xbox 360 version of DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label is a massive tribute to Ketsui. This includes and is not limited to: the cover art, the ships being replaced with those of Ketsui (such as the Tiger Schwert), and the replacement of Hibachi with DOOM (complete with DOOM's theme song).
  • Stable Time Loop: DaiOuJou and DaiFukkatsu form one: Humanity is invaded by the Elemental Daughters. The Elemental Daughters are defeated, and humanity reverse engineers their technology to invent Elemental Dolls. After the conflict, Colonel Godwin Longhena is made the head of the DonPachi Corps to defend humanity from further threats. The mechanical army of Colonel Longhena's ancestor reawakens and attacks humanity. The DonPachi Corps, using Elemental Dolls, defeats the army, but one of their Dolls interfaces with the enemy's main computer and goes insane. The insane Doll remodels herself and many other Elemental Dolls into Elemental Daughters. The Elemental Daughters travel back in time to attack humanity in the past. The sad thing is that Next EXY attacked the past specifically in an attempt to stop the appointment of Col. Longhena because she found out he was evil. In the Arrange A ending, the loop is broken when Leinyan convinces Exy not to wage war in order to change the past, thus averting the war with the Elemental Daughters.
  • Stripperiffic: EXY and Next EXY, apparently to make humans feel more comfortable.
  • Super Mode: Hyper Mode, introduced in dai ou jou, which gives your ship a temporary power boost. How exactly it works varies by game:
    • In dai ou jou, Hypers cause your hit counter to increase substantially when hitting enemies. Additionally you can stack multiple Hypers then deploy them all at once to increase the effect to your hit counter.
    • In DaiFukkatsu:
      • In ver. 1.5, Hyper Counter gives your shots the ability to cancel bullets, raising your hit counter in the process. However, the more you deploy Hyper Counter, the less effective it will be at erasing enemy bullets, and small orb enemies marked with "DANGER" will appear to harass you with lasers. In the second loop, cancelling bullets may cause them to fire revenge bullets at you.
      • In Arrange A / ver. L, Hyper Counter behaves differently depending on whether your ship is in Normal or Boost mode. In Normal, your Hyper shots won't cancel bullets, but bullets that they pass through will contribute to your hit counter. In Boost, your Hyper shots cancel bullets but will not increase your hit counter, and your Hyper gauge will deplete faster.
  • Super-Soldier: Deconstructed in DonPachi. The training for it involves killing thousands of fellow soldiers posing as the enemy.
  • Tank Goodness: "Lookie what we got here: a multi-assault tank! Watch yourself, kid." And the tanks only get stronger and more numerous from there.
  • Tears of Blood: In her ending in DaiOuJou, Exy is seen crying blood after choking her pilot to death and slaughtering his comrades. She is still crying by the time she is finally destroyed.
  • Tech-Demo Game: Bee Storm was mostly just developed to test-drive the PolyGame Master software. CAVE would then develop DaiOuJou, a proper sequel to the first DoDonPachi, on it.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena invokes this after you destroy his elite fleet to get to him.
    Longhena: You know, what you've done to me is unforgivable. I'll punish you myself and see to it that you'll die a miserable death with my awesome weapon. Die, maggots.
  • Time Travel: DaiFukkatsu takes the player characters from just after the events of DaiOuJou (which are in the distant future) back to 2008.
  • Title Drop: The end of the 2nd loop of DonPachi reveals that the unit the player character is training for is called "DonPachi".
    • One of the achievements for the iOS version of DaiFukkatsu is "Blissful Death," which is the translation of DaiOuJou.
  • Title Scream: In almost every game, most notably in DoDonPachi and SaiDaiOuJou, the latter being done by the main characters.
    Maria: Do-do-do-do-do-do! DoDonPachi!
    Hikari: DoDonPachi!
    • Even Saya gets in on this in the Xbox 360 version.
    Saya: Do-do-do-do-do-DoDonPachi! DoDonPachi! SaiDaiOuJou!
  • Tomato Surprise:
    • Completing the first loop of DonPachi has the pilot revealing that their training consists of fighting their fellow forces until either side completely destroys the other. Completing the second loop has the pilot revealing the purpose of the training: to get into the elite DonPachi Squadron.
    • The ending of DaiFukkatsu BLACK LABEL's Arrange Mode reveals that the events of the game are a simulation for the Ketsui pilots.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena
  • True Final Boss: Hibachi, first introduced in DoDonPachi.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Element Dolls from DaiOuJou. The achievement for the iOS version of DaiFukkatsu for defeating Ray'n is "She Once Protected Us..."
  • Turns Red: "Just a couple more shots!"
  • Untranslated Title: DonPachi and DoDonPachi are left as-is when localized for export markets. However, their sequels downplay this, as DaiOuJou, DaiFukkatsu, and SaiDaiOuJou are translated for overseas releases (Blissful Death, Resurrection, and True Death, respectively), while leaving the "DoDonPachi" part untranslated.
  • Unwitting Pawn: You, in DoDonPachi. The enemies you destroy are your allies, which Longhena reveals to you upon unlocking the conditions for the game's second loop before sending you off to be killed by said loop's forces. "See You in Hell!"
  • Transforming Mecha Musume: The Elemental Daughters and Hibachi from DaiFukkatsu.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • DoDonPachi has the above-mentioned Campaign Version.
    • DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou:
      • There is the Black Label, which tweaks a few second loop mechanics, allows a 1-loop game, and fixes some chaining paths.
      • The Re:incarnation release for PS4 and Switch features a variety of quality-of-life touches, the original, Black Label, and DoDonPachi III arcade releases, a new soundtrack, and a toggle to use new artwork for the characters in-game.
    • DoDonPachi: DaiFukkatsu BLACK Label, on the other hand, is more of a Gaiden Game (It was programmed by S. Yagawa of Recca and Battle Garegga fame).
    • The EXA Label edition of True Death features all of the play modes of the original arcade and 360 versions, the HD graphics of the latter, allows Hina and her Type-D ship to be playable in all modes, conversely allows the other three characters and their ships to be played in X Arrange (previously the 360-exclusive mode), adds a new EXA Mode, features M2-style gameplay info gadgets in the unused screen space, and like the 360 version has horizontal screen support via pillarboxing (allowing the game to be installed in more cabinets, not just ones with vertically-oriented monitors). Notably, despite being released in 2020, the game (along with other games on the exA-Arcadia hardware) is compatible with CRT arcade cabinets, so even an old Astro City or Egret II can house the game.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: True Death EXA Label has the aforementioned EXA Label, which is only available for that particular version of True Death, alongside a revised version of the Xbox 360 mode known as "X Arrange". It also has an exclusive mode that allows the player to immediately fight Inbachi - all versions. The X Arrange & Exa Label versions are tough, but fair...but the original is still its own caliber.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In dai ou jou BLACK LABEL, if you're going for a 1-loop clear with the ending and aren't quite skilled at the game, you're actually advised to do a 2-round game instead of a 1-round game. Doing a 1-round game dumps Hibachi on you after stage 1-5, but if you do a 2-round game, you are asked at the end of the first round if you want to move onto the next round — simply choose "no".
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • The Bomb-Laser, and in later games, the Hyper-Laser joins the fun.
    • Raikou, the Stage 4 boss of DoDonPachi, has two Wave Motion Guns on its engines. It later reappeared in the final stage of DaiOuJou, albeit as a much weaker mini-boss: the first of three.
    • Speaking of DaiOuJou, Stage 4 has its second mid-boss, right before the main boss, Seiryu: Shingaku, a giant, stationary Wave Motion BFG.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Hibachi comes back twice. After it is destroyed in Dodonpachi, it is mysteriously rebuilt a thousand years later. This only results in the Flaming Bee being destroyed again in Daioujou. But still it comes back one last time: it is rebuilt one last time by Godwin Longhena in Dai-Fukkatsu, only to be destroyed for a final time, this time for good.
  • Wham Line:
    • DonPachi, end of 1st loop:
      "Once again, we have successfully completed our mission and the usual message came up on my screen. Our mission? To fight against our fellow troop members until one side completely annihilates the other."
    • Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena drops this on you in DoDonPachi, after the end of 1st loop if 2nd loop conditions are met:
      Colonel Longhena: That was a good fight. You should be commended... Psych! You're dead meat!! Enemies you've been fighting against, supposedly 'Mechanized Aliens', were actually. our (sic) guys, the missing battlefleet you learned about in the academy. You were killing our guys without knowing it! But I planned that all along! And your death... would be a nice finishing touch to my whole scheme. My special forces are the best of the best and they will be welcoming you with fierce fier (sic) power. See You in Hell!
  • What Measure Is A Nonhuman: A theme of the series.

Just a couple more tropes!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Do Don Pachi


Evaccaneer DOOM (HIVAC)

DOOM's back and better than ever!

(footage from DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu Black Label Arrange, a crossover between DoDonPachi and Ketsui)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BulletHell

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