The story depends on which version you play. In either, though, you end up playing as a magical girl who whacks all sorts of wacky monsters with her kendo staff. The gameplay is somewhat similar to that of the Valis series, but with a large serving of insanity.
Tropes represented in this game include:
- Blackout Basement: During the Dr. Who boss fight, this happens to the background, indicating the train going through a tunnel. This instance of Blackout Basement, unusually, has no gameplay significance. It reappears when the boss reappears, again serving only a cosmetic purpose.
- Boss Rush: The last level. Every boss makes a reappearance.
- Enemy Roll Call: All the enemies and bosses are listed in the ending credits
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Shish kebabs and bowls of rice heal you.
- An Ice Person: The level 2 boss, who is also a Musical Assassin.
- Mercy Invincibility: You get the usual form of this, as well as an extra, unusual form of this trope which applies to bosses—hit them, and for the brief moment afterwards when they're flashing, you take no contact damage from them.
- Steam Vent Obstacle: There are a few of these in the construction zone level.
- Tennis Boss: Almost literally. One of the bosses literally tries to play tennis with these spiky bug things. How do you defeat her? Play tennis with her, by swinging your sword to bat them back.
- Timed Mission: You have to get to school on time, so the game features a time counter. You can stop time with clocks you can pick up, but that just stops time for your timed mission, rather than any enemies.
- Under the Sea: The third level. Well, it's in a lake, but close enough. Underwater Boss Battle included.
Script, art, story, and setting tropes
- Adaptation Dye-Job: While Mai's hair is depicted brown on the Japanese box art, and would revert back to that for all three sequels, it was changed to red in the actual one game.
- Evil Twin: Not very evil and not particularly twin-like, but this is the first boss.
- Excuse Plot: Comes with excuse justifications. Why do we have an American girl going to Japan to study Kendo? Because she likes Kendo! Why does she fight all these monsters? Because she has to get to school on time! Why does she have to fight all these monsters? Because that's her kendo training!
- Hurricane of Puns: At least in the U.S. version, every level is followed by a punny comment from either Bob or Jo. Additionally, the bosses crack puns before fighting you.
- Mini Dress Of Power: The hero wears a very short skirt.
- Musical Assassin: The level 2 boss, who is also An Ice Person.
- Ominous Owl: This cartoonish owl boss can detach its head and birth chicks from the top of its head. And makes stereotypical owl puns.
- Running Gag: The end-of-level pun, and the bus. The bus even appears underwater.
- Sea Monster: Three giant fishes attack you.
- Super-Deformed: The level 1 boss, who thinks of herself as the protagonist's Evil Twin, is actually this.
- Take That!: Jo issues one to Bob at the end of the game.
- Transforming Mecha: A human-sized one serves as a boss.
- Covers Always Lie: Well, kinda. Yes, the game features a female protagonist. No, she's not the one who's prominently displayed on the left in the U.S. box art. That's actually the level 5 boss, who is an otherwise unimportant character.
- Cut-and-Paste Translation: In the Japanese original version, the main character, named Mai, is asked by a spirit detective named Doro to help attack monsters. In the U.S. version, an American girl named Jo has gone to Japan to study kendo, and meets this weird green-skinned guy named Osaki "Bob" Yorimoto who is her kendo instructor, but she has to fight through the levels to get to school on time.
- Sexy Packaging: The U.S. box art featuring two attractive women about to swing weapons at each other is probably the result of the fact that the game features a female protagonist and that U.S. publishers at the time did not like using animesque art on covers, believing it to be marginalize their product to a niche audience.
- Widget Series: This is the only entry in its series to be localized, and even that was done with a Cut-and-Paste Translation.