The story takes place in a forest full of trees inhabited by insects and fairies. A fairy, named Popo, was a friend of the insects of the forest. He is a friend to a particular Japanese beetle called "Mushiking". One day, giant beetles from parts unknown arrived in the forest to wreak havoc, under the control of Adder, a wizard exiled from the forest who wishes to conquer it. Popo enlists the player's help to fight against Adder.
It was a fairly big hit in Japan, enough to spawn a number of sequels, manga and anime series, and even a LCD Virtual Pet spinoff named Sodatete! Mushiking, designed by Masahiro Sakurai of Kirby and Super Smash Bros. fame.
See also Dinosaur King, a spinoff with the same rock-paper-scissors battle system, but at the other end of the battling-creature-size scale.
This show provides examples of:
- Artistic License – Biology:
- Perhaps to improve their aura of menace, every single beetle has their unique battle cry. However in real-life, apart from the sound of the beetles' horns clashing, the battle between beetles is rather quiet compared to its CCG counterpart.
- In the game, the Beetles often use their wings to perform certain moves. Beetles in real life rarely use their wings when battling, however.
- Assist Character: Special skill cards allows the player to summon other insects to aid you in battle. Although each special skill cards have different summoning condition, the player usually have to win in order to summon them.
- Battle Cry: After being summoned to the field, the beetle will "roar". Every single beetle has their own unique battle cry.
- Battle Intro: After being summon to the field, the beetle will do a Ass Kicking Pose based on its type of finishing attack.
- Big Bad: Adder.
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The title contains "Mushiking", a special Japanese beetle that is a friend of Popo.
- Chromatic Rock Paper Scissors: The bugs' typings are literally sorted by Rock–Paper–Scissors, where Rock (red) beats Scissors (yellow) beats Paper (blue), which beats Rock.
- Combination Attack: In 2v2 mode, after both players input their attack, a recycle sign will appear in the middle of both sides of buttons, if the player press any button again, the attack (provide the player wins) will become a combination attack. This also switches the beetle that is on the field.
- Doppelgänger Spin: The super finishing attack for Micro Stag-beetle.
- Dynamic Entry: If the player successfully pulls off a combination attack in 2v2 mode, another beetle jumps into the field, accompanied by their roar.
- Earthy Barefoot Character: Popo.
- Evil Wears Black: Being the big the Big Bad, Adder wears a black robe.
- Faking the Dead: The super finishing attack for Feisthameli Stag-beetle. Yes, it's as cheap as it sounds.
- Human Hammer-Throw: The super finishing attack for Grant White Beetle and Japanese Beetle.
- Japanese Beetle Brothers: Mostly coincidental, but you can force the "Allies" relationship to happen by using a beetle and a stag beetle in 2v2 mode.
- Palette Swap: For a strict example of palette swap, there is the Hercules Beetle (dynastes hercules) and the Blue Hercules Beetle (dynastes hercules lichyi).
- Parody: A self-parodic example can be found in Yakuza Kiwami as MesuKing, where all the insects are women in Cos Play of a given species, in varying degrees of scantiness. The name "MesuKing" is a pun, with the Japanese word for "female" (mesu) switched for the one meaning "insect" (mushi).
- Power of Love: The special skill cards "Power of Venus" summons a female beetle on to the field, temporarily boosting the beetle's power. The effect's duration depends on the amount of technique points the beetle you control has.
- Pretty Butterflies: There are two kinds of butterflies that you can summon, one decreases the opponent's timer, another one heals you.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The super finishing attack for Golden Stag-Beetle.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Every single one of Adder's minions has this trait.
- Slaying Mantis: The special skill Card "Special Skills Stopper" summons a mantis on to the field. If a mantis is on the field, it negates the opponent from summoning anything for once.
- Spinning Piledriver: The super finishing attack for Hercules Beetle.
- Spin-Off: This game has a more well-known (at least in the West) spin-off called Dinosaur King. The game is an effort to pander the western audience as the bug collecting/battling hobby is much more perennially popular in Japan than in the US. Instead, everyone there loves dinosaurs.
- Switch-Out Move: If the player successfully pulls off a combination attack in 2v2 mode, the game switches out the player's beetle that is on the field.
- Tag Team: The game's 2v2 mode.
- Tyke-Bomb: Some of adder's minions.
- Wipe the Floor with You: The super finishing attack for Speciosus Stag-beetle and Saw Tooth Stag-beetle.