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So I walked into the arcade one day and thought I stepped into an experimental laundromat by accident...
maimai is a new type dance game from sega corporation
Are u ready? Lights! Camera! Action!!
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maimai is a Rhythm Game developed by SEGA for arcades. It is one of SEGA's three games under their "performai" line of rhythm games, alongside CHUNITHM and Ongeki.

The game features a circular touchscreen, from the center of which notes appear and scroll towards the rim, along with a sub-screen at the top showing player statistics. On the rim are eight buttons, and as the notes reach the rim, the player must press their corresponding buttons. In addition to standard "tap" notes, the player may encounter "hold" notes that require pressing the button/screen down until the end of the note, as well as "slide" notes in which the player slides their hand(s) across the path indicated by the note.

The game is perhaps best known for its cabinet design, which resembles a front-loading washing machine. Some cabinets also have a camera that allows players to record their performances; however, not every song allows recording.

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There have been six main versions of maimai, each with an associated "plus" version. All twelve maimai games are exclusive to Japan and select parts of Eastern and Southeastern Asia. U.S. location tests were held for PiNK PLUS in 2016 and 2017, but nothing long-term seems to have come out of it so far.

Games in the series:note 

  • maimai (2012)
    • maimai plus (2012)
  • maimai GreeN (2013)
    • maimai GreeN PLUS (2014)
  • maimai ORANGE (2014)
    • maimai ORANGE PLUS (2015)
  • maimai PiNK (2015)
    • maimai PiNK PLUS (2016) — location-tested in U.S. from late 2016 to early 2017note 
  • maimai MURASAKi (2016)
    • maimai MURASAKi PLUS (2017)
  • maimai MiLK (2017) — subtitled Natural & Fresh
    • maimai MiLK PLUS (2018)
  • maimai FiNALE (2018) — current version.

  • maimai でらっくすnote  (DX) (2018)
    • A revamp of the game, which uses new cabinets with improved hardware, and new note types.
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maimai features examples of the following:

  • all lowercase letters: The "maimai" name itself, but subsequent versions' suffixes avert this trope.
  • Alliterative Title: maimai MURASAKi and maimai MiLK. Also, maimai itself.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Dropping or overholding hold notes only gives "good" timing judgement instead of missing outright. The same applies if the final segment of a slide path was not completed.
    • Prior to GreeN PLUS, hold notes have rounded ends, which can be mistaken as single taps sometimes. The hold notes are now hexagonal to make them easier to recognize from GreeN PLUS onwards.
      • Later on this feature is exploited by having staccato notes, or very short hold notes which must be pressed and released immediately.
    • As long as end of the sliding move coincides with the end of the moving star note, a "Just" (perfect) judgement will be given regardless how the player does it.
    • In a multiplayer match, as long as a player cleared a song, other players are who otherwise failed to do so are considered cleared the song for bonus track eligibility.
    • While playing a song, the game will also play an "assist clap" sound for every note that needs to be tapped and the release point of hold notes, allowing the player to figure out the note timings more easily.
    • Starting from PiNK, once you start a song, right before the song starts, you will hear four claps that will inform you about the song's speed and also help you determine exactly when the song starts and when to start tapping.
    • The amount of life points the player is given to unlock Challenge Track songs increases every 2 days; after 2 weeks, the song is unlocked for everyone. Similarly, with MiLK's Survival Courses, the songs can be unlocked with "cheese" (the version's in-game currency) after the one-month window for the Course ends.
    • With the release of PiNK, each difficulty level between 7 to 11 inclusive was split into the base level and a "+" level, such as 8 and 8+. All the charts in each difficulty level were re-sorted accordingly, reducing the problem of players encountering "difficult for level" charts when breaking into the next difficulty level. MURASAKi then also splits level 12 into 12 and 12+.
    • Normally, Master charts have to be unlocked by getting an S rank on the Expert chart, but if the cabinets are set to offline mode, all non-Re:Master charts for available songs will be available for all players.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • 2015 brought "The Rhythm Sense Test". All this song's charts consist of tapping one button to a quarter beat rhythm until the "song" ends. However, on Master difficulty, the joke gets serious - you can't see the notes!
    • 2016 brought the Wonderland Wars theme as a joke song. Charts in maimai normally only need you to use your 2 hands. This song's charts have ridiculous patterns, such as holding down 5 hold notes at once. Clearing the charts requires use of not only the hands, but the fingers, forearms, elbows and even your head. The next update then released the real crossover song from Wonderland Wars, "Garden of the Dragon".
    • 2017 brought five UTAGE charts for "Garakuta Doll Play", each with a varying difficulty around level 12+ to 13.
    • 2018 saw the announcement of maimai III, which features foot pedals and floppy disk support. Also, it features 3-player gameplay which is reflected in the UTAGE chart of the day. This became Hilarious in Hindsight when maimai splintered in a similar way in December 2018, with the unveiling of maimai DX (a branch of the series with updated cabinets and new mechanics to replace the "legacy" series a la IIDX, alongside a Grand Finale for the legacy game known as maimai FINALE).
  • Ascended Meme: Since the original release, there have always been running jokes about the arcade cabinet looking like a washing machine. When version 1.21 brought unlockable titles, two of them were "A washing machine with coin timer." and "A washing machine with TV."
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: While the English versions generally have understandable English in their interfaces, the translations of song titles are sometimes iffy. For example, "Seyana.~何でも言うことを聞いてくれるアカネチャン~" ("Akane-chan who will listen to anything you say") gets translated as "Seyana.~AKANE's anything ok~".
  • Bonus Boss: PiNK introduces the Challenge Track system. Score an S rank or above on all your songs before the last one, and you will get the chance to access a boss song as your final stage, with a limited number of lives. You lose one for any judgement that isn't Perfect. If you decide to attempt to unlock the song on the week that it is released, you only have one life.
    • As of MURASAKi, the one-life challenge is available during the first two days of the challenge.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Jinglebell's Master chart, introduced way back in the first installment as a Christmas event song. It was rated 10 out of 10 when it was first released. It's now rated 13 in the current rating system. The chart is extremely hard for a festive song, featuring rapid taps for a 100 BPM song and delayed slides.
  • Boss Warning Siren: After selecting a Challenge Track, the game plays siren sounds along with a danger warning displaying the amount of lives.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The difficulty levels have associated colours: Easy is blue, Basic is green, Advanced is yellow, Expert is red, Master and Re:Master are purple.
    • Single taps and holds are pink, single slides are blue, but when any of these notes are in an Each (two notes at once, it's called Both outside Japan), they are coloured yellow. Breaks are always colored orange.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: The first five installments are all named after colours.
    • The sixth one also fits in a way, as milk is white in general.
  • Critical Annoyance: A screeching noise plays every time you lose a life when playing a challenge track. The screen also becomes redder when you have low life. The noise can be avoided by turning the sound effects off.
  • Crossover: As of PiNK.
    • The SEGA section is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The songs are from SEGA games, like Live and Learn, Angels With Burning Hearts, and Save This World.
    • An update to maimai ORANGE PLUS added tracks from Persona 4: Dancing All Night, such as Pursuing My True Self and Time to Make History.
    • The TOUHOU PROJECT section consists entirely of rearrangements of Touhou Project tunes. The niconico section consists almost entirely of Vocaloid tracks.
    • The GAME & VARIETY section borrows songs from other games or companies, such as Got more raves?, Kitasaitama2000, and FLOWER.
    • The reverse also happened with Groove Coaster, Taiko, and jubeat, which received the maimai original song Garakuta Doll Play in a similar event to the above three songs.
    • And then there's Karma by Bump of Chicken, from Namco's Tales of the Abyss. Although strangely, it was listed under Anime and used a custom-made PV instead of the game's opening cinematic.
    • maimai PiNK added Gera Gera Po no Uta, the theme song from the anime and game of Yo-Kai Watch.
    • On the other end of the scale, maimai likes to appear in Phantasy Star Online 2 on occasions, allowing players to purchase replicas of the machine that also function as a Jukebox, as well as Music Discs for some of the game's original tracks. Appropriately, Quna's Our Fighting was added to maimai ORANGE in an update.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You will always get a full set of tracks per credit, even if you fail all of them.
    • Survival Course, the new type of course that comes with the release of MiLK, eventually averts this trope. In this course, you are given a limited number of lives (50) for the entire course and 4 songs to play. For any "Good" judgement, you lose 1 life, and for any "Miss" judgement, you lose 5 lives. The number lives remaining after the end of a song is carried over to the next song, and if you run out of lives, the game immediately ends. So, specifically for this course, it's possible for the game to end without you being able to play the maximum number of songs.
  • Double Unlock: Challenge Track. If you want to unlock the song early, you have to achieve S-rank or higher on the Expert chart, which will unlock the Master chart. Only after clearing the Master chart will the song be unlocked early.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: niconico track Getting Faster and Faster. The song's speed increases as it progresses, although it decreases dramatically at the end.
  • Flawless Victory: The announcer lets you know if you get a Full Combo, all Perfectsnote , or, in cooperative multiplayer (Sync Play), a 100% Sync rating. However, averted with "perfect score" All Perfectsnote  - while the upper display will confirm the perfect score, the announcer is the same as an ordinary All Perfect.
    • MURASAKi added Max Fever, which is achieved when both players get Full Combo, though this is averted when both players achieved 100% Sync in Sync Play.
  • Forced Tutorial: Using a new AIME or Banapassport card will prompt an unskippable tutorial through the Collections menu, which takes several minutes and irritates people waiting to play. Averted with the gameplay tutorial itself.
  • Game-Over Man: When you fall to 0 lives on Challenge Track, the screen closes, showing Happy the cat/dog thing doing variable things depending on how far you've gotten when you failed.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • Some charts exploit game elements heavily to create annoying charts, namely:
      • Songs with almost entirely slide notes. Special mention goes to the Re:Master version of hiiro no dance, which takes this Up to Eleven with a whopping 229 slides.
      • Slip Flip beats it by having 235 slides, though the song also has regular tap notes.
      • That record is later surpassed by the MURASAKi track Selector (245 slides).
      • Later, however, UTAGE charts still have the gall to take this even further. If you take UTAGE charts into account of the record, Future UTAGE chart has 256 slides, while CYCLES UTAGE chart has 361.
      • Coinlaundry Disco has a Master chart that serves to show off all the curved slides introduced in GreeN PLUS, along with spirals of tap notes.
      • CYCLES Master, with circular slide notes, especially at the last chorus.
      • Fragrance Master and Nitrous Fury master charts are a barrage of tap notes. In fact, the Fragrance chart only have 2 slides, and no hold notes.
      • shake it! Master uses a pattern of hold and tap notes to force the player to repeatedly switch hands.
      • Future Re:Master is almost completely composed of "delayed slide" patterns.
    • UTAGE charts in MURASAKi are full of these.
      • The UTAGE chart of Oshama Scramble is one DAMN UTAGE level. One section requires you to hold all eight notes (one note up to all eight)
  • Guide Dang It!: There are hidden collections that need specific requirements to unlock it.
  • Harder Than Hard: Master difficulty. To unlock it, you have to score at least 97% (S or higher) on the song's Expert chart.
    • Re:Master difficulty, available on some songs. To unlock it, either clear the Master chart, then purchase the Re:Master chart (ORANGE PLUS) or just clear the Master chart (PiNK). Starting from MURASAKi, just unlocking the Master chart (without having to play it) will also unlock the Re:Master chart as well.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Easy, Basic, Advanced, Expert, and Master. Some songs have a "Re:Master" chart.
  • Kaizo Trap: Some songs will throw you notes after you think they have ended. Notably:
    • Life Feels Good has 2 more notes after the song apparently ends.
    • A few Master charts, including Orpheus, Contrapasso -paradiso-, Kusare gedou to chocolate and gensounosateraito, appear to end with a slow, long circle slide... which is immediately followed up by a very fast slide.
    • Caliburne ~Story of the Legendary Sword~, already a longer-than-average boss song itself, ends with an epic finale... followed by the song's real ending.
    • VERTeX kinds fits into this trope. It seemingly stops at around the first minute mark, but it continues (First-timers be aware).
    • Aiolos sets up a nasty one. In the middle of the song, there is a pair of slow q-shaped slides (slide from the start point, loop 360° around the middle, and then to the end point), marking a break in the middle. Near the end, it appears that an exactly identical pair of slides is coming up to end the song, but these are fast U-shaped slides, displayed exactly the same graphically, leading into the real ending!
    • A rather cruel one appears in larva Master. After playing through a grueling chart with the highest note count in the game, the song winds down with 5 full seconds without notes... and then the very last sound in the song corresponds to a final Break note.
  • Kyu and Dan Ranks: Grade Certification Course, with the ranks in 1dan to MG (Master Grade/Kaiden). You play a 4-song course, when you clear S on everything, you obtain the rank. Only up to 8dan is available to the player. Clearing the 8dan will unlock the 9dan up to MG, although you can skip it altogether by playing with someone who has your desired rank. Grades over 9dan will end your session if you score below S, but you can be saved if another player gets an S. Grade courses from older installments are available as well, starting at 8dan.
    • Before PiNK, the rank system was in the form of maiCHALLENGE, that is more like a mission with a time limit to complete the objective.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Helix of Garatia, both the song and the chart. Expert and Master give rapid streams of notes that almost guaranteed to break your combo.
    • At the end of Kusare gedou to chocolate is a very long beep... followed suddenly by a burst of static that will surprise first-listeners.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Maimai Milk added mascots to the game that are made of this trope.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The first three songs in MiLK's Survival Courses are randomly chosen from a pool of songs matching the theme of the course, changing with every attempt. There is usually a significant spread of difficulties within the Master charts of the songs in the pool, often with a number of level 13s in there. The songs the game puts in your Course can easily make or break that attempt.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • 7thSense has the time signature in 7/8.
    • GEMINI -M- is one half of a pair of very similar songs, the other being GEMINI -C- in Chunithm PLUS.
  • Nintendo Hard: maimai can seem like a "casual" rhythm game at first thanks to the large number of licensed songs — VOCALOID, Touhou, and anime songs in particular — but it can get to be very challenging at the higher levels thanks to a combination of a radial/"polar" note scrolling style (as opposed to the more traditional "falling" notes of games such as IIDX and Sound Voltex) and slide notes that not only make confusing patterns that must be quickly slid while doing other notes, but can also hurt your hands unless you wear gloves.
  • Noob Bridge:
    • In maimai, unlike many rhythm games, hold notes MUST be released to get a "Perfect" judgement. First-timers tend to keep holding the note even after the note ends, resulting in a "Great" or "Good" judgement.
    • As stated in the tutorial, slide notes have to be tapped, then slid, and each action is judged separately. Quite a number of beginners forget to tap the slide note first and wonder why their combo keeps breaking despite getting a "Just" (perfect) judgement on the slide.
    • Similarly, the "star" in a slide note does not start moving immediately after the note is tapped - it waits for a moment (a quarter note), then moves. By about level 9, charts will exploit this by having the player tap notes after the slide note has been pressed, but before the star starts moving, resulting in combo breaks for new players who fail to notice this.
    • It is possible to use both rim buttons and touchscreen at the same time. Some tracks have special sections which utilize this trick which will trip players who encounter them the first time.
      • Invoked and Played for Laughs in the 2016 April Fools' song (and later, some UTAGE charts). It requires you to utilize buttons and touchscreens at the same time by throwing you hold notes followed by tap notes on the same position as the hold note while the hold note is still going.
  • Odd Name Out: The first four main games use the English names of colors, but the fifth game uses murasaki (lit. purple/violet) instead.
    • The sixth game is even odder, as it doesn't use colors as name, while still keeping the Theme Naming.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: You get only one life to clear a Challenge Track on the first two days of its release. Get one note below Perfect, and it's over.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Heartbeats (a Joypolis song by RAMM feat. Wakai Yuuki), and Heart Beats (a niconico song by himawari ×emon (Tes.)). Outside Japan, you also have Heart beat, Serina Akesaka's character song from the Irodorimidori mixed-media project (the Japanese versions write the title in katakana).
    • Also averted with the niconico & VOCALOID track Link and the ORIGINAL & JOYPOLIS track Link.
  • Over 100% Completion: The Achievement rating appears to be a percentage of the maximum score for the song, with 100% meaning you got an All Perfect. However, most charts have "Break" notes that award bonus points, 100% Achievement is based out of getting all Perfects and 2500 points on each Break note, and you can get 2550 or 2600 points on a Break if you hit it extra-accurately. In practice, the vast majority of All Perfect performances have something like 101.44% or even as high as 105%, depending on the ratio of Break notes to other notes, and furthermore it's possible to get 100% or more without getting all Perfects if you get a lot of 2550- and 2600-point Breaks.
  • Play Every Day: Overlaps with Socialization Bonus below - before maimai PiNK, on the first play every day, the player will receive a mai-Friend bonus, which scales with every in-game friend, up to a maximum of 5, who has played recently. A mai-Neighbourhood bonus of 100 maimile will also be received simply by playing after someone!
  • Purple Is Powerful: Master, the hardest difficulty available on most songs, is colored purple. Re:Master uses purple as well.
  • Rank Inflation:
    • There's a whole range of grades from F upwards, but a borderline clear (80%) is an A. From there, there's AA (90%), AAA (94%), S (97%), SS (99%), and SSS (100%).
    • While it looks like your Achievement Rate obviously tops out at 100%, 100% is calculated off of an All Perfect run with 2500 points on each Break; getting 2550- and 2600-point bonuses on Breaks will allow you to go over 100%.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Given the game's genre as a rhythm game, this trope is inevitable. Aside from original Maimai tracks, it also has dozens of vocaloid tracks from Nico Nico Douga, music from other games (even if they're not Sega's own- see crossover entry above), and also has popular Anime and JPop tracks. Guren No Yumiya and PONPONPON are perhaps the two most notable entries to appear in the game.
  • Scoring Points: Tap notes are worth up to 500 each (if you get a Perfect on the note), Hold notes are worth up to 1000, and Slide notes are worth up to 1500. Break notes are basically high-value Tap notes, allowing you to earn up to 2600 points on a Break note.

    In addition to the game showing your score, it's also represented as an "Achievement" percentage; to clear a track, you need to finish with an Achievement percentage of 80% or higher.note 
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: In maimai and maimai PLUS the song level was 10. When GreeN came out, it was raised to 11. When Garakuta Doll Play and System "Z" came in, it was raised to the current 12, with GreeN PLUS re-rating many songs.
    • Come MURASAKi, all songs are now re-rated to the maximum of 12+, initially.
    • Our Wrenally, the second MURASAKi Challenge Track bumps it up to lv 13. MURASAKi PLUS then re-rates several of its songs to 13.
  • Sequel Song: Excalibur~Revived Resolution to Caliburne~Story of the Legendary sword.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The fastest scroll speed is called "Sonic".
    • In maimai MiLK PLUS, Brain Power, formerly available on (and exclusive to) SoundVoltex, arrived. Full combo its Expert chart and you receive a title, "mai騎士", a pun on Sound Voltex's Level 9 SKILL ANALYSER course ("魔騎士"). Equip that title and full combo its Master chart to unlock the title "ULTImai CHAIN", or achieve an All Perfect to unlock the title "PERFECT ULTImai CHAIN", references to the equivalents in Sound Voltex.
    • Also in maimai MiLK PLUS, two past boss songs, Panopticon and Fragrance, received Re:MASTER charts. Once you get ALL PERFECT on the chart, you'll be given a title which reads "(Song Title)✝". The ✝ stands for LEGGENDARIA.
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • When playing with other players, both players can choose any song or chart that either player has unlocked.
    • A number of cosmetic unlockables require playing specific songs in multiplayer.
    • Since maimai PiNK, playing with a friend will give you a "Friend Fever!" bonus and double your in-game currency rewards for the session.
    • UTAGE charts can be chosen from the first track when playing with other players with rating above 7 instead of S-clearing all tracks before the final track
      • Challenge track can also be chosen the first track with the same requirements but after the life is raised to 5 onwards.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: One near the start of the boss song CITRUS MONSTER. The Master chart even has a note corresponding to it.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Challenge Track is this, as you play the song by sightread and will likely fail on your first try. It gets better the more you try the song as you memorize the chart and going further.
  • Uncommon Time:
    • 7thSense plays in 7/8 time signature.
    • Jack-the-Ripper plays in various time signature before ending with 13/8.
    • Some of the parts of Helix of Garatia are in 4/4 and some others are in 3/4, the rest has uncommon time signature.
    • Although many parts of System "Z" are in 4/4, there are parts in uncommon time signature.
    • Brionac of Steel-flash also has parts in uncommon time signatures, particularly the ending, although most of the song is in 4/4.

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