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Video Game / Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream
aka: Napple Tale

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The friendly town is filled with question marks that hide a strange truth that lies in darkness.note 

"Yokoso, Napple Tale he!"*
— Porch on the title screen.

Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream, or simply Napple Tale is a 2½D Platform/Action RPG developed by Chime, published by Sega, and released on the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast in 2000. It is a minor Cult Classic in Japan, which is the only place where it was released, and the Dreamcast remains the only console to play it on. Its soundtrack, one of few game scores written by the acclaimed Yoko Kanno, is better-known to the rest of the world than the game itself and features the vocals of Maaya Sakamoto — they were frequent collaborators at the time. The game's colorful Alice in Wonderland aesthetic, schoolgirl protagonist, and modest challenge level suggest that it is aimed at a young audience, and girls in particular. It would have been a tough sell in the international gaming market of the early 2000s.

Sakamoto voices the heroine, Porch Arsia (a name that confounds everyone who's written about this game outside of Japan,note ) an ordinary 15-year old student who has a figurative rabbit hole open under her while attending her town's summer festival. In a case of Mistaken Identity, she is accidentally grim-reaped by a bumbling rookie "spirit guide" and taken to Napple World, a realm that lies in the boundary between the Real World and the Deep Dream (a.k.a. the afterlife). When Porch arrives in Napple World she loses her "petals", six spirits that allowed her to exist in the real world, leaving her stranded in Napple World unless she can find them again. Her petals escaped into the four seasons that lie beyond the charmingly quirky haven of Napple Town, and to make matters worse, the seasons have been in a state of chaos lately, swarming with monsters. So Straynap, the spirit guide who got her in this mess, offers to let Porch stay up in his ice cream shop in Napple Town, and lend her his wisdom to navigate the wilderness, which is worth more than it looks.

The game's soundtrack was released on two separately-sold CDs in 2000, which were re-released in 2009. A few tracks here and there feature on Sega music compilations — "Folly Fall" is on Segacon: The Best of Sega Game Music Vol. 2 released in 2001, and "Jumping Cracker" appears on the Sega 60th Anniversary Official Bootleg DJ Mix nearly twenty years later. Maaya Sakamoto released the game's opening theme "Shippo no Uta" (The Tail Song) and one of the insert songs, "Midori no Hane" (Green Wings) as a single, and both are included on her single compilation released in 2003. Since Sakamoto's discography is available on music streaming services such as Spotify, these tracks are currently the most readily accessible parts of the soundtrack internationally.

This work contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The green monsters in Secret Garden fly into rages and then explode once they are attacked.
  • Action Girl: She runs, she solves puzzles, she does flippy double jumps!
  • All Just a Dream: In the end, Porch wakes up in the Summer Festival square and sees the inspirations for the people and places she dreamed about in the festival booths. Though it doesn't stop Straynap from appearing at her house during the game's epilogue.
  • Alternate Self: Many of the characters exist in two places — one in Napple Town and another one out in the seasons. They aren't identical, but they are linked to each other.
  • Amusement Park: Fjordland, the winter-themed amusement park level, has a lengthy roller coaster sequence.
  • Animal-Vehicle Hybrid: Frocar - anthropomorphic frog on top, automobile on the bottom, and mayor of Napple Town all over.
  • Attack Reflector: Projectiles and even enemies bounce off of Porch's racket and fly off the screen.
  • Badass Adorable: Porch is definitely cute and deceptively powerful. Even she doesn't know how powerful she is.
  • Bit Character: Porch's friends, Jesse (the tall tomboy) and Terri (the blue-haired girl with glasses), only appear in the opening and ending cutscenes that take place during the festival in the real world. The two were waiting for Porch to leave her house but left as Porch was too busy eating her mother's stew. Once Porch finally meets up with them, Jesse jokingly calls Porch "Porsche", which instantly kicks off the plot once Straynap finds her. They don't appear again until Porch returns to the real world.
  • Bland-Name Product: Straynap's ice cream shop, 13 Ice, reverses the digits of the 31 flavors touted by a certain chain of ice cream parlors. Even better, said chain is actually called "Thirty-one Ice Cream" in Japan.
  • Bonus Stage: The seasonal gaps are short optional levels with many coins to collect.
  • Collection Sidequest: The coins scattered throughout the levels are redeemed for cards and items in the Collection Room. The items can be decoded into MIS, and the cards are just for the fun of it...and 100% completion.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Paffets are excluded from boss fights. Straynap explains that paffets are afraid of bosses since bosses are the source of the abnormalities affecting Napple World.
  • Door to Before: Most levels end with a platform that contains a sign announcing that a boss is ahead, and an exit gate that will return Porch to the area map.
  • Down the Drain: Moaning Well is a subterranean level with water level puzzles and even a water slide sequence.
  • Dub Name Change: In the fan translation, this is averted for the major characters, but played straight for the Paffets. Justified, since their names consisted of Japanese puns in the original, being replaced by English puns and naming conventions in the translation.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: Most citizens of Napple Town fit this bill.
  • Faceless Masses: Bystanders in the Real World have blank faces, with Porch and her two friends being the only ones with eyes.
  • Forced Tutorial: There's no way to skip past Pierrot's initial gameplay tutorial.
  • Going Through the Motions: As is often the case with Dreamcast games, most characters only have a small set of repetitive animation cycles that they go through when the player interacts with them.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The aim of the game is to retrieve Porch's petals so she can return home.
  • Gusty Glade: The Wild Wind level is fittingly in the Spring season and features grassy landscapes, windmills, and gusts of wind that may help or hinder Porch's progress.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The March Hare boss is a surprisingly intimidating figure who attacks with a giant pocket watch.
  • Heart Container: Porch's life meter takes the form of pieces of fruit. Collect 4 Napple Seeds to grow a Napple Flower, and she gains an extra fruit.
  • Ice Palace: The Crystal Palace level in Winter is a classic slippy slidey ice castle.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: When she arrives in Napple World, Porch switches from a school uniform to a Gem-Encrusted outfit reminiscent of windup toys and Magical Girl costumes, featuring Giant Poofy Sleeves.
  • Infinity +1 Element: The 7th Petal which doubles as an 11th-Hour Superpower. Porch gains it in the final moments of the game.
  • Inner Monologue: Napple Tale has exactly one voice actor: Maaya Sakamoto as Porch. Aside from short lines during gameplay, the only full dialogue she delivers is an Opening Monologue, and wrap-up after recovering a petal.
  • The Insomniac: The Napple Town version of Alice looks exhausted all the time because she is afraid of going to sleep. She is not moody though; she's actually quite nice. Being a blatant Alice Allusion, she invites Porch to a tea party to try to feel more alert.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: More of an exterior designer really. The player has the option of filling Napple Town with "furniture paffets", but most of them only install once townsfolk request them.
  • Item Crafting: Or in this case, mon crafting. By decoding MIS from items and using collected recipes, it's possible to create creatures called paffets that can assist Porch in a variety of ways.
  • Jerkass: Gomez is just a jerk; disliked by everyone in town for his bad attitude and mean-spirited pranks. He locks up paffets and petals and refers to them as his collection. He ends up being not so harmless when Pierrot forces him to fight Porch.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Porch enters Alice's dreams to fight her nightmares, allowing her to overcome her fear of sleep.
  • Magical Girl: Porch is actually a subversion. Despite having a costume unique to Napple World along with a weapon that looks reminiscent of those found in Magical Girl Warrior series, she's incapable of any kind of magical abilities, instead having to rely on the paffets for any kind of magic. That said, she makes up for it with her athletic prowess.
  • Mentor Mascot: Straynap is a neurotic little clown/flower-fairy creature, and no one, Porch included, is inclined to take him seriously. Still, his knowledge about Napple World is second-to-none.
  • Mine Cart Madness: Water slides and multi-rail roller coasters instead of mine carts, but the principle is the same.
  • Modular Epilogue: The game has Relationship Values for Straynap based on whether or not Porch is nice to him. The final scene changes depending on her affinity with Straynap.
  • Mon: Paffets — cute helper-creatures that Porch can create. They come in 2 types:
    • Paffets that accompany Porch into action maps. Each one has one function: recovering health, using a special attack, transforming into a Temporary Platform and so on.
    • "Furniture paffets" — living chairs, streetlamps, ceiling fans, etc, that are installed around Napple Town based on townsfolk requests.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Contact with pits, spikes, bodies of water and the like are penalized with a slap on the wrist: Porch loses a little health and restarts next to the hazard.
  • The Nose Knows: Straynap can distinguish things by smell — but it's not really "smelling" and more like "hunches". Or so he says.
  • Older Than They Look: Though it's downplayed, this can be said about Porch's age. The game's original website states that she's 15 years old, but because of the art style, she looks like she could be anywhere from twelve to fourteen, especially when she's in her civilian outfit (which resembles a yellow Sailor Fuku). This also applies to her two friends in the real world.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The trivia zipline section in the Secret Garden level. Well, more like only smart people avoid taking extra damage.
  • Palmtree Panic: Once Summer is an oceanfront-themed level that begins on the beach, but soon the ocean magically parts to form a passage, allowing Porch to proceed on the newly exposed sea bed. 
  • Portal Crossroad World: In plot terms, Napple World lies between life and death; in gameplay terms Napple Town is the Hub Level that connects all of the seasons.
  • Protection Mission: The boss fight in Red & Gold has the dual goal of protecting Treant, a talking tree, and defeating a boss pamera. Treant is growing bombs instead of napple fruit due to the influence of the boss pamera, who is hiding inside the walls. Treant serves up bombs for Porch to knock into the boss, but the bombs can hurt Treant as well.
  • Reality-Changing Miniature: The "complete" Napple Town that Porch finds herself trapped in late in the game is evidently a bunch of sandcastles in Pierrot's circus tent.
  • Rose-Haired Sweetie: Porch's hair is literally rose in color, and she is cheerful and empathetic.
  • Seasonal Baggage: Seasonal motifs are central to Napple Tale. Napple Town has season-themed streets, and the streets lead to the seasons themselves — in the form of locales. Air-Aided Acrobatics in spring, fireworks in summer, falling leaves in autumn, and of course, an obligatory ice level for winter.
  • Source Music: The background music in the seasons is audible to the characters. Straynap explains that the music is known as "Petal Whispers," and it's produced by the petals that inhabit living things.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Because of the lack of an official English release, Western fans have made many variations on the heroine's (rather odd) names: Pōchi, Porch, Pooch, Pouch, Poach? Arsia, Alsia, Alisia? The official strategy guide clears this up by giving us the full name of "Porch Arsia", but there's also the fact that Porch isn't something you'd normally name a girl, not to mention the ambiguity of whether or not her name order falls under English or Japanese naming conventions. Even the story shows that this was basically the reason why Porch is stuck in Napple Town in the first place, as Straynap confuses her with a cat named "Porsche".
  • Spinning Clock Hands: The summer festival flower clock is part of the Amazing Technicolor Battlefield for the final boss battle. Naturally, the hands spin wildly.
  • Starfish Language: Paffets "speak" in MIS, sort of the essential building-blocks of Napple World.
  • Surreal Theme Tune: The opening theme Shippo no Uta is cheery and full of Alice in Wonderland imagery. An example, in a literal translation:
    ''Morning has come! - My clock does a handstand
    My desk laughs and my hat flies away
    My shoes left home without me
    So in a panic I jump to my feet"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Porch's loves her mom's stew more than just about anything. So much so that she's completely enthusiastic about stew-flavored ice cream.
  • Translator Buddy: Straynap translates the MIS communication that Paffets use for Porch...but late in the game, he loses the ability to interpret it, and Porch discovers she can translate it herself.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Pierrot. He seems a bit like a Trickster Mentor in that he's helpful but enigmatic, and rather indifferent to Porch's well-being. But he's actually kind of a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's trying to avert the Dream Apocalypse that will occur if Porch leaves Napple World through apotheosis.
  • Verbal Tic: Straynap, being excessively polite, ends almost all of his sentences with "desu". Yes, memetically Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Pierrot. He's as cool as a cucumber the whole game...but his composure slips a bit after Porch reverses his attempt to remake Napple Town. And then shatters during his last-ditch attempt to prevent Porch from leaving Napple World.
  • World of Silence: A creepy, dimly-lit version of Napple Town where spotlights are trained on Porch wherever she goes. But the proper Nightmare Fuel is that everyone is Pierrot. Because Pierrot steals Porch's petals to enact an Assimilation Plot.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Inverted. After the boss sequence in Fjordland, it becomes clear that fatal occurrences won't kill Porch while she's in Napple World. It's all actually hers to control since it's her dream.

Porch: Ja, mata ne!*

Alternative Title(s): Napple Tale