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Video Game / Rolypolys No Nanakorobiyaoki

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The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
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The game's main menu, showing the main characters and lettersnote 
Roly-Polys no Nanakorobiyaoki is a Japanese Edutainment Game meant to teach kids and the audience English language, by Osamu Sato, creator of Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou and LSD: Dream Emulator.
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As with the rest of Osamu's work, the game is extremely weird.

The game's characters are:

  • Pon, a simpleminded, lazy yellow dog who is bullied by Cho.
  • Cho, a hyperactive fox who frequently pranks or harms Pon.
  • Banaten, a genius monkey.
  • Las Vegas Akiko, a glamorous peahen dancer.
  • Jumping Jack Bu, a pig who is also a karate champion.
  • George, a lazy ferret.
  • Del Montas, a trio of bagworms who can't stop competing with each other.
  • Mr. Okhotsk, a crab who is a skilled chef.

The game's main menu lets you choose a letter or character. Choosing a letter will show a word that starts with it, play a short animation or minigame, and then display a proverb that contains the word and is related to the animation. Choosing a character brings up a screen with the character (who dances when clicked on) and their belongings (that play random wacky sound effects when clicked on). In both cases, an encyclopedia can be brought up to read more about either the proverb or character, in either English or Japanese.

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This game was lost for a long time, but archival copies can now be found if you know where to look. For the curious, this stream shows off almost everything the game has to offer.

A sequel, Roly Polys No Sekai Ryokou (Roly-Polys World Tour), also exists, but is lost media.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • An Aesop: Each letter has a proverb that serves as a life lesson.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Justified with Las Vegas Akiko, a female peacock with colorful tail feathers. Her encyclopedia entry mentions that her feathers are fake.
  • Animated Tattoo: Jumping Jack Bu has a dragon named Tatsuro tattooed on his back. Whenever he gets angry, the tattoo comes to life and breathes fire on whatever made Bu angry.
  • Berserk Button: Cho can't stand lazy people. This leads him to commit various acts of cruelty against Pon.
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  • Carnivore Confusion: Jumping Jack Bu is a pig, but his diary mentions how much he loves roast pork.
  • Catching Some Z's: Instead of a proverb, the letter Z's "moral" is "The revenge of Z", which shows George getting scared by a robot shaped like the letter Z and discusses how in American comics, the letter Z is often used to show that a character is sleeping.
  • Drag Queen: Las Vegas Akiko is a Gender-Inverted example. By day, she's a feminine woman who works at a typing job. By night, she's a dancer who wears male peacock feathers. She views her ability to keep these two personas separate as a mark of maturity.
  • If I Were a Rich Man: The "G for Go" video shows Pon finding a wallet full of money, and fantasizing about visiting a Hostess Club, buying a car, and hiring a hitman to get revenge on Cho. Then Cho appears and kicks Pon.
  • The Pollyanna: Pon remains cheerful even with Cho's constant abuse (which includes being run over and shot).
  • Rapid Aging: Happens to Banaten in the 'T' video, while he's running a race. As he runs, his hair turns white, the stadium falls into ruin, and he collapses just before crossing the finish line.
  • Retraux: The "Q for Quarrel" video renders Bu and Cho in a low-poly style with visible edges, reminiscent of Virtua Fighter. Banaten, who also appears in the video, is rendered normally.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Banaten the monkey loves bananas, although he specifically prefers fried ones, to the point that he invented a machine that automatically grows, harvests, and cooks fried bananas for him.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • The opening video shows Pon suffering one: first, he's launched into the air by a see-saw, lands onto Banaten's hot air balloon, which is then destroyed by Las Vegas Akiko. Pon lands in a trash can, whose contents are burnt by Jumping Jack Bu, forcing him to jump into a river. While floating downstream, George throws him a life ring, but Cho takes it away with a fishing rod. After swimming to the shore, Pon falls down, exhausted, and the Del Montas trio jump on his belly.
    • The "F for Fire" video also inflicts this on Pon. First, Cho beats him with a baseball bat. Then, he gets hit by a big rock from Cho's slingshot, gets run over by Cho's motorcycle, gets shot by Cho's gun, and punched by Cho wearing Red Boxing Gloves. Finally, as he drags his battered self back to his doghouse, he finds that his food has been replaced by dynamite.
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