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Video Game / Space Channel 5

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A rhythm game devoted to dancing duels against multi-colored screen-faced aliens or robots.

The first game has you play as spunky reporter Ulala as she tries to save the day from the Morolians while getting the big scoop, and dancing well enough to keep her ratings up and stave off being cancelled. Along the way she'll meet local dreamboat Jaguar and her Rival from Channel 42, Pudding. You'll take them on multiple times to win the scoop.

The second game has a new threat to the galaxy: Purge and his Rhythm Rogues! Even worse, Jaguar seems to have disappeared while searching for information about Purge! It's up to Ulala and her co-worker Noize to save Jaguar and stop Purge from forcing the Galaxy to dance for him! Along the way she'll meet Pine, a beautiful woman who is the head of the Space Police; President Peace, the President of the Galaxy who has the Power of Song; and Shadow, Purge's second in command and ground leader of the Robo.

In 2020, a new game was announced for Playstation VR: Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda★Funky News Flash. Released first on PlayStation VR on February 25, 2020 (NA) and February 26, 2020 (PAL), Oculus Quest on October 13, 2020, with HTC VIVE and Steam VR releases currently undetermined.

There was a series of cell phone games also released in Japan known as Ulala's Channel J. Most of them were minigames except for Purge's game, which took place after he was sent into space and gave him the title of Anti-Hero. The games have since been discontinued.

One of the most cameo-able SEGA games, it is famous for its soundtrack, odd gameplay and even odder premise.

It's also known for its rather bright colours, making it look like a 60s psychedelic view of space. The first game even has a message which warns about epileptic seizures in one level.

The console games were originally developed for the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast, but were eventually ported to the Playstation 2. Part 2 is now available in high definition as part of the Dreamcast Collection, along with Dreamcast hits like Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi, and can be downloaded on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade or Steam.

Space Channel 5 has also appeared in all 4 Sega Superstars games so far, with Ulala being playable in all 4 games, and Pudding being playable in Tennis and Racing Transformed. Ulala is also featured on the SEGA side amongst the cast of Project Zone.

As per The Wiki Rule, Space Channel 5 has its own wiki here.

Both of Ulala's adventures contain examples of:

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Part 2 has various unlockable outfits for Ulala (though some "outfits" actually turn Ulala into other characters). You can also unlock different items to replace Ulala's microphone, including a lollipop, a frying pan, and a rose (from Jaguar).
  • Ascended Extra: Space Michael has a bigger role in the second game as the new chief of Space Channel 5.
  • As Himself:
    • Michael Jackson appears as... err... "Space Michael". Technically, this incarnation is the same one that appeared in Moonwalker.
    • In the Japanese games, Ulala's voice actress is credited as herself. This is to reference the fact that her voice actress also worked with the motion capture used to animate Ulala.
  • Badass Boast: "I'm taking the Space Transmitter with me as a present!"
  • Bald of Evil: Averted with the Morolians as a whole, but played straight with the Big Bad of the first game, Blank.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Ulala does this in the first game, but she wears a helmet in the 4th mission of the second game.
  • Battle of the Bands: Ulala's team engages Shadow's like this in Report 5 of Part 2. Ulala plays the keys, Pine has drums, Pudding plays the guitar and Space Michael and a Morolian provide vocals.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Well let's see here, we have an evil genius who's ridiculous and a bit too fabulous at times. Surely Purge can't be that too big of a threa- HOLY CRAP, DID HE JUST KILL ULALA!?
  • Big Bad: Blank in the first game and Purge in the sequel.
  • Big "NO!": Ulala does this twice in under a minute after Fuse is shot down by Purge.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Space Micheal only speaks in English, even in the Japanese version.
  • Black Cloak: Purge wears a black cloak with platform shoes. Somehow, he's able to run pretty fast with said cloak and platform shoes.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Ulala's and the cheerleaders' chant of "Let's dancing! Let's shooting!" is not proper English grammar.
  • Book Ends: The opening cutscene and climax in the first game features Jaguar scooping up a prone Ulala in space.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: When Ulala appears in other games, The Reporter From Space Channel 5 is used due to licensing issues relating to Mexican Flyer. Coco Tapioca The Huge Dancer also gets used in some cases.
  • Boss Subtitles: All bosses, but when you get one that says "Super-Duper Suit: Purge the Great", well... you know you're screwed.
  • Brainwashed:
    • Jaguar, in the second game, becomes Shadow, until Ulala saves him.
    • Also the entire Morolian race was brainwashed by Blank in the first game.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": In the second game, P stands for Purge.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
  • Camp Straight: Purge is as flamboyant as it gets, but at times his taunts to Ulala come off as slightly flirtatious.
  • Canon Welding: Space Michael's bio in Part 1 implies that Moonwalker is in the same continuity as Space Channel 5, as the events from that game took place over 500 years prior to Part 1.
  • Captain Obvious: "Press LEFT for Left and RIGHT for Right!" Justified in that they want to make sure the gamer knows to use their own left/right for commands and not trying to match the facing-forward direction of the opposition (where their left is your right and vice versa). More of a necessity in the Japanese version of each game, as every button callout is still in English with the tutorial giving the translations for each directional input.
  • Character Customization: The second game takes this to the extremes. You can even dress up as different characters!
  • Cheat Code: The second game gives you a cheat code. The person who gives it to you? The Final Boss of the previous game.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: President Peace in the second game is both a living battery for Purge's ultimate weapon and the only person capable of destabilizing Dance Dimension X.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Ulala does this in the 6th report of Part 2 when Purge traps her in Dance Dimension X and appears to have defeated her.
  • The Coats Are Off: Purge loses his coat before challenging you to the Final Dance-off.
  • Combining Mecha: The boss of 4th report in Part 2 starts as a Dual Boss eventually merges into one.
  • Cool Shades: Blank in the first game; his were pink variants of the classic Kamina 'boomerang' shades. His 'turn' icon even had a glint next to the glasses!
  • Creator Cameo: Besides the obvious one, Michael Jackson provides the beatboxing in the song that plays during the battle to save him. For unknown reasons, his vocals were removed in the OST release.
  • Credits Gag: Don't think it's safe to put down the controller after the credits... The very last command is "Up!" right after it ends.
  • Crowd Song: The final battle against Blank and Purge has you and everyone you've saved singing against them.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Blank enslaves an entire race and sends them on acts of terrorism in a vile attempt to exploit the panic and boost Space Channel 5's ratings.
  • Cute and Psycho: Purge is childish and playful at first... But then he starts going insane. This is especially shown in the English dub, in which he has an insane laugh that's reminicent of THE JOKER'S.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Sometimes if you mess commands up, they throw different commands at you.
  • Dance Battler: All characters in these games try to solve their problems by dancing. Even their weapons are only operational if they are working a choreography.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: Everyone sings and dances in this game.
  • Dance Party Ending: The ending of Kinda★Funky News Flash ends with Ulala proclaiming "Let's dance to the end of the galaxy!", as opposed to marching to it in Part 1 and 2. Sure enough, the space populace all dance away in celebration.
  • Dark Reprise: Evila: Attack of the Perfect Reporter is a sinister remix of Mexican Flyer, the main theme of the game.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Purge Junior. Until you remember that Purge isn't dead, and the extra reports are in the same time as the normal ones...
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Beating rivals such as Pudding or Jaguar has them join you later in the game. The Morolians become Ulala's friends after she frees them from their brainwashing.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The fourth stage in Part 2 is set up in a similar fashion to the fourth and final stage of the first game. But after a turn of events for the worst, it takes two more stages to get to the true final battle.
  • Disney Death: Fuse in the second game by Taking the Bullet.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Purge, no matter what happens, always seems to be calm. Until his voice starts cracking when he begins to realize that Ulala has him beaten by the end.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: To get 100% Completion in the first game, you need to intentionally screw up at points during a New Game Plus, since you take different routes depending on your ratings.
  • Dual Boss: The first part of the King Purge battle has you taking on Purge and the Mecha President Peace.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the second report of part 2, Pudding appears at the beginning. Later, you take her on.
  • Energy Weapon: The final 3 "chus" of both games trigger a Wave-Motion Gun to defeat the Big Bad.
  • Enfant Terrible: One of the children you rescue in the first game is a genius. However, his parents think he's studying everyday, but in reality he's plotting their demise.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Jaguar as Shadow when under Purge's control in Part 2.
  • Evil Laugh: Purge's is 'nyeh-heh-heh-heh' in English, and 'ah-HAH-hah-hah-HAH' in Japanese. The first game's Blank doesn't laugh, save for an 'ah-HA!'
  • Evil Plan: Purge is trying to make the galaxy dance for him.
  • Evil Twin: Obviously, Evila. Padding and Texas of Part 2 aren't really evil, just... alternates.
  • Eye on a Stalk: One of the bosses from the first game has these, which also serve as its weak point during the latter half of the battle. The Morolians might have these as well; it's not clear whether they see out of the television screens on their chests or not.
  • The Faceless: Fuse is always heard, never seen.
  • Fake Difficulty: The second boss, but in the Dreamcast version. The second boss fight throws rescuing children in, the only boss to have rescuable hostages. During the first phase, it's rather easy to tell the Space Children from the Morolians because the boss thrusts them in the player's face, making it quite easy to see them. However, during the part where you rescue them, the boss is notably further away and the space children look VERY similar to the aliens at a glance, causing many players to accidentally shoot the children or fire the rescue beam at aliens. The fact that in the first game, "Chu" was used for both the hostages and the aliens didn't help. The Playstation 2 version thankfully improves this by making the children glow blue. It's also obvious in the Game Boy Advance version, too.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Purge is trapped in the giant metallic P as he is sent flying into deep space. Of course, this doesn't last long, as you see in the credits.
  • Fembot: The Ultimate Reporter, Evila, is a robotic counterpart to Ulala.
  • Final Boss: Blank in the first game, Purge in the second.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final bosses in both games take Ulala to a psychodelic dimension where they believe they have an advantage against her.
  • Finger-Snapping Street Gang: In the first game, when (Space) Michael Jackson joins Ulala's group after being rescued, she and all of the other dancers will imitate his famous snap walk from "Beat It" (Which, in turn, was also inspired by West Side Story (1961)) as they head to the next room.
  • Foil: Ulala and Purge are mirror opposites. Even the way they get their Dance Energy is opposite from each other. Ulala's energy comes from love and friendship, and she needs people's support to make it stronger. Purge's energy however stems from his anger and hatred towards everyone, and he can absorb people's energy to make it stronger.
  • Freudian Excuse: The fact alone that Purge doesn't understand love or happiness kinda shows how crappy his life must've been as a child.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Purge is only 18 years old, and yet he makes most of the enemies you face off against.
  • Giggling Villain: Purge, especially in the Japanese version. In parts where the English version would be in full out insane laughter, all you hear is this sadistic giggle.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Ulala will brave robots, aliens, and even naughty-tentacle plants to get the scoop/save the world/save the president.
  • Gratuitous English: Plenty of it, a lot of which is simply left in the English version un-dubbed. The cheerleaders' chant is grammatically incorrect: "Let's dancing! Let's shooting!"
  • Guide Dang It!: Wonder why you aren't getting 100% ratings in Part 2? There are secret commands you need to be inputting in between segments. While a lot of them are pretty formulaic and predictable, each chapter is likely to have a few hidden in moments you might not expect at first glance.
  • Hand Wave: Wait... How did Purge show up in the credits if he was sent out into Space?
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: That's one of the ways the fourth wall is broken.
  • Hypnotize the Captive: And how. "Oh, no! The _____ is being forced to dance!" Replace the blank with 'Space Bird Mistress/Space Dog Trainer/Space Tour-Guide/Space Michael' etc...
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first time you take on Purge the Great, you can only dodge his attack barrage. However Ulala can only dodge for so long, and she is killed by Purge.
  • Hulk Speak: Plant boss in report 2 of Part 2 says things like "Throw star at you"
  • Hypno Ray: Happens in both games. To the Morolians in the first game and Jaguar in the Second.
  • Identical Stranger: Padding and Texas in the second game's Extra Mode. According to their character bios, Padding is a Pudding impersonator, and Texas is Pine's twin sister.
  • Idol Singer: Pudding's previous job.
  • In-Game TV: The Moro Channel 5 cutscenes in Part 2, which would be interrupted by Purge as he gives you information about his plan without completely giving it away.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Rumor has it that Ulala is voiced by one of Sega's staff members — possibly Nahoko Nezu, the only female choreographer for the games, especially when she shares the same birthday and age as Ulala (when the game first came out).
  • Insufferable Genius: Purge may brag about how he's a genius and amazes himself, but he really is smarter than the average villain in the series. He has a plan for everything, should you beat him here, he'll have a backup idea at the ready. That is, until the ending, when Ulala has him beat.
  • Interface Spoiler: Well, that's odd; Shadow and Jaguar have the exact same pose and dance moves. When you take on Shadow to rescue Space Michael, you can hear Jaguar's battle theme in the backround from the first game, and Shadow does the same commands from the first game. But surely that doesn't mean a thing.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: The final boss in both games starts off as this, then everyone joins Ulala to save the day.
  • Intrepid Reporter: These people will brave alien invasions, meteor fields, giant mechs, and more to get their reports done.
  • Involuntary Dance: The aliens force people to dance.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: "There's no power! Ulala, all that's left is dance and jiggy power!"
  • Kaizo Trap: In the very end of the credits: "UP!"
  • Karma Houdini: Sure, he may have threatened the galaxy, but that doesn't stop Mr. Blank from appearing in Part 2 and having everyone perfectly fine with it!
  • Large Ham: There is not a single character in this franchise who isn't loud and bombastic.
    "My name is..." "JAGUAAAAR~"
  • Leitmotif:
    • Purge, Pine and President Peace get their own unique themes.
    • Even Ulala has one (Mexican Flyer becomes a Recurring Riff at times).
  • Let's Dance Like Gentlemen: When Ulala finally gets a chance to fight against Purge, he blocks off Ulala's friends with an invisible wall so they can't help her. It's only him and Ulala, nobody else can interfere. But just because Purge uses this trope, doesn't mean that he won't go back to his cheating ways AFTER the fight...
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Part 2 contains an In-Universe example.
    Fuse: Oh come on, do you REALLY think they would kill someone off in this game?
  • Loners Are Freaks: The second game seems to give this message with Purge.
  • Magic Dance: Everything in the game is done with dance, which is implied to somehow be a renewable source of energy.
  • Magic Music: In the second game it's shown that dance isn't the only unusual legitimate superpower in the universe.
  • Meaningful Name: Ulala (Ooh, la, la.)
  • Mecha-Mooks: Unlike the previous antagonist, Purge employs mostly robots, with Shadow being the sole exception.
  • Metaphysical Fuel: Even the vehicles are powered by 'dance and jiggy power'.
  • Mission from God: Purge thinks he has this.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The game was designed with that in mind.
  • Mysterious Past: When putting all the pieces together, it's revealed that Jaguar Originally worked for Space Channel 5, and saved Ulala when she was a child. He sensed that something wasn't right with Blank however, and soon left.
  • Names to Trust Immediately: "Space President Peace"? Sounds like a pretty down-to-earth ruler.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game looks deceptively easy... until you play it. 'I didn't know it had to be at the same moment too!' indeed.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ulala is based on Lady Miss Kier, lead singer for Deee-Lite of "Groove Is In The Heart" fame. Kier unsuccessfully sued Sega for intellectual property.
    • Space President Peace is obviously influenced by Tom Jones.
  • Nobody Can Die: Nobody dies in the console games. Averted however in Purge's Cell Phone game, where he can die by running out of time, or being electrocuted to death. This makes his deaths the only time someone can actually die in the games.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Missing the final 3 chus/shoots in the games. Looks like it's back to the beginning of the report for you!
  • Nonindicative Name: The 100 Stage Dance Battle in Part 2. It actually has 200 stages.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Ulala is 22 years old; Purge is only 18 years old.
  • Old Save Bonus: In the Dreamcast version of Part 2, having save data from Part 1 allowed you to unlock Mr. Blank and Cecil right off the bat.
  • Older Than They Look: Jaguar may look young, but he's 35 years old.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In Kinda★Funky News Flash Ulala encountering Morolians that actually speak English instead of Morolian chatter is one of the first tips she gets that things are INCREDIBLY wrong.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Peace sings to purge evil and sadness of people's hearts, and he's used as a core for some of Purge's robots.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ulala was found alone in space when she was young and was saved by Jaguar - she was actually listed as the last "survivor" - implying her parents are dead.
  • Peace & Love Incorporated: Space Channel 5 itself actually starts out as this, with their attempts to brainwash everyone into watching their station and keeping them from the truth. They get much better after Blank resigns.
  • People Puppets: In both games, the villains shoot people with rays that make them dance uncontrollably.
  • The Power of Friendship: It doesn't matter if there's a man made of giant televisions or a Teen Genius inside a Super-Duper Suit, the power of friendship will save the day every time!
    • This gets reinforced during gameplay as well. Whenever Ulala saves a new group of citizens, they'll all start out just watching her dance and defend them. Then one by one they'll all start joining in and contributing their own dance energy. Do well enough consistently enough and you'll end up with an entire army of citizens providing backup for you. Made more apparent in Part 2 which includes special citizens that, when saved, will add something extra to the transition scenes to give Ulala some extra style and a morale boost. Sometimes they'll even come rushing back to help Ulala out with the boss.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: All areas in the game were pre-rendered video footage, and the characters are 3D models put in front of the video. This would sometimes result in Ulala and the others looking as if they were floating because sometimes their character models would not be properly aligned with the background. This is also probably the main reason we haven't seen Part 1 get an HD re-release. If they wanted to bring it to HD, they'd have to go through the trouble of re-mastering the entire game in HD, which SEGA doesn't seem to want to do any time soon.
  • Psycho Electro: You learn in the second part of Report 6 that Dance Energy isn't the ONLY thing Purge can control...
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Purge takes this to a slightly disturbing level in Report 6. He goes so far as to charge up the Ballistic Groove Gun to not only destroy everyone there, but himself as well. To see a cheerful villain up to this point suddenly take a dark tone somewhat throws people off.
  • Rank Inflation: In the last level of Part 2, your view rating can reach 200%. No explanation is given for this.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: After rescuing "Space Karate Man," Ulala and her followers incorporate the crane stance and air boxing into their dance routine.
  • Repeat After Me: Purge and Fuse do this at one point in Report 4's Boss.
  • The Rival: Pudding, of Space Channel 42.
  • Say My Name:
    • Ulala does this in the first game respectively for Pudding and Jaguar when they get smacked by the final boss.
    • In Part 2, Ulala does this for Fuse after his Heroic Sacrifice and Ulala and Purge start their final confrontation by just saying each other's names a couple of times.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Shadow has a Red Scarf that flaps regardless of if there's wind or not.
  • Secret Character: Somewhat used in Part 2. Filling certain conditions will unlock different characters to play as, Even the Big Bad himself.
  • Screw the rules, I have RATINGS!: Blank... Did he just summon multiple robots to the field?!
  • Sequential Boss: The second part has Purge the King, a 3 part battle, with no recovering stars.
  • Shout-Out: When rescuing Space Michael, the zombie dance from Thriller, the moonwalk and gravity-defying lean from Smooth Criminal, and his signature head tilt are performed.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Purge just loves these. 3/4 of the second game has you looking at his silhouette.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Purge once he takes off his Cloak.
  • Soft Reboot: Kinda★Funky News Flash is a compressed re-imagining of Part 1, shifting some small details to make it an open gateway to new players.
    • Ulala is not a rookie reporter and is instead a well-known savior of the galaxy. That role is shifted to Roo & Kie, the new recruits and stand-ins for the player and making Ulala the mentor to you.
    • Blank, the CEO of Space Channel 5, is nowhere to be found.
    • The Morolians invade again, but this time to steal the Groove Moxie of the galaxy.
  • Space Clothes: This game goes over the top with this one with everyone wearing very bright and/or tight clothing.
  • Space Is Noisy: If these games didn't exhibit this trope, they would be very boring.
  • Space Police: The Sexy Space Police is introduced in Part 2. Ulala joins them to combat the Rhythm Rogues.
  • Space "X": Space everything. Space Bucks, Space President, Space Michael...
  • Spoiler Title: Report 4 in Part 2 "The end for Space Channel 5?!" The station explodes.
  • Starship Luxurious: The Luxury Spacecraft G in Part 1, and the Space Symphony in Part 2.
  • Stripperiffic: Ulala's outfits tend to be pretty revealing.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The best moment of this is in the second game, at the end of report 4. The entire Space Channel 5 station is blown to pieces after Purge deflects an energy ball back at Fuse.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: And since it's a rhythm game, the player is quite literally empowered when the theme music starts playing, as the notes are set to a song they have extreme familiarity with.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Both Purge and Blank have this when they are defeated.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Purge, if some of the profiles for the Rhythm Rogues are to be believed.
    "He created his first robot at just nine years old."
  • Underwear of Power: The Super Ulala Suit's description says "Rumored to be just underwear."
  • Unexplained Recovery: Fuse, Blank, Ulala and Purge all survive situations where they would normally die. The first one lampshades this, saying that no one would die in a game like this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Purge has one before the final 3 chus. In the English dub, he's being as snooty as usual. But in the Japanese dub, he's screaming at the top of his lungs at everyone there.
    "Dance yourselves to hell, see if I care!"
  • Villain Song: Purge's Theme is so awesome. The Fear Lounge remix takes the awesomeness and cranks it to 11.
  • Vine Tentacles: In the second report of Part 2, Ulala faces off against a mutated plant, which restrains the protagonist and lashes at her with its vines.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Part 2 includes a "Changing Room" where you can give Ulala different outfits and replace her microphone with other items.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Final Hit against the Final Boss is this in both games.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Happens in both games, but most noticeably in Part 2 when the loading screen is replaced with this right after Ulala is killed by Purge.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Purge believes he's been given a holy mission to lead the Brutish and Unhappy masses of the Galaxy to the heavens by dancing.
  • Who Forgot The Lights?: One section in Part 2 has Ulala and friends trapped in a pitch black room. It lights up to reveal that they're surrounded by robots.
  • Widget Series: Let's see, we have a space reporter who defeats aliens with song, dance, and Michael Jackson; not to mention that the entire thing looks like the Jetsons on liberal amounts of acid.
  • World of Ham: Of the Camp variety. Almost every single character can and will proudly engage in flashy, dramatic dance battles. Even the random NPCs that Ulala can recruit in each level will all perfectly copy her sexy strut and dance moves no matter how flamboyant; whether they be men, women, children, robots, or aliens!
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One:
    • Report 4 in the second game has Purge successfully steal the Space Broadcasting Satellite.
    • And practically in report 2, where, immediately after you've saved President Peace from the Waltzing Robot, Shadow teleports in and abducts him AGAIN with no trouble.