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Video Game / Taiko no Tatsujin

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Taiko no Tatsujin* (also known as Taiko Drum Master for a while) is a series of rhythm games created by Namco — later Bandai Namco Entertainment. The series started in 2001 as an Arcade Game; eventually console versions were released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Play Station Vita, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Microsoft Windows, as well as for mobile, Apple iOS and Android.

The gameplay revolves around the traditional Japanese drum, the Taiko. Red notes, or don notes, are played by hitting the center of the drum; blue, or kat notes by hitting the rim. Long yellow notes are drumrolls, where each hit during the note grants points, Balloon notes work similarly, where you have to hit the drums x times, where x is the number on the balloon. (The DS version exclusive note, the denden, is like the balloon note, except you have to alternate between don and kat.) The home console installments include a smaller drum-controller called the Tatacon, but the handheld versions rely on analogue controls (although the player can use the touch screen as a 'drum' in the DS and 3DS versions)

Taiko no Tatsujin has many, many characters, a wide range of songs, and a wider range of difficulty, shown by the infamous Oni difficulty.note  This is part of its appeal, as casual gamers can handle the easier difficulties, while veterans can challenge themselves with Oni/Extreme. As mentioned above, the game is available on a very wide variety of platforms, and is perhaps the closest a Rhythm Game has ever gotten to being Port Overdosed.

Works in the series include:

    List of works in Taiko no Tatsujin 

Video Games

Arcade releases

  • The first generation series, running on the Namco System 10 board, from Taiko no Tatsujin to Taiko no Tatsujin 6,
  • The second generation series, running on the Namco System 246 board, with a graphical overhaul and new user interfaces. Runs from Taiko no Tatsujin 7 to Taiko no Tatsujin 14, with two Asia-region releases in Chinese, Taiko no Tatsujin 11 Asia and 12 Asia.
  • The third generation series, running on the Namco System 357 board. Another graphical overhaul, and connectivity with Namco's Banapassport card system. The series was also rebooted, to an extent: the first game in this generation is simply called Taiko no Tatsujin. Games include Taiko no Tatsujin (commonly referred to as Taiko 0 to differentiate it from the first game), Taiko no Tatsujin: KATSU-DON version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Sorairo Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Momoiro Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Kimidori Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Murasaki Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: White Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Red Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Yellow Version, Taiko no Tatsujin: Blue Version and Taiko no Tatsujin: Green Version.
  • The fourth and current generation series, running on the lower-spec version of the Namco System BNA1 board, featuring overhauls from both software and hardware side of things. Overhauled song selection screen, a option to change note speed (which is previously exclusive to console releases), running on the true 120hz monitor and major song genre shuffles. Also notable for being the first generation to update the scoring systemnote . The first game in the fourth generation is, yet again, simiply called Taiko no Tatsujin (commonly referred to as Nijiiro Version to differentiate it from the first game and the 2011 reboot).

PlayStation 2

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Tatacon de Dodon ga Don (2002). The first console release, introducing mini games and survival modes.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Doki! Shinkyoku Darake no Haru Matsuri (2003)
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Appare! Sandaime (2003)
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Waku Waku Anime Matsuri (2003), sort of a Licensed Game, as effectively all songs in this version were Anime theme songs.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Atsumare! Matsuri da!! Yondaime (2004). The first console game to switch to the second-generation graphics, as well as introducing the Don-point unlock system.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Go! Go! Godaime (2004). Introduced the Doron (Invisible) modifier.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: TAIKO DRUM MASTER / Taiko Drum Master (2004). The first game to get a Western release, and the only localized game to use a Market-Based Title. Notable for having mostly Western tracks in the setlist, even in the Japanese version.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Tobikkiri! Anime Special (2005). Another anime Licensed Game.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Wai Wai Happy! Rokudaime (2005). Introduced the Perfect modifier.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Doka! to Oomori Nanadaime (2006). Introduced the Abekobe (reverse notes) modifier, as well as the first console game to have a structured Adventure Mode.

PlayStation Portable

  • Taiko no Tatsujin Portable (2005). Featured additional DLC songs and supported local multiplayer for up to 2 players.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Portable 2 (2006). First console game to feature a proper Story Mode.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX (2011). Featured medley mode, allowed stacking of modifiers, as well as introducing the Kimagure (Random) and Detarame (S-Random) modifiers.

Nintendo DS

  • Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Touch de Dokodon! (2007). Allowed download play for up to 4 players with one cartridge, and came with a unique stylus.
  • Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Nanatsu no Shima no Daibouken! (2008). Introduced boss battles for Story Mode, as well as the Bomb note (don't hit it).
  • Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Youkai Dai Kessen! (2010)


  • Taiko no Tatsujin Wii (2008). First game to support lyrics at the bottom of the screen. Supports Miis.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Dodon~! to Nidaime! (2009). First console game to congratulate Full Combos.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Minna de Party Sandaime (2010).
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Kettei-Ban (2011)
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Chogouka-Ban (2012)

Nintendo 3DS

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb (2012). The first handheld game to use third-generation graphics.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken (2014). The first handheld game on Nintendo platform to feature DLC songs. Localized in Rhythmic Adventure Pack as Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure 1.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Dokodon! Mystery Adventure (2016) - Localized in Rhythmic Adventure Pack as Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure 2.

Mobile / iOS / Android

  • Taiko no Tatsujin Mobile - Japanese cellphones only, only supports the two easiest difficulty modes.
  • For iOS, Taiko no Tatsujin & Taiko no Tatsujin 2 for iOS, two standalone apps with 5 songs each, as well as Taiko no Tatsujin RS, a Licensed Game for Japanese band Rip Slime.
  • Also for iOS, Taiko no Tatsujin Plus, the main app for Taiko. Includes DLC packs and Twitter support.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Android - Functionally similar to the iOS 'Plus' version.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Plus: Shinkyoku Tori Houdai! - A port of Taiko no Tatsujin Plus for Android, but lacks the one-time paid song packs the iOS version has and relies on a subscription-based service.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Pop Tap Beat (2020) - Released exclusively for the Apple Arcade subscription service. The (as of writing) only mobile Taiko game to receive an international release, as well as the first mobile installment to feature online play.

Wii U

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Wii U Version! (2013). The first console game to use 3rd generation graphics, and also the first console game to feature DLC songs.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori! (2014)
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Atsumete Tomodachi Daisakusen! (2015). The first Taiko no Tatsujin game to not have Don as the main character in the Story mode as it had Katsu as the main character instead.

PlayStation Vita

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: V Version (2015). The first Taiko game on a Sony platform to have 3rd generation graphics, scoring and navigation. Introduced the Spartan modifier.

PlayStation 4

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Session de Dodon ga Don! / Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session (2017). The first Taiko no Tatsujin game with overhauled graphics UI and introduced the online-only ghosted session mode and offline-only guest session mode. Also the first console Taiko since 2004's Taiko Drum Master to get an English release and the first localized game to use the Taiko no Tatsujin name, with it and the Drum 'n' Fun! launching in the West on the same day.

Nintendo Switch

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Nintendo Switch Version / Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun! (2018). Lets you use the Joy-Con controllers as drumsticks and has a selection of multiplayer minigames. Its localized version was released in the West alongside Drum Session on the same day.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Dokodon RPG Pack! / Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack (2020) - A Compilation Re-release port of Jikuu Daibouken and Mystery Adventure! with six new songsnote . Marks the first localizations of the Taiko 3DS games, with the individual games themselves being retitled as simply "Rhythmic Adventure 1" and "Rhythmic Adventure 2" respectively.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival (2022) - Includes new modes like "Don-chan Band", letting up to 4 players play a song together with the notechart split between them, and "Great Drum Toy War", a battle mode. Will also have a paid subscription service giving you access to over 500 additional songs at launch.

Xbox One, Series X|S, and Microsoft Windows

  • Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master! (2022) - A new release in the series which debuted in the Xbox One and Series family of consoles for the first time, as well as Microsoft Windows for PCs. It is also the first release in the series to be fully-optimized for ninth-generation consoles.


  • Donkey Konga Series - A rhythm game series developed by Namco in collaboration with Nintendo and based on the Donkey Kong franchise, Donkey Konga is pretty much a Taiko game in all but name. Features three installments, with the third game being Japan-exclusive.
  • Yakuza 5 (2012) - Kiryu, Akiyama, Saejima, Haruka, and Shinada can access Taiko arcade machines to play a heavily stripped-down version of the 2nd Generation arcade game as a minigame. Features three songs with two difficulties per song and the current player character doing the narration instead of Don-chan. Interestingly, the localized version of Yakuza 5 still uses the Taiko Drum Master name and recycles the logo of the PS2 Taiko Drum Master game, while the remastered version used the localization variations from the 2019 games.

Other media


Manga and novel

  • Taiko no Tatsujin (December 2003 - December 2005) - A manga by Junji Ono and serialized on Comic Bonbon magazine. 1 volume.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin DS (November 2007 - September 2009) - A manga by Yasuhiro Makino and serialized on Famitsu DS+Wii magazine.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Wii (March 2009 - February 2011) - A manga by Hitoshi Ogino and serialized on Famitsu DS+Wii magazine.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Everyday is Festival Days (January 21, 2011 - April 21, 2015) - A manga by Tsuna Kagura and serialized on Famitsu DS+Wii magazine. 1 volume.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Drumming at the 4-Panel Festival! (June 21, 2018 - Ongoing) - A manga by Maeda-kun and serialized on CoroCoro Ichiban magazine. 3 volumes.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Time Travel to the 3 Era da-don! (April 15, 2016) - A novel by Keiji Maeda and published by Kadokawa Shoten. Sequel to Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken.

The franchise provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Katsu in Atsumete Tomodachi Daisakusen!.
  • Absurdly Short Level: There is an April Fools joke in the White version that introduces an extremely sped up version of the song "Yokuderu 2000". The original song was roughly two minutes long, but Yokuderu 15300 brings the length down to twenty seconds. If you look at the song on the selection screen, they put a small disclaimer warning you about how short it is.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Some outfits are obtainable by purchase from Reward Shop and completing Don Challenge in arcade Taiko games. Some are obtainable by playing certain songs, such as this one in White Version.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Don and Katsu Wada are living taiko drums with souls.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Console releases from Session de Dodon ga Don! onward come with localized versions packed in from the get-go and swap to its respective language counterpart if played in a foreign language console (defaulting to English if the language isn't supported), which makes imported games much more accessible.
    • 2020 made it so you're guaranteed all songs on a credit, whether you pass or fail the previous ones.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • 2008 was a crossover between it and Bemani. The 2009 prank... became a reality.
    • Certain songs can be playable in this day, with a new one each year. This is a tradition that started with "MAX2000" and other rhythm game song parodies on 2009 note  and is still going even to this day, albeit instead of rhythm game song parodies, they are usually Joke Songs instead in either the silly variety like "Yokuderu 15300", or the Nintendo Hard variety like "Yumikaka."
    • 2023 introduces Percussive AOHARU Academy Anthem, which is both silly and Nintendo Hard, as it only has red notes, yet is rated on the highest difficulty rating. Even though it is an anthem.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • From the American version, "Don Rangers," originally heard very briefly during one of the intermission scenes in Katamari Damacy.
    • Shin-Uchi Mode originally debuted as a secret mode in Taiko 14 that was only accessible with a Cheat Code, but it was popular enough with players to become an official ruleset for competitive Taiko.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The motion controls in Drum 'n' Fun. The Joy-Cons simulate the feeling of using a taiko drum well and it's fun to use real motions like with the arcade versions and the drum controllers. However, the motion detection is highly sensitive to any form of movement (necessitating not moving any part of your body beside your hands) and the detection for katsu notes is spotty at best, which can cause the player to miss notes due to factors out of their control. An update made it so you can use L and R to always hit the Ka notes, but this still doesn't work all the time.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Waruru from Dodon~! to Nidaime! is responsible for the creation of the Waru Robots that wreak havoc on the festival.
  • Big Eater: Don and Katsu love food, and most of the minigames in the Taiko no Tatsujin series involves food.
  • Boss Battle: Present in the titles with an RPG Elements story mode. Bosses usually include extra gimmicks not present in standard mook fights such as unique interferences and have more bloated health.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Alumi from Dodon~! to Nidaime! is brainwashed by her creator, Dr. Waruru, into wreaking havoc on the festival and fighting her friends. Don manages to bring her back to her senses, but she stops functioning as a result of her defeat.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kat-Chan. It even reached to a point where everybody else (including Don) unknowingly left him behind while they’re going to Hawaii!
  • Characterization Marches On: It took a while for the characterizations for the various mascot characters to fully solidify, so earlier games have things like the Wada twins having more immature temperaments and Mecha-Don scheming nefarious plans to Take Over the World. (At one point, one game even tried to claim that Katsu wasn't Don's twin but "a mysterious drum that appears when there's a second player", a claim that received so much fan backlash that it was quietly forgotten about in games after that.) The difference can especially be seen with the characters' portrayals in the 2005 clay anime vs. the 2021 YouTube series.
  • Classic Cheat Code:
    • Most versions of the arcade game have Oni/Extreme difficulty as a secret unlockable difficulty by hitting the left/right rim ten times on a specific menu. Newer versions of the arcade game allow you to keep Oni/Extreme unlocked permanently if you have a Banapassport and clear one song on Oni/Extreme difficulty, while most console versions either unlock it another way or just have it open from the outset.
    • Taiko 14 also allows you to use the same cheat code on the title screen to unlock the hidden Shin-Uchi Mode, which bases scoring only on note input timing. Newer 3rd Generation versions and newer console versions have Shin-Uchi Mode accessible as a default mod instead.
    • In arcade releases from Taiko 11 onward, certain songs have a chart called Ura-Oni which is a second, alternate Oni chart for that song and is indicated by the Oni icon turning purple. For Taiko 11 through Taiko 14, you can unlock Ura-Oni by hitting both rims alternately 20 times in a row while on the game's title screen, which will cause something to change on the title to indicate successful input. In all subsequent releases, hitting the right rim 10 times in a row while highlighted on a song's Oni chart will cause it to change to the Ura-Oni chart. On the console versions, Ura-Oni is unlockable normally like every other difficulty (in games that have it) and is simply referred to as "Extreme" in the English releases like normal Oni difficulty.
  • Crossover:
    • Many songs from The iDOLM@STER have been featured, dating back all the way to the arcade version's release. In fact, the PS Vita game THE iDOLM@STER: Must Songs is basically Taiko no Tatsujin: THE iDOLM@STER Edition.
    • Earlier versions of the game had the theme song from Hamtaro as one of the selectable charts. The song has not appeared since Taiko 7.
    • Some songs from Project DIVA appears in the Taiko games. On the other hand, Project DIVA extend has loading-screen ads for Taiko no Tatsujin DX, featuring the Vocaloids drawn as drums.
    • Don-chan is playable in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX the third in a series of Mario Kart Arcade games developed by Namco. He also cameos as one of Pac-Man's many Namco Shout-Outs in his playable appearance in Super Smash Bros. for WiiU / 3DS.
    • The Tenkaichi otoge sai Zenkoku issei nintei taikai event sees Taiko no Tatsujin Kimidori ver. receiving crossovers from other developers' rhythm games:
      • "Garakuta Doll Play" by t+pazolite, from maimai
      • "Got more raves?" by COSIO (under his "E.G.G." alias used for his boss tracks), from Groove Coaster
      • "FLOWER" by DJ YOSHITAKA, from jubeat
    • Many songs from Yo-kai Watch was added to the rhythm game through several arcade updates and conosle releases, which also includes an appearance by Nate and several other Yo-Kai, and Jibanyan himself appears as a recruitable battle member in Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken and Dokodon! Mystery Adventure. In exchange, Don-Chan was made a guest character in Yo-Kai Watch 2 and Yo-kai Watch 3.
    • In addition to Jibanyan mentioned above, Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken also includes few guest characters as battle members, including Funassyi and Mon and Hun.
    • While V Version only has original characters as battle members, guest characters appear as either support, costumes, or deathblow in the game's story mode. This includes Reiko Nagase, Kamata SYNCI, Saul, Gordon, Propa, Propaganda Idols, Gumi, IA, ASF-X Shinden II, Adol Christin, Rean Schwarzer, Kazuya Mishima, Emilie De Rochefort, Koro-Sensei and others
    • Dokodon! Mystery Adventure features a wide variety of guest characters in its RPG mode, including Kirby and King Dedede, Phoenix Wright, Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame, Sakuya Izayoi and others, with Jibanyan and Koro-Sensei making return as a battle member and support respectively from previous installments.
    • Drum Session! features guest characters for selected songs that has guess session mode. This includes Hatsune Miku, Heihachi Mishima, Hello Kitty, Doraemon and Pac-Man.
    • Both Drum Session! and Drum 'n' Fun! has an Undertale DLC pack that contains "MEGALOVANIA", "Hopes and Dreams", and "Heartache".
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • The way difficulty ratings work in this series is different from many other rhythm games with difficulty scales. Whereas rating values are on a single scale in many other music games (for example, song A may have a Normal chart rated 4 and Hard chart rated 5, and song B may have a Normal chart rated 6 and Hard chart rated 8; song B's Normal thus is harder than song A's Hard), the difficulty rating shown on each chart is an indicator of difficulty relative to other songs on the same difficulty. For example, song A may have a Normal chart rated 5 and song B may have a Hard chart rated 4; song B's Hard chart will still be harder than song A's Normal. Inexperienced players who have played other music games may thus try that Hard 5* chart, assuming it to be about as hard as a Normal 5* chart, only to get bodied. This also means that you will frequently encounter songs where the ratings from easiest difficulty level to hardest will not necessarily go from lowest number to highest.
    • This confusion is further exacerbated by some songs having inaccurate difficulties, such as Bolero and Go Go Kitchen both being 5* on Normal.
    • Also, Easy will not be rated more than 5, Normal no more than 7 and Hard no more than 8 but some charts can be much harder than the standards of their respective difficulties (the Easy charts of the hardest songs in the series are actually on the level of a 7~8 Hard or a 6~7 Oni, for example).
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In newer version of the arcade, you can always play 3 songs even if you fail the first and/or the second of them (and still get a score medal if you have enough score), whereas on earlier versions you have to do a minigame in order to be able to continue playing.
    • The Dan-i Dojo also averts this: if you fail the condition on a song, after finishing it you will not be allowed to play the other songs.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The Dokon-Dan (from DS 2) and the Waru-Mekkas (from Wii 2) becomes so in their respective games' ending sequence.
  • Delightful Dragon: Raruko from 3DS 1 is a cute, friendly little dragon who's Princess Soprano's friend, and teams up with Don-chan on his quest to find the seven orbs to restore Soprano's stolen voice.
  • Demoted to Extra: Katsu being Don's twin brother and the representative for almost half of the game's mechanics would make you think they should get at least somewhat close to equal billing, but Don is the functional protagonist while Katsu is often lucky if he gets to make significant appearances in anything at all (even other minor characters tend to appear more often than him). Only on very rare occasions does he get to actually take a dual protagonist spot with his brother. Katsu himself seems to be aware of his own Butt-Monkey status and even seems to secretly resent it at times.
  • Ditching the Dub Names: The series had its first Western release in 2004, named "Taiko Drum Master". Years later, when Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session first got an English translation and then a Western release in 2018, it would keep its original name, and the series has been released as "Taiko no Tatsujin" in the West ever since.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Donkey Konga is basically Taiko but with a Donkey Kong-themed paint job and the drum replaced with a pair of bongos.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Some charts have Diverge notes, in which the chart will switch to one of two different forks depending on your performance so far. This can be subverted with some charts, which either hide easter eggs behind certain charts, or has you choose a chart via a drum roll note at the beginning (Don't hit for normal, one for expert, two or more for Master).
  • Easter Egg: Soroban 2000 is infamous for hiding a Morse Code message behind a Divergent Chart, requiring you not to hit any notes until the point where it transfers to Professional, where a message is written out in binary via ka and drum roll notes. The message not only differs between difficulties, but between versions, too, and some versions have all four codes form an entire story.
    • Similarly, the chart for "Hopes and Dreams" has a unique Divergent Chart, also activated by not hitting any notes at all before the Divergence point (thereby mimicking a "pacifist" run), triggering the Professional variation, whose notes spells out key lines from the True Pacifist Route of Undertale in binary. Like Soroban, the lines also differ depending on the chart difficulty.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Tellu from Dodon~! to Nidaime! is one of the Waru Robots that wreak havoc on the festival by order of their creator, Dr. Waruru. When defeated, however, she seems glad to see her estranged sister, Alumi, alive.
    • Professor Timedyne from "Don and Katsu's Space-time Adventure" is Driven to Villainy by the loss of his mother.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Many songs in the 2000 series have morse codes. Soroban 2000 and Kidaruma 2000 have the codes being in the chart itself, while other songs have them in the music.
  • Excuse Plot: Most of the "Campaign" modes from the newer console versions have it to justify beating stuff up with taiko drumming.
  • The Flatwoods Monster: The Flatwoods Monster, simply called Flatwoods, is an enemy that debuts in Chapter 5 of Taiko no Tatsujin: Dokodon! Mystery Adventure, which takes place at the South Pole. It voluntarily becomes one of the player's units.
  • Flawless Victory: Games typically acknowledge Full Combos (Perfect Combos in Drum Master) via a voice line and a golden crown (instead of the normal silver crown). Exaggerated in Arcade 2020, which added a Donderful Combo callout for clearing with all Good ratings, marked with a rainbow crown.
  • The Four Gods: The four most difficult songs are dubbed as so by the staff team. Which makes things interesting considering how the fandom speculates that Ryougen no Mai's composer is Tatsh.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: While the XBOX versions are running normally, the PC version of The Drum Master locks players out of the start screen due to the lack of an XBOX Live sign-in prompt, which is required for games installed through the Microsoft Store at all times. It has been fixed initially by unofficial mods and later by an official update.
  • Halloween Songs: The song "Hello! Halloween", about preparing for Halloween, dressing up in costumes, going trick-or-treating, and hoping for lots of tasty treats.
  • Historical Domain Character: The plot of Jikuu Daibouken (AKA Great Time Adventure) has Don and Katsu travel through time to stop Dr. Timedyne's plans. Along the way, they befriend and recruit famous historical people such as Lord Nobunaga and Marie Antoinette.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Don's name has been translated as "Don", "DON-CHAN", "DON-chan", and "Don Chan".
  • Interface Screw:
    • A staple of the bosses in any installment ever since the second, if there is a campaign mode.
    • Some charts can utilize very fast drum rolls to make it harder to see incoming notes.
    • In some sub-modes like Don Katsu fight and Great Drum Toy War, players can send various items to their opponents like summoning toys or fake notes to block the chart, or speed up the chart.
  • Keet: Both Don and Katsu.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Notechart-wise, Hello!Halloween, Rotter Tarmination and Mopemope (only on Oni with its 8OROCHI-styled notes though, on other difficulties it's simply a balloon). There are also many charts that suddenly throw in one or more very fast notes near the end.
  • Loot Boxes: Drum Session has a non-Microtransaction-based variant in the form of Treasure Boxes. Treasure Boxes can be bought with the in-game currency DON Coins, which are earned from BINGO Cards, Sessions, playing online, and completing the Minigame Credits. Everything you can get from Treasure Boxes is cosmetics to deck out Don-chan and your profile, but there's a rare chance that you'll get absolutely nothing from a Treasure Box.
  • Market-Based Title: The one PS2 game that got released in the West is called Taiko Drum Master. Averted with the Switch and PS4 versions, which just use the Taiko no Tatsujin name.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: While pretty unavoidable due to the nature of being a long-running rhythm game franchise, several of the console ports at least make an attempt to avert it to some degree by having different story modes with RPG Elements.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Donko gets into a fit when she sees Don with Miko, in Portable DX. This despite Miko is clearly a human girl and Don and Donko being taiko drums.
  • Monster Clown: Maou, the Big Bad of 3DS 1 takes the form of a demon jester.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: The star difficulty can be somewhat off sometimes.
    • Some songs are identical for Difficult and Oni, which can make the difficulty off. For example, Ridge Racer is 8* on Hard and 10* on Oni, even though the difficulty is right in between what would be expected for those, being like an 8* on Oni.
    • Bolero is 5* on Normal and 7* on Oni/Extreme, although those difficulties are too high. Bolero is about 3* on Normal and on 2x speed is arguably one of the easiest Oni/Extreme songs in the DS version, arguably as easy as a typical 2-4* song.
    • Tonari no Totoro is 5* on Oni/Extreme when it is really like a 5* on Hard.
    • On the other hand, some songs should have more stars, such as Go Go Kitchen on Normal, which is 5*, but is more like 7*.
    • Alps Ichimanjaku is 2* on Oni, but it is more like 6*.
    • Yume Wo Kanaete Doraemon is 4* on Oni, but is more like 7*, especially with the difficult 24th notes.
    • Overture from "Orpheus in the Underworld" is 6* on Oni, but its difficult mixes of 8th and 16th notes are at least on the level of a 7*. The Master chart is even comparable to a lower-end 8*.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Activating the Ura-Oni chart for the song "Ka" is indicated by the Oni difficulty plate glitching into its Ura-Oni form accompanied by a horrifc grating electronic noise, rather than simply flipping over like on other songs.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Perfect mod. You miss once, the stage ends. Though this is downplayed, as if you got the Soul gauge high enough to pass, you'll still pass. The similar Spartan mod instantly restarts the song if you miss a note, which makes it easier to retry for full combos. The latter is, justifiably, only available in console games.
  • One-Winged Angel: Many final bosses undergo this for the final battle when defeated.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Don and Katsu's full names are "Don Wada" and "Katsu Wada", but pretty much everyone around them only ever calls them "Don-chan" and "Kacchan" ("Katsu-chan"). This is to the point that Japanese releases of the later games even render their names this way in their dialogue boxes.
  • The Power of Friendship: This series won't relent from drumming the importance of having friends into your head! It's a Japanese spirit.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The "villains" from DS 2. Overlaps with Terrible Trio, since they seem to be inspired by the Ur-Example, the "bad guys" from the Time Bokan series. They are a small humanoid cat, a woman and a big dumb robot.
    • The 3DS installment introduces another set of minibosses, this time based on the Seven Deadly Sins
  • Recurring Riff: Notechart-wise...Saitama2000. Even the song itself spawned sequels such as Kitasaitama 2000, Hayasaitama2000, and now, Matasaitama2000 and Madasaitama2000.
  • Retraux: A number of medleys based off the NES games are composed in 8-bit. And of course there's YMCK's Family Don-don.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: The Omikoshi Battle from Portable DX, in which you must defeat other taiko drum characters from all over Japan who are possessed by something resembling black smoke. The default option is starting from Tokyo.
  • RPG Elements: Some of the newer games have a "Campaign" mode that utilizes RPG-based mechanics and involves battling monsters and various kinds of enemies via taiko drumming. Cosmetics you collect inside and outside the campaign mode can be equipped to Don-chan and Katsu-chan to modify their stats and give them abilities. Certain games like V Version have additional mechanics that also modify characters and combat.
  • Scientific and Technological Theme Naming: The Waru Robots from Dodon~! to Nidaime! are named after chemical elements: Antimon (antimony), Yttrium, Gallium, Tantal (tantalum), Germa (germanium), Tungsten, Tellu (tellurium), and Alumi (aluminium).
  • Score Multiplier: One of the key elements to the scoring system of Taiko is how much emphasis it places in maintaining your combo. As your combo count rises, the amount of points dispensed for each individual hit increases, and, from 2012 onwards, you also get 100000 bonus points at every 100 Combo threshold. Losing your combo severely impacts your score, making it extremely difficult to get high scores if you mess up even once. When Go-Go Time is triggered, it also adds on a 1.2 multiplier to the base scores. This is averted with the "Shin-Uchi" scoring system that's available as an option in later games, where notes are worth fixed amounts of points and removes the Go-Go Time bonus. The HD versions also make charts max out at a 1,000,000 point base, although you can still go over the base max by hitting the yellow notes.
    • This is completely averted in the 2020 arcade version, too, which used a new scoring system that is similar to the HD Shin-Uchi style by default and removed the combo-based scoring variation.
  • Series Mascot: Don and Katsu.
  • Shrine Maiden: Miko from Portable DX. She's also the de-facto main character in Omikoshi Battle (the player being the unseen conductor).
  • Sir Cameos-a-Lot: Don-chan has appeared in various games including Mario Kart, Monster Rancher, Tekken, and Yo-kai Watch.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Many of the songs are music that are about the last thing you'd associate with taiko drums. Anyone wanna drum to J-Pop or Western pop? Or better yet, the first stage music from Darius?
    • Songs from the 2000 series are so weird it is difficult to imagine drumming to them. SAITAMA 2000, the first song in the series, is straight up gabber, and it only gets stranger from there.
  • Stellar Name: SORA-I Earth Rise, SORA-II Glise 581 and Sora-III Heliopause are named after astronomical terms. SORA-IV, however, deliberately averts this. Some other songs, such as Total Eclipse 2035 and Daidara 8551 are also named after astronomical terms
  • Theme Naming: The Waru Robots from Dodon~! to Nidaime! are named after chemical elements: Antimon (antimony), Yttrium, Gallium, Tantal (tantalum), Germa (germanium), Tungsten, Tellu (tellurium), and Alumi (aluminium).
  • Toilet Humor: There are several unlockable drums you can obtain, such as a tambourine, a bell and so on. One of them is a butt which produces farting noises.
  • Unwinnable by Design: It's not possible to clear Hopes and Dreams or Soroban 2000 beyond Easy after activating their Professional chart Easter Egg as you have to do nothing to enter it and the notes there are not enough.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The player's respective Don-Chans can be customized extensively with different colors, patterns, and outfits.
  • Variable Mix: "Songs" like this are playable in the series.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Both Don and Katsu use "don" in place of emphasis particles (which would usually be "-yo" or "-zo" in standard Japanese), and all of their sentences that would normally end with the interrogative particle "-ka" have it pronounced with extra emphasis and written as "kat" instead.
    • Alumi from Dodon~! to Nidaime! adds "-nora" or "-ro" to her sentences.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: As of Drum Session and 4th Gen, Don and Katsu are rendered in 3D. The games are still the same, however.
  • Villainous Friendship: Tellu from Dodon~! to Nidaime! is one of the Waru Robots that wreak havoc on the festival by order of their creator, Dr. Waruru. It's implied that she used to be friends with her sister, Alumi, before the latter suffered from amnesia.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Taiko Drum Master


Taiko no Tatsujin Wii 2

Bosses will mess with your view during the songs.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / InterfaceScrew

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