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Web Original / Dan The Man

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Dan The Man is a web animation made by Studio Joho about a video game character named, well, Dan, and his battle to save a kingdom from evil. In the nearby kingdom, a violent resistance movement is brewing, and the rebels have already kidnapped the princess. Dan sets out to save her, but soon finds himself caught in a brewing civil war, and the truth behind it is not what it seems.

All of the episodes can be found here. Stage 8 has been released as a mobile game made by Halfbrick Studios and has been adapted later into video form, though some of the plot elements have been changed. The continuation in form of Stage 9 has been stuck in Development Hell for 5 years, until it was announced in late 2021 that the series will continue with more episodes on the way.


Official Website for the game.

Launch Trailer Story Trailer Story Recap Game Modes Trailer Christmas Update Multiplayer Mode Trailer

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Josie makes her first appearance in the series throwing rocks at a giant robot, then leaving to get a rifle to shoot it with. The game also makes her a playable character.
  • Allegedly Free Game: For the game, if you don't pay for premium, be ready to be interrupted by video ads mid-way through a level, and another when the game transitions to menu from the end of a gameplay session.
  • Anachronism Stew: Peasants, cottages, kings, and castles still exist, but so do smartphones, police, SWAT teams, tazers, guns, robots, drones, jetpacks, and cars, among other things.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: The Dual wielding normal-sized mooks wear bandanas over their heads.
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  • Battle Strip: The Final Boss, the Resistance Leader, rips his shirt off and a part of his mask, and then jumps into his castle-sized mecha.
  • Bayonet Ya: Averted. Upgrading the AK Rifle and Bazooka gives them a bayonet, but it's just for show.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Fully upgrading your weapons will adorn them in gold, except for the knife, as its blade is on fire.
  • Burn Baby Burn: At the end of Stage 8-4-2, some of the Corrupt Corporate Executives can be seen burning papers while another one prays for mercy.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: A good amount of them in the Stage 8 Video.
  • Big Bad:
    • The web series and Stage 8 game has a Big Bad Ensemble between the Advisor and the Resistance Leader, who are fighting for control of the Kingdom. The former controls the kingdom and enslaves the peasants, while the latter aims to become king himself and is willing to kill people to do so.
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    • The Frosty Plains arc has the Advisor once again, who leads his men in stealing the peasants’ Christmas decorations and enslaving them.
    • The Fright Zone arc has Professor Brains, who is sending his zombies to invade the kingdom through portals.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The web video version of Stage 8, as Stage 9 instead starts from where the game version left off.
  • Deus ex Machina: After you beat The Dark Master in his boss fight, it initially appears that The Dark Master was not actually being hurt by the player's attacks. Thankfully, his polar opposite, The Light Master, arrives just in time. Even the achievement for "beating" the Dark Master lampshades this with the exact wording of the trope.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The video version of Stage 8 has the Resistance Leader somehow surviving being pumped full of lead at point blank range to pull a Taking You with Me.
  • Evil Versus Evil: As the story progresses, it slowly becomes clear that the Resistance and the King's Army are not much better than each other, as they pretty much do the exact same things - shooting, killing, and beating random civilians and summarily executing unarmed and surrendering Mooks. The army is enslaving peasants, but multiple cutscenes also show that the rebels are willing to pilfer and steal pretty much anything that is of value. After the Resistance Leader kills the King, he takes the crown and immediately shoots one of the Geezers for calling him out, and becomes the Final Boss.
  • Gainax Ending: After almost every established character dies at the hands of the Resistance, including Josie(!), Dan fights the final boss. When the Resistance Leader is defeated, he pulls off a Taking You with Me stunt and detonates the bombs in the castle, killing him and Dan. Dan respawns to the beginning of Stage 8-1-1 and resorts to beating up the Resistance, which the Peasants cheer about. End game and cue feelings of "...that's it?"
    • The video version of Stage 8 changes things up, where the Sole Survivor is one of the Geezers instead of Dan (or Josie). The Resistance Leader detonates the bombs and Dan respawns without his memory, and he leads the Resistance again. Only this time, the Geezers decide to sit the battle out. Stage 9 ignores this ending and starts where the video game version was left on.
  • Giant Mook: There are two types: One that dual-wields SMG or Machine Pistols and one that carries a shield and a spikey club/mace. Frosty Plains and Fright Zone arcs introduce a third type, who relies on a flamethrower.
  • Guest Fighter: You can purchase Barry Steakfries as a playable character along with his trusty pump-action shotgun.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic:
    • The King's Guard who is bothered by the peasant-powered treadmill (and who eventually defects to help Josie) doesn't wear a helmet. Unfortunately, the Resistance didn't get the memo, or just didn't care. In Stage 9, he is the one who informs King about enslaved peasants and saves him from being shot by the Advisor.
    • You can choose to play this straight or avert this with your Custom Character, as the King's Goon's Outfit has a helmet and a few other outfits have different head gear as well..
  • Hurricane Kick: Josie's First and then the Final Upgrade for her Special Attack has her performing this.
  • Idle Animation:
    • Leaving Dan or The Custom Character alone will just have him look at the player and shrug, while Josie begins to look at the player tapping her foot clearly peeved at leaving her alone and then screaming and crossing her arms. Barry has a distinction of having two idle animation: One is the same as Dan and Custom Character's, while the other one has him put some shirt sleeves and rip them off his suit.
    • Each enemy has it's one unique set of Idle Animations ranging from either minding their own business looking around taking selfies checking they're weapons, and if they catch sight of you and are not in their range they actually begin to taunt you.
  • Important Haircut: After Dan more-or-less dumps Josie on the basis that she's an NPC, she decides to cut her hair into a smaller length.
  • Kill 'Em All: Pretty much every established character dies by the time Dan reaches the end of the game, including Dan himself. So it's a good thing he still has one extra life.
  • Kill It with Fire: The fully upgraded Knife can set enemies on fire.
  • La Résistance: The Ninjas who wear masks and kidnap the princess.
  • Pistol Whip: Due to Barry being the only character to have his signature weapon on his being a lot of his moveset has him make use of his shotgun to hit enemies in the face with it and also shoot it at them point lank.
    • Some of the enemies who have guns use either the butt of their gun or to just hit you in the face with it.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Each article of clothing you can get for your custom character has different effects from increasing gold drops, damage resistance, increased damage towards enemies, and other things. But the combinations can be rather... interesting.
  • Recoil Boost: Obviously due to Barry being a playable character, his Machine Gun Jetpack isn't far behind.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The resistance starts off kidnapping a princess, and in the first few stages serve as antagonists for Dan to fight. This is subverted when it turns out that they are trying to save a dragon, and later the oppressed peasants, but double subverted as even after he teams up with them, they prove to be violent bastards who seem to only want power, repeatedly pilfering riches and killing surrendering goons. The leader kills a Geezer just for standing up to him and becomes the Final Boss.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Resistance's Robots don't last very long. Surprisingly enough, in the actual Stage 8 video, the robot doesn't get destroyed.
    • Dan's inability to do anything the NPCs do because he's a playable character. And usually resorting to using his fists.
  • Save the Princess: The first thing Dan does in the series. Though she ends up being a bit too much for him to handle and he leaves her to the Vendor instead.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The Geezers wanted to save the peasants first- fortunately for them Josie already took care of that problem. Unfortunately, they decided to pick the worst place for a dramatic entrance.
    • The entire Stage 8 is this, as the Resistance slowly shows their true colors and the leader even becomes the final boss. Once defeated, he then kills you by detonating the bombs he had placed inside the castle. Thankfully, Dan has an extra life; after which he beats up the leader
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Fitting with their SWAT/Riot police aesthetic two type of mooks carry shields; The normal-sized ones and giant ones
  • Shield Bash: Well those shields aren't exactly only there to keep you from punching them in the face.
  • Shock and Awe: The fully upgraded Shuriken are imbued with electrical power.
    • The Drones carry around tazers.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: If you purchase Barry Steakfries as a playable character, he has a Shotgun that has unlimited ammo but takes a second to recharge. One of the Enemy types you encounter has a similar shotgun, and they pack quite the punch. Even more so in Hard Mode.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Thankfully the enemies' shotguns have pretty short range, but this also applies to Barry's shotgun.
    • Averted on Hard Mode, where the shotguns that enemies wield can fire balls or balls of energy that can travel the entire screen.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a lot of them going around.
  • Shrug Take: In Stage 8, Dan, Barry, and the custom character do this as their idle animations (one of them, in the case of Barry). Josie instead looks impatiently at the screen.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: A common theme in the series.
    • In Stage 1, the princess Dan rescues demands more and more expensive things, to the point where Dan gets heavily enough in debt to lose everything. When he tries to fight back, he loses his life as well. It turns out that pairing up the princess with the Vendor is the best result, and clears the stage.
    • In Stage 3, the bodies of the enemies killed in Stage 2 remain, and there's even a dog chewing on one of them. Josie is, naturally, too traumatized to participate in the partying.
    • Also in Stage 3, beating up a drunk has the same end result as beating up anyone else in the world: their death. This results in Dan facing the full consequences of murder, including arrest, trial, and execution.
  • Those Two Guys: The Geezers, two bar buddies whom made their debut in Stage 4, and play a central role in Stage 8.
  • Token Good Teammate: Almost every single one of the executives are greedy jackasses, except for two. When they begin to present some pretty good alternative sources of power to their colleagues, the entire board actually laughs. When they find out about that the idea of using peasants to power the whole kingdom was more dubious, they waste no time in trying to reveal to the people about their discovery. Unfortunately they don't last very long at the hands of the Dark Master.
    • Also, one of the guards overlooking the Peasant-powered treadmill is clearly troubled by it. In fact, he was the one that sent the evidence of how the Peasant-powered treadmill isn't completely humanitarian to the above Executives.
  • Violence Is the Only Option:
    • Averted on several occasions, particularly in Stage 3, where fighting back against The Drunk Guy ends with him being killed and Dan being executed by the police, and befriending him clears the Stage.
    • Played straight in the end of Stage 8-4-3, when after restarting to 8-1-1, Dan just beats up the Resistance...who were arguably the real bad guys anyway. Stage 9, which continues from there shows this scene again at the beginning, but averts for the rest of the short, as Dan siding with peasants and ends with Josie and other trapped peasants saved and King finding out about Advisor's cruel orders and turning his army against him.
  • Wrong Side All Along: Dan spends the first few stages fighting a La Résistance group made of red ninjas, and eventually defends the kingdom from a dragon. Turns out the dragon was trying to rescue its child, which was being used to power the kingdom, and the resistance is trying to fight the tyranny and greed of the kingdom’s rulers. It then pulls this again when the resistance turns out to be as brutal as their enemies.


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