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Zowie: You can't!
—Quote taken from right before the Final Boss, which sums up the game pretty nicely.
"Gitaroo-Man" is a Music/Rhythm Action PlayStation 2 game developed by Koei.
U-1 is a loser: his best and only friend is his talking dog, Puma; he can't get attention from his crush Pico to save his life; and rich, talented Kazuya takes every opportunity to pick on him. Fortunately for him, Puma reveals that he's the inheritor of a great legacy: he's the last descendent of Gitaroo-Man's line, destined to battle evil and free his people by playing a magical Gitaroo. U-1 thus finds himself thrust into the conflict between the Gravillian opressors and his enslaved people, and along the way, he falls in love, learns to to stand up on his own, and grows up.
Gameplay consists of a Charge Phase (following a curving line and tapping a button in sync with the circles that appear in the line to fill up U-1's vitality meter), a Battle Phase (same as the Charge Phase except you are damaging your opponent as well as pressing buttons to dodge the enemy's attacks), and a Final/Harmony Phase (when your enemy's health is low/critical, U-1 launches an extravagant solo attack that finishes the enemy off).
The game was given a PSP remake, "Gitaroo-Man Lives!" which featured some new options such as a Jukebox mode as well as two new songs for multiplayer.
This game provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Actually, you have to unlock most of the character profiles. Not like it helps much, though.
- Attack Its Weak Point: From "Born to be Bone":
Miranda: "Go for their weak spots!"
- Ambiguously Gay: Gregorio, oh so very much.
- Badass Boast: In "Metal Header," U-1 and Kirah are facing off against a rapping Humongous Mecha. If you listen closely, every lyric is dedicated to explaining how awesome he is along with alluding to Super Robot attack names.
- Bare Your Midriff: Kirah in Gravillian mode.
- Big Bad: Emperor Zowie.
- Butt Monkey: U-1.
- Coming of Age Story: U-1 learns to play the gitaroo, stand up for himself, and overcome his self-esteem issues.
- Concert Climax: The second last level could be seen as a combination of both versions, what with you fighting and serenading Kirah.
- Creator Thumbprint: It has all the themes that would later define iNiS. Is it weird? Yes. Is the music any good? Yes. Is it hard? Let's just say that one fan has lovingly nicknamed it "Carpal Tunnelroo Man" and leave it at that.
- Demons: After the tutorial stage, U-1 is immediately confronted by Panpeus, a baby-faced red demon wielding a Gitaroo that's almost literally an axe (that can cut through space-time!).
- Rock Me, Asmodeus: Since this is a rhythm game, it's pretty obvious.
- Dem Bones: The Sanbone Trio.
- Difficulty Spike: The stages with Panpeus, Flying-O, and Mojo King Bee aren't too tough if you have a good grasp of the game mechanics. Then you hit the first battle with Ben-K, and the difficulty just skyrockets from there.
- On Master Mode, you could just start the spike from Mojo King Bee. And considering that's only the third level...
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower: U-1's "True Gitaroo-Man" form in the final stage
- Everything's Worse with Bears
- Everything's Worse with Bees: Haven't you heard? There's a new King in town. Mojo mojo mojo KING BEE! Truly one of the most terrifying characters ever.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: The two stages right after feature Ben-K. The first stage is really terrifying. The second stage is a Breather Level, probably because he's a Humongous Mecha now.
- Expy: In-universe examples: Kirah and Zowie are suspiciously similar to Pico and Kazuya (see Talking to Himself).
- Final Love Duet: The Legendary Theme in the penultimate level.
- Flying Saucer: The Flying-O and its minions in Stage 2. They shoot Dance-Until-Death Rays.
- Gender Blender Name: Emperor Zowie and Elder Miranda.
- Harder Than Hard: Master Play/Master Mode. Notable when you consider that this is the only step above Normal.
- Heel Face Turn: Kirah in the penultimate stage.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Akira Ishida as Kazuya and Zowie.
- Humongous Mecha: Ben-K after the chase stage. U-1 and Puma get their own, called "Woofer-Mazing", to fight him (or for most of the stage, running the hell away).
- Hotblooded Sideburns: U-1 when he's not Gitaroo-man, Kirah in her Gravillian warrior outfit.
- Improbable Weapon User: Even considering that all the weapons in the game are instruments, there are some weird ones. Panpeus' axe and Gregorio III's cathedral stand out in particular.
- While Ben-K can be excused for having an improbable weapon, being a robot and all, who the hell designed him to have nipple turntables as a weapon?
- Large Ham: And his name is Gregorio Siegfried Wilhelm III.
- He does calm down a little when he narrates for the Album, though, replacing the ham with lemons.
- Laser Guided Tykebomb: Kirah, who has been "bred since birth" to be the ultimate Gravillian warrior.
- Let's You and Him Fight: "Darn it, Why did it have it have to be Kirah?"
- Life Meter: You have to charge it up for most stages.
- Mismatched Eyes: Gregorio has one red eye and one blue eye.
- Musical Assassin: Everyone. Yes, even the humans.
- Nintendo Hard: If Normal Mode doesn't leave you crying, Master Mode certainly will. It's not surprising, though, given that half the dev team is also behind a certain other Nintendo Hard rhythm game series.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Emperor Zowie is SO not David Bowie.
- No, the mismatched eyes and camp mannerisms of Gregorio III aren't meant to remind you of Bowie either.
- Non-Human Sidekick / Talking Animal: Puma, U-1's pet dog.
- Oh Crap: U-1, Puma, and possibly the player at the start of the Sanbone Trio.
- One-Winged Angel: Zowie's armor Gitaroo.
- Overly Long Name: Gregorio Siegfried Wilhelm the Third.
- The Power of Rock: Pretty much the whole premise of the game.
- Punny Name: Scattered throughout the game. U-1 would be read as Yuichi in Japanese or rather like Ewan in English, both being boys' names; Ben-K, the robotic shark, is probably (fittingly enough,) a reference to this guy, church Gitaroo wielder Gregorio III brings to mind a Gregorian chant, and Kirah is a pun on "killer", hinting at her Tyke Bomb nature.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Zowie.
- Right-Hand-Cat: Zowie's pet cat, Ming-Ming.
- Robot Buddy: Puma, when he's not in dog mode.
- Rhythm Game
- Second Love: Kirah, most likely.
- Serenade Your Lover: The Legendary Theme (Acoustic)
- Sissy Villain: Gregorio III, the alto-singing White-Haired Pretty Boy.
- Shallow Love Interest: Pico.
- Snobby Talented Rich Guy: Kazuya.
- Take a Third Option: The battle against Kirah. It starts with U1 fighting her Gitaroo to Gitaroo. But midway through the song he can't bring himself to continue, despite urges from his allies to fight or be beaten. Rather then do either, he instead plays the love ballad he played to Kirah earlier. This convinces her to surrender the battle and her Gitaroo, after a duet of course.
- Talking to Himself: Kirah and Zowie are voiced by the same people who voice Pico and Kazuya, mainly to accentuate their Expy-ness.
- The Mole: Turns out that Kirah was trained to fight with her own musical weapon but U-1 refuses to keep battling her in her respective stage, and decides to show her that the real enemy is Emperor Zowie.
- Theme Naming: A few names are references to David Bowie, oddly enough.
- Not so odd when you consider iNiS's strange obsession with Bowie, however.
- The Power of Love: Protects U-1 from Kirah's attacks and subsequently prompts her Heel Face Turn.
- The Power of Rock: Yeah, that's practically the whole point.
- This Loser Is U-1
- Unlikely Hero: U-1, oh so very much.
- Updated Rerelease: Gitaroo-Man Lives!
- Up to Eleven: Gregorio's Gitaroo is his entire cathedral.
- Widget Series: Yes.
- The Wiki Rule: Like with Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents, there's the iNiS Wiki. There's even less content for this game than for the above mentioned games.
- World of Ham: Gregorio III may be the largest offender, but it seems as though everyone has to overact in this game.
- Years Too Early: Fist said by Kazuya, then twice by Zowie in a Meaningful Echo, or in two different cutscenes in two different forms.