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Taiko Drum Master (Taiko no Tatsujin in Japan) is a series of rhythm games created by Namco starting from 2001 as an arcade game. Now there are "Taiko no Tatsujin" installments in various consoles as well as the Arcade. This game has been brought to the western market, as a Play Station 2 game titled "Taiko Drum Master".

The game controls are easy, featuring mainly two notes ('Don' and 'Katsu') and extra notes such as 'Den Den's and drumrolls. The player needs to hit the drum-shaped controller's face for a 'Don' red note, while 'katsu', the blue note, requires the player to hit the controller's drum edge. The Play Station 2 installments include a smaller drum-controller, but the PSP/NDS versions rely on analogue controls (although the player can use the touch screen as a 'drum' in the NDS verison)

Taiko Drum Master has many, many characters, a wide range of songs, and a wider range of difficulty, shown by the infamous Oni difficulty. This is part of its appeal, as casual gamers can handle the easier difficulties, while veterans can challenge themselves with Oni.


The franchise provides examples of:

  • April Fools' Day (2008 was a crossover between it and Bemani. The 2009 prank...became a reality.)
  • Ascended Extra: From the American version, "Don Rangers," originally heard very briefly during one of the intermission scenes in Katamari Damacy.
  • Boss Battle
  • Crossover: 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.
  • Defeat Means Friendship (The Dokon-Dan (from DS 2) and the Waru-Mekkas (from Wii 2) becomes so in their respective games' ending sequence.)
  • 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.)
  • Interface Screw (During the boss battles in DS 2, sometimes the bosses will make noises, represented as sound effects that cover part of the notes)
  • Last-Note Nightmare (Notechart-wise, Hello!Halloween and Rotter Tarmination)
  • Loads and Loads of Characters (Aside from the titular characters Don and Katsu, there are many MANY more characters, all either humans or walking, talking items found in traditional japanese festivals.)
  • Long Title (The second DS instalment is named Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7-tsu no Shima no Daibouken)
  • 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.
  • Nintendo Hard (Easy and Normal tend to be fairly easy, and Hard is challenging yet not insane. Oni however...)
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder (One of the mods is like this.You miss once, you fail the stage.)
  • One of Us (Takahashi, one of the staff members, loves to play games like Monster Hunter (to the point of adding a medley of it in Taiko AC 13) and...some Bemani games such as Beatmania IIDX.)
  • 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.
  • Recurring Riff (Notechart-wise...Saitama2000. Just...Saitama2000. Even the song itself spawned sequels such as Kitasaitama 2000, Hayasaitama2000, and now, Matasaitama2000.)
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Toilet Humour (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)
  • Verbal Tic ('Da-don!')
  • Variable Mix ("Songs" like this are playable in this game)
  • Widget Series: Absolutely everything that appears in the game is deeply-entrenched in Japanese culture, in both classic and modern sense.
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