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The motto is "-bee"! (Aikotoba wa -bee!)
—Twinbee's, and by extension the series' Catch Phrase
Twinbee is a long-running Shoot'Em Up series by Konami, makers of Gradius. It's a much more light-hearted top-down entry into the genre, with the main ships being sentient beings with arms and legs and fighting enemies like watermelon slices and ladybugs.
Yeah, it's a weird game.
In its original format, only one of the games managed to be released in North America - Moero Twinbee: Cinamon Hakasei wo Sukue became Stinger upon translation. Unfortunately, that one is widely considered to be the weakest in the series, which resulted in none of the games getting exported for a long time. Much to the United States' detriment, of course, as later games managed to make some great improvements to the basic setup (including a Life Meter and a plot).
However, the series is finally starting to see the light of day in the United States: Konami first released the original game as Rainbow Bell as a part of their Konami Arcade Classics collection for the Nintendo DS, a later Twinbee Portable collection for the Play Station Portable, and now some of the games are starting to appear for purchase on download services for each console.
Here's a list of games in the series.
- Twinbee (Arcade/Famicom/MSX, included in Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the DS as Rainbow Bell)
- Moero Twinbee (Famicom, released in the US as Stinger)
- Twinbee 3 (Famicom)
- Twinbee Da!! (Game Boy, released as Pop'n Twinbee in Europe)
- Detana!! Twinbee (Arcade/X68000/PC Engine, had an international arcade version titled Bells & Whistle)
- Pop'n Twinbee (Super Famicom, released in Europe)
- Twinbee Rainbow Bell Adventure (Super Famicom, released in Europe)
- Twinbee Taisen Puzzle Dama (PlayStation)
- Twinbee Yahoo! (Arcade)
- Detana!! Twinbee Yahoo! Deluxe Pack (PlayStation/Saturn)
- Twinbee RPG (PlayStation)
- Twinbee Portable (PSP)
- Twinbee (3D Classics)
There was also a radio drama version named Twinbee Paradise which aired following Pop'n Twinbee, which was popular enough in Japan to last three seasons and a five-episode OVA series.
Has a Awesome Music page.
This series has examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The Drama CD version and the anime that resulted from it are generally well-received.
- Affably Evil: Dr. Warumon. He's practically an Expy of Dr. Eggman.
- Brainy Baby: Mint. He's not able to speak with anything other than blabbles yet though, so his ship Gwinbee has to translate for the other characters the useful advices and comments he gives.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Dr. Warumon
- Cloudcuckoolander: Madoka, oh so much. Her grandfather Dr. Mardock counts too, but is a milder case.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: The bells and which power-up they grant.
- Combination Attack: In two-player mode, there are two different ones - one if the players line up horizontally, and one if they line up vertically.
- Cool Ship: Twinbee, Winbee, and Gwinbee. They're sentient, and they regularly fight by punching things.
- Cute'Em Up: May be the Trope Maker, along with Sega's Fantasy Zone.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Melora, who's actually the gentle Queen of Planet Mel (the world of Twinbee), yet is called with the "Princess" title.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: We're not kidding about the deadly watermelons.
- Evil Counterpart: Dr. Warumon is this to Dr. Cinnamon (Warumon being a portmanteau of warui and "cinnamon").
- Freaky Friday Flip: Happens to Pastel and an alley cat in one episode of the anime. It even happens to Light and Twinbee in the same episode.
- Genre Shift: Rainbow Bell Adventure is a side-scrolling platformer, while Twinbee RPG is an RPG.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: Present in RPG, since the protagonist is supposed to be the player.
- The Hero: Light usually fills this spot. In RPG, the player takes this role.
- Idol Singer: Pastel aims to become one and be the best of them.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Despite being the Big Bad of most games of the series and being considered as Light and friends' Arch Enemy, Dr. Warumon falls square in this trope, as his Evil Plans and his Artifacts of Doom get invariably thwarted and destroyed by the heroes, and like Team Rocket, needs to resort to part-time jobs to fund his next line of evil inventions. He's also made fun of very frequently.
- Life Meter: In some of the later games in the series.
- Lethal Chef: Madoka, regarding cookies. She never gives up at trying to make delicious ones, but each attempt is a failure that either horribly food poisons the unfortunate people who tastes them, or make ovens explode. In any other kind of food than that one however, she's a Supreme Chef.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Warumon for the evil version, Dr. Mardock for the heroic yet Cloudcuckoolander version.
- Market-Based Title: This series gets renamed regularly - the second game was released in America as Stinger, while Europe received Twinbee Da!! and Rainbow Bell Adventure under the Pop'n Twinbee moniker (since the SNES version was the first game in the series released there). However, with the PSP collection and the recent Virtual Console release using the Twinbee name, this may be at an end.
- Names to Know In Anime: Several of them.
- Obviously Evil: Dr. Warumon is a textbook example. He has the villainous goatee, the evil monocle, the Ominous Opera Cape, and the smug smile. And of course, his ultimate goal is to Take Over The Whole Universe.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Pastel and Light, and their respective ships.
- POV Boy, Poster Girl: Light and Pastel are a non-romantic example.
- The Professor: Dr. Cinnamon.
- Punny Name: The "Waru" in Dr. Warumon's name comes from the Japanese word for "bad".
- Ret Canon: Much of the series' story was fleshed out in the Twinbee Paradise radio drama and then brought back to the game. For example, the pilots of Twinbee and Winbee were originally nameless and were given the names Light and Pastel in the radio drama.
- Scenery Porn: The first three games did have little dull scrolling backgrounds, but starting from Detana!! Twinbee, the lands or the skies you fly over are extremely detailed and beatiful, constantly changing as you go on.
- The first level of Detana!! Twinbee really feels like flying over a small, but very wonderful land. You start flying above the forest, and then arrive into a small town: soon you're flying in mountain scapes which have train tracks on them, then you arrive into a large construction site... Just see it for yourself.
- Twinbee Yahhoo!, being the pinnacle of the series and thus having the best backgrounds of the series, mixes this with awesome motional parallax scrolling and voice acting, giving out the feeling that of an 90's action anime episodes. A memorable moment is when Twinbee makes a somersault in the air at the first stage, background changing like if you were on the cockpit.(See at 2:54) It gets much better at the third stage.
- Sapient Ship: All three of the ships are sentient.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Winbee, the female ship, has a cockpit in the shape of a heart (though it also goes into the theme design of the ships).
- Widget Series: You get the hint very early on, as you punch windmills and shoot at flying strawberries.