Ao Oni

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Ao Oni
Ao oni.png
The eponymous blue demon, who is the antagonist of the game
Game
Developer noprops
Genre Adventure, horror
Engine RPG Maker XP
Platform Microsoft Windows
Released November 2008
Light novel
Written by Kenji Kuroda
Illustrated by Karin Suzuragi
Published by PHP Laboratory[1]
Original run February 25, 2013June 14, 2013
Volumes 3
Manga
Ao Oni: Anthology
Written by Kenji Kuroda
Illustrated by Karin Suzuragi
Published by PHP Laboratory
Published July 1, 2014
Live-action films
Anime television series
Ao Oni: The Animation
Directed by
  • Toshirō Hamamura
  • Chisei Maeda
Written by Kanekoke
Music by Shiyu Yanagida
Studio Studio Deen
Original network TV Tokyo, BS Japan
Original run October 3, 2016January 9, 2017
Episodes 13
Anime film
Ao Oni: The Animation
Directed by Toshirō Hamamura
Written by Takemaru Abiko
Studio Studio Deen
Released February 11, 2017
Runtime 60 minutes
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Ao Oni (青鬼?, lit. 'Blue Demon') is a freeware role-playing horror video game.[2] The game features puzzle and RPG elements, and revolves around a boy named Hiroshi, who is trapped with his friends in a haunted mansion, and is stalked by a monster.

Plot[edit]

The player assumes the role of 'Hiroshi', a young teenager who enters a haunted mansion with his friends, Takuro, Takeshi, and Mika. Shortly after entering the mansion, the doors lock behind them. Hiroshi doubts that the mansion is haunted, but soon finds himself being pursued by an enigmatic blue Oni. Hiroshi must now find a way to save as many of his friends as possible and escape the mansion alive.

The Oni[edit]

Very little information is explained in the game about the Oni and his reasons for inhabiting the mansion, but it is assumed that he may have been one of the mansion's old residents. The Oni is a muscular, tall humanoid with purple skin who is roughly twice the size of an average human. When he appears in the game, a characteristic "shrieking" string chord plays until the player outruns him. Normally, his mouth is kept closed in an amused smirk, but in a secret ending he is shown to have a set of sharp, knife-like teeth. If the Oni captures and kills one of Hiroshi's friends, they too turn into an Oni, distinguishable by their hairstyles, which they kept when transformed by the Oni. In addition to the standard Oni, the player can enter an "Oni Room" containing numerous deformed, mutated and completely original Onis, including a rectangular oni called "Blockman", who resembles the popular Japanese character Domo-kun, and a gigantic, muscle-bound Oni called "Squatto", who humorously appears to be hefting invisible weights when encountered for the first time. Both of these Onis can chase the player more than once if the player enters their names when creating a new game.

In general, the Oni will chase the player at random after he has first been seen, but several of the chases are necessary to advance the storyline.

Gameplay[edit]

During the game, the player explores various rooms of the mansion, gathering items and solving puzzles to help them progress. At seemingly random points, the Oni will appear in the room, with the shrieking string chord accompanying them, forcing the player to evade the Oni, either by outrunning or hiding from them. Most of these chases can be avoided by carrying out tasks correctly or in the right order, but there are several chases which must be carried out to advance the game's story.

Name codes[edit]

In the later versions of the game, certain elements are changed if the player gives Hiroshi special names.

Naming your character BLOCKMAN replaces all random encounters in the game with the Blockman Oni, but scripted encounters (such as the piano room) still use the regular Oni. Naming your character HIROSHI changes the pictures of the characters from the newer game version to older versions. Naming your character GODMODE prevents the Oni from harming you. Naming your character JMU spawns a JMU, the game's English translator, sleeping on the sofa in the kitchen. JMU will say different things after so many encounters with the Oni, but he himself will become an Oni if the Oni chases the player around the kitchen with him still on the sofa. Naming the character TIMER will create a timer on the screen, counting down how long the Oni will chase you. Going into a different area will add an extra second.

The most popular name code is SOUTHPARK, which make the characters resemble South Park, share the same profane & bloody humor and changes (and shortens) the story. Jimbo Kern from South Park also makes an appearance at the end.

Media[edit]

Novelisation[edit]

In 2013, a series of novels were released which were based on the game.[2] Slight differences to the storyline, mostly based on characterisation are present, but the books are otherwise faithful to the game's plot.

Live-action film[edit]

Ao Oni was adapted into a live action film of the same name, that was released in Japan on July 5, 2014.[3]

A second film (which wasn't a sequel to the first), Ao Oni ver2.0, was released in 2015.

Anime[edit]

An anime television short series adaptation is scheduled to premiere on October 3, 2016.[4] The series is produced by Studio Deen, and directed by Toshirō Hamamura and Chisei Maeda, with Kanekoke handling series composition, Kichi designing the characters and Shiyu Yanagida composing the music.[5] An anime film, also produced by Studio Deen, has been announced for 2017.[6]

Reception[edit]

The independently developed freeware game gained a cult status online in Japan, gaining notoriety on websites such as Niconico and YouTube where Ao Oni-related videos exceeded 50 million views in 2013. The popularity of the game revolves around the effectiveness of its horror aspects despite being a simple game, with the background music often being cited as a key contributor to the chilling atmosphere used to incite fear.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]