Gitaroo Man

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Gitaroo Man
Gitaroo Man
European PS2 boxart
Designer(s)Keiichi Yano
Platform(s)PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable
  • PlayStation 2
    • JP: June 21, 2001
    • NA: February 18, 2002
    • EU: June 21, 2002
  • PlayStation Portable
    • JP: June 8, 2006
    • EU: September 29, 2006
    • NA: November 14, 2006
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Gitaroo Man (ギタルマン, Gitaru Man) is a rhythm video game developed by iNiS and published by Koei for PlayStation 2. The game features visual production by Mitsuru Nakamura and an original soundtrack by Japanese band COIL. The game was released in Japan on June 21, 2001, in North America on February 18, 2002 and in Europe on June 21, 2002. A port of the game for PlayStation Portable, titled Gitaroo Man Lives! (known as Gitaroo Man Live! (ギタルマンライブ!, Gitaru Man Raibu!) in Japan), was released in 2006.


The player character is U-1, a young boy who is frequently ridiculed by classmates, bullied by his rival Kazuya, and passed over by Pico, the girl of his dreams. The story proper begins when Puma, a dog with the ability to speak, teaches U-1 to play the guitar, simultaneously teaching the controls of the game to the player, and subsequently revealing to him that he is the last legendary hero of Planet Gitaroo, and the possessor of the Last Gitaroo. When they are then attacked, Puma transforms into Puma AC-30 and gives U-1 the Gitaroo, transforming him into Gitaroo Man. Eventually, Puma takes a reluctant U-1 to Planet Gitaroo to confront the Gravillian Empire who has taken over the planet, led by their prince Zowie. As U-1 defeats the Gravillians and takes their Legendary Gitaroos one-by-one, he is eventually confronted by Zowie, who declares that he will fight Gitaroo Man himself with his Armored Gitaroo. Suddenly, U-1's Last Gitaroo starts to glow with the power of all 8 Legendary Gitaroos, transforming him into Gitaroo Man's true form and defeats Zowie once and for all, freeing Planet Gitaroo from the Gravillian Empire's evil clutches. With their mission complete, Puma takes U-1 back to earth, despite U-1's protests that he wants to stay on Planet Gitaroo now. A few days later, U-1 has adjusted to life back on Earth with a newfound sense of confidence and self-esteem and shows up Kazuya with his newfound Gitaroo skills before taking Pico's hand as they walk off into the city.


An example of Gitaroo Man's charge mode.

Gitaroo Man is a rhythm game in which the player character, U-1, faces against various opponents in musical battles. In each level, both the player and opponent has a life bar, with the player tasked with depleting the opponent's life bar and reaching the end of the song without running out of life. With some exceptions, each level consists of three main phases; Charge, Attack, and Guard, followed by the Harmony and End phases at the end of the level. During the Charge and Attack phases, players follow a "trace line" using the analog stick, upon which red "phase bars" will appear. By pressing and holding down the button at the start of a phase, timing it to its appearance at the center of the screen, and releasing the button at the end, the player plays music. In the Charge phase, successful notes restore the player's health, whereas in the Attack phase, successful notes damage the opponents whilst missed notes will hurt the player. During the guard phase, players must hit corresponding buttons as they reach the center of the screen to avoid attacks from the opponent, taking damage should they miss. Unlike the player's life, which ends the game if depleted, the opponent's life bar indicates the progress of the player. Most levels are split up into different sections, which can have multiple variations on each playthrough, and the player must damage the opponent enough to move onto the next section. Otherwise, they will have to repeat the section until enough damage is dealt. At the end of a level, players play through the Harmony phase, which is similar to the Attack phase, and keep on playing til the End phase, at which point the player will no longer take damage. After each level, players are given a rank based on their performance, with good ranks earning items for the collection, which unlocks character bios.

Masters' Play is an additional mode unlocked after clearing the game once. In this mode, gameplay is harder as more complex notes appear, the "trace line" becomes more complex with more twists and turns and thus harder to follow and players take more damage from mistakes. Versus Mode is a game for up four players, where players battle against each other in two teams playing Gitaroo Man's parts and his opponent's parts respectively. Not all songs are available in the mode, and some songs are altered to provide better balance for both players compared to the single player mode. The PSP version additionally features Duet Mode, in which two players can play co-operatively via Ad-hoc in two exclusive new levels; "Metal Header" and "Toda Pasion".


U-1 (ユウイチ, Yūichi, pronounced 'you-one' in the English version) / Gitaroo Man (ギタルマン, Gitaru Man)
Voiced by: Jun Mizuki (Japanese); Lenne Hardt (English)
The game's protagonist. U-1 has a romantic attachment to Pico but is constantly upstaged by his natural rival, Kazuya. When the player is introduced, U-1 has very little self confidence and rarely, if ever, is able to stand up for himself, but throughout the course of the game he gradually develops self-esteem, and afterward, a more extroverted personality. By grabbing onto the Legendary Gitaroo, U-1 can transform into Gitaroo Man whenever he is challenged to a battle. Wields the legendary last Gitaroo. It is said Gitaroo Man will reveal his true form when all eight Gitaroos are gathered.
Puma (プーマ, Pūma)
Voiced by: Mitsuo Iwata (Japanese); Ryan Drees (English)
U-1's loyal talking pet dog, who isn't even sure himself how long he's been in U-1's family. He is responsible for teaching U-1 everything about battling. Whenever a challenge appears, he transforms into Puma AC-30 and throws U-1 the Gitaroo.
Pico (ピコ, Piko)
Voiced by: Machiko Toyoshima (Japanese); Bianca Allen (English)
One of U-1's classmates and the girl of his dreams. She is always with Kazuya to U-1's dismay.
Kazuya (かずや)
Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese); Douglas Kirk (English)
A snobby classmate of U-1 who comes from a rich family. He is great at skateboarding, is a straight-A student, and is U-1's social rival.
Zowie (ゾーイ, Zōi)
Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese); Douglas Kirk (English)
The prince of the Gravillian Empire and the antagonist of the storyline. His desire for power has led him to an attempt at collecting the eight legendary Gitaroos (of which he already has seven), which can, together, control the universe.
Kirah (キラ, Kira)
Voiced by: Machiko Toyoshima (Japanese); Bianca Allen (English)
Kirah is one of the main characters, who bears a striking resemblance to Pico. She is identified as the strongest warrior of Gravillians, but has also been misguided all the while, and after hearing his song, eventually turns over to Gitaroo Man's side to help him defeat Zowie. She is voiced by Bianca Allen in the English version.
Panpeus (パンパス, Panpasu)
Voiced by: Norio Yoshitake (Japanese); Lisle Wilkerson (English)
A devil wearing a black diaper using the Axe Gitaroo. He is the first Gravillian to fight U-1 as Gitaroo Man. He warps the reality in U-1's room, but is sucked back into his own portal in the end.
Flying-O (フライング・オー, Furaingu Ō)
A UFO robot and a loyal Gravillian Empire soldier that uses a built-in Synth Gitaroo. His minions (otherwise known as Little-O's) fire "Dance-Until-Death" rays that forces victims to dance against their own will. When Flying-O is defeated by U-1, he and his minions (along with U-1 and Puma) crash into the forest.
Mojo King Bee (モジョキング Bee, Mojo Kingu Bī)
Voiced by: Kaleb James
A Gravillian dressed in a bee and disco suit who plays the Trumpet Gitaroo. He is defeated by sinking into the swamp whose animals he controlled.
Ben-K (ベン-K)
A shark that U-1 must escape on the way to planet Gitaroo; he later transforms into Mecha Ben-K, who uses his Turn Table Gitaroos on his pecs to do damage. He is hurtled into space by Gitaroo Man's "Woofer-Mazing" and explodes.
Sanbone Trio (サンボーン トリオ, Sanbōn Torio)
Three skeletons who use their own bones as Gitaroos. Their names are Carrot (キャロット, Kyarotto), Pine (パイヌ, Pain) and Soda (ソーダ, Sōda). Their pelvic bones are shaped on DualShock controllers. The life is sucked out of them when their Gitaroo is taken.
Gregorio Siegfried Wilhelm III (グレゴーリオ・ヴィルヘルムⅢ, Guregōrio Viruherumu III)
Voiced by: Atsushi Kisaichi (Japanese); Brian Matt Uhl (English)
A Gravillian who operates a cathedral as his Gitaroo, located on Planet Gitaroo itself. He is obsessed with his own beauty and constantly screams 'Mama' at the top of his lungs. He also narrates the character bios on the Collection screen.
Miranda the Elder (長老 ミランダ, Chōrō Miranda)
Voiced by: Naoko Tatsuda (Japanese); Paul Lucas (English)
An old man who lives on Planet Gitaroo. He is the one who sends the request for Gitaroo Man's help when he and his people are captured by the Gravillians. According to his character bio, he used to be the greatest Gitaroo player in the known universe until he became a prisoner.
Ming Ming (眠眠)
Voiced by: Naomi Shindō (Japanese); Lisle Wilkerson (English)
Zowie's pet cat, who likes to jeer at Puma. She appears as an opponent in the PSP version, where she uses a giant samba machine.
Kai-Kakoon (カイカクーン, Kai Kakūn)
A giant robot who threatens the city in the PSP version with his rock music/rapping skills. Uses his army of bats to do his bidding.
The backup band
A group of musicians dressed in animal suits, who follow U-1 throughout the Cosmos. Their names are Noren (ノレン) (rabbit suit), Yung (ユン) (monkey suit) and Mr. Yasuda (安田-さん, Yasuda-san) (panda suit). They are almost always seen at one point in every level.


The Gitaroo Man Original Soundtrack is an audio CD released in 2001, containing the majority of the songs found in the PS2 video game Gitaroo Man. While it is missing the background music played during the Collection viewing and the Masters' Play versions of songs, it does have four "Ropeland" remixes of certain stages.


Edge awarded the game a score of 7 out of 10;[1] the game was later included in that magazine's staff- and reader-voted "Top 100 Games" list published in July 2007.[2] Despite a number of positive reviews, the North American and European versions of Gitaroo Man were produced in very low quantities by Koei and, as a result, have become somewhat rare; it is regarded as a cult video game.[citation needed] Around November 2005 in North America, copies of Gitaroo Man began popping up in GameStop game stores. This was due to a reprint by GameQuestDirect, similar to their previous reprints of PlayStation RPGs Persona 2 and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, both of which were previously very rare. The game was also reissued in Europe around this time.

Other versions[edit]

The European box art for Gitaroo Man Lives!

Gitaroo Man Wan[edit]

Gitaroo Man Wan (ギタルマン ワン) is a budget trial version of the game, released in Japan on April 5, 2001.[3] Along with a demo of the game's second stage and exclusive cinematic scenes, the game also features an exclusive minigame in which players control Puma as he tries to eat donuts falling from the sky.

Gitaroo Man Lives![edit]

Gitaroo Man Lives!, known in Japan as Gitaroo Man Live! (ギタルマン ライブ!, Gitaru Man Raibu!), is a port of the game released for the PlayStation Portable. Along with local Ad-Hoc multiplayer and additional difficulty options, the game adds a new Duet mode, in which two players control Gitaroo Man and Kirah in two exclusive new stages, "Metal Header" and "Toda Pasión". These levels may also be played alone if the handheld's Ad-Hoc is activated. The game was released in Japan on June 8, 2006, in Europe on September 29, 2006, and in North America on November 14, 2006.


  • Received IGN's award for Best PSP Music Game of 2006.[4]


  1. ^ Anon. Edge staff (September 2001). "Gitarooman". Edge. No. 101. Bath: Future plc. p. 83.
  2. ^ Edge staff (2 July 2007). "Edge's Top 100 Games of All Time". Edge. Future plc. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  3. ^ 先行マキシシングル ギタルマン ワン: ゲーム
  4. ^

External links[edit]