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Setting and gameplay
The games are set in different worlds, though the primary and known ones are Phantomile and Lunatea. It revolves around Klonoa and how he, the Dream Traveler, must save whatever world he is in from utter peril. Along the way he makes new friends and enemies, some of them becoming reoccurring characters. The game itself was originally the first side scrolling 3D game. It is an adventure and puzzle type of game. The main gameplay feature involves using Klonoa's ring and "Wind Bullets" to inflate enemies, which can then be thrown at other objects or at the ground, giving him a boost upwards allowing him to double jump.
- Klonoa: Klonoa, the protagonist, is described as a "Dream Traveler", who is fated to travel to various places where the state of dreams is in danger. His traditional voice actor is Kumiko Watanabe, though he is voiced by Eric Stitt in the English version of the remake of the first game. It is worth noting he has Namco's mascot Pac-Man on the side of his blue hat. He is young and good-hearted, and is willing to go against all odds to make sure justice is served. He is easily able to befriend characters along the way who support his cause. His attitude is innocent and even a bit naive, as shown in Klonoa 2.
- Huepow: (named "Hewpoe" in the remake of the first game) A small round sprite that Klonoa found within the ring he discovered in the forest. He instantly became Klonoa's friend and became a source of power for his Wind Bullet. Closer to the end of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, he reveals that he is a prince and that he sent Klonoa into his world to help Lephise give the Song of Rebirth. They part ways when Klonoa is sent back to his world, though he makes appearances in the spin-offs in his sprite form. Official art and in-game cutscenes showed him with hands and a halo beneath him, though he is generally shown without them. They were scrapped altogether in the remake of the first game.
- Ghadius: The "King of Darkness" and primary antagonist of Door to Phantomile. He was sealed away for attempting to rebel, but later escaped from this seal in order to exact his revenge on those who locked him away. Ghadius believes that people should not forget about nightmares, and accept them as they do with dreams. Ghadius has been the 'evilest' character in the Klonoa series, and the only one who isn't working to achieve greater power, but only for the purpose of revenge. He is finally defeated, but not before shrouding the land in nightmares and reviving the perfect nightmare, 'Nahatomb' (His last words were [from the remake], "Hear me, strange dream! This world is coming to an end! And the perfect nightmare is about to begin!").
- Lolo: A priestess-in-training who first showed up in Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil. Like Hewpoe, she can transport inside Klonoa's ring to let him perform the Wind Bullet. Additionally, she makes appearances in Dream Champ Tournament and Klonoa Beach Volleyball. In Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, she is invaluable help to Klonoa by allowing him to use his ring ability, and as motivational support. She appears to have feelings for Klonoa. During Klonoa 2, she shows that she is very insecure about herself and her powers, as the other priestesses will mock and laugh at her (as dramatically revealed at the end of the Maze of Memories level). In time she gathers the strength and courage to show that she isn't as weak as they thought.
- Tat: A cat-looking critter with a vertical black and white pattern and the ability to hover. Partnered with the sky pirate Leorina, Tat seems to be not entirely loyal, as she is seen aiding her opposition (Klonoa) in some levels. (Either that or she was just messing with him instead.) She also has the ability to split herself into two independent versions of herself, one is completely white and the other is completely black. To top it all of Tat has a certain `liking` of Klonoa which is why she helps him a bit when trying to escape from him with the element of the first bell which Tat stole. To reclaim it is the mission but when you do that level depends on whether that version of Tat has it, if you do the carnival level first that certain Tat won't have it but if you do it second then she will. Tat is featured on Klonoa 2 and Klonoa's Beach Volleyball, where she makes Leorina adopt her same vertical black and white color pattern, much for Leorina's grief.
- Leorina: The antagonist of Klonoa 2. She is referred to as a Sky Pirate and a clever thief, but later is revealed that once she was a priestess in training much like Lolo. Unlike her, she was never capable to master her training, turning into a life of crime out of spite. She manages to create a duplicate of Klonoa's ring and uses it to absorb the kingdom's elements to prove her superiority, but eventually she realizes she has been just a pawn for the King of Sorrow. She also appears in Klonoa's Beach Volleyball, where she steals Garlen's castle (literally) and tries to do the same to Bagoo. Unfortunately, a lost bet made her adopt Tat's vertical black and white pattern, which made Bagoo burst with laughter instead of getting scared of her.
- Janga: Known as "Janga with Poison Claws" or "Poison Claws Janga", he is a psychotic cat. He is dressed in a navy blue trench coat and a matching hat and has giant red-magenta colored poisonous claws in place of hands. Janga is fowl-mouthed, rude, an alcoholic, and in the end a cowardly villain who will run off when he sees he's met his match. He is by no means a character to be respected as he is also a betrayer against his own team. His only appearances are in Densetsu no Star Medal and Namco X Capcom, which have not been released in America. In Namco X Capcom he shows an interest in the character Felicia from Darkstalkers, who finds him repulsive.
- Garlen: A dog-like mechanic villain in the video game Dream Champ Tournament. He is the host of the tournament, wearing a green lieutenant-like outfit, one hand is replaced by a claw and an eye patch covers one eye. During the game, the player learns that he isn't as kind of a host as he plays off to be. In Klonoa Heroes, he is the leader of the Moth Conspiracy, working alongside Janga and Joka, while in Klonoa's Beach Volleyball he is the host of the game, where he tries to sabotage the other teams in favor of his own to keep the prize money for himself.
- Guntz: (Gantz outside Japan & Europe. Namco intended to downplay his usage of firearms.) Called the "Golden Killer" or "Shinigami Guntz", he is an adventurer who wields a large handgun and rides a motorcycle. He is Klonoa's ultimate rival, and will constantly compete against Klonoa in the tournament in Klonoa: Dream Champ Tournament. Though they are about the same age, Guntz is a lot more collected and mature than Klonoa. His attitude is a lot more serious and even a bit cold, though he isn't an actual villain, as he ends up befriending Klonoa and they work together in later games. He has a rough past with Janga, and will stop at nothing to make sure his enemy is taken down.
- Suiryu: A blue dragon who competes with Klonoa at the Southern Resort. Though he lacks any real formalities, he has actually been trained as a knight before entering the tournament. As an expert swimmer, he feels that he has a natural edge in the competition. In fact, he has another identity hidden from other competitors.
- Chipple: A boxing kangaroo who competes with gloves and a head guard that covers his eyes. He usually displays a positive attitude and encourages others to do the same. Although, he does become sad and insecure when he fails to achieve a goal.
- Joka (named "Joker" in the remake and Japanese versions): A maniacal round cat-like clown. In his older appearances he has no arms or legs, just floating hands and feet, similar to Rayman. In the remake, he is given thin black arms and legs that end up being removed without reason in his boss battle. He often resorts to cheating and other underhanded tricks in order to win. Joka appeared in the first Klonoa game, Door to Phantomile (as well as its remake), and is a loyal servant to Ghadius. He ends up being destroyed by the end of his boss fight, but ends up making appearances in a few other games in the series. This helps question whether or not there's an actual storyline in the series, or if Klonoa is really dreaming.
- Popka: Lolo's talkative friend who resembles a dog with pointed features and a pair of green jewels for eyes. His first appearance is in Klonoa 2, and also appears in Klonoa Heroes and Dream Champ Tournament. He is the opposite of Lolo, being loud-mouthed, pushy and even willing to steal, though he is a very caring and loving friend. He has the ability to fly when he stretches out his arms, and can be used as a playable character on the second controller who gives Klonoa a jumping lift when needed.
- King of Sorrow: The tragic ruler of a forgotten kingdom ignored by the other kingdoms in Lunatea, and the true antagonist of Klonoa 2. He looks like a green, skinnier version of Klonoa and it was him who summoned Klonoa into Lunatea in order to get help. Because of his lonely existence, his personality is chaotic and extremely unstable, as he secretely manipulates Leoria do his bidding and at the same time he uses his powers to create a fake guru-like figure named Baguji to guide and aid Klonoa during his quest. Unfortunately, when Klonoa finally gets to meet him, the King of Sorrow loses his remaining sanity and states that he will use Klonoa as a vessel for the pain he suffered in isolation, forcing Klonoa to kill him in the battle that resulted. Klonoa did, however, activate the bell in the Kingdom of Sorrow so the King's legacy would live on, so people would accept sorrow as another part of everything and never ignore it anymore. In the credits a baby resembling him is shown in the arms of the high priestess, hinting that he was either reincarnated, or this may be his child. Also, it's worth to mention that while he was dying on Klonoa's arms, his face finally displayed signs of peace and relief.
- Emperor Jillius: The emperor of Leljimba in Empire of Dreams. He is a lavender colored sort of fox-feline character who suffers from chronic insomnia. He banishes dreaming from the entire empire, with Klonoa's adventure beginning once he is arrested for dreaming. He is not a bad person, but his insomnia has made him extremely irritable and easier to get manipulated by his supposedly trustworthy right-hand man Bagoo. Once he learns the truth and his insomnia is cured, he lifts the ban on dreaming and swears to dedicate his life to make his people's dreams come true.
- Grandpa: Klonoa's grandfather and only known relative in the series. In Door to Phantomile, he is a kind old man that helps and give advice to Klonoa and Huepow, but ends up being killed by Joka. At the end of the game, Klonoa discovers that his Grandpa was just a stranger pretending to be his relative, as Klonoa's life on Phantomille and all of his memories were just a lie, fabricated by Huepow as a part of a big plot to save Phantomille from the ultimate Nightmare. However, Grandpa's love for Klonoa was genuine, and the entire charade was a heavy weight on his conscience. He makes another appearance in Klonoa Heroes, continuing to show either the lack of a storyline or Klonoa dreaming in the series.
- Nahatomb: The perfect nightmare. Said to be a demon who was sealed away a long time ago from spreading nightmares throughout Phantomile and was defeated by Klonoa. He acted as the final boss of both versions of the first game, and was unique in being the only boss in that game to have three different phases. Also appeared in Klonoa Heroes as the final boss battle. Nahatomb had a different appearance in Klonoa Beach Volleyball were he appeared as a hidden character, as he was played for laughs: wearing a bow tie, smoking a cigar on his mouth, having feet and lacking the second pair of eyes he had in the first game.
The Klonoa series began in early 1997 in Japan and was critically well received by numerous gaming publications and magazines. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was not only Klonoa's first adventure, but also one of the first PlayStation platformers to feature two-dimensional character artwork on a rendered, three-dimensional backdrop. This led to the creation of the phrase 2.5D to distinguish it between other games that relied totally on one or the other. Since Door to Phantomile, several other games have employed this method. A remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile by the same name was released on December 4, 2008, in Japan for the Wii console. It features completely revised graphics and voice acting, as well as many unlockable bonuses that were not in the original. These include new costumes, Mirrored Visions, and challenge areas. This version was released in North America on May 5, 2009, and in Europe on May 22, 2009, as Klonoa.
Klonoa's second appearance, Kaze no Klonoa: Moonlight Museum was released solely in Japan for the Japanese-only WonderSwan handheld system in 1999. It is noteworthy for being Klonoa's first handheld appearance and his first fully two-dimensional one. Despite lacking the artful style of the first game, Moonlight Museum set the standard for the approaching Game Boy Advance titles like Klonoa: Empire of Dreams, which came out two years later. Though it was very similar in style and execution to the previous game, it was developed for the more sophisticated Game Boy Advance hardware and was also available in North America and Europe.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil was released for the PlayStation 2 with moderate success in 2001. It returned to the series' roots and had more in common with the original game than the other titles in the series. This game used a cel-shading method for the characters and also marked the first appearances of several prominent Klonoa characters, such as Lolo, Popka, Leorina, and Tat. It has been stated in many game magazines that it is "The most underrated game of all time" and that it did not get as popular as it deserved. It is a very child friendly game, with a story line that they could easily understand, but at the same time had a lot more powerful message going through various points of the game which the older gamers would understand and enjoy, thus reflecting the first games premise of being appeling to children and adults. It's different types of gameplay includes a standard set of plat-former levels in the "2.5D" style, hover-boarding down snowy mountains and water-parks, time-attack challenges, puzzle solving, and epic boss fights, introducing the "360 degrees" system.
A third handheld title, Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament, was released for the Game Boy Advance in Japan in 2002 with a heavily belated release in North America three years later. Utilizing the same game engine as Empire of Dreams, Dream Champ Tournament was a similar gaming experience that benefited from more sophisticated puzzles and featured a newer cast of supporting characters.
His sole sports title, Klonoa Beach Volleyball, released for the PlayStation in Japan and later Europe, featured Klonoa and his friends in a unique version of volleyball. A North American version was never made.
Klonoa Heroes: Densetsu no Star Medal was released solely in Japan in late 2002. Taking a unique twist on the series, the game is an Action RPG rather than a platformer and is played from a top-down perspective.
- Klonoa had cameo appearances in Moto GP, Alpine Racer 3 and Taiko no Tatsujin.
- Klonoa and Guntz appear as a playable duo in Namco's cross-over RPG, Namco × Capcom. They retain similar moves from Klonoa Heroes. Joka, Janga & various varieties of Moos also appear as a part of the game's enemies while Lolo & The High Priestess of La-Lakoosha appear as non-playable characters.
- In Tales of Destiny 2, a Klonoa plushie can be seen at the left side of the character Harold's room.
- In Tales of Symphonia, the character Presea could get a Klonoa costume.
- In Tales of Hearts and Keroro RPG, Klonoa appears as a summon character.
- In Tales of Vesperia, Klonoa appears in the form of a fellowship statue named (C) F Statue. There is also a Klonoa costume for the character Karol as Downloadable Content in the PS3 version.
Shippuu Tengoku Kaze no Klonoa is a comedy/slapstick Manga that, unlike the somewhat more serious tone from the videogame saga, features Klonoa as a good natured, yet clumsy kid obsessed with being a super hero. His attempts to make good deeds tend to fail or cause the opposite effect, due to his being overly enthusiastic, his habit of jump to conclusions and, sometimes, just because of bad luck.
His patient sidekick is a Moo, who is the postman of Breezegale. Garlen is the main villain, trying to scam or catch Klonoa but failing every time, making a fool of himself in the process.
The Manga borrows characters, villains and locations from most of Klonoa's games,such as Lolo who makes an appearance in almost every comic,but instead of following any canon personality or storyline, it simply puts Klonoa and Moo in lots of everyday situations that quickly snowball into huge confusions or spectacular (and painful) accidents.
Klonoa was designed by Yoshihiko Arai. Arai's first design, "Shady", had a shadow-like appearance. However, he felt that the lack of color did not seem tasteful, and dropped the design. His next design was created with characteristically animal eyes and long ears, as Arai felt that a person's eyes and silhouette are the features noticed when they are first met. He added a large hat with a Pacman emblem on it and collar to give the character a childlike and energetic quality. The design was kept and used for Klonoa. Fans are frequently in debate on what Klonoa is. With the argument being whether he is closest to a cat or a long-eared dog.