[[caption-width-right:350:DEATH. It's what they live for.]]

->''"Some fighters have come for personal glory,''
->''Others have come to fight for those they love,''
->''But all will do their best to be victorious in this tournament''
->''Which will decide their fortunes..."''

''Battle Arena Toshinden'' (simply titled ''Toshinden'' in Japan) is ''the'' first 3D {{fighting game}} franchise where every character toted a weapon of some sort (the first series to do it in 2D was ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown''). It was considered a {{killer app}} when it was released as a UsefulNotes/PlayStation launch title, and Sony promoted it heavily. However, as the years passed by, it got left in the dust, as it was upstaged by other 3D fighting game franchises such as the ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'', ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'', and the ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul]]'' series, who continued to innovate and refine their gameplay while ''Toshinden'' remained stagnant. Not quite as fondly remembered as it was back then, but still worth a look.

The story of ''Battle Arena Toshinden'' revolves around a secret fighting tournament known only as the Toshindaibukai and that those who are deemed worthy of participating in it are handed invites by a [[NebulousEvilOrganisation secret group]] known only as the Himitsu Kessha (Secret Society in the English version).

The first game in the series has eight participants competiting in the battle, each of them having their own reasons for heading into the tournament. The second game would be much like the first, except that two new challengers would enter into the fray and that the tournament itself would be nothing more than a mere ruse in order to lure out a specific target named Gaia, who happens to be a former member of the Himitsu Kessha, marked for immediate death after illegally holding the first tournament without the consent of the Himitsu Kessha and that he had tried to start a rebellion against the organization.

The third game in the series would center around a new antagonist group known as the Soshiki (Organization in the English version) and their leader, a power-hungry megalomaniac named Abel. In order to bring a [[GodOfEvil destructive fighting god]] named Agon Teos into the world, Abel and his minions must gather the [[ThePowerOfBlood blood]] of the strongest warriors and targets the Toshinden fighters as their [[HumanSacrifice sacrifices]]. Hunting them down mercilessly with underhanded ways, and hiring assassins and enemies that could bring them in, he then gives the fighters an ultimatum: Participation in the third tournament to corner them and settle things face to face in the ring, or forever find themselves and their loved ones chased down and victimized until they surrender or die trying to escape their grasp.

The fourth and final game in the original series would take place [[TimeSkip a few years]] after the events of ''Toshinden 3'' and that it would center around a young man named Subaru Shinjo (the son of [[spoiler: Sho Shinjo]] and [[spoiler: Cupido]]), who sought to find his missing uncle [[spoiler: Eiji]] while participating in a new Toshindaibukai tournament.

The series also has a 2D UsefulNotes/GameBoy port. Unlike [[PortingDisaster other fighting game ports was released on the Game Boy]], it's [[PolishedPort actually quite good and entertaining]]. It includes all the 8 playable characters from the first game and 4 bosses (Gaia, Gaia II, Sho, and Uranus). [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome The background music is also outstanding to say the least]]. One weird fact that distinguish it from other 2D fighting games is that keeps its ''Ring Out'' feature from the 3D games, but it's made in such a way it doesn't break the game balance (you've a 3 points ''Ring Out'' meter; until it gets emptied you don't fall). If you have time in your hands, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pxUyuwrW4 give it a look,]] it's worth it.

In 2009, the series had gotten a {{spiritual successor}} for the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} in the form of ''War Budokai'' (simply titled ''Toshinden'' in Japan, but spelled with different kanji characters[[note]]the original [=PlayStation=] games are titled 闘神伝, while the Wii version is 闘真伝[[/note]]), a weapons-based arena fighter with heavy anime influences which also incorporate skills such as {{summon magic}}.

[[TheAnimeOfTheGame The original games were also adapted into a 2-part OVA anime in 1996]], directed by Masami Obari (who also directed the ''[[VideoGame/FatalFury Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture]]''). It was the first anime DVD released by Creator/CentralParkMedia in the Western market (and possibly the first Western market anime DVD period).

There is also evidence of a long deserted plan for a ''Toshinden'' [[http://www.mmcafe.com/archive/news35.htm prequel,]] through the pictures found in ''Toshinden Card Quest'', now long known as ''Toshinden Next''. As it stands, ''Next'' was supposed to have delved deeper into the affairs of the four executives of the ''Toshinden'' games, being Gaia, Cupido, Uranus, and Chaos, before what would lead into Gaia's mutiny, and as well into supporting characters mentioned and hinted to in the main series, with the Secret Society's own influences affecting them all as well.

Has a [[Characters/BattleArenaToshinden character sheet]] now.
!!''Battle Arena Toshinden'' contains the following tropes:

* AdaptationalHeroism: Fo Fai in TheAnimeOfTheGame, in which in the games themselves, he is a seemingly friendly old man and traveling magician who is actually a SerialKiller who would gladly kill anyone ForTheEvulz. While the OVA did follow the first part of Fo Fai's personality, it had downplayed the second part as he is seen with the other Toshinden fighters in the big fight against the Secret Society. Though granted, it was highly implied that he had only did it [[EnemyMine just to get back at the Secret Society for trying to attack him earlier in the OVA]].
** Eiji and Kayin are technically this as well, since while Eiji is the franchise's [[TheProtagonist main protagonist]] and Kayin is his [[HeterosexualLifePartners best friend]] and [[TheRival rival]], the two of them do have their own personality flaws from within the games themselves (Eiji being a JerkWithAHeartOfGold and Kayin being a KnightInSourArmor), thus both Eiji and Kayin are substantially nicer and more heroic in the OVA. And the second part of the OVA did state that the reason of why the other Toshinden fighters had pulled a BigDamnHeroes and help aided Eiji, Kayin, Sofia, and Tracy out was because they had just wanted to get back at the Secret Society. Namely the OVA did try to point out that the Toshinden fighters are for the most part good acquaintances to each other rather than being allies to one another. Though that being said, Eiji did help Rungo (getting his battered body back to his family to take care of him) and Sofia (seeking her out to warn her about the Secret Society that is coming after the Toshinden fighters) out from within their own personal situations.
* AdaptationalModesty: Sofia seems to play this trope really straight at first in TheAnimeOfTheGame, when we first see her greeting Eiji in her debut scene wearing a rather large shirt that covers most of her body. Though this gets subverted later on when she gets a brief full-frontal nudity scene in the shower, then when she gets [[{{Brainwashed}} mind-controlled]] by Uranus and tries to attack Eiji, she is seen in her usual MsFanservice attire.
** Ellis on the other hand plays this trope straight in the OVA as she looks even younger and is flat-chested unlike how she was in the games themselves.
* AllThereInTheManual: Concerning the series' own world and information, much of it is ''hugely'' contained in the many Japanese only development books and strategy guides.
* TheAnimeOfTheGame: A two episode OVA, which was dubbed by U.S. Manga Corps and edited into a single movie.
* BottomlessMagazines: Played straight with Vermilion in ''Toshinden 2'', which did not have any ammunition meters to the point that he was a literal {{game breaker}}. However, this was subverted in ''Toshinden 3''. Nagisa, Adam, and Vermilion all use firearms, but have to reload them occasionally. Vermilion has to do so constantly, because his regular weapon attacks rely exclusively on them. David has six shots in his pistol, but he can't reload it at all.
* CatharsisFactor: {{Invoked|Trope}} with [[EasierThanEasy the easiest difficulty setting]] in ''Toshinden 2'', which is called "Stress Relief".
* CaptainErsatz: Judgment ([[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason Voorhees]]), Zola (ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}) and Ten Count (Music/MichaelJackson).
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Toshinden 3'' in particular, dealing with the antagonistic Organization and their interests into the occult and BloodMagic for their ends.
* DefeatMeansPlayable: Everyone's {{evil counterpart}}s in ''Toshinden 3''.
* DressedLikeADominatrix: In the first game, Sofia wears a black leather leotard, thigh-high high-heeled boots, opera gloves, a choker, and a ponytail. She wields a whip. The ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'' is a spiritual successor to ''Battle Arena Toshinden'', so the similarities aren't coincidental.
* DualWielding: Several characters (Tracy and Rachael with their [[DualTonfas tonfas]], Ellis with her [[KnifeNut daggers]], and Vermilion with his Peacemaker and a ''[[SawedOffShotgun shotgun]]'').
* EvilCounterpart: All of the main characters had one, and they were introduced as {{sub boss}}es in ''Toshinden 3''. Look closer, and [[Analysis/BattleArenaToshinden you'll see that they all share special themes in relation to each other.]]
* GaidenGame: ''Battle Arena Toshinden URA'' for the UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn.
* GuestFighter: VideoGame/EarthwormJim in the PC version of the first game, overlapping with JokeCharacter. Rather than having his own attacks, though, he's just a skin swap of Rungo.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: Numbered difficulties in ''Toshinden 2'', the "Stress Relief" and [[HarderThanHard "Impossible"]] levels in ''Toshinden 3''.
* {{Irony}}: The original ''Toshinden'' was marketed by Sony as a "Saturn killer" on its release at the start of 1995. Eleven months later, it was ported to the Sega Saturn.
* MovesetClone: Eiji and Kayin have the same basic moveset (Rekku [=Zan/Sonic Slash=] and [=Hishouzan/Deadly Raise=]) although with a few differences. Sho functions as the "Akuma" character, with more powerful versions of all of both characters' moves.
** Basically half of the third game's cast was this to the other half, discounting Sho and Naru.
* MultipleEndings: Depending on the game, and the alignment of who you play.....
** Toshinden 2:
*** Uranus wins the tournament, having slain all of her opposition. As she kills off Master, she takes over as the next "Master", and moves in on planning on taking over the everyday world.
** Toshinden 3:
*** Leon becomes satisfied upon murdering every one of the protagonists. He then sets his sights on Sho to become the strongest in the world.
*** The world becomes Ten Count's, Balga's, Schultz's, Judgement's, and Vermillion's lawless playground of headhunting and murder.
*** Zola's stardom rockets as she makes use of the blood magic of Agon Theos to give herself irresistible charisma and beauty.
*** Adam loses all faith in the hopes of attaining a human body, realizing he was lied to by Abel. He turns into a nihilistic and emotionless tool of death for the Organization.
*** Atahua and Tau leave the Organization as they are given their bounties. This act potentially leaves them open for the Organization to turn on them.
*** [[spoiler: Bayhou proves himself as the successor of Fo Fai's martial arts, but awaits for more to kill in the wilderness, taking Fo Fai's legacy into obscurity and infamy]].
*** Toujin's wife dies all because he is too late. He turns to attaining the secrets of immortality for himself.
*** Rachael succeeds in murdering Tracy, but this act ultimately seals her fate down a path of evil and desolate loneliness.
*** Miss Til foretells the end of the world, seeing nothing but darkness in the future.
*** Whomever wins on the side of the Organization, Abel succeeds in hunting down every one of the protagonists, and begins to attain the dark blessings of Agon Teos. Judgement Day happens and a new world is born under his power.
*** Veil gains the powers of Agon Theos, and begins the end of the world.
* NebulousEvilOrganisation: The Himitsu Kessha (literal translation: "secret society") in the first two games and the Soshiki (literal translation: "organization") in the third game.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Ten Count, one of the "evil" characters in ''Toshinden 3'', looks, sounds and moves suspiciously like [[Music/MichaelJackson a certain gloved pop singer]]... His taunt (the infamous "crotch grab" part of you-know-who's dance routine) will instantly max out the opponent's Overdrive gauge when performed.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Surprisingly flat out averted in the English voice work in Battle Arena Toshinden Remix's story mode in which all Asian & European characters have their respective region's accents. Granted the accents were generally not well received but still.
** The English Dub of TheAnimeOfTheGame did play this straight for the most part aside from Mondo who did have a Japanese accent there but a tad bit lighter than the one he had in Remix's story mode.
* ScoringPoints: Only the first game had this; the others used a timer.
* {{Shotoclone}}: Eiji and his brother Sho; Kayin; Mondo; and their clones.
** Eiji and Kayin even ''do'' look like Ryu and Ken with swords, to boot.
* ShoutOut:
** In ''Toshinden 2'', Chaos had some secret moves via {{some dexterity required}} commands that are blatant references to other fighting games, usually something made by Creator/{{SNK}} (the specific special moves that Chaos does includes [[VideoGame/FatalFury Terry Bogard]]'s Power Geyser, [[VideoGame/ArtOfFighting Ryo Sakazaki]]'s Haoh Shoko Ken, [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Kyo Kusanagi]]'s Serpent Wave, and [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Iori Yagami]]'s Dark Thrust).
** Selecting one of Adam's alternate costumes in ''Toshinden 3'' gives him a human, [[Franchise/StreetFighter Zangief-like]] head.
** In some offical artwork, Abel looks ''a lot'' like [[Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure Dio]].
* [[{{Spinoff}} Spin-off Game]]: ''Toshinden Card Quest'' and ''Puzzle Arena Toshinden''.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''War Budokai'' for the Wii.
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: In the first game.
* UpdatedRerelease:
** The Sega Saturn received a port of the first game titled ''Battle Arena Toshinden Remix'' (''Toshinden S'' in Japan), which added an extra character named Cupido to the roster and a story mode which had helped fleshed out a few details about the fighters' own character backgrounds. It was so graphically worse then the [=PS1=] version, that it virtually proved the Saturn was the weaker machine overnight -- a ''really'' bad move for Sega (as better looking 3D fighting games, such as ''[[VideoGame/VirtuaFighter Virtua Fighter 2]]'' and ''VideoGame/FightingVipers'' were later released).
** ''Toshinden URA'' is often mistaken for a port of ''Toshinden 2'', but it's actually a different game with a different fighting system and roster (Gaia, Chaos, Uranus, and Master were replaced by Replicant, Wolf, Ronron, and Ripper). It also had a different story from ''Toshinden 2''[='=]s own, which revolved around a mysterious traveling fighter named Ripper, seeking out his missing sister (who happens to be [[spoiler:Cupido]]) while dealing with a conspiracy that had involved the theft of an advanced fighting robot.