Video Game: Rival Schools
aka: Project Justice
In a time when the minds of youth should be happy and free, a war is about to explode! High school students have become the victims of random attacks and kidnappings. With police proving to be no match for the villains, the students themselves now rise to take matters into their own hands!Rival Schools
—The opening quotes from the arcade intro of Rival Schools: United by Fate
, known as Justice Gakuen
(lit. "Justice Academy") in Japan, was one of Capcom
's attempts to make a 3D Fighting Game
. It was notable for having a continuous plotline, in a genre where the plot was often secondary to the fighting.
Students from all around Japan have mysteriously been disappearing, and teams of students from various high schools wind up fighting to figure out the person(s) behind it all. Players formed teams of two (which could be switched between rounds), and could call their partners in to assist them with an extra hit or energy boost (a feature borrowed from Marvel vs. Capcom
that would also later make its way into a few of The King of Fighters
games). The PlayStation
port added many Mini Games
alongside the main fighting game, as well as a character creation mode based off of Dating Sim
games. The latter, however, never made it outside Japan
thanks to how much of an undertaking it would be to translate to other languages, but all the other home version extras made it. In Japan
, the game later got re-released with two new characters, as well as a revamped character creation mode.
It was later followed by a sequel on the Dreamcast, Project Justice
, which introduced new characters, expanded the team size to three, and brought on even more school fighting mayhem. In this go around, there aren't as many kidnappings, but students start acting completely wacky, so the same students and teachers (as well as new ones) set out to find out what's going on. The Japanese version again had a character creation mode, this time in the form of the digitized board games (in the vein of Mario Party
) that were all the rage at the time.
The games are rather obscure, so there is not likely to be a sequel any time soon. Despite that though Capcom doesn't seem to have forgotten about it though as characters can be seen in the Capcom VS Whatever
games (namely Capcom vs. SNK 2
, Namco X Capcom
, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
and Project X Zone
). However, in 2012, the PlayStation
version of United By Fate was re-released as part of Sony's PSN Classics
program in Japan, leaving hope that the series might not be finished just yet...
This series provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Zig zagged; the games clearly explain the story and most characters' motivations, but if you want to know more about the characters, you have play through the character creation modes only available in the Japanese versions.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: "Illusional Space" (Hyo's stage) in the first game.
- Amazon Brigade: The Seijyun High team of Akira, Yurika and Zaki in Project Justice. Zaki's all-female gang, the Ladies Team, also might count, but not all of them fit the trope's requirement of being attractive
- Animated Actors: One of the animated endings in the PlayStation version has the characters portrayed as actors filming a movie, with Raizo as the director of the production. Rivalries aside, their actor personas are still surprisingly in-character.
- Anime Theme Song: "Atsuki Kodou", the intro theme for the PlayStation version of United By Fate.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: The climax of Project Justice. The heroes reunite on the steps of Justice High, which Demon Hyo has set aflame.
- Battle Aura: Hyo gets a permanent Battle Aura when he gets possessed by his dead father Mugen at the end of the second game and becomes "Demon Hyo."
- Battle in the Rain: The penultimate fight in Project Justice takes place in a rain-soaked quarry.
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn and Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Seijyun High team, with Yurika, Akira and Zaki fulfilling each role in both tropes in that order.
- Bootstrapped Theme: Long after the games' releases, the themes for "Classroom of Taiyo High" became the Leitmotif of the games themselves. Batsu tends to use "On the Rooftop of Taiyo High" when he appears in crossover games.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Daigo (twice) and Raizo. Also in terms of the in-game story Kyoko, Hideo, Roy, Boman, Tiffany and Shoma also fall victim to this. However...
- It's not just them. Ultimately it's the whole basis of the plot (especially for the first game) and depending on who you do NOT choose to be your partner from the three characters from each school ALL the major characters can theoretically fall victim to this trope just before the end of the game. After the other two characters fight said character they snap out of the brainwashing by The Power of Friendship.
- Character Customization: Both games have this feature but neither of them made it outside of Japan, due to the sheer volume of text that would have to be translated from the simulation mode. The US versions of the games simply omitted this mode altogether, but Project Justice made up for it by including over a dozen pre-made custom characters to unlock.
- Combination Attack: Each character has a specific attack you can use when calling them for a Team-Up. Most deal damage, and some restore health or fill up your Burning Vigor gauge. In the sequel, it's possible to get all three characters in for a Party-Up attack to pile on even more damage. Team-Ups depend on who you call in, but Party-Ups depend on who you're playing as.
- Crossover: There are numerous references to Street Fighter in Rival Schools, most notably Sakura's inclusion in the first game. However there are also a few inconsistencies (like Sakura's blood type) that prevents Rival Schools from fitting neatly into the Street Fighter continuity.
- Death Cry Echo
- Delinquents: Daigo, Edge and Gan. Hell, Gedo High is nothing but a school of delinquents. Zaki and her gang in Project Justice throw female delinquents into the mix.
- Eagleland: Whatever version of America the Pacific High kids hail from. Tiffany even has the stars-and-stripes motif on her P1 costume (think Stars and Stripes meets gratuitous Fanservice).
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Edge hates being called by his real name, Eiji Yamada. Likewise, the masked gang leader Zaki does not answer to Aoi Himezaki (due to the "Hime" part of her name, which translates to "Princess").
- Empathic Environment: It's always night at Justice High, with a perpetual thunderstorm over the building.
- Everyone Calls Her Iincho/Chairperson: The Class Representative of Taiyo High is never given a name, and prefers to be called Iincho (Chairperson in the English translations).
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Fastball Special: Raizo does this to his partner in his team-up move, and Gedo High's Party-Up in Project Justice has the attacker and his victim thrown into each other by the attacker's partners.
- Flawless Victory: Acknowledged during the characters' win pose, with a "VICTORY!" from the announcer instead of the typical "WINNER!"
- Foreign Exchange Student: Roy, Tiffany, and Boman are a team of foreign exchange students from America.
- Gang War: A war is brewing amongst Gedo and Seijyun High Schools' respective gangs. The whole mess turns out to have been orchestrated by Kurow.
- Gang of Hats: Seijyun High's students wear surgical masks, a cliché of all-female gangs in anime.
- Grapple Move: in addition to normal grabs, crouch, and back grabs. there's Combination Attacks, which are initiated by a telegraphed, blockable attack and then cuts into a sequence of attack (just like a normal grab move) unique to your partner character. some of these can heal or increase your Mana Meter.
- Gratuitous English: Roy (as noted above) and Tiffany both exhibit this at times. Their fellow countryman Boman avoids it by speaking Japanese all the time.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Some of the team-up attacks: Raizo throws his partner at the enemy. Zaki grabs her partner and swing-slams them into her opponent after her initial stomping. Wild Daigo punches and throws his opponent right at his own partner them beats the both of them down. Kurow's party-up involves his two partners whaling on the opponent on both sides, then Kurow impales both his own partners and repeatedly hammers them on the opponent. HARSH.
- Guest Fighter: Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter shows up in the first game. She doesn't figure into the main storyline very much, but she is said to be good friends with Hinata and Natsu.
- Heel-Face Turn: Kyosuke, Raizo and Hyo in United By Fate.
- Hilarious Outtakes: For the Playstation version of the first game, here.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Can be subverted — most of the Stage 3 battles in Rival Schools are designed to be impossible to win (due to AI damage and health increases), but if you can manage to win, you get to skip straight ahead to the final boss.
- Hot-Blooded: Batsu...all the way. So much that he turns into Burning Batsu.
- Don't forget Hayato. He's the model of Hot-Blooded PE teacher that Naruto's Might Guy could have been molded after him. That's even his surname for God's sake! ("Nekketsu" means literally "hot blood".)
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Inverted with the tall, awkward Natsu and short, angry Shoma.
- I Know Madden Kombat: Pretty much the shtick of the Gorin High characters. At least the ball sports (baseball - Shoma, volleyball - Natsu, football - Roberto, tennis - Momo) make sense; but taken to very ridiculous levels with a character (Nagare) who fights with swimming moves!
- I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: If you play as Kyoko and Hideo in the Arcade version of the first game, you get brainwashed after losing the Hopeless Stage 3 battle. After awhile, one of the two snaps out of it and tries to convince the other to do so by fighting him/her.
- Jerkass: Roy is very condescending of the Japanese and has a huge superiority complex when it comes to the respective countries. This was toned down a LOT in the western translation which makes it rather odd for gamers who can understand Japanese since only the translation is different. The dialogue is still the same as the original making it somewhat strange to read one thing and listen to something completely different. It should be noted that towards the end of the game Roy has changed his outlook on Japan considerably and seems to view the country with a lot more respect.
- Joke Character: Chairperson, with the glaring exception of her assist.
- This is probably because she uses Dan Hibiki's own Saikyo style... and learned it from weekend correspondence courses, meaning she isn't as skillful at it as him...
- Ki Attacks: Every single character in the game, thanks to Batsu's and Hayato's assists.
- Left Hanging: The end of Project Justice. Yes, Kurow's plan has been foiled but he's escaped custody and Kyosuke disappeared from school after the death of Hyo as well. And what of the Darkside Society that both Kurow and Yurika defected from?
- Let's You and Him Fight: EVERYBODY from the different high schools, without exception. It isn't until the last stage of the game that the characters find the real culprits.
- Look What I Can Do Now: In the Taiyo storyline in Project Justice, if Batsu loses in the second battle, he leaves the party for a while, but returns a few battles later as "Burning Batsu", complete with powered-up attacks and a Battle Aura.
- Love Triangle: Hideo, Kyoko and Hayato are a Type 4 - Hideo and Kyoko are engaged; Hayato, who once had a crush on Kyoko, is simply content to step back for Kyoko's happiness and play a slight Shipper on Deck to the couple.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Raizo is Batsu's father, and by extension, Hyo and Kyosuke's uncle (the latter two are twins).
- The Man Behind the Man: The summary of the first Rival Schools' plot.
- The Masochism Tango: Natsu and Shoma's relationship in a nutshell.
- Mind-Control Eyes: Red eyes indicate in United By Fate who's under the sway of the villain.
- Multiple Endings: One "bad" ending in United By Fate, and two in Project Justice.
- Oddly Named Sequel: One usually would not have guessed Project Justice is the real sequel to United By Fate unless they lived in Japan or a PAL territory. Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2 didn't help matters.
- One-Gender School: Gedo High is all-male, while Seijyun High is all-female.
- One Steve Limit: Sound-alike variant, with Ran Hibiki and Gan Isurugi.
- Panty Shot: Hinata, Kyoko, Sakura, Natsu and Tiffany's alternate costumes in the first Rival Schools, Momo and Yurika (although hers is more of a Pantyhose Shot).
- The Power of Friendship: The Aesop of most of the games' stories; almost always the characters triumph over loner villains through their friendship with others.
- Power Trio: Every school had one. Seijyun Girls School had an all-female Power Trio in Akira, Zaki, and Yurika.
- This point is hammered home with Project Justice 's very fighting system, which consists of 3-on-3 battles.
- Real Life Writes the Plot/The Character Died with Him: The voice actor for Hyo Imawano died several months before the release of Project Justice, and so Hyo winds up getting Killed Off for Real.
- The Rival: Roy and Batsu. Initially this is very aggressive on Roy's part but towards the end of the game it does shift towards a more friendly rivalry.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: The Seijyun High ending in Project Justice indicates that the Akira-Yurika relationship is at least this, if not outright Schoolgirl Lesbians.
- School Of Hard Knocks: Students and faculty from five high schools fight each other to find out who's behind the kidnappings and attacks.
- Shotoclone: Batsu, Kyosuke and Hideo, with Hideo being the most blatant. Also, Sakura from Street Fighter in the first game.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Roy and Tiffany. Depending on how you look at it, Batsu and Hinata either play this trope straight or invert it.
- Shout-Out: Helmetless Akira's team-up attack in the original game is copied from Neon Genesis Evangelion's infamous episode "Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!"
- Natsu's surname, Ayuhara, may be one to Kozue Ayuhara, the protagonist of Attack No. 1, a volleyball manga from the late 60s (conversely, volleyball being the sport Natsu practices).
- Spell My Name with an "S": Shoma was spelled as 'Syoma' in the arcade version of the first Rival Schools.
- The "B"/"V" confusion is apparently lampshaded with Kurow's identity as Batsu's doppelganger being named "Vatsu".
- Super Move Portrait Attack: In Project Justice, connecting with a Party-Up flashes close-ups of the faces of the attacking team's members before showing the three-person beatdown.
- Take Over the World: He who controls the school board, controls the universe!
- Title Scream: United By Fate does this for both the English and Japanese titles. Project Justice does this with only the Japanese title.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Natsu and Hinata; disregarding the fact that they are from different schools, they've been friends since childhood. Akira and Yurika is another example, though they've only known each other for a short time prior to the events of Project Justice.
- Training from Hell: Hayato's aforementioned push-up super.
- Translation Convention: Despite all being Americans, Roy, Tiffany and Boman speak Japanese almost to the exclusion of their native language. Never mind that Roy's Japanophobic (at first) and Tiffany's grasp of the language is broken to the point of near-total incomprehensibility.
- Two-Teacher School: Most of the schools in the series. In the case of Gedo, Pacific and Seijyun, they're all No Teacher Schools as far as the players are aware.
- Updated Re-release: Shiritsu Justice Gakuen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2, a update of the first Rival Schools, for the PlayStation. Unfortunately, a lot of people mistake it for a sequel.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Momo is an expert.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Boman actually does a Kinniku Buster in his Team-Up Attack. That aside, most grapples are wrestling-inspired; even little Momo can bust out a piledriver!
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Seijyun Girls Academy trains its students to become this. However it's also home to an all-female gang led by Aoi "Zaki" Himezaki. Ironically, the girl who suits the archetype the most is Yurika, The Mole from the Darkside Student Council.