Despite being known for being chock full of badass moments and lightheartedness, the Yakuza series also likes to remind you that you're dealing with Japan's own criminal underworld, regardless of liberties taken. And as the page picture shows, ruthless gangsters aren't the worst things stalking Kamurocho...
Series in general
- The very practice of yubitsume, in which one cuts one of their fingers off in order to formally apologize to a superior that they've disgraced. While the camera usually cuts away from anything too gory, the player is still privy to the crunch of bone and screams of agony...
- If one is sensitive to violence, these games are not for the faint of heart. The HEAT system alone has your character breaking faces, ribs, and backs, stabbing people with swords or broken beer bottles, tossing them off of buildings or into rivers, and blood galore (though thankfully averting Gorn by not genuinely showing damage to the body). Majima in particular has his infamous Neck Snap move by grappling his poor target from behind and squeezing until the Sickening "Crunch!".
- And while in gameplay no one usually ends up fatally harmed (Kiryu never killed anyone, after all), in the story cutscenes anything's fair game. Several people get plugged with bullets to the head in the first title alone, with an aversion of Pretty Little Headshots, there's explicit amounts of brutal torture that sometimes even gets depicted on-screen, and the more villainous Yakuza are straight up the kind of monsters that are genuinely Truth in Television as they kill any and everyone that slights them or happens to be in their way to their goals, civilian or foe alike. Hell, in certain games the villains are seemingly regular civilians, government workers, or corporate individuals that can completely slip by people's attention until all hell breaks loose.
- There's also usually the big climatic battle between Kiryu and a game's villain where both characters tear off their shirts in a proud declaration of their tattoos and ways - which is moreso an excuse for the developers to actually show how fucked up they get from some of the downright most brutal battles in the entire franchise. Both parties inevitably end up bloodied and bruised to an excess until one of them stands no more.
Yakuza and Yakuza Kiwami
- When Shimano is introduced he performs a sudden and very bloody Yubitsume on one of his underlings.
- The scene in the first game when Nishiki is punishing his underlings for killing the supposed Mizuki is pretty damn scary, especially in the remake, thanks to the new facial animations and voiceacting. His Unstoppable Rage leads to blasting one guy in the face on the spot, and then emptying the rest of the magazine on the other bastard before just outright tossing the gun at his corpse as Nishiki storms out without hiding his fury.
- The scene also showcases how frighteningly psychotic Nishiki has become. He goes from a calm and formal to downright murdering his men viciously without any thinking of his repercussions.
- Ironically, Nishiki's action also displays that his ideal of crossing the line is long gone and led to him become a heartless, bitter man.
- Lau Ka Long's Cold-Blooded Torture of Kiryu. Even Kiryu himself has bad memories of the experience, the mere mention of the Snake Flower Triad's name giving him cold feet.
- Although it can be badass and funny in terms of player's perspective, it is undoubtedly intimidating and scary for a receptionist to see a 6 foot, muscular man downright punching a stone statue and destroying it without injuring his hand.
- In the new cutscenes focusing on Nishiki, after his sister dies and he's had enough of Matsushige's total lack of respect for him, he not only stabs him in the gut and murders him, but he wipes his blood-stained hands all over his face, completing his villainous transformation.
- While it's downplayed due to the comical nature of the duo, the Majima Everywhere mechanic can be this. You're essentially in the cross-hairs of a guy who is about 51 cards short of a deck. He can appear anywhere for a fight and sometimes he doesn't even give the player less than a minute's rest before you hear another "Kiryu-chan" meaning he's in the area again. Also not helping is Majima's fascinations for another fight with you being outright fetishistic.
Yakuza 2 and Yakuza Kiwami 2
- If you thought the videotape substory in 0 was scary enough, it's got nothing on the one in Kiwami 2. In the sub story "Rising from the Shadows", a distraught man gives Kiryu a video tape and instructs him to watch it before running off in a panic. Confused, Kiryu goes to the video parlor to watch it. All it shows was what looked like an old recording of one of the Kamurocho parks at night. It statics in an out, but each time, a strange woman in red appears standing or sitting in different places. At the last static, the woman is in an extreme closeup of her face right in front of the camera with black eyes and a Slasher Smile. Also take note the camera is from a high angle shot.
- Shortly afterwards, you meet an fake exorcist who offers to help you at a hefty price. Given how he seems to know the details of the curse, you'd expect that the whole thing was a setup, right? WRONG. The exorcist spots the woman in red right standing behind Kiryu, and promptly beats it. If you watch carefully, the woman seems to be laughing to herself at the con artist's terror. Then the woman starts to walk towards Kiryu and from behind with her arms outstretched as if she's about to strangle him. Fortunately, Kiryu accidentally drops the video tape a mere second before she could grab him, causing the woman to disappear.
- One subquest involves Kazuma fleeing for his manhood from a trio of drag queens. With dire consequences should he fail.
- Then we have a scene towards the end of the third game, when calm and collected Mine suddenly flips out and stabs one of his men's hand with a butter knife for badmouthing Daigo. The camera then decides to have a close-up of the batshit insane expression on his face as he screams at his poor goon in pure rage. It really catches you by surprise to see the normally unflappable Mine act like a screaming madman.
- The first real boss of Yakuza 4 in Akiyama's story, Midorikawa, starts off with just trying to shoot you with a pistol. Beat him in the first stage of the fight, he runs back into another room while some henchmen try to knock Akiyama out. Fairly standard fare, so far. Then Midorikawa comes bursting through the door with a chainsaw, fully intending to just cut you into meaty shreds. This is a severe contrast to every enemy thus far, who either attacked you bare-handed or with a more mundane melee weapon. The fact he's bathed in a fiery Battle Aura and cannot be even stunned just nails home how ungodly pissed he is with Akiyama. To make matters worse, on the rare occasions where Midorikawa stands still during this stage of the boss fight, you can see him standing there, hunched over with his head twitching like a madman.
- Kiryu's confrontation with Hiroki Awano, immediately after Kiryu's second fight with Kuze, starts off rather silly: Awano's disco dancing alone with a woman. Then he turns everything off to try and make a deal with Kiryu, who refuses to bite. In an attempt to intimidate Kiryu as he's leaving, Awano shoots said woman dead in cold blood and makes a bluff of an ambush waiting for Kiryu outside. When Kiryu doesn't fall for it and leaves, we're briefly shown the woman's corpse with Awano casually taking a smoke break, who's more annoyed that Kiryu wasn't intimidated.
- Lao Gui: possibly China's top hitman, and a cold, sadistic one at that. His appearance is way out-of-place compared to the rest of the game's cast, looking like a dried-up corpse with deep, sunken eyes and a stone-cold stare. Whenever he makes an appearance, the atmosphere becomes way more tense. The few times Lao Gui smiles, it feels like the Grim Reaper gleefully staring down his next victim.
- Tachibana's Cold-Blooded Torture, where Yoneda crushes the man's toes with a sledgehammer and takes a sadistic glee in it. And then when it seems like Kuze is finally going to ease up on the torture so their target doesn't die, Tachibana seems to laugh ever so slightly at Yoneda - who responds with a fatal blow via the same hammer upside Tachibana's skull. Yoneda then gets Laser-Guided Karma for that when Kuze crunches his skull to the floor in response. Probably one of the bloodier scenes in the franchise.
- While it's undeniably badass to watch them tear through the forces of the people who have been making their lives hell for the entire game, the Unstoppable Rage Kiryu and Majima display during the finale is almost disturbing to watch:
We cut from Kiryu confronting Shibusawa: As Majima punches out a gaggle of Dojima thugs, a whole bunch more rush into the room.
- We first get a hint of the sheer wrath bubbling under Majima's surface when the punks who beat Majima back in Chapter 16 show up again and demand that he start licking their boots. Instead of brushing them off with a one-liner or simply walking away, Majima gives them a Death Glare as images of the beating flash on the screen... and when they don't take the hint, he brutally lays them out; one gets punched in the face and goes flying from a kick after hitting the ground, another gets an agonizing-looking gut shot, and the third tries to beg for mercy and receives a kick to the kisser in response. The cold, almost mechanical efficiency with which Majima takes them down is almost scarier than if he had gone completely nuts.
- Speaking of completely nuts, there's his assault on the Dojima HQ. Holy shit. Even his Mad Dog persona in the later games isn't this mad. Makes you wonder how much of that persona is an act...
Majima: (sporting a nightmarish Slasher Smile) Like roaches to the slaughter... It'll take more than a few BUGS TO STOP ME!!
Thug: Th-this guy's got a screw loose. He's crazy!
Thug: You don't stand a chance, boy!
Majima: You fucks don't even add to my body count... Now outta my way... YOU MEAT SACKS!
- Kiryu is mostly his stoic self during the counter-raid on the Shibaura port, but his fight with Shibusawa shows off a really ugly side to him. Many of the QTEs are incredibly brutal, and the final one is almost difficult to watch, with Kiryu slamming the guy against a railing and beating him to within an inch of his life. And then, during the final cutscene, it all comes to a head: Kiryu knocks Shibusawa to the floor and starts whaling on him as he flashes back to all the people he's hurt. As Shibusawa lies on the floor, bloody and bruised, he urges Kiryu to finish the job and satisfy his bloodlust and become the Yakuza Kazama wanted him to be. Kiryu starts shaking... and, as he lets out a nigh-inhuman ROAR of pure rage and pain, lets fly with what was almost a killing blow. If Nishiki hadn't tackled him, the new Dragon of Dojima might have turned out very differently like Nishiki in Yakuza 1.
- The "Videotape" substory with Majima. The clerk at the adult video store tells Majima of an urban legend where a woman in white gives a special tape. Sure enough, Majima runs into such a woman in an alley, who's moaning of the cold. After giving her some oden, she says she's not cold anymore and gives a tape in return. As Majima's leaving, he suddenly makes the connection and turns around only to find the woman gone. When Majima returns, they both decide to watch, except the video contains nothing, but static and a woman moaning that she's cold. The guys leave with their own conclusions and then the tape restarts and the video clears to show the woman now in the booth, looking at the camera with a creepy grin and saying "I'm not cold anymore..."
- The "Mystery Caller" substory with Majima. Majima finds a ringing Pay Phone, and the caller, simply calling himself "Simon" in the English versionnote , offers to pay Majima hefty sums to Dead Drop various illegal weapons. After this, Simon tricks Majima into taking care of some loose ends (read: beating up some prior associates he backstabbed). As thanks, he sends an unknown frightened woman to Majima to work for his cabaret as a reward on the threat of her death. This nets you a new hostess, but it's easy to guess what kind of "work" Simon probably meant. Even Majima is left wondering what kind of person is this Simon.
- Just the mere extent of how badly the Saio Triad wants Haruto dead can qualify. To see them pulling out all the stops to take a defenseless Haruto away from Kiryu and kill him over a single tradition is highly alarming. Friendly reminder: Haruto is a baby. It's even worse for anyone playing who is a parent themselves.
- During the battle against Toru Hirose, the same kindly, slightly goofy old man who's been with you the whole game, there's one QTE when his health is close to depleted where he abruptly disappears, only to just as abruptly shoot up from right in front of Kiryu going for his throat. There is absolutely no explanation for how he is able to do this, other than being that damn good as an assassin. Puts into perspective just who you're up against.
- There's enough horror for it to have it's own page.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
- The end of Chapter 3 has some severe Mood Whiplash where, after an uplifting scene of Nanbu and Ichiban celebrating their new home, the thug who was hired by the Geomijul to intimidate a bar whose owner had defied them is tortured and executed for his failure.
- The Geomijul in general is considered by many in-universe as the most intimidating of the Ijin Three, and for good reason. Virtually nothing is known about them, as they keep all their operations top secret and their members don't have any way to be identified, dressing and acting like normal civilians right up until they strike. They have a strict policy of abducting, torturing, and murdering anyone that gets too close to their headquarters, and as Ichiban and co learn, they do not forget any slight they suffer, willing to wait a long time for the chance to take their revenge.
- Sunlight Castle. Far from the elderly resort its billed as, it is in fact essentially a giant prison where the Seiryu Clan torture and murder anyone who can't pay their debts. Especially since the Castle exclusively targets elderly civilians, a major taboo for the Yakuza.
- Sawashiro graphically gouging out the eye of a Tojo patriarch for gloating about Arakawa's death. You'd think the camera would cut away just before the thumb goes in but it doesn't. It's made even more unnerving by how Sawashiro calmly wipes the blood on his hands off on the shoulders of another patriarch, who is struggling to keep his composure.