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Mugen was a legendary team that used to run their town. But after a showdown with the Amamiya brothers, both Mugen and the brothers disappeared. The resulting power vacuum gave rise to five new gangs, collectively dubbed S.W.O.R.D., each taking a part of the region under their control.
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However, Kuryu Group, trying to regain their former power, start their plan to take over the town. They send their newest member to take care of things, a familiar face to the the Sannoh gang...

High&Low was created as a multimedia project by LDH, an entertainment company that manages multiple bands (most notably the EXILE TRIBE family), actors, among other projects. Many of High&Low's stars are singers, dancers or actors under their management, and the songs for the show are made by their bands. High&Low was enough of a success that it also spawned 5 movies (and counting), two manga (one by CLAMP), anime shorts, a theme park, and even a live concert to tie into the show.

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High&Low contains example of:

  • Americasia: The vast majority of the cast is Japanese, everyone speaks Japanese, and the show has quite a few traditional Japanese elements such as the Yakuza. However, there's a huge crossover with American culture. Not only are a few teams based on American culture, such as Sannoh Rengokai and Mugen (American biker culture) as well as Mighty Warriors (gangsta rap), but American currency is used in the show as well. It doesn't help that the country that the show takes place in is never named.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Junko seems to have a crush on both Cobra and Yamato, who despite being good guys are members of Sannoh Rengokai. In Season 2, Murayama meets Oshiage, a member of Strawberry Milk who has a crush on him.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Rude boys parkour style consist of high kicks, flips, and jumping place to place. Despite how cool it looks, they are an open target to attack if their enemy is quick enough.
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  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Considering this is an action series, way too many times to count. The first movie makes it interesting by having people from different teams have eachother's back and quibble.
  • Badass Biker: Mugen, Sannoh and the Amamiya Brothers all fit in here.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: Murayama
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Noboru and Rocky both grab blades by the fist to prevent themselves from getting stabbed.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT say the word "crab" around Kabuto. Don't even say anything that could be MISHEARD as crab.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Murayama mostly acts goofy and childish,but make no mistake, He is just as much as capable as his fellow S.W.O.R.D leaders.
    • Misaki Amamiya, He is the most cheerful, kind, and more open among the Amamiyas, but let's not forget that He IS stronger than his younger brother, and can go toe to toe with Kohaku.
  • Big Eater: Yamato.
  • Book Dumb: Pretty much everyone in Mugen and Sannoh Rengokai.
    Aoyagi: 8 times 1 is 8, 8 times 2 is 14, 8 times 3 is 23...
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys : ALL OF THEM. just look at the main image.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Kohaku can throw around grown men with one hand. Aoyagi is strong enough to move a car by kicking it. and most of Sannoh's(i.e Yamato) punches are able to bend an iron pipe.
  • Combat Parkour: How the Rude Boys fight, and considering they're the only ones who know how to get through the slums they live in, it makes them a really hard target to hit.
  • Chick Magnet: Cobra
    Dan: Set up a date for you, me and Cobra.
    Tetz: But if Cobra comes, wouldn't all the girls go to him?
  • Childhood Friends:
    • Yamato, Cobra and Noboru
    • Kohaku and Tatsuya from Mugen
  • Choke Holds: Cobra uses them so much that it's where he got his nickname from.
  • City with No Name: The region is only referred to by the gangs that run it, S.W.O.R.D.
  • Crossover: With the WORST manga series in 2019, with HiGH&LOW: The Worst. However, both generations of both series' characters have moved on, and the conflict focuses on Oya and Hosen Academy's new blood delinquents.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Mighty Warriors beat up and steal from others and they love it!
  • Destination Defenestration: Kohaku kicks Aoyagi out of a 2nd story office in the first movie.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The series seems to run on this trope.
  • Dirty Cop: The only cop with a name in the show is, indeed, corrupt.
  • Doomed by Canon: The first half of season 2 focuses on how Mugen came to be and their eventual fall. Since you already know Mugen was pretty much wiped off the map, you know things don't end pretty. You also quickly realize that Tatsuya isn't seen anywhere in season 1.
  • Downer Ending: Season 1 in SPADES. Noboru's turned around, finally back with his Childhood Friends again. He's willing to go down the straight and narrow. But right during his Friendship Speech he's hit by a car, and the episode ends with no clue to his condition. Thankfully it's followed up in season two.
    • End of Sky wrecks you when The Stinger shows Hiroto Amamiya getting show before immediately fading to black.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: Tetz
  • Dude, Where's My Bike?: Masaki Amamiya got his bike towed in the first movie, to hilarious effect.
  • Dumb Muscle: Sannoh Rengokai
    S1 Opening Narration:Sannoh Rengokai. They all grew up under the same circumstances, in the same town. All had a bad upbringing, and don't have much smarts either. But no one matches their strength during a fight.
  • Eagleland: Itokan, Sannoh and Mugen's main hideout, is decked to the ceiling with Americana.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Junko from Strawberry milk does this to Cobra and Yamato. Later on season 2, Oshiage also from Strawberry milk does this to Murayama.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Chiharu manages to trick a member of Daruma Ikka into pushing his teammates into an elevator. He then proceeds to kick stomp them and send them to another floor.
  • Everyone Chasing You: Chiharu when he accidentally punched Furuya, the 2nd in command at Oya High.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Hiroto beats up a half dozen guys, while on his phone, trying to order from the vending machine.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Kohaku after Tatsuya is killed.
  • Family of Choice: Rude Boys is a gang made up of those left parent-less by either death or abandonment. They protect each-other and consider themselves a big ū.
  • Fantastic Drug: Red Drum
  • A Friend in Need: The reason that former Mugen members Cobra and Yamato made Sannoh Rengokai was so that their Childhood Friend, Noboru, could have a place to come back to. Despite Noboru almost killing Yamato and Chiharu in the finalie, Yamato and Cobra still try to convince him that they're still friends and to come back. Thankfully they were able to bring Noboru back to their side.
    • This is also why Yamato helps Chiharu, even though he knows it could cause a huge ripple in SWORD as members are not supposed to switch gangs. And thanks to Yamato's desire to help Chiharu, the rest of Sannoh Rengokai comes in to save them as well.
    • In the first movie, Cobra, Yamato and Aoyagi all come together to bring Kohaku back from his Heel–Face Turn - knowing that he's suffering like this because of Tatsuya's death.
  • The Gambling Addict: Hisako, Yamatos's mom, is addicted to pachinko. To the point of leaving him alone late into the evening when he was growing up.
  • Gang of Hats: Each of the gangs in High&Low have a very specific aesthetic. They often take the tropes associated with their groups and turn them Up to Eleven.
  • Gangsterland: The town is literally run by gangsters and has more than it's fair share of gang fights.
  • Gangsta Rap: Discovering Wu-Tang Clan's music was what saved Ice as a kid, and it's an obvious influence on how he build up the Mighty Warriors.
  • Generic Graffiti: Everywhere. Tons of sets have lots of graffiti, especially in the movies with the larger sets. It's also used to mark gang territories.
  • Genius Bruiser: Noboru.
  • Guyliner:
    • Murayama
    • Kizzy, with nailpolish, foundaiton, and lipgloss
    • Hirai from Doubt, with black nailpolish
  • Gratuitous English: EVERYWHERE. Most of the graffiti in SWORD is all in English. Tons of characters drop random words in English - notably Rocky's catchphrase 'Party Time', and Ice with his catchphrase 'Change or Die', among other phrases. The characters who's actors speak English are much more likely to drop gratuitous English.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Li, a Korean gangster, has some conversations in Korean in the first movie. It does help that he's played by a Korean singer.
  • Gold Tooth: Rocky wears silver grills.
  • Heel Realization: Cobra and Yamato were able to convince Noboru that what he was doing was wrong and to come back to them. Cobra, Yamato and Aoyagi also convince Kohaku to see the error in his ways in the first movie.
  • Held Back in School: Almost all of Oya High is composed of 20 year olds - because they all intentionally held themselves back so they could stay within the gang.
    • Chiharu
      Yamato, serving Chiharu a drink: Drink! Oh, wait, you can't drink yet can you?
      Chiharu: I'm 20. A lot of things happened and I got held back and...
      Tetz: Wait, you're a real idiot!!!
  • Improvised Armour: Masaki and Kohaku wrap chains around their limbs in order to fend off a katakana wielding opponent.
  • Improvised Weapon: Too many times to count. Some of the times that are not covered by the tropes below include trash cans, taiko drumsticks, fire extinguishers, motorcycles and a shopping cart.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: It's not specified what Smokey's suffering from, but he's definitely not doing well considering he continues to cough up blood after hard fights.
  • The Lad-ette: Strawberry Milk is full of rude speaking, bike riding women. However it seems to be a bit of a facade, considering that some of the girls like Junko are a bit girly, but they keep up their Ladette attitude. Junko, much to her dismay, scared off a guy hitting on her by going TOO ladette on him.
  • Laughing Mad: Hyuga
  • The Leader: Cobra for Sannoh,Rocky for White Rascals,Murayama for Oya kou,Smoky for Rude Boys,and Hyuga for Daruma Ikka.
  • Likes Older Women: Chiharu goes after a mom in the DTC movie.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There's 5 main gaings, each with a handful of characters each, but with the previous gangs and other groups, the character sheet for the series is insanely long. It means that each episode only focuses on a couple of gangs at a time.
  • Look Both Ways: Doesn't happen just once, but TWICE. Fortunately Noboru and Aoyagi survived, but Tatsuya did not.
  • Made of Iron: Everyone, but Oya High stands out because the challenger has to take 20 punches before they can even fight back- so the only ones who survive have to be literally Made of Iron.
  • Manly Tears: Yamato, Cobra and Noboru all cry in the season 1 finale when they all try to reconcile. In the first movie, Yamato and Cobra cry when trying to convince Kohaku to stop his plan to destroy all the gangs.
  • Misplaced Accent: Despite being raised in the same town as everyone else, Dan inexplicably has a Kansai accent. Lampshaded in-series.
    Chiharu [Narrating]: But he speaks Kansai-ben. For some reason.
  • Mob War: One major one in season 1. Most of the movies have one as well.
  • Mr. Fanservice: All of the cast.
  • My Greatest Failure: Yamato feels very guilty about what happened to Noboru. It's what drives him to help out Chiharu when he wants to leave Oya High, because he doesn't want to feel that kind of regret again.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: How the all-female gang Strawberry Milk dresses (though they wear tube tops)
  • Not Blood Siblings: The Amamiya brothers.
  • One-Gender School: Oya High.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Each Amamiya brother, respectively. Considering the two younger ones beat up all of Mugen so bad that they got wiped off the map
    • The guys in Sannoh Rengokai are mild examples, easily able to take on a dozen men each in-show.
  • Painted-On Pants: Kohaku wears skin-tight leather pants after he turns evil, and fights in them.
  • Percussive Therapy
  • Police are Useless: Stated outright in the first movie when the police were too busy stopping other disasters in the area to come and help the main characters.
  • Pint Sized Power House: Cobra and Murayama are one of the shortest members of their gang. But both of them are leaders of their gang for a reason
  • The Power of Friendship: How Cobra and Yamato win back Noboru.
    • This is also how Cobra, Yamato and Aoyagi win back Kohaku in the first movie.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "It's party time" (Rocky)
"IKUZO TEMERAAA" (Murayama)
  • Protectorate: While all of Sannoh Rengokai desire to protect their town, Cobra specifically is hellbent on protecting SWORD and all the people in it.
  • Raised Catholic: The Amamiya brothers, considering how many statues of Mary their parents had in their house as well as their parents being buried with cross-shaped headstones.
  • Reality Ensues: Cobra refuses to avenge Noboru because if they do, they will have to face the Yakuza, and despite their position as the strongest gang, they will be no match for the Yakuza group.
  • Red Is Violent: Daruma Ikka
  • Reluctant Warrior: The Sannoh group wants to protect the town without having to fight. Fat chance.
  • Roundhouse Kick
  • Rule of Cool: Why does every gang have incredibly incredible, matching fashion sense? How do any of them pay for anything considering no gang (except the White Rascals and Mighty Warriors) seems to have any sort of income?
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Kohaku turned evil there's two scenes where he's staring up a picture of Satan falling from grace, which is clearly supposed to represent him.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: In the first movie, a Korean crime syndicate tries to take over the region by taking advantage of Kohaku's hate for S.W.O.R.D
  • Shirtless Scene: Yamato gets a few when he's getting bandaged up after a fight.
  • Slide Attack: Cobra uses this in the first episode.
  • Smoking Is Cool: While only the older guys like Kohaku and Aoyagi tend to smoke, it's definitely shown to be cool. Cobra and Yamato were also shown smoking in the first episode.
  • Start of Darkness: The first half of season 2 goes into Kohaku's backstory and what drove him off the back end, specifically seeing Tatsuya get killed and Aoyagi getting grievously injured.
  • The Stinger: Red Rain has one that's super cute. End of Sky's is Mood Whiplash.
  • Street Smarts: Basically everyone has this, due to the nature of the setting.
  • Sweet Tooth: Cobra orders two cupcakes and eats them both by himself.
  • Taking the Bullet: In the season 1 finale, Noboru tries to shoot Yamato - but Chiharu jumps in the way. Thankfully Noboru misses them both.
  • Tears of Remorse: Noboru, after he realizes that his friends still cared about him and that revenge wasn't the answer.
  • Terrible Artist: Dan. He drew a sketch of Lala, who got him into hot water with the White Rascals, and it was completely useless.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: These pop up a lot in-series, but they're most notably half a dozen lying around the Daruma Ikka hangout.
  • Trauma Conga Line: This applies to way too many characters, but below is a standout case:
    • The Amamiya Brothers: Their parents died in an apparent suicide, then the older brother goes off to who knows where, driving the younger two to search for him. When they finally reunite, the older brother ends up dying while revenging against their parents' deaths. Then in the End of Sky movie, Masaki watches Hiroto get shot in the chest by a sniper right before the movie ends.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Everyone in Daruma Ikka.
  • True Companions: Noboru, Yamato and Cobra. To the point that when Noboru went through his Heel–Face Turn, they still worked long and hard to bring him back.
    • Dan, Tetz and Chiharu also fit under this, especially considering they all went on a road trip after the events of the 3rd movie.
    • Kohaku and Tatsuya as well.
  • Two-Teacher School: Oya High has exactly zero teachers. Not surprising, considering the students that attend...
  • Use Your Head: One of Murayama's moves.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The first four episodes of season 2 are all flashback to Mugen's history.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Don't you dare hurt your girl in the White Rascals' district, or you're liable for a beating - or worse.
  • Would Hit a Girl: DOUBT will do anything to get what they want. Up to and including abducting and abusing women.
    • Murayama seems interested fighting a girl who had a crush on him.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Cobra manages a suplex in episode 1, but as an action series there are quite a few wrestling movies used on-screen.
  • Wretched Hive: While the White Rascals district is in pretty good shape, the rest of SWORD is this, especially nameless street where the Rude Boys gang lives.
  • You Are Not Alone: Cobra and Yamato refuse Chiharu's resignation from Sannoh Rengokai and emphasize this with him.
    Cobra: We don't turn our eyes away from our friends.
    Yamato: He's right.
    Chiharu: Cobra... Yamato...
    Yamato: If you're suffering, come talk to us. That's what friends are for.
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