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Video Game / Kunio-kun

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Kunio (in white), Riki (in blue), and all of their friends.

— The series' catchphrase

Kunio-kun ("Mr. Kunio") is the name given to the one-time mascot of Technos Japan Corp, a now-defunct Japanese video game developer. He is named after Technos's former president, Kunio Taki. Along with his best friend/rival/sidekick Riki, and a variety of other characters cut from the same cloth, Kunio fights lots of guys in the street, competes in various sporting events (which are also pretty violent) and otherwise generally does what your typical Japanese high school student does.

Though the Kunio-kun series was successful in Japan, it was never constantly released (or consistently localized) abroad; although at one time there were plans to localize more stateside under the Crash 'n The Boys label, it seems to have finally settled on the River City label. In the rare case that games from the series did get released abroad, though, the series was generally beloved — if not exactly recognized. See, since there were never any ongoing plans to release the whole series outside Japan, the various games that did make it were localized in almost as many different ways as there were different games. The first Kunio game, Nekketsu Kōha Kunio Kun (roughly translated, "Hot-Blooded Tough Guy Mr. Kunio") got renamed Renegade and a heavy graphics alteration for its American release, although Kunio himself got a relatively accurate name, "Mr. K." However, the most notable game to make it to America is River City Ransom, known as Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari in Japan and Street Gangs in Europe, in which Kunio is renamed Alex, Riki is Ryan, and everyone else is renamed, as well. Other American releases were Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge (Bikkuri Nekketsu Shin Kiroku! Harukanaru Kin Medal), where Kunio is the titular Crash, and Super Dodge Ball (Nekketsu Koukou dodgeball-bu) and Nintendo World Cup (Nekketsu Koukou Dodgeball-bu Soccer-hen), in which most evidence of a clear protagonist was lost. Another thing American players largely missed out on was that many of the Famicom games supported up to four players, thanks to an adapter that was incompatible with the NES (Nintendo World Cup was the only localized Kunio game to support the equivalent NES peripheral). Nonetheless, the series' wacky appeal crossed to America very much intact.

Sadly, Technos went bankrupt in 1996, and it appeared for a while that Kunio and his friends would be no more. Appearances can be deceiving; however, and in Kunio's case they fortunately were. Thanks in part to the cult following (though nothing larger) the series had gained in America, fond memories of the series persisted, and it helped that River City Ransom and Street Challenge both had endings that hinted sequels would come. As the internet became more common and more things that had never been released outside Japan became visible to American audiences, it was discovered that there were indeed many sequels. Kunio fandom swelled online, with many of the Japan-only games being hacked and translated into English, and soon a small but very thorough attempt at producing fangames blossomed.

Though all of this online effort was still pretty subtle in real-world terms, it presumably ignited a spark among former Technos employees, prompting their new company, Million, to purchase the rights to the Kunio series and re-release many of the games, first for the Game Boy Advance, and then on the Wii Virtual Console. Eventually, Million began making new Kunio games, although thus far they've been essentially retreads of older ones. But the series still seems to be getting healthier and healthier. A Wii game had been rumored and an MMORPG known as Kunio Online: Yamada's Revenge was planned to come out soon, but they were said to be put on hold and are likely canceled. Soon, new entries in the series were all coming out in America, again under the River City name, although now the characters have their original Japanese names. A 25th Anniversary Special was released on December 16, 2011 on the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. An offical sequel of River City Ransom, titled River City Ransom: Underground has been released in 2017 by Canadian indie developer Conatus Creative, with series creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto as a creative consultant on the project.

The franchise was later bought, alongside a few other former Technos properties, by Arc System Works. Their first spinoff for the series, co-developed with WayForward TechnologiesRiver City Girls, a Gender Flip featuring Kunio and Riki's girlfriends Misako and Kyoko as the protagonists — dropped in September 2019. This was followed up by the announcement of Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san!: A River City Ransom Story, focusing on the titular member of the Four Heavenly Kings. The new management also brought River City as a consistent series banner for the western releases to run under, though the earlier releases still keep their old names. This was reflected in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which added Kunio, Riki, Goda, and the Dragon Twins as spirits in January 2020 under the "River City" label outside Japan.

In 1991, a manga titled Ore wa Otoko Da! Kunio-kun was made. The manga was based on the games, but with a Denser and Wackier twist.

List of Kunio-kun games

    open/close all folders 

  • Renegade/Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Arcade, Famicom/NES, PS2)
    • Also separately localized as Nekketsu Renegade Kunio-kun as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun: Bangai Rantō Hen (Game Boy)Note
  • River City Ransom/Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari/Street Gangs (Famicom/NES, X68000, PCE, GBA)
    • Also separately localized as Downtown Nekketsu Story as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zen'in Shūgō (Famicom, GB)
    • Localized as Downtown Special Kunio-kun's Historical Period Drama! as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Shodai Nekketsu Koha Kuniokun (SFC)
  • River City Girls Zero/Shin Nekketsu Kōha: Kunio-tachi no Banka (SFC)
  • Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun Special (3DS)
  • Riki Densetsu (3DS)
  • River City: Tokyo Rumble/Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun SP: Rantō Kyōsōkyoku (3DS)
  • River City: Knights of Justice/Nekketsu Mahou Monogatari (3DS)
  • Downtown Nekketsu Jidaigeki (3DS)
  • River City: Rival Showdown/Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP (3DS)
  • River City Ransom: Underground (Windows, Linux and MacOS through Steam)
  • River City Girls/Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun Gaiden River City Girls (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One; PC via Steam, GOG and Humble)
  • Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san!: A River City Ransom Story/Ikasuze! Kobayashi-san (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC through Steam)
  • River City Saga: Three Kingdoms/Kunio-kun no Sangokushida yo Zen'in Shūgō! (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam)
  • River City Girls 2/Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun Gaiden River City Girls 2 (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S; PC via Steam)

    Nekketsu sports tournament games 
  • Super Dodge Ball/Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu (Arcade, X68000, Famicom/NES, PCE, PS2)
    • A modified Game Boy version was released titled Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: Kyōteki! Dodge Soldier no Maki
    • Also separately localized as Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Nintendo World Cup/Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: Soccer Hen (Famicom/NES, PCE [in Hucard and CD-ROM formats], X68000, Mega Drive)
    • Ported to the Game Boy as Nekketsu Kōkō Soccer Bu: World Cup Hen, which took the international premise from the overseas version and converted back to the Kunio-kun version.
    • Also separately localized as Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club – Soccer Story as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Kunio-kun no Nekketsu Soccer League (Famicom)
    • Localized as Kunio-kun's Nekketsu Soccer League as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Ike Ike! Nekketsu Hockey Bu: Subette Koronde Dai Rantō (Famicom)
  • Kunio-kun no Dodgeball Dayo Zenin Shūgō! (SFC)
  • Nekketsu! Street Basket: Ganbare Dunk Heroes (Famicom)
    • Localized as Nekketsu! Street Basketball All-Out Dunk Heroes as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari: Yakyū de Shōbu da! Kunio-kun (SFC)
  • Nekketsu! Beach Volley Dayo Kunio-kun (GB)
  • Super Dodge Ball/Kunio no Nekketsu Dodgeball Densetsu (Neo-Geo)
  • Super Dodgeball Brawlers/Chō Nekketsu Kōkō Kunio-kun: Dodgeball Bu (DS)
  • River City Soccer Hooligans/Kunio-kun no Chō Nekketsu! Soccer League Plus: World Hyper Cup Hen (DS)
  • Downtown Smash Dodgeball (Xbox 360)
    • Downtown Nekketsu Dodgeball (Wii and PC)

    Multi-sport games 
  • Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Dai Undōkai (Famicom, PCE)
    • Ported to the Game Boy as Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Dokodemo Dai Undōkai
    • Localized as Downtown Nekketsu March Super-Awesome Field Day! as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge/Bikkuri Nekketsu Shinkiroku! Harukanaru Kin Medal (Famicom/NES)
    • Ported to the Game Boy as Bikkuri Nekketsu Shinkiroku! Dokodemo Kin Medal
    • Also separately localized as Surprise! Nekketsu New Records! The Distant Gold Medal as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • River City Super Sports Challenge/Kunio-kun no Chō Nekketsu! Dai Undōkai (DS)
  • River City Super Sports Challenge: All Star Special/Kunio-kun no Chō Nekketsu! Dai Undōkai (PS3, PC)
  • River City Melee: Battle Royale Special/Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Kachinuki Kakutō SP (PS4, PC)

  • Nekketsu Kakutō Densetsu (Famicom) - Mascot Fighter
    • Localized as Nekketsu Fighting Legend as part of the DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Kunio no Oden (SFC) - Puzzle Game
  • DOUBLE DRAGON & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle/Kunio-kun: The World Classics Collection (PS4, Xbox One(Japan only), Switch, PC(Japan only) - NES Games Compilation Re-release, featuring official localizations of several Japan-only Famicom titles, even those that didn't need one. For example, the collection includes both River City Ransom as well as a translated, but graphically unaltered, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari. note 

The Kunio-kun series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Rare at first, and debatably applied in Kunio-tachi no Banka, but as of River City Super Sports Challenge played straight with Hiromi and her team. That said, the trope has been around since the first game with Misuzu.
    • There are more girls in different teams participating in the games in River City Sports Challenge: All-Star Special.
    • Emphasised with River City Girls, starring Kyoko and Misako, who have to rescue Kunio and Riki.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Not to say that Japanese Kunio isn't hardcore, but the American boxarts have traditionally gone for a less Animesque approach.
  • Artifact Title: After Atlus and Arc System Works picked up the series, they decided to go with the Japanese names, but kept "River City" moniker as the localized title.
  • Artistic License – Law: Of sorts in the English version of River City Girls: Assuming this version of the Nekketsu High School is now a private school and not a public school, the plot begins when both Misako and Kyoko are under detention. While not universal in Japan, as many schools has their own rules regarding this, a student who has been punished should wait in the offices of the principal or any appropriate school authority while his or her parents go to school to receive an explanation, rather than being locked in a classroom as a punishment as is the case in the United States. In the Japanese version, however, this was replaced with Misako and Kyoko having to take supplementary lessons (補習授業) instead, while being bored as hell.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel:
    • While the Nekketsu Koha side of the franchise is more proportional, the Downtown Nekketsu and Nekketsu Sports games are drawn in an SD style.
    • Within Nekketsu Koha itself, the Gaiden Games River City Girls and Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san! are drawn differently from both the original games and each other.
  • Badass Adorable: The characters can routinely qualify because they're often super-deformed.
    • Or hell; how about the whole series? After all, it features people who beat each other up one moment and happily trot into the mall to amiably order a meal the next!
    • River City Girls takes it up a notch by giving generic cuteness to everyone.
  • Badass Biker: Shinji and his gang.
  • Bash Brothers: Kunio and Riki are often this. And Misako and Kyoko in River City Girls.
  • Battle Couple: Kunio and Riki are unlockable in River City Girls, meaning you can have them beating the crap out of people alongside their girlfriends.
  • Blood Knight: Most of the delinquents in the series. Kunio in particular is usually seen with a Slasher Smile just before a scripted fight begins in Rival Showdown.
  • Bullfight Boss: Misuzu from Kunio-tachi no Banka. Her boss music even has a bit of a Spanish flair to it.
    • You're better off running away from her and hitting her with a stopping back kick in the arcade original, so this also counts.
  • Bully Hunter: Kunio's primary motivation. The arcade version of Nekketsu Kouha even opens every level with a cutscene of a thug beating up Kunio's classmate until Kunio chases the guy off, leading to Kunio fighting that gang and their leader.
  • Canon Discontinuity: After the first game in the series got localized for overseas audiences, it spun off a completely new series by accident. By Ocean's hand, Renegade was followed by Target: Renegade and Renegade 3: The Final Chapter. The first sequel does share the aesthetics of the original game and, given it was produced one year after Double Dragon, its' just-mentioned Spiritual Successor. The second sequel, however, became a derailment on its' own. Meta.
    • In addition, the Game Boy Advance edition of the Super Dodgeball series dropped the Kunio cast, even in Japanese. This is because the game was made by Million, which was comprised for former Technos staff, and they didn't have the rights to the Kunio-Kun cast at the time.
    • It's also been suggested that the Nekketsu Kouha and Downtown Nekketsu branches of the series may be Alternate Timelines, as it's never really explained how they connect, and some things are different in them; ie, Kunio and Riki having different girlfriends.
    • Then there's River City Ransom Underground, which explicitly takes place after Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari's Western localization and has almost no links to the other games. Well, other than one of its characters (Provie) becoming playable in River City Girls 2.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Using your equipped, undroppable weapon in the 3DS Jidaigeki remake will cost some of your vitality every time you use it, meaning that if you use it too much, only your stamina will protect you from being KO'd. However, the extra damage and range makes using them well worth it for some characters who don't have a very good unarmed special skill.
  • Chain Pain: Chains are a staple weapon of this series.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: Despite the Japanese-inspired setting of River City Girls (the titular River City), the first area noticeable in the beginning is Nekketsu High School which looks more like a stereotypical American High School rather than a Japanese one, complete with cheerleaders and stuff you would normally see in an American school.
  • Cultural Translation:
  • Darker and Edgier / Lighter and Softer: There are essentially two branches of the Kunio series, the Nekketsu Kōha series spun from Renegade, and the Downtown Nekketsu series spun from River City Ransom and Super Dodgeball. The former is the darker and edgier one, with more realistically-proportioned characters, more gritty villains resembling the actual Yakuza, and less slapstick-oriented violence, while the latter takes a more humorous, cartoonish, chibified approach to the whole ordeal. River City Girls Zero may be the darkest and edgiest of the lot, with conspiracy, the destruction of Nekketsu High School, and guns.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite his roughed up appearance (complete with bandaged face), rowdy behavior, and tendency to scowl or sneer, Kunio is actually a very nice guy.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Riki in Riki Densetsu for Nintendo 3DS.
    • Sugata takes the lead in Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari.
    • Kyoko and Misako take the lead roles in River City Girls.
    • Kobayashi, naturally, takes the lead in Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san!
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • This seems to be what happened with Riki. In the original Kunio-kun arcade game, Riki is an antagonist and the first boss who is defeated by Kunio. Ever since then Riki has been Kunio's Friendly Rival.
    • In Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun SP: Rantō Kyōsōkyoku/River City Tokyo Rumble, two out of four of the original Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun/Renegade bosses become Kunio's allies after you beat them. Riki, however, joins you without needing to fight him.
    • In River City Girls, Misako and Kyoko can recruit an enemy and call it later for an assist attack.
  • Delinquents / Japanese Delinquents: The main characters and half the people you fight.
  • Distressed Dude: Kunio and Riki get kidnapped in River City Girls, resulting in their girlfriends being forced to fight their way through the city to resue them.
  • Dub Name Change: Every game title and nearly every character's name is changed if a game is released outside Japan. The practise has become largely scaled back, if not dropped entirely, as of the mid-2010s (except for game titles, which are usually at least slightly altered).
    • In River City Ransom, Kunio is Alex, Riki is Ryan, and Yamada is Slick.
    • Kunio is Jeff "Crash" Cooney in Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge, and all of the player names have been changed as well.
    • The only game that didn't rename the characters was the Neo-Geo version of Super Dodge Ball until Arc System Works became the series publisher. In other words, there was one exception to the name change rule from 1986 to 2016.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The sports titles, which can even include final bosses, such as Sabu in the Neo-Geo Super Dodge Ball.
  • Gonk: Misuzu, a delinquent woman with a body more suited for a giant wrestler. Notably, in the 3DS-era Nekketsu Kunio-Kun games, while all the other characters uses Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari/River City Ransom-style NES sprites, Misuzu just uses an updated version of her spriteset from the NES version of Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun/Renegade.
    • Downplayed in River City Girls. Still husky, but not nearly as masculine.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: While an actual scar is never visible, Kunio is usually depicted with a bandage on his cheek.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: A regular staple of mook fights in River City Ransom. Extends to the other player in co-op games!
  • Guide Dang It!: It is very unlikely a player will reach the True Final Boss and Golden Ending of Rival Showdown without help. Not only does it require clearing a thorough list of events, it must be done on a pretty tight schedule, meaning you also must be powerful enough to quickly finish the fights. It also doesn't help that although some of the events are marked on the map, not all of them are.
  • Happily Ever Before: ''River City Saga: Three Kingdoms" ends before Guan Yu (Kunio) is killed by Sun Quan (Riki).
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Emphasis on the huge for Misuzu.
  • The Hyena: While the cast is mostly silent, Godai is easy imagine as such because he's always grinning widely.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Any time the games use weapons, expect them to often become improbable.
    • River City Super Sports Challenge practically takes the trope up to eleven, with some moves transforming thrown weapons into pizzas or teddy bears, for whatever reason. Also, don't think a grenade is an improbable weapon? Then remember this is a game about a triathlon.
  • Improvised Weapon: If it can be picked up by Kunio and co., it becomes this.
  • Jidaigeki: Downtown Special is River City Ransom Recycled IN FEUDAL JAPAN!
  • Kick Chick: Misako is probably the best qualifier, with both an aerial spin kick and a mule kick at her disposal as special moves in River City Girls Zero. Perhaps strong kicks have something to do with why Kunio and Riki yield the task of torturing a confession out of a thug to her, and she very quickly gets it with a swift kick to the groin.
    • Interestingly enough, Misako is also the manager of the school soccer team.
    • Reversed in River City Girls, as it's now Kyoko whose fighting style consists mostly of kicks, while Misako tends to be more of a brawler, relying primarily on punches and headbutts.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • In Super Dodge Ball, the Japanese team facing the other teams of the world has been changed to America taking on the other teams of the world.
    • River City Ransom removed references to the setting taking place in a Japanese High School, though River City Ransom EX retains the Japanese clothing.
    • In Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge, the Japanese Olympics Event is changed to an American Underground Competition, with all players and team names changed.
    • Renaming the Double Dragon Twins as Randy and Andy, loses their Japanese Meaningful Theme Naming. Their said names, Ryuichi and Ryuji, literally mean "First Dragon" and "Second Dragon," respectfully.
  • Magic Realism: Even with the goofier entries, the setting is generally grounded, with the occasional use of characters with supernatural powers, such as in Rival Showdown and River City Girls. However, Stay Cool, Kobayashi-San! stretches it to its limit by introducing sci-fi elements and negative energy.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Despite being the effective base of the hero, who would send their child to "Hot-Blooded High School" (Nekketsu Koukou)? Yes, "nekketsu" can also mean "passionate", "spirited", or "eager", but still.
  • No Holds Barred Beat Down: Can be this in the side-scrolling beat em' ups. You'll either be the one on the receiving end or the one delivering it.
  • Non-Action Guy: Hiroshi, whom you often have to either rescue, escort or avenge in the games he appears in.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Godai (a.k.a. Tex), with his huge eyes and his wide grin, looks more like he came out of an episode of The Simpsons.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Kunio's signature white uniform is apparently the privilege of the school guardian (although a few games depict all Nekketsu students wearing them).
    • The protagonists of River City Girls do this as well, with Misako wearing black shorts instead of a skirt and Kyoko wearing a blue jacket over her uniform. Subverted in Kyoko's case, as she doesn't actually attend River City High.
  • One-Hit KO:
    • What makes the final level of Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun so difficult. If Sabu's cronies don't get you with their pocket knife, Sabu's handgun just might.
    • There's also an equippable accessory in River City Girls that gives the player a 1% chance per hit to instantly KO any non-boss enemy.
  • The Pawns Go First: In the first Kunio Kun game (as well as its Western localization Renegade), Kunio fights Mooks while the stage's boss would hang to the side and watch. When you were down to two or three mooks, the boss would then join in the fight.
  • Prequel: Riki Densetsu depicts what Riki was up to before he confronts Kunio in Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun Special.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs:
    • Riki's trademark attack, the Mach Punch.
    • In the original Kunio-Kun/Renegade, Misuzu/Kim's signature grab attack was to deliver a series of quick slaps before tossing Kunio over her shoulder.
  • Red Baron: Shinji is often known as the Blue Emperor.
  • Retraux: Starting from Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun Special, the modern Kunio-kun titles have reverted back to NES-style sprites for the in-game character designs, though the amount of detail put into them is more than what the actual NES is capable of.
    • River City Girls uses a new 16-bit inspired style, that is not based on the NES chibi sprites.
    • Stay Cool, Kobayashi-San! also uses its own distinct 16-bit inspired style.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: This is pretty much the story of both River City Ransom and River City Girls. As they are beat 'em up games, the main characters will indeed beat a lot of people up to save their loved ones. In RCR it is Riki's girlfriend who needs to be rescued from a rival school, and in RCG it is Kunio and Riki themselves. Also, the Famicom version of Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun has Sabu kidnapping Hiroshi and Kunio must save him.
    • Exaggerated in River City Girls. The girls are just sitting in a class when they get a text message telling their boyfriends have been kidnapped. Let's just say that their reaction is very Hot-Blooded, as they instantly run to the rescue, beating up everyone who is standing in their way.
  • The Rival: Riki to Kunio. In some games, such as Renegade or Crash N The Boys Street Challenge, he serves as a boss fight or foe.
  • Sarashi: Riki. Mostly in artwork.
  • Scenery Porn: Kunio Online: Revenge of Yamada has incredibly colorful, detailed and dynamic environments. What's even better is that they're still the ones you remember from River City Ransom!
  • School of Hard Knocks: The series is full of high school students fighting each other.
    • Probably the most blatant example comes from River City Girls. The main characters are causing trouble in detention. The solution? The principal makes an announcement and pretty much tells all other students in the school to beat them up. Kyoko actually lampshades this at one point with flavor dialog, asking Misako if she thinks it's strange that everybody in River City seems to go around beating each other up. Misako doesn't seem to consider it unusual behavior, suggesting that River City itself is a City of Hard Knocks!
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Inverted entirely with Misuzu. She's a humongous schoolgirl whose war cries and death screams sound masculine.
  • Signature Move:
    • In most games, Kunio/Alex has a rapid-fire kick as his special move. His rival, Riki/Ryan, uses a similar move in the form of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
    • The Double Dragon brothers, Ryuichi and Ryuji/Randy and Andy, being obviously based off of Billy and Jimmy Lee from Double Dragon, both have a devastating aerial whirlwind kick. Additionally, Ryuichi, who has more kicking power, usually has the flying knee as his second special attack, while Ryuji, who has more punching power, gets the hyper uppercut.
    • Gōda/Ivan has a powerful headbutt.
    • Godai/Tex, a practitioner of stick-fighting, can use a Spin Attack if he gets his hands on a stick or any weapon resembling a stick.
    • Onizuka/Otis can perform a Spin Attack bare-handed.
    • Kobayashi/Thor has a series of hand chops that is similar to Kunio and Riki's special moves.
    • Nishimura/Rocko has a powerful punch that can be charged for additional damage, or must be charged entirely before releasing, depending on the game.
    • Yamada/Slick/Simon has the inexplicable ability to telekinetically levitate all dropped weapons in the area, before sending them all hurtling towards the nearest victim for lots of damage. It's so prevalent that it appears in River City Ransom Underground despite the fact that he didn't have this ability in the original NES game.
    • Sugata has a hopping punch that acts somewhat like Ryuichi's knee strike, except it's usually faster and lower to the ground.
    • Saotome has the Aura Punch, a charged attack that leaves him wide open while charging, but lets him punch all enemies in a line in front of him.
    • Sabu just has a really powerful handgun.
  • Smug Snake: Toudou is portrayed as such, with a little mix of a rich jerkass due to being antagonistic towards Kunio, who has often bested him in sporting events. His father, who owns a big company, shows his respect for Kunio.
  • Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: The few games in the series that were localized for the overseas market would feature redrawn graphics for their export versions in order to downplay their Japan-centric nature, such as replacing the school uniforms worn by the characters in River City Ransom with jeans and t-shirts or switching the nationalities of certain teams in Super Dodge Ball. However, the Game Boy Advance version of River City Ransom kept the school uniforms for the characters, despite the English localization giving all the characters and gangs Anglicized names.
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass: Hasebe, who has done little more than serve as Kunio's Unlucky Childhood Friend for almost the entirety of the series, displays martial arts talents for the first time ever in the upcoming MMORPG. Also in River City Girls, the initial trailer shows Misako and Kyōko fighting with spiked knuckle dusters and a steel baseball bat when before they were much weaker in the parent series.
    • Yamada is at the peak of his power in Rival Showdown. In his final boss form, his telekinesis move now automatically creates a horde of rocks on the spot for him to throw if there isn't enough to reach the weapon number cap... and the damage it causes is usually more than enough to reimburse the SP cost of that move. If that wasn't enough, he also has both Kunio and Riki's flurry punch/kick moves and a very powerful takedown super move that utterly devastates any single opponent if it connects.
  • Trope Maker: The very first game, Nekketsu Kōha Kunio Kun/Renegade, pretty much created the foundations for the beat-em-up genre as we know it, foundations which would be built upon by Double Dragon and the game's own sequels.
  • Tuckerization: Kunio is named after Technos Japan's former president and other characters are named after staff members as well.
  • Ultimate Universe: The River City Girls universe has the proportional character design, plot points, and action of the Nekketsu Koha games while retaining the bright colors, humor, and absurdity of the Downtown Nekketsu games. As of its second installment, the settings and characters of some of the series' localizations exist alongside Nekketsu High.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zen'in Shūgō shifts the entire plot, character, and mechanics of the series into a Jidaigeki Samurai-era period piece.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If you met the requirements to fight Hasebe and Mami, Sabuko's nowhere to be seen at all and it is unknown what happened to her when the two took her place as final boss. Even stranger is that while the sequel shows that she was the canonical Final Boss, the ending has Hasebe and Mami attempting to challenge the girls to a rematch.
  • World of Badass: Every student (except Non-Action Guys and pedestrians) are capable kicking lots of ass, even the resident nerd is capable of defending himself from opponents.
    • The River City Girls sub-series underscores how prevalent badasses are in the setting, by having established series regulars and even characters from other Technos properties as shopkeepers and dojo teachers.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun, aka "Renegade" in America, had in its third stage an all-girl gang whose members either wielded chain whips (both versions) and either handbags (Japan) or spiked maces (US), and the "boss" of that level was a BIG woman (i.e. Misuzu) who could beat the daylights out of you if you got too close to her.
    • Exaggerated in River City Girls where the enemies have no issues beating up on a pair of schoolgirls. Of note, almost half of the enemies the players fight are female fighters themselves, and most of the game's bosses are female. It turns out everyone in River City would hit a girl.
  • Yakuza: Sabu and the Sanwa Gang.