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Video Game / Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-

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Oh my Buddhas.

All that lives and breathes suffers from birth, age, disease and death.
There is but one way to salvation… enlightenment.

The modern world as we know it seems normal and filled with people going about their lives, but deep in the dark recesses of the Sixth Heaven, the evil demon lord Māra gathers an army of materialized destructive emotions (bonnō 煩悩, "kleśas") to wreck havoc on mankind and drag them down into endless torment as part of his revenge plot after his defeat against Shaka Nyorai/Shakyamuni. With humanity on the brink of disaster unseen to the mortal eye, it is up to Buddhas to work their divine power in battle to stop them and save mankind… with you as their commander. Oh wait, where have we heard this before

Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- was the 2019 reboot by DMM Games of a little-known defunct 2016 online game entitled Namu Amida Butsu! developed by Visualworks, in which the player assumed the role of the dōmori (堂守, roughly "guardian") of fictitious Bonnō Temple (梵納寺) who summoned, trained and sent good-looking Buddhas into battle against kleśas and unlocked stories as the game progressed. Not related to Revolutionary Girl Utena.

The game has received an anime adaptation produced by DMM pictures and Asahi Production and aired on April 2019, making it part of the Spring 2019 anime season. -UTENA-'s service was terminated on August 31, 2020.

Compare Kamigami no Asobi (a human Player Character with a religious background is left in charge of an ensemble of Physical Gods in order to protect the world). For the anime adaptation, compare Touken Ranbu - Hanamaru.

Tropes listed here are about the -UTENA- game by default, and tropes related to the 2016 game should be noted as such.

The game(s) and its adaptations provide examples of:

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: Despite the official status of the anime as an adaptation of -UTENA-, in reality it incorporates aspects from the earlier game, namely the no-dōmori and no-later-generation-characters (aside from Taishakuten, Bonten, Ashura and Māra).
  • Adapted Out: Due to the large cast, most -UTENA--only characters are not adapted in the anime. In addition, unlike anime of predecessor games where the existence of the Non-Entity General is confirmed despite their not actually appearing, the dōmori is excluded from adaptation period; you can almost tell if someone introduced into the fandom in the -UTENA- era is an anime-only fan by whether they know who the dōmori is.
  • Alternate Universe: While the liberties taken in the anime in adapting its source material aren't enough to qualify as In Name Only, the anime can be considered this to the game based on these fundamental changes:
    • There is no dōmori.
    • The anime includes things like an anti-glamour used to mask Buddhas' divine aura to the human eye and the need to create a barrier dimension of sorts before kleśa purification can take place. None of this is present in the game.
    • While off-duty, all Buddhas wear color-coded uniform jerseys. In the game, each Buddha has their unique casual (internal affairs) outfit.
  • The Anime of the Game: One in 2019.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Golds (5-stars), being the highest rarity, are extremely hard to summon, plus the fact that most golds are limited, but the game allows selection of one of the Thirteen Buddhas, all gold, as a starter.
    • Limited Buddha gacha are in 10 steps, and getting the Buddha in question is guaranteed on step 10 regardless of whether you already got them in previous steps, provided you have that many gems to progress that far in the first place.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Auto-playing battles in this game is extremely inefficient – there are two AI modes, the first completely ignores spells and will just have the Buddhas spam basic attacks, which can cause players to fail the objective of passing the map for the first time without exceeding a certain number of turns (spell-casting does not count as a move), and the second completely expends any and all spells as soon as they're available without saving them for strategic use, and neither of them allow enemy prioritizing which can be useful for taking out those with lower HP or those with their own spells first.
  • Artistic License – Religion: For starters, Buddhist deities aren't depicted in real life as dashingly good-looking men with over-the-top personalities who engage in Slice of Life hijinks.
  • Back for the Finale: The final summoning event running for the last month before -UTENA-'s closure features every single Buddha and spell released up to that point.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: The tathāgatas according to the anime, and this makes Shaka a Lethal Chef.
  • Bland-Name Product: All over the place on street signs in the anime when the Buddhas visit the city. Diaso, jocomo and Hard Bank, really?
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: In true Bleach fashion as part of default 4-star and above spell casting special dialogue; upon activation, the Buddha will say a short command ("roar", "sink", "sprout", etc) before calling the attack.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Matching a default 4-star and up spell with its corresponding Buddha will lead to this as a special spell casting dialogue.
  • Canon Foreigner: All appearing characters who are not the Thirteen Buddhas and Karuraten, which include Taishakuten and Bonten who receive enough story appearance and billing to be prominent, are exclusive to -UTENA-. That includes the dōmori.
  • Cap: Buddha level depends on the character.
  • Card Battle Game
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: All of the Buddhas (except Ashuku who is a girl) and even the devils are very pleasing to the eye.
  • Cast Herd: The cast is primarily organized into factions they belong to in actual mythology, but other than that, they can also be classified by rarity, by type, by element and by relationship.
  • Combination Attack: During normal attack, Buddhas can randomly perform double or even triple attacks for massive damage. Buddhas with close relationships have special combined attack dialogue.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Both the original game and -UTENA- have manga adaptations published by Ichijinsha, the former running in Gene and the latter in ZERO-SUM.
  • Com Mons: Oddly enough, the 3-star rarity, since there are only 2 Buddhas belonging to the lower 2-star rarity.
  • Continuity Reboot: Knowledge of the 2016 game is not needed to enjoy -UTENA-; the latter takes the bare-bones premise of kleśas purification and builds a totally different plot from the ground up, featuring characters not existing in the previous game.
  • Cooldown: After casting a spell, a certain number of turns must pass before it can be cast again.
  • Costume Porn: All characters are given exceedingly elaborately-designed battle wear.
  • Crossover Cosmology: While the good forces are overwhelmingly Buddhist with bits of Shinto, the bad guys are clearly demonic figures from various pantheons teaming up, with Buddhist (Māra), Mesopotamian (Pazuzu), chiefly Christian (Satan) and Islam (Iblis).
  • Culture Chop Suey: The game is set in Japan, the characters are imported figures from an Indian religion, Indian cuisine like soma makes an appearance, the characters celebrate Japanese holidays, many weapons and outfit designs are vaguely Chinese.
  • Dead Character Walking: The captain can be knocked out of the sortie and still literally play voice clips at appropriate nodes, even though they're out of the battle and can't fight anymore.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Considering this game lacks the permanent damage/character loss mechanic of its predecessors, all you get for letting a Buddha's HP reach zero is their being unable to perform for the rest of the sortie, after which they get their full HP back. Hell, this game plays this trope so hard the party can still proceed even if the captain is knocked out, and said greyed-out captain can still play resource node/boss node voice clips even when they can't perform. The only true penalty for this comes by letting the entire party die in battle, which will fail the sortie.
  • Denser and Wackier: Obviously heavier on the humor than its predecessor games with its characters having sillier quirks, an official yonkoma and official one-panel comic shown during loading, plus the Great Hall feature and two attendant mechanic to milk out even more comedic interactions.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening is sung by Masaaki Mizunaka, Taishakuten's CV.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: In addition to having a noticeably different art style (and possibly illustrators) in the 2016 game, characters who were in that game had some wildly different designs from their -UTENA- counterparts: for one, Dainichi dressed more revealingly, Kannon and Seishi dressed less revealingly, Yakushi's outfit had a hood, Ashuku wore a short skirt with a longer sheer garment underneath rather than one tapered frilled skirt, plus she wore high-heels instead of geta, Miroku wore a mere buttoned shirt instead of a tángzhuāng, Karura didn't have a human form, and no one had internal affairs clothing because internal affairs wasn't a thing back then.
  • Elemental Powers: In -UTENA-, there are Fire, Wind, Earth, Water and Void. In the 2016 game, it was Flower, Star, Moon and Nothingness. -UTENA- assigns fixed elements to characters, meaning each character is always associated with one element no matter what skill they equip, while in the 2016 game it's the cards that were assigned elements, meaning each character's element changed depending on the card.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Certain elements hit certain elements harder: Wind beats Earth, Earth beats Water, Water beats Fire, Fire beats Wind, Void is a neutral element.
  • Excuse Plot: The premise of "fighting kleśas to save humanity" is more or less an excuse to collect and send attractive men into battle.
  • Flower Motifs: Being a game about Buddhism, the lotus shows up a lot.
  • Friendship Song: The opening theme Sora Uta.
  • Fun with Homophones: Amida Nyorai's annoying sense of humor aside, the developers engage in this too – official sources do not refer to characters using the normal word jinbutsu 人物, instead using a homophone that reads 神仏, meaning "gods and Buddhas".
  • Glamour: Used by the Buddhas in the anime to disguise themselves to humans. They take the forms of whichever human they desire when traveling outside, and a different glamour in the temple cause them to be seen by temple visitors as monks.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Void is a neutral element, which is exactly the key to its effectiveness. There are no elements it's strong against, but there are no elements it's weak against either, meaning there is no need for worrying about weakened attacks, while those having this element is relatively tankier than other ones as they take all hits from all elements equally. This trope applies to all elemental attributes in the 2016 game, as they are all relatively wackier-sounding than most examples of Elemental Powers (Flower, Star, Moon and Nothingness, really?).
  • Hotter and Sexier: Noticeably more fanservicey than predecessor games with frequent use of revealing clothing designs and flat-out Walking Shirtless Scene of well-built men.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: A key difference that sets this game apart from its predecessors – the default sprites are constantly and smoothly animated, even in the Buddha index. Battle and internal affairs sprites are still however.
  • I Am Not Weasel: The zookeeper Tadokoro in the anime is annoyed when the birds he works with are called ducks. They're geese.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The Buddhas are divine figures originating in an Indian religion passing through several countries before reaching Japan, but are written as if they're full-fledged Japanese people. Not only that, a lot of their designs draw from Chinese elements, with many Buddhas dressing in what are obviously hànfú and tángzhuāng and wielding Chinese weapons.
  • Invisible to Normals: Neither Buddhas nor kleśas are visible or audible to normal humans and only people with dōmori powers can see and interact with them. Averted in the anime where it is stated that walking about in the human world without a Glamour will cause the Buddhas' divine auras to attract humans to them in droves.
  • Killed Off for Real: Notably averted in this game compared to its predecessors – this game does not have a permanent damage/repair mechanic and Buddhas cannot be killed, even if their HP is brought down to zero, and they will be instantly healed to full after each sortie.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The color of the border of each Buddha's icon depends on their rarity: gold for highest 5-stars, silver for 4-stars and bronze for 3- and 2-stars.
  • Loading Screen: Two varieties: the normal variety in which the official one-panel comic is shown to entertain the player while loading proceeds at the bottom of the screen, and the in-battle variety with a rapid "traveling" montage as the team proceeds from one battle to the next.
  • Low Fantasy: There are Buddhas and divine magic, but the game is set in Heisei-Reiwa Japan where human life isn't very different from that in the contemporary real world if at all, divine beings live like humans (they even engage in commerce and use information technology) and use of magic is almost entirely limited to combat.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Everyone except Ashuku.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Despite the prevalence of Walking Shirtless Scenes, no characters are drawn with nipples.
  • Nobody Can Die: Again, this game does not have a permanent damage/death mechanic – you can get your Buddhas knocked out in battle as many times as you want.
  • Non-Entity General: The Buddhas are lead by the dōmori, this game's equivalent to the admiral, saniwa and alchemist librarian.
  • Novelization: A light novel adaptation of the 2016 game entitled Namu Amida Butsu! Shunkashūtō Shiki Musubi, written by Nashio Tsukimoto, published by KADOKAWA in B's-LOG Bunko Alice. There has yet to be an -UTENA- light novel though.
  • Officially Shortened Title: NamuAmi, NamuAmi UTENA or nmam. The 2016 game was also called hotoke13.
  • Olympus Mons: Pretty much the entire point.
  • Orphaned Series: The Buddha introduction series on YouTube, despite promising an episode on Hōshō Nyorai in its latest episode uploaded in Sep 2018, has never been updated since. It's possible that it will never be updated, as the game's become defunct.
  • Overly Long Name: A lot of characters have names reaching five or six characters and whose pronunciations are a mouthful, and this may be the reason the Eight Offering Bodhisattvas are Only Known by Their Nickname.
    • Skill names are also not exempt from this; many skills at higher rarities have names reaching up to eight characters, not to mention skill names that are full sentences.
  • Pantheon Sitcom: What the game essentially is – Buddhist deities having Slice of Life antics in a modern society inbetween seriously fighting evil.
  • Physical Gods: Being Buddhas, the collectible characters are this.
  • Place of Protection: Bonnō Temple is a safe haven where Māra, his minions and his influence cannot reach.
  • Power Trio: Any and all trinities (a central Buddha with two servants, one servant of the left and one of the right).
  • Random Number God: The game has a gacha mechanic where one summons Buddhas and skills at various rarities. Notably averted in battle compared to its predecessor games – the player decides the attacking order via team placement, which enemy to prioritize by selecting them, when to attack and can manually cast spells. Combined attacks are still random, however.
  • Rare Random Drop: Any Buddhas with the highest Gold rarity (5 stars), who rarely show up from summoning. All tathāgatas and vidyārājas belong to this rarity, though the game fortunately lets you choose one from thirteen of them as a starter. Ironically, the 2-stars are also this, as there are precisely 2 characters with this rarity (Nittenshi and Gattenshi), making them less likely to show up than the common 3-stars.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Sixth Heaven, the base of Māra and his minions, is very dark, has blood red clouds and equally red ominous patterns in the sky.
  • The Runt at the End: Limited Buddhas are a fancy lineup of golds… and Bonten, who is silver.
  • Series Continuity Error: The game's prologue establishes Buddhas as Invisible to Normals, but in other instances, they're shown to buy human products, go to human restaurants, play with human children, etc., but no explanation is given. The anime rectifies this by introducing an inverse glamour.
  • Shout-Out: Spiritual Successorship to Bungo to Alchemist aside, the default 4-star and above spell special dialogues seem to have been inspired by Bleach's Shikai and Resurrección.
  • Signature Move: Each spell 3-star and up is unique to a Buddha, and though a Buddha can be equipped with and use another's spells, only by equipping their corresponding (4-star and higher) spell can they trigger special dialogues.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The Mandala Board, mechanically the Expy of BunAl's Blossoming. It allows each Buddha a stat boost with each unlocked node, and as one progresses on the board, more resources are needed and some node sets have level prerequisites. The board also comes with nodes that unlock side stories for the character involved. Unlocking the whole board grants a special CG and skill.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The game is loaded with good-looking men on both sides of good and bad… and Ashuku Nyorai. Averted in the anime where Ashuku is a crossdressing guy.
  • Spiritual Successor: This game is often compared to Touken Ranbu, but it is actually the spiritual successor to Bungo to Alchemist, as it shares more similarities to the latter than the former. Seriously, this game has so many things in common with BunAl listing them all may need a subpage.
    • The playable characters are not personifications; they are already sentient figures.
    • This game's Mandala Board mechanic for strengthening Buddhas resembles BunAl's Blossoming instead of TouRabu's Refinery, and there are separate material maps to farm for specific types of materials on certain days of the week similar to BunAl's Special shelf.
    • Combat is vertical-scrolling as opposed to TouRabu's horizontal-scrolling.
    • Maps are in the form of straight left-to-right lines with parallel branches, which resemble BunAl's Tainted Book maps.
    • You cannot summon duplicates of already existing characters; duplicates will be instantly scrapped and turned into strengthening for existing ones.
    • Upgrading spell cards by merging duplicates is similar to BunAl's Memoria, down to having changed artwork (for 4-star and rarer cards) when upgraded.
    • There is a Great Hall feature where one can acquire furnitures to decorate similar to BunAl's Librarian's Office.
  • Status Buff: In addition to the usual temporary buffs by casting spells, permanent buffs granted to all team members depend on the type of the captain.
    • Tathāgatas increase the team's HP.
    • Vidyārājas increase the team's attack.
    • Bodhisattvas increase the team's defense.
    • Devas increase the team's spell strength.
  • Super-Deformed: In the Great Hall, you can see all your acquired Buddhas hanging out and interacting in chibi form. During summoning animation, they can occasionally pop up as well.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: During the casting of spells, the screen will cut to either a special sprite of the character, or the artwork on their spell card for spells at 4-stars and up. Combined attacks are also this.
  • Tamer and Chaster: While -UTENA- has a token pervert in Nanda, the first game was more blatant in suggestive, fanservicey and outright sexual depictions, with a kleśa that caused uncontrollable lust in the very first chapter and one of Yakushi's cards' depicting his receiving bondage, among other things.
  • Temporary Online Content: This game is especially egregious with this, as most 5-star Buddhas are limited event summons and it's easier to count those who aren't limited than those who are.
  • Undying Loyalty: All over the place.
    • For starters, all Buddhas are loyal to the dōmori.
    • The two servants in a trinity are loyal to the central Buddha by definition.
    • Many Buddha factions (i.e. Four Heavenly Kings) are under the command of and loyal to another Buddha.
  • Video Game Remake: This game is the 2019 remake of the original 2016 Namu Amida Butsu!, which became defunct in 2018.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Hair colors are many and varied among characters, from blond, red and brown to blue, pink and green, as well as multicolored.