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Video Game / Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

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"New York Combat Revue! Let's do it!"note 

"Bang! To the rooftops!"

Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love is the fifth main installment of Sega's Sakura Wars series and the only one on the PlayStation 2 and the Wii (as well as the first to be officially released in English). This is also the final entry to feature character art and cutscene animation by Production I.G, joined this time around by AIC.

Picking up one year after the events of Sakura Wars 4: Fall in Love, Maidens, Navy Lieutenant Shinjiro Taiga, an in-training samurai from Tokyo, is summoned to New York to join the New York Combat Revue Star Division, a squad of vigilantes who, behind the disguise of a musical troupe, use their Transforming Mecha to protect New York from the threat of mysterious invading robots animated by a force known as "Dark Pneuma". The game focuses on Shinjiro acquainting himself with his new home, opening up to his teammates, and leading the Star Division against the Dark Pneuma's forces. Fighting by his side are Texan samurai Gemini Sunrise, Harlemite gangster-turned-lawyer Cheiron Archernote , kind-hearted nurse Diana Caprice, Mexican bounty huntress Rosita Ariesnote , and androgynous savant Subaru Kujo.

Like the rest of the series, So Long, My Love is split between visual novel and turn-based strategy, where the actions in the former will affect the performances of each character in the latter.

So Long, My Love was the final main Sakura Wars game to be co-developed by Red Entertainment before their co-ownership rights were bought by Sega in 2017. It was also the final game to feature Satoru Akahori as the scenario writer, Ohji Hiroi as the general producer, and Kosuke Fujishima and Hidenori Matsubara as the character designers.

So Long, My Love is also the final Sakura Wars entry to feature Akiko Kuno as Ratchet Altairnote  before she died in 2022.

The game is followed chronologically by Sakura Wars New York NY, Sakura Wars Because You Were There, Shin Sakura Taisen the Novel: Hizakura no Koro and Sakura Wars (2019). Sakura Wars V: Episode 0 ~Samurai Daughter of the Wild~ functions as a prequel to Gemini Sunrise's situation in the game.

This game provides examples of:

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Towards the end of the game, Nobunaga and Ranmaru's forces launch a full scale assault on the Littlelip Theater.
  • Always Close: It doesn't matter if you break Enten's Pneuma tank (which is about to turn your allies to stone permanently) right away, or after several turns: the messages about having three or one minute left will only pop up when it reaches certain thresholds of damage, and in the following cutscene it will be destroyed as the last second ticks down.
  • Bloodless Carnage: No blood is seen in many scenes where it would make sense, including Shinjiro striking down Tsugarubi on foot, and getting shot through the chest by Nobunaga.
  • Call-Back:
    • The opening of the game takes place in Tokyo, which is the setting for Sakura Wars, Sakura Wars 2 and Sakura Wars 4, as well as the film.
    • Yuichi Kayama first appears playing a musical instrument, this time playing the ukulele.
    • In Sakura Wars: The Movie, Ratchet's Eisenkleid gets destroyed by the Big Bad, Brent Furlong. In this game, her STAR gets destroyed by Ranmaru.
    • In the first two games, the Imperial Combat Revue uses the Mikasa to ram it into the Final Boss's fortress to fight them. Here, the New York Combat Revue rams the Ahab into the Azuchi Castle just before the Final Battle.
    • Epic battles where the combat revues fight the Final Boss in the Evil Tower of Ominousness. This time around, the Imperial Combat Revue fights Nobunaga in Azuchi Castle.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The special attack chants all follow the same structure: A sentence that defines the unit's personal characteristics; three meaningful terms Punctuated! For! Emphasis!; and the attack's name itself.
    Shinjiro: Raging tiger. Heaven! Earth! Man! Here I come; Tiger Fang!
    Gemini: Mifune sword style. Secret! Blade! Skill! It's the Rumbling Wheel!
  • The Cameo: Chisa Yokoyama and Akio Suyama once again cameo as the respective voices of Sakura Shinguji and Ichiro Ogami in the prologue.
  • Car Fu: Cheiron's first attempt to take down Kokuryuu is smashing her motorcycle into her. Unfortunately, it doesn't work so well.
  • Casting Gag:
    • So Long, My Love isn't the first time Jurota Kosugi's voiced Oda Nobunaga.
    • Hilariously enough, the game brings back Naoya Uchida, who played Tetsuma Shinguji in the Sakura Wars TV adaptation, as Michael Sunnyside. Bonus points for Tetsuma and Sunnyside being the uncles of their respective characters, Sakura Shinguji and Diana Caprice.
    • The game also brings back a few actors from the film's English dub. Dave Wittenberg, who played Ichiro Ogami in this game and the film, also plays Michael Sunnyside. Melissa Fahn, Orihime Soletta's actress, provides the voice for Rosita. Liam O'Brien, Kotone Seiryuin's VA in the film, voices Tsugarubi. Philece Sampler and Karen Strassman, who voiced Tsubaki Takamura and Kasumi Fujii, return as Yumedono and Diana Caprice.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Shin's colleagues initially make fun of this trope when he gets promoted to Captain, in spite of Shin being actually 19 years old.
  • Christmas Episode: Chapters 7 and 8 take place between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
  • Cognizant Limbs: The point of every boss fight is to figure out the order to take them out in to keep the team alive.
  • Collection Sidequest:
    • Many of them in the Extra Chapter, which involve seeing cutscenes, Super Moves, and photos.
    • In the main game, submitting a scenery photo and buying a postcard in every chapter will unlock an exclusive photo.
  • Colony Drop: Nobunaga summons a massive meteor, named the "Sixth Heaven", to drop upon New York.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sakura meets up with Taiga after his transfer to Tokyo from the Imperial Japanese Navy's academy prior to meeting with the "commander" of the Imperial Combat Revue. Back in the original 1996 game, Sakura meets Ogami in the same way.
    • Gemini mentions that she once saved America with the help of some friends back home some time before that game started. Assuming she's referring to the events of Episode V-0, Western players are unlikely to get the reference.
    • In Subaru's backstory, Ratchet wore the same battle uniform when she was a member of the European Star Division in Berlin and a temporary member of the Imperial Combat Revue in Tokyo. Further, Leni and Orihime were permanent members of both divisions.
  • Courtroom Episode: The second half of Chapter 2 takes place at an informal outdoor court, where Shinjiro is representing the Harlemites who oppose Steam Frontier's attempted gentrification of their neighborhood, while his own teammate, Cheiron, is representing Steam Frontier.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Five-Ring Mandala can seal a demon away for several centuries but at the cost of the life of one of its casters.
  • Darkest Hour: The beginning of the final chapter. Nobunaga leaves Shinjiro with a nearly-fatal wound which makes him bedridden for several days, the Star Division starts falling apart without his guidance, the Sixth Sun threatens to obliterate all of New York, and Shin has just learned that the only way to seal Nobunaga again requires sacrificing his closest ally.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cheiron and Subaru's respective chapter focus on the two learning to accept Shinjiro's leadership and become more of team players. Cheiron's breakdown is even accompanied by audio cues of ice chipping and shattering...
  • Demoted to Extra: Compared to the previous installments as major characters, Ichiro Ogami and Sakura Shinguji's roles are relatively small, as they only appear at the beginning of the first chapter.
  • Downer Ending: Some battles can end this way if you don't meet certain objectives. For example, chapter 5 may end with the demons taking the statues away. Failing the chapter 7 battle will result in the theater's barrier being wiped out. If you fail to defend the Ahab's engines, the ship will be utterly destroyed.
  • Dub Name Change: Some names were changed in the English translation, but in the English dub only. The original names are preserved in the script of the Japanese version, though a typo still lists Sagiita's English name on some of her bromides, as do Plum's and Rikaritta's. Her original name is also on her office door in the English disc. While the name changes were never explained, in at least the case of Sagitta and Rikaritta, it may have had to do with both characters having names wildly inaccurate for their cultural backgrounds.
  • Eagleland: Type 1, for the most part: America is highly idealized, but is shown to have its fair share of problems.
  • Evil Twin: Geminine, Gemini's unborn twin sister, combines this with Superpowered Evil Side: while not evil, per se, she is utterly ruthless.
  • Face of a Thug:
    • Turns out the Harlem Centaurs aren't so bad if you know them.
    • The Mafia thugs who act as antagonists in several sidequests come to help Rosita guard the docks in the final chapter.
  • First Girl Wins: Gemini in her ending. Not only is she the first member of the team Shinjiro meets (though the last to join), but she's even the most prominent character on the game's cover art, the only one on the game disc, and the first character to appear in the opening.
  • Five-Token Band: The New York Combat Revue consists of two Japanese (Shinjiro and Subaru), two European/White-Americans (Gemini and Diana), an African/Black-American (Cheiron), and a Mexican (Rosita).
  • Fun with Acronyms: The mechas that the player controls are called STARs, which stand for Super Telekinetic Assault Robots.
  • Guide Dang It!: To use the powerful Coupling Attacks, which the game gives you no clue of even existing until you explore the Playable Epilogue, you have to max out the protagonist of the chapter's affection meter, then have Shinjiro stand next to her and perform a Super Move. Even harder to get is the ultimate attack Supernova, for which you have to unlock all Coupling Attacks in a single playthrough, bring all relationships (including three hidden ones) to the maximum level, and is only usable in the last chapter.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Gemini's backstory, Mifune attempts to take down Ranmaru by falling into the waterfall. Unfortunately, he doesn't survive, but the villain does.
  • Hold the Line: Two missions in the final chapter task you with protecting your HQ and airship respectively.
  • Humongous Mecha: All of the bosses (except Dokurobo) have one of these.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Shinjiro gets shot twice by Nobunaga in Chapter 7. With flaming arrows long several feet.
  • Interface Spoiler: Gemini appears in your status menu from Chapter 1. She doesn't become playable until the second half of chapter 6.
  • Jack of All Stats: Shinjiro's Fujiyama-Star has good attack power, armor, and speed, and even though he only has one-on-one attacks, he can heal up to 2 allies at the same time.
  • Japanese Ranguage: In Chapter 2, this is invoked by Shinjiro and Subaru when they pose as Japanese Tourists to fool a man from the mafia. He lampshades this, saying that they sound like walking stereotypes, and afterward, Subaru says that she feels like an idiot.
  • Leitmotif: One for each character, which is dominant in their respective chapters and plays during their sidequests.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: The only way to power up Shinjiro's stats is to raise his rank (acting professionally on the field and finishing missions efficiently). To power up the other Stars, Shinjiro has to "motivate" (befriend) his companions in the days before the battle. Friendship values between characters also give them a chance to cancel an attack aimed at another, power up Joint attacks, and unlock additional sidequests.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • The regular attack of the Stars in Flight Mode launches up to 5 missiles at a time. Rosita's Star's are smaller but in a bigger number.
    • Sunnyside takes over an arsenal and launches a salvo of carp-shaped rockets at Azuchi Castle and the Sixth Heaven to buy the Star Division enough time to destroy them.
  • Making a Splash: Diana's standard Attack is a water jet from syringe-shaped guns; in flight mode, she launches raindrop-shaped bombs. Also, her healing Super Moves make bubbles and rainbow appear.
  • Meaningful Name: Shinjiro Taiga initiates his special attack chants by comparing his own strength to that of a raging tiger.
  • The Medic: Diana's Star can heal several allies at the same time, and her Super Moves fully heal all allies in a wide range, but her attacks lack in power somewhat.
  • Mighty Glacier: Cheiron's Highway-Star, appropriately to her personality. It is the slowest of the team, but has very high armor and a powerful, piercing attack.
  • Mockbuster: The book Gone Without The Wind is pretty popular among girls.
  • Musical Nod:
    • The nighttime and main themes from Sakura Wars (1996) are played in the opening prologue.
    • Geminine's introduction features the main theme, "Samurai Spirits", from Samurai Daughter of the Wild.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: When a Star (except Shinjiro's) is destroyed, it is whisked out of the battle with nothing but a slight disappointment of the pilot at Shin's tactical skills. Yes, even if it was shot down from the sky, melted into a pool of otherworldly fire, or crushed beneath a meteor.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Shinjiro encounters Gemini Sunrise, the main heroine, upon his arrival in New York City.
    • Shinjiro gets his turn as a ticket clipper in the same vein as Ichiro Ogami.
    • The On the Next sequences return in this game.
    • Ratchet's mecha gets seriously damaged. Least this time, it's not her Eisenkleid.
    • The New York Combat Revue uses their ship to ram it into the enemy's fortress, Azuchi Castle.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Geminine's mask is just a black pair of glasses which easily exposes her identity the moment they're knocked off.
  • Playable Epilogue:
    • You can go around the city talking with characters and playing extra scenes after beating the final boss but before the ending.
    • The "Easy and Fun Day in N.Y." takes place after the game, and unlocks more content as you unlock the endings for more companions.
  • Quick Time Event: A staple of the Dating Sim part of the game. Some of them will net you a penalty if you complete them.
  • Ramming Always Works: Nobunaga responds to Sunnyside's missile launch by erecting a barrier around the castle. Shinjiro's answer is to just smash the Ahab through.
  • Reincarnation Romance: It's implied that Shinjiro and the girl he chooses as his partner are the reincarnations of the Five-Ring Warriors leader and the nun who sacrifices her life who have fallen in love during the ordeal.
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: Detective Sault, a moody detective with a chip on his shoulder and a grudge against Shinjiro is accompanied by Officer Hattie, who is polite and willing to help, especially in chapter 3, during the search for Rosita.
  • Rule of Three: The ground-based Supermove quotes for each character features quotes that include three words relevant to the combatant.
    • Shinjiro: "Heaven! Earth! Man!"
    • Subaru: "Snow! Moon! Flowers!"
    • Cheiron: "You! Are! Guilty!"
    • Rosita: "Steak! Potatoes! Burgers!"
    • Diana: "Trees! Grass! Flowers!"
    • Gemini: "Secret! Sword! Skill!"
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The hooded girl who sacrifices herself in the flashback changes in appearance according to whose companion you choose. However, if you select Ratchet the hooded girl will always be Gemini.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Though the prologue is set in Tokyo, So Long, My Love primarily takes place in New York City.
  • Series Fauxnale: For 14 years, So Long, My Love was believed to be the last mainline Sakura Wars game ever made. Come Sega's purchase of the co-ownership rights from Red in 2017, and we have since gotten the long-awaited sequel, some spinoff light novels, a stage play and a TV series.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The entirety of Cheiron's chapter is an Affectionate Parody of the Ace Attorney franchise, with Shinjiro collecting clues during the first half of the day, and facing Cheiron in a trial in the second. For good measure, Cheiron can be later encountered in Central Park while she practices shouting out objections.
    • Chapter 4 has a few parallels to The Birds, as it also deals with the heroes trying to survive bird attacks after several flocks turn inexplicably violent. Unlike the film it's based on, the chapter concludes with the source of the animals' aggressions being dealt with.
  • Stealth Mentor: Sunnyside puts Shin through several difficult situations so that he can strengthen the bond with his teammates and become a worthy leader, going as far as to suggest sacrificing his companion to the Five-Ring Mandala.
  • Stellar Name: Each New York Combat Revue members have names based on stars and constellations:
    • Gemini Sunrise is named after Gemini, the Twins. This becomes meaningful in Chapter 6.
    • Cheiron Archer is named after a centaur of Greek mythology. Her Japanese name, Sagitta Weinberg, is derived from Sagittarius, the Hunter. Both names also make reference to archery, as Sagittarius is oft depicted as wielding a bow.
    • Subaru Kujo is named after Taurus, the Bull.
    • Rosita Aries is named after Aries, the Ram.
    • Diana Caprice is named after Capricorn, the Goat.
    • Ratchet Altair is named after a star in the Aquila constellation.
  • Take Your Time: During side missions, the clock turns around and stops ticking, letting you visit many places multiple times without advancing the clock.
  • Taken for Granite: Many civilians and most of the Star Division are petrified while attending a party held by the villain of Subaru's chapter (they get better).
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Place two characters next to each other in battles for a tidbit of flavor dialogue.
  • Timed Mission:
    • All the segments in between missions give you limited time to make all preparations and complete the day's sidequests. Failing to achieve certain objectives or running late will lower your performance for the day.
    • Many dialogue choices are timed. Not answering in time is considered a response in and of itself.
  • Time-Limit Boss:
    • In chapter 7, if all of the generators aren't destroyed fast enough, the mooks will obliterate the theater's barrier and will trigger an immediate game over.
    • If you take too long to protect the Ahab's engines from the demons, the ship will be destroyed, killing everyone instantly.
  • Time Skip: The game picks up one year after the events of Fall in Love, Maidens. Even though each chapter in the main storyline spans a few days, one month passes between each of them.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The promotional video trailer spoils Azuchi Castle's appearance and the Star Division's final battle with Nobunaga, namely the Ahab ramming into the castle, Ratchet covering for Shinjiro and the Star Division teaming up to form their most powerful maneuver.
  • Transforming Mecha: The STARs can transform between robot and jet forms.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: So many possibilities. You can invite the ill, vegetarian Diana to a dinner of fried chicken. You can yell at an emotionally-strained Rosita and threaten to kick her out of the team. You can make fun of Gemini's attempts to join the Star Division and mock her father figure for being a pervert. You can utterly ruin the Division's Christmas party. This will, however, make progressing in the game almost impossible, closing off most sidequests and weakening your characters significantly.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Each character's STAR is equipped with a scaled-up version of weapons they would use on-foot: The Hero Shinjiro dual-wields katanas, Occidental Otaku Gemini uses a single katana, reformed Badass Biker Cheiron uses a chain, Yamato Nadeshiko Subaru uses fans, Bounty Hunter Rosita dual-wields pistols, Combat Medic Diana uses syringe-shaped water cannons, and the side-lined Ratchet uses throwing daggers.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You:
    • If Shinjiro's STAR is destroyed, it will result in an immediate Game Over and force you to restart the battle.
    • Justified in the story towards the final chapter: with Shinjiro in a coma, the rest of the Star Division doesn't have the coordination and willpower to fight anymore, letting the Dark Pneuma robots advance all the way to the HQ.

Victory pose! Cheese!

Alternative Title(s): Sakura Wars V