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Video Game / Supa Robo Gakuen

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Well, it does feature a school...oh, and Super Robots.

Supa Robo Gakuen (literally "Super Robot School" - and yes, it's NOT "Super Robot Gakuen": it's supposed to be spelled differently) is a Spin-Off of the Super Robot Wars franchise released on August 27, 2009 for the Nintendo DS, preceded by Super Robot Wars W and Super Robot Wars K, utilizing the battle engine of the latter.

Despite what the name entails, Gakuen is not a High-School A.U. featuring players' favorite Super Robot Wars Original Generation characters, but rather a Mon-centered game set in a high school featuring licensed Humongous Mecha series from W and K and some of the Game Boy Advance SRW installments (mainly Super Robot Wars Judgment). The only SRW Original Generation present is the Compatible Kaiser in its Super Robot Wars: Original Generation incarnation. Furthermore, Gakuen lacks the licensed music from the licensed series with quite a few other reasons why this title is largely forgotten by time and neglected by fans, some of them justified.


Players take on the role of Ryoga Saeki (or any name they desire), a fresh transfer student arriving at an Academy of Adventure which teaches future commanders and leaders through the use of a special device called "BASE", which allows them to store the battle data of and simulate combat with various Humongous Mecha. Along the way, players will meet a Cast of Snowflakes, engage in typical high-school hijinks colored by Duels Decide Everything and hopefully have a laugh or two about the numerous parodies and Lampshade Hangings.

Its core aim was an attempt to reintroduce Competitive Multiplayer to the franchise, something Super Robot Wars Link Battler and Super Robot Wars XO had, except Gakuen builds upon new mechanics rather than recycle the same approach from the main series. For all intents and purposes, the experiment can be considered a failure, as this was the last Super Robot Wars installment to truly toy with multiplayer.


Supa Robo Gakuen provides examples of:

  • Action Initiative: Each action in battle takes time to execute. Out-timing opponents is often more valuable than taking the preemptive with the strongest attacks, and the traditional approach of focusing fire on one enemy may not work if he or she decides to use Spirit Commands.
  • Aerith and Bob: Most of the cast has perfectly normal, if punny, Japanese names. Ryoga, Aoi, Kyoka, Saya... And then there's Pepper, the Magical Girl. Oh, and one sidequest has a Cinderella Expy literally named Cinderella (spelled in hiragana and all).
  • A.I. Roulette: The AI sometimes uses Spirit Commands at random, and almost never remembers that evasion can simply be countered through casting the "Strike" Spirit Command,note  the same applies to the "Alert" Spirit Command.note  Admittedly, this has been an AI issue in the main series as well, but one would think this would be improved for a game focused on two-on-two combat.
  • Amazon Brigade: There's nothing stopping you from making your entire roster be female pilots. Some bosses (and, inevitably, random encounters) rely on all-female teams as well.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Sakiya, to Ryoga, right before willingly letting Mimon possess her. Cue Heroic BSoD.
  • Anime Hair: Pretty much all of the school's inhabitants have gravity-defying hair of varying colors.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The Death Is a Slap on the Wrist for any longtime SRW player.
    • A boss or the gashapon drops a robot you already have in that Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors version? Pick another!
    • Locations with nothing to interact with are marked grey on the map. Plot-progressing locations are red.
    • Unsure whether a conditional secondary attack trait will trigger or not? Attacks that can trigger this turn are marked with a red circle on the list.
    • You CAN input attacks you don't have enough Will for YET into the queue if you're sure you'll have enough by the time they roll around, you don't have to wait for the next turn after using Will boosting abilities or items.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only deploy two out of your possible squad of five.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • High-tier robots are offset by having high deployment costs, meaning players will have to either use weaker units in the same team as them or sortie fewer robots. It's up to players to decide whether Gaiking the Great can carry a battle with a bunch of Red Shirt stand-ins or not.
    • Also, MAP attacks. Usually the longest to execute, wildly inaccurate and only affecting the enemy's two active robots. That said, the AI uses them to devastating effect, if you pair them with some Spirit Commands, but you need to build up a time reserve to fit all that into one turn.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: If a trope shows up in the story, it will be either remarked upon, ridiculed after the fact or a parody to begin with.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: One sidequest has Ryoga fighting off a giant cockroach infestation of the cafeteria. Since Duels Decide Everything, he has to fight their Gundams off too!
  • Big Eater: Yellow of the local Sentai team. Also, "Sweet-tooth Girl" from the quest of the same name, who attacks Ryoga when he dares suggest eating that much candy is unhealthy.
  • Boring, but Practical: The time system suddenly makes certain machine gun-like attacks (such as the typical vulcans of the various Gundams or the weapons used by Arm Slaves) useful since they are faster to execute than any of the No-Sell Spirit Commands. Sure it's Cherry Tapping, but it's a faster way to achieve victory than waiting for the opponent to use up their Spirit Points. If you have some SP of your own left, you can see Finger Poke of Doom below.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Because of the move to shared energy pools for teams, weapons that used ammo rather than energy now use energy. Lots of it. And have been Nerfed. This is triply important for potential Game-Breaker attacks such as Heero's and Kira's MAP attacks which would let them solo entire missions if backed up by a unit with Resupply. Now, they do two thirds of their prior damage and generally run your energy pool dry after two uses.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ryoga is often put upon, beat up, belittled, used as an errand boy and otherwise humbled for his status as a transfer student.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: In a way, "Super-Robot Battle Challenge!" which is shorthand for "we've reached an impasse in our current argument and/or conflict, so it is now up to Duels Decide Everything to occur" for most characters.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember the shrine type thing Ryoga breaks early on in the game? Yeah, that's totally not gonna come back to bite him in the ass later on. If you thought the similar shrines scattered around the school are important, you get a cookie!
  • Chekhov's Skill: Each main cast member has a key trait that makes them stand out and is their main weakness — Fubuki is obsessed with guns, Nanami is a Hollywood Hacker, Kyoka is a martial artist, Bancho is Hot-Blooded personified, Ryoga is a Magnetic Hero and so on. They all come in handy when the Buster Cannon subplot rolls along.
  • Cherry Tapping: If the player's team is out of units with barrier-penetrating skills or No-Sell-negating skills, you're in for this until the enemy's units run out of Spirit Points and start running low on energy. Of course, by the time the player makes any progress, the enemy may pound your robots into dust.
  • Chick Magnet: Ryoga. Discussed in one sidequest where a fellow student asks for his advice with girls, seeing as how large Ryoga's (unwanted) harem is, he's definitely got a secret trick to it. They end up fighting since there is no secret, other than being good at robot battling (which the contender is not).
  • Combination Attack: As per usual from the core games, although three-unit attacks (or more, for that matter) are harder to execute since you have to have all the attack's participants in your team (not necessarily deployed - you can deploy only two at a time, remember?). If an attack involves both active units, it's possible for players and opponents to waste a turn by having one of the two units taken out before they get a chance to use these attacks.
  • Composite Character:
    • Every unit that appeared in more than one game being covered, with newer installments getting prioritized. For the most part, K is considered the base, unless a unit was absent there.
    • Easily spotted with Boss Borot, who uses his K sprites, but has his W repair ability and Glass Cannon status rather than the Lethal Joke Character he was in J or K.
    • Done literally with the Getter Robo crew as portraits come from one game, robot sprites from another and Super Move Portrait Attacks are seemingly brand new.
    • Averted with Mazinger Z itself - its notably weaker but sturdier K version is used in place of the W one, despite the presence of Mazinkaiser which last appeared in W.
  • Cosplay: Fubuki's Valsione cosplay. Is it still cosplay if the armour is real and the ammunition is live, though? She keeps referring to it as "replica".
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Each main cast member has a key trait that makes them stand out and is their main weakness — Fubuki is obsessed with guns, Nanami is a Hollywood Hacker, Kyoka is a martial artist, Bancho is Hot-Blooded personified, Ryoga is a Magnetic Hero and so on.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Surprisingly averted despite being played straight in the main games. Having low health causes some units to start performing worse, usually in the form of decreased damage when attacking or penalties to dodge chance.
  • Cutscene Drop: Whenever you trigger a sidequest by trying to talk to an NPC, you get an animation of Ryoga re-entering the location with the NPCs re-arranged to accommodate the plot.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Some of the previously used team-ups and match-ups from other games no longer work in Gakuen because range and allied help have been largely eliminated as a factor in battles. Almost all "Spirit Skills" have more than one effect, and not only should players keep an eye on their Spirit Cost, but the time it takes to cast as well. This Nerfs the Fafners, for example, which thrived on shooting from beyond an enemy's range in K.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist:
    • In part because it is not death. If you lose, your BASE (the device that lets you do robot battles) shocks you. You wake up in the infirmary and are immediately free to go buy more robots, grind for upgrades or retry the battle you lost with a different line-up.
    • Gets ridiculous when you can get knocked out in stage two or three of a multi-stage battle, buy some robots, reshuffle your gear, then resume the fight from the stage you were knocked out on. When you return to the battle, your opponent will lampshade it, though.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Parodied. You get to break up one such fight - after convincing Kyoka that fighting you in a robot battle would be fairer since you're no match for her physically.
  • Evil Twin: School Thief No.00 turns out to be X, Z's twin. The reveal culminates in a scene eerily reminiscent of The Little Golden Calf's infinitely quotable "brother" scene.
  • Excuse Plot: You're a student in an academy that teaches children stuff by making them fight virtual Super Robot Battles! There's also scrying, scheming, UFO activity, a curse and a big ole' room full of weapons involved, as well as a plan to Take Over the World using all of the above, all of which is mainly an excuse to create themed teams of robots for you to fight. Then the ghosts and the animals and the cosplayers come out...
  • Fight Like A Gunpla Builder: Zig-zagged. Yes, everyone discusses the Super Robot battles, but just as easily half the Duels Decide Everything could be resolved through backgammon, poetry slams or plain old ultraviolence. Lampshaded numerous times when Kyoka lets her fists do the talking despite her brutally efficient team centered on Soldat J.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The change in how crit-boosting and damage-boosting Spirit Commands work note , using a high-tier damage-booster (say, one that adds 4000 base damage?) on a quick-but-weak attack like the aforementioned Vulcans can easily turn them into one, negating the one weakness Real Robots have in this game. Some story bosses abuse this tactic to hell and back.
  • Gag Boobs: While many of the girls are well-endowed, Saya and Kyoka stand out. Saya gets bonus points for having pokies. And having a man successfully impersonate her at one point, and failing only on a I Never Said It Was Poison.
  • Gainaxing: It's not readily apparent, but Kyoka's "surprise" expression portrait shows her outfit doesn't support her Gag Boobs at all and they, well, swing around when she flinches.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Inevitable for a game of this genre. A major sticking point happens whenever you oppose the plans of a classmate or a teacher in the main plot, but they act as if nothing is happening between you two in sidequests. Most jarring when the Headmaster issues his ultimatum, revealing world-taking-over plans... and then is chummy with you in the final School Thief No.00 sidequest that becomes available immediately after that cutscene.
  • Gentleman Thief: Known only as "School Thief No.00", master of Latex Perfection and a visual Expy of Tuxedo Mask.
  • Glass Cannon: Because of the re-balances to the combat system, Detonator Orgun is this more so than he was in W. If he gets hit, he'll likely die; but in return he can One-Hit Kill many Cost 1 and 2 units and seriously damage higher-grade ones.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There's a handy list for all robots acquired yet or not - good luck getting that 100% Completion.
  • Grand Theft Me: Mimon can possess people and make them do her bidding. Naturally, it comes as a shock when this results in Saya becoming a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Gratuitous English: All over the place, though some characters make a bigger thing of it than others. Ryoga, the protagonist, consistently says 'thank you' in English, for example.
  • Gun Nut: Fubuki, the girl with one of the few non-training weapons at the school. She points her gun at people at the slightest provocation.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: When Pepper tries to do her "magic pepper sprinkling" trick on Ryoga, she ends up on the receiving end of it. Contrary to his intentions, this only reinforces her faith in the approach.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja:
  • Irrelevant Sidequest: Literally every sidequest that doesn't feature Sakiya. Sure, catching a thief at the school is tangentially related to the plot, but is the story of Ryoga getting cursed because he doesn't believe in curses? A cockroach infestation of the cafeteria? Playing matchmaker between classmates?
  • Insistent Terminology: Fubuki's Valsione outfit is a "replica" because the weapons are all real.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Multiple sidequests end with Ryoga slinking off the scene while the NPC responsible for the quest squabbles with someone. Taken to the extreme in the ending: as the Unwanted Harem starts fighting over Ryoga due to the addition of Mimon to their ranks, he decides to hoof it, resulting in a chase scene straight out of The Benny Hill Show.
  • Lazy Artist:
    • While the Judgment material has been partly re-done and touched-up for the higher resolution on the DS, most (but not all!) units and Super Move Portrait Attacks from W and K are used as-is with next to no alterations to accommodate the change in perspective between the two.
    • The difference is the most pronounced with Compatible Kaiser, since he was adapted from a PS2 game. His battle sprite has traces of automated aliasing cramped into a limited pallette, for crying out loud!
  • Lazy Backup: Averted, even if both your active units fall to one attack, you get to bring in reinforcements.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Abusing the time mechanic is a better way to win than actually focusing on dealing more damage-per-turn (and the two aren't mutually exclusive, either). As such, any sufficiently quick character can become invincible, especially if they also have a shield of some sort (we're looking at you, Zoids). The same mechanics turn Kira Yamato into an outright Game-Breaker though.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Some battle animations have trouble with buffering, it seems. Shinn's final move in its Dynamic Kill versionnote  has a one-to-two-second long black-screen pause EVERY TIME the view switches to a Super Move Portrait Attack from normal side-view and vice-versa. Kira and Athrun's Combination Attack has a similar problem, but the load times are mercifully shorter.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Pretty much every battle theme. They are all two to three or so minutes long, you'll at most hear the first 20 seconds of each in-game because the game does away with another SRW tradition - song permanence. Which, considering the short songlist, cuts down the musical variety even further.
  • Magical Girl: Pepper, though she not so much fights evil as makes people wishes come true. By sprinkling them with ground pepper. Which is magical, she'll have you know. That said, the wishes DO come true despite Ryoga's best attempts to dissuade her from this unsafe activity.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Pretty much every other sidequest. How about fighting Cinderella? A monkey? A Sentai team? A score of giant cockroaches?
  • Mana Burn:
    • Energy-draining weapons are inherited from K, but in light of the removal of movement or weapon range, debuffs that would normally 'slow down' your movement by reducing range, now increase the AP cost of actions for your units. There's several versions which do this to attacks only, or to orders in the current turn only or to non-combat actions, but the end result is the same - the target unit's order list is wrecked.
    • Will-reducing Spirit Commands and attacks are another clever trick. In the main games, reducing an opponent's Will would stave off their Super Mode from triggering, and that was it. Here, if you reduce it before they use a Will-dependant attack, it will get canceled, but its AP cost won't be.
    • Averted in the main sense. Energy-draining or ammo-draining an enemy no longer works reliably because teams share an energy pool and pile together regeneration. Therefore an energy hog like Gaiking paired with an energy factory like the Nadesico wrecks any semblance of balancing and negates traditional means of dealing with them.
  • Meaningful Name: Aoi's hair is blue. Bancho is, well, a bancho.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Averted. During battles, each phase has an enforced time limit. Done more to facilitate the online portion of Competitive Multiplayer where you can't tell your opponent to get on with it.
  • Mons: Although these do not evolve or level up; players' best bet for improving on a pre-existing line-up is finding stronger versions of a pre-existing unit already in reserve.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: All over the place.
    • In one of the fights against her, Aoi deploys five Cost 5 units, breaking the 15 point limit you are subject to. That particular fight also seems to reduce her team's energy consumption, letting her units use stronger attacks more often. Brace for the pain.
    • Saya takes this further, as she mixes Cost 6 and Cost 5 units in the same manner. Her main is Hades Project Zeorymer, which may or may not rip your team apart on its own. Thankfully, you get it as a reward when you win.
    • As per series tradition, 60% to hit for you is a likely miss, but for the AI it is a definite hit.
    • Debuff-driving Spirit Commands all have a random activation chance (it is not enough to merely hit an opponent with an attack to trigger them), AND those that inflict lasting effects last a random one to three turn period. When you hit an enemy with one of these, it rarely lasts even two. When you are hit, you're more than likely to get all three turns.
  • Mythology Gag: Valsione makes an appearance... As an outfit of one of the cast members.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Tesura, the crystal ball-wielding hooded UFO and UMA enthusiast.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Toyed with - Arm Slaves and Orgun are redrawn to appear small as compared to a Mobile Suit or a unit like the El Dora V. Orgun, after all, is a suit of Powered Armor, not much taller than a human.
  • Playable Epilogue: After the credits roll, you are returned to the school gate to hunt for more robots, coins and sidequests. Since most sidequests drop in questgivers for the next leg of the chain after the main plot updates, you'll be lucky to have 50% sidequest completion by that point. Or at least two thirds of the robot roster. See also Post-End Game Content.
  • Player Data Sharing: Getting to 100% collection gets easier through trading with others. However, Gakuen doesn't function like Pokémon - since there's only one version of the game, it's theoretically possible for players to manipulate the Random Number God and acquire 100% via money and drops from random battles.
  • Point of No Return: The trap-filled forest. You've passed the first shock traps? Triply make sure your roster is fully stocked as you won't be returning to the school until after you beat the final boss, as the game offers to overwrite your save on entering the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Post-End Game Content: Since new robots are added to the drop table and enemy roster tables as the plot progresses, no 100PercentCompletion for you until after you grind some more once the Final Boss is beaten. Some sidequests' final arcs aren't unlock until then either.
  • The Power of Friendship: Ryoga is convinced Mimon does what she does because she wants friends. In the ending, he wins her over with this argument, but he convinces her so well, Sakiya gets jealous.
  • Promoted to Playable: Mook and boss units, including those you couldn't recruit in their original games. Have fun using Proist and Stella's Destroy Gundam on the same team as Tangram. You can only use units that have pilots, though, so monsters from Godannar or robots from Mazinger Z didn't make the list.
  • Random Number God: The primary source of new robots, aside from boss battle rewards, is the gashapon machine. It works as one would expect, similar to mechanics in a modern Allegedly Free Game. Provided players are lucky, Gaiking the Great or the Dann of Thursday can be acquired in the first few tries, which makes the rest of the game a breeze.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: All of the battle themes, to cut down on licensing costs. Despite using only licensed mecha, the entire soundtrack replaces their traditional themes with generic versions, many of which are shared between versions.
  • Running Gag:
    • The protagonist being sent on food runs to the cafeteria, then having to battle the Cafeteria Lady because he forgot to bring money. Or called her an old lady by accident. Or both.
    • The nameless blond guy getting Amusing Injuries because of Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That! or Spectator Casualty.
    • Using the BASE as an EST device, justifying Duels Decide Everything. Narcoleptic student? Fight her so the BASE will shock her awake. UFO abducting brainwashed student? You know what to do. Dark magic? Do you even need to ask? Possession? Yeah, sure.
    • Ryoga trying (and failing to prevent) the use of the wish-granting powder. And the associated crazy sneezing.
  • Save Scumming: Defied Trope. When buying anything via the gashapon machine, the game takes your coins, rolls the RNG, overwrites your savegame — and only then shows you what robots dropped.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • Players don't have to fill an entire team with five units, nor do they have to use up the cost limit. Strictly speaking, higher costs do not always mean better combat performance.
    • Try building thematic teams using robots only from one series, while fitting into the cost restrictions. The upside? Combination Attacks. The downside? You will probably only be able to use four robots.
    • Speaking of thematic teams, how about assembling a set of pilots voiced by the same person? Pilots with identical first names? Color-coded teams?
    • Some Scenario battles rely on this, imposing a lower Cost limit on teams or forcing you to draft your team from an otherwise-restricted version of your roster.
  • Sentai: One of the two Highly-Visible Ninja questlines is a parody of this, with each member called simply by their colour (e.g. Red, Blue, etc) and characterized by a single character trait (Yellow is a Big Eater, for example). Ryoga is Red... Right until the real Red shows up, of course..
  • Shaped Like Itself: Many one-off characters have descriptors instead of names in the dialogue boxes, such as Dojikko or Otaku. Strictly speaking, despite being a main character, Bancho falls into the same category.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: The standoff between the Headmaster and the gang goes like that. They chew out everyone on the team on their character flaws, such as how Aoi became head of the student council or why Fubuki is even allowed to carry a weapon at school. Heroic BSoD galore!
  • Side Quest: There are some optional battles or series of battles that can be attempted which yield high-tier robots as rewards and unlockable art of the opponents. Some are characterised by throwing rare enemies at you, others by imposing restrictions on team sizes or composition.
  • Situational Damage Attack: Most attacks have a secondary effect that triggers before the attack (e.g. "if you are the first attacker in a round, you get +20 CT"), after the attack if it connects (e.g. "if target has not attacked yet, their attack this round will be -700 DMG") or depending on other factors (Will value, whether your unit is a Sole Survivor, etc), and may include anything from common debuffs like in the examples above and all the way to canceling the target's moves outright.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Should it be "Tesura" or "Tesla"? Her name is spelled in hiragana, after all.
  • Spoony Bard: One side-quest involves a bard (complete with a Renaissance Fair-worthy outfit) singing songs set to the game's various BGM tracks at the protagonist despite his protestations. And then, Duels Decide Everything ensues.
  • Switch-Out Move: Players can change robots mid-battle with some having passive skills that grant boosts if tagged in, rather than call them in to replace a downed robot.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Both literally - each robot comes in a "rock", "paper" or "scissors" variant with bonuses and penalties to its base stats alongside combat bonuses and penalties to its respective strength ("rock" attacks "paper") and weakness ("paper" against "scissors"); and figuratively - the rolls players make at the start of each turn for initiative.
  • Take Your Time: It gets ridiculous near the endgame where a huge number of sidequest givers is dropped into the gameworld in a plot period where core quests act as if they happen back-to-back.
  • This Loser Is You: The Otaku character is an unflattering parody of a stereotypical Gunpla collector... or the game's intended target audience?