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Video Game / Vanguard Princess

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Government experiments on a young girl triggered a cosmic shock wave that gifted many young girls with mystical powers. She re-emerges into the world and vows to destroy all of mankind in an act of revenge. A brave group of girls who embraced their powers head to the battlefield to confront her; not just for the sake of the world, but to pursue their own personal motives and dreams.
—The English version's game description

A freeware game released on June 26th, 2009, Vanguard Princess is an indie fighting game created by former Capcom employee Sugeno Tomoaki (a.k.a. Suge9) with Enterbrain's Fighter Maker 2002. While the game's entire cast are female, it does not play like a button-masher like most all-girl fighting games, nor is its gameplay derived from games such as the Guilty Gear series.

Gameplay-wise, the game is more akin to games such as Street Fighter II. However, there is something that makes this fighting game stand out from the rest: It's a "2-on-2 fighting game". At the start of each game, players can chose one of four support characters to help assist them in battle, and the key to this game is experimenting with different support characters to utilize each characters' abilities effectively. Alone, each of the main characters limitations with their potential in battle; but with the aid of their partners, they can they can assist them in certain situations and perform effective combos.

More about the game (and how to run it on your computer) can be found here. A complete wiki is available here.

The English version of the game was released in late 2012 via GamersGate and Amazon Downloads for $10, and the Steam version was released in late 2014. In 2018, eigoMANGA went on to publish a series of digital comics based on Vanguard Princess, which can be purchased as DLC for the game.

This game features trope examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Parodied with Yui feeling flat compared to Rikako in this 4koma by Suge9.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A DLC was released for the Steam version focusing on Lilith, featuring some new themed stages, such as a graveyard, and a dark mansion. Another DLC was released, this time focusing on Kurumi.
  • Assist Character:
    • Eko, Sierra, Kanae, Juliet and child-Hilda serve as this, and the gameplay is built with them in mind, as you can combine the skills of your main character with those of your assist to do disaster. Kurumi in particular makes extensive use of them, as her Union Arts allow her to temporarily fuse with her assist, and attack her opponent for massive damage.
    • Child Hilda comes with her own friend assists: Maya, an angel girl, and Kaya, a demon girl, who do most of the work for her. They also serve as exclusive assists for Adult Hilda.
  • Berserk Button: Lilith really hates it when people don't believe her when she says that she's a demon and the daughter of Satan.
  • Haruka's ending reveals she promised Hilda that she will be with her when they first met, prompting her to go on a quest to save her in the game.
  • In Kurumi's ending, she makes one for the sealed Hilda with Eri, saying that they will protect her from the Government if they come for her.
  • Downloadable Content: Steam version currently has four: A free uncensoring one and another that adds the (re-balanced) Final Boss to the playable roster and some other updates. A third DLC which was centered on Lilith, and the fourth one which is centered on Kurumi. There was also talk of a free netplay DLC in the works. A digital comic series was also released as DLC, as well as a digital soundtrack and artbook for the game.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kaede's ending revealed that Colonel Miokawa put a contract on herself so that her own daughter would kill her. She never forgave herself for causing her own daughter to lose her memories through the experiments she headed.
  • Drop the Washtub: Kanae can summon a large metal pan to fall onto her enemies head.
  • Famous Ancestor: Lilith not just any demon, she's the daughter of Satan.
  • Forehead of Doom: Lilith, the daughter of Satan, has a considerably large one.
  • Fusion Dance: Kurumi's Union Arts has her fuse with her assist character, resulting in a different appearance and attack (although all functionally similar for the move) depending on which assist character you fuse with. Hilde is the only one she can't use this move with.
  • Glacier Waif: Lilith has he appearance of an 11-year-old girl, but she's strong enough to lift her opponents above her head with one hand, and slam them hard against the ground. Justified as she's a demon.
  • The Last Dance: Ayane is a variation. While she's not dying, she is losing her powers, and her Story Mode involves her going on one final mission and seeking one last match with Yui before she loses them completely.
  • Lethal Joke Character: At the first glance, Kurumi seems to be a Joke Character. Her normal attacks don't do a lot of damage and her health is low. However, she is the only one in the game who can cancel, and her normals can be chained. But her biggest advantage is that her support gauge fills very, very quickly, enabling her to do more stuff with the support characters. It doesn't hurt that her first super move, Union Arts, does ridiculous amounts of damage AND restores some of her life. However, it requires both a full super gauge and a full support gauge.
  • Level Ate: Candyland, one of the stages found in the Kurumi DLC, is entirely made of sweets: It has huge lollipops, cakes as big as mountains, and a river of ice cream in the background.
  • Magical Girl: Kanae fills this trope for the series. She wears a white sailor fuku with a green skirt and yellow bow on her chest. She walks around with a large magical staff, summoning washpans, cartoon dogs, and a Cute Ghost Girl to aid her partner.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: When the Government realized Hilda's powers, they began to experiment on her. Said experiments triggered a cosmic event known as an "Astral Impact", which gifted many girls with mystical powers.
  • Master Swordsman: Yui is said to be the best sword fighter in Japan, and Saki specifically seeks her out in her Story Mode to show that she can beat her at swordplay.
  • Mysterious Past:
    • Kurumi. According to Lilith, she was once a demon queen named Frederica who was reborn into a human. Depending on how it went, it may be a Dark and Troubled Past.
    • Kaede turns out to be the daughter of Colonel Miokawa who had volunteered herself for human experimentation. However, something went wrong during the process and she lost her memories.
  • Named Weapons: Yui's sword, Sakuya, as well as Saki's sword, Hitohira, and the Kamitsurugi sword which was in possession of The Government.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Luna, Hilda and Juliet all have outfits with plunging necklines. A little disturbing with the latter, since she doesn't look older than twelve.
  • Ninja Maid: Juliet, a maid who fights with an over-sized Epic Flail.
  • Patricide: Or to be more accurate, Matricide. In her ending, Kaede learns that the person she was contracted to kill was her mother Colonel Miokawa, who had put a contract on herself to atone for her sins, which included accidentally brainwashing her own daughter when she experimented on her.
  • Panty Fighter: Almost every girl has an attack that flashes their knickers (the exception to this rule is Yui, if you don't count her cut-in animation). Some of them don't even have to do that much.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • Child Hilda in the English version is a playable Assist Character in the Story Mode. Unfortunately, she can't perform a Union Art with Kurumi.
    • A recent DLC allows a balanced Adult Hilda to be playable.
  • Rain of Arrows: One of Ayane's special moves, called "Holy Arrow In The Universe", has her firing three arrows that come raining over her opponent; And her "Black Sky Holy Arrow" Liberty Art is a superpowered version of this move.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: Kaede, who primarily fights by slashing people with her hands.
  • Spirited Competitor: Unlike most of the other characters, Saki joins the tournament to test her skills against various fighters, especially against Yui.
  • SNK Boss: In the Japanese version, Adult Hilda is ridiculously overpowered, due to having a powerful assist and a projectile focus that no other characters can reliably counter or even defend against, but this is balanced by her AI being easily confused. However, the English version combines this with a Perfect Play A.I. who can throw lightning-fast projectiles in a way that no human could possibly match, to the point where most characters can hardly get close to her without being pounded by one of her many specials, which she fires off one after another at lightning speed. She doesn't cheat, per se, but with her moveset, she doesn't need to.
  • Stance System: The core of Luna's gameplay. Unlike the other characters, she doesn't have a proper forward or back dash; insead of that, tapping forward of back twice makes her enter a stance, where she aims her guns at different angles, and knowing these different stances is key to master Luna's style.
  • Super-Strong Child: Token Mini-Moe Lilith is the resident grappler of the game, pulling off lots of wrestling type power move on characters that are at least twice her size. Being a demon explains her strength.
  • Telephone Polearm: Newcomer Rikako's weapon of choice happens to be a metal traffic sign that has a symbol for "no tanks".
  • Tuckerization: Chapter 2 of the tie-in digital comic reveals the name of Lilith's father, Satan himself, to be Donald Judas Trump.
  • Use Your Head: Two of Lilith's attacks involve her moving forward and headbutting her opponent.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Lilith can perform Suplex Finishers and piledrivers, given that's she's this game's equivalent to Zangief.