Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer is a 1995 Neo Geo Fighting Game by Technos Japan, which was later ported to the PlayStation in Japan only. It is unique in that the game is centered around a manga and superhero theme, and features character design by Masami Obari.
The gameplay at heart is pretty basic and has no complex combos. However, it has the main catch that during the run in the single-player mode, you are able to get the special moves of your defeated opponents.
In the year of 1999, the entire Kanto region of Japan was devastated in a terrifying record breaking earthquake. With Tokyo at the epicenter, the capitol of Japan is moved 115 miles offshore to a manmade island, and through such efforts, the new city of Neo Tokyo is born at the dawn of a new millennium. Along with reviving Tokyo into a new city, the project aimed to have public services and civil functions all automated by a central super computer for a safe and eased high quality of life for its citizens, and established a prestigious academy for the youth of Japan known as the Grand Bernard Institute.
Much to anyone's surprise however, crime exponentially skyrocketed in the years after, and with inexplicable cause, as officials considered the system infallible and with strict control by the computer's AI. Strangely, this all occurred upon Bernard electing a new principal, Shizuru Osaki. Though considered little much but coincidence by the public, plenty of individuals have correlated this conspiracy into truth with their own investigations and insights. As fate might have it, these individuals weren't just any normal people, but those with powers and abilities able to see through to the truth with their own fists. Into the year of 2017, along with protecting the citizens of Neo Tokyo from crime and evil, so have these unordinary people found that the root of it all lies deep within Bernard. Best of all, they are those better known as if lifted from the pages and chapters of sequential media itself: Superheroes.
Best said from a popular manga series before, Neo Tokyo is about to explode!
These characters include:
- Isato Kaiza AKA Gowcaizer: The Hero. Hot-Blooded and has a deep passion of justice. Plays with fire. Voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama (OOOOOHHHH)
- Kash Gyustan AKA Hellstinger: The closest candidate of The Rival. A Winged Humanoid nicknamed Prince of Destruction who is The Casanova and has passion in music. Voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa.
- Sun Hualing AKA Karin Son: The heroine of the game. A descendant of Seitei Taisei, making her a female Stripperiffic Son Goku, fighting with many of his arsenals such as miniature selves, staff and transportation cloud. Voiced by Tomo Sakurai.
- Kyosuke Shigure: The 'cool guy' loner who's got a grudge with Ohga. Walks around with Badass Longcoat and fights with a blade-stick and summoned spirits, either wolf, bird or monkey. Voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu.
- Shaia Hishizaki: Ditzy Idol Singer who's actually an undercover policewoman trying to arrest Ohga. Fights with her 'pet' Ball Boy which can shoot laser, bash himself to the enemy or burn in fire. Voiced by Yumi Touma.
- Ikki Tachibana AKA Brider: Former Delinquent turned into soldier to serve Ohga, but defects and forms a group of fellow brethren to fight in the name of JUSTICE. Heavily draws inspiration of Kamen Rider in how he fights. Voiced by Masami Obari. (Yeah, the guy who designed them all.)
- Ranpou Fudoh AKA Fudomaru: Member of ancient Ninja clan who poses as a science teacher, out to vanquish Ohga. Uses various ninja techniques and throwing vials of explosives or lightning. Voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu
- Randy Riggs AKA Captain Atlantis: Nerdy archaeologist who found the mask of Atlantis and when he dons it, he becomes a muscular grinning superhero who's all-confident. You only see that superhero self. Voiced by Hideo Ishikawa.
- Marion: A robot designed by the Belnar Institute's Technology Division leader Professor Thomas. Seems to be gathering battle data.
- Gouichirou Kaiza/Shen-Long: Old Master who kicks ass with ki and bare fist. He's out to have vengeance against Ohga who beat him in combat in the past.
- Shizuru Ozaki/Ohga: The principal of Bernard Institute and the Big Bad and Final Boss of the game, who aims to attain godhood.
The game was later adapted into a three-part OAV directed by Obari, infamous for its strange English translation.
Tropes associated with Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer:
- Ascended Extra: In the OVA, Kyosuke's dog familiar, Kubira, takes up human form and basically became one of the main supporting characters. Karin Son also gets this as a villainous counterpart of herself in hentai OVA series Angel Blade.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: It's an old Neo Geo game that comes with all the SNK-style Engrish that just makes no sense or omitted certain parts of the Japanese relations, removing some depths. For instance, let's compare Brider's win quote against Karin:(English version): What unique costume!(Japanese non-direct translation): What an embarrassing costume. Nah, I'm on the same boat...note
- BrotherSister Incest: Heavily implied with Ryo and Suzu Asahina, who combine into the boss known as the "Platonic Twins". The OVA confirms their relationship.
- The Cameo: Burnov from the Neo-Geo Double Dragon makes an appearance in one ending, possibly as a throwback to Shaia cameo-ing in Amon's ending there.
- Captain Ersatz: Shen-Long looks a wee bit like Master Asia...
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The OVA removed the presence of Marion and Shenlong, since the plot has already been crammed into three episodes. Also, Kyosuke's familiars were reduced to Kubira only, he never summoned his monkey and bird familiars.
- Demoted to Extra: Additionally, in the OVA, Brider and Fudomaru were only seen at the Action Prologue and then only as their civilian guises as student and teacher (Ikki and Fudou) in the first episode (Fudomaru at least also appears shortly in a flashback). Randy also appears as student momentarily, but he's never seen as Captain Atlantis.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: In addition to voicing Brider and providing character designs, Obari also sang a rendition of Brider's theme, "No Return".
- Early-Bird Cameo: In the Neo-Geo Double Dragon ending, Shaia (only her lower part) and Ball Boy made a cameo in Amon's ending, actually predating the cast of Gowcaizer's appearances before their debuts.
- Expy: Brider to Kamen Rider. His origin is kinda similar to Takeshi Hongo/Rider One, and furthermore, during one of his moves, he's accompanied with another Brider-like character, which was his best bud Saburou Jumonji, as the counterpart of Hayato Ichimonji/Rider Two.
- Fanservice: Of course, this is Masami Obari we're talking about. Karin and Shaia are both High Octane Fetish Fuels. Also, why else did they chose Kubira (Kyosuke's dog familiar) to take up human form and look like a hot babe in the OVA??
- For Great Justice: Brider◊ is a◊ FOUNTAIN◊ of it.◊ Although most of them were the result of "Blind Idiot" Translation.
- Gainaxing: The characters are directly designed by Masami Obari, this comes with the parcel. Shaia's background stage involves images of her doing this a lot, and in the OVA, expect every girls to bounce.
- Heroic BSoD: Isato enters one in the OVA after he accidentally kills Ryo Asahina during a fight with the Platonic Twins. When Suzu reappears seeking revenge, Gowcaizer refuses to fight back against her.
- Hot-Blooded: Of course, Gowcaizer's fire powers isn't just for show, it's also burning his spirit. And although he's less shouty about it, Brider is very Hot-Blooded when it comes to JUSTICE. And while Hellstinger tends to keep his cool, you wouldn't know from his battle quotes, since he gets REALLY fired up as well.
- Monkey King Lite: Karin is a descendant of the Seitei Taisei race, people similar to Sun Wukong. She also fights with an elongating staff, has her personal transportation cloud and her inherited skill is making a clone of the user.
- Musical Assassin: Subverted. Hellstinger carries a guitar everywhere, but it's not his guitar play that he uses to beat you with. He uses his guitar physically.
- Nonindicative Name: Judging by the title, you would think that Gowcaizer is the guy with electrical-based attacks. Not so; Gowcaizer prefers Playing with Fire while Brider's the one to use Shock and Awe.
- This isn't the case in the Japanese version, where the game's title is instead Burning Hero Gocaizer.
- Also, the name Brider has nothing to do with brides or other wedding-related stuff. Unless of course, you separate the first word with the rest, then it makes a lot of sense for his case of Shout-Out (B-Rider)
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Most real names are All There in the Manual
- Power Copying: Just like BloodStorm, every character has a specific special move that can be covered by other characters after admitting defeat.
- Rule of Cool: Brider. He's basically the lovechild of Kamen Rider and Gundam, with extra spice of passion of justice that would make Kim Kaphwan proud. And his desperation move is RAMMING YOUR ENEMY WITH A RIDER BIKE.
- Shout-Out: Every character is derived from different genres and premises of manga and comics:
- Gowcaizer: Is based on classic hot blooded shounen protagonists, especially from martial arts series.
- Hellstinger: Lifts elements from both premises of manga revolving around everyday people who turn into super famous celebrity alter egos, and comics based around musicians and bands, including doujinshi and official sponsored merchandise.
- Karin Son: Is based on manga heroes who carry on legacies of famous historic figures whose journeys and travels take them to Japan.
- Kyosuke: Inspired from supernatural investigation manga protagonists, including being one of the few who don't hide their identities.
- Shaia: Is based on protagonists from double life slice of life manga, especially for those who come to Earth as aliens.
- Captain Atlantis: Is based on classic American superheroes.
- Marion: Is based on manga premises of non human beings and creatures developing humanity and learning about human life. In her ending we have homages to Guncannon and Guntank.
- Brider: Is based on lone henshin sentai heroes and school centered action manga. His lightning fist special move also has a lot of similarities with another SNK game character's moves: Benimaru Nikaido's Raijinken/Raikouken.
- Fudoumaru: Is based on modern day ninja manga protagonists.
- Sheng Long: Is based on morally ambiguous crime and darker themed martial arts manga protagonists.
- Platonic Twins: As mentioned before, takes a lot from forbidden brother and sister incest romance stories and are also based on sentai henshin manga villains.
- Ohga: Is based on manga villains whose motives are to attain godhood and ultimate perfection.
- Necrocaizer: Is based on scantily clad 1990's comic book superheroines.
- Shower Scene: In the OVA
- SNK Boss: Ohga. Joysticks will be thrown when you fight this bastard. You have been warned.
- Spiritual Successor: To the Neo Geo Double Dragon.
- Stripperiffic: Karin and Shaia, as implied above. Special mention to Suzu Asahina's OVA-only transformation, "Platonic Slave" — the one with her breasts only covered by Power Crystals a full inch away from them.
- Winged Humanoid: Hellstinger