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Kiryu-chan is getting ready to give the beat down to any punk in his way.

"Today's been a bad day, and it's put me in a real shitty mood. It's just your bad luck... to have run into me."
Kazuma Kiryu
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Where it all starts...

Yakuza, known in Japan as Ryū ga Gotoku (龍が如く, lit. Like a Dragon), is the first of the Yakuza series developed by SEGA and was released in December 2005 in Japan on the PS2, and in September for western regions the following year. The game follows the story of an ex-yakuza member named Kazuma Kiryu, who after spending 10 years in jail for a crime he did not commit, is thrown back into the criminal underworld when 10 billion yen is stolen from the Tojo clan, the clan he once worked for. Along the way, Kiryu finds a young orphaned girl named Haruka, who is being targeted by the clan as she is believed to have the key that holds the secret to where the missing yen may have gone. With the entire Yakuza on your ass, with one of the head patriarchs being your former best friend from 10 years past, this is going to be one wild ride.

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As Kiryu, who is already feared in the underworld as the powerful "Dragon of Dojima", you explore the Tokyo entertainment and red-light district of Kamurocho (a recreation of the real life Kabukicho), come across a colorful cast of characters that include other Tojo clan members that range from serious minded to violently out of their minds, a down on his luck detective, the leader of the underground world of Kamurocho, assassins, underground cage fighters, lovable hobos, a ton of side-quest characters, many hostesses, and punks to beat down. Lots and lots of punks to beat down.

The gameplay is that of a Beat 'em Up with an RPG-like leveling system, but in an open world setting (or more so open district) and fights that occur at random, similar to an Eastern RPG. When you encounter punks, thugs, and other yakuza, you enter into battle mode where you beat down everyone in your way with the use of chaining light and heavy attacks. The more attacks you chain, the more you will fill up your heat gauge, and with heat you can preform devastating damage to your foes accompanied by animations that really show the pain you're giving out.

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In Kamurocho, you can perform side quests that help gain you XP, chat with or listen to the citizens and enter small shops across the map to eat the food, buy some items, or just to check them out. There are also multiple side activities you can do; these include playing SEGA UFO Catchers, a batting cage, casinos (baccarat, blackjack and roulette), toba and pachislot.

A game so massive and crazy at times, it was one of the first games to truly explore the culture of the Japanese underworld. With a well-done dark crime narrative and memorable characters, it left such a mark to pretty much everyone in Japan, and a considerable amount of people in the west, that it continues on to this day as one of the most well-known and highest grossing Sega franchises ever, with a new release almost coming yearly (spinoffs included). Strap in for a ride with no end in sight, welcome to Kamurocho!

The game was given an Updated Re-release in 2012 in the form of an HD Compilation Re-release which includes the sequel Yakuza 2, titled Ryū ga Gotoku 1&2 HD Edition for the PlayStation 3 and Wii U, which updated this game's combat using the improved mechanics in the second. Unfortunately, this compilation was only released in Japan.

In January 2016, to mark the ten year anniversary of the series, Ryū ga Gotoku Kiwami (Extreme), an enhanced remake using the engine and gameplay from Yakuza 0, was released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan. Kiwami not only features new updated graphics, new substories and mini-games from recent titles, but the story itself has also been slightly expanded to tie it closer together with 0, with an expanded prologue and new cutscenes that explore Akira Nishikiyama's Start of Darkness in Kiryu's absence. The game also introduces the new "Majima Everywhere" system featuring everyone's favorite Mad Dog, who can be fought at any given time in the game as he relentlessly stalks Kiryu and fights him to re-awaken his inner dragon. It was announced at the 2016 Playstation Experience that Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza 6 would both be localized for the US and European markets, set to be released in Summer 2017 and early 2018 respectively and exclusively for the PlayStation 4. At E3 2018, Steam ports of Yakuza 0 and Kiwami would be announced, with Kiwami's releasing on February 19, 2019.


Yakuza 1/Ryū ga Gotoku 1 includes examples of:

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    Tropes introduced in the original game 
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  • Aborted Arc: In prison, Kiryu is given a letter of expulsion from the Tojo Clan as opposed to being banished entirely for Dojima's murder, and a hitman is later sent to kill him. Chairman Sera is revealed to be behind both decisions, and while Kiryu is shocked by the revelation, Sera's reasons are never explored or brought up again. A new substory in Kiwami reveals the truth behind both.
  • Action Commands: Sometimes after a heat move, you'll be prompted to press square for extra damage if the punk you're beating up has any health left.
  • Actually Four Mooks: One punk runs up to you, turns out it's 3, you stop 2 yakuza from harassing someone, actually it's 4, you bump into 3 gang members walking in the street, whoops, actually 6!
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Played over the end credits. Makes you reflect, or maybe the devs thought it'll sound cool, who knows.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Kazuma Kiryu: Silver dragon
    • Akira Nishikiyama: Koi/Carp
    • Futoshi Shimano: Tiger
    • Goro Majima: Hannya/Oni
  • Anyone Can Die: Due to this being the first game in the series, there are many side characters who will kick the bucket here and there on your quest, and killing off characters was a bit easier here than to do it later in the series. Three of the most important and saddest deaths will have to go to Shintaro Kazama/Fuma, Akira Nishikiyama and Yumi.
  • A Protagonist Is Ryu: Kazuma Kiryu of course.
  • Arms Dealer: There's one hidden behind a Bookcase Passage in the backstore of Beam video rental. To get access to it, Kiryu has to ask the store clerk for a specific porn titlenote .
  • Artifact Title: For the western release. While the series does revolve around Japan's organized crime, you're in the yakuza for just the first 10 minutes at best. The Japanese title Like a Dragon makes more sense as it exemplifies not only this game's spirit, but also Kiryu's spirit.
  • Attempted Suicide: "The Man Who Wants to Die" substory involves a man who is planning to jump from the roof of a building due to the debt he's in. Kiryu can either try to talk him down or tell him to jump, and the man survives either way.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Many high ranking yakuza bosses, as well as Kiryu himself when he's declared to be and crowns himself as the 4th Chairman of the Tojo Clan.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Weapons in general due to their lack of durability, even though they dish out great damage.
  • Ax-Crazy: Goro Majima, which helps in the dub he's voiced by Mark "The Joker" Hamill himself. Though this game shows his insanity in a much darker light than the rest of the series.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The dance club Deborah is used as a base of operations by the Bloody Eye gang.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: At one point, the player is shown a group of thugs who are laughing while throwing rocks at a stray puppy. Unfortunately for them, Kiryu happens to be nearby while this is going on. Cue thrashing.
  • Bar Brawl: Kiryu gets himself involved in one during a side mission with the bar staff who tried to con him out of his money by knocking him out with sleeping pills in his glass of alcohol.
  • Batter Up!: Majima's signature weapon of course, first established in this game.
    • Kiryu himself whenever he has a bat as his weapon.
  • Betting Mini-Game: The hidden and illegal Cho-Han Dice Parlor and Casino.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As much as a legitimately nice man Kiryu is, it's best not to anger him at all.
  • Big Bad: Akira Nishikiyama is presented as one, when in actuality Kyohei Jingu, a politician and Haruka's father/Yumi's former lover was the mastermind the entire time, and Nishiki was considered nothing more than a pawn to him.
    • Big Bad Wannabe: Nishiki, but a downplayed one. While he isn't the one responsible for the money loss or the conspiracy behind it, he still held a lot of influence in the game's events and was your rival throughout the entire adventure, until the end.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first game may have resulted in Kiryu saving the Tojo from absolute ruin but led to the death of nearly all his old friends, his mentor/father figure, former best friend, and love interest to the point he was actually willing to go back to jail if Date hadn't snapped him out of it by pointing out he still had Haruka to watch over.
  • Boss Battle:
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Kiryu uses a waiter as one when he enters a restaurant that's a front for the Snake Flower Triad.
  • Breakable Weapons: At least the game tells you how many swings you have left with a weapon before it breaks on you.
  • Car Fu:
    Majima: LET'S FUCK THIS SHIT UUUUUUP!!
    • Futoshi Shimano has this move for Kiryu on his second battle where, as the former grabs the latter, one of his subordinates will start up a car and proceed to pummel Kiryu, taking away most of his health if the player does not bash the triangle button enough times. This mechanic returns in Kiwami.
  • Central Theme: Running away from your problems and refusing to face them head on, which is also highlighted in the lyrics of the game's theme song, "Receive You". Many of the main characters, including Kiryu, make choices in an attempt to avoid running into things they don't want to face, but over the course of ten years, it comes back to bite them in ways they couldn't even imagine. For Kiryu, it was taking the blame for a crime Nishiki had committed, and realizes after his prison sentence that he should have just let life take its course. For Nishiki, he's convinced that killing his way to the top and getting the ten billion yen will solve all of his problems and will allow him to get everything he's always wanted.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: If you were to make a drinking game how many times that F-bomb is dropped in the English dub, you'll need a liver transplant by the end of first 3rd of this game.
  • Cool Old Guy: Detective Makoto Date, who can fight alongside you at times, drives very well in a high speed chase, is a reasonable man all-around (though he learns he needs to be a better dad), and he finds out who the culprit is behind the missing 10 billion yen, nearly all by himself.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Kyohei Jingu.
  • Counter Attack: Kiryu can learn up to 3 types of counters from Sotaro Komaki, a former martial arts instructor who is now a homeless man. The easy to pull-off Knock Back, the strong Tiger Drop, and the stunning Komaki Parry.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kazuma Kiryu wasn't the Dragon of Dojima for nothing ya know?
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Characters get less competent in cutscenes (with smaller crowds of enemies that players would normally tear through being presented as a threat), and much less bulletproof.
  • Dating Sim: Starting with this game, Kiryu can go to the local hostess clubs and woo a collection of lovely ladies for 100% Completion and some neat bonuses which includes XP, sometimes very valuable items, and photo portraits of the women.
  • Deuteragonist: 9-year old Haruka Sawamura, who's looking for her aunt and missing mother, and holds the game's Plot Coupon.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Shimano cuts the fingers of his underling for losing to Kiryu and getting shot by Shinji as punishment. Considering this is an actual and common punishment among Yakuza however...
    • For those who don't know, a cutting of the finger is as symbolic as the physical punishment is painful. Cutting off one's fingers decreases one's ability to grip a sword effectively, making him more dependent on the group.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Two characters, Shintaro Kazama was changed to Shintaro Fuma, and Hanaya (which translates to "Florist") became Kage, although both were reverted to their original names in Kiwami. Many names are also shortened.
    • "The Price of an F-Cup" substory is named "The Price of a D-Cup" in the English release due to the differences in Japanese and North American cup size measurements (What the Japanese consider an F-Cup would be classed as a D-Cup in North America, thus the name change). The F-Cup name is retained in Kiwami.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is definitely a series that started in humble beginnings.
    • The combat in this game is much more stiff than any other game in the series, you can only move your items in a safe house and a few item boxes scattered around the world. You also have less inventory space, less moves to pull off, and there's not too many wacky side activities. This mostly applied to the sequel as well, but started changing when the series hopped over to the PS3.
    • Although the game isn't without its funny moments, for the most part it takes itself much more seriously compared to later entries. The more bizarre and humorous substories that balanced the mood would be introduced in the sequel, which also had a bit more fun with its plot, and it would only grow from there.
    • Speaking of substories, some are only available during certain chapters in the story and can't be accessed once that point has been passed. Along with failing some, this also prevented others from ever appearing. While some sequels are also guilty of this, this was changed in later games so that substories were always available and could be completed at the player's leisure.
    • The Western version of this game actually has an English dub featuring Hollywood actors, but low sales following a costly localization process put the kibosh on that.
    • This is also the only game in the series to portray Goro Majima as a straight-up villain. Due to his popularity, he underwent a complete Heel–Face Turn in the sequel, has undergone a lot of Character Development, and has since become one of Kiryu's most trusted allies and the series' Anti-Hero.
  • Epic Fail: In "The Man Who Wants to Die" substory, if Kiryu tells the man to jump, he'll actually do it. Instead of hitting the concrete, he'll get caught on the nearby support structure, and Akimoto will start whining why the world won't let him die. Kiwami takes it further, where he lands in a tree that shouldn't even be there! Granted, it's more believable and looks less painful.
  • Evil Former Friend: Akira Nishiki, who is Kiryu's closest and most loyal friend in the beginning, has become hungry with power and seems determined to bring him down when the latter leaves prison.
  • Faking the Dead: Before the Dojima murder incident, a reporter named Tamura introduces Kiryu to his apprentice, Aoki. When Kiryu returns from his sentence, Aoki tells Kiryu that Tamura had been killed five years prior, supposedly for getting too deep in his investigation of the Dojima murder incident. Tamura later reveals himself in Purgatory, explaining that he faked his death in order to work under the Florist. He insists Kiryu to keep it a secret from Aoki, but our hero decides to make things right.
  • Fall Guy: When the boss of the Dojima family is killed by Nishiki, who has everything to lose, his loyal best friend Kiryu willingly takes the blame for it and goes to prison for ten years. But not everyone buys it.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Shinji and Reina, but particularly the former as the latter was a mole. While their deaths clearly have an impact on the plot, they're not mentioned again in later games.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: A not-so-friendly one. Kiryu and Date visit one in Yokohama to take on Lau Ka Long and the Snake Flower Triad after Haruka was kidnapped by them, although Kiryu heads in alone since Date's still injured.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Before fighting Majima in the batting cage, he's struck by a ball in the cutscene before the fight, but no balls are flying during the fight itself. This was changed in the HD version where they do, but Kiwami goes back how it was originally. Though it does include a Heat Action that allows you to use these same baseball machines to do some harm, so it's ultimately a Zig Zagged Trope.
  • Gang Bangers: Three gangs, the Blue Z, White Edge and Bloody Eye, are introduced in Chapter 8 and Kiryu gets involved with fighting the leaders of the two. Each of them are blue, white and red.
  • Guide Dang It!: Mostly regarding the substories. Some are made available during certain chapters (and in some cases, can only be done in those chapters), some require others to be completed first, and some have time limits. Many can be failed if certain choices aren't made, and can prevent other substories from being completed.
  • Guns Akimbo: Kazuto Arase wields two automatic pistols.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • After Shimano is finally defeated, he hurls a grenade at Haruka, and Shintaro Kazama/Fuma takes the blunt of the blow for her.
    • Nishiki rescues Kiryu and Haruka from Jingu, killing him and becoming wounded in the process, and tries to take responsibility for his actions by detonating the bomb with the ten billion yen, which kills him and causes the money to rain on the streets.
  • High-Speed Battle: One takes place in Chapter 9 after Haruka is rescued from the Snake Flower Triad, requiring Kiryu to shoot at their pursuers with Date behind the wheel. See Unexpected Shmup Level below.
  • Honest Axe: In the "Golden Lighter" substory, a man will ask Kiryu if he dropped a 100-yen plastic lighter or a golden lighter. Responding with the 100-yen lighter is the only way to earn Coin Locker Key No. 28.
  • Honey Trap: The player can easily fall for one in "The Price of an D-Cup" substory, where Kiryu rescues a well-endowed woman named Mai from a drunk. She then takes him out for drinks and tries to seduce him with dirty talk. Depending on the choices made, Kiryu might wake up outside with his money stolen, or get into a fight where he can learn about a hidden casino.
  • Kick the Dog: More like throw rocks at the puppy! Thankfully, Kiryu interferes the street thugs from causing more damage to the little pup and you give them all the beat-down they deserve.
  • King Mook: Whilst the Blue Z's leader is never encountered in the game, the Bloody Eye has two leaders, the Arai Brothers, and the White Edge is led by one man, Yuji Shiraki.
  • Leitmotif:
    • "Pray Me" for Futoshi Shimano.
    • "Receive You - The Prototype" for Goro Majima.
    • "Turning Point" for Kazuto Arase.
    • "For Who's Sake" for Akira Nishikiyama.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: In "The Man Who Wants to Die" substory, a man named Akimoto plans to jump off the roof of a building because he's in a lot of debt after spending too much money on his favorite hostess, Mizuki. If Kiryu talks him down, Mizuki arrives and talks Akimoto out of it, only to convince him to buy her a diamond ring for a Christmas present and take her on a date, which the fool agrees to. It wouldn't be the last we see of these two.
  • Man Behind the Man: Kyohei Jingu.
  • Man in White: Akira Nishikiyama, Kazuki, Dr. Emoto, the White Edge, Masa Sera and Lau Ka Long. Kiryu also counts since light grey is very close to that colour.
  • Mugging the Monster: How many punks in this game literally run up to Kiryu and demand he give them his money? Way too damn many, and you'll beat the snot out of every last one of them.
    • Played with in one sub-story. Two muggers try to rob a man in a suit who turns out to be a successful hitman sent to kill Kiryu. Ultimately averted since the muggers accidentally kill him before he can do anything.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Happens in the ending for the substory "The Truth About the Fake Mizuki" after Kiryu tells the owner of "Pares" that his attempts to cash in on the popularity of the mysterious "Ares" got an innocent woman killed.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • In "The Price of an D/F-Cup" substory, Kiryu needs to refuse the money from the bartender in order to learn the location and password of a hidden underground casino. If done incorrectly, not only does it prevent the casino from ever being available, but because some substories take place inside of it, it's no longer possible to complete all substories and face Jo Amon.
    • Certain substories can only be done in the chapter they first appear in and cannot be accessed afterward. Thought you'd wait until later to go see Yuya's girl dance? New save game! Thankfully this was changed in later titles.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Futoshi Shimano dons a suit and Lau Ka Long dons a shirt of that colour and they are a force to be reckoned with.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Goro Majima pretty much gives this as the reason why he took a knife meant for Kiryu in the gut... right after coldcocking the underling who used the aforementioned knife.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Bloody Eye, Kazuto Arase and various random mooks.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Nishiki tries to make amends for his actions by blowing up the bomb and the missing money, knowing it will kill him.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
  • The Reveal:
    • Before he dies, Kazama/Fuma reveals to Kiryu that he was the one who killed his parents, and the children of all of his victims were raised in the same orphanage Kiryu was, implying he also killed Nishiki's and Yumi's parents. Kiryu not only forgives him, but says he thought of him as his real father.
    • Yumi, Haruka's "aunt", is actually her mother, and conspired with Kazama/Fuma and Masa Sera to steal the 10 billion yen. The Big Bad Kyohei Jingu is also Haruka's father.
  • The Rival: Two of them. Kiryu faces off against Psycho for Hire Goro Majima twice, but the game hypes up the confrontation between him and his Evil Former Friend, Akira Nishiki.
  • Scary Black Man: Gary Buster Holmes, although he is a rather nice man when he is not fighting in the underground tournament.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the substories is named after "The Little Match Girl", in which Kiryu finds a young woman selling matches in hopes to buy her boyfriend a Christmas present. Unfortunately, she gets dumped by him and gives her present to Kiryu instead. The substory is given a major overhaul in Kiwami. A substory of the same name would later appear in Yakuza 5 and is a bit more faithful to the actual literature piece.
    • The substory "Drain the Lizard" has Kiryu coming to the rescue of a man trapped in a restroom without toilet paper. His name? Rokkaku Gouji.note 
  • Skyward Scream: Kiryu lets one out after seeing Reina's corpse. It's shot differently from most examples, though; instead of the camera looking down at Kiryu's face, it's on the ground pointing up. The Kiwami trophy/achievement for finishing the chapter is fittingly called "The Dragon Roars".
  • Stealth-Based Mission: When Kiryu attends Sera's funeral at the Tojo Clan HQ early in the game, he has to keep out of sight from certain guards, and getting caught will boot him back to the entrance.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight: The second phase of Majima's second fight takes place in a darkened room, which he uses to his advantage to launch surprise attacks from a distance. Averted in Kiwami where the room isn't as dark, and Majima ditches his strategy and simply fights Kiryu head-on.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Following his prison sentence, Kiryu returns to Tokyo a much different place than it was before. Many characters have to bring him up to speed on everything that happened to his friends and family while he was gone, as well as the cultural changes that have occurred since.
  • Taking the Bullet: Both Kiryu and Yumi do this for Haruka. Yumi doesn't survive.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Futoshi Shimano (tiger) vs Kazuma Kiryu (silver dragon).
  • Timed Mission: Several substories involve tasks that must be completed within a certain amount of time, although there's no indication if there is a time limit or how long they are. One exception involves a sick boy who must be taken to a hidden hospital before his life bar is completely drained.
  • Time Skip: The prologue of the game takes place in 1995, while the main story takes place in 2005 after Kiryu is released from prison.
  • Triads and Tongs: The Snake Flower Triads, led by Lau Ka Long.
  • Tritagonist: Detective Makoto Date, who is risking his badge to investigate Sera's murder as well as the missing 10 billion yen. He serves as Kiryu's lancer throughout the game, and the story also explores the estranged relationship between him and his daughter.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Kiryu, Nishiki, and Yumi. Both men love Yumi and part of Nishiki's rivalry with Kiryu stems from wanting to win her over from him.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: The car chase segment plays like a Rail Shooter, using the enemy gun sights from Virtua Cop and utilizes a 90-degree camera rotation similar to Panzer Dragoon. Kiwami uses the revamped mechanics from 0, which omits the camera rotation.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: In one substory, Kiryu goes out with a woman, only to realize that he was actually going out with a man in disguise. He then fights a short-haired yakuza, only to learn after the fight that the yakuza is actually a woman.
    • A new stripper at Asia turns out to be a Dojima hitman in disguise. The gender reveal involves one death by shotgun, a kidnapping, and a fight in the middle of the club.
  • Updated Re-release: The game along with the sequel received an HD Compilation Re-release in 2012 in Japan, where the combat was fixed and the game played more smoothly.
  • Variable Mix: Shimano's boss theme shifts to a 3rd verse when his health gets low.
  • Vengeful Widow: Late in the game, Dojima's widow addresses a challenge Kiryu for killing her husband, but after he tears down her mooks, she realizes that he's the Fall Guy.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Subverted in "The Man Who Wants to Die" substory. Kiryu can either try to convince the man not to jump off the building, or can be a jerk and tell the man to just jump already. If Akimoto jumps, the nearby support structure will break his fall and he survives anyway. In Kiwami, even though Kiryu can still tell Akimoto to jump, he does it thinking the man wouldn't jump anyway, only to realize just how wrong he is.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: In Yuya's side mission where Yuya invites Kiryu to see a strip dance at Asia, the next dance is literally going to be a blast for Kiryu.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Once Kiryu leaves prison, he learns this is the case between him and his lifelong friend, Nishiki.
  • Wham Episode: In Chapter 8, Purgatory got raided and terrorised by three gangs that were sent in by the yakuza to kidnap Haruka and send her off to the Snake Flower Triads.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In one substory, a woman attempts to seduce Kiryu, but it turns out it's actually a guy who plays men and takes their money. A yakuza then shows up and fights Kiryu, but after a brief fight, it turns out the yakuza is actually the older sister. The younger brother fights Kiryu to avenge his sister. In the Kiwami version of the same substory, Kiryu shows no remorse in beating them, believing the two brought it on themselves and deserved it regardless of their gender.
  • World of Badass: Kamurocho is filled with badass, you got badass yakuza, badass cops, badass assassins, with Kiryu himself as the most badass.
  • Yakuza Princess: A part of the story focuses around Kyoka, the unhappy daughter the Atobe family's boss, and her boyfriend Takashi, who is also Kage's son. She tries to run away with Takashi after she takes money from the clan, which leads only to trouble.

    Tropes exclusive to Yakuza Kiwami 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/yakuzakiwamicover.jpg
  • Accidental Misnaming: The Gangbusters were in the original release as well, but this time around Kiryu can never remember get their name right. Understandable, as they named themselves in English, which Kiryu doesn't speak. It turns into something of a running gag.
    Kiryu: Oh right, weren't you those gagbatters?
  • Adaptational Heroism: Not surprisingly, Goro Majima. His dialogue in the main story hasn't changed aside from an expanded scene where he tries to goad Kiryu into fighting him. In the original game, he killed one of his underlings in the batting cage with a bat, but in this game the underling survives the beating and actually participates in the proceeding fight (you'll recognize him because he's the only one without a bat). In the new "Majima Everywhere" system, he serves as Kiryu's Stealth Mentor who fights him to knock off the rust from his ten years in prison so he can survive on the dangerous streets of Kamurocho. They even team up for a fight later on.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Kiwami not only includes new features and mini-games introduced in recent titles, but the story itself is expanded, including several Call Backs to Yakuza 0 and a new segment where Kiryu gets Yumi a birthday present. New cutscenes between chapters focus on Nishiki, revealing the circumstances behind his Face–Heel Turn. A new game mechanic revolves entirely around Goro Majima, and his opening cutscene is expanded to reveal his rivalry with Kiryu was ignited over a disagreement of ideology. New dialogue has been added, new substories have been added, and many existing ones have been expanded upon.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Some of the original game's substories don't return for Kiwami, such as the "Art and Talent" missions, "Save Momoko Kawai", among others.
    • The six hostesses from the original game do not return, with one hostess for each of the two cabaret clubs instead. However, both hostesses have three videos to unlock.
  • Alertness Blink: A blinking exclamation point appears over Kiryu's head if he is spotted by Majima.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Shinji's new characterization in the prologue has him completely obsessed with sex, which is Played for Laughs when Kiryu desperately needs money from him. Shinji is more than glad to give it to him, thinking Kiryu's going wild with the services of the red light district, when Kiryu's just trying to get Yumi's ring back.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Majima suddenly gets turned into a zombie at some point, and Kiryu has to fend him off along with other zombie infectees. It's all a ruse set up by Majima, but he can be found roaming in the streets in his zombie form looking for a fight.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • It's now possible to save anywhere in the game through the pause menu, when previously you could only save in hideouts or phone booths. You still need to use those to access the item box, however.
    • In the original game, the hidden casino could only be accessed it certain choices were made in "The Price of an D/F-Cup" substory, and was very easy to miss. Here, Kiryu is also given the location and password in the second "Yakuza's Apprentice" substory.
    • The hitman in "My Lover is a Showgirl" was a rather difficult enemy that could only be faced early in the original game. In Kiwami, his health is reduced drastically.
    • In 0, switching to and from Kiryu's "Dragon of Dojima" style requires going into the pause menu. Here, it's switched to on-the-fly with the d-pad like his 3 other fighting styles. As it now takes the place of the d-pad function to draw/holster an equipped weapon, this is now done by tapping the d-pad direction of the style that's currently in use.
    • Premium Adventure saves can now be used for a New Game+ on any difficulty, including Legend / Ex-Hard.
  • Arc Welding: Being released right after Yakuza 0, the game makes numerous Callbacks to the prequel and attempts to tie some of its events with the original game's storyline. For instance, when Jo Amon introduces himself, Kiryu can recall facing a similar man from 17 years before.
  • A Taste of Power: The game starts out with Kiryu having his health and heat maxed out with a (nearly) full moveset for all four styles, but most of it is gone after he leaves prison. The game decides to show this at the worst possible moment: during a fight with Majima, which can, and very likely will, end in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Avenging the Villain: Discussed. Majima texts Kiryu a message once he catches wind of Shimano's death, assuring him it won't create problems between them, saying the man fought his own battles and killing Kiryu wouldn't accomplish anything. However, that also doesn't mean Majima's willing to lay off from fighting Kiryu anytime soon.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: While it's played straight with most weapons, it's averted with weapons that have a heat special, since it only uses one point of durability for it. It also can't be blocked and can interrupt anything outside of hitstun, making it great for a finishing move.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Fighting Majima enough to level his Relationship Values and leveling the Dragon of Dojima grid can lead to Kiryu learning some of his Heat Actions, particularly the ones involving knives.
  • Bag of Spilling: Kiryu's estate acquisitions from 0 are gone. At least losing them can be explained by a variety of reasons.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shinichi Shinohara is introduced this way, who comes to Kiryu's aid by disarming a punk with a knife and putting him in a hold. Unfortunately, it's all part of a huge misunderstanding and he's making it even worse.
  • Big Eater: Shinohara. When Kiryu takes him out to eat, he wants to eat two cows worth of meat.
  • Blood Knight: Shinohara. Now that he's retired after fighting most of his life, he feels something is missing in it and yearns for something that really excites him. He signs up for a tournament the moment Kiryu introduces him to the coliseum, and still isn't satisfied after taking out three opponents with ease. Believing Kiryu is the only one who can give him the fight he craves, he challenges him, and continues to stick around the coliseum in hopes to train and fight him again.
  • Bonus Boss: Shinohara is treated as one in his substory, and after being beaten, can be fought in the Coliseum as an opponent.
  • Boring, but Practical: In order to counter bosses regenerating HP with their aura, you need a skill that allows you to spend heat specifically to stop it...or just use the heat sink super on a weapon easy to get, like a baseball bat.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Jo Amon actually addresses the player about the true concept of "Kiwami". Kiryu can do something of an Aside Glance in response, but thinks he's the one being addressed.
  • Callback: The events of Yakuza 0 are brought up often throughout the game, such as the story behind the Millennium Tower's location, a toll collector reminding Kiryu of others who shook down people and used their money to train, and Majima can recall what he considers part of his Dark and Troubled Past as "Lord of the Night". The Pocket Racing mini-game returns along with Pocket Circuit Fighter, who's now 46, and Kiryu once again meets the children he once faced off against, who are all now grown up.
    • A more subtle one is in the fight against Futoshi Shimano during the funeral, in that he uses a version of the moveset that the Mr. Shakedown NPCs had from 0.
  • Call-Forward:
    • One of Rina's conversations has her complaining about Kamurocho becoming crowded during Christmas time, with Kiryu expressing a desire to move far away where it's not so crowded: On a beach in Okinawa.
    • In response to Kiryu's history in real estate, "Goromi" tells him that it's simply taking what someone else built, and wants to create a building that puts the Millennium Tower to shame.
  • Celebrity Cameo:
    • Famed retired judoka champion Shinichi Shinohara is featured in one of the game's new substories, who comes to Kiryu's aid in a Big Damn Heroes moment gone completely wrong. Kiryu then takes him around town, and after introducing him to the Underground Coliseum, the two duke it out in a friendly battle.
    • AV actresses Yui Hatano and Rina Rukawa appear as the hostesses for Club Jewel and Club Shine respectively. Players can unlock a video recording of each girl upon completing their substories, and can unlock two more after fulfilling certain requirements after taking them out.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Some of the remixed songs are taken from other entries in the series. The fight against Lau Ka Long is a remix of his song from Yakuza 3, "Ogre Has Returned", and Jo Amon gets another remix of his recent Leitmotif, the appropriately-titled "Lunatic Warrior".
    • Music from Dead Souls is played when Kiryu suddenly encounters a zombified Majima and has to fight other zombies to escape him. The trophy you earn after this event is even called "Majima of the End".
    • After some of Majima's battles, he'll sometimes mention someone who rivals Kiryu's strength, and that Kiryu's ten year sentence is nothing compared to his.
    • Kiryu can overhear two people discussing a film titled "Passionate Manly Bathhouse Battle", said to be a martial arts film taking place in the Edo period, particularly a scene where two muscular men fight nude in a bathhouse, referencing a certain fight in Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin! Kiryu can try to find the DVD at the adult video store, only to be Mistaken for Gay by Majima for it.
    • Just like how the katana style that Fei Hu teaches Majima is the exact same style that Majima uses in Ishin! as Souji Okita, the katana style that Komaki teaches Kiryu in this game is the exact same single-sword style that Kiryu uses in Ishin! as Ryouma Sakamoto.
  • Continuity Snarl: Considering Yakuza 4 revealed that the explosion on Millennium Tower caused money to rain on the streets of Kamurocho, which gave a homeless Akiyama a second chance at life, many were expecting him to show up in the game's ending, believing he was the homeless man seen in the original game's ending. However, the man is someone completely different and Akiyama is nowhere to be seen, and doesn't even appear in a cameo.
  • Cross Counter: A certain dramatic fight in the game begins with one.
  • Cult: The same cult from Yakuza 0 returns, which is gaining traction with the promise of helping people find their perfect partner, provided they pay a huge sum of money and consume a mystery drink.
  • Disguised in Drag: The lovely hostess "Goromi", who is just Majima in a Paper-Thin Disguise. However, the game still plays this part out like any other hostess segment, allowing Kiryu to converse with his rival, but it still ends in a fight outside.
  • Disney Death: Right before his second and final boss fight in the main story, Majima gets shot by Dojima family members and falls into the sea, which conveniently ties with his sudden reappearance in Shangri-La.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: In chapter 7, Nishiki orders sake from Reina but receives a whiskey. While he did order "sake" in the Japanese script, technically the word refers to any alcoholic drink, and in this context using "sake" in the English script doesn't make sense. Japanese rice wine specifically would be Nihonshu, by the way.
  • Elemental Punch: One of Kiryu's upgrades for his Brawler style allows him to electrocute enemies with a counter punch.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Majima Everywhere. Although he can be found roaming the streets, he can also launch a surprise attack from just about anywhere at any time. Worse, he can also be found in just about any place you step into, including convenience stores, bars and gambling parlors. When the game says you'd better be ready for Majima at any moment, it's not kidding. Although there are certain times he won't be on the prowl, it's wise not to get too comfortable.
  • Exact Words: In Nishiki's story, after he discovers how much it will take for Yuko to get a heart transplant, he swallows his pride and tells Matsushige to get the money "by any means necessary". It comes back to bite him hard.
  • Excuse Plot: Lampshaded with MesuKing, the arcade game where fairies dress up as insects and duke it out in the forest, which Kiryu even sees as nothing but an excuse for its blatant Fanservice. After Majima catches him with a card, Kiryu tries giving him the same explanation about the game that the kids do. Majima doesn't buy it for a second.
  • Fanservice: MesuKing: Bug Battle Beauties is exactly this with some like Devil's Flower Mantis being relatively tame and some like Japanese Rhino Beetle are not. Is it any wonder that the local boys have taken a shine to it (though the surprising deepness of a rock-paper-scissors gameplay doesn't hurt).
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the original game, Goro Majima suffered a serious injury after his first boss fight, leaving his fate ambiguous until he suddenly appeared in his second and last boss fight with his wound visibly bandaged. Here, he can still appear on the map right after his first boss fight as if nothing happened. In an effort to avert this prior to his second boss fight in the main story, Majima catches wind of former Dojima Family members following Kiryu and warns him about it, and lures him out of town so they can take them on together. However, Majima is shot and falls into the sea, setting up his re-appearance in Shangri-La.
  • Game Within a Game: New to the series is "MesuKing: Bug Battle Beauties", a collectible card-based arcade game featuring scantily-clad insect women who fight for dominance of the forest. It's popular with the kids and Kiryu will have to find MesuKing cards throughout Kamurocho to create the ultimate deck. While the concept is based on Sega's Mushiking: The King of Beetles arcade game, the actual game plays similarly to the underground catfight mini-game from the previous game.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The whole "Majima Everywhere" mode turns him into this, stalking Kiryu wherever he goes to keep him on his toes and ready for anything. True to the name, he'll pop out of trash cans, under manholes, in bars, restaurants, places for recreation, will intervene in fights, and pop out in disguise.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The Public Park 3 MesuKing card is a minor one. To get it you have to walk right up to the tree, press R3, and look at it. It's a simple problem but the only other time you do this is at the funeral in Chapter 3 to look at the pictures.
    • If you don't unlock the Essence of Extreme Rush ability in the skill tree, prepare to suffer during the fight against Shimano in chapter 3. Shimano is a Marathon Boss who occasionally stops and rapidly regenerates health (your first introduction to the Kiwami mechanic in an actual boss fight), and you are supposed to use Essence of Extreme Rush to counter that, but the tutorial on Kiwami attacks took place during A Taste of Power, so you might not realize the reason why you can't interrupt the boss's regeneration. Chapter 3 also happens to be a Plot Tunnel, so you can't just go back and fight mooks until you can get the skill.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: Unlike her real-life counterpart, the hostess Rina is not attracted to men and is openly gay, and her conversations revolve around the struggles of dating people of the same gender. At the end of her substory, she almost gives up on women and asks Kiryu to go out with her, but he refuses, telling her to stay true to herself but also to stop categorizing people and appreciate them for who they are. And while she and Kiryu agree to be Just Friends, she still goes to a hotel with him to have an intimate moment of sorts, wanting him to be happy and trusts him enough to know he won't try anything with her.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Subverted. The first time Kiryu returns to Kamurocho, he's thrown into a fight with Majima with all of his previous stats down to the base minimum. It's possible to win (and you'll gain 100 XP to spend), and the game even has dialogue pointing to Kiryu's rust.
    Kiryu: "I may have won, but... I can tell I'm not moving like I used to."
    Majima: "So even you see it like it is. The past ten years have made you rusty and dull."
  • Humble Hero: Shinichi Shinohara is given this treatment.
  • Immune to Flinching: Several bosses and stronger enemies, including Shimano and especially Majima, possess this ability and can overpower you if you attempt to swarm them with your fists or objects. It plays a large role in the game's new difficulty.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Goemon knife. It has 18 durability in a game where durability is reduced by blocking or hitting a blocking opponent, but it has a massive 285 attack and can be used for heat attacks to cut off a bar of HP from your target to circumvent the low durability and is obtained at the end of chapter 6, making it a fantastic tool for carving through bosses.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Two, actually. First, a replica of Majima's Demonfire Dagger, which you get by completing Majima Everwhere. It has a pathetic base 30 power, but it's unbreakable. Considering knives tear through anyone guarding without holding a weapon, it's a convenient way to get through fights without your opponent turtling. Second, there's the Golden Pistol obtained by getting all the combat-related CP rewards. While its power is at a low base 50, it has no range issues (being a gun and all) and never runs out of ammo. Since a gunshot incapacitates any mook it hits and causes bleed damage, it makes fights against large groups of enemies less troublesome.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Everyone's Idol Goro. He wears the same shiny outfit seen in "24 Hour Cinderella", and while he's a hit at the club, he tells Kiryu he feels ridiculous wearing an outfit that's been in the closet for nearly two decades.
  • I Will Wait for You: When Majima first encounters Kiryu back in '95, he tries his damnedest to goad Kiryu to fight him, but when he refuses, Majima settles with "Maybe". Majima is the very first person Kiryu meets in Kamurocho after leaving prison, having waited ten years to get his fight.
  • Loophole Abuse: There are several ways to straight up ignore the rules in the pool minigame and do whatever you want. Considering your opponents never do this, it gives you a huge advantage over them.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: In the original game, the song "Intelligence for Violence" played when fighting against Nishikiyama's family during certain fights in the game. Its remix in Kiwami is only heard when they're first fought against, the fight itself lasting less than half a minute. Later encounters have different songs in its place.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The game recycles the same engine from Yakuza 0 to tell the story of the first game. Kiryu utilizes the same four fighting styles he had in that game, and certain mini-games such as Pocket Racing return. While some improvements were made, several features and mini-games from 0 do not return, there is only one city to explore and Kiryu is the only playable character.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Played for Laughs. If Kiryu goes to the DVD store and tries renting the 'martial arts' film "Passionate Manly Bathhouse Battle", Majima gets the worst possible idea and thinks he's discovered a new side of Kiryu. It's one of the few instances that Kiryu instigates the fight instead just so the Mad Dog doesn't go around spreading false rumors about him.
  • Moveset Clone: Many of the bosses in the game have their moveset taken from previous characters in the series, often combined with another.
  • Mythology Gag: The trophy you get for collecting the money from Peace Finance at the start of the game is named "When You Don't Pay Your Debts...", a reference to Kiryu's cheesy one-liner from the original English dub of the scene: "When you don't pay your debts, I'm what you get."
  • Nerf: Some weapons returning from 0 have been given major nerfs.
    • The Slime/Zap/Smoke guns all have their direct hit damage reduced to a mere 5. This was to ensure that they remain the situational weapons that they are, because these shotguns were often used, aside from disabling masses of mooks at once via slipping/shock/explosive impact, to outright dump-truck bosses and other tough enemies (eg.Mr. Shakedown) with their obscene damage output when scoring direct hits with the projectiles they fired.
    • The Golden Pistol had its per-shot damage reduced from 350 to 50. To put this in perspective, this gun does less damage than even the Modified Model Gun (60).
    • The Dragon of Dojima fighting style suffers a major one, becoming the weakest fighting style following Kiryu's sentence. Unlike the other styles, it can only be upgraded through Majima Everywhere events and Komaki's training, and certain events are locked out until certain chapters in the story are reached. Despite it being Kiryu's default style for much of the series, it's practically unusable for most of the game.
  • Retired Badass: Shinichi Shinohara. He's a retired Judo champion, but saves Kiryu from a punk and holds his own against him in the Coliseum.
  • Rivals Team Up: Late in the game, Majima discovers that former Dojima goons are hot on Kiryu's tail, and lures his rival out of town so they can take them on together.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • In the "Under Suspicion" substory, one of the women Kiryu can approach isn't someone he considers very attractive, and hesitates to give her the password ("You're very sexy"). If he does and shows her the 1,000 yen for the item he needs, she'll think he's offering her a measly 1,000 yen for sex, but considering this is Kiryu we're talking about, she gladly accepts. Kiryu immediately hauls ass with a look of shock and absolute horror on his face.
    • In Shinohara's substory, after the whole incident with the couple is cleared up with a cop, Shinohara tries to make things right by allowing the battered boyfriend to use any grapple or hold he likes on the former judo champ. Getting into a fighting stance, Shinohara tells him not to hold back. Horrified, the boyfriend and his girlfriend run off screaming.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Compared to Yakuza 0. Bosses and several enemies are Immune to Flinching, and can escape in the middle of a combo just to attack from behind with their own. They are far more aggressive, do more damage, and attack more frequently when in large groups. Kiryu is also much more prone to being stunlocked, although some late upgrades help alleviate the pain somewhat. Some of his moves and styles have also received a nerf, and Heat moves will do less and less damage the more they're used during a fight.
  • She's All Grown Up: When Kiryu tries to help Pocket Circuit Fighter find a worthy successor, he bumps into the same young children he faced off against 17 years before, who are all now grown adults. Although many things have changed, some of their rivalries haven't.
  • Shout-Out: The excessively formal and polite yakuza who gives you the substory "Kyoka and Takeshi" has been renamed "Yakuza With Honor And Humanity".
  • Stance System: Kiryu utilizes the same ones he had in 0, and the Dragon of Dojima style is available from the beginning. Following his prison sentence, he can only upgrade the Dragon style by fighting against Majima and training with Komaki. The Essence of Kiwami Heat Action can only be performed in certain stances to counter bosses' Kiwami states. Majima also uses the stances he used in that game during his fights, including the Mad Dog style, but only sticks to one style for each fight (excluding his second story boss fight).
  • Start of Darkness: New cutscenes in the game focus on Akira Nishikiyama while Kiryu is in prison, exploring why he was Driven to Villainy. It's not pretty. Even Kazuhiro Nakaya (Nishiki's VA) stopped reading scripts for a while after recording for the game.
  • Stealth Mentor: Majima is essentially this in the "Majima Everywhere" mode. Although his goal is to fight Kiryu at his prime, many of his fights are designed to help him recover what he lost during his prison sentence, if not surpass what he was before being sent to prison. It's later revealed he's also using Kiryu as a bar to make himself stronger as well.
  • The Stinger: A new scene is added after the credits where Kiryu and Haruka overhear a mother and child talk about Santa. Haruka later pokes fun at the Dragon of Dojima after he admits he believed in him as a child. Kiryu's not embarrassed about it in the slightest.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • In the Japanese version of the game during Shimano's second fight, instead of his Leitmotif "Pray Me" playing in the background like the first game, "Receive You [Reborn]" plays while the Kazama and Shimano families duke it out. The new song is omitted in English localization.
    • In the last fight against Majima in the "Majima Everywhere" mode, instead of the usual music that's heard fighting against him, the original "Receive You - The Prototype" plays during the fight. It also plays when he's fought in certain Climax Battles.
  • Time Skip: The expanded prologue includes a new segment that goes back a few months before the night of Dojima's murder, when Kiryu goes through hell to buy Yumi a birthday present.
  • Title Drop: Jo Amon tells Kiryu (and the player) to never stop surpassing their limits and reach new extremes in order to understand the concept of true Kiwami.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Done twice in the new substory featuring Shinichi Shinohara. Kiryu comes across a man harassing a woman about money, and his intervention leads to a fight. However, the girl yells at Kiryu for beating up her boyfriend, making him realize they're a couple arguing about money and apologizes. The boyfriend accuses the girl of cheating on him and pulls a knife on Kiryu, only to get tackled by the retired Judo Champion, garnering this reaction from Kiryu. The girl even slaps Shinohara when he thinks he's saved the day.
  • Video Game Remake: A high definition remake of the first game with modern graphics, using the engine featured in Yakuza 0.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The "Suspicious Man" substory returns as "Under Suspicion", where Kiryu is tasked with finding the right woman and giving her a password for an item. Before, he could compliment their looks and flatter them, or make them mad by calling them ugly. If he's mean to them this time around, they'll retaliate with an Armor-Piercing Slap that inflicts damage. And depending on the woman, he'll either lose a little bit of health, or most of his life bar.
  • We Could Have Avoided This: Played with a touch of cruel, hilarious irony. The characters could have avoided all of this if Kiryu had just let Nishiki take the fall for murdering Dojima, but only because events had happened beyond what the characters thought would have happened. To elaborate: The game kicks off because Kiryu takes the responsibility for mudering Dojima even though Nishiki is the one who did it. Consequently, Kiryu is sent to jail for ten years while Nishiki becomes the head of a small family and is given a few thugs to start with. However, none of the men particularly respect him, especially Matsushige because he only sees Nishiki as a chump who got to where he is by boot-licking instead of accomplishments like Kiryu had. Furthermore in chapter 8, Shimano reveals that for all the "shame and dishonor" Kiryu had inflicted by murdering a Patriarch, it actually amplified his street cred which is really all one needs to further reputation in the criminal underworld. By the time Nishiki's had enough of the abuse and manipulations, he's gone insane and become a cold-hearted killer while Kiryu barely gets to know peace because of the Dojima incident. Because Kiryu never let Nishiki take the fall for what he did; it negated any of Nishiki's street cred which could have helped him maintain respect among his subordinates, but it also painted a bullseye on Kiryu's back by various street criminals and Yakuza who want to try to take him down.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In one of the new substories, Haruka meets a young girl who wants to buy a present for a boy she likes. Haruka offers to help her, only to task Kiryu with finding the right present since she doesn't know what boys like. One of the presents he can buy is a magazine from a certain vending machine that fans of Yakuza 0 will be familiar with. Haruka knows exactly what kind of magazine it is and pretty much gives Kiryu a Death Glare if he even considers it, and is pretty disgusted with him if he purchases it right in front of her. Subverted if the magazine is given as a gift, causing the boy to start acting more mature, and Haruka isn't as upset about it.
    • If Majima is encountered inside the Pocket Racing Stadium, Kiryu absolutely refuses to let the sacred ground and great name of Pocket Racing be sullied by the Mad Dog's presence and tries kicking him out, despite Majima's actual interest in it. Pocket Circuit Fighter, not knowing any better, tells both men to behave and scolds Kazuma-kun for his unusually unfriendly behavior towards the newcomer Goro-kun.

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