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The Battle for the Dream

"I'm Taichi Suzuki, just a regular Taxi Driver"
Kazuma Kiryu
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Yakuza 5, known in Japan as Ryū ga Gotoku 5: Fulfiller of Dreams is the fifth entry of the main Yakuza video game series. It was released on the PlayStation 3 in 2012 in Japan, and on December 8, 2015 in North America and Europe, commemorating the series' 10 year anniversary in Japan. A remastered port for the Playstation 4 is scheduled for release in Japan in 2019.

Released after the non-canon Zombie Apocalypse spin-off Yakuza: Dead Souls, the story takes place two years after the events of the fourth game and now features five playable protagonists in five different cities throughout Japan for players to explore and get lost in.

Those returning from the previous game include:

  • Kazuma Kiryu, a former legendary yakuza who now works as a taxi driver in Fukuoka to escape his past once again, now going by the name "Taichi Suzuki". As another war appears to be breaking out between the Tojo and Omi clans, he finds that there are forces who are trying to draw him out of hiding and back into the underworld for their own agendas and purposes.
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  • Taiga Saejima, a former convict who has decided to turn himself back into jail following the events of the previous game, only for a new conflict to surface, both from behind and outside the bars. With new enemies and allies, he breaks out of jail once again to find answers behind the reported death of an old friend.
  • Shun Akiyama, an eccentric and successful moneylender who has decided to open up a new branch of Sky Finance in Sotenbori, but is pulled into the conflict when he's informed about the murder of a colleague.

They are joined by two newcomers, who include:

  • Tatsuo Shinada, a former baseball player banned from the sport due to unjust accusations of insider gambling. Lazy, poor, down on his luck, and in debt to several people, everything changes when he's approached by a mysterious man who offers him a chance to find the truth behind what happened fifteen years before.
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  • Haruka Sawamura, Kiryu's adopted daughter who has appeared in every title, makes her first playable appearance in this game. Now sixteen years old, she's moved to Osaka on her own to pursue a career as an Idol Singer in the entertainment industry, which is filled with several hardships for her to overcome.

When allegiances fall, friends go missing and others are reported dead, all five of them find themselves in a conflict that pulls them back into the Japanese underworld once more.

With the shift to a brand new engine, the game features the most locations of the series with five cities to explore in Nagasugai (based off the Nakasu district in Fukuoka City), Tsukimino (based off the Susukino district in Sapporo), Kineicho (based off of Sakae in Nagoya), as well as the return of Sotenbori from Yakuza 2 and series mainstay Kamurocho. Revamps to the battle system have also been made, with more of an emphasis on weapons with the player being able to build experience with them and repair them far more easily than in previous entries. Several features and mini-games from the previous games return, making this the largest game in the series yet.

After the commercial failure of Yakuza: Dead Souls, Sega had no plans to localize Yakuza 5, despite heavy fan demand and high critical acclaim, even receiving the rare perfect 40/40 score from Japan's Famitsu magazine. When the English Yakuza websites were shut down in 2013, it appeared that no further entries in the series would be released outside Japan, until Sony's third party relations asked fans what games they wanted localized, and Yakuza 5 was among the most requested. It was announced in 2014 that it would be released in North America and Europe, and was finally released a year later as a PSN digital exclusive on the series' ten year anniversary.

The last game developed exclusively for the PS3, the series would then hit the PlayStation 4 with another feudal spin-off, Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin!, released for both consoles in Japan. The next canon entry, the prequel Yakuza 0, takes place in 1988 featuring a younger Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. The story would continue and conclude in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life.


Yakuza 5/Ryū ga Gotoku 5: Fulfiller of Dreams includes examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Saejima punching a bear in the face brings to mind another Rikiya Koyama character.
    • Haruka's dream of being an idol makes a great pattern for Rie Kugimiya's several other characters.
  • Adult Fear: At the climax of the game when the Big Bad shows himself, he reveals that the target of his plan is Haruka, and taunts Kiryu by telling him that something bad will happen during her concert in Tokyo. But it's not just Kiryu who takes this badly, his allies also share his grief.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You play as several characters during the game, but Haruka takes the cake, since her sections also change the primary gameplay genre from what was essentially a Beat 'em Up to a Rhythm Game.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Yakuza 5 takes several steps to ensure that the 100% completion won't be such a chore this time around.
    • Weapons in previous games were a hassle to say the least due to the large investments needed to get the best ones. And even then the most powerful weapons tended to be fragile or cost an arm and a leg to repair. The addition of repair kits allows the player to be more liberal with their use and the addition of weapon mastery encourages use as higher levels allow for more durability, higher power, and repair kits being more effective. The super moves are also far less of a drain on durability and even then the costs of repair are far lower than previous games. To somewhat balance it players need to build experience by using weapons to use higher-tier ones, but it doesn't take that long to max out weapon levels and there are a few weapons with infinite durability that Shinada acquires to allow grinding without fear of them breaking.
    • Weapon crafting has also been streamlined so the player can simply invest items to unlock the best toys instead, instead of having to find recipes which were often at the end of long sidequests, which already required hours upon hours of commitment. There is also no longer any need to have multiples of rare items, which also tended to take hours to find in the previous game. Some still require that the player have certain weapons on hand, but it's far less of a tedious Guide Dang It!.
    • The hostess clubs now charge far less for their services. Here, a player should be able to maximize a hostesses affection with something around 200,000 yen. Previously, that couldn't even count as pocket change.
    • The sea fishing mini-game now allows you to double the speed of reeling/loosing by pressing both trigger buttons.
    • Getting all the restaurant items in previous games wasn't difficult, but it was tedious, requiring the player intentionally get into fights to get their health down. The addition of a cheap new item, called AppStim RX, has the character's health bar take a dive so they can binge to their heart's content.
    • For those unaccustomed to Rhythm Games, the game gives the option to choose the difficulty level of Haruka's concert songs (except during sub stories). Not only are the three concert battles against T-Set easy to win, but should Haruka lose against them or forfeit the last concert battle (allowing T-Set to win the Princess League by default), the story will continue on regardless. However, each concert battle is a one-shot, and forfeiting the last round will prevent the last song from being available in karaoke, making 100% Completion impossible.
  • Arc Number: Five. It's the fifth game in the main series, with five playable characters and five different cities to explore.
  • Arc Words: "Dreams". Several characters have dreams and ambitions that they seek to pursue and the word gets used by everyone at some point or another.
  • At the Crossroads: By the end of the game, several characters agree that New Serena serves this purpose in Kiryu's life.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Champagne Tower, the drink that costs 1 million yen and allows you to raise a hostess' affection bar to a maximum in a single stroke. However, while the pouring scene does look pretty sweet, by the time you'll be able to use it without going bankrupt, you'll find out that ordering other drinks and talking up the hostesses will be much more cost-effective.
  • Back for the Finale: To an incredible level; almost every surviving cast member returns in the last chapter, all with a tremendous impact.
  • Back from the Brink: A sidequest in Kamurocho revolves around Akiyama's hostess club, Elise, which is falling on hard times. It's up to each of the male protagonists to win over the hostesses from their respective locations and bring them over to Tokyo, which unlocks the final hostess. By the end of it, Elise is back at the top.
  • Badass Driver: Kiryu is a taxi driver now, who accidentally gets caught up in the world of underground street races. Since many of the racers are sore losers, he often has to beat them into submission afterwards.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The karaoke song "Bakamitai" is a slow ballad about losing someone due to the singer's foolishness. The video for it has the singer Drowning His Sorrows in a bar, gazing at an old photo. Is it an old love? Dearly departed friend? His dozen adopted children? Nope, for Kiryu it's Mame, the orphanage's dog.
    • A substory in Akiyama's chapter has a young and ambitious woman seeking a huge loan. One of the tasks he assigns her as part of his Secret Test of Character is for her to "use her body to make money". Cut to the next scene, she's next shown wearing a hard hat, having done construction work and physical labor instead. Park was also given the same task, and it's implied he used the same wording.
    • In Shinada's story, Takasugi can be heard telling a woman named Miki over the phone that he's having her work at a bathhouse to repay her debt, and to stop complaining about an aching jaw. When Shinada meets her in a substory, it turns out that she cleans a public bathhouse after closing and suffers from temporomandibular joint disorder, and had to burrow money from Takasugi because the treatment is expensive and her insurance doesn't cover it.
  • Baseball Episode: The entirety of Shinada's story revolves around discovering the truth behind a baseball scandal fifteen years before. His sidestory also revolves around his baseball skills and former rival players who have unfinished business with him.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • In Saejima's chapter, he fights a giant bear called Yama-oroshi, and learns that it's been terrorizing a small mountain village nearby. Many of his side-stories involve encountering the beast, which is impervious to bullets but not his fists.
    • In one of his substories, he encounters a bear in Sapporo that escaped from a zoo transport. Seeing as it was like a cub compared to Yama-oroshi, Saejima had no problem subduing the beast.
  • Blackmail: Played for Laughs in the hostess sidequest. After unlocking the final hostess in Kamurocho, Akiyama tasks Kiryu with showing her the ropes. When he refuses, Akiyama tells him that says he might let it slip to Haruka that her Uncle Kaz frequents such places. Not wanting Haruka to hear a word of it, Kiryu reluctantly agrees to partake in it.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Occurs a few times during the finale.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: One of Haruka's substories has her take part of a comedy routine, where her partner Haruo (the boke) will say something silly, and she (the tsukkomi) needs to respond with the right phrase at the right time. She'll occasionally give him a Dope Slap or kick him, and should the player do really well, she'll pull out a Paper Fan of Doom out of nowhere and smack him with it. Fitting, as her chapter takes place in the capitol of this trope, Osaka. What is even more fitting is that Haruka is voiced by Rie Kugimiya, the Queen of Tsundere.
  • Boss Warning Siren: During GunRhein, one will play before a boss battle.
  • Callback: The game is filled with them. Most of the main characters bring up events that took place from the previous games, but few stand out from others.
    • Although they don't appear, the kids from the Sunshine Orphanage are brought up often. One of Kiryu's substories involves him sending them Christmas money, and recalls certain events such as having to chase Ayako throughout the streets of Ryukyu. Haruka also has a substory where she receives fan mail from them, who go by aliases such as "Professor Cosmos", "I Heart Riona" and "Dragon Mask Man".
    • When the Osaka Detective has Kiryu cornered, he tells him that the reputation of the Osaka Police took a hard hit when one of their own fell for a yakuza.
    • When the Amon clan returns, they issue a challenge to the same protagonists they fought in Yakuza 4. With Tanimura absent, the group attempts to call him to see if he accepts, but there's no response. They assume he either went into hiding or is too busy gambling. They have Shinada go in his place.
    • Following Kiryu's Heroic BSoD in the climax, he has a long talk with Saejima about his newfound loneliness, which he didn't experience while he was in jail. Saejima believes it's because he had family waiting for him and a place to go back to, not unlike his own prison sentence. Unfortunately, most of them are gone now.
  • The Cameo: Miku Hatsune appears throughout the game as a UFO prize, an ice sculpture in Tsukimino, and is also featured as a decal for Kiryu's taxi. One of Haruka's bonus outfits in Premium adventure mode has her cosplay as the virtual idol.
  • Casting Couch:
    • A sleazy producer named Takami tries to convince Haruka to appear on his TV show to boost her popularity, provided that she keep him company for a night in return. He tries resorting to force when she refuses, but surprisingly, it's Azusa from T-Set who steps in and saves the day, who claims Takami tried the same thing on her.
    • In one of Akiyama's sustories, where he serves as a stand-in manager for the idol Strawberry Maya, a comedian named Sugihara tries to offer Maya a place on his show in exchange for a private moment. Akiyama drives him off with words, but Sugihara tries to ambush him later on, and promptly gets what's coming to him.
  • Casting Gag: Mirei Park is voiced by Romi Park. She voices Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, which makes it amusing when you realise Haruka is voiced by Rie Kugimiya who voices Alphonse Elric in the same series.
  • Celebrity Cameo:
    • Real life celebrity chef Tatsuya Kawagoe appears throughout the game, who can teach the characters how to improve their health and status attributes by eating food at restaurants.
    • The palm reading comedian Shuhei Shimada also appears in Haruka's segments, giving her support through palm readings as she prepares for the Princess League.
    • Saki Suzuki, a gravure idol who is also an avid gamer, appears as a waitress at Izakaya Hanako in Kineicho.
    • In Shellac, the bartender is Toru Kirihata, a Reality TV star.
  • Collection Sidequest: Each city gets different tokens for the player characters to gather: in Fukuoka you gather garbage, in Tsukimino you find pieces of a treasure map, in Kineicho you look for scattered drawing tickets, while Sotenbori and Kamurocho feature the series mainstay - the locker keys.
  • Cosmetic Award: In the Underground Coliseum, you only need to reach the fourth place in the rankings to unlock every tournament. However, if you continue to amass points and climb the rankings, you'll be awarded with... your character appearing in the posters outside the coliseum.
  • Cross Counter: Expect a lot of dramatic fights to have at least one of these.
  • Developers' Foresight: After winning over a hostess, you can invite them to the onsen in Kamurocho for some nice fanservice. Your character can fantasize about them as they both bathe, followed by a game of air hockey where you can zoom in on their cleavage to build up heat, and their robe becomes more loose when heat attacks are used. However, if Kiryu takes his 16-year old adopted daughter inside, the bath segment is missing, she's always completely covered up during air hockey, and the zoom-in feature is disabled. If Haruka herself goes inside alone, none of the scenes are shown.
    • If you also invite your date before bringing them to Kamurocho, they'll complain about traveling across the country just for a brief moment with you.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The game returns to the old tradition of taking place around Christmas time, as the events of the game take place in December 2012, although Saejima's prologue takes place at the same time in 2010, where Kamurocho is clearly celebrating the season. In the game's present, Tsukimono and Kineicho are also celebrating the season, and one of Saejima's sidestories even has him beating down some thugs while wearing a Santa costume. Christmas trees and sleigh decorations spread throughout Tsukimono can also be used as weapons.
  • Down to the Last Play: Shinada's first, and sadly last, home run as a pro was in the bottom of the ninth of a 0-0 tie game.
  • Dualvertisement:
    • In an attempt to accurately portray the local culture of the five cities featured in the game, many Japanese restaurants and the people associated with them are featured in the game's substories. Kiryu can go fishing with a man who turns out to be the Real Life owner of Sushi Zanmai, Saejima and Shinada can visit Izakaya Hanako, where an actual waitressnote  appears in the Tsukimono location, while gravure idol Saki Suzuki appears in the Kineicho location. Haruka can end up being a poster girl for both Watami and Watamin-chi (and was in Real Life), and Akiyama encounters and even fights alongside the actual owner of Kushikatsu Daruma. The actual restaurants helped promote the game with contests and even offered unique meals inspired by the game for a limited time.
    • Karaoke Joysound is also featured in the game's karaoke segments. In Real Life, Joysound featured some of the series' karaoke songs to sing to.
  • Dueling Player Characters: In the main story, Kiryu and Saejima fight each other early in the last chapter. In the Coliseum, Kiryu can fight against Saejima, Akiyama and Shinada in the Victory Road tournament. In Premium Adventure, he can also take on Haruka in air hockey, as well as pool and bowling in the "Haruka's Whims" mode.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Well, more of a "Challenge Bypass", but still. In order to increase your characters Level Cap from 20 up to 25, you need to defeat the duo of Sotaro and Sosuke Komaki, each a That One Boss in their own right. However, nothing stops the player from bringing in some weapons... like a dozen shotguns, for example. And even though the entire point of this exercise is to "make a breakthrough with your mind and body", if you win this way, it still counts!
  • False Friend: In Haruka's side story, she's approached by a classmate named Akari who wants to be friends with her, has a similar love for dance and introduces her to dance battles. Haruka's more than happy to finally have a friend since moving to Osaka, but when Akari gives up on her dream of being a dance chereographer, she admits she had ulterior motives for befriending Haruka, thinking if she proved her dancing skills were better than the rising pop idol, she'd advance her own dream of becoming a dance icon. She not only failed but feels she doesn't deserve to be Haruka's friend. Subverted when it turns out both girls still see each other as friends, and Haruka forgives Akari in the end.
  • Fanservice:
    • The game has several references to past Sega games and franchises, ranging from music, collectible UFO toys and more.
    • The guys can take their respective hostesses to the hot springs and fantasize about them wearing next-to-nothing. The ability to stare at your (female) opponent's chest during the air hockey minigame is pretty much this.
  • Fan Disservice: To be expected when one of your playable characters is an adult entertainment writer.
    • Shinada's substory "Next!", where he is invited to sample a masseuse parlor at an incredibly low price. The problem is, the first girl that comes in is the spitting image of old man Uno. He decides to get another girl, who looks exactly like Fujita, his old baseball manager. He's told there are no refunds and he has to choose between one of the girls, although the best choice is to run like hell.
    • The substory "Shinada's Interview", where he applies for a job, only to find out after he's hired that he's expected to provide physical services for his boss and co-workers. A fight naturally breaks out between him and a group of men wearing nothing but loincloths.
  • Fat Girl: In Sotenbori, Haruka encounters an obese girl and self-proclaimed idol named Ulala, who claims to be the daughter of a famed beauty from a neighboring town. She's quick to treat Haruka with disdain and challenges her to a dance battle. She's later the subject of Haruka's Revelation, where Hilarity Ensues after she tries to win over a crowd.
  • First Person Snapshooter: In each city, there is a quest to take pictures of five tourist hot spots for a reward.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Follow That Car: This occurs with two of Kiryu's taxi driving missions. One involves a stalker who wants Kiryu to follow a young girl (where failure is victory), and another involves a clumsy cop who wants Kiryu to trail some criminals from a distance.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Shinada first met Takasugi during that fateful day 15 years ago, as he was the fan who got his home run ball.
  • Four Is Death:
    • Kiryu's side story has him taking on the Devil Killers street racing gang. Once he starts damaging their reputation, he's challenged by their leaders, "The Four Kings".
    • The four Amon brothers return yet again for a rematch against Kiryu and his friends. Since Tanimura's absent, Shinada has to fight in his place.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • At the beginning of Shinada's chapter, characters note that, thanks to the Nagoya Family, the yakuza are non-existant in Kineicho. True to that, the player character will never be attacked by a yakuza while on the street. Thugs, hosts, Victory Road contestants, etc. are still itching for a fight, though.
    • After completing all of the taxi racing missions, Furumichi, the police officer revealed to be one of the Three Musketeers, can be raced as an extra opponent. Naturally, one would expect upon his defeat that the third and best Musketeer, Kiryu's boss Nakajima, would also be available to race against. Sadly, he cannot, staying true to his word that he's retired from the racing scene for good.
  • Game Show: Some of Haruka's jobs require her to participate in these, which include a true-false style quiz game, facing off against other idols in various mini-games, getting toys in the UFO catcher, and fishing.
  • Game Within a Game: Club Sega includes several arcade mini-games, including a demo of Taiko Drum Master, as well as the full version of Virtua Fighter 2 that can even be played online! This game also introduces the Spiritual Successor of Boxcelios, the fast-paced arcade shooter GunRhein.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the jobs that Haruka can do as a idol is participate in a show called "The Running Girl". Which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - it's about a girl running around town. No plot, no context, there's barely even a narrator in it. However, seeing as the director of the show has "his fire lighten up" and takes a break after a successful shot, we can imagine the rest.
  • Great Escape: Saejima's back in prison again, but when he discovers that Majima was killed in Sapporo and they're coming for him next, he breaks out once again to learn the truth. Unlike before, the prison warden realizes the situation that's about to unfold and helps him and Baba escape.
  • Heir to the Dojo: In Fukuoka, Kiryu meets Sosuke Komaki, the grandson of his sensei Sotaro Komaki. He's exactly as tough as his lineage would indicate, but lacks the discipline the old master carries.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Yama-oroshi when it appears in most of Saejima's hunter missions, as bullets have little effect on it. Most of the time, Saejima has to run for it after encountering the beast.
  • Idol Singer: Haruka's storyline revolves around her attempts at becoming a well-known idol. During her chapters, she meets several other idols, each showing a different take on the show business - both good and bad.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The subject of Haruka's side story and some of her substories. Since moving to Osaka, she's been too busy with work to make any friends, and her classmates are afraid to talk to her because of her status as a rising pop idol, which has left her incredibly lonely. Throughout her chapter, she's approached by people who want to be friends with her for good and bad reasons, some of whom have no friends themselves.
  • Indy Escape: In Shinada's chapter, after he's saved from the Nagoya Family, he's chased down by a forklift and has to outrun it in a Container Maze.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: After completing all of his hunting missions, Saejima gets access to the Golden Rifle. Not only is it sparkly, but can one-shot any animal. Yes, even bears.
  • Instant Costume Change: Haruka's idol costume has the ability to instantly turn into a more powerful form while she's performing onstage during the Princess League battles, which puts her in a permanent Heat state for the remainder of the song. It's an experimental costume designed by Yoko.
  • Japanese Dialects: During the game, one can encounter a variety of them, Kansai and Tohoku dialects chief among them. Justified, since the game takes place all over Japan.
  • Lady in Red: When at a Hostess Club in Fukuoka, Kiryu's boss is uninterested in the supposed "top girl," but becomes instantly smitten when a less popular hostess arrives, clad in a stunning red dress. Turns out she's already involved with Kiryu.
  • Lighter and Softer: Aside from the game's message of pursuing dreams, Haruka's sections seem much more light-hearted than the others, as she engages in non-violent battles by singing and dancing to upbeat music. Ultimately subverted when things take a tragic turn in her chapter and the mood of the story returns to the usual.
  • Limit Break: Introduced in this game is the Climax Heat mechanic.
  • Lured into a Trap: After Shinada has gone too far in his investigation of the scandal fifteen years before, Milky gets kidnapped by the Nagoya Family. When he arrives, she apologizes before he's knocked out, revealing she's part of them.
  • Male Gaze: Invoked in the Air Hockey minigame, as a way to build up the Heat gauge quickly. During the game, the player can hold down a button which causes the camera to stare at their opponent's chest. Unless you're challenging Haruka as Kiryu, where the ability isn't available. Strangely (or interestingly), Haruka herself can engage in this, but it's never explained why.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Saejima's unique sidequest has him hunt animals on a snowy cold mountain, in order to provide for the village that rescued him.
  • Money Spider:
    • "Rich Bastards" are easy to defeat, and probably will either give you a top-level healing item or a very valuable Vendor Trash item.
    • The Golden Stag, which appears fairly rarely during Saejima's hunting missions, is not harder to kill than a regular stag, but his spoils sell for a MUCH bigger price.
  • Morton's Fork: As mentioned above, the game doesn't require Haruka to win the Princess League finals against T-Set. But near the end of her chapter, players are given the option to forfeit the final round, which would allow T-Set to win by default. Should players go through with it and give up, it doesn't really have any impact on the overall plot; Haruka is still set to perform at the Japan Dome, she still teams up with T-Set to form DREAM-LINE, and the trio performs in Tokyo together - she only gave up on the Princess League, not her career or Park's dream. Gameplay-wise on the other hand, this prevents her last song from being available in karaoke, making 100% Completion unachievable.
  • Mugging the Monster: As usual, characters have no issue starting fights with strangers. And as usual, those strangers happen to be the biggest badasses around, even if they seem to be a submissive taxi driver.
  • Nature Spirit: Saejima's master is an old hermit named Tendo who worships the mountain gods, and offers to teach Saejima their wisdom if he brings them unusual offerings. He ends up being possessed by them and is granted superhuman abilities, although Saejima is led to believe the old man is scamming him. When he reveals his true identity to Saejima, Tendo instead vanishes completely, implying the old man himself was one of the mountain gods.
  • Never Suicide: Akiyama and Haruka don't believe for a second that Park committed suicide. They're right.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • In the Underground Coliseum, one of the first fighters you will compete against is a man in a yellow jumpsuit, said to have come Back from the Dead to once again prove his capabilities - Bruce Ebiruma.
    • In one of Shinada's substories, he is hired as a bodyguard for a worldwide famous singer, who came to Japan incognito. She's also an eccentric, wearing something akin to golden seaweed and considering it "disguise" when compered to her usual outfits. Her name? Daddy Papa.
    • A producer named Fuyumoto invites Haruka to a live idol contest called SBR99 (Sotenburi 99), a thinly-veiled allusion to AKB48 and its producer Yasushi Akimoto (they're even both named after seasons, as fuyu is winter and aki is autumn). Fuyumoto himself lampshades this by admitting that many thought SBR99 is an idol group. SBR99's regular contestants also wear a plaid costume very similar to AKB's, but purple instead of red.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • One of Akiyama's substories has him watch over an idol named Strawberry Maya, whose entire shtick is that she's the Cloud Cuckoolander princess of the Strawberry Kingdom secretly visiting Japan, who has her own odd mannerisms and vocabulary. She's expected to partake in a quiz show and get all the answers wrong with Akiyama's help to maintain her image. The actual Maya is actually pretty bright and the poor girl just wanted to work in children's programming, but was told by her managers that she wouldn't break into the industry through conventional needs.
    • The final boss of the game is shown to have pulled this off from the beginning when he's revealed.
  • Old Save Bonus: Having a finished save file from Yakuza 4 will grant the "Fat Stacks Charm", which causes enemies to drop valuable plates. A finished save file of Yakuza: Dead Souls grants a gun that can be used in battle. Strangely, the localized version can also grant special items if it finds saves from entries not released in the region, such as the HD versions of the first two games and Kenzan!
  • Power-Up Food: Upon getting lessons from the above mentioned Tatsuya, Kiryu & the gang can improve their stats as well as gain a second life bar by eating at the various restaurants, with each dish providing a different boost.
  • Press X to Not Die: Aside from the game's standard QTE's, there are a few instances (including a cutscene) where failing it will instantly result in a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Racing Minigame:
    • Kiryu's taxi racing missions, where all bets are off and players can drive however they please. Heat can be used either to give Kiryu a Nitro Boost or have him pull off insane feats in certain sections. There are three separate courses of varying difficulties, and experience gained can also be used to customize Kiryu's taxi in both appearance and performance. BGM from other Sega racing games can be purchased to use as well.
    • After Saejima busts out of prison, he'll engage in a brief jet ski racing section in a snowy forest. Not only will he have to avoid obstacles, but also enemies and their projectiles, and has to speed over a chasm at the end. He'll drive it again late in his sidestory to rescue Okudera, but it's a straight path with no obstacles whatsoever.
  • Raising Sim: Shinada can partake in Cochin races in Kineicho. This involves raising the chicken's various stats by training and then breeding it to spawn a superior Cochin.
  • Real Person Cameo: Prior to the Japanese release, Sega held a "Miss Ryu Ga Gotoku 5" contest, which offered fifteen contestants (three from each of the five regions represented in the game) the chance to appear in the game and to participate in promotional events throughout Japan. Although fifteen finalists made it into the game in minor roles, four of the top five winners are the focus of four substoriesnote , while the Tokyo winner Yuiko Kan appears as the manager for Elise, Akiyama's hostess club in Kamurocho.
  • Reluctant Warrior: At the beginning of his chapter, Kiryu really doesn't want to fight. But threaten someone around him or start the fight and he will most certainly end it. He also tries to avoid getting involved with anything involving the Tojo Clan, until Daigo goes missing.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Early in the game, Kiryu is threatened with an attempted assassination on the head of the Yamagusa clan...which the Yamagusa realize wasn't him, when their headquarters blows up immediately after...Which is way more then Kiryu would, or could, do.
  • Rhythm Game:
    • Karaoke returns, and players can also engage in some Taiko Drum Master at Club Sega's around Japan.
    • Haruka's gameplay revolves entirely on different flavors of rhythm games. Even Akiyama gets in on some dance battles.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Unique to this game, some enemies will run off after their friends have taken a beating. While it can end the fight, they also deny you experience points.
  • Sequel Escalation: The game features five playable characters and five different cities to explore, making it the largest in in the entire series. Later games would have less playable characters and less places to visit.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Shinada's master, the aristocrat Leo Ayanokoji, is an Upper-Class Twit who sees himself above every other peasant in town, but couldn't score a date to save his life due to his poor social skills, poor judge of character and hilariously bad fashion sense. In exchange for weapons training, he has Shinada teach him how to attract women. After learning to alter his appearance and become less self-centered, Leo eventually scores a date. If Shinada sees him again to see how it went, Leo's back to his old appearance and stubborn attitude, bitter that the girl dumped him for her ex, who also proceeded to kick Leo's ass.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Kiryu's chapter, after taking down the Four Kings of the Devil Killers, he learns about the original founders of the gang, who called themselves The Three Musketeers, comprised of Onisaka, Kiryu's boss Nakajima, and Furumichi, the cop who requested that Kiryu take down the group. His co-worker Wada, who he raced against earlier, considers himself the "d'Artagnan" of the group.
    • In Tsukimono, Saejima finds a little girl selling matches on the streets in the snowy cold, which reminds him of The Little Match Girl. He quickly realizes she's not pretending to be the character in the story and makes sure she's spared in this adaptation, except her father has already passed and she's trying to buy a gift for her mother instead.
    • When Shinada meets up with his coach from his junior high days, he reminisces about all the weird training he made him do. One of with was him waxing his car, which the coach admits he had taken from a movie he saw.
    • Music from several of Sega's franchises can be heard wandering the cities, and some can be purchased to use in Kiryu's racing missions. Toys from various franchises can also be won in the UFO catcher machines.
  • Simulation Game: In addition to recurring elements from past games, Kiryu's chapter allows players to take taxi missions. Unlike, say, Crazy Taxi style antics, players lose points for skipping lights and get points for using turn signals or appropriately answering passengers' questions. This is averted in the racing missions where all bets are off and Kiryu easily pulls off some insanely difficult feats.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World:
    • Generally averted with Tsukimino. The entire town is covered in snow, but you can run around and beat up thugs without worrying about slipping.
    • Played straight to rage-inducing levels, however, with the "Cold Ramen" substory.
  • Snowball Fight: Saejima can engage in Winter Combat (with is just a novel way to say snowball fight) in north-west part of Tsukimino. The minigame plays like an FPS.
  • Teens Are Monsters: In Akiyama's "Subsidized Relationships" substory, he stops a girl from engaging in schoolgirl prostitution after she was pressured by bullies to go through with it so they'd leave her alone. When the schoolgirl bullies arrive, they reveal they were going to use the money she earned so they could go party, which Akiyama is completely disgusted by. One of the girls calls her brother, who happens to be part of a gang, and Akiyama takes his frustration out on them instead since he has a thing with hitting women. Thankfully for the poor lonely girl, he directs her to another lonely girl he knows who also happens to be a pop idol.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential:
    • Once you get to Kamurocho, you can challenge Sotaro Komaki and Sosuke at the same time into a duel with any character, which is so difficult that it pushes your mind and body so hard that it will trigger a "breakthrough". Gameplay-wise, this translates as removing the Level Cap.
    • Haruka has it much easier than the guys, requiring old man Komaki to adjust his style to fit hers, where she has the advantage.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Deputy Warden Kosaka frees Saejima and Baba, knowing that they are effectively reformed and would most certainly be killed if they remained in the prison.
  • Training from Hell: Each of the characters have a master to learn new skills from, often presenting a greater challenge than regular enemies. Most fitting of the trope is Saigo, who returns from Yakuza 4 to put Akiyama though more incredibly brutal training. Hope you have a bulletproof vest handy.
  • Transgender: Haruka's master is a trans woman named Yoko, who is famed as an expert on all things relating to beauty and the designer of Haruka's unique idol outfit. Rather condescending to Haruka at first, but eventually warms up to the rising idol.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: In the finale, Katsuya reveals to Kiryu, Saejima and Watase that they were all lured to Tokyo by the game's Big Bad so they would fight and finish each other off, and the Big Bad would reveal himself to finish off whoever survives. They decide the only way to lure him out and discover his true identity is to do exactly what he wants and fight each other.
  • Treasure Map: In Tsukimino, Saejima can participate in a contest organized by the town's committee, where one has to find the scattered pieces of five maps.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Haruka's section revolves around Rhythm Games, she engages in non-violent Dance Battles instead of brawling, and most of her sidequests and events are more light-hearted in tone.
    • The jet ski sections in Saejima's chapter mentioned in Racing Minigame above. Each section is brief and can only be done once.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: Kiryu and Haruka can send money to the Sunshine Orphanage via a ATM whenever they like. Outside of getting a "Benevolent Dragon" trophy for sending in 5 million yen, it serves no other purpose than to make you all warm'n'fuzzy.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Minamida returns with his latest battle simulator, "Inner Fighter 8" (or IF8) and is playtesting it in each city. Every character can participate in this side-scrolling Beat 'em Up and is the only way to have Haruka engage in combat, although she fights only using a Magic Wand; she tries out the "female version" which Minamida designed for girls to live out their Magical Girl fantasies.
    Haruka: I suppose I have thought of something along those lines when I was younger.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: A character subplot in Kiryu's part involves Youtaro Nakajima when Mayumi tells Kiryu that she spotted a ring mark on his hand. It's revealed that his wife died in a traffic accident many years ago and his removal of the wedding ring is a sign for him to move on from her death and reform himself since he used to be a street racer when he was young.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The beginning of Haruka/Akiyama's chapter, Part III. Mirei Park has apparently killed herself, and Akiyama is now involved in trying to find out why. Up until this point, this segment has been relatively light-hearted, while the underbelly of the idol business has been explored, it's thus far been almost entirely disconnected to the rest of the plots past and present, and certainly free of any homicides.
    • Finale Chapter 3. Kiryu and Saejima fight to the top of Kamurocho Hills to face Katsuya, who waits until Watase also arrives to reveal his plan - getting all four of them together to fight each other so the mastermind behind everything would show himself. Kiryu faces Watase while Saejima fights Katsuya, which boils down to Kiryu and Saejima fighting each other to a draw. They're both shot by the mysterious Osaka detective from a distant building, whose identity is finally revealed as the Seventh Chairman of the Omi Alliance, Tsubasa Kurosawa. He reveals his hatred for all four men and what they believe in, believing that compassion is weakness and wants to rid the future yakuza of it. Watase is heartbroken at this betrayal, and when Kurosawa tries to shoot him, Katsuya takes the bullet. Daigo then comes out of hiding to confront Kurosawa in a face off and shows him mercy, only to be shot from behind by Kanai. When Kurosawa leaves with Kanai, he taunts an outraged Kiryu by saying something bad might happen to Haruka at her upcoming concert, which causes Kiryu to break down wondering why everyone around him is put in danger.
  • You Are Not Alone: When Kiryu is faced with a dilemma in the finale regarding Haruka's concert, Saejima talks him down and tells him that it's okay to ask others for help, and assures him that he and the others will give him all the help he needs to make her dream a reality and keep her safe.


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