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The legend of the Dragon of Dojima ends.

"Haruka, Haruto, and the others... they mean more than the world to me. If it means keeping them safe... I'd gladly give my life."
Kazuma Kiryu
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Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, known in Japan as Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Poetry of Life, is the seventh main series entry in the Yakuza series following the prequel Yakuza 0, and is the final installment to feature Kazuma Kiryu in the lead role. It was released in Japan as a Playstation 4 exclusive in December 2016, and released in the West in April 2018. PC (via Steam and Windows Store) and Xbox One ports were released on March 26, 2021.

Taking place four years after the events of Yakuza 5, Kiryu has spent the last three years in prison in order to clean his slate and his conscience. When he is released, however, he learns that his adopted daughter, Haruka Sawamura, has disappeared without a trace. Just before he was sent to prison, she had announced not only her retirement from her career as an Idol Singer, but also that her father was none other than the infamous Dragon of Dojima. The public backlash against her was so severe that she left in order to spare her family at the Morning Glory Orphanage any grief on her behalf. He tracks her down to Tokyo, only to find that she had been involved in a hit-and-run collision that has left her comatose.

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Kiryu learns that Haruka was protecting a baby during the attempted hit, and learns the child's identity: Haruto Sawamura, Haruka's son. With the identity and whereabouts of the infant child's father unknown, Kiryu takes Haruto under his care. He then learns that before her accident, Haruka had traveled to Jingaicho, Onomichi, a coastal town in eastern Hiroshima and home of the Yomei Alliance, a crime syndicate so powerful that the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance could not even touch them. Kiryu now finds himself walking into unknown territory, into a city that no one from the Tojo Clan has set foot in.

To what lengths is Kiryu willing to go to help his family? Why is the Yomei Alliance after Haruka's son? And what fate awaits the Dragon of Dojima?

Billed as the "final chapter of Kazuma Kiryu", Yakuza 6 features a brand new engine, built from the ground up to take full advantage of the Playstation 4. In addition to Kiryu's stomping grounds of Kamurocho, players will now travel to the Hiroshima town of Jingaicho, a completely new setting that differs greatly from the massive urban playgrounds of previous games. Battles now begin and end seamlessly, store interiors can become battlegrounds, and characters react more realistically when attacking and being attacked. Players can also switch to a first-person camera view when travelling through the cities, allowing them to take in the environment in a brand new way, as well as take advantage of various nooks and crannies in the city to discover new locations. In addition, the slew of minigames and diversions for which the Yakuza series is so famous has been expanded upon, with returning classics such as hostess clubs, gambling parlors, batting cages, and video arcades (now including Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown and Puyo Puyo) joined by new, oddball activities such as cat cafes, chatting with camgirls, managing a baseball team, and deep-sea diving.

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Sony's partnership with Sega in publishing the series overseas starting with Yakuza 5, as well as the massive hype surrounding the American and European release of Yakuza 0, lead to the simultaneous announcement of Yakuza Kiwami, the enhanced remake of the original Yakuza, and Yakuza 6 coming to the west.

Although series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has stated that this was the end of Kiryu's story, the series would continue on. Following the game's release, numerous games were announced: Shin Ryu Ga Gotoku, a mobile spinoff, introduced the series's new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, who would also serve as the leading man for the seventh main series entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon. A spin-off, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, based on the popular manga, combines the characters and settings of that series with the gameplay and humor found in the Yakuza series, and features many of the same voice actors such as Takaya Kuroda as the voice of Kenshiro. Yakuza Kiwami 2, a remake of Yakuza 2 utilizing an improved Dragon Engine, which also introduces a mini-campaign that has Goro Majima playable once more, which explores his departure from the Tojo Clan. Re-releases of Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5 bring the entire saga of the Dragon of Dojima to the Playstation 4. Finally, Judgment begins a new story in Kamurocho focusing on Private Detective Takayuki Yagami in a spin-off title that takes place in a post-Kiryu world.


Yakuza 6: The Song of Life/Ryū ga Gotoku 6: Poetry of Life includes examples of:

  • A Commander Is You: "Clan Creator" is a new RTS minigame wherein Kiryu builds, trains, and directs a street gang to fight off the shadowy forces of JUSTIS. Between missions, players can upload their own gangs online to pit against other players'.
  • Adult Fear: Hoo boy. When Kiryu returns to the orphanage, he finds that Haruka fled the orphanage three years ago, and hasn't called home in over a year. He goes to Kamurocho to look for clues, only hours too late to save her from a hit-and-run. It takes the span of a day to learn that his teenage daughter has become a national pariah, a single mom, and a coma patient - and he couldn't protect her from any of it.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Hiji app turns out to be more dangerous than its designers originally intended, and doesn't hesitate to put our hero in danger whether it's to help others or preserve its existence.
  • Alertness Blink: An exclamation point will appear above enemies' heads if they spot Kiryu roaming the streets.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: One of the common complaints western players had for Yakuza 5 was a Manzai mini-game that required strict timing relative to when the Japanese spoken dialogue ends. The subtitles and the audio sometimes vary significantly in length, leading to confusion and worse scores than a native speaker might get. A similar sort of mini-game exists in this title that uses a sliding transparent bar timed to the audio to indicate when the speaker will finish talking superimposed over the subtitles, avoiding the issue.
  • As Himself:
    • Darts legend Paul Lim appears as himself in a substory.
    • The six New Japan Pro-Wrestling wrestlers in the Clan Creator mode also appear as fictionalized versions of themselves.
  • Badass and Baby: When Kiryu takes custody of Haruka's son.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Right after the tutorial fight, Kiryu returns to the bar he was drinking from, states he's "made it just in time" and looks into his bag. A powdered white substance then falls onto the bar stand, leading the player to think Kiryu has taken up snorting cocaine. Then it's revealed he's put the substance into a mixing spoon and Kiyomi hands him a kettle. The substance is in fact powdered milk, which leads into the next reveal of who Kiryu is preparing the milk for... and that turns out to be Haruto.
    • Another for the end-game: Kiryu leaves a parting letter apologizing for not being much of a father. The player may assume it's for Haruka, but the actual recipient is Daigo.
    • Also from the end-game: it's heavily implied that Kiryu died from the gunshot wounds he suffered in the final battle; but the final scene reveals he faked his death in order to protect his family.
    • From one of the Hostess substories: Hikaru joins a talent agency in order to become an Idol Singer, but Kiryu thinks the manager is shady and follows them to the agency. When he gets to the agency, he gets jumped by a bunch of goons, then hears a gunshot coming from the building. When he gets inside, he finds that the agency is holding a surprise welcome party for Hikaru; the "gunshot" was actually party poppers. What makes it bait-and-switch is that it plays out exactly how other Hostess substories did in previous games without subverting it.
  • Baseball Episode: Kiryu briefly joins an amateur baseball team in chapter 3. This opens up the Baseball minigame and substory chain, allowing Kiryu to mold the Setouchi Warriors into the #1 team in Hiroshima.
  • Battle Aura: A mainstay of the series. Bosses envelop themselves in a glowing aura when their health reaches a certain point. Kiryu's own Extreme Heat Mode glows blue.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite getting full on hit by a car hard enough to leave her in a coma, Haruka doesn't have a visible scratch on her afterwards.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The whole Hirose family. Small-time even on their own turf, their patriarch is a doddering old man and the Yomei Alliance's most trusted assassin and the four stooges under his banner aren't exactly intimidating until they start thrashing higher-ranked, better-trained mooks a dozen to one.
    • Familiar doofuses Sodachi and Saigo turn up in Kamurocho and Onomichi respectively, begging Kiryu to help them train with a couple of quick sparring rounds. They're pathetic combatants who can barely take a punch at first, but grow stronger with each loss until they can hit like pissed-off rhinos. (Beating them at this level grants a ton of Strength, Agility, and Spirit experience.)
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Pocket Circuit Fighter pulls this one in his substory. His target? His wife!
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's the end of the line for the Dragon of Dojima, and it's far more bitter than any other game in the series. While Kiryu survives the adventure, and Haruto and Haruka are reunited with Yuta (who now has the resolve to be a good husband and father for them), he has faked his death to protect them from the never-ending fallout of his yakuza past and while he can never see them again, he is thus able to ensure their safety. Meanwhile the Tojo Clan is left in dire straits, and the ending implies that the future will be a bumpy ride for all who remain under the Tojo Clan banner. This is outright confirmed in Like A Dragon: The Tojo are pushed out, too weak to fight the growing distrust of the public, and the Omi controls Kamurocho with a iron fist.
  • Bland-Name Product: As ever, the Poppo convenience stores are a thinly veiled copy of the real life Lawson chain.
  • Bomb Disposal: One of Kiryu's Troublr missions in Kamurocho tasks him with finding a bomb somewhere in the city within ten minutes and disarming it. He's given a couple of clues, but despite the bomber taunting Kiryu about his knowledge of the city, the bomb is in an area brand new to this game.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Shangri-la is home to a powerful miniboss in a black gimp outfit who stalks Kiryu at every turn. He growls instead of speaking, and is kept in a caged-off enclosure at the bottom of a pit.
  • Bookends:
    • In the prologue, Haruka disappears to protect her family from the fallout of her scandal. In the epilogue, Kiryu does the same to protect them from the fallout of his yakuza life.
    • The first scene after the Time Skip is Kiryu walking towards the orphanage for the first time in years, while the last scene is Kiryu walking away from the orphanage for the last time.
    • For Kiryu's saga: The games ending with a significant walk. In the first game, it's Kiryu walking towards Haruka, with Kiwami adding another scene after that with the two walking away together, here it's Haruto taking his first steps towards Haruka, while Kiryu walks away from her alone. On that note, Kiryu chose to live for Haruka in the first game, and here, he chose to "die" for her.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The dilemma between Kiryu and Akiyama on how to handle Haruto plays out like this. From Kiryu's perspective, if Haruto is taken in by the state then he'll be placed into an orphanage and Kiryu - known only as an ex-con of a yakuza to the authorities - will be denied access to him, leaving Haruto without any family to take care of him if Haruka doesn't pull through. On the other hand, Akiyama correctly points out that Kiryu taking Haruto from the hospital is effectively kidnapping him, which would definitely land Kiryu back in jail again if he's caught by the police. While he acknowledges Akiyama's reasoning, Kiryu refuses to back down and the argument is only resolved by fisticuffs.
  • Broken Aesop: The moral of the Baseball substory is that throwing boatloads of money into a cherry-picked all-star team will never beat a homegrown team with a true bond. However, the game not only allows you to, but recommends that you complete the substory by picking up all-star players from all over Japan, some of which are former major league players (such as Gorchov, Gori-san, Maetani, and Yoshida), and one of which only joins your team if you give him a million yen upfront. There's absolutely no reason to use players from the Setouchi Warriors' original lineup after you get all the gold players.
  • Call-Back: Yakuza 6 recalls several characters and events from previous games.
    • The Order of Munan Chohept Onast from Yakuza 0 returns in 2016 Onomichi, along with its original guru, Munan Suzuki. Having served his time in prison, Suzuki has turned over a new leaf and implores Kiryu to help him shut down the cult once and for all.
    • The Pocket Circuit Fighter reappears, now with a wife and son. Sometime after the events of Kiwami 1, he moved back home to Hiroshima to take over the family tofu shop. And you'd better believe he still keeps the old Pocket Circuit jumpsuit.
    • Sodachi, the martial artist who Saejima helped in Yakuza 4, returns here. Sadly, he had to close down the dojo, but has found a new goal in hitting the gym and bulking up to test his mettle against Kiryu.
    • Saigo the ex-military man resurfaces in Onomichi, seeking the perfect self-defense technique.
    • All the way back at the beginning of Kiryu's story he was on the verge of getting his own offshoot of the Dojima clan before the incident that landed him in prison. Here, at the end of his story, the Kiryu Clan is finally a reality.
    • A couple of substories revolve around the fallen and largely forgotten Snake Flower Triad introduced in the first game. Aside from seeking recognition, its members are fighting to be the successor of Lau Ka Long.
    • The final showdown against Tsuneo Iwami eventually becomes a callback to the finale of Yakuza 0; like Shibusawa, newcomer Tsuneo believes his empire can be built on the blood of innocents and looks to kill Kiryu as the crowning moment of taking charge of his clan. Kiryu for his part is still unmoving in his belief of some form of nobility and honour in being a Yakuza, only he's now more than willing to kill Tsuneo for what he's done to his family. The positioning of the two characters prior to the fight is also similar and there's even a familiar music cue when they both reveal their back tattoos.
    • Remember when Kiryu changed a baby's diaper in 4 and got a stream of urine to the face? Kiryu does, and when he changes Haruto early on, he's ready for it.
    • A rather spooky example: hidden throughout Kamurucho are photos of characters whose deaths have been major events throughout the Yakuza series. Finding them allows you to take pictures on Kiryu's phone in certain locations, which cause their spirits - represented through still images from cutscenes in their respective games - to appear in them. Each of the locations where their spirits appear is also meant to hold some significance to the events of their games as well. These deceased cameos are (in order of when they die in the series): Sohei Dojima, Shinji Tanaka, Shintaro Kazama, Akira Nishikiyama, Yumi Sawamura, Osamu Kashiwaginote , Lau Ka Longnote , Yoshitaka Mine, Masaru Ihara and even Yoshinobu Tokugawa from Issin.
  • Celebrity Cameo:
    • AV actresses Anri Okita and Yua Mikami are part of the new LiveChat minigame, both in live-action video.
    • Paul Lim, an internationally renowned darts champion, makes an appearance in a substory and can be challenged to a game of darts. Beware, though: his skills at darts have been perfectly replicated.
    • One of the hostesses is portrayed by and modeled after Saki Akai, a female professional wrestler.
  • Central Theme: Family and life, what it means to be a family and a father figure in more ways than one.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: The hostesses that Kiryu goes out with wear street clothes when they meet up for a date, but magically change into their hostess dresses for the final rooftop scene.
  • Compliment Backfire: Kiryu is less than thrilled to hear that he makes a perfect Ono Michio, ridiculous mascot costume and all.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kiryu vs anyone he faces in this game. As this is the final chapter of his saga, it serves to show him as being unstoppable once last time before he finally retires from active participation in the Yakuza conflicts. With anyone he faces here getting this, even bosses, the sixth game can be considered a class of its own when it comes to Kiryu beating the shit of his enemies.
    • Curb Stomp Cushion: Only one enemy in the game manages to even draw a sweat from Kiryu, that person being Toru Hirose, the strongest man in Hiroshima, and even he is unable to injure Kiryu at all. Subverted to hell with Tsuneo Iwami, who does manage to deliver a blow strong enough to make him bleed but only because he is leveraging Haruka and Haruto. Once they are safe, he completely wipes the floor with Tsuneo, not taking even a single more injury or any more damage at all.
  • Dating Sim: Hostess clubs return once more as well as Kiryu being able to use chat with camgirls.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Upon defeat, the members of JUSTIS join Kiryu's clan and are unlocked as leader units.
    • After defeating Jo Amon yet again, Kiryu convinces the assassin to join up with the Kiryu Clan. After all, he reasons, how better to catch an enemy off-guard than by allying with him?
  • Demoted to Extra: With Kiryu being the sole playable character once more, former playable characters Haruka, Akiyama, Saejima and Majima are delegated back to NPC status. In the case of the latter two, compared to the previous games, they play a much less significant role and barely even appear.
  • Department of Child Disservices: One agent of child services shows up to take Haruto away as Haruka is in a coma, the father is missing and for some reason Kiryu never officially became Haruka's legal guardian. He is completely apathetic to the cause and is pretty blunt that all he cares is that his organization doesn't get blamed if Haruto dies. Date smooths things over with him and reassures Kiryu that he is just an exception to the rule as Japan's child services are usually well-intentioned but severely understaffed.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • The members of the Hirose Family practically thrive on this, and although they can hold their own in a fight, they rarely come out on top of any fights they initiate.
    • Many of Haruka's actions throughout the game count as well, from revealing the truth of her family at the idol concert in the last game, running away to Hiroshima, and the circumstances leading to Haruto's birth.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: In the penultimate chapter, Patriarch Toru Hirose dies in the arms of his captain Nagumo.
    • Subverted by Kiryu himself, who appears to bleed out in Yuta Usami's arms after Taking the Bullet for a hostage. The salvo isn't fatal, however, and he turns up alive in a small clinic later on. The secrecy of his survival enables him to fake his death.
  • Do Androids Dream?: In the substory "I, Hiji", Kiryu installs a state-of-the-art smartphone assistant that happens to be a sentient AI. Hiji is flirty, ambitious, capable of lying to serve her own ends, and has a sense of self-preservation that kicks in when Kiryu tries to uninstall her. She can also network with other instances of herself, manipulating her users with dubious advice. It's probably a good thing she hasn't secured much of a market share yet.
  • Downloadable Content: Aside from free updates that include costumes and items, SSR Cards of certain characters are available to purchase to use in the Clan Creator mini-game. This is also the first game in the series to have purchasable in-game content.
  • End of an Age: An overarching theme of the game is the end of the Yakuza heyday and slow death of their way of life. It's demonstrated by things like the old guard dying out or being arrested and the new blood unwilling to stick with tradition or honor, or the public shift in opinion from romanticizing the Yakuza as rugged, honorable rogues to the dangerous criminals they ultimately are. This is largely Truth in Television: in more modern times, there has been a revelation that the Yakuza are, in fact, organized crime and a threat to society, and intense crackdowns on them. With the End of an Age being such a prominent theme in this entry, it fits as a sendoff to its oldest and most beloved protagonist.
  • Experience Points: This game uses a new system of stat growth, where everything Kiryu does in and out of combat grants him five different types of experience (Strength, Agility, Spirit, Technique, Charm) that he can use to improve his stats (Health, Strength, Evasion, Defense, Heat Gauge) and learn new skills.
  • Expy: One of the sidequests involves Kiryu learning how to use "Hiji", a parody of Siri.
  • Faking the Dead: How the Dragon of Dojima's journey ends. Thanks to a case of The Call Knows Where You Live, trying to live a normal life was unsuccessful through the years as Kiryu found himself back in the fray whether or not he could have avoided it, leading to his loved ones being put in harm's way. He makes a politician forge his death certificate so his loved ones can finally live normally.
  • Falling Damage: Averted. Kiryu can now jump from building roofs, including three- or four-story offices, which sends him crashing into the pavement. Kiryu will get up and brush it off without suffering damage. The exception is if you try it in a battle stage, like Onomichi's cargo island and its stacked shipping containers.
  • Fighting Your Friend: One of Kiryu's first boss battles is against Akiyama, over a disagreement that's elaborated in Both Sides Have a Point above.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Haruto seems pretty comfortable in Hirose's lap, seemingly to a point of familiarity. This is because Hirose was watching over Haruka and Haruto while they were in hiding, and even took Haruto with him when he negotiated with Big Lo.
    • Matsunaga is seen putting the finishing touches to a scale model of the IJN Yamato, which he had built out of pride because the actual ship was laid down, completed, and launched at the Kure Naval Arsenal in Hiroshima. Iwami Shipbuilding is actually building, in secret, the Yamato Mark II, and they've been at it since the mid-1940s.
    • Of all the people who seem to be bent out of shape over Haruka's disappearance, Yuta is the most visibly angry at her potential baby daddy walking out on her. Considering they had an intimate relationship, it's possible that he's projecting his own fears of failure onto him.
    • Hirose mentions how he used to wear a ski mask when he wanted to beat the hell out of yakuza in his own clan without being recognized. He also used said ski mask to murder Matsunaga and Nagumo's fathers as part of the secret Yomei purge.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: The thing seen as Haruka wakes up is a close-up of her hand as her fingers start to curl around Haruto's hand.
  • Funny Background Event: The day after Kiryu and the Hirose boys come back from their escapade of disguising themselves with ski masks, Hirose declares he'll show them how to wear one. While a serious conversation happens in the foreground, Hirose can be seen in the background practicing wrestling moves on Yuta.
  • Game Within a Game: Arcades in the game feature fully emulated versions of Virtua Fighter 5: Last Showdown, Puyo Puyo,note  and the classic arcade games featured in Yakuza 0.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: As usual, Kiryu is assumed in canon to have never taken a life. One chapter even has the gall to question whether Kiryu truly intends to kill for the first time.
  • A Glass in the Hand: Courtesy of Joon-gi Han after his first fight with Kiryu.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Hirose's family before they end up joining Kiryu.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Tatsukawa and Masuzoe tried to get Haruka to abort the child she conceived with Yuta, as they did not want the Saio Triad's Spare to the Throne to have heirs, especially with mixed ancestry. Haruka instead disappeared with Hirose's help and gave birth to Haruto, eventually moving back to Okinawa with him and Yuta in tow. This is in stark contrast to her former manager Mirei Park from 5, whose abortion led to her losing everything.
  • Goofy Suit: The Ono Michio costume has a giant hassaku orange for a head, a bowl of ramen for a hat, fisherman boots and a fish pouch. Kiryu feels ridiculous wearing it. Part of the free DLC adds it as a Premium Adventure costume, although the headpiece has been downsized.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Kiryu can now lure enemies into convenience stores, enabling a new Heat Action in which he smashes a punk's head into a microwave and has the clerk turn it on. The counter and cash register block your view of the nasty aftermath.
    • Early in the game, the camera turns away just as Ed slits a mook's throat
  • Grand Finale: While the franchise will continue, 6 is the final game to feature Kazuma Kiryu and brings to a close the Story Arc that began all the way back in Yakuza.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Pocket Circuit Fighter's son Sakito takes daily English classes and peppers his sentences with it to please his mother, who believes English fluency will save him from having to take over his father's humble tofu shop. Even his name resembles the Japanese pronunciation of "circuit" (*saakitto*).
    • Two substories feature real-world darts legend Paul Lim, who voices himself in English. Luckily for Kiryu, a local fan offers to translate.
    • Baseball mogul Kanamizawa picks his players from international teams, so about half his team doesn't speak Japanese.
      Player: Kanamizawa, I love you!
  • Groin Attack: Haruka hits Tatsukawa with one when he tries to take Haruto from her.
  • Happy Ending Override: The fifth game ends with Haruka finally reuniting with Kiryu, but in the opening segment, he is arrested while he is recovering in the hospital and lands in jail for a few years, while Haruka becomes the victim of a scandal and runs away from the orphanage. When Kiryu completes his sentence, he learns that Daigo and Majima were arrested, Saejima returned to prison, Akiyama closed Sky Finance and is in hiding, and Haruka has become the victim of a hit-and-run incident, and may not pull through.
  • Henpecked Husband: Pocket Circuit Fighter is struck with this hard in his substory. His son knows almost nothing about him and is only allowed to talk to him when his mother allows it, who fears that he'll grow up just to be like his father. She even calls out her husband for letting her walk over him. Thankfully he gets better and improves his relationship with both his son and wife.
  • Here We Go Again!: One line best sums up how Kiryu feels about being drawn back to Kamurocho.
    "How do I always end up back in this damn city?"
  • Hey, That's My Line!: The second time Kiryu and Tetsuya Naito cross paths in Onomichi, Kiryu steals his "Tranquilo!"note  catchphrase for a parting taunt.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Attempted twice with Chinese and subverted both times.
    • At the end of Chapter 7, Big Lo tells Masuzoe that Kiryu and co. don't know of the Secret of Onomichi, which Yuta understood.
    • In a flashback, Tsuneo Iwami understands Big Lo's disapproval of his son's expansion into Tokyo and tells him he has no choice but to continue due to the fact that he knows Big Lo doesn't know what the Secret of Onomichi is.
  • History Repeats: In many ways, the game as a whole mirrors the first game of Kiryu's saga in ways that have to be deliberate. In fact, many events are triggered by Kiryu willingly going to prison in the prologue, just like in the first game.
    • The main plot is triggered by a large, financially-driven conspiracy involving clandestine connections between a highly placed political figure and the yakuza, the laundering of Jingu's ten billion yen in the first game, Daidoji's embezzlement of funds to build the Yamato II here.
    • The Triads and the Tongs as an Outside-Context Villain, with whom a prominent character has a connection. Kiryu's old animosity towards Lau Ka Long and the Snake Flower Triad in the first Yuta's blood ties to the Saio Triad this time.
    • A Love Triangle involving a heroic character, a childhood sweetheart and a white-suited yakuza with slicked-back hair. Kiryu, Yumi and Nishiki in the first game, Nagumo, Kiyomi and Someya here.
    • Said childhood sweetheart having been married to an absolute scumbag and had a child with whom she reunites at the end of the game.
    • A seemingly mild-mannered yakuza patriarch and father figure who turns out to be a merciless hitman responsible for the deaths of his subordinates' fathers, and is murdered by rivals in his own organization and dies in said subordinates' arms. Kazama or Hirose?
    • An innocent child caught up in the middle of all of it because of who their parents are. Haruka in the first game, Haruto in this one.
    • A sadistic yakuza captain with a flashy dress sense who is both lethal in a fight and far smarter than he lets on, uses a tanto as his Weapon of Choice, has a bee in his bonnet about fighting Kiryu, chafes under his boss' thumb to the point where he will work against him on the sly, and turns out to be both more soft-hearted and honorable than anyone would have guessed. Koshimizu or Majima?
    • In the climax of the first game, Yumi takes a bullet to protect Kiryu after Haruka tries to do the same. In this game's climax, Kiryu takes multiple bullets to protect Haruka and Haruto after Yuta jumps in to try and do the same.
    • A big showdown with a white-suited yakuza in the Millenium Tower.
    • The final showdown ending with Haruka screaming for a dead parent.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Downplayed. While benefits from food are instantly granted, Kiryu can only eat as much food as he has room in his stomach for. To eat more food, Kiryu needs to work up an appetite, either through waiting or taking medication to free up room in his gut.
  • I Choose to Stay: Subverted. The possibility of Haruka not wanting to return to Morning Glory is discussed and over the course of the story it seems she has found new friends and a new home in Onomichi, as well as having a son with one of its residents. However, Hirose reveals that Haruka actually wanted to come back to Okinawa when she was confident she could raise her child, because she felt she could then face everyone again with her head held high. At the end of the game, she returns to Morning Glory with Haruto and Yuta joining her.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Real life professional wrestlers Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Toru Yano, Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan portray fictionalized versions of themselves as part of the JUSTIS gang. EVIL and KUSHIDA were added as bonuses to the international versions a year later.
    • All hostesses have their appearances based on real-life hostesses operating in Japan who lend their voices to the characters, with the exception of Saki, whose likeness and voice comes from fellow real-life Pro Wrestler Saki Arai.
    • Takeshi Kitano being in the game received a major portion of the promotional material, and his character in the game, Toru Hirose, looks exactly like his real self, down to the wrinkles.
      • The Japanese cover features him as prominently as Kiryu himself. It also shows Someya, Tsuneo, Nagumo, Yuta and Kiyomi, all of whom are portrayed by renowned Japanese actors as well.
  • Interface Spoiler: A Downplayed example. The trophy for completing chapter 8, where it is revealed at the end that Tatsukawa is not Haruto's father, has Haruto's real father Yuta on its icon.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: After the Jingweon bought out Club Stardust, they converted the lower level of the establishment into a full-contact masked strip club with the occasional bare-knuckle brawl between hosts.
  • Intoxication Mechanic: Maximizing your alcohol tolerance makes controlling your character harder and randomly changes their walking direction.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: The owner of the Nyan Nyan Cat Cafe has a dream of rescuing strays and raising them in his shop. Kiryu is so moved by this vision that he agrees to help out.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Sodachi is defeated at his full strength, he notices a figure in black behind Kiryu: "some guy who looked like a hidden video game boss!" It's Jo Amon, who reappears to challenge Kiryu after Sodachi and Saigo have been bested.
  • Local Hangout: Snack New Gaudi is this in Onomichi for Kiryu where he works his way up from stranger to regular, with substories relating to each member of the group.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Exclusive to this game, "Today is a Diamond" is the series' most infamous example. A very upbeat and happy-sounding song whose lyrics have a very dark interpretation within the context of the game's main plot, where Haruka is comatose, especially the final few lines.
    (Come on, please get up)
    (Please! Please wake up)
    (You’re never going to wake up)
    (I guess I’ll go to sleep too … )
  • Mascot: The substory “Oh No! It’s Ono Michio!” sees Kiryu reluctantly take the stage as the new Onomichi town mascot. After some thugs heckle the event, Kiryu does what he does best and drives them away, turning Ono Michio into a local hero and defender of peace.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: It's revealed that Haruka had a one night stand with Yuta, and because he didn't use protection, that's all it took for her to become pregnant with Haruto.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: With Kiryu as the only real top-tier Yakuza fighter still active in part due to Majima and Saejima being in jail, no one in the game poses a genuine threat to him. The entire Hirose Family working together get summarily curb-stomped and armies of the Saio Triad, Tojo Clan and Yomei Alliance are of little challenge to Kiryu, as he takes them down in a way that makes it clear even if he wasn't helped, he would have still been more than a match for them all. Whenever he fights individually strong fighters like Joon-gi Han, Takumi Someya, and Toru Hirose, he always comes out on top with less effort than he does against strong fighters from the previous game.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: Stardust has been bought by the Jingweon mafia, who redesigned the place from an ordinary host club into an underground haven for ring combat and oiled-up lap dances.
  • Population Control: China's infamous one-child policy is an important element in the game's plot: many parents who had children outside of the policy opted not to have their children registered to avoid incurring legal penalties. These children, known as "heihaizi", would end up being unable to take advantage of government services such as medical care and education. Many heihaizi wound up falling in with triads, with the Saio Triad providing heihaizi to the Yomei Alliance as prospective members. Yuta, himself, is a heihaizi who was sent to Japan as an "insurance policy" to ensure a blood successor in the event that anything untoward happened to Big Lo's firstborn, Jimmy.
  • Power-Up Food: In addition to restoring Kiryu's health, the food ordered from restaurants and purchased from stores also provide experience points (with bonuses for certain order combinations at eateries). Vending machines also provide drinks with an array of benefits, from increasing attack power or defense to helping Kiryu sober up.
  • Power Walk: Kiryu, Akiyama and Hirose's family does one all in black suits as they enter the Millennium Tower.
  • Precocious Crush: There is a little girl in the Ono Michio's substory who wishes to become the mascot's wife when she grows up.
  • Product Placement: LOTS. While many businesses are fictional, many many other products are... not.
    • Sony: Kiryu, Date, and Han Joon Gi use Xperia XZ smartphones, while Haruka uses the Xperia X Compact.
    • Kiryu can get a membership with the gym Rizap (and is shown being made somehow even more buff by it).
    • Other real life brands return as stores, including the ubiquitous Don Quijote (Donki) department stores, the Ringer Hut champon restaurant, Gindaco Highball Tavern and of course Sega’s own Club Sega range of arcades.
    • A poster for the Nagoya-based coffee chain Komeda’s Coffee is visible outside of the playable area in the north west of Kamurocho.
    • The blue “Boss” vending machines are stocked with real Suntory drinks, including Boss’ Black, Light Sugar and Rainbow Mountain variants.
    • The karaoke machines are very clearly branded as JoySound (one of the principal karaoke machine vendors) and are modelled heavily UI wise on the real JoySound machines. One of the bar patrons in Onomichi goes so far as to wax lyrical about it.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Gang War questline consists of Kiryu getting into a war with JUSTIS, a gang led by New Japan Pro-Wrestling wrestlers.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Activating Extreme Heat Mode grants you super armor while performing strings of punches. Keep it going for a while and it turns into a pretty satisfying Heat Move that shows the opponent getting decked in the face from various angles.
  • Real-Place Background: Breaking tradition for the series, Onomichi is not actually fictional or even fictionalized - it is a real, albeit much larger in real life, place which has been almost perfectly translated into the Yakuza universe. You can see photos of the real Onomichi here.
  • Recurring Boss: Most bosses in the main story are fought two or three times. It is quite rare that a boss is only fought once.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Of three different flavors:
    • The Saio Triad is introduced by way of a grisly yakuza execution by second-in-command Ed.
    • Joon-gi Han, new face of the Jingweon Korean mafia, sears his underling's face on a barbecue grill.
    • The Snake Flower Triad attempt a comeback through terrorism, bombing storefronts and hijacking TV broadcasts to lure Kiryu back out for a showdown.
  • She Is All Grown Up:
    • Four years after the previous game, Haruka - who came into Kiryu's life at age 9 - is now 19.
    • Meanwhile the Sunshine/Morning Glory orphans have all become teenagers. When Kiryu returns from his prison sentence, he's nearly driven to tears seeing how much they've grown since he last saw them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There is a social media website that, in the English version, is named "Troublr".
    • One substory revolving around a young man trying to obtain viral fame on the internet is titled "Like, Comment, Subscribe".
    • The substory that allows Kiryu to start spearfishing is called “The Old Man and the Sea.”
      • The final substory part that involves Kiryu hunting down the Bloody Shark is called "Deep Blue Sea."
    • Another substory features a young girl who claims to have traveled back in time from the future. The name of the substory: "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time?".
    • One substory has Kiryu chasing down a runaway Roomba. When Kiryu learns of cleaning robots, he envisions something human-shaped and metallic, but the young man he is helping dismisses that his robot is anything like RoboCop.
    • The trophy for reaching Beloved Customer at Snack New Gaudi is called “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”
    • The trophy for playing all the arcade games is called “To Be This Good Takes AGES”, a former Sega slogan from the Mega Drive/Genesis era.
  • Super Mode: Kiryu can now activate "Extreme Heat Mode", which cloaks him in a blazing blue aura and lets him use a variety of unique Heat Moves.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • At the end of the previous game, Haruka revealed her ties to the Yakuza through Kiryu. Rather than everyone understanding her and leaving her alone, this goes disastrously for everyone involved, and results in her reputation going up in flames. In fact, as Kazuma Kiryu is the greatest Yakuza warrior alive and holds the infamous title of the Dragon of Dojima with a well-known reputation for stomping his opponents while causing collateral damage, even Haruka's adopted siblings suffer. Even Kiryu ultimately realizes that his dream of a happy life with Haruka and the others can never come true, as his reputation and title itself even without him doing anything else represents incredible strength to be feared.
    • Kiryu, who had been causing quite some damage to people and objects around him since the 80s, is arrested for assault and destruction of private property. Played with, as the arrest only happened because the police needed a scapegoat, and even then he only served a relatively merciful 3 years in prison despite already having a criminal record beforehand.
  • Talk to the Fist: A mook tries to stall Kiryu and friends when they march on the Millennium Tower to confront Sugai. Kiryu slugs him without breaking stride before the main fight begins.
  • Tap on the Head: Nagumo knocks Koshimizu unconscious in chapter 9 by breaking a bottle on his head. The next time he is seen conscious, he shows no signs of damage.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Downplayed: Haruka is a mother at 19, just shy of the Japanese age of majority at 20.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being absent from the series since Dead Souls, the Sunshine/Morning Glory orphans appear briefly in the game's main story once more.
  • Threatening Shark: Great Whites occasionally pop up in the spearfishing minigame, where they're typically the most durable and dangerous non-boss enemies. The final boss of the storyline is an even bigger and hardier beast nicknamed "Bloody Shark".
  • Timed Mission: If Kiryu waits too long to accept an available Troublr mission - or to complete it, once accepted - it'll close out as a failure. Frustratingly, getting into fights and riding in taxis (or even blundering into a substory trigger) can sometimes cancel the timer and fail the mission immediately... though it'll pop up again later on.
  • The Triads and the Tongs:
    • Early in the game Kiryu encounters the Saio Triad, who plan to take over Kamurocho starting from Little Asia.
    • A couple of substories revolve around the Snake Flower Triad, whose remaining members aren't happy that no one remembers them in the wake of Lao Ka Long's death.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Yasuo Sodachi, who was introduced in Yakuza 4 as the head of a dojo and had the honor of having the smallest life bar in the whole series. He challenges Kiryu to a fight after some serious RIZAP body training, and when he's beaten at full strength, even Kiryu acknowledges he's grown much stronger.
    • Also from Yakuza 4, self-proclaimed military genius Saigo plays a similar role. While he could still put up a good fight against Akiyama previously, he needed a submachine gun to do it. Here he goes barefisted with a number of nasty kicking and throwing techniques.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Nagumo turns the baseball game into a fight after he purposefully hit all the batters until Kiryu shows up. Kiryu throws the bat straight at Nagumo's face which starts the brawl.
  • Vocal Dissonance: In one of the Ono Michio substories, a young boy has the voice of a grown man.
  • Wham Shot: One big one in the game is when Kiryu first fights Someya. When Someya performs his Battle Strip, he reveals that he has no tattoos, a stark contrast from OG yakuza like Kiryu.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you pick a fight that spills into a store or restaurant, the people working within will refuse to do business with you for a while. You'll also get this treatment if you destroy (unintentionally or otherwise) or use any of a store/restaurant's outdoor/patio furniture as weapons.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: One of the reasons Kiryu goes to Onomichi is to find the identity of Haruto's father.
  • The Worf Effect: Nagumo is the strongest member of the Hirose Family while Yuta turns out to be the man Haruka fell in love with and the father of her child, along with being a member of the Hirose Family. Despite having these claims, both of them end up being rather underplayed, Yuta in particular being shown as the one who is least competent among the Hirose Family. Kiryu at first considers Nagumo or Yuta to be a mere annoyance as he summarily takes them and in subsequent one-on-one fights with them, he is still leagues above them even with him having gotten close to and thus was holding back a lot against them. Yuta only hits Joon-gi Han because he allowed it and is subsequently curb-stomped with ease afterwards and fails to take down Ed truly even working alongside Nagumo. He even gets stabbed and left out of commission during the fight in the Millennium Tower, while Nagumo is likewise taken down by Sugai with a shot to the stomach.
  • X Treme Kool Letterz: Subverted with the gang JUSTIS. At the end of the storyline, Kiryu asks why it's spelled that way: As it turns out, it was just a misspelling.

"You can do it.
You can do this.

Hang in there..."
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