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Visual Novel / LifeSigns: Surgical Unit

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An adventure game series for the Nintendo DS following the wacky misadventures of Tendo Dokuta, a young medical intern working at Seimei Medical University in Tokyo, known as Lifesigns: Hospital Affairs in PAL regions.

There are actually two Lifesigns games, though the first, Kenshuui Tendo Dokuta, was never translated from Japanese after its 2004 release. This one was released in Japan in 2005, and got translated in 2007.

The videogame series has examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Kaori stepping on a rockfish during the island chapters. Although she doesn't get any medical attention for it onscreen, she just shrugs it off despite rockfish poison being very dangerous.
  • The Alcoholic: Tange likes to drink, and Suzu is known to knock back a few shots despite being a recovering alcoholic. Suzu used to be this, to the point where the first game seems to have her drunk extremely often. She even has to stop a surgery simply because she hadn't had a drink in two hours and couldn't hold her hands still!
  • Aloof Ally: Sanae Kurai, one of the operation room nurses at the hospital, is one. Despite her personality, Tendo can go on a date with her.
  • Big Eater: Aoshima, who eats about 20 separate dishes in one sitting.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Tamakis are a mild case, with daughter Kaori and her parents. Tendo's family is notoriously more screwed up Especially if you consider Suzu could have been his stepmom, but Sawai refused because Tendo was born. So are Kouichi and Asuza Inose, brother and sister, from the second game's first case He blames himself for his parents' death, since they were picking him up from the police station. Asuza denies this, but after Kouichi gets in a motorcycle accident, she admits she did, and felt guilty about it.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: There is the occasional typo, text wrapping issue, parenthetical placeholder, mangled grammar, and unresolved Pronoun Trouble in the English version. Also, the translation in general is a bit on the literal side; while not necessarily a defect, it frequently results in the use of medical terminology that may fly right over your head.
  • Bowdlerise: Heikichi is known as "Hand Mirror Heikichi" in the Japanese version, and he uses them to look up the female nurses' skirts. The localized version mostly just has him flirt with the nurses, which is generally seen as an improvement due to the Dirty Old Man trope becoming less acceptable with each passing year.
  • Busman's Holiday: Most of Episode Three and all of Episode Four take place on a tropical island Tendo goes to with his little sister Hikaru on vacation, and it ends up being just work for him due to various incidents that require his medical skills.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Maya from the first game is half Japanese.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Hoshi has a crush on Tendo, but can't get it out, and simply makes him meals. Sora is this way to Hikaru.
  • Character Development: Ueto. She becomes much nicer and kind in the second game.
  • Cool Old Lady: The first game has Tendo treat a midwife who claims to have helped bring 999 babies into the world. She probably wasn't kidding, since she helped bring a 1000th one in shortly after being admitted.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Tange has a heart attack and Tendo revives him fairly easily just with CPR.
  • Crystal Ball: Miyuki owns one in the second game. It actually does let her see into the future, as proven by the fact that Heikichi can't pinch her bum while she has it.
  • Death of a Child: Little Ran will die if you don't operate on Kouichi fast enough.
  • Denser and Wackier: The second game is far less serious than the first, though the first wasn't without its silly moments.
  • Dr. Jerk: Sawai in the second game. However, it's implied that he's this way to Tendo to try and make him work harder, as he wasn't this way in the first one.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. Naoko tries to kill herself after she accidentally stabs Kakkii. You can either save her by distracting her, which lets Cookie get the knife away, or she can stab herself, and Suzu will operate and save her life.
  • First-Name Basis: The only one who ever calls Tendo by his given name, Dokuta, is Hikaru. Even when he gets in a relationship with either Aoshima or Hoshi, they refer to each other as "Tendo-san", "Aoshima-san" or "Hoshi-san".
  • Gamer Chick: Hoshi loves the claw machine, giving Tendo a pig she won from it. It can be used to make them fall in love.
  • Happily Adopted: Subverted. Tendo lived with his mom, but was very close to his firefighter stepdad, respecting him and fully appreciating the things the man did for him. His mother died from cancer when he was a boy, and his stepdad took care of him, and worked himself raw to make sure Tendo could go to med school. He even says to his real father, Sawai, that he considers his stepdad his true father.
  • I Gave My Word: Tendo does this twice, and both times it's a promise to Hikaru, his little sister. The first time is a simple vow that once he operates on Higure, he'll come back to the hotel for her. The second time is more dramatic, when he operates on Sawai, he promises to Hikaru he'll save his life. He uses this to convince Suzu to assist, because despite all the hell Sawai put him through, Tendo will heal him.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Tendo does not know that Sawai is actually his father until very late into the storyline of Kenshuui Tendo Dokuta, but this detail is revealed early on in Lifesigns: Surgical Unit.
  • Meaningful Name: Dokuta is a rough romanization of "Doctor", so Tendo's title is basically "Dr. Doctor."
    • Chief Nurse Florence was named after Florence Nightingale, despite everyone else's Japanese names.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Eri, complete with nurse's outfit.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Suzu does some very, very questionable things in the first game, to the point where it makes you question why her medical license hasn't been revoked. There's also Carlos Astro Nogi, who carries an assault rifle with him on the job and works in a hospital that looks more like a military base. Though he actually turns out to be an inversion, as his hospital accepts every patient it can (something considered absurd in Japanese culture) and gives it his all to save everyone that comes through the doors.
  • Multiple Endings: If you take too long during an operation, or fail convincing, there can be a separate ending It usually involves someone dying. Don't finish Kouichi's operation in time, and Little Ran dies.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The first game has it the worst, but the second doesn't get off scot free either. Particularly notable is the head of the hospital, who is surrounded by a platoon of worshipping nurses and who gets dramatic cutaways when he walks down the hallway.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: The only time you can game over during a diagnosis is with the androphobic patient. Easy to avoid if you actually pay attention to the conversation leading up to it, minimizing the number of times palpation is done to 1.
  • Press X to Die: When working on Miyaki's heart, at one point the game will bring up the usual interface to do something with the prompt being to "not touch the heart". and the timer doesn't decrease. The correct action, obviously, is to wait for the life meter to jump up.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Suzu. Just... Suzu. She was fully prepared to harshly discipline Aoshima when she made a mistake. She also has her, within one week of her internship, perform brain surgery on a ten-year-old girl, with no backup aside from her perioperative nurse.
    • She's much worse in the first game. She lets Tendo go into an operation with a misdiagnosis simply so she can have him learn that he made a mistake. While she does show up afterwards, she also could've been called into something else and prevented a potential death by telling him the problem.
  • Team Pet: Cookie becomes one. Aside from the cute factor, he's directly responsible for an exceedingly heartwarming moment (helping Miina overcome her fear of men) and an exceedingly awesome moment (grabbing Naoko's knife from her hand).
  • Those Two Guys: More like those four guys. Kanae, Masui, and Keiichi are like this from the start, and Ueto joins their ranks in the second game.
  • Timed Mission: Each surgery has one or two different timers counting down at any given point. There is also an unseen third timer that can lock you out of certain routes.
  • Unwanted Harem: Practically every girl save Ueto flirts with Tendo at one point or another. Sort of subverted with Suzu, who pretends to flirt with him, then reveals she loathes his very existence at the second game's climax.
  • Vacation Episode: Played with. Tendo takes his little sister Hikaru on vacation, and it ends up being just work for him. See Busman's Holiday above.
  • Values Dissonance: The series is very Japanese, with things such as a surgery that's very questionable as to whether it's actually useful (yet is still very common in Japan, and only Japan) and hospitals refusing to accept patients because there's a significant chance they'll dienote , among other things.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Carlos can't stand pregnancies, and needs to be talked into accepting a pregnant patient by Tendo. He passes out during it, but he recovers shortly after and gets over his fear enough to accept them in the future.

Alternative Title(s): Lifesigns Surgical Unit