STEAL! is a Yaoi Visual Novel game released in late 2009 by Spray (known for titles such as Gakuen Heaven and Kichiku Megane). Notably quite tame in comparison to other BL games, it's also quite noticeable for the fact that the majority of the voice cast were credited under their real names.
After living a difficult life, Asuka Kobayashi resolves to grow stronger, and, under the suggestion of his father, enrolls in elite all-boys boarding school Kaido Academy. A normal school at first glance, the school is the headquarters of the elite heist group Magnus Pica and operates a secret program under the name "Aesthetics Operations Division" that trains students to steal back stolen artifacts from museums and auctions. Asuka is invited to join, and enters one of its trainee groups Team Griff.
While each member of Team Griff have their own special abilities to contribute to the heist, Asuka has been gifted with "True Eyes" since youth, which allows him to profile objects. However, he's reluctant to reveal it due to being bullied as a child for having them. While preparing for the Magnus Pica mission, he learns to accept his powerful gift and grows close to Team Griff, but soon realizes just how dangerous having True Eyes is.
There are eight love interests in total with three endings each, as well as two neutral endings.
At the same time, to promote the title, STEAL! received a manga adaptation drawn by the game's character designer, Meiko Akana, which summarizes Kei's route. It also received a Light Novel adaptation written by the game's head writer, Kaori Shu, which summarizes Dio's route. In 2011, several drama CDs were released.
Tropes present in STEAL! include:
- Affectionate Nickname: Hiro calls Asuka "Asuka-chin." If you chose his route, he'll eventually just call him simply "Asuka." Matori also calls Hiro and Taiyo "Kitty" and "Puppy."
- Always Camp: Hiro's father works as a makeup artist, and naturally Hiro uses his background in makeup to prepare disguises.
- Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend: Pursuing Kiryu will cause him to be a Bastard Boyfriend to Asuka.
- Big Eater: Taiyo likes to eat a lot and when he first shows Asuka his van, it's stashed with food. Also, if you choose to eat dinner with Ryoichi, Kiryu, Hiro, and Hajime, they all bond over their mutual disgust in Taiyo's gigantic appetite and make Asuka promise not to tell him about cooking together.
- Brutal Honesty: Hiro never hides how he feels and is very upfront.
- But Not Too Foreign: Asuka is ethnically Japanese but lived in America for most of his life.
- Character Blog: In honor of STEAL!s 5th anniversary, the main characters were given Twitter accounts to promote the event.
- Chekhov's Gun: Asuka constantly monologues about how Hiro smells. He later identifies that Hiro is disguised as Kizaki by how he smells.
- Childhood Friends: Kei was Asuka's only friend when they were little. This trope later blossoms into Childhood Friend Romance, as Kei had been in love with Asuka since they were kids.
- Code Name: Team Griff refer to each other by their code names during missions. They are as follow:
- Asuka: True Eyes
- Kei: Blue Black Jaguar ("BBJ" for short)
- Dio: Il Mago di Parlare ("Il Mago" for short)
- Ryoichi: Master of the Game ("Game Master" for short)
- Kiryu: Invisible Hacker
- Matori: Graceful Fenomena ("Fenomena" for short)
- Hajime: Innocent Replica
- Hiro: Wicked Nail ("Wicked" for short)
- Taiyo: Thunder Attack Rider ("Rider" for short)
- Cursed With Awesome: Asuka has True Eyes, which lets him profile objects. While this comes useful during missions, Asuka only remembers being ostracized because of it.
- Disappeared Dad: Because Asuka's father is a curator, he often worked away from home.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Kiryu is the only other person besides Ryoichi to wear glasses, but unlike the latter, he's ruthless and cruel.
- Friendless Background: Growing up, Asuka had no friends because of his True Eyes, with the exception of Kei.
- Funny Background Event: When Kiryu shows everyone data on Takeshi Gobara's museum, it's all written in English. Among his data, one painting is described as "bad taste" and "Tony Smith" is described as the "fool at the desk."
- Good Is Dumb: Taiyo is very kind but he's also incredibly naive.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Dio occasionally spouts Italian words at random, most notably "gattino" (kitten) when flirting with Asuka. Also, one does not simply forget the infamous "Figlio di puttana" he drops on Takeshi Gobara during the second mission.
- HeelFace Turn: Gregory Hawk was part of Magnus Pica until he betrayed them.
- In Hajime's bad ending, he joins Hawk.
- Let's Split Up, Gang!: During the third mission, Asuka has the choice to join the field team (Kei, Dio, Matori, and Hiro) or the support team (Ryoichi, Kiryu, Hajime, and Taiyo). Either way, transmission dialogue in both routes are the same (except for Asuka's).
- Master Actor: During Team Griff's first mission, Dio plays the part of Koumoto from Gallery K, and pulls it off so convincingly that it makes Asuka drop his jaw in astonishment.
- Meaningful Name: "Magnus Pica" means "Grand Magpie" in Latin.
- The Mole: Kiryu is a spy for the police to track Magnus Pica's activities.
- Last-Name Basis: Everyone refers to Kiryu by his last name, but if Asuka choses to pursue him, they both end up on First-Name Basis mutually.
- Mr. Exposition: Ryoichi explains mission details since he's the leader and thus is the one to receive assignments from the higher-ups, so naturally he sets the background.
- Not So Different: Hajime's attention to detail is so pinpoint exact, an ability similar to Asuka's True Eyes. However, unlike Asuka, he proudly embraces his ability and thinks of it a gift.
- Oblivious to Love: Asuka legitimately cannot tell if someone likes him even if he's been hit with a load of reality bricks. In Hiro's route, Hiro even tells him he likes him upfront, and even then Asuka thinks he's only joking around.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Everyone calls Dio by his nickname, even though his full name is Claudio T. Lotti.
- Production Throwback: There's a poster of the two Katsuyas from Kichiku Megane at the pool lounge. (On a random note, in a Hilarious in Hindsight moment that was probably intentional, Aki from Kichiku Megane wears Kaido Academy's school uniform).
- Real Men Wear Pink: Hiro loves doing makeup and wears pink hair decs in his hair.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The passionate Dio is the Red Oni while the cool Kei is the Blue Oni. Naturally neither get along with each other well.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kei causes Team Griff to fail their third mission when he immediately tries to shoot Hawk on sight.
- Team Dad: Ryoichi is the leader of Team Griff and often quells fights between Hiro and Taiyo. However on the night Aska eats dinner with him, Hiro, Hajime, and Kiryu, he thinks of him as a Team Mom instead.
- The Tease: Matori's mysterious nature often leaves Asuka puzzled.
- Terrible Artist: When plotting their third mission, Ryoichi tries drawing a ship, only for everyone to suggest against it. Kiryu ends up making a 3D simulation instead.
- Together in Death: In one of Matori's bad endings, Asuka picks the wrong key at Fuitona on purpose, causing Matori and himself to be blown up.
- Vanity Is Feminine: Hiro is the most feminine-looking of the group and also eats breakfast late because he spends time in the morning doing his hair.
- You Killed My Father: Kei's significant change in personality stems from Gregory Hawk killing his parents shortly after Asuka moved to America.