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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Minamimoto uses a lot of incorrect phrases. This is either a Stealth Insult since he expects people to not call him out on it or proof that he is a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Angst Dissonance: The intro to the game simply has Neku explain how much he can't stand people in general for no good reason. We see him yelling at a few people, then "I don't get people. Never have, never will." It doesn't really get elaborated on during the main story, but gets an explanation in Another Day's Pork City quest. Neku blames himself for the death of his only friend. This is hinted at in the main story, too. When Rhyme gets erased, Neku thinks, "I feel like crap. This is just like that time... That time? What time? ... I can't remember."
  • Anticlimax Boss:
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    • In Another Day, Shinji Hashimoto is quite easier than some of the previous Tin Pin opponents.
    • Anguis Cantus, despite looking awesome, is piss-easy. So long as you don't go Leeroy Jenkins and get wiped out by his headbutt, all he can do while you're on the ground is to use a slow and fairly weak fireball spread (with the occasional big one thrown in). Oh, and then there's his tracking bubble: but it actually works to your advantage to get grabbed, seeing as this lets you wail on him with impunity while he charges a very slow fireball, giving you plenty of time to ready a cross-combo.
  • Anvilicious: While every character grows throughout the game, Neku's antisocial behavior, general apathy and disdain towards others, and his resulting character development from being forced to team up with people, hammers out the main theme of the game—learning to empathize, help, and care about others is essential to survival and growth as a person, and disconnecting from the world around you or choosing not to care only hurts others and yourself.
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  • Awesome Art: The graphics and general style of the game are incredibly stylized, helping to make Shibuya feel incredibly vibrant, colorful, and unique. Especially when looking at the iOS version.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Joshua. His Jerkassery is either incredibly hilarious or incredibly annoying. The question of whether or not Joshua is gay makes some fans butt heads, too.
  • Crazy Awesome: Minamimoto.
  • Cult Classic: While not the most well-known of Square Enix titles, the game is still generally well-received and beloved by quite a lot of fans. So much so that it got a Nintendo Switch rerelease packed with new content and a revised battle system ten years after its original release.
  • Demonic Spiders: The elephants are notorious for being tough fights and are aware of where you place your stylus, can juggle you in the air, and have tons of HP and deadly attacks. Seemingly acknowledging how tough they are, in "A New Day" the final boss is an elephant.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
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    • Joshua. While he's a Jerkass who turns out to have killed Neku and essentially manipulated him to "win" the game against Kitaniji for him so that he could erase Shibuya, a lot of people find him endearing.
    • Minamimoto, too.
  • Ear Worm: All of the soundtrack is pretty catchy, but Calling will gorge its way into your head for days.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Minamimoto, Kariya, and 777.
  • Escapist Character: Hanekoma brews excellent coffee, is a wise, insanely popular graffiti artist who everyone admires, is always two steps ahead of everyone and is essentially both God and Satan with setting up Joshua's development to ensure Neku wins, while also giving Minamimoto the Taboo Noise knowledge. Mostly because of keeping in the background of things, he manages to keep a sense of mystique and interest to keep from being obnoxious about it.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Konishi and Minamimoto.
  • Fanon: The concept of the Music of Shibuya is widespread and largely accepted with no explanation in fanfiction. It's never even alluded to in the game, though it does make sense given the background tracks, Neku's headphones, and fits with the musical theme naming (Noise, Conductor, Composer, frequency, etc). Plus most of the Noise are named after music (Dixiefrog, Pig Samba, Neoclassical Drake).
  • Fountain of Memes: Pick one of Sho Minamimoto's voiced quotes, Any of them, and fans of the game just might start having quote-offs or breaking out into math speeches.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • If you use Mingle mode and come across another player doing the same, you can access that player's shop, which consists of what the player's characters were equipped with at the time. Through this, you can, early on in the game, buy pins that you normally wouldn't get for a long time, such as the Anguis and the Darklit Planet set, and quite easily demolish every enemy that comes your way.
    • The LASS thread set, short for "Lapin Angelique Suicide Special," which uses threads which require the SOS condition. The correct set of four grants an insane level of offense and defense, often meaning 0 damage on the user and high amounts of damage to the enemy. There's even pins and threads which automatically inflict SOS at the beginning of battle. Combined with the Darklit Planets, any enemy you face is done for.
      • Sadly nerfed in the Solo Remix. The loss of the light puck hurts your damage potential, and SOS is triggered at 25% health instead of 50%, meaning that the LASS set is now higher risk and lower reward.
    • Neku and Joshua's Level 3 Fusion Attack. It can be used to basically skip the Nintendo Hard Phase 2 of Sho Minamimoto's boss fight by taking almost half his HP off. To put that in perspective, Shiki's level 3 Fusion has an Efficiency rating of 20, Beat's has an Efficiency rating of 30, and Joshua's level 3 Fusion has an efficiency rating of 99.99.
    • Joshua and the Approaching Eden set are a match made in the Higher Plane when playing solo in the Remix versions. Joshua's Partner Pin is activated with a downward slash, and Holy Field now activates on a cross combo and gives Neku a timed invincibility shield. Putting a pin with Shockwave in Neku's last slot and training yourself to trigger Shockwave with down slashes will trigger a cross combo with every hit; this turns sinking your level for Ultimate-difficulty drops into a matter of timing your hits and staying on the evasive when Joshua needs to reboot.
    • The Remix editions buff pins with Lightning Arrester (like Lightning Rook) with more hits and charges, which are now comparable to the Darklit Planets in damage. Even better, Lightning Rooks are much easier to get, plus you can equip two of them and still have four pins of your choice, unlike the Darklit Planets which take up all your slots.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Some of Minamimoto's references are just random math terms thrown around for fun, but then there's the Level i Flare. In Final Fantasy, Flare is one of the most powerful Black Magic spells; "Level x Flare" targets all enemies with the level divisible by the number given. Since i squared is -1, and -1 squared is 1, then every level that is a multiple of 1 is a multiple of -1, and thus a multiple of i. Meaning that Level i Flare is an immensely powerful magic that targets every enemy (or simply everyone on the screen), including those with imaginary levels.
    • The HP count of both his forms in the Noise Report is a reference to pi.
    • Minamimoto's "So zetta slow!" becomes a Precision F-Strike when you realize that "zetta" is a preffix that means "one sextillion".
    • In Another Day, when Beat is trying to become a comedian, it's just plain funny. It becomes funnier if you know that there is a Japanese comedian by the stage name of BEAT Takeshi.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Frogs have small hitboxes and jump around quickly, especially if you use Joshua's floating move. Later, you encounter Frogs that absorb either short-range or long-range attacks. Or a particular kind of frog that absorbs both. The frog that absorbs both get very special notice. You can only fight them in the Shibuya River areas in Another Day, and they're rare. They're also one of six enemies in the game that drop a Darklit Planet pin, meaning you need to fight them on Ultimate and chain a lot of battles.
    • Shrews use bombs and drill attacks for massive damage, and on top of that burrow underground, making them difficult to attack.
    • Wolves, due to their almost-constant dashing.
    • Pork City has battles that pair these attack-absorbing frogs with the ELEPHANTS.
    • Ravens tend to be this too. The big raven boss, Cornix Canor, is very representative in that it stays off screen for 90% of the time and just decides to stop by every once in a while, flying past your silly attempts at hitting it.
    • Any Taboo Noise, because they're stronger, require you to pay close attention to the Light Puck if you want to do any decent damage, and actively seek you out during a Scan. Additionally, the 'Gotta Bounce!' option is disabled during their battles, so you can not escape them.
    • Not to mention the jellyfish. They multiply endlessly. If you try to get the red jellyfish's Hard drop by waiting for it to spawn, the battle can easily take up to 10 minutes just because they spawn faster than you can finish them off.
    • Towards the end of the final week, you'll occasionally and randomly fight brainwashed Reapers as you go from one area to another. The encounters aren't particularly hard so much as time-wasting.
  • Goddamned Boss: Taboo Minamimoto. Not particularly dangerous, but his Teleport Spam is infuriating.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The very existence of the second and third weeks, as well as the reveal of what Neku’s entry fees are for both Games and for the tone shift of the two.
    • The full details of Neku’s death, especially after fighting the final boss. Needless to say, there’s a lot more going on than what it seems.
    • "A New Day" in Final Remix. To wit, after having her plans foiled, Coco shoots Neku dead with Joshua deciding that he's outlived his usefulness and deigning to leave him to his fate. Shinjuku gets subjected to something called an Inversion, the mechanics of which are unknown other than that they involve Noise breaching into the RG. And then, Coco resurrects none other than Sho Minamimoto, apparently to serve as Neku's partner in an all-new Reapers' Game.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Several of the male shop keepers crush on the players as hard as the females when you get their Friendship up—the le Grand clerk in Cadoi City's offering to help the player slip into his purchases being the most explicit. He will drop several sexual compliments on the party as they shop and there's only a one-third chance that there's even a girl in the party, meaning two times out of three he's hitting on a pair of fifteen year-old boys.
    • Shiki's most important character arc is her relationship with Eri, while Mina and Ai seem to care much more about each other than Makoto.
    • It's even lampshaded in the bonus chapter at the end of the game, where Joshua's codename is 'Pink', someone comments on how a Rainbow Tin Pin Launcher was 'made for him' and he's the 'Roy G. Biv' of Tin Pin, and Josh himself offers to escort Neku alone down an abandoned drainage river and "spend some quality time". Shiki is torn between shock and Yaoi Fangirl-ism.
  • It Was His Sled: The second and third weeks existing was a huge spoiler at the time, but are now widely known.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Megumi Kitaniji is the true Big Bad of the game, second in power only to Joshua. Ruling the underground of Shibuya in Joshua's absence as its Conductor, Kitaniji assigns Game Masters to each week to act as his Proxy while vying for control against Joshua and seeking to give order to Shibuya through the O-Pins. Kitaniji takes non-refundable entry fees — including Neku's memories — and forces Neku to play another Game while holding Shiki as his new fee. As Neku begins the game, he takes Shiki as his entry fee knowing very well how much she meant to the boy. Kitaniji also has Joshua hunt his own friends down in an attempt to erase them. In the third week, Kitaniji brainwashes the entire town with the O-Pins and merges with Joshua to become the final threat. Even in spite of his viciousness, Kitaniji has Beat, hunt down Neku and Joshua in an attempt to erase them. Despite this he has nothing but praise for his minions and even Neku, and gracefully concedes defeat to Joshua once he's proven himself better.
    • Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu starts the game as a helpful if obnoxious partner in Week 2. In reality, he is Shibuya's UG Composer making him the Greater-Scope Villain of the Reaper's Game. Besides handing out orders from behind the scenes he fools Neku, the game's protagonist, into believing he risked his life for Neku and defeated Neku's killer. In reality, he killed Neku to use as a Proxy to win the True Game with the game's actual Big Bad Megumi Kitaniji: the Conductor. While he may have originally planned to erase Shibuya, Neku's reliance on the people around him restored his faith in humanity, convincing all the players — even the ones who didn't make it — a second chance at life. Neku monologues in the end that while he couldn't stand Joshua, he's grateful for meeting him and he trusts him, even being unable to shoot him when Joshua offers to make him the Composer through his own death. Even in the failure of his own goals of destroying Shibuya, Joshua still managed to win in the end.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Minamimoto would like to you know that you are so zetta slow! Anything Minamimoto says is quotable or a meme.
    • One Reaper uses the typical internet-memetic catchphrases "Oh really?" (orly?), "I see what you did there," (i see what u did thar) and "I know, right?" (inorite?)
    • Joshua can lock on to a single enemy multiple times to attack it for massive damage!
    • The proof is in the pudding. The pudding... OF THEIR DOOM!
    • Minamimoto's also used similarly to Ultros to tell some Incredibly Lame Pun, but math related.
    • Joshua and his Super Jesus Beam. Joshua is a form of the name Jesus, after all.(Yoshua and Yeshua have the same root name.)
    • Come get some Hot Stuff. Explanation 
    • Shiki's "Pants. Off. Now." and Beat's "IM DIGGIN' IT!" are popular among fans.
    • Tin Pin. SLAM ON!
    • For Tin-Pin is a Manly Game.
    • Must... resist... emo urges! Explanation 
    • There's a party in my mouth! Explanation 
    • Shut up and walk, dear. Explanation 
    • Feel me when you come inside / Touch me when you want me anytimeExplanation 
    • "What’s a meme?"
  • Moe: Rhyme. Shiki's real self counts as well.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • To some fans, Beat in general. To others, Uzuki's voice, especially her high pitched giggles.
    • Joshua's "Whaaat?" every time he gets knocked down is the only reason why his levitation could possibly be a bad thing.
    • "Neku, do you need a break?" Especially when half of the time it's his fault that you're dying in the first place.
    • "ZETTA SLOW. SO ZETTA-SO ZETTA SLOW!" and "IIIIIINFINITY!" (Because he is That One Boss.)
    • "You're outta your vecto- You're outta your vecto- You're outta your vecto- You're outta your vecto- "*repeat ad infinitum*
    • "DIE, RADIAN!" "DIE, RADIAN!" - Notice three examples in a row are from the same guy, same boss fight.
    • SUBMIT! TIME BE- Try har-Try harder! SUBMI-SUBMIT! TIME BE STILL! SUBMI- Try harder!
    • GRAHHH! YAAAAHH! DON'T LET LIMITS SLOW YOU! EHEHEHEHEHEHE... ENJOY THE MOMENT!! OPEN UP YOUR WORLD!
    • "You need to do better, Neku."note 
  • Narm Charm:
    • The soundtrack kicks ass, but if you think about it for 30 seconds, you realize that a lot of it is a bunch of Japanese singers trying to sound like gangstas as they rap. But they put so much energy and effort into their performance, it's just adorable. And the songs still somehow manage to be completely awesome! It gets even better if you listen to the lyrics of some of the songs. For example, "Game Over" is apparently sung by a businessman signing contracts and climbing up the corporate ladder.
    • Not to mention, the soundtrack makes a bit of sense because Neku is wearing headphones throughout the entire game - it's what he's listening to!
    • Several cutscenes feature stylized handguns—so stylized, in fact, that they look like paint rollers or hairdryers.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The Game Over sequence. The music suddenly stops, Neku whispers, "I-I'm fading..." in a horrified voice, and then both screens turn to static. It's even worse when you're fighting Game Masters, as they'll make a snarky comment too.
    • Sometimes, it'll be your partner who speaks when you die, and their death cries can get pretty horrifying. Like Beat, who, instead of whispering like Neku, screams "RHYYYYYME!" Shiki screams for you as well.
    • The Progfox is a boss that shapeshifts and has different forms. This skull-like form is one of them.
    • The start of Week 3. Neku's entry fee is all the other players, not only leaving him without anyone whose help he can turn to, but also rendering him completely unable to fight (as in, his pins are disabled) since Noise cannot be harmed without a partner. For all he knows, he's up shit creek without a paddle and doomed to die for real...until Beat shows up.
    • Towards the end of Week 3, everyone in Shibuya being brainwashed, including Shiki, by the Red Pins is horrifying. Also in Week 3, the Taboo Noise icons seek you out during a Scan.
    • The entire concept of the Reaper’s Game can also be considered this as well, especially since failure means your erasure from existence.
  • Obvious Judas: Double Subverted with Joshua. He appears under specious circumstances and Neku spends the entire week distrusting him. His debut, as well as the game's interface tutorials, present him as a mysterious wild card. His unsettling and aloof personality does little to foster feelings of camaraderie. He happens to share some of Neku's dim views on society and the concept of friendship, but Neku, who has begun to cherish what he briefly had with Shiki, is beginning to realize this isn't something to be lauded. Neku eventually learns that Joshua killed him in the first place, but keeps this to himself for a while. Eventually, though, Joshua makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Neku, who learns that Minaminoto was the one who killed him during a dogfight with Joshua; this leaves our hero feeling incredibly guilty for never having trusted his partner, and he leaves this arc considering Joshua a friend. Then, in the end, it's revealed that Neku was right to begin with. Joshua did kill him, and was the Composer all along.
  • Player Punch: Several. The first one, Rhyme's erasure, gets pulled early, and it's far from being the last.
  • Polished Port: The iOS and Android port is a really good single screen translation of a dual screen game, and has updated visuals. Along with that, there's also the Sequel Hook during The Stinger.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Joshua. As a character, he's quite a jerk, to put it mildly, while Shiki was, in spite of her own insecurities, a Nice Girl who could call out Neku on his more jerkish behavior. As a party member, Joshua's quite difficult to use at first, particularly since he doesn't have his Game-Breaker aerial combo yet, while over the past several days, you've likely acquired some useful upgrades and a good set of clothing for Shiki.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: It seems like eating food to raise your drop rate should have no detrimental effects; after all, you're only raising your likelihood of getting pins, right? Well, there is one kind of situation where having the drop rate increased is actually bad: the boss Time Trials, including Final Time Attack. Waiting for dropped pins to spiral to your characters counts towards the time taken to defeat a particular boss — about one or two seconds, to be more specific. Even a run at level 100 will yield a good chance of randomly slowing you down with pin drops if you ever eat any drop-rate-increasing food. There's no way to undo the effects of stat-raising food, so unless you start a new file, kiss your serious attempts at record times goodbye.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Square Enix has a habit of making too many addictive minigames, and it's even acknowledged in-universe. The reason why Joshua was not in the last week up until the final day was because he was too caught up in playing Tin Pin in Another Day. And, yes, you can do exactly the same.
  • That One Boss:
    • Minamimoto has tons of HP, is lightning fast, hits like a truck, and has really annoying audio cues. So zetta annoying, especially when you have to replay his Hopeless Boss Fight and actually win.
    • Kariya and Uzuki, when fought together. They're both quite nimble, hit hard and have player mechanics like the light puck and the ability to heal themselves. When you face them while they're berserk, they can even use a Fusion attack.
    • Konishi can be rather difficult as well, since she's a very confusing Puzzle Boss who can easily destroy you if you can't figure out exactly what you have to do just to scratch her. The solution is implied before the start of the battle, but it isn't explicitly stated and requires you to do things that you would not have thought about before.
    • After Konishi, you fight Kitaniji. He has the highest HP of any enemy of the game thus far (though Wooly AOR ties him) and has extremely powerful attacks. Not to mention his main ability. And brainwashed Shiki makes it rather hard to attack her, and blocking Mr. Mew completely is hard.
  • That One Sidequest: The Darklit Planet pins. One is randomly sold by Hanekoma after beating the game (which one is randomly decided upon selecting New Game). The other five (as well as the one you can buy) are dropped on Ultimate at low percentages by... special enemies. To be exact: The extremely rare Fifenfrog, Taboo Minamimoto, Megumi Kitaniji, Draco Cantus, and Goth Metal Drake and Panthera Cantus. Good luck.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some reactions towards the iOS and Switch releases fall under this, due to the revised partner system and use of a divisive graphical technique known as Sprite Smoothing.
  • Uncanny Valley: The character designs for some of the younger characters (particularly the main cast) are pretty damn skinny (especially noticeable Shiki since she shows the most skin) compared to Nomura's other designs, which some people have noticed. When the cast makes a cameo appearance in Kingdom Hearts, it becomes especially noticeable (and again, Shiki still stands out) when you can compare Neku and Sora's physiques once they meet one another.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The game is filled with early 2000's street slang, to the point where the Switch version markets it as an actual period piece! This isn't as bad as some examples though, as the vast majority of the game's Totally Radical slang was Played for Laughs even back then.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic and Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Shiki and Neku both can come off this way early in the game depending on the player. Some players find Neku at the beginning more relateable in not wanting to connect with others, thinking more carefully when alone, and feeling drained by society's expectations, and see Shiki constantly demanding he help out and not understanding his solitude as annoying or counterproductive. Others find Neku at the beginning a Jerkass Woobie at best, just plain Jerkass at worst whose reasons for angsting and shutting himself off from the world are insufficiently justified, and thus are likely to sympathize with Shiki's exasperation over his frequent attitude and behavior. The game seems to take a middle ground- Neku has a reason for his behavior (albeit one that he doesn't seem to fully remember), but stresses that whatever his reasons may be, he needs to learn how to trust and care about other people. Neku does end up becoming a better person over time, and over that time, Shiki becomes a bit less pushy, whether because she's more understanding of Neku or because he's making progress.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: If there was no Voice Grunting, and if no one referred to her gender in-game, you'd think that Rhyme was a dude. It's worse in the Japanese version, where she uses male personal pronouns. The Reveal that she's Beat's sister surprised some people with her gender more than her relation.
  • Wangst: Neku gets droves of it early on, as he angsts about people, not getting people, and wanting to be alone. His lack of it once he finds something to believe in shows how much he's changed by the end of the game.
  • The Woobie: All of the main characters have their moments of being this.
    • Shiki has self esteem issues (to the point she took on Eri's body in the Reaper Game, only to realise this made her feel worse) and feels very guilty over the fact that she's jealous of her best friend.
    • Beat accidentally got himself and his sister killed and is beating himself up about it. He's reunited with her in the UG, only for Rhyme to not remember him. He then watches her die yet again while saving his life. He then tries to revive her by joining the Reapers only for Konishi to crush her Noise form. Plus he's The Un-Favourite to Rhyme and constantly mocked by enemies (and sometimes other players) for being an idiot.
    • Rhyme dies three times. First when she and Beat are killed in a car accident, then when she performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Beat from a Noise, then again when Konishi crushes her as a Noise. It's also implied that her payment for entering the game is all her hopes and dreams, and the secret reports claim that they'll be lost forever since she didn't make it to the end of the week.
    • Even Neku and Joshua can be seen as this. The former is implied in Another Day to be anti-social because he believes he got his friend killed since he asked the friend to come over and he was knocked over by a car as a result, to say nothing of everything he goes through in the game. The latter is hinted in the secret ending at wanting to be friends with the other players, but being unable to.
  • Woolseyism: The game is just about made of them. Example given: Beat's rough, tough-guy speech patterns in Japanese were changed to AAVE for the English version.

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