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YMMV: All Games | Yakuza | Yakuza 2 | Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan! | Yakuza 3 | Yakuza 4 | Yakuza: Dead Souls | Yakuza 5 | Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! | Yakuza 0 | Yakuza 6 | Yakuza: Like a Dragon | Judgment | Lost Judgment


Whole Series

  • Adorkable:
    • Kiryu, probably demonstrated best in some of the substories in Yakuza 0 in some of his more victorious moments, such as discovering a password for a shady sales dealer, after sneaking past some women to buy a dirty magazine, delivering a pizza to a woman when she actually needed something else, and Pocket Circuit Racing.
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    • Majima. Much like Kiryu, a lot of this is demonstrated in his substories in 0 and in his interactions with Makoto, which range from either this or downright adorable. And then there's his reaction to Pocket Circuit Racing in Kiwami.
    • Ichiban is essentially a spirited teenager in a middle-aged man's body. Nevermind being an avid fan of Dragon Quest. Makes you wonder what his reaction would be when he realizes he has a lot of catching up to do.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Yakuza 6 presents a subtle but interesting example of this for Kiryu, specifically on him possessing a Thou Shalt Not Kill rule. When asked about if he would really kill Tsuneo Iwami to ensure Haruka's safety and how that would break the aforementioned rule he holds himself to, Kiryu's response implies that he is in no way adverse to killing when he needs to. This is even discussed back in 5, where Aoyama insists that Kiryu would not kill based on what he had heard from other Tojo members. Kiryu, however, quickly shuts down that notion though admits that he was never proud about it. This addresses several instances in the series where Kiryu is directly responsible for several deaths that were not cases of Gameplay and Story Segregation but as events that really occurred that Kiryu doesn't dwell on or bring up. This single discussion actually implies that Kiryu, like any true Yakuza as the series presents them, views the act of killing as a last resort to be avoided whenever possible and is only done when truly necessary. Kiryu's personality would also make it plausible that he finds using the end of one's life as a boast or threat distasteful. His use of a triad-allied waiter as a human shield in Yakuza 1, comments to Kaoru and the nature of his final battle against Ryuji and the battle's outcome in Yakuza 2 just discredits the notion further.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Daigo is a Base-Breaking Character in the West compared to the East, where he's seen much more favorably and is actually one of the most popular characters overall. Regarding Daigo's often-rocky leadership of the Tojo, Westerners disdain it as proof he's horribly unfit for the job, whereas Easterners admire him as being responsible and dutiful in the face of insurmountable odds.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • When the very first game was pitched, Nagoshi had to overcome countless hurdles to get it made, as Sega feared a game geared towards adults and especially about the yakuza wouldn't appeal to a wider audience in Japan or overseas. Nagoshi even proposed that if the game wasn't the hit Sega needed, he would resign from the company. The game was a surprise hit and became another Cash Cow Franchise for Sega, especially in Japan.
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    • In the West, the series did fail, at least until fan-response led to Yakuza 5 seeing digital-only release. But with the release and tremendous success of Yakuza 0, the series has been cemented as a breakout hit in the West.
  • Archive Panic: With Yakuza 0 out in the west, many reviewers admitted that one of the reasons they didn't jump into the series sooner, particularly with the PS3 titles, was because they weren't familiar with the previous stories or characters and feared they would be lost not knowing the details. Due to better marketing and 0 being a prequel, serving as an excellent entry point into the series, many jumped on board and discovered what they had been missing out on, with some expressing a desire to go back and play the previous titles. Anticipating this, SEGA of America ordered a limited reprint of the first four games, including the now difficult-to-find PS2 games, shortly after the game's release which can be ordered online. Yakuza 0 was itself followed by remakes of the first two games, plus a compilation release of 3, 4 and 5, which was the first time the latter game had been available in the west in a physical format. As of 2021, pretty much the entire series (except for Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin!, Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan!, Yakuza: Dead Souls, and Judgment and LostJudgment on PC, sadly) is now available on PC and on Xbox for more fans to enjoy, with Like a Dragon receiving a PS5 port on March 2nd, 2021, and the aforementioned Judgment getting a PS5 and Xbox remaster on April 23rd, 2021.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Badass Decay:
    • From Yakuza 4 onwards, Goro Majima turns from an unstable Wild Card whom even the Tojo couldn't put a leash on into a Badass in Distress. He gets arrested by the cops relatively easily in 4, captured offscreen in 5, and Put on a Bus for the most of 6. He gets his groove back in Like A Dragon, becoming That One Boss alongside Saejima and is treated as a dangerous threat to those in his way (and the only reason he didn't take Ichiban and his friends to the cleaners was because he was holding back to have more fun).
    • Haruka also undergoes one in an unconventional sense. In earlier games, she's shown to be pretty street smart in spite of her young age, and brave enough to stare down Yakuza bosses like Mine and Hamazaki. Come 5 onwards, however, she loses much of her backbone such as letting T-Set walk over her. And that's not getting into her controversial decision of revealing her relation to Kiryu on a nation-wide broadcast, which is shown in 6 to have been an extremely stupid and short-sighted decision.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Daigo Dojima. He's either a sympathetic figure who tries his hardest to keep together an organization filled with power struggles and traitors together, and when trouble comes it's usually the result of problems beyond his control, or he's an incompetent buffoon who actively fails at keeping the Tojo Clan in one piece and everyone in it in line, and has to have Kiryu make up for his shortcomings. Come Yakuza 6, Kiryu openly blames himself for not becoming a proper mentor to Daigo.
    • Each of the new protagonists introduced in the fourth and fifth games.
      • Akiyama is loved for his suave personality, his killer cover of Baka Mitai, as well as his comic relief, but is also disliked by some for the same reasons, and some find his popularity overrated.
      • Saejima is liked for his monstrous strength, allowing him to take on a giant bear with his fists in the fifth game, and tearfully revealing his guilt for the lives he took in the Ueno Seiwa hit, but some find that he's a bit flat and simply more of a brutish and overpowered Kiryu.
      • Tanimura is liked for his unique defensive gameplay, but his character isn't seen as interesting as the others. Fans were not pleased that he was Put on a Bus after 4 (His original actor quitting and having to be recasted in the remaster aside) and want him to return in future games, while others see him as too bland and prefer Shinada over him.
      • Shinada is seen as funny and likeable, but some fans think he's too much of a loser and a lot of fans consider his subplot a pointless waste of time that ties poorly into the main plot. There's another reoccurring debate on whether he's a refreshing standout to the ensemble of Yakuza protagonists or he's a Replacement Scrappy of Tanimura.
    • Kazuma Kiryu himself, who has been defined by his strength, his loyalty to his friends and family, the compassion he expresses for his enemies, his wisdom and sense of honor, and his stoicism in the face of the madness of the yakuza world and the bizarre Slice of Life substories. Because of this, fans either adore him and see him as an irreplaceable icon of the series, or see him as another boring expressionless Japanese hero who doesn't have nearly enough personality or is as interesting as other playable characters such as Akiyama and especially Majima. A lot of fans can't imagine the series going on without the Dragon of Dojima, seeing him as an integral part of it, but with the announcement of a new series protagonist, some were glad to see him go.
    • Haruka Sawamura. A cute, sharp and adorable moe who brings out the best side in our heroes and serves as The Heart of the series, or an annoying and shoehorned Tag Along Kid that ruins the mood of a dark and gritty crime drama? The fanbase was split harder with her playable appearance in Yakuza 5 being non-combative and engaging in dance battles instead, and even further in Yakuza 6 where she makes numerous poorly thought-out choices that drive much of the game's plot.
  • Better Than Canon: The franchise, sans spin-offs such as Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, has a strong modding community on the PC version. Who else would be crazy enough to make Makoto Makimura fight in the style of Majima, Yumi or Kaori fighting like Kiryu, or swapping models during Heat attacks with the protagonists being beaten up by their former love interests for breaking their hearts? Apparently Sega is fully aware of this and made Haruka of all people beat up street thugs in the Yakuza Online trailer as a form of Ascended Meme as swapping a playable protagonist with her is very popular among modders.
  • Broken Base:
    • Starting with Yakuza 4, the number of playable characters. Some fans enjoy the variety the other characters have to offer, while others don't like the idea of having to play as three different characters before they can play as Kiryu again (the case with Yakuza 4 and Dead Souls), which was addressed in Yakuza 5 by having him as the first playable character. The stories have also been criticized for how they're played out between the different characters, leading many to express that they would benefit from less playable characters. Many were pleased to see these issues addressed in Yakuza 0, which narrowed it down just to Kiryu and Majima, now each with their own Stance Systems and the story was better received than the previous outings. While many fans like the idea of Kiryu being the sole main character once again in Yakuza 6, others miss the concept of multiple playable characters.
    • Kiryu's role as the protagonist of the series. Does he work great alongside other playable characters, should he be the sole playable character once more, or should the torch be passed to another so our aging dragon can get the peaceful retirement he deserves? It seemed the developers felt the same way, and even taking Takaya Kuroda's age into consideration, they designed Yakuza 6 as Kiryu's final chapter. However, many fans don't seem to be pleased that Kiryu and Haruka didn't receive the peaceful sendoff they felt they both characters deserved.
    • From the third game onward, the narrative decision to keep the identity of the final bosses a surprise until towards the end of the story. While a good portion of fans like being kept on their toes on who the final opponent is, and that they're shown to be More Than Meets the Eye, some fans see it as an Ass Pull to reveal an antagonist suddenly being just as strong as the protagonists to be final boss material, especially if their strength wasn't hinted at throughout the story and didn't have enough build-up to serve as a credible rival. Although sometimes it works in the game's favor depending how well the character is written or designed, it's not uncommon that fans find the final opponent to be underwhelming from a narrative standpoint. While some are willing to easily look past this if the fight itself makes up for it, others feel dissatisfied beating the game having been denied a true and Worthy Opponent who could have benefited from more screentime.
    • Yakuza: Like a Dragon and its Genre Shift. Was it a step in the right direction after a total of seven mainline games with combat that has more or less remained the same since its inception (with the most significant changes coming from Yakuza 6, itself another divisive entry in the series), or does it betray the very things that make the series special? That aside, at least nearly everyone can agree on the story itself being the best it's been since Yakuza 2.
  • Catharsis Factor: There's very few game series that ride this trope as hard as the Yakuza series. You can turn every random mook battle into a curb stomping of horrifying proportions, which is immensely satisfying. Part of the game's replay value is finding all the ways you can wreck the bad guys. Here's a 10-minute video of just Kiryu's many different ways to end a bad guy in Yakuza 4. These are not all of them and there's three more characters to play as.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • The protagonists are all members of the Yakuza, right? Well, not quite:
      • Kazuma Kiryu is only briefly a member of the Yakuza (the prologue and epilogue of Yakuza 0 and the prologue of the first game). For a vast majority of the series he's an ex-member who gets embroiled in Yakuza-related conspiracies as a private citizen.
      • Ichiban is a yakuza at the very beginning of Like a Dragon, but is exiled and spends the rest of the game as a private citizen that just so happens to wear a nice suit like Kiryu.
      • Majima is in the yakuza for much of the series- however, he's not one in 0, where he was exiled from the Tojo Clan and is serving as the manager of the Grand under Shimano's orders, being overseen by Sagawa.
      • Saejima is mostly a fugitive with a yakuza background, the ending of 4 however has him be sworn back in but then goes back to prison in 5 and 6 to clear his name.
      • Akiyama, Tanimura, and Shinada are not yakuza in any way, being a loan shark, a police officer, and a regular civilian respectively who just happen to be skilled in combat enough to take down hoards of enemies as they get involved in the stories.
    • The meme that the playable characters have never killed anyone - with many supposed deaths in shootout missions being treated as a Gameplay and Story Segregation - and have a Thou Shall Not Kill code. Akiyama, Shinada, Haruka (obviously), and Ichiban are so far the only characters that are, at least as far as the story goes, averse to killing. As for the rest:
      • It's shown that Kiryu is not averse to killing in self-defense, best seen when he uses a triad-allied waiter as a human shield or the admittance of his willingness to kill Iwami and Sugai when they threatened his loved ones. Kiryu will resort to killing, but out of a desire to protect those who he cares about rather than malice.
      • So far, Majima has explicitly shown that he's more than willing to kill anyone who stands in his way - just ask Dojima or the Sengoku family.
      • In Saejima's case, it's completely deconstructed since he has an immense amount of guilt for his actions in the Ueno-Seiwa Hit that took place a few years before the events of 0 (the "rubber bullets" twist notwithstanding).
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Crazy Is Cool:
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Too many examples to list across the whole series. Especially in regards to the Heat Actions.
  • Cult Classic: The series was formerly this in the U.S. Dead Souls's release was an attempt to jump onto more mainstream Western audiences by jumping onto the zombie bandwagon, but its underperformance almost killed the series in the west. Sony announced that due to fan demand Yakuza 5 would be localized and released as a PSN exclusive. 5 exceeded Sega's expectations in the Western market, which led to localizations of 0, Kiwami and 6, all three of which also did well in the West, and likely signals a strong Western future for the series.
  • Demonic Spiders: Occasionally the games will throw heavyset enemies into fights, and almost invariably without certain moves, weapons or characters, they cannot be knocked down or even properly stunned. They also have a really nasty habit of completely ignoring inflicted damage to get super armor to slap you down to the ground. You usually cannot grab them without either being repelled or fallen onto, which also hurts like hell, and the games love putting them at choke points where they ignore your attacks to pummel you mid-combo with objects. They've been a nightmare since early in the series, and you can bet that they're one of the biggest pains to deal with without weapons.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Majima has done plenty of terrible things across the franchise, such as striking his then-wife, killing subordinates for petty reasons, deliberately crashing into a populated building, and briefly holding a woman hostage; and that's not getting into standard yakuza stuff that he's most definitely done. Despite this, many fans see him as a lovable anti-hero. This may have been intentional on the developers' part in response to his unexpected popularity, given how most of his worst actions are exclusive to the first game and he's become more heroic ever since.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Plenty across the whole series.
    • Hiroshi Hayashi, as he was just another soldier to the Omi Alliance that got his ass kicked by Kiryu and somehow managed to come back in the second game with plenty of new fancy moves. He is also remembered for his English VA's odd delivery of "motherfucker".
    • The incredibly flashy gunman Kazuto Arase who even has his own unique boss theme that gets a kickass remix in Kiwami. He returns as a sidequest boss in 3, and in Dead Souls he can become an ally.
    • Osamu Kashiwagi has his share of fans for being the one of the few yakuza members to stick with Kiryu 'til the end. And when he showed up in 0, he shows how much of a threat he can be if he isn't on your side. Despite 3 supposedly being his final appearance in the series where he dies, he seemingly reappears in Like a Dragon having apparently survived his injuries from a mounted gatling gun. Now he's a Cool Old Guy, who's apparently been running the Survive bar in Ichinjo, Yokohama ever since.
    • Shigeki Baba from Yakuza 5 is surprisingly popular, enough to beat out many series mainstays in a contemporary character poll. Likely because people found his Anti-Villain characterization more compelling than the actual Big Bad of that game.
    • Nishida, Majima's Number Two, is popular among fans due to his Undying Loyalty to Majima, despite constantly having to put up with his crazy boss's shenanigans.
    • Homare Nishitani is also beloved for being an even bigger loose cannon than Majima ever was (at least until Kiwami and its Majima Everywhere system). Many fans lament his overall lack of screentime despite the implication that he's a major influence on Majima's "Mad Dog" persona. It's to the point where he's ranked in the Top 10 most requested characters to be in Yakuza Online.
    • Fujisawa, better known as Pocket Circuit Fighter (and later Dragon Fighter), who was popular enough that he's made appearances in three games since his debut in Yakuza 0, being in Kiwami, 6, and Like a Dragon. The fact that he's in charge of Dragon Kart in the latter game is also a bonus to some, as well as his substory in 6 being one of that game's more Heartwarming Moments. This is on top of the fact that he's one of the few surviving friends that Kiryu has since 0 besides Majima himself.
    • Tianyou Zhao in Like a Dragon not only due to being the Majima to Ichiban's Kiryu, but also because of him being a Bare-Fisted Monk with plenty of Hidden Depths beyond his Soft-Spoken Sadist exterior and the fact that he shares voice actors with Bakugo and Ghiacchio as well as Akechi and Prompto in the English dub.
    • Eri Kamataki, the Optional Party Member that is mostly relegated to the Business Management side story in Like a Dragon. Her demure, soft-spoken personality coupled with her being The Big Girl of the group in terms of damage output has earned her many fans.
    • Seong-Hui, the leader of the Geomijul in Like a Dragon, is possibly the biggest one in the latter game thus far. This is owing to her very unique, cool, and beautiful design, the fact that she's the first proper female acting leader of her own faction (as Yayoi was only an interim chairwoman in the wake of Terada's supposed death), and her voice being quite easy on the ears. When Famitsu held a poll for which character fans wished were playable in Like A Dragon, she scored first.
  • Escapist Character: While most of the protagonists have a lot of baggage that may offset some of the good stuff, Shun Akiyama is the best qualifier for this trope. He's super-rich (with 100 billion yen in his pocket in Yakuza 4, and is shown to have quickly recouped the loss of his money by the time the sequel arrives), badass enough to take down dozens of Mooks and high-ranking yakuza on his own, and in the finale of 5 becomes a legend in the criminal underworld that yakuza families from all four regions bow to him in respect. The only other character in the franchise who comes close to Akiyama in this aspect is none other than Takayuki Yagami.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • As the series is becoming more popular in English-speaking regions, botched mispronunciations of certain words and names are starting to become this for fans, with some of the biggest offenders being "Yuh-kOOzuh" (Yakuza) and "Muh-jee-muh" (Majima), which is odd considering the names are spoken out loud on a regular basis.
    • Calling the series "Japanese Grand Theft Auto" is a common mistake that leans into this. No real similarities are present between both game series besides the Wide-Open Sandbox setting, even though the map of Yakuza is usually limited to one or more districts of Japan, as opposed to an entire city/state.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the Shenmue series, the most recent entry Shenmue III in particular. Many fans of Shenmue take issue with the idea that Yakuza is a Spiritual Successor and that they wanted a proper Shenmue III, resenting that Yakuza became a hit series in the US. Yakuza fans claim such a game is a waste of time considering just how far their series has come in the time between Shenmue 3 being announced, funded, and released, and that whatever they come up with will be inferior to your average Yakuza game on all levels. The rivalry became more pronounced after the game released and many reviewers considered it to be subpar. That being said, there’s significant overlap between the two fandoms as well.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Majima, due to his Crazy Is Cool nature, his obsession and occasional romantic subtext with Kiryu, and his wacky actions justifying his popularity.
    • Ichiban is also a decent source of memes as well. If it isn't his facial expressions or his over-the-top reactions to some of the more mundane things that he does (e.g., taking a test, watching a movie, calling in some Poundmates, etc.), then it's generally everything that he goes through in his game... especially his substories. He isn't called Japanese Eric Andre for nothing.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Due to Yakuza 0's localization coming out around the same time as Tekken 7, Kiryu rose up increasingly fast in popularity as a fan request for a Guest Fighter in the latter game, with both Tekken and Yakuza fans wanting to see him in the game after the inclusion of other guest fighters like Akuma and Geese.
    • Yakuza: Like a Dragon also brought in a good amount of Persona fans not only because of the similarly fast-paced and intuitive gameplay as Persona 5, but also the amount of shared voice actors in their English dubs. For example, Ichiban is Iwai, Saeko is Sae, Zhao is Akechi, Eri is Hifumi (and Marie), and so on. Nevermind being united under the SEGA banner, either.note 
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Komaki Tiger Drop (or any variation of this), basically a lighting fast counterpunch. The timing is quite strict, requiring you to execute it right when the enemy's attack touches you, but it destroys at least half of a life bar per hit and knocks the enemy on his ass (except bosses immune to knockdown, of course). Once you master the timing, you can do it very often to devastating effect.
    • In any game where it's available, upgrading your Attack Damage. Specifically 6, Kiwami 2, and both Judgment titles, where you can throw difficulty out the window even on the hardest difficulty as Kiryu/Yagami can casually end random encounters as quickly as they start with one crowd-sweeping EX/Heat Action. Any potentially difficult boss fight is also rendered into an Anti-Climax Boss as you can just wail on them with unbridled impunity and finish them in a matter of seconds.
    • Amusingly enough, the humble bicycle. In most games, as long as you're near a bike rack, you can pick one up and end fights instantly since your character will swing them around wide enough to cover a huge radius, which will often hit all of the mooks that were stupid enough to even bother picking a fight with you in the first place. Saejima goes balls out with this in 4 and 5 as he's able to pick up fucking motorcycles (not mopeds, but actual, full-sized motorcycles) to make the task of crowd clearing a lot quicker and easier. And it doesn't completely break like most objects, either, being something of an Asteroids Object that gets smaller as it breaks, but still remains effective either way. And we haven't even gotten into Kiryu's Beast style in 0, either...
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series has a very strong fanbase in the West. When the series became in danger of being restricted to Japan following an apparent lack of interest following the commercial failure of Dead Souls, massive amounts of fan demand convinced Sony to publish Yakuza 5 in the west as a digital title to gauge interest. As a result of the success of 5, Sega greenlit the localization of 0, followed shortly by Kiwami and 6. Word of God says that due to the overseas success of 0 and Kiwami, Kiwami 2 was greenlit out of a desire to re-introduce the second story of Kiryu's saga to new fans outside Japan, and the PlayStation 4 ports of the third, fourth and fifth games were greenlit for the same reason.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The random mooks in the streets, especially if you're trying to progress to the plot. They even chase you down just to pick a fight. You can never run away from these encounters once started.
    • Mooks with guns and swords in particular. You can't block them without a weapon equipped, and they stun you for about a full second, then you fall to the ground. They don't do much damage, but it's just irritating.
  • Ho Yay: Plenty of it. Kiryu's and Majima's interactions are just one example out of the many seen in the series. Perhaps unsurprising considering how heavily emotional, shirtless fistfights between typically well-dressed, often attractive, physically athletic, and muscular tattooed men is the norm for the series.
  • Iron Woobie: Kazuma Kiryu. He joined the yakuza out of admiration for his father figure Shintaro Kazama against the latter's wishes, a choice that turns him into a Doom Magnet for the rest of his life. In Yakuza 0, his connection to Kazama makes him a pawn in the race for the Empty Lot, causing him to distance himself from those close to him, yet he sees those people suffer by helping him anyway. Yakuza 1/Kiwami is simply one big Trauma Conga Line for him. He starts off ten years in prison to take the fall for the murder of his boss, only to discover that it was All for Nothing when his sworn brother whom he protected turned evil, he's constantly hounded by his former Clan, resulting in the deaths of Shinji and Reina. Not long after, he proceeds to watch helplessly as his father figure, former best friend and the woman he loved since childhood all die right before his eyes. Luckily Haruka was there to keep him going. He leaves the yakuza lifestyle to raise her as a civilian, eventually becoming the manager of Morning Glory Orphanage and raising eight additional children, however, his yakuza past keeps coming back to haunt him and get him involved. Time and time again, he's forced to see those around him put in danger or die because of him, giving him a Heroic BSoD in Yakuza 5 where he was already at his lowest after being forced to leave the orphans as part of Park's deal. He willingly goes to prison again at the start of Yakuza 6 to try and clean his slate so he can return to his family in peace only to find out he wasn't there for Haruka when she needed him most and his past got her in trouble again. At the end of 6 he willingly fakes his death, giving up a life with his loved ones to finally give them safety from his past. In spite of all this, the man still keeps pushing on.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Kiryu's been shipped with nearly every character (mostly male) in the franchise. Not that the games don't encourage it. Besides his canon love interests, Kaoru and Yumi, he is often shipped with Majima, Nishiki, Rikiya, and Tachibana. Even antagonists and his Evil Counterparts can't resist! Ryuji, Mine, Someya... Hell, some even ship him with the Dojima Lieutenants!
  • Magnificent Bastard: See here.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Kiryu was cemented as one in Yakuza 2, which was infamous for showing him punching out a tiger in one blow. His Badassery got him and Majima included in Project X Zone 2.
    • Saejima followed up in Yakuza 5 for facing off against a giant bear with his bare hands and punching it out after being thrown in the air.
    • Kashiwagi became one in Yakuza 0, where missing a QTE in his boss fight has him punch Majima so hard it sends him flying across the roof Said QTE is also the fastest one in the entire game, making it very easy to fail.
    • Haruka of all people became this after the release of the trailer of Yakuza Online, where she's shown effortlessly kicking ass in her idol outfit.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Daigo. While it's debatable how much of the problems with the Tojo are the result of his own actions, fans like to exaggerate him into a complete Butt-Monkey or Damsel in Distress. Doesn't help that he gets beaten up, captured, and/or incapacitated in just about every game he appears in (With the possible main exception of Like A Dragon, where none of this seems to happen to him onscreen). Some of his Japanese detractors tend to write the normally respectful "Daigo-san" as "大誤算" (big miscalculation).
    • Date tends to be remembered for how many times Haruka has been abducted while she was under his care. What doesn't help is that his role in the games after 1/Kiwami tends to be as a more involved background character.
  • Memetic Mutation: See here.
  • Misblamed: Crime novelist Seishū Hase had often been credited for being the head writer for the first two games, and some fans weren't happy with the direction the series took after his departure from the series after the second game, blaming head writer Masayoshi Yokoyama for things like making Kiryu run an orphanage and the convoluted plots of the fourth and fifth games. In actuality, Yokoyama has actually been the head writer for each game in the main series and Hase only served as a supervisor for the first two games to ensure that the yakuza was depicted accurately and prevent it from suffering from Critical Research Failure, which Yokoyama's initial script did. Kiryu running an orphanage was the result of Nagoshi's and the team's desire to explore a more human side to our hero.
  • Narm Charm: The sheer amounts of hilarious ways Kiryu (and others) can beat people up, as well as the fact they bleed from no open wounds is downright hilarious yet at the same time awesome. Saejima can even turn a helpless mook into a snowman in 5, for crying out loud!
  • Never Live It Down: After the decision to remove content from the localized version of Yakuza 3, fans have since suspected that each new installment released in the west has significantly changed or removed content that affect the overall package. The fear of such led Sega to advertise the remastered English editions of the third, fourth, and fifth games as having all the cut content put back in with revised translations to account for them. Although little has been removed since Yakuza 4, many licensed songs usually don't make the cut.
  • Periphery Demographic: The director of the series Toshihiro Nagoshi noted that while the series is aimed primarily at adult males, a significant and growing portion of the fanbase is comprised of women, and that it's become very popular in overseas Asian countries despite its heavily Japanocentric bent.
  • Saved by the Fans: The release of the series in the west. Due to the series being created solely for a Japanese demographic, the games haven't particularly sold well in the west, enough to make Sega struggle and reconsider localizing the series altogether when sales didn't meet demand. The underperformance of Dead Souls appeared to kill off the series outside Japan, as Sega had no intention of localizing 2012's Yakuza 5 or further entries and removed the English website. But when Sony's third party relations asked gamers what they wanted to see localized, Yakuza 5 was among their most requested games, and took it upon themselves to localize the game and release it as a PSN digital exclusive in 2015. Days prior to its release, recognizing the demand and hype for the game, Sega announced that Yakuza 0 would also see a western PS4 physical release and would handle the localization themselvesnote . Fans still had their doubts on whether Kiwami and/or Yakuza 6 would be released in the west as well, until it was announced at the 2016 Playstation Experience, a month before the US/EU release of Yakuza 0, that both titles would be also localized and released.
  • The Scrappy: Although players are expected to win over the hostesses throughout each game, they can also fall into this status if they're more of a pain to be around. It varies depending on the girl and the players.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The series. There is a ridiculous amount of activities for players to do to just waste time, from arcades (the fifth game includes a full version of Virtua Fighter 2 that can be played online with a fight stick for crying out loud), to mahjong, cage fights, hostess clubs, karaoke, golf, fishing, billiards, darts, bowling, even bounty hunting.
  • Signature Song:
    • "Receive You" for the franchise as a whole, due to almost every single game having some remix of it and it being Majima's theme. Even Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise has its own rendition of Receive You.
    • "Baka Mitai" is certainly this post-Yakuza 5, typically being the song that introduces people into the series due to its memetic status. Interestingly, despite Kiryu's version of the song being in a deeper key than the other versions, his G Major variant is the most iconic of the different versions.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • With its open world setting, plot of revenge, uniquely Japanese aesthetic, and incredible time wasting potential, quite a few fans consider this series as Shenmue done right from a financial perspective.
    • Others think it's a grown up River City Ransom due to it combining RPG elements with Beat 'em Up action.
    • Like a Dragon is essentially Persona (makes sense) and, of course, Dragon Quest with a more grounded (at least in terms of its plot) setting and main playable characters that are well over the age of 18.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Haruka's karaoke song "OTOMETAL My Life" in Kiwami and Kiwami 2, a remix of "Maiden-colored Life" ("Otome-iro My Life" in Japanese) from previous games, is reminiscent of BABYMETAL's first album, especially the songs "Ijime, Dame, Zettai", "Catch Me If You Can", and "Doki Doki Morning".
  • That One Boss: As a Beat 'em Up where badasses fight badasses, the series is filled with them.
    • Goro Majima in the earlier games, a Lightning Bruiser whose speed was unlike most enemies and his knife never failed to inflict a lot of damage. And no, the transition to a Turn-Based JRPG in Like a Dragon hasn't made him any easier, either.
    • Sotaro Komaki, the Old Master who teaches Kiryu some counterattacks and new moves. He can be fought in the Underground Coliseum and later becomes a training opponent, and you'll know why he's the old master. Except if you're Haruka in the fifth game.
    • Going from the above, Kiryu himself whenever he isn't playable. As a boss, he's pretty much what you'd expect from The Hero of the series — he's very fast and hits like a truck, can use the infamous Tiger Drop against you, and is one of the few Bosses in the series that also uses standard Heat Actions against you as well! And like Majima above, he's NOT any easier in Like a Dragon, either.
    • The series' infamous Bonus Boss, Jo Amon, and his brothers in later games. Exceptionally fast, have more health than the final bosses, and have several attacks which will instantly destroy your life bar.
    • For 100% Completion-ists, the karaoke song "OTOMETAL My Life" in the Kiwami titles is also one, with its very fast tempo and seemingly erratic button patterns.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Kiryu's physical appearance in the PS3 games has been criticized by fans of the PS2 games who found him nearly unrecognizable from before, and weren't pleased that Sega continued to use it throughout the PS3 games. But with the jump to the PS4 hardware, the same fans are praising his appearance in Yakuza 6, believing he looks like a modern version of how he looked in the PS2 games, although many have also complained that he looks much younger than he does in Yakuza 5.
    • A common reaction when a licensed vocal song featured in the Japanese versions (usually for the opening demo) gets lost and replaced in the localization. Also a case of Broken Base, as some consider the replacements to be good in their own right, even better, or don't care.
    • When one of the mini-games from a previous entry is altered or completely absent from a new title, with the most vocal reactions going toward hostess clubs.
    • The removal of the iconic and catchy Don Quijote jingle from the eponymous store in the remastered versions of the PS3 Yakuza games has been universally seen as disappointing.note  Naturally, the PC ports already have fan mods to restore the song, though that leaves PS4 and Xbox One players out of luck.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Happens quite a lot, unfortunately.
    • Kaoru Sayama, Kiryu's love interest and the deuteragonist of the second game, only appears briefly in the prologue for 3, leaves for America and hasn't been seen in the series since. She's adored by many fans in the west for being a well-rounded Action Girl and the only one to fight at Kiryu's side, and many are upset that she was effectively written out of the series, with some accusing the creators of doing it to keep Kiryu single so he could keep going out with hostesses without moral backlash. She hasn't even appeared in Kenzan! or Ishin!, although many keep their hopes up that she'll return some day.
    • Some fans feel that Osamu Kashiwagi had a lot of unexplored potential, who liked his character as one of the few yakuza in the Tojo Clan that remained a loyal ally to Kiryu through and through, and felt the third game Dropped a Bridge on Him. They were pleased to see he returns in Yakuza 0 and shows that he wasn't someone to be taken lightly at all, and also appears in the remakes of the first two titles with a slightly expanded role. And then there's the mysterious bartender in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, whom is heavily implied to be the Kashiwagi having somehow survived being riddled by a minigun.
    • Yoshitaka Mine, the Big Bad of the third game. A lot of fans are unhappy with the manner in which he died, especially since he could've defeated Richardson without Taking You with Me, and the reason he performed a Heel–Face Turn was due to Kiryu's speech about clinging to life in the face of adversity. They feel he had a lot of potential if he reformed to become one of Daigo's staunchest allies. Some fans hold out hope for him to be brought back in a Dead Souls sequel or other non-canonical spinoffs much like Goda. Fans got their wish with his appearance as a major heroic character in Ishin!.
    • Some fans feel this about Akiyama's assistant Hana. Another fan favorite that came back in Dead Souls, she has a minor role in Yakuza 5 and doesn't actually make a physical appearance in the game. Many are disappointed she's mentioned briefly in Yakuza 6 and doesn't appear in the game at all.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: One of the more criticized aspects of the first two games revolve around a brief subplot involving the Florist's son Takeshi and his Yakuza Princess girlfriend Kyoka. Although they tend to give Kage the Florist some Character Development and their subplots do fit in the series' central themes, they have no effect on the overall plot, and haven't appeared in the main story since.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley:
    • In Yakuza 3 and 4, enemies struck by heat actions suffer from some truly warped, twisted, stretched-out faces. The similarity to Edvard Munch's "The Scream" was probably not intentional. So much that the modern remasters nixed it entirely.
    • Despite using 3D facial scanning, some of the women and hostesses can come off as looking way more artificial than intended, especially if they're wearing heavy makeup.
  • Values Dissonance: The games depict intrinsically old-fashioned characters in Japan during the Turn of the Millennium, which sometimes leads to scenes and dialogue that play oddly to a modern Western audience. For instance, the Date/Saya subplot in the first game features Kiryu telling Saya that she's wrong to disrespect her father Date. To a Westerner, it seems odd to scold someone else's daughter for that given the context—Date is an alcoholic who basically abandoned his family, and that very day got too drunk to go to a prearranged meeting with Saya where he had hoped to reconnect with her.
  • Values Resonance: The series is very sympathetic towards the homeless as well as illegal immigrants, which is not exactly a common perspective in Japan, especially with regards to the latter which is a contentious topic worldwide but in Japan is usually seen with an especially strict eye. As early as the first game there was a chapter in the story where you had to help an illegal foreigner with forging a passport, and her situation is presented as completely sympathetic, favoring morality over legality. This is a recurring trend throughout the series as the impoverished and/or "undesirables" of Japanese society are geneally presented in a uniquely humane light, especially when compared to high-ranking politicans, law enforcement and puritanical organizations such as Like A Dragon's "Bleach Japan".
  • Watch It for the Meme: There have been quite a few fans who checked out the Yakuza series after the many Bakamitai memes took off in 2020. It's also sarcastically considered to be a "serious crime drama" by many due to Majima's antics and the many ludicrous substories.
  • Woolseyism: After the first game, No Dub for You aside (until Like a Dragon, anyway), the localizations for some games went for this as far as the subtitles go. For example, pre-Yakuza 0, Majima calling Kiryu "Kazzy" is a good way of localizing him calling the guy "Kiryu-chan." Even Like a Dragon, which now has an English dub, has some of these, too.
    Ichiban: (Original line) I choose... you! Delivery help, I'm counting on you!
    (English dub) Time to call... A friend! I summon you! YEEEAHHH!!!

The Film based on the first game

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The film has a scene in which Detective Date becomes shocked about something from out of nowhere, runs back and enters a random building. Instants later, several gunshots are heard from the higher floors. This is given absolutely no explanation.
  • Video Game Movies Suck: It's not the worst video game adaptation out there, but it does fall significantly short of its source material. The biggest failing is that much of the plot goes unexplained and expects you to already be familiar with the games (or a separate prologue short film), presenting several concurrent stories but doesn't develop and intertwine them very well. The good thing is that the action scenes are well worth watching, especially when they involve lovable madman Majima — even if he's got his eyepatch on the wrong eye.

♫ Rolling eyes fall / Ruling dies out... ♫
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