I Thought Yakuza’s Hero Wasn’t A Killer, But He Keeps Stabbing People With Samurai Swords

I Thought Yakuza’s Hero Wasn’t A Killer, But He Keeps Stabbing People With Samurai Swords

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is the final chapter of Kazuma Kiryu’s story, a deeply personal tale of family and fatherhood. He’s a quiet ex-yakuza who reminds people not to kinkshame and helps manage cat cafes. Which is why it’s so strange to watch him stab and shoot dudes in random fights.

“I’m going to do things my way,” he says. “It will be the right way.”

Throughout the games, Kiryu lives up to the statement. He is honourable to a fault, taking the fall for his friend’s errors and always siding against nefarious mafiosos using cruelty to get their way. He leaves the yakuza and lives live as a civilian, pulled back into criminal plots before going back to a normal life. In Yakuza 3, he runs an orphanage. In Yakuza 5, he is a taxi driver.

Sure, he’s beaten up a ton of dudes throughout the series, but he isn’t the type of guy to wander the streets and leave behind a ton of corpses.

In Yakuza‘s combat system, you have access to powerful attacks called Heat Actions. When your Heat meter is full, Kiryu can perform devastating attacks that range from crippling roundhouse kicks to slamming the opponent into a wall. If Kiyru is holding an item, he uses the item to finish the enemy.

Sometimes, this is a silly action such as bonking someone with a traffic cone or smashing them with a bike. In the case of guns and knives, it’s violent as all heck. In Yakuza 6, a Heat Action with a sword ends with Kiyru jamming it into the enemy’s belly. If you have a gun, he unloads the clip at point blank range.

It’s a brutal display of video game action that feels counter to Kiryu’s character. The game never says that Kiryu’s killed them, but look at this clip below. This man should be dead. Even if there’s some groaning afterwards, his body goes limp on the ground. He’s been shot a ton and does not get up. Goddamn, Kiryu.

This is especially true in Yakuza 6 where Kiryu spends most of his time travelling with a baby named Haruto. He’s the son of Haruka Sawamura, a young girl who becomes something of an adopted niece to Kiryu. After a hit and run knocks Haruka into a coma, Kiryu travels with Haruto in order to find his father. The game has just as much nappy changing and baby soothing mini-games as it does criminal conspiracy and brawling.

This dissonance isn’t going to stop me from enjoying Yakuza 6, but now more than ever it feels strange to watch Big Papa Kiryu straight up stab a guy.


  • this has always been hilarious

    Kiryu: i am honourable and do not kill others

    Also Kiryu: *Throws mans head into a microwave and turns it on and electrocutes them*

  • There’s a weird and hilarious reason that everyone in that world knows how to take a blade or bullet that they contort their body to miss all the vital organs. You can only really die in this world by taking a hit while jumping in front of someone to save their life or a sinister double cross.

  • It’s one of those weird things about the series where we will just never talk about all those times Kiryu or the other protagonists almost certainly killed a person or crippled them for life doing their sick combos.
    Curbstomps are very easily lethal, to say nothing of shoving a handful of nails into someone’s mouth and then proceeding to uppercut their jaw shut on them.

    • Or the batman games.

      Batman doesn’t kill but he will kick you in the spine as hard as he can.

      • There used to be a comic where the protagonist never killed any one, but he crippled them for life, I can’t remember the name though. He had spiked knuckles to punch them in the spine with.

  • Or you could just not pick up the knives/swords/guns that the bad guys drop when you hit them with the traffic cone. 🙂

  • Let’s not forget the car chase in Yakuza 0, you know when Kiyru shoots down a helicopter with a handgun

    • Civilian helicopters are actually ridiculously fragile. Though I have not played the game so can’t say about the exact circumstances.

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