There was a time when fans of the Yakuza series would be unsure but hopeful that they would continue to see more entries released in the west. Thanks to the high demand from dedicated fans and the success of Yakuza 0 Sega have lovingly translated and released all the mainline entries on the PS4.
Yakuza 0 is arguably the best game in the series and serves as both a great starting point for fans of the series and a way to provide more depth and layers in the Kiryu Kazama saga.
The game doesn’t just provide more backstory for the lead protagonist but adds more context for several key characters and events that happen between Yakuza and Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Many of these events and allusions to important moments can be easily missed, however, so here are 10 of the best that may have slipped some gamers notice.
10 The Rise Of Ryuji Goda
All of the Yakuza games have their own memorable antagonists but none are quite as cool as the Dragon of Kansai Ryuji Goda from Yakuza 2. What makes Goda such an interesting character is that he doesn’t quite fall into the black and white villain category. He respects Kiryu and has his own sense of honor
In Yakuza 0 Goda appears in the Goro Majima substory ‘Rise of the Dragon’ as a very large 12-year-old elementary school student. In addition, a fortune-teller also predicts that Kiryu and Godo will have “entangled fates” referencing their future rivalry.
9 Taking The Fall
One of the most important side missions to tackle in Yakuza 0 is ‘The Visionary Fortune-teller’ which is found in the Champion District. Kiryu will be tasked with protecting her from an angry customer so he can have his fortune read as a reward.
One of her first predictions is that he will ‘take the blame for another’s sin’. This is an allusion to the opening chapter in Yakuza Kiwami called ‘Fate of the Kinslayer’. The events of that chapter will see Kiryu take the blame for his friend Nishiki due to a shooting that resulted in the death of the head of the Dojima Clan.
8 The 10 Billion Yen Child
Another allusion to future events predicted by the fortune-teller was that Kiryu will encounter a child that will trust him above all others, and that the child is worth 10 billion yen. This is a direct reference to Haruka a young girl left in Kiryus charge by her mother.
Haruka will eventually play a much larger role in the Yakuza series. In addition to being the driving force behind Kiryu’s redemption, she is also one of the playable protagonists in Yakuza 5.
7 A Dragon Among Daddies
The next allusion to future events in ‘The Visionary Fortune-teller’ substory also predicts that Kiryu will raise a total of 8 children joking that he will be a “dragon among daddies”.
This a reference to the opening scenes in Yakuza 3 the first title on the PlayStation 3 and first to be remastered on the PlayStation 4, Kiryu will eventually take charge of “The Morning Glory” orphanage in an attempt to leave behind his old life as a member of the Yakuza.
6 Wrestling With A Viper
The Morning Glory Orphanage isn’t the only big Yakuza 3 allusion in the prequel. The next one also comes from the fortune-teller substory when she claims that Kiryu will wrestle with a viper in Okinawa.
This is a direct reference to Kiryu’s friend Rikiya Shimabukaro who is first encountered in Okinawa. Rikiyu has a viper tattoo on his back and has a wrestling persona called Ricky Mask. In addition, Kiryu wrestles Ricky under the persona of Dragon Mask to entertain the children at the orphanage.
5 A Young Shinji Tanaka
Shinji Tanaka is an important character and key ally that Kiryu will encounter in Yakuza and its remake Yakuza Kiwami. Originally a member of a biker gang, Tanaka hated all members of the Yakuza because his father owed money to their loan sharks.
In Yakuza 0, Tanaka can encounter in the substory ‘A Shining Example’ as a 16-year-old mugger. It’s down to Kiryu to help the teenager out of a bind after his biker gang friends betrayed him. Inspired Kiryu’s generosity and toughness Shinji vows to be just like him.
4 The Dragon Quest Story
In Japan, the Dragon Quest series is a cultural phenomenon. However, it was Dragon Quest III released in 1988 – the year Yakuza 0 is based – that the biggest impact in the media with nearly 300 school students arrested for truancy while queuing to purchase the game. In addition, there was an increase in street muggings on the game’s launch day with many unfortunate fans getting their games stolen.
These events are directly referenced in Yakuza 0 in the ‘Arakura Quest’ substory which begins with a young boy waiting in line to get his copy of Arakura Quest. However, when the boy finally gets hands on a copy he’s mugged sending Kiryu on a mission to retrieve it.
3 The Super Assassin
Jo Amon is a member of the Amon Clan of assassins. He considers himself to be the deadliest martial artist in the world with the exception of Kiryu who defeated him. As a result, Amon is obsessed with killing Kiryu finding new and different ways to draw Kiryu into a confrontation.
Chronologically, Amon appears as part of Goro Majima’s quest in Yakuza 0 with orders to defeat Majima and prove that the Amon Clan is the strongest in the world. After Majima defeats him, however, Amon promises to return 17 years later stronger than ever to defeat an even stronger opponent – Kiryu in Yakuza/Yakuza Kiwami.
2 Haruka's Dance Instructor
The Maharaja Showdown substory is activated by completing the dance battles at Kamurocho’s Maharaja discotheque which only appears in the Yakuza 0. During these subquests, Kiryu needs to defeat Maiko and Hisaaki before he gets challenged by the flamboyant Ogita.
Ogita will eventually become Haruka's – Kiryu’s adopted daughter – dance instructor during her questline in Yakuza 5. He plays a large part in Haruka’s pursuit to become a pop idol and helps train her for the Princess League finals before her story takes a darker turn.
1 Daigo Dojima
There is a substory in Yakuza 0 called ‘Heir to the Family’ where Kiryu receives a message to meet a member of the Dojima Clan that isn’t his enemy. This would be the first time that the game’s protagonist meets a 12-year-old boy who would later become major character in the series, Daigo Dojima.
Daigo Dojima served as both an ally and antagonist Kiryu. He is the son of Yakuza 0’s main antagonist Sohei Dojima the head of the Dojima family, and eventually becomes chairman of the Tojo Clan. The substory goes a long way in developing Kiryu and Daigo’s complex relationship before the events of Yakuza 2.