judgementkazzy: I'll make you an offer... IN CASH (振り上げた握り拳が)
Kazuma Kiryū | 桐生一馬 ([personal profile] judgementkazzy) wrote2017-03-20 03:24 pm
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that's rad

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CONTACT: [plurk.com profile] cantito (jans#9413 @ discord)

NAME: Kazuma Kiryu
AGE: 20 (as of Yakuza 0, 48 by Yakuza 6)
CANON: Yakuza series (Ryū ga Gotoku in Japan)

CANON HISTORY: link (This is not super detailed and isn't based on the official English release of Yakuza 0 so let me know if you'd like me to provide a more detailed summary.)
Kazuma Kiryu once employed a chicken as a manager for his real estate business. The chicken, which he named Nugget, does a pretty good job, too. He has also single-handedly fought and defeated most of a yakuza family, took on a dude riding a motorcycle and humiliated that dude so bad that his bosses made the guy chop of his pinky in front of all of them. Yeah, Yakuza is that kind of series.

Ask anyone and they'll tell you Kazuma Kiryu is an old-fashioned badass. He doesn't try to be cool, he is cool. He's stoic and calm, self-sacrificing and even sometimes gentle. He believes in honor before reason, loyalty before self-preservation and lessons taught through old-fashioned beat downs. He's the kind of yakuza they used to write stories about: true to his word and fierce to the end, never backing down from his morals and protecting those around him with every ounce of his being. Be they civilians, criminals, or anyone who crosses his path, Kazuma Kiryu treats everyone he meets with deep respect and open-hearted understanding. This dichotomy often puts him at odds with the criminal life he leads, but his commitement to his ideals is so great that he usually ends up making allies of his enemies when they face his convictions themselves and find they can't win. Good always triumphs over evil, after all. Kiryu may not see himself as "good," but in a world of gangsters, thugs, and hooligans, Kiryu's old-fashioned intentions, to help and protect those around him, really stand out.

A big part of being in the Yakuza, and by extension a big part of Kiryu's character, is respecting your superiors, especially your elders. Ranks within the Tojo Clan are everything; if a superior officer pulls out a cigarette, you light it for them. If they ask you for something, you get it for them. Kiryu is a huge stickler for this and truly believes that these rules should be respected. Kiryu would rather be expelled from the Yakuza to save face than break those rules and see his father-figure suffer the consequences. It's that honor and respect he has for the way of things. Thus, even when he's being setup to take the fall for a hit (and which will in turn affect his boss/father-figure's standing,) Kiryu doesn't just punch his superior officer even though he knows he's the one to blame. He quits. He plays by the rules. It doesn't work out for him, but... Have I mentioned he's a bit of a hot head in 0? Because he is.

In this way, Kiryu is both a man who follows the rules and yet also tends to break them in a lot of unique ways. The duality of his character is no more obvious then at the very start of the game. He begins to fight back the moment he is expelled from the Dojima family, yet even then, he continues to play by their rules and punches his way through every goon they have so that he can present his resignation to the Dojima patriarch, personally. This is an organization that extorts, blackmails, and violently brutalizes people, and still Kiryu respects it too much to simply run away. His family is everything, and he will do whatever it takes to protect those close to him and ensure their rules are respected.

Basically, Kiryu respects the rules so long as they don't contradict his own. The reality of the Yakuza isn't honorable or respectful, it's dark and cutthroat and people stab each other in the back left and right. Time and again, Kiryu falls victim to the dark and seedy parts of this lifestyle, but he doesn't allow tragedy or pain to shake or change his own yakuza way. When Kiryu fights his foes, he doesn't fight them because they're Yakuza or criminals, he fights them because they have conflicting ideals. And there's no better way to test your resolve against someone else's than to rip your shirts off, show off your badass tattoos, and duke it out.

One of Kiryu's absolute resolutions is the fact that he won't kill. Like a true old-fashioned gangster, Kiryu believes that the yakuza are needed where the proper authorities can't be bothered to help people, and as such, killing takes things too far. Violence? It gets the point across. Extortion? Rude, but some people just don't listen. But killing? That's where he draws the line. While he comes close to losing his temper and murdering the last boss in the game, his sworn brother's words still his rage and soothe his anger. Killing is something you can't come back from.

Given his profession, this policy against killing or harming innocent people puts him at odds with a lot of other gangsters in Kamurocho. But Kiryu doesn't need to kill to earn their respect. What makes Kiryu stand out from most yakuza in the series is not just that he will fight to the bitter end to defeat those who stand in his way... but he'll often only do so once he's tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. Despite enjoying a fight, Kiryu's sense of honor usually has him trying to talk his enemies down before ever raising his fists. (Later on this is because he knows he'll win, but... you know, at least he tries.) In 0, he's a bit younger, a bit more brash, a bit quicker to rise to a challenge and start a fight, but even then he usually believes people capable of redemption. He's forgiven human traffickers, killers, his father-figure for killing his parents... seriously, you have to be unforgivably awful to not earn Kiryu's forgiveness.

See, Kiryu understands that everyone has their own circumstances. He doesn't judge based on appearances and will constantly try to understand his opponents when faced with their opposing views. He tries to stay open-minded and not treat people with prejudice: whether it's a young dominatrix asking him for help with a scene or a half-naked guy who pelvic-thrusts and talks about porn, Kiryu always hears people out. His biggest weakness (as pointed out to him by Majima, thanks bro,) is the fact that Kiryu trusts way, way too easily. He seems to think that all people have the potential for goodness inside them, and given enough chances, they can do the right thing. He is, surprisingly, a pure cinammon roll.

Despite being part of a criminal organization, Kiryu believes in the Yakuza as a force for to help people. In practice, this doesn't always work out, but he believes in it so much that even after all the shit that goes down in 0, he still thinks he can make the Tojo Clan better from the inside if he just sets his mind to it and works his way up the ranks. His faith may not have much to stand on, but Kiryu is nothing if not hopeful at heart. This goes back to how he believes everyone can better themselves, and that everyone is worthy of forgiveness. Even with everything that goes wrong (and boy, does it ever go wrong) in Kiryu's life, Kiryu maintains his hope for the future by believing in people.

Whether that works out or not... well, that's a story for a different game. As the series goes on, Kiryu loses person after person and becomes far more stoic, focusing his efforts inward and often refuses help for what he sees as his friends' safety. Seriously, this dude can't accept anyone's help by the time 3 rolls around, much less 5. But for now, I'll be drawing Kaz from Yakuza 0; Kiryu in his youth, before he became the ultra-stoic Dragon of Dojima and role model to dads everywhere. In Yakuza 0, Kiryu is still rough around the edges, though his core of goodness remains.

Our young Kiryu is still willing to hear people out, help them with their problems and assist random strangers on the street... he's just more likely to solve those problems with his fists than talking them through. He's far less patient than he'd grow to be. Kiryu in his youth has a fiery temper and a bone to pick with anyone who tries to pick a fight with him. But he's still the same pure soul, deep down. He's just lower down the rung, so he puts up with a lot of shit.

The Yakuza games run on a rule of cool factor, with crazy punches, kicks, and stunts like picking up traffic cones, bicycles, sometimes even couches to pummel enemy thugs with. This is a game filled to the brim with fist-fights where a single man can take down 20, or where a guy can fight a bear (or a tiger) and win. These insane stunts are performed with extra flourish thanks to a system called "Heat," which fills and builds as your character doles out damage and looks good doing it. (Taking damage lowers it, for instance.) Heat is thereby spent as characters pull off these often insane and awesome stunts. Additionally, as Heat builds it also gives characters a sort of... flaming aura that exudes off of them. Because they're just so cool that their coolness can't exist solely inside their body? It's a fun and ridiculous part of the Yakuza games that makes fights that much more intense and these otherwise regular-looking dudes that much more intimidating. On that note, Kiryu (in Yakuza 0, which is where I'll be playing him from mainly) learns 4 fighting styles that share the same Heat pool, these are:
BRAWLER: A thuggish style that is versatile but unrefined. In this style, Kiryu fights with a mix kicks and punches, sometimes picking up smaller objects to smash against his opponents. We're talking like this. This is very much Kiryu's grappler style, as he is able to counter grabs and perform various throws. (This style is taught to him by a weird foreigner named Bacchus.) Its aura glows BLUE. Have I mentioned this game takes place in the 80s?
RUSH: Basically speed-boxing, ngl. The Rush style is quick and focuses largely on doing quick, light damage with a heavy emphasis on dodging. Kiryu is quick on his feet while in this style and the rapid attacks mean he gains heat quickly. This style is more refined than the other two, but suffers from a lack of cool, strong heat moves since it's mostly just about rushing in, beating people up, and getting out. (This style is taught to him by a homeless, "punchout artist" named Kamoji.) Its aura glows PINK.
BEAST: A monster of a style that focuses on brute force above all else. While in the beast style, Kiryu moves extremely slowly but has access to a wide variety of brutal attacks. His punches become broad, heavy swings and he gains the ability to quickly pick up nearby objects (like, say bicycles,) to smash and hit his enemies with. Or he can pick up his enemies and throw them at other enemies. With enough heat, this style even lets you avoid flinching when shot. Dang. (This style is taught to him by a loan shark named Miss Tatsu.) Its aura glows YELLOW.
LEGEND: (aka: Dragon of Dojima) Kiryu's final, "secret" style is completely optional and can only be obtained by completing Kiryu's "Real Estate Royale" storyline (where Kiryu essentially buys out all the properties owned by certain yakuza-allied billionaires in Kamurocho.) This is Kiryu's style from the rest of the Yakuza series. It combines the strengths of his other styles with a stronger focus on kicks and a more refined punching and throwing style. Its aura glows WHITE. In later games heat displayed in BLUE or RED (when maxed out) but I'll be sticking to the 0 style for clarity.
That's the detailed part, anyway. To put it simply, thanks to Yakuza being a video game and existing in a world where dudes will fight you at any point in time and every gangster is a brickhouse even when they're 50, Kiryu possesses a degree of super strength, stamina, and resilience. He gets run over by a motorcycle and beat with a lead pipe and still has the energy to get into like three more intense fist fights, and that's just in 0. By the time 5 and 6 rolls around, he can practically divert missiles with his glare. (That's not a skill I plan on having him regain though.)

INANE SKILLS: (aka: Yakuza is a fun franchise full of weird, weird mini-games)
Yakuza games enjoy a charming sense of duality and that are a celebration of Japan, Kabuki-cho and how much stuff SEGA can cram into one game. Thanks to this, besides being a badass fighter, Kiryu can be skilled at a lot of non-conventional things:
Superhuman alcohol tolerance: getting totally hammered just doesn't happen, and these guys never get hung over. Kiryu has no problem walking in a straight line after downing an entire bottle of wine, but he will get them into more fights, though. (Some moves are in fact made stronger when drunk, this is that kind of game.)
Mini-game mastery: Kiryu can play (and often master) the following games: billiards, darts, poker, texas hold 'em, baccarat, cee-lo, oicho-kabu, koi-koi, mahjong, shogi, pachinko, karaoke, pocket circuit car racing, bowling, batting, golf, ping pong, air hockey, various SEGA arcade games (and Taiko Drum Master,) fishing, UFO catchers and more.
Dancing: Kiryu can dance battle (disco, hip hop, jazz, rock, house and... idol style?)
Ramen making: Yes, he can do that too.
Cooking: Taking care of 8 kids ain't easy, obviously Kiryu had to learn to actually cook by the time he runs the orphanage in Okinawa. He makes particularly good curry, knows how to grill and skin a fish, and more.
Taxi driving: We are talking some superhuman taxi driving skills... Some of his moves are, um. pretty unconventional. That is to say, Kiryu's taxi driving skills in Yakuza 5 are Heat influenced, allowing him to pull off moves that should not be physically possible. Do not attempt this at home.
Weapon affinities: Kiryu dislikes guns and won't use them if given the alternative, but is shown to be quite proficient with them in 0 (where he shoots one while in a car chase.) He can also wield a variety of weapons but not with much finesse. Knuckles and swords are the only ones he's particularly skilled at, but rest assured if he can wield a traffic cone, he can wield a knife. Or table. Or frozen fish. Anything's a weapon with the right attitude.
Energy drink... healing?: In Yakuza, healing items (aka: energy drinks) are divided into three types: Toughness (HP), Tauriner (Heat) and Staminan (HP+Heat). They come in varying strengths, from + to ZZ to Emperor and Royale. Inexplicably, these drinks heal any wounds and get you fired up, just by drinking them. Characters will often gift you some before a hard fight, or they'll be scattered around before moving on to challenge a boss. Kiryu is able to chug these mid-battle when he needs HP or a Heat boost.
Revelations: Kiryu can learn skills from watching people perform weird and amazing feats. This plays out with him taking pictures of the feat, pondering the skill the person used, and then having a revelation like, wow! I can totally use this in a fight!!
Video Game Inventory: Kiryu can carry up to twenty individual items on his person at any time. This includes a mix of weapons, fish, drinks, etc. Regardless of what he's wearing, things just disappear into his inventory when he picks them up and he doesn't carry a bag, so we can thank the power of video games for this ability. It's IC however, as Kiryu is often expected to deliver fish, medicine, food, and a wide range of items when people come to him with requests, so maybe he just has deep pockets... like the kind of deep pockets where you can carry a tuna alongside a mass-produced sword.

AU NAME: Kazuma "Kaz" Kiryu
AU AGE: 21 (now 22)
PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES: Kaz is slighter in build and wears glasses but is otherwise physically the same as canon. Minus the obvious dragon tattoo on his back and the calluses from beating up thugs and all that.

Childhood to highschool:
  • Kaz Kiryu has fairly a normal childhood. He admired his father his entire life and was a model child, always striving to be the best to make his parents proud.

  • His parents are both second-generation and do not teach him Japanese. Kaz's grandfather still lives in Japan, but he doesn't visit often enough for Kaz to pick up much more than a few phrases throughout his childhood.

  • While he is an only child, he becomes close friends with his neighbors, including his "brother" who he's been best friends with since they were children. (They still text and chat every day, despite Kaz moving to Recollé, but more on that later.)

  • His father is maybe involved in some shady stuff? Kaz's parents sometimes argue about it, but never within earshot when Kaz's around. Kaz admires his father too much to suspect anything could be wrong. He focuses on his studies throughout high school and things continue as usual as far as he's concerned.

Moving to Recollé/College to present:
  • Kaz moves to Recollé to attend Recollé University and majors in Economics and Math. He's a nerd, but manages to be fairly social, gravitating from group to group but not so much that he actually joins many clubs or participates in extracurriculars.

  • During his freshman year, his father is charged with several counts of fraud and tax evasion. He is found guilty and sentenced to several years in jail. Kaz's mother divorces him the following year.

  • Kaz firmly believes in his father and believes the charges to be false, an opinion not shared by his mother. Where she refuses to speak to Kaz's father, Kaz remains in contact with him and calls him every month if he can, even while in school.

  • By his junior year, Kaz spends his summers with his mom though their relationship is a bit patchy with his father in jail. They agree to simply avoid talking about it and she supports Kaz's studies.

  • Kaz graduates college the following year (2016.) Like most kids his age... he is unable to find a job. That is, until his father (still in jail) offers to pull a few strings to get him a desk job with an old friend of his.

  • Despite the somewhat questionable circumstances and an argument with his mother, Kaz truly believes in his father (and he needs a job, obviously) so he takes the job as it also happens to be in Recollé. The work in question lands him as a rookie Real Estate Manager for Dojima Real Estate.

  • Although he prefers to go by Kaz with his friends, he is firmly on last-name basis with all of his coworkers. (They're kind of weirdly strict?)

  • Kaz lives alone in a small apartment in Tisse and makes a fair bit of money, though his biggest priority is paying off student loans. He is cousins (through his mother's side) with Makoto Tachibana (per the player's permission) and visits whenever possible because free food and also Makoto's mom is a great cook.

  • Has a half-sister named Yuuri Kumoi (per player's permission) though he only knows her name as his dad mentioned her once in passing. All Kaz knows is that she may or may not be in Recolle, but he hasn't exactly gone looking for her ot anything.

AU PERSONALITY: Since he's not a hardened badass and wasn't brought up by the yakuza, Kiryu is a bit more soft spoken, and much more even-tempered in Recollé. He doesn't like to back down from his morals, but certainly won't resort to a fist fight if he ever finds himself in conflict with someone. He's overall a lot less intense and prefers not to stand out whenever he can help it. He's got a fire in his heart somewhere, it just hasn't been lit yet. Kaz figures it's not worth getting mad at people or picking a fight when he sees something he disagrees with, and prefers to just let things slide. He'd rather be chill. We'll see how long that lasts.

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