Poppy is the author of A Bard's Lament and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima and likes to read novels and play video games.
Yakuza is a highly successful video game series telling stories of betrayal, robbery, and murder in the Japanese mafia in Tokyo. It has elements of role playing, open-world, adventure, and action, making it an exciting and successful series. It also has a great storyline that successfully mixes serious and sad moments with classic Japanese humour. Players marvel at the game's realistic landscapes and many of the streets in-game are modelled after real parts of Tokyo.
Previous installments included drama, death, fights between yakuza factions, and countless mini-games including running and visiting hostess bars, romancing women, and playing arcade games; meaning that hours and hours could be put into completing side-quests alone. The release of Yakuza 6 was awaited with much anticipation. In Japan, the game sold over 200,000 copies in its first week of release.
Yakuza 6, which was released in December 2016 in Japan and March 2018 in the rest of the world, follows Kazuma Kiyru, who is released from a three-year period in prison and returns to the orphanage to find that Haruka, a girl he'd helped in the past, is missing.
He finds out that she was hospitalized in a hit-and-run incident, leaving behind her baby boy, Haruto. Kiryu travels to Hiroshima to find out what happened to her. The game also takes place in Tokyo's Kabukicho in Shinjuku.
There are some characters in Yakuza 6 who are based on Japanese celebrities. Two of the most notable in The Song of Life are Takeshi Kitano, a popular actor and comedian who has starred in many gangster movies, and Tatsuya Fujiwara, who many Western audiences may recognise from the live-action Death Note movies. Both actors also starred in the 2000 movie Battle Royale.
This shows just how well the Yakuza series is doing and it's exciting to see such realistic looking characters in the new installment who look exactly like their actors.
The Ending: Did Kiryu Die?
At the end of the final battle in Yakuza 6, Iwami tries to shoot Haruka and Haruto with a gun. However, Kazuma protects them and Yuta (Fujiwara) by getting in the way and allowing himself to be shot instead. He tells her and baby Haruto's father, Yuta, to be happy together. He fades away in Haruka's arms and the credits roll.
A lot of players were shocked by this turn of events because Kiryu was the only playable character in Yakuza 6, meaning his death would result in the end of the series. However, after the credits are over, more scenes appear, so be sure to wait for the very end!
While Haruka was in the hospital, Kiryu wrote his will and requested therein that his friends do not seek revenge if he were to die. This means that he knew he was going to die and he wanted to get his affairs in order before it happened. In the first scene after the credits, you see other characters talking about how they can't believe Kiryu is dead.
However, during the final scene of Yakuza 6, in a touching moment where Haruka and others from the orphanage are encouraging little Haruto to walk, you'll see Kiryu again, watching them from afar!
Haruto is the only one who sees him and as Kiryu walks away, the baby mirrors his steps and waddles towards his mother. This scene symbolizes strength and a new beginning for the characters. You can see the full post-credit scenes below.
Kazuma Kiryu has lost a lot of important people in his life since the beginning of the series. He lost his best friend, Akira, Haruka's mother, and his childhood friend, Yumi, also died. Therefore, we can assume that Kiryu faked his death to protect Haruka, Haruto, Yuta, and others that he loved from further dangers from the Yakuza.
In the classic Yakuza way, the game's storyline brings tears to your eyes when you realize that all of Kiryu's friends, apart from the ones who helped him fake his death, think that he's dead. However, knowing that he recovered from his injuries opens a door of possibility to another sequel for this series.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 was released in December 2017 in Japan and Yakuza: Like a Dragon was released in Japan in 2020. This means Western audiences have a lot more Yakuza to look forward to! Hopefully, this isn't the end of Kazuma Kiryu's adventures.
Questions & Answers
Question: I saw somewhere that we're going to have a new Yakuza game but without Kiryu! Is it true?
Answer: Yes, it's true! Kiryu's story is over, and they're making a brand new Yakuza game with new characters. I hope you'll still enjoy it even though he won't be in it.
Question: Will there be any more Yakuza games where we can play as Kiryu?
Answer: There isn't currently any news on another Kiryu game, but the next game, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is coming out in January 2020 (Japan's release date). However, Kiryu is not in it and the combat is turn-based (like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest), so it's unclear how well it will be received.
© 2017 Poppy
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 18, 2020:
Me? I'm not Japanese.
Red on August 18, 2020:
You look fairer than a normal Japanese person.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on December 11, 2017:
Yong Kuan Leong from Asia on December 11, 2017:
I read somewhere that Y6 refined a new battle or combat engine. Hopefully, this means it's impossible that 6 is the last Kiryu story.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on November 24, 2017:
Thank you, that's very kind. Hopefully western audiences can enjoy this game come March 2018.
FlourishAnyway from USA on November 24, 2017:
I was intrigued by your description and the plot twist and I don’t even play video games. You’ve done a marvelous job building suspense and giving an inside track without giving everything away.