Breaking the Narrative Special 2: Breaking a Review with Kunio-Kun!


Hello everyone, hope you’ve had a good week coming to terms with the results of last week and are ready to delve into something we don’t usually do around here. Oh and I know I’m a couple of days late and all since my articles upload on Mondays but… since this is the nearest one to it, HAPPY BELATED INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY! Don’t kill yourself, seriously, male suicide rates are really harsh right now so if you need someone to help you work things through contact a suicide prevention service or go to a loved one immediately and talk to them. Seriously, do it now, work that out then come back to read this article. It will still be here when you get back. Thanks.

Now since Honey Badger Radio and the eventual Honey Badger Productions is looking to be an overall multimedia group I figure I might as well offer something other than just bashing false narratives with a sledgehammer of logic. I’m doing this by reviewing games and anime that I feel encompass true manliness and show people that not only does such media prove to be fun, but it shows that our theories of how to improve interaction between the sexes can and does work. As such I think this title is the best way to start showing what we mean. River City: Tokyo Rumble, Let’s Hammer you in!

River City: Tokyo Rumble is the English title for the latest game in the long running Kunio-Kun series currently owned by Natsume Inc. and Arc System Works, formerly of Technos Japan, which has since gone through bankruptcy and been bought out by a company named Million Co. Ltd who gave it to Arc. Originally titled Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-Kun SP: Rantou Kyouso-kyoku (熱血硬派くにおくんSP:乱闘競争教区/Hot-blooded Tough Guy Kunio-Kun Special: Brawler’s Paradise) this takes the River City Ransom localization and the US versions of the sports games that came back to the Japanese original stories due to the fact that the developer figured out very quickly that the fans of the original side-scrolling beat’em up from the States figured out its Japanese origins. Therefore they thought it would be best to do a 1:1 translation. Its success proves that anyone that claims that a US fan wouldn’t get Japanese humor or subtleties is full of shit! Whenever someone on twitter tries to say games from Japan don’t work without the insane localization treatments, show them this game and tell them to shove it!

Now what is the backstory, without going too much into previous games? The series follows the series protagonist Kunio, whose last name hasn’t been stated anywhere within the series, who goes to Nekketsu High School and is the justice-driven protector of his school. His grades aren’t the best because he is neck deep in yankii culture, yankii being the Japanese term for delinquent. If you are a fan of anime you know what I’m talking about, pompadours galore with wooden swords, wrapped torsos and tough guys and girls constantly looking to beat each other to a pulp. Like usual he teams up with his rival from the first game of the series Riki Samejima of Hanazono High School, as well as series regular bosses Shinji of the biker gang Blue Emperors, and the giantess sukeban(punk girl) Misuzu. That’s right. This series has a regular boss that’s a huge woman. I’m talking muscular, busty and approximately 7 feet tall! Just don’t let her know you think she looks like a man unless you are Kunio. You might lose the ability to walk.

Now the story is part of where this game shines! Kunio is challenged outright by a group calling themselves the “Tokyo Lion Alliance” a federation of street gangs aligned for the sole purpose of overtaking the whole of Tokyo. The reason for challenging Kunio is due to the reputation he has for single-handedly taking on whole street gangs without trouble and even toppling Yakuza bosses on his own or teamed with his closest rival. At the same time, he is able to take on side jobs for extra yen, which consists of searching for dogs, clearing out gangs, and even playing dodge ball with world class players. That’s right. They built in a dodge ball mini-game, combining two different game concepts, and it actually meshes. Throughout the game you explore the various wards of Tokyo, albeit stylized and miniaturized variants, from Shinjuku to Akihabara.

As for replay value, there is the main story mode, a multiplayer rumble mode, and a multiplayer dodge ball mode along with a gallery of character profiles with a music player. The main story is so entertaining that it encourages multiple playthroughs. After the first New Game+ you don’t gain anything more. However, the first replay gets you the last special boss and a handful of special jobs which are needed for 100% completion rate in order to get all the moves and items. Now don’t worry, you can skip through all the cut scenes even if its your first playthrough if you just don’t give a shit about such things. Since it’s a 3DS game, you can play the multiplayer modes with up to 4 people locally through everyone having a copy (digital or physical) or by invoking download play. I personally completed 2 full replays within 3 days playing in my free time so the difficulty isn’t terribly high if you know what you are doing, as there are plenty of shops to buy healing items at for reasonable prices. The AI of both enemies and your support characters is surprisingly complex, as they learn their own moves as they gain levels, with RPG elements applied to the format along with three different command types for each support character. Finally after your first playthrough you can switch which one of your allies is the lead, put Kunio to rest, and build up the remainder of their levels individually.

I have yet to cap out levels so I plan on keeping on playing because it gets quite fun to go against the harder gangs at the end of the game with all the techniques you get. There are 35, ranging from an increased punch/kick rate to throwing your opponent around the world! The only ridiculous anime thing these punks don’t do is start hurling ki blasts! So what is the price of this game full stop? It’s $29.99USD  for either physical or digital. Full disclosure: I got the digital version with my own money from my ‘day job’. Is it worth that? Not for the digital in my opinion. However, the physical version is on Amazon for $39.99 with a limited edition Kunio keychain. If you consider the fact that the physical version is harder to lose fully and it comes with the sweet keychain I say this would be the version to get. Now do you have to be a fan of the originals to enjoy this game? Of course not! This is a fun game all around with plenty of options that will use your 3DS capabilities to the fullest. It even uses the 3D option if you care to see a 2D game in a 3D fashion.

Now I wouldn’t be doing my job here if I didn’t approach the male positivity in this game. This shows how sometimes beating the living shit out of each other can bring two different men to understand, respect and appreciate each other. This is why you see men training each other and bonding over various martial arts. Not only that, but it shows an appreciation for a female mentor in the form of the teacher Madoka, a male mentor in the form of Shinji, as well honoring your fellow man’s memory through the rival Silver Lion. Most importantly, it shows that the world is far from black and white, that there is a lot of grey. It even shows how men and women can not only fight each other but fight alongside one another through Misuzu. The world that this presents would scare the crap out of Anita Sarkeesian because it is very real in portrayal. Everything in this game subverts identity politics by making jokes about what they give a shit about and making everything based on merit. It even goes into taking responsibility for one’s actions.

So what are my final thoughts on this game? I won’t put a numerical value on these reviews. I don’t think that works.  It has its limits and flaws due to the engine they decided to use in keeping with the 8 bit style that River City Ransom succeeded with wholesale. However, it does live up to its legacy and lineage by keeping to the things about the original that made it the prime influence of the Scott Pilgrim comics and game. Not to mention it has the exploration values of a Metroidvania game to pair with its RPG elements. In fact, its flaws, as with most people, are what give it personality, character, and charm. I love this game about as much as I love its predecessors. They even put in references to the localization of the original from move names to secret bosses. You won’t be bored even with the grind heavy jobs like Thug Extermination Week and Thug Extermination Month. I know I wasn’t. So on a scale of “great” to “bait” I put it at Solid! Next time I’m going straight back into things with whatever silly bullshit that SJWs are making an issue of this week. Until then Game Freely!

Alex Tinsley
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About the author

Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="156090">2 comments</span>

    • First and foremost, this is not a movie, it is a video game. As far as where to buy it? If you have a 3DS check the e-shop or click on Amazon in the article, its a link to a storefront that sells it. As for the picutre its a picture of silhouettes of Japanese delinquents getting ready to fight. Pompadours are very common in the delinquent cultures of Japan. Hence the mention in the review.

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