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The Dragon Slayer: Ichiban Kasuga steps up to bat!

Flyboy

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The Dragon of Rock Bottom
Ichiban Kasuga
Protagonist of Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Ichiban-Thread.png

"When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a hero. Y'know, a hero who could save people, like in Dragon Quest."
------
Welcome to the Ichiban Kasuga support thread! This thread is for people who want to see Yokohama's favorite dragon-fish climb up the ranks and stand with gaming's all-stars some day in Super Smash Bros.!

Who is Ichiban?
Great question! Ichiban Kasuga is the protagonist of Yakuza: Like A Dragon, also known as Ryu ga Gotoku 7 in Japan. He's a fresh new protagonist for the series, following up on the fan favorite Kazuma Kiryu with his own story, goals, and city to explore. He's a bright, optimistic guy who after taking an 18-year dive for a crime he did not commit finds himself alone, penniless, and homeless in the streets of Yokohama. In those streets he learns many things - who his true friends are, what his vision in life is, and most of all how to survive even when the rest of the world wants to beat you into submission. He's impulsive and hot-headed with a strong sense of justice, but he's fun-loving and goofy too. He doesn't always think things through, but he tries to make sure his heart is in the right place at all times and he is loyal to his friends and his sense of honor until the end.

Have I mentioned that he grew up really liking Dragon Quest? That's a thing. See, when Ichiban gets into a fight, he starts to see life like a videogame, each challenge a new way to boost his stats, his enemies crazy wacked-out monsters that he can take down in his quest to become the hero he grew up wanting to be.


Why Ichiban?
This one's pretty simple - I like him! I completed Yakuza: Like A Dragon a few weeks ago and not only is it one of the best games released in 2020, it's one of the best games I've ever played, period. The new turn-based battle system is excellent, and Ichiban himself is a complex, meaningful, funny, deep character that I connected with strongly. I'd say he's in my top five favorite protagonists of all time. My desire for Smash characters and series' is pretty simple - I want to see the best games possible get in the biggest crossover ever. YLAD is one of the best games I've ever played and possibly the best JRPG of last generation. He has the character and personality down, and who doesn't want to see him meet the Heroes he grew up admiring? Plus, and we'll talk about this in a moment, he has crazy good moveset potential.

Some people may say "well, why not Kiryu?" and they would have a point. Kazuma Kiryu, the first regular Yakuza protagonist, is an excellent choice to rep the series with his popularity and history. I'm a regular poster in the Kiryu support thread, which you should absolutely check out. I'm not here to start protag wars, just to expand the scope of potential Yakuza reputation (and to gush about my boy for a bit).


So, what can he do?
I do plan on doing a full sample moveset down the line, but rest assured Ichiban is not hurting in the moveset department. Not only does he have some bone-crushing bat moves that can affect wide areas with his powerful swings, he also has some great pro wrestling grapples learned through the bare-knuckle brawler background of the Freelancer class. Again, this man sees life like an RPG, and that means he has MP and ways to pull off buffs, debuffs, and some truly crazy special moves called Essences:



Whack.
Besides that, Ichiban also has access to Jobs and Party Members, two major mechanics in the game. After a certain point in the game, Ichiban opens the ability to change classes or jobs, opening up moves such as a champagne spray or ice bucket toss as a host, breakdancing as a breaker, a huge hammer swing as a foreman, and more. They're all unique and some even carry over between classes once you've learned them, giving Ichiban the ability to have a much larger move pool than you'd think.

The other thing, Party Members, comes from Ichiban's love of making friends and forming a party of people who help him throughout his journey. It starts with ex-cop Adachi and the homeless guy who saved his life, Nanba, and expands in surprising ways as the game goes on. With each party member, Ichiban has tag team moves, combos, and ways to build his bond and follow up attacks in battle. Ichiban knows he can't fight without his friends, so why not let them participate in some manner in the battle?

His Final Smash would undoubtedly be one of the first tag team moves you learn, Essence of Mayhem. It takes Ichiban and his whole party and delivers a beatdown to any foe unlucky enough to get in their way:


That's gotta hurt.

If you're interested, I've made a moveset concept you can see opening the spoiler below:
What about music and spirits?
If you're a music person, I have great news - this game is full of absolute bangers! I will be providing YouTube links to some of my favorites. Warning: the titles of the songs and related videos contain massive spoilers for the game. If you're interested in the game I'd recommend picking it up and playing it before checking out the music selection.

(Also just so I don't just link the whole OST I'll keep it to around 12 songs.)

I have many ideas for spirits as well, but I'll be splitting those into non-spoiler and spoiler subheadings. Once again, massive spoilers under the cut. I seriously recommend playing this game first.


  • Ichiban [Fighter Spirit]/Ichiban (Hero) [Fighter Spirit]
  • Nanba
  • Koichi Adachi
  • Saeko Mukoda
  • Eri Kamataki
  • Masumi Arakawa
  • Bleach Japan


  • Joon-gi Han (Possibly a general Geomijul spirit with Seong-hui)
  • Tianyou Zhao (Possibly a general Liumang spirit with Zheng)
  • Seiryu Clan
  • Akira Mabuchi
  • Reiji Ishioda
  • Yosuke Tendo
  • Ryo Aoki

In conclusion...
...Wanna join my party?

 

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OrpheusTelos

Smash Journeyman
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Dec 9, 2018
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496
Put me down for this. I haven't gotten around to LAD yet but it's hard to go wrong with any Yakuza rep so he has my support.
 

Hinata

Never forget, a believing heart is your magic.
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Sign me up, chief. Haven't played LAD yet, but Ichiban's got all the makings of a great Yakuza protag, so I'm down for him any day of the week.
 

CheeseAnton

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
132
I like him, I would love to join the party! (just please don't bench me and make me do nothing all game. I know I'm the 5th, so I don't quite fit but like switch me with someone else, I guess idk)
 
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JDCabrera

Smash Champion
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
2,278
Oh, someone made a thread for the character.

Yeah, count me as a supporters. Got Yakuza Like A Dragon for Christmas and I'm liking the game quite a lot so far.
 

Flyboy

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I need a lot of catching up to do for the series but I've already been playing out of order so I might make 7 my next game in the series after I beat 0
Honestly that'd be just fine. You'll have a solid foundation of the world and 7 is very newcomer-friendly. As long as you're okay with a few vague and stated spoilers in side conversations and implications based around cameos and special appearances, you should be fine, as it does a great job catching you up to speed with the little things you may need to know. It helps that Ichiban and his party are all brand new and have their own stories to tell, and the story never feels like it stops being about them. I hope you enjoy it when you play!
 

ShotoStar

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Sep 3, 2020
Messages
22
Only played Yakuza 0, Kiwami and Kiwami 2 but of course I support Ichiban. We gotta get some Yakuza representation in Smash y'know? Series is way too good to just be left on the sidelines be it Kiryu, Ichiban or the absolutely kino pick in Majima.

Funny I found this thread so soon I just randomly hopped onto SmashBoards to see what's going on but hell yeah I support. Nice thread, Kino thread made by a friend. Kino.
 

Flyboy

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Thanks for the replies, everyone! I've added everyone who asked to the list. Our party grows.

I've also been hard at work updating the OP with visual representations of the spirits list as well as a moveset concept I've come up with.

I envision him having an MP meter. Every Special attack costs some MP, while landing a Normal replenishes it. His Down Special costs a lot of MP, but it allows him to buff his specials for a move that if it hits can do extra damage and even lead into a bigger combo - think of it like an EX move in a fighting game. My concept was to replicate the game's focus on buffs and follow-ups, as well as the party member system, to create a character that rewards high-pressure play and combos. His specials are Skills and Tag Team moves, while his normals would be his Hero/bat moves.


I've also created visuals for his spirit board! Once again, these contain big spoilers, so if you haven't played the game, click at your own risk.

 
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KirbyWorshipper2465

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Supporting. It still bugs me how Yakuza has conspicuously got on every major console in recent years (in some way or another, whether it's ports or backwards compatibility) except the Switch, and Nagoshi vehemently denies that Kiryu has a chance due to in-universe reasons, so that might probably mean something.
 
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2006ToyotaTacoma

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Jan 23, 2021
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Consider me a supporter. I've definitely fallen in love with this series, and so far have gone through 3 games in the span of 4 months (0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2), and honestly would take any Yakuza rep, be it Kiryu, Ichiban, or even the madman himself: Majima.

Also the possibility of Ichiban meeting the Hero from Dragon Quest would be such incredible possibility.
 

Schnee117

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Ichiban is genuinely one of the best characters ever and Kaiji Tang's performance is amazing, I can't emphasise just how good he does.
So yeah I'm a thousand percent on board with him.
 

Flyboy

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Supporting. It still bugs me how Yakuza has conspicuously got on every major console in recent years (in some way or another, whether it's ports or backwards compatibility) except the Switch, and Nagoshi vehemently denies that Kiryu has a chance due to in-universe reasons, so that might probably mean something.
It's super weird how no Yakuza games are on Switch, especially considering that Yakuza 1 and 2 were on Wii U. I have to wonder if at the very least 0 or Kiwami would be too hard to port...like at the very least with the new cloud streaming stuff that Control and Hitman can do we could hopefully see the games pop up that way.

As for Kiryu, apparently the creator is fine with him in Smash but more realistic games like Tekken seem to be off the table...it's a bit of a shame, but it also leaves Kiryu in a strange place in general.

Consider me a supporter. I've definitely fallen in love with this series, and so far have gone through 3 games in the span of 4 months (0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2), and honestly would take any Yakuza rep, be it Kiryu, Ichiban, or even the madman himself: Majima.

Also the possibility of Ichiban meeting the Hero from Dragon Quest would be such incredible possibility.
Added to the list! I agree, the crossover potential and art is some of the most fun I have with new Smash characters, and I would kill to see Ichiban save the Heroes from Dharkon, or just have cute art of him meeting other RPG legends both new and old! And as said in the OP, I'm a Yakuza fan in general so you know I'm up for Kiryu or Majima in Smash. Gotta love the Mad Dog. I hope that when you play LAD you have a great time, same with the rest of the series!



Ichiban is genuinely one of the best characters ever and Kaiji Tang's performance is amazing, I can't emphasise just how good he does.
So yeah I'm a thousand percent on board with him.
I'd be so bold to say that YLAD, and Kaiji Tang's performance in particular, is the best dub I have ever heard in a videogame. Ever. Certain scenes in the final chapter deserve all the awards in the world. Playing YLAD made me retroactively more salty at how it was snubbed at the Game Awards. I know they're a dumb bull**** whatever show, but they could at least try to pretend to be legitimate.

I hope one day Kaiji Tang gets the recognition he deserves from the industry for this performance. The range is just phenoenal, everyone is at the top of their game and that's aided by the incredible localization.

It's funny how this game gave me one of my favorite protagonists in gaming and what may be my favorite villain of all time. What a ride.
 

KirbyWorshipper2465

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The engine for 0/Kiwami/FOTNS:Lost Paradise doesn't seem like it'd be too taxing to port compared to the 6/Kiwami 2 one, if you ask me.

At the least there could be a spin-off of some sort included instead of a main series entry, if the former doesn't work. Like a Switch-bound remake of Dead Souls.
 

SNEKeater

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Add me to the support list. Ichiban is a fantastic and charmful character. The future of the series couldn't be in better hands with him as a protagonist.
 

Flyboy

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Add me to the support list. Ichiban is a fantastic and charmful character. The future of the series couldn't be in better hands with him as a protagonist.
Added! And I agree; I love Kiryu, but Ichiban's boisterousness, depth, charm, and humor helps him stand out as something fresh. He had big shoes to fill and I am glad that so many people love him already. I'm definitely excited to see where his story goes.
 

osby

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Count me as a supporter. Ichiban is an amazing protagonist. Without going into "deserving" arguments, he'd be my pick for a Yakuza character in Smash.
 

Flyboy

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Count me as a supporter. Ichiban is an amazing protagonist. Without going into "deserving" arguments, he'd be my pick for a Yakuza character in Smash.
It seems I forgot to officially welcome you aboard. Added to the list! I agree - Kiryu has a long legacy and is cool as hell and Majima is a great character but my heart belongs to Ichiban. I clicked with every single aspect of him, from his intense personal story to his funny optimistic personality to his killer moveset.
 
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