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File:JetGrindRadio cover.jpg


Jet Set Radio (known as Jet Grind Radio in the NTSC U/C region) was a platforming/skating game released by Sega for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. The game is centered around roller-blading street gangs called Rudies, who battle for turf by spraying graffiti around the streets of Tokyo-to. Meanwhile, the Rudies are under attack by an evil corporate conglomerate which seeks to homogenize the city. The game pioneered the use of Cel Shading to create cartoony characters and backgrounds using 3D polygon graphics. The game is also remembered for its eclectic soundtrack.

A sequel, Jet Set Radio Future, was later released for X Box, though calling it a "re-imagining" might be more apt; save for superficial differences, the game's characters and storyline are mostly unchanged from the original. Perhaps wary of JGR's lukewarm reception, developer Smilebit decided that the game played too slowly, and removed the joystick motion feature used for tagging graffiti. Rather than standing still while tagging, players in JSRF can simply skate on by, with no motions to input.

Despite heavy promotion by Sega, the original Jet Grind Radio met with poor sales and was never ported to other consoles. Microsoft bundled JSRF together Sega GT 2002 and sold it as a console pack-in for the Xbox. Smilebit was scattered to the winds following the Sega-Sammy merger, later to be restructured into Sega's Sports R&D.

Regardless of that, both the original game and its sequel/remake have since became cult classics. There was also a 2-D adaptation of the original released for the Gameboy Advance, which surprisingly isn't half bad.

The original Jet Set Radio is getting an HD re-release this summer on Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, and PC. Fans couldn't be happier.


The Jet Set Radio series contains the following tropes:

  • Hundred-Percent Completion: In JSRF, after beating the main storyline, if you collect every collectable in a level (which requires you to meet several prerequisites to make them all appear), you unlock additional challenges that require you race against the clock which, when completed in a set, gets you another character. The crushing thing is that you'll eventually the "new" characters all share the same stats as another core character, and are pretty much just a different skin/model and voice. Further added to in that, should you redo all your graffiti in all levels, you get absolutely nothing. Seriously.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer
  • Action Commands: When "tagging", the larger the tag, the more commands. Totally absent in JSRF (though to be fair, the joystick commands weren't as intuitive to some gamers as with others).
  • Adaptation Dye Job: And how. Tab/Corn goes from brunet to blond (and so does Piranha/Boogie), Yoyo goes from being a redhead to having lime green hair, and Combo goes from having black hair to blue hair. Not to mention everybody changes outfits, and most of the changes are pretty significant, too.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Graffiti removal is Serious Business. For first-time offenders, a plainclothes cop blows your head off with a magnum. Twice, and a SWAT team gets called in. Three times, and the army rolls in with their missile-launching Apaches.
  • Afro Asskicker: The Golden Rhinos.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The finale of JSRF.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Love Shockers & Rapid 99.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: Once unlocked as a playable character, the dog Pots can transform from a quadruped into a rollerblading, spray can-wielding canine of justice.
    • This occurs as a result of his dog-napping by the Noise Tanks, who outfit him with a helmet which makes Pots believe he's a cow. During a second playthrough, the Noise Tanks finally agree to fix Pots (but only if you earn a "Jet" ranking in every stage).
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In JSRF, several hidden characters are often nothing more than reskins; despite having to get a "Jet" rank on several difficult challenges to play as minor characters and antagonists, several of them turn out to be pretty much the same thing. Note that it's not even subtle sometimes with certain combinations: Cube, the ex-leader of Poison Jam, is different only in clothes and color, even retaining the same skills and dances; the same applies for YoYo, Beat and their robot counterparts, who are identical save for different colors and an altered model respectively.
  • Art Attacker: Well, how else would you fight boss battles?
  • Ax Crazy: Hayashi - though considering who he works for, it might not be much of a stretch. Hayashi's been known to blow up police cars if his yes-man fetches him the wrong flavor of candy.
  • Badass Longcoat: Hayashi.
  • Bald of Evil / Beard of Evil: Gouji Rokkaku.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Cube and Piranha.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: When Rokkaku sucks you and hundreds of bystanders into his Humongous Mecha, you are transported into an acid-trip version of Tokyo filled with shadow creatures that constantly run after you. During all this, Rokkaku situates himself on the highest part of his dreamworld where he then transforms himself into a giant monster on skates. You have to grind and jump all the way up in order to fight him.
  • Big Applesauce: Grind City. You can see the Brooklyn Bridge from Bantam Street, though that stage is allegedly modeled on Chicago.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Rude boy, rudeboy, rudie, rudi or rudy were common terms for juvenile delinquents and criminals in 1960s Jamaica, and have since been used in other contexts.
    • Gouji's final boss form, A.Ku.Mu, means "Nightmare" in Japanese.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Assassin #4.
    • No one else, though.
  • Bloodless Carnage
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: Tokyo's gang activity is reported via a pirate radio station named Jet Set Radio, hosted by DJ Professor K.
  • Burning Rubber: The skates in JSRF emits plumes of flames when you go fast enough. And they sell these to kids?
  • Camera Screw: JGR's camera and tight corners don't really get along. If you really want to make the camera piss drunk, try the auto-aim button while on an elevator.
  • Car Fu: JGR's cops have no compunctions about running you over with their cruisers or motorbikes.
  • Changing of the Guard: The founder of the protagonists' gang in Jet Grind Radio is Beat. In the sequel, the main character is Yoyo, a New Meat recruit who wishes to join the already-established gang. Yoyo previously appeared in the latter half of JGR as a playable character.
    • Subverted, he's kidnapped and rendered unplayable for about two-thirds of the game.
  • Character Select Forcing: On your first playthrough, the Grind City flashbacks may only be played through as Combo or Cube. You can select anybody you like during a New Game +.
  • City of Adventure
  • Climbing Climax: In Jet Set Radio Future.
  • Cold Sniper: If you see a red laser sight pointed at you, it means a Golden Rhino sniper is nearby. Luckily, they're complete cowards and run away if you confront them head-on.
  • Collision Damage
  • Combat Commentator: Professor K fills this role in the sequel, providing such useful gems as, "Wow, you're pretty flammable!"
  • Cooking Duel: The gangs resort to competitions of skating skill to settle their differences directly. All of the 'boss' battles are just tagging people within a set time limit. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Conveniently Empty Streets: The moment the military shows up, pedestrians magically vanish from the scene. Needless to say, this removes (some) of the guilt associated with crashing helicopters into commercial buildings.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Coin's final instructions to his friends were (fittingly enough) written in graffiti.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Rokkaku Gouji, who bought the police department.
  • Crawl: Grind Square has a couple of fake news tickers.
  • Culture Police: The uniformed police, military, and later trained assassins all play this role, trying to suppress a skater counterculture. One wonders why they don't just ban sales of the self-propelling inline skates?
  • Defeat Means Playable: The rival gangs (and even Gouji!), should you rack up enough points.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Love Shockers in Future.
  • Disney Villain Death: Gouji's ultimate fate in JGR.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Devil's Contract, a vinyl record rumored to summon a demonic entity. Somewhere along the line, the record was broken into three shards and scattered between Grind City and Tokyo.
  • Dramatic Stutter: Once he's safe inside his trippy light show, JSRF's Gouji suddenly goes all SHODAN.
  • Don't Try This At Home: Both games display a message about graffiti being criminal when starting up.
  • Egopolis: The drive behind Rokkaku's crackdown on the streets is to pave the way for his "Rokkaku Expo", essentially branding everything with his logo.
  • Elite Mooks: The Golden Rhinos replace the police after you've run through all the levels once.
  • Enemy Chatter: The police dispatcher and Onishima can be heard barking orders over their radio. Gouji and his Golden Rhinos take over the airwaves later.
  • Evil Brit: The unseen voice commanding the Golden Rhinos over their PA system.
  • Evil Counterpart: "DJ Big Gouji" could be seen as an evil counterpart to Professor K.
  • Evil Knockoff: Zero Beat.
  • Evil Laugh: Onishima, Assassin #4 Hayashi, and Gouji in equal measure.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Gouji Rokkaku's lair in both games. In JSRF, he can't be bothered to name it.
  • Evil Twin: NT-3000 is a robotic clone of Yoyo.
  • Expressive Hair: Professor K's electrified hair is in a constant state of motion.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Love Shockers wear these as part of their gang uniform.
  • Fingerless Gloves Beat wears these in the first game, though in Jet Set Radio Future, he wears full gloves.
  • Flashback Effects: The flashbacks to Grind City appear in sepia tone, then slowly shift to color.
  • Forced Tutorial: JSRF's is ridiculously easy.
  • For the Cel of It: The original game was the first to do this with both black outlines, and the use of two-tone shading on characters.
  • For the Evulz: Unlike his counterpart in the first game, the Gouji of JSRF is truly crazy.
  • Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Professor K reads aloud a couple letters from "Mr. Osaka", who is beset by roaches in his home. K jokingly advises him to burn his house down (which he does).
  • Frogs and Toads: One of JGR's branching paths involves the GG's hideout being overrun by frogs, set loose by Poison Jam.
  • Gang-Bangers: A rather...quirky...variety of these.
  • Gang of Hats
  • Gas Leak Coverup: Gouji's death and the implosion of his building in JGR is written off as "a construction accident".
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Assassin #3 and his posse.
  • Generic Graffiti Averted slightly in JGR, as some of the characters have their own tags. This isn't the case in JSRF.
  • Genius' Sweet Tooth: The Noise Tanks are noted to have sworn off health food, subsisting entirely on artificial chemicals and sweeteners.
  • A God Am I: Rokkaku, towards the end.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In the bonus mission (see "PAL Bonus", below), Combo and Cube are forced to flee Grind City after the Rokkaku kidnap the third member of their gang.
  • Gonk: Soda.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Onishima inverts this trope by sporting a two-foot pompadour and a stubble. Oddly enough, this hairstyle is associated with delinquents in Japan. A clue to Onishima's enigmatic, tortured past?
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Fairly ubiquitous amongst the cast, along with Cool Shades.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Gouji does this in the cutscene before his boss fight in JSRF.
  • Grind Boots
  • Hand Cannon: Compensating for something, Onishima?
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Golden Rhinos of JSRF make colorful departures when defeated, such as getting hit by a stray missile fired from a Rokkaku harrier jet. The flamethrower assassin is immolated when her flame tank explodes, and then crushed by a falling billboard sign which she had previously set aflame.
  • Hotblooded Sideburns: Professor K's JSRF incarnation.
  • I Have Your Dog
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Against Poison Jam (who would have thought?). In the penultimate level, Rokkaku attaches brainwashing helmets to the trio and then sics them onto you.
  • Idle Animation: All of the Rudies dance if left alone.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Dashing or grinding rails renders you invulnerable to police gunfire.
  • In a Single Bound: Maybe justified because of the rocket-boots.
  • Improvised Weapon: Graffiti has the ability to blow up skyscrapers, helicopters and mecha on a regular basis.
    • AAGH SPRAY PAINT! MY ONLY WEAKNESS!
  • Jet Pack: Assasin #2 and his cronies have jetpacks, allowing them to rain gunfire on areas that other mooks can't. By far the most irritating enemies in the game.
  • Large Ham: Rokakku Gouji is a modest example. He's voiced by Charles Martinet.
  • Laughing Mad: Gouji's last moments in JSRF.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Rokakku Gouji buys out the police department.
  • Le Parkour: Assassin #5 isn't a big believer in stairs.
  • Lemming Cops: During the revisit to Benten, you can trigger a hidden scene in which dozens of pursuing Rokkaku sedans crash into a giant, flaming pileup.
  • Let's Play: Here.
    • There's also a number of them on YouTube.
  • Letter Motif: The PAL version introduces three new characters from out of town: Coin, Combo, and Cube.
  • Living Statue: Gouji's corporate Mascot, a giant cartoon rhino, is stationed on the front of his building. The statue comes to life during the final battle and begins breathing fire.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating Rokkaku causes his entire skyscraper to explode.
    • Rokkaku's Humongous Mecha starts to collapse after you defeat him at the end of JSRF.
  • Locomotive Level: Sort of, in the sense that you're chasing after a locomotive robot.
  • Lonely At the Top: At the conclusion of the game, the unnamed narrator speculates this might have been the case with Gouji Rokkaku.
  • The Men in Black: The Golden Rhinos.
  • Mad Bomber: Assassin #4 has bombs strapped to his chest, though curiously he never uses them (His sidekicks, however, are a different story). Instead, he specializes in lobbing molotovs and rigging cars to explode.
  • Made of Phlebotinum: According to the opening narration, the Rudies' skates are powered by newly-developed "Netrium" batteries.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Poison Jam and the Noise Tanks.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Gouji, again.
  • Masked Luchador: Assassin #1 is a hulking, masked wrestler who also employs judo kicks.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Noise Tanks in JSR:F
  • Mega Corp: Rokkaku Corporation. The logo is emblazoned on gas stations, satellite dishes, and trucks marked "Rokkaku Depot" (using the same typeface as Home Depot).
  • Mercy Invincibility
  • Mini-Dress of Power: That would be Gum.
    • Don't forget Rhyth.
  • Mock Guffin: The Devil's Contract is revealed to be a hoax at the end.
  • Mr. Exposition: DJ Professor K.
  • The Napoleon: Captain Onishima.
  • New Game+: After beating the game once, you could play it again with a selection of new levels.
    • Given the fact that you unlock a dozen characters after you finish the story, you have to wonder why this is absent in JSRF.
  • Nice Hat: In both games, Corn/Tab's eyes are hidden beneath his hat.
    • As a gang, the Immortals' gimmick is that they're bowler hat-wearing mummies.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Weirdly subverted. Tokyo is referred to by name, but it bears almost no resemblance to the real Tokyo. Also, Tokyo-to is actually the full name of Tokyo ("to" is a suffix meaning "city/metropolis").
  • No Indoor Voice: Professor K.
    • He mellows out in JSRF.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Especially prevalent in Future.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The rival gangs have three members each.
    • Well, we only see three at once. It's likely that the other gangs are around the same size as the GGs.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Rokkaku transforms into A.KU.MU during your Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • One-Woman Wail: Gouji's boss music.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The narrator drops a fairly Anvilicious one in JSRF's ending. Freedom gud, oppreshun = teh bad.
  • Perky Goth: JGR's token gaijin chick, Cube, wears a lot of Hot Topic.
  • Player Headquarters: The GG's garage.
  • Police Are Useless: When assassins with guns and firebombing-throwing terrorists go after you, the police are nowhere to be seen. One intro states that they're too scared to even touch them.
    • Well, the police work for Rokkaku, and so do the assassins, so why would they get involved?
  • Posthumous Character: It's strongly implied that Coin was murdered for his vinyl record. This was left vague enough for gamers to scour the game trying to unlock him, though.
  • The Power of Rock: A rare evil example.
  • Power Trio: Beat, Gum, and Tab/Corn initially comprise the GGs gang.
  • Psycho Electro: Assassin #6 can only attack by electrifying rails. This makes him more a nuisance than a genuine threat.
  • Punk Punk: The "Graffiti/Skater Punk" variation.
  • Pyromaniac: Both games feature a flamethrower assassin with a love for torching cities.
  • Redheaded Hero: Beat.
  • Refuge in Cool: Admit it, the games would be a lot less fun without Rule of Cool.
  • Regional Bonus: The North American release of JGR contains an extra mission sandwiched between the two run-throughs of Tokyo.
  • Remixed Level: The second half of JGR consists of beating the same three city districts again -- only this time, the maps aren't segmented into individual missions; You have to tag the entire district at once.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Hayashi quotes this directly during a surprise raid.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The Noise Tanks, Zero Beat, and the fake Yoyo.
  • Robot Buddy: Roboy, a jive-talking robot who saves your game settings.
  • Rollerblade Good: Magnetic and rocket-propelled rollerblades, no less.
  • Rule of Cool: The whole game runs on this.
  • Rushmore Refacement: The Lady Liberty statue in Grind Square is sporting a rhino's head, courtesy of Gouji's gang.
  • Sailor Earth: Combo's gang on the other side of the Pacific.
  • Sampling: Very prevalent in both games's soundtracks.
  • Sanity Slippage: Over the course of JSRF, Hayashi's already-lacking sanity wears down more and more with each defeat he suffers.
  • Scoring Points: Deceptively important -- Earning a "Jet" ranking in each level is the key to unlocking characters. Tagging and performing stunts adds to your score, as does completing the level with lots of time left on the clock.
    • Though all it does in Jet Set Radio Future is unlock some of the Graffiti Souls.
  • Secret Character: More than one, the best one of course being the dog, Pots.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: A record called the Devils Contract in the first game, Rokkaku wants it so he can Take Over the World.
  • Sequel Hook: Both games have one at the end. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a follow up to Jet Set Radio Future.
  • Show the Forehead: Hayashi.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Gouji's son, as pictured in the ending sequence.
  • Sissy Villain: Hayashi.
  • Skate Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Rails, rails and yet more rails.
  • Soul Brotha: Professor K epitomizes this trope.
    • One of the songs in the game is actually CALLED "Sweet Soul Brother", and is aptly about one.
  • Spider Tank: Rokkaku supplies Hayashi with one of these, complete with police lights.
  • Spiritual Ancestor: The manga/anime Air Gear and the Korean MMORPG Street Gears were both inspired by Jet Set Radio
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Each gang seemingly has a dance number prepared in advance.
    • Why not? After all they seem to spend every minute not spent skating or tagging on dancing in place.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: "That's Enough" has a lot in common with Fatboy Slim's "Always Read The Label".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The obvious example is Onishima/Hayashi.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Causes a deduction in health, after which the player climbs out of the water. Perhaps justified because they are wearing rollerblades.
  • Super Window Jump
  • Summon Backup Dancers: During the final battle with Rokkaku, gyrating cage dancers are suspended from revolving cranes.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Player characters can use spray paint to stun police officers, give their rollerblades a crazy boost, disable machinery, cover spotlights, disable bomb timers, operate switches.....
    • In JSRF, it just looks like spray paint. In actuality, it's the soul of the streets. Uh-huh.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Captain Onishima (Hayashi in JSRF).
  • Tank Goodness
  • There Was a Door: Played for laughs in the first stage of Kogane. One method of crossing the river is to plow through half a dozen plaster-wall apartments.
  • Title Drop: Inevitable, as the pirate station the game is based around is called "Jet Set Radio". But in the sequel, Professor K goes out of his way to say "Jet Set Radio Future!" near the endgame.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Averted. The game's most important character is Tokyo itself, and is designed to overwhelm the player with the sprawl of the urban landscape, populated by endless terrified NPCs.
  • Translation Convention: Despite hailing from the states, Combo and Cube have no trouble communicating with the Japanese Rudies. Possibly justified in that JSR's setting exists somewhere between reality and punk fantasy.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: With this many unlockable characters, it seemed natural at the time that Professor K must be playable -- despite his incompatible character model. Though he is playable in the Gameboy Advance port.

The same goes for the elusive Coin, too.

  • Victory Pose
  • Villain with Good Publicity: No one makes the connection between the Golden Rhinos, a notorious gang of Asian killers, and Gouji Rokkaku, whose corporate mascot is...a gold rhino. Gouji's sheer wealth probably makes this a Justified Trope, though.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: The final boss of JGR coverts the roof of his office tower into a giant turntable. To defeat him, you must (*drumroll*) grind rails to reach the adjoining towers and (you guessed it) spray graffiti over his symbols.
  • When Things Spin Science Happens: In JSRF, Gouji's DJ booth is adorned with a 'halo' of spinning radio antennae.
  • Whip It Good: The first Assassin you encounter, #5, has a whip which cannot be dodged by dashing.
  • White Gang-Bangers: Maybe.
  • Woman Scorned: Professor K jokes that the Love Shockers are entirely comprised of these.

 "Love broke their hearts, and now they're looking to do some breaking of their own!"

  • X Meets Y: Tony Hawk on rollerblades meets Space Channel 5.
  • You Are Number Six: The Rokkaku "Assassins" are each numbered from #1-6. They appear in the remixed version of previous levels after you cause enough trouble, essentially replacing the military.
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