There’s a sprawling mystery at the hearts of Lost Judgment that’s just as engrossing as the first game, but there’s an even more fascinating story hidden underneath the surface of the game. The biggest piece of side content in Lost Judgment has Yagami becoming the advisor to the Mystery Research Club, in an effort to uncover a shadowy figure known as The Professor. Perhaps most surprisingly, however, is that this plotline has the best character in the entire game, the president of the MRC, Kyoko Amasawa.
As Yagami investigates different clubs and groups Amasawa is a constant sidekick and someone that constantly injects some much-needed humor — like thinking she can stay out of view by hiding behind a telephone pole. Amasawa is more compelling than half of the main characters in Lost Judgment, and she’d be the perfect choice for a smaller-scaled spinoff set in the Judgment universe, especially if Yagami is unable to return.
Amasawa is unique for a variety of reasons, but a big part of that is that she’s exceptionally well written for a female character, as well as a teenage one. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has traditionally had a bit of trouble with representing female characters as nothing more than plot devices, but here Amasawa is truly the driving force behind the plot in general.
While Yagami may be doing the investigation, Amasawa is the one doing all of the research and planning ahead of that. There are even multiple substories that build up her background, like her inspiration for solving mysteries being her grandfather, who was a famous mystery novelist.
Amasawa is charming, smart, and funny, but also naive to a lot of the ways the world really works. It’s kind of amazing that one of the best female characters RGG Studio has ever created is relegated to side content, and it’d be an absolute shame to see her story end here.
This provides the perfect chance to create a title more compact than your usual Yakuza or Judgment game, focusing on Amasawa solving mysteries at school. The best idea would be to fast-forward a couple of years, as Amasawa is just starting to attend college.
A recurring trope in a lot of anime and Japanese media is the “7 Mysteries” of a location, most often a school. You can see this trope in anime like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean and The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Even video games like Trails of Cold Steel have used the idea, and you can even see it at work with the Seven Wonders at the start of Kingdom Hearts 2.
A spinoff starring Amasawa could put a Yakuza-style spin, tasking the heroine with solving the seven mysteries of her academy. This would also provide plenty of ample opportunity to implement the series’ trademark variety of minigames, with each mystery focusing around a different type. It’s clear that Lost Judgment has taken a bit of inspiration from Persona for its School Stories, but it’d be fun to see another game lean even further in that direction, while still retaining trademark elements from RGG Studio.
A spinoff like this could also allow RGG Studio to take a crack at a different style of game, and one that doesn’t require quite as much of an intensive development timeline. There’s an argument to be made that a smaller, more condensed vision could really benefit RGG Studio’s games. Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Lost Judgment both were met with positive reviews, but one of the more common criticisms is that the games can start to feel a bit bloated with content.
The Yakuza and Judgment series do a lot right in terms of portraying difficult subject matter, with the two most recent games tackling topics like homelessness and bullying. It cannot be overstated, however, that the series still has a lot of work to do in terms of representation. Amasawa feels like the character that Haruka should have turned into with Yakuza 6; a smart, independent figure that actually feels like they contribute to the plot in a meaningful way.
All the pieces are there for an Amasawa spinoff and once again, it would simply be a shame to not see one of the best characters RGG Studio has ever created not make a return.