Love on the Beach: A Crustacean Tale of Romance in Like a Dragon
The Like a Dragon series has always been about love. Not just any love, but the kind that sees the good in people, even in the midst of blood splatter...
The Like a Dragon series has always been about love. Not just any love, but the kind that sees the good in people, even in the midst of blood splattering against the walls. It's a love for friends, family, and community, and it fights for love, always. Kiryu Kazama stood up for the little guy, and as Ichiban Kasuga took the torch, the game continued to preach that nice guys are the ones who can truly be proud of their deeds. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of Infinite Wealth's strongest stories is a love story. A slightly peculiar love story between two crustaceans.
One of these crustaceans is Nancy, who fans of the previous game may remember narrowly avoiding becoming an entrée. Rescued and adopted, Nancy starts the game as Ichiban's pet. During a visit to Hawaii, Nancy discovers a hermit crab on the beach, and thus begins a unique romance. It starts off small, with Nancy noticing the crab and a little awkwardness, like a first date. But Ichiban, being the hero that he is, fetches a flower and returns to impress Nancy's potential love interest. Classic Like a Dragon slapstick humor, so classic it was there even when the series was called Yakuza.
But then things take an unexpected turn. Ichiban overhears talk of a sunken ship loaded with jewels and realizes that the shiny shell the hermit crab lives in is worth a fortune. Unfortunately, some local small-time gangsters also catch wind of this valuable shell. When Ichiban returns to the beach, he finds the crab living in a rusty old can, with the gangsters having stolen its shell. Naturally, Ichiban beats them up, they run away, and he retrieves the stolen shell. More classic Like a Dragon slapstick, with a touch of action.
However, as the fight ends, Ichiban realizes that Nancy is nowhere to be seen. But fear not, for she soon returns with a new shell—a pearlescent coral affair. This shell may not be as expensive as the bejeweled one, but it is far nicer and roomier. The hermit crab gratefully accepts the shell from Nancy, and the trio leaves the beach together—Nancy and her love finally united.
This story stands out for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the fact that the main characters are crustaceans allows for a unique storytelling experience without the use of words. It's a simple yet charming tale that, despite having little to do until the end, kept dragging me back for more.
The other noteworthy aspect is that the hermit crab in question is named Olivia. True, Ichiban named her after a fictional ship, but the ship itself is made up. The whole game is made up, for that matter. The ship could have been called anything else. We don't know the gender of Olivia or Nancy, but what's important is that these two female-coded characters are shown to be in love. It may be a small detail, but it's something worth acknowledging.
Now, we can choose to intellectualize these issues and feel a range of emotions. Angry? It's disappointing that queer relationships are represented by mere crustaceans when there is still a lack of on-screen representation. Uplifted? It's impressive that the developers, writers, or translators slipped in this subtle nod to queer representation, offering something meaningful in a game that might have otherwise lacked it. Angry in a different way? Disgusted by what you might perceive as forced political correctness, and speculating that the next game will feature a mixed-race, transgender, disabled cat. Or we can choose to be "normal" and say, "Huh, the lobsters are lesbians, that's cool," and move on. Let's all opt for the latter and appreciate this small but delightful inclusion.
In the end, Love on the Beach: A Crustacean Tale of Romance in Like a Dragon reminds us that love knows no bounds, not even between two crustaceans. It's a heartwarming story that showcases the game's ability to bring humor and charm to unexpected places. So, let's dive into the world of Like a Dragon and embrace the love, the laughter, and the unique tales that it has to offer.