A street-level fly-by of a Japanese city shows people in the rainy streets minding their own business. That is, until we get to an alley, where some members of the Yakuza are beating up some guy for protection money. Probably. This is sure to have significance later.
In a hotel room somewhere else, a man in a gray suit stands over stands over a corpse. He takes a ring with the name "Yumi" on it. Moments later, the cops run in and bust him. He turns, and we see his face.
It's now the previous day, and the man in the grey suit is named. He is Kazuma Kiryu, and he is helping an associate named Shinji Tanaka to collect a debt from someone. Both men are associated with the Dojima family, one of several of the Yakuza.
Kazuma and Shinji chat about the mission that will serve as your tutorial. A loan shark apparently borrowed money from different Yakuza families, but haven't paid a yen back yet. It's no small sum either: 200 million yen, and Kazuma (and his buddy) will get half. It's time to take it out of their asses.
Although you're presented with a radar on the main screen, you don't have to worry about it. Just follow Shinji as he heads down the street. Keep close, as he'll talk to you a couple times.
You'll come across the enemy's office in short order. The men bust in on the office of Hirata, the president of Peace Finance, the man who owes the money. He and his associates are getting ready to jump town, and Hirata begs for us not to kill him. Kazuma expresses surprise, although Shinji assures Hirata that death isn't the usual MO of his family. Still, Hirata fears for his life, grabs a golf club, and readies a fight.
The game will tell you exactly what to do here to teach you the controls of fighting, so we won't go over the exact same information. Just follow the on-screen commands, and you'll be good.
During the action, Shinji basically stood around and watched paint dry. After you kill everyone, he finally decides to get the money for you. Kazuma thanks Hirata for his "cooperation," and you'll be back on the street shortly.
With the 100 million yen, Shinji randomly assures Kazuma that the latter can start his own family. Or rather, probably can... as Kazuma says, it's not set in stone. But still, collecting this cash probably goes a long way to proving himself.
Shinji reminds Kazuma that he must meet a man named Nishiki later at a place called Serena. He tells you that he only way into Serena is through the backdoor, and he gives you directions to get there. He tells Kazuma to head out, because he'll take the other 100 million yen to the client.
When you get control, just check out the map. The flashing area is your target, and it will be pretty easy to get there. Just realize that the left side of the map isn't the left side of the game screen.
As you get to the alley, some random member of the Yakuza will require his face spread over the pavement. Do so, and a man named Goro Majima will appear. Majima is part of the Majima family (who knew?), another of the Yakuza. Majima beats on the guy you just toasted, doing so simply because he disrespected Kazuma. Majima then goes on to call Kazuma's girlfriend a bitch. I guess disrespect means different things depending on who's saying them?
Anyway, with the fight over, you may have done enough to gain a level. Pause the game, go to "Power Up," and select a category to do so. Once back in the game proper, you can talk to the guy who attacked you, then move forward into the bar.
Kazuma heads to the bar, which is being tended by a girl named Reina. Already sitting at the bar is Akira Nishiki, who is about 80% of the way to being plastered. Conversation leads to the revelation that Nishiki has a sister who is dying, and probably pass on after her next operation of some nameless disease. Ain't that always the way?
Later, a girl named Yumi comes in, and this is apparently the chick Kazuma has the hots for. He spies her ring, probably the same one he gets in the introduction. After she's introduced, there's inaudible dialog as we see the three customers drinking themselves silly. Kazuma even passes out for a few hours.
Thank goodness for NPCs, because when Kazuma finally wakes up, Reina tells him he needs to go to the residence of Fuma Oyabun, your main boss. (First Shinji, now Reina... is everyone Kazuma's secretary?) Like last time, follow the flashing panels of the map to get where you're going.
Just outside the bar, Kazuma runs into Tamura, who right now is just Some Guy that Kazuma knows. Tamura introduces another Some Guy to him, named Aoki. Geez, this is a lot of names we're being thrown pretty early... I hope they start organizing things better soon. Aoki is some magazine writer, which seems largely irrelevant right now. And Kazuma has better things to do, so he just moves on.
Shintaro Fuma, also known as Fuma Oyabun, thanks Kazuma for collecting the money and paying his regular Yakuza dues. Fuma chats a bit with him, including compelling Kazuma to visit the orphanage where they met. Ah, so Kazuma was an orphan...
Whilst they chat about the good old days or something, Kazuma gets a phone call from Shinji. Yumi was kidnapped by Sohei Dojima, the leader of the Dojima family, who apparently always looks to take whatever he wants, women included. Shinji reports that Nishiki has headed over there to get Yumi back, and Kazuma says he's going to do the same despite Fuma's warnings.
Follow the glowing red panels on the radar to move toward Dojima's office. When you're close, Hirata reappears, including with the golf club. Hirata threatens that he hired some bodyguards to take back the money. Right.
Beat 'em all down (it's a cinch, no more difficult than the tutorial mission), then keep moving. The office is at the end of the final street.
The office is quiet. After checking out a different room, Kazuma finds Yumi huddled in a corner, with Nishiki holding a pistol. Dojima is the body we saw in the opening movie, and he apparently was trying to rape or otherwise harm Yumi. Nishiki went postal and completely emptied his pistol clip, including one round that looked like it pierced Sohei's glasses and right eye, a la Moe Greene in The Godfather. Ouch.
Kazuma tells Nishiki and Yumi to book it. Kazuma figures that Nishiki needs to be on the outside to help out his sister; Kazuma will take the heat for this. Nishiki collects Yumi and leaves, leaving us to view replay of the opening movie.
Kazuma takes the credit for the kill, and is tossed in prison. Once there, Shinji visits him and presents him with a letter of expulsion, which means that Kazuma is out as far as the Yakuza is concerned. This surprises him, as he assumed he would be totally cut off from all ties with the family. This letter comes from Chairman Sera, who is the leader of the whole Tojo Clan, essentially the Yakuza itself.
In related news, Shinji ends up saying that Fuma took over the family, and also that Yumi disappeared after the violence. She lost her memory, and escaped the hospital. Nishiki is looking for her, but that's about all the progress they've made. Kazuma must feel like a complete tool, but what's he gonna do?
Back in the prison while eating lunch, some hired thugs who were somehow connected to the Yakuza jump Kazuma in the mess hall. As far as they or anyone else knows, Kazuma was the murderer, and a bit of vigilante justice is necessary. Unfortunately for the prisoners, Kazuma's fists rival some SMGs. You'll play out the fight, and probably have a cinch of a time doing so.
After the fight, Kazuma learns that the man responsible for this was... Chairman Sera? But why would Sera order a hit if he just sent a mere "Letter of Expulsion"? Kazuma ponders this until he's smacked by a police baton. Whoops.