Five Things You May Not Have Known About Jet Set Radio

While I may write about Sonic a lot, my favorite SEGA franchise is actually Jet Set Radio. Ever since playing the original game in 2000, my perception of games has never been the same. Jet Set Radio was more than just a fun game, it was an experience. It introduced me to a world that oozed with color, funky music and over the top characters and settings. Unlike Sonic, however, the Jet Set Radio franchise is insanely small. All fans really have to soak up are two great games, a fun handheld title and the upcoming port. Articles about the series are rare, and the amount of Jet Set Radio merchandise produced could easily fill a small shelf. As a tribute to my favorite SEGA game, I thought I’d increase the web article count by one with five things about Jet Set Radio that the regular SEGA fan may not know about. If, after reading this weekly five, you have learned nothing then consider yourself a Jet Set Radio super fan!

Jet Set Radio’s Creation Was a Reaction to Panzer Dragoon Saga

Have you ever played Jet Set Radio and thought to yourself, “for a game developed by members of Team Andromeda, this is very unlike a Panzer Dragoon title.”? This was intentional. Masayoshi Kikuchi, director of Jet Set Radio, discussed the game’s creation in an interview: “We wanted to work on something that was completely unlike Panzer Dragoon Saga. Something dealing with pop culture and something that was cool”. Since his early days at art school, Jet Set Radio art director Ryuta Ueda had been drawing characters that looked very much like the characters seen in the finished game. Kikuchi explained: “Ueda came and showed me this picture saying, ‘Let’s do this, let’s do something like this.’”. Ueda’s art style, combined with Kikuchi’s direction to do what Panzer Dragoon didn’t lead to what was Jet Set Radio’s unique look.

Garam’s Necklace Looks Familiar

In the same interview discussing the game’s creation, Kikuchi gave away an easter egg which exists in Jet Set Radio. “See this?” (Kikuchi points at a portrait of the character Garam in the JSR manual) “See his necklace? It’s a skull, and while we were working on Panzer Dragoon Orta, I found it on the stomach of one of the bosses. It’s a strange shape, isn’t it? I asked Mr. Ueda what it was, and he told me that it’s the skull of another famous Sega character”. Sonic fans, I’m sorry to say that Sonic is dead. Garam had his tiny skull made into a necklace. You can see that it’s not 1:1 with Sonic’s skull, but there are the defined Sonic eyes and the spikes running from the forehead to the base of the skull. Speaking of the Panzer Dragoon Orta boss that Kikuchi mentioned, if any reader can find a screen of the boss he’s referring to please share it in the comments section below.

Take a Picture, Paint it on a Wall

In the glory days of Jet Set Radio, there was a thriving graffiti community, skimming the internet for suitable jpegs with their Dreamcast web browser and then painting them up around Tokyo-to. Some of the pieces were made in the game’s graffiti editor, some were made on the computer and uploaded to the net and some images were just porn photos that teenagers like myself thought were hilarious. Since then, dial-up internet has become a thing of the past and unless you have the broadband connector, graffiti fans are shit-outta-luck. Or are they? Back in 2009 I dropped $50 on a Dreamcast Dreameye camera, complete in box. I figured it would prove to be a wacky, but useless, Dreamcast peripheral. I snapped some photos with it, I played around with them in the photo editing program, and then one day I got curious. I booted up Jet Set Radio, the Japanese version, and attempted to import a Dreameye image with the graffiti editor. It worked! Both the Dreameye and the Japanese Dreamcast web browser saves jpegs to the same file format. So whatever you snap a photo of can become a violation of Tokyo-to law!

Super Brother is a Song About Mario and Luigi
The Jet Set Radio series has had some pretty weird lyrics to their songs, but none is stranger than the addition of Guitar Vader’s song “Super Brother”. The song itself suits the series, but the lyrics aren’t something I ever expected to hear in a SEGA title (at least, back in 2000). While they’re not entirely audible or understandable, the lyrics go something like this:

Come we(re) going to rescue Peach. We(re) Super Boys. 1234567, we like mushrooms(s). She’s Playing Anata ga meija (you’re controlling). Love, love, love, love, baby.

So yes, before Mario and Sonic, there was Mario and The GG’s.

The Original Japanese Version Had Interactive Credits

In the original Japanese ending of Jet Set Radio, the credits were interactive! Players skated around, tagging and playing with the developer’s names. This is an aspect to the original Japanese release that gets little mention, but I could swear it’s true. While I can’t confirm it with a video, I recall encountering it myself when I played through the original Japanese version of the game, and my hazy memory was confirmed in an interview with the game’s developers. The reason for this cool feature’s omission is localization. Bringing the interactive credits sequence to an English speaking audience required rebuilding it from the ground up, changing every credit into English. As it was too much work, the sequence was cut and changed into the non-interactive credits we see in the American and European versions.

In the comments below, I invite other Jet Set Radio fans to share the little secrets they may know of. I also invite fans of the game to check out an awesome interview with the game’s developers, which served as an inspiration for this week’s Weekly Five.


20 responses to “Five Things You May Not Have Known About Jet Set Radio

  1. CrazyTails says:

    hahaha what a great article. That super brother thing was very mindblowing.

    Oh man they really gotta see if they can make a new game if the port ends up succesful

    • Yeah man, I’d love to see a JSR3. Give the dev team more to do than Kinect titles and Mario & Sonic games. My idea of a JSR3 would be like Just Cause 2, where the game world is a massive map and you skate about the city fighting cops and covering up propaganda. Sort of like JSRF, but less load screens and more scope. Maybe take a page from De Blob (and Just Cause 2) and have a percentage of how much chaos you’re causing and how much rival graffiti you’ve covered.

  2. Shenmue fan says:

    Cool article.

    It was a great accomplishment spray painting my first porn tag…and jetting away from the scene when mom enters the room!

    long live the Dreamcast.

    • Sharky says:

      I did pretty much exactly this back in the day with my best friend…

      In retrospect it only hindered my enjoyment of the game since I was always listening to hear if mum was coming up the hall! =D

    • Barry the Nomad says:

      I actually remember what the photo was… a red head spreading her…

      Shit! Moms coming, skate away! Skate away!

  3. Arc Christelle says:

    What about the songs from Ollie King that transferred over to JSRF?

    • I think JSRF was 2002 and Ollie King was 2003, so its the other way around.

    • Arc Christelle says:

      Which would make total sense. I would like to see Ollie King revived or atleast on Xbla, I wanna try it on Kinect. I still gotta play Sonic Free Riders tho. It’s the only title in the series that genuinely interested me.

    • Gza7x says:

      Great article. The Jet Set Radio series is one of the greatest game series of all time. I bought the port for my Vita last year to try to relive some of those old memories, and I’m still playing every day. I saw some videos for the fan game Jet Set Radio Air, but That was a few years ago and I haven’t heard anything since. I, like most who have played either of the games, really want a 3rd installment or at least an HD port of JSRF.

  4. Kori-Maru says:

    You guys remember Captain Onishima? I use to love running away from that dude and shouts “DAMN” when he fails to catch you.

  5. Centrale says:

    Nice write-up, Barry! I knew about the Sonic skull but not the rest. I agree, JSR is my favorite game series. Here’s hoping that this re-release is well-received and convinces Sega to do another one.

    Really cool about the Dreameye. The Dreamcast had so many cool capabilities that were pretty much unannounced, like using the fishing rod for Virtua Tennis.

  6. SEGA_Portuguese says:

    Never played this game. The only thing i know about is the crazy dude in Yakuza 1 asking for tissues. I never played and i will probably not play in the future. Thanks for the article, Barry.

    • barry the nomad says:

      you wont play it when it hits PSN/XBLA? at least play the demo, do it for me 😀 its really a great game, a SEGA classic!

  7. -nSega54- says:

    Great article, man.

  8. lauta55 says:

    interesting post! too bad i can afford a dreamcast when i was a child. it has so many good games!

  9. Logan A. says:

    As much as I would LOVE to play this game, sadly I was born right as the XBox-PS1 era was ending. I was crazy excited to play it on my 360 when I managed to get a copy of JSRF, but sadly…. ‘Your Xbox 360 console does not support this Original Xbox game. >:I Great. Now I have to pay for a system update.

    • Qurro says:

      You said “PS1-Xbox era”, that is wrong.
      Xbox didn’t share era with PS1, but with PS2. That was the 6th generation of consoles: Dreamcast, Gamecube, PS2, Xbox
      PS1 shared era with Saturn and N64, in the 5th generation.

  10. Nobody says:

    The Japanese version of JSR did NOT have interactive credits.

  11. JATWORKS says:

    WRONG! The credits of the original Version ( JP V1 ) were not interactive. still a video but with different animations and the developer names were graffiti, SPRAYED BY A.I. , not you. I am a SUPER SUPER Fan. nothing I don’t know.

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