Japanese doujin games are certainly an interesting bunch, and this definitely isn't an exception. Developed by a doujin company D.C.S. (or Dream Creation System), Brief Karate Foolish was published through the now-abandoned Steam Greenlight in November 28th of 2016, which actually raises a pretty strange question; the credits say this game was developed in 2003, so did these developers wait 14 years to publish their game in some form? I've checked the developer's blog for confirmation, but the site itself launched in 2007, so I can't seem to confirm aside from said shot in the credits:


Whatever the case, the main gimmick of this game becomes pretty clear within the first 5 seconds you look at it; the entire cast are digitized men in their underpants, with only a select few props to really build a 'costume' with (aside from the final boss, but we'll get to him in a bit). This already sets it up with a 'zany' kind of theme, but this one in particular is something of a response; the official site for the game states that it's essentially a smart-ass reversal of the rapidly growing number of scantily clad characters in video games, predominantly women by a large margin, which personally pleases me because it's a design trend that greatly irritates me, so after seeing things like Skullgirls in recent years this game is almost a cathartic thing to experience. There's also the fact that the title is very similar to Bikini Karate Babes, so that might've been the main focus with this idea. Funny thing is, this game is the polar opposite of that in more ways than one.


Straight away the presentation is rather amateurish; backgrounds are just low-quality, static photos, and the character portraits themselves look very washed out, making the fact that this was a very low-budget indie effort readily apparent. Also strange is the fact that some of the portraits have hastily applied mosiac censors on them, which is especially jarring. But before we get to why that is, let's take a look at the cast!


First up in the line-up is Super Tamade, who's actually just an amalgamation of several iconic fighting game characters in both design and gameplay. His appearance seems to be a mixture of Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard and Street Fighter's Yun (you can just barely spot the ponytail in-game) while his playstyle is a mixture of Yun, any of the 50 Street Fighter characters that had the Shoryuken (here referred to as the Fujinken/Wind God Fist) and another extremely iconic Street Fighter character, none other than....


Captain Sawada, of course! Specifically, the version you'd get from Capcom's adaptation of the Street Fighter The Movie game. As that's legitimately one of my favorite characters ever, seeing this practically won me over in an instant. And thankfully in terms of referential moves, he's the only one out of the line-up to have an entire moveset of one, which is good because that was a gripe I had with Dong Dong Never Die, and having it exclusive to one character is a great way to make him unique to the rest of the cast. Moving on...


T. Hikari, full name 'Tamano Hikari', fills in the sumo archetype, which you can probably guess fairly quickly by the 'kabuki facepaint' which is just the product of somebody hastily scribbling on his face with a marker. The difference with this character is that he's not regarded as a particularly good sumo wrestler; he's said to cheat during every match and still lose anyway, and is regularly referred to the characters unmotivated and lazy. It's a great twist on an archetype we see a lot, even his idle stance is a miserable slouch. Oh yeah, and he pulls out a frying pan to whack people in the head with. Gonna guess that's not really legal in sumo.


Despite all of this, he's easily one of the game's strongest characters. At the cost of mobility, it's hardly difficult to effortlessly bust out 40% combos with him regularly once you hit your opponent with something. Oddly enough, his name seems to come from a sake-brewing company named Tamanohikari. One hell of an endorsement here.


Next up is the ninja archetype, who is named (something I always manage to stumble over when speaking it) Nininga Shimaru, who the manual says is basically some doofus with a kitchen knife that thinks he's a fearsome ninja. Whatever makes him happy I guess.
Within minutes of using this character, his status of being this game's fragile zoning speedster becomes pretty clear. He dashes all over the place with a few of his moves and can zone pretty efficiently, but good luck trying to do any hard-hitting combos with him. His voice is also kind of unusual; he speaks in a high falsetto, and occasionally dips into a deep, hoarse voice when doing throws and basic moves. He also has the distinction of ending every single one of his winquotes with 'de gozaru', which is an archaic alternative to ending sentences with 'desu'.


Really committing to the old-fashioned ninja thing, this guy.


This man holding a large block of pixels is the 'famous' assassin known as Kuranado, who has quite a few things going on design-wise. Probably the most odd of it all is that his name is simply a romanized version of 'Clannad', the name of a visual novel series, which could possibly tie in with the fact that when he's not eliminating his targets, he loves to collect anime figurines. Everyone needs a hobby.


There's also the fact that his mask is there because without it, he uncontrollably spews thousands of fireballs from his mouth, which is a character trait I just love to bits. Playstyle-wise, he feels like a more rush-down oriented version of Tamade than anything, but one different enough to where I largely prefer playing as Kuranado.


Up next is the character I notice a lot of people gravitating to first when they see the cast (and for good reason); the protein-obsessed fitness freak simply known as Stretch. All he's here for is to show off how fit he is, and y'know, fair enough I suppose. He has one of the best character gimmicks I've seen in a while. Namely, he has less of an actual fighting style, it's more like he just kind of...exercises at you. Even his stance is technically a workout.


As great as his gimmick is, the disappointing reality is that he's an astoundingly underwhelming character to use. While it's apparent he has the best air basics out of anyone in the game, none of his special moves are particularly useful, his ground basics aren't that great, his damage output is borderline miserable, and one super that should juggle just does not and leaves him wide open, even if he does manage to hit the opponent with it. If nothing else, there's something to be admired about a character you can watch footage of and make a workout plan out of what he does in the match.