(last updated: 05/02/18)
PARRY is inspired by the engine feature of the same name in the game Street Fighter III. It's an advanced form of dodging that involves actively turning aside an attack rather than just avoiding it. Not only do you take no damage from the attack, you're also positioned to strike faster than you normally would. Many characters with weapons or offensive fighting styles have this ability. A PARRY can be anything from catching a striking or grappling limb to pushing it aside to deflecting an incoming projectile, or any other number of ways to redirect an attack. Such feats generally require high technical prowess and a good knowledge of your own fighting style such that you can use it against attacks themselves. Hence, PARRY requires an Ability slot.
Having the PARRY Ability gives you the automatic chance to PARRY randomly during a dodge. If successful, you gain certain benefits. First, you take no damage from the incoming attack, since you did successfully dodge it. Second, your next action, as long as it's an attack, will have the EX effect applied to it, which means it receives a speed bonus, and has a reduced super cost. Third, higher ranks of the PARRY ability also confer additional benefits on successful parries, such as additional Super and reduced reserve costs for EX attacks. PARRY also acts passively to slightly increase your chances of dodging attacks corresponding to your good offense scores.
In TOP: Increased chance to Parry when dodging.
D Rank:  dodged attack has a chance to be parried.
Parries grant +% to-hit.
Reported as: "avoids."
C Rank: Dodged attacks have a chance to be parried.
Parries grant +% super and % reserve discount
and add EX to attack name. Reported as: "fully avoids."
B Rank: Passive dodge bonus. Parries grant % reserve discount.
Reported as "parries!"
A Rank: Parries grant +% super instead of +%.
Reported as "parries!!"
S Rank: Parries grant +[.8] PLs of damage to attack.
Reported as "full-parries!!"
SIG ABIL: Access to  charges of MANEUVER bonus.
Characters in TOP will have an increased chance to Parry when dodging.
The ranks of PARRY really do just involve getting better at doing it, so breaking them down into narrative analysis isn't particularly interesting. It is possible to discuss what the various bonuses represent though.
The bonus speed (or "to-hit") is the core of parry and is to reflect that when you parry, you avoid, deflect, dodge an opponent's attack in such a way that it puts you in a place better to hit them. There are countless ways to pose this, but the core element is how it lets you strike back quickly before your opponent can recover.
Parrying an attack then posing a long speech before you attack them back isn't really the gist of what parrying an attack means. Parrying is an aggressive technique that relies on delivering a fast attack against your opponent before they can recover from whatever it is you did to avoid their attack.
The free Super from parrying is just a bit of adrenaline rush or excitement at succeeding at such a risky move.
The reserve discounts of PARRY reflect the idea that using your opponent's momentum against them secures superior positioning against them, thus making it easier to execute the attack.
And the bonus damage is because when you truly master parrying, you can deliver precision strikes where your opponent is less protected along with all the other advantages an expertly performed parry will grant you. The damage bonus of S Rank stacks with all other PARRY mechanics.
Signature Ability -- MANEUVER
For many fighters, parrying attacks is a component of their fighting style, something they draw upon from time to time in a match to maintain that aggressive edge while avoiding their opponents' attacks. Other characters, however, are relentlessly aggressive, staying close to their opponents, engaging in an almost constant dance of death where they narrowly avoid attacks launched their way and constantly maneuver into the optimal position from which to pressure their opponent's defenses. These characters usually engage in fighting styles focused around speed and technical skill that builds momentum by applying just the right amount of effort to deflect or avoid attacks.
- Every time you succeed a dodge that is not a PARRY, or make a successful
block, you gain a stacking % MANUEVER bonus to PARRY.
- When you succeed a PARRY, your MANUEVER bonus will zero out.
- Once you have successfully parried twice in a single fight, you will no
longer gain the MANUEVER bonuses.