The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!
The first thing I’d like to celebrate is something that I feel is rather important: community. Over the last few years in particular, the concept of “gaming culture” in general has become rather fractured, leading to a variety of groups with different priorities in terms of what they’re looking for from their interactive entertainment.
Some of these communities, it’s fair to say, are pretty toxic, unwelcoming to outsiders and incredibly intolerant of differing viewpoints; I’m sure many of you know which community in particular I’m referring to here. And others… well, they set a magnificent example that others would do well to follow.
And the winner is…
The Senran Kagura community
One of the things I’ve discovered about niche-interest Japanese games since becoming a particular fan of them is the fact that they tend to attract some of the most articulate, passionate and thoughtful fans from a wide variety of backgrounds. There are doubtless a variety of reasons for this, not least of which being the unfortunate tendency for modern Japanese games — particularly those with ecchi content — to get misrepresented and censured by ill-informed members of the press and public alike. Adversity brings people together, after all.
The thing about the Senran Kagura community as a whole is that it is an incredibly supportive, uplifting group of people who love their favourite series, and are always happy to include new fans. There’s no exclusion of anyone, regardless of background, and it’s even uncommon to see its members cave in to frustration at the way the series is perceived by people who haven’t immersed themselves in it enough to understand what is so appealing about it.
Rather, it’s much more common to see people focus on the positives they draw from the series, whether that be something as simple as its overall tone and atmosphere, Nan Yaegashi’s wonderful character designs, the gameplay of the various games in the series — or as complex as some in-depth feelings for one or more of the characters.
I have to give a particular shout-out to a few individuals and groups who have helped make this particular community one of the most enjoyable groups to spend time with on the Internet — and one that I most definitely should actually make time to hang out with a bit more, as I never have a bad experience among them!
First up is “yagyu4k” on Twitter, who does community management for Marvelous on Twitter, Discord and PSN. Yagyu is a shining example of how a good community manager should work and behave; he’s absolutely dedicated to the series and the community, engaging with them around the clock, answering questions, accepting feedback and demonstrating beyond any doubt whatsoever that he’s a genuine fan. As you might determine from his username, he even has a Senran waifu in the form of Yagyuu, and is always very happy to enthuse about her with anyone who also finds her to be a particular favourite. A genuine delight to interact with at all times.
Secondly, I’ve shared this a couple of times over the last year, but it’s definitely worth bringing up again. My favourite Californian ninja “Atma Weapon” composed a wonderful essay about how she found a kindred spirit in Senran Kagura’s Katsuragi, and how this character — one of the series’ most well-known and beloved — helped her come to terms with her sexuality and what she describes as its “messy past”. Atma’s essay “Long Live the Queen” is a lengthy read, but it’s a very worthwhile one that I recommend you take the time to digest in its entirety, particularly if you’ve ever made any assumptions about Senran Kagura being nothing more than mindless fanservice. Educate yo’self.
Finally, I also think it’s important to highlight Senran International Academy, a group that is active on a variety of different social media platforms including Twitter, Tumblr, their forums, Discord and the substantial, comprehensive Senran Kagurapedia on Wikia. The Academy is one of the main things I am thinking of when I think of “the Senran Kagura community” as a whole, and indeed the group prides itself on being “the raddest Senran Kagura community in the West”, with regular game night events, linguistic support for those hoping to play Japanese installments in the series prior to their localisation and, of course, honest, passionate enthusiasm for the series!
Senran Kagura as a series is underappreciated by the mainstream commercial press, who regularly and unjustly write it off as exploitative, mindless fanservice (or worse), but those in the know not only understand its appeal, they’re keen to welcome newcomers to the fold, too. It’s a series that I’m delighted to have been engaged with since its first appearance in the West, and one that I’m sure will continue to be a firm favourite for many years to come.
Senran Kagura Estival Versus was the first ever Cover Game here on MoeGamer, dontcha know. And you can expect the most recent Western release Peach Beach Splash to get a similar treatment in the very near future too.
In the meantime, if you’ve never dived headfirst into the wonderful world of titty ninjas, well, there’s no time like the present. Christmas is coming up, after all, and what better way to celebrate the birthday of our Lord and Saviour than with a nice, healthy dose of Righteous Boobage?
More about Senran Kagura
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