A recent article published by PlayStation Lifestyle suggested that Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki has considered toning down the fanservice elements of his most famous series.
Speaking with the site, Takaki-san reportedly said that he had pondered this possibility “a little bit… the game started out very small and that was the big selling point in order to move units. Now that the franchise has grown and is getting more popular, it might be worth considering having features that differ depending on where it’s being sold. That way it might be able to sell better in certain regions where it would be problematic to have that kind of content.”
He did, however, also note that “there are also reviews that ignore the games due to the sexual content, and write it off from the start, so those aren’t very helpful. If you’re going to write it off due to a main component then that game just isn’t for you, and that review isn’t really useful as feedback.”
I’d like to take this opportunity to address Takaki-san, Marvelous Games and any other content creators who make fanservice part of their work, and reassure them that their work is welcome, enjoyed and appreciated by fans of all descriptions from across the world.
Continue reading An Open Letter to Kenichiro Takaki, Marvelous Games and All Producers of Games with Fanservice
This week, Destructoid’s Jed Whitaker posted a review of Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuni, a PC port of a Vita game produced by Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki’s new studio Honey Parade Games.
The review, such as it was, angered a lot of people — and with good reason, since it began with the headline “Dynasty Warriors for paedophiles” (later edited to “Dynasty Warriors for aspiring paedophiles” and finally “Dynasty Warriors for aspiring paedobears”) and didn’t improve from there, demonstrating throughout that Whitaker was unwilling to engage with the game in good faith and raising serious questions about his professional rigour in covering a title.
Whitaker’s article isn’t the first to follow this mould; it’s just the latest. But it’s a problem. It’s more than just “bad games journalism” — something that can be laughed off. It’s a problem that needs to be tackled.
Continue reading Destructoid’s Valkyrie Drive Review is More Than Just “Bad Games Journalism”
The Senran Kagura series as a whole primarily has its roots in the brawler or beat ’em up genre, and while it draws mechanical influences from both classics in the field and contemporaries, it very much has its own identity.
Exactly how Senran Kagura channels the brawler genre has evolved somewhat over the game’s several installments. The first game in the series, Senran Kagura Burst, is most recognisable as a classic-style beat ’em up, but while all the subsequent entries make shifts into 3D to varying degrees, the fundamentals remain quite similar.
To understand the mechanics on display in Senran Kagura Estival Versus, it pays to look at the history of the genre as well as more modern contemporaries. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Historical Context and Mechanics
Senran Kagura is one of the most consistently misunderstood series in the entire Japanese gaming canon.
At least part of this is due to the outspoken nature of series creator Kenichiro Takaki who, legend has it, only created the series in the first place because he wanted to see breasts popping out of the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D screen of the Nintendo 3DS, and who is credited with “Righteous Boobage” in every installment’s credit roll.
In a way, this is kind of unfortunate, since it causes a significant number of people — and press outlets — to write the series off as nothing more than cheap fanservice. In reality, however, although the game does include a significant amount of cheeky, overtly sexualised content, it’s a great deal more than titillation, featuring a strong ensemble cast, gameplay mechanics that have evolved, changed and improved between installments — and between different host platforms — and an intriguing unfolding story that draws together elements of Japanese mythology and a more creative, fantastic element of what life as a shinobi might be like in modern-day Japan.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Introduction
“Tits are life, ass is hometown.” So runs the catchphrase of Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki, and the unofficial tagline for the series as a whole.
While Takaki’s sentiments are refreshingly honest in a world of increasing political correctness — indeed, supposedly the only reason Senran Kagura exists at all is because Takaki wanted to see breasts on the glasses-free 3D screen of the Nintendo 3DS — in a way it’s a bit of a shame that so much emphasis has been placed on this aspect of the series. Not because fanservice-heavy media is inherently bad, of course — on the contrary, Senran Kagura represents a good example of how fanservice can be used to create a very distinctive look, feel, style and overall personality — but because for those less familiar with the series, that’s all they see.
And there is one hell of a lot more to Senran Kagura as a whole than just “life and hometown”. So let’s take some time to explore exactly what it is that makes this remarkable series tick, and why you should check it out if you’re not already a fan.
Continue reading Senran Kagura: More Than Just Life and Hometown… Much More