Tag Archives: Marvelous

An Open Letter to Kenichiro Takaki, Marvelous Games and All Producers of Games with Fanservice

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.

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Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

One of the biggest strengths of the Senran Kagura series as a whole is its comprehensive lore, consisting of numerous intertwining character backstories and its own take on Japanese mythology.

Interestingly, the complete series doesn’t take a linear approach to exploring its narrative, instead breaking itself into three main branches: the “main” plot, the Versus plot, and the spin-off stories. Each of the individual installments stand by themselves as a complete story in their own right, but taken in context with all the other companion pieces, it’s clear that Senran Kagura is a franchise that has been thoroughly planned from start to finish — and it’s very likely we haven’t seen the last of it with Estival Versus, not by a long shot.

So where does Estival Versus itself fit in to the grand scheme of the complete series? Read on and let’s find out.

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Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Historical Context and Mechanics

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.

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Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Introduction

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.

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