Where there is light, there is shadow.
If I told you that Senran Kagura was a prime example of excellence in transmedia storytelling, you might scoff. The nigh decade old franchise has done much to bolster itself not just with pillows, but with additional merchandise and media too. The fact of the matter is that Marvelous and its Honey∞Parade subsidiary, led by Kenichiro Takaki, has been pumping out the good stuff for a while now. So as far as the bountiful ninja babes are concerned, here’s where we’re at and where we’re headed.
Back in September we saw the NA release of Senran Kagura Reflexions (not Refle, as some had been reporting) on the Nintendo Switch. Reflex takes advantage of Nintendo’s unique console design and Joy-Con controllers to afford players new ways to get to know Asuka and the girls. Tasked with sussing out different hand patterns and touch combinations, players will use a variety of tools and techniques to massage the girls—with different scenarios and narratives being presented upon successful follow through. At the time of writing, there are currently four characters available as DLC for purchase: Yumi, Murasaki, Ryona, and Yomi, all of which are priced at $9.99 USD (the price of the base game itself). While Senran Kagura got its start on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2011 with Skirting Shadows, the lewdness of the series is definitely an earmark for the platform—especially as the family friendly company finds new ways to grow the mature side of things while Sony seems bent to eschew it.
Originally slated for a fall 2018 release, Senran Kagura Burst RE:Newal has since been delayed for further remastering. While the Steam version will launch unaltered XSEED has stated via Twitter that in an effort to respect the wishes of the platform holder, they will “remove the interactive “Intimacy Mode” from the PS4 version.” Reminiscent of the Omega Labyrinth Z cancellation, Sony appears determined to distance themselves from such content as of late, a move that might seem hypocritical when considering the types of titles that helped float the PS Vita all these years. The tweet was followed up by an official blog post several days later which detailed the specifics of the situation, keen to note that the Diorama Mode will remain unmolested. In the wake of the decision to remove the Intimacy Mode (something of a series staple for years now) many have taken to debating the role of censorship, even going as far as to create online petitions in the hopes of restoring cut content.
As fans await the upcoming release of RE:Newal and the inevitable next mainline title 7EVEN (which will finally see new in-game models), the new season of anime is already underway—a long time coming since Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash! originally aired back in 2013, and with far more fan service than usual. Indeed, those sore over Sony’s attitude as of late might be interested to learn that Senran Kagura Shinovi Master is available uncensored for streaming through either Crunchyroll or Funimation. Currently four episodes in at the time of writing, Shinovi Master looks to be pitting the girls against each other in a tournament designed to determine the strongest ninja; the winner of the eponymous contest will presumably be granted the privilege of fighting “the ultimate youma,” all the while having the girls work through revealing and humourous hi-jinx. Having already gotten a Beach Episode (Episode 2 – PBS) and Hot Springs Episode (Episode 3 – ROCKET DIVE), one can only wonder what else is in store for the gang.
Also due out at the end of Q4 is Senran Kagura: Peach Ball, a pinball game for the Nintendo Switch to be released on December 13 in Japan. The limited edition launch pack appears to also ship with some extra digital bonuses for Peach Ball, as well as a physical copy of Reflexions complete with DLC. Par for the course, Marvelous and XSEED are often known for packing their limited edition releases full of fun stuff like OSTs, keychains, artbooks, and playing cards. With the New Link mobile gacha game scratching the itch for content in between console titles, anime, and ready-available merch, Senran Kagura looks to be firing on all cylinders.
Image Source: Marvelous AQL Inc. via Crunchyroll