So I’m going to play Senran Kagura.

No no hear me out here. Honestly it’s fine. Please don’t disown me. I swear it’s not what it looks like.

I mean the fact I have to say that says pretty much most of what needs to be said about this game, but I have always had a bit of a bone to pick with this series and it’s got nothing to do with the (entirely shameless) content of the game itself.

Cause, see, if there’s a thing I can respect Senran Kagura for — and those are words that are painful to type — it’s that, at least on the Japanese side, it is blatantly honest about what it is and what it’s intentions are. It’s a game for you to stare at tits. The guy behind the series straight up said “I saw the 3DS and thought, my god, I can have fuckin’ 3D bouncing tits on this thing!” and he made that game.

You know what? Fair fucking play to you, skeevy Japanese guy. You live your fucking dream, just please do it a safe distance away from me.

But when XSEED brought it over to the West, they played a very different tune. I believe it was the Official Nintendo Magazine over here who just went “it’s a game for drooling over anime tits, we’re not going to waste our time with it.” and XSEED’s response was indignance.

How dare you. How dare you claim our game is just about fetishistic tit fanservice, when it’s actually about Strong Women with well-written characterization and a well-told story and my god did I have to resist writing the words “fleshed out” in that paragraph.

It’s never sat well with me because it’s bullshit. The game is not apologetic about being about anime tits, and when XSEED as its localizers try and sweep that under the rug then that’s about the most offensive thing about this fucking game.

It’s bizarre and I find it genuinely hard to articulate, but I do earnestly feel as though the game crosses a threshold when you attempt to normalize it. The Anime Tit Game cannot hide behind any defenses, it is a game about tits. You play it to look at tits, the express purpose is to gawp at them. It feels to me a bit like if you made a game called “Quick Time Events: The Game”, everyone knows quick time events are shit but here you go, here is a game full of them, do not claim you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into.

Sex is not a bad thing, being sexy is not a bad thing, but it becomes a bad thing when sexualization is treated as routine and default and something you have to put up with in contexts it doesn’t belong. And when XSEED say “No, it’s about the story, it’s about the characters,” then you remove the context that justifies the presence of sex, to my mind. You’re no longer posting the porn to your locked AD account for the purpose, you’re posting it to your main account your mom follows.

You sick fuck.

Anyway, that’s my bone to pick and my context. I’ve written a lot of words about why I think XSEED’s justifications are bullshit, but I want to see if they have any actual merit. Is the story actually good, the characters genuinely likable, or is this game really just coasting on its gigantic animated flesh orbs?

The Vita’s application icon gives me a small hint. We’ll see.

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