The annual Tokyo Game Show is without a doubt Japan’s biggest gaming event – numerous game developers and industry people all meet up to show off their new and upcoming releases, sort of like E3 in North America and EGX in the United Kingdom. During the event, Marvelous interviewed Kenichiro Takaki, the producer of the Senran Kagura series of busty brawlers and presented him with some questions asked by the series’ fans on Twitter.
Some of the questions asked include ones put forward by myself (such as which Nintendo character Takaki would like to see in a future game), as well as those tailored to titles on non-Nintendo platforms such as the PlayStation Vita’s Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit and even upcoming hardware such as the Oculus Rift. Below is the full video of the interview, but if you are perhaps not in an environment where you can listen to it, or wish to jump ahead to the Nintendo-related questions, we have typed out the relevant questions and answers below the video:
Q: Who’s your favourite ninja from all the Senran Kagura games?
A: I’ve been saying that my favourite character is Hibari since the first Senran Kagura title. In general, characters are designed by thinking about what fans will want – what’s their preference and what kind of characters are needed for certain types of games. With Hibari though, I did not really think like that before starting. I designed Hibari with my favourite costume and personality. I also really enjoy playing the games with Homura because of her battle action using 6 swords. I just really like it! It’s always interesting to be able to mow down your enemies!
Q: What is your favourite cake?
A: My favourite cake is the “Mont Blanc”. It looks like tits with a chestnut on top.
Q: How do you decide which platform to launch each game on?
A: My first goal is to connect directly in an emotional way – each hardware platform has its own functions and specialities and I like to create games that use these in a good way. The first Senran Kagura was launched on 3DS and the idea for Senran Kagura came from considering how to make good use of the 3D and depth that the platform offers. For PS Vita, it’s simple, Senran Kagura is a game featuring cute girls and the Vita’s graphics allow us to make them look pretty. The number one factor is deciding what we really want to do with that platform – and then select it to make games.
Q: With Estival Versus coming to PS4, can we expect Senran Kagura on other platforms?
A: Nothing’s impossible! But for now, it’s difficult to think about other platforms, as I’m focused on the big challenge of multiplatform with PS4 and PS Vita. I’ve been wanting to work on home consoles for the last couple of years, so I’m really excited.
Q: If you could choose any Nintendo character to appear in a Senran Kagura game, who would it be?
A: Of course, it would be unlikely, but I would love to invite Samus or Princess Peach to appear in Senran Kagura games.
Q: We know your favourite girl is Hibari, but who are your favourites from the other factions?
A: If we’re talking about Hanzo Academy, then yes, Hibari is my favourite girl. From Homura Crimson Squad – I love everyone, but I should say I like Yomi the most. For Gessen, that’s Murakumo. She’s a cool character, but as soon as she takes off the Noh (traditional Japanese musical) mask, she changes completely and is really pretty. From Hebijo, Murasaki is my favourite – she is very conservative but has the biggest tits in the Senran Kagura series! The reasons why I like Hibari are very simple – she was designed with my great loves together. It’s disappeared now, but there used to be a school costume in Japan called “Buruma” (gym shorts) and that’s lovely. For our generation, it’s a bittersweet memory. It’s a shame that young people these days probably don’t know about the profound meaning of “Burama”. I like Hibari!
Q: Will Rin and Daidouji get more development in future games?
A: They’re a little older than the other Senran Kagura girls – one has already graduated and the other is repeating a year. In the future, I would like to design a professional world of Shinovi action battles and story – in the real sense of the term, away from schools and students. This is my hope.
Q: Would you consider another anime series? Or adding English voiceovers to the games?
A: I’m considering a second season for the TV anime series. But before that, Senran Kagura Estival Versus will go live in Japan and for the PS4 limited edition, I’m making a 30 minute original animation. In that animation, characters from Gessen and Hebijo appear in an anime for the first time ever. Even if you don’t understand the Japanese language, the substance of this anime is basically stripping off and getting stripped – so it should be possible to understand what’s going on! For voiceovers, the games in the future will launch with Japanese voice and English subtitles – so please check them out and I hope you enjoy them.
Q: How should we interpret the name “Senran Kagura” in English?
A: It’s very difficult to say…the original project codename for the overseas version of Senran Kagura was “Ninja Girls”, which was pretty simple and direct, so might have been good. How can I describe…what’s the words? For the word “Kagura”, it’s from a Japanese tradition like “Kagura Mei” (referring to a type of traditional dance). The word “Senran” I just made up. I considered for a long time whether to have a different name, but “Senran Kagura” just worked. It’s difficult to decide when asked again – maybe it would be better to add something like “Ninja” or “Girl” to the name for [the] western market?
Q: After Senran Kagura 2‘s awesome final boss, where will you go with the series?
A: Hmm, I’ve not thought that far. Although, as my work on Estival Versus scenarios become less busy, well, what is next? The Senran Kagura 2 story is complete – self-contained but a part of something bigger. Lots of possibilities – maybe, the next story takes place after all the girls have graduated. Or maybe still in the same school grade, but a different battle story. Or maybe we change all the characters. Even I don’t know!
Q: Are the Vita/PS4 stories going to remain a “spinoff”? Can we expect to see more mixing between the two stories?
A: The basic story is a sequel to the Gessen episode from Shinovi Versus. But, some elements that worked well from Senran Kagura 1 and 2 are also mixed in to make the new story. But, the basic story is set after Shinovi Versus – I hope players enjoy the game with this basic background.
Q: Why don’t the girls have last names?
A: All the names in Senran Kagura are codenames. The characters do all have real names, but I don’t disclose them.
Q: You said that we will almost be able to smell the girls in Senran Kagura 2! What’s next?
A: The next thing I want to do is touch. Well, touching screen more, or rather, should I say, touch using some kind of camera or other device. I would love to do something like this. Little by little, I’m trying to bring 3D characters closer to you – maybe sometime, touching and smelling can come true!
Q: Do you like Super Smash Bros.? Who is your favourite character to play in these games?
A: Yes, I like the game. Although I like Zelda, I always use Link as a player. In the past, I made a game called “Half Minute Hero” (available on Steam). That game’s clock is made up of three triangles and I was told that it looks like the Triforce. As a result of such experiences, Zelda has become a part of my life, so I use Link.
Q: Do you have a message for Senran Kagura fans around the world?
A: Finally – thank you! Sorry I’ve kept you waiting. I’m very pleased to be releasing the localised version of Senran Kagura, which makes the story and character dialogue clear for non-Japanese players. To be honest, originally I did not think that Senran Kagura would be accepted at all by users outside of Japan. So, I created the Senran Kagura series just to target the Japanese market – making games we know that Japanese users really enjoy playing. But now, without me realising, even users overseas have developed a taste for Senran Kagura. So, I would like everyone to enjoy playing with Shinovi Versus and I’ll be very happy if you wait in anticipation of Senran Kagura 2 or Estival Versus afterwards.
And that’s the interview! Huge thanks to Kenichiro Takaki for answering the questions and to Marvelous for giving ourselves and other fans a chance to have our queries answered! If you would like to see the answers to questions specifically related to Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus, Bon Appétit or Estival Versus, please watch the video of the interview, which is at the top of our article!