By Ryan Graff, with contributions from Brittany, Tom, Mai, Liz, Junpei, Billy, Jason, Ken, Alyssa, and Nathan
XSEED was quite a change of pace and style from my last job, which was working QA for the usually T-rated Square-Enix. A few weeks before my first day here, Ken and Jess sent me some reference materials for my first XSEED project, wrapping up the European version of Valhalla Knights 3. I remember reading through the game’s text files, reading descriptions for items called “Survibrator” and “Congratulotion,” and wondering exactly what I’d signed on for.
It wasn’t long after VK3 went gold that I started my second major project here, co-localizing the main script for SENRAN KAGURA Shinovi Versus. Since I hadn’t played Burst before coming to the office, I took a crash course, reading up on the characters’ histories, relationships, and personalities.
SENRAN KAGURA has always gone out of its way to make each of its many characters as distinctive as possible in every way. Each girl has her own personality, visual style, fighting style, vocabulary, and personal history, and their stories grow and develop from game to game.
It’s not always easy for storytellers to juggle ensemble casts. Audiences need time, screen time, to bond with your characters, and it can be tough to balance the audience’s attention and affection amongst a large cast while also keeping the story moving forward. But when a storyteller pulls it off, the payoff is that each audience member, no matter who they are, gets at least one favorite character, someone they can personally relate to and root for.
With that in mind, one of the most frequently asked questions about SENRAN KAGURA is, “Who’s your favorite?” Since we write for the English version of the game, that question sometimes comes in different flavors, like “Who do you enjoy writing for the most?” or “Who would you most want to hang out with?” In short, which girl is XSEED’s waifu?
Me personally, I like writing for Haruka most, because I enjoy writing “eloquent, haughty young lady”-type characters (writing for Nero in Fate/EXTELLA was fun for the same reason), and because she’s so crafty and unpredictable. In terms of who I’d most want to hang out with, I think Mirai would make a fun writing buddy, Homura would make a kickass personal trainer, Shiki reminds me of my first crush, and Murasaki could always use a hug.
(We also occasionally get asked who our least favorite character is, but I like them all too much to really say, other than to note that I hope Minori gets more onscreen character development in future titles.)
But I’m not the only one who works on SENRAN KAGURA — credit goes out to everyone who proofs, tests, helps market, and otherwise contributes to the games (especially by playing them at home and spreading the good word!) — so let’s go around the office and see who’s down with who:
Haruka. She’s a true queen and I’d thank her if she stepped on me.
I would say my SK waifu is Asuka. She is the first character I used. I also like her fighting style and her clumsy personality. But Rin is cool too.
Hard to pick only one, but I’d have to go with Hikage, whose struggle with emotionality makes her extremely endearing, but is more than made up for with awesome moves and general kickassness. Honorable mentions go to Mirai for the amazing outfit, Ayame for having the cutest face in the series (seriously, how is she so cute?!), and Imu for her admirable devotion to the one she loves (which makes her less viable as “waifu” material, but more awesome as a character IMHO).
Hikage, all day.
– has no emotions
– is sometimes a berserk snake
– licks uses knives
– chill af
I was into masochistic gun ballerina for a while but she too hyphy.
– super loyal
– love the way she call herself (I believe it’s “I” in English but in Japanese, she calls herself “Jibun” instead of “watashi”)
– fashionista (her hoodie and arm warmer thing)
– bubble gum❤
– not so emotional
My SK waifu is Yozakura.
– She speaks the Okayama dialect, which sounds super cute when girls speak it.
– She has giant fists.
– She’s good at cooking.
I’m a nice guy and like all girls (except Minori and Hibari). But my top 3 would be Homura, Kagura, and Renka.
Homura: She’s Wolverine and voiced by Eri Kitamura.
Kagura: She’s god and fights by ripping holes in dimensions.
Renka: She drums like no other.
Homura. Tan lines. ‘Nuff said.
Rin definitely stole my heart (I’ll fight you for her, Billy!). Purple hair and glasses? Sign me up! But I also love her weapon and fighting style, as well as her friendship with Daidoji. <3
Shiki. Something to be said about a multilingual witch.
As I wrap this up, SENRAN KAGURA Estival Versus has just gone up on Steam, and the Ikki Tousen DLC characters are finally available on PS4, Vita, and PC, after a long struggle to bring them overseas. (Thanks again, Takaki-san!) We hope everyone enjoys reconnecting with the girls (or meeting them, if it’s your first time), and keep your eye out — you never know what might come next!