Localizing SENRAN KAGURA Reflexions

The SENRAN KAGURA series’ fan service has always been plain to see. Usually, when we talk about the series here on this blog, we like to highlight what else it has to offer: the storytelling, the character development, the way the characters’ relationships grow and change from game to game.

So, to get it out of the way right off the bat, Reflexions is not about those things at all. It’s unapologetic fan service through and through, and we wanted to write this to give everyone an idea of what to expect from it.

The basic premise of Reflexions is that one of the girls (Asuka by default, other girls in extra downloadable scenarios) has called on you, the player, for help. She’s lost her mojo, and wants you to help her get it back by giving her a nice massage, utilizing the Switch’s controls and rumble to simulate squeezing her hands. Your massages release her Secret Ninja Art energy in various unexpected ways, causing her dreams and fantasies to manifest around you — and making you a part of them.

Essentially, the game is about being with a SENRAN KAGURA girl in a variety of scenarios, from the down-to-earth and sweet to the wild and kinky. If you’ve ever wanted to take shelter from the rain with Asuka, or interrogate a captured Ryōna, or march as a loyal soldier in Murasaki’s legion of doom (did you know she had one of those?), this is the game for you.

So how does it play? There’s no combat, nor is this a traditional dating sim, with dialogue options and whatnot. Instead, Reflexions has you interact with the characters physically, by massaging them with the right pressure and timing. Do well enough at massaging their hands, and you’ll open up new scenarios, new massage options, and various items to do with as you will.

Certain scenarios might give some players pause but, whichever of the many in-game stories happens to catch your eye, Reflexions gives you a chance to enjoy it with a willing partner from the cast of the SENRAN KAGURA series, no questions asked.

Now, of course, this is a localization blog, so what about that? In terms of word count, Reflexions is definitely on the lighter side, possibly the lightest in the series (although Bon Appétit comes close). Working through the script involved hundreds of variations on “I want a massage,” “Not that massage,” “Yes, that massage,” “I really like that massage,” and “You’re really good at giving people massages, you know that?”

The scenarios are where the localization got interesting. We’ve talked before about how important it is for a good localization to draw out each character’s individual voice, making their speech patterns and mannerisms as distinct and memorable as possible. For SENRAN KAGURA, the main characters’ voices are pretty well established by now, but Reflexions puts a twist on that, as each character gets called on to roleplay various other characters over the course of the game. Previous games have had the characters roleplay a bit now and again, as with the “Sushi Queen” episode from Peach Beach Splash, but Reflexions builds the whole game around it. From a localization perspective, this raised questions like, “How would Yomi portray a bumbling wilderness guide?” or “What would Asuka sound like as a JRPG party member?” Combining the established character voices with each of their new personas kept the localization process fun and challenging.

– Ryan Graff

You can pick up SENRAN KAGURA Reflexions on the eShop for $9.99 today.