[Update 7/13/2017: Producer Kenichiro Takaki clarified that they won’t be toning down the content in future Senran Kagura games]
Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki was asked during a PlayStation Lifestyle interview if he would consider toning down the series – a series known for having advanced boob physics and lots of sexual innuendo scattered throughout. According to Takaki, he stated…
“A little bit. The game started out very small and that was the big selling point in order to move units. Now that the franchise has grown, and is getting more popular, it might be worth considering having features that differ depending on where it’s being sold. That way it might be able to sell better in certain regions where it would be problematic to have that kind of content.”
This was seen as kowtowing to the current Social Justice Warrior standards reigning dominant in the United States. Recently Nintendo stated that they would be bringing over Treehouse and other European localizers to help work with Japanese developers to “culturalize” or censor games before they head West, as a way to cut down on having to censor the games latter and potentially remove content or features, similar to what happened with Xenoblade Chronicles X where the boob slider was removed in the character customization feature in the West, or how the pelvic bones in the female characters within Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE were removed for the Western release.
Based on Takaki’s comments, it sounded like he may have derived his decision from having read some of the criticisms from Western games media about the Senran Kagura titles, telling PlayStation Lifestyle…
“However, there are also reviews that ignore the games due to the sexual content, and write it off from the start, so those aren’t very helpful. If you’re going to write it off due to a main component then that game just isn’t for you, and that review isn’t really useful as feedback.”
Operation Rainfall spotted tweets from publisher Marvelous Entertainment, who claimed that they won’t be censoring games that they publish in Europe, and that what Takaki was referring to was only for Japan. Marvelous Twitter account replied to fans who were concerned about the matter, stating…
“To clarify[,] we are not considering toning down the content of the game; it was something that Kenichiro Takaki mentioned during an interview. […] The experience would be the same as this would in relation to all versions (Japanese and Western) rather than just the Western releases. But our European releases of Senran Kagura Games will always offer the same experience as those found in Japan.
“From our understanding the interview quotes were in reference to future games released in Japan (rather than the West).
When someone asked about Takaki’s “per region” statements, Marvelous responded by saying that it’s just speculation, but they would be working to keep the European release as close to the Japanese release as possible.
This created a flurry of panic throughout the Senran Kagura fandom given that it’s one of the few mid-budget series left that’s released in the West that shamelessly indulges in feminine sensuality. If the series was to “tone down” then it would just leave games like Valkyrie Drive to fill the void.
Some cooler heads are asking for calmer minds, however. A native from Japan who goes by the handle of RyanoftheStars, and regularly translates Japanese to help out the Kotaku in Action community when controversy arises, made a post on KIA that criticized the PlayStation Lifestyle piece for leaving out the proper context of the question by not transcribing it in full, and also questions the integrity of the translation since it’s already been transcribed for publication. He also points out that certain phrases used in the quote relate to words that don’t exist in the Japanese lexicon.
Ryan’s skepticism was not unwarranted, and there have been times when intent and nuance were lost in translation. Even though Marvelous has already responded to Takaki’s comments on Twitter, I did decide to reach out directly to XSeed Games and Marvelous Entertainment directly to inquire about Takaki’s original intent regarding his answer and the question leading up to it. If XSeed or Marvelous decide to respond, the article will be updated.
(Main image courtesy of John Wesker)