Nintendo’s officially sanctioned UK mouthpiece has carried an article damning the English release of Senran Kagura Burst as an “insultingly misogynistic and degrading atrocity” which is “foul” and “wrong,” as well as being “insulting to the intelligence of gamers, damaging to the reputation of the industry, and alienating and harmful to women,” urging readers not even to read articles about it, let alone buy it.
The lengthy screed ran on the Official Nintendo Magazine’s site and includes a detailed condemnation of Senran Kagura Burst’s many evils against women, along with an explicit refusal to carry any illustrative screenshots (although the magazine is otherwise happy to carry articles promoting its release and carrying plenty of the usual shots):
Senran Kagura Burst is a fundamentally degrading game, and you shouldn’t buy it or support it in any way. Here’s why.
In case you hadn’t been able to tell from the box art, Senran Kagura involves playing as female high school students who fight their way past crazy monsters.
If that was the full description, that would probably be fine. Unfortunately, it’s not.
For starters, lets look at the characters in the game. All of them are conventionally attractive anime characters.
So why is this a problem? I wrote about this in a previous of ONM:
‘Look at the role of women in gaming, for example. They’re almost always portrayed as busty, slim, attractive people – an almost impossible feat in real life. The more non-realistic the graphics, the worse the problem can be – Dead or Alive comes to mind as a recent perpetrator. It’s an incredibly damaging portrayal of the “stereotypical” women, and may explain why fewer women are interested in playing games or working in the gaming industry.’
This game exemplifies every single one of those problems, and more.
It’s one thing to be heaping more pressure upon young women to conform to this stereotypical trend of “attractiveness”, as can be seen in films or TV shows. To have another form of entertainment supporting those images alone is thoroughly disappointing.
And yet, Senran Kagura goes one step further: it does not simply include busty characters just for the sake of it, but actually goes about making a huge deal out of it.
The characters all wear short skirts or just underwear, with low cut blouses – clothes that are not known for keeping out the cold.
When their special attacks are used, a cutscene activates which involves all of the girl’s clothes (except underwear) flying off her body before she attacks her enemies.
The camera then spends a few seconds spiralling around the girl’s nether-regions and breasts before continuing the game.
Clearly, women can only be super effective when exposing as much skin as possible.
(A brief note: my use of the word ‘girl’ is absolutely not meant in a derogatory sense – the characters featured in Senran Kagura are high school students, presumably meaning that they are 18 years old or younger. Which is highly disturbing in and of itself, to be honest.)
Let’s be clear, there is absolutely no justification for this whatsoever: it is blatant objectification of women and their bodies.
For those new to the world of feminism (more on that later), objectification simply means that someone (pretty much always a woman) is being treated not as a human but as a “thing” for others (pretty much always men) to ogle at.
You don’t need to have hugely strong views on this to realise it’s wrong – most people wouldn’t call themselves feminists (although, if you believe this sort of thing is wrong and you think women should be treated equally to men – congratulations, you’re a feminist, welcome to the club!) but can still acknowledge that this form of entertainment is foul.
Senran Kagura is one of the worst types of game around.
It’s insulting to the intelligence of gamers, damaging to the reputation of the industry, and alienating and harmful to women (both inside and outside the gaming community and industry).
So, do yourself, and the wider community a favour: don’t read articles about its release. Try not to Youtube it. Avoid reviews. And certainly don’t buy it.
It’s time to set the record straight, and make sure an insultingly misogynistic and degrading atrocity like this is avoided in the future.
The piece prompted an unusually blunt response from Marvelous AQL developer Kenichiro Taka on Twitter, where he simply called it “terrible.”