Normally when I'm writing a blog, I start with a rather wistful, waffly introduction about the topic I'm going to discuss. Not today. Senran Kagura Burst is a fundamentally degrading game, and you shouldn't buy it or support it in any way. Here's why.
Editor's note - we won't be running Chris' blog with any images of the game, for reasons that'll become pretty vivid.
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.)
When was the last time you saw a fully-clothed male character have to strip down to his tighty-whiteys in order to deal a devastating blow to an enemy? Or indeed, when did a game make a big deal out of the fact that a male character was wearing few clothes? I can't recall any game that I've played where a man's crotch was the sole focus of the camera at all, let alone for a noticeable period of time.