More Than Ecchi: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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Note: This will contain mild spoilers for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;birth1. You have been warned.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 [Featured Image]

While the Hyperdimension Neptunia series has found its way into the hearts of many fans here in the West, many still want to dismiss it as nothing more than an ecchi mess. Well, I am gonna dispel some of these claims right here in my initial entry into my “More Than Ecchi” series. I will explain that, while these games do have a lot in the way of fan service, there is much more to them than that.

This article will focus on Hyperdimension Re;Birth1. Not because it is the latest entry we have received here in the West, but because its message is more relevant to things going on in the industry today. For those not in the know, the series focuses on the adventures of four Goddesses, each presiding over a land that represents a different console. Each has their very own unique personality. Neptune is laid back and carefree, but never afraid to step up and do what is right. Noire is the Tsundere of the group, she is probably closest to Neptune, who she calls her friend. Noire can come off as a bit cold because she is all about business and will get things done by any means at times. Blanc is the definition of split personality. One minute she is calm and cute, and the next she’d likely cut your head off. Last but not least is Vert, the hardcore gamer, MMO freak, and she has a thing for BL visual novels. You find out more about each of these Goddesses in a piece I did to introduce them for Hyperdimension Neptuina PP.

Neptunia ReBirth1 | Snake

These Four Goddesses have been at war for years in what we know as the Console Wars, with each wanting their land to be on top. They start off being very selfish as they want to win over the other three and become the one true Goddess. They first gang up on Neptune of Planeptune because Arfoire, the game’s main antagonist, put the idea in their heads that they should take her down first.

After being defeated, Neptune falls from Celestia, where the Goddesses reside, to Gameindustri. Here she is found by Compa, who patches her up a bit. Neptune has lost all of her memories, she doesn’t even remember the fact she is a Goddess. She hears a voice her head. The voice of Historie, the tome of Gameindustri. She tells her that she has to awaken her to save Gameindustri from certain doom. To do this, she must travel to each of the four lands and gather the key fragment to break her seal. This doom she spoke of will come at the hands of Arfoire, who was a friend of Historie at one point, but has since started a campaign to rule all of Gamindustri. Thus, Neptune, with help of Compa, sets out to save the world.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth | Map

As Neptune travels to each of the lands during her quest, she runs into the other three Goddesses. They are each having issue within their lands due Arfoire meddling in affairs there to cause conflict. Arfoire knows that if the four of them were ever to stop their fighting and work together, she would be in trouble. Neptune, who is still without her memory, unselfishly helps each of them with their issues. In doing this, she earns their trust and friendship. If gamers today would set aside their differences and work together, what we could accomplish would simply be amazing. What better message could be sent through our own game industry today than that?

One of the things that really makes this series stand out is that everything in it references something in real world gaming. Neptune’s name, for example, comes for an abandoned SEGA console. In Lowee which is the land based on Nintendo, you will run into enemies such as tetris blocks, pipes, and other Nintendo-based things. The cut scenes in the game, while they don’t call the mascot characters by name in each land, you will know they are talking about such characters as Sonic and Mario in very humorous ways. Vert is well endowed due the the Xbox 360 having a reputation for eroge games on the console in Japan. These references go on and on and make the story, and getting to know these girls, a pure joy.

Neptunia ReBirth | WiiU

This is a very brief and as spoiler-free as possible overview of the game. I just wanted to show people that, even though there is quite a bit of fan service, underneath all of that there is a lot more this title has to offer. Other titles in the series deal with other issues in the industry. Hyperdimension Neptunia MK is a take on how piracy effects the industry, while Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is your gaming history told in a satire. It is because this series does something unique in gaming that not a lot of other titles do that makes it so unique.

I will be doing other titles for this series in the hopes of showing that, just because something looks like fan service on the outside, there may be more than meets the eye to it in the end.

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.




  • Iyamtebist

    Agreed. Also probably what I like the most about this series is that the
    characters are written as characters with actual personalities that
    have no regard for worrying about whether or not they are appropriate
    representations of a “strong female lead.” You know, [B]like real
    people![/B]Yes one can interpret the fanservice as something intended
    for male titillation, but it could also be seen as women being able to
    enjoy private time for themselves without worrying about what others
    judge them for. Also not to mention that this series main basic premise
    is about an all female cast that has next to nothing to do with romance
    or men, you know, one of the constant problems that people seem to have
    with writing female characters. Hell the one thing that makes me completely sure of this is that Mizuno Naoko has outright said that was the intention.

    “On
    forums, fans have been posting about their fantasies involving their
    favorite characters’ intimate interactions and extended dialogues of
    their activities. You probably already know why there are no male main
    characters in this series. I say this because I know; I’m a woman
    myself. It’s so much fun to have private girl talks and have some girl
    time without boys around.”

    Now how does one manage that? In an
    industry where AAA games need to pretty much advertise that they have a
    “strong female lead” and where gamers are supposedly hesitant to play
    games without male leads. Yet here we have a game that where its main
    intention was to be female only, and it is mostly males that have
    appreciation for it just because of a few innuendos or fanservice pics.
    Misogynistic my ass!

    Also the line about gamers setting aside
    their differences and working together is a message that some gamers
    desperately need considering some current events.

  • Firion Hope

    Great piece! I totally agree with all these points being made, great series that gets way more crap than it deserves

  • ragunaxl

    Awesome read! Love this piece. You put a good deal of what’s dismissed about this series out there. Most articles about this series are year-olds and “while it’s not my thing, there is soooome game in there if you dig around” with no more information, just examples of the fan service

    • ragunaxl

      Oops, eye rolls not year-olds

    • azariosays

      you’re absolutely right

  • Anonymous

    MORE THAN ECCHI – it’s also awful.