By Benny Carrillo / April 24th, 2015
Author’s Note: Once again, please be advised that the rest of this article will go into detail regarding parts of the plot for Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus. As such there will be spoilers ahead.
Part 3 – Katsuragi
In the previous two parts of this editorial I’ve attempted to prove that, first of all, Senran Kagura is not an Eroge, and, secondly, that there’s a lot more depth to the franchise than you may think. Enough to let it quite possibly stand on its own as a unique game. However, maybe you’re still not convinced. After all, I’ve still yet to tackle the issue of the overabundance of sexuality the series is infamous for, and the Gessen Girls as a whole are pretty well mannered, right?
Then allow me to present one final argument to make the case that even the most “irredeemable” character has more depth to her than you’d think.
Katsuragi: The Queen of the Perverts
Katsuragi is a third-year student of Hanzo Academy and is easily one of the most perverted characters in the game, and what I think most people imagine when they think about Senran Kagura. She’s very much a skirt chaser and self-proclaimed “boob connoisseur,” often feeling up or sexually harassing her friends (in fact, it’s officially considered her hobby). Her default shinobi outfit, pictured above, consists of a tie, an open shirt that just barely covers her breasts and a short skirt. Oh, and did I mention, because she fights with greaves, she must kick her opponents, resulting in countless panty flashes?
In addition, her Shinobi Girl’s Heart story, which is each character’s personal side story, is about her going out to find new girls to grope, because her other Hanzo classmates are so used to her antics they barely even react. Obviously, this character is completely beyond redemption, right? There’s no way she could have any depth to her and only acts a perfect example of the people who play this game.
And, yet, that assumption is so very, very wrong.
Katsuragi’s story, like many of the other character’s, begins with her parents disappearing from her life. However, unlike many of the other shinobi who lost their parents in the line of duty, Katsuragi lost her’s due to them becoming renegades.
Katsuragi’s parents were tasked with killing Kurokage. The very same Kurokage who had went renegade himself and adopted the young girls that would become the elite of Gessen years later. Upon arriving at Kurokage’s place in the wilderness, they were confronted by a young girl who begged them not to kill their grandfather. Unable to break the child’s heart due to their creed to never make a child cry, they abandoned the mission.
Of course, disobeying direct orders is not tolerated in shinobi code and for letting such a potentially powerful shinobi live, Katsuragi’s parents were marked for death. As such, they went into hiding in order to try and protect Katsuragi, in case anyone would try to come after her.
In turn, Katsuragi enrolled in the Hanzo academy in order to graduate and become an elite shinobi, her hope being that her honor would cancel out their shame.
During the course of Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, Katsuragi is reunited with her parents briefly. However, the reunion is cut short when shinobi descend upon the village they are hiding in and capture her parents. As a result of this, Katsuragi makes a wager: if she wins the Shinobi Battle Royale with Gessen, then she wants her parents freed. She is told by the lead shinobi that captured her parents that HQ might consider it, and knowing that, Katsuragi sets out to win at any cost.
However, Katsuragi finds herself unable to kill Yozakura whom she is paired up against during the Shinobi Battle Royale, quite literally finding herself unable to take another’s life. The rest of the story, Katsuragi struggles with the idea of having to kill another person. It’s something that weighs so heavily on her that, when her rival from the Crimson Squad, Hikage, trains with her in preparation for the upcoming bout with Yozakura, she can’t even land a hit.
Hikage flat out tells Katsuragi she’s overthinking it and that all she has to do is become so strong that Yozakura has no choice but to give in: something that resonates with the very easygoing Katsturagi. It’s through this revelation that she is letting this entire situation get to her instead of forging her own path and taking a third option that allows Katsuragi to unlock her Ultimate Secret Ninja Art: the Dead Dragon Screw Kick.
Upon confronting Yozakura in the Gessen compound during the final chapter of the Hanzo story, Katsuragi once again reaffirms her intent not to take Yozakura’s life and asks her how Kurokage would feel knowing his granddaughter soiled her hands with blood. Yozakura admits Kurokage doesn’t want them to kill, but says, in order to create the world Kurokage wanted, she’ll do anything she has to.
At the end of her final fight with Yozakura, Katsuragi again refuses to kill Yozakura. Yozakura tries to goad Katsuragi into action accusing her of turning her back on her parents. Katsuragi flat out admits that what she’s doing may very well affirm her parents’ deaths. However she will not take Yozakura’s life as it would break her parents’ hearts, and finally revealing to Yozakura that the reason her parents are even renegades in the first place is because they spared Kurokage’s life five years ago. Realizing what this means, Yozakura relents and admits that Katsuragi has bested her, thus ensuring Katsuragi has done her part in ensuring that Hanzo wins the Shinobi Battle Royale.
While the eventual fate of Katsuragi’s parents is never revealed during the Hanzo story arc, the fact that she was willing to throw away a chance to save them by refusing to kill another Shinobi, and the fact we see her have this moral struggle on screen shows how much depth was put into the character. Sure, the idea that someone who is trained in espionage and assassination would be hesitant to kill might seem just a tad silly. However, keep in mind these are Good Shinobi we are talking about, there is a code they must follow that probably instills in them ethical principles they must uphold. And, more important than that, Katsuragi is still a high school student. Yes, she may be able to kick almost anybody’s ass easily, but that doesn’t mean that she’s ready emotionally or mentally to deal with the guilt and baggage that comes with killing someone.
Still with me? Well, join me on the next page as we finish this argument up and take a look at Katsuragi’s sexual tendencies.
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