By Jonathan Falu / May 29th, 2017
With Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash now out in Japan, and a release date set for North America/Europe, I figured now would be a good time to see what everyone’s favorite Senran Kagura characters were in Operation Rainfall. The poll was limited to characters only seen within the games, so New Wave characters will not be featured here. If you wish to see my own personal top 10 characters, you can check it out over here, along with my thoughts on Homura as well.
In addition to this list, we will also be holding a contest on the video version of this article. The winner will receive a Steam key for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus, which has been provided to us by XSEED. In order to enter, all you must do is like and comment on the video, while also subscribing to our channel. The video itself will be visible at the end of this article. Act fast though, for you only have one week until the contest ends!
Also, be warned that this article contains massive spoilers for Senran Kagura Burst, Shinovi Versus, Estival Versus, the Senran Kagura manga called Spark, and Deep Crimson! If you have yet to play any of the games, I highly suggest you do so.
Without further ado, here are Operation Rainfall’s Top 10 Senran Kagura characters!
Katsuragi has certainly earned a ton of popularity and was nearly the protagonist of the Hanzo team. At least until the creators thought she was too similar to Hakufu Sonsaku of Ikki Tousen and replaced her role with Asuka. She was even popular enough to be one of the finalists in Operation Rainfall’s Hottest Girl Awards, though she lost to Aranea of Final Fantasy XV.
Despite some losses there, she has plenty of reasons that help make her a likable character. Her fighting style is definitely one of them, being able to control fierce winds by using her feet, and her weapons. This kicking style does lead to a lot of panty shots, though Katsuragi is hardly shy about showing off her body, as we also see with her open shirt. And despite Asuka being the leader of the team, Asuka does admit that Katsuragi is still one of the most powerful shinobi on the team.
One of the reasons her personality works, as Benny covers in his view on the character, is that there is more to her character besides groping boobs. One of the most important plotlines involves her parents, who abandoned her to make sure she could live a happy life as they were renegade shinobi. She has to struggle with actually killing someone so her folks can live in peace, or doing the right thing, which usually involves letting a character live and disobey the orders of a Good Shinobi. It’s done fairly well in both Deep Crimson and Shinovi Versus, as we see her trying to do the deed, but unable to, and going back to doing her own thing: kick whoever she wants in the butt. This is especially important since she’s still a high-schooler, and hasn’t really been taught a strict killing-policy like some in Hebijo.
My favorite part about her character is actually not part of the games. Rather, it’s in the manga side-story Spark. The manga covers her trying to get Ikaruga to accept her not just as a rival, but as a friend as well. And not even just her, but Asuka as well, who later joins them. However, with pressure coming from her family, Ikaruga keeps backpedaling on the idea and tries to maintain her cold attitude. Yet it’s Katsuragi in the end that helps change Ikaruga into a far more caring person without just constantly groping her chest—though she still does try to do that, as we see throughout the games. One interesting thing to note is that she doesn’t seem to like other girls doing the same thing to her, like with Ayame, or even in the one anime episode when Ikaruga tries to grope her for a change.
On the other hand, Katsuragi is not a particularly deep character. Some fans even argue that the writers are pursuing her love of boobs over her love of fighting, and with Estival Versus, it’s hard not to see that. Even so, she remains a fun character to play as, and brings much needed light-hearted antics when the story gets a bit too dark. It also helps that when someone thinks of Senran Kagura, Katsuragi is almost guaranteed to be one of the characters they will think of.
In contrast to Katsuragi, Murasaki arguably has the most depressing personality. She didn’t even want to be a ninja, but her family forced her, trying to bring out the power called “The Root of Calamity.” Basically, it harnesses negative emotions and turns them into a very dangerous weapon. She accidentally injured her sister, Imu, and when her family congratulated her, Murasaki became more of a shut-in than ever, threatening to use the power against anyone who dared try to get her out of her room in Hebijo. It says something when even someone like Suzune can’t get her to come out, someone who forces her students to stay underwater for days at a time! Fortunately, her sister and the rest of the new Hebijo get along, especially with her sister. Although that took quite some time and a messy affair involving being shot at one point.
Part of the reason I ranked her so high on my list is because this is a character that I could relate to, so understanding her problems was pretty simple. Granted, I don’t go around sniffing people. However, the main reason I like her so much is because she has shown some surprising development. Her Shinobi Heart mission in Shinovi Versus was the most depressing of all, revealing just how much negativity she carries naturally, and shutting herself in as she believes no one understands her, and that she shouldn’t exist; fortunately, Asuka helped her see that is not the case.
Yet when we get to Estival Versus, it’s perhaps the happiest, as she tries to get the others to sing with her, even getting them into the act as well despite all the fighting. Plus while her powers do require her to have negativity and harness it, you can occasionally see her smiling afterward, showing she isn’t as hard on herself as she used to be. Sure, she still has some problems, like still shutting herself off from others, and just having bad social skills, but it’s hard not to get invested in this gloom and doom ninja!
Despite being one of the youngest girls in the series, Yozakura is surprisingly one of the most mature as well. Part of the reason I ranked Yozakura so high on my own list is because of one thing: responsibility. Very few people can actually manage to keep all of their siblings in line, along with managing a team of various people who can go out of control at times. A prime example of this is in the beginning of Estival Versus, where she is given more command of the Gessen Girls by Yumi. While Yumi is trying to talk to her teammates, they are too busy fooling around with their own activities to listen to her. This prompts Yozakura to yell at everyone else so they could focus on their leader, which they do immediately.
Much like the other Gessen Girls though, her backstory wasn’t an entirely pleasant one. Her parents died in the line of duty as shinobi, leaving Yozakura and all of her siblings to be taken by various people, separating them all. Yozakura had pleaded to take care of them herself, but obviously, she was just too young. Eventually, she was taken in by Kurokage, and trained into using her hands for combat. Her weapons, in this case, come in the form of powerful, giant gauntlets, all with a bit of a pile bunker effect as there is a shaft that helps add more pressure to her attacks.
It’s also symbolic of just how much pressure she puts on herself, wanting to have enough power and range to hold everything together. She trains hard to one day reunite with her siblings and be a family again. It may seem unlikely at this point, as she has grown up to be a frighteningly powerful girl. Despite that, she isn’t completely serious and does show she can relax, which her team is more than happy to let her do.
I’ll be honest here: Shiki is one of my least favorite Senran Kagura characters, and admittedly, it all comes down to her valley-girl attitude. I am really not a fan, and it was the last thing I expected from a character that can control bats and use a double-edged scythe. That being said, her playstyle is extremely fun, along with her double-scythe that shreds into her foes. Her bats also help symbolize her attitude of wanting attention, as they not only fight for her but also help in carrying her after she finishes a fight.
And there is no denying her skill either. Around the same age as Yozakura, she’s already bilingual, although there is a bit of confusion with this. According to the Japanese localization of Estival Versus, she knows both Japanese and English. However, the English localization changed this to French. Regardless of what she took on as a second language, learning it so early in life is rather impressive.
And despite her valley-girl attitude, she has proved to be quite deadly enough to take on her foes. During the events of Shinovi Versus, despite not really putting too much effort into the fight, she nearly defeated Asuka, and defeated Yagyuu. Shiki might seem like an air-head, but she is one of the last people anyone should underestimate.
I was definitely one of the ones who initially hated Hibari. It was hard not to, given her overall cute and naïve attitude, and when compared to so many cool fighting styles in the Hanzo route, I was left controlling what I felt was a gag character, the Dan Hibiki of the Senran Kagura series. However, that was what I originally thought before I got to see her grow throughout the series.
Her development during Burst was fairly standard, eventually getting away from the coddling Yagyuu kept doing to her, holding Hibari back from reaching her full potential. However, that did seem to persist in both the Vita and the 3DS storylines, with Haruka pointing out to Yagyuu that holding Hibari back wasn’t doing her any good.
In Estival Versus, this was brought to its final boiling point. During this point in the story, Haruka was being a bit forceful with Hibari, and Yagyuu battled her, claiming that Hibari was hers. Seeing the battle being fought over who owned her, Hibari finally had enough and defeated both of them, saying how she doesn’t belong to anyone. Additionally, during a conversation when Asuka said if she was ordered to kill Homura, she would, Hibari was not willing to listen to any orders of the Good Shinobi that would force her to kill a friend, due to the bonds they shared. In both of these games, she evolved from a coddled character into someone who wants to stand on her own. And if her friends won’t get along, she will make them, one way or another.
She may not make my own top 10, but there’s no denying Hibari has certainly worked her way into the hearts of many. And if she hasn’t, don’t forget, she can just become a giant and squash you under her shoe. Though I think I know a few people who would enjoy that…
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