By Jonathan Falu / May 29th, 2017
Mirai is one of the most unique characters, in that she doesn’t have a large chest like almost every other character, and yet is somehow not the youngest in the series. In fact, she is technically 16 as opposed to Hibari, who is 15. She can be pretty insecure about her body, and gets riled up quite easily when teased by the likes of Haruka. Outside of a desire for a bigger chest, she doesn’t like being seen as just some child. This is seen in Shinovi Versus, where she cannot even land a job, all because of her looks and other people thinking she isn’t even in high school. Such constant treatment like that can definitely create some self-esteem issues. Well that and a certain urge to commit murder.
See, Mirai actually came from a family line of good shinobi. However, after being relentlessly bullied by those in her class, she opted to join Hebijo to gain enough power for revenge. She nearly went through with it too, at least until Homura stopped her and taught Mirai how to properly use her powers. That and Mirai eventually accepted her allies as true friends, with them as the only people who ever really accept her. That said, Haruka’s teasing combined with Homura’s willingness to put her through training from hell, leaves Mirai with plenty of reason to be stressed out. But at the same time, she is still getting the attention she wants. And Homura, at least, does respect Mirai. One of the most important factors for Mirai though is her ability to recognize when she has gone too far, such as with constantly attacking Murasaki. It helps show she doesn’t constantly shoot first.
And despite being the weakest of the Crimson Squad members, she possesses a very wide move set thanks to all of her guns. This made her one of the most unique characters to play as she specializes in long-range, bombarding foes with all sorts of weapons. In Shinovi Versus, I remember her heavy attack was able to break the game too, as enemies could get stun-locked by it.
Mirai is someone who gives into her emotions a ton. Sometimes that can be good, but other times she could really use a chill pill. Even so, people should be careful of who they mess with, lest they want to be blown up by the wide variety of guns she wields.
Speaking of stress and confidence issues, here’s another character who probably has it even worse. How so? Well, Murakumo can only be confident while she wears that mask of hers. Without it, she is a jittering mess that has trouble showing her face and even completing a sentence. With it, she is no longer some weak girl, but rather, a near monster on the battlefield who shows no mercy to any of her foes. Yet it also helps make her sillier when she engages in other activities, such as trying to create her stories. Just watch the beginning of Estival Versus with the Gessen Girls, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. It gets even weirder if you do her Heart Mission, where she does try her best to go outside without her mask but ends up panicking by the time she goes on stage with Yomi. The rest, well…you should probably see it for yourself.
However, there is even more development for her character in Estival Versus as her best friend, Yomi, takes away Murakumo’s mask. This is done because, in Estival Versus, Murakumo wants to stay on the island to be with her grandfather, and Yomi wants her friend to gain courage on her own to leave the island. Eventually realizing that she does have to leave her grandfather, she finally gains the confidence to defeat Yomi, regain her mask, only to remove it in front of her grandfather to reassure him that she will be fine without the other personality she formed.
In battle, Murakumo uses both a spear and a cleaver. The Hannya mask she wears can also make her seem much more intimidating, but the mask itself is meant to represent the complexity of emotions. So from another angle, this can make it seem more sad than frightening, which does keep in line with her emotions of losing Kurokage and requiring the mask just to function normally. Although the rest of her outfit ruins the scariness a bit: the armor itself is poorly designed. However, her fierce onslaught is only made deadlier with three wolves she can summon to her side, the third one in particular able to help her mow down foes while she rides it. It also kind of helps symbolize Murakumo’s reliance on others in order to fight to her fullest. That said, given her bond with the Gessen Girls and Yomi, there’s no shame in getting help either. Just so long as it isn’t a crutch for you.
In the Senran Kagura community, there is hardly any character more polarizing than Yumi. We’ll cover her negatives, but she has plenty of positives too!
Losing her folks at a young age, Yumi was adopted by her grandfather, Kurokage. He initially trained her to follow his ideology, though had some concerns when Yumi’s training was advancing rapidly, and his body was failing him. This caused Yumi to take her grandfather’s will to heart: to annihilate schools like Hebijo that train evil shinobi, as well as Hanzo for associating with the school. In the Hanzo route of Shinovi Versus, her dedication is quite fierce, even willing to die for her grandfather’s belief, just to make him happy. Though regardless of route, she does eventually learn not to just blindly fight for the sake of one person’s justice, especially as she realizes her grandfather just wants her to be happy.
She did mellow out a bit, but is still serious about her job as a leader of Gessen. Her story was pretty interesting, with Estival Versus trying to develop her more as a character when she does meet her grandfather again and must resist just staying on the island instead of doing her duty. Not to mention she is fairly fun and interesting to use in combat, capable of freezing her foes with long-range shots, or radial strikes from her fan.
However, Estival Versus did have some problems in pushing Yumi as a main character. Her wins were fairly impressive, but the impact they had and the execution was rather weak. For example, in her fight against Kurokage, the background never changes, there is no boss battle at all, and not even the writing can help sell the fight as being an incredibly intense one. Another example was against Jasmine, who was already weakened due to defeating thirteen shinobi before fighting Yumi. That and Jasmine’s transformation was actually harming her too, giving Yumi even more of an advantage. Even Yumi’s new form is not really showcased, nor is it all that great in-game; I wish the spider from Shinovi Versus would return. Then we have the wife angle they tried to do for her Shinobi Heart mission for no real reason aside from trying to make her into a waifu, which isn’t needed for any character when they can be awesome in their own way.
She may be cold, but she’s also very cool! …Please don’t kill me for that pun.
Often known as the emotionless ninja, Hikage is a member of Homura’s Crimson Squad and one of the deadliest on the team as well. While the emotionless bit of her might make her seem like a bland character, she is anything but that! In Deep Crimson, Katsuragi explained Hikage best by saying Hikage just has trouble expressing herself. It can help explain a lot given her backstory and the rather traumatic event she endured before joining Hebijo. She’s certainly not heartless by any means, and there are many events that prove this.
The Shinobi Heart scenario in Shinovi Versus is a good example, as she doesn’t really know what to do one day, and just sticks to trying to make their team happy by cooking a good meal; Yomi was in charge but mostly cooked grass due to their budget. Another good example is when she thinks Mirai died and was thrown into a dumpster, similar to how her old friend ended up, and even cried a bit until she found out Mirai was just playing dead.
Hikage’s greatest strength to me has always been her gameplay though, with fast strikes and the ability to mow down foes with her fierce dashes. While normally emotionless, her special attacks do create a callback to her previous appearance in Burst, where she was smiling much more in the Hanzo route, almost psychotically.
Hikage represents a character type not seen too often in video games, and perhaps someone you can even relate to. Not fully mind you, but there are times we all have trouble expressing our feelings. Or maybe we have a deep darkness inside of us waiting to be expelled, as we slice and dice—no wait, I think that’s just me.
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