Senran Kagura creator and series producer Kenichiro Takaki recently spoke with Vice to talk about his original inspiration for his beloved series and a little bit on why he’s not afraid to express himself through his games.
Vice: Can you talk about the original inspiration for Senran Kagura , the series you’re most known for?
Kenichiro Takaki: I wanted to create something that is very easy to understand but very deep and detailed for those who appreciate beautiful female characters. The first Senran Kagura was a very tight-budget project, and I didn’t expect it would sell much. I didn’t even think of the game going outside of Japan, so I decided to do my best to pursue what I wanted to do, and that turned out great as the game became very deep and detailed, and a fan base started to grow. I had the idea of Burst, the sequel to the first one, from the beginning, but at the same time, I didn’t think it would grow to be the series it’s become.
You’re one of the few Japanese developers who is unafraid to express why they put sexual content into their games: because you like it. Why is that?
I’m not afraid of adding sexual content into the games, as I would always love to make games that players have been waiting for. I’m more afraid of running out of inspiration or ideas and not being able to create anything that entertains people. As long as I know what I want to create and there’re fans waiting for my titles, I have no reason to stop making these games.
What prompted you to introduce sexuality into your games in the first place?
During the development of a certain PS3 title, which I was involved in before Senran Kagura or Ikkitousen, I was thinking how we could make the game’s boss battles more impactful, and I simply thought that I would be very happy if an extremely attractive lady showed up once you destroyed the boss’s armor. I apologize if this comes off as a “guys’ point of view.” Unfortunately, that title wasn’t able to make it to the public, but I was able to implement the idea into the Senran Kagura series, which we sometimes call the “busty brawler” series.
What do you think sexuality adds to your games? Is it style? Is it humor? Is it purely meant to arouse?
I guess it’s become a style nowadays. People who are not interested in this type of game might think Senran Kagura is just another sexual game, but I’m always very careful of how I implement that element into the game, how I portray the sexual aspects, and how that element should appear in context. I don’t think it’s hard to imitate what I do in terms of costume destruction, but I believe overall, I’ve built up my own sense of balance and style when it comes to in-game sexuality.
There’s a growing divide between how Japan and the rest of the world views the sexualization of women in games. What’s your response to this shift, and has it given you pause about what you put in your games?
I’ve been careful of how we treat sexual content in games, but I don’t want to pause in what I do. I understand that there should be some types of restrictions, but if there are too many rules or restrictions, not only will games become very boring, but the world will too. It’s important to make everyone happy, but at the same time, we don’t want to contradict people who are looking for this type of entertainment, and we’d rather be the ones who can provide something entertaining and different.
When some Japanese games are brought over to the US, there are changes made to the sexual content, including the young ages (some as young as 14) of some characters. Some fans call this censorship, others call this localization meant to ensure the game can be sold to the largest audience possible outside of Japan. How do you feel about it?
It is necessary to consider cultural differences. However, we have a policy of trying not to revise contents based on regulations for my titles like Senran Kagura and Valkyrie Drive . If there is any content or section that does need to be revised, I would love to change that part with different ideas and recreate something else for that section. I don’t think fans are looking forward to seeing illustrations that show less exposure than the original (Japanese) version. I’ve had similar experiences, where I was so disappointed by games that have less gore than their original versions. From the beginning, I wasn’t expecting to create a wide fan base on this series, so I just want to keep this deep detail and stay true to the core.
You can read more from the booby producer over at Vice’s full interview.