The first episode of SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI MASTER aired recently, and I thought I would tweet my thoughts about it. Turns out that I actually have a little more to say about it than I thought I would, hence this post. Ah, but before I start, here’s a warning:
This post will contain NSFW images
That’s just the nature of Senran Kagura. For those who can live with that, here’s my first impressions of SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI MASTER.
I’m not so sure about Asuka and Yumi being all buddy-buddy. For the record, the Senran Kagura games I have played are Burst, Deep Crimson, Shinovi Versus and Peach Beach Splash. I don’t recall Asuka and Yumi ever really being on the friendliest of terms, but something may have changed with Estival Versus, which I have yet to play.
Also, I am very indifferent towards Yumi. I’m aware that Japanese fans absolutely adore her, but she just really doesn’t do anything for me. I’d much rather have the focus be on Asuka and Homura.
Yumi is just sort of there, with no introduction. Clearly you’ll need to have played Shinovi Versus before watching this. If you’ve done that, then I don’t think you even really need to watch the first season to jump right into this one.Talking of Homura, she does get some screentime in this first episode. When Asuka talks about her, Homura starts sneezing. I found it pretty amusing how she knew that Asuka was talking about her rather than thinking she was coming down with a cold.Most of this first episode is pretty much just Asuka and Yumi on a date. There is a small scene showing Homura’s Crimson Squad working to earn their keep, and another one showing the Hanzo Academy girls meeting two powerful foes.Asuka does encounter Homura, but she doesn’t stick around for along. This episode does feel like there is a least a couple of important events that take place off screen. The aforementioned encounter is one, and Asuka encounters a group of youma and defeats them off screen as well.Crunchyroll is streaming SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI MASTER, offering both censored and uncensored versions. Maybe a certain gaming company should take notes…The last few minutes of the episode properly introduces Senkou and Gakkou, the pair that defeated the other Hanzo Academy shinobi off screen. They both debuted in the mobile game Senran Kagura: New Link, and are from Gessen Girls’ Academy – just like Yumi.
Senkou and Gakkou easily defeat Asuka – it wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience watching that. They leave her bloodied, bruised and half naked in the snow afterwards.
If this was any of the games, Asuka would have won the battle, but than they would have revealed they were holding back and defeated her anyway. The games tend to be somewhat roundabout when it comes to things like that, so I’m glad the anime just gets straight to its point.
It’s never easy seeing your favourite characters getting thrown around like rag dolls. Though saying that, I would be OK with brutal, bloody battles like this in the future, providing they aren’t one-sided
Now, to wrap up my thoughts about this first episode. The first season of Senran Kagura had a narrator, and I just found that to be completely obnoxious. I really didn’t need to be constantly reminded that I was watching an ecchi show, I could see that for myself.
Fortunately, this second season seems to have completely done away with that, which has already improved it over the first for me.
As for the connection to the games, it seems that we may be getting an original story here. Kagura and Naraku appearing in the end credits suggests that there will be a connection to Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson at some point.
Deep Crimson has perhaps the darkest tone of any of the Senran Kagura games, and if this show goes along with that, I think we could be in for a decent show – as long as you can put up with the fanservice.
So, what do I want from SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI MASTER? Well, if it could make me actually care for Yumi, that would be neat. I only have apathy for her at the moment.
Give me a dark story, and plenty of Asuka x Homura moments. It would also be nice to actually see important events happen on screen, too. Did we really need to see all that stuff happen with Asuka and Yumi? Sure felt like they were just padding out the run time for the first episode.
However, a threat has now been established, so maybe things won’t be so bad going forward. I may have had some criticisms of this episode, but ultimately I did enjoy watching it. Senran Kagura is back, and I can already see it being better than before.