「CHANGE THE WORLD」
You wanted ninjas? You wanted action? You wanted fanservice? But mostly, you wanted that last thing? You got it.
Senran Kagura is a silly show about female ninjas fighting, but what it’s really about is jiggle physics. This is a hard show to introduce because it’s so shamelessly it’s own thing, it’s so silly and without objective redeeming value, but it’s also so big-hearted (/big-chested) and optimistic as to be likable even when it’s dumb. The girls may constantly be filmed from low angles, chest angles, be part of underwear montages, have naked transformation poses, and get their clothing shredded, but—
Er. What was my point?
Point is, Senran Kagura is like that ditsy girl who’s always spouting clichés and usually doesn’t have enough self-awareness, but sometimes she does. I mean Senran Kagura does. No show could be this relentlessly positive with such a silly reason for existing without a sense of humor, and its original creator has that at least. I can’t really defend Senran Kagura, it’s not good, but at least it’s exploitative in a happy-go-lucky way, and at least its female characters (see: its entire cast) have agency. So that’s good? Better than many of the alternatives, at least.
I’m not talking about what happened in this episode because there wasn’t much, and because plot isn’t the point of Senran Kagura (only PLOT). Main character Asuka (Harada Hitomi) meets her friend Yumi (Hara Yumi)—who I think we met during that one OVA—while the antagonists from the first series, including Homura (Kitamura Eri), are doing a part-time job so they can afford turkey. Then some “good” ninjas show up, only they want to beat up the other good ninjas, and they do that. Honestly, do you care? That’s not why we’re here. They’re going to have to do a couple more episodes on this conflict before I bother remembering what these new girls want. It sounds stupid anyway.
No, Senran Kagura is here because of fanservice, and lots of it, along with a positive worldview that makes it go down smooth. It ain’t a show I’ma run around bragging about watching, but what can I say. Sometimes you want a silly fanservice comedy for reasons not dissimilar to wanting a fluffy slice-of-life. It’s uncomplicated. It’s relaxing in a silly way. It’s not good, but it’ll do. Senran Kagura is back.
- For all the silly platitudes and clichéd lines, there was some wisdom to some of them. Likening power to a sword and a shield is pretty good, but I liked when Yumi noted that, “Too much work is exhausting. And too much play won’t make you stronger.” Actual life advice there. Rest is as important to self-improvement as the actual work of improvement is. That’s advice I should pay more attention to myself.
- Riko? Reg?! Nanachi!
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the last two posts: Celebrities’ Political Opinions, An Author’s Review of: Freelance Heroics.
OP: 「SCARLET MASTER」 by Sasaki Sayaka