Video Game / Senran Kagura

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/senrankagura_shinovi_vs_group350_1502.jpg
The battle of Life and Hometown. From left to right 

Being born into this world, living to protect it to the end, so is the way of the ninja
Beautiful and brave, pushing our bodies to their limits, confusion blooms
Our days are nonchalant and full of laughter
Our nights filled with fear and uneasiness
Hidden from sight in the shadows, to prove that we are alive we rise, toward a vivid light.
Shoujô-tachi no shinei (Portrait of Girls) Opening.

Senran Kaguranote  is a series of fanservice-filled Spectacle Fighter Beat 'em Up games by Marvelous Entertainment. The premise involves different schools of ninja (commonly referred to as "shinobi" in this series), generally split into two factionsnote , facing off against each other, as well as against entities called "Yoma", as they deal with the rigors of ninja training and their daily lives as a shinobi. The ultimate goal of most of these schools is to produce the best shinobi they can, as well as to eventually raise the ninja who will become a "kagura", a high-ranking shinobi who specializes in Demon Slaying.

The focus, however, is on the large amounts of equally large breasts on the majority of the gals, so much so that the series prides itself on this facet, calling its genre "invokedthe Hyper-Battle of Bursting Breasts" (emphasis theirs). The games, of course, include copious amounts of bounciness, Clothing Damage, and Male Gaze, among other relevant fanservice tropes.

Yet, despite of all the attention the series garners for its well-rounded, bouncy aspects, Senran Kagura also blends the elements of school life comedy, cute girls doing cute things, and the drama of the harsh world of shinobi, sometimes to great effect. Of course, this leads to the series having somewhat of a schizophrenic presentation, as the director likes to flaunt the fanservice, while the writer is known for writing material darker than what one would expect from a series like this (see the Trivia tab for more information).note 

As for the gameplay, most games in the series have a focus on attaining high combos while mowing down groups of foes. Missions set up the stages, while the action is broken up by the occasional Visual Novel-styled cutscenes and narration, which provide more details on certain parts of the storyline. During battle, characters are able to perform a "shinobi transformation", changing them from their regular attire to their shinobi form, which gives them more varied combos and the ability to perform devastating special moves called "Secret Ninja Arts". Taking too many hits, however, induces Clothing Damage, causing costumes to lose their HP and defensive bonuses. Costumes can eventually be completely removed by taking too much damage, leaving a character in her swimsuit and with no defenses. However, players can choose to activate "Frantic" mode, which discards all clothing (except the swimsuit) and defenses in order to boost offense significantly. Be warned though, it's much easier to die while in Frantic mode.

The early 3DS titles were side-scrollers, but the Vita game Shinovi Versus branched the gameplay out into a fully 3D battlefield, akin to games like Dynasty Warriors. The sequel to the 3DS games carries over some of this aspect from Shinovi Versus, while introducing new concepts such as tag teams. The sequel is also the first in the series to have playable male characters (earlier games had male characters as NPCs).

When Marvelous later desired for the series to be brought to international markets, XSEED Games took up the call. Senran Kagura Burst was localized and sold in North America as an eShop download title in 2013. Burst had sold well enough that XSEED decided to continue localizing the series, with Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus for the PlayStation Vita being their next title to work on, along with, interestingly, the Rhythm Game of the series, Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit. Thanks to XSEED, every game in the series was brought over internationally, except for the mobile game, Senran Kagura: New Wave.

The official Japanese site can be visited here, but be wary of NSFW content, given the premise. The official site for the localized Senran Kagura Burst is here, while the site for Deep Crimson is here.

Aside from the video games, the series had a few manga adaptations, as well as an anime that aired in the Winter 2013 Anime season.

The director of the series, Takaki, later produced a sort of Spiritual Successor to Senran Kagura, going by the name of Valkyrie Drive, which is essentially a sci-fi/fantasy Senran Kagura with even more explicit fanservice and yuri elements. Valkyrie Drive was conceptualized as a multimedia project, and includes an anime (which is primarily focused on), and two games, each taking place in the same world but within different settings to keep things fresh between them. See those pages for more information.

Games in the Senran Kagura series:

  • Senran Kagura: Portrait of Girls (2011; 3DS; Japan-only)note 
  • Senran Kagura Burst: Crimson Girls (2012 in Japan, 2013 in North America, 2014 in Europe; 3DS)note 
  • Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (2013 in Japan, 2014 in North America; Playstation Vita/PC)note 
  • Senran Kagura: New Wave (2013; Mobile Phone Game; playable through GREE and Mobage on iOS, Android and PC.)note 
  • Senran Kagura: New Wave G Burst (2013; Mobile Phone Game; playable through GREE, Mobage and Mobcast on iOS, Android, PC and Wii U.)note 
  • Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit (2014; Playstation Vita)note 
  • Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson (2014 in Japan, 2015 in North America and Europe; 3DS)note 
  • Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (2015 in Japan, 2016 in North America and Europe; Playstation Vita and Playstation 4)note 

Tropes presented by Senran Kagura:

  • Action Bomb: Rat Shinobi in SV are the this on hard difficulty.
    • Estival Versus introduces the new Puppet Walker enemies that will enter a self-destruct sequence once they take enough damage. The resulting blast wave can take away a large chunk of your health if you don't vacate their vicinity in time so once you see them go up in flames, run!
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The Lingerie Lottery in Shinovi Versus has a system where the player's luck decreases the more lingerie the player purchases, forcing him/her to pay more for a better chance. It doesn't help that there are 98 pairs though.
  • Adults Are Useless: In the first game, Kiriya initially refused to involve himself in his students' conflict with Hebijo: as shinobi students, he expects them to be able to fight and survive by themselves if they want to become full-fledged shinobi. This is because one of his students only graduated because he helped at the last minute, and she later died. He refuses to help because he's afraid of it ever happening again. Averted in the anime adaptation, though it makes little difference because he arrives late to the final showdown.
  • Affectionate Parody: You have some of the most serious tropes generally associated with a ninja work of fiction... in an high-school setting and with a lot of humor, cute and sexy girls, hot-bloodness and the power of friendship. See also Pastiche below.
  • Amusement Park: The Candy Theme Park stage in Estival Versus. Overlaps with Level Ate.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The player can unlock different types of clothing and accessories as they progress through the game.
  • Animal Jingoism: The emblem of Hanzō Academy is a frog; Hebijo and Crimson's emblems are... well, snakes; Gessen's emblem is a spider. No slugs to be seen, though.
  • Animation Bump: The opening, Headed by A-1 Pictures but outsourced to Toon City (better known for its work for Disney).
  • The Anime of the Game: Airing in Winter 2013. It was simulcasted by Funimation.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In Estival Versus, there are these special finishers called Purupuru Finishes which are triggered if you defeat your opponent or vice versa near one of the "!" signs on the map, and they're critical to getting one of the trophies. However this includes the destructible festival platforms as well which are needed to be destroyed to unlock the Shinobi Girl's Heart stories. Luckily, if you happen to destroy all of the platforms, this specific Purupuru Finish will be unlocked in the shop anyway, saving the players a lot of trouble of having to worry about them being Lost Forever.
  • Arc Words: A couple pop up across entries in this series:
    • Shinobi, written with the kanjis meaning "The Beauty in Death". Mainly used by Daidouji-sempai. Has since become a term for describing the girls' unyielding fighting spirit.
    • The word "dance" is used quite a bit in the series, most notably to refer to battles. Heck, "kagura" itself is a name for a type of Shinto theatrical dancing.
  • Artificial Brilliance: In Estival Versus, potentially crossing over into Spiteful A.I.. If you use a transformation Ultimate Ninja Art, bosses will spam their own Secret Ninja Arts, or failing that any moves with guard frames, running down the clock and giving you as little opportunity to hurt them as they can.
  • Ass Kicks You: Hibari has a prominent hip throw as the finisher to her aerial combo, and uses her butt with her aerial smash. Her aerial special even involves her using ninja magic to grow giant, then drop butt-first onto her opponents. The Crimson Girls opening even shows Hibari and Haruka trading butt blows so powerful it literally shreds their clothing.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Hibari sometimes plays into this.
    • Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson's Hipster DLC, not that kind of hipster, is a Shoot 'em Up non-canon story where Hanzo city is being attacked by the Hebijo girls using the “bursting boob power”. The problem? The power makes them gigantic. It's up to the Hanzo girls to defeat the Hebijo girls and save Hanzo city.
  • Awesome, but Impractical / Desperation Attack: Ultimate Secret Ninja Arts in Shinovi Versus. Unlike the previous ninja arts that require one or two ninja art scrolls, the Ultimate art can only be performed if the player has five ninja art scrolls. The catch? The player's health must be at a dangerous low. Most of the time you'll only have one or two shots to pull this off because you can only hold ten ninja art scrolls. On the plus side, they do look pretty kick ass and your opponent gets completely stripped if they're KO'd by it. However, it's better off being used as a last resort.
    • They're a bit more practical in Estival Versus, merely requiring five scrolls without a health limit. Using the Super Mode ones against bosses is a lost cause, though, since they'll abuse anything that gives them invincible time to run it out (see Artificial Brilliance).
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Rin and Daidouji in Rin's ending CG in Shinovi Versus.
  • Badass Adorable: Most of the series' main characters are young schoolgirls. That doesn't stop them from turning into deadly shinobi when they engage in combat, though.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Katsuragi is very big on it. Same goes for Haruka.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: In the Hanzo storyline of the first game (and Burst), Hejibo Academy spends the first few chapters pulling this out of their asses. After Homura's first fight, it's implied she's lying, and Haruka at least has the excuse that she's body surfing into a lifelike doll of herself, but the rest of the girls will just infuriatingly run off, claiming that you didn't deal any damage, neverminding that Clothing Damage in this series is practically evidence in a court of law that you took substantial damage. Shinovi Versus does this again in the Hanzo story, this time courtesy of the Gessen girls.
    • Katsuragi even lampshades this after her battle with Imu.
    Katsuragi: Let me guess. You "weren't really trying, and it didn't count?"
  • Battle Strip: What Frantic mode is. A shinobi will discard her clothes to greatly boost her offense and movement speed, at the cost of defense and being forced into her swimsuit.
  • Beach Episode:
    • Episode 4 of the anime.
    • Estival Versus has this as it's whole premise, new custom bikinis and all.
  • BFS: Ikaruga's nodachi (a two-handed katana whose blade is between 1m and 1.50m long); Yomi (her opposite number) has a claymore as large or larger than she is.
  • Big Bad : Orochi. And Dougen.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Halloween stage in Estival Versus.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Hebijo and Gessen Academy sure count as this. The former is a traditional Japanese castle with pagoda-style structures, while the latter is a cross between a western-style manor (exterior) and a Japanese shrine/garden (interior), complete with a coliseum on the roof.
  • Bit Part Bad Guys: The delinquents from early in the original game and the Hanzo story of Burst. Not remotely dangerous, and more or less disappear entirely once Hebijo becomes an issue in the plot — they're there both to ease you into the game with enemies less threatening than even the Mook Hebijo students, and plot-wise as an example of what the Hanzo students had actually been facing prior to their clash with Hebijo.
  • Black and White Morality: Good Shinobi vs. Evil Shinobi, though it's averted as ninjas on both sides are sympathetic. Invoked by the higher ups, as the intentional separation is there to draw out Shin.
  • Bleached Underpants: Yaegashi Nan, the artist of the series, has drawn some pretty risqué NSFW artwork before he helped with Senran Kagura. In fact he still does CG artwork for eroge.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the majority of the cast fighting with blades, hammers, kunai, etc, the main tell that they're doing any damage comes in the form of Clothing Damage. Outside of the third manga, blood is rarely shown.
    • Subverted, however, in that the in-game "novels" frequently describe characters bleeding (most notably when Yagyu attempts to find the Hebijo school), and the insides of Orochi heavily showcase blood dripping everywhere.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The Crimson Squad and Rin's Story endings in Shinovi Versus, though with the pretty implication that they'll live to fight another day.
  • Bonus Boss: For the Hanzō storyline, we have Daidōji, and for the Hebijo storyline, we have Suzune-sensei, aka Rin. Both of them need to be defeated with all 5 characters in a row. The former focuses on pure power at the expense of speed. Once her HP is in the red, if she catches you on the ground, she will use an unavoidable, unblockable dragon punch that kills you in one hit. As for the latter, good luck even catching her as she dashes around the battlefield at lightspeed slashing you up and throwing Fuuma Shurikens.
    • Most of the paths you can take in Deep Crimson's Yoma Nest end in a battle against a stronger version of a boss from the main story. The most difficult path, however, ends in a battle against Ultimate Asuka and Crimson Homura.
  • Boobs of Steel: Although many of the characters have large breasts, the best example of this trope is Daidouji, being significantly more muscular, older, and more physical, than other characters.
    • This is actually a fairly accurate measurement of a characters physical strength... the larger a characters bust is, the more likely they'll fight with slower, but harder-hitting strikes. This extends in the other direction, where the girl with the smallest bust fights almost entirely with ranged weapons with few actual physical attacks.
  • Boss Game: Most missions throughout the franchise are finished by defeating a boss, which is usually one of your current character's rivals.
  • Bound and Gagged: Hibari when she's kidnapped in episode 9 of the anime.
  • Breast Expansion: The third Deep Crimson DLC allows players to invoke this to jarring proportions. It can also be inverted and give the girls flat chests instead.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Limit Break, which creates an explosion around the character to knockback surrounding enemies, a la the Mega Crash from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. It costs 10% of the the character's health to use.
  • Catch Phrase:
    Hanzō students before battle: Let's dance! and I'll show you a dance cloaked in shadows!
    Hebijo students before battle: I dance for the honor of evil!
    Gessen students before battle: Sink into the dreams of sleeping souls!
    Crimson members before battle: I sacrifice myself to the will of evil/our dance!
    Mikaruga Sisters: Dance in the Festival of Midsummer!
    Zodiac members before battle: Follow in the guidance of the stars!
  • Charged Attack: Breach Arts
  • Child Soldiers: Students are asked to throw off their student mentality when entering a ninja school; from now on, they are expected to conduct themselves as shinobi.
    • Justified Trope: The harsh rules of the world of shinobi exists for a reason: to prepare shinobi students for their principal duty, fighting against youmas. During Rin's first mission, her group of 50 (including a kagura) were slaughtered by 10 youmas in a few minutes.
  • City of Adventure: Asakusa in Burst/Versus and Kyoto in Deep Crimson
  • Clothing Damage: Taking damage (regardless of how much health a character actually has) wears down a girl's clothes and will eventually leave her in a defenseless bikini if too many hits are accrued. It's also the only visual way to tell that the characters are actually trying to kill each other, as actual bloodshed is rare.
  • Code Name: Every shinobi student is assigned one.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shinobi tend to be.
    • As Yumi puts it in SV, their combat is not for sport. Shinobi fight to kill.
    • Same can be said when Miyabi scoffs at Asuka for complaining about Ryōbi and Ryōna assisting her.
  • Common Ranks: Shinobi have their own ranking system. It applies for shinobi students, too.
    • Lower-level Shinobi : Hibari, Mirai, Minori.
    • Middle-level Shinobi : Asuka, Yagyu, Yomi, Haruka, Ryōbi, Ryōna, Murasaki, Imu, Shiki, Yozakura.
    • Higher-level Shinobi : Katsuragi, Ikaruga, Homura, Hikage, Miyabi, Yumi, Murakumo.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Interestingly, this applies to both Hanzo and Hebijo. When there are tons of Hebijo mooks the Hanzo gals defeat them easily. When the Hanzo gals try to gang up on a single Hebijo girl, the Hanzo gals are in danger of losing badly.
    • The five Hebijo snake girls are far from being on the level of your ordinary Hebijo mook, though.
    • Justified Trope: It is explicitly mentioned that the light faction handpicks the talented while the dark faction accepts anyone.
    • This also applies to the Yoma as the series goes on:
      • In the Versus continuity. In Rin's backstory, a single Yoma effortlessly slaughtered a Kagura and her entire elite squad, and would have killed Rin as well if not for Miyabi's father. By contrast, the combined forces of all four teams are able to make quick work of an entire army of Yoma in the Crimson Squad's ending.
      • Deep Crimson plays with the trope since introduces lower classes of Yoma to be used as regular mooks but also allows the girls to take down giant Yoma (of the same class that nearly killed Rin in the past) on their own. And that is without counting Daidouji who takes on a massive army of Yoma by herself
  • Continuity Nod: In Bon Appetit, Hibari is Homura's final boss and she asks Homura why she never did any of her funny impressions for her during her time at Hebijo. Said impressions were introduced in Burst when the girls were trying to make Hikage laugh.
  • Cooking Duel: The entire premise of Senran Kagura Bon Appétit.
  • Costume Porn: The costumes are not only very well created, but all are unique to the certain character. For specific examples, check out Yomi, Mirai, Murasaki and Murakumo's outfits.
  • Crapsaccharine World: On one hand, death walks with the shinobi. Most of the characters have lost at least one loved one. Training can be deadly. The girls perfectly accept that the fights are No-Holds-Barred Contest which can leave them dead and try in all earnest to kill each other. They know they can be finished by the winner. Failure during a mission can mean death. And then, on the other hand, not only are the generally cheerful girls capable of simply acting like normal teenagers most of the time, but when all is said and done, the level of violence is equivalent to say, One Piece and nobody ever dies outside of backstories or otherwise off-screen deaths (which can sometimes cause ambiguity as to who's actually dead). Overall, it's the seriousness with which the girls take their duty as shinobi and the grim backstories that most of them have which paints a really dark outlook on the franchise.
  • Crate Expectations: Each game has crates lying around that can be broken to gain useful items and power-ups. These items include healing onigiri, ninja scrolls, futomaki rolls, power-ups that boost your attack and defense and make you temporarily invincible, and in the case of Estival Verus, bombshells.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: If you look at the Hejibo Academy's logo, you notice its an upside-down cross with two snakes wrapped around it.
  • Crossover: Through Downloadable Content, Estival Verses adds Ayane and Hakufu, Kan'u, and Ryofu as bonus playable characters.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In a story sequence, Ikaruga ends up having to fight her resentful brother and never lays a finger on him. ... Because she doesn't have to. He's so hopeless at ninjutsu, and her so comparatively skilled that she defeats him easily without ever having to attack him directly. Which is the reason she was adopted and made a shinobi in his place in the first place, and the reason for his resentment of her.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Most of the yoma mooks in Deep Crimson are humanoid female creatures what are appealing to the eye, in sharp contrast to their larger counterparts.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Anathematic Ninja Arts are ninja arts that give the user tremendous power with huge risk. So much that there are forbidden techniques for reversing the art!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Each character in the cast, even Hibari later on, though Asuka seems to be the exception. Being a shinobi is suffering. Check the character page for individual character entries.
    • Although to balance things out, she goes through many of the darkest moments in the actual game.
  • Darker and Edgier: Induced in the third manga series Guren no Hebi. Despite having some of the lighter moments present in other adaptations of the series, the tone of Guren no Hebi is very bleak and grim and it adverts the Bloodless Carnage the rest of the series utilizes, making all the fights somewhat disturbing to read. Additionally, the storylines of the 3DS games are much more serious (usually with more at stake) compared the ones present in the Vita titles.
    • Hebijo's story in Shinovi Versus is by far the darkest plot in the game, if not the entire series. The plot is literally the Hebijo girls brutally murdering literally everyone in the other teams (Hanzo and the Crimson Squad for bringing ruin to Hebijo in Burst, Gessen for getting in their way), and unlike the series trademark Killed Offscreen mantra, we are shown in clear detail how each and every one of Hebijo's enemies dies horrible, bloody deaths. There are little to no jokes or lighthearted banter, and none of the team's "quirks" are played for laughs compared to the other teams. Miyabi's ruthless, single-minded obsession with restoring Hebijo's honor and taking vengeance on its enemies is played dead seriously and is brought to its logical, bloody conclusion. Imu blindly and unquestionably follows Miyabi's murderous agenda out of lustful obsession. Murasaki possesses a nigh-uncontrollable berserker rage capable of ripping even the strongest Shinobi apart limb from limb. Ryona is a psychotic, sadomasochistic sadist who takes a euphoric delight in murdering her enemies in the most gruesome ways possible. Ryobi, while not quite as insane as her sister, is still clearly unhinged and is secretly a traitor plotting to murder the rest of the team for their roles in the death of her's and Ryona's sister.
  • Deadly Training Area: Haruka develops one for her team's use in Deep Crimson
  • Death Mountain: Mt. Orochi, where the Crimson Squad's hideout is located and contains a small village. It is considered to be the most dangerous place for shinobi to venture to as the mountain is seen as a breeding ground for Youma.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Bosses in New Wave will blow up after being defeated. Exactly why this happens is pretty much a mystery.
  • Determinator: True to their etymology, all of the shinobi. But especially Asuka and Homura.
  • Dirty Old Man: Averted with Kiriya-sensei, who does his job professionally and doesn't blink when the fanservice presents itself. While Hanzo usually acts like a doting grandpa toward Asuka despite her many shortcomings, he still has shades of this, especially in the anime. However, he's very low-key about it and is never shown to be completely depraved about it either, especially when compared to how Dirty Old Men are usually depicted in Japanese works.
    • Played completely straight in the anime however. While the games have him strong and professional enough to easily thwart his girls' attempts at taking revenge on him, the anime special has him go out of the way to humiliate Asuka and Homura to the point that he can't save himself.
  • Disc One Nuke: In New Wave, event cards in with absurdly high stats can be given to the player as early as level 1. This can make it very easy for earning new cards and sweeping through bosses.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Several examples throughout the franchise. The most obvious is the constant image of a girl with something inserted between her breasts, be it scrolls, sushi rolls, or whatever. To say nothing of the random positions some characters take in the anime and the manga, as well as when Clothing Damage occurs in the games. Bon Appetit, being a non-serious Rhythm Game, takes it Up to Eleven due to it being a cooking game as well.
  • Downer Ending: The ending to Hebijo's story in Shinovi Versus has Hanzo, the Crimson Squad and Gessen completely destroyed and their Elite Shinobi all gruesomely slaughtered, leaving none left to oppose Rin and Dogen's plans.
    • Subverted in the same game by the ending to the Crimson Squad's story has the Crimson Squad surrounded by a seemingly infinite horde of Youma. They gear up for a fight, but its clear that they have little to no hope of surviving...until the rest of teams suddenly show up to lend them a hand.
  • Downloadable Content: With the exception of Portait of Girls and Burst, the games offer DLC content ranging from clothes to different accessories to even bonus stories and characters.
  • Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer: Boss events in New Wave have a system where players can assist others in defeating bosses by sending requests to each other.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hijikata, Kanon and Hanabi pretty much got this covered.
  • Dual Wielding: Used by several characters.
    • Asuka uses two Wakizashi.
    • Homura hexuple wields Katana! Like Wolverine Claws, no less!!
    • Suzune/Rin wields two Fuuma Shuriken.
    • Murakumo wields a spear in one hand and a bloody cleaver in the other.
    • Then we have Ryōna, who uses two unusual pistols with the butts of the guns bolted on both ends.
    • Kagari wields two tambourine shaped knives.
    • Tsubame uses two sabers.
    • Kisaragi uses two hachiwara.
    • Yūyaki dual-wields two Nōdachi.
    • Renka uses bachi.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All the girls have some malfunction, see Dark and Troubled Past above. It's a miracle that the Hebijo girls aren't at each others throat, if only because their anger is directed at someone or something outside the group.
    • While that can be said for Homura's group, Miyabi's group, do self-destruct near the end of their story. They get better though.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Yamata no Orochi... Where to start? It seems to be one-third humanoid giant, one-third dragon, and one-third Humongous Mecha. Four of its five necks have no heads on them, instead ending in great masses of bloodstained katanas. It has two bizarre mechanical appendages that can only be described as giant tennis rackets covered in bloodstained katanas. On its central neck is the head of a mecha-dragon, covered in bloodstained katanas, and in the head's mouth is a human face, contorted with rage. Oh, and the sound of its roar is mixed with a baby crying.
    • The Yoma in general follow this trope to a tee, with many of them combining human anatomy with monstrous designs.
    • The greatest example in the series is Shin, responsible for creating all the yoma, and in fact the only reason there's a good vs evil conflict in the first place: To create enough bloodshed to draw him out.
  • Eldritch Location: The inside of Yamata no Orochi. It's a weird red version of the normal world with odd features like floating interfaces in the background and rotating gears on the floor. It also has inexplicable grassy meadows and you can hear Orochi's heartbeat wherever you go.
  • Elite Mook: In Crimson Girls there is a tall dummy mook with the highest health of any enemy in the game, with two katanas and a gun that shoots shurikens. Unlike the other Giant Mooks these guys are so tough they only ever appear one at a time.
    • The game takes off the kiddie gloves with Hebijo's final mission where you have to face Daidouji backed up by four robo-dummies.
    • Shinovi Versus introduces different flavors: Bear mooks that don't flinch with normal attacks, Samurai that do the same but with lower defense, added speed and strength, Badgers and Foxes that attack with claws and Rats that ferry supplies.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: According to Homura, this is the virtue of the Dark Ninjas. Of course, just because they accept everyone doesn't mean that everyone have what it takes to be one. As for Homura personally, she quickly accepts people who wants to be her friend. Such as Hibari.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones/Evil Is One Big Happy Family: The opening of the Hebijo storyline is about how those girls met and formed into their own little group.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In Shinovi Versus the former elites of Hebijo Academy (now dubbed the Homura Crimson Squad) are being hunted down by the new Team Hebijo elites because they are renegades, inevitably causing them to clash. Downplayed because the Crimson Squad are essentially an Anti-Hero Team.
  • Excuse Plot: Rampant Ninja-related crimes these days. Are you bad enough gals to save Japan?. Although this diminishes as the series goes on, particularly as the characters deal with their trials, and the Yoma become more of a prominent threat.
    • The director split the franchise into two. The Vita games will be more focused on the fanservice (Though they have serious plots of their own), while the DS games focus more on the darker story.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Yagyū and Mirai.
    • And there's also an unlockable eyepatch that can be worn by any girl... including the two girls who already have them. It's especially funny when Yagyu equips two eye patches and says sardonically, "I don't need this..."
  • Extranormal Institute: Hanzo, apparently a regular highschool with regular students... save for five of them and the special lessons they take.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Hibari transfering to Hebijo school. It was part of a plot to infiltrate the academy and recover an important item stolen by the snake girls. Hibari may seem weak and childish most of the time, but this girl has wits and guts when it counts the most. Doesn't apply in the Hebijo storyline as Hibari is revealed to be brainwashed by Dougen.
    • Rin when it is revealed that she is Suzune-sensei.
  • Faction-Specific Endings: Shinovi Versus has each faction's stories (Hanzo, Crimson Squad, New Hebijo, Gessen) ending differently from each other.
  • Fake Longevity: 100% Completion in Burst requires clearing every mission on each story with the initial 5 characters, getting every character (including the secret ones) to level 50, clearing every mission at least once with an A Rank and once in Frantic Mode (thankfully not with every character) and will take upwards of 70 hours. Beating the main story for both sides combined only takes around 10.
    • Bon Appetit has this for its Platinum trophy. The most gratuitous being clearing 200 songs when most of the others require a minimum of 100 if aiming for them and playing optimaly.
  • Family Un Friendly Death: The deaths of the three rival school groups in Hebijo's story mode in Shinovi Versus. In stark contrast to the apparent deaths from the rest of the series, they are all onscreen and all avert the series Bloodless Carnage. Special mentions go to Asuka being impaled by Miyabi while desperately begging for her life, Ikaruga graphically bleeding out from multiple wounds while tearfully begging Yomi to defeat Murasaki, and Yozakura getting shot in the head by Ryona when she discovers her's and Ryobi's true goals.
  • Famous Ancestor: Hattori Hanzo is the founder of the Hanzo Academy. Asuka is his grand-daughter, and yet she leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Fan Disservice: The large-scale youma featured in the series usually have a feminine figure, but instead of making them look appealing, the series produces the opposite effect by heaping on Body Horror, Mind Screw, and the Uncanny Valley.
    • For example, one of the Youma from SK2 is actually an unfought giantess... whose breasts tear themselves free of her body, crash into the ground and start rolling around like demonic bowling balls the size of trucks. The boss fight begins here; you have to do enough damage to the wrecking boobs to shatter them like eggs, only to discover the giant faces inside leering out at you.
  • Fanservice: Let's get counting!
    • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Some cards in New Wave have someone do this. Though it's unsurprising given the amount of fanservice in the game.
    • Clothing Damage: Taken Up to Eleven in VS (it extends to even the swimsuits, leaving only some censoring).
    • Erotic Eating, according to the trailer. It's also in the manga and happens in the anime, where Kiriya-sensei of all people gets in on it. Taken Up to Eleven with "Bon Appetit", being the main focus of the game.
    • Jiggle Physics: They put the 3DS' computing capability to great use!
      • Although to be fair, the jiggles are canned animations and aren't calculated in real time.
    • Joshikousei
    • Panty Shot
    • Which is followed by, of course, Sailor Fuku.
    • Although the focus of the franchise seems to be big-breasted pretty girls, it may be interesting to note that the protagonists are equally as sexually objectified (with the signature blending of clothes ripped and breast jiggling of the franchise) as they are depicted as physically strong, courageous (bordering on reckless; but it's expected of ninjas), and without the need of being protected by a male character.
  • Fond Memories That Could Have Been: In the first game, Homura and Asuka passing some time as friends, dining at Hanzo's restaurant before the final assault on Hebijo academy and knowing that they will then have to fight. Asuka asking Homura her reason to follow the way of the ninja may qualify as a stealth Tear Jerker.
    • You Can't Fight Fate: Not that Asuka, as a ninja, isn't ready to put down Homura if she is ordered to; but now that she knows a little more about the snake girls and, putting aside the 'good' and 'bad' labels, the fact that Hebijo and Hanzo students are basically the same, she can't help but ponder about the absurdity of the situation.
  • Food Fight: This was one of the recent events in New Wave.
  • Food Porn: Senran Kagura Bon Appétit takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Forever War: Between the good/light shinobi and the evil/dark shinobi. It seems pointless and in a way, it's purposefully so. Shinovi Versus reveals the war is there to lure out the progenitor of all disasters and Yoma, Shin, who only comes out once enough blood has been shed.
  • Flanderization: All the cast is hit by it on Shinovi Versus, especially in the "Shinobi Girl's Heart" side stories for each character.
  • Funbag Airbag: Happens to Hibari in the 10th episode.
  • Gainaxing/Jiggle Physics: Comes with the territory. The original game seemed to have been made just to show off this effect in 3D.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Estival has a few:
    • The turtle mooks can get stuck in a loop where they will never stop spinning, making impossible to the player to defeat them and progress the mission, forcing the player to repeat the stage.
    • Sometimes the game will spawn mooks outside the reach of the player and while some characters will be able to take them downusing long range attacks, most of the time is necessary to retry the stage.
  • Genki Girl: Hibari and Minori fit this trope to a T.
  • Geodesic Cast: The franchise tends to introduce girls in five-man squads.
    • The original game introduced the Hanzo Academy and Hebijo Academy teams (and each side had a Secret Character in Daidoji-sempai and Suzune-sensei).
    • Shinovi Versus introduced the Gessen Girls academy and the New Hebijo girls, of course with five each (Though lacking a Secret Character).
    • The Japan-only phone-based New Wave introduced a total of ten new teamsnote .
    • Estival Versus introduced a festival-themed group consisting of Asuka's grandmother Sayuri, her three apprentices, and a half-ghost Sayuri brought partially back to life.
    • Deep Crimson subverts the normal pattern by introducing only three characters, Kagura, Naraku, and Ikaruga's brother, Murasame, but introduces a new one by grouping the girls in pairs (Asuka and Homura, Ikaruga and Yomi, etc.). Since Kagura and Naraku are introduced as a pair unto themselves, the only real deviation is Murasame (who is unlocked either through an Old Save Bonus or as Downloadable Content).
  • Giant Mook:
    • There are large and overweight female delinquents that are prominent in Skirting Shadows. Crimson Girls introduces even more with huge muscular girls in Seifukus, and large round dummies with Torpedo Tits.
    • Shinovi and Estival Versus has the bear shinobi. They're large overweight female ninja with the ability to mow you down by performing rolling attacks. It also isn't helped by the fact that they can deal fire damage as well, or that they need strong attacks to flinch.
    • Deep Crimson features massive versions of the standard dummies.
    • Estival Versus has ram-based shinobi who have their standard gargantuan appearance (not unlike the bear shinobi), but when these fall, they will return to being to normal shinobi who start Dual Wielding the ram's horns.
  • Graffiti Town: The Downtown at Night stage in Estival Versus.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: The sprites in New Wave appear as chibified versions of the characters during the story and event missions.
  • Girls with Guns: Mirai, Ryōna, Ryōbi, Seimei, Chitose, Ukyō, Sakyō, and Kurōdo fit this trope.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Training Grounds stage in Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus and the Training Field in Deep Crimson
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Probably the point of the plot of the first game and its deconstruction of the 'good ninjas vs evil ninjas' trope, as both groups are shown to have similar circumstances, and ultimately, whatever his or her affiliation, a shinobi is someone who has to kill or be killed. As Hanzo puts it: Light needs darkness to exist.
  • Good Is Not Soft: A ninja has to be ready to do anything it takes to defeat an enemy, and could expect nothing else in return from an enemy. It's a form of courtesy toward an enemy to give everything you have to bring him down.
  • Golden Super Mode: In Burst, the "Life or Death" (Frantic in the localization) mode gives the user a surging golden aura the longer they fight. When Katsuragi uses it, the aura combined with her golden hair and green eyes makes her look very much like a Super Saiyan.
  • Good Versus Good: Gessen figthing Hanzo in a Shinobi Battle Royale where Anyone Can Die.
  • The Goomba: Varies depending on the game, but the most common themes they share is that they'll usually be training dummies, delinquents, and lower-rank shinobi. Easily disposable and are less of a threat even in large numbers.
  • Guest Fighter: Estival Versus features a guest appearance from Ayane, Sonsaku Hakufu, Kan'u Uncho and Rofu Housen as Downloadable Content.
  • Guide Dang It: For people aiming for 100% Completion, certain hidden trophies in Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus can invoke this to a certain degree. While most hidden trophies can be easily obtained simply by playing through the game and experimenting on some things, some require an online guide just to even see what they are and how to get them.
    • The three most notable examples come from Shinovi Versus. There are three hidden trophies named Don't Worry About It, Please No More!, and You Were Never Heard From Again, which have no in-game indication of how to even get them. For the first two, it requires the usage of the Ultimate Hidden Ninpo. Keep in mind that the Ultimate Ninpos in Shinovi Versus can only be activated when you're low on health, so unlike Estival Versus, you rarely get the chance to even use them. For the former, you need to defeat a boss with one while she's in her underwear. For the latter, you need to let a boss defeat you with one while your girl is in her underwear. The last trophy requires you to be a perv in the dressing room in so many ways. From simply groping to outright stripping the girl's clothes. This one can be rather tricky to get without some proper steps of how to do it.
    • In Estival Versus, while most Purupuru Finishes are triggered by defeating your opponent or vice versa near an "!" sign, there are a couple that don't follow this rule and are only triggered under special conditions. Three of them are tied to certain costumes, which are the Hawaiian Shirt, Summer Swimsuit, and the Bath Towel. These are required for getting one of the trophies in Estival Versus. All you have to do is dress a girl in one of these and then fight her in a mission or online mode. These finishes will trigger regardless of whether or not you're near a sign.
      • But the most infamous example is the Puppet Kaboom finish. Because unlike the three mentioned above, the game gives no indication whatsoever that this one actually exists. To get this finish, you need to be on a Puppet Walker while it's about to self-destruct. But it's very unlikely that you would've even considered trying it on your first playthrough because a): you wouldn't had known about it, and b): you would've abandoned the Puppet Walker out of instinct.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Going Frantic turns most of the game into this, with levels populated with Mooks that can easily gang up on you and deplete your health in seconds due to your halved Defense, only to end with a Boss fight that can be won near-effortlessly by performing a few Secret Ninja Arts due to your doubled Attack power.
  • The Heartless: Orochi in the first game and Burst, the final boss born from the pain and suffering of the dead snake girls.
    • Has become a major plot point in Shinovi Versus: such monsters are knowns as youma and only shinobi can fight against them. The catch being conflict between shinobi and blood spilled in shinobi kekkais are precisely what such entities feed on.
  • Henshin Hero: While just about everyone is sufficient with combat in most normal circumstances, they can all undergo Shinobi Transformation, which will boost their stats, give them access to their Ninja Arts, and also fully restore their health, so it behooves you to learn timing to maximize its effectiveness.
    • You can also invert this by stripping down to your skivvies... Which STILL powers you up.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Everyone!
  • Honor Before Reason: For a ninja, the success of the mission take precedence over everything, even one's life.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Katsuragi, who gets extremely fired-up during combat. Other girls exhibit this behavior as well, but not everyone.
    • Daidouji's another good example, but hers is mixed with an element of battle-lust.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The anime adaptation threw some of the original plot and the melodrama through the window and turned the fanservice Up to Eleven.
    • Purposely invoked with Shinovi Versus and Bon Appetit, as the director stated that the Playstation games are purposely intended to have more fanservice than the 3DS titles.
  • Hypocrite: Haruka's Freudian Excuse is that her father abandoned her to her unnaturally close mom who's implied to have more than had her be a dress up doll. In the present, Haruka proves You Are What You Hate when she goes after Hibari with the same abnormal obsession.
  • I Let You Win: If you're fighting the Hanzo team, your wins always count for real. If you're playing as the Hanzo team, well, tough cookies.
    • In the Hanzo story, every defeat of the Hebijou girls until the final confrontation ends with a cutscene revealing the other girl was holding back in some way. Haruka is the most blatant about this, with every fight against her revealing that she was either using a puppet in her stead, or that she deliberately threw the fight to acquire a second, less-obvious goal.
    • This continues into Shinovi Versus. Where TWO new schools attack Hanzo, and when playing through the Hanzou storyline, they never truly win the first round against either team.
    • Also in Shinovi Versus, you can finally be on the giving end, even though you won anyway. After Hikage's fight with Imu, Imu is doubled over, questioning why Hikage never agreed to her challenges if she was able to take her down, while Hikage says nothing...
    Imu: "Don't tell me... You were holding back!?"
    Hikage: *smirks*.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Technically, it's not as if men couldn't be shinobi too. It's just that the whole cast happens to be female. There are a total of seventy-nine major women in the cast across the franchise. There are exactly four men: Hanzo, Kiriya, Murasame and Dogen
  • Interface Spoiler: In Deep Crimson, if you read the description of the music track "Shinobi Clones", which unlocks after you first fight them, you'll discover that the Ten Yoma Generals are Yoma clones of the Hanzo Girls and the Crimson Squad born from the blood shed by them during the events depicted during the finale of the first game and the beginning of Deep Crimson long before this it is revealed in the story.
  • Instant-Win Condition: For the fights that require you to obtain an item or defeat a certain number of enemies.
  • Instrument of Murder: Every member of the A.R.C. Angels has a musical instrument fit for combat. The same goes for the Municipal Blossoming Arts shinobi as well.
  • Invisible to Normals: One ninja technique is invoking a barrier to allow fighting while invisible to all but other ninjas. This is how the girls can fight in the open in areas like shops without drawing attention. It has the side effect of attracting Yoma though.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence
    US localization website: A little violent, a little sexy, and a ton of fun!
  • Joshikousei: Invoked. The shinobi schools are all located alongside regular schools, so the shinobi have to wear their school's uniform in order to blend in and prevent the normal school populace from suspecting them of being anything other than regular students.
  • Kaizo Trap: A minor one in Shinovi Versus. In the final battle against Asuka/Homura, depleting your opponent's health to zero will not end the battle right there on the spot. Instead, it will trigger an automatic Aerial Rave for which you must succeed in order win the fight. Fail the Aerial Rave, and your opponent regains 10% of her health and the opportunity to activate her Ultimate Hidden Ninpo, dragging the fight even longer and wearing you down with each failure.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The number of girls who favor katana is disproportionate (looking at you, Homura), even though shorter blades would be easily concealed.
  • Keigo: Ikaruga speaks in a very formal tone and style.
  • Kiai: Every girl shouts CHESTO! a lot when finishing combos, even the quieter and more reserved ones. Possibly referring to a certain other chest.
  • Killed Off for Real: In Shinovi Versus' Hebijo storyline Miyabi's team show they mean business, and they utterly wipe out the three other teams, leaving no survivors. They even almost eliminated themselves.
  • Killed Offscreen: How the franchise handles when secondary characters kick the bucket: as the plot is told in a Visual Novel fashion, a wall of text allow for more ambiguity than a gory CG. See Miyabi's group or Tsumuji for examples.
    • It allows for some neat Never Found the Body tricks, too - The Hebijo girls in the first game are exhibit #1, but Dougen must be pretty glad for it. Well, or for all the good it did him at least, as Homura didn't miss him in SV.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Ikaruga's big brother Murasame eventually gives up on taking the mantle of the ninja clan, instead focusing on what he's good at: being a shrewd businessman. This is after Ikaruga makes it clear that he's outclassed and Hanzo gives him some sobering small talks. The fact that Hanzo himself said that Murasame's father praises his son's business skills helped.
  • Lecherous Licking: Haruka does this to Hibari in the 10th episode of the anime. Whether it stops with just licking is up for debates.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Shinobi Festival stage in Estival Versus is an interesting subversion. It's a shinobi festival located on an active volcanic slope, where molten lava is seen flowing in the background. The main stadium itself is located right in the middle of the volcanic crater, where the audience is cheering in the background despite not being burned to a crisp by the intense heat from the lava a few feat away. The lava however doesn't really serve as a major obstacle. Justified, as Sayuri mentions the battlefields are at least in part created by her Shinobi Barriers, and she has a flair for the dramatic.
  • Level Up Fill Up: Completely restores HP and the ninja art count, and is often a necessity for surviving end-game battles. Won't fix clothing damage, though.
  • Licking the Blade: Hikage licks her dagger a lot, doing it every time she uses a Secret Ninjutsu, as well as as part of her post-level victory pose.
  • Lighter and Softer: Both the anime and the first two manga adaptations, as well as the Vita titles (especially Bon Appetit) compared to the 3DS titles, which have more of a Tournament Arc feel to them compared to the more dramatic Yoma-related arcs in the 3DS games. The games have a taste for the dramatic for a fanservice game, to convey the point that even if the girls are highschool girls trying to live a 'normal' and happy school life, the ninja world they have chosen to inhabit can be terribly dark and violent.
    • Applies especially to Estival Versus. Despite dealing with themes of grief and early, thankless death, the stakes are explicitly non-lethal and the competition is treated as a friendly challenge by the characters.
  • Limit Break: The Hidden Ninpos/Secret Ninja Arts. They're special attacks that consume your Ninja Scrolls but can clear out multiple enemies at once and deal massive damage to bosses (with the added bonus of instantly stripping the bosses of their clothing). Each girl has three different Ninpos: a Level 1 Ninpo (1 scroll, strips leg clothing), a Level 2 Ninpo (2 scrolls, strips upper clothes), and a Level 3/Ultimate Ninpo (3 or more scrolls with a special condition, depending on the game, strips both top and bottom). In Burst and Deep Crimson, there's even an additional aerial Ninpo that can be performed in mid-air.
    • Also in Deep Crimson, there are the special Secret Fusion Ninja Arts for characters who fight in pairs. Unlike the other Ninpos, these are stage-wide and can target all enemies on the stage at once, but require both characters to have three Ninja Scrolls at the same time. Only certain pairs will have specific fusion Ninpos (like Asuka's and Homura's Flying Wild Dance) while the rest have generic ones regardless of the pair-up.
    • In Burst and the Versus games, there's even a technique aptly named "Limit Break". But it isn't so much a special attack as it is just a burst of energy that can knock enemies away at the expense of a bit of your health, regardless if you're already trapped in an enemy combo or not. Deep Crimson removes this feature entirely.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The Geodesic Cast teams from the main series already bumps up the numbers, but New Wave, being a card game, introduces several new girls and schools to the world of Senran Kagura (fifty new girls in total), bloating out the cast list significantly.
    • Hell, because there were so many characters, all the New Wave shinobi had to be moved to a new character page.
  • Locomotive Level: Some missions in Deep Crimson take place on the roof of a speeding bullet train because Homura misplaced her team's train tickets.
  • MacGuffin: The Light and Dark Super-Secret Ninja Scroll (sic).
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The shinobi are pretty girls with transformation sequences and magic costumes!
  • Magic Skirt: Present on the anime where the skirt never moves even when the girls are hanging from the ceiling. Heavily averted in the games where upskirt shots are easy to see and often unintentional.
  • Marry Them All: Katsuragi aims for this in Bon Appétit. Her story mode aims for her to succeed at this while Ikaruga's is aimed to stop her.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Estival Versus has the new Puppet Walkers which are armed with claws and long-range cannons and are pretty durable, able to take a lot of punishment without flinching. Defeating them however causes them to enter a self-destruct sequence so you better run away when that happens. Fortunately they drop special bombshells that allow you to summon one into battle, becoming a handy Power Up Mount for a limited time.
  • Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: Played With. As shinobi, the girls use violence as a mean of communication with an energy one would expect from a Shōnen manga. On the other hand, communication is pivotal in the anime adaptation finale in order to avoid Total Party Kill of both sides. Hibari's true power is explicitly a form of communication.
  • Melodrama: Tons of it in the games. See the Crapsaccharine World & Mood Whiplash entries.
  • Monster Arena: The Yoma Nest in Deep Crimson
  • Mood Whiplash: Extremist in case of the games, as pertaining to a franchise featuring plenty of comedic hijinks and boobs jokes set in the Crapsack World of modern shinobi. Usually, each instance of Katsuragi groping another girl, Yagyu having a nosebleed over Hibari or the Hanzo shinobi fooling around in bikini is followed by a dramatic flashback on how a character lost a beloved one (parents on the run for failing to kill themselves after a failed mission, dead little sister, relative murdered by an opposing faction, decapited mother, etc), melancholic musings about the meaning of life as a shinobi, and No-Holds-Barred Contest between highschool girls. The melodrama can be quite heavy, at times. See Lighter and Softer above for the anime and manga adaptations.
    • Yet Nobody Can Die: So far none of the main girls, from any of the schools, has kicked the bucket. There must be some weird comedic/moe-moe invulnerability shield at work here. Also, see the Pastiche entry below.
    • The opening animation to Estival Versus perfectly summarizes this in the first few moments as it begins with Ryobi and Ryona silently praying at their sister's grave followed by Ryobi hearing a noise. The viewer is then treated to a gratuitous Panty Shot from Ryona as she peeks through some nearby bushes and Ryobi spanks her for being too loud.
  • Ninja: In-universe, the proper term is shinobi.note 
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Can be invoked with the many types of costumes the girls can wear. Want to dress your shinobi girl as a Ninja Maid, Miko, Magical Girl, or Pirate? Go ahead.
  • Ninja School: Hanzo Academy for the Good gals, Hebijo Academy for the (arbitrarily defined) Bad gals.
  • Ninja Run: Naturally. Different characters sometimes have different variations of the run (i.e. Hibari has more a an Airplane Arms thing going on in hers).
  • Nipple and Dimed: Anytime the series gets close to fully exposing a character's chest, expect there to be a Scenery Censor of some sort to hide the nipples specifically. And sometimes, they don't even bother with that. Katsuragi is an egregious perpetrator of this, as her shinobi outfit makes her prone to getting exposed the most.note 
  • Noble Demon: The Hebijo girls are far from being as evil as they seem; in fact, the game goes to lengths to show that they are in fact really close to the Hanzo girls while being much more aware than them that they chose to live in a dark and violent world. Hell, "evil shinobi" means little more than being a mercenary rather than an actual villain.
    • Homura: She fights to feel alive and to protect her Hebijo comrades.
    • Yomi: Apart from her fixation on rich ojou-sama, she's probably one of the sweetest and most friendly of the Hebijo girls. But you have to be a good listener with an affinity for bean sprouts.
    • Hikage: She has multiple opportunities to eliminate Katsuragi, but she never follows through.
    • Mirai: She just want to be recognized, preferably as an equal.
    • Haruka: She genuinely wants to be friend with Hibari.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Zigzagged. While the original intent was for the Crimson Squad's (who are Evil Shinobi) ending to be the "canon" ending for Shinovi Versus. The sheer popularity of Yumi and the general disinterest Japan had for Deep Crimson made it Gessen's ending the canon one and from which Estival Versus picks up. However, so the development present in the other routes doesn't go to waste, the writers cherry-picked elements from them to complement the Gessen route.
  • No Fourth Wall: The dressing rooms of the games have no such obstruction. The girl's comments, snarking and exclamations of embarrassment are made to you, the player.
  • Not Quite Dead: While each of the Hebijo girl seems to meet her end fighting her Hanzo counterpart during the final invasion of Hebijo Academy, the silhouettes of the snake girls can be seen in the distance among the ruins of the school when the fight with the last boss is over.
    • Since then, Burst has confirmed that Homura and her friends survived the fight: They have become runaway ninja after defeating Suzune-sensei and appear in Shinovi Versus as a whole new, independent group named Homura Gurentai (Homura Crimson Squad).
    • Dogen shows up alive and well in both the Deep Crimson and Versus timelines. In both timelines, he again meets his end at Homura's hands, but time will tell if either will stick.
    • Also, Hebijo's Suzune-sensei: She was initially a student of Kiriya-sensei supposedly KIA during a mission years ago.
  • Not So Different: Part of the theme of the game is how the two sides aren't that different in terms of people; only in who's killing who and the name of the side printed on their business cards.
  • Obligatory Swearing: After XSEED accommodated the series with an M Rating / 16 PEGI due the values dissonance in the West, the English lines got kinkier and strong cuss words started being used, Mirai for one speaks like a Sailor once she gets feisty, firing “fucks” like no tomorrow. Ryoki also does this when she's in her Evil personality, and her sister Ryobi also swears often, especially when dealing with Ryoki's ghost or Ryona.
  • Odd Couple: Ikaruga/Katsuragi (they began as Fire-Forged Friends), Yomi/Hikage.
  • Only One Name: The entire cast, aside from Asuka's grandfather. Justified, since there are a lot of indications that these names are actually Code Names and not their real names.
  • Order Versus Chaos: What good and evil shinobi are more about. Good shinobi aim to protect this world but are rather stern and strict, while evil shinobi are depicted are more tolerant and individualists, but also more aggressive.
    • When trying to apply real-world politics to Senran Kagura, we have the good ninjas as being elitists and conservatives with shades of aristocratism (all ninja students come from a good ninja family) while bad ninjas are egalitarian/liberals (everyone have his/her chance) with Darwinism being the ultimate rule of law.
  • Palmtree Panic: The Tropical Beach stages in Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus. Doubles as a Beach Episode.
  • Panty Fighter: More like "Jiggly Fighter" in this case, especially when every character can have her clothes worn down to her bikini/underwear (or less in certain games).
  • Pastiche: Of serious ninja flicks; the melodramatic mannerisms of the series are fair and good, but when all is said and done, it's still a franchise about boobs, cute girls, strong yuri overtones (see YMMV) and the Power of Friendship never failing to save the say.
    • It varies from faction to faction, though. While Hanzo ninja are reluctant to kill unless absolutely necessary and relies heavily on the Power of Friendship trope, Hebijo ninja are much more faithful to the traditionnal depiction of the pitiless shinobi and shown to be willing to kill to accomply their mission.
      • During Haruka's mission to infiltrate Hanzo school in 'Burst', most of her reconnaissance squad ends up being possessed by the power of the ninja scroll and Haruka has to order Mirai to be ready to kill any of their former allies who would pose an obstacle to the success of the mission; Mirai is distressed by having to kill her comrades, and even Haruka is far from being confortable with the situation, but they end up doing it anyway.
      • On Shin Hebijo route in Shinovi Versus, Miyabi's group killing most of the others schools' characters is heavily implied. Yet as Ikaruga at least is shown to having survived her fight with Murasaki and has the opportunity to warn Yomi, their fate is ultimately anyone's guess.
  • The Power of Hate: The main theme of the Hebijo school, each student is motivated by a past grudge she can't get over.
    • Subverted in Burst, as it's the The Power of Friendship which allows Homura to save the others Hebijo girls from Orochi.
  • Private Military Contractors: Shinobi are this, when you boil it down. The difference between "good" and "evil" is that Good has been subsumed as a division of the Japanese military and has more restrictions imposed on its conduct, while Evil still accepts business contracts from private interests.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Yoma Generals in Deep Crimson is an entire team consisting of direct combat counterparts for the main cast, lead by, of course, Asuka- and Homura-clones.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Mastered by Suzune, for example when Haruka seems confident they can defeat the Hanzo girls, or when Miyabi tells her her objective is to restore 'Hebijo's pride'.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack:
    • In Shinovi Versus, The Death Cram girls' themes are all arrangements of classical music. The themes are references to their name, design or character (for example, 'Shiki' translates as 'Four seasons').
      • Yumi: Requiem Mass in D minor, by Mozart, and Piano Sonata No. 8 (Sonata Pathétique), by Beethoven
      • Murakumo: Scythian Suite Op. 20, by Sergei Prokofiev
      • Yozakura: Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight Sonata), by Beethoven
      • Shiki: The Four Seasons, by Vivaldi
      • Minori: The Nutcracker, by Tchaikovsky
    • This trend continues in Estival Versus, with each girl getting a song that's "festival" themed.
      • Yumi: Once again Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor, though it is taken from Lacrimosa portion of the song.
      • Minori: The Carnival of the Animals, by Camille Saint-Saëns. Specifically, from the "Finale."
  • Rank Inflation: You can normally get ranked A through D for mission performance. Beat a mission in Frantic mode and it gets bumped up to a star.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: While the Hebijo and Hanzo storylines in Burst claim to be different angles on the same story, there are clear contradictions in the narrative. The most blatant is with Hibari's defection to the Hebijo side... in the Hanzo story arc she voluntarily joins in in shameful self-exile after losing the Hanzo secret scroll, whereas the Hebijo story presents the same sequence of events as though she was simply brainwashed. The anime tries to combine these by having her be brainwashed into giving over the scroll, then willingly join Hebijo to reclaim it.
    • Deep Crimson deals with this by retelling the entire final chapter of Burst, streamlining the story and changing things as necessary to better fit the Yōma into the narrative.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Shinovi Versus deliberately contrasts Yumi and Miyabi, who are Good and Evil Blue Oni, against Asuka and Homura, who are Good and Evil Red Oni.
    • Ukyou and Sakyou, the twin guitarists from A.R.C. Angels, are a deliberate inversion. Due to mutual admiration, each sister decided to copy the other, so Ukyou, a natural Blue Oni, dyed her hair red and acts like an aggressive Genki Girl, while Sakyou, a natural Red Oni, dyed her hair blue and plays it calm and sweet.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Yoma are preceded by this.
  • Real Place Background: The series is mainly set in the Asakusa district in Tokyo while Deep Crimson is set in Kyoto and thus you visit many of their turistic spots through the games.
  • Rivals Team Up: At the end of Homura's storyline in Versus.
  • Rocket Tag Gameplay: How New Wave's battle system works.
    • Going Frantic ("Life or Death" in the Japanese text) makes the main games this, due to the massive offense boost and even bigger defense penalty Yin stance causes.
  • Rule of Sexy: One of the distinguishing features of the franchise being clothing damage when enough attacks have landed. One of the other distinguishing features of the franchise is the fact that almost everyone has large breasts, even if/when it makes little sense.
  • School Festival: In Shinovi Versus. For shinobi schools though, a school festival is more akin to a fierce martial arts tournament where the loser's school is burned to the ground by the winner.
    • And again in Estival Versus, although the "Festival" is started by an independent entity.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Warning, Foe Yay galore (see YMMV): in Senran Kagura, rivality tends to lead to the creation of very strong emotional bonds— and maybe more than this. Those girls are strong, and yet they live in a world different from the average people, it's no great wonder that they bond with each others intensely.
  • Secret Identity: In Shinovi Versus, Hanzo must have been delighted to play the role of a teacher for the girls-only school of Gessen; he was asked to do it by his friend/rival Kurokage feeling remorseful to have forced his beliefs about a pure and good shinobi world where evil has been extinguished on Yumi's group and want them to find their own way.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: In Estival Versus, it is now possible to do this by summoning other mooks to your aid with a special summon bombshell. The mook you summon is random but will help you out in battle by attacking enemies and diverting their attention. You can only use one summon bombshell at a time, as using another one will immediately replace your summoned mooks with new ones.
  • Sequel Escalation: While the original game involved a lot of deconstructing Black and White Morality, Shinovi Versus introduces the Gessen and New Hebijo teams, who are even more hardline philosophically.
  • Shout-Out: Murakumo's manga is about a muscular shinobi warrior in a post-apocalyptic future saving people from the clutches of evil ninja thieves. Hmmm....When you think about it, it sound suspiciously similar to a certain Fist of the North Star.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Despite the dark worldview, Senran Kagura tends to fall toward the idealist side, with The Power of Friendship and all the characters being Badass having prevented any major death so far.
    • Initially Asuka is The Idealist, Homura The Cynic. One of the the points of the first two games is to see their beliefs (and the two characters) drawing closer.
  • Skewed Priorities: Inverted. In the Versus games, the Crimson Squad is repeatedly mocked for worrying about keeping their mundane jobs ahead of their Shinobi duties. Except it's repeatedly shown they're barely making rent and often don't have enough to eat, and it's not like they have families or a school to back them up, making their concerns completely valid to the audience. This is already a delicate matter for Yomi, and this attitude makes her lose her shit at least once.
  • Skinship Grope: Dur. You don't see anything, but it happens between Yomi and Mirai early on. Not to mention all the times that Katsuragi invokes this on purpose.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Snow Mountain stage in Shinovi Versus and the Snow Festival Grounds stage in Estival Versus.
  • Spear Counterpart: As an April Fool's joke, we had Senran Kagura: Boys Edition.
    • There's only one person who could be responsible for something like this. Kaede.
  • Stage Fatality: Estival Versus introduces humorous fanservice versions of these called "Purupuru finishes".
  • Stone Wall: The turtle ninja in Shinovi Versus have the highest defense out of all the other mooks. Yes, even more than the giant bear shinobi. Luckily, their attacks don't do that much damage.
  • Storming the Castle: The Hanzo girls' assault on Hebijo and Gessen castle.
  • Stupid Good: Unexpectedly, the evil shinobi of Hebijo have shades of this trope. As mentioned under Equal Opportunity Evil, they pride themselves on accepting everyone, while good shinobi only accept a select few. This even applies to people whom they have reason to suspect are joining specifically to betray the school, or people who are explicitly joining to kill one of the other students.
  • Stylistic Suck: The crude-looking fighting animations in New Wave, as this video demonstrates.
  • Summon Magic: Several high level ninpo actually call forth special animals to help their summoner attack.
    • The most commonly-occurring example is Hibari's cartoony magic rabbit, who rides around on a thunder cloud; he can be seen in just about every game she can use ninpo in.
    • Asuka and Yumi have powerful summons in Shinovi Versusa giant frog and giant ice-spider, respectively — but neither of these appears in Estival Versus. The girls' ultimate ninpos instead become brief access to their Super Modes.
  • Super Mode: Started by Homura and her "Crimson Mode", but now each team leader has access to one as of Estival Versus.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Happens sometimes in New Wave when the player is about to finish off an enemy.
  • Technicolor Ninjas: Very few of the characters have outfits that resemble something a ninja would actually wear, and yet they are just as effective at their craft as any traditionally garbed ninja. This is given a Hand Wave with the ninjas' able to seal small battlegrounds in what amounts to a pocket dimension — depending on the translation it either takes advantage of Weirdness Censor or is an actual, cut-off-from-Earth pocket dimension.
  • The Lost Woods: The Forest of Requiem stage in Estival Versus.
  • The Thing That Goes "Doink!": Gessen Academy has one of these in their ninja room.
    • The old training facility the Hanzo girls visit in the anime has one as well.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: According to Estival, the canon ending to Shinovi was primarily the Gessen ending with several elements from the other three paths added in, including Ryobi and Ryona's assassination plot, The Reveal about Kagura and Shin, Rin leaving Hebijo and becoming an independent Shinobi, Dogen's return and brainwashing plot, and the four teams genuinely befriending one another.
  • To Be a Master: In the beginning, it was only Asuka who was completely devoted to the concept, but ever since Shinovi Versus introduced the concept of the Kagura, well, everyone's wanted to be one.
  • Tomboy: Katsuragi seems like one. She goes around without buttoning her shirt or wearing anything underneath. There's also Kanzaki who backs this up with her masculine personality and appearance.
  • Training from Hell: The daily regiment at any Ninja School, but Hebijo takes it to an extreme degree, even by ninja standards.
    • It helps to compensate the fact that contrary to Hanzo, few of Hebijo's students come from a family with a ninja background; the main recruitment point has much more to do with anger and revenge.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Asuka, barely competent at first, grows into becoming one of the finest shinobi of her school and a worthy rival for Homura.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Haruka very blatantly enjoys being beaten to the point of having her clothing shredded. Ryōna on the other hand takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Toku: Yomi and Ikaruga do a semi-regular tokusatsu show for the children of the slums, complete with masked super-heroes and (ninja-powered) special effects.
  • Transformation Sequence: Shinobi Transformation!
  • Troperiffic: The game is seemingly intended to be a massive collection of Fanservice and Fetish tropes. A Cliché Storm is one thing, but a storm this big is... kinda hard to frown at.
  • True Companions: Explicitly used within each school. Including the "bad" ones. One chapter of the manga, lifted straight from the first game, has Asuka drawing up a little family tree made up of her classmates.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Senran Kagura 2's Hipster DLC features this.
  • Unreliable Narrator: We have the Funimation dub of the anime to thank for that.
  • Updated Re-release: Senran Kagura Burst: Crimson Girls, which is an updated version of the first game, Senran Kagura: Portrait of Girls. It's biggest update is a story mode that follows the antagonists of the game, the Hebijo schoolgirls.
  • Vague Age: The English localization of the SK games, which lists birthday, blood type, height, and the three measurements, leaves out their age. The Japanese games, having different standards, averts this.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: As expected of a fanservice franchise. In each games' dressing rooms, you can do questionable things to any of the girls such as flipping their skirts or jiggling their breasts. However, all of them will tell you to stop it or outright scold or reprimand you for it (except for Ryona, of course).
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: The franchise puts much emphasis on the fact the girls use their ample cleavage to hide their secret ninja scroll.
  • Victory Pose: After clearing each stage.
  • Villains Out Shopping: As part of the Grey and Gray Morality, every character has hobbies and talks about things they plan to do in their downtime, and most of the girls are downright cordial to each other if they happen to meet in public. It's at its most visible in Bon Appetit!, which shows how the Hebijo Elites might react to the other characters if they didn't have a brainwashing-induced pathological hatred of the other teams.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Customizing the girls' appearances is a staple feature in the games that gets more and more advanced with every installment.
    • In Burst, you can assign each one a Uniform (seen pre-transformation), a Shinobi Outfit (seen post-transformation), a swimsuit (for frantic mode and also seen during transformations), and an extra item or two (accessories and generic wigs). There were also a few restrictions in terms of what girls could wear what costumes.
    • In Shinovi Versus, any girl can wear any costume, "extra" is divided into the hair slot and several accessory slots, wigs now include designs based off the hairstyles of the various characters, you can adjust the size and placement of accessories, and the swimsuit slot was replaced with the lingerie slot (the designs of which consist strictly of skimpy underwear, rather than some of the less-revealing offerings from Burst).
    • In Deep Crimson, any costume in the Uniform or Shinobi Outfit slots can be applied to either one of those slots (even if they were intended for the opposite slot), wigs come in any combination of style and color (I.E. character 1 can wear a wig based on character 2's hairstyle that has character 3's hair color), accessories can be assigned to appear in either or both of a girl's transformed and untransformed states, lingerie are called swimsuits again (but are otherwise the same as in SV), transformed and untransformed states can each be assigned an individual swimsuit, and you can also give the girls different weapons (which are purely cosmetic).
  • Visual Novel: Some parts of the story are delivered in this fashion, complete with artwork.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Look at Shiki's face. Those sharp eyes, the Beauty Mark, even her transformation showcasing a Grim Reaper theme, her ninja costume which seems to be made of garterbelts only, none of this would prepare you for the voice she has - it sounds younger than most of the other characters, like that of a small child.
  • Weapon of Choice: Every character has one. See the character list for examples.
  • Wham Episode: The Crimson Squad's story in Shinovi Versus reveals that not only did Dogen survive the events of Burst, but the reason the New Hebijo girls are such massive assholes is because he brainwashed them to go into homicidal rage whenever they see someone from the other teams (Except Miyabi. He's blackmailing her).
  • Womb Level: The final level of the Hebijo campaign in Burst is the inside of Yamata no Orochi. Being an Eldritch Abomination, it's an Eldritch Location.
  • The Worf Effect: This happens to all of Hanzo. They never have a clean victory in their own stories until the final set of fights, and in the other stories, they lose clean every time they fight. The one exception is Yagyu, who beats Mirai in there first encounter in both storylines of burst.
  • World of Action Girls: Falls in line with the premise. Although male shinobi exist (Kiriya and Hanzo are two retired shinobi, for example), it's implied that there aren't any that are active in the schools depicted so far. Senran Kagura 2 actually adds in a playable male character in the form of Ikaruga's brother, Murasame, who gets the same Rule of Sexy treatment as the girls.
  • World of Buxom: Almost the entire cast is busty as hell, and you can count the exceptions on one hand. Mirai used to be the only flat-chested character, but Shinovi Versus introduced Ryoubi, who's just as flat but compensates with the illusion of her shinobi form. Then New Wave introduced Muramasa and Ranmaru, who's actually modestly-sized instead of being huge or flatnote . Estival Versus then added Kafuru, who also sports a modest endowment.
  • Wutai: This is a game series about female shinobi that takes place in Japan, so of course there will be stages placed in Japanese schools, cities, towns, shrines, temples, castles, and even public hot springs.
  • You All Look Familiar: The models for the most of the mooks pretty much have the same skin.
  • Younger Than They Look: Despite their appearances, the majority of the characters are below age 18, with few exceptions (Characters like Ikaruga, Haruka, and Nachi who are 18, while characters like Miyabi, Imu, and Daidōji are in their 20s, for example).

"Troper, dance in the shadows for justice!"

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/SenranKagura