Video Game: Senran Kagura

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 Kagura is a series of fanservice-filled 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" note , 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.

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.

Aside from the video games, two manga adaptations were released, and an anime aired in the Winter 2013 Anime season.

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)note 
  • Senran Kagura: New Wave (2013; Mobile Phone Game; playable through GREE and Mobage)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; Playstation Vita and Playstation 4)note 

Tropes presented by Senran Kagura:

  • Action Bomb: Rat Shinobi in SV are the this on hard difficulty.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bleached Underpants: Yaegashi Nan, the artist of the series, has drawn some pretty risqué NSFW artwork before he helped with Senran Kagura.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Famous Ancestor: Hattori Hanzō is the founder of the Hanzo Academy. Asuka is his grand-daughter, and yet she leaves a lot to be desired.
  • 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.
    • 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.
      • Senran Kagura passes the The Bechdel Test. In fact, in the whole franchise there was only a short hint of (straight) romance at the beginning of the first game, but it was more of a Red Herring; to show what the girls are prepared to lose, how much they are willing to sacrifice a normal youth to become shinobi.
  • 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.
  • Flanderization: A lot of character quirks are greatly exaggerated in Bon Appetit, but it's done intentionally to drive the game's humor.
  • 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.
  • 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 Daidouji-sempai and Suzune-sensei).
    • Shinovi Versus introduced the Death Cram academy and the New Hebijo girls.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 have 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 school festival where Anyone Can Die.
  • Guest Fighter: Estival Versus features a guest appearance from Ayane, Sonsaku Hakufu, Kan'u Uncho and Rofu Housen as Downloadable Content.
  • 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.
  • Harem Ending: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Hanzou 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 Hanzou, and when playing through the Hanzou storyline, they never truly win the first round against either team.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 eventually give 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.
  • Lecherous Licking: Haruka does this to Hibari in the 10th episode of the anime. Whether it stops with just licking is up for debates.
  • Level Up Fill Up: 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.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ninja: In-universe, the proper term is shinobi.note 
  • 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).
  • Nintendo Hard: Both of Daidōji and Rin's final story missions.
    • Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is by far the most difficult game of the series.
  • 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.
  • 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).
    • 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.
  • Odd Couple: Ikaruga/Katsuragi (they began as Fire-Forged Friends), Yomi/Hikage.
  • Only One Name: The entire cast, aside from Asuka's grandfather. Provided he's not taking the mantle of Legacy Character.
    • There is a very high possibility that the names used by the heroines are code names, and not their real names; in Shinovi Versus, when Kurokage adopts his grand-daughter, he explicitly tell her that from now on her ninja name is "Yumi."
      • Katsuragi confirms in Burst that her name at the very least is a codename for identification and she very much treasures the name her parents gave her. This implies that every other Shinobi's name is also very much a codename. The fact that Rin so easily changed her name to Suzune further implies this.
      • In a flashback, Asuka remembers when she received this name.
  • 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.
  • Panty Fighter: More like "Jiggly Fighter" in this case, especially when every character can have her clothes worn down to her bikini (or less in certain games).note 
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Rivals Team Up: At the end of Homura's storyline in Versus.
  • Rocket Tag Gameplay: How New Wave's battle system works.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Escalation: While the original game involved a lot of deconstructing Black and White Morality, Shinovi Versus introduces the Death Cram and New Hebijou 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.
    • ...I am Yozakura...Bzzz...Yozakura...Showtime...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spear Counterpart: As an April Fool's joke, we had Senran Kagura: Boys Edition
  • 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.
  • 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 Thing That Goes Doink: Gessen Academy has one of these in their ninja room.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: There are multiple costumes for the characters. All of them are susceptible to inevitable Clothing Damage.
    • Shinovi Versus takes this trope a little farther as it will allow the player to customize the hair of the characters, place some accessories, etc.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, with few exceptions. Mirai used to be the only flat-chested character, but Shinovi Versus added Ryoubi, who's only flat when she's not in her shinobi form. New Wave also added Muramasa as well as Ranmaru who's actually modestly-sized instead of being huge or flat.
  • 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 there 20s, for example).

Troper, dance in the shadows for justice !