In the deep parts of the mountains lies a small village called Hoori, a remote village with no train stops. Thanks to this isolation, the village has resisted the spread of civilization, giving it a rustic charm, and is also home to hot springs. This has led it to be a very famous tourist destination for people to travel to, but its most famous attraction is the divine blade Murasamemaru. This blade has been stuck in a stone though and so far, no one has ever been able to pull it out.
Arichi Masaomi is visiting the village to help his grandfather run a hotel he manages, and he happens to try and pull the blade out, which he successfully does. At the cost of breaking the blade and now, he must make amends for what he has done. How may you ask? Well by marrying the village’s shrine maiden of course. This is only the start for Arichi, as he has to come to terms with everything that is happening at this time, his time at Hoori, will certainly be a wild ride.
Although that is not all that is there in Hoori village, as on some nights, demons will come out into the forest thanks to the Tomotake curse. Yoshino Tomotake and Mako Hitachi must purify the demons when they come out to subdue the curse as a whole. The two tell Masaomi to sit it out but he does not want that and decides to help out and get stronger as a whole.
Thanks to his grandpa Kurama Genjuurou running a dojo, he can get stronger and help fight demons with the help of the sword Murasame, who happens to have a green-haired ghost attached to it that is afraid of other ghosts despite being one herself.
Pros and Cons
Interesting story with plenty of fun characters
Five different routes with seven unique endings
Wonderful music that is very pleasing to listen to
Beautiful art style that makes each area full of life and shines
Masaomi is generic and lacks character development
Some of the fan service content is a little unnecessary
The pace of the story can be a bit slow at times
Senran Banka has a wonderful cast of characters, and the story is interesting to boot as well. One of my favorite aspects is the whole mythological aspects of the story. I wish it was explored more throughout the story, as I think it would have been a neat idea as a whole to explore. Although when it is talked about, that's when I get very invested in the story, with a unique premise and with it even having its own history felt very Japanese Mythology like. Senran Banka is spread apart into two sections for its story, the first one is where you are dealing with and exploring the mythological aspect that it has. The other part is the character development for the route you have chosen to do.
There are a total of five different routes for you to experience, with seven different endings and scenarios. I chose the Mako route as Mako was a ninja and ninjas are cool~. I enjoyed her personality the most out of all the characters. She helps the Tomotake family out with the housework and the hunting of demons on certain nights. The other character that I liked was Roka Maniwa, she runs a sweet shop and I actually think she is the best-designed character besides Mako. If it were not for Mako, I probably would have chosen Roka's route, although I do wish she had more screen time as a whole and maybe played a larger role in the story.
Just a note, there is also an option for you to date your cousin, but you can easily avoid that route if this sort of thing bothers you.
Now, with all that positivity, comes a few issues that Senran Banka suffers from, and while it does not hold it back, they are still worth noting. Masaomi plays out like a typically unlikeable main character with no personality. I do not like him, period, he is bland, boring, and just unlikeable. Since this is a dialog-heavy visual novel, this is a huge problem, as you want to make the main character at least likable as a whole.
The next issue I have is a combination of two issues. The fan service on occasion can be a little unnecessary in the story, even though I understand the use in some situations to better showcase certain aspects of specific characters. Now, this is fine on certain occasions, however, there are ways for you to make a character likable without a fan service scene. I did not like Mako because of the fan service stuff, I liked Mako because she was a Ninja and had the most interesting personality out of the bunch.
Since there is a little too much fanservice at times, this also slows the pacing down as well and it can be a bit of a slog to get through. I also hate the stereotype trope of every female character thinking that the MC is a pervert when he is really not. While Senran Banka does not have all the typical anime tropes that are out there, it does have a few of them, that being, the worst ones imaginable.
The art style used in Senran Banka is honesty really beautiful and very colorful in its areas shown. Each area is full of life and is very detailed, the character sprites are also very well done and definitely fit the art style that the visual novel was going for. I even like the designs that the demons had as well, they felt very mysterious while having a threatening charm to them that I liked.
I'll take a moment to talk a bit about the music, as it’s definitely well done and deserving of its praise. The voice acting has to be another thing worth mentioning as I liked all the voices that the visual novel had to offer, there was never a voice I hated.
I tested this VN on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. I experienced no issues while I was playing, and it should be able to run on any computer.
All in all, Senran Banka is a visual novel worth your time and attention if you enjoy the slice-of-life type of stuff. It has a total of 50+ hours in terms of content, so if you are someone who likes to explore all possible situations, then I recommend this visual novel at full price. Although if you only plan to play this visual novel once, then you are better off getting it on sale, as 39.99 is definitely a steep price to pay for a 12-hour experience.