Paths of the Shinobi
The story of SENRAN KAGURA: Skirting Shadows, the debut of the franchise, which focuses on Asuka and the rest of the Hanzō National Academy members.
"Be subtle! Be subtle! And use your spies for every kind of business."
In ages past, in the shadows of the night, they steered the course of a nation's history. They were scouts, spies, and saboteurs. They were eyes, ears, and whispers. They were confidants...and cutthroats.
Trained at hidden schools, they developed skills and tricks beyond the comprehension of outsiders. Legends grew of their supposed secrets and clandestine deeds. Within those legends, they appeared as supernatural tricksters, able to confound their enemies' minds, vanish into thin air, or call upon the spirit world.
As centuries passed, and as the age of steel and gold gave way to lead and paper, the tales of the mystical shinobi faded away, consigned to well-worn myths and children's fables.
But shinobi still exist. In the modern age, where any ordinary citizen can send what they see worldwide at the flick of a finger, shinobi have developed ever-more-sophisticated physical and spiritual techniques — all of which, as it happens, are very real indeed — to stay hidden in plain sight. Gone are their traditional black garb and masks, replaced by suits, street clothes – and student uniforms.
For all their subterfuge, no shinobi has ever eluded death forever. Surrounded by neverending threats, few shinobi live to see retirement, and the various noble houses and factions — including those among the so-called "good shinobi," who operate with the tacit blessing of the Japanese government — are in constant need of new recruits. To fill that need, shinobi operate secret academies, often hidden within ordinary schools, inviting certain youths of particular talent and promise to train in the ancient shinobi arts.
The Path of the Shinobi is paved with sweat, with tears, with steel and blood — but also with love and friendship, for no shinobi could ever survive alone. Join these brave young students now, the finest among equals at Hanzō National Academy, as they strive to burn bright in the shadows.
The story of SENRAN KAGURA Burst, the second title in the franchise, which focuses on Homura and her classmates at Hebijo Clandestine Girls' Academy.
"The enemy's spies who have come to spy on us must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. Thus they will become converted spies and available for our service."
Much has changed in the world since the first shinobi scrolls were written. But though the cities of old have grown to the sky, though ordinary folk carry everyday devices their ancestors would have taken for magic, some truths remain unchangeable.
Men will always desire wealth. And power. And revenge. And where the law binds a man from taking it, there will always be others to take it for him, for a price.
In ages past, lords and well-connected courtiers called upon shinobi for such things. Not the loyal shinobi of the noble houses, but clandestine mercenaries ready to trade blood for gold. Such men turned the shinobi's steel toward their rivals, and, fully aware that their rivals could do likewise, dreaded every shadow on their gilded walls.
Even as they employed these supernatural assassins, they feared and despised them, railed against them for their lack of loyalty and honor. And so, while shinobi who followed their lords' commands came to be known as "good" — among those who knew of them at all — those shinobi who followed the largest purse bore the brand of "evil."
But where good favors few, evil accepts all.
Welcome to Hebijo Clandestine Girls' Academy, a modern-day shinobi school hidden inside an ancient castle. All who apply, from the noble scion to the downtrodden urchin, are accepted here, given a new home and a fresh start. But they face harsh, deadly lessons each day, all in a hidden world where the strong not only survive, but dominate. And in that hidden world, with any chance of a normal life long gone, they have only one another to rely on.
Join these brave young students now, the fiercest survivors of Hebijo Clandestine Girls' Academy, as they strive to burn bright in the shadows.
Prequel for Yumi (DLC)
A brand-new prequel, set before Yumi met Asuka and Homura.
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain."
Where some see shades of gray, others see hard absolutes. Kurokage, one of the most gifted and renowned shinobi of the modern era, saw only good or evil in all things, and dedicated his life to eradicating evil from the world.
Other shinobi called him a fanatic, and eventually declared him a renegade — an outlaw among shinobi, to be hunted down and killed on sight. Still he persisted, striking out from hiding at every shade of evil he could find.
When age began to slow him down, he took in students, his orphaned granddaughter Yumi foremost among them. At Gessen Girls' Academy, he passed his teachings down to his five young disciples — or, as he considered them, his family. To keep them safe from the renegade hunters still on his trail, he sheltered them from the outside world.
Now, Yumi and her comrades have come of age, and have begun to put their grandfather's teachings into practice. But when their moral absolutism clashes with the nuance and ambiguity of the real world, sparks will fly, clouds will form, and friendships may well spin apart...
Prequel for Miyabi (DLC)
A brand-new prequel, set before Miyabi met Asuka and Homura.
"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you look long enough into the abyss, the abyss gazes back into you."
However "evil" one might consider a shinobi, there are far more evil, more frightening things in the world than any human. There are nightmares that crawl in the dark, just beyond your eyes and just beneath your conscious mind. Drawn to the scent of blood, they spring upon warriors in the midst of battle, rending limb from limb and leaving no witnesses.
The whispers of their few mad survivors call them "demons." The shinobi — those elite among the shinobi who've earned the right to know of their existence — call them by another name: the yōma.
As a child, Miyabi saw a yōma tear her mother apart. Thanks to her shinobi father, she survived, and has trained for revenge ever since. Now, together with her childhood friend Imu, she enters Hebijo Clandestine Girls' Academy.
To gain the knowledge and the yōma-killing power she needs, she'll have to fight her way to the top of the class. But that power comes at a price, and she may lose more than even she is prepared to pay...