Girl in the Machine
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sister slasher samurai slashing zombies up in here.

ZOMBIE WHALE.

Am I done now? No? Fine.

This is a screenshot from Oneechanbara: Vortex, part of a Japan-only series (yes, it's a series) of hack 'n slash, zombie-dispatching, motorcycle-riding, bikini-wearing, samurai/cowboy proportions. The series was first introduced in 2004 on the Playstation 2 and has seen many iterations and upgrades since then. Recently, Oneechanbara Revolution was announced for release on the Wii, bringing what I'm sure will be very imaginative motion controls to the unique franchise.

Oneechanbara's name is something of a mouthful indeed, combining the words "sister," "samurai," and "slasher," which I suppose says it all. It combines Dynasty Warriors-style combat with the occasional motorcycle romp, and players can typically switch between protagonist Aya and her schoolgirl sister, Saki, for even more zombie-goring shenanigans. There is also, inevitably, a dress-up mode.


That's all there is to it, really. You play as a waifish Japanese girl dressed in a bikini and cowboy duds who drives around on a motorcycle hacking legions of the undead to pieces with a samurai sword invoking magnificent sprays of blood and oh by the way, remember that zombie whale? It's all just as ridiculous as it sounds, and frankly it leaves me confused.

True enough, Oneechanbara combines everything your stereotypical gamer nerd desires: chicks, ultra violence, sweet bikes, and samurai/cowboy action. The thing is, however, it's so goddamn kitschy that not only are you utterly unable to take it seriously, it doesn't even take itself seriously. It's a goofy game that cranks up the camp without crossing the line into ick-territory. Games like Dead or Alive alienate female gamers with gratuitous panty-shots and gravity-defying tit physics in an otherwise great fighting game; Oneechanbara achieves exactly what it sets out to do while keeping things, well, strangely light and fun.

Plus, you have it give it this: the ladies of Oneechanbara are all kickass, take-no-prisoners, zombie-stomping gods of the blade that are never victimized. The games don't exactly set out to make you think, and they're far from intelligent as far as concepts go, but there is something there.

In the end, is Oneechanbara over the top and ridiculous? Definitely. Is it offensive? No. I expect many people will disagree with me, and that's perfectly valid. But, looking at the big picture, this is a game that, while it may toe the line, it does so with humor, and you can't help but look at it as an amusing parody of everything that's wrong with the gaming industry.

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 Posted by BomberGirl
 7:59 AM + Link to this post
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