This week marks the launch of Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls, a game in which one group of anime girls representing Sega game consoles faces off against another group of anime girls representing Sega game consoles.
Since 2010, Idea Factory's Hyperdimension Neptunia series has been acting out the console wars with anime characters representing the major game console makers and Sega. In 2013, Sega teamed up with Ascii Media Works' Dengeki Bunko imprint to create the Sega Hard Girls, a multimedia property starring anthropomorphized game consoles.
Now the two different sets of Sega hardware ladies face off in an action RPG for the PlayStation Vita. Let's take a trip through Sega console history!
While Sega Hard Girls features characters representing Sega hardware all the way back to the SG-1000, the Hyperdimension universe only goes back to the Mega Drive/Genesis as far as Sega is concerned, so we'll start there.
Sega Hard Girls: The Sega Hard Girls are generally named after the console they represent, though the character designs make it pretty obvious. The Hard Girls version of the Mega Drive, for example, features those three iconic controller buttons on her hair clip and shoes. A know-it-all with an encyclopedic knowledge of 16-bit gaming, she carries an actual 16-bit gaming encyclopedia, just in case anyone forgets.
Image via the Superdimension Neptune website. Note that Sega Hard Girls has a separate character for the North American version of the Mega Drive named Genesis, a self-obsessed American cowgirl. Of course.
Superdimension: The Hyperdimension Neptunia universe prefers to keep things more vague, as they don't really have the rights to the real names and such. It also bears mentioning that most CPU characters in the series feature both a civilian mode and a power-up mode.
Plutia represents the Mega Drive in the Hyperdimension Neptunia universe. Her civilian form is sort of all over the place, but the controller silhouette near the waist give it away. Her CPU form is sort of, well. I wouldn't know she was supposed to be a Mega Drive, that's for sure.
Image via the Hyperdimension Neptunia wiki. The two properties diverge during the next generation, one taking a more prototypical turn than the
Superdimension: What? What's a Sega Neptune, you ask? Why it was a planned console that combined the Sega Mega Drive and 32X add-on into one system. It never made it to market, and is kind of a joke. It's also the main character of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, or rather she is.
Neptune, Nep or Nepnep as she is affectionately called by her friends, is the main character in most of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games. She is plucky and a bit clueless, with a habit of breaking the fourth wall. She transforms into Purple Heart, one of the tamer CPU transformations despite the purple "here there be genitals" strip.
Sega Hard Girls: She is the Saturn to Superdimension's Neptune, and she's also a reminder that video game consoles released in Japan aren't always the same as their Western counterparts. Along with the S design on her collar and boots, Saturn features the trio of buttons, green, yellow and blue, that appeared on the Japanese Saturn controller. In North America, our buttons were black, because we're edgy.
The Superdimension Neptune website describes Saturn as "constantly sarcastic and aloof." She acts tough, but she's really quite sensitive.
Image via the Superdimension Neptune website.
Here's where the two properties meet up again. Everybody loves the Dreamcast, especially in retrospect, but only two anime girls are the Dreamcast.
Sega Hard Girls: If we were picking winners here, Sega Hard Girls' Dreamcast would get the nod. She's basically got a Dreamcast controller on her head. Between that and the orange swirls and the pink taffy hair, she's pretty much exactly as I remember the Dreamcast console.
Image via the Superdimension Neptune website. Note that the Sega Hard Girls also have a character that represents the Dreamcast controller's visual memory unit. They're really comprehensive.
Superdimension Neptune: Uzume Tennouboshi is a relatively new addition to the Hyperdimension series cast, having her made her debut in Megadimension Neptunia VII for the PlayStation 4. She's a tough-as-nails character with a VMU strapped to her glove and one random black sleeve for some reason.
Oddly enough, when she transforms into her alter ego, Orange Heart, she's as sweet as can be. I love her Dreamcast lid accessory.
Image via the Hyperdimension Neptunia wiki.
Almost done, but we'd be remiss if we didn't cover Sega's stab at portable gaming.
Sega Hard Girls: Game Gear is an introvert who tires quite easily, which is most likely an allusion to the Game Gear's relatively short battery life (at least it wasn't the Nomad).
She's also one of my favourite Sega Hard Girls designs, and not just because the hair reminds me of Rainbow Dash and she has controller buttons on her head. OK, mainly those two things.
Image via the Superdimension Neptune website. Superdimension: Though meant to represent the Game Gear, CPU candidate Nepgear's design is mainly a riff on her older sister, Neptune. In both forms she doesn't have much in terms of reference to the Sega hardware. This is especially unfortunate in light of the designs of her fellow CPU candidates, especially Ram and Rom, the sisters who represent the Nintendo DS (two screens, get it?).
Image via the Hyperdimension Neptunia wiki. That should be enough to ensure you don't mistake a CPU or CPU candidate for a Sega Hard Girl in Superdimension Neptune Vs. Sega Hard Girls. For more on the game, check out the official website, and here's a link to the Japanese Sega Hard Girls character page, where you can see all of the anthropomorphized Sega hardware in all of their glory.