SG 8

Perhaps it says something about the fundamental goodness of the human heart that once someone is no longer with us, we tend to remember the good things about him or her. Even though the memories of petty differences and irritants tend to fade with time, the happy moments often remain with us, sometimes picking up an even warmer aura as nostalgia colors them.

The phenomena doesn’t just happen with people, though, but video game hardware too. This partially explains why Sega, which discontinued its most recent console well over a decade ago, is seeing a new anime being produced in which the main characters are cute, anthropomorphized versions of the company’s defunct video game systems.

Ironically, the all-female core characters of the Sega Hard Girls multimedia franchise haven’t yet had their own dedicated video game. They’ve made guest appearances in other titles, though, and there’s also a continuing Sega Hard Girls novel serialization which started last summer.

The series packs a one-two punch consisting first of the old-school appeal of paying homage to consoles that attracted extremely dedicated fan bases, even if in the end their numbers weren’t enough to convince Sega to stay in the hardware business. And of course, as with so many successful Japanese pop media venture, the series packs a full selection of cute but non-threatening girls.

Each of Sega Hard Girls’ principal young ladies is inspired by a different piece of Sega hardware. Not only do their birthdays synch up with the day each console went on sale, their visual designs and backstories incorporate a number of cues from their respective namesakes. For example, not only does the expressive Dreamcast’s hairstyle resemble that of unofficial system mascot Ulala from rhythm game Space Channel 5, she’s also gotten used to dealing with poverty, no doubt a subtle reference to the system’s lackluster sales.

SG 1

Sega Saturn’s black and white ensemble harkens back to the two colors the console of the same name was available in, and while the Saturn logos on her two rods are the most eye-catching, the S motif also shows up on her oversized necklace/chocker and boots. She’s described as acting like nothing fazes her, despite secretly always striving to do her best, akin to how the system’s peak performance came when all eight of its processors were working in tandem.

SG 2

As the first 16-bit home console, Sega’s Mega Drive, renamed Genesis for its North American release, represented a huge leap forward in processing power, so it’s fitting that Sega Hard Girls’ character of the same name would be described as intelligent and analytical. The system also just happened to be involved in the longest, bitterest console war video gaming has ever seen, in its long battle with rival Nintendo’s Super Famicom/Super NES, which helps explain this young lady’s competitive streak.

Her barrette is clearly modeled after the three-button layout of Sega’s 16-bit controller, but what American gamers might not know is that the maroon trim on her outfit matches the dab of color on the top of the Mega Drive console, which was changed to crimson for the Genesis (presumably because red is more XTREME!).

SG 3

Being based on Sega’s portable system, Game Gear has the diminutive frame you’d expect, plus her colorful locks are a match for the system’s tri-colored log. With a full-color and backlit screen, the Game Gear tended to go through batteries faster than the rival Game Boy, which is reflected in the character’s routinely low energy level.

SG 4

Calling it a system is stretching things a bit, but the Dreamcast’s memory card did have its own display and buttons, and could be used to play simple minigames. The peripheral’s representative character, Visual Memory, is predictably good friends with Dreamcast. Visual Memory is even able to shrink down to a size tiny enough that she can rest inside the controller Dreamcast uses as a helmet, much like how the Dreamcast system’s memory card was inserted into a slot on the controller.

SG 5

Most biting of all is the character description for Super 32X, whose connected system lost the “Super” portion of its name in territories outside of Japan. The majority of gamers would say the nominal downgrade was appropriate, as the 32X add-on was a blatant attempt to squeeze one more year of life out of the Mega Drive, and what little support Sega gave to the peripheral disappeared at almost the exact instant the company’s Dreamcast console was ready to launch.

So how does this tie in to Super 32X’s personality? Well, she enjoys teasing people, fast-talking them, and even when she’s caught doing something wrong, she’ll offer a litany of excuses before she apologizes. Sounds spot-on to us.

SG 6

Last, and while not least, certainly most obscure, is TeraDrive. Released three years after the Mega Drive’s debut, the TeraDrive system was a PC with an integrated Mega Drive console, manufactured by IBM, of all companies, which have effectively zero impact on both the PC and video game worlds, and was almost instantly and completely forgotten.

Given this background, one can see why the character TeraDrive, despite her considerable information sorting capabilities, is prone to bouts of delusional romanticism that don’t exactly pan out.

SG 7

The Sega Hard Girls official Twitter account says it will reveal more details to fans as they become available, but currently specifics are scarce. An air date hasn’t been announced yet either, although it’s probably a safe bet that we’ll see the first episode of the anime long before Sega’s next game console.

Source: Jin
Top image: Sega Hard Girls
Insert images: Jin