Senpai

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Senpai is the primary opponent of Week 6. His tracks include Senpai and Roses. He is a love interest in a dating sim that Girlfriend plays, challenging Boyfriend for her affection after the couple are thrown into the game.

Appearance

Senpai is a young man with light skin, a constant blush, strawberry blonde hair, and wide blue eyes. He wears a partially tucked-in periwinkle blue button-up shirt, a loose pink tie, grayish-purple jeans held up by a black belt with a silver buckle, and grayish-purple shoes. He carries a brown backpack in his right hand over his right shoulder and holds a pink microphone with a bluish-gray capsule loosely in his left with his thumb and index finger. His head sparkles whenever he is not singing. Fitting his dating sim origins, he stands and stares forward in the player's direction instead of towards his opponent. Additionally, he is portrayed in an anime-esque pixel art style.

His previously happy expression changes to a more discomforted and menacing glare in Roses, with the upper part of his face appearing bluish-purple and shadowing his eyes. His tie is now bent. He now clutches his microphone fully in his left hand. The sparkles around his head are now gone. His forward-facing stance remains the same, but his eyes are now squarely in Boyfriend's direction, even while singing.

Personality

Senpai is normally a very polite and calm individual who typically speaks in a formal way, especially towards people he likes. However, he has a short temper and is a sore loser, becoming rude and speaking more vulgarly after losing. This sudden behavior change is explained as a result of Senpai's programming being unable to handle a loss since he was only ever meant to be perfect.

Senpai has been described as a "generic pretty boy asshole" and is somewhat based on how people who are self-centered or toxic can be in real life.[2] He may also be insecure, as he would be the kind of person who strips when no one asks him to, and when he isn't told that he looks awesome, he starts crying.[3] He is also the type of person to have all sorts of prejudices, including being racist[4] and anti-gay, and he would call people slurs, even though he would have pronouns in his bio.[5]

History

A long time ago, someone was forcefully trapped within the confines of a dating sim game by Daddy Dearest under unknown circumstances. Now stuck in the game without any hope of escaping, he would possess its programming and lay dormant until someone arrived so he could finally escape and substitute whoever arrived.

The dating sim game belongs to Girlfriend, and she has played it a lot. While hanging out with Boyfriend, she finds it and decides to play it with him. However, they both ended up being pushed into the game by Daddy Dearest, likely as another attempt on Boyfriend's life. Soon after, they meet Senpai, and he chivalrously challenges Boyfriend. After being bested, he suddenly breaks character, quickly becoming angry and vulgar.

Spirit busting out of Senpai's face during the cutscene for Thorns, leading to his death.

Having lost twice, Senpai is seen writhing before something violently bursts out of his face and destroys him. Spirit, the one trapped in the game, finally emerges in Senpai's place, causing the once bright location of the school grounds to become desolate, deserted and dark. He reveals that he has been trapped in the game without contact from other humans for so long. Despite this, he reveals that he recognizes Girlfriend and remembers how her father was responsible for his imprisonment. He also states that he is not the only person who has met this cruel fate at her father's hands.

With the last song, Spirit plans to win against Boyfriend in a rap battle so he can take over both his and Girlfriend's bodies (and leave them to take his place inside the game in return) to finally escape and enact revenge against Daddy Dearest for his and everyone else's suffering. However, Spirit loses, leaving his fate unknown. It is unclear what happens to Senpai or the game after this.

Relationships

Girlfriend

Senpai is likely someone whom Girlfriend has known for a long time as a love interest in her dating sim game. After Girlfriend is sent into the game, Senpai quickly falls in love with her after meeting her, believing her to be a "new fair maiden" who came "in search of true love." This makes sense as Senpai aims to win the player's heart, and the dating sim is Girlfriend's. He challenges Boyfriend to a singing battle to determine who can be with her. When he loses, he gets angry but is still determined to win Girlfriend over, threatening to castrate Boyfriend after getting freaky with Girlfriend.

Boyfriend

Senpai is initially friendly toward Boyfriend, deciding to engage in a serenade between gentlemen to decide who will be able to date Girlfriend. However, after Boyfriend beats him in a rap battle, Senpai gets very angry at him. He threatens to rip Boyfriend's testicles off as soon as he is done letting Girlfriend gargle his own. Despite this, he wants to upstage Boyfriend without violence.[6] Boyfriend doesn't seem to care about being threatened, simply responding to Senpai with beeping noises before both of his songs.

Background Freaks

The Background Freaks are schoolgirls who appear in the background of Senpai and Roses. The girls are enamored of Senpai, but he does not pay any attention to them. He may be used to their behavior or not interested in them at all, focusing instead on winning over the player. He also may not care about what they think of him, as he loses his temper and threatens to castrate Boyfriend right in front of them, leaving the schoolgirls dissuaded.

Spirit

When Daddy Dearest sealed Spirit within Girlfriend's dating sim, he trapped the soul inside of Senpai. Senpai may not be aware of Spirit's existence, or at least not until his final moments, when he starts writhing before Spirit bursts out of him and kills him in the process.

Trivia

General

  • Senpai is:
    • The first character to not follow the main art style of the game, instead being portrayed in an anime-esque pixel art style.
    • One of the first characters to provide an extra layer of lore to the game.
    • The first opponent to die.
    • The first opponent to have dialogue boxes.
    • The first opponent to change appearances on each song.
    • The third character to have a song named after him, the first being Monster, the second being Pico, and the fourth being Darnell.
    • The third character to not have a "danger" icon, the first being Girlfriend, the second being Daddy Dearest, and the fourth being Spirit.
  • In Story Mode's week selection menu, Senpai appears on a CRT gaming TV hooked up to a video game console with a controller and an open game case. This makes him the first character to include extra art on his Story Mode character render.
    • The console itself bears a strong resemblance to the PlayStation, and its controller resembles the DualShock controllers.
  • As shown in a piece of concept art, Senpai was originally going to have heterochromia iridum, which was confirmed by PhantomArcade in a Tweet.[7] His left eye would have been green, while his right eye would have been blue. Additionally, his hair looked more orange and had black highlights.
  • It was heavily rumored that Senpai's design was inspired by Jacob Couch, a man who appeared in the Judge Judy episode "Coin-Throwing Road Rage Stunt!" and has been seen as almost the exact same as Senpai in terms of appearance, with the only notable difference aside from the lack of a backpack being the color of their ties. Other similarities pointed out between the two include them being emotional wrecks, 18 years old, and resembling womanizers. Unsurprisingly, ninjamuffin99 has denied this in a Reddit AMA, stating that it was nothing more than an amusing coincidence.[8]
    • In the same AMA, ninjamuffin99 denied Senpai's relation to Doki Doki Literature Club!'s Monika.[9] Despite fans' perception of them as siblings, they're both separate AIs from different games that have nothing to do with each other.
    • Senpai is also noted, specifically by the VTuber community (including Japanese VTubers who have played Friday Night Funkin' before), to bear a heavy resemblance to the VTuber Yukoku Roberu, whose appearance, like the previously mentioned Jacob Couch, bears a heavy resemblance to Senpai. Like Senpai, Roberu has a talent for singing, as he has various songs in his discography. However, much like the Jacob Couch example, the resemblance is likely just a coincidence.
  • Although Senpai was the first opponent to die, he was the second character to die in general, the first being Mall Santa if the player gets a Game Over during Week 5.
  • In August 2022, ninjamuffin99 stated that Senpai is his favorite character in Friday Night Funkin'.[10] Previously, in December 2020, he stated that his favorite character is Girlfriend.[11]

Lore

  • On a Twitch live stream, it was clarified that Senpai isn't controlled by Spirit and the two are entirely different characters.[12]
  • Senpai was confirmed to be approximately 18 years old and a senior in high school by moawling on Twitter.[13] He was once again confirmed to be 18 in a Twitch live stream by PhantomArcade.[1]
    • Senpai being a senior is hinted at by his name, which means "upperclassman" in Japanese. Senpai (先輩) is also an honorific for a senior or superior. Outside of Japan, the word also means "a person one admires who doesn't notice one's feelings," as the concept of a junior character being annoyed at a senior who does not notice the junior's feelings has become a guaranteed staple trope.
    • Contrary to moawling and PhantomArcade's statements, ninjamuffin99 does not consider Senpai to be of any specific age. When he was asked about Senpai's age, he responded by saying, "Senpai is a video game character made of 1's and 0's. It's like asking the age of a stick of deodorant."[14]
    • When asked if Senpai is actually a teacher, ninjamuffin99 stated that Senpai can be whatever people want him to be, that it's irrelevant to the story, and that he finds different depictions of Senpai as either a student or a teacher to be interesting.[15]
  • Senpai is of Japanese descent.[16]
  • Apparently, there is a sprite of Senpai as a catboy in Girlfriend's dating sim game, but she never got far enough in the game to see it.[17]
  • Senpai does crunches in the morning just to avoid being fat. Even though he is a twink and has no muscle definition, the girls absolutely love it.[1]
  • The game Senpai is featured in is made in the same factory as the fan character Clue Buddy's game.[18]

Inspirations

  • In a Tweet, PhantomArcade revealed how Senpai and his week were conceptualized. According to him, the original idea for the week was for Boyfriend and Girlfriend to be inside a Dragon Quest-esque game; however, he wanted to keep it romance-themed, so it seemed appropriate to have the game be a dating sim. He also stated that it was difficult to dodge the yandere trope and boil the concept down into something that can be grasped with minimal exposition, possibly reflecting the influence of Yandere Simulator, in which the yandere protagonist has a crush on her senpai. Additionally, a Discord screenshot attached to the Tweet shows that the opponent for the week was conceptualized as "a bishonen pretty boy" from Girlfriend's dating sim, with the twist being that he is actually "an evil pretty boy." The proposal says, "Like we should be taking all the worst and most hate-able things from this kinda stuff and turning it into a foe." A reference image of Suoh Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club is also shown in the screenshot.[19]
    • Another Tweet by PhantomArcade confirms that one of the references used for the aesthetic of Senpai's week and his first song, Senpai, is from the 1994 Japanese dating sim Tokimeki Memorial.[20]
  • According to PhantomArcade in a Tweet, one of the core inspirations of Friday Night Funkin' is the 1981 anime adaptation of the manga Urusei Yatsura.[21] Senpai was possibly based on the character Mendō Shutarō, whom every girl is in love with in the series, similar to how the Background Freaks are in love with Senpai.
  • The idea for Senpai's character came from several things, including real-life antagonistic traits, the way video game characters are meant to be perceived solely based on how they're designed, and the shallow fan service in many visual novels. This made for a character "who was just never made to not be loved and adored."[2]

Gallery

View Senpai's full gallery here.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Superlove Lotion (November 26, 2022). "PhantomArcade Livestream || Newgrounds Christmas 2022 Site Skin" (37:56). From YouTube.
  2. 2.0 2.1 PhantomArcade (October 23, 2021). "Dads have always been the way they are, anyone I've ever dated has had a dad that jokingly(?) threatens violence, lol. It's some weird cultural thing that's always super concerning in a strange way, so there's that one. The mom is meant to contrast him, having a woman of even EVILER status and power seemed to be an unexpected and interesting route to go. Monster was made working with basset, something creepy to contrast everything else in the game but still fit aesthetically. Senpai was made to be this generic pretty boy asshole, sorta based off how narcissists can be in real life, but also takes a meta approach to how in video games characters are meant to only be perceived how they're designed. On top of that, there are a LOT of visual novels that do really shallow fan service, so combining all those together and you get the existence of someone who was just never made to not be loved and adored. I love visual novels, so it was a way to combine real life antagonistic qualities with an aspect of visual novels.". From "PhantomArcade AMA" on Reddit.
  3. Superlove Lotion (November 26, 2022). "PhantomArcade Livestream || Newgrounds Christmas 2022 Site Skin" (36:24). From YouTube.
  4. Lendon (June 4, 2023). "Phantom Arcade Stream || Bustin My Damn Nightmare Chops" (1:03:26). From YouTube.
  5. PhantomArcade. "senpai_dearest comic ref". From Twitch.
  6. PhantomArcade (October 23, 2021). "the parents do it out of a weird pride and to be condescending as singing performers, the spooky kids wanna play, the monster is just insane, pico does it out of nostalgia/old habits, senpai does it to try and upstage you without violence, the tankmen do it cuz they're bored, etc". From "PhantomArcade AMA" on Reddit.
  7. PhantomArcade (March 20, 2021). "yeah. Felt essential to that late 90's early 2k anime style. Got lost somewhere in translation though, it was a hectic production since a lot of these assets were made as Week 5 was wrapping up". From Twitter.
  8. ninjamuffin99 (April 27, 2021). "nope, its just funny that it lines up so perfectly lmaoooo". From "ninjamuffin ama episode 3 or 4 or something" on Reddit.
  9. ninjamuffin99 (April 27, 2021). "no because monika is a video game character from the game doki doki literature club and senpai doesnt exist in that game". From "ninjamuffin ama episode 3 or 4 or something" on Reddit.
  10. ninjamuffin99 (August 11, 2022). "SENPAI MY FAV LEAST FAV UHHH FUCK YOU BLOCKHEAD IN WEEK 5 BACKGROUND MALL LMFAOOO". From "ninji mofin AMA episode 4" on Reddit.
  11. ninjamuffin99 (December 31, 2020). "GF my fav cuz she is so cute :) Mom music been pretty damn fun to make, Pico close second. I imagine the next stuff we add will be my new fav, I think we're slowly chipping away what makes this game fukin awesome, so it's only getting better and better.". From "i programmed Friday Night Funkin AMA 2: the sequel" on Reddit.
  12. ninjamuffin99. "Spirit is a trapped human soul, Senpai isn't controlled by Spirit.". From Twitch.
  13. moawling (February 1, 2021). "heyhey! he is a senior in high school so he's 18 or so!!". From Twitter. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021.
  14. ninjamuffin99 (March 25, 2021). "Senpai is a video game character made of 1's and 0's. It's like asking the age of a stick of deodorant.". From Twitter. Archived from the original on March 28, 2021.
  15. File:Just some questions, not an interview lol.png
  16. ninjamuffin99 (April 27, 2021). "he japanese". From "ninjamuffin ama episode 3 or 4 or something" on Reddit. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021.
  17. PhantomArcade (November 21, 2022). "gf never got far enough in the game to see that sprite". From Twitter.
  18. ninjamuffin99 (November 7, 2023). "if built by gamers is reading this yes clue buddy is canon it exists in the same factory that makes the senpai haunted video game factory that the parents used their demon magic to curse". From Twitter.
  19. PhantomArcade (March 20, 2021). "Wilder yet, the original idea I had was for them to be inside of a Dragon Quest esc game. But wanting to keep it romance themed, dating sim seemed appropriate. And even THEN, to dodge the yandere trope was tough to boil it down into something you can grasp with minimal exposition". From Twitter.
  20. PhantomArcade (March 9, 2021). "lol, this is the game we used as one of the refs for Week 6 aesthetic + first song". From Twitter.
  21. PhantomArcade (January 1, 2022). "The 1981 Urusei Yatsura is one of the core inspirations for FNF. A deranged stupid couple goes on infinite adventures that range from heartfelt to dumb as fuck. Horny MC + horned other worldly powered GF. Blue hair.". From Twitter.