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|Average Rating: 8.00|
Sarah scored this with 7/10. Disagree?
"Yukimura!" "Your lordship!" "Yukimura!" "Your lordship!" "YUKIMURA!" "YOUR LORDSHIP!" Takeda Shingen in conversation with his young protégé, Sanada Yukimura.
History is somehow so much more fun when re-imagined in terms of a video game in which the warriors of old assume super-heroic powers and duke it out to protect their homeland from impossibly evil tyrants. It's even more fun when those super-powered warriors are the legendary protagonists of the Era of the Warring States in Japan. Date Masamune, the One-Eyed Dragon, on a horse kitted out like a superbike with handlebars and exhaust pipes? Check. Kasuga, a gorgeous blonde ninja who does her lord's bidding in a scanty catsuit that leaves nothing - well practically nothing - to the imagination? Check. Motochika an eye-patched pirate with a ludicrously massive anchor-like weapon and a parrot? Check again. Why - it must be Sengoku Basara, back for a second run of the animated TV series based on the popular Capcom gaming franchise.
At the conclusion of the first series of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, the generals of the warring states combined forces to defeat Oda Nobunaga, the Devil King. Now a new rival threatens the peace of Japan and it's the giant Toyotomi Hideyoshi, onetime ally of Maeda Keiji. Supported by the subtle and scheming strategist Takenaka Hanbei, Toyotomi has raised a vast army by conscripting and training all available able-bodied men, leaving villages undefended and women and children forced to work the land in their stead.
Soon old allies are pitted against each other and once-strong alliances are shattered as Toyotomi's forces sweep through the land. Hanbei sows confusion in Date Masamune's retainers by kidnapping Katakura Kojuro, the Right Eye of the Dragon, thus aiming to persuade the stoical and staunchly loyal Kojuro over to Toyotomi's side. With the opposition to Toyotomi's mighty army scattered and in disarray, can no one stop the gigantic warlord's onslaught?
There's an irresistible energy to be found in these episodes (as in the first series) that simply sweeps the viewer along. Everything is writ large - no, larger, on an epic heroic scale. It's barking mad too, of course, with trash-talking (on an epic scale) between opponents duelling on the field of battle and Date Masamune's speech peppered with contemporary Americanisms (in the original Japanese) - but it's mad in a good, heroic, and genuinely likable way. And there's character development too. The strong feelings experienced and expressed by young Sanada Yukimura as he begins to realise the true cost of the ongoing wars in terms of human suffering provide a significant counterweight to the warriors' rhetoric and self-justification for their endless feuding and bloodshed. "How many people have we actually helped?" he asks as, sent on a mission by his lord, Takeda Shingen, the Tiger of Kai, he encounters at firsthand the hardships endured by the demoralised citizens. "At the end of all this war-making, will this land of the Rising Sun ever finally know peace?"
As in the first series, the main story is resolved by the end of Episode 12 and Episode 13 is just a 'fun' OVA episode revolving around our two best-friends, best-rivals, Date Masamune and the endearingly earnest (yet frankly rather thick) Sanada Yukimura, and an intriguing contest in manliness set up by Takeda Shingen...
Director Kazuya Nomura delivers another sizzling action-packed show with gripping - if OTT - clashes and fights. If I have a criticism, it's that the structure of the episodes is somewhat random, making the various story strands a little hard to follow; with a large cast, it's not always easy to remember who was where, doing what to whom - and the story seems to rattle along and then suddenly stop because the allotted time is up, not because it's been structured that way. However, the pacing improves as the story builds towards its climax.
The US dub captures just the right tone of legendary bravado, with the voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch (Sanada Yukimura) and Chris Ayres (Takeda Shingen) particularly worthy of mention amongst many reprising their roles from Series 1.
Hiroyuki Sawano provides another stirring score, employing - anachronistically yet effectively - a piano backing to some of the more emotional scenes (although this might have been for budgetary reasons as well, natch.) There's also use of a single soprano for other swellingly emotive moments, reminiscent of Taku Iwasaki's fondness for using such operatic allusions to heighten the drama.
The Opening Theme is the suitably rousing "Sword Summit" by T.M. Revolution, whereas Angelo provides both Ending Themes: #1: "El Dorado" and #2: "Fate".
Extras include textless Opening and Ending Themes, Commentaries to Episodes 6 (Christopher Bevins, the ADR Director, and Patrick Seitz, one of the script writers as well as voice actor for the piratical Motochika) and a rather less reverent take on Episode 12 from Robert McCollum (Date Masamune) Eric Vale (Maeda Keiji) and Chris Cason (Takenaka Hanbei.) Also included are the rather cute but silly three-part chibi mini-series Sengoku Basara II: Katakura-Kun, and trailers.
Riotously fun, action-packed, historical fighting fantasy.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||7 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Sun, 23 Sep 2012|
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