On Friday, the world got its first glimpse of Project Sakura Wars: the latest entry into the historic Sakura Wars franchise. With an all-new cast and a 1940s setting, there was a lot to take in, for newcomers and series veterans alike.
But, really, with just a 2:07 run time, how many easter eggs and clever nods could the team really fit into the promo? Armed with my years of franchise knowledge, some coffee, and a healthy dose of sheer fangirl energy, I set off to catalog everything I could in the early hours of the morning. I managed to catch dozens of references and easter eggs, and a several helpful Twitter folks pointed out a few super deep cuts that even I missed. So, for now, kick back, relax, and prepare to get into the Taisho spirit, as we go through the references.
The Analysis is presented in a linear order. Each item will be presented as “[Timestamp] Description.” So, if an item starts at the minute mark, it would be “[1:00] Something happens here.”
[0:05] The imagery of falling sakura under a full moon is a callback to the initial reveal at Sega Fes 2019. Left is the 2018 reveal, while right is the new trailer.
[0:15 – 0:28] The trailer describes the main premise of the new game:
Year 29, Taisho Era Imperial Capital of Tokyo 10 years since the previous Combat Revue was lost…
[0:30 – 0:33] The scene cuts to the Imperial theater, which has changed since the last time we saw it. There are new details, including modern mechanical flourishes on the clock tower. Modern-style cars drive by to show a change in technology.
[0:34] Camera cut to a busy street, which has people walking before bustling shops. A woman waits under a train platform or a bus stop – hard to tell which.
Again, though, note the duality of new and old; this is a recurring theme.
WOODEN SIGN: Shoko Kizukami’s Confectionery
[0:36] Camera cut to a thriving temple. The fashions are a mix of new and old, with many in kimono, but far more in western-styled dresses and suits.
[0:37] The scene switches to a walkway that snakes over a busy intersection. there are more, better shots of the modern styled cars including a Model T lookalike and a bus.
[0:39] Exterior: The Grand Imperial Theater. A pair of men’s legs walks by, briefly obscuring the etching on the carved marble. A cart outside is selling framed bromides: something that was previously done by Tsubaki Takamura in the original games.
[0:42] Interior: Ueno Train Station. Note the sign which says the station offers rail and rigid airship travel. Main character Seijuro is the only character with weapons.
[0:42] The ticket counters (visible in the corner) appear to be automated, computerized kiosks, rather than human tellers. (Pointed out by Twitter user @AiddonValentine)
[0:43] Interior: Ueno Train Station. This the first actual look at male protagonist Seijuro Kamiyama.
[0:45] Interior: Grand Imperial Theater. This is the first actual look at new character Sakura Amamiya. The door behind Sakura cannot be read clearly, but this could be “宿直室” – “Night Room”.
If this is accurate, then the landing where Sakura stands would therefore be at the top of the first-floor stairwell in the Imperial Theater.
[0:50] First look at the Kouma. Note the differences from the original versions (Image 3), in which the new breed has the wings merged with the arms, and the knees have mechanical elements affixed.
[0:53] The Shogei Maru soars above the scene. This is the iconic airship that the TeiGeki uses to fly into action. No confirmation if the Gorai-go locomotive will also return, but this is a fantstic throwback!
[0:57] Seijuro and Sakura are outside at a small household – this is a wholly new location, which hasn’t been hinted at in previous games – it’s not Sendai, it’s not parts of Tokyo we’ve seen before.
[1:00] The title drop – the font is unlike any we’ve EVER seen in the series before, again, emphasizing the old and the new! See Images 2 – 4 for previous iterations on the logo.
[1:03] The new theme song, Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan <Shin Fumi> kicks in. The first measures are identical to the original Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan, before it diverges wildly in the main section..
This trailer does not begin to play the divergence, but instead goes directly to the refrain, which features new lyrics.
[1:05] The poster on the right, behind Sakura is a cast list. It reads:
GENERAL MANAGER: Sumire Kanazaki
Sumire Kanzaki was one of the original members of the Teikoku Kagekidan in the first four Sakura Wars games. She was played by Michie Tomizawa in all of her appearances, and is the first confirmed member of the original team to return.
The poster on the left is a vintage ad for the Imperial Theatre
[1:08] – the game’s leads appear in a variety of outdoor areas, each growing in scope.
Clarice: Nondescript plaza
Hatsuho: Steps of the theater
Anastasia: A street that offers a look at a train station
Azami: An open, grassy field
[1:20] A kouma bursts into the glass window of Ueno Station – this is the opening scene, as Seijuro is still in his normal outfit, and walking toward a second doorway within the station.
[1:20] Seijuro uses the same dual-wield sword fighting style as original TeiGeki lead Ichiro Ogami.
[1:23] The first shot of a new Koubu (apologies, “spiricle armor”). The pink color and single blade implies that this is Sakura Amamiya’s. Note the sleeker overall design that still maintains a single central eye, plus an overall “eggy” style profile.
[1:25] First interior shot of a koubu with Clarice at the helm. Note the battle gear, which is more streamlined from the theater inspired outfits we’ve seen in the past.
[1:25] Sakura in her battle gear. Note that, despite being streamlined, it does keep a lot of those “theatrical” flourishes that we’ve come to adore. See: the big buttons, the layering.
[1:27] A second type of mech shows up to clash with Sakura. Note the style profile. This is not a koubu. The image is based on the STAR units from the the New York Combat Revue (Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love). This is a modification of that form, from one of the rival groups. #SakuraWars
[1:28] – Nothing here, I just love this shot.
[1:31] Front view of the new koubu – note the visual flourishes that were also seen on the OG models, like the headpiece and the cherry blossom (sakura) decal.
[1:33] Seijuro’s koubu – note the style profile, again, as well as the two swords and white paint job that denote the protag’s units in pretty much every Sakura Wars game.
[1:34] This is another STAR unit, armed with knuckles – further showing the differences in the factions.
[1:37] Front view of the Shogei Maru bursting in, working both as a smash cut and a second confirmation of its return.
[1:45] The mech with a laser sight and a wrist-mounted vulcan cannon that’s fighting Kouma IS NOT a koubu. This is an Eisenkleid; the mecha used by the Berlin Combat Revue, which was piloted by Reni and Orihime in Sakura Wars 2.
If color coding is still a thing, then the white color implies that this is the leader of a third faction, which hasn’t appeared in the trailer prior.
[1:49] Seijuro’s pose calls back to Ogami’s own in Sakura Wars 1 – 4. That said, note the blue blades. These are enhanced with technology that hadn’t been seen previously. The effect is similar to the Ragnite weapons in Valkyria Chronicles.
Twitter user @humble_novice pointed out that the koubu in the back is an older generation. The model is nearly identical to Sakura Shinguji’s “Koubu Mark II” unit. We’ve included a still from Sakura Wars 4 so that you can compare the two.
[1:53] The lobby of the Grand Imperial Theater. In the background, Tsubaki’s storefront can be clearly seen, along with bromides of each of the new TeiGeki members. The camera turns to confirm that the layout of the theater lobby layout is identical to all previous iterations.
And that’s about it! Two minutes, thirty-three references and easter eggs that offer little hints of what’s to come. We can’t wait to learn more about this newest entry into the franchise as we get closer to the game’s Winter 2019 release in Japan (and Spring 2020 in the west).
Update 3/31/2019: we were incorrect on the item listed at the 45-second mark. “Ogami” is two characters, and “Ichiro Ogami” is four. We’ve taken another look at the theater map and we have found the room that this does map to. Thanks to Twitter user NegativeZero for pointing this out!
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