US Distributor: FUNimation
Production Studio: Production I.G
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network

Sengoku Basara is one big party!

Sengoku Basara boxart - 20140930When I signed on with Anime Herald, a stroke of chance led me toward Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings. It’s a show that’s always interested me, and I couldn’t help but feel that this was an opportunity to really see whether it was worth the wait. While other shows offer deeper plots or more robust character development, Sengoku Basara focuses on the thrill of the spectacle. Viewers looking for a feast for the eyes and a visual explosion of pure manliness will feel right at home with the series. Huge flashes of red and blue emanate from the main heroes as they tear through the battlefield, leaving hundreds in their wake. Horses defy physics, and are able to jump vast distances or even scale vertical walls with ease.

Basically, heroic strength is everything. It allows warriors to fight on water, or be thrown thousands of feet into the air. People fight, beat, and nearly kill one another just to impart basic life lessons. It is in this world that Date Masamune and Yukimura Sanada rise to greatness. Date Masamune, also known as The One Eyed Dragon, is a leader of men that’s always hungry for the next big party. Yukimura, better known as The Tiger of Kai, is a strong warrior whose intense loyalty to his master is unmatched. Still, he shows a subtle, youthful innocence that’s hard to describe. As one would expect, the two immediately clash as rivals, as they try to outdo one another in the field of battle.

The rivalry doesn’t last, though, as the two must put their differences aside to rise against Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga, also known as the Devil King, is a special brand of evil. It’s an over-the-top, almost cartoonish malice that defies logic and destroys the very notion of honor. It’s the kind of evil that gets its own theme song and creates literal thunderstorms in its wake. It’s the type of evil that just gets driven home repeatedly through the course of the series. By the end of the show, most clans can clearly see that Nobunaga is a threat to the entire nation, though they’re powerless to much of anything. Clan warfare and a general power lust gets in their way time and time again, which deadlock the people and allow Nobunaga to conquer with impunity.

sengoku-basara-two-01-bd8bc276-mkv_snapshot_01-01_2010-07-12_23-24-08It’s this brand of malice that allows Sengoku Basara to really look at the idea of warfare. The right reasons to fight, and why men place their lives on the line are common themes through the show. Likewise, the idea of giving one’s word and living by it is a topic that surfaces time and time again. Since this is a show that’s based on a major video game series, I expected it to be packed to the gills with action. Sengoku Basara certainly didn’t disappoint in this department. Between the broad flashes of color across the landscape of war, to fight scenes in burning buildings and overflowing flooded dikes, Sengoku Basara brings video game inspired battles to life.

I must admit that the opening of the show is very entertaining, as it features soldiers dancing around to hard rock music. It really sets the tone for the show proper, which is a tongue-in-cheek version of Japan’s warring states period. Also the voice acting was fantastic in both the English and Japanese versions, with strong performances and voices that matched well to their characters. In the English dub, though, I’d like to note that Lord Kenshin (Kenshin Uesugi) was played by Greg Ayres, whose performance was more “manly” than that of his Japanese equivalent Romi Park.

Overall, though, I enjoyed my time with Sengoku Basara. Fans looking for a show that features larger-than-life characters doing everything amped to eleven will find a lot to love in this series. That said, I’d like to offer the warning that this was based on a video game. Still, given that, it’s amazing as to how engrossing the show manages to be at times. For fans seeking crazy levels of manly bravado and fast-paced action, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings should be a no-brainer.