Sunday, 27 July 2014

Today's acquisitions (27th July 2014)

This should rightfully be called 'yesterday's acquisitions' but I was too tired to post them after the event. Especially as my friends and I spent the evening watching a bunch of fantastic movies, namely Tiger & Bunny: The Rising, Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion and Kotonoha No Niwa (Garden Of Words) before my weekly Sengoku Basara: Judge End session. It was a great day.

First up, CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. I collected the US versions of Cat's Eye Season one, Hetalia: The Beautiful World, Aquarion Evol Part 2, Anohana: The Movie, The Devil Is A Part Timer! (Hataraku Maou-sama) and Amnesia. The Amnesia set came with two copies of the first disc since the original pressing had a rather embarrassing production error. I feel a little bad buying the standard Blu-ray version of the Anohana movie instead of the gorgeous special edition, but as it's mostly a recap and I don't know whether the music is any good it seemed prudent to save money.

There's one Japanese import Blu-ray set in this picture and it's Tiger & Bunny: The Rising, which is the second film in the series. The first press edition of the movie comes with two bonus discs all housed in a gorgeous chipboard box to match the first one.

The final item in this picture is Exit Tunes presents ACTORS, a CD collecting famous Vocaloid songs covered by male seiyuu such as Hoshi Souichirou, Okiayu Ryoutarou and Eguchi Takuya. How could I resist?


I picked up the second half of the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon manga (the new release of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon) from Kodansha's stand at Hyper Japan, and Shiina Ringo's Toutaikai: Heisei 25-Nen Kamiyamachou Taikai Blu-ray/CD set arrived by post. At the bottom of this picture is a slightly better look at the free Jean Kirstein (Shingeki No Kyojin) charm I received with my last Yesasia order.


The last picture has a story behind it. My friend recently went to Japan on holiday so I asked him to enter Animate's in-store Diabolik Lovers Ani-Kuji lottery if he had enough time - I wanted to obtain the two exclusive drama CDs. Well, yesterday he produced all of the prizes he won for me. Not only did he get both CDs (amusingly titled Teddy in the pool and Bath bubble panic), he also won three large tin badges (Ayato, Kanato and Reiji), an Ayato bath poster and two sets of scented bath salts (Ayato, Kanato). Wow! There are a couple of duplicate items which I might give away someday.

The same friend then surprised me with a few extra Sengoku Basara goodies as well. The silly Date Masamune wall sticker is going to be stuck above my monitors shortly, and the Mame Sengoku Basara memo stand charm set is super-cute. I'm so lucky...

Event report: Hyper Japan 2014

The annual (and sometimes biannual) Hyper Japan event returned to London's Earls Court exhibition centre between 25th and 27th July 2014, so I managed to find time to pop to yesterday's show to see what they had arranged for this year's celebration of Japanese pop culture. Hyper Japan is a unique event which blends Japanese fashion, artwork, games, music, cinema and traditional culture together to allow visitors to get a taste of all kinds of activities in a single venue.

It's popular with young people, naturally, but also with older Londoners who are curious about Japan and expats who want to introduce their favourite traditions to a wider audience. The attendees come from a rich mixture of backgrounds; if the intense atmosphere at MCM Comic Con is too much for you, Hyper Japan tends to offer a much more pleasant, friendly experience.

The first hurdle we were presented with was that the popular Saturday show had been split into two halves this year as an experiment to help ease crowding. The first session ran from 09:15 until 14:15, then the second started at 15:15 and ran all the way until closing time at 20:15. You could buy tickets for both halves of the show, of course, but this would leave you waiting around in a fairly empty part of London for an hour with nothing to do until the event reopened. I wonder how well this experiment worked out.

Judging by the ticket sales on the official website, the Saturday afternoon and Sunday shows were probably the most popular. My group opted for Saturday morning as we wanted to see one of the special guests perform, and it turned out to be a good choice. The crowds weren't too bad at all first thing in the morning so we managed to see everything we wanted to before our session was over.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 4

I watched the fourth episode of Sengoku Basara: Judge End a little later than usual today due to real-life commitments.

How to watch

Now that the official simulcasts are beginning it's been confirmed that the alternate title Sengoku Basara -End of Judgement- is being used outside Japan. I'll keep using Judge End for consistency but they're the exact same show.

These are the official ways to watch Sengoku Basara: Judge End at the moment:

Television (Japan only)
The initial television broadcast on NTV is at 01:50 every Sunday morning. The YTV and BS Nittere broadcasts are shown a week late.

NTV On Demand (Japan only)
This is a premium service. Fans can pay ¥900 to watch the whole series or ¥300 to see an individual episode. The first episode is free and the previous week's episode is shown for free on Fridays and Saturdays. The series airs slightly earlier than the television broadcast at 24:00 local time.

Hulu (Japan only)
Fans who pay Hulu's ¥933 monthly fee can watch the episodes slightly ahead of the broadcast time.

The following Japanese streaming services will also be streaming Judge End; if you can't wait then it might be worth checking them to see whether any work in your region. I imagine they'll make the episodes available shortly after the television broadcast and some will be showing it for free.

AcTVila, Bandai Channel, Best Hit Anime Douga, d Anime Store, DMM.com, Google Play, GyaO Store, Happy Douga Anime, Hikari TV, JCOM On Demand, Movie Full+, Nico Nico Official Channel, Rakuten Showtime, Tsutaya TV, TV Dogatch, U-NEXT, Video Market

FUNimation (US only)
The episodes will be streamed weekly on Saturdays at 2:20pm Eastern Time with English subtitles. They've added the first three episodes now with the next two scheduled for next week, to catch up with the Japanese broadcast. From episode five onwards, subscribers will be able to watch the latest episode on the same day it's available in Japan while free users have to wait a week. FUNimation also have the home video rights, so if the stream is popular the series should eventually be dubbed into English.

Anime Digital Network (France only)
ADN are offering the series online with French subtitles. So far, the first two episodes are available. They charge a monthly fee for the service.

J-ONE (France only)
A French-subtitled broadcast will take place on J-ONE - Canalsat (50) and Numericable (38).

Viewster (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway only)
The show's broadcast was announced as being 'day and date with Japan' so I'm guessing they'll appear every Saturday afternoon once the service has been set up. So far, two episodes are online with English subtitles with a promise that the third is due soon. Viewster is a free ad-supported service.

Like many fans around the world I live in a country which has been excluded from the licensed simulcasts so far (thanks, anime industry!). In spite of this treatment I feel very strongly about supporting the official western version when it's available rather than resorting to piracy. The Japanese distributors will use the official viewing figures to see how successful the show has been while the US anime distributors like FUNimation use them to decide whether to give new titles home video releases, whether to dub them and whether to go the extra mile and produce a high quality premium release. If we want Sengoku Basara Judge End to receive a decent western release and raise awareness of the series, we need to make sure people are watching the official streams if possible. Please get your friends to watch it too if you can so that the industry can see that there's an audience out there. It might help to visit the official streaming sites and leave supportive comments there too, even if you live in a country where the video itself is blocked and you had to watch it some other way.

I'd rather not say how I'm watching the Japanese streams but it's not that difficult to find a method with some searching.

Important reminder

Sengoku Basara: Judge End is not a continuation of the previous anime adaptation. It's a brand new story and none of the events in Production I.G.'s version of Sengoku Basara have taken place in its timeline. Please don't get confused trying to match the old story to the new one; this anime is a complete reboot of the entire Sengoku Basara scenario. The story takes place after the fall of Oda Nobunaga.

Summary

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first four episodes of Sengoku Basara: Judge End and some low quality screenshots. Please note that I'm watching the show in Japanese and using my preferred spellings for character names; they won't necessary match the localised spellings if you're watching one of the subtitled versions!

Friday, 25 July 2014

News roundup: the Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package is released

The Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package was released yesterday

The biggest Sengoku Basara news story this week has definitely been the release of the limited 'Special Package' edition with its attractive price point, bonus DVD and bundled DLC codes. KobaP tweeted a picture of an unboxed version showing all of the contents.

People who already have the game can still enjoy a few of the benefits, such as the free promotional wallpapers and the video tributes from Aoki Shiki (Maou) and Edosan" & Fumiichi. There's also a little competition; if you follow the @BASARA_CAPCOM account on Twitter and retweet this message, you'll be entered into a draw to win a signed Sengoku Basara 4 promotional poster or some Ichiban Kuji goodies. Please be aware that it's necessary to have access to a Japanese mailing address to claim the prize.


More Mame Sengoku Basara collectibles are on the way

A set of eight Mame Sengoku Basara Trading Rubber Magnets is due for release in November 2014 priced at ¥5,000 for a box or ¥500 per individual magnet.


Details of the third standalone Sengoku Basara Magazine CD

An Amazon listing has appeared for a new audio CD: Sengoku Basara Magazine CD: Showgeki Basara Talk! Vol. 3: Ieyasu & Mitsunari No Maki Special-ban. This is the third disc based on the talk CDs packaged with the magazine and it collects the two shows presented by Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) and Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari). As usual there's some bonus content for the standalone release such as a guest appearance by Nakamura Yuuichi (Shima Sakon) and an additional drama track.

The themes for the three 'Basara Challenge' segments are 'Sentai Hero' from Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 5, 'Children's Telephone Consultation Room', which is presumably from the as-yet unreleased sixth issue, and 'Tennis', a brand new challenge. If the second one sounds strange it's because it's a parody of a real Japanese radio show called Kodomo Denwa Soudanshitsu where children call in with questions for adults to answer on a variety of topics.

The new CD will be released on 27th September 2014 priced at ¥2,700. The artwork used on Amazon is a placeholder so there will probably be a brand new illustration produced for the final version to match the earlier volumes.

The first volume of Mame Sengoku Basara 4 will be released in September

Fans of Sumeragi's cute super-deformed spin-off series can finally pick up the first volume of Mame Sengoku Basara 4 on 27th September 2014 to see the Sengoku Basara 4 cast joining the Mame Sengoku Basara world. So far it's only been listed in a few reliable Japanese stores such as MangaOh; expect it to appear elsewhere in the next few days. The formal announcement would usually coincide with the release of this month's Dengeki Maoh magazine tomorrow.

Sumeragi has tweeted a preview of tomorrow's chapter of the Mame Sengoku Basara 4 manga if you're curious about how the designs for the new characters look.

Round 3 of the Capcom Summer Sale on PSN means more deals on old games

The current round of Capcom's Summer Sale on the Japanese PlayStation Store has added the PlayStation 2 Sengoku Basara titles to the list, so if you happen to have some extra PSN credit and don't want the Sengoku Basara HD Collection for some reason, you can grab the old games very cheaply indeed.

Sengoku Basara (download edition)
Old price: ¥823
Sale price (until 1st September 2014): ¥500

Sengoku Basara 2 (download edition)
Old price: ¥823
Sale price (until 1st September 2014): ¥500

Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (HEROES) (download edition)
Old price: ¥823
Sale price (until 1st September 2014): ¥500

Capcom preview the design for the new Katakura Kojuurou x Sanada Yukimura bus

I already described the bus a couple of days ago, so I guess all that's left is to post the new preview picture showing how it will look when it's in service!


Nakai Kazuya is to be a guest on Sengoku Basara: Judge End Radio

It's been announced that seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) will appear as a special guest on the exclusive episode of Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio which comes with the first pressing of the Sengoku Basara: Judge End I home video release. Fans are invited to submit messages for Nakai by email before Wednesday next week.

Enter-sis show off the intricate buttons for their upcoming merchandise

The 'Giga Collection' clutch bag and canvas wallets are still a long way off but Enter-sis Factory have begun promoting them on Facebook with a preview picture of the detail on the metal buttons which will decorate both items. They look a lot like the Giga Basara stamp in Sengoku Basara 4, and I think they're very attractive even as unfinished prototypes.


NTV presents more Sengoku Basara: Judge End merchandise

Two more upcoming items appeared on the official website today for release at the start of August 2014.

A shitajiki (pencil board) costing ¥400.


A collection of coasters costing ¥300 each.


More actors are to graduate after the next Butai Sengoku Basara stage play

The 'urgent' Butai Sengoku Basara news broadcast took place this afternoon. I haven't had a chance to watch the hour-long broadcast myself yet, but bad news travels quickly and it seems that the show has announced that four of the most popular actors from the series will be 'graduating' after Butai Sengoku Basara 4 at the end of this year.

This is a real blow for the stage play series as Nakamura Seijirou (Ishida Mitsunari), Hirose Yuusuke (Tokugawa Ieyasu), Yoshida Tomokazu (Katakura Kojuurou) and Murata Youjirou (Sarutobi Sasuke) have all played their characters every single time they've appeared. Yoshida and Murata in particular have been with the stage plays ever since they first began. Given the trouble that the staff have had finding a replacement for Kubota Yuuki (Date Masamune) and Hosogai Kei (Sanada Yukimura) ever since they left, I feel quite uneasy about the future of Butai Sengoku Basara.

Animate posts its weekly Sengoku Basara: Judge End preview

To end on a happier note, here's the preview gallery for the fourth episode of Sengoku Basara: Judge End which airs tomorrow. It looks as though there's going to be a lot of interesting content!

In addition, Capcom's official Sengoku Basara Twitter account has drawn attention to today's image from the online Basara-ya shop in Sengoku Basara 4. It has a teaser picture of Kenshin and Kasuga together from the new anime as well as a birthday message for Matsu.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

News roundup: nine years of Sengoku Basara

The first game's anniversary was actually yesterday but I wanted to let a little more news build up before posting to avoid the flood of news we had last week. Next year will be the big tenth anniversary so I hope we can expect good things!

Sengoku Basara: Judge End bath towels are coming to arcades

Game centres will be offering four different 120cm x 60cm Sengoku Basara: Judge End bath towels as prizes during November 2014 for lucky fans in Japan. The sample pictures are small so it's difficult to tell how the towels will look at full size.


Go sightseeing in Japan with Sengoku Basara: Judge End

The Hachimanyama Ropeway and Shizugatake Lift attractions - both situated in Shiga Prefecture - will be hosting a Sengoku Basara: Judge End tie-in from Saturday 26th July until 28th September 2014. Visitors to the Ropeway can look forward to seeing cable cars decorated with Sengoku Basara: Judge End illustrations and a take a look at a free exhibition of Sengoku Basara display panels (standees).


Another attraction for Sengoku Basara fans will be the special Ishida Mitsunari tickets on offer for the first 1,000 visitors.


The Hachimanyama Ropeway tickets (leftmost picture) cost ¥820 and cover a single round trip on the cable car, while the Shizugatake chair lift tickets (rightmost picture) will be a little cheaper at ¥780.

Katakura Kojuurou's vegetable okayu will soon be available in Japan

The latest tasty-sounding Sengoku Basara 4 tie-in is yasai-kayu, or vegetable rice porridge, featuring the series' vegetable enthusiast Kojuurou on the packaging. The description recommends enjoying the cold porridge during the blazing summer season. It will be available for purchase in Animate stores and a variety of other outlets from late August 2014.


A new bus will be decorated with Kojuurou and Yukimura from Sengoku Basara 4

The city of Shiroishi in Miyagi Prefecture has long embraced its ties to the Date clan and in particular the real-life Katakura Kojuurou, who is something of a local hero. One of the cute side effects of this is that the local tourist board readily participates in Capcom's Sengoku Basara collaborations. There's a little shuttle bus called Castle-kun which takes tourists to and from Shiroishi Castle, and for several years a few of the vehicles have been proudly decorated with illustrations of Sengoku Basara's version of Kojuurou. It's difficult to walk through the town without seeing constant reminders of Sengoku Basara!

It was announced today that another bus is going to be joining the fleet from 4th August 2014, this time decorated with the Sengoku Basara 4 versions of both Kojuurou and Yukimura (who also has strong historical ties to the Katakura family). The new bus will be on the Obara line and there will be a special event held one day before it goes into service, where fans can have pictures taken with the bus and apply to go on an inaugural tour.

It's not all happy news, though: one of the earlier buses adorned with illustrations of the Production I.G. version of Kojuurou is being taken out of service at the same time due to its age. Fans are being given advance notice so they can say farewell to the old bus before it disappears for good.

...did I just write three paragraphs about buses?

'Yukimura from BASARA' trends on Twitter in Japan

There was a great deal of excitement on the Japanese side of Twitter today when television coverage of the 'hugely popular Sengoku-era warrior' Sanada Yukimura was accompanied by his Sengoku Basara 4 character illustration. The coverage of popular tourist spots in the Shinshuu (Nagano) area created such a buzz that Yukimura began to trend for a while.

The Masamune and Ieyasu jerseys are back on sale for a very limited time

To go with the Motonari and Motochika jerseys unveiled last month, the Akita Shoten store is offering the older Ieyasu and Masamune jerseys once again for a very limited time. They're not cheap at ¥9,500 each and fans outside Japan will need to use a proxy service if they want to buy them, but this is an opportunity to get hold of some extremely rare merchandise so I'd recommend placing an order swiftly if you've been hoping to own one of these one day. At the time I'm posting this the Masamune jersey is about to sell out.


FUNimation's Sengoku Basara: Judge End simulcast is coming very soon

FUNimation have posted a new blog entry reporting that the first three episodes of Sengoku Basara -End of Judgement- (Sengoku Basara: Judge End) will be available on their streaming website from Saturday at 2:20pm ET, with the next two episodes to follow next Saturday.

This will bring them completely up to date with Japan's broadcast schedule so the US simulcast is finally on the way!

(Now who wants to be the one to break it to them that the show isn't actually 'episodes 26-37' of the original series?)

And finally...

That's all for the regular news coverage, but two other interesting things took place yesterday on the game's ninth anniversary which I should give a proper mention on this blog.

First of all, the lovely Justin over at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses posted an article introducing fans to the world of Sengoku Basara. With the Sengoku Basara: Judge End anime running it was perfectly timed, so when he asked me to answer a few questions in an interview I eagerly accepted the opportunity to talk about the series. I hope that my excited praise helped...

Organization ASG is a great blog which I've been reading for some time; it covers the western anime and manga industries (and it's already paid more attention to the series than certain mainstream news sites). Even if you completely disagree with every word I said in the interview it's still worth checking out!

--

Lastly, I want to show off a cute picture my friend (and extremely patient Sengoku Basara co-op buddy) drew to celebrate the character poll we all did here a few months ago. He tried to add lots of cute little details. It made me happy, so I'm going to use a tiny version of the picture to brighten up this post!


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 3

I've just finished watching the third episode of Sengoku Basara: Judge End so it's time for another summary! I've tried to include as much information as possible to help new viewers who might be searching for explanations about the series.

There still seems to be some kind of problem with the official simulcast arrangements outside Japan. Viewster managed to get the first episode online this week, but everyone else is still waiting for their local distributors to fulfil their promises three weeks into the series' run. Let's hope things finally improve in the next couple of days.

How to watch

These are the official ways to watch Sengoku Basara: Judge End at the moment:

Television (Japan only)
The initial television broadcast on NTV is at 01:50 every Sunday morning, though today's episode is scheduled for 02:50 instead. The YTV and BS Nittere broadcasts are shown a week late.

NTV On Demand (Japan only)
This is a premium service. Fans can pay ¥900 to watch the whole series or ¥300 to see an individual episode. The first episode is free and the previous week's episode is shown for free on Fridays and Saturdays. The series airs slightly earlier than the television broadcast at 24:00 local time.

Hulu (Japan only)
Fans who pay Hulu's ¥933 monthly fee can watch the episodes slightly ahead of the broadcast time.

The following Japanese streaming services will also be streaming Judge End; if you can't wait then it might be worth checking them to see whether any work in your region. I imagine they'll make the episodes available shortly after the television broadcast and some will be showing it for free.

AcTVila, Bandai Channel, Best Hit Anime Douga, d Anime Store, DMM.com, Google Play, GyaO Store, Happy Douga Anime, Hikari TV, JCOM On Demand, Movie Full+, Nico Nico Official Channel, Rakuten Showtime, Tsutaya TV, TV Dogatch, U-NEXT, Video Market

FUNimation (US only)
The episodes will be streamed weekly on Saturdays at 12:05 CST with English subtitles. FUNimation also have the home video rights, so if the stream is popular the series should eventually be dubbed into English.

Anime Digital Network (France only)
ADN are offering the series online with French subtitles. So far, only the first episode is available. They charge a monthly fee for the service.

J-ONE (France only)
A French-subtitled broadcast will take place on J-ONE - Canalsat (50) and Numericable (38).

Viewster (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway only)
The episodes will be 'day and date with Japan' so I'm guessing they'll appear every Saturday afternoon once the service has been set up. So far, one episode is online with English subtitles. Viewster is a free ad-supported service.

Like many fans around the world I live in a country which has been excluded from the licensed simulcasts so far (thanks, anime industry!). In spite of this treatment I feel very strongly about supporting the official western version when it's available rather than resorting to piracy. The Japanese distributors will use the official viewing figures to see how successful the show has been while the US anime distributors like FUNimation use them to decide whether to give new titles home video releases, whether to dub them and whether to go the extra mile and produce a high quality premium release. If we want Sengoku Basara Judge End to receive a decent western release and raise awareness of the series, we need to make sure people are watching the official streams if possible. Please get your friends to watch it too if you can so that the industry can see that there's an audience out there. It might help to visit the official streaming sites and leave supportive comments there too, even if you live in a country where the video itself is blocked and you had to watch it some other way.

I'd rather not say how I'm watching the Japanese streams but it's not that difficult to find a method with some searching.

Important reminder

Sengoku Basara: Judge End is not a continuation of the previous anime adaptation. It's a brand new story and none of the events in Production I.G.'s version of Sengoku Basara have taken place in its timeline. Please don't get confused trying to match the old story to the new one; this anime is a complete reboot of the entire Sengoku Basara scenario. The story takes place after the fall of Oda Nobunaga.

Summary

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first three episodes of Sengoku Basara Judge End and some low quality screenshots. Please note that I'm watching the show in Japanese and using my preferred spellings for character names; they won't necessary match the localised spellings if you're watching one of the subtitled versions!

Friday, 18 July 2014

News: the details of the new Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play are revealed

The cast and dates are announced for Butai Sengoku Basara 4

The official website for the upcoming Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play has been launched today, and with it comes new information to give fans an idea of what to expect!


Title: Butai Sengoku Basara 4
Tokyo dates: 14 performances between 31st October and 9th November 2014
Tokyo venue: Tokyo Dome City Hall
Fukuoka dates: 4 performances between 22nd November and 24th November 2014
Fukuoka venue: Canal City Theatre
Osaka dates: 5 performances between 27th November and 30th November 2014
Osaka venue: Morinomiya Piloti Hall
Nagoya dates: 4 performances between 5th December and 7th December 2014
Nagoya venue: Chuunichi Theatre

Tickets will cost ¥7,400 and presales begin on 31st July. General sales commence on 13th September.

The cast list so far is as follows (newcomers are in bold):

Nakamura Seijirou (Ishida Mitsunari)
Hirose Yuusuke (Tokugawa Ieyasu)
Katou Keisuke (Shima Sakon)
Fujita Ray (Shibata Katsuie)
Yamaguchi Daichi (Date Masamune)
Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura)
Yoshida Tomokazu (Katakura Kojuurou)
Murata Youjirou (Sarutobi Sasuke)
Nitta Kenta (Ootani Yoshitsugu)
Takahashi Hikaru (Fuuma Kotarou)
Kubodera Akira (Oda Nobunaga)
Taniguchi Masashi (Akechi Mitsuhide)
Sakurada Kousei (Azai Nagamasa)
Tamaki Nami (Oichi)
Amano Kousei (Ashikaga Yoshiteru)

Nishida Daisuke will be putting the production together so we can expect his usual high standards. An 'urgent' video broadcast is going to be made with Nakamura, Hirose, Yoshida, Murata and Nishida at 21:00 on 25th July 2014 which might provide more information.

So, we have a brand new Masamune this time around and Matsumura seems to have taken over from Yoshioka Yuu after the two of them shared the role of Yukimura last time. I'm most interested to see the three Sengoku Basara 4 newcomers in action - Fujita Ray is a member of Dustz, the band which performed the first ending theme to the Sengoku Basara anime series!

All in all, it looks as though it will be a very serious production. I'm hoping they'll announce a few comic relief characters later on to lighten the mood, though a few of the warriors in the list should be able to provide some laughs depending on the story.

Update: Sengoku Enbu -Kizna- x Sengoku Basara 4 tie-in website launches

It has only been a couple of days since the collaboration was announced yet the website is now ready for viewing! The samples of the in-game cards look attractive even if they're reusing artwork from Sengoku Basara 4.


Update: Animate TV posts the details for Sengoku Basara: Judge End episode 3

The third episode of Judge End is swiftly approaching and Animate TV have posted their weekly preview article, including some spoilers in the screenshot gallery on the second page.

Streaming: Summer 2014 anime first impressions

What was the anime industry thinking, scheduling such an abundance of amazing-looking titles in a single season? I've been worrying for months about how I'm going to manage to keep up! And that's without even getting started on Sengoku Basara: Judge End, a series that it was obvious I'd fall in love with right from the moment it was first announced.

Up until now my seasonal anime posts have been completely UK-based so if a series isn't available here with a legal stream I've simply given up on it until the home video release. However, years have passed and we're still in the situation where numerous shows end up locked to specific regions - and since missing Sengoku Basara: Judge End isn't an option I've decided to stop obeying arbitrary restrictions which benefit local western distributors and nobody else. Enough is enough. With its obsession with region locking and draconian exclusivity arrangements, the foreign anime industry is doomed to keep alienating fans who want to watch their anime legally and support the creators.

Still, I've given the UK services a chance. Animax UK made a major play for my attention this season. Not only did they reduce the cost of their subscription and add a PlayStation 3 app, they also arranged to stream a number of FUNimation titles which have traditionally always been locked away from British fans. Apparently the reason this didn't happen sooner was that Animax had some kind of exclusivity deal with Viz Europe; I'm not sure why a streaming service would ever agree to an exclusivity contract in the first place, but this is a promising opportunity for UK fans now that things have opened up. Unfortunately Animax UK has no credibility when it comes to communication or releasing its streams on time (they're always several days later than in other English-speaking regions) and it looks as though this will continue for this season. How frustrating.

My favourite simulcast site Crunchyroll has done its best to license everything that its lesser rivals have avoided this season, while Daisuki has launched a slick new interface, Viewster has suddenly appeared out of nowhere, Netflix is giving anime streaming a try and French service Wakanim has returned with a couple of new titles after lying dormant last season. Even Japanese video portal Nico Nico Douga has returned to the headlines with its simulcast of the new Sailor Moon series. It's becoming very confusing to remember when each episode is going to become available and where it's going to be available, especially when certain websites don't publish schedules in the first place.

There are two continuing titles which I'm going to keep following on Crunchyroll: Haikyuu!! and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. Everything else in my list below is new for the summer season.

It feels like a dream come true: Sengoku Basara is back!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

News roundup: even more Gakuen Basara goodies!

I'm sorry for posting so much Sengoku Basara news lately; it just won't stop!

The Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package is to be a limited edition

This isn't unexpected but it's worth mentioning in case anyone was planning to buy it later; next week's Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package rerelease is only going to be available for a limited time. I'm sure there'll be a Best Price edition in future if you just want the game on its own, but if you're tempted by the special packaging, video DVD and DLC codes it might be wise to prioritise the game instead of waiting until it sells out!

In case people who don't usually import are reading this, here are some reliable stockists:


AmiAmi are currently sold out of their preorder allocation and CD Japan only have a few copies remaining; I'm keeping the links up in case they get more stock later.

Even more Gakuen Basara merchandise is announced

I'm not sure how much money the staff at Capcom think we all have but there's another batch of Gakuen Basara goodies on the way in late September courtesy of Cafe Reo!

A pair of mugs for ¥1,200 each, in Colourful and Soft designs.


A dog tag necklace like the one Masamune wears in the series for ¥3,000.


The Gakuen Basara version of Yukimura's signature rokumonsen necklace, also for ¥3,000.


A pair of folding fans for ¥1,800 each, in Colourful and Soft designs.


These items are supposed to be exclusive to Animate but import-friendly stores like Otaku Republic might be able to get hold of them again this time.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

News: the European Sengoku Basara Judge End simulcast has begun!

I'm grateful that Lumi has spread the word about this; the UK site doesn't show anything other than a trailer but it looks as though the official Sengoku Basara Judge End simulcast has now begun!

If you're in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark or Norway - or elsewhere and really lucky - you can check out the official Viewster simulcast page here to start watching for free.

Now that the episodes are finally available somewhere outside Japan, it should only be a matter of time before the simulcasts in France and the US appear too. In the meantime, it might be good if fans from other countries visit the Viewster page and leave feedback with the 'Help Us Improve' form to demonstrate that there's interest worldwide.

Perhaps Viewster will consider obtaining the streaming rights for additional regions if we all support the simulcast?

According to the synopsis, the official English titles for the first three episodes will be FAREWELL, CIVIL WARS and ALLIANCE.

For those of us still waiting for more announcements, here's a clip of the new Sengoku Basara 3 slot machine in action with its 'Descent of the Demon King'. While it's not quite as good as a Judge End broadcast, it's probably the most intense slot machine footage I've ever seen.