Thursday, 18 December 2014

News roundup: Okamoto Nobuhiko will join KobaP at Jump Festa this weekend

There will be a special guest at one of this weekend's Jump Festa presentations

It's almost time for the promised Sengoku Basara presentations at Jump Festa this weekend!

Capcom posted an update last night to advise that the start time will now be 13:30 - ten minutes earlier than previously stated. The presentations are still scheduled to last just half an hour each.

In addition, there's been a last minute announcement which confirms that seiyuu Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie) will be joining KobaP on stage for the Sunday show. This is also being reported all over the gaming press and on the Basara Matsuri website so I hope that KobaP has some interesting news to share with us all.

(If his hinted game announcement ends up being the upcoming Tales of Zestiria collaboration we already know about, I will cry.)

A preview image arrives for the final Judge End keychain

I'm not sure why it took VAP so long to add the sample picture to their site this time, but they've finally revealed how the bonus keychain from the first press version of the final DVD/Blu-ray volume of Sengoku Basara Judge End will look.

Gyoubu looks more intimidating (and cute) when he's small, doesn't he?


Edit (18:00): Speculation time!

I'm not feeling well at the moment so some delirium may be contributing to this post, but what if KobaP really is announcing the next game this weekend? And what if the reason Katsuie's seiyuu is accompanying him on Sunday is because there will be an Oda theme to the game?

What if that means they're going back to their roots as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations, and bringing back Nouhime and Ranmaru (and dare I hope, giving the classic characters who were only partially finished in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage proper upgrades and stories of their own)?

Well, it could easily just be that Okamoto was the only one of the more popular seiyuu who happened to be free that weekend - they used Kojuurou's seiyuu to announce a few things at Kyomaf last year even though he's not all that significant in Sengoku Basara 4. The staff have said before that Sakon is popular all by himself whereas Katsuie needs more support.

Still, I want to believe in my wild theory!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

News roundup: A couple of new Sengoku Basara 4 collaborations are planned for early next year

Visit Japanese arcades next year for a chance to win Sengoku Basara finger puppets

I guess the recent prize campaigns have been successful as Capcom have announced that there will be yet another range of adorable Sengoku Basara goodies next year!

The prizes this time will be two sets of seven 'kyun-gurumi' mini puppets, which will appear in Banpresto amusement arcades across Japan from late April 2015. The first set includes Kojuurou, Yukimura, Sasuke, Katsuie, Matabee and two versions of Masamune, while the second set, which arrives one week later, includes Sakon, Ieyasu, Keiji, Motochika, Motonari and two versions of Mitsunari.

I think Yukimura's facial expression is my favourite, though some of the others come close. It's a shame that game centre prizes can be rather difficult for foreign fans to obtain.

Rumour: Sengoku Basara 4 content will appear in Tales of Zestiria

According to some detailed leaks from the next issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine, upcoming PS3 title Tales of Zestiria will offer DLC swimsuits, character costumes from earlier Tales games, costumes from the Ao No Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) series and 'attachments' from Sengoku Basara 4. The leaks seem reliable and one specifically mentions Masamune, Katsuie, Yukimura, Mitsunari, Sakon and Ieyasu as the Sengoku Basara 4 characters who will feature in the campaign.

For the benefit of those who don't play the Tales games, 'attachments' are in-game decorations which can be equipped by the characters. I'm looking forward to seeing how they'll look!

Update (16:25): Well, I didn't have to wait long to find out. Nanahashi kindly directed me to Twitter user @yinyi982 who has posted a picture showing the attachments. They're even cuter than expected!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

News roundup: A few light updates ahead of next weekend's stage presentations

The cover artwork is revealed for the next volume of the Sengoku Basara 4 manga

We already knew that the second collected volume of Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4 manga adaptation was scheduled for release in late December 2014 for ¥616 but now we have the cover artwork to enjoy.

It's a great picture of Mitsunari and matches Masamune on the first book. I wonder how long the manga will run, and how many different characters they'll showcase on the different covers.

Catching up with the latest Sengoku Basara merchandise

There's a large amount of new Capcom merchandise coming out early next year and of course, this includes a few Sengoku Basara items.

The first new item is a pair of embroidery bracelets (friendship bracelets) with a choice of Masamune or Mitsunari designs. They're priced at ¥1,100 each and they'll be released in late February 2015.

The bracelets can be preordered worldwide at Ami Ami (Masamune, Mitsunari), CD Japan (Masamune, Mitsunari), Otaku Republic (Masamune, Mitsunari) as well as other import stores.

Those who prefer their merchandise to be practical may find this special Sengoku Basara masking tape more appealing. The packs will each contain two rolls of tape for ¥600 when they go on sale in late February 2015.

You can preorder the tape at at Ami Ami (Masamune/Yukimura, Ieyasu/Mitsunari), CD Japan (Masamune/Yukimura, Ieyasu/Mitsunari), Otaku Republic (Masamune/Yukimura, Ieyasu/Mitsunari) and other import stores.

Dengeki Online posts a preview of the new Sengoku Basara Judge End illustration book

If you wanted to know what to expect from the Television Anime Sengoku Basara Judge End: Official Illustration & Genga Collection art book which was released last week, the folks at Dengeki have put together an article (and a series of Twitter posts) with sample pictures showing its contents. It's probably not an essential purchase for the majority of fans but if you liked the art style of Judge End and want a definitive collection of its production materials, it looks like a decent compilation.

Two new Capcom shops will open in Japan - for a limited time

The old 'e-Capcom: Capcom Official Shop' in Odaiba may have closed down earlier this year, but those who want to buy Sengoku Basara and Monster Hunter merchandise straight from the source will be happy to learn that a pair of temporary Capcom stores will be open for business in Tokyo and Fukushima this winter.

The Tokyo store is called 'Capcom Shop: e-Capcom Tokyo Dome City Branch' and it will be trading between 12th December 2014 and 15th March 2015 in the Tokyo Dome City Plaza #1 area. Its opening hours are 10:30-19:00 on weekdays and 10:00-19:00 at weekends and bank holidays and it boasts some unique Monster Hunter attractions.

The Fukushima branch is a little more exclusive. The 'Capcom Shop in Kooriyama MOLTI' will only be open between 20th December 2014 and 4th January 2015 (excluding New Year's Day). Its opening hours are 10:00-20:00 with early closure on New Year's Eve and 4th January. To make up for its short lifespan, the pop-up shop will be offering plenty of goodies and giveaways along with unique Monster Hunter and Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) displays.

Both stores promise to stock various rare merchandise from a wide range of Capcom titles, and shoppers who spend more than ¥1,000 will receive a special coaster sticker while stocks last.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

News roundup: Cover artwork for Sengoku Basara Judge End volume 4 on DVD/Bluray

The cover art is revealed for the final volume of Sengoku Basara Judge End

I have very mixed feelings about the illustration.

On one hand, I like Masamune and Yukimura and it's a cool picture. On the other, what a missed opportunity to showcase more characters from Sengoku Basara Judge End! Masamune and Yukimura already had their chance to be on the covers of earlier volumes so I was hoping to see Magoichi and Keiji, or something like that...

More Judge End merchandise appears on the horizon

The official merchandise page also added a handful of new items recently.

A mini Sengoku Basara Judge End 'artket' (decorative blanket) with its own case. It will be priced at ¥3,500 and released on 19th February 2015. AmiAmi is already listing it so it should appear on other import sites soon.

Next, there's a set of 66 different trading cards including 'SP' (special) rare cards, 'SP' (special) cards, story cards, character cards, mini character cards and more. Each pack of 9 cards will cost ¥500, or you can buy a box containing 8 packs for ¥4,000. They'll go on sale in late February 2015.

There will also be a Sengoku Basara Judge End A4 storage folder priced at ¥1,200, due for release on 31st January 2015. AmiAmi, Otaku Republic and CD Japan already have their preorder listings ready.

I know this looks very similar to the Sengoku Basara Judge End photo folder from the other day, but it's a different item, I promise!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

News: KobaP teases everyone with vague comments at a PlayStation event

Sengoku Basara producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki got people excited earlier today when he appeared as one of a number of industry guests on a joint broadcast by Dengeki and Famitsu to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original PlayStation. If you have a Nico Nico account you can watch the time-shifted version for a limited time here, or alternatively it's on YouTube here. KobaP's segment can be found at the 33:10 mark on the Nico Nico version and at 1:03:30 on YouTube.

Most of the discussion was centred around KobaP reminiscing about creating various games for the PlayStation, but at one point the hosts tried to coax some new information out of him. In response, he talked about how the current Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play was in Nagoya approaching the end of its run, then brought up next year's Basara Matsuri, inviting the hosts along and promising that it was going to be really fun. He went on to suggest that since they were holding that big event in February 2015, wouldn't you expect something there?

Before anyone could press him further, he went back to describing the cool things that happen at Basara Matsuri events and moved the conversation along.

A little later on, host Dogma Kazami was asking some general questions about KobaP's planned lineup and received the answer that something would be announced the week after next. He refused to say more on the subject other than that things will start moving along soon, and that there are a few things for next year (this line trailed off).

It's worth mentioning that the upcoming announcement could easily relate to Biohazard, Dragon's Dogma or one of the other series he works on (heck, it could even be more Gaist Crusher given how much time KobaP seems to spend promoting that series). We can probably safely assume that it's for a PlayStation platform, at least, otherwise it would be rather cruel to mention it at a PlayStation-themed event!

However, KobaP's brief Sengoku Basara stage presentation at Jump Festa is on 20th December. That qualifies as 'the week after next', right? He could have meant that he'll be announcing something there then we'll get more details at Basara Matsuri, or just that he'll be announcing more Basara Matsuri details there as they've already confirmed...

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Magazine review: Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 7

Autumn's issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine was released a few days ago with Sengoku Basara 4 newcomer Shima Sakon taking the honour of appearing on the cover and on the cute Mame Sengoku Basara rubber strap. For Sakon fans, this book is likely to be indispensible; it's the first time since his debut that he's been the star of an entire publication.

Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 7 went on sale on 27th November 2014 priced at ¥2,500. It can be purchased from most Japanese bookstores which offer international shipping, such as Amazon Japan, HMV, Yesasia, CD Japan and Manga Oh. Prices will rise once stock starts to become scarce and the last issue is already out of print; given that this particular issue seems to be quite popular thanks to character designer Ookubo Tooru's anime-style cover illustration, it may sell out more quickly than usual.

With this being an odd-numbered issue it means that there's a new pair of characters featured on the CD. Showgeki Basara Talk! Motochika & Motonari No Maki Vol. 1 features two of the most beloved seiyuu of the series, Ishino Ryuuzou and Nakahara Shigeru. They're both lovely and tend to work as a natural comedy duo even during the unscripted parts of the show.

Their 'Basara Challenge' skit requires that Motochika and Motonari try to look after some children, which ends up being Motochika looking after the children while trying to prevent Motonari treating them as pawns in his army. The whole thing is greatly enhanced with childish background music and prerecorded sound effects of the children cheering at comical moments. No matter how much fun Aniki has trying to instil his values in his young charges, Motonari is always ready with a joyless insult of some kind to darken the mood.

The other special activity on the disc is a quiz where both seiyuu talked about their characters' more challenging lines. Overall, it's a pretty good Basara Talk CD.

My usual run-through of the rest of the magazine's contents follows.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

News: Capcom will host a Sengoku Basara 4 stage presentation at Jump Festa '15

Jump Festa '15 is the latest in Shounen Jump's annual series of manga and gaming conventions, scheduled to be held at Makuhari Messe on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st December 2014. Naturally, there's often a Capcom booth at the event to promote their newest games.

The official Sengoku Basara news portal suddenly updated this morning to announce that there will be a Sengoku Basara 4 presentation at the Capcom booth this year as well! Last year's Jump Festa event revealed a lot of new information about the then-unreleased Sengoku Basara 4.

So what can we expect this time? Right now, not much is known. Capcom's Jump Festa '15 microsite contains the same information as the news portal, reporting that attendees will be able to play Sengoku Basara 4 on stage to try to win prizes. Series producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki will also be making announcements relating to February's Basara Matsuri event - and more.

The Sengoku Basara 4 stage events will be held between 13:40 and 14:10 (Japan time) on both days of Jump Festa '15. It's a short timeslot so there's a chance all they'll be doing is promoting Sengoku Basara 4 and announcing the next batch of guests for Basara Matsuri, but it's also possible there'll be more information closer to the time. The Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play will finish its run two weeks before the event takes place so it will be the perfect opportunity to begin dropping hints about the next big project.

I'm definitely curious!

Friday, 21 November 2014

News roundup: merchandise, wallpapers and a request for help from a fellow fan

A roundup of the newest Sengoku Basara merchandise

Four new Mame Sengoku Basara 4 acrylic straps are due for release in late January 2015. Priced at ¥648 each, there will be designs for Date Masamune, Ishida Mitsunari, Shibata Katsuie and Shima Sakon.

In addition, AmiAmi have added details of four Sengoku Basara Magazine cushions for release in late January 2015. They're priced at ¥3,240 each and come in a choice of Date Masamune, Ishida Mitsunari, Chousokabe Motochika and Mouri Motonari designs.

The cover artwork is released for the upcoming Judge End art book

The Television Anime Sengoku Basara Judge End: Official Illustration & Genga Collection will now be released on 9th December 2014 and a sample of the front cover has been released:

Masamune seems to be casually reclining and with his weapons. Presumably Yukimura is on the back cover - I wonder whether he'll look as relaxed as his rival?

Having trouble buying Sengoku Basara Magazine?

In response to a request (and because I still haven't figured out how to respond to comments on Tumblr), some people are having trouble finding ways to preorder the upcoming Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 7 outside Japan. It seems that most import stores still haven't posted their listings, but if you're worried about missing out and don't mind the more expensive shipping, Amazon Japan and HMV will both ship the magazine overseas and accept foreign credit cards.

I'd expect stores such as CD Japan to list the magazine too eventually. It might be worth contacting your favourite websites with a link to the Amazon page to ask when they'll be adding their listings!

After the last batch of information was released with the cover illustration, the magazine shot up to first place in Amazon's gaming magazine category and has been in the top ten ever since. It's possible that it will sell out quite quickly after release.

Free Sengoku Basara wallpapers are available from Enterrise

Enterrise, the company behind this year's Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3 slot machine game, have posted a generous batch of wallpapers on their website which highlight several characters from Sengoku Basara 3. There are some older Pachislot Sengoku Basara 2 pictures available too if you prefer Tsuchibayashi Makoto's character artwork to the CG renders.

Help required: Seeking a translator for Sengoku Basara 4 cutscene videos

This last section isn't news but a request for help from a fellow Sengoku Basara fan! Matsunaga Hisahide recently got in touch with me to ask whether I knew anyone who would be interested in teaming up with him to translate the cutscenes from Sengoku Basara 4 into English. Fans may already be familiar with his work from the subtitled promotional videos he shared leading up to the game's release as 'PSandNintendFreak' on YouTube, as well as content from previous titles.

Those videos were a collaboration with longtime series fan Nine Demons Yoshitaka, but due to real life commitments Hisahide is currently looking for more helpers to provide translated scripts for the dialogue so he can match it up to video footage and help fans who don't speak Japanese to get more out of the game. He's completely flexible about who shares the videos and full credit will be given; he just wants to get the content out there!

If you're interested and have enough free time to assist, you can contact Hisahide directly through Koei Warriors or YouTube - or send me a message and I'll provide more details and help you make contact.

Friday, 14 November 2014

News roundup: Prerelease information for the next volume of Sengoku Basara Magazine

Release information for Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 7

E-Capcom updated today to show off the cover artwork for the next volume of Sengoku Basara Magazine, scheduled for release on 27th November 2014. Surprisingly, they've used a new anime-style image of Sakon for the placeholder artwork.

The illustration has been provided by character designer Ookubo Tooru to go with the 26 pages of Shima Sakon coverage within the magazine (which includes an interview with seiyuu Nakamura Yuuichi and tribute illustrations by Kugawara Kazuki and Hayama). There's also a sample of the exclusive rubber strap:

The listing notes that the next issue will feature the first part of an official 'scenario novel', a serialised story by the game's scenario writer Matsuno Izuru titled Sengoku Basara 4: Sanbee Souran ~Oushuu Ni Teru Hikari~ Zenpen ('Three '-bee' Mayhem ~The Future Which Shines On Oushuu~ Part 1'). The story will involve Hanbee, Kanbee and Matabee clashing with Masamune, from the sound of things. Yokota Mamoru will be providing illustrations and the 'scenario novel' format is supposedly more dynamic and easy to read than a normal story. Interesting!

There will also be a report from the upcoming Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play with an interview from the four graduating cast members (Nakamura Seijirou, Hirose Yuusuke, Yoshida Tomokazu and Murata Youjirou), a look back at Judge End, an article where series creators KobaP and YamamotoD answer 26 questions asked by fans, a vote on a new blanket design to be released in late February 2015 and more.

The Showgeki Basara Talk! Motochika & Motonari No Maki Vol. 1 CD will feature seiyuu Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari) and Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika). One of the special challenge skits will feature the two of them taking care of children this time.

The serialised manga will include the same three titles again: Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 4 (Shucchouban), Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen and Tane Jugou's Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara.

The cover illustration for the next novel is now available

The cover artwork has been revealed for the second Sengoku Basara 4 novel, Sengoku Basara 4: Saikyou-Chouhan-hen ('Western Misfortune/Cho-han Arc'). Takase Mie is credited as the writer and Haibara Yak will be providing illustrations when the book goes on sale on 11th December 2014.

Sample images for the newest Sengoku Basara merchandise

We can now finally see full-sized pictures of the upcoming Mame Sengoku Basara goodies which will be released at the end of November 2014. There will be wooden straps (¥600) and chirimen crepe mirrors (¥800) featuring a choice of Masamune, Mitsunari, Yukimura, Ieyasu, Keiji, Sakon, Katsuie, Shikanosuke and Matabee illustrations.

In addition, the new CG illustrations from Sengoku Basara Magazine are going to feature on acrylic pass cases with Masamune, Mitsunari, Motochika and Motonari designs (¥1,200).

Finally, there will be a Sengoku Basara Judge End photo album for storing your favourite bromides (including, perhaps, the bromides which will be offered as prizes in the upcoming Ichiban Kuji lottery?). It will be released on 29th January 2015 for ¥1,000.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Manga review: Sengoku Basara Comic Anthology 'Setouchi Chronicle'

Sengoku Basara Comic Anthology 'Setouchi Chronicle' was released by ASCII Media Works in the Dengeki Comics EX line on 21st December 2013 after a month's delay. Priced at ¥850 before taxes, this 116-page manga can still be purchased from all good import book stores and specialists such as Yesasia, Amazon Japan or CD Japan.

Setouchi Chronicle is the third (and presumably, final) book in this particular series of manga anthologies, following on from Dategun Chronicle and Takedagun Chronicle released the same year. Each volume focuses on a particular army, making them a real treat if you happen to be a fan of the characters being highlighted. I'm still amazed that there was no Toyotomigun Chronicle given the faction's popularity - perhaps Sengoku Basara 4 will provide more spin-off opportunities later on.

Setouchi Chronicle is based on the Setouchi region, so naturally most of its content revolves around the eternal struggle between Mouri Motonari and Chousokabe Motochika. In that respect it's a little different from the previous volumes; the heroes are bitter enemies this time rather than allies working alongside one another. Fans of other characters with links to the Setouchi region will also find a few stories which might satisfy them - Tsuruhime guest stars in several of the strips - but Motonari and Motochika get the lion's share of the pages all to themselves. The stories are mostly comedic in nature.

Regular Sengoku Basara manga readers may notice a number of familiar names in the list of contributors, ranging from regular manga artists to doujinshi creators. There are a few samples on Dengeki's online reader website here.

Cover artist Ashika Nozomu has captured both of the characters' personalities on the eye-catching pink/green dust jacket. Inside, the first two pages are full-colour illustrations: Sasakura Kou has drawn
Motochika and Ieyasu back-to-back while Mizuno Sao chose to depict Motochika and Motonari clashing in battle. Both pieces of art are superb.

The rest of the book is made up of black and white manga as usual. Many of the titles are puns based on songs or popular culture, and the Sengoku Basara 3 storyline seems to be popular - most likely because it offers a rare chance to show both characters working together without having to establish some reason for them to cooperate within the limits of a short story.

Gassantodajou De Himatsubushi ('Killing Time At Gassantoda Castle')
from Sengoku Basara 3
Arai Karo
Motochika brings Motonari along to Gassantoda Castle as his ally (i.e. his bodyguard, for players of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes). He is forced to endure an endless stream of abuse and heckling as he tries to keep his attention on the fight with Amago Haruhisa. There are numerous references to the original game in this very funny story.