Tuesday, 21 October 2014

News roundup: Mame Sengoku Basara goodies, Yukimura tofu, stage play DVDs and prize draws

There's an awful lot of Japan-only content in this news update, so I'll start off with some cuteness to soften the blow.

Mame Sengoku Basara receives another batch of new merchandise

The Mame Sengoku Basara series continues to drive its fans into poverty by inspiring more and more adorable merchandise with every passing week. Here are the latest goodies, all of which are planned for December 2014.

Nine different Mame Sengoku Basara mobile phone screen cleaners for ¥500 each:

Nine different Mame Sengoku Basara mobile phone straps for ¥800 each:

Nine different 'petakuri', novelty screen cleaners which you can stick to various surfaces, for ¥450 each:

The second volume of the Sengoku Basara 4 manga is due in December

This will probably be confirmed in next week's issue of Dengeki Maoh but since Mangaoh already have it up for preorder and the timing's about right, I'm going to jump the gun and report it now. The second volume of Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4 manga adaptation is scheduled for release on 20th December 2014. It won't be long before fans who don't subscribe to Dengeki Maoh can catch up on all of the beautiful artwork that Yoshihara has been teasing on Twitter for the last few months!

The release of the next Sengoku Basara 4 novel has been delayed

I mentioned that listings for a new novel titled Sengoku Basara 4: Saikyou-Chouhan-hen ('Western Misfortune/Cho-han Arc') had been spotted the other day, but the author Takase Mie has since posted on Twitter to explain that the novel won't make the leaked release date of 8th November. We'll have to wait for an official announcement to find out when it will be available.

Confirmation of the details for the upcoming stage play DVD

The general release of the Butai Sengoku Basara 3: Togakuruwashi Kizuna stage play DVD has been confirmed for 21st November 2014, with listings appearing on major online video stores over the last few days including Amazon Japan (LE) and CD Japan (LE). The specification matches the version which was offered through the Dais Shop for delivery in September (it was later delayed to 'late October' and has yet to ship).

The 182-minute DVD comes in a choice of standard and limited edition formats. The limited edition version adds a photo booklet and a bonus disc with 94 minutes of extra content. This includes 'making of' footage, the curtain call messages from the finale and a compilation from the special talk shows held after a few of the performances. Given that the prices are quite similar, I think the limited edition is great value!

Sengoku Basara 4's Sanada Yukimura heads to another historical event

Yukimura is certainly popular these days! He's the focus of another historically-themed celebration with the Tennouji Sanada Yukimura Fair on 1st November 2014, when a special event called Sanadamaru No Jin will be held as part of the ongoing Fair activities. Visitors who travel to Sanadayama Park in the heart of Osaka can enjoy a selection of attractions, and amongst them will be a Sengoku Basara 4 booth run by Capcom. They're even bringing the new mascot character Yukimura-kun along!

Crazy tofu brand Otokomae will be selling ¥300 packs of boiled tofu with an exclusive packaging design, exactly as they did back in May. It's an interesting choice of illustration - very fitting for the tofu brand's image.

Donate to charity, earn a unique Sengoku Basara 4 wallpaper

We were promised details of a way to earn a special Sengoku Basara 4 smartphone wallpaper by helping charity, and those details have finally surfaced this week. The Akai Hane Kyoudou Bokin ('Red Feather Community Chest') charity campaign has released a couple of Android applications to allow people to make donations and receive digital rewards.

Unfortunately, I don't have any Android devices - and even if I did, I suspect that this app will be another victim of Google's hyper-aggressive region locking which seems to make any software I would ever want to use unavailable outside Japan. I hope they'll consider an iOS version before the campaign ends in March 2015.

A Blu-ray/DVD release event will be held for Sengoku Basara Judge End

The Animate Girls Festival 2014 (AGF) convention will be taking place in Japan next month, and one of the scheduled events is an exclusive stage presentation to celebrate the release of Sengoku Basara Judge End on Blu-ray and DVD. The only way that a person can get tickets for the presentation is to buy a ticket for AGF itself (they were already almost completely sold out before it was announced) then, in addition, preorder the second volume of Judge End at a specific branch of Animate in central Tokyo.

Fans who are willing to meet these rather unreasonable criteria will be rewarded with a live talk show starring seiyuu Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura). The event had previously been advertised with Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) instead of Hoshi, but for some reason the guests were suddenly changed.

I'm glad that they're still supporting Judge End even though it's been a bit of a flop. Getting to see any of the seiyuu live is a real treat, after all.

Previews of the prizes for next month's Ichiban Kuji prize draw

Fans who are planning to buy tickets for the Ichiban Kuji V: Sengoku Basara Judge End ~The Battle of Sekigahara~ mini-lottery can now take a look at the range of thirty postcard-sized 'charamides' which will be on offer as prizes. Charamides (it's a made-up word) are collectible pictures printed on photographic paper. Each winner will receive a randomly-packed envelope containing three of them.

There are two additional charamides which can be earned by customers who buy five or more tickets at a time.

Only people with Japanese mobile phones are allowed to participate in the next two parts of the event but I'll mention them anyway for the sake of completeness.

All of the charamides come with a unique code on the back to let the holder vote in a special online contest for a chance to win additional prizes such as posters and sound clips. In addition, to raise awareness about the lottery, there's a Twitter campaign running right now. Six winners will be chosen to receive Sengoku Basara Judge End posters. Entrants have to follow the official Ichiban Kuji account on Twitter, then retweet the official announcements or talk about the upcoming lottery using the hashtag they list on the page.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Streaming: Autumn 2014 anime first impressions

It's looking as though I'm going to have a quieter time this autumn after the sensational summer, which probably isn't a bad thing with travel plans and seasonal deadlines looming at work. The recent abundance of female-orientated fan service and hot-blooded action has given way to a schedule full of schoolgirls and fantasy instead. There are still some gems to be found, but as several are blocked from viewers in the UK by regional lockouts I'm going to have to wait until they appear on home video before giving them a try.

The tangled mess of UK anime streaming services continued to disappoint last season and there's no sign that much has improved since then. Animax UK continues to be slow and annoying (I gave up on waiting for them to actually announce anything this season and went ahead with this post without them), Daisuki will probably end up replicating part of Crunchyroll's library, and Viewster has managed to get one exclusive title which has yet to appear. Wakanim are not streaming anything at all this season in order to work on a website overhaul and relaunch which will probably never happen. Once again, Crunchyroll is the go-to service for timely streaming on a set schedule.

The only one of my summer titles which is continuing into autumn is Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, so I'm starting with a relatively clean slate. Let's see which shows made the cut.

Spoilers: Fate was one of them

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Today's acquisitions (18th October 2014)

I haven't ordered anything in a long time, but that doesn't mean that old preorders have stopped arriving. A few boxes of goodies turned up today, headed up by the newest figure of Date Masamune from Sengoku Basara.

It's the fourth figure in Kaiyodo's 'Micro Yamaguchi' Revolmini line.

It's really small compared to the old Revoltech version! They look similar at first glance, but the new one is much more articulated and sturdy.

On the whole I'm quite pleased with the new Masamune. I hope the rest of the series' leads follow later so he has someone to fight with who doesn't tower over him by several centimetres.

The same shipment included two manga volumes, Diabolik Lovers More Blood Mukami Hen: Sequel and the official adaptation of D3 Publisher's Gyakuten Yoshiwara. Sandwiched between them is the Diabolik Lovers: Sadistic Night 2014 event pamphlet and bonus CD.

The next picture is almost entirely CDs. Diabolik Lovers do-S Kyuuketsu CD: VERSUS II Vol. 6 is the last in its series so it included Animate's special tokuten CD alongside the usual bromide. The second Diabolik Lovers Dark Fate CD came with Stellaworth's bromide and short story pamphlet, then Ishikawa Chiaki's Zenya EP and the limited edition hardback art book version of Exit Tunes' Vocalospace compilation round off the things I paid for. Vocalospace came with a cute Hatsune Miku rubber strap, Animate gave me a Binary Star trading card and Yesasia threw in a small keychain mascot of Akashi from Kuroko No Basuke.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

News roundup: More Judge End merchandise - and the Mitsunari Revolmini figure will be available for preorder soon

Sengoku Basara has an unexpected presence at an anime event in Japan

There was a big surprise at last weekend's MBS Anime Fes event when the scheduled Attack on Titan, Macross Frontier, Gundam SEED, Tiger & Bunny and Haikyuu!! content was supplemented by a set of Sengoku Basara stage performances paying tribute to Production I.G.'s popular anime adaptation. Nakai Kazuya joined his Sengoku Basara co-stars Hoshi Souichirou and Ishida Akira as a secret guest and the three of them performed some live dialogue readings on stage (Hoshi and Ishida were among a number of seiyuu from the series who were already at the event to promote their roles in other shows). T.M.Revolution even returned to the stage to perform FLAGS and SWORD SUMMIT for a delighted audience. I wish I could have been watching!

NTV continues to show off more Sengoku Basara Judge End merchandise

The series might not be selling very well but that isn't stopping companies producing an endless stream of merchandise for it, and the latest update to NTV's Judge End website reveals another batch of goodies to tempt fans to part with more of their cash.

Four different 'hanging' hook bookmarks for release on 18th December 2014 priced at ¥1,000 each:

Two sets of clear bookmarks for release on 19th December 2014 priced at ¥600 each:

Each set comes with three punch-out bookmarks; the small pictures show how they look when you first open the pack.

Finally, there are four different Omamori charms for release on 18th December 2014 priced at ¥700 each:

They contain slips of paper so that you can hide your wishes inside them.

Kaiyodo begin to tease the upcoming Mitsunari 'Revolmini' figure

It's been a while since the existence of the 'Micro Yamaguchi' Revolmini version of Mitsunari was first revealed back in August, but it seems as though he's finally on the way! The official Revolmini Twitter account has tweeted a few pictures which clearly show Mitsunari's silhouette and armour, promising that reservations will open on 25th October 2014. Given how popular the original Revoltech version of Mitsunari seemed to be, it's probably a good idea to preorder early if you want to obtain this smaller version.

An official trailer is released for next year's Basara Matsuri fan event

It doesn't show much, but it's exciting that they're putting this much effort into it! You can see the short trailer here on YouTube or watch below.

Friday, 10 October 2014

News roundup: Once again, even more Mame Sengoku Basara goodies are on the way

The range of Mame Sengoku Basara merchandise continues to expand

Fans of Mame Sengoku Basara continue to have an expensive year as the new merchandise just keeps on coming! Here are the latest additions.

Nine different Mame Sengoku Basara multi-purpose cloths priced at ¥600 each. They'll be available from mid-November 2014.

Three different Mame Sengoku Basara glasses priced at ¥1,200 each. They'll be released in mid-November 2014.

Another Mame Sengoku Basara tote bag, this time featuring Motonari and Motochika. It's due for release in December 2014 priced at ¥1,500.

A pair of Mame Sengoku Basara sports towels priced at ¥2,000 each. They'll be released in mid-November 2014.

Listings appear for a second Sengoku Basara 4 novel adaptation

Online bookstore Manga Oh has listed a new book for release on 8th November 2014 titled Sengoku Basara 4: Saikyou-Chouhan-hen ('Western Misfortune/Cho-han Arc'). There's a note that the title is not yet confirmed but given that it perfectly matches that of the previous book I think it's safe to assume it will stick, and the content will focus on Ishida Mitsunari and Shima Sakon. Takase Mie is credited as the writer and Haibara Yak will be providing illustrations once again.

I was wondering whether the novel series would continue just the other day so I looked it up; what a coincidence!

Need something warm and tasty on the battlefield? Try this spicy houtou stew!

Takeda Shingen's delicious houtou is the latest regional dish to be made available in official Sengoku Basara 4 packaging. As the stew is a speciality closely associated with the land of Kai, the kits went on sale on 8th October 2014 aimed at the tourist market in what is now Yamanashi Prefecture.

A Sengoku Basara stamp rally event will be held in Ueda

Sengoku Basara's Sanada Yukimura already adorns tourist sites all over Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, and now between 18th October and 30th November 2014 he's going to be the face of the Shinshuu Ueda x Sengoku Basara Stamp Rally ~Part 1 - Battle of Ueda: The Tokugawa Army Repelled~ campaign. There are two different ways that visitors to Ueda can participate in the stamp rally; they can either collect a stamp card and run around collecting stamps the old fashioned way to receive a B2 poster, or they can use their mobile phones to earn a smartphone wallpaper. If the mobile phone participants complete a survey they'll be entered into a draw to win one of the B2 posters as well.

Updates on the latest Ichiban Kuji prize draws

I was beginning to wonder whether the upcoming Ichiban Kuji V lottery had been cancelled as it had been such a long time since it was first announced! However, it turns out that Ichiban Kuji V: Sengoku Basara Judge End ~The Battle of Sekigahara~ is still going ahead on 15th November 2014 as planned and it's now been added to the official website. Entry slips will be sold in a variety of stores for ¥390 once the campaign commences.

In addition, the Judge End bath towels will start to appear in amusement arcades from 6th November 2014.

The Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- manga goes on sale in Italy

I'm grateful to thebasariankaoru on Tumblr for mentioning this and sharing a picture as I hadn't realised that Panini Comics had begun publishing Itou Ryuu's Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- series in Italy under their manga label! It seems to have an official publication date of 9th October 2014, and it's probably much easier for fans in the west to obtain than the Japanese editions - at least within Europe.

The English-speaking world is definitely lagging behind when it comes to official translations of the many Sengoku Basara manga spin-off series. I imagine that the grim tone of Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- would be reasonably popular with English-speaking manga readers even if the original game is relatively obscure.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

News roundup: A new Sengoku Basara game is released outside Japan (for iOS)

iOS users can now buy the mobile version of Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3

I'm sorry about the title. It's technically true though: Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3 seems to have received a simultaneous worldwide release on the iTunes store this week! I haven't checked every store but I can confirm that it's available in the UK (£10.49), USA ($14.99), Germany (€13.99) and in many other parts of Europe, as well as in its native Japan (¥1,500).

In honesty, the game is very expensive for what you get and it's all in Japanese (though that's probably not too much of a problem when it's a basic slot machine simulator). Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3 is also available for Android devices, however - like most Japanese titles - it seems to be region locked in the UK.

An adorable Sengoku Basara stylus collection arrives in November

Japanese gaming fans will be able to collect ten different mobile phone 'touch pen' styluses in a limited number of Capcom amusement arcades from the beginning of November 2014. They come with headphone socket attachments so they double up as cute charms whenever you're not using them to draw on the screen.

I love Tsuruhime's face

These are probably going to be tricky to find as the arcades which plan to carry them aren't in the most convenient of locations. I hope they get a wider release later on.

Ishikawa Chiaki participates in a Sengoku Basara broadcast on Nico Nico Live

I didn't hear much mention of this aside from a few tweets from staff members, but singer Ishikawa Chiaki held a special Sengoku Basara live performance and talk show on Nico Nico today to promote her newest album, Watashi No Kokoro Ha Sou Ittenai. Those with premium accounts may still be able to watch here if they missed the live broadcast.

It was a strange event as it combined the latest updates from Ishikawa with news about the upcoming Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play. While many Sengoku Basara fans will know Ishikawa best for her contributions to the Sengoku Basara 3 game and the various anime adaptations, she's also created several songs exclusively for the Butai Sengoku Basara series. I would go as far as to say that Ishikawa's emotional melodies have even more impact in the stage play series than Nishikawa Takanori's high energy theme songs.

After a simple introduction, Ishikawa presented a compilation video to introduce viewers to her new album. A lot of the viewers made silly Sengoku Basara comments when Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ began to play. Ishikawa then invited her guests onto the show: Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki and Murata Youjirou, the actor who plays Sarutobi Sasuke in Butai Sengoku Basara. Murata recently got married so he was in a very good mood.

The three of them talked about the series as a whole, watching a Sengoku Basara 4 promotional video and even mentioning the Takarazuka musical adaptation (Ishikawa is definitely a big fan)! Now that Sengoku Basara Judge End has finished, it feels as though the Sengoku Basara 3 era has finally ended and KobaP has gone back to promoting Sengoku Basara 4 with all his might.

The broadcast's big announcement was that Butai Sengoku Basara 4 will feature two of Ishikawa's newest songs: Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ and Tír na nÓg. Although Tír na nÓg wasn't originally planned as a Sengoku Basara song, its themes and melody ended up being a perfect fit so they decided to include it in the stage play series. Hey, the interviewer in Animage magazine turned out to have good intuition when they linked Tír na nÓg to Sengoku Basara last month!

The show ended with Ishikawa performing an extended version of Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ live from the studio for premium viewers. Although the stream's sound quality wasn't perfect, her pretty voice made it a treat to listen to.

The broadcast was a pleasant way to pass the evening, especially for Ishikawa fans. She did a good job of interacting with the live viewers by remarking on the comments they made in real time. The commenters seemed to be full of energy too, asking her to appear at next year's Basara Matsuri event and begging KobaP for a Sengoku Basara 4 anime adaptation (I'm pretty sure that the first wish, at least, will be granted).

It's going to be fun to see the promotion for Butai Sengoku Basara 4 gradually increasing over the next three weeks. I wonder when we'll we get to see Sakon, Katsuie and Yoshiteru in costume?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

News roundup: T.M.Revolution is confirmed for the next Basara Matsuri

More guests are announced for February's big Basara Matsuri event

The second wave of announcements appeared on the official Basara Matsuri website this morning. Headlining the announcements is the first music guest: T.M. Revolution. I was reasonably sure he'd be appearing but it's good to have confirmation!

As for the other guests, Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie) has been added to the list of seiyuu who will be attending the event. The first group of Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play actors has also been announced:

Yamaguchi Daichi (Date Masamune)
Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura)
Kubodera Akira (Oda Nobunaga)
Taniguchi Masashi (Akechi Mitsuhide)
Amano Kousei (Ashikaga Yoshiteru)

The next ticket lottery will begin accepting applications on Friday 10th October and this time it's open to the general public. Basara Matsuri is getting a lot of media attention already!

Sengoku Basara Judge End sells poorly on home video, people act surprised

The first week sales for Sengoku Basara Judge End have now been revealed and it's suddenly being discussed by the wider anime community for all the wrong reasons after having been thoroughly ignored during its actual broadcast.

The first week total sales were 569 copies on DVD and 669 copies on Blu-ray for a total of 1,238 copies, a substantial drop from the previous Production I.G. adaptation. Please note that these statistics don't include exports or shops which don't report their sales, but they're still interesting for comparison.

I think anyone seriously expecting the show to do any better than that with its budget and the amount of promotion it's had would have been crazily optimistic. I know the actual content has proven divisive but the bigger problem that Judge End has faced is that hardly anyone seemed to know it was even airing outside of the hardcore audience. Many of the buyers were probably more interested in the bonus radio CDs than the show itself.

I'd be interested to know how well its merchandise is selling in comparison. Speaking of which...

Even more Sengoku Basara Judge End merchandise is on the way

The CafeReo website has updated to show a generous amount of new merchandise planned for late November.

Sengoku Basara Judge End triple keyrings (two designs, ¥880 each):

Sengoku Basara Judge End die-cut stickers (four designs, ¥350 each):

Sengoku Basara Judge End pouch (¥980):

Sengoku Basara Judge End Japanese teacup (¥980):

Sengoku Basara Judge End reflective keyrings (four designs, ¥650 each):

Sengoku Basara Judge End face towels (four designs, ¥1,500 each):

Cover artwork is revealed for the newest Sengoku Basara art book

The Gekijouban Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- Official Illustration Collection II should be on its way to fans of Production I.G.'s anime adaptation very soon, and the cover has started to appear on online shopping sites. It's quite plain considering that the book is supposed to contain rare illustrations, so I guess we have to wait a little longer to glimpse what's inside.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Streaming: Summer 2014 anime final impressions

What a chaotic season! Having more streaming services vying for my attention combined with their collective inability to release new episodes on a reliable schedule made it very stressful to try to keep up. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that I was watching more simulcasts this season than ever before due to the wealth of interesting titles on offer.

It was very disappointing that with so many streaming services available, not one of them licensed Sengoku Basara: Judge End or Barakamon for the UK. Crunchyroll picked up most of what I wanted and - with one exception - delivered everything when promised with the usual professional service. Wakanim was plagued by severe delays almost every single week, Daisuki was doing well until it introduced a perplexing change to its schedule partway through the season, Viewster made a decent debut with some frustrating drawbacks and Animax still doesn't appear to grasp the idea of simulcasts. Nico Nico's single stream went online like clockwork without any technical problems. It's difficult to take the European services seriously when they continue to be so amateurish season after season.

Setting aside Sengoku Basara: Judge End, the only anime I've ever bothered reviewing episode-by-episode right the way through on this blog, the star of this anime season was probably Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. It feels weird picking a 4-koma comedy show as my favourite, but for some reason I was looking forward to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun more than anything else each week. Although it's finished now, I've ordered the original manga to help ease the transition back to life without Nozaki and his friends.

Here's my final ranking now the season is winding up:

1. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
2. Nobunaga Concerto
3. Sengoku Basara: Judge End (Sengoku Basara -End of Judgement-)

Any of those three shows could easily have taken the first place spot in the list depending on my mood at the time. Both Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun and Nobunaga Concerto were more consistent and satisfying than Judge End, but the feelings of excitement I have for Sengoku Basara are no secret; I feel blessed that it was given another chance at an anime adaptation in spite of its flaws. Several titles which didn't quite make the top three were still very enjoyable and I'm certain to be picking up the Blu-ray sets for a number of shows in future.

Compiling a list of disappointments would have been much easier than ranking my favourites after this bumper season.

Animated Tsuruhime! I still can't believe it happened

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Today's acquisitions (28th September 2014)

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted pictures of new goodies that weren't magazines. Some nice things arrived this weekend so it seemed like a good opportunity to take a few pictures.

To start off, here's the first Japanese Blu-ray set for Sengoku Basara Judge End.

I purchased through Amazon Japan so the set included an exclusive oversized Yukimura badge. I'm never sure what to do with things like this; at least it looks cool.

The wraparound paper obi keeps everything together until you open it up. First of all, I looked inside the Blu-ray slipcase. It contains a full-colour booklet with character designs and basic information about the series.

The slipcase also contains the colourful Digipak which holds the Blu-ray disc. It's certainly eye-catching!

The other side of the Digipak is dedicated to Masamune. Since there will be four volumes in total, I guess each will be themed around one of the four leads.

Pressed up against the Blu-ray slipcase is a thin cardboard box which contains the first press bonus items: a Masamune/Kojuurou keychain and two bonus audio CDs for the radio show. I'll listen to the exclusive episode on the way to work this week.

As for the Blu-ray disc itself, it's wonderful to be able to watch these episodes properly instead of in the poor quality that my online stream provided. The Blu-ray version looks so much better. I hope FUNimation use the same video materials when they create the US edition instead of messing with things.

The on-disc extras are limited to textless opening/ending sequences and an audio commentary for the first episode.


My shipment also included a few CDs, starting with the Sengoku Basara Judge End Original Soundtrack. I've become rather fond of Tokuda Masahiro's score. It's different to Sawano's sweeping masterpiece used in the old anime, and it's less action-packed than the game soundtracks. In spite of this, it's very pleasant to listen to.

Kimi Janakya Dame Mitai by Ooishi Masayoshi was the chipper opening to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, and Namae No Nai Kaibutsu by EGOIST served as the first ending to PSYCHO-PASS. The latter isn't exactly new, but I watched the show for the first time recently and fell in love with the song.

Kalafina's heavenly blue and Sawano Hiroyuki's A/Z | aLIEz CDs covered the opening and closing songs from last season's Aldnoah Zero anime. I'd like to pick up the full soundtrack as well when I get the chance since the insert song BRE@TH//LESS is gorgeous.

The heavenly blue single included a pamphlet with storyboards for the opening, which was an interesting bonus. A/Z | aLIEz featured a bonus DVD with the textless end credit sequences from the anime.

The last items on the list are a pair of drama CDs. Diabolik Lovers do-S Kyuuketsu CD: VERSUS II Vol. 5 came with Animate's special bromide as a bonus while the first Dark Fate CD's extras were a bromide and short story pamphlet from Stellaworth.

I've been trying to save money recently but I ordered all of this quite some time ago. It was difficult waiting for the new CDs after hearing the themes playing each week as part of their anime broadcasts.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 12 (Final)

It feels as though this season has flown by and we've somehow reached the final episode of Sengoku Basara Judge End in the blink of an eye. After a slight delay due to real-life commitments, I rushed to check it out.

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)
This week's initial television broadcast on NTV is at 02:55 on Sunday morning (Japan time). The YTV and BS Nittere broadcasts are shown over 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 are streamed weekly on Saturdays at 14:20 Eastern Time with English subtitles, even when the Japanese television broadcast is delayed. Subscribers can 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. Even though the videos are region-locked, fans outside the US can still visit the site and rate the videos to show that there's demand!

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

J-ONE (France only)
A French-subtitled broadcast is taking place on J-ONE - Canalsat (50) and Numericable (38). The schedule can be viewed at the link.

Viewster (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway only)
The show's broadcast was announced as being 'day and date with Japan' but it took a while for them to catch up. They seem to have settled into a rhythm now and the first eleven episodes are already 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. In spite of this I feel very strongly about supporting the official translated 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.


The rest of this post contains spoilers for the whole of Sengoku Basara: Judge End and some low quality screenshots. Please note that I'm watching the show in untranslated 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!