Wednesday, 27 August 2014

News roundup: Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 6 was released today

Early details from Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 6 start to appear

Although it will be a while before I received my copy and can post a full review, a little news is starting to appear online from people who purchased their copies of Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 6 in Japan today. Amazon Japan accidentally leaked the cover a couple of days early again this time, forcing them to conspicuously switch back to the temporary cover until the magazine was scheduled for release. Unfortunately for them, plenty of fans had already seen the leaked cover before the coverup was complete.


Motonari looks as serious as ever!

The Dengeki Maoh staff have been teasing the release on Twitter too. There's a picture of Motonari's seiyuu and stage play actor eating those doughnuts together, a close-up shot of the Mame Sengoku Basara rubber strap, a shot which implies that at least some of the 'Motonari Chronicle' article is going to be about Sunday Mouri, confirmation of the contents of the talk CD and a glimpse of the interview between seiyuu Nakai Kazuya and Hoshi Souichirou. The official magazine website has updated with a few more small preview pictures.

Twitter user @newyochan has posted a picture which indicates that Sakon will be the cover star of the next issue of the magazine, due for release on 27th November 2014. There will be a report from the upcoming Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play, a look back at Judge End and a rubber Sakon strap. The talk CD will feature seiyuu Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari) and Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika). The serialised manga will include the same three titles again: Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 4, Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen and Tane Jugou's Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara.

Cover artwork is revealed for the third Sengoku Basara Magazine spin-off CD

The final cover art for Sengoku Basara Magazine CD: Showgeki Basara Talk! Vol. 3: Ieyasu & Mitsunari No Maki Special-ban is now ready and it matches the style of the first two volumes. How cute!


The CD's contents and release details are listed in this previous post.

Hanging scrolls are to be released for Sakon and Katsuie

The Mame Sengoku Basara series continues to generate more merchandise in the form of a pair of new hanging scrolls featuring Shima Sakon and Shibata Katsuie. They're due for release on 27th September 2014 priced at ¥1,620 each.


Fans in Japan can support a good cause with Sengoku Basara

Charities are in the news a lot lately, and just like last year, Capcom have announced that they'll be supporting the Akai Hane Kyoudou Bokin ('Red Feather Community Chest') charity drive in Japan. This year's campaign will expand to cover 40 prefectures.


The exclusive rewards include tin badges and a clear file with the four Sengoku Basara 4 leads on the front and Ieyasu, Yukimura, Naotora and Shikanosuke/Oyassan on the reverse with information about the campaign.


There's also a poster with the campaign's message and the four Sengoku Basara 4 leads, which will be made available for download as a smartphone wallpaper between October 2014 and March 2015.


More information is available in Japanese here.

Mobage adds more animated Sengoku Basara avatars

The recent Sengoku Basara avatars for the Japanese social gaming service Mobage were evidently successful as they're now releasing a second batch of customisable avatar costumes.


Like before, the first item is free for registered Mobage members and after that you have to pay to collect more from the random gachapon lottery. I gave it a try and received Ieyasu's text about ruling the country with the power of bonds. Now I have two sets of text and no costumes...

Perhaps I'll be luckier in round three!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 8

With the plot having developed slightly differently to that of the original Sengoku Basara 3 game, fans who have stuck with the series are now left guessing what will happen each week! Here's a summary of what happened in today's new episode.

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 six 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). It seems to have begun, so 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 seven 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.

Summary

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first eight episodes 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!

Friday, 22 August 2014

News roundup: More Judge End merchandise and a rare update from the Capcom Bar

The last few days have been very quiet in the aftermath of the Obon period, and perhaps also because next week is when Sengoku Basara Magazine will be released. It's likely that the most interesting news is being saved up to draw attention to the magazine. With that said, here are the latest developments in the world of Sengoku Basara this week.

A Sengoku Basara: Judge End calendar will be released for 2015

The official anime merchandise page updated today to add the new Sengoku Basara: Judge End 2015 Calendar, scheduled for release on 18th October 2014 from Try-X Ltd. The B3-sized calendar is priced at ¥1,600. It will contain six full illustrations as well as the cover artwork.


CD Japan has been listing the calendar for a few days already so other hobby stores should be accepting preorders any day now.

There will be a Judge End Ichiban Kuji lottery later this year

Another new addition to the official anime website is news of an upcoming Ichiban Kuji lottery event. Fans in Japan will be able to visit Animate stores, amusement arcades and book shops from Saturday 15th November 2014 to participate in Ichiban Kuji V: Sengoku Basara Judge End ~The Battle of Sekigahara~.

The Ichiban Kuji V series of lotteries is for 'visual' goods and the prizes will apparently include postcard-sized 'charamides', collectible pictures printed on photographic paper. There's also some kind of mobile lottery feature where you can vote and obtain battle flag-style posters. More details should appear closer to the launch date.

The Capcom Bar updates its menu with three new Sengoku Basara items

It's the second anniversary of the Capcom Bar and to celebrate they're launching some new dishes on 29th August 2014 to tempt people into visiting again. The full update can be viewed here; I'll focus on the three new Sengoku Basara specialities.

Date Masamune -PHANTOM DIVE- Beer (¥780):


An alcoholic cocktail with vodka and ramune syrup. And six straws.

Ootani Yoshitsugu (Gyoubu) Prayer Bead Zenzai (¥530):


A traditional dessert made from red beans and other goodies. The shiratama dumplings are supposed to represent the prayer beads (they're at the bottom of the glass - it's a little hard to see at this angle).

Ishida Mitsunari -Zankai- (¥680):


According to the description, the indigo colour of the grape juice represents Mitsunari's cruelty while the white cream symbolises his earnest side.

--

I'd quite like to try the Mitsunari drink (especially if you get to keep the sword).

KobaP speaks to the Sankei Shimbun newspaper

Sengoku Basara series producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki recently tweeted a link to a short Sankei Shimbun interview he gave on the subject of the 'Reki-jo Boom' - the sharp rise in female fans who are genuinely fascinated by history. While female history buffs are nothing new, the 'reki-jo' phenomenon has been well documented in Japan and Sengoku Basara is regarded as a major contributor to the trend.

Most of the content of the interview reiterated content fans will already know so I'll avoid translating the whole thing word by word. In talking about the series' beginnings back in 2005, KobaP said that the media was drawing a lot of attention to the Sengoku period at that time. Since Capcom was known for its action titles, they decided to try making a Sengoku-themed action game.

The title of the series describes its unconventional approach to the setting; the word 'Basara' is supposed to refer to the flashy, individualistic behaviour of the characters. Capcom is known for its unique characters in series such as Street Fighter and most other titles at that time tried to keep their portrayals of historical figures realistic; in response, the team decided to make the cast as distinctive as possible. KobaP remarked that even relatively unknown warriors could be turned into 'cool characters'.

One of their original goals was to make the story accessible even to gamers who didn't have much background knowledge about the Sengoku period. They didn't particularly plan for the series to become so popular with women, they just wanted to change the image that Capcom games had of being difficult to play. There were some objections but in the end KobaP was glad they managed to appeal to a different set of gamers.

At the end of the interview KobaP noted that he'd like to arrange some kind of campaign to celebrate the series' tenth anniversary next year, and added that he also wants to keep promoting regional tie-ins for the series.

I wonder what he has planned for 2015?

Animate TV posts its image gallery preview of tomorrow's anime episode

Lastly, here's the link to this week's spoiler-filled preview gallery with shots from tomorrow's new episode of Judge End on page two. For some reason the line of pictures of characters with ominous shadows over their faces amused me.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 7

We're past halfway through Sengoku Basara Judge End and most of the overseas streaming services seem to have caught up with the Japanese broadcast. Aside from Animate TV's regular Judge End preview gallery, there hasn't been much news coming out of Japan this week due to it being the annual Obon period. Normal updates should resume next week!

Please note that this weekend's episode of Judge End is being broadcast on Japanese television a couple of hours later than usual due to a football show.

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 03:55 on Sunday morning (Japan time), a few hours later than usual. 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. 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 four 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). It now seems to have begun, so 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's taken a while for them to catch up. They seem to have settled into a rhythm now and the first six 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.

Summary

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first seven episodes 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!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

News roundup: August's Sengoku Basara Judge End magazine coverage

There are going to be mild Sengoku Basara: Judge End (Sengoku Basara -End of Judgement-) spoilers throughout this entire post because it's difficult to talk about the latest magazine coverage without them. Please be warned.

I received my shipment of August anime magazines yesterday, so it's time for the usual roundup of Judge End promotional news. There's less than usual this month, in part due to the new Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) television which is dominating the mainstream anime media right now (thankfully, I'm a fan of that series too).


First is Monthly Animedia. There's no new information in the two-page article, but there is a very entertaining illustration of Masamune relaxing by going fishing. Naturally, he's adopted his signature six-claw style.


There's a lovely fan art of the four Judge End leads drawn by Asakura Yuri in the gallery, too.

The television listings confirm the episode titles for the next few episodes of the anime. We already knew the first but I'll include it anyway.

Episode 7: Ankoku ('Darkness') airs on 16th August 2014
Episode 8: Yakusoku ('Promise') airs on 23rd August 2014
Episode 9: Sekigahara airs on 6th September 2014

The series will not be broadcast on the weekend of 30th August.

Moving on, Animage magazine has devoted itself wholeheartedly to Masamune and Yukimura this month.


The pull-out poster of the two of them relaxing is accompanied by a four-page article, including a lengthy interview with seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) on 'the growth of Azure-Crimson'.
  • As the one playing the role, Hoshi relished the fact that this Yukimura is different to the way he was portrayed in the previous anime adaptations. The second half of Judge End will show a much more developed Yukimura than we've seen in the past.
  • Hoshi doesn't think that Yukimura would have become the person he is without having had Oyakata-sama in his life. He's been fighting for his master's sake rather than his own, and his loyalty is unshakeable.
  • (Note: I love how the interviewer and Hoshi both casually refer to him as 'Oyakata-sama' rather than 'Shingen' in this article.)
  • Nakai believes that people who already know Masamune will enjoy seeing him get back on his feet again after his hardships, but he's anxious about what brand new fans will think when they see him going up against major setbacks right from the start of Judge End. He wonders whether they'll ask why the guy whose name comes first in the credits is such a bedraggled loser.
  • The two seiyuu discussed the challenges of Masamune's quirky English vocabulary, and Nakai admitted that when he tries to imagine what foreign viewers might think it makes him weep. They joked about how odd it was for Masamune to react by exclaiming "Ouch~!" in the series instead of using a more natural Japanese equivalent.
  • Hoshi thinks it's interesting that in times of trouble, the sunny Yukimura turned to Mitsunari, who is like a shadow. At the same time, when Masamune's feelings took a darker turn he went with Ieyasu - who is like the sun. He finds the contrast fascinating.
  • Even Nakai was a little shocked when Kojuurou suddenly came out and called Masamune 'Bontenmaru' in episode five.
  • Both actors loved the scene at the end of episode four where Yukimura stands up to the revenge-driven Masamune and stops him.
  • As for other characters, Hoshi is interested in Kuroda Kanbee, who doesn't interact much with Yukimura in the games. Nakai said he's amused when he's reading the script and Koyama Rikiya's voice comes drifting out.
  • They joked that Tsuruhime was a little out of place whereas Magoichi's cool attitude fits the series perfectly. Still, Hoshi likes Tsuruhime's comical antics.
  • Yoshitsugu's underhanded scheming seems to cause a lot of fooling around during recording tests in the studio.
  • Nakai observed that there's nobody in this series who speaks 'normally'; the recording puts a lot of strain on the actors' voices.
  • Hoshi noted that a relatively normal-sounding character was added for Sengoku Basara 4, but as this series is based on Sengoku Basara 3 there's just a bunch of noisy guys.
  • There's a 'homemade' feel to the recording sessions. There's no need for any extras because once they're done with their lines the actors record the 'crowd' sounds. The individual actors might each voice hundreds of regular soldiers; it's impossible to keep count. People are surprised to hear Nakai being cut down or standing in the enemy's ranks if they listen really closely.
  • When asked about what they'd like to see if a new character was introduced, Hoshi said he wanted to see them reveal a foreign warrior who could chat with Masamune. Nakai countered that they'd have to be an English speaker or it would be pointless, then joked that Masamune would probably go silent in front of an actual native English speaker like a stereotypically shy Japanese person. Hoshi said he would much prefer to see Masamune effortlessly speaking fluent English (with the imaginary foreign warrior character); in fact, that would make him respect Masamune even more! Nakai wasn't so sure he wanted that kind of respect.
  • Another question asked who they'd like to have as their commander if they were warriors themselves. Hoshi said he'd naturally choose Ieyasu; if a subordinate betrayed him then Hoshi could go and tell Ieyasu "My Lord! Someone has betrayed you!" without having to worry about being killed. When Nakai commented on the way Mitsunari did this in the first episode of the anime, Hoshi said that Mitsunari should really have apologised to that poor soldier since it was all a misunderstanding. Nakai joked that Mitsunari was really terrible.
  • Continuing, Hoshi said he wouldn't be able to fight for Mitsunari without living in fear because he might slay someone for a simple misunderstanding. On the other hand, if Ieyasu even wants to form bonds with his enemies he's likely to have a close relationship with his own troops.
  • Hoshi's argument seemed to convince Nakai that Ieyasu's army was the best too, though he drew the line when Hoshi suggested they both surrender and join Ieyasu together.
  • Aside from Ieyasu, Nakai thought that Shimazu Yoshihiro might be a good choice; he seems nice and his territory would be good for vacations.
  • Hoshi countered by suggesting Chousokabe Motochika; he has access to the sea as well, but with the additional bonus of being a pirate. Nakai said he tends to get a little sea sick...
Monthly PASH! has the weakest coverage this month with a two-page article full of screenshots. It's saved by a short interview with anime producer Itou Kouhei.
  • When asked for some behind-the-scenes gossip on the characters, Itou refused on the grounds of wanting to avoid spoilers. Instead, he talked about some of the minor changes that were made during production.
  • In episode two, Motochika was originally supposed to cry out to his fallen men with 'omae', a characteristically rough way of addressing them, but it was changed so he called out to them by their names instead: Shige, Bekunosuke and Yasubee. This was intended to convey his feelings better.
  • Sourin's castle was tweaked to give it a more western-style design.
  • The story will advance more quickly towards the Battle of Sekigahara now that Masamune and Yukimura have been revitalised after what happened in episode six.
  • Itou recommends observing the changes in the emotional states of Ieyasu and Mitsunari as the 'war which divides the country' approaches.
In place of the previously-disappointing Newtype and Otomedia (which isn't published this month), I picked up two completely different magazines.

Kadokawa recently produced a special mook with coverage of this summer's anime titles called Anime The Television. It is plainly aimed at female readers and includes four pages of Judge End coverage. The article's main attraction is a pair of interviews. The first of these is with director Sano Takashi.
  • Before being asked to direct Judge End, Sano had heard of the series before by name but never played any of the games.
  • When he subsequently decided to try the games, it was the individuality of the characters and the exhilarating sense of action which left an impression on him.
  • The interviewer asked him whether his impressions had changed after working on the series as a director. Sano said that from seeing the existing stage plays and games he'd felt a glamorous festival-like atmosphere, but with Sengoku Basara 3 each of the characters has a very dramatic story which gave it a more plot-heavy focus.
  • Although this is the third animated television series based on Sengoku Basara, it's the first one for Sano and his team. They intentionally tried to create the world of Judge End without being trapped by trying to adhere to the previous adaptations.
  • The interviewer asked whether they kept the game's large female fan base in mind, to which Sano answered that they didn't especially think about targeting female fans. However, they tried to include as much familiar content as possible outside of the anime-original elements.
  • The first episode was surprisingly intense. They want to keep the sense of haste up throughout the series to focus on the story's final destination of Sekigahara, and place importance on each warrior's individual drama.
  • Sano's favourite Sengoku-era commander is Kobayakawa Hideaki because he wants to eat delicious food.
  • He ended the interview by repeating something from a previous article where he explained that each episode builds on the last in a careful arrangement, so it's important to watch them all now that the countdown to Sekigahara has begun.
The second interview is with seiyuu Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura).
  • Asked to describe the series, Hoshi answered that it's a history textbook; he's been involved with the series for almost ten years at this point and the real Sengoku era has become Sengoku Basara for him. He quickly added that he was half-kidding (yet at the same time, half-serious).
  • Over such a long period, his feelings about playing Yukimura haven't really changed; he's still hot-blooded, youthful and straightforward. However, he thinks that the physical aspect might eventually become harder since he still wants to keep playing Yukimura for a long time.
  • Asked which characters he likes besides Yukimura, Hoshi first answered Masamune, Kojuurou, Ieyasu, Mitsunari, Sasuke and Shingen...then gave up and said he liked just about everyone in the series.
  • He said that he thinks that Yukimura's rival, Masamune, was the perfect 'hero' for the original Sengoku Basara game. He's a great guy whose central position in the series for these ten years has been absolutely essential.
  • As for his favourite real-life Sengoku-era warrior, he's actually fond of Date Masamune. The drama shows he watched as a child left a strong impression on him and they're both from the Touhoku region. He can relate to the real-life Masamune's 'can-do' attitude.
  • Hoshi urges people to experience the shocks of Judge End for themselves, saying that it's unlike the 'Basara' which came before it.
To help draw attention to the article there's a large illustration of Masamune and Yukimura fighting.


Not to be outdone, Takarajimasha also have four pages of Sengoku Basara Judge End content in their 'e-mook' Anime CUTiE. It's another thick, colourful magazine aimed at girls and despite its title it includes a little game and manga coverage to complement the anime. The Judge End article takes the form of three very short interviews with seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune), Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) and Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) alongside an ad for the Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package rerelease which came out last month.
  • Nakai is delighted at the chance to struggle with Masamune again; it's an exhausting role which completely drains him. It makes him sweat; he has to yell much more than he expects. The sweat is both great and unpleasant at the same time.
  • Hoshi went into the recordings a little worried about what would happen to Yukimura with the anime-original content, but now he can't help feeling excited.
  • In a message to long-time fans of the series, he declared that he hoped Yukimura would 'follow Masamune anywhere!'.
  • Ookawa is excited at the prospect of a brand new production team being able to show the fans a whole new 'Basara' as it's been a while since the previous adaptation.
  • He's looking forward to them showing what Ieyasu is like inside, which hasn't really been talked about much up until now.
The interviews really are very short so that's the best I can do!

Other news updates

I got excited the other day when Isono Kazumasa was added to the official character roster on the Sengoku Basara: Judge End website but I have since rewatched episode five, where it turns out he was credited already. I think he was the angry Oda soldier pictured below - presumably he'll be showing up again in future!


The last piece of Judge End news for the day is that it's been confirmed that Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji) will be the seiyuu guest for the bonus radio CD included in the third volume of Sengoku Basara: Judge End on DVD and Blu-ray.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 6

With today's episode of Sengoku Basara Judge End we've officially reached the series' halfway point.

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 was at 01:55 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. They've added the first five episodes already with episode six scheduled for today. 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. 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 four 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' but it's taken a while for them to catch up. So far, five episodes are online with English subtitles so hopefully the sixth will appear very 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. 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.

Summary

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first six 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, 8 August 2014

News roundup: Sengoku Basara Judge End previews - and lots of release news

I'm going to put the preview information right at the bottom of this post so I can hide the spoilers from my blog's front page, but I can confirm that it's rather interesting. First of all though, some news!

Details of the special features for the first Judge End DVD/BD

We were promised more special features when the Sengoku Basara: Judge End DVD and Blu-ray releases were announced, and the details have now been confirmed via VAP.

Sengoku Basara Judge End: I
Release date: 24th September 2014
Catalogue number: VPXY-71336 (Blu-ray) / VPBY-14329 (DVD)
Price: ¥5,800 (Blu-ray) / ¥4,800 (DVD)
Blu-ray specification: Colour, Stereo, Linear PCM 2.0, 16:9 1080p HD
DVD specification: Colour, Stereo, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital 2.0ch
Run time: 70 minutes
Contents: Sengoku Basara Judge End episodes 1-3

The special audio CD from the first press edition will include the first three episodes of the Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio show as well as an additional bonus episode featuring seiyuu Nakai Kazuya. There will also be an exclusive keyholder (pictured below) and an audio commentary on the disc itself featuring Nakai Kazuya, Hoshi Souichirou and Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki, Capcom's Sengoku Basara series producer.


The set will come in an illustrated digipak with a 20-page booklet. The box art for the first volume is below.


Later volumes will come with additional keyholders for Sasuke/Yukimura, Ieyasu/Tadakatsu and Mitsunari/Yoshitsugu.

Fans who purchase their copies of the sets from certain retailers will receive extra goodies. While Animate is giving away a desktop standee of Masamune to fans who buy all four volumes, the other stores only require that you buy the first volume so there may be additional bonuses for subsequent discs. Tsutaya is offering a Mitsunari bromide, Yodobashi Camera is offering a photo print of Ieyasu and Amazon Japan has an oversized Yukimura badge.

I'm glad I placed my order with Amazon!

The seiyuu guest is confirmed for the second Judge End bonus CD

It won't surprise anyone to learn that the special guest who will appear on the first press bonus CD in the second volume of Sengoku Basara: Judge End will be Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu). The staff were accepting submissions for his appearance on the Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio show earlier this week. I wonder who will feature on the final two volumes now that the four lead characters have been confirmed to appear already?

Jacket artwork revealed for the Sengoku Basara: Judge End Original Soundtrack

The big Judge End news announcement this afternoon also included the first look at the artwork for the anime's original soundtrack (details here). The illustrations are taken from the series' ending sequence; they look pretty good.


A brand new Production I.G. art book will be released for Sengoku Basara

An Amazon listing has been spotted for a new book titled Gekijouban Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- Official Illustration Collection II. It's credited to WIT Studio, Production I.G., Capcom and Pony Canyon.

Amazon gives the price of the 112-page book as ¥2,160 and the release date as 10th October 2014. It's to contain unreleased artwork from the home video sleeves (including the recent complete box set), CDs jackets and bonus items as well as an annotated screenplay, and storyboards for scenes which didn't end up being used in the final movie.

Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 6 is now available from Amazon

There are only three weeks until its release now but Amazon has finally listed the sixth issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine for preorder. e-Capcom's listing has also formally confirmed some of the details that were printed in last month's Dengeki Maoh magazine: this issue will contain two chapters of Mame Sengoku Basara 4 alongside Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen and Tane Jugou's Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara.

Mouri Motonari will get his own 12-page 'Motonari Chronicle' feature article, of course. His seiyuu Nakahara Shigeru and stage actor Kotani Yoshikazu will team up for the double interview this time, which promises some kind of 'doughnut photograph'(?!). Motonari-inspired illustrations will be provided by Kosumi Fujiko and Mizuno Sao.

As part of the in-depth Sengoku Basara: Judge End coverage that has been promised, the staff and seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) will talk about the anime and creators KobaP and YamamotoD will provide an interview about its climax.

The temporary cover artwork is satisfyingly green.


A second Geist Crusher collaboration is announced

The first Gaist Crusher game featured an odd cameo from Date Masamune as 'Jet Masamune', and now it seems that Yukimura will be joining him for the sequel, Gaist Crusher God. The official collaboration page includes a preview video showing the tiger-like 'Nekketsu Yukimura'.


There are also two new Alpha Gaists based on Sengoku Basara 4's DLC costumes. Masamune's hakama outfit provides inspiration for the 'White Dokuganryuu' gear and alternate Alpha Masamune, while Yukimura's 'Souryuu' outfit led to 'Blue Yukimura' gear and 'Alpha Yukimura'.

I have never played Gaist Crusher - it's neat that the collaboration is continuing, though.


Capcom continues to promote Sengoku Basara 4

As part of the release activity for the Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package, Capcom has made five of the game's promotional videos available for download on PSN. Thank you to @VegaManX4 for bringing the news to my attention!

What to expect in the next few episode of Sengoku Basara: Judge End

As well as Animate TV's usual preview gallery for tomorrow's episode and the designs for the new additions to the official character page, this week we've got a lot of new information in the form of three more episode summaries and a surprise new character announcement!

The biggest news is that Ueda Youji will be voicing Isono Kazumasa, another anime-only newcomer to the Sengoku Basara cast. While the next episode previews aren't a great deal of help in figuring out how he's going to fit into the plot, his name has been added to the official cast list so he should be appearing soon.

Edit 11th August: I just realised, he's probably the angry Oda retainer from episode 5! I went back and checked the credits and there he was.

We also now have episode summaries for the next three weeks. I'll hide them after a 'read more' jump to protect people from spoilers.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Today's acquisitions (3rd August 2014)

A few things arrived in the post this week which deserved to be pictured.

Way back in January, the Lawson chain of convenience stores ran a special Sengoku Basara 4 promotion with a bunch of cool prizes. I was over in Japan at the time the campaign began so I tried my hardest to win the cool Date Masamune alarm clock - and failed.

However, in the end I managed to win one of the consolation prizes, which was a set of three A4 clear files. They finally arrived this week and I got to see them for the first time!

The first clear file is the one pictured on the campaign page, showing the special artwork that was created for the HMV/Loppi store-exclusive game sleeve. I put some white paper behind the image to make it easier to see.


The next file depicts the 'Production I.G.'-style Date Masamune again, this time in his Lawson uniform.


The reverse side has Masamune's Basara-e dragon artwork.


The last of the three clear files is a silly one, showing Masamune in Mame Sengoku Basara form with Lawson's Karaage-kun mascot perched atop his head.


The same shipment also contained my Sengoku Basara 4 Basara Matsuri 2014 ~Shinshun No Utage~ DVD, which I'll review in the next week or two. The Nendoroid figure of Levi from Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack On Titan) arrived separately - he was a bargain from the Crunchyroll store thanks to the discount coupon that was bundled with my last renewal.


The last item is the Diabolik Lovers do-S Kyuuketsu CD: VERSUS II Vol. IV Carla VS Shin with its Animate-exclusive bromide. I haven't heard the new characters speaking before; it's a little exciting.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 5

This week's episode of Sengoku Basara Judge End was the fifth - we're almost halfway through the series already!

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 was at 01:55 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. They've added the first three episodes already with the next two scheduled for today. 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 three 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, three episodes are 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 five 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!

Manga review: Sengoku Basara 4 Dengeki Comic Anthology

The Sengoku Basara 4 Dengeki Comic Anthology is a 132-page collection of manga based on the Sengoku Basara 4 setting and characters. It was originally released by ASCII Media Works in the Dengeki line on 25th April 2014, priced at ¥850, and it's still readily obtainable from all good online bookstores such as CD Japan, Yesasia and Amazon Japan. A Kindle version is also available.

With this being the very first anthology to feature the seven new Sengoku Basara 4 characters, it was a real treat for fans who want to see more of them in manga form (outside of the two series being serialised monthly in Dengeki Maoh). The regular cast members show up too, of course, but their roles are far smaller than those of the newcomers.

The cover depicting the game's four leads with antagonist Yoshiteru looming in the background was illustrated by Ayamura Kirihito. Sadly, it doesn't wrap around to the back of the book to depict the rest of the characters; I'd have loved to have seen them drawn in Ayamura's style as well. There are two additional colour illustrations on the first few pages: Satsuki Yuu has drawn an amusing picture of Shingen, Naotora and Yukimura, while Yamada Uiro presents a cool confrontation between Katsuie and Sakon. The pictures make for a stunning start to the book and really set the scene.

The rest of the anthology is made up of short manga.

Matsuri De Chouhan Shoubu ('A Chouhan Match at the Festival')
Ashika Nozomu
Sakon goes to visit the festival with the intention of speaking to Keiji and gathering information about Ieyasu. Not long after he arrives, however, Tsuruhime and Magoichi turn up and propose a gambling match, supposedly acting on Himiko's orders. It's a proposition that Sakon can't resist, but with all of the cheating going on it seems unlikely that his original mission will ever be a success...